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Volume 9 Issue 7 - April 2004

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CHAN10186 2 CD Set

CHAN10186 2 CD Set Michael Berkeley Baa Baa Black Sheep A Jungle Tale: Original Premiere Recording This live recording, taken frorn the Grand Theatre, Leeds, is the only available version of Michael Berkeley's first opera, 'Baa Baa Black Sheep'. Rachmaninov Complete Works for Cello and Piano Rustem Hayroudinoff follows up the critical success of his recent disc of Rachmaninov's complete Preludes for sol9 piano with this recording. He is joined by Alexander lvashkin, one of today's most distinguished cellists. Chandos Classics new releases CHAN10209 Bax Orchestral Works Chandos has long been an advocate of the work of Sir Arnold Bax, as the company's huge S-ax discography demontrates. This is the seventh .release in Chandos' repackages of Bax's orchestral works, whicn are still deemed to be the finest versions available. Chaconne new releases Piccioni Le donne vendicate Niccolo Piccinni was a prolific and popular composer, writing some 120 operas in Naples, Rome, and in Paris, where he was singing tutor to Marie Antoinette. This is the only available recording of this work. the piano technician even getting a credit. The type is not too tiny for adult readers. If you like romantic concertos, you'll love this CD. JohnS. Gray Editor's Note: As mentioned last month, Alain Letevre's recording is one of five JUNO nominees in the category Classical Album of the Year: Large Ensemble or Soloist(s) with Large Ensemble Accompaniment. For a complete list of the Classical JUNO nominations you can check our March issue at www.thewholenote.com. Winners will be announced on April 4 at the JUNO Award ceremonies in Edmonton (televised on CTV). Stravinsky - Works for Violin and Piano Jasper Wood; David Riley Endeavour Classics END 1010 The violinist Samuel Dushkin commissioned a concerto from Stravinsky in 1931 . The collaboration continued, producing arrangements of various ballets for violin and piano. These arrangements - Pulcinella (now named Suite ltalienne), The Fairy's Kiss (Divertimento), various movements from the Firebird as well as the original composition Duo Concertant, form the basis of this new recording from the exceptionally talented Canadian violinist Jasper Wood. The liner notes include a brief interview with Wood where he explains his approach to playing reduced orchestral scores and careful attention has obviously been paid this. The nature of the piano as a percussive instru·ment versus the sustaining nature of the violin has been exploited to tl)e benefit of the music and the approach is one that allows great scope for Wood's varied tonal soundscapes. Although the playing on the recording is superb, I couldn't help feel that the CD was designed to boost the career of the violinist, four glossy photos of whom are presented - in stark contrast to the black and white headshot of the pianist. Jasper Wood's name is featured over and above that of Stravinsky. And although it is obvious that Wood and pianist David Riley approach the music as an equal partnership, the recorded sound is also biased in the · violin's favour. But this is beautiful and sensuous music that is well known to violinists and certainly deserves to be better known by the public - something this CD should achieve. Kevin Mallon Aire Latino - Latin American Music for guitar David Russell Telarc CD-80612 David Russell is a much-lauded classical guitarist from Scotland, by way of Spain, and "Aire Latino" is the latest in a string of CD's he's recorded for Telarc. As the title implies, this is an album of compositions by Latin American composers. Such twentieth-century greats as · Argentinian-American Antonio Lauro, Brazilian Hector Villa-Lobos, Paraguayan Augustin Barrios, and ten others, contribute pieces to this rich collection. At a playing time of over 73 minutes, there's a lot of music here for the classical guitar fan, but for the fan of Latin American music, it may disappoint. Although Mr. Russell executes the pieces with impeccable technique, his delivery is rather bloodless. Perhaps it is a cliche, but one expects· a little more fire and passion from Latin American music, que no? One other problem this disc presents for me is the recording technique. It was recorded in a concert hall without an audience, and that's what it sounds like - a guy playing in an empty hall. I prefer the dry sound and intimacy that a recording studio can lend a performa~ce. But these are minor criticisms of what is overall a very fine collection of beautiful compositions played by. a master of the classical guitar. Cathy Riches APRIL 1 - M AY 7 2004

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