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Thread: The Classical Thread

  1. #316
    Registered User Alypius's Avatar
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    This is to be released May 8, 2012:



    There are a number of Debussy and Ravel fans around here, and Boulez's skills as a conductor are simply extraordinary. While this 8-CD set lists for $50, ArkivMusic has a pre-order price of $32: ArkivMusic link to Boulez Debussy.
    It includes all the great orchestral works of both composers (e.g. Debussy's La mer, Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, Images, and Ravel's Bolero, Miroirs, Dauphins et Chloe, Piano Concerto in G, and Piano Concerto for the Left Hand)

    By the way, the two other Boulez box set of Bartok and Stravinsky are also much discounted at ArkivMusic. The Stravinsky is 6 CDs and is on sale for $30. The Bartok is 8 CDs and is on sale for $35. Here's the link:
    ArkivMusic Link to Boulez box sets

  2. #317
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    For me, one of the best classical releases of 2012 is a performance of Gabriel Faure's works for cello and piano by Cecile Licad and Alban Gerhardt.



    This record recently won an "Editor's Choice" from Gramophone Magazine as well as lots of fine review. It includes both his cello sonatas and a number of brief works, including his famous (and beautiful) Sicilienne.

    By the way, this record and the whole Hyperion label is on sale for a few weeks on ArkivMusic. Here is the link to Hyperion sale:
    http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/...&page_size=100

    In recent years, Hyperion has put out some of my absolute favorite classical records, including The Florestan Trio's performance of the piano trios of Debussy, Faure, and Ravel, the Takacs Quartet's performance of Schubert's Death and Maiden Quartet (2006), Steven Osborne's performance of Rachmaninov's 24 Preludes (2009), Steven Hough's performance of Rachmaninov's 5 Piano Concertos (2004), Marc-Andre Hamelin's performance of Liszt's Piano Sonata in B minor (2011), and Steven Osborne's performance of Ravel's complete piano music (2011).



  3. #318
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alypius View Post
    There are a number of fans of John Adams around here. I just received an announcement of what looks to be an excellent new performance of one of John Adams' best works, Harmonielehre by Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony. Release date is March 13th.



    Here's a link to an early review (and a good discount on ArkivMusic):
    http://www.arkivmusic.com/albumpage/700703-E949-5

    I have a so-so performance by Simon Rattle & the Birmingham Symphony from 1994. The best known version is from 1990 by Edo de Waart and the San Francisco Symphony. Adams is a longtime resident of the Bay Area and, I think, is still artist-in-residence with the San Francisco Symphony. By the way, this is SACD hybrid. And so the sonics should be excellent.
    Thanks for this, I've added it to me Wish List.

    I've just bought four versions of Riley's In C, am slowly digesting them....

  4. #319
    Registered User Alypius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughan View Post
    Thanks for this, I've added it to me Wish List.
    Vaughan, Hope you enjoy it. It seems to me that Adams' work continues to grow stature as the years go by. Harmonielehre is one of his best.

    For me one of the best classic releases of the year (together with the Faure cello works [see post above]) has been:
    James Ehnes & Andrew Armstong, Bartok: Violin Sonata nos. 1 & 2 / Rhapsodies nos. 1 & 2 (Chandos)



    Whereas the Rhapsodies are immediately accessible (both are based on Hungarian folk melodies), the Sonatas combine dazzling rhythms with edgy harmonies--much like Bartok's amazing String Quartet no. 4 which dates from the same period. I figured that since a number of people around here enjoy Bartok's string quartets, these might be of interest.

  5. #320
    Registered User Alypius's Avatar
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    Paul Hillier (director) / Theatre of Voices & Ars Nova Copenhagen (ensemble),
    Arvo Part: Creator Spiritus
    (Harmonia mundi, 2012). Released: April 10th.



    A number of people around here are fans of Arvo Part, one of the finest living composers. This new release is led by Paul Hillier, who is perhaps Part's finest contemporary interpreter. Hillier's groups, The Theatre of Voices and the Ars Nova Copenhagen, bounce back and forth between Renaissance music and contemporary music (composers such as Terry Riley and David Lang). The highlight here is the last piece, the 26-minute Stabat Mater. Astoundingly beautiful.

    Reviews are just beginning to appear, including a couple of 5-star ratings from European newspaprs. Here's an excerpt from the June 2012 Gramophone:
    “Theatre of Voices have lived and breathed Part's music for over two decades but it is perhaps the warmth and beauty of the voices of Ars Nova Copenhagen that is most immediately striking here”

  6. #321
    Registered User Vaughan's Avatar
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    Alypius - I've come close to biting on this a few times. Now I'm closer. You can spending my money now.

  7. #322
    Registered User Alypius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughan View Post
    Alypius - I've come close to biting on this a few times. Now I'm closer. You can spending my money now.
    Hey, Vaughan, I think you'll enjoy the latest Paul Hillier / Arvo Part. By the way, I think the whole point of this whole board is for us of each to convince one another how to go broke buying exorbitant amounts of cool new music and die happy!

    By the way, I'm enjoying the "My Mind Lately" thread. It's great to follow explorers. (I enjoy reading DSS's "The Bird Is the Worm" blog for the same reason.)

  8. #323
    Registered User Alypius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HutchFan View Post
    More Charles Ives...


    Piano Sonata No. 2, "Concord" - Marc-Andre Hamelin

    This is Hamelin's first recording of Ives' "Concord" sonata. I think I prefer it to his latter recording on Hyperion. But only just. Both are magnificent.
    Hutch, I think you're going to be envious: I got tickets to see Marc-Andre Hamelin perform (live!) the Ives' Concord Sonata tomorrow night. Should be extraordinary. I know that Ives is your favorite--and Hamelin may be Ives' best living interpreter. You were the one who encouraged me to explore this work. It's become a favorite of mine. (For those who have not heard it, here's Hamelin playing movement #1 on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPnCSd9e6jY--and the other movements are also available there)

    Tonight, I saw Hamelin perform with Leif Ove Andsnes playing the two-piano version of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring. (Yes, there is a such a thing--Stravinsky created it originally to rehearse the dancers for the ballet). In any case, it was privilege to see two of the finest pianists in the world playing together. Simply astounding virtuosity.

    The program also included the brilliant avant-garde Piano Quintet by late-20th-century Russian composer Alfred Schnittke. The strings play these mysterious quarter-tone and glissandi (like Ligeti often does), while the piano has these big mysterious open (minor-dominated) chords. Edgy, mysterious stuff. I thought the audience would find it too avant-garde, but there was a huge appreciation of a difficult work (Here's a version on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYLpMmw_DUE


  9. #324
    Registered User HutchFan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alypius View Post
    Hutch, I think you're going to be envious: I got tickets to see Marc-Andre Hamelin perform (live!) the Ives' Concord Sonata tomorrow night. Should be extraordinary. I know that Ives is your favorite--and Hamelin may be Ives' best living interpreter. You were the one who encouraged me to explore this work. It's become a favorite of mine. (For those who have not heard it, here's Hamelin playing movement #1 on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPnCSd9e6jY--and the other movements are also available there)
    Wow!!! You're right: I'm GREEN with envy! ...But I'm happy for you.

    I've never heard "The Concord" in person. I can only imagine that it will be a thrilling performance. Hamelin's way with Ives is unsurpassed, imho.



    Quote Originally Posted by Alypius View Post
    Tonight, I saw Hamelin perform with Leif Ove Andsnes playing the two-piano version of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring. (Yes, there is a such a thing--Stravinsky created it originally to rehearse the dancers for the ballet). In any case, it was privilege to see two of the finest pianists in the world playing together. Simply astounding virtuosity.

    The program also included the brilliant avant-garde Piano Quintet by late-20th-century Russian composer Alfred Schnittke. The strings play these mysterious quarter-tone and glissandi (like Ligeti often does), while the piano has these big mysterious open (minor-dominated) chords. Edgy, mysterious stuff. I thought the audience would find it too avant-garde, but there was a huge appreciation of a difficult work (Here's a version on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYLpMmw_DUE

    That sound like a tremendous concert too. Hamelin and Andsnes. Phew! That's two HEAVY pianists.

    I've been meaning to investigate Schnittke. I've heard a few recordings from the library -- but nothing's "stuck" yet. I'll check out the Piano Quintet. Sounds fascinating.
    Explore my web site dedicated to Bobby Hutcherson:
    http://www.musicweb-international.com/jazz/Hutcherson

  10. #325
    Registered User Alypius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HutchFan View Post
    Wow!!! You're right: I'm GREEN with envy! ...But I'm happy for you.

    I've never heard "The Concord" in person. I can only imagine that it will be a thrilling performance. Hamelin's way with Ives is unsurpassed, imho.

    That sound like a tremendous concert too. Hamelin and Andsnes. Phew! That's two HEAVY pianists.

    I've been meaning to investigate Schnittke. I've heard a few recordings from the library -- but nothing's "stuck" yet. I'll check out the Piano Quintet. Sounds fascinating.
    Well, Hutch, the Hamelin performance of the Ives Concord Sonata was one of the most extraordinary performances of any music that I've ever seen. It is an astonishing difficult work, and Hamelin performed it with utter ease, and more to the point, as a deeply affecting, powerfully expressive work. After the wild tumult of Movement #1 ("Emerson") and, to a lesser extent of #2 ("Hawthorne"), Hamelin changed on a dime, capturing the enormous quiet sensitivity and beauty of #3 ("The Alcotts") and the transcendental probings and final serenity of #4 ("Thoreau"). The concert was unusual, part of a week of chamber performances sponsored by the University of California Berkeley's "CalPerformances." The tickets are ridiculously under-priced. They have two concerts each evening, one about 2 hours, and one about an hour, the first $20, the second $10. And so this was one of those $10 concerts since the Ives was the only piece on the program. It may be the best $10 I've spent in a long, long time. Hope you get to see it live sometime.

    Oh, as I saw on another thread, you're celebrating your 20th wedding anniversary. Congratulations!!!

  11. #326
    Registered User Vaughan's Avatar
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    Paul Hillier / Arvo Part ordered today.

  12. #327
    Registered User Alypius's Avatar
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    A few recent releases that have caught my eye and are on my wish-list. I pass them on because these appeal to the very different tastes of those who contribute to this thread, from classical to early 20th-century impressionist to contemporary avant-garde:

    Bang on a Can, Big, Beautiful, Dark and Scary (Cantaloupe) release: Feb. 28, 2012. 2 CDs.



    Bang on a Can are one of the finest ensembles playing contemporary classical works and are best known for their performance of Terry Riley's In C. As they describe themselves:

    With Big Beautiful Dark and Scary, the Bang on a Can All-Stars show off their blazing speed, polyrhythmic virtuosity and all-world versatility in a return to the core Bang on a Can sound - an uncategorizable supermix of classical and electric instruments that is part classical ensemble, part rock band, and part jazz sextet.

    Marin Alsop & Baltimore Symphony, Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra / Music for Strings, Percussion & Celesta (Naxos), released: May 1, 2012.



    My favorite Bartok works by one of my favorite conductors (and, with Naxos, a bargain price).

    Gerard Schwarz & Seattle Symphony, Richard Danielpour: Symphony no. 3 ("American Classics," Naxos), released: May, 1, 2012.



    Danielpour is a fine contemporary American composer in the tradition of Copland. The opening "First Light" reminds me a bit of John Adams' orchestral minimalism.

    Marc-Andre Hamelin, Hadyn: Piano Sonatas, Vol. 3 (Hyperion), released: June 12, 2012.



    2 CDs for price of one; Hamelin's third and final volume of his Haydn performances (at least that's what he told me, that this would be the last). One of the finest pianists working today.

    Nash Ensemble, Turina: Chamber Music (Hyperion), released: April 10, 2012.



    Part of the blending of folk traditions and classical that was so much a part of early 20th century music (from Bartok to Aaron Copland). Joaquin Turina studied in Paris in the heyday of Debussy, and bring his Andalusian background to this. Reminds me a bit of Ravel's Spanish-tinged works.

  13. #328
    Registered User Vaughan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alypius View Post
    A few recent releases that have caught my eye and are on my wish-list. I pass them on because these appeal to the very different tastes of those who contribute to this thread, from classical to early 20th-century impressionist to contemporary avant-garde:

    Bang on a Can, Big, Beautiful, Dark and Scary (Cantaloupe) release: Feb. 28, 2012. 2 CDs.
    I have this one. I'll give it a listen and post some comments soon - although I can tell you I like it. It's a dangerous buy, because then I went over to their web site and bought all kinds of stuff - a GREAT label.

  14. #329
    Registered User Alypius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughan View Post
    I have this one. I'll give it a listen and post some comments soon - although I can tell you I like it. It's a dangerous buy, because then I went over to their web site and bought all kinds of stuff - a GREAT label.
    I look forward to the review. Yep, Cantaloupe has lots of good stuff.

  15. #330
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    Steve Reich, Drumming / Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices & Organ / Six Pianos (Deutsch Grammophon) (2 CDs). This is long out-of-print version of several of Reich's early masterpieces is to be reissued (in the US) as July 31, 2012.


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