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

Sunday, May 4, 2014
Glass, P.: Concerto Fantasy for 2 Timpanists and Orchestra (arr. M. Lortz) / Fairouz, M.: Symphony No. 4 (University of Kansas Wind Ensemble, Popiel)

Glass, P.: Concerto Fantasy for 2 Timpanists and Orchestra (arr. M. Lortz) / Fairouz, M.: Symphony No. 4 (University of Kansas Wind Ensemble, Popiel)
Naxos / Wind Band Classics: 8.573205
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Recording of the Month

For a first excursion by Fairouz into composing for wind band it is quite staggering. It will no doubt lead to queues of similar bands, to the wonderful University of Kansas Wind Ensemble, forming outside his door clamouring for him to compose a work for them. As indicated the UKWE, one of the USA's finest and most highly esteemed concert bands, is utterly fabulous in their ability to interpret two works in which the lack of strings goes completely unnoticed. The three soloists are sublime in their given roles with the power demonstrated by the two percussionists in Glass's concerto quite amazing. Paul Popiel as conductor had a formidable job in keeping all these disparate balls in the air but completed the task with huge aplomb.

This is a seriously fine disc and with Fairouz's symphony here receiving its world premihre recording it should be flying off the shelves.

- By Steve Arloff © 2014 MusicWeb International
 
Karayev, K.: 7 Beauties Ballet Suite / The Path of Thunder (Royal Philharmonic, Yablonsky) (Azerbaijani Composers, Vol. 4)

Karayev, K.: 7 Beauties Ballet Suite / The Path of Thunder (Royal Philharmonic, Yablonsky) (Azerbaijani Composers, Vol. 4)
Naxos / Azerbaijani Composers: 8.573122
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9/9 Artistic and Sound Quality

This performance featuring the Royal Philharmonic under Dmitry Yablonsky is, not surprisingly, a bit more subtle and sophisticated than the rough-and-ready Melodiya competition, and it is very well recorded. Naxos has already devoted a disc to Karayev's music (including his Third Symphony), and we badly need a systematic treatment of this very worthy contemporary of Shostakovich. Let's hope that Naxos has more in the pipeline.

- By David Hurwitz © 2014 ClassicsToday.com
 

Violin Concertos - Barber, S. / Hartmann, K.A. / Berg, A. / Stravinsky, I. / Britten, B. (1930s Violin Concertos, Vol. 1) (Shaham)

Violin Concertos - Barber, S. / Hartmann, K.A. / Berg, A. / Stravinsky, I. / Britten, B. (1930s Violin Concertos, Vol. 1) (Shaham)
Canary Classics: CC12
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Gramophone Choice

What first struck me about this initial volume is how Shaham, a fine musician even 20 or so years ago, has matured as a player You sense this immediately in Barber's effusively lyrical Concerto...Shaham finds so much more than sweetness and brilliance, diving in and around the pages of the score, musing quietly or listening to his colleagues. He makes large-scale chamber music rather than taking centre stage, and provides a viable alternative to, say, Stern and Bernstein.

Hartmann's Concerto funebre, a still under-appreciated masterpiece from an unsung hero whose internal exile during difficult times signalled a man of rare integrity, is performed with passion and commitment by Shaham and the accomplished Sejong Soloists, another recording that has great immediacy. Yes, we do already have fine versions by Thomas Zehetmair and André Gertler but... (read more)

- By Rob Cowan © 2014 Gramophone
 
Choral Concert: Sixteen (The) - Sheppard, J. / Davy, R. / Mundy, W. (The Voice of the Turtle Dove)

Choral Concert: Sixteen (The) - Sheppard, J. / Davy, R. / Mundy, W. (The Voice of the Turtle Dove)
Coro: COR16119
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Editor's Choice

This difficult style of music receives perhaps its ideal interpretation here from the Sixteen...The key lies in their precision, mellowed by a bit of lyricism. The dense, swirling polyphonic lines of this music came alive because they were sung by really top-notch choirs...With the Sixteen, under director Harry Christophers, it's easy to imagine the crisp interlocking of the network of polyphony as the Mundy work and the similarly sizable Gaude, gaude, gaude Maria of Sheppard and O Domine caeli terraeque creation of Davy. And it's also possible to imagine how the text of Vox patris caelestis came across: there's a sweetness here that is usually missing in performances of these monumental pieces. It's evident especially in the limpid renderings of the shorter works on the program. Finally there's the wonderful engineering work done...this is a loving and lovely performance.

- By James Manheim © 2014 Allmusic.com
 
Riisager, K.: Symphonic Edition, Vol. 3 (Aarhus Symphony, Holten) - Symphonies Nos. 4, 5 / Sinfonia Concertante / Summer Rhapsody

Riisager, K.: Symphonic Edition, Vol. 3 (Aarhus Symphony, Holten) - Symphonies Nos. 4, 5 / Sinfonia Concertante / Summer Rhapsody
Dacapo: 8.226148
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10/9 Artistic and Sound Quality

This third and, sadly, last entry in Dacapo's Riisager Symphonic Edition contains some of the best music so far, smashingly performed and recorded. The Summer Rhapsody on Danish folk melodies sounds just as advertised. It's a jolly potpourri of catchy tunes, scored with glittering abandon.

Bo Holten and the Aarhus Symphony play all of this music, most of it shamefully neglected, with unflagging energy, and that is precisely what it needs. This is a splendid conclusion to a great series.

- By David Hurwitz © 2014 ClassicsToday.com

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