Browsing: Classical

Stravinsky: Chant Funèbre, Fireworks, Scherzo fantastique, Le Faune et la Bergère, The Rite of Spring. Lucerne Festival Orchestra. Riccardo Chailly, conductor. Sophie Koch, mezzo. Decca 028948325627. Total Time: 70:35. This premiere release of a lost Stravinsky has a fabulous back story. In 1908 the young Igor, unknown and in his mid-20s, wrote a funeral ode for his teacher, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. The music was played at Rimsky’s obsequies and then apparently lost, until the parts turned up in 2015 in a St. Petersburg archive. Valery Gergiev won the rights to give the first modern performance, while Decca won the recording rights.…

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Haydn: Symphonies No. 26 and No. 86. Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 3. Handel and Haydn Society. Harry Christophers, conductor. Aisslinn Nosky, violin. Coro COR 16158. Total Time: 69:15. The British conductor Harry Christophers has his own record label, Coro, which turns out a stream of fine performances, mostly with his own group The Sixteen. This release, however, is with Christophers’ other group, the venerable Handel and Haydn Society of Boston, America’s oldest performing arts organization. It presents two Haydn works written 20 years apart with Mozart’s G Major Violin Concerto sandwiched in between. It shows Haydn looking both to past…

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Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 1 Bartók: Piano Concerto No. 3. Forsyth: Piano Concerto. Jane Coop, piano. Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra/Mario Bernardi. Skylark Music Sky1703. Total Time: 67:01. Born in New Brunswick and raised in Calgary, Jane Coop studied with Anton Kuerti in Toronto and went on to teach at the University of British Columbia from 1980 to 2012. In an era of limited recording, Coop has done the next best thing in re-issuing recordings from the 1980s, originally produced by the now defunct CBC Records. Her collaborations with the late Mario Bernardi (1930-2013) invariably produced excellent results. Short at 16 minutes,…

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Lucia di Lammermoor 4.5 Stars Opera McGill. Donizetti, Lucia di Lammermoor. Brittany Rae, Marcel d’Entremont, Bryan De Parsia, Jean-Philippe Mc Clish, Amelia Lubrano, Sébastien Comtois, Patrick McGill, Saraha Dufresne. McGill Symphony Orchestra, Stephen Hargreaves, conductor. Direction by Patrick Hansen. Monument National, Jan. 28. Performance 9/10 What you missed: Bumper crop at Opera McGill. Soprano Brittany Rae of Calgary, the third of three Lucias, combined pure tone, brilliant highs, natural acting and a fetching way with a phrase. Mad scenes are not always so believable. Good projection by tenor Marcel d’Entremont as Edgardo. Sturdy Enrico from baritone Bryan De Parsia, a…

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Not only is love at the heart of Mozart’s work, but he celebrated it in a way that still moves us, more than 200 years after his death. Operas such as The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte and The Magic Flute, to mention only the best known, are still among the most popular, the most played and the most recorded. Let’s see why. Mozart’s work dates from the second half of the 18th century, which is the Classical period. It has specific characteristics that distinguish it from the preceding period, the Baroque. The Classical period is generally…

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Established in Montreal’s cultural landscape for three years, Stella Musica devotes its programing each year to women in classical music. Although more women are taking on roles traditionally reserved for men, female composers, conductors and performers still often remain in the shadow of their male peers. The pianist and artistic director Katarzyna Musial founded the festival to emphasize the work of female musicians and to encourage young women to pursue music. Thematic Concerts This fourth edition commemorates the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Armistice by presenting concerts revolving around the theme of psychological distress. Music will be explored for…

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Justyna Gabzdyl has come a long way. After graduating from the Fryderyk Chopin Academy (now University) of Music in Warsaw in 2005, this Polish pianist continued her studies at the École Normale de Musique Alfred Cortot in Paris. Her determination to hone her skills brought her to the Université de Montréal, where she earned a doctorate in 2012. This month she releases a double CD that brings together Chopin’s Ballades with Szymanowski’s Métopes Op. 29 and Masques Op. 38. “I wanted my first album to be dedicated to Polish composers because of my origins,” Gabzdyl says. The Ballades are particularly…

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Haydn: Symphonies No. 26 & 86 Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 3 Coro Harry Christophers, conductor Handel and Haydn Society Aisslinn Nosky, violin The British conductor Harry Christophers has his own record label, Coro, which turns out a stream of fine performances, mostly with his own group The Sixteen, and mostly unnoticed outside the shrinking pages of record magazines. Which is a pity, since some of them are very fine performances indeed. The latest release is with Christophers’ other group, the venerable Handel and Haydn Society of Boston, America’s oldest performing arts organization. It presents two Haydn works written 20 years…

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Did you catch Herbert Blomstedt and Maria João Pires with the Berlin Philharmonic on Saturday? All it took was a smartphone, a subscription to the Berlin Philharmonic Digital Concert Hall and, optionally, a better-than-average pair of earbuds. I did it the old-fashioned way and do not regret the decision. Hearing one of the world’s most famous orchestras led by one of the world’s most venerable conductors in one of the world’s most illustrious concert halls added up to one of the best concert experiences imaginable. To risk another one-of qualification, the symphony on the program was one of my favorites,…

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