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ARTEK RECORDINGS CD10: Claremont Duo Histoires Cello and Guitar
An enchanting, astonishing and unusual combination: the rich warmth of the cello and the delicate timbre of the guitar are perfectly attuned to each other in the hands of Maxine Neuman and Peter Ernst. This recording demonstrates beyond a doubt what surprising, exquisite rapport these seemingly incompatible instruments can achieve.
The order chosen for these recorded works was not guided by chronological or stylistic principles, but rather by the theatrical perspective of showcasing the range and beauty of this superlative partnership.
The selections include compositions originally written for this instrumentation (by Zenamon, Domeniconi and Gnattali), pieces written for instruments similar to the present combination (Schiffelholtz) or which - since not specified by the composer - one can imagine being realized by this combination (Vivaldi); the program is finally complemented by a transcription of a work originally composed for piano (Ibert).
Radames Gnattali belongs to the third generation of the Brazilian school. The guitar occupies a prominent position in his extensive Œuvre. In addition to solo compositions and six concerti with orchestra, Gnattali produced numerous pieces for chamber ensembles.

cover 2 Grammy nominations for Schuman disc!

The Naxos CD by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jose Serebrier, has been nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Orchestral Performance. The recording includes William Schuman’s Violin Concerto, New England Triptych, and Schuman’s orchestration of Charles Ives’ Variations on America. The Violin Concerto, with soloist Philip Quint, is also nominated for Best Soloist Performance with Orchestra. (Naxos 8.559083)

cover Debussy: Iberia
Turina: Danzas Fantasticas
Sinfonia Sevillana
La Procesion del Rocio
López-Cobos starts off with Iberia from Debussy's Images for Orchestra. Beautifully played. Then Turina's three Danzas Fantàsticas, later transcribed for piano by Turina. López-Cobos and his orchestra work well together. Especially good with Telarc's fine audio.

POSTED 27 January 2002

"Bruckner: Symphonie No. 5" Anton Bruckner Our price: $15.49 | You save: $1.49
available here.
Bruckner's Fifth isn't for everyone, but Giuseppe Sinopoli's recording of the symphony with the Staatskapelle Dresden offers a more than convincing case for its merits. With warm sound and great playing, Sinopoli offers us an extremely detailed rendition of the symphony.

"Gubaidulina - The Canticle of the Sun · Music for Flute Strings and Percussion / Pahud · LSO · London Voices · Rostrpovich" Sofia Gubaidulina Our price: $15.49 | You save: $1.49
available here.
Sofia Gubaidulina has long been regarded as one of the greatest living composers, and on "Canticle of the Sun," we can hear why. Mstislav Rostropovich performs the title track, in which a demanding cello role is combined with chorus and percussion to great effect. Rostropovich also conducts Music for Flute, Strings, and Percussion, featuring Emmanuel Pahud.

"Brahms - Violin Concerto · Beethoven - Symphony No. 5 / Kyung Wha Chung · Wiener Phil. · Sir Simon Rattle" Ludwig van Beethoven Our price: $15.49 | You save: $1.49
available here.
For sheer excitement, Simon Rattle can't be beat. His performance of Beethoven's well-trod Fifth Symphony has plenty of interesting elements. Rattle uses the new Bärenreiter edition of the score (made famous by David Zinman), his breakneck pacing is thrilling, and the Vienna Philharmonic sounds luminous. The disc also features an admirable Brahms violin concerto featuring Kyung Wha Chung.

"Fire & Ice" Sarah Chang Our price: $15.49 | You save: $1.49
available here.
Violinist Sarah Chang is no longer just another child prodigy, and apparently, Placido Domingo is no longer just another superstar tenor. Here, Domingo conducts Chang and the Berlin Philharmonic through a series of violin warhorses. Chang's versatility--everything from Bach's Air to the "Carmen" Fantasy is played admirably--steals the show.

NEW PIANO MUSIC RELEASES

"Mark Twain's America: A Portrait in Music" Jacqueline Schwab Our price: $16.99 | You save: $1.99
available here.

"Chopin: Ballade No. 4, Polonaise-fantaisie, Barcarolle, Berceuse" Fryderyk Chopin Our price: $15.49 | You save: $1.49
available here.

SONIC ODDITIES: GLASS HARMONICA MUSIC

Along with the theremin and the ondes-martenot, the glass harmonica has to be one of the strangest instruments ever conceived. Benjamin Franklin is credited with refining the delicate instrument (which works off the same principle as rubbing the rim of a wine glass filled with liquid to get a sound), but--aside from a brief Beethoven composition, a chamber piece by Mozart, and a few other compositions--it never quite took off. Two new CDs celebrating the glass harmonica have been recently released. One, co-produced by Linda Ronstadt(!), features the playing of Dennis James. Meanwhile, Naxos has released a bargain-priced disc of the instrument, performed by Thomas Bloch. Both have unique tracks and both are worth hearing:

* Dennis James, "Cristal: Glass Music Through the Ages"
available here.

* Thomas Bloch, "Glass Harmonica"
available here.

BAROQUE AND EARLY MUSIC

"Ostinato" Hesperion XXI Our price: $15.99 | You save: $1.99
available here.
"Ostinato," Jordi Savall's latest disc with Hespèrion XXI, explores the form of music through compositions by Valente, Ortiz, Falconiero, and others. With a distinctive ground bass and plenty of room for wild improvising, each of these seldom-heard works comes off as familiar and fun. A great disc.

"Morimur (after J.S. Bach)" Johann Sebastian Bach Our price: $16.49 | You save: $1.49
available here.
The theory behind "Morimur"--that Bach's Partita in D minor for solo violin contains a hidden epitaph for the composer's wife--is now well-known. But regardless of the concept, it's the music--exquisitely played by Christoph Poppen and sung by the Hilliard Ensemble--that makes this disc so special.

cover

On this CD:
1. String Quartet No. 15 in G major, D. 887 (Op. posth. 161) Composed by Franz Schubert with Edward Dusinberre, Andras Fejer, Karoly Schranz, Takacs String Quartet, Roger Tapping
2. Piano Trio in E flat major ("Nocturne") (Adagio only), D. 897 (Op. posth. 148) Notturno Composed by Franz Schubert with Edward Dusinberre, Andras Fejer, Andreas Haefliger, Takacs String Quartet.
Schubert wrote only two large-scale instrumental works in the key of G major, and both are products of the same year of 1826. While the Piano Sonata, D894 is among his most serene works, the String Quartet, D887 is one of the most unsettled, and the music’ restlessness seems to reflect the speed at which Schubert wrote it: the start of his autograph is marked 20 June, and he reached the end only ten days later. These dates do not necessarily delineate the work’s entire gestation period, but they do indicate that the final draft was jotted down in an astonishingly short space of time.© 1997 Misha Donat, ARTEK RECORDINGS

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