The WSCL Blog

News and information about WSCL's Classical Music Programming

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Just Opened, March 27, 2012

We closed out Women's History Month, and our focus on female composers and performers with our theme: WOMEN WHO WOW.

Hsia-Jung Chang, piano
Mandala Studio 06
ISBN# 8 8450 164434 1
Her name is pronounced "Shaw Zone Chang" and you will want to remember it. Her playing is outstanding, and her interpretations interesting. Almost all of these Debussy works are at least familiar, most are seminal, very well known and beloved. Chang's overall theme is water, and the cover art blends beautifully with this theme. Her take on the Arabesque is very fast, which is both enviable and puzzling, until you think of Persian painting and the rapidly repeating "Arabesques" in them. Moreover, if you think of what causes water to Arabesque, it is speed that creates it... and her interpretations ARE this well thought out. Her interpretation of Clair de Lune has a bubbling burbling syncopation underneath... unique, and entirely in keeping with her overall vision on this CD. I look forward to hearing more from this artist. My delight of the week.

Laurie Rubin, mezzo-soprano
Marija Stroke, piano
Noam Sivan, piano
ISBN# 0 90404 93642 5
Many "vocal recital" CDs tread territory so familiar that they become almost instantly forgettable. Not so this one, which has an unusual combination of works including a new work by Bruce Adolphe, a setting of poetry by the mezzo herself. COLOR is the appropriate word to have in the title because depth and color is what Rubin's voice has. Even for a mezzo, her voice has an extrodinary rich chocolaty thickness that, esp. on the Faure works, lets you sink into the songs like velvet.

Die Weihe des Hauses, Leonore Prohaska
Berliner Philharmoniker
Claudio Abbado,cond.
Deutsche Grammophon
ISBN# 0 28944 77482 5
This is not a new release, but new to us and our library. The Berlin Philharmonic under Abbado's baton is reliably top notch; here recording some less visited works of Beethoven. I particularly enjoied the quirky music for Druker's drama which includes soft, lilting soprano, harp, and even "glass armonica" the instrument invented by Benjamin Franklin... haunting and surprisingly mellow!

Four Hand Piano Music Vol. 14
Piano Quartet No. 2 Fvie Waltzes
Silke-Thora Matthies, Christian Kohn
NAXOS 554821
ISBN# 6 36943 48212 4
Brahms transcribed a large portion of his orchestral and chamber output for piano 4 hands. This was undoubtedly a reflection of the realities of business, music for piano 4 hands was popular and sold well, but it also allowed him to revisit and reinterpret his works in a different way, giving us another window into his musical thoughts. Matthies and Kohn have made it a labor of love to record most, if not all of these works. Their playing is a joy... this is Volume 14 in the set!

Rachel Barton Pine
ISBN# 7 35131 91242 6
International virtuoso violinist Pine steps away from the great orchestras that she is usually playing concertos with, to create music that is more intimate, quirky and fun! Works by composers including Piazzola, Albeniz, Cordero, Serebrier, and Rodrigo. All solo works for violin which make us inevitably think of Paganini.

The American String Project
SHOSTAKOVICH Quartet No.4 in D major, Op.83
BRAHMS Quartet No.2 in A minor, Op.51
MSR Classics 1316
ISBN# 6 81585 13162 6
This excellence in musicianship is great for our closing week of Women's History month, given that their group is largely made up of female performers. For those who still believe that they can tell by listening whether performers are female, who still believe that women lack power and passion in their playing... this CD will be a rude awakening. Excellence, precision, power, and persuasion. A great addition to any music library.

Thanks again to our intern Chris Grindley for putting together the skeleton of this blog post so that I can just add my comments and get the post online quickly for you.
Enjoy the music!
Kara Dahl Russell

1 comment:

She Goes Public said...

I found this blog post doing my frequent search for Beethoven's Buhnenmusik featuring Abbado, McNair and Terfel. We lost that CD long ago, and it was one of our favorites. Alas, I can find nowhere online to purchase it, but we always look for it, as we get the chance. It is lovely, and a fun change of pace. :-)


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