Thursday, November 29

First up, a calendar roundup for the first half of December. If you're in that pre-Christmas mood, indulge! With performances from major venues and organizations across Georgia, this list should keep you busy.


  • South Georgia Arts presents the Charleston Ballet and local South Georgia ballet students Sunday, 3:00 and 7:30, Tift County High School Performing Arts Center, Tifton
  • Atlanta Ballet, throughout December, times vary, Fox Theatre, Atlanta
  • Nutcracker of Middle Georgia, December 5-9, Grand Opera House, Macon
Other Christmas Concerts
  • Augusta Opera at St. Paul's, Sunday, 3:30 and 6:00, St. Paul's Church, Augusta
  • Georgia State University's tenth anniversary Gala Holiday Concert, Saturday at 8:00 and Sunday at 3:00, Rialto Center, Atlanta
  • Albany Symphony's annual Peppermint Pops, Tuesday, 7:30, Albany Civic Center
  • Columbus Symphony Orchestra's Cowboy Christmas with Riders in the Sky, December 6, 7:30, RiverCenter, Columbus
  • Cobb Symphony's holiday pops concert, Saturday, performances in two Cobb County venues
Other Classical Concerts
  • Augusta Symphony's Augusta Virtuosi in Columbia County, Saturday, 7:30, Hardin Theatre, Evans
  • Pianist Emanuel Ax, Sunday, 3:00, Spivey Hall, Morrow
  • Atlanta Symphony with Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff and more, Thursday-Saturday, Symphony Hall, Atlanta
  • Leo Kottke and the Turtle Island Quartet, Saturday at Atlanta's Ferst Center and Sunday in Athens' UGA Performing Arts Center
(Pant, puff.) Did I miss anyone? Not counting all the schools and churches, I mean, though those ubiquitous events are worthwhile too. Please bring your arts organization or venue to my attention by e-mailing Midday Music at the address in the left column.

On now to the playlist du jour. Here's what we're hearing today. Tomorrow please join Alan Cooke for our weekly requests edition.

11 AM
  • Ibert: Divertissement. Cincinnati Pops, Kunzel (Telarc 80294)
  • Rosza: North Hungarian Peasant Songs and Dances. Quint, Wolfram (Naxos 8.570190)
  • Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet, Suite No. 2. Minneapolis Sym, Skrowaczewski (Mercury 432 004)
12 N
  • Sanz: Canarios. Narciso Yepes (DG 459 613)
  • Montero: improvisations on Sanz's Canarios and Handel's Hallelujah Chorus. Gabriela Montero (EMI 00234, "Baroque")
  • Arensky: Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor. Lowenthal, Bor, Rosen (Brilliant Classics box 93423)
1 PM
  • Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker: Second Tableau. Cincinnati Pops, Kunzel (Telarc 80674)
  • Haydn: Piano Concerto in F. Emanuel Ax, Franz Liszt Chamber Orch (Sony Legacy 89853)
  • Bach: Cantata No. 34, "O Ewiges Feuer." Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists, Gardiner (SDG 121)

Wednesday, November 28

There's a lot of activity among Augusta's top classical ensembles this week. Sunday, December 2 brings the annual Augusta Opera Holiday Concert at St. Paul's. There's the annual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols with the Augusta Collegium Musicum and Augusta Choral Society, Tuesday, December 4 at the Sacred Heart Cultural Center. And the Augusta Symphony's string ensemble, the Augusta Virtuosi, visits Evans for a Saturday concert at the Hardin Performing Arts Theatre.

11 AM . . . . . .

  • Rossini: La Danza. Joseph Alessi et al. (Naxos 8.570232)
  • Haydn: Symphony No. 88. Berlin Phil, Rattle (EMI 94237)
  • Respighi: Rossiniana, Suite for Orchestra. Buffalo Phil, Falletta (Naxos 8.557711)
  • Buxtehude: Duo Sonata in F, Op. 1/1. Holloway, ter Linden, Mortensen (DaCapo 8.224003)
12 N . . . .
  • Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. Mikhail Pletnev, Berlin Phil, Abbado (DG 289 457 583)
  • Rachmaninoff: Fantaisie Tableaux (Suite No. 1 for Two Pianos, Op. 5). Emanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman (Sony 61767)
  • Tchaikovsky: Andante Cantabile. Indianapolis Sym, Leppard (Koss 3303)
1 PM . . . .
  • Gabrieli: Three canzons. Empire Brass and friends (Telarc 80553)
  • Brahms: String Quartet No. 3 in B-flat. Ludwig Quartet (Naxos 8.554601)
  • Sibelius: Musette. Rachel Barton Pine, Matthew Hagle (Cedille 90000 097)

Tuesday, November 27

At the left is a new picture of yours truly, taken yesterday. Not sure it's a perfect likeness but at least it's current. Sarah on a sleepy Monday morning after Thanksgiving.

On Midday Music Emanuel Ax and Yo-Yo Ma perform the cello sonata of Richard Strauss from CD. In real life, Emanuel Ax gives a recital Sunday at Spivey Hall. In the noon hour we hear the Atlanta Symphony and Cecylia Arzewski play Sheherazade. In real life, Arzewski has announced she'll step down as concertmaster of the ASO after this season. That's her at right. Meanwhile, she'll be on stage this weekend as the Atlanta Symphony performs Wagner, Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev. A few other concerts of note: The Turtle Island Quartet with guitarist Leo Kottke play Saturday at Atlanta's Ferst Center and Sunday at UGA in Kottke's native Athens. Sunday at Tift County High School in Tifton, the Charleston Ballet and local ballet students peform The Nutcracker, presented by South Georgia Arts. The annual Augusta Opera at Saint Paul's holiday concert takes place Sunday at (yes) Saint Paul's in Augusta.

Today's Midday Music playlist:

11 AM . . . .

  • Mendelssohn: Die Heimkehr aus der Fremde (Return Home from Abroad). New Philharmonia Orch, Atzmon (EMI 81788)
  • Strauss, R.: Cello Sonata in F, Op. 6. Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax (CBS 44980/Sony 90397)
  • Wagner: Parsifal, Act 1 Prelude. New York Phil, Mehta (Sony 45749)
12 N . . . .
  • Bach: Cantata No. 174: Sinfonia (first part of Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, with winds, brass and organ thrown in). Taverner Players, Parrott (Virgin 391340)
  • Rimsky-Korsakov: Sheherezade, Symphonic Suite after The Thousand and One Nights. Atlanta Sym Orch, Cecylia Arzewski, Spano (Telarc 80568)
1 PM
  • Perkinson, C.-T.: Sinfonietta No. 1 for strings: Rondo. Chicago Sinfonietta, Freeman (Cedille 90000 087)
  • Rabl, W.: Quartet in E-flat for clarinet, violin, cello and piano, Op. 1 (1896). Orion Ensemble (Cedille 90000 088)
  • Handel: Concerto a Due Cori No. 2 in F. Tafelmusik, Lamon (Sony 63073)

Monday, November 26

I hope you had a safe and pleasing Thanksgiving weekend. Alan Cooke's Friday playlist is found here. And now here we are again, post-turkey.

11 AM . . . . . .

  • Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker Suite. Philadelphia Orch, Ormandy [1972] (RCA 62821)
  • Lamb: Alabama Rag. Virgina Eskin (Northeastern 257; pictured: Koch rerelease)
  • Dvorak: Waldesruhe, Op. 68/5. Timothy Walden, Royal Liverpool Orch, Pesek (Virgin 391346)
  • Beethoven: "Tempest" Sonata (Piano Sonata No. 17 in D minor, Op. 31/2). Maurizio Pollini (DG 427 642)
12 N . . . . .
  • Fasch: Canon in F for recorder, bassoon and continuo. Epoca Barocca (CPO 777 204)
  • Schubert: Violin Sonatina (Sonata) in D major, D. 384. Andrew Manze, Richard Egarr (Harmonia Mundi 907445)
  • Sibelius: Symphony No. 3. Iceland Sym, Sakari (Naxos box 8.505179; pictured: single disc 8.554102)
  • Dvorak: Humoreske. Rachel Barton Pine, Matthew Hagle (Cedille 097)
1 PM . . .
  • Weiss: Lute Sonata No. 37 in C major. Robert Barto (Naxos 8.505179)
  • Mozart: Symphony No. 39 in E-flat, K. 543. English Baroque Soloists, Gardiner (Philips 426 283; out of print, alas)
Today I retire this snapshot from five years ago: . It will be replaced shortly atop this blog with a picture taken just outside the GPB radio control room this morning.

Wednesday, November 21

For your pre-turkey Wednesday, we offer Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet, a piano quartet by Alexander Mackenzie, and the ever-popular Mendelssohn Octet - all seasoned with shorter fare by Weill, Bloch, Vivaldi, Schumann, Gliere and more. New releases to propel you on your errands or travels.

Please tune in to GPB radio Thursday for a Thanksgiving Day cooking special (The Splendid Table's Turkey Confidential) at 11:00, followed by Giving Thanks at 1:00. Friday Alan Cooke hosts (though no requests this time), and I'll be back with you Monday, thankful for music and music lovers. Happy Thanksgiving!

11 AM . . . . . . . .

  • Vivaldi: Violin Concerto in G minor, Op. 12/1. Sarah Chang, Orpheus Chamber Orch (EMI 94431)
  • Schumann: Adagio and Allegro for viola and piano. Helen Callus, Phillip Bush (ASV 1184)
  • Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture. Cincinnati Sym, Jarvi (Telarc 80681)
  • Weill: Threepenny Opera: Mack the Knife. Livia Sohn, Benjamin Loeb (Naxos 8.570202)
  • Bloch: Violin Concerto: mvt 2. Zina Schiff, Royal Scottish National Orch, Serebrier (Naxos 8.557757)
  • Anonymous, Italian Renaissance: Piva. Piffaro (Archiv 445 883)
12 N . . . . . .
  • Bach: Sinfonia from Cantata No. 29, "We Thank Thee, Lord." Taverner Players, Parrott (Virgin 391340)
  • Mackenzie: Piano Quartet in E-flat, Op. 11. Ames Piano Quartet (Albany 910/11)
  • Salzedo: Bolero. Yolanda Kondonassis (Telarc 80691)
  • Maxwell Davies: An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise. Atlanta Sym, Long, Runnicles (Telarc 80677)
1 PM . . . .
  • Gliere: Bronze Horseman: Dancing Scene. BBC Phil, Downes (Chandos 9379)
  • Aranes: Chacona "Un sarao de la chacona." Piffaro (Archiv 453 441)
  • Wagner: Das Rheingold: Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla (ed. Stokowski). Bournemouth Sym, Serebrier (Naxos 8.570293)
  • Mendelssohn: Octet for strings in E-flat. Georgian Chamber Players and friends: three Preucils, Newdome, Harris, Murphy, Rex, Laufer (ACA Digital 20102)

Tuesday, November 20

'Tis the season for buyers to snatch up the best and brightest and newest stuff out there. Looking for gift ideas? Today on Midday Music: new releases and nothin' but. Keep in mind that Public Broadcasting One (877-448-4719) can help you buy CDs and support GPB at the same time.

11 AM . . . David Oistrakh Edition . Saint-Saëns: Chamber Music for Wind Instruments . Gang / Zhanhao: The Butterfly Lovers; Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto

  • Prokofiev: March from Love for Three Oranges. -and- Hummel: Piano Trio No. 2 in F major. David Oistrakh, Lev Oborin et al. (Brilliant Classics 8402). From a ten-disc set collecting Soviet concert recordings of small-scale chamber music performed by legendary violinist David Oistrakh and friends.
  • Saint-Saens: Oboe Sonata, Op. 166. Ensemble Villa Musica (MDG 304 0395). A spotless CD of Saint-Saens' late-life, Romantic-to-the-end wind sonatas.
  • Chen & He: Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto. Gil Shaham, Singapore Sym, Sui (Canary Classics CC04). A musical love story, in a Chinese piece with an involved back story of its own, on Gil Shaham's own label.
12 N . . . A Baroque Festival . . Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 "Pathétique"; Swan Lake Suite
  • Handel: Harp Concerto in B-flat, Op. 4/6. Andrew Lawrence-King, Taverner Players, Parrott (Virgin 391340). Sparkling new collection of Baroque gems.
  • Wagner: Parsifal, Act 3: symphonic synthesis by Stokowski. Bournemouth Sym, Serebrier (Naxos 8.570293). Prefer your Wagner without singers? A whole disc of arrangements of highlights from the operas.
  • Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake, Suite. Philharmonia Orch, Karajan (EMI 72472). Why should The Nutcracker get all the action? A budget rerelease.
  • Bach: Sinfonia from Cantata No. 156. David Reichenberg, Taverner Players, Parrott (Virgin 391340 again).
1 PM . . . Smetana: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1 . <Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante [Hybrid SACD] . Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 8 [SACD]
  • Pachelbel: Canon. Taverner Players, Parrott (Virgin 391340). Same disc as in the Handel and Bach above: A Baroque Festival.
  • Smetana: Prague Carnival. BBC Phil, Noseda (Chandos 10413). The nine works on this disc aren't as famous as The Moldau, but they're still Smetana.
  • Mozart: Rondo in C major, K. 373. Julia Fischer, Netherlands Chamber Orch, Kreizberg (PentaTone 5186 098). Fischer puts out one stellar recording after another. The main attraction on this one is Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola.
  • Beethoven: Symphony No. 5. Royal Flemish Orch, Herreweghe (PentaTone 5186 316). Given the iconic status of Beeethoven's Fifth, you'd be surprised how few CDs of it have reached GPB lately. Acclaimed conductor Philippe Herreweghe takes it on.

Monday, November 19

Framing the new disc from the Atlanta Symphony, Britannia, are two of Sir Edward Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance" marches (yes, he wrote more than one). Between those, Donald Runnicles leads the ASO in Peter Maxwell Davies' Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise, James MacMillan's Britannia, Benjamin Britten's Sinfonia da Requiem, and Three Screaming Popes by Mark-Anthony Turnage. Today we'll just hear those two "Pomp and Circumstances."

All Midday Music selections except the keyboard concertos come from new releases as well.

11 AM . . . . . .

  • Kraus: Azire: Ballet music. New Zealand Sym, Grodd (Naxos 8.570334)
  • Alkan: Troisieme recueil de chants, Op. 65. Marc-Andre Hamelin (Hyperion 67569)
  • Bach, W.F.: Harpsichord Concerto in F minor. Ottavio Dantone, Il Giardino Armonico, Antonini (Naive 30399)
  • Saint-Saens: Bassoon Sonata, Op. 168. Ensemble Villa Musica (MDG 0395)
  • Elgar: Pomp and Circumstance March No. 4. Atlanta Sym, Runnicles (Telarc 80681)
12 N . . . .
  • Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor. Emanuel Ax, Orch of the Age of Enlightenment, Mackerras (Sony 63371)
  • Mozart/Stallman: Flute Quintet in C (transcr from Sonata for Piano Four-Hands, K. 358). Robert Stallman, Martinu Quartet (Bogner's Cafe 102)
  • Elgar: Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1. Atlanta Sym, Runnicles (Telarc 80681)
1 PM . . .
  • Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6, "Pathetique." Cincinnati Sym, P. Jarvi (Telarc 80681)