Author Archive

Classical New Releases @ KWUR, March 2011 Edition

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

Short & sweet for new classical CDs at KWUR last month, because all of them are from one label, ECM New Series:

(1) Trio Mediaeval: "A Worcester Ladymass" (ECM New Series 2166)

(2) Robert Schumann: Kreisleriana (first edition, 1838) / Heinz Holliger: Partita (1999), with pianist Alexander Lonquich (ECM New Series 2104)

(3) Giya Kancheli: "Themes from the Songbook", with Dino Saluzzi (bandoneon), Gidon Kremer (violin) and Andrei Pushkarev (vibraphone) (ECM New Series 2188)

(4) Erkki-Sven Tüür: "Strata" – Symphony No. 6 ("Strata", 2007), No?sis (Concerto for clarinet, violin and orchestra; 2005), with Jörg Widmann (clarinet), Carolin Widmann (violin), and the Nordic Symphony Orchestra; Anu Tali, conductor (ECM New Series 2040)

As always, thanks for reading.

Classical New Releases @ KWUR, Feb. 2011 Edition

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

I mentioned in the last classical new release post for Dec. 2010-Jan. 2011 that the February list would be somewhat out of control, in a good way.  This is what I meant, with these new releases newly arrived for last month:

1. "John Adams: Portrait", with Angèle Dubeau (violin), La Pietà, and Louise Bessette (piano) (Analekta AN 2 8732)

2. Johann Ludwig Bach: Trauermusik, with Anna Prohaska, Ivonne Fuchs, Maximilian Schmitt, Andreas Wolf; RIAS Chamber Choir; Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin; Hans-Christoph Rademann, conductor (harmonia mundi HMC 902080) (BTW, J.L. Bach is from an offshoot branch of the J.S. Bach family line)

3. Brahms: Piano Sonatas Nos. 1 & 2; Scherzo, op. 4; with Alexander Melnikov (performing on a Bösendorfer from 1875) (harmonia mundi HMC 902086)

4. "The Romantic Violin Concerto – 10", concertante works by Frédéric d'Erlanger and Frederic Cliffe, with Philippe Graffin (violin) and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales; David Lloyd-Jones, conductor (Hyperion CDA 67838)

5. Ginastera: Estancia (extended suite), Suite de Danzas Criollas, Panambi (extended suite), Ollantay, Popol Vuh: The Mayan Creation; London Symphony Orchestra; Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra; BBC National Orchestra of Wales; Gisèle Ben-Dor, conductor (Naxos 8.570999)

6. "Sound the Bells! American Premières for Brass", with music by John Williams, Michael Tilson Thomas, Morten Lauridsen, Bruce Broughton, Kevin Puts, and Scott Hiltzik; The Bay Brass, various guest artists, and conductors Alasdair Neale, Michael Tilson Thomas, Robert Ward, Jeffrey Budin, Bruce Broughton, Paul Welcomer, and Charles Floyd (harmonia mundi HMU 807556)

7. "Ray Chen: Virtuoso", music by Tartini, J.S. Bach, Wienawski, and Franck, with Ray Chen (violin) and Noreen Polera (piano) (Sony Classical 88697829672)

8. "Matteo: 300 Years of an Italian Cello", music of Domenico Gabrielli, Luciano Berio, Luigi Dallapiccola, Brian Cherney, Salvatore Sciarrino, and Claudio Ambrosini; with Matt Haimovitz, cello (Oxingale OX2018)

9. "Meeting of the Spirits", arrangements of fusion jazz pieces by John McLaughlin, Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, John Lewis, Billy Strayhorn, David Sanford, George Gershwin, and Charles Mingus; with Uccello, Matt Haimovitz (cello), and guest artists John McLaughlin (electric guitar), Matt Wilson (drums) and Jan Jarczyk (keyboard) (Oxingale OX2017)

10. Gounod: Roméo et Juliette, with Jussi Björling, Bidú Sayão et al.; The Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra, Emil Cooper, conductor (live radio broadcast from February 1, 1947) (Sony Classical 88697 80465 2)

11. Puccini: La bohème, with Licia Albanese, Carlo Bergonzi, Mario Sereni, Laurel Hurley et al.; The Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra, Thomas Schippers, conductor (live radio broadcast from February 15, 1958) (Sony Classical 88697 80463 2)

12. Puccini: Tosca, with Leontyne Price, Franco Corelli, Cornell MacNeil et al.; The Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra, Kurt Adler, conductor (live radio broadcast from April 7, 1962) (Sony Classical 88697 80468 2)

13. Rossini: Il barbiere di Sivilgia, with Lily Pons, Giuseppe Di Stefano, Giuseppe Valdengo et al., The Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra, Kurt Adler, conductor (live radio broadcast from December 16, 1950) (Sony Classical 88697 80462 2)

I doubt that March will top this; we shall see.  Thanks for reading.

‘Every Good Boy Deserves Favour’ – this Sat. AM on KWUR

Friday, March 4th, 2011

It may seem odd, if not unseemly, to put in a promo KWUR blog post for one particular selection that will open my classical show this Saturday at 11 AM, since I like to air offbeat works much of the time anyway.  However, there are a few special reasons here to promote this selection, the 1977 musico-dramatic collaboration between playwright Tom Stoppard and conductor/composer Andre Previn, "Every Good Boy Deserves Favour".  First performed in 1977, this work is set in a USSR-era political prison, where one prisoner is a political dissident, and the other is genuinely mentally ill and imagines that he can conduct an orchestra on command.  Hence the presence of an orchestra in this work.  You can read more about the work from articles such as these:

(a) December 2008 Times of London interview with Stoppard and Previn

(b) January 2009 primer from Mark Espiner, The Guardian, on the play

(c) The National Theatre's page on their 2010 revival of the play

The other main reason for promoting this work is the source of the recording.  To my knowledge, there is only one recording of this work, on RCA, made right after the premiere, with a distinguished cast of actors and Previn himself conducting the London Symphony Orchestra.  In addition, it's not available on CD, AFAICT.  The recording to be broadcast from KWUR this Saturday morning, ~ 11 AM, is from the private collection of Dr. Alfred Holtzer, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at Washington University.  Dr. Holtzer and I occasionally meet at concerts, and knowing about my KWUR show, he was kind enough to offer this recording for airplay at KWUR, for what may be its 1st-ever broadcast in St. Louis.  (So I have to take really good care of the LP, needless to say.)  The cast includes:

i. Ian Richardson (Ivanov, the mental patient who imagines the orchestra in his head)

ii. Ian McKellen (Alexander Ivanov, the imprisoned dissident)

iii. Patrick Stewart (the Doctor)

Dr. Holtzer also has a past connection to KWUR, as he was the faculty advisor to a group of students back in the 1970's who had the idea of setting up a campus radio station.  With funds allocated to him to serve as a faculty advisor to any Wash. U. student group, he directed the funds to this group of students.  The result is the station that is still going 30+ years later.  I sincerely thank Dr. Holtzer for the opportunity to present this recording from KWUR this Saturday.

In addition, in keeping with KWUR's mission of airing out-of-the-mainstream selections, if I were a betting man, I'd be willing to wager that neither KWMU, 90.7 FM nor the late and much-missed KFUO, 99.1 FM have aired this work.  Hence my claim that this will be the St. Louis broadcast premiere.  This, after all, is why alternative radio stations exist, to air selections that wouldn't be heard otherwise.  So if you're in your car near campus or are at your computer this Saturday around 11 AM, please feel free to listen in.

Classical new releases @ KWUR, Dec. 2010-Jan. 2011

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

Exceptionally late (not that anyone noticed), but since KWUR is the last bastion of St. Louis-based, locally hosted classical radio which features new releases. I do need to do better on keeping new release blog posts updated.  With that said, this past December and January were relatively light months for new classical CD arrivals, namely:

1.  Régards sur l'Espange (Reflections on Spain), music of Ernesto Lecuona, José Evangelista, Albéniz, Mompou, Debussy, Tomás Marco, and Turina; Louise Bessette, piano (Analekta AN 2 9963)

2. Brahms: Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, op. 24; Two Rhapsodies, op. 79; Six Piano Pieces, op. 118; Four Piano Pieces, op. 119; Murray Perahia, piano (Sony Classical 88697794692)

3. Matthias Goerne Schubert Edition, Vol. 5, "Nacht und Träume" (selected Lieder): Matthias Goerne, baritone; Alexander Schmalcz, piano (harmonia mundi HMC 902063)

4. Smetana: Piano Trio; Liszt: TristiaÉlégie No. 1, La lugubre gondole, Romance oubliée, Die Zelle in Nonnenwerth; Trio Wanderer (harmonia mundi HMC 902060)

The February list promises to be really out of control, in a good way.  Thanks for reading.


Classical New Releases at KWUR, Oct. and Nov. 2010 Edition

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

Apologies for missing a month in posting new classical CD releases at KWUR last month (not that anyone noticed), which makes this list a little longer than planned. Recent classical arrivals at KWUR for this October and November include these issues:

(1) WarnerNuzova Duo (Wendy Warner, cello; Irina Nuzova, piano): "Russian Music for Cello & Piano" (Cedille Records CDR 90000 120)

(2) Jan Garbarek and The Hilliard Ensemble: "Officium Novum" (ECM New Series 2125)

(3) Pergolesi: Stabat Mater, with instrumental works of Vivaldi, Pergolesi and Locatell; Anna Prohaska, soprano; Bernarda Fink, alto; Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin (Bernhard Forck, concertmaster) (harmonia mundi HMC 902072)

(4) Imani Winds: "Terra Incognita" (E1 Entertainment)

(5) Ensemble Caprice: "Salsa Baroque" (Music of Latin America and Spain of the 17th and 18th Century) (Analekta AN 2 9957)

(6) "Pax" (Gregorian chants on the theme of peace); Chorus of the Monks of the Benedictine Abbey of St. Benoit-du-Lac (Analekta AN 2 9776)

(7) "Ikon II" (Russian sacred choral music); Holst Singers, Stephen Layton, conductor (Hyperion CDA67756)

(8) "The Romantic Vioiin Concerto – 9", Ferdinand David: Violin Concerto No. 4, Violin Concerto No. 5, Andante and Scherzo capriccioso: Hagai Shaham, violin; BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; Martyn Brabbins, conductor (Hyperion CDA67804)

(9) Franz Liszt: "The Complete Songs, Vol. 1"; Matthew Polenzani, tenor; Julius Drake, piano (Hyperion CDA67782)

As always, comments and feedback are welcome, either by e-mail (, an IM, or a call to the station during my show (Saturdays 11 AM to 2 PM, 314-935-5987).  Thanks for reading,