Uncommonly Classical

Stephen Paulus (b.1949): Three Places of Englightenment; Veil of Tears; Grand Concerto for Organ and Orchestra / Nathan Laube, organ; Nashville SO; Guerrero

Posted by on Jan 29, 2015 in Contemporary | 0 comments

Stephen Paulus (b.1949): Three Places of Englightenment; Veil of Tears; Grand Concerto for Organ and Orchestra / Nathan Laube, organ; Nashville SO; Guerrero

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 French...

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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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Baroque Bohemia & Beyond, Vol. 7 ‘Winter Season’ / Czech Chamber Philharmonic, Vojtěch Spurný

Posted by on Nov 2, 2014 in Baroque | 0 comments

Baroque Bohemia & Beyond, Vol. 7 ‘Winter Season’ / Czech Chamber Philharmonic, Vojtěch Spurný

The latest release from Musical Concepts in their ongoing Baroque Bohemia & Beyond series, this seventh installment is subtitled “winter season”, and is comprised of delightful music by Czech composers active in the early decades of the Classical era. The music is largely by unfamiliar composers, some of the better known being Michel Corrette, Jan Krtitel Kuchar and Antonio Rosetti. Performances are by the Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra, a modern-instrument ensemble under the direction of Vojtěch Spurný. In 1770, a...

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David Starobin plays Mauro Giuliani, Vol. 2 / David Starobin, guitar

Posted by on Nov 1, 2014 in Classical | 2 comments

David Starobin plays Mauro Giuliani, Vol. 2 / David Starobin, guitar

We have Bridge Records to thank for continuing this marvelous survey of the guitar works of the great early 19th-century composer, Mauro Giuliani. David Starobin is one of the finest master guitarists playing this music. The disc not only shows off Giuliani’s solo pieces but also his highly regarded chamber works. There are some very interesting and wonderful works for duo instrumentation. His variations for guitar and violin, op. 24a, is a joy to behold. The interaction between the guitar and violin is splendid. The violinist is Amalia...

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Kenneth Fuchs: Falling Man; Movie House; Songs of Innocence & of Experience / Roderick Williams, baritone

Posted by on Oct 11, 2014 in Contemporary | 0 comments

Kenneth Fuchs: Falling Man; Movie House; Songs of Innocence & of Experience / Roderick Williams, baritone

September 11, 2001 was a day never to be forgotten. It was unspeakably devastating, and a tragically surreal day for all who witnessed the events unfold. I was there that day, hearing incessant sirens, watching in disbelief as the North Tower crumbled, smelling the stench and wandering in all directions trying to escape the reality… Such is the subject matter with which the music on this disc intends to grapple. Based on Don DeLlllo’s post-9/11 novel Falling Man, the eponymous song cycle composed by Kenneth Fuchs is a stunning work...

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New American Choral Series: Music of Stephen Caracciolo / Cathedra Vocal Ens.; Michael McCarthy

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

New American Choral Series: Music of Stephen Caracciolo / Cathedra Vocal Ens.; Michael McCarthy

Stephen Caracciolo writes beautiful music. However, as pleasurable as the music is of its own accord, to hear it without at the same time taking in a full understanding of the sung texts is to miss the true essence of the music. It is Stephen Caracciolo’s consummate writing for chorus and the manner in which his music illuminates the text that can move the listening experience beyond enjoyable to sublime. The music is directed by Michael McCarthy and sung by Cathedra, a professional 18 voice mixed choir formed in 2010 that is the...

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