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Category Archive for 'Classical'

Christmas at Downton Abbey

“Evoking the themes and spirit of the popular British television series, Christmas at Downton Abbey is a two-disc set featuring holiday music inspired by the show and its characters….Full of uplifting warmth and the kind of thrilling opulence befitting the fictional Crawley family and their servants, fans will find Christmas at Downton Abbey to be [...]

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“This is the first Christmas release by celebrated American soprano Renée Fleming….[I]t’s not 100 percent clear that this is not an operatic album at all, but a jazz-pop collection. Fleming has sung this kind of music before, but she has made her reputation mostly through pure operatic releases….In all this is a holiday release that [...]

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“More than half a century separates Per Nørgård’s First Symphony from his Eighth, which was first performed in 2012, the year of his 80th birthday….The First, very clearly written under the gigantic shadow of Sibelius… is dark and earthbound, a rather introspective, glowering work… but the Eighth is buoyant and extrovert, a haze of independent musical layers, constantly [...]

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“The three ‘voices’ on this transfixingly beautiful recording — violist Kim Kashkashian, harpist Sivan Magen, and flutist Marina Piccinini — met at Marlboro Music in summer 2010, and their effortless interplay is typical of the musical rapport that festival often produces….The performances are all superb — precisely calibrated despite the dreamlike cast of the program [...]

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“Listeners can take their pick by now among a number of soloists and approaches, but this one by Japanese-German violinist Midori Seiler, leading the small Concerto Köln herself, makes a substantial contribution to the dialogue….[T]his is well-executed, state-of-the-art Haydn that will be of interest to many listeners.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“French Canadian pianist Marc-André Hamelin is known for his recordings of ultra-virtuoso music….[H]e succeeds in setting a mood and keeping it going….[I]t’s clear that Hamelin is anything but a one-note pianist.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“Recorded live in Lucerne, Switzerland, in 2013, shortly before the death of conductor Claudio Abbado (who must have been quite ill at the time), this pair of Mozart piano concertos stands as a fitting valediction to his legacy….The live sound is impressively clear, and in general this is a marvelous statement from the last months [...]

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“Whatever the precise plot machinations that led Guardians of the Galaxy to rely so heavily on the Super Hits from the ’70s doesn’t quite matter when it comes to regarding the soundtrack. Here, the record works as a sampler of the soft rock and Yacht rock hits that are familiar not only from constant exposure on the radio, [...]

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“The Original Broadway Cast Recording of Violet, which follows the emotional journey of a disfigured woman as she travels from her North Carolina home to Tulsa, Oklahoma to visit a faith healer, features a New York Times affirmed ‘career-defining performance’ from Tony Award winner Sutton Foster in the lead role.” –All Music Guide Check Our [...]

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“The soundtrack recording to the Broadway musical If/Then, features the original cast, including the show’s star Idina Menzel….This 2014 Tony Award-nominated production features engaging, contemporary pop-and rock-infused songs that showcase Menzel’s immense vocal talent.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“Even though John Corigliano has proved himself time and again to be a master of instrumental colors and orchestration, he nonetheless had misgivings about composing a concerto for percussion, a daunting prospect merely because of the large number of instruments at his disposal. Yet Corigliano succeeded brilliantly in Conjurer.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“[H]e just lets the music speak for itself, the Minnesota’s trombones cutting off phrases like anvils of death, the cyclical appearance of the tritone interval in the work emerging naturally in the precise work of the Minnesotans (who for all the talk of Finnish musical miracles are at least the equals of their Lahti counterparts) [...]

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John Luther Adams: Inuksuit

“Mr. Adams, born in 1953 and one of the more original American composers of his generation, has found ways to combine his passions for music and for nature. And ‘Inuksuit,’ flexibly scored for anywhere from 9 to 99 percussion players widely dispersed in an outdoor area, is the ultimate environmental piece.” –The New York Times [...]

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“Providing the music for a film about the making of one of Hollywood’s most beloved musicals is no easy task, but Oscar-nominated, Golden Globe-winning composer Thomas Newman (The Shawshank Redemption, American Beauty) offers up an evocative score for the John Lee Hancock-directed historical comedy-drama that manages to invoke both the despair and whimsy that surrounded [...]

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“German composer Paul Hindemith wrote concertos for nearly every instrument in the orchestra. Here you get a concert for one of the most common instruments, the violin, along with two distinctively textured orchestral works, the giant Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by C.M. von Weber and the somewhat obscure Konzertmusik für Streichorchester und Blechbläser (Concert Music [...]

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“The Diabelli Variations, Op. 120; the Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111; and the Six Bagatelles, Op. 126, are among the most original and intellectually stimulating works Ludwig van Beethoven composed for the piano, and the sophisticated interpretations of András Schiff are especially worthwhile for their insights into authentic performance practice and reception.” [...]

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“Unlike most albums of violin encores featuring the most popular showpieces in the repertoire, In 27 Pieces: The Hilary Hahn Encores introduces original works for violin and piano that have been specially commissioned by Hilary Hahn in an effort to rejuvenate this specialized musical category….Taken altogether, this is an attractive collection of chamber music, and [...]

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Giuseppe Verdi: Otello

“Released in 2013 in celebration of Giuseppe Verdi’s bicentennial, this recording of his late opera Otello is taken from three concert performances by Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, recorded on April 7, 9, and 12, 2011.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“After a two-year hiatus due to health problems, James Levine returned to Carnegie Hall on May 19, 2013, to lead the Met Orchestra in a stirring presentation of music by Richard Wagner, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Franz Schubert. This concert showed Levine to be both resilient and confident as he conducted from his elevated wheelchair, [...]

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