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Sunday, June 2, 2013
Choral Music - The Lost City: Lamentations Through the Ages (Sospiri, C. Watson)

Choral Music - The Lost City: Lamentations Through the Ages (Sospiri, C. Watson)
Naxos: 8.573078
Preview and Download at ClassicsOnline
5 Stars

Over the centuries, texts taken from the Lamentations of Jeremiah have inspired many composers, and this is no exception. Whether the lament is for Jerusalem or Dresden (post-second world war), whether it is displayed by a rich harmonic texture, an intricate polyphony, the lean sparseness of Britten and Cecilia McDowall or the mysticism of Vaughan Williams, each setting is unique. The intensity and beauty never falter when interpreted by this exceptional group of singers under Christopher Watson and the two outstanding soloists. Making up the programme are settings by Casals, Phinot, Ortiz, Mundy, Mauersberger and John Duggan, who adds a remembrance-like trumpet to this settings, giving added nuance to the text. Lamentations is a memorable recording.

© 2013 Choir & Organ
 
Handel, G.F.: Concerti Grossi, Op. 6, Nos. 1-12 (Avison Ensemble, Beznosiuk)

Handel, G.F.: Concerti Grossi, Op. 6, Nos. 1-12 (Avison Ensemble, Beznosiuk)
Linn Records: CKD362
Preview and Download at ClassicsOnline
10/10 Artistic and Sound Quality

Handel's unrivaled masterpieces of the concerto grosso form and style...here receive their finest recording to date, with performances that leave all others—both period- and modern-instrument versions—in their wake.

Pavlo Beznosiuk and his Avison Ensemble have left not a single Handelian note unaccounted for nor a delightful phrase unturned, and the ensemble playing is simply electrifying, crackling and sparking with the kind of head-on accents and lilting rhythmic lift that this music requires but rarely enjoys.

...this is definitely a triumph of ensemble performance, where everyone is a master of the medium and the material, all of which is beautifully realized by the stunningly realistic, resoundingly vibrant sound engineering. By now you've got the picture: Essential!

- By David Vernier © 2013 ClassicsToday.com
 
Korngold, E.W.: Much Ado about Nothing (University of North Carolina School of the Arts Symphony, Mauceri)

Korngold, E.W.: Much Ado about Nothing (University of North Carolina School of the Arts Symphony, Mauceri)
Toccata Classics: TOCC0160
Preview and Download at ClassicsOnline
Recording of the Month, MusicWeb International

This is indeed a worthy and welcome addition to the Korngold discography. At long last we have a further complete performance of the composer's delightful incidental music to Shakespeare's comedy.

Conductor John Mauceri was a very apt choice for he has had much experience conducting Korngold and is a stalwart champion of film music, an asset that might well be regarded as not being far removed from the spirit of this work – in fact the March of the Watch could be considered a pre-echo of Korngold's Sherwood Forest scenes from his The Adventures of Robin Hood.

Korngold's conception works very well in his chosen ensemble. It points up the comedy and irony such as that in March of the Watch and in the dreamy romanticism of the Garden Music. All those intimate glistening string-harp-and-harmonium figures, and rippling piano arpeggios, suggest birdsong and flowers nodding in zephyr breezes. It's all in gentle romantic waltz time, plus the contrastingly intense almost Mahlerian Funeral Music. A delight for committed Korngold fans.

- By Ian Lace © 2013 MusicWeb International
 
Lalo, E.: Concerto russe / Piano Concerto / Romance-serenade / Fantaisie-ballet (Kantorow, Volondat, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Bakels)

Lalo, E.: Concerto russe / Piano Concerto / Romance-serenade / Fantaisie-ballet (Kantorow, Volondat, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Bakels)
BIS: BIS-SACD-1890
Preview and Download at ClassicsOnline
9/10 Artistic and Sound Quality

The music is not only delightful, but it encapsulates Lalo's view of Sarasate's remarkable technique, and it's always interesting to consider one artist's portrait of another...There's no way to know if Jean-Jacques Kantorow compares favorably to Sarasate in his prime, but he plays all of this music awfully well...and the Tapiola Sinfonietta accompanies with both energy and finesse.

This disc offers a fine way to round out any collection of French orchestral music, and its quality may surprise you.

- By David Hurwitz © 2013 ClassicsToday.com
 
Daugherty, M.: Mount Rushmore / Radio City / The Gospel According to Sister Aimee (P. Jacobs, Pacific Chorale, Pacific Symphony, St. Clair)

Daugherty, M.: Mount Rushmore / Radio City / The Gospel According to Sister Aimee (P. Jacobs, Pacific Chorale, Pacific Symphony, St. Clair)
Naxos: 8.559749
Preview and Download at ClassicsOnline
9/9 Artistic and Sound Quality

Michael Daugherty continues his musical exploration of iconic bits of Americana on this highly entertaining disc containing premiere recordings of three major works.

The Gospel According to Sister Aimee is… Brilliantly scored for organ, brass, and percussion, with the organ part vividly played by Paul Jacobs...

...there's no question that Carl St. Clair and the Pacific Symphony and Chorale do a splendid job...

- By David Hurwitz © 2013 ClassicsToday.com

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