Uncommonly Classical

A German Soul: Devotional Music from 17th-century Hamburg / Ensemble Méridien

Posted by on Aug 27, 2014 in Baroque | 0 comments

A German Soul: Devotional Music from 17th-century Hamburg / Ensemble Méridien

Subtitled Devotional Music from 17th-century Hamburg, A German Soul from Brilliant Classics is a varied program of instrumental, solo vocal and organ pieces dating, for the most part, from the early Baroque. The eight composers represented were all active in northern Germany at some point or another in their careers. Made in 2012, the recordings are all new and the audio engineering is of the extremely high standard we’ve come to expect of Brilliant Classics’ new recordings. Written at a time when the art of organ building and...

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Out of Darkness – An Opera of Survival by Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer

Posted by on Aug 6, 2014 in Contemporary | 0 comments

Out of Darkness – An Opera of Survival by Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer

Jake Heggie is one of the today’s outstanding composers. He has written many fine works and is perhaps this country’s greatest living opera composer. Heggie made a big splash with Moby Dick and was greatly praised for Dead Man Walking. Working again with his long-standing librettist, Gene Scheer, he has produced a stunning work based on the Holocaust. The opera is set in three half-hour sections, each more closely resembling a song cycle than an act from an opera. The first section entitled, Another Sunrise, closely resembles a...

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Michelagnolo Galilei: Intavolatura di liuto / Anthony Bailes, lute

Posted by on Jul 31, 2014 in Renaissance | 0 comments

Michelagnolo Galilei: Intavolatura di liuto / Anthony Bailes, lute

The story behind the two composers whose music appears on this Ramée CD is as fascinating as the music itself. Performed on a ten-course lute by Anthony Bailes, the disc is titled Intavolatura di liuto. Two members of an illustrious Italian family, Michelagnolo Galilei and his father, Vincenzo, wrote the music. The family’s fame has nothing to do with music; a second son of Vincenzo and older brother to Michelagnolo was none other than the renowned astronomer Galileo Galilei (usually referred to only by his first name), himself a fine...

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Fortepiano Sonatas of Felipe Rodriguez (1760-1815) / Josep Roger, fortepiano

Posted by on Jul 27, 2014 in Classical | 0 comments

Fortepiano Sonatas of Felipe Rodriguez (1760-1815) / Josep Roger, fortepiano

Imagine listening to some amazing music, written by a contemporary of Mozart who is not even listed in Grove’s or Baker’s. That is the case with this wonderful CD of the fortepiano works of Felipe Rodriguez. There are very few existing works from this priest who became an organist. Rodriguez, who was very much influenced by the classicism of Mozart and Haydn, most likely also had knowledge of Scarlatti and Boccherini. He was born in 1760 and when he was ten, Rodriguez was placed in the Montserrat Escolania, one of the oldest music schools...

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Atostrio: The French Album – Chaminade; Francaix; Debussy; Boulanger

Posted by on Jul 26, 2014 in Post Romantic | 0 comments

Atostrio: The French Album – Chaminade; Francaix; Debussy; Boulanger

Award winning German trio Atos Trio perform on this excellent Farao Classics release titled The French Album. Four works for piano trio make up the program, ranging from the seldom-heard Chaminade, Françaix and Boulanger pieces to one that lies at the core of the repertoire by Debussy. The music by the first three composers mentioned appear in only an alternate version or two while the Debussy is appropriately well represented with over a dozen alternatives in the catalog. However, there is nothing whatsoever lacking in Atos’...

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Samuel Zyman: 3 Conciertos / Marisa Canales, flute, Mercedes Gomez, harp / Echenique

Posted by on Jun 29, 2014 in Contemporary | 0 comments

Samuel Zyman: 3 Conciertos / Marisa Canales, flute, Mercedes Gomez, harp / Echenique

Mexico’s leading classical music label, Urtext Digital Classics, offers a catalog of well over a hundred titles, most of which feature artists and composers from The Americas. This recent release titled 3 Conciertos from March of 2014 offers a trio of concertos by Mexican composer Samuel Zyman, one each for flute, harp, and a double concerto with the two instruments combined. The flute soloist is Marisa Canales, co-founder and CEO of Urtext. She, along with harpist Mercedes Gómez and conductor Benjamín Juárez Echenique with the...

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Alessandro Stradella (1639-82): La Susanna, oratorio

Posted by on Jun 27, 2014 in Baroque | 0 comments

Alessandro Stradella (1639-82): La Susanna, oratorio

Some composers are satisfied to live quiet but purposeful lives, have many children and leave a great musical legacy. Others are like Alessandro Stradella (1639-1682) who led the life of a scoundrel in the midst of a great musical career, living to only 42 years of age. He lived the life that movies are made of. He produced over 300 works composed for royalty, poets and clergy. He was also tried for embezzling from the church and got into many amorous affairs. He was run out of various cities, was the victim of an attempted assassination in...

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Portus Felicitatis – Motets & Arias by Johann Georg Reutter

Posted by on Jun 26, 2014 in Baroque | 0 comments

Portus Felicitatis – Motets & Arias by Johann Georg Reutter

This is the second CD recommended on Expedition Audio of music by German composer Johann Georg Reutter (1708-1772), who has long been handed the short end of the proverbial stick by history’s musicologists. Appraisals of Reutter’s art coming from the past couple centuries contrast bluntly with those of the composer’s time. In the fields of both opera and sacred music, he was among the most respected composers of 1730′s Vienna. This album on the Ramée record label is titled Portus Felicitatis – Motets & Arias...

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Eduard Franck: Piano Trios / Swiss Piano Trio

Posted by on Jun 24, 2014 in Romantic | 0 comments

Eduard Franck: Piano Trios / Swiss Piano Trio

This is the second disc from the Audite label of piano trios by the German composer and virtuoso pianist, Eduard Franck. Given the high quality of the music, it’s surprising so little of it has previously been recorded. Of the three pieces on this program, there is one other version of the Piano Trio Op. 22 on the Naxos label. The Piano Trio Op. 53 and the Piano Trio (1835) are both appearing here as world premiere recordings. Eduard Franck (1817-1893) was about a generation older than Johannes Brahms. He was an extraordinarily gifted...

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Arvo Pärt: ‘Fur Anna Maria’ – The Complete Piano Music / Jeroen Van Veen

Posted by on Jun 23, 2014 in Contemporary | 0 comments

Arvo Pärt: ‘Fur Anna Maria’ – The Complete Piano Music / Jeroen Van Veen

As it is played here, the complete piano music of Arvo Pärt takes about two hours to perform and fits neatly on these two Brilliant Classics CDs. I’ve qualified this statement with “as it is played here” because some of the music is rather improvisatory, leaving much to the discretion of the performer. In the case of the major work on the program, Für Alina, this includes the duration. Framing the rest of the program, pianist Jeroen van Veen has recorded two versions of this important piece. Pärt’s piano music was...

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