7 years ago

Volume 8 Issue 4 - December 2002/January 2003

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four recent contemporary

four recent contemporary music releases. Musikfabrik: James Tenney Forms 1-4 (hat[now]ART). This double CD features. the world premiere recording of Tenney's series of pieces written in memory of 4 significant 20'h century , composers. It also includes important works by each of the composers eulogized: Edgard Varese (Octandre), John Cage (Seven), Stefan Wolpe (Piece fo.r trumpet and seven instruments) and Morton Feldma.n (Numbers). Tadaaki Otaka and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales: Toru Takemitsu A String Arou~d Autumn (BIS) - As f eagerly await the release of Robert Aitken' s recent ·recording of Toru Takemitsu's chamber works with flute for the Naxos label, I .am 1 finding great pleasure in this fine --Orchestral recording which features concerted works for viola (the title track), flute (I Hear the Water Dreaming) and pi'ano (r(verrun)' and the orchestral version of his string quartet (A Way a Lone II) . · Kabalevsky Violin Concerto; Cello Concerto No.2 (CHANDOS) - ,French Canadian composer who died tragically young, Micheline }:oulombe Saint-Marcoux. Lydia Mordkovitch is featured with the Scottish National Orchestra under Neemi Jarvi in a dynamic performance of the familiar violin concerto, but what makes. this recording special is the inclusion PAMELA MARGLES: of the much more rarely heard Trevor Pinnock and The English second cello concerto: This ·Concert: The Complete Mozart fabulous work, which features the Symphonies (Archiv) - These cello trading lines with a saxophone superb period performances of ail in the second movement, is played forty-one of Mozart's symphonies with panac-he and ferv_or by provide hours (in fact, over thirteen Raphael Wallfisch and the London hours) of delight. At any price this Philharmonic Orchestra under new reissue would be amazing, but Bryden Thomson. at less than forty-five dollars for eleven CDs, it can't be beat. Christina Petrowska Quilico: Gems with an Edge (Welspringe) "Jeanne Lamon ·and Tafelmusik - My , final pick is a project I've . Baroque Orchestra: A Baroque had the privilege of being a part of, Fe (Analekta) - Splendid the reissue of Christina Petrowska .performances of . exquisite Quilico's recordings from the repertoire make this a feast indeed. J 970' s af some very significant This terrific disc is programmei;I contemporary p_iano repertoire: like a live concert, with a balance selections from Olivier Messiaen's of.orchestral pieces and concertos V~ngt Regards' sur l'enfant Jesus, showcasing Tafelmusik's top Pierre Baulez' Troisieme Sonate performers. pour Piano, Mario Davidovsky's Sir Colin Davis and the'London Synchronisms . VI (Davidovsky is Symphony Orchestra and the featured composer at the U of Chorus: Berlioz Les Troyens T's. New Music Festival in (LSO) - For Berlioz lovers (and January) and works by her first how can anyone not be?) this husband, the late Mic.,hel-Georges . magist,erial recording is the next Bregent, and another pioneering best thing to a trip to New York next spting to hear the Metropolitart · Opera's production of thi~ extraordinary opera with the principals on this live recording, Ben Heppner and Michelle De Young. Pierre Boulez and the Ensemble Intercontemporain with soprano Christine Schafer: Pli Seton Pli (DGG) - W/lether or not this is the final version of Bouiez's .' masterpiece, which he revised_ _ over a thirty-two year period, it is . .a great recording, with shimmering · textures and gorgeous lines. BRUCE SURTEES: Vengerov Plays Ysaye, Bach and Shchedrin (EMI Classics) - Vengerov makes , the Y saye unaccompanied sonatas sound, · well, attractive to ears that do not take kindly to this repertoire. It is now believed that Bach may not have written the famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor and that it may have begun life as a violin solo. Here, as far as the editor thinks, it is. The Shchedrin live· encore is Balalaika, played by a smiling Vengerov. A charming programme indeed.

Great conductors of the 20',, Century: Charles Munch (EMI Classics) - The Munch set is number 22 in EMI's continuing series. The major work of the seven representative and diverse works here is a breathtaking Beethoven Ninth from Boston (1958) in spectacular sound with Leontyne Price, Maureen Forrester, David Poleri, and Georgia Tozzi. This is a performance not to be missed. Collectors will find much of interest among the 24 sets now available in this series. Check them out. Caruso: Italian Songs (RCA Victor) - Once again, The Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF) has stripped off anemic orchestral accompaniments from original Caruso acoustic recordings and mixed in new backup by the Vienna Radio Symphony. It works! Caruso seems to be right there, in robust voice, before the orchestra. 17 tracks. Murray Perahia Chopin Etudes Opp. I 0 and 25 (Sony Classical) - How well Perahia is playing these days! Each of these studies is treated as a little miniature with very a satisfying interpretive resolution in each. This pianist does not impose himself on the written notes but actually gets inside the music with results that make these performances very special, if not unique. Perahia is not just playing piano; he is passing on a message. DANIEL FOLEY: The cornucopia of fine releases from the everadventurous Naxos label includes a congenial selection of accessible items from their burgeoning American Classics series. Here are a few that, in the spirit of Scrooge, I'll be holding on to for my own enjoyment. A winning account of that most musical of musicals, Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story, is one of the few examples in this series of an all-American production. Kenneth Schermerhorn leads an eloquent account of the original Broadway version of the score with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and a proficient cast of fresh, unfamiliar voices. The popular orchestral suites of the Los Angeles composer and arranger Ferde Grofe are not often heard this far North, though some may recognize his name as the orchestrator of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. William Stromberg, a veteran of many a Hollywood sound stage, sets the fleet-footed Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra sailing through three of Grofe's unfailingly folksy, expertly scored and ingratiatingly picturesque "nature suites" named after the locales of Death Valley, Hollywood and the Hudson River. Finally, I strongly recommend the exciting new recording of Samuel Barber's Piano Concerto with the dynamic American soloist Stephen Prutsman and the Royal Scottish Orchestra conducted by Marin Alsop. This superlative example of American Romanticism, composed at the peak of Barber's renown in 1960, is followed by some appropriately seasonal fare in the form of his deftly orchestrated suite of Christmas carols, Die Natali. LARRY BECKWITH: Jascha Heifetz: Beethoven & Brahms Violin Concertos (RCA Victor/BMG) - One of the 20'h century's finest violinists at the top of his form. Recorded in 1955 with the Boston (Charles Munch) and Chicago (Fritz Reiner) Symphony Orchestras, these performances are filled to the brim with brilliant musical ideas filtered through a phenomenal technique. I've never heard better performances of either work. Jeanne Lamon and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra: Geminiani Concerti Grossi (Sony) - Raw, fiery, passionate playing of rarelyrecorded music. Geminiani's wonderful gifts of invention are illuminated by the band (especially the concertina group made up of Lamon, Stephen Marvin, !vars Taurins, Christina Mahler and the brilliant lutenist Paul Odette). The crystal clear recording quality doesn't hurt, either. Trio Sonnerie: Leclair Sonatas for Violin (Gaudeamus) - A selection of three sonatas from the 18th century French master of the violin. Baroque violinist Monica Hugget's agility, imaginative phrasing and warm tone are on display throughout.

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