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Categories: Classical, Opera

04/14/11


Category: Classical

R. Strauss Lieder-Poesie 2011

Artist: Diana Damrau
Composer: Richard Strauss
Conductor: Christian Thielemann
Orchestra: Munich Philharmonic Orchestra

"Strauss loved female voices," says Damrau, "and he explores some extreme possibilities in these many-layered songs, each with its different point of view. Sensitivity to the words is vital to telling the story of each song, to capturing the rapid changes of mood and all the colors." (Diana Damrau)


03/23/11


Category: Classical

Path of Contact , Windrose Trio 2008

Declared "Classical Recording of the Year" at the 2009 Western Canadian Music Awards, this album features an exquisite blend of music from North and South America for oboe, clarinet and bassoon.(CD Baby)


05/31/10


Category: Classical

The Grapes of Wrath 2008
Minnesota Opera Chorus (Performer), Ricky Ian Gordon and Michael Korie (Composers), Grant Gershon (Conductor)

Called an opera and sung that way, but like a musical progressing by numbers, with songs rather than arias and with body miking, "Grapes" is better understood more ambiguously as a piece of lyric theater. That is helped by an excellent cast adept at articulating a conversational style with light, clear voices. Gordon applied not only different genres, but also a variety of musical styles such as Copland-esque regionalism, swing, jazz, blues and folk. The orchestra, under conductor Richard Buckley, handled these with precision... Andrew Druckenbrod


12/14/09


Category: Classical

Handel: Ezio 2009

George Frideric Handel (Composer), Alan Curtis (Conductor), Il Complesso Barocco (Orchestra), Ann Hallenberg (Performer), Karina Gauvin (Performer), Sonia Prina (Performer), Marianne Andersen (Performer), Vito Priante (Performer), Ancio Zorzi Giustiniani (Performer)

The next installment in Alan Curtis' award-winning recordings of Handel's operas is a real rarity. Given only live performances in Handel's lifetime, this opera has never received a studio recording until now. A superb cast of Baroque specialists (many featured on previous recordings in this series) bring new life and vigor to Handel's masterful opera. Ann Hallenberg shines as Ezio, a role created by thsensational castrato Senesino. Amazon


10/01/09


Category: Classical

Shostakovich, Liszt, Prokofiev: Piano Concertos

A talent destined for greatness, Lise de la Salle has the Midas touch. The most complete thought-provoking young artist to come my way since the days of Pollini, Argerich and Lupu.

Star-Ledger/NJ.com, Bradley Bambarger
The recorded sound is extraordinary, with a glowing piano tone and a rare intimacy to the strings. Amazon


06/24/09


Category: Classical

Royal Mezzo, Jennifer Larmore


A tour de force showcasing the power and poise of one of America's leading opera stars. Jennifer Larmore is a major international opera star familiar to record buyers for her opera and recital recordings on several major labels.

"Larmore delivers with faultless technique ... one just has to take off one's hat." -- BBC Music magazine


01/30/09


Category: Classical

Music in Twelve Parts


Composer, Conductor: Philip Glass
Orchestra: Philip Glass Ensemble

This is music without melody, Glass's repertoire of techniques at its most spare--just rhythmic pattern (in his signature arpeggiated chord) and rudimentary, stable harmony in which the extension and contraction of time/rhythmic values is the only appreciable "content" of the pieces. This music can produce strange effects on a listener; one can almost sense one's own faculty of audition as being the true "content". I liken it to a Gestalt switch, or the experience of seeing a wheel spin fast enough to produce the illusion of slow or even backwards motion. One realizes stimulation of the eyes is but half the experience; the other half is the intentional mind itself. Part One is a slow, meditative version of this idea; it's an amazing sonic Persian rug of pulsing, interlocked patterns, and perhaps the most beautiful piece he ever wrote. One can pick out between the instruments a melody of whatever length one wishes, creating the music for themselves.—C. Gardner

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Category: Classical

Mozart Piano Concerto No.21 in C, Piano Concerto No.22 in E Flat


Composer: Mozart
Performer: Jonathan Biss

The young, articulate, passionate American pianist, Jonathan Biss, an exclusive artist for EMI Classics, returns with his muchanticipated fourth album for the label featuring Mozart's Piano Concerti Nos.21 and22, joined by the Grammy®-Award winning Orpheus Chamber Orchestra (sans conductor). Mozart's Piano Concerto No.21 in C is one of the greatest and most well-known of his 27 piano concerti, with its meditative slow movement used in numerous films (often called the Elvira Madigan Concerto). Amazon

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12/12/08


Category: Classical

Gomidas Songs, Isabel Bayrakdarian


‘Although the pieces performed here by the internationally acclaimed, Canadian-based soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian are sung entirely in Armenian, these songs cast a powerful spell long before their literal meaning has been gleaned. Bayrakdarian - born in Lebanon, the daughter of Armenian parents - explores the extraordinary legacy of Gomidas Vardabet, a well-travelled, turn-of-the-nineteenth-century composer who made it his life's work to seek out, transcribe and re-interpret the ancient liturgy, songs, lullabies, hymns and folk dances of his homeland. Bayrakdarian performed Gomidas's music as part of the score to Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan's 2002 Ararat, a multi-layered drama about contemporary filmmakers attempting to dramatize and come to terms with the events of 1915. However, mainstream moviegoers will more readily recognize her voice from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

Composer Howard Shore invited Bayrakdarian to sing on the Grammy Award-winning soundtrack after hearing one of her recordings. She's even more renowned among opera fans the world over, especially for her performances, on stage and on record, as Cleopatra in Handel's Giulio Cesare and in such Mozart works as Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute. Her voice, says Time, 'Combines lyricism with remarkable dramatic instincts.' Bayrakdarian made her Metropolitan Opera debut in William Bolcom's A View from the Bridge. Gomidas Songs contains love songs, devotional songs, evocations of nature, children's songs, and lamentations, and comic songs. It was recorded at the Aram Khachaturian Philharmonic Hall in Yerevan, Armenia with the Chamber Players of the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra. All the songs were arranged and orchestrated by scholar and pianist Serouj Kradjian, her concert partner and husband. Egoyan contributes eloquent liner notes to the album package, illustrating the importance of Bayrakdarian's undertaking to music lovers everywhere: 'The strength of any culture resides in its ability to preserve, cherish, reinvent and grow. This was the gift that Gomidas gave to his people, and this is the gift which Isabel has revealed and brought to the world.’ Amazon

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09/30/08


Category: Classical

Water Music


Composer: G.F. Handel, Performers: Les Violons du Roy, Bernard Labadie

I must have heard the Water Music literally hundreds of time in my life, and it has never grown stale on me. Even considering that, I must say that the new ATMA release by Bernard Labadie and the Québec-based orchestra Les Violons du Roi is remarkable for its great freshness and vitality. The 24-piece Baroque ensemble consisting of eleven strings and ten woodwinds plus harpsichord, théorbe (you can look that one up) and timbales (kettledrums) has just the right balance between strings and winds to give the feeling of a Baroque band rather than a modern orchestra. The tempi are brisk and bracing without losing the relaxed quality of performance that Labadie and Les Violons so carefully cultivate. As a result, these performances of Water Music Suites I - III both invite and repay frequent auditions. Atlantic Audio Society – Phil Muse

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