Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Your usual Friday fun ... on Thursday as well!

If you will honor us with your company on WTJU-91.1 FM, this week and next week, you'll have to put up with me for two morning shows.

Thursday Morning

On Thursday, I'll be hosting Classical Cafe, and to celebrate the birthday of French composer, Adolphe Adam, the first hour will be filled with ballet music: two suites from Giselle.

A short sample of the music you'll be hearing!

After 7 am, we'll hear a Boccherini Symphony and a Bassoon Concerto by Johann Christian Bach, and we'll mark the birthday of the inventive 20th Century Canadian/British composer, Robert Farnon.

Our third birthday of the morning is that of Swiss composer, Ernest Bloch:  we'll listen to his Jewish Poem No. 1, Dancing just after 8 am.  A Quartet by Devienne and a Quintet by Mozart will bring Classical Cafe to a delicious and satisfying conclusion.

 Friday Morning

If you'd like to come back for more vivacious music on Friday, Vivace will feature a flute and clarinet work by Franz Danzi and a harp concerto by the rarely-heard English composer, Elias Parish Alvars, whom Hector Berlioz called "the Franz Liszt of the harp".

At 7 am, we have some delightful music for lute by Haydn, a waltz by Carl Ziehrer and an oboe concerto by Franz Krommer.

After 8 am, we'll hear a concerto by Albinoni and music from two of the Mozart family, a Serenade by Wolfgang and a piano concerto by his son, Franz Xaver Mozart.

I hope you'll join us as you start your day.   I look forward to the pleasure of your company, on Thursday and Friday mornings, here on WTJU-Charlottesville.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Seattle Symphony Debuts Label with Faure

Gabriel Fauré: Masques et Bergamasques; Pelléas et Mélisande; Dolly; Pavane; Fantaisie; Berceuse; Élégie
Seattle Symphony
Seattle Symphony Chorale
Ludovic Morlot, conductor
Seattle Symphony Media

I received a package with three discs to review. When I asked a colleague which one to begin with, he said, "Start with the Fauré." It was good advice. The Seattle Symphony has started their own record label, and this inaugural release is a strong start.

The plush romanticism of Fauré's music seems a perfect match for the Seattle Symphony's ensemble sound. Pelléas et Mélisande was recorded before a particularly well-behaved live audience, and the entire program was recorded in installments over a two year period. Yet the album has a surprisingly uniform sound.

And what a sound! The recorded ensemble has an expansive, warm sound that serves the music well. A real standout is the Pavane, which includes the Seattle Symphony Chorale singing with the intimate delicacy of a chamber choir.

Ludovich Morlot brings out the personality of each work; the light-heartedness of Masques et Bergamasques, the charming innocence of Dolly. the dark beauty of Pelléas et Méllisande. And the featured soloists from within the orchestra are worthy of note, too. Flutist Demarre McGill (Fantaisie for Flute), violinist Alexander Velinzon (Berceuse), and cellist Efe Baltacigil (Élégie) effectively communicate the emotions of their respective works, making them much more substantial than mere showpieces.

My colleague was right. If you have a choice of what to listen to, start with the Fauré.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

This week's Vivace: An unusual pot-pourri

This week's Vivace will contain a really unusual pot-pourri.  In the first hour, we'll begin gently with a Sonata for Flute and Piano by Danish composer, Friedrich Kuhlau, followed by the last in our occasional series of the five symphonies of Sir Hubert Parry.

At 7 o'clock, we'll feature the symphony that inspired Samuel Smith to write the lyrics to "My Country 'Tis of Thee" in 1831: the Great National Symphony by Muzio Clementi. 

We'll celebrate the birthday of French composer, Marie Auguste Durand, and just before 8 o'clock, we have a very rare recording of the final work of Claude Debussy, a short piano piece he wrote to thank his coal supplier for keeping his house warm during his final illness, a work that was lost until discovered in a trunk in Paris in 2001.

At 8 o'clock, we'll celebrate the birthday of Czech composer Julius Fucik.

Then, we'll have a short tribute to the great conductor, Lorin Maazel, who passed away earlier this week, featuring two of his own compositions.  And finally, we'll hear one of Mozart's early piano concertos, No 9, which he wrote when he was 19.

As ever, I hope you'll join me for what promises to be a busy and, I hope, interesting edition of Vivace, Friday morning, 6-9 am, here on WTJU-Charlottesville.