An attractive and neglected area of 20th-century repertoire gets its due on this CD that toasts French composers and their delightful wind trios. On its second outing for Cedille Records, The Chicago Chamber Musicians — in this instance, a subset comprising oboist Michael Henoch, clarinetist Larry Combs, and bassoonist William Buchman — perform eight sparkling wind trios composed expressly for that instrumentation in the 1930s and 1940s by Paul Pierné (not his better-known cousin, Gabriel), Canteloube, Ibert, Milhaud, Tansman, Auric, and Françaix.
Cedille Records' recordings of American music with the Grant Park Orchestra (ensemble in residence for Chicago's summer Grant Park Music Festival) and principal conductor Carlos Kalmar have garnered raves and awards for their spirited performances and spectacular sound.
Trio Settecento, the "superlative Chicago-based early music ensemble" (Gramophone) completes its geographical grand tour of the European Baroque with An English Fancy, its highly anticipated survey of English Baroque chamber works. It's the final leg of a musical journey that has delighted record collectors and critics alike. Previous installments include An Italian Sojourn, A German Bouquet, and A French Soirée.
Trio Settecento brings fresh insights to music from the Age of Enlightenment through its passionate, authoritative, and distinctive interpretations.
The New Budapest Orpheum Society, ensemble-in-residence in the Division of Humanities at the University of Chicago, has been tracing the origins, development, and influence of European Jewish cabaret music through extensive historical research and compelling performances in concert and on a series of widely acclaimed albums on Cedille Records.
Harpsichord CDs typically serve up a heaping portion of a composer's closely related works. On this CD, however, Chicago's David Schrader presents a platter of four differently-seasoned Bach compositions. The disc opens with the lyrical Italian Concerto in F Major, BWV 971. In the program notes, Schrader describes this piece as "the apotheosis of Bach's many transcriptions from the works of many Italian composers."
Chicago’s "stylish and exciting period-instrument group" (Chicago Tribune), Baroque Band presents works by Bohemian-Austrian composer Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber.
Easley Blackwood, closely identified with modernist music both as composer and pianist, composed this surprisingly romantic Cello Sonata which makes its recording debut on this compact disc. The Cello Sonata, performed by cellist Kim Scholes and Blackwood, is coupled with the unjustly neglected Cello Sonata of 20th-century English composer Frank Bridge.
The esteemed Vermeer Quartet joins forces with phenomenal oboist Alex Klein in three pillars of 20th-century British chamber music.
Each of the composers represented on this recording is a Chicago composer, but you won't find a "Chicago School" here. These are seven unique individuals whose lives have been touched in different ways by this heartland center. Some were born and educated here, then moved away; others came from abroad and adopted Chicago as their home; still others spent virtually their entire productive lives in this city. All write music that is imaginative and earnest. Their subject in these works is the flute paired with another instrument. Throughout the recording, the flute (or piccolo), like a gracious hostess at a party, moves with suppleness between its musical guests, entering into dialogues on widely disparate topics. The result is a delightful assortment of Real Music.
Gaudete Brass makes its Cedille Records debut with Chicago Moves, an album of new and diverse American works for brass quintet. All were composed in the last six years, and all but one were written expressly for the Chicago-based ensemble of young brass virtuosos and receive their world-premiere recordings on the new CD.
It's hard to find noteworthy music for clarinet and piano, not to mention accessible contemporary compositions. Composer and pianist Easley Blackwood expands the repertoire with two accessible yet substantial works written in 1994 and receiving their recording debuts on this CD. Both Blackwood works were written for John Bruce Yeh, assistant principal clarinetist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, who performs on the album with Blackwood.
Lili Boulanger (1893-1918), younger sister of the more famous Nadia Boulanger, was a brilliant and precocious French composer who dazzled the world of European music at the beginning of the 20th century. At age 19, Lili Boulanger became the first woman to win France's Prix de Rome. In her short career, Boulanger advanced the impressionism of her era, finding her own voice in music that's expressive and luminous, moving and enchanting. Debussy descriptively described her music as "undulating with grace."
This CD celebrates the life of innovative American composer Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson (1932-2004), whose accomplishments spanned the worlds of jazz, dance, pop, film, television, and classical music.
Corridors of Light offers world-premiere recordings of four choral and orchestral works by revered American composer and choral director William Ferris (1937-2000). The generously programmed, mid-price CD with nearly 72 minutes of music is the first commercially distributed recording of a significant selection of Ferris's orchestral compositions. The pieces, all written in the 1960s and 1990s, exhibit the composer's distinctive sound, characterized by wistful, playful, and passionate melodies. Ferris himself conducts two of the performances.
There's more to traditional Jewish popular music than klezmer clarinet and Fiddler on the Roof. Dancing on the Edge of a Volcano revives the lively genre of Jewish cabaret and music hall songs from early twentieth-century Vienna and other vibrant centers of Jewish life.
Delights & Dances, the Chicago Sinfonietta’s first recording with its new music director, award-winning conductor Mei-Ann Chen, does what this singular ensemble does best: it captivates listeners of all ages and diverse ethnic backgrounds through irresistible music and superb musicianship. On Delights & Dances, the Chicago Sinfonietta, a standard-bearer for racial diversity in the orchestral world, works its magic through a one-of-kind program featuring music for string quartet and orchestra, with guest artist, the Harlem Quartet.
Pianist Dmitry Paperno's second recording on Cedille Records embraces four periods in the development of German music, with works of Bach-Busoni, Beethoven, Schubert, and Brahms.
"The first words that came to my mind after listening to these lovely miniature pieces were 'modest, unassuming, profound.' ...Grab this CD, because you're not going to have these kinds of venerable masters around forever. Highly recommended." (Fanfare)
Chamber music occupied a special place in Dvorak's heart. This CD of two of his finest -- and less well-known -- chamber works will earn a cherished spot in your record collection.
Participating as a pianist in this recording, and thus gaining an overview of my compositions, has been a revealing experience. It was also enlightening to have had the opportunity to collaborate with Mr. Pikler and Mr. Stucka, who are both fine musicians and dedicated perfectionists - Easley Blackwood
How did the world begin? How did life come about? Religion has given us vivid poetic descriptions of the creation, and it has inspired literature attributing the creating force to God, a god, or an unending cycle that has no beginning and no end. Science has given us the Big Bang, with its single point of super-condensed proto-matter exploding to create innumerable celestial bodies, and Darwin, who explained how man evolved from the failed species that came before us. No matter what we believe, we are fascinated by our beginnings, and we are continually striving for explanations that satisfy our desire to know ourselves better.
Visionary chamber-music group Fifth House Ensemble of Chicago aims for the stratosphere with Excelsior, its adventurous debut album on Cedille Records. The title refers to an experimental, extreme-altitude U.S. Air Force project of the Cold War era.
Handel's violin sonatas, familiar to violinists and chamber audiences, have been inexplicably neglected on disc. These intimate, inviting sonatas show the seldom-heard side of Handel's genius. The violin sonatas span Handel's long career, from the early, Corelli-inspired G Major Sonata, HWV358 (c. 1706-8) to the exciting Sonata in D major (c. 1750). On the CD, the works are sequenced for a pleasing progression of key relationships and mood changes.
The Avalon String Quartet, makes its Cedille Records debut with an irresistible and richly varied program of captivating works by Claude Debussy, Benjamin Britten, Osvaldo Golijov, and rising American composer Stacy Garrop.
Bach's Chaconne for Solo Violin, the bedazzling finale to his Partita No. 2 in D minor, has awed audiences and fellow composers for nearly three centuries. Brahms called Bach's ingenuous meditation on a simple harmonic progression "one of the most wonderful, incomprehensible pieces of music . . . a whole world of the deepest thoughts and the most powerful feelings."
Franz Liszt's most familiar works -- six of his Hungarian Rhapsodies -- are best known in their original solo piano versions and Liszt's orchestrations. Pianists Georgia & Louise Mangos, two "first-rate Lisztians" (Fanfare), perform Liszt's rarely heard duet versions (one piano, four-hands), possible the only CD ever of the duets. To those who sniff at piano transcriptions as "reductions," recording producer Jim Ginsburg points out that these Rhapsodies are actually "enlargements" of Liszt's original solo piano versions.
Pianist Ramon Salvatore, a champion of American music, harvests a program of attractive, distinctive yet neglected works by four prominent, living composers on his first recording for Cedille Records.
This imaginative program, devised by the dynamic Lincoln Trio, features works by six celebrated contemporary American female composers. Four of the pieces are world-premiere recordings: Lera Auerbach's Trio, Stacy Garrop's Seven, Laura Elise Schwendinger's C'è la Luna Questa Sera?, and Joan Tower's Trio Cavany. Writing for ChicagoClassicalReview.com, former Chicago Sun-Times critic Wynne Delacoma called the program (played live at a 2010 concert), "an afternoon of bracing, highly varied music written by some of contemporary music's most talented composers — male or female" offering "a window to what's happening on the contemporary music scene."
David Schrader concludes his selective, two-part survey of Antonio Soler's imaginative harpsichord sonatas with a CD of witty pieces that elicit smiles and others that bring to mind a wealth of instrumental timbres, most notably Spanish guitar and baroque trumpet flourishes.
"10/10 -- This splendid recital adds up to more than the sum of its various parts. At 78 minutes it's also a very good deal. Jorge Federico Osorio knows this music as well as any pianist alive, and his performances bespeak the wisdom of maturity with no loss of freshness or spontaneity.... There's poetry aplenty, but also bravura. Sonically this recording strikes me as ideal. In short, what you hear is what Osorio does, and what he does is pretty terrific." -- ClassicsToday.com
Poetry inspired remarkable trios by three Romantic composers: August Klughardt's Schumannesque Schilflieder (Songs of the Reeds) from 1872 tell the poignant story of a man 'reunited' with the ghost of his lost love. American composer Charles Martin Loeffler's Two Rhapsodies for Oboe, Viola, and Piano (1901), also inspired by love lost, offers a delightful blend of French Impressionism and New World freshness. British composer Felix White's evocative The Nymph's Complaint for the Death of her Fawn (1921) won a Carnegie Award and the admiration of Ralph Vaughan Williams.
One look at the garbage-bedecked piano on the cover of Radical Piano and you know this isn't "Dinner Classics." Yet this survey of early modernism is far from an assault on anyone's aesthetic sensibilities. Pianist and composer Easley Blackwood performs a novel program of modernist masterpieces from the first half of the 20th century -- nearly 75 minutes of music by modernist icons, as well as composers best known for conventional lyricism, such as Copland, Nielsen, and Prokofiev. Most of the works have rarely, if ever, been recorded.
Within a 24-hour period in late 1975, pianist Dmitry Paperno's distinguished profile in the Soviet music world rose sharply and then disappeared. No sooner had Melodiya, the state record label, released Paperno's fourth solo album then the Moscow-trained musician notified officials of his intentions to emigrate to the West, effectively ending his two-decade career as a major Soviet concert and recording artist.
"[A] splendid sampling of Kurka's orchestral works. . . . The pieces recorded here reveal a prodigious imagination coupled with relentless energy." (La Scena Musicale)
World-renowned mezzo-soprano Jennifer Larmore sings four royal roles in a tour de force program of dramatic orchestral works.
Internationally admired concert pianist Jorge Federico Osorio, praised by The New York Times for "the sweep and freshness of his readings," offers a riveting and richly pictorial recital on his first-ever recording of Russian masterworks for solo piano. Mussorgsky's original piano setting of his popular Pictures at an Exhibition anchors an absorbing program that includes Prokofiev's Sixth Sonata and Romeo and Juliet Before Parting, plus Shostakovich's Prelude and Fugue No. 24 in D minor.
Mexican-born, European-trained pianist Jorge Federico Osorio has been hailed by the Los Angeles Times as "one of the more elegant and accomplished pianists on the planet" and a performer who "always brings new insights, eloquent readings, and an effortless virtuosity all his assignments." A New York Times concert review praised his "considerable imagination for subtle timbres and vivid characterization" and said "the sweep and freshness of his readings made his performances impossible to resist."
Scarlatti on Fortepiano sheds new light on Domenico Scarlatti's keyboard sonatas and the early piano, or "fortepiano," of the composer's own time. The fortepiano, available to Scarlatti (1685-1757) in the royal palaces of Spain, was part of his sonic world. Yet the many Scarlatti sonata recordings on the market typically employ harpsichord or modern piano.
Grammy-nominated violinist Jennifer Koh and virtuoso pianist Shai Wosner play 20th-century works by three remarkable Central European composers who intertwine folkloric influences with their own unmistakable originality.
Nominated for the 1980 Pulitzer Prize in Music, William Ferris's Snowcarols receives its world premiere recording. Performed by the William Ferris Chorale, directed by Paul French, Snowcarols is filled with memorable melodies and brilliant orchestrations.
Cedille Records presents a career-spanning collection of sublime songs by celebrated Chicago composer Lita Grier, who has crafted contemporary settings for works by illustrious English and American poets.
While the classical era is synonymous with Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert, Songs of the Classical Age illuminates a host of other composers of the Age of Enlightenment, along with less-familiar works by the aforementioned titans.
One of music’s brightest young stars, “prodigiously talented” (The New York Times) violinist Jennifer Koh presents a hand-picked program of inventive and attractive American works for violin and piano, spanning the 20th and 21st centuries.
Billy Collins, former U.S. poet laureate, has been hailed as the first American poet since Robert Frost to garner great critical acclaim and broad popular appeal in equal measure. "His poems generate surprise, inviting the reader to anticipate each new one as if it might be the best one yet" (World Literature Today). In Collins's poetry, "even the most commonplace things never turn out quite the way you think they will" (Newsweek).
The Pulitzer Prize in Music, established in 1943, is perhaps the most coveted award in American concert life. This new CD with Chicago's Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus and principal conductor Carlos Kalmar presents three Pulitzer Prize-winning works from the competition's earliest years: William Schuman's Secular Cantata No. 2, "A Free Song"; Aaron Copland's Suite from Appalachian Spring; and Leo Sowerby's The Canticle of the Sun for chorus and orchestra. These are the world-premiere recordings of the Schuman and Sowerby cantatas.
Experience a side of Handel that's rarely heard these days: exquisitely refined vocal and instrumental chamber music, including three cantatas from his early years in Italy. On The Virtuoso Handel, you'll encounter the type of intimate music making that small, privileged audiences of discerning connoisseurs enjoyed during Handel's sojourn in Rome from 1706 to 1709.
Following the success of its groundbreaking Cedille Records debut, Notable Women, the Lincoln Trio brings its “interpretative flair” (The Strad) and “masterly finesse” (Cleveland Plain Dealer) to the early 20th-century chamber music of Spanish-born, French-trained Joaquín Turina in a richly varied program of audience pleasing works blending Spanish dance and folk influences with romanticism and French impressionism.
Combine Schubert's gift of melody with Beethoven's flair for drama, and you have the music of their respected friend and colleague -- the Bohemian composer Jan Václav Hugo Vorísek. Unlike his better-known contemporaries, Vorísek (pronounced VORH-zheh-shek) composed few large-scale works in his tragically short lifetime (1791-1825), but what gems they are. His exquisite Mass in B-flat Major is a perfectly proportioned Classical masterpiece in the tradition of the great masses of Haydn and Mozart. Surprisingly, this new CD is the only readily available recording. Vorísek's only symphony, the Symphony in D Major, is "a work of impressive confidence and command, firmly constructed and colourfully scored" (Gramophone). If you love the great Viennese classicists, you'll adore Vorísek.
One of today's finest cellists, Wendy Warner wowed listeners with her enterprising recording of works by Hindemith on Bridge Records, her performance of Barber's Concerto on Naxos, and her album of duos with violinist Rachel Barton Pine on Cedille.