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    A Woman's Place is at home... on the stage!
    Today on Just Opened we focus on great female musicians through time.

    Velvet Brown, tuba
    Mary McDonald, piano
    ISBN# 6 70541 35897 9
    For more info. on Brown & her CD
    My Delight of the Week!  (Quite possibly my delight of the year!)
    Velvet Brown has the kind of bio that makes the jaw drop in awe and wonder.  Concert appearances through Europe, Eastern Europe, Canada and the U.S., principal tuba with New Hampshire Music Fest., Altoona Symphony Orch., Lahti (Finland) Philharmonic, appearances on "Praire Home Companion"  are just the start.  Add her professorship at multiple universities and a founding board member of the International Women's Brass Conference.  Now forget all that, and just listen to the glorious - velvety - sound she elicits from a notoriously difficult instrument, the tuba.  This CD is a display of virtuosity to a rare degree on an instrument rarely thought of as a "solo voice."     While listening to this I was reminded of listening to the voice of Paul Robeson... how his low notes make your chest cavity vibrate to the sound; these works do the same thing, it's a beautiful, full-body listening experience.  A savvy collection and selections of beloved arias and accessible new works makes this a very memorable CD.

    Brahms Concertos
    Berlin Radio Symphony Orch.
    Vienna Philharmonic Orch.
    Andris Nelsons, cond.
    D.G.  19046  (2 CD set)
    ISBN# 0 28947 91058 9
    link to Grimaud CD preview & interview
    Now one of the realible international piano phenomenons of her generation, Helene Grimmaud takes a reflective personal journey into the music of Brahms.  This 2 CD set revisits one concerto that she had recorded earlier in her career, which she approaches with more life experience to bring to the piece, and adds the other of the great pair.   Grimaud is not just a concert pianist, but also has published several novels, and has founded her own organization to help conserve/preserve wolves.  This thoughtful established artist brings a wealth of thought and interests to her main career.   Brahms is still considered the gold-standard for many orchestra lovers.  This 2 CD set is sure to be a good gift-bet for the holiday season.

    Donizetti, Rossini, Verdi, Cilea, Bizet
    Berlin Radio Symphony
    Richard Kraus, Janos Kulka, Ferenc Fricsay,
    & Herbert Von Karajan, conductors
    D.G. 477 6614
    ISBN# 0 28947 76614 8
    bio for Dominques
    This CD is part of Deutsche Grammophon/Universal's international releases of digitalized older recordings of great artists of previous generations.  (Dominques was born in 1925.) One of the great "Carmen"s, Mexican mezzo Dominques was hailed for her "velvet soft, dark toned, bequilingly attractive mezzo" voice, and known for bringing vocal authority to a range of composers from Montiverdi to Wagner.  This selection of her great moments range from Rossini's Cinderella to Verdi's Requiem.

    May Phang, piano
    EMERITUS 20136
    ISBN# 8 02114 30332 5
    bio of May Phang
    An infectiously engaging piano recital of works by Liszt (several transcriptions of Wagner melodies), romantic era "pop" concert selections, a trio of Stephen Foster melodies, and a new work by Sy Brandon (whose modern melodicism is popping up everywhere in performances from brass to guitar - he has such a way with a tune).  Phang is on staff at DePauw Univeristy, where this was recorded, and maintains a regular schedule of concerts and master classes.

    You Go, Girls!
    Join us next week for more new releases, Just Opened.
    Kara Dahl Russell

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  • 11/29/13--10:22: Just Opened - Nov. 29th
  • Joshua Bell's Gift of Music for the Holidays includes a wide offering of traditional favorites, "fractured" favorites, and new works for Christmas and Hanukkah, with the kind of star-studded "friends" list that only the agent of an "A-lister" can pull together.  We ease into the holiday season with his CD, the CD of the MD State Boychoir, and some non-seasonal selections, Just Opened.

    Andrew Rangell, piano
    BRIDGE 9331
    ISBN# 0 90404 93312 7
    more about Rangell and this CD
    My Delight of the Week!  Andrew Rangell currently records for multiple labels.  It is a testament to his talent, and the breadth of his repertoire.  While the majority of his recordings focus on traditional works by Bach and Beethoven, he has also explored really challenging composers, and interesting comparison pairings like this recording of mostly "theme and variation" compositions.  Again, mostly traditional, with more experimental works of Nielsen & Bizet.  This is the kind of recording that encourages & inspires the heart and mind of pianists.

    ZELENKA: 6 Chamber Sonatas
    Volume Two
    ISBN# 0 09414 78222 9
    info. on Harpsichordist Layton James
    info. on lead oboe, Erin Hannigan
    This has been a big year for releases of Zelenka's works.  Musicians of note have been re-exploring his works and finding him worthy.  It only took a few hundred years!  A contemporary of Bach and Vivaldi, his works become a welcome addition to Baroque repertoire, and a joy to have them recorded by artists who are also recognized soloists.

    Joshua Bell (violin) & Friends
    ISBN# 8 8883 74318 2 8
    Joshua Bell's website
    Mostly Christmas music, and some Hannukkah selections, with a wide cross-over collection of big name friends.  Renee Fleming and Placido Domingo, Gloria Estefan and Branford Marsalis, Kristin Chenmoweth and Chick Corea... and many others get together for this "Christmas Confusion" mash-up fun.  This was designed to be, and is sure to be a Holiday sales winner!

    Quartet San Fancisco
    JCCD # 109
    ISBN# 6 66449 83502 5
    website for Quartet San Francisco
    If you were putting together a companion set of chamber works for maximum contrast, the Zelenka CD and this would sum up the extremes.  The concert works here are a mixture of new sound-world explorations in some, and a cross-over sensibility that abounds in the concert world today.  Totally "relevant" and often very appealing.

    The Maryland State Boychoir
    Stephen Holmes, Art. Dir.
    ISBN# 7 00261 38622 5
    MD State Boychoir
    Traditional works sung by our state Ambassadors!  A wide variety of choral works, from religious and Christmas songs, to show tunes, traditional American folk and spirituals.   This boychoir has traveled and performed internationally and regularly gives masterclasses in choral work.  Thanks to SU PR man Richard Culver, who provided a copy of this CD to us when the boychoir was performing locally.

    Tune in next week when we start full force Christmas releases - Just Opened!
    Kara Dahl Russell

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  • 12/05/13--11:05: Just Opened - Dec. 6th
  • Our After-the-news-at-Noon theme this month is "Ave Maria."  This is also the title of a new release from a tenor whose formative years were spent in the Sistine Chapel choir, Vittorio Grigolo.  We contrast this very peaceful Christmas release with the Brassy blast of Christmas songs from the Canadian Brass.  We mix the gift-giving possibilities with the new release from 5 piano family team, The Browns, and some new works for bassoon from Frank Morelli.  Then we return to peaceful traditional holiday works from a group that just performed locally in Cambridge as part of the Christ Church (Cambridge) Concert Series in November, the Pax Dei Trio.

    Vittorio Grigolo, tenor
    The Sistine Chapel Choir
    Roma Sinfonietta
    SONY 786372
    ISBN# 8 8883 78637 2 8
    Grigolo's official website
    My Delight of the Week!  Growing up as a member of the Sistine Chapel choir, Grigolo developed a love of traditional church music and the literature of great vocal music.  Paying tribute to his training and faith, this CD uses settings of Ave Maria as a repeated touchstone for a varity of works that showcase his magnificent voice.

    Frank Morelli, basson
    Gilbert Kalish, piano
    MSR 1458
    ISBN# 6 81585 14582 1
     Morelli's official website
    This CD takes the creamy sound of basson and uses that "voice" in our most challenging selections for this week.  Works from the 1900s either written or transcribed for bassoon.  Ravel's "Kaddish" will be a familiar resonance, with works that will be new to most, and a surprisingly tuneful Sonata by Hindemith.  While these selections will appeal most to the very musically adventurous, Morelli has a wealth of recordings available to make a gift of smooth bassoon-y indulgence.

    The Canadian Brass
    STEINWAY & SONS 30027
    ISBN# 0 34062 30027 3
    for more info. on The Canadian Brass
    The Canadian Brass is always finding new ways to bring us adventures in brass music.  After a serious and pleasing release earlier this year of full works by Schumann transcribed for Brass, they turn their Christmas attention to popular works composed for animated holiday specials.  A sure-fire people pleaser!

    The Rite of Spring
    STEINWAY & SONS 30031
    ISBN# 0 34062 30031 0
    5 Browns official website
    The five browns have grown up in front of audience, always "wow-ing" with the rare combination of five pianos in a unified voice.  This new release takes major orchestral works and transcribes them for 5 pianos.  While the Browns say they were attracted to the percussive elements of the Rite of Spring, placing this work within the same voicing of multiple pianos gives it a surprisingly mellow flavor... just like the Browns themselves... something unexpected.

    Pax Dei Trio (Flute, Harp, & Soprano)
    for artist info. & CD purchase
    ISBN# 8 22371 14127 0
    On November 17th the Pax Dei Trio performed locally as part of the Christ Church (Cambridge) Concert Series.  This trio of talented women performing mostly their own arrangements of traditional works have pooled their talents and resources to provide uplifting music and to share proceeds with organizations that promote the welfare of women and families.  If you like to support worthy causes, and "smaller" artists who perform in your local area - and you like soothing traditional music for your holiday - this is the one for you.

    More Christmas music coming your way next week, Just Opened.
    Kara Dahl Russell

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    Today we have keyboard-centric music selections offered for Christmas, and something else... what was that?...oh yes... a new 2 set of "Greatest Tracks" by Luciano Pavarotti!

    The 50 Greatest Tracks
    London Decca 19228
    ISBN# 0 28947 86208 6
    Luciano Pavarotti 50 Greatest
    It hit stores in October, and was sent to us at WSCL in Nov.  It's still just in time for the holidays, as a great trip down memory lane with great arias sung by one of the all-time great tenors.

    Beethoven & Zemlinsky (Piano) Trios
    Classics for Kids Foundation 201302
    ISBN# 8 84501 97446 2
    Viennese Gems supports kids
     My Delight of the Week!  The 3 performers on this CD are each regarded highly as soloists with an wealth of stellar reviews between them.  The combination of piano, cello, and clarinet is always something fun, and these selections are traditional and reliable.  It is a great joy to hear their combined talents on this CD, and a joy to know they are putting the strength of their established talents to support string programs for children.

    Elaine Funaro
    ISBN# 8 84501 84344 7
    Elaine Funaro's website & CD info.
    One only has to look at Funaro's instrument to know that she believes the harpsichord is an instrument of and for today... to which this CD eloquently sings testimony.  This selection of "Christmas Carols Past and Present"  present little known works for Noel by Daquin, Dandrieu, and Balbastre alongside modern works and arrangements of traditional carols in fresh interpretations.

     A Family Christmas
    SONY PORTRAIT 74479 2
    ISBN# 8 883 74479 2 8
    The Piano Guys official website
    The Piano Guys have been a cross-over favorite for several years now, taking moldy-oldies into relevant and sometimes irreverent new turns.  With undeniable talent and musical inventiveness, they have managed to make the old new, and bring along folks who would never listen to "classical" music & tune them in to chamber music.  Definitely not for purisits or those seeking quiet traditionalism - note the Yamaha piano and the carbon-fiber cello on the cover - this one is bound to expand their cross-over-chart-topping success for Christmas.

    We still have more Christmas releases next week - Just Opened!
    Kara Dahl Russell

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    We had more Christmas releases this year than we could squeeze into Friday Just Opened, so we sampled a few more today at 11AM.

    The Bach Choir of Bethlehem
    with the Bel Canto Children's Chorus
    Greg Funfgeld, cond.
    ANALEKTA 9886
    ISBN# 7 74204 98862 3

    Lauren Mary Longo, celitc harp
    Wing & a Prayer Recordings 09
    ISBN# 7 00261 28748 5
    Longo's website
    Barbara Ann Fackler, harps
    Gail Salvatori, violin & viola

    For more info. & purchase

    We were sent an early release copy of this CD.
    For more information, click the link above.
    An American Christmas
    Harry Christophers, cond.
    Handel & Haydn Society
    CORO 117
    ISBN # 8 28021 61172 8
    For more info. & purchase

    We hope these bring more joy to your Christmas Season!   More Christmas releases this Friday at 1PM, as usual on WSCL, Just Opened!
    Kara Dahl Russell

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    Mostly traditional Baroque Era music on Just Opened today... as Christmas Day is just around the corner.

    Works for Christmas
    William Christie, cond.
    Les Arts Florissants
    ERATO 85820
    ISBN# 6 85738 58202
    Baroque Christmas oratorios sung by the group that named themselves after one of the works of this composer.  They're on home turf for these Christmas selections.  A great choice for anyone who enjoys traditional, high choral works and historically informed performance.
    Liszt, Bach & Mozart
    Gyorgy's website
    ISBN# 5 998466 502556
    Gyorgy believes that music does not need to be made "relevant" or accessible.  He understands that it all ready is both.  Bravo!  Traditional works and excellent performances here will make this a welcome release for the majority of our listeners ... and a reliable gift, too.
    A Christmas Celebration with
    Ensemble Galilei
    ISBN# 0 53479 21732 5
    more info on the CD
    Ensemble Galilei webstie
    My Delight of the Week!  Traditional and Early music groups have embraced the dual realities of court and church music as well as folk music, and Ensemble Galilei has established themselves in excellence.  For Christmas listening that is inventive and musically informed, and also completely traditional at the same time, this is a CD that can liven up the holiday listening while keeping it in line with lived-in comfort.

    Jose Lemos, tenor
    Jory Vinikour, harpsichord
    Deborah Fox, theorbo
    ISBN# 0 53479 21722 6
    An in-depth review of this release.
    "I have seen angels on earth" is the title work of this CD.  Just as religion and angels are not everyone's taste, the works and indeed the performance choices (, and male contralto singing) are not for everyone.  For those who are delighted with historical accuracy, the high counter-tenor showcased along with harpsichord and theorbo, the excellence of musicianship, and the selection of material will indeed be a visitation of angels.

     Christmas isn't over yet!  More new Christmas releases next week, Just Opened!
    Kara Dahl Russell

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    We have a few more choral releases just right to lead us from the Holidays to the new year, and a preview of coming attractions:

    Sacred Anthems for Treble Voices
    St. Ignatius Loyola Children's Choir
    Mary Huff, cond.
    MSR 1399
    ISBN# 6 81585 13992 9
    more info. & purchase CD
    It is noted in some reviews that this CD has mostly unison singing. This mix of composers from Franck & Gounod to Britten & Copeland sung by a choir known for its purity of tone has received favorable nods from critics in "Fanfare" and "American Record Guide." 

    Double Concerti for Winds & Strings
    Jorg Michael Schwartz, cond.
    BRIDGE 9421
    ISBN# 0 90404 94212
    Official site to Rebel
    "... a welcome sense of style and vibrant interpretations" -- The Washington Post   New York based Rebel baroque ensemble has been hailed by major US music critics, and around the world for a refreshing style and ardent approach to Baroque music.

    Heather Holden, flute
    Bradley Colten, guitar
    Available online
    ISBN# 7 83707 37500 7
    Arc Duo's website
    A Preview of Coming Events at SU!  As part of the Guitar Festival this March, the Arc Duo will be the featured performers.  They have graciously donated 2 CDs, a more recent release which we will air in coming weeks, and this, their previous release from 2006.  This CD features a lively mix of new settings of traditional folk works, modern works by Rorem and Tower, and an arrangement of Piazzola's all time favorite "History of Tango."

    In Perfect Harmony
    Thomas E. Sibley, Founder/Conductor
    RBC 51432
    ISBN# 6 59057 51432 1
    Website for info. & CD purchase
    A collection of Christmas, sacred, and secular works sung by this established boychoir.

    Wishing you a new year filled with unexpected delights and great joy!
    Kara Dahl Russell

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    On the First two Fridays of 2014 we'll give a recap of favorites from the entire year of "Just Opened" programs in 2013... selecting from my delights of the week.

    This blog is part of our mission here at Delmarva Public Radio - intended to be a resource, not just for the week, but enabling you to go back and get information from previous weeks and months.  Hopefully these review programs will both remind you of great sounds that you may have missed out on during last year, but also get you re-acquainted with this blog as an on-going resource.  There's a lot of music out there to enjoy!

    Happy New Yearfrom Delmarva Public Radio!

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    Just Opened 2013 in Review Special:
    It happens that there were many great releases last year (and that we opened during 2013) that focused on Johannes Brahms.  Today we look again at these releases, including an extended interview with pianist Gwendolyn Mok where she demonstrates tonal differences of the pianos that Brahms composed for (and the interview is included on her CD.

    The listings here are my comments from the times when these CDs were officially "opened" last year.

    John Axelrod, cond.  Axelrod's official website
    Orchestra Sinfonico di Milano Giuseppe Verdi
    & Nicole Campbell, piano
    2 CD Set
    TELARC 34658-02
    John Axelrod has become an "above the title" conductor.  His multi-disc explorations of the works of Beethoven released last year (you may remember the unusual release - available in a "highlights" CD, or individual works, or as a full set), and other conceptual explorations helped him win both the 2012 ICMA Award, and ResMusica's "Best Classical CD of 2012."  This time he pairs and contrasts the symphonic works of Brahms, with the piano works of his beloved, Clara Schumann, whom he idolized until he died.  Just as we try to do with various monthly themes, and hourly themes in our music programming here on WSCL, a set like this can open up a different way of hearing the works and thinking about them, and leads to new appreciation.  Our thanks to TELARC for getting us an advance copy of this CD set.

    late piano works
    Gwendolyn Mok, piano
    MSR 1420 - 2CD set
    ISBN# 6 81585 14202 8
    Mok's official website
    Dr. Gwendolyn Mok has had a varied and awarded international career.  This 2 CD set of works for piano by Brahms recorded on two different historic pianos also includes a conversation and comparision of the two pianos as additional tracks.

    Tisha Murvihill
    ISBN# 6 2366720773 7
    Murvihill's official website
    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.

     Monteverdi, Britten, Brahms, Ravel
    BRIDGE 9176
    ISBN#0 90404 91762 2
    more info. on Bonazzi
    Digitally remastered recordings from the 1980s.
    Part of the mission of Bridge records is to remaster historic recordings by great artists and make them available after years of being out of circulation.  We're happy to be able to present many of these to you, both on Just Opened, and as part of our regular play library.  A great beauty, American mezzo Bonazzi's carreer was enviable, including premiers of many great roles.  This recital CD caused the kind of stir any great artist appreciates... some quibbles about opening the program with Monteverdi - probably an argument that is lost on most of us.  Indesputable is that after a stellar operatic career, Bonazzi made such a successful transition to the recital stage that composers clammored to write material for her to present in recital.  What luck to be able to revisit her artistry in this remastered release!

    Brahms Concertos
    Berlin Radio Symphony Orch.
    Vienna Philharmonic Orch.
    Andris Nelsons, cond.
    D.G.  19046  (2 CD set)
    ISBN# 0 28947 91058 9
    link to Grimaud CD preview & interview
    Now one of the realible international piano phenomenons of her generation, Helene Grimmaud takes a reflective personal journey into the music of Brahms.  This 2 CD set revisits one concerto that she had recorded earlier in her career, which she approaches with more life experience to bring to the piece, and adds the other of the great pair.   Grimaud is not just a concert pianist, but also has published several novels, and has founded her own organization to help conserve/preserve wolves.  This thoughtful established artist brings a wealth of thought and interests to her main career.   Brahms is still considered the gold-standard for many orchestra lovers.  This 2 CD set is sure to be a good gift-bet for the holiday season.

    Here are two more releases from last year that feature the work of Brahms that we did not have time to include in our special.

    Zina Schiff, Violin
    Cameron Grant, Piano
    For Info on Schiff
    MSR 13339
    ISBN# 6 81585 1339 2 7
    Timeless major works for violin.  The voice of the violin in virtuosity.

    Brahms & Debussy
    MSR 1424
    ISBN# 6 81585 14242 4
    more info. on the Ceruti String Quartet
    Founded in 1994, the Ceruti String Quartet members are on the faculty of the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music at the University of Memphis.  Performing primarily in the Southeastern United States, they are dedicated to fostering interest in chamber music, and this CD is a fine example of that interest. 

    Next week we have new releases that feature the influence of Claude Debussy.
    Join us then, for more great music, Just Opened!
    Kara Dahl Russell

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  • 01/24/14--09:14: Just Opened - Jan. 24, 2013

  • "Old and New" is our theme today on Just Opened as we premier new releases of works... old and new.  From well-known names like J.S. Bach and Napoleon Coste to modern composers Michael Roberts and Michael McLean.

    Music for Viola and Orchestra
    Roger Myers, viola
    London Symphony Orchestra
    Michael Francis, cond.
    DELOS 3441
    ISBN# 0 13491 34412 6
    more info. on Myers

    J.S. BACH: Two Faces of Genius
    Keyboard Solo Works In Italian and French Taste
    Linda Burman-Hall, harpsichord
    MSR 1068
    ISBN # 6 81585 10862 8
    more info on Burman-Hall

    Rotterdam Philharmonic Chamber Players
    MSR 1186
    ISBN # 6 81585 1186 2 7
    more info on Kerry Turner

    Phillip Hemmo, guitar
    PAR 13.01
    ISBN # 8 88295 01127 3
    more info on Phillip Hemmo
    Micheal Roberts, composer and piano
    CD available online, multiple sources
    ISBN # 6 59570 302540 2
    more info and CD purchase: Roberts' official website

    Thanks to our SU Practicum, Jennifer Reeves for putting the blog together.
     Kara Dahl Russell

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    It's nice when new releases arrive in a timing that showcases them in a way that also throws light on a particular time period of music.  Today's selection enables us to explore Claude Debussy, both what inspired him, and the influence he had on other musicians.

    Works for horn, piano & violin
    Greg Kostraba, piano
    Rico McNeela, violin
    Robert Garcia, horn
    Kickshaw CD-1001
    ISBN # 8 88295 00028
    More info on the trio
    Works on this CD combine that almost uniquely late-romantic era pairing of horn, strings and piano.  Music of Brahms, and Debussy's contemporary Charles Koechlin - a "secondary" composer whom I like quite a bit, as well as some spice of Piazzola and 2 composers of today.  This is a varied and thoroughly tasty CD... could I get a cafe latte to go with this?  ... and perhaps a milk-bone?

    LES AMIS (Debussy & Caplet)
    Elizabeth Hainen, harp
    Jeffrey Khaner, flute
    Robert Diaz, viola
    AV 2285
    ISBN # 8 22252 22852 6
     Hainen's official website
    My Delight of the Week!
    Thank you Avie Records for providing us with promo CDs for our listeners.  Elizabeth Hainen is among the top tier of harpists working internationally today, and this CD demonstrates both incredible solo works and her chamber work with other musical lights, such as flautist Jeffrey Kahner and violist Roberto Diaz (who is current head of the esteemed Curtis Institute, and who performed here in Salisbury for the SSO last year).  In addition to Debussy's Dance Sacre & Dance Profane, a perennial favorite, Hainen plays her own arrangment of some Debussy piano works which are my favorites of the CD.  This CD also highlights works of Debussy's contemporary and friend, Andre Caplet, whose work is more challenging, and consequently less well known, but Hainen's selections are spot-on for both showcasing the variey of his work, and his major chamber work influenced by Edgar Allen Poe.  BTW - for those of you who pay attention to these things... even though I am a harpist, many times a harp CD is NOT my favorite of the week.  This one is so engaging, it is constantly on my CD player at home!

    Chamber Music of Clara Kathleen Rogers
    Delight Malitsky, violin & viola
    Dieter Wulfhorst,violoncello
    Judith Radell, piano
    ATR 23025
    ISBN # 8 84501 92024 7
    Info on Rogers' life and compositions

    One of the joys of today's music scene, the ability of artists to produce their own recordings, and the preponderance of small chamber recordings, is the opportunity to become acquainted with the works of lesser known composers like the one featured in this CD, Clara Kathleen Rogers.  In the past, these works might have disappeared even before the composer's life had ended.  Today we can both get a fuller taste of the "minor composers" that completed an historical music period, and enjoy the works over time.

    Piano Works of Debussy, Griffes and Ravel
    Mary Towse-Beck, piano
    Album available on multiple sites online
    Towse's official website
    This CD of comparisons of turn of the century works is another strong statement that helped form today's collection of works focusing on Debussy.  Works by Griffes, as well as Ravel and Debussy.  I find CDs like this to be a marvelous touchstone on well-known works, to hear and study interpretational differences brought out by accomplished musicians like Mary Towse-Beck.

    Claude Debussy
    Histro Kazakov, piano
    Album available on multiple sites online
    ISBN # 8 84501 90287 8
    Kazakov's official website
    This CD is one of 2 by Kazakov that focus on Debussy, the other (which we'll officially "open" in a few weeks) pairs works of Debussy with those of Scriabin.  Bulgarian-born, Swiss pianst Kazakov has toured extensively in Europe and the East, and these recordings were made for Bulagarian national television and RFI France.  He is recognized as a soloist and for his performances of chamber works.

    Thanks to our SU practicum Jennifer Reeves for her help setting up the skeleton information of today's blog.  Join us next week for more great music, Just Opened!
    Kara Dahl Russell

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    We celebrate great artistry today on Just Opened, with the new release of this year's New Year's Concert from the Vienna Phil, Gena Raps' interpretations of Brahms piano works, and Anne Akiko Meyers topping her own previous duo - this time with a self-trio!

    Vienna Philharmonic 
    Daniel Barenboim, conductor
    SONY 88843015642 (2 CD set)
    ISBN # 8 8843 01564 2 5
    More info on the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
      My Delight of the Week!  
    This annual concert has become a must-see annual event around the world.  The joyous, infectious music of the Strauss family and their contemporaries, performed in a glorious hall, always led by a magnificent conductor, played by some of the world's best musicians.  Enjoy!

    BRAHMS Late Piano Works
    Gena Raps, piano
    Musical Friends NY 2013
    ISBN # 7 00261 37833 6
    More info on Gena Raps
      I adore this cover photo!  
    Ms. Raps' hands betray the intensive manual labor that great piano playing involves.   With an international carreer of solo works, chamber and orchestral works, and a "Season's Best" nod from Sesame Street Parenting Magazine, co-stars like Julie Andrews and Peter Schickele (PDQ Bach), Raps can record what she loves.  She is Music Editor of an online magazine, and has taught at numberous conservatories, including her alma mater, The Julliard School.

    The Vivaldi Album Album
    Anne Akiko Meyers, violin
    English Chamber Orchestra
    David Lockington, conductor 
    ISBN # 0 99923 77902 5
    Anne Akiko Meyers' Official Website
    In the aftermath of an international news-making theft of an historic violin, we get to hear a different great instrument in the hands of the magnificent Meyers.  In her last venture, she recorded a Bach duo with herself... this time she triple tracks it with Vivaldi's Concerto for 3 violins.  She knows how to set a challenge without making it intimidating... like adding a short Arvo Part work in with the best known Vivaldi work.  This CD is a sure bet for lovers of traditional works and violin majesty.

    Special thanks to our S.U. practicum, Jennifer Reeves, for gathering the basic info. for today's blog.  Join us next week for more great music, Just Opened.
      Kara Dahl Russell 

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  • 02/14/14--10:08: Just Opened - Feb. 14, 2014

  • Our selections this week boost the spirits with rising winds... either the instruments, or the inspirational story of "average Joe makes it big."   Jason Vieaux's new release is dependably expert, and Beethoven's basics give us a great starting platform.

    New Sydney Wind Quintet
    ISBN# 8 85767 47307 2
    Available online.
    The New Sydney Wind Quintet's Official Website
    My Delight of the Week.
    A mix of traditional works for winds, rarely heard works, and a new one, too.   For an in-depth review of this CD from "Limelight", click this link:  Review of Quintopia

    Jason Vieaux,guitar
    AZIKA 7128
    ISBN # 7 8786 71287 2 5
    Jason Vieaux's Official Website
    Even some of the well-known works are not the "usual line-up" of recital favorites, but a great deal of audience favorites, including works known from film scores.  An egaging mix of works make this CD by guitarist Vieaux stand apart.  I handed this to a "solo guitar lover" for a listen before airing... one or two (the more modern ones) were too frenetic for her taste, but overall she thought is was very enjoiable.

    ONE CHANCE Film Score
    Paul Potts, tenor
    and Various Artists
    SONY 301047
    ISBN # 8 8843 01047 2 3
    Paul Pott's Official Website
    This film was slated for release in the U.S. this January, but other than hitting the film festival circuit, it has not yet opened on "this side of the pond."  This film version of the life story of a singer discovered in the first season of "Britain's Got Talent," Paul Potts.  The score features Pott's voice in great operatic works, as well as more established singers on the soundtrack like Mario Lanza and Vittorio Grigolo  (and the obligatory pop songs added by Taylor Swift and others).  I handed this to a "tenor-loving" friend who backed up my initial feeling that Pott's voice does not fare particularly well compared to the well known, well-trained voices.  But for those who just like to hear heartfelt singing of popular operatic works, it stands up well.  As with many film scores, it is probably most effective in context.

    The Piano Sonatas Volume 2
    Steven Masi, piano
    MASI 2013
    ISBN # 8 84501 94365 9
    Steven Masi's Official Website
    We previewed Volume Two of Masi's recordings of Beethoven's piano sonatas today.  Op. 14 nos 1 &2, No. 31 in A flat Major and the "Appassionata"  are a nice mix of the latter well-known and some less familiar sonatas.  It is hard to do justice to these long-term intensive projects, when artists commit themselves to recording complete bodies of work... other than to just mention that this is a major life-changing event in the lives of the musicians who take on these big projects - meritorious.

    Special thanks to our S.U. practicum, Jennifer Reeves, for her help compiling the skeleton of this blog post.  Join us next week for more great music, Just Opened!
    Kara Dahl Russell

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  • 02/21/14--12:53: Just Opened - Feb. 21, 2014
  • We interspersed three new releases with some major orchestral works from our library today.  These are ... Just Opened!

    Solo Piano Works
    Jenny Lin, piano
    Steinway & Sons 33028
    ISBN# 0 34062 300028 0
    Jenny Lin's Official Website
     Jenny Lin never fails to put together exciting musical ideas.  Her magnificent playing is matched by imaginative programming that brings a big punch to her releases.  After last year's release of incredibly accessible virtuoso arrangements of broadway and film melodies, this one is not destined to fly off the shelves as quickly, but is meritorious.  A collection of piano works (and transciptions of orchestral works for piano, by Igor Stravinsky.

    New Works for Flute and Guitar
    Heather Holden, flute
    Bradley Colton, guitar
    ISBN# 7 8786-71275-2 0
    The Arc Duo's Official Website
    The Arc Duo is appearing here at Salisbury Univeristy next week as part of the 6th annual Guitar Festival.  Last month we opened up their CD with folk tunes and very accessible works.  Today's CD has all modern works, some more challenging.  Several works would appeal to the "new age" listener, evoking the flow of water.  For more information on the annual guitar festival, go to

    Kevin Gebo, trumpet
    Gebeaux Records
    ISBN# 8 84501 93267 7
    Keving Gebo's Official Website
    My Delight of the Week!  A true "crossover" CD that would appeal to many different listening tastes, Gebo joins a variety of musicians to create a truly mixed offering.  Some impressive modern works, but mostly a mix of traditional works (Amazing Grace & America the Beautiful), and well-known favorites in new arrangements.

    Thanks to our S.U. practicum Jessica Reeves for her help pulling the blog information together.
    Kara Dahl Russell

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  • 03/06/14--12:30: Just Opened - March 7, 2014
  • We have an eclectic mix of new releases today on JUST OPENED, including a CD sampler of the accomplished work of members of the Worcester Chamber Music Society.   Last summer I attended their summer camp (one of the few music camps open to adults as well as children).   They are taking applications now for both of their week-long summer camp sessions.


    Worcester Chamber Music Society
    ISBN #8 45121 04640 3
    Very invested in keeping great music as an active, integrated and inspiring part of the community, the razor-sharp focus of the WCMS on the communicative process of chamber music is informative and influential for musicians of any age.  Their summer camp sessions include intensive music sessions, choir, and evening performances through the week by their highly credentialed and acclaimed faculty.

    Kate Prestia-Schaub, Piccolo
    Marin Kennedy, piano
    ISBN# 8 84502 95273 6
    Kate Prestia-Schaub's Official Website
    This is a CD of recital works for piccolo + one (piano), and solo works, almost all new works by living composers.  Prestia-Schaub is passionate about expanding the repertoire for piccolo, and, having won many awards, she is placed perfectly to do so.   She also receives rave reviews as a supportive and inspiring teacher.

    Valerie Milot, harp
    Les Violons Du Roy, chamber orchestra
    Claire Marchand, flute
    AN 29990
    ISBN# 7 74204 99902 5
    Valerie Milot's Official Website
    Milot is the new "it girl" of the harp, having won many coveted awards, and indeed, having the opportunity to record these historic works with the renowned "Les Violons Du Roy" could be said to be another coverted award in itself.  Either through the recording process, or through choice of instrument, the sound of the harp on these works has a very crisp, crystalline sound that is very much like the sound of the historic single action harps that would have premiered these works.  This sound fits perfectly with the historically accurate approach of this orchestra, but some modern ears may find this tonality a bit thin for their taste.   Only a very few, highly favored harpists get to record this "big 3" of harp works... to have them all on one CD is a treat.   The extremely well-known concertos by Handel and Mozart, with a personal favorite of mine - the one by Boieldieu. (My only quibble here is actually in this concerto; the harp entrance is delayed quite a bit, and then begins with an extended trill - a diva's entrance.  In hearing many performances, this extended trill is most effective when it is extended... the effect of a breathless hush falling on the room that seems to hover like a puff of infinity.  Here the trill is kept in stricter time, which lessens the magic of the entrance - makes it a little less... trilling.)  Many people say they "love harp music" but don't know where to start.  This is an excellent starter kit for those who like an orchestral sound. 

    3 CD set
    Andrew Rangell, piano
    Steinway & Sons 30024
    ISBN# 0 34062 30024 2
    More Information on Andrew Rangell
    Now a "Steinway Artist", Rangell continues to perform on multiple labels, and while his focus has largely been on traditional works, he spices things up with off-beat composer choices, too, and he is simply, uniformly magnificent.  My delight of the week, this is another great gift idea.  In this case, the traditional works played on a modern instrument, which makes the works very accessible to the modern ear. 

    Westwood Wind Quintet
    Crystal Records CD759
    ISBN# 0 09414 77592 4
    For More Information on the Westwood Wind Quintet
    Modern works for winds.  Most of these new works take the fun, laughter-filled wind music of the early 1900s into a realm of today's dissonance and deconstruction that makes them pretty inaccessible for the average listener.  I'd say this one is either for wind players who are game to explore the adventure on their own instrument, and those who really enjoy a musical challenge.

    Anna Williams, violin
    Mikhail Veselov, cello
    Toni James, piano
    Neave Trio
    ISBN # 6 40236 95012 2
    The Neave Trio's Official Website
    This CD contains a contrast of 2 major modern piano trios, by Faure and Shostakovitch.  Shoxtakovitch chamber works seem to be enjoing a particular heyday right now, despite being less melodic and more academic than many other works.  The Faure is very accessible, of course, and sparkles.

    Thanks again to Jessica Reeves, our SU practicum who has helped to pull together photos and info. for the blog basics.  Join us next week for more new releases, Just Opened.
    Kara Dahl Russell

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    This month, after the news at noon, our series is: 
    Mozart in His Own Words.
    We're pairing quotes from the letters and notes of Mozart with historical information on the musicians he mentions, and musical selections referred to in the quotes. 

    Our resource for the quotes is a marvelous book first published in 1926 - featuring researched selected quotes from Mozart's letters.   We have augmented this primary resource with biographical information from a variety of on-line music history sources.  The book is divided into sections by topic.  Among other things it is fascinating to discover that Mozart was quite a prude in matters regarding marriage, family, morals and ethics.   This revelation is quite at odds with the popular presentation (due largely to the play Amadeus) of Mozart as a rough-housing gad-about flippant playboy.

    The Man and the Artist Revealed
    In His Own Words
    Compiled and annotated by
    Friedrich Kerst
    Translated and edited by
    Henry Krehbiel

    Dover Press 1965
    1st Published by Geoffry Bles, London 1926

    for more information and to purchase book

    For anyone interested in a glimpse of the inner workings of the genius, his thoughts on other musicians of his day (including his jealousies, rivalries and admirations), and a good deal of his personal judgements on social and political issues - it's a juicy, salacious read, like reading a diary.  This is a very slim volume, light reading for one or two bedtimes.

    From the standpoint of a musician practicing his works, there is not much here to give you insights into how he wants his music played, except for one or two comments about, say, pace of a minuet; but there is just enough here to be contradictory, and in these instances, the commentary by the translator seems to infer the opposite meaning from the translation.  So while there is no particular revelation about musical interpretation, what we do have here is a varied array over time of the thoughts of the man... and knowing his tastes can help a good musician get inside his thought process, and that is good for musical color, which helps any performance.

    This is a book that has been sitting on our WSCL library shelf for many years, and I had overlooked it for quite a while.  It is one that I will definitely revisit again over time when this series is over, and definitely worth a read for anyone who just can't get enough Mozart!

    Thanks again to our S.U. practicum, Jennifer Reeves who was my research assistant on this series, sorting out the more interesting and revealing (or amusing) writings from the less interesting, and compiling them for use.
    Kara Dahl Russell

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  • 03/21/14--09:58: Just Opened - March 21, 2014

  • EIGHT PIECES Miller-Porfiris Duo
    Anton Miller, violin
    Rita Porfiris, viola
    David Westfall, piano
    ISBN# 7 00261 38975
    The Miller-Pofiris Duo's Official Website
    Piano Music of Argentina, Vol. 2
    Mirian Conti, piano
    Steinway & Sons 30023
    ISNB# 0 34062 30023 5
    Mirian Conti's Official Website
    My Delight of the Week!   Mirian Conti infuses her precise playing with joy and flair. She is currently on the evening faculty at Juliard, and her playing has been hailed in a wide variety of music publications and reviews.

    Complete String Quartets Vol. II
    Quartetto Di Cermona
    Cristiano Gualco, violin
    Paolo Andreoli, violin
    Simone Gramaglia, viola
    Giovanni Scaglione, cello
    Audite 92.681
    ISBN# 4 022143 926814
    The Quartetto Di Cremona Offical Website
    Works by James Grant
    William Helmer, clarinet
    Wayne Wildman, piano
    Philomusic Quartet
    PM 1028
    ISBN# 6 70541 35950 1
    Composer James Grant's Official Website
    Anderson & Roe Duo
    Greg Anderson, piano
    Elizabeth Joy Roe, piano
    Steinway & Sons 30022
    ISBN# 0 34062 30022 8
    The Anderson & Roe Piano Duo Official Website

    Our thanks again to S.U. practicum Jennifer Reeves, who has pulled together the pictures and information to make your search for new releases easier.
    Kara Dahl Russell

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  • 03/28/14--12:53: Just Opened March 28, 2014
    Piano Sonatas ans Sonatinas 5
    Susan Kagan, piano
    NAXOS 572300
    ISBN# 7 47313 23007 5
    Susan Kagan's Official Website
    My Delight of the Week.  Rarely heard piano works from Ries, a close friend of Beethoven whom Schubert praised for his "remarkable originality."  One listen will have pianists looking for his music....  "Unfairly neglected yet often substantial works" by a composer who worked and played alongside the greats.

    Angele Dubeau, violin
    and La Pieta
    ANALEKTA 8737
    ISBN# 7 74204 87372 1
    Angele Dubeau's Official Website
    A perfect release to close out women's history month.  La Pieta is a renowned all female ensemble, led by the gifted violinist Angele Dubeau.  This group has crossed over all boundaries, from medieval music to video game music, always with musical excellence.  The arrangements here, as usual, are musically astute, a complexity that creates the sound of a much larger ensemble, but with an uncluttered simplicity that cuts to the heart.  Mostly modern works that Dubeau hones to total accessibility.  The particular slant of this "package" is new-age, with the goal being a CD of serenity that speaks deeply.  A sure-fire crossover success.

    Paul Fried, flute
    Bryan Pezzone, piano
    ISBN# 8 88174 02347 2
    Paul Fried's official site
    Major works for flute and piano played by this duo of impressive artists.  We aired the exquisite Sonata Undine by Reinecke, and this CD also incluldes Schubert's Introduction and variations and Prokofiev's Sonata in D.  Fried was a child prodigy by any standard, has held a seat with the Boston Symphony, and now living in California, has played on over 200 film scores, working with the great composers of our day.  Pezzone is also regularly heard on film and tv soundtracks in addition to an extensive performance schedule as orchestral soloist, chamber musician, composer and jazz pianist.  He is Principal Pianist in the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.

    Gwendolyn Toth, organ
    Jessica Tranzillo, chant
    ZR 103
    ISBN# 7 00702 80082 2
    More Information on Gwendolyn Toth
    Toth appeared here on the Delmarva Penninsula recently.  Here she focuses on the work of this contemporary of JSBach.  Very traditional organ music here, with the addition of vocals on some works, which makes for an interesting mix.

    NOS. 12 & 13
    Karin Kei Nagano, piano
    Cecilia String Quartet
    ANALEKTA 8765
    ISBN# 7 74204 87652 4
    More Information on Karin Kei Nagano
    If you want to catch a phenomenal young performer at the beginning of the career - to follow along, here she is.  16 year old Karin Kei Nagano has all ready won multiple international piano competitions, has been featured soloist with the Montreal Orchestra Symphonique, and has toured Munich and Bavaria.  This "simple" release features 2 Mozart piano concertos accompanied with string quartet.  It is very easy to imagine that this is exactly how Mozart heard his own work on a regular basis.  A marvel.

    Thanks again to our SU practicum Jennifer Reeves for putting together the photos and CD information for today's blog.  In April, we'll be doing something new with Just Opened.  Friday afternoons we will just program our usual mix of music from our library.  We will feature our new releases in April as a noon series, "A Pleasure of Pianos."  A laser focus on piano releases for April, at noon each weekday, Just Opened.
    Kara Dahl Russell

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  • 04/03/14--11:36: Just Opened: Week of April 1
    No, it's not an April Fools joke!  This month we're using a different format for our Just Opened New Releases.  Because we have so many solo piano releases, we're featuring them after-the-news-at-noon as "A Pleasure of Pianos."   Solo piano releases are so plentiful that we could actually continue this noon series for at least 3 months... but we'll start with one and then share the others in different formats.   Meanwhile, the Friday afternoon hours this month will be a continuation of our usual weekday melange of great works from our library.  Enjoy this pleasure of pianos this April.

    Book II Johann Sebastian Bach
    David Korevaar, piano
    MSR 1021
    ISBN# 6 81583 10212 1
    David Korevaar's Official Website
    Andrew Rangell, piano
    BRIDGE 9205
    ISBN# 0 90404 92052 3
    More info on Andrew Rangell
    Piano Sonatas and Sonatinas 3
    Susan Kagan, Piano
    NAXOS 572204
    ISBN# 7 47313 22047 2
    Susan Kagan's Official Website
    My Delight of the Week!  
    All of the featured pianists this month are superlative.  This is the 2nd CD from this series that we have featured this month, and I am especially enjoying getting to know the work of Ries, this over-looked contemporary (and friend) of Beethoven.  This period bridging the Classical and Romantic periods is melodically rich.

    Romantic Transcriptions for Piano
    Jue Wang, piano
    MSR 1404
    ISBN# 6 81585 14042 0
    Jue Wang's Official Website

    Volume 2
    James Brawn, piano
    MSR 1466
    ISBN# 6 81585 14662 0
    James Brawn's Official Website

    Thanks to SU practicum Jennifer Reeves for pulling together the pix and info. on these releases, Just Opened.
    Kara Dahl Russell

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    Inna Faliks, piano
    MSR 1446
    ISBN# 6 81585 14462 6
    Inna Falik's Official Website

     J.S. BACH
    Jeremy Denk, piano
    AZIKA 71262
    ISBN# 7 8786-71262-2 6
    Jeremy Denk's Official Website

    Eight American Composers Plus One Pianist
    Becky Billock, piano
    MusesNine 32207
    ISBN# 7 00261 32207 0
    Becky Billiock's Official Website

    Ricardo Penalaver, piano
    Tempus 10049
    ISBN# 7 502244 100490
    Ricardo Penalver's Official Website

    Gershwin Copland Bernstein
    Aglika Genova, piano
    Liuben Dimitrov, piano
    CPO 777 039-2
    ISBN# 7 61203 70392 0
     Dimitrov Duo's Official Website

    Sonata in B Minor 24 Preludes
    Ann Schein, piano
    MSR 1119
    ISBN# 6 81585 1119 2 5
    Ann Schein's Official Website

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