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New in the KUCI Classical Library
January 6, 2017
by: Hobart Taylor

Philippe Sly/John Charles Britton - Schubert Sessions: Lieder with Guitar - (Analekta)
Arranging lieder with guitar instead of piano is not a new idea... scholars point out that music publishers in the 19th century printed such arrangements for popular consumption and that some critics pointed out that nuanced elements of vocal performance emerge more clearly in such settings.

Here the pairing is delicate and the near celestial timbre of the guitar interwoven with Sly's undulating baritone work wonders.

Here the pairing is delicate and the near celestial timbre of the guitar interwoven with Sly's undulating baritone work wonders.

James Ehnes - J.S.Bach: The Six Sonatas and Partitias For Solo Violin - (Analekta)
This is a very in the moment recording...not tied to imitating the romantic or the precise and mathematical traditions of performing Bach, but rather a recording in which the artist's individual and contemporary voice becomes married to these revered melodies.

Cypress String Quartet & Barry Shiffman viol, Zuill Bailey, cello -
Brahms Sting Sextets (Recorded Live) -
(Avie Records)
These two sextets are early works of Brahms, (the first was written while he was still in his twenties), and they are light and more joyful than the nobly ponderous symphonies that entomb his reputation. They are performed here with grace, precision, and wit.

Joshua Bell/Steven Isserlis - For the Love of Brahms - (Sony Claasical)
(With Jeremy Denk pianist, and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Orchestra)
Double Concerto in A Minor, Op. 102 Brahms
Violin Concerto in D Minor Schumann
Piano Trio in B Major Op. 8 (1854 Version)
From superstar Bell and friends comes this thoroughly satisfying survey of a later Brahms work, The Double Concerto written for violinist Joseph Joachim, a gloriously ethereal Schumann violin concerto from the time of his interactions with Brahms, and another seminal work like the sextets reviewed above, a piano trio.

For me, the piano trio is the star of the recording. The perfect balance and nuanced interplay of the form support tentative and probing melodic ideas of Brahms becoming himself.

Charles Richard-Hamelin Beethoven-Enescu-Chopin - (Analekta)
Two Beethoven rondos, a Chopin nocturne, rondo, ballade, and the Polonaise "Heroique", are ably performed here, but the treat is the Suite # 2 for piano, Op. 10 by Romanian composer George Enescu.

Delicately romantic, this work has the subtle intangibility of cirrus clouds melting into a pale blue sky.

Canada's National Arts Centre Orchestra (With Pinchas Zukerman, conductor and violinist-Amanda Forsyth, cello-Charles Hamann, oboe) - Baroque Treasury: Handel, Bach Tartini, Vivaldi, and Telemann - (Analekta)
Bright in timbre, sprightly yet controlled is this recording. I like the Bach Concerto for Oboe and Violin, and the Vivaldi Concerto in B-flat major for Violin and Cello, RV 547.

Elina Garanca - Revive - (Deutsche Grammophon)
Mezzo-soprano Garanca has the pipes. I dare not compare her to Joan Sutherland, the grand dame, but this greatest hits record which focuses on 19th and early 20th century masters, (Berlioz, Saint-Saens, Verdi of course, Massenet and Cilea among others did make Sutherland come to mind.

Andrea Bocelli - Romanza 20th anniversary Edition - (Decca)
Reissue of the quadruple platinum seller with three new tracks, the ubiquitous hit "Con Te Patrio" twice , once with orchestra, once piano/voice (better), and a new version of "Il Mare Clamo Della Sera". Over 15 million sold! Opera lives! Not. This is about one of the most seductive and exquisitely tailored voices in recording history. the tunes take a back seat.

Angele Dubeau & La Pieta - Silence on the set/ Take Two - (Analekta)
Classical ensemble takes on film music. Okay but no great shakes A couple of hidden gems, "Misirlou" from Pulp fiction, Michael Nyman's "A la Folie", Nino Rota's "La Dolce Vita", and best of all Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal".


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