Uncommonly Classical

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 His final opera, Gloria, premièred in Milan in 1907 under the baton of Arturo Toscanini, was poorly received and withdrawn after only two performances.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 | 0 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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Xavier Montsalvatge: Works for Orchestra / Marta Matheu, soprano

Posted by on Oct 3, 2014 in Contemporary | 0 comments

Xavier Montsalvatge: Works for Orchestra / Marta Matheu, soprano

A quick query shows that the music of Xavier Montsalvatge is best represented on the Naxos label. Recordings prior to this release include some of the Catalan composer’s piano music and chamber works. Performed by the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Victor Pablo Pérez, this release is Naxos’ first of Montsalvatge’s orchestral oeuvre and it provides an excellent overview with compositions coming from three distinct periods of his career. Concluding the album is arguably his most important work, the...

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‘Preisung’ / Sjaella women’s chorus

Posted by on Oct 1, 2014 in Contemporary | 0 comments

‘Preisung’ / Sjaella women’s chorus

This is a gem. It’s one of those rare albums where, hearing only the opening few measures, you become completely absorbed in the beauty of what you are hearing. Simply titled Preisung (German for “Praise”), the music is sung by Sjaella, a group of six extraordinary young singers aged 18 to 22 years. Sjalla is comprised of two sopranos, two mezzo-sopranos and two altos. The album was released by Querstand, a record label whose one hundred releases reflect an adventuresome programming spirit. Containing largely world-premiere...

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Anthony Holborne: The Fruit of Love – works for viol consort / L’Achéron

Posted by on Sep 28, 2014 in Renaissance | 0 comments

Anthony Holborne: The Fruit of Love – works for viol consort / L’Achéron

England produced few remarkable composers for a period of several hundred years. For virtually all of the Baroque, Classical and Romantic eras, the country had to wait until the time of Britten, Vaughan Williams and Elgar in the early 20th century to boast their own true greatness. However, if we go back one era further to the Renaissance, the composers of England were as brilliant as any of their contemporaries on the continent. This was England’s golden Elizabethan era, the time of John Dowland, Thomas Morley and Henry Purcell. In the...

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