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  • 10/05/12--09:53: Just Opened, Oct. 5th
  • We began our fall fund drive today, so while some of the selections were shorter, we hope we gave you enough of a taste of old, new, slightly askew and tried & true to give your musical palette a tingle.

    Nick Peros, composer
    Phoenix 01201
    Modern solo chamber works by composer Nick Peros.  Some of his works are minimalist (think Phillip Glass), but he is clearly interested in being accessible to his audience as well, some works more melodic (think Fredric Chopin).  For our listeners who like to explore the boundaries of new musical territory... this is a place you'll want to visit.

    Milos Karadaglic, guitar
    D.G. 4795158
    ISBN# 0 2894790063 4
    This young quitarist is touring all over the world, with 2 new CDs that combine traditional repertoire with lesser known works, solo works and works with orchestra.  The packages presented are well thought out and immensely appealing... with a major label contract and high powered touring schedule, he is now, and will be one to watch.

    Complete Piano Sonatas Vol. 3
    Timothy Ehlen, piano
    Azica 74261
    ISBN# 7 8786712612 7
    Part of a work of passion and commitment by a fine artist, this is a worthy and worthwhile part of a whole set; all of them excellent additions to your library of Beethoven
    My delight of the week!

    Johnny Greenwood, composer
    The London Contemporary Orch.
    Hugh Brunt, con.
    Nonesuch 532292
    ISBN# 0 7559796087 7
    Films set in yesteryear always provide ripe territory for modern composers to evoke the past and also present new musical ideas, and have them recorded by top of the line orchestras and chamber groups.  This score also includes a few time-specific great voices, Helen Forrest,  (and personal favorites) Ella Fitzgerald and Jo Stafford.  Like much of today's modern scores, a large portion of it is repetitive and dissonant, the film is about a "religious cult" so most of the music is - appropirately - not soothing.

    Sharon Ruchman, piano
    Alyce Cognetta Bertz, Violin
    Mary Costanza, Cello
    ISBN# 8 8450142595 7
    Speaking of soothing.... There are a handful of new composers who have been easy for us to add into our mix of generally conservative music here, and she is one of them.  Ruchman is a contemporary classical composer who has hit a dependable blend of a modern sound with romantic-era melodies, blended with her almost "new-age" mellow personal compositional voice that makes this new music for the conservative listener. 

    Thanks again to our S.U. practicum Erin Sweeney, who continues to contribute to the blog by putting the "bones" of it together for us.   Join us again next week, for more great music, JUST OPENED.
    Kara Dahl Russell

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  • 10/12/12--11:15: Just Opened Oct. 12

  • Sparkling diamonds of great music this week on Just Opened, the lustrous old ones and brilliant new ones.  As is often the case, I had great difficulty picking just one favorite!

    Corinnne Stillwell, violin
    Gregory Sauer, violoncello
    Read Gainsford, piano
    MSR 1418
    ISBN# 6 8158514182 3
    3 modern chamber works played by exceptional musicians.  The jazzy and very popular "Cafe Music" by Schoenfeld, Francaix's Trio - his usual off-beat, fun and feisty work, and a new trio.

    Jerome Lowenthal, piano
    Bridge 9306
    ISBN# 0 9040493062 1
    Sinding's "Rustle of Spring" was ubiquitous in recitals for scores of years, being melodic and technically challenging.   It rose so high that it eclipsed much of his other work, equally virtuosic, evokative and lush.  The mature artistry of Lowenthal dusting of an revinvigorating piano music from the Romantic era... 'nuff said!
    My delight of the week!

    Leif Ove Andsnes, piano
    Mahler Chamber Orchestra
    Sony 8872
    ISBN# 8 8725450582 1
    Like many virtuosos, Andsnes has reached the point in his career when he has begun to conduct (from the piano, of course)!  Great piano concertos of Beethoven played by the top performers of today.

    Matthias Maute, recorder and traverso
    Rebel Ensemble
    Jorg-Michael Schwarz, cond.
    Bridge 9377
    ISBN# 0 9040493772 9
    Rebel ensemble will be here in the Delmarva region in a month or two... this internationally acclaimed "early/original instrument" chamber group is joined by soloists of world repute.

    Aleksandra Maslovaric, violin
    Anne-Lise Longuemare, piano
    Feminae Records
    ISBN# 8 8450172254 4
    What's old is new... almost never heard works by Romantic era female composer Emilee Mayer brought back through time to us today by accomplished violinist Maslovaric.

    Thanks again to S.U. practicum student Erin Sweeney for pulling together elements of this post for me to add my commentary to.  We hope you enjoied this buffet of new releases!
    Kara Dahl Russell

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  • 10/18/12--09:15: Just Opened Oct. 19
  • New works, new transcriptions, and new ways of viewing music, and the variety of choice that goes with all things new... makes this a new, notable, Just Opened.

    Valentina Lisitsa, piano
    Decca 17091
    ISBN# 0 2894784572 0
    "The most-viewed pianist on Youtube!" gets a big record contract and more legit cred. in this big label "recital" CD.  A wide variety of well known piano works.  If you're interested in this CD, why not do what millions of others have done... check her out on youtube... undoubtedly all the selections are available for download online!  This is the face of the "brave new world" of classical releases.

    Tisha Murvihill
    ISBN# 6 2366720773 7
    Eleven piano-solo Intermezzos and one Rhapsodie by Brahms transcribed for harp by the harpist herself, Tisha Murvihill.   Part of any thinking harpist's repertoire is the mining of piano works to find ones that sit well on the harp.   To hear these as a group, one inadvertantly gets to also hear and think about how some sit on the harp so beautifully, one has to wonder why they weren't originally envisioned for the harp, while others of these do not sit so well on the harp, and really seem to "miss" the piano.  Despite the obvious similarities, and the saying that a harp is "a piano on its side,"  there are mechanistic and tonal differences between them, and transplanting these works brings those differences into clear view.  Brahms did write well for the harp... notably his beautiful songs for harp, horn and women's chorus, (and this was the springboard of the idea for Murvihill), so it is not a far stretch to see how other works of his lend themselves to an instrument that he clearly liked.   An interesting collection to hear for those who love the harp, and any lover of Brahms would be charmed.

    Christopher Bell
    Grant Park Chorus
    Cedille 131
    ISBN# 7 3513191312 6
    Choral works (and choral competitions) have become big business and have huge followings.   Here we explore compositions by American composers.

    Diana Barker Smith, piano
    Vasile Beluska, violin
    Alan Smith, cello
    KVR 76427
    ISBN# 8 8450176427 8
    Dependable mainstream trios from Haydn and Tchaikovsky played by fine musicians.  I really enjoy small chamber works, esp. Haydn, so this is.... My delight of the week!

    Daniel Barenboim
    West-Eastern Divan Orchestra
    London Decca
    This big-release, 10 CD collection is available is several size groupings and type groupings.  Note that the 2 CD set is a "sample" CD which has isolated movements of various symphonies, concertos and sonatas.  If you're interested in these I encourage you to look up the information online and/or go to your local music store and look at all the sets to see which grouping best suits your taste and budget.

    This Beethoven set is available in different groupings:
    2 CD set ISBN# 0 28947 83513 4
    3 CD set ISBN# 0289 478 3515 8
    5 CD set ISBN#  0 289783511 0
    10 CD set ISBN# 02894783549 3

    Thanks again to Erin Sweeny, our S.U. practicum student for looking up all the details (esp. finding all the info. on the Beethoven sets)!

    Kara Dahl Russell

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  • 10/26/12--10:41: Just Opened Oct. 26 2012
  •  Music old and new this week on Just Opened.  The mix you've come to rely on: the old, the new, the slightly askew, and the tried and true!

    Steven Doane, cello
    Barry Snyder, piano
    Bridge 9347 
    ISBN# 0 9040493472 8
    This CD includes the rarely recorded "Danse Orientale" (the Romantic era was awash in lush evokative works called "orientales"... which could mean anything from Japan to Persia), the Cello Sonata and Doane's performance of Rachmaninoff's "Etudes-Tableaux."  It's enough to make you want to put on your own "live painting tableaux" presentation at your next evening soiree!  This is the first release of great performances recorded almost 16 years ago.

    Para Arpa (harp duo)
    Caroline Leonardelli, harp
    Caroline Lizotte, harp
    Centaur Classics 1003
    ISBN# 8 2998208136 0
    Leonardelli is a brilliant Canadian harpist who studied with the great Lilli Laskine in her childhood.  This is one of her current releases, a harp duo with Lizotte who is known not just for playing, but for her arrangements.

    David Wozniak, saxophone 
    Krista Wallace-Boaz, piano
    David Whitman, Marimba
    Emeritus 20123
    ISBN# 8 0211429652
    Some works on this CD will be much too far in the direction of jazz fusion for some, but others sit nicely in the "classical" saxophone repertoire. 

    Renata Scotto
    Monte Carlo National Opera Orchestra 
    D.G. 447 6615
    ISBN# 0 2894776615 5
    Digitalization of great historic performances.  Listening to Scotto reminds us of the voice of Maria Callas, and how this vocally "full" sound was the favored sound of that time period.
    My Delight of the Week!

    Nareh Arghamanyan, piano
    Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
    Pentatone Classics 5186397
    ISBN#  8 2794903976 8 Young Armenian virtuoso Nareh was one of the youngest students ever admitted to the Vienna School of Music.  Now in her early 20s she is considered one of the brightest lights of international pianists, having one many awards internationally and an exclusive Pentatone Classics contract.

    Thanks to our S.U. practicum Erin Sweeney for getting the basic CD information together for us.
    Kara Dahl Russell

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    Once again, we had some transmitter work/corrections being done during Just Opened... we hope you enjoied these, and what you missed, you can check out here:

    Placido Domingo & Friends
    SONY 193493
    ISBN # 8 8691 93493 2 0
    Domingo's first pop CD in over 20 years, a big splashy release includes duets with his son, Josh Grogan, Harry Conick Jr., Susan Boyle, Megan Hilty, and Katherine Jenkins.

    Brandenburg Concertos & Preludes
    Ensemble Caprice
    Mattias Maute, cond. & recorder
    2 CD SET
    ANALEKTA 9996
    ISBN # 7 74204 99962 9
    Intersting pairings of Shostakovich Preludes and Brandenburg Concertos, all played on original instruments from this group of international fame.

    Quartetto di Cremona 1400
    ISBN# 4 037408 01400 7
    My delight of the week.  Just breaking through on the international music scene, this quartet is known for its authentic and intimate approach to Italian chamber music.  The works included are refreshing; Verdi, Puccini & Respighi works that are not overplayed, melodic and easy on the ears.

    Khatia Buniatishvili
    Orchestra de Paris
    Paavo Jarvi, cond.
    SONY 971 292
    ISBN# 8 86919 71292 6
    Not since Glen Gould has a pianist been so hailed for having a personal approach to great piano works.  Chopin, the master of the personal, seems a natural fit for this confident, talented beauty.

    The music of Barbara Harbach
    London Philharmonic Orch.
    David Angus, cond.
    MSR 1258
    ISBN# 6 81585 12582 3
    Concert organist and harpsichordist,  modern composer Harvach has lived to see her fame and awards internationally.  Some of her works can be challenging, but these works for strings are some of the most accessible that I've heard, and can easily update your listening collection.

    Join us again next week, for more new music, Just Opened.
    Kara Dahl Russell

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  • 11/09/12--07:57: Just Opened Nov 9, 2012

    Colin Maier, oboe
    CMCD 001
    ISBN# 0 6129733093 5
    I had SO MUCH FUN interviewing Colin Maier (pronounced MYer).  Look under the "Classical Chat" line-up to listen to the entire interview online.   He has very interesting things to say about music education, creativity and serendipity.  His "path" as an oboe-accrobat has been so unique, and charmed, and his resolve to take the stuffiness out of classical music so good-hearted, that he is a joyous new note in classical music.  His CD is a mix of standard "classical repertoire, new compositions, jazzy works and performance art pieces... and read all the fine print on the cover... many hidden little jokes.  Colin tours internationally as a member of the very popular "Quartetto Gellato,"  has worked with Cirque du Soleil, as an actor, and in one piece on the CD multi tracks on many instruements to form the "All -Colin Chamber Ensemble."  Definitely NOT for those seeking "classical background music," this is his first "solo" recording and it is a refreshing break from the norm... as he is himself!

    CLICK THIS LINK to see Colin's performance as
    the mythic violinist at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics

    Immanuel Davis, flute
    Kathe Jarka, violoncello
    Timothy Lovelace, piano
    MSR 1356
    ISBN# 6 8158513562 4
    My delight of the week. Chamber music from the turn of the 1900s.  Beautiful performances of some less known works by Gaubert, a contemporary of Debussy.  Primarily known as a flautist, his works are considered servicable, if not ground-breaking or important and are certainly engaging and melodic.  Albert Roussell dedicated one of his works to Gaubert. 

    Los Angeles Philharmonic
    Los Angeles Master Chorale
    D.G. 6868-02
    ISBN# 0 2894790249 2
    Shostakovich's excessively odd opera about a monkey who can talk (or sing, as the case may be - think "Planet of the Apes" as a short opera) is paired with his 4th Symphony.  These are not the most accessible works of his.  We played only a few snippets to give you a musical taste-test.  The performances are, of course, world-class... so if this is your cup of tea, this may be both the only recording of Orango, and a very good one, for your modern music library.

    Joanne Polk, piano
    Bridge 9367
    ISBN# 0 9040493672 2
    This CD contains a nice cross-section of works by the Mendelssohns, with a focus on the works of Fanny.  This seems to have been a labor of love of recognized piano virtuoso Polk, so it is a special gift from her talented fingers to us.

    Elizabeth Moak, piano
    MSR 1366
    ISBN# 6 8158513662 1
    These are extremely challenging works, both for the pianist, and the listener.  I would have preferred to hear these works mixed with more traditional or melodic works, especially as the magnificent ability of Moak is made very evident in these little known works.  This one is not for the faint of heart.

    Thanks again to Erin Sweeney, our S.U. practicum, who gets the CD pix and info. together for this posts.
    Kara Dahl Russell

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  • 11/16/12--10:36: Just Opened Nov. 16
  • A variety of new CDs  for your Thanksgiving listening!   Thanks again to our S.U. practicum student Erin Sweeny, for pulling this information together for us.

    Essential Voices USA
    Judith Clurman, conductor
    Kelli O'Hara
    Ron Raines
    Sono Luminus 92162
    ISBN# 0 5347921622 9
    Traditional and new works for chorus, on American themes.  Our two give-away copies of this CD went in a flash!  Thanks to Dorian Solo Luminous for providing those extra copies.

    Tokyo String Quartet
    Jon Nakamatsu, piano
    Jon Manasee, clarinet
    Harmonia Mundi 807558
    ISBN# 0 9304675586 7
    Only Brahms had the ability to make side-dish chamber works feel like a main-course symphony.  Enitirely satisfying.

    Jorge Frederico Osorio, piano
    Cedille 132
    ISBN# 7 35131 91322 5
    A little south-of-the-border spice for your holiday get together.  Music from the salon era is simpatico listening... it was meant to bring pleasure and joy, and the performances here are clean and unpretentious... beautiful!

    William Barnewitz, french horn
    Avie 2126
    ISBN# 8 22252 21262 4
    My delight of the week.  This recording is a lovely mixed program of music, the largest work being a Mozart divertimento for winds, with Romantic era songs that feature (to be honest) an uneven mix of vocalists.  [One assumes this is the downside of featuring friends and supporters on the program.  One of the voices is not prime-time... but that is only one song of the program.]  Favorites are the works that feature the horn in the vocal solo line.  The unifying feature of this varied CD is the horn excellence of Barnewitz.

    Join us next week for more new CDs, just opened!
    Kara Dahl Russell

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  • 11/23/12--07:45: Just Opened Nov. 23
  • Variety is the "spice" of our day-after-Thanksgiving Just Opened.  A musical buffet for the day after the big eats!

    Peter Masseurs, trumpet
    NM Extra 98018
    ISBN# 8 71330 99801 89
    Modern works with a focus on brass, unusual and pleasing.

    Apollo's Fire Baroque Orchestra
    Jeannette Sorrell, cond.
    Avie 2270
    ISBN# 8 22252 22702 4
    The latest offering from this exquisite group of original instrument musicians.

    Elizabeth Rich, piano
    Connoisseur Society 4267
    ISBN# 7 62434 42672 5
    Stereo Times said, "...Elizabeth Rich belongs to an exalted few."  American Record Guide, "... worthy of a cult following."  Here she plays the lush melodic works of beloved Brahms.   Solo piano doesn't get much more romantic than this.

    Trio Settecento
    Rachel Barton Pine, violin
    John Mark Rozendaal, viol da gamba
    David Schrader, harpsichord/organ
    Cedille 135
    ISBN# 7 35131 91352 2
    My Delight of the Week!  A variety pack of Baroque works from Suites by Lawes and Simpson, to individual instrumental songs by Byrd and Baltzar, to incidental music for theatre by Purcell.  The performers are well known accomplished soloists and chamber players, combining their talents in this work of love. 

    Julie Nesrallah, mezzo soprano
    Caroline Leonardelli, harp
    Centaur Classics 1005
    ISBN# 8 29980 09490 2
    A lovely variety of art songs with the time-blending, sensual combination of mezzo and harp.  If you are a fan of art songs, or just adding them to your collection, this is one to snap up!

    Gidon Kremer, violin
    Gierdre Dirvanauskaite, violoncello
    Khatia Buniatishvili, piano
    ECM  2202 476 4171

    Thanks again to Erin Sweeny, our S.U. practicum, for her work pulling together the details on today's music.  Join us next week for more new releases, Just Opened.
    Kara Dahl Russell

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  • 11/30/12--09:59: Just Opened, Nov. 30, 2012

  • BASICALLY BACH is our theme today as we focused primarily on the works of Bach and CDs that featured his works in combination with other composers.  Most of these speak for themselves.

    Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano
    D.G 6502
    ISBN # 0 2894777345 0

    Cecylia Arzewski, violin
    Bridge 9358
    ISBN# 0 9040493582 4

    Baton Rouge Symphony Chamber Players
    Dorian Solo Luminous 2161
    ISBN# 0 5347921612 0

    Philippe Sly, baryton-basse
    Michael McMahon, piano
    Analekta 9836
    ISBN# 7 7420498362 8
    My delight of the week!  Sly's voice is what dreams are made of!  Smooth and rich, like dessert.  The selections are a broad variety that provide a broad range showcase for his magnificent instrument, and very rewarding listening.

    Jennifer Koh
    Cedille 134
    ISBN# 7 35131342 3

    Takae Ohnishi, harpsichord
    Bridge 9357
    ISBN# 0 9040493572 5

    Kara Dahl Russell

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    Last week on "All Things Considered" they aired an interesting story about scientific research into whether or not the conductor makes a difference in the musical output of a symphony.

    Click on this link to hear that story:   do-orchestras-really-need-conductors

    The next day I was able to have a chat with Sachi Murasugi of the Salisbury Symphony Orchestra about the position of "Concert Master"  which goes by many different appelations, some of which mean different things within the orchestra.   To hear that, look under our "Classical Chat" section for SSO Concert Master.

    Both these stories dovetail nicely about leadership positions within an orchestra, and the various shades of the positions within different performance combinations.

    *** Teacher's note:   Here's a chance to make a listening assignment and have students report on the set up of an orchestra and what it takes to lead or play. ***

    Kara Dahl Russell

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  • 12/07/12--09:28: Just Opened Dec. 7, 2012
  • We begin a month of Just Opened programs that celebrate Christmas and the Holidays, along with a variety of other CDs that might be gift-worthy.

    Celebrating American Landscapes
    Rick Sowash
    ISBN# 8 8546714010 3
    The chamber works of modern composer Rick Sowash have been staples on WSCL for several years now.  It's still early in the month, (and we have his Christmas CD on the way later in Dec.) so this music celebrates the American landscape with works inspired by particular places and regions of the country.

    Brass Band of Battle Creek
    MSR 1425
    ISBN# 6 81585 14252 3
    Traditional Christmas works played by a renowned brass band.  Just the thing to fill a stocking and play on Christmas day.
    My delight of the week!

    (20 visions of the infant Jesus)
    Evan Hirsch, piano
    MSR 1433
    ISBN# 6 8158514332 2
    Messiaen's work is never for the faint of heart.  Beautifully performed by Hirsch, many of these will still be hard sitting for many listeners.  For our particular Just Opened, we highlighted the most accessible and melodic of this recording, to give you a taste of what this CD has to offer, and to make the more adventursome listener and performer want a larger serving.

    Vienna Philharmonic
    Mariss Jansons
    Song 3772
    ISBN# 8 86919 13772 9
    Each year the Vienna Philharmonic has the largest orchestral New Year's Eve party in the world.  We listen to last year's concert as we look forward to the one this year!

    Jerry Casey
    ISBN# 8 84502 69379 9
    New works for choir by a living, working, award-winning choral conductor and composer.  This is not the CD for people who want magnificent voices and flawless production.  This would be very much of interest for working choral directors who want to find new material for their own groups to spice up their tried and true material.

    Thanks again to S.U. practicum Erin Sweeney for her work putting the skeleton of this post together... getting the photos and ordering info. together to help you know how to get the CD you like.
    Kara Dahl Russell

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    Gift ideas on Just Opened today!

    David Craighead
    David Mulbury, organ
    The Fairfield Orchestra
    Marco Polo 223725
    ISBN# 730099372527
    Christmas and Easter are the times of the year when more people than usual are listening to organ music.  This CD features great organ works by an American composer... the "Festival Music" - which includes brass and percussion - is a particular favorite.

    Angele Dubeau
    La Pieta
    Analekta 8734
    ISBN# 7 74204 87342 4
    This CD is getting a lot of attention internationally, as a well-known violinist and her ensemble tackle music originally created for video, online and ipod games.  If you have a friend who thinks they hate "classical" music, this could be the perfect introduction to the "brave new world" of music!

    Caroline Leonardelli, harp
    Ottawa Bach Choir
    Lesette Canton
    Centaur Classics 1004
    ISBN# 8 29982087096
    My Delight of the week.  Leoardelli has become a favorite, with exquisite musicianship and a creative way of putting a program together.  This CD incorporates the well-loved Brittian work for harp and chorus, more obscure solo works for the season (like the evocative, rarely played title work, "Conte de Noel" by Hasselmans), and holiday songs.   Destined to be a long-term holiday favorite.

    Rick Sowash
    ISBN# 8 85767 14012 7
    Sowash has become a regular feature for us, with his accessible blend of a soft new-age type sound with classical chamber structures.  This CD features his current offerings for the holiday season.

    Thanks again to Erin Sweeney for her help in pulling this information together.
    Kara Dahl Russell

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    Today we have a variey of music that could give you ideas for last minute music gifts, for the Holidays and beyond.

    Marcus Eley, clarinet
    Lucerne DeSa, piano
    Sono Luminus 92156
    ISBN# 0 5347921562 8
    Eley focuses on music for clarinet and piano by African-American Composers.  A mixture of very melodic pieces and - because African-American composers have really come to the fore in the modern era - some challenging modern chamber works as well.  A gift of music that can also be a thoughtful exploration of ethnic identity and accomplishment as well.

    Jenny Lin, piano
    Steinway & Sons 30011
    ISBN# 0 3406230011 2
    My PIANO delight of the season!  For more than a century talented pianists have performed delightful salon music, in legitimate salons where the music was - theoretically - of prime focus, and also in bars, restaurants... and piano bars.  Enter the delightful variations and arrangements of popular works that exand the works beyond the mere melody into larger works of thematic and technical variety that can rise to the level of unique virtuosity.  This is where concert pianist Jenny Lin steps in, bringing her technical ability and flexibility to musically inventive and technially brilliant arrangements of works from broadway and film scores.   Totally accessible music for all, of technical and musical interest for the musically knowledgable, enjoiable for those who need an easy entree to the world of "classical" musicianship, an easy fit for those who want background music for their dinner parties, and of obvious joy to those who love piano music and broadway melodies. A sure fire hit.

    Nancy Wertsch
    The New York Virtuoso Singers
    MSR classics 1370
    ISBN# 6 8158513702 4
    Wertsch's music combines modern choral music with definite shades of the ancient choral tradtitions of gregorian and early music.  The result is choral music that is both complex and compelling.  A blend of the future with the familiar, in works that are - for the most part - easy for a choral director to work into existing programs of choral music for concert performance or the church.

    VOLUMES 1 & 2
    Gregg Miner
    Harp Guitar Music 2101
    ISBN# 6 0099106002 3
    * * * A 2 CD timeless delight! * * *
    I first discovered Gregg Miner through his harpguitar website and his online museum of "musical oddities."  He has a physical museum as well as his online museum, with a primary focus on harp-guitars (guitars with additional strings beside the fingerboard to play like harp basso-continuo notes).  His museum grew to include a multitude of zithers and salon-music oddities that blossomed during the pre-tv&radio days of the 1800s when the bourgeoisie was actively invovled in music making for personal enjoyment and personal display... and the appetite for a "unique" instrument that would set oneself apart from the bevy of those playing piano, violin and flute was at it's peak.  And amazingly:  Miner plays almost all of these instruments with total, deft assuredness.  Not only that, but he arranges music on a high professional level, and then does multi-track recordings of his arrangments.  We are talking about a musician with the kind of skill set that was displayed by Mozart.  Now, his focus is definitely NOT classical.  Miner's music is true crossover, with a heavy leaning toward the folk and pop-rock that one would expect from someone whose core instruments are guitar/mandolin/banjo.   But he levens his work with a musical ear that understands the classical and the contemporary, western and eastern traditions, which make for a Christmas collection that is infinitely enjoiable by the entire family for years to come.   The two CD set also includes museum-worthy booklets that show the pictures of the instruments played on each piece with information about the instruments as well.   This set is part of my personal Christmas music collection, and I think so highly of it that I have repeatedly given it as a gift.

    We took time today in Just Opened to revisit some old favorites that have been part of WSCL's Christmas programming for years; ones that you might want to look up.   Many times used CDs are available online for bargain basement prices.

    A GUITAR FOR CHRISTMASLiona Boyd, guitar
    CBS/SONY 37248
    ISBN# 7464 372482 

    The King's Singers
    EMI Classics 7641332
    ISBN# 0 77776 41332 7

    On behalf of all of the staff of Delmarva Public Radio, we wish you and yours a
    CONSPICUOUSLY Merry Christmas, BLISSFUL Happy Holidays, 
    and a New Year filled with UNEXPECTED DELIGHT!
    Thank you again to our S.U. practicum Erin Sweeney for her help pulling the jpegs and basic info. together for these CDs, and all her work on the Just Opened blog this semester.
    Kara Dahl Russell

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  • 12/28/12--10:03: Just Opened Dec. 28
    Amstel Quarted
    Ives Ensemble
    Osiris Trio
    Storioni Trio
    Radio Nederland Wereldomroep

    Robert Stallman
    Edwin Swanborn
    Bogner's Cafe 105
    ISBN# 7 0026132680 1
    Zuill Bailey
    Isabel Bayrakdarian
    Zenph 1001
    ISBN# 6 3445754902 9

    The Canadian Tenors
    Verve 58702
    ISBN# 6 0253712908 5

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  • 01/10/13--11:02: Links for Happy New Year!

  • Our friend pianist Beata Moonjust let us know 
    that she has posted several performances on youtube 
    as a Happy New Year present for us all!
    (We featured her CD Sept. 14th  on Just Opened)

    Her own compositions are here, as well as works of Chopin, Szymanowska and Gershwin.   

    You can listen to my interview with Beata online... look under "Classical Chat."
    Kara Dahl Russell

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     Basics: Baroque, Brass and Schubert today on Just Opened:

    Georg Philipp Telemann
    6 Concertos for 2 flutes
    Hanoverian Ensemble
    MSR 1113
    ISBN#6 81585 1113 2 1
    This reliable, world renowned, original instrument group provides us with first recordings of these concertos from Telemann.
    My delight of the week!

    Schubert Piano Works
    no label
    available on CD baby and Amazon
    ISBN#8 84501 75139 1
    Ukranian concert pianist born in Israel and now living in New York.  It doesn't get much more international than that.  WMDT-FM, the provider of many classical music programs for NPR stations nationally, is promoting this artist, and provided us with a copy of her new release.  Having all ready performed as a soloist around the globe, she feels a special affinity for the works of Schubert which she shares with us here.

    Gaudete Brass
    CEDILLE 136
    ISBN# 7 351-- 91362 1
    New works for Brass Quintet, all written for and/or commissioned by this group of Musicians.  The works range from straight-forward and accessible (Cheetham's "Sonata for Brass") to impressionistic (Deemer's "Brass" which is almost like an avant guarde painting of brass instruments), and the experimental.  A sure fire hit for brass lovers, and a lot to love here for those who are just a little bit brassy!

    Brandywine Baroque, with
    Julianne Baird, Laura Heimes, sops.
    Curtis Streetman, bass PLECTRA 20902
    ISBN#8 84501 20962 5
     The 1700s was the height of the French influence on music all over Europe, with their court musicians and the music of the Paris opera considered the zenith of art.   Cantatas were not only religious, but also secular, and like much opera of the period, influenced by a knowledge and love of the mysteries &lore of  mythology.  As depicted in the beautiful artwork of the CD (note the luxurious gowns, outdoors, with the sheep!), the combination of highly ornamental fashions of the day, a naive impression of the pastoral "simple" life, and the story lines inspired by the basic of Greek mythology combined to create a highly ornamental (some would say artificial) form of art.This time period is a particular favorite of mine, and Brandywine Baroque continues to prove themselves to be an unending font of excellence in research and performance of all things Baroque.Contented Sigh!

    Join us next week for more new releases, Just Opened.
    Kara Dahl Russell

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  • 01/18/13--12:22: Just Opened, Jan. 18, 2013

  • MELODIC INTERVENTION is our title on Just Opened today as we juxtapose modern works and modern re-workings of traditional works with romantic era melodic works. 

    Frank Morelli, basson
    Gilbert Kalish, piano
    MSR 1172
    ISBN#6 81585 1172 2 4
    My Delight of the Week!  The bassoon is not the first instrument to spring to mind as a "solo vocal" instrument, but here the selections are so lushly romantic, the playing so smooth and creamy... bassoon might just become your favorite instrument!

    Lang Lang, piano
    Sony 489602
    ISBN# 8 872548960 2
    Piano phenomenon playing internationally since the age of (gulp) thirteen, Lang Lang celebrates his 30th birthday year with a CD devoted to Chopin, the composer whose work helped Lang Lang gain his awards and career.

    MOZART  Donna
    Diana Damrau, soprano
    Jeremie Rhorer, cond.
    Le Cercle de l'Harmonie
    ISBN# 50999 2 12023 22
    Great Mozart arias from a world class soprano.  Many arias well known from Mozart's own operas, others are works he composed as "filler" arias for the works of other composers.  A sure treat for those who adore great sopranos.

    Yun Kyong Kim, organ
    MSR 1362
    ISBN# 6 81585 13622 5
    Some "organ recital" CDs can feel a little static... frozen in a formulaic toccata of dusty favorite pre-church service servicables... but not this one, fortunately.   A combination of one or two technical masterpieces of baroque organ mixed with breezy romantic era frolics like Kettleby's silent film music "In a monastery Garden", Bonnet's "Elves" and Jenkin's "Night" we have the kind of mixture that shows not only the grandeur and glory of the organ, but also what fun this "orchestra in a box of pipes" instrument can be.

    Hsin-Yun Huang, viola
    BRIDGE 9387
    ISBN# 0 9040493872 6
    A showcase of technical skill and bravery, this viola recital CD features only works of modern composers.  Innovative and risk-taking, these works can be very challenging, and while there are a few moments of melodic intervention, be prepared to have most of your buttons pushed most of the time.  Not for the musically faint of heart.  The closing piece, "Remembrance" by Taiwanese composer Chen, is perhaps the most accessible.  It reminds of of film scores set in Asia, moody and a bit like new-age music that creates a sensation and sets the scene.

    Gidon Kremer, violin
    Kremerata Baltica
    NONESUCH 52892
    ISBN#0 75597 96345 8
    Taking Glenn Gould's "re-imaging" of Bach's works as a cue, this homage to Gould allows multiple modern composers and arrangers the freedom to play with various Bach works.  Some are straight-forward transcriptions, changing a keyboard work to chamber group, for example.  Others experiment with polyphonic textures - like the works that incorporate vibraphone as a melodic underpining to a partita.  Still others are complete re-imaginings.  This CD has the unusual ability to combine the boldly new with the familiar, and because of the universality of Bach and a greater awareness and familiarity of his work, it's one of the more accessible of these experimentations.  If you love Bach, and you've made previous attempts to accquaint yourself with modern music, this is one to pick up.  (One of the composers here is Raskatov.  Our regular listeners may remember his witty and smart re-invention of Tchaikovsky's The Seasons.)

    Hope you enjoied the great variety of choices offered today on Just Opened.
    Kara Dahl Russell

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  • 02/01/13--12:38: Just Opened, Feb 1, 2013
  • We did not play Just Opened last week because of the tower work taking us off air, so 
    this Friday was "give-away" day... we had multiple copies of several CDs today.

    Andrew Rangell, piano
    Steinway & Sons
    ISBN# 0 34062 30012 9
    Many have recorded the entire Goldberg Aria variations... far fewer have approached Bach's fugues with the same attention and committment.  Here's a secret for listening to fugues and not getting lost:  listen to the bass line.

    Triple Concerto & Trio
    Claremont Trio
    BRIDGE 9395
    ISBN# 0 90404 93952 5
    The renowned Claremont trio turns their attention to works of Beethoven in these two major works.  My delight of the week!
    Seeing is Believing
    LONDON DECCA 478 2731
    ISBN# 0 28947 82731 3
    Modern composer Muhly was mentored by beloved composer John Rutter (who was our featured composer in December).  His music here moves back and forth from his own modern works to interpretations of works by Gibbons and Byrd... if you've been looking for the link between early music and modern music... this may be it!

    Pur nel Sonno Almen Tal'ora &
    other works by D. Scarlatti
    Ars Lyrica Houston
    Dorian Solo Luminous 92159
    ISBN# 0 53479 21592 5
    2 short opera works by Domenico Scarlatti intersperced with 2 of his beloved keyboard sonatas (he never returned to the opera genre once he began writing his keyboard sonatas).

    Join us next week for more new releases, Just Opened.
    Kara Dahl Russell

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  • 02/07/13--13:53: Just Opened, Feb. 8, 2013

  • "A Little More Violin, Please" is the title of Just Opened today, where we explore a variety of new releases, with a little more violin.

    Stanislav Pronin, violin
    ISBN# 0 53479 21392 1
    An adventuresome combination of baroque, classic and modern works for solo violin from this young "violin stallion."
    Martin Berkofsky, piano
    ARTS 47757-8
    ISBN# 6 00554 77578 4
    Mature virtuoso Berkofsky reflects his introspective spiritual interests in some of Franz Liszt's more overtly "religious" works.
    Look under "Classical Chat" for my interview with Martin Berkovsky.

    music of Andrew Phillips &
    Andrew Skeet
    ISBN# 0 805772 055520
    2 CD set
    Modern film music of these accomplished British composers.   These most brief works create small musical pictures, the majority of them very much along the meditative pace and feel of new age music, beautifully orchestrated.

    Maria Bachmann, violin
    Adam Neiman, piano
    BRIDGE 9394
    ISBN# 0 90404 93942 6
    Timeless, important chamber works for violin and piano, performed with lyricism and excellence.  May I have 2 delights this week?  This is my 2nd delight of the week!  Luscious familiar works.

    Psalms & Vespers (1637-1695)
    Houston Chamber Choir & Orchestra
    Robert Simpson, conductor
    MSR 1437
    ISBN# 6 81585 14372 8
    Exquistie early vocal works.
    Rarity and performance beauty make this My Delight of the week!

    Thank you for listening!  Kara Dahl Russell

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    Many new CDs juxtapose "classical" concert repertoire with modern works.  Greilsammer's new piano CD with Baroque and modern pieces in "conversation" is a prime example.  Our entire program today takes a cue from that, and we provide a mix of Handel and Britten, Cannabich and Zaimont.

    David Geilsammer, piano
    SONY 792 9692
    ISBN# 8 86979 29692 3
    4 pairings, each containing 3 keyboard works, baroque/modern/baroque.  This is the inventive package Geilsammer has provided for us, to provide a conversation between the old and the new.
    Judith L. Zaimont, composer
    The American Ragtime Ensemble
    David Reffkin, cond.
    MSR 1238
    ISBN#6 81585 1238 2 9
    Composer and Pianist Zaimont focuses on her ragtime works, in a variety of instrumental combinations, and takes the paino herself for several of them as well.  Lively, infectious, and fun!

    Mattias Bammert, cond.
    London Mozart Players
    CHANDOS 10379
    ISBN#0 95115 13792 5
    My Delight of the Week!  One of our featured composers in the coming month for our "Maestros of Manheim."  By virtue of his working at Manheim, he would have been a major composer/conductor of his day... now largely forgotten, but... worth remembering and listening to.  Bammert and the London Mozart Players are one of several groups that have been re-exploring Cannabich in the past decade.  Released in 2006, this is a new addition to the WSCL music library, and contains several first-time recordings of his works. 

    works for tenor by Benjamin Britten
    Nicholas Phan, tenor
    AVIE 2258
    Praised for his "sharp intelligence, poetic insight and confident individuality," Phan choses to focus on the works of Britten for a second time (his first recital CD was Britten's "Winter Words.")  A combination of more challenging works, and very accessible arrangements of folksongs with a variety of accompanimnet gives this CD fresh levels.

    Join us next week, for more new CDs, Just Opened!
    Kara Dahl Russell

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