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.
SHOKA: JAPANESE CHILDREN SONGS
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
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).
London Philharmonic Orchestra
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