Uncommonly Classical

Louis Glass (1864-1936): Complete Symphonies, Vol. 1 / Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie; Daniel Raiskin

Posted by on Feb 20, 2015 in Romantic | 0 comments

Louis Glass (1864-1936): Complete Symphonies, Vol. 1 / Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie; Daniel Raiskin

In these two works by Danish composer Louis Glass, musical reflections of our natural world are unmistakable; the idyllic air of a bucolic life surfaces time and again. Glass provides both works with descriptive titles – the third symphony is subtitled “Forest Symphony” and the title of the orchestral suite is “Summer Life”. Glass’s pastoral evocations are masterful; these, along with the disciplined structural design of his music and an ability to write passages of extraordinary beauty, produce...

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Telemann: Sonatas, Trios & Concerti / L’Accademia Giocosa

Posted by on Feb 12, 2015 in Baroque | 0 comments

Telemann: Sonatas, Trios & Concerti / L’Accademia Giocosa

Oehms Classics has released this collection of six sonatas, trios and concerti by Telemann, all but one appearing as a world premiere recording. Playing on period instruments, L’Accademia Giocosa (‘playful’) is made up of members of the Bavarian Radio Symphony, together with leading early music specialists. They are a band of formidable technical and musical accomplishment. The album consists of a half dozen works for diverse combinations of anywhere from four to ten performers, playing oboes, flute, bassoon and strings with...

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William Wallace: Creation Symphony; Pelléas and Mélisande; Prelude to The Eumenides / Brabbins, BBC Scottish SO

Posted by on Feb 7, 2015 in Romantic | 0 comments

William Wallace: Creation Symphony; Pelléas and Mélisande; Prelude to The Eumenides / Brabbins, BBC Scottish SO

If you missed this album of Scottish composer William Wallace’s orchestral music when it was first issued by Hyperion in the late ’90s, you have another chance to obtain it with this reissue on the label’s mid-price Helios line – at about half the price of the original. These are the world-premiere recordings of three works, the major one being Wallace’s Creation Symphony in C sharp minor. Begun in 1896 and first performed in 1899, it’s a substantial piece for large orchestra, resembling traditional...

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Jean-Michel Damase: Symphonie; Piano Concerto No. 2; Concertino; Flute Concerto

Posted by on Feb 1, 2015 in Modern | 0 comments

Jean-Michel Damase: Symphonie; Piano Concerto No. 2; Concertino; Flute Concerto

The Dutton record label initially built its reputation issuing audiophile-quality transfers from 78-rpm shellac discs recorded between 1920 and 1970. While the label has continued this thread of activity, it also issues world-premiere recordings of little-known but deserving works by 20th-century composers, in superb modern digital sound. This is what we have here. Under the direction of Martin Yates, the BBC Concert Orchestra performs four works by Jean-Michel Damase – three concertos and a Symphony. These works were composed over a...

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Stephen Paulus (1949-2014): Concerto & Orchestral Works / Guerrero; Nashville

Posted by on Jan 29, 2015 in Contemporary | 1 comment

Stephen Paulus (1949-2014): Concerto & Orchestral Works / Guerrero; Nashville

For those listeners not familiar with the work of the American composer Stephen Paulus, this recent release from Naxos serves as an excellent introduction, offering superb performances of Paulus’s orchestral music from Giancarlo Guerrero and his Nashville Symphony. Paulus was born in Summit, New Jersey in 1949, and grew up in Minnesota, where he remained through his college years at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis-St. Paul. He served as Composer-in-Residence for both the Minnesota Orchestra and later for the Atlanta Symphony...

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Georgy Catoire (1861-1926): Piano Music / Marc-André Hamelin, piano

Posted by on Jan 26, 2015 in Romantic | 0 comments

Georgy Catoire (1861-1926): Piano Music / Marc-André Hamelin, piano

This recording on Hyperion’s mid-priced Helios imprint was made in 1998. If you missed it the first time around, you can, and should, remedy that now. The music is performed by long-time Hyperion artist, Marc-André Hamelin, a pianist who time and again has exposed the extraordinary music of little known or completely unknown composers. This Georgy Catoire album is a case in point, and will be a welcome discovery for any ardent explorer of the Romantic piano repertoire. Georgy Catoire (1861-1926) was born in Russia to parents of...

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Joaquin Turina: Chamber Music for Strings and Piano / Lincoln Trio

Posted by on Jan 18, 2015 in Romantic | 0 comments

Joaquin Turina: Chamber Music for Strings and Piano / Lincoln Trio

Much of the music of Joaquín Turina (1882 – 1949) is reasonably well represented on disc, including his songs, pieces for solo piano and for guitar, and some of his orchestral works. In the area of chamber music, however, aside from a few of his most popular pieces, little has been recorded. This excellent release by the Lincoln Trio on Cedille Records of Turina’s complete chamber music for strings and piano offers a welcome opportunity to obtain, appreciate and enjoy some little known but very fine chamber music. Turina began his...

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Swiss Aspects: Orchestral Music from Argovia 1945-1970 / Douglas Bostock

Posted by on Nov 10, 2014 in Modern | 0 comments

Swiss Aspects: Orchestral Music from Argovia 1945-1970 / Douglas Bostock

This recent release from Coviello Classics titled Swiss Aspects presents live recordings from concerts marking the fiftieth anniversary of the Argovia Philharmonic. Its subtitle reads Orchestral Music from Argovia 1945-1970. This sent me to Google maps where I discovered Argovia is one of the northern cantons of Switzerland and is among the most densely populated regions of the country. The Argovia Philharmonic is conducted by Douglas Bostock. Both the performances and engineering are superb. This thoroughly satisfying album includes three...

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Francesco Cilea: Piano Trio; Cello Sonata / Cusano, Di Tonno, Codispoti

Posted by on Nov 7, 2014 in Romantic | 0 comments

Francesco Cilea: Piano Trio; Cello Sonata / Cusano, Di Tonno, Codispoti

Italian composer Francesco Cilea is best known for his operas, Adriana Lecouvreur and L’arlesiana, but his success in the opera house was spotty. His final opera, Gloria, premièred in Milan in 1907 under the baton of Arturo Toscanini, was poorly received and withdrawn after only two performances. This blow was enough to make the forty year old Cilea abandon the operatic stage permanently. He did, however, continue to write chamber music, a genre that occupied him throughout his career. This Brilliant Classics release recorded in 2013 of...

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Martin Berteau (1708-1771): Sonatas & Airs for Violoncello / Christophe Coin

Posted by on Nov 4, 2014 in Classical | 0 comments

Martin Berteau (1708-1771): Sonatas & Airs for Violoncello / Christophe Coin

The music of French composer Martin Berteau has never been well represented on record. In fact, all I discovered were brief appearances on a handful of 18th-century cello anthologies. That’s surprising given the fact that Berteau is widely considered to be the founder of the French school of cello playing, if not all of modern cello performance. Offering over an hour of Berteau’s beautiful music, this Glossa release titled simply Martin Berteau, Sonatas & airs for violoncello is a landmark release – and all the more so...

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