The WSCL Blog

News and information about WSCL's Classical Music Programming

Friday, December 11, 2015

Just Opened, December 11, 2015 - Hanukkah & Christmas

We're now well into Hanukkah this year, but have an interesting new release called "Shiksa" from internationally renowned violinist Lara St. John - so how could we resist?  The Complete Beethoven Symphonyies, the Bach Cello Suites played by an American-Israeli Cultural Scholarship winner, and a new Christmas release from Pladico Domingo complete today's offerings!

Lara St. John, violin
Matt Herskowitz, piano
ISBN# 8 54853 00404 9
With her typical mix of musical research, intense musicality, fun, and inspiration, St. John joins with MattHerskowitz for a CD of "gypsy" inspired music.  From traditional folk music to Romany works, to Judaica (hence the tongue-in-cheek title) to works inspired by both, and some new arrangement/transcriptions by Herskowitz, this CD is filled to the rafters with passionate show-stoppers for violin and piano!

Placido Domingo
Czech National Symphony Orchestra
Eugene Kohn, conductor
SONY# 117 432
ISBN#8 8875 11743 2 0
Official website of Placido Domingo
This major release by one of the living legends (and heart-throbs) of our day could well be called Placido's cross-over Christmas.  Most of the selections are "the usual suspects" of traditional Christmas carols, and he is joined on various tracks by his son, Idina Menzel, Jackie Evancho, Hayley Westenra, Vincent Niclo and Helen Fischer. With someone like Domingo at the helm, one cast rest assured of exceptional arrangments and great orchestrations.

Kent Nagano, cond.
Montreal Symphony Orchestra
ANALEKTA 9150-9155
ISBN# 7 74204 91502 5
Official Website of Nagano
Gift-Giver's Delight!  This 6 CD set is a compilation of recordings made from 2012-2014, Nagano's committment to recording the complete Symphonies of Beethoven, and several other orchestra works (Overtures, etc.) to flesh out the collection and concept.  One critic took great exception to the varied recording location and releases being put together, he felt that the sound(s) of the various locations were so different that it was a detraction for him.   I would think this is not something the average listener is going to find too distracting.   As I frequently mention, the great canons are rarely being recorded anymore, so this is an opportunity to create a foundation of a new or growing classical music collection, with one of the most respected international composers of our day, and an orchestra that is having a hey-day under his baton.

Inbal Segev, cello
Official website of Segev
With so many artists recording this seminal set by Bach, an attachment to the artist, and the artist's interpretation is what sets each recording apart.  Segev is the winner of many international accolades, including the American-Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarship.  "Ultimately, the challenge for me was to find a way to incorporate the ideas I learned from Baroque practice while being true to my musical language, which is rooted in this century. I wanted to create an interpretation of this great masterwork for the contemporary listener – to say, ‘Here is what Bach has to say to people in the 21st century.’ In this recording I strive for simplicity while trying to keep a sense of freedom. Da-Hong and I worked at capturing a pure and warm sound. It is a distillation of everything I love about the suites.”  Her journey with this music has also been captured in a documentary, a 21 minute film which you can find on youtube:
documentary about the making of this CD

Join us again for more new releases and great musical gifting ideas, Just Opened!
Kara Dahl Russell

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