7 years ago

Volume 9 Issue 9 - June 2004

  • Text
  • Festival
  • Toronto
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  • Baroque
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  • Choir

Songs Magdalena Kozena,

Songs Magdalena Kozena, mezzo-soprano Malcolm Martineau, piano Henschel Quartet DGG 471581-2 Czech mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kozena's new disc offers song cycles from five composers, each in a different language. They are all gems, and get more interesting with each listening. Her distinctive and versatile voice has the purity and range of a soprano with the depth and shading of an alto. .Kozena is exquisite in Ravel's exotic Chansons madecasses, and eloquently sardonic in Shostakovich's Satires, with her effective Slavic tinge. The way she brings out the lyrical, atmospheric charms of Respighi's fl tramonto, with ' its transparent, shimmering textures, makes it irresistible. She reveals the key to the "half-forgotten anguish" neath the effervescent frivolity of selections from Messager operettas, she shows touchingly sweet irony. But by OffenBach 's much-loved Doll Song, things go off the rails. Her quirky depiction of the doll winding down, embellished with added notes, a bizarre array of grrrhs, wheees and eeehs, and topped off by a most unpleasant cadenza, may work on stage, but not on disc. With little power to spare for expressive nuance, she gets quite shrill in the upper registers where this repthat pervades Schulhoffs Three Atmospheric Ponraits with emotionally shattering stillness. Her effectiveness in Britten's A Charm of Lullabies can be heard just in the way -she articulates "Quiet!" in A charm. Redoubtable accompanist Malcolm Martineau is aided by a characterful and elegant instrumental group'. I would not want to iniss this disc. Pamela Margles ertoire frequently takes her. She is , Falla - La vida breve so closely miked that the high-spirit- Ana Maria Sanchez; Vincentte ed rhythmic finesse and elegant voic- Ombuena VallS ... ing of Canadian conductor Yves Abel Prince of Asturias Foundation are frequently oxershadowed. Choir Asturias Symphony Orchestra; .Maximiano Valdes Naxos Opera Classics 8.660155 OPERA CLASSICS =!, ... ······1,xt:iA' ------·- 1 .. a \.'id.a b-rn\·e ~'t::t In '!"ir.,1 Acl-.) Atu.1Mit:ri;a$:;i;13i'.h~:t \foct:tm• O=mbv.'. l\uittid-.~ilm C~M!t· A\tUti:a>! SJmµi:l1;~y l.b'tht->.t"' :.\l1s.\iini:lni_t\'11.kt€!i: A love strong enough to kill - this is "the stuff oper

ious dramatic stance, Quasthoff confidently flirts with the listener. Different, but both thoroughly enjoyable. Frank Nakashima Future Concert Note: Matthias Goerne performs Winterreisse in the International Vocal Recitals Series at Roy Thomson Hall on September 26. · CLASSICAL AND BEYOND Sonate al Pizzico Stephen Stubbs; Maxine Eilander ATMA Baroque ACD2 2272 WHAT A GREAT CQ! It's a delight from start to finish, with its exquisite blend of plucked sounds from the chittarone, Spanish guitar and double harp, a program replete with clever and inventive music from some of 17th-century Italy's brightest lights, and a performance of wit, expressive sensitivity and technical brilliance by two outstanding musicians. The repertoire runs the gamut of folias, chiaconas, toccatas, capriccios, canzonas and sonatas,. and features music of Frescobaldi, . Corbetta, Trabaci, Kapsberger, Castaldi, Cavalieri, Granata and Monteverdi. From the opening Ballo del Gran Duca to Pur di miro which closes the disc, it's a winner. My personal favourites were three capriccios by Castaldi, and several extraordinary pieces by Francesco Corbetta, the celebrated guitarist who became instructor to the future Louis XIV - a sinfonia, chic acona, set of folias, sonata and a ··partie de chacone' are included. RECORDS LIMITED Eilander and Stubbs each step in and out of the spotlight with ease, playing the roles of soloist, continuo player or strum-along accompanist equally well as the situation requires. Eilander also gives an ear-opening' and genuinely "exploratory" performance of Trabaci's second Toccata. Their obvious enthusiasm for this repertoire is infectious, and I dare anyone not to love this disc. Alison Melville Beethoven The Nirie Symphonies Bruno Walter and The New York Philharmonic Music and Arts CD-1137 (6CDs specially priced) Angeles Philharmonic, The N.B.C. Beethoven - Symphony 6 Symphony in New York and the (Brahms, Mozart, Rossini and Philharmonic-Symphony. Although Weber overtures) he guest conducted Toscanini's orchestra, he became associated Arturo Toscanini; BBC Symphony Orchestra mainly with the Philharmonic. Before his final appearance with the Naxos Historical 8.110877 orchestra in April 1960 he had con­ Arturo Toscanini remarked about ducted them in a total of373 concerts .. Bruno Walter that he wore his heart The "Pastoral" in the Music and on his sleeve. Meaning that Walter's Arts box is with The Philadelphia involvement with some scores leads Orchestra, take:n down on January him to sentimentalize his perform- 10th .and 12th, 1946. Orchestra and ances. Comparing their readings of conductor (and engineers) rose to the the Beethoven sixth symphony, the occasion and the warmth of that permost Romantic of the nine, reveals formance remains very persuasive. ~imilarities an~ differences illustrat- Although Toscanini's and Walter's mg, that there is mo:e to. the conduc- timings are within seconds of each tor s role t.h~n beatmg time. . other· there is a very noticeable Toscan~m was treated ~ery wen difference in execution. Toscanini by HMV m London as witness the is both crisp and graceful with excellence of all the approved recordings he made with the BBC Symphony from 1937 to 1939'. He was well-liked by the orchestra and it responded well to The Maestro who was at the very pe.ik of his interpretative powers. The· '·'Pastoral" was recorded in four sessions over a period of months during 1937 which would allow ample time to satisfy all concerned. No stranger to American audiences during the 1930s, Bruno Walter emigrated from Europe in November 1939 and appeared with the Los Ill Ill Ill Ill Ill Ill Ill Ill Ill mn mn mn mn mn NAXOS 11111 11111 11111 11111 11111 TCHAIKOVSKY: Piano Concertos 1 & 3 Konstantin Sherbakov Russian Philharmonic .#ii! AMER!C~~~ C!ASSl('S ~ SAMUEi.. BARBER Knoxville: Summer of' 191.5 £ssay5' for Ord1e.~tra ~OS;. 2 i:tnU J Kttrin:i (;;mv:n · Tlumu~ "l'n11!1•:· RH~-al Scntti')h National Ord1:e.~tra • M>iri11 ;\b!lp SAMUEL BARBER Knoxville: Summer of 1915 Karina Gauvin, Marin Alsop, Royal Scottish National Orchestra SERGEY PROKOFIEV: Complete Symphonies and Concertos A 9 CD box for the price of 6 OTHER NAXOS BOX SETS: Beethoven: Complete Symphonies & Piano Concertos Mozart: Complete Symphonies Available at , HMV Superstore 333 Yonge Street, Toronto . JUNE 1 - JULY 7 2004 47

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