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News and information about WSCL's Classical Music Programming

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Just Opened - Nov. 13, 2015



Traditional classics juxtoposed with new works today on Just Opened.

BEETHOVEN
Symphony No. 5 & No. 7
Manfred Honeck, Music Dir.
Pittsburgh Symphony Orch.
REFERENCE RECORDINGS 718
ISBN # 0 30911 27182 4
More info on this recording.
New recordings of Beethoven's beloved, now traditional Symphonies are getting quite rare.   These works were the closing program of last season's Beethoven Fest.  What a treat to have new recordings of these all time greats!


 JUST STRINGS
music of Lou Harrison &
John Luther Adams
Alison Bjorkedal, harps
John Schneider, guitars
MICROFEST RECORDS 7
ISBN# 7 00261 42878 9
http://microfestrecords.com/just-strings-notes/
This CD has all ready made it through the first phase for the 2015 Grammy Awards, and is under consideration in several categories.   I'm very lucky to know musicians who are incredibly talented and also committed to combining their intellectual curiousity with their work.  Alison Bjorkedal was my first harp teacher (and a gifted, supportive teacher).  She has a fondness for new works and inventive music, and was part of a group Grammy Award win in 2014 of new music on new instruments.   Meanwhile, she has been working with a group of musicians, "Just Strings" on modern works composed in "just" tuning.   (This is a different tuning mode from the "even-tempered" tuning of Bach that is now the standard that we're used to for concert - and pop - music.  See links below for more info.)  She plays a variety of harps on this CD, and the other strings are played by John Schneider on a variety of guitars.  Joined by T.J. Troy on percussion and the HMC American Gamelon, you know you're in for a sound world infused with ancient world music and folk traditions.  Don't be put off by the "just tuning" aspect of these works - if you didn't know about that, you would just know that they have the sound of world music.   While this CD may be very challenging for those who just want to hear traditional works like the Beethoven Symphonies, for many others, this CD will be a revelation, and have great-cross over appeal to people who appreciate many diverse genres.  Some of the works have a sound of ancient tunings and instruments, while others are redolent of American folk.  These works are tuneful, very accessible, and create vivid sound pictures.
     For a fuller explanation of Just tuning, here are some articles:
    Wikipedia: Just_intonationAn explanation of Just TuningJust Intonation Explained

WATERCOLOR
Shen Lu, piano
STEINWAY & SONS 30039
ISBN#
More information on Shen Lu & this CD.
My Delight of the week. I've been listening to this CD almost every day since I took the shrink wrap off it.  A native of Jiangsu, China, Shen Lu has performed concerts in Beijing, Carnegie Hall in New York, Boston, Cleveland, The Kennedy Center, Los Angeles, Sydney, and in Dublin. He was a prize-winner at multiple  International Piano Competitions, and won best French music prize for Ravel’s Miroirs at the 2015 Dublin International Piano Competition, the central work on this CD.  Pixum Chen's exquisite "Autumn Moon on a Calm Lake" starts off the painterly pieces, along with Racmaninov's "Etudes Tableaux" and Tan Dun's glittering tone pictures, "8 Memories in Watercolor."  The recording was part of the winner's package for one of his awards, and it is marvelously performed & recorded, and an emotionally touching first recording.


CONCERTINFOURO
Matthew Hunt, clarinet
Alastair King, composer/conductor
Chamber Orchestra of London
www.alastairking.me.uk
ISBN# 8 89211 60454
"Concertinfouro was written as a surprise 40th birthday present for my wife, Claire, who is a clarinetist.  It was given a first performance just a few weeks later on Saturday 24th March 2012 by the Argyle Orchestra with Claire playing the solo clarinet and myself conducting."  The CD recording that features Matthew Hunt is a short CD that includes the full work on one cut (about 13 minutes), then each movement in separate cuts.  Not only was this work composed as a labour of love, but it is FULL OF MELODY, fun and accessible.  It is easy to envision this work becoming a concert staple, and a favorite of the clarinet concerto repertoire.

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


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