Uncommonly Classical

Salomon Jadassohn (1831-1902): Symphonies Nos. 1-4 / Brandenburg State Orchestra, Frankfurt; Griffiths

Posted by on May 23, 2015 in Romantic | 0 comments

Salomon Jadassohn (1831-1902): Symphonies Nos. 1-4 / Brandenburg State Orchestra, Frankfurt; Griffiths

Having fallen into obscurity shortly after the composer’s death, the music of Salomon Jadassohn has enjoyed a re-evaluation in recent years. This cpo release was my first acquaintance with the German composer’s music and based on the merits of what’s to be heard here, Jadassohn’s finely crafted and engaging music certainly deserves to be known by a much wider audience. In this program of the composer’s four symphonies and two brief concertante works, the Brandenburg State Orchestra of Frankfurt is conducted by...

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George Crumb: Songs – Voices from the Heartland; Sun and Shadow / Ann Crumb, soprano; Orchestra 2001

Posted by on May 13, 2015 in Contemporary | 0 comments

George Crumb: Songs – Voices from the Heartland; Sun and Shadow / Ann Crumb, soprano; Orchestra 2001

This Bridge Records release of two books of songs by George Crumb makes for a very nice collector’s item. The songs, which have made few appearances on CD, are collected here in their entirety, and receive an elegant and thorough presentation as Volume 16 of Bridge’s Complete George Crumb Edition. Among the performers are the composer’s daughter, Ann Crumb, and Orchestra 2001, the Philadelphia contemporary music ensemble that is in the process of recording all seven of Crumb’s American songbooks. Listeners who favor organization,...

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Carl Czerny (1791-1857): String Quartets / Sheridan Ensemble

Posted by on May 11, 2015 in Classical | 0 comments

Carl Czerny (1791-1857): String Quartets / Sheridan Ensemble

What circumstances would compel a composer to purposely conceal his finest compositions, while at the same time publishing an abundance of, if not mediocre, certainly second-rate music? The name Carl Czerny (1791-1857) has been known to generations of pianists as the author of the most widely used method books and exercises for the student pianist. He also published well over 800 opuses of études, nocturnes, sonatas, variations and other pieces for piano, popular in the salons and parlors of 19th-century Vienna. However, it is not widely...

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Music for Brass Septet, Vol. 2 – Instrumental suites from operas by Rameau, Blow, Purcell & Handel / Septura

Posted by on May 8, 2015 in Baroque | 0 comments

Music for Brass Septet, Vol. 2 – Instrumental suites from operas by Rameau, Blow, Purcell & Handel / Septura

This album was an obvious recommendation hearing only the opening bars of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Suite from Dardanus, gracefully rendered with a sparkle and finesse that could stand easily beside any version I’ve heard. Musical sensibilities, tonal beauty, balance, intonation, technique… all struck me as faultless. Performing on this Naxos CD is Septura, a modern instrument brass ensemble comprised of three trumpets, two tenor trombones, one bass trombone and tuba. Each member of Septura is a principal player in a major...

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Arif Melikov (b.1933): Legend of Love, a ballet in three acts / Moscow Radio SO; Valery Gergiev

Posted by on May 6, 2015 in Modern | 0 comments

Arif Melikov (b.1933): Legend of Love, a ballet in three acts / Moscow Radio SO; Valery Gergiev

Here’s one for lovers of lush, romantic orchestral scores. The ballet Legend of Love by Azerbaijani composer Arif Melikov was completed in 1961, only a year and a half after the composer had graduated from the Baku Conservatory. It promptly premiered on the stage of the Leningrad Kirov Theatre and four years later was produced at the Bolshoi. In these technically secure and passionately committed performances, a young Valery Gergiev leads the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra. The 1988 studio recording has been beautifully remastered by...

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A.H. Schultzen (1682-1762): Recorder Sonatas / Ensemble la Ninfea, Barbara Heindlmeier, recorder

Posted by on Apr 30, 2015 in Baroque | 0 comments

A.H. Schultzen (1682-1762): Recorder Sonatas / Ensemble la Ninfea, Barbara Heindlmeier, recorder

The music of A.H. Schultzen (1681-1742) is a relatively new and exciting addition to the 18th-century recorder literature. Schultzen’s music first came to light in a 2001 article in the Journal of the American Recorder Society. A contemporary and compatriot of J.S. Bach and G.P. Telemann, Schultzen wrote difficult, brilliant, and progressive Italianate music for the recorder. The present album, released in 2015 on the German Raumklang label, intersperses six of the composer’s recorder sonatas with three anonymous viola da gamba...

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Franz Anton Hoffmeister (1754-1812): Sonatas for piano, Vol. 1 / Biliana Tzinlikova, piano

Posted by on Apr 10, 2015 in Classical | 0 comments

Franz Anton Hoffmeister (1754-1812): Sonatas for piano, Vol. 1 / Biliana Tzinlikova, piano

This beautifully recorded Grand Piano disc is the first of a planned series of the complete keyboard music of Franz Hoffmeister. All world premiere recordings, the program is played with sensitivity, spirit and sparkle on a modern grand piano by Bulgarian pianist Biliana Tzinlikova. Franz Anton Hoffmeister (1754-1812) was born in Rothenburg am Neckar, a medium-sized town lying about 30 miles southwest of Stuttgart. At the age of fourteen, he moved to Vienna to study law, where he simultaneously perused his interests in music. He completed his...

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Luigi Dallapiccola (1904-1975): Orchestral Works

Posted by on Apr 3, 2015 in Modern | 0 comments

Luigi Dallapiccola (1904-1975): Orchestral Works

Capriccio Records has shown an increasing commitment to repertoire of the 20th and 21st centuries, bringing to light a number of fine compositions by composers who are scantly represented in the recorded catalog. This program of orchestral music by Luigi Dallapiccola (1904-1975) is a recent example. The recording offers five orchestral works, progressing chronologically through the Italian composer’s output, from his early diatonic yet highly chromatic period to his adoption of Arnold Schönberg’s twelve -tone technique and finally...

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Carson Cooman: ‘In Beauty Walking’ – Orchestral Works / Leah Crane, soprano; Chloé Trevor, violin

Posted by on Mar 19, 2015 in Contemporary | 0 comments

Carson Cooman: ‘In Beauty Walking’ – Orchestral Works / Leah Crane, soprano; Chloé Trevor, violin

I had not encountered the music of American composer and organist Carson Cooman prior to picking up his most recent release on CD, 2014’s In Beauty Walking. After thoroughly enjoying this selection of music for string orchestra and deciding to recommend it on Expedition Audio, I set about learning more about this fine composer. Carson Cooman was born in 1982 in Rochester, New York. Now only in his early 30’s, he has produced an astonishing catalog of compositions with opuses numbering over 1,100. His ouevre encompasses a wide variety...

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Antonio Soler: Keyboard Sonatas Nos. 42-56 / Mateusz Borowiak, piano

Posted by on Mar 16, 2015 in Classical | 0 comments

Antonio Soler: Keyboard Sonatas Nos. 42-56 / Mateusz Borowiak, piano

Between 1997 and 2006, Naxos released a series of thirteen recordings performed by harpsichordist Gilbert Rowland of the complete keyboard sonatas by Antonio Soler. What’s shaping up to be another cycle of Soler’s sonatas began in 2011, with two key differences: one is that the performances are all on a modern grand piano, and secondly, each of the four issues to date is performed by a different pianist. One thing each musician has in common is that he or she took First Prize at the Canals International Music Competition of...

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