Thursday, December 27

Well, Oceana is popping up in best-of-year lists all over! Yesterday I noted NPR's endorsement of this latest recording of music by Osvaldo Golijov with the Atlanta Symphony and Robert Spano and friends. Today the disc shows up in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's reckoning of local cultural highlights of 2007. And if you go a-googling you'll notice a Charleston critic also puts the CD on his best-of list (here), and, oh, it crops up in Philadelphia too, described as "global contempo-classical" (here), and it's listed in a New York publication (here) and in Madison, Wisconsin as well (here). So although it didn't pick up any Grammy nominations, the CD is still garnering notice regionally and beyond.

In the one o'clock hour, then, let's hear two of Golijov's creations, with singers Dawn Upshaw and Luciana Souza shining up front.

Alan Cooke hosts Midday Music this Friday and Monday. Tuesday we bring you a waltzy, schmaltzy "New Year from Vienna." Happy New Year!

11 AM

  • Tchaikovsky: Russian Dance. Trio Voronezh (Angel 56892)
  • Alkan: Concerto for Solo Piano: first movement (allegro assai). Marc-Andre Hamelin (Hyperion 67569)
  • Haydn: Sinfonia Concertante in B-flat. Berlin Philharmonic, Rattle (EMI 94237)
12 N
  • Fasch: Quadro in D minor. Epocca Barocca (CPO 777 204)
  • Dvorak: Piano Quartet in E-flat, Op. 87. Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (CMS)
  • Vivaldi: Trio Sonata in C major. Rolf Lislevand et al. (Naive 30429)
  • Mozart/Triebensee: Don Giovanni: selection. Opera Senza (MDG 603 1464)
1 PM
  • Torroba: Estampas. Minneapolis Guitar Quartet (Albany 339)
  • Golijov: Three Songs: Lua Descolorida. Dawn Upshaw, Atlanta Sym, Spano (DG 9069)
  • Golijov: Oceana. Luciana Souza, Atlanta Sym Orch and Chorus, Los Angeles Guitar Quartet members, Gwinnett Young Singers, Spano (DG 9069)

Wednesday, December 26

Big news here at GPB Radio!

Our own Terrance McKnight, host of Studio GPB and The ASO on GPB, has accepted a job in the Big Apple. He's becoming the evening music host at Manhattan public radio giant WNYC. His last day with GPB is coming up in mid-January. Read more about it here, in a posting by Atlanta-Journal Constitution classical critic Pierre Ruhe. I'm thrilled for Terrance's success but will miss him as a colleague and a friend.

On another note, on John Schaefer names his top ten albums of the year. His top classical pick? Oceana. That's music of Osvaldo Golijov featuring Robert Spano and our own Atlanta Symphony and Chorus (as well as noted non-Georgia soloists). Rah! Schaefer is one of Terrance's future colleagues at WNYC, as it happens.

And now, the playlist for today's Midday Music:

11 AM . . . .

  • Weinberger: Schwanda the Bagpiper: Polka and Fugue. Cincinnati Pops, Kunzel (Telarc 80595)
  • Praetorius: Dances from Terpsichore. US Air Force Reserve Brass Quintet (in concert, RiverCenter, Columbus, Ga., 9/10/07)
  • Nielsen: Sinfonia Espansiva (Symphony No. 3). San Francisco Sym, Blomstedt (London/Decca 430 280; pictured: rerelease on two-disc set 460 985)
12 N . . . . . .
  • Bach: Christmas Oratorio: Sinfonia from Part 2. English Baroque Soloists, Gardiner (Archiv 427 653; pictured: 423 232)
  • Bach: Orchestral Suite No. 3. English Concert, Pinnock (Archiv 427 112; pictured: 872 302, rerelease with all four suites)
  • Canteloube: Songs of the Auvergne: Pastorale (Bailero). Veronique Gens, Natioanl Orch Lille, Baudo (Naxos 8.570338)
  • Rodrigo: Concierto Serenata for harp and orchestra. Gwyneth Wentink, Asturias Sym, Valdes (Naxos 8.555843)
1 PM . . . . . .
  • Chaminade: Concertino for Flute. Paula Robison, Charleston Sym, Stahl (Pergola 1032)
  • Schoenfield: Cafe Music. Ehnes, Arron, Russo (Black Box 1109)
  • Dvorak: Romance in F minor. Pamela Frank, Czech Phil, Mackerras (London 289 460 316)
  • Sammartini: Recorder Sonata in G, Op. 2/4. Maurice Steger et al. (Harmonia Mundi 905266)

Thursday, December 20

The "Santa Claus" Symphony by William Henry Fry (1813-64) tells a story, scene by detailed scene. Here's how Kile Smith describes Fry's program in his notes to the Naxos recording we hear this morning. Follow along as you listen.

The trumpet announces the Saviour's birth, and the celestial host takes up the chorus. The exultation is broken by loud discords as some of the angels fall away in anger, but harmonious triumph concludes the section. Now a Christmas Eve party: reunited family, dancing, and general frivolity are depicted in pell-mell joy. An impending snowstorm arrives in the brass, but the dancing resumes, quieter this time as the party-goers leave for home. As sleep descends...we hear The Lord's Prayer in syllabic cadence on the upper strings, followed by "Rock-a-by baby" on the soprano saxophone. Muted strings even mimic the baby's breathing. The snowstorm again comes into view, and in the middle of it is a traveller (the solo double bass). Lost and alone, his moans are heard through the wind as he perishes [!]. But this depressing scene shifts as Santa Claus enters, with the voice of the high bassoon, here in his horse-drawn sleigh. Down the chimney he slides with flutes accompanying; plucked strings signify the clicking of toys being dropped into stockings... Santa leaves, the sound of hooves and bells receding into the distance. Up in the sky, extremely high violins portray a chorus of angels singing the familiar "Adeste fideles." The sun rises on Christmas Day. The house awakens to the sounds of "Get up!" on the horn and "Little Bo-peep" on the trumpets as the children play. The beginning of the work reappears, as does "Adeste fideles," as Santa Claus closes in a hymn of praise.
Other highlights today include the original 1723 version of Bach's Magnificat, conducted by Philippe Herreweghe, and (the original 1966 version of) How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Friday please join Alan Cooke at 11:00 for Midday Music Requests. Monday at 11:00 GPB brings you the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from Cambridge, England, in real time. On Christmas Day please join us for Handel's Messiah from Philadelphia. I'll be back with you Wednesday. Rest ye merry, listeners!

11 AM . . . Grechaninov: Passion Week [SACD] . Fry: Santa Claus Symphony / Royal Scottish National Orchestra
  • Grechaninov: In Thy Kingdom, from Passion Week. Phoenix Bach Choir, Kansas City Chorale, Bruffy (Chandos 5044, multiple Grammy nominee)
  • Vivaldi: Violin Concerto in E, "Rest, for Christmas Night," RV 270. Fabio Biondi, Europa Galante (Virgin 45424)
  • Mackenzie: The Cricket on the Hearth, Overture (based on Dickens). BBC Scottish Sym, Brabbins (Hyperion 66764)
  • Fry: Santa Claus Symphony. Royal Scottish National Orch, Rowe (Naxos 8.559057)
12 N . . . Christmas Cantatas
  • Mendelssohn: Hymns, Op. 79: Advent; Christmas. Oregon Symphony Horns (Centaur 2344)
  • Bach: Magnificat, BWV 243a (original 1723 version). Collegium Vocale Gent, Herreweghe (Harmonia Mundi 901781.82; also available on 901326)
  • Dello Joio: Variants on a Mediaeval Tune (In Dulci Jubilo). Keystone Wind Ensemble, Stamp (Klavier 11138)
  • Tchaikovsky: The Seasons: December - Christmas-tide. Moscow Chamber Orch, Orbelian (Delos 3255)
1 PM . . . How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1966 TV Film)
  • Handel: Messiah: Hallelujah Chorus. Boston Baroque, Pearlman (Telarc 80322)
  • Feliciano/Kromer: Feliz Navidad. Eaken Piano Trio (Naxos 8.554714)
  • Seuss, Hague: How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Boris Karloff, Who Village Orchestra and Chorus (Mercury 314 528 438)
  • Locatelli: Christmas Concerto (Concerto Grosso Op. 1/8 in F minor). Tafelmusik Baroque Orch, Lamon (Analekta 9811)

Wednesday, December 19

11 AM . . .

  • Mahler: Symphony No. 4. Atlanta Sym, Stade, Levi (Telarc 80499)
12 N . . . . . . .
  • Bach/Gounod: Ave Maria. Carl Tanner et al. (Timeless 17822)
  • Humperdinck: The Blue Bird: The Christmas Dream; Star Dance. Bamberg Sym, Rickenbacher (Virgin 61128)
  • Graupner: Machet die Tore weit, cantata for Advent. Les Idees Heureuses, Soly (Analekta 9115)
  • Debussy: Reverie. Yolanda Kondonassis (Telarc 80622)
  • Rozsa: Ben Hur, Choral Suite. Cincinnati Pops, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Kunzel (Telarc 80631)
1 PM . . . . . .
  • Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker: End of Act 2. Cincinnati Pops, Kunzel (Telarc 80674)
  • Byrd: Out of the orient crystal skies. Emma Kirkby, Fretwork (Harmonia Mundi 907383)
  • Beach: Romance, Op. 23. Rachel Barton Pine, Matthew Hagle (Cedille 097)
  • Petritz: Die Herrlichkeit des Herrn. Saxon Vocal Ens, Batzdorf Court Ens, Jung (CPO 777 332)
  • Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2. Ignacy Jan Paderewski (Nimbus 8812)

Tuesday, December 18

11 AM . . . . . .

  • Byrd/Jacob: William Byrd Suite. U.S. Air Force Band, Graham (Klavier 11159)
  • Haydn: Baryton Trio No. 87 in A minor. Hsu, Miller, Arico (ASV 104)
  • Jacobi: Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt (God So Loved the World). Saxon Vocal Ens, Batzdorf Court Ens, Jung (CPO 777 332)
  • Ravel: Pavane for a Dead Princess. Alexandre Tharaud (Harmonia Mundi 901811.12)
  • Rodrigo: Retablo de Navidad (Christmas Altarpiece). Anna Stephany, BBC Sym, Philharmonia Chorus, Zinman (RCA [Sony] 88697 11561)
12 N . . . . .
  • Mozart: Ave Verum Corpus. Tolzer Knabenchor, European Baroque Soloists, Schmidt-Gaden (Sony 75944)
  • Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on Christmas Carols. Stephen Gadd, Guildford Choral Soc, Royal Phil, Wetton (Naxos 8.570439)
  • Brahms: Clarinet Sonata in E-flat, Op. 120/2. Gervase de Peyer, Daniel Barenboim (EMI 55674)
  • Nicolai: Christmas Overture. Bamberg Sym, Rickenbacher (Virgin 90179)
  • Sears/Willis: It Came Upon the Midnight Clear. Chanticleer (Warner 284988)
1 PM . . . . . .
  • Pachelbel: Canon and Gigue in D major. Taverner Players, Parrott (Virgin 391340)
  • Montero: Improvisation on Pachelbel's Canon. Gabriela Montero (EMI 00234)
  • Fuchs: Eventide (English-horn concerto based on spirituals including "Mary Had a Baby" and "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot"). Thomas Stacy, London Sym, Falletta (Naxos 8.559224)
  • Negri; Vecchi: three Renaissance tunes (Bianco fiore; Catena d'amore; So ben mi ch'ha bon tempo). Baltimore Consort (Dorian 90601)
  • Elms: Three Carols (Gabriel's Message; Rocking; Angels from the Realms of Glory). Joyful Company of Singers, Royal Phil, Bell (Naxos 8.570793)

Monday, December 17

'Tis the week before Christmas and Midday Music shifts to mostly holiday fare. With centuries of classical music to choose from, we can breeze through the week with nary a single repeated carol. Today's offerings include choral works by Ralph Vaughan Williams (Hodie), William Ferris (four carols) and Philipp Heinrich Erlebach (a Baroque cantata) as well as an instrumental bit of Bach's Christmas Oratorio and the latest from Chanticleer.

For Christmassy musical events, consider the Albany Chorale tonight in Albany, Cantus Christmas 2007 tonight in Columbus or the Atlanta Ballet's ongoing Nutcracker in midtown Atlanta. (P.S. on the Atlanta Ballet: The panda dancer injured earlier this month is now home from the hospital and working on her walking.)

11 AM . . . .

  • Vaughan Williams: Hodie (This Day). Guildford Choral Society, St. Catherine's School Middle Chamber Choir, Watson, Hoare, Gadd, Royal Philharmonic, Wetton.
  • Schubert/Jennings: Ave Maria. Chanticleer, Chanticleer Holiday Orch, Jennings (Warner 284988)
12 N . . . . . .
  • Bach: Christmas Oratorio: Sinfonia. Taverner Players, Parrott (Virgin 391340)
  • Stokowski: Traditional Slavic Christmas Music. Bournemouth Sym, Serebrier (Naxos 8.557645)
  • Ferris: four carols (The Lord Said to Me; Gentle Mary; Lift Up Your Heads, O Mighty Gates; Infant Holy, Infant Lowly). William Ferris Chorale, Composer Festival Orch, French (Cedille 101)
  • Serra: Variations for Orchestra and Piano. Emili Brugalla, El Valles Sym, Brotons (Naxos 8.555871)
  • Erlebach: Furchtet euch nicht. Saxon Vocal Ens, Batzdorf Court Ens, Jung (CPO 777 332)
1 PM . . .
  • Tchaikovsky: Piano Trio in A minor. Borodin Trio (Brilliant Classics box 93423)

Thursday, December 13

There's so much live musicmaking going on right now - if it's your flavor, go out and hear some! :-) For Christmas concerts near or nearish you, see Wednesday's clickable list below. It may not include your kid's school concert or your friend's church singalong, but it'll get you started with some of our larger performing groups.

And as always, thanks for listening to GPB during all those non-concert hours. Today's Midday Music features two great new recordings for the season. If you're looking for a fantastic new Nutcracker disc, with more than just the suite but less than the whole ballet, check out Yuri Temirkanov and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic in the 1 o'clock hour.

11 AM . . .

  • Evald: Brass Quintet No. 4. Stockholm Chamber Brass (BIS 613)
  • Lutoslawski: Polish Christmas Carols. Julia Doyle, BBC Sym, Philharmonia Chorus, Zinman (RCA [SonyBMG] 88697 11561)
12 N
  • Ionafan: Liturgy of Peace: Bless the Lord. Kyiv Chamber Choir, Hobdych (Hearts of Space 11118)
  • Schubert: Symphony No. 5. Chamber Orch of Europe, Abbado (DG 423 654)
  • Offenbach: Gaîté Parisienne, selections. New York Phil, Bernstein (Sony 61830)
1 PM . . .
  • Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker Suite. St. Petersburg Phil, Temirkanov (EMI 11272)
  • Sammartini: Recorder Sonata No. 21 in B-flat. Maurice Steger et al. (Harmonia Mundi 905266)
  • Sarasate: Zigeunerweisen. Joel Quarrington, Andrew Burashko (CBC MVCD 1108)
  • Traditional Norwegian: Dance from Vestfold. Trio Mediaeval (ECM 2003)

Wednesday, December 12

Here's a quick list of this week's (December 13-18) Christmas concerts coming up in GPB communities, with links for details.

11 AM . . . . .
  • Schelle: Machet die Tore weit. Saxon Vocal Ensemble, Batzdorf Court Ensemble, Jung (CPO 777 332)
  • Smetana: Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 15. Beaux Arts Trio (Philips 432 125; pictured: Decca box 150602)
  • Poulenc: Hodie Christus Natus Est. Mercer Singers, Roberts (ACA Digital 30004)
  • Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 4. Concerto Italiano, Alessandrini (Naive 30412)
12 N . . . . .
  • Bizet: Symphony in C. Orchestra of Paris, Bychkov (Philips 432 096)
  • Sammartini: Recorder Sonata in G major, Op. 2/4. Maurice Steger et al. (Harmonia Mundi 905266)
  • Vaughan Williams: Romance. Helen Callus, Philip Bush (ASV 184)
  • Gabrieli: Sonata No. 20 for 22 players. Gabrieli Players, McCreesh (Archiv 449 180)
1 PM . . . .
  • Vivaldi: Dixit Dominus in D, RV 594. Choir of King's College Cambridge, Academy of Ancient Music, Cleobury (EMI 57265)
  • Debussy: Violin Sonata in G minor. LAurent Korcia, Michael Wendeberg (Naive 5066)
  • Turina: Rapsodia Sinfonica. Angela Cheng, Calgary Phil, Graf (CBC SMCD 5195)