Archive for the ‘classical music’ Category

George Yeh, a KWUR Celebrity

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Hey!

 

This past Sunday, classical music director George Yeh received some much deserved recognition in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

 

George, who you will notice is perhaps this humble blog's most regular contributor, not only curates an excellent collection of classical music and provides three hours of weekly local classical programming here at KWUR, but is also an avid supporter of classical music all around St. Louis — rarely do I attend an SLSO performance without seeing his face in the crowd.  

 

Check out Sarah Bryan Miller's glowing article here.

 

 

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 at KWUR, 8/2010 edition

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

More good (actually, much better than good) new classical CD releases have arrived at KWUR, from which I am happy to broadcast for your listening pleasure:

* The Songs of Johannes Brahms – 1, with mezzo-soprano Angelika Kirchschlager and pianist Graham Johnson (Hyperion CDJ33121), the newest “compleat” song series masterminded by Graham Johnson, Hyperion’s resident lieder scholar/pianist extraordinaire
* Britten: Songs and Proverbs of William Blake and other selections, with baritone Gerald Finley and pianist Julius Drake (Hyperion CDA 67778)
* The Romantic Piano Concerto – 51: piano concertos by Wilhelm Taubert and Jacob Rosenhain, with Howard Shelley as soloist and conductor of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra (Hyperion CDA67765)
* Henri Dutilleux: “D’ombre et de silence”: music for solo piano and one selection for two pianos, with Robert Levin (all tracks) and Ya-Fei Chuang (second pianist in Figures de résonances (ECM New Series 2105)
* Thomas Larcher: Madhares: featuring Till Fellner (solo piano in Böse Zellen), Kim Kashkashian (solo viola in Still), Larcher (piano in Still), and the Munich Chamber Orchestra conducted by Dennis Russell Davies (Böse Zellen and Still), and the Quatour Diotima in Madhares (String Quartet No. 3) (ECM New Series 2111)
* Krysztof Penderecki: Violin Concerto No. 1 and Horn Concerto (Winterreise), with violinist Robert Kabara and horn soloist Radovan Vlatkovic, and the composer conducting the Sinfonietta Cracovia (Channel Classics CCS SA 30310)
* Ferdinand Ries: Piano Sonatas and Sonatinas – 3, with pianist Susan Kagan (Naxos 8.572204)
* Mi Alma Mexicana (My Mexican Soul): music of José Pablo Moncayo, Gustavo Campa, Ricardo Castro, Candelario Huízar, Manuel Ponce, Juventino Rosas, Arturo Márquez, Silvestre Revueltas, Carlos Chávez, Federico Ibarra, Eugenio Toussaint, Mario Lavista and Enrico Chapela, with Alondra de la Parra conducting the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas (Sony Classical 88697755552)
* El Nuevo Mundo: Folias Criollas: music from the era of Spain’s colonization of the Caribbean lands, with Monserrat Figueras, the Tembembe Ensamble Continuo, La Capella Reial de Catalunya and Hesperion XXI, led by Jordi Savall (Alia Vox AVSA 9876)

As always, comments and feedback are welcome. Please feel free to drop me a line at classical@kwur.com, or you can IM me during my regular Saturday show (11 AM-2 PM). Thanks for reading.

Classical new releases at KWUR, 7/2010 edition

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

So it’s now come to this: as of July 7, 2010, thanks to actions by the leaders of the Lutheran Church-MO Synod and Joy-FM best summarized by the ghost of Hamlet’s father in line 27 of Act I, Scene 5 of Shakespeare’s play, one station remains in St. Louis that broadcasts a locally hosted classical music show to any extent. For as long as I can, to recycle the cliche from my earlier KWUR blog post, I’ll try to keep the flame going in St. Louis, with help from fellow KWUR DJ’s as needed.

Some recent classical new CD releases being aired from KWUR include these:

* Blasco de Nebra: Piano Sonatas Nos. 1-6 with pianist Javier Perianes (harmonia mundi HMC 902046)
* Baltic Runes: choral music of Erik Bergman, Cyrillus Kreek, Sibelius, and Veljo Tormis, with Paul Hillier directing the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir (harmonia mundi HMU 807485)
* Dvo?ák: Requiem/Symphony No. 8; with Mariss Jansons conducting the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, soloists Krassimira Stoyanova, Mihoko Fujimara, Klaus Florian Vogt and Thomas Quasthoff, and the Wiener Singverein (KCO Live, RCO 10001)
* Handel: “Handel in Darmstadt”, with harpsichordist Geneviève Soly (Analekta AN 2 9121)
* “The Romantic Violin Concerto, Vol. 8″, Henry Vieuxtemps, Violin Concertos Nos. 4 & 5 and the Fantasia appassionata: with Viviane Hagner and the Royal Flemish Philharmonic, conducted by Martyn Brabbins (Hyperion CDA 67798)
* “Revelation”, solo harp music by Britten, Ginastera, Felix Godefroid, Hindemith, Caroline Lizotte, Ravel, Henriette Renié, and Carlos Salzedo; with harpist Valérie Milot (Analekta AN 2 9974)

As always, any comments are welcome, and please feel free to drop me a line at classical@kwur.com, or you can IM me during my regular Saturday show (11 AM-2 PM). Thanks for reading.