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News and information about WSCL's Classical Music Programming

Friday, August 28, 2015

Just Opened - August 28, 2015

Wagner and World music today on Just Opened... with a bit of Poulenc thrown in for spice!

Kontras Quartet
MSR 1537
ISBN#6 81585 15372 7
Official website for Kontras Quartet
Works that are alternately challenging, whimsical, inventive, melodic and engaging fill the adventuresome program on this CD.  A work called "Hunting: Gathering" inspired by native South African sound motifs; "Japanese Folk song Suite" has been a performance favorite of this group, and they have finally recorded it.  Formed in 2009 Kontras Quartet consider themselves pioneers in genre-defying collaborations.  The group has a stated appetite for the musically bizarre and unexpected, and they found satisfaction for this in Stravinsky's "3 pieces", and the program closes with a playful, accessible work by modern composer Dan Visconti that includes snippets of songs, rhythmic intricacy and special effects, "Ramshackle Songs."

David Deveau, piano
ISBN# 0 34062 30051 8
Deveau's faculty page on MIT website
My Delight of the Week!  The works and life of Wagner form a touchstone for the works on this CD, from Liszt's piano transcription (arr. by Rubinstien) of Wagner's title work, 2 of Liszt's works inspired by his personal friendship and musical admiration of Wagner, and then contemporary works of Brahms, which bring more warmth into the program.   These are some of Liszt's darkest works, his technical proficiency sometimes adding a chill to the darkness, so the Brahms  capriccios and intemezzi - while still often introspective and melancholy - add a beautiful balance to the shadows.  Deveau's career as a soloist and chamber musician have taken him around the world many times over.  This CD presents a thoughtful program of a mature, accomplished artist who has been a "Steinway Artists" since 1999.

Complete Music for Winds & Piano
The Iowa Ensemble
MSR 1540
ISBN# 6 81585 15402 1
for information & purchase
Detailed review of this CD in "The Classical Reviewer"
To me, the essential sound of Poulenc is a slightly tipsy take on soulful melody and skipping innocence that is just awakening to the complexity of adult life.   Winds are the perfect vehicle for his particular and peculiar mental & musical worlds, and here we have works that run the gamut from early works of rule-breaking nonsense to later works of engaging complexity.  Do take time to read the review in the link, it is comprehensive and glowing!

Wesendonck - Lieder
Sea Pictures
Sarah Rose Taylor, mezzo
Nigel Potts, organ
Grace Cloutier, harp
MSR 1532
ISBN# 6 81585 15322 2
Taylor's website; Pott's website
Traditional works performed by 3 young performers in the international limelight.  Nigel Potts has become renowned worldwide as “a consummate musician who knows how to communicate the essence of [the] music” (The American Organist), and whose “playing is assured and stylish” (Organists' Review, UK). He has built a reputation for his expressive, colorful and tasteful performances, always communicating and placing the music at the forefront with “…warm, sympathetic playing” (Choir & Organ, UK).  British born mezzo-soprano Sarah Rose Taylor is rapidly becoming recognized for her warm and full tones "Germanic" voice.  Now based in Manhattan, the works on this CD were the featured works of her Carnegie Hall debut in 2014.  She has had wide ranging experience as a soloist in oratorios, in addition to many opera roles.  Grace Cloutier rounds out the group of accomplished young musicians; an intenationally recognized harpist who has studied on both sides of the Atlantic, and whose 8 CDs demonstrate her particular affinity for accompaniment in addition to solo and orchestral work, and she adds additional color to a few cuts here.  The works on this CD are all transcribed by Nigel Potts for organ and vocalist.

Join us next week for more new releases, Just Opened.
Kara Dahl Russell

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