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Our newsletter highlighting the latest highly reviewed recordings available at ClassicsOnline.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Cedille: CDR90000-135
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This is the fourth and last volume in the Trio Settecento's admirable chamber trip through Europe; previous volumes having taken us to Italy, France, and Germany. All are worthwhile, even exceptional, but I think that this latest is my favorite. It is certainly among the most tuneful, that particular trait having been an English specialty for ages past, reaching well back into the middle Ages and before. Even the instruments chosen, as Rachel Barton Pine is quick to point out, required no easy learning curve. She chose a modern copy of a Renaissance instrument which meant new concepts of balance, some breaking of good habits of the wrist in order to support the instrument, and finding her first notes were "the most out-of-tune I have played since my first Suzuki lessons at age three!" Indeed the music on this recording brings the Trio closest to the Renaissance of any of their previous discs, and Rachel's efforts seem to have paid off in spades, despite the re-learning of things as basic as how to hold the violin (The Renaissance violin is held on the arm and not the shoulder).

The disc features what the Trio, rightly, considers the primary force of English musical chamber form, that of the Fantasy, or even fancy, a free form not always devoid of stricter formal elements but often serving... (read more)

© 2013 Audiophile Audition
RIHM, W.: Violin and Piano Works (Tianwa Yang, Rimmer)

RIHM, W.: Violin and Piano Works (Tianwa Yang, Rimmer)
Naxos: 8.572730
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You could scarcely do better than this CD...Tianwa Yang and Nicholas Rimmer sound quite at home, even in the most difficult passages, and imbue these works with emotion, as well as meeting their technical challenges with aplomb...yet again, Naxos deserves praise for making contemporary music accessible at reasonable cost, and through excellent performances.

© 2013 BBC Music Magazine
Choral Concert: Diabolus in Musica - LA RUE, P. de / OBRECHT, J. / LUPI, J. (Plorer, gemir, crier… Hommage a la 'voix d'or' de Johannes Ockeghem)

GREENE, M.: Spenser's Amoretti (Hulett, Green, Pinardi)
Naxos: 8.572891
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The young English tenor Hulett has the ideal fresh voice to champion these neglected gems: 25 of Edmund Spenser's Amoretti (sonnets charting the burgeoning love between the Elizabethan poet and his future wife) set by the early 18th-century composer Maurice Greene. The music is elegantly crafted rather than profound, but Greene's melodic facility and response to the texts—whether joyous, wistful, hopeful or pensive—constantly delight. Occasionally some melting cadence or sighing phrase evokes Greene's greater contemporary, Handel.

© 2013 The Times (London)
SGAMBATI, G.: Symphony No. 1 / Cola di Rienzo (Rome Symphony, La Vecchia)

SGAMBATI, G.: Symphony No. 1 / Cola di Rienzo (Rome Symphony, La Vecchia)
Naxos: 8.573007
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After the death of Paganini (1782–1840) opera dominated the Italian musical scene until the appearance of Giovanni Sgambati (1841–1914) and Giuseppe Martucci (1856–1909), whose chamber pieces, symphonies and concertos marked a resurgence of instrumental music in that country. We have conductor Francesco La Vecchia and the Rome Symphony Orchestra (RSO) to thank for investigating their works, two of which by Sgambati appear on this latest enterprising release from Naxos. As presented here, these are the only currently available recordings of either.

The disc begins with a recently discovered overture from some incidental music Sgambati wrote in 1866 for Pietro Cossa's (1830–1880) drama about the great medieval Italian politician and leader Cola di Rienzo (1313–1354). And yes, he's the same historical figure that inspired Wagner's (1813–1883) opera Rienzi of 1840.

Lasting almost twenty minutes this hybrid concert-overture-tone-poem [track-1] shows the influence of the composer's years in Germany, where he was a student of Liszt (1811–1886), and highly regarded by Wagner (1813–1883). The ominous beginning [00:02] introduces some cellular motifs that quickly come to a developmental boil [03:07] somewhat reminiscent of Weber's (1786–1826) overture to Die Freischütz (1817–21). The music then... (read more)

© 2013 Classical Lost and Found

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