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Just Opened - October 3, 2014 - "Brought to You by the Letter B"


It was only after I put today's selections together that I realized they all have prominent Bs.  Beethoven, Boyer, and Bientus the composers, and for our Baroque selection today, Boer and Beijer play the lead roles on these works for viol da gamba.

Jean-Paul Beintus
Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal
Diana Damrau, soprano
Kent Nagano, cond.
ISBN # 7 74204 91312 0
Official Website of Orchestre Symphonque de Montréal
My Delight of the Year!  It is pretty rare when I listen to a new CD and have to play it for almost everyone I know.  For many years at WSCL, even before I came here,  Canteloube's "Songs of the Auvergne" have been audience favorites.   For anyone who has liked that work, I can easily say you will love this.   Simple, heart-touching Japanese folks songs given lush and varied orchestral settings, sung by one of the great sopranos of our time and a marvelous children's choir in various combinations, and some solely  instrumental settings as well.  In much the same way as Canteloube used the orchestral settings to represent the landscape and aspects of nature, to create a musical picture-setting for those folk songs, Beintus has done the same things with these children's songs.  Like the music of raindrops on a window, or wind in the leaves.  Damrau sings mostly in the mezzo range on these works, giving them a rich quietness, which is only complimented by the sweet hollowness of the children's choir.  I must admit that this CD "hits me where I live" musically.  I have always liked eastern music, and as a harpist I have explored and performed asian works both in traditional forms and westernized settings.  Just as the classical music world has purists who hate to hear a tenor aria transposed and performed by a mezzo, I suppose there may be traditional eastern performers and artists who may feel that the orchestrations here are too western, the singing style too "full and supported" a singing style, and that it is not "true" to history.  That is fair criticism, but that is not the intention.  The intention here is to take these ancient tunes and give them a "new frame" and a new presentation that helps others appreciate them in new ways, and it is a complete success that I expect will have tremendous popularity once it is heard and known.

James Brawn, piano
MSR 1467
ISBN # 6 81585 14672 9
Official Website of James Brawn
James Brawn continues his offerings of the work of the incomparable Beethoven.  This CD includes an early sonata, his late "Tempest", and the charming and evokative "Les Adieux (The Goodbyes)".
't Uitnement Kabinet, original instrument group
NM Classics 92111
ISBN # 8 713309 92113
The Netherlands has a strong love of Baroque music, and for many years, has done an excellent job of researching and highlighting prominent composers of that time period whose work might be otherwise forgotten.  Early music group "'t Uitnement Kabinet" gives us glorious compositions composed to highlight the dark beauties of the viol da gamba, by Riehman (1680-1726), Hacquart (1640-1701), Schenck (1660-1720), and Snep (1656-1719).

SYMPHONY No. 1, and other works by Boyer
Peter Boyer
London Philharmonic Orchestra
NAXOS 559769
ISBN # 6 36943 97692 0
Official Website of Peter Boyer 
Contemporary composer Boyer conducts his own work on this CD. He has a particular gift for fanfares, a strength on short statements, and a way with the brass section, so his "Silver Fanfare" and "Celebration Overture" are particularly strong.  His "Three Olympians" is worth deeper listening, modern tone poems in the romantic vein, based on truly classical (greek) themes.  If you are finding many living composers have work that is difficult to like or attach to, you'll want to explore this and other works of Boyer.

Thanks again to Stephanie Clark, our S.U. practicum, for pulling together the pictures, websites, and CD info. to you help you find the music that speaks to you.
Kara Dahl Russell

Just Opened - October 17, 2014


The last weekday of our drive we present a variety of new releases, choral works based on poetry of African American writers, quirky works for winds and strings, a lyrical new group of Schubert transcriptions, and Lang Lang's new 2 CD set release of Mozart works with the Vienna Philharmonic.

Langlamet, Prohaska, Quandt, St. John
ANC 141
ISBN # 8 54853 00402 5
More about Marie-Pierre Langlemet
Official Website of Lara St. John
 My Delight of the Week!  Listeners are never surprised when I select a new harp release as my delight of the week... but this one truly is special, with something for everyone.  For whatever reason, very few harpists approach Schubert's works in transcription, and here the selections a made and played by one of the world's finest ... Marie-Pierre Langlemet.   She often works with violinist Lara St. John, and this is their new release.  It has tremendous variety, with a few solo impromptus, but mostly chamber works, including 4 songs, and - my favorite - Schubert's "Sonata Arpeggioni" played here as a harp and cello duo that is magical (Ludwig Quant joins Langlemet on that, and on a trio).

Three Choral Cycles on Poems by Langston Hughes
William Averitt
MSR 1509
ISBN # 6 81585 15092 4
Official Website of William Averitt
I suspect these choral works will have a long life due to their focus on the poetry of African American Langston Hughes. These modern compositions are rarely filled with memorable melody, but have the strong use of "choir as an orchestral sound" that is so much a part of today's choral music scene.  There are movements of each set that bring the big sound into the personal sphere.

Lang Lang, piano
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Nikolaus Harnoncourt, cond.
SONY Classical 88843082532
ISBN # 8 8843 08253 2 1
Official Website of Lang Lang
The major release of the works of Mozart - one of the most popular composers of all time, performed by one of the biggest names in concert halls today, Lang Lang, conducted by a world renowned conductor, and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.   This is a combination made in advertising heaven and is bound to be on a lot of people's Christmas wish list... if they can wait that long to have it.  Also a great introduction to great works of music for those who are just building their classical library.

Beth Anderson, composer.
MSR 1434
ISBN # 6 81585 14342 1
Official Website of Beth Anderson
These new compositions are quirky and fun, and often very melodic - a great way to explore new music of a new composer.  The instrumental groupings add to the interest, with a variety of combinations of winds and strings.  New music is always for the adventuresome, and this particular CD has a lot of rewards for the listener.

Thank you to everyone who donated to support the continuing efforts of Delmarva Public Radio during our fundraising drive.   Also thanks again to our SU Practicum Stephanie Clark, for pulling together the websites and photos to help you find the CD you like.  Join us next week for more great music, Just Opened.
Kara Dahl Russell

Just Opened - October 24, 2014 - The Edge of New


The very traditional, from Beethoven to operetta, and the new edge of old, with new works for harpsichord and new works that incorporate traditional eastern instruments.  Today, new releases, just opened.

Jonas Kaufmann, tenor
SONY Classical 88843087712
ISBN # 8 8843 08771 2 2
Official Website of Jonas Kaufmann 
My Delight of the Week.   Better known for some of his operatic "heavy lifting"... the lengthy roles of Wagner, like Parsifal, dishy Kaufmann reinvigorates the overlooked genre of operetta.   These infectious and fun melodies, often dismissed as too light, Kaufmann reveals to be some of the more demanding works he has sung... partially because performing them correctly needs to seem effortless.  Unlike some opera roles where part of the "drama" is the tenor "working" for his high notes, the goal in operetta was silken smoothness and the seeming ability to toss these works off without trying (remember that Maurice Chevalier began in this world, and you immediately understand the attitude of casual elegance).  For several years I've been asking music producers "why don't we see more productions of operettas?  The music is delightful, the settings colorful, and they've been forgotten, so they'd be NEW to a new generation."  (I've been lobbying for a modern dress production of Desert Song - very appropriate, considering....)  Singers rejoice in the hope that Kaufmann's attention may bring these roles & productions back into vogue!

An Original Tribute to Ancient Egypt
Instrumental music by Pamela Sklar
MSR 1498
ISBN # 6 81585 14982 9
Official Website of Pamela Sklar 
These works by Sklar are the exciting edge of modern music, where folk (a la middle eastern and north african traditional music) meets the exotic and chamber works in inventive ways that are very compelling.  Especially appealing to the "world music" crowd, this is very accessible modern music that builds on the "orientalism" of Borodin and other Romantic era composers whose work was inspired by, and infused with eastern influence.

Leif Ove Andsnes, piano
SONY CLASSICAL 88843058862
ISBN # 8 8843 05886 2 2
Official Website of Leif Ove Andsnes
This world renowned pianist continues his journey through the major works of Beethoven for piano and orchestra (and sometimes chorus, too).   Working with top flight orchestras in this series, Andsnes creates CDs that can easily become part of the essential core of your classical music library.

Elaine Funaro, harpsichordist
Gasparo GSCD 331
ISBN # 7 5510 10331 2 8
Official Website of Elaine Funaro
Elaine Funaro continues to explore the musical possibilities of that "old" instrument, the harpsichord in new works that take on the soundscape of new compositions, as well as other new works that lean heavily on the structure and sound of the past. Some of these keyboard works will be too modern and inaccessible for many listeners.  Funaro has a large body of recorded works, and they are worth exploring.  Funaro is currently the President of the Historical Keyboard Society of North America, and artistic director of Alienor, the (US based) international competition for new harpsichord music, and is intensely involved in the perpetuation of older and devleopment of new works for harpsichord.  (Her teachers included Ton Koopman and Gustav Leonhardt.)

Thanks to our SU Practicum, Stephanie Clark, for pulling together the pix and website info. to help you find out more about the CDs that pique your interest.
Kara Dahl Russell

After the News at Noon series: "How to Build a Piano"


Today marks the first day of our "How to Build a Piano" series.  We'll be looking at the growth of keyboard instruments - the "portable ones" (as opposed to the organ) that led up to today's piano, and how the instrument developed alongside the music.  Special thanks to our SU practicum Stephanie Clark who has done a great deal of the research on this series.

This first week we are focusing on the various harpsichord type instruments.

Here are two pictures of the harpsichords.  These are later "double manual" harpsichords (two rows of keyboards) which greatly increased the range of the instrument.  Many harpsichords (like the virginal pictured below) can be separated from their base/legs, so they are considered portable.  In these two pictures you can see why the rows of strings were referred to as the "harp" of the instrument.

Here is a youtube clip that demonstrates a closeup of a harpsichord jack in action:

Next is a picture of a virginal. Note that there is a top cover and front cover.  The front cover falls down in front of the legs or table.  Because virginals were separate from their leg base, they were very portable, and could be set up on any available table surface.  Note that the range is quite small, just over 3 octaves.

For images of spinets and additional information on other (beautiful) harpsichords

We hope you enjoy this journey through time with perhaps the most favorite instrument of all time, the piano.
Kara Dahl Russell

Just Opened - November 7, 2014 - Give Thanks!


Before the Christmas rush, some new major international releases you may want under the tree, or just something to give thanks for, are joined with smaller releases that may be your special thing!

I just want to encourage our listeners again... BUY THE CD.  The portion of online download sales that gets back the artist or organization is smaller than for CD sales.  (You couldn't miss the articles this week about Taylor Swift pulling her music off one major music download source.)  
So, if you really want to support the artist(s), please buy the CD.

Joshua Bell
SONY Classical
ISBN # 8 8843 08779 2
Official Website of Joshua Bell
Bell is one of the most accalimed musicians of today and has the career and clout to enable him to pull together other big name performers to bring just about any project to fruition.  In the past 3 decades he has recorded more than 40 albums, including the great violin repertoire.  Now in his 3rd season as music director of the famed "Academy of St. Martin in the Fields," he turns his talent to seminal works of Bach.  Bell says "Bach is the composer who got me hooked on music in the first place."   This CD also includes a new arrangement of Bach's beloved Chaconne for violin and orchestra.  

Volume 9
ISBN # 0 90404 94272 3
Official Website of Poul Ruders 
Ruders name is synonymous with difficult new music for many listeners, so this CD of his piano music provides a welcome window to the simplicity and the melodic surprises within the modern framework.
Jackie Evancho
ISBN # 8 8843 08742 2
Official Website of Jackie Evancho
In advance of the holidays... the new release from the now 14 year old Jackie Evancho.  This is the release tied to upcoming specials and performances and marks the next phase of this young singer's progress.  It's hard to not feel connected to this child we've watched grow up, and this CD is sure to be a sentimental favorite as a holdiay gift.

Ceora Winds
ISBN # 8 88295 07613 5
Official Website of Ceora Winds 
My Delight of the Week!  Ceora winds plays mostly new works on this CD, so it is a joy to be able to say that almost all of it is melody driven.   Some works explore the possibilities of a peaceful bucolic sound,  and others offer the frivilous fun of Ibert or Poulenc, and then they toss in works of Piazzola and Pizzi to put on the icing of popularity.  Their musical selections are so good that it would be easy to overlook their beautiful sound production... so take a moment to sit back and appreciate the full complexity of their individual and group accomplishment on this CD.

SUNG JIN HONG (composer/conductor)
"Breaking Bad" and "Eye of the Storm"
One World Symphony
On sale Dec. 1st, but available online for pre-order:
"The CD will release on Dec. 1st and all net proceeds will benefit NYC's largest soup kitchen - Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen."   The ambitious and publicity-smart inception of the new works of Hong create a "hook" that is undeniable, and bound to create interest.  These works have been compared to Mahler; whether these challenging, largely anti-melodic, excessively dark works can create interest to continue the life of these works over time - is something that only time will tell.  What IS telling on this CD is the pairing and presentation of these new works with time-tested favorite orchestral works which beautifully show off the talent of the orchestra.  Works by  Ravel, Stravinsky and Britten bump up the melody quotient and give the audience something familiar, enjoiable, and demostrate the orchestra and conductor's real strength.  The fact that these musicians have come together in support of both new and established works, and such a great cause is reason enough to support this endeavor.

Thanks again to our SU practicum Stephanie Clark for her help in pulling together the pix, links, and info. on today's new releases.
Kara Dahl Russell

How to Build a Piano - The Lutheal


Not exactly where the piano is "going,"  since it made the side trip and decided quickly to come back to "normal." We have an aside to our after-the-news-at-noon series this month "How to Build a Piano," is one of the early "prepared" pianos:  the piano-lutheal.  

Here is a link with photos and sound clips describing this "extension" of a normal piano.   Violinist Daniel Hope compared it to a typewriter attached to the piano...   Developed in 1919, it was part of the craze for gypsy and "turkish" sounding music.  Ravel wrote his Tzigane (gypsy) pieces for it.

Click here to see short article with photos & sound clips of a piano-lutheal.

We hope you are enjoing our series on the development and growth of the piano!
Kara Dahl Russell

Just Opened - November 21, 2014

A major release and some off-the-beaten-path releases, modern compositions for violin and orchestra, and for harpsichord, Russian Romantics for brass, and the pleasure of the guitar... all... Just Opened!

Anne Akiko Meyers 
London Symphony Orchestra
ISBN # 0 99923 77912 4 
Official Website of Anne Akiko Meyers
The London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Leonard Slatkin provide the backdrop for the outstanding solo artistry of Anne Akiko Meyers on this CD that focuses on the work of "modern" American composers.  The delicious melody of the Barber Violin Concerto is enough to attract any listener, and the Lullabye by Corigliano was actually written for Anne's child, and is unusually melodic for his music.  The Bates work will be new to most listeners.  Bates was a student of Corigliano, and this is one of his most frequently performed works, with fascinating and fun syncopations.   Akiko Meyers is justifiably becoming a world-wide favorite, with several of her recent releases hitting #1 on the Billboard charts.

Johnna Jeong
ISBN # 6 42820 01582
Official Website of Johnna Jeong
This debut release from guitarist Jeong is a pleasure, and will appeal to a wide variety of listeners.  Jeong's electic musical taste is reflected in the variety of works that flow from traditional classical guitar into the borders of folk, and of jazz.  Her degrees are from Virginia Commonwealth University and East Carolina University.  She performs regularly in a variety of venues, live and as a studio musician, she teaches and composes.  The packaging of this CD is very pretty, a nice reflection of the pretty mix of music here that is both smart and entertaining.

Pictures at an Exhibition
Fine Arts Brass Ensemble
Nimbus 5645
ISBN # 7 10357 56452 9
Official Website of Fine Arts Brass Ensemble
Most of our listeners know that I love brass, and these transcriptions for brass make it easy to love.  The major work here is the well-known "Pictures at an Exhibition."  It has been transcribed for solo piano and many other groupings aside from its well-loved orchestral form, so it is perfectly in keeping... and works quite well to arrange it for brass - especially since the repeated promenade is so prominent.  All the composers here are Russian, which makes for a nice grouping, and high romantic-era melodic content.

Elaine Funaro, harpsichord
CRC 2651
ISBN # 0 44747 2651 24
Official Website of Elaine Funaro
My Delight of the Week!   Funaro is an established name in the international world of harpsichord.  She infuses her love of the history and tradition of the instrument with a passion for solidifying the future of the instrument by having new works created for it.  This is a very accessible CD of new works for harpsichord, most of them somewhat based in classical forms, and most of them -while new compositions by new composers - are very melodic and easy to listen to time and again.  A real joy for anyone who appreciates keyboard works, and the special soundworld of the harpsichord.

Thanks again to our SU practicum Stephanie Clark for her help pulling together the pictures and information for this blog post.
Kara Dahl Russell

Just Opened - November 28th, 2014


Let the Holiday Season Begin.  Today we have a mixture of releases, traditional Christmas carols by the Medieval Baebes;  Hebrew/Prayer inspired works by Mohammed Fairouz, a 2CD set of Bach's French Suites and a 5! CD set of guitarist Sharon Isbin.  I have mentioned that this year, we seem to be receiving very few releases of actual Christmas and/or Holiday music, and instead there seem to have been many "big" releases, big names, and gift sets, intended for gift-giving.

Just my little reminder that if you are giving music this season (to yourself or others) please buy the CD to support the artist.  (Downloads and streams have much less income revenue for the artists.)

5 Classic Albums
WARNER 24364 8
5 CD Set
ISBN# 8 25646 24364 8
Taking notes for your holiday gift giving?  This is sure to be a favorite with tremendous cross-over appeal.  American guitarist Isbin has been recognized around the world, and her talent and fame have allowed her to play in every genre imaginable.  Each of these CDs has been released separately, but this gift set puts them together in a powerful testament to her versaitility and love of music.  The Cds include the great, beloved  guitar concertos with orchestra, Baroque favorites for guitar (with a variety of guest musicians), 2 modern guitar concertos, folk-inspired music for guitar from around the world, and a CD of mostly latin music for quitar and saxophone with percussion.  Something here for everyone, and a great way again to introduce the "non-classical" music person to a mix of works including works that will make them sit up and say "I didn't realize that is classical music, I love that!"

The Six French Suites
Sergey Shepkin, piano
2 CD set
ISBN# 0 34062 30046 4
My Delight of the Week!  With the CD Shepkin embarks on a mission to record all of Bach's works for solo piano, and this is a lovely place to start.   The French suites are full of melody and Shepkin's playing is intensely nuanced.  This CD also includes two additional Bach works, one of them recorded twice, on different Steinways of different periods, to allow for a tonal comparison of the pianos.  An exquisite gift for the musical purist.

Mohammed Fairouz
DSL 92177
ISBN # 0 53479 21772 1
Official Website of Mohammed Fairouz 
A choral offering for Hanukkah:   Fairous has been hailed as the new Franz Schubert for his choral works, and this choral symphony, Poems and Prayers is sure to strike a chord of harmony.  His works blend elements from Hebrew/Israeli and Arab culture are intended to emphasize the commonality of faith.  The sections of the choral symphony are Kaddish, Lullaby, Minyan, Night Fantasy, Oseh Shalom, and closes with Memorial Day for the War Dead.  This CD opens with a marvelous work for Clarinet and Orchestra (featuring David Krakauer) called Tahrir.

A Christmas Carol Collection
Mediaeval Baebes
ISBN # 5 018791 111251
Official Website of Mediaeval Baebes
The Mediaeval Baebes use mediaeval source material and original instrument back ups.  Founding member Katharine Blake does many of the arrangements and other members play early instruments while others have regular jobs and other singing gigs.   While they bill themselves as as a "classical choral group" and some of their members have traditional legit voice training, their singing placement style is most often the style called "natural" (similar to the breathy sound of Celtic Woman).   It's a compelling combination of legitimate early music artistry, pop vocal style and the sex appeal of a female chorus of young attractive women in arty attire.   It reminds me a bit of some of the historically "creative" pursuits of renaissance faires or "goddess worship" that may have a lot more to do with a modern slant on history than on researched material.  Our more "serious" listeners will be unhappy with the vocal style, but for many, this is just the ticket for holiday choral music with a nod to history and tradition.

Thanks again to our SU practicum student Stephanie Clark for pulling together the pics and info. to make your musical web-surfing more easy.
Kara Dahl Russell

How to Build a Piano - Prepared Piano


Today we talked about, and listened to John Cage's music, including 2 short works for "prepared piano."  While we gave you a definition and description of how the piano is prepared, this youtube video done by a teacher from New England Conservatory will give you an even better concept of how these sounds are achieved in Cage's work.

How a "prepared piano" is prepared. (click here)

While you are there on youtube, at the right, you'll be offered many selections of prepared piano works to listen to, and related videos.

Kara Dahl Russell

Just Opened - Dec. 5, 2014


As I have mentioned, this year seems to be seeing less "Christmas Music" releases and more releases of special sets that will have a listening life much longer than the holidays.  Today we have some choices for Hanukkah giving, Christmas and Holiday music, and timeless works that make for timeless presents. 

New Budapest Orpheum Society
CEDILLE 90000 151
ISBN # 7 35131 91512 0
New Budapest Orpheum Society website
My Delight of the Week!  Anyone who loves musical theatre history will enjoy the broad spectrum of early (mostly German and German-American) theatre music by Jewish artists.   That focus makes this two CD set is a natural for Hanukkah gift-giving as well.  A fascinating look back into the music from both sides of the ocean as well as the new-immigrant experience, essential roots of Broadway.

Frank Voltz, harpist
ISBN # 6 35759 17282 3
 Official Website of Frank Voltz
 Frank Voltz is one of those musical wunderkinds who plays organ, piano, and harp, performs regularly on all of them, composes, and ... as showcased on this CD of pedal and lever harp, he arranges traditional works in ways that are often exciting and always engaging and entertaining.  This is Christmas harp music the way people dream of it, and hope for it to fill their holiday, a perfect stocking stuffer.

Andrew Rangell, piano
ISBN #0 34062 30038 9
Some bio tidbits and info. on recital performances of this CD.
Solo piano works speak to the soul like few other musical mediums, and the works of Chopin speak to the inner life like few other composers.  Andrew Rangell has had a magnificent career, and shares some of these heartfelt Chopin pieces in his most recent (of many) Steinway and Sons release.

Jonathan Cohler, clarinet
Rasa Vitkauskaite,  piano
ISBN# 7 672738 01252 5
Official website for Vitkauskaite
Official website of Cohler
Two gifted soloists join forces on these works by American Composers whose influences range from latin music to klezmer.

TURNIA:  Chamber Music 
For Stings and Piano
Lincoln Trio
ISBN # 7 35131 91502 1
Official website for the Lincoln Trio
Spanish born, French trained Turina made the most of both worlds with infectious, melodic music infused with a sense of Spanish folk tunes.   The Lincoln Trio has been garnering awards and critical acclaim, and this is sure to add to their steam - and a great way to add some musical spice to your Holiday gift-giving.

Tune in next week for more new releases, Just Opened.
Kara Dahl Russell

Just Opened, Friday December 12th, 2014


Great Music for Christmas comes in many forms and styles.   Today we have Renee Fleming's jazzy new release with a lot of crossover guests, Steinway Artist Jeffrey Biegel's piano Christmas CD, and some all-season baroque music that sits well during the holidays and all year 'round.

Piano Music for the Season
Jeffrey Biegel, piano
Steinway & Sons 30005
ISBN#0 34062 30005 1
The Official site for Jeffrey Biegel
My Delight of the Week.  Jeffrey Biegel is a favorite of mine, incredible talent, boundless enthusiasm, a lover of traditional works and great supporter and performer of new works - all that, and a very charming, engaging person as well.   We have recently aired his more current Steinway release, "A Grand Romance" that focuses on large and small salon gems.  This is 2011 release that we had not previously received here at the station, and we are grateful that he (and Steinway) were willing to add it to our library this year, just in time for you to hear it and add it to your timeless collection.  For many, they want Christmas music, but don't always want the distraction of voices and lyrics.   This collection of beautiful arrangements of traditional favorites for piano is sure to be a much desired stocking stuffer - supplying the seasonal joy and the "simplicity" of piano excellence. 

Baroque Band
Garry Clarke, harpsichord (and Art. Dir.)
ISBN# 7 15131 91522 9
Baroque Band's Official Website
In 2008 Baroque Band became the first-ever resident orchestra of WFMT classical music station (and national supplier of programs for classical music stations like WSCL).   Not to be confused with the musclebound American football star, British composer Maurice Greene lived from 1696 - 1755 and along with Haendel, was one of the most important musical figures in English music of the 18th century.  He had been appointed to every major musical post in England before the age of 40, but today is known mostly - if at all - for his choral music.  This is a rare recording foray into his orchestral overtures and solo harpsichord works.  The "old-timey-ness" of Baroque music suits the season well when one is tired of the better known Holiday fare, and will continue into the new year with ease.  What a lovely way to renew a musical acquaintance.

Renee Fleming (and friends)
DECCA 21104
ISBN# 0 28947 86770 8
Fleming's official website
I can hear my commercial agent in L.A clucking his tounge and saying of this CD, "Renee Fleming is destroying her brand!"  While most WSCL listeners would rather hear Fleming singing great areas and very traditional arrangements of great seasonal works for "great voices," to be fair, Fleming has been branching out in jazz crossover for a while, and this is just another example of it.   Working with "above the title" big names of jazz and folk crossover, she gives a saucy spin on traditional Christmas favorites, and throws in
a few other pieces as well.  Wynton Marslais, Gregory Porter, Kelli O'Hara, Rufus Wainwright, Brad Mehldau, and Kurt Elling are her musical co-conspirators who bring you this urban and urbane take on "Christmas in New York."  Realistically, Fleming is at the stage of her career where she HAS to "mix it up"... she's still lovely, but she most likely won't be playing the little mermaid Rusalka again, and she has the name, the clout, and the fan base to explore other parts of her musical interests.  Opera singers notoriously flop at singing pop and jazz, but Fleming is more versatile than most and utilizes the molasses richness of her lower register to fine indolent effect. This is probably not going to be on the Christmas list for the hard-line Classical Music lovers, despite Fleming's presence, but for many, this will be a new facet of Fleming that they will enjoy, and will undoubtedly be another selection that will introduce "people who don't like Classical music" to her engaging voice and presence and give them an entre to her other, more prominent body of work.

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

Just Opened Dec. 19th - Welcome Yule!


We have a mix of new releases that will take us into the New Year, and Christmas releases from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir & Sursum Corda.
Zalaznik's Official Site

with the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra
Hinko Haas & Maria Hens Serena, pianos
ISBN# 3 760035 68055
My Delight of the Week! The musical variety of this CD is captivating.  She started recording for Slovene national radio as early as the age of 9, and has followed the path of great music schools and awards.  In addition to solo and chamber works, Zalaznik Matos has been a regular member of the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra for 8 years.   Both Paganini and Mozart are a special musical interest for her, demonstrated on this CD, which is dedicated to her father, who died in 2013.  This combination of heartfelt personal dedication, musical scope and performance excellence made my choice this week easy.

Sibelius Symphony No. 2 &
Wagner Overture to Tannhauser
Andris Nelson, Music Director
BSO 292
ISBN# 8 28020 00292 3
BSO homepage
Nelson's first CD with the BSO is the evokative music of Sibelius.  As many of you know, fewer big symphonic releases are being made, so here you get to indulge your orchestral craving and support a major orchesta.   Sibelius' music is said to be like a sleighride across the fiord, and here this major work is paired with Wagner's majestic Tannhauser overture.

Choral Favorites for Christmas
Sursum Corda
Lester Seigel, cond.
MSR 1485
ISBN#6 50585
Official Site for Sursum Corda
This 20 member vocal ensemble has been singing together since 2006 and receiving accolades since their inception.  This CD or both popular and traditional religious Christmas favorites also includes 4 movements of Marc Antoine Charpentier's "Mass for Christmas Midnight" which lends them even more gravitas and musical beauty. The singers are all highly, individually accomplished, and their conductor Seigel has led the BSC Concert Choir in performances in Austria, the Czech Republic, and at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. His choral music is published by Oxford University Press.  Those are, of course, the credentials, but the timeless exquisite music is the reason you'll want to remember this one.

CHOPIN - 24 Preludes
Alain Lefevre, piano
ISBN# 7 74204 92872 8
Official site for Lefevre
He began playing piano at 4, began lessons at 5, and at 6 years old, he wins the 1st Prize at the Canadian Music Competition and gives his first recital at the Grand Théatre in Quebec city.  Canadian pianist Levevre has the kind of career that Liszt established as a goal for musicians.  International travel and acclaim, performing with the best orchestras in the world, having won a handful of international prizes along the way.  So here he turns to solo piano works from one of the most introspective and personal artists ever to write for piano, Chopin.   The CD notes give some insights into the way artists can and do approach these large volume collections of works, both musically and historically.  Lefevre's performances of many of these are considered ground-breaking, but these pieces are so much an intrinsic part of piano repertoire that even that kind of re-thinking merely becomes another mode of making these works of the intensely personal Chopin even more personal - foundational romantic works for the self expression of an artist.  In this case, an accomplished mature artist.  The collection of deep, intense romanticism is rounded off with a crisp wafer - a baroque Sonata Cantabile by Antonio Soler.  Being a devote of Chopin myself, I can only express joy in hearing another great "take" on these essential works.  Recordings like this of Chopin solo works are a timeless gift that will carry on through the year.

Alfie Boe and
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir
MTC 1327 (2013)
Official site of Mormon Tabernacle Choir
By now, many of our listeners will have heard and seen "Home for the Holidays" both last year and this year on local PBS stations.  Available in both CD and DVD formats, this CD was provided to WSCL a few weeks ago.  The long history of musical excellence and high production standards of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and guests is now so depended on that we can sometimes overlook this national treasure.  This CD is available through their website, along with a great wealth of their other musical offerings, past and current.

Merry Christmas to you!
Kara Dahl Russell

Just Opened, January 9, 2015


As we return to our new release program for the new year, we "Start with Mozart."  (Which is also our after the news at noon theme this month.)  Rachel Barton Pine celbrates Mozart's January 27th birthday with a new release of his violin concertos.

Complete Violin Concertos
Rachel Barton Pine, violin
Matthew Lipman, viola
Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Sir Neville Marriner, cond.
AVIE 2317 - 2 CD set
ISBN# 8 22252 23172 4
Just in time for Mozart's birthday, and in tune with our focus on Mozart to start the year, this 2 CD set of musical excellence, from billboard chart-topping violinist Rachel Barton Pine.  Mozart's 5 violin concertos and the violin and viola Sinfonia Concertante (with violist Matthew Lipman in his recording debut).  Pine created her own cadenzas for these works, and in keeping with today's multi-media focus, her cadenzas are available in sheet music, "The Rachel Barton Pine Collection."  Pine was one of those "infant phenomenons" who began playing at 3, and performed her first Concerto at 10...  this is the stuff that outstanding international careers are made of.   In addition to her talent, she is known for her love of musical research and the liner notes on the CD are enlightening.  Special thanks to Crossover Media for suppling us with some promo give-away copies of this CD which we'll announce when we receive them later this month.

Zuill Bailey, cello
Lara Downes, piano
ISBN# 0 34062 30025 9
This CD presents an informed collection of  interesting combinations of works by modern era composers, in some cases referencing each other.  Bernstein's work "For Lucas Foss" is teamed with his Cello Sonata and another "For Aaron Copeland."  Foss's "For Lenny" is paired with his "Capriccio for Cello and Piano,"  and Barber's Sonata is paired with one of his songs in transcription.  It makes for great programming - references intertwining within the names of the pieces and musical allusions make this great music to entertain the mind as well as soothe the spirit with modern melodic romanticism.  While it has become a joke that almost every instrument in the orchestra says it "is the closest to the human voice"... the cello is the one of which it is most often said, and here we have it speaking with intellect and depth in the hands of a master, accompanied by a great Steinway artist.

Thompson Brass Ensemble
Barbara Bruns, Fisk organs
MSR 1481
ISBN# 6 81585 14812 3
My Delight of the Week.  In works ranging from Buxtehude and Bach to Humperdink and Hovhaness, the variety of selections take this program of works for brass and organ far from the usual dust covered fare for that combination.  Instead we have an entertaining program that you'll want to reach for again and again.

Next Friday I'll be on vacation, and we will not have Just Opened, just... great music.  Just Opened will return on January 23rd, featuring a new multi-CD package of Beethoven String Quartets!
Kara Dahl Russell

Suggested sites


This week, I have 2 informational websites to recommend that relate to pieces we've played:

Yesterday I played a Concerto by Salieri followed by a work of his contemporary and sometime nemesis, Mozart.  This website is like a multimedia research paper... it explores the life and music of Salieri (with soundclips, too), with special emphasis on the mythology of the Mozart/Salieri relationship, esp. regarding the Requiem:

Click here to learn more about Antonio Salieri

Today we aired Beethoven's Eroica Symphony... famously dedicated to Napoleon, then - so the story goes - in one of his (frequent) piques of temper, he crossed out the dedication and renamed it "Heroic."   Just as frequently, Beethoven took a few months and then, his temper having cooled, he reconsidered his words of anger.  In this case, he regularly, throughout the remainder of his life referred to this work as his symphony "for Napoleon."

Click here to explore the Beethoven/Napoleon interaction.

If you are a history buff, as I am, historical information and discussions only add to the appreciation of the music.  Enjoy!

Kara Dahl Russell

Just Opened, January 23, 2015


Today we focus on a new set of Beethoven Quartets from his "middle" period, and have a trio of excellent "recital" CDs that introduce us to breathtaking talents.

Cypress String Quartet
AVIE 2318 (3 CD set)
ISBN#8 22252 23182 3
My Delight of the Week!  This CD is part of a series of recordings by the Cypress String Quartet of Beethoven's quartets.  For some, the early quartets are too sweet, and the late quartets too challenging or dramatic, so these should be musically "just right" for Goldilocks!   If you look up the reviews of this CD, you will notice that there are many contenders in the landscape, some of them established favorite big names.   As usual, the critics weigh in with a wide variety of reviews, and perhaps that wide variety of opinion is a testimony in itself.  The Cypress String Quartet has been steadily advancing its international reputation for musical excellence, and this series of recordings are getting them noticed for their musical elegance.  

Katrina Szederkenyi, harp
MSR 1527
ISBN# 6 80585 15272 0
This CD is the unmistakable calling card of a seasoned musician with technical prowess.  Fugues are not for the faint of heart, neither for the performer nor the listener, so I suppose you could place this CD in the "serious music listener" section.  (I generally don't hold much truck with the phrase "serious music" - since it means completely different things to different people, but the selections here hit almost all the meanings.)  I am, unfortunately reminded of a music director I worked with whose mantra was "why labor for that which doth not please?"   The title, of course, does forewarn us:  Fantasias are often ponderous and Fugues can be melodically challenging and/or inaccessible. While these selections require incredible precision, technical dexterity, and demonstrate the kind of musical proficiency of a Franz Liszt (indeed, one of the works is by "the Franz Liszt of the Harp" Elias Parish-Alvars), few of them are particularly melodic or listenable.  (Even the Parish-Alvars is less melody driven and more Wagnerian, and he is generally known for having the showmanship and melodicism of Liszt as well as the skill.)  So -- it's not for everyone, but Szederkenyi is a recognized professional for whom this is a demonstration of her mature, experienced, deft musicianship and dedication.  Not only does this include a meritorious new composition for solo harp, the complete program is one of unusually high scholarship.  While it may not be everyone's cup of tea, it could well become one of those recordings that is studied and referred to in Conservatory & Music School setting for years to come.  This definitely marks Szederkenyi as an accomplished musician on the rise to keep your eye on.

Tien Hsieh, piano
MSR 1531
ISBN#6 81585 15312 3
It is worth starting with the fact that one reviewer has called Hsieh's recording of Beethoven's C minor Sonata "the best recording ever made" - in a crowded field!  Another reviewer called her "a formidable virtuoso and magnetic performer" whose "color, texture, and attention to detail make you sit up and take notice." Much like the harp CD above, her Fugue is mentioned as an indication of her musical precision and "voicing."  And much like the Cypress Quartet above, when a young performer takes on musical territory that has been recorded by - not just the best in the world today, but the best in the history of recordings, the quibbles and comparisons of reviewers can be mind numbing, but certainly Ms. Hsieh must take comfort in being compared on some works as second place to historic recordings of Van Cliburn.   The interesting program choice of a focus on transcriptions makes much of this program more accessible than the harp CD above, and also gives reviewers a lot to chew up ("I prefer Busoni's transcription to Liszt"   "why did she choose THIS transcription"), but the comments on both the high quality of the recording, and of her musical accomplishment and bravura is where they all agree in unison.  Wow!  Congratulations to an artist we are sure to hear more of.

Contemporary Works for Trumpet with....
Amy Schendel, trumpet
MSR 1536
ISBN# 6 81585 15362 8
MSR Classics is a label with a special interest and affinity for CD collections of new works by new composers, often for brass or other instruments which may not always be given the solo spotlight.   This leads to a few CDs that can be particularly trying, and others, like this one that are surprisingly accessible, given that the compositions are all "new."  One feature that makes many of these works "work" is that many are based on classical (or Baroque) structures that give even new works a form we can internally recognize, that helps us understand the work in subliminal ways that make them easier for us to understand on both a conceptual level and in consequence, on a musical level as well.   The focus on brass also makes it accessible to many who think they "don't like classical music."  If you like to extend yourself to new music, this one is a very easy reach.

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

Just Opened, January 30, 2015


Today we have a wide selection of the traditional and the new, the challenging and the soothing, in settings of solo works, chamber, and orchestral.

Premieres for Trumpet & Wind Ensemble
Eric Berlin, trumpet
UMASS Wind Ensemble
MSR 1506
ISBN# 6 81585 15062 7
more info. on Eric Berlin
This CD is bound to get second and third hearings now that one of the works, Concerto for 2 Trumpets and Band by Stephen Paulus has receieved a 2015 Grammy Nomination for Best Contemporary Classical Composition.  There are other new works on this CD that are worthy of attention, and more accessible, too:  the opening "Herald Emeritus Fanfare" and Continuum for Trumpet, Trombone and Wind Ensemble" by Jeffrey Holmes, and James Stephenson's "Duo Fantastique" have melodic riffs that remind us that new music can still be enjoyable.

Zuill Bailey, cello
Jun Markl, cond.
Indianapolis Symphony Orch.
Steinway & Sons 30049
ISBN# 0 34062 30049 5
Bailey's Official Website
My Delight of the Week.  Steinway and Sons focuses primarily on piano artists, so when a cellist is on their roster, you know it is an artist worth noticing.  In this case Zuill Bailey records major works for Cello and Orchestra by Ernest Bloch, and the world premier recording of Nico Muhly's Cello Concerto.  Pairing a new work with the rich melodies of Bloch gives this musical program an expansive breadth.

Piano Sonatas
Ian Hominick, piano
MSR 1475
ISBN # 6 81585 14752 8
Hominick's Official Website
Clementi was a child prodigy, contemporary of Mozart, and worthy of Mozarts rivalry and sniping comments.  His works have stood the test of time, and have been the basis of many greats who went on to form their own piano pedagogy.  Far from stuffy archaic works, Clementi's works were popular in their own time (Mozart's sister played some of them), and remain popular today for their wit and sparkle.

Ian Bostridge, tenor
Julius Drake, piano
EMI 57112
ISBN# 7 24355 71122 9
Official site for Bostridge
Official site for Drake
The song settings of Henze are an acquired taste, and may be too challenging for some, but these works definitely follow in a line from Schoenberg and Messien in the continuation of modern song cycles.  Bostridge and Drake perform "3 Auden Songs" and an interesting cycle dedicated to them, "6 Songs from the Arabian."

Danielle Talamantes, soprano
Henry Dehlinger, piano
MSR 1476
ISBN# 6 81585 14762 7
Talamante's Official Website
Dehlinger's Official Website
The composers featured in these song cycles/groups were known for combining latin melodic flair with brilliant pianistic flourish, so you will want to be sure to listen to the marvelous accompaniment of Dehlinger.  These works are not quite as challenging as the Henze works, but some of these are extensions of the influence of Mahler and Wagner, and the extended lines are not for those who want quick melodic payoff... you have to wait for the resolutions, but the rewards are rich.  Speaking of rich, Talamantes voice is worth a separate mention for its depth and fullness.

Thanks to our SU Practicum, Taylor Goebel for her work on pulling together photos and info. for today's blog.  Join us next week for more new releases, Just Opened.
Kara Dahl Russell

A reminder to buy the CD


As I have been mentioning recently on Just Opened, if you want to support the music and career of an artist, do not download - buy the CD.

Cellist Zoe Keating has taken fire by going public on some of these online issues for musicians:

Keating caused a stir with this blogpost about youtube's new contract for musicians.

Article with Keating revealing payouts for downloads.

These two links are fairly long articles, but essential reading for understanding what today's artist - for whom online presence is considered a necessary part of business - has to navigate to attempt getting paid for their performances.  (After reading the numbers in the second article, Keating seems to think 70K is a poor salary for working single mom, while most of the single moms I know, would think this is luxurious, and many musicians friends would find that income dreamy.  Still, this is just a single year in a very ephemeral market.)

In Classical era terms - it is similar to when Mozart felt underpaid and under appreciated in his court positions.  Being thrown out of court did not end his career, but it meant that he did not have the steady position, pay, and living of those in court.  He lived in a more hand-to-mouth manner, living on loans and promises of future pay on completion.  We remember him because his work has survived, but he could as easily have died in obscurity without a recognized masterwork, as many surely did.

Salieri negotiated the "system" very well.  It points to the reality that artists still have the reality of difficult trade-offs to get paid for their work, and many of these trade-offs may actually hinder or kill off great art in the making, by the simple closing of a door and the lack of proper pay.

Kara Dahl Russell

Just Opened - February 6th, 2015


We're AWAKENING to new CDs ON THE HORIZON today, on Just Opened.

New Music for Trumpet and Piano
Jason Bergman, trumpet
Ellen Eder, piano
Jason Bergman's Official Website
MSR 1482
ISBN# 6 81585 14822 8
This CD opens with the film-ic "Centennial Horizon" which puts us in a place of wide-open spaces, and a sense of new beginnings (like the end of film noir movie when they move to the country to start a new life).  It sets the tone for a CD that both pleases and takes risks in new territory.  Two spanish-flavored works are equally accessible, and two concert works (one of the with a second trumpet, William Campbell joining for a trio) that are more challenging and experimental.  The combination of all these flavors makes for a strong technical calling-card for Bergman, and a program of varied interest for us as listeners.

Jesse Mills, violin
Raman Ramakrishnan, cello
Rieko Aizawa, piano
The Horszowski Trio's Official Website
ISBN# 0 90404 94412 3
This trio have been called "power players" filled with musical conviction.  Pianist Aizawa was Horszowski's last piano student, and critics say she grounds the trio with a practical, clean focus on the music, with no extra frills added.   I would think that is just right for the pianist in a trio, and it means that she provides an excellent cohesive springboard for the flashy string players.  This CD presents an interesting trio of early-modern works, from a trio worth watching as they grow.

AWAKENING: 21st Century Slovenian Flute Music
Nicole Molumby, flute
Leslie Moreau, clarinet
Janis Mckay, bassoon
Nicole Molumby's Official Website
MSR 1448
ISBN# 6 81585 14482 4
My Delight of the Week!  When one hears the title of this CD, it could fill one with musical apprehension, but most of these works are infused with folk-influence and surprisingly easy on the ear and enjoyable.

Anderson & Roe Piano Duo
Greg Anderson's Official Website
Elizabeth Joy Roe's Official Website
Steinway & Sons 30033
ISBN# 0 34062 30033 4
A variety of transcriptions, serious and light, all executed with the technical precision we expect of a Steinway artist combined with the playfulness we hope for from a piano duo!

Special thanks to our SU practicum Taylor Goebel for pulling together the pictures and information on today's CDs.  Join us next week for more new releases, Just Opened.
Kara Dahl Russell

Just Opened - February 13, 2015


We continue our celebration of African American History Month with works by modern African composers and African American composers as well.  Traditional and new works for solo cello, romantic works for clarinet and piano, and the pulse-jumping orchestral works of Jack Gallagher round out today's new selections, Just Opened.

ASA: Piano Music by Composers of African Descent
William Chapman Nyaho, piano
Nyaho's Official Website
MSR 1242
ISBN# 6 81585 1242 2 2
My Delight of the Week!  Nyaho is a Ghanian American with music degrees from his native Ghana, London, Oxford and the Eastman school of music, and if that weren't enough, he has also studied in Switzerland.   In addition to his teaching career, he has compiled and edited a 5 volume graded anthology, "Piano Music of the African Diaspora" (Oxford Univeristy Press)  As this CD clearly demonstrates, his lecture-rectials and workshops advocate the knowledge of, and performance of works by Composers of African descent.   Some of these works have the lyricism of the romantic European tradition and will challenge your idea of what the work of an African Composer would sound like.  Some challenge in the direction of sounding like atonal concerts works, and others have the infectious syncopation that is infinitely appealing and exactly what you might expect.  This collection is a marvelous introduction to all these things encompassed in the work of Nyaho, and to a broader array of African-related music than we usually get. 

Symphony No. 2 'Ascendant'
JoAnn Falletta, conductor
London Symphony Orchestra
JoAnn Falletta's Official Website
London Symphony Orchestra Website
NAXOS 559768
ISBN# 6 36943 97682 1
Gallagher was a trumpeter, and it apparent in his compositions - his strengths make a tremendous and rich use of the brass.  And the most compelling parts of his symphony sound like wonderful band music.  Just as Wagner used brass to fine effect, the slower movements - with more effective use of the full orchestra - are very reminiscent of Wagners extension of the melodic line and slow development.  His brassy "Ascendant" symphony is paired on this cd with a work that is bound to be very successful, due to its melodic accessibility and it's short length (12 minutes).  

Transcriptions for Clarinet and Piano
Jonathan Cohler, clarinet
Rasa Vitkauskaite, piano
Jonathan Cohler's Official Website
Rasa Vitkauskaite's Official Website
ISBN# 7 62738 01232 7
These two performers have extensive individual performance careers, as well as an on-going performance partnership of several CDs.  Both have won numberous awards, and as we are sharing several of their CDs here within the past few months, they clearly have a breadth of musical influences and adaptability.   Vitkauskaite is the pianist for the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra.  This is an exceptionally accessible and engaging collection of works.   Like it or not, we are all still children of the romantic era, musically-speaking, so these melodic works speak easily to us.  Works bye Schumann, Prokofiev and Gaustavino.   If you are interested in getting to know the "solo" voice of the clarinet better, this would be an effective and enjoyable choice.

Suzanne Mueller, cello
ISBN# 8 84501 93803 7
For information and purchase
Mueller has infused her selection with a sense of personal taste and musical activism.   Her selections on this CD include composers well known to our listeners, JS Bach and Rick Sowash, as well as a wealth of new composers and new works which she credits to "Composers Voice."  That organization's calls for compositions has provided Mueller with material, contact with young composers, and the ability to ask composers to transcribe work intended for other instruments to work for her instrument.  Mueller commissioned the title track by Carol Worthey as a birthday present to herself - a theme and variations as varied as life itself.  
           I regularly  mention to our listeners that if they want to truly support the artist, they should buy the CD, both because CD purchase provides the largest income back the the artist, but also because the CD allows the listener to hear the musicians throughline and intention in creating a musical "story" line.  This CD by Mueller is a perfect, clearly personal, example of the intimacy of the CD.

Special thanks to our SU practicum Taylor Goebel for her work pulling together the basic CD info.- pictures, label info & websites - the better to help you find the CD you want.  Join us next week for more new releases, Just Opened.
Kara Dahl Russell

Just Opened - February 20th, 2015


Once again, I am reminded that artists make distinct programatic selections when they put together a CD.  Out of over 500 Scarlatti sonatas, Orion Weiss chose 19 to be a journey of emotion and music.  Of course, you will have individual favorites, but I am encouraged by his notes to remind you again:
If you want to support the artist, buy the CD, and
If you want to understand the artist's musical and artistic intention, take the time to listen to the entire musical journey.

At this year's Grammy's Prince said "Albums matter..." equating it to lives, and simlarly in an interview, Melissa Etheridge said, "I believe in the art form of the album... spending that time with someone to take that journey."

Symphonies No. 57, 67, 68
Nicholas McGegan, conductor
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
Nicholas McGegan's Official Website
Philharmonia's Official Website
PBP 08
ISBN# 8 52188 00310 2
My Delight of the Week! A name conductor with a name period-instrument orchestra playing one of the most reliable composers since the early 1700s could be met with a yawn, but the reviews of this CD hail it as vital and effervescent, filled with joy, vigor, incisiveness and zest!  Hailed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and The Boston Classical Review, so you can rest easy as you add it to your own library or give it as a gift.

Contemporary Music for Guitar
Ilkka Turta, guitar
More info on Ilkka Turta
MSR 1491
ISBN# 6 81585 14912 6
Many of listeners love the dulcet tones of the guitar, and... what's not to love?   If you are a fan and have a collection of romantic and restful guitar works, you may like to challenge yourself with this CD that puches the boundaries a bit.  Brouwer's "The Black Decameron" is the best known work on this CD, and while it is frequently played, it can still be a modern challenge for some listeners.  Turta's own "Etudes" and "Two Japanses Songs" by Hosokawa stretch the boundaries even farther, in this CD that demonstrates the risk-taking, intellectual approach, and exemplary technique of Turta, who is clearly interested in moving the guitar into the modern universe.

Cello Symphony & Cello Sonata
Zuill Bailey, cello
Grant Llewellyn, conductor
North Carolina Symphony
Zuill Bailey's Official Website
More info on Grant Llewellyn
North Carolina Symphony's Official Website
TELARC 34412
ISBN# 8 88072 34412 9
Zuill Bailey has become a reliable performer with orchestras, chamber pairings, and as a soloist around the world.   Britten's works for cello and orchestra featured in this CD are probably a challenge for the average listener, and consequently off the beaten path in performance and recording, so... all the better to have them under the capable bow of Bailey.    Pianist Natasha Paremski has been hailed as electrifying in the Sonata.  There is a reason some pieces are rarely performed and programmed.  This CD has met with tepid and mixed reviews mostly - it must be said - because of the music itself, one critic saying it was "no walk in the park for musician or audience." Much of the music was intented to represent turmoil, and... it does that very well.  There are hard-core Britten fans out there who will be very happy to have these fresh recordings with a growing small symphony and the star-power of Bailey.

Complete Keyboard Sonatas, V.15
Orion Weiss, piano
Orion Weiss's Official Website
NAXOS 573 222
ISBN# 7 47313 32227 5
Born the same year as Bach, Domenico Scarlatti was also from a family of musicians, his father Alessandro was largely responsible for the early development of Neopolitan opera.  Domenico is most famous for his extensive series of keyboard sonatas. He wrote well over 500 of them, and they are among the most significant of the keyboard works of the 1700s.  Orion Weiss has been a staple of public radio and classical music station's playlists since he made his orchestral debut in 1999.  Weiss’s impressive list of awards includes the Gilmore Young Artist Award, an Avery Fisher Career Grant, the Gina Bachauer Scholarship at the Juilliard School and the Mieczyslaw Munz Scholarship. He feels that each sonata is a surprising, engaging world of sound, and his has chosen these sonatas to create a whole program, a narrative emotional and musical journey.  
Thanks again to SU practicum Taylor Goebel, for pulling together the pictures, info. and websites for your information.   Join us next week for more new releases, Just Opened.

Thank you for listening to WSCL-FM, for making us a part of your day, and for your financial support of Delmarva Public Radio.
Kara Dahl Russell

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