Browsing: La Scena Online

Music of the City and the Stars Andrew Paul MacDonald, electric guitar; Quatuor Saguenay Centrediscs, 2022 Canadian composer Andrew Paul MacDonald has attempted something unprecedented in the two original compositions featured on the album Music of the City and the Stars: a fusion of electric guitar and a string ensemble. There is a noticeable difference between the two instruments, but this is exactly why the album’s overarching theme works so well. The first concerto is Lyra, a seven-movement work that recounts the history of the lyre in Greek mythology. The work begins with Apollo’s conception of the instrument, follows Orpheus…

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Leon Fleisher Live Vol. 3 (1956-1964), Beethoven: Piano Concertos 1-4, Kirchner: Piano Concerto No. 2 DOREMI DHR-8171/2 (2 CDs) Fleisher recorded all five Beethoven concertos with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra between 1959 and 1961 on the Epic label. But Fleisher live was often far more exciting  as evidenced by these broadcast performances. We have a superb if sometimes bombastic First Concerto with Szell and the New York Philharmonic from 1963, a magisterial Fourth with Klemperer and the Cologne Radio Symphony (1956), a dynamic Second Concerto with Hans Rosbaud and the Cologne Radio Symphony (1957), and an acoustically dry…

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Found Frozen: Songs by Jeffrey Ryan Danika Lorèn, soprano; Krisztina Szabó, mezzo-soprano; Dion Mazerolle, baritone; Steven Philcox, piano Centrediscs, 2022 The Canadian label Centrediscs specializes in contemporary music and has accustomed listeners to performances for all kinds of ensembles and instruments. Found Frozen, however, is a return to a more classical form—that of piano and voice. This collection features new songs by Canadian composer Jeffrey Ryan, gathered into cycles (except for one song), and performed by three different singers and a pianist, Steven Philcox. Like so many others, this project comes to fruition after long, pandemic-related delays. The album opens…

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6 Changes Architek Percussion, composition and interpretation Self-produced, 2022 After releasing four recordings with various record labels, including Centrediscs, Architek Percussion is back in force with its very first album as a self-producer. The percussion ensemble, composed of Noam Bierstone, Ben Duinker, Ben Reimer and Alessandro Valiante, presents 6 Changes, which is both the title of the album and of the work which logically includes six movements, for a duration of nearly 33 minutes. In When Will I Realize?, the listener is immediately struck by the full and enveloping resonances of the vibraphones. Listening on stereo speaker or headphones allows…

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Schubert: The Complete Sonatas and Major Works for Piano Mathieu Gaudet, piano Analekta, 2022 The three-part Sonata in A major, D.664 is perhaps one of Schubert’s most played works, and Mathieu Gaudet does a fantastic job of showing why in his newest album. The pianist allows the works to thoroughly explore their respective emotions: the first movement’s erratic melodic jumps and quick tempo establish a sense of urgency, the second movement offers a period of respite with a slower and more contemplative passage, and the third movement bursts into a joyous celebration of all that is good. But Gaudet is…

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Canadian Soundscapes (Live) Carmen Harris, Eeva-Maria Kopp, soprano; Guy Few, trumpet; Jaeden Izik-Dzurko, piano; Melissa Williams, violin; Okanagan Symphony Orchestra Centrediscs, 2022 The three concertos on the album Canadian Soundscapes have been plucked from the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra’s years of live performances with several guest performers. The orchestra begins with its astounding rendition of R. Murray Schafer’s The Falcon’s Trumpet, replete with a sense of urgency that makes 22 minutes feel very short. Guy Few inserts himself seamlessly into the wild cacophony of string instruments with a trumpet performance whose evoked feeling of uncertain bravery guides the listener through the…

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Almost Touching An-Laurence Higgins, guitar and voice People Places Records, 2022 Rarely has anything similar been heard. This new album by Montreal guitarist An-Laurence Higgins offers an explosive mix of several musical styles. The work by Kim Farris-Manning that lends its name to the album, Almost Touching, gives as much importance to the voice as to the guitar in a very contemporary language. Several effects are exploited: full resonance strings, metallic friction, harmonics superior to the guitar, breaths, strong inspirations, hoarse voice, etc. Similar vocal effects can be found in Amy Brandon’s Artificial Light, but here they mingle with a…

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Martha Argerich Live Vol. 6. Chopin: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2, Mozart: Piano Sonata K. 576, Bach: Partita No. 2, Schumann: Piano Sonata No. 2, Ravel: Gaspard de la Nuit, Prokofiev: Piano Sonata No. 7 DOREMI DHR-8173/4 (2 CDs) Argentine-born pianist Martha Argerich won the International Chopin Competition in 1965 when she was 24 years old. She went on to confirm her stature as one of the finest Chopin interpreters. This new set includes superb live performances of the Piano Concerto No. 1 (Amsterdam, 1968) and the Piano Concerto No. 2 (Hamburg, 1969). Argerich shows off a superlative technique…

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to you through India Gailey, cello Redshift Records, 2022 This new album by cellist and American-Canadian multidisciplinary artist India Gailey is unique to her. It brings together the musical works that have been important in her life and which, with time, have taken on a particular significance. As she explains in the text that accompanies the album, Gailey feels that these works are now a part of herself. She is capable of appreciating them to a different degree than other works of art to which she has been exposed. It is, therefore, a desire to share across borders that motivates…

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Virtuosa Alexa Raine-Wright, flute; Sallynee Amawat, violin; Andrea Stewart, violoncello; Rona Nadler, harpsichord Leaf Music, 2022 In 2017, Infusion Baroque released the Virtuosa Series, a collection of videos highlighting the musical careers of fourteen women from the 18th and 19th centuries. Still infused with the desire to emphasize female composers’ accomplishments in the face of sexism, Infusion Baroque have released their new album Virtuosa. The 14 works on the album, derived from a variety of composers, most of them women, display the ensemble’s tonal flexibility: in their performance of Clara Schumann’s Piano Trio in G Minor, Op. 17 they contrast…

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