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Sunday, September 16, 2012
DUSSEK, F.X.: Sinfonias, Altner G4, A3, Bb2, Bb3 (Helsinki Baroque Orchestra, Hakkinen)

DUSSEK, F.X.: Sinfonias, Altner G4, A3, Bb2, Bb3 (Helsinki Baroque Orchestra, Hakkinen)
Naxos: 8.572683
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9/9 Artistic and Sound Quality

...cleverly scored, tuneful...

The performances by the Helsinki Baroque Orchestra under Häkkinen are what might be termed "generic period instrument," but of high quality. The wind players—oboes, horns, and bassoon—have an attractive timbre and maintain good intonation throughout. The strings are typically dry and thin-toned, but rhythmically precise and alert...

Certainly the music is of fine enough quality that it should appeal to anyone who enjoys the products of the First Viennese School. And who doesn't? Excellent sonics flatter the players, and the decision not to use an obtrusive harpsichord continuo was very smart...this is a very recommendable release.

© 2012
SCHOENBERG, A.: Songs (Complete) (Jarnot, Barainsky, Diener, Mayer, Schafer, Vondung)

SCHOENBERG, A.: Songs (Complete) (Jarnot, Barainsky, Diener, Mayer, Schafer, Vondung)
Capriccio: C7120
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4 Stars

There are over 90 songs here, all but seven dating from the first 15 years of Schoenberg's composing life. Seven of the first 15 works to which he gave opus numbers were collections of songs with piano, and the greatest of them, the 15 settings of Stefan George that make up The Book of the Hanging Gardens Op 15, effectively signalled the end of his career as a song composer. He returned to the medium only briefly in his serial years for the Four German Folksongs of 1929 and the Three Songs Op 48, composed four years later. Taken together with the songs from the 1890s that were only published after Schoenberg's death, they offer a minutely detailed guide to the evolution of his early musical language, from its beginnings in the blameless world of German romanticism to the more heavily chromatic, post-Wagnerian collections of the early opus numbers, and on to the freely atonal world that The Book of the Hanging Gardens inhabits so compellingly.

This meticulously compiled and documented collection, which also takes in the set of Brettl Lieder, the cabaret songs that Schoenberg composed in Vienna in 1901, also includes one real curiosity. The settings of Jens Peters Jakobsen that make up Gurrelieder are... (read more)

© 2012 The Guardian
DENNEHY, D.: Stainless Staining / Reservoir (Moore)

DENNEHY, D.: Stainless Staining / Reservoir (Moore)
Cantaloupe Music: CA-21062
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The final entry of pianist Lisa Moore's three-part EP series may be its most listenable. It's certainly its most mesmerizing. Each EP has approached the piano in a wildly different fashion, offering Moore the opportunity to display every angle of her versatile chops.

2009's "Seven" features the jazz and gospel-tinged compositions of Bronx-based clarinetist and composer Don Byron. 2011's "Lighting Slingers and Dead Ringers," by composer Annie Gosfield, colors pinging prepared piano with gauzy synth distortion and digital blips.

With "Stainless Staining," Moore takes on two works by Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy that pull the pianist into uncharted waters. Equal parts texture and pulse, and built on hypnotic rhythmic repetitions, the music pendulums between active and passive listening. The title track, written specifically for Moore, pairs solo piano with a soundtrack of recorded and (sometimes) manipulated samples taken from a piano retuned so that it produces 100 overtones based on a low G# fundamental (the struck pitch). A seamless, propulsive blend of (wo)man and... (read more)

© 2012 WQXR (New York)

GESUALDO, C.: Madrigals, Book 4 (Madrigali libro quarto, 1596) (Delitiae Musicae, Longhini)

GESUALDO, C.: Madrigals, Book 4 (Madrigali libro quarto, 1596) (Delitiae Musicae, Longhini)
Naxos: 8.572137
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MusicWeb International - Recording of the Month

Just listen to the variations in tempi and dynamic of Luci serene e chiare. It's the first track of this fourth volume in the excellent series of Gesualdo's madrigals from Delitiæ Musicæ under Marco Longhini on Naxos. To hear this is to appreciate how effective care and attention to every nuance should be when singing what is often seen as a dark corner of the Renaissance vocal repertoire.

It goes on that way: the six singers and keyboard player (Carmen Leoni) treat every piece by the usually only anthologised Gesualdo as its own gem. They approach each madrigal almost as if it were Gesualdo's only one. This could, admittedly, lead to a laboured and self-conscious style. It doesn't. The Italian group's familiarity with and obvious love of Gesualdo's world sees to that.

Instead, our response is anticipation for each next madrigal while thoroughly savouring the particularities of the one we're listening to. In a way this helps to create an understanding of the corpus of this aspect of Gesualdo's output ... two more CDs from Naxos—to whom... (read more)

© 2012 MusicWeb International

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