The New Releases for Thursday, May 27, 2010
This program, a regular MPR feature since November 1968, begins a summer hiatus next week, but hopefully will return in September.
The Duke of Marlborough Fanfare; Children's March
Dallas Wind Symphony’Jerry Junkin, conductor
Percy Grainger (1882-1961)
Grainger, perhaps the first to explore the expanded sonic possibilities of the 'wind band' (as opposed to the military band), is well served by these Dallas players, who bring both a professional brio and an amateur's love to these remarkable and tuneful scores. Superb sonics from the RR engineers, as expected (for those for whom full-fidelity playback is still a concern... earbuds, beware!).
Storie de alter storie (after Scarlatti K.105)
Salvatore Sciarrino (b. 1947)
West German Radio Symphony Cologne/Kazushi Ono, conductor
A re-imagining of an 18th century keyboard piece, scored for full symphony orchestra plus accordion, along with other mystical modern works... unusual listening; be beguiled.
Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra
Samuel Jones (b. 1935):
Christopher Okla, tuba; Seattle Symphony/Gerard Schwarz, conductor
As beautiful a composition (and performance) for tuba as you are likely to find, truly astonishing in its lyric sweep and rich harmonic conturs, all gracefully accomplished by the musicians for whom the score was created. A minor masterpiece... hear this one!
Siciliano for Violin & Harpsichord; Tempo rubato, fr Sonatina No. 2 for Harpsichord; Tango for Fortepiano & Harpsichord
Asako Hirabayashi, harpsichord; Gina Dibello, violin; Gail Olszewski, fortepiano
Suave Twin Cities musicians explore opportunities for the harpsicord (alone and in consort) in the 21st century... deliciously engaging scores.
"La Traviata" Fantasy, Op. 248
Emanuelle Krakamp (1813-1883)
Miriam Terragni, flute; Catherine Sarasin, piano
Some of the best-beloved tunes from Verdi's opera are repackated here, epitomizing the era of virtuoso singing and instrumental showbiz. This Swiss duo lacks nothing.
Chimborazo; Sonata for Oboe and Piano
Tim Ewers (b. 1958); Francis Poulenc (1899-1963)
The Fibonacci Sequence (a flexible chamber ensemble)
Poulenc's Sonata, a tribute to Prokofiev and his own last composition, is elegiac of mood and may evidence some premonition on Poulenc's part of his own impending demise. Ewers' piece reflects on a transcendent visit to the famous mountain peak in Ecuador.
Adagio, fr String Quartet No. 1; Toccata, fr Sonata for Cello & Piano
Peter Fribbins (b. 1969)
Allegri String Quartet; Raphael Wallfisch, cello; John York, piano
This English composer had plenty to say in his remarkable Quartet (created when he was 20), and the pithy Cello Sonata shows mastery of form and expression (as do a Piano Trio and Clarinet Quintet also included in this album).
The Fair Melusine Overture, Op. 32
Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
NBC Symphony Orchestra/Arturo Toscanini, conductor (recorded 1947)
Everything old is new again in this double-CD reissue of Mendelssohnin performances (the three major symphonies, plus the Violin Concerto and other expected pleasures) by the world's most famous conductor with 'his orchestra'. Vintage sonics are mostly fine (though monophonic, of course), conveying a perceptive musicianship and compelling interpretations.
Evening Rest (1916)
Alfred Hollins (1865-1942)
Peter King, organ (Klais/Bath Abbey)
From an album of Organ Lollipops (Volume 2), amid many plangent warhorses, this glowing portrait of a dimming of the light. The Bath Abbey Klais organ, registered by Mr. King, creates an appropriately fragile image for this one of the more reflective pieces in the collection.