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ClassicsOnline - Your Classical Music Source Highly Reviewed Newsletter
Sunday, May 20, 2012

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

VASKS, P.: Choral Music - Plainscapes / Our Mother's Names / Silent Songs (Latvian Radio Choir, Klava)

VASKS, P.: Choral Music - Plainscapes / Our Mother's Names / Silent Songs (Latvian Radio Choir, Klava)
Ondine: ODE1194-2
Preview and Download at ClassicsOnline
Gramophone Critic's Choice

(Excerpt)

... the compellingly brilliant Latvian Radio Choir concentrate on [Vasks's] secular a cappella repertory.

The earliest piece, Summer... soars ecstatically. The miniature Small, Warm Holiday is equally sublime and accomplished.

Intensity and integrity are the hallmarks of Vasks's style. He writes in a harmonically rich, reassuringly diatonic idiom, clothed in beautifully balanced and largely homophonic textures. Extended vocal techniques are even more to the fore in The Tomtit's Message.

... I do recommend this [Plainscapes] magical piece... performed with consummate perfection by this outstanding body of singers.

© 2012 Gramophone
 
HALVORSEN, J.: Orchestral Works, Vol. 3 (Bergen Philharmonic, N. Jarvi)

HALVORSEN, J.: Orchestral Works, Vol. 3 (Bergen Philharmonic, N. Jarvi)
Chandos: CHAN10664
Preview and Download at ClassicsOnline
-- By David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com

10/10 Artistic and Sound Quality

Johan Halvorsen is one of those composers whose music will have you asking why it's not part of the standard repertoire. Itís that good. His Third Symphony is a pithy, three-movement work lasting a bit less than half an hour, full of good tunes, immaculately crafted and luminously scored. You can't dislike it. Black Swan, the Wedding March, and the Wedding of Ravens in the Grove of the Crows are delightful miniatures. Norwegian music seems to be full of bridal marches, wedding processions, and the like, and it's rather amazing that Halvorsen packs so much variety into what you might think would be an extremely restrictive genre. The incidental suites also have their share of wedding pieces.

Speaking of which, Fossegrimen (another classic Norwegian-themed play featuring trolls and other mythological creatures) contains some marvelous music in the folk style, some real, some invented... (read more)
 
BACH, J.S.: Cantatas, Vol. 50 (Suzuki) - BWV 49, 145, 149, 174

BACH, J.S.: Cantatas, Vol. 50 (Suzuki) - BWV 49, 145, 149, 174
BIS: BIS-SACD-1941
Preview and Download at ClassicsOnline
Gramophone Critic's Choice

(Excerpt)

These cantatas abound in that most exquisite of Bachian set-pieces, the duet. Both divulge how Bach imbues a text with irresistible presence...

It is simply one of Bach's finest hidden treasures. If Christophe Coin's recording remains special in its organ-loft intimacy, rugged fervour and brilliance spring off the page here. Another memorable release.

© 2012 Gramophone
 
BRAHMS, J.: Works for Choir and Orchestra (Hallenberg, Collegium Vocale Gent, Orchestre des Champs-Elysees, Herreweghe)

BRAHMS, J.: Works for Choir and Orchestra (Hallenberg, Collegium Vocale Gent, Orchestre des Champs-Elysees, Herreweghe)
PHI: LPH003
Preview and Download at ClassicsOnline
Gramophone Choice

(Excerpt)

Herreweghe... laid out for us a superbly rich and eloquent example of Brahms's art at its most sublime. The profound tranquillity of the outer sections is magically countered by the high drama of the central section in a way which is wholly unproblematical. Collegium Vocale Gent deliver... Warum ist das Licht gegeben with great breadth and an...awesome dynamic range which perfectly matches the intensity of the text...

... the choral singing is...lovely, comforting tone supporting, along with a delectably rich Orchestre des Champs-Elysées, Ann Hallenberg's ravishing performance of the Alto Rhapsody...it is also a performance which stands head and shoulders above much of the competition. It is very much the icing on a mouth-wateringly sumptuous cake of a disc.

© 2012 Gramophone
 
FALLA, M. de: Sombrero de tres picos (El) / Nights in the Gardens of Spain / Homenajes (Works for Stage and Concert Hall) (Mena)

FALLA, M. de: Sombrero de tres picos (El) / Nights in the Gardens of Spain / Homenajes (Works for Stage and Concert Hall) (Mena)
Chandos: CHAN10694
Preview and Download at ClassicsOnline
-- By David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com

10/10 Artistic and Sound Quality

Yes we need more Falla...

There's always room for another terrific Falla collection, though there's certainly no shortage of them. Indeed, The Three-Cornered Hat has already been very kind to Chandos: Tortelier's Philharmonia version is excellent (coupled with Albeniz's Iberia in the Arbos orchestration). This one is just as fine, maybe even better. Juanjo Mena certainly gets the BBC Philharmonic to wake up from its usual bland, business-as-usual attitude and deliver tangy, idiomatic results. Listen to his perfectly judged rhythmic accents in the Dance of the Miller's Wife, or his riotously brilliant final Jota. These zesty and energetic sections are more than offset by the poetic stillness of Raquel Lojendio's lovely offstage soprano solo in Part Two. It's just an excellent performance, about as good as it gets.

This is just as true of the other works on the disc. Homenajes receives a nicely contrasted interpretation that gives the piece a wider expressive range... (read more)

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