New and Future Releases
"The Swan: Works for Cello and Orchestra" / Han-Na Chang,
"Creation" / Branford Marsalis, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
"Strauss, Bartok, Stravinsky" / Vadim Repin, Boris Berezovsky
NEW DISCS FOR CELLO LOVERS
For those of us who just can't get enough cello music, the last few months have seen some gems. Music & Arts' "Lost Feuermann" gathers the 1934 and 1936 Japanese recordings of a cellist whose ability rivaled that of Pablo Casals, but whose life was cut tragically short. Even with surface noise, these nearly 70-year-old recordings capture the genius of Feuermann on a set of short cello encores, Japanese folk songs arranged by Kosaku Yamada, and two movements of Haydn's Concerto in D.
If your taste in cello music runs toward the obscure, Terry King's
disc featuring four unpublished cello pieces by a young Aaron Copland
will delight. Copland's transcriptions of two Chopin Preludes are
memorable openers, but this disc also contains first recordings of
works by Paul Creston and George Gershwin. Still not obscure enough?
Try Naxos's budget-priced recording of Johannes Schenck's "Nymphs of
the Rhine." These gorgeous sonatas for two viola da gambas are
reminiscent of Marin Marais, but they sound like nothing you've heard
before. A must-have for Baroque music lovers.
Looking for classical bargains? Try Amazon.com's Music Outlet, where
you'll find thousands of classical discs at prices you'll love.
Classical CDs: Under $7
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A handful of classical labels continue to keep the torch of American classical music well lit, and with impressive results. Telarc's recent release titled "Celluloid Copland" somehow unearths four more new-to-CD Aaron Copland scores, these for short American propaganda films. The Eos Orchestra plays these works--full of trademark Copland-isms--to perfection. A great disc.
New Albion's release of Miguel Frasconi's "Song + Distance" will be
big news to the community of tuned-glass-bellbowl
aficionados. Luckily, this mix of gamelan-inspired works is
mesmerizing enough for the rest of us, too. These are slow,
meditative works that somehow transcend any notion of Western or
Eastern classical music. And rock fans may want to stay clear of
Frasconi's instruments (they break easily), but you should probably
check out "Zappa Album" by the Finnish Ensemble Ambrosius. Who knew
that Frank Zappa's "Uncle Meat" played on baroque instruments would
sound so good?
Let's not forget Naxos; the label's American Classics series
continues to release great, budget-priced performances of works
penned in the USA. The label is up to nearly 50 releases in this
line, spanning everyone from Zez Confrey to Philip Glass.
Finally, "Give My Regards to Eighth Street," the collected writings
of Morton Feldman, gathers numerous essays, critiques, and speeches
from the composer. Feldman was never one to mince words and this
anthology offers a fascinating glimpse into the mind of the maverick
Amazon.com's staff of music experts have hand-picked the very best classical recordings available by composer. Looking for must-have discs? Check out the following:
Amazon.com's complete Composer Essentials
Buying classical CDs can be tough; consumers have never had so many choices. Amazon.com's Performer Essentials will help you find the best and brightest CDs by your favorite instrumentalists:
Looking for more classical artists? Check out our complete list of
Amazon.com Artist Essentials.
New from TELARC (CD 80543) for March 27.
The poignant, tender Vocalise was taken from a group of fourteen songs of
1912, dedicated to three Russian singers including the great bass, Chaliapin.
Vocalise, a haunting wordless melody set to piano accompaniment, was the
final song of the set, and was written for the coloratura soprano Antonina
Neshdanova, a singer with the Moscow Grand Opera. The lyrical piece was
always popular with audiences, and in 1916, at the urging of conductor Serge
Koussevitsky, Rachmaninoff transcribed it for orchestra.
Appointed Music Director of the CSO in 1986, Jesús Lopez-Cobos has led the orchestra into a new era of international acclaim. The CSO and Jesus Lopez-Cobos Bring Rich Sound and High Romance to an all-Rachmaninoff Disc.
New from NIMBUS (NI 5661)
Best Engineered Album, Classical
Dvorák: Requiem / Macal, Krovytska,...
Dvorák: Requiem, Op. 89; Sym. No. 9, Op. 95 "From the New World" John Eargle, engineer (Zdenek Macal) [Delos International]
Producer Of The Year, Classical
Steven Epstein Appalachian Journey (1B; Mist Moonlight Waltz; Indecision, Etc.) (Yo-Yo Ma, cello; E. Meyer, d/bass; M. O'Connor, violin) Corea.Concerto ('Spain' For Sextet & Orch.; Piano Con. No. 1) (Chick Corea, piano/conductor) Corigliano: Phantasmagoria (Fancy On A Bach Air; Fantasia On An Ostinato, Etc.) (Yo-Yo Ma, cello; Emanuel Ax & James Tocco, piano) Dvorák: Piano Quartet No. 2 in E-flat, Op. 87; Sonatina in G, Op. 100; Romantic Pieces, Op. 75 (Emanuel Ax, piano; Isaac Stern, violin; Various) Songs Without Words (Works Of Mendelssohn, Schubert/Liszt, Bach/Busoni) (Murray Perahia, piano)
Best Classical Album
Shostakovich: String Quartets / Emerson...
Shostakovich: The String Quartets Emerson String Quartet; Da-Hong Seetoo & Max Wilcox, producers [Deutsche Grammophon]
Best Orchestral Performance
Mahler: Symphony no 10 / Rattle, Berlin...
Mahler: Sym. No. 10 Sir Simon Rattle (Berliner Phil.) Track From: Mahler: Sym. No. 10 [EMI Classics]
Best Opera Recording
Busoni: Doktor Faust / Nagano, Henschel,...
Busoni: Doktor Faust Kent Nagano; Kim Begley; Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau; Dietrich Henschel; Markus Hollop; Eva Jenis; [Erato]
Best Choral Performance
Penderecki: Credo / Rilling, Oregon Bach...
Penderecki: Credo Helmuth Rilling (Oregon Bach Festival Cho.; Oregon Bach Festival Orch.) [Hänssler Classic]
Best Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with Orchestra)
Maw: Violin Concerto / Joshua Bell,...
Maw: Violin Concerto Joshua Bell, violin; Sir Roger Norrington, conductor (London Phil. Orch.) [Sony Classical]
Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (without Orchestra)
Sharon Isbin - Dreams of a World
Dreams Of A World (Works Of Lauro, Ruiz-Pipo, Duarte, Etc.) Sharon Isbin, guitar [Teldec Classics International]
Best Chamber Music Performance
Shostakovich: String Quartets / Emerson...
Shostakovich: The String Quartets Emerson String Quartet [Deutsche Grammophon]
Best Small Ensemble Performance (with or without Conductor)
Shadow Dances - Stravinsky: Miniatures /...
Shadow Dances (Stravinsky Miniatures - Tango; Suite No. 1; Octet, Etc.) Orpheus Chamber Orch. [Deutsche Grammophon]
Best Classical Vocal Performance
The Vivaldi ALbum Special Edition /...
The Vivaldi Album (Dell'aura al sussurrar; Alma oppressa, Etc.) Cecilia Bartoli, mezzo soprano (Arnold Schoenberg Chor; Giovanni Antonini; Il Giardino Armonico) [Decca Records]
Best Classical Contemporary Composition
George Crumb - 70th Birthday Album -...
George Crumb: 70th Birthday Album, Star-Child George Crumb, composer (Joseph Alessi, trombone; Susan Narucki, soprano; Various Artists; Warsaw Phil. Cho.; Thomas Conlin; The Warsaw Phil. Orch.) [Bridge Records]
Lang Lang, Plays Haydn/Rachmaninoff/Brahms
Telarc Release# 80524CD
NEW & NOTABLE RELEASES
"John Adams: Century Rolls"
Emanuel Ax, piano; Christoph von Dohnanyi, cond.; Cleveland Orchestra
~....more. Minimalist composer John Adams delivers some of his most important recordings to date on "Century Rolls." The title work, a concerto featuring pianist Emanuel Ax, was inspired by the spiky, rhythmic sounds of antique player pianos. Ax and the Halle Orchestra deliver impressive performances on this important work and the filler--Adams's "Lollapalooza" and "Slominsky's Earbox"--is equally rewarding.
"Beethoven: String Quartets Op. 135; Op. 18, No. 2; Op. 18, No. 6" Petersen Quartett
~....more. As part of their ongoing Beethoven String Quartet cycle, the Berlin-based Petersen Quartett deliver a thoroughly enjoyable recording that pairs the composer's two early Op. 18 quartets with Op. 135. Throughout, the Petersens bring warmth, personality, and imagination to their playing. They may not be superstars, but this friendly-priced collection could please any Beethoven lover.
"Arvo Part: Tabula Rasa, Symphony No. 3, Collage" Leslie Hatfield and Rebecca Hirsch, violins; Takuo Yuasa, cond.; Ulster Orchestra
~....more. Naxos delivers a bargain-priced introduction to three compositions that span Arvo Part's varied composing career. And the playing, by violinists Leslie Hatfield and Rebecca Hirsch as well as the Ulster Orchestra, is near-perfect on the composer's famous, meditative "Tabula Rasa." Part's Symphony No. 3, a 1971 work showing the influences of Gregorian chant and polyphony, is another stunner here. "Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 9" Vladimir Spivakov, cond.; Russian National Orchestra
~....more. Vladimir Spivakov and the Russian National Orchestra bring restrained but well-performed interpretations of two vastly different Shostakovich symphonies. While Shostakovich's Fifth is epic and contemplative, his Ninth is full of mischievous black humor. In this audiophile-quality recording, we get detailed sound and a gripping performance that serves a nice contrast to Bernstein's more expressionist, legendary recording.
"Furtwangler: Legendary Post-War Concerts"
Wilhelm Furtwangler, cond.; Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonia Orchestra, NWDR Orchestra
~....more. Here, in an attractive four-CD set designed like a book, we get four remastered CDs of Wilhelm Furtwangler recorded between 1951 and 1954. His Beethoven (Symphonies Nos. 3, 5, 6, and 9), of course, steals the show (especially the "Eroica"). A fourth disc features Brahms's "Haydn Variations" and First Symphony with the conductor at the helm of the NWDR Orchestra. All told, these are wonderful interpretations.
NEW BAROQUE AND EARLY MUSIC CDs
"Kennedy Plays Bach"
Nigel Kennedy, violin;
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
~....more. Nigel Kennedy may be the "bad boy" of classical music, but on this disc, he gives us an impressive and relatively straightforward new recording of Bach's Violin Concertos. With speedy tempos and great playing from the Berlin Philharmonic, Kennedy has created a fun disc that may not be considered "authentic," but is certainly riveting.
"Carlos V: Mille Regretz"
Jordi Savall, cond.; Hesperion XXI.
~....more. To celebrate the 500th birthday of Emperor Charles V, Jordi Savall recorded this stunning program of music from the ruler's life. From Josquin des Prez's "Vive le roy," celebrating Charles's birth, to Cristobal de Morales's "Officium Defunctorum" for his funeral, his entire reign unfolds in this fascinating portrait of great Renaissance music.
Il Giardino Armonico
~....more. Il Giardino Armonico's spirited traversal of lesser-heard Italian Baroque gems will come as a musical revelation to most. Uccellini and Monteverdi are the big-name composers here, but interesting performances of short instrumental works by Tarquino Merula, Giovanni Battista Riccio, and others are equally impressive on this musical travelogue of 17th-century Italy. This isn't stuff you hear every day, but that doesn't diminish the music's importance.
PIANO LOVERS, REJOICE
"Beethoven: Piano Sonatas"
Walter Gieseking, piano
~....more. This seven-CD set featuring Walter Gieseking's 1949-1950 radio recitals of Beethoven's Piano Sonatas is full of surprises. If you ignore the surface noise on these recordings, you'll find the pianist at his most imaginative and, occasionally, frenzied.
"Liszt: Sonata, Ballades, and Polonaises"
Stephen Hough, piano
~....more. If you want a polished, virtuosic interpreter of Liszt, Stephen Hough is your man. On this disc, he performs the Ballade No. 2 with plenty of electricity. The Polonaise No. 2 and the Sonata are impressive as well, performed with style and restraint.
VIVA VERDI: HONORING THE MASTER OF ITALIAN OPERA
In the classical music world, one of the more significant dates in the 2001 calendar is January 27, the date that marked the 100th anniversary of the death of Giuseppe Verdi. It's an occasion to reflect on the enormous impact of a composer who perfected the tradition of Italian opera--investing the lyric stage with a Shakespearean range and depth. Visit our Verdi Store for recommended recordings, videos, and books that pertain to Verdi.
Since his dramatic and triumphant last-minute appearance at Chicago’s Ravinia
Festival (filling in for an indisposed Andre Watts) in August, 1999, 18-year-old
pianist Lang Lang has burst upon the international musical scene with
unparalleled excitement and acclaim.Born in 1982 in Shen Yang, China, Lang Lang began studying piano at the age
of three. He won the first of numerous awards at age five, when he took first
prize in the Shen Yang Piano Competition, after which he gave his first public
recital. At age nine, he entered the China Central Music Conservatory where he
studied with Professor Zhao Ping-Guo.
This album was recorded Live at Seiji Ozawa Hall, Tanglewood and has all the excitement of interactive rapport from an appreciative audience. This is an exceptional first issue from a young artist you will be hearing more of in the future.
NEW & NOTABLE RELEASES
"Bach: Four Toccatas and Fugues"
John Butt, organ.
Here's an exquisite collection of Bach's best-known works for organ, all played enthusiastically by organist John Butt. These are beautifully recorded, fresh interpretations of the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, the six chorale preludes, and more.
"The Complete Works of J.S. Bach: Edition Bachakademie" Helmuth Rilling, conductor, et al.
Just in case you haven't yet reached satiety with J.S. Bach--and who really can?--the lovingly prepared complete Bach Edition issued by Germany's Hanssler label is now available. Along with conductor Helmuth Rilling as presiding spirit, the 172-CD set features such artists as Trevor Pinnock, Yevgeny Koroliov, Andrea Marcon, among many others.
"Harrison: Rhymes with Silver"
Joan Jeanrenaud, cello; David Abel, violin; Benjamin Simon, viola; Julie Steinberg, piano; William Winant, vibraphone.
Anyone intimidated by New Music should hear the works of American composer Lou Harrison. This disc, featuring a Harrison commission for choreographer Mark Morris, brims with world music-inspired rhythms, nostalgic dance forms, and plenty of great, accessible string playing (especially by cellist Joan Jeanrenaud, formerly of the Kronos Quartet).
"Vivaldi: The Four Seasons"
Andrea Marcon, cond.; Giuliano Carmignola, violin; Venice Baroque Orchestra.
Passionate playing, feverishly fast movements, and incredible sonics make this new recording of the "Four Seasons" easily one of the most exciting available. As period ensembles go, the Venice Baroque Orchestra is clearly a group to watch. This disc also unveils three never-before-recorded Vivaldi concertos. A must-have for Baroque lovers.
BARGAINS FROM DUTTON LABORATORIES
Priced just under six dollars per CD, the latest Dutton Laboratories reissues feature some truly classic performances. William Kapell, Jascha Heifetz, and the Griller String Quartet are all legendary figures in classical music. Now, we can hear just what makes these vintage recordings so special, all at a budget price. See Dutton bargains:
BEETHOVEN SONATAS: AN OVERVIEW
The "Moonlight," the "Pathetique," and the "Appassionata" sonatas are known and loved by virtually all fans of classical music. But, as Amazon.com writer Stephen Wigler explains, there's a world of personalities, and playing, to be found in all of Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas. In this Amazon.com exclusive, we compare the very best interpretations of these masterpieces available, from Alfred Brendel, Solomon, Claudio Arrau, and other great pianists.
BLACK BOX RECORDINGS
Black Box Recordings is one of those special classical labels: it has style, a diverse repertoire, and--for the most part--great performances abound. Whether you're looking for modern Irish composers, creative New Music, or just well-loved masterworks, this label has something for everyone.
AMAZON.COM'S BEST OF 2000
Explore the year's best music from across all genres by visiting Amazon.com's Best of 2000 page. You'll find our customers' favorite CDs, our editors' favorite CDs, Artists of the Year, and more. Visit our page at:
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