Thursday, February 28

Violinist Cecylia Arzewski has announced that this will be her last season as concertmaster of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Her duties include not only leading the string section but also playing one concerto annually. For her final solo appearance as concertmaster of the ASO, she performs music by Armenian-Soviet composer Aram Khatchaturian, tonight through Saturday. Hear that Khatchaturian Violin Concerto - and other of his hits - in the first hour of Midday Music. There's more Soviet orchestral music of the stage in the noon hour: Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, which the St. Petersburg Ballet dances in Athens Sunday. (Georgia concert info.) We also hear the Imani Winds (featured on St. Paul Sunday, Sunday at noon on GPB ) and a highlight from Verdi's Otello (which comes to you live from the Met Saturday over GPB).

11 AM

  • Khatchaturian: Gayaneh, Suite. Boston Pops, Williams. Philips 426 247.
  • Khatchaturian: Violin Concerto in D minor. Szeryng, London Sym, Dorati. Mercury 434 318.
  • Khatchaturian:Adagio from Spartacus. Swedish Radio Sym, Svetlanov. Ondine 938.
12 N
  • Joplin: The Chrysanthemum. Benjamin Loeb. Naxos 8.559277.
  • Copland: Letter from Home. Buffalo Phil, Falletta. Naxos 8.559240.
  • Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet, scenes. San Francisco Sym, Thomas. RCA 59424.
  • Verdi: Ave Maria, from Otello and Quattro Pezzi Sacri. Atlanta Sym Orch Chorus, Shaw. Telarc 80254.
  • Handel: Concerto Gross in F major, Op. 6/9. Boston Baroque, Pearlman. Telarc 80688.
1 PM
  • Bach: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (chorale from Cantata No. 147). Taverner Consort and Players, Parrott. Virgin 391340.
  • Fibich: Moods, Op. 41, Part 1, selections. William Howard, piano. Chandos 9381.
  • D'Rivera: Aires Tropicale. Imani Winds. Koch 7599.

Wednesday, February 27

From today's Midday Music playlist, I'd especially like to point out two new recordings. First, the young Claremont Trio. It's made up of Columbia- and Juilliard-educated twins Emily and Julia Bruskin and one-time Canadian prodigy Donna Kwong. Their new CD includes Shostakovich and the Arensky we hear.

Then after noon we listen to a choral mass by Luigi Cherubini. Cherubini was recovering from depression when he wrote this Missa Solemnis. In this Grammy-nominated EMI recording it has a comforting, lush sound I just want to sink into.

11 AM

  • Satie: Jack-in-the-Box, arr. guitars. Peter Fletcher. Centaur 2731.
  • Arensky: Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor. Claremont Trio. Tria Records 3860.
  • Walton: Violin Concerto: Vivace. James Ehnes, Vancouver Sym, Tovey. CBC 5241.
12 N
  • Bach: Concerto in A major, BWV 1055, arr. trumpet and organ. Alison Balsom, Colm Carey. EMI 58047.
  • Cherubini: Missa Solemnis in E: Kyrie, Gloria, Agnus Dei. Bavarian Radio Sym & Orch, Ruth Ziesak et al., Riccardo Muti. EMI 94316.
  • Schubert: Ave Maria. Maxim Vengerov, Virtuosi, Papian. EMI 57164,
  • Rodgers: Carousel, orchestral suite. Cincinnati Pops, Kunzel. Telarc 80278.
  • Rimsky-Korsakov: Flight of the Bumblebee. Paisov, Shcherbakova. Naxos 8.570596.
1 PM
  • Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 16 in D major, K. 451. Andras Schiff, Camerata Academica of the Salzburg Mozarteum, Vegh. London 433 374.
  • Sibelius: Scenes Historiques II, Op. 66. New Zealand Sym, Inkinen. Naxos 8.570068.

Select Classical Concerts around Georgia, February 28-March 9

Thursday-Saturday, February 28-March 1

  • In Atlanta's Symphony Hall: Atlanta Symphony, guest conductor Roberto Minczuk and violinist Cecylia Arzewski in Khatchaturian's Violin Concerto and Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition.
Friday, February 29
  • At First Baptist of Augusta: Augusta Symphony, conductor Donald Portnoy and pianist Valentina Lisitsa in Copland's Third Symphony and Rachmaninoff's Third Piano Concerto.
  • At Mercer University, Macon: Macon Symphony's Jazz Pops concert.
  • In Spivey Hall, Morrow: The ASO Chamber Chorus, with conductor Norman Mackenzie and organist Peter Marshall, in Britten, Bernstein, Barber and Durufle, Friday the 29th.
Through March 15
  • At the Springer Opera House in Columbus: Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel.
Saturday, March 1
  • At Atlanta's St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church: New Trinity Baroque, with Bach's St. John Passion.
Sunday, March 2
Tuesday, March 4
  • In Tifton's ABAC Chapel: Broadway Night (free admission).
Thursday-Saturday, March 6-8
  • In Atlanta's Symphony Hall: The Atlanta Symphony, conductor Robert Spano and cellist Christopher Rex in Barber's Cello Concerto, Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony, and a world premiere by Gonzalo Grau.
Saturday, March 8
  • At Douglasville's Cultural Arts Center: Duo ATL (flute and guitar).
  • In Auburn's Telfair Peet Theatre: Auburn Community/University Orchestra, conductor Howard Goldstein, cellist Alexander Russakovsky, with Schumann's Cello Concerto plus Barber and Glazunov.
Sunday, March 9
  • In Albany's Lutheran Church of Our Saviour: the Albany Chorale, with Mendelssohn's Hymn of Praise (Lobgesang).
And coming up at Spivey Hall in Morrow in early March:
  • Mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard, Saturday, March 1.
  • The Brentano Quartet, with Beethoven, Mendelssohn and the southeast premiere of a piece by Gabriela Frank, Saturday, March 8.
  • And pianist Imogen Cooper, making her Spivey debut, Sunday, March 9.

Tuesday, February 26

Of interest to GPB music fans: Though you might still hear Terrance McKnight's voice on Studio GPB for now, those are actually reruns. Terrance pulled up stakes last month to become an evening host at WNYC in a little town called New York. A meaty article about Terrance appeared in yesterday's New York Times. "Eclectic Public-Radio Show Has Found Its Voice."

If it's dark and wet where you are today, keep your spirits dry with the three big symphonic works on Midday Music.

11 AM

  • Novacek, O.: Perpetuum Mobile. Maxim Vengerov, Virtuosi, Papian. EMI 57164.
  • Schubert: "Great" Symphony in C major (Symphony No. 9). Vienna Phil, Gardiner. DG 289 457 648.
12 N
  • Brahms: Horn Trio: Finale. Emory Chamber Music Society of Atlanta. ACA Digital 20033.
  • Copland: Symphony No. 3. New York Phil, Bernstein. Sony 63155.
  • Schubert/Liszt: Die Taubenpost. Valentina Lisitsa (Georgian Chamber Players). ACA Digital 20102.
1 PM
  • Mussorgsky/Ravel: Pictures at an Exhibition. Oslo Phil, Jansons. EMI 50824. (To see some of the art by Viktor Hartmann that Modest Mussorgsky immortalizes in Pictures at an Exhibition, see here.)
  • Asafyev: Oboe Sonatina. Ival Paisov, Natalia Shcherbakova. Naxos 8.570596.

Monday, February 25

A switcheroo of note in Augusta: On leap day, Friday the 29th, the Augusta Symphony is performing Rachmaninoff's Third Piano Concerto. The soloist was originally to be Van Cliburn Competition gold medalist Olga Kern. However, the Augustans have released her so she can celebrate the 50th anniversary of Van Cliburn's Tchaikovsky Competition triumph. She'll appear with the Augusta Symphony in March 2009. Soloing in the Rachmaninoff this week in her stead is another international star, Ukrainian-born pianist Valentina Lisitsa. (Check out the great blurbs on her website. She's also on MySpace and YouTube.) Friday, 7:30, First Baptist of Augusta, (706) 826-4705.

That infamously difficult Rachmaninoff Third Concerto occupies the final hour of Midday Music. Two concert connections in the noon hour involve high-profile Atlanta groups: we hear the Atlanta Symphony in Rimsky-Korsakov's technicolor Russian Easter Overture; on stage, they'll perform that Thursday through Sunday, alongside favorites by Khatchaturian and Mussorgsky. And we hear the ASO Chamber Chorus in music by Maurice Durufle, in advance of their Friday appearance at Morrow's Spivey Hall, when they'll sing Durufle's lovely, longer Requiem.

11 AM

  • Mendelssohn: Hebrides Overture ("Fingal's Cave"). New Philharmonia Orch, Atzmon. EMI 81788.
  • Fasch: Overture (Suite) in G major. La Stravaganza Koln. CPO 777 015.
  • Ginastera: Estancia, ballet suite, for winds. "The President's Own" United States Marine Band, Serebrier. Naxos 8.570727.
12 N
  • Glinka: Russlan and Ludmila Overture. Russian National Orch, Pletnev. DG 439 892.
  • Buxtehude: Duo Sonata in G, Op. 1/2. John Holloway, Jaap ter Linden, Lars Ulrik Mortensen.
  • Durufle: Four Motets on Gregorian Themes. Atlanta Sym Orch Chamber Chorus, Mackenzie. Telarc 80654.
  • Brahms: Waltzes, Op. 39.
  • Rimsky-Korsakov: Russian Easter Overture. Atlanta Sym Orch, Spano. Telarc 80568.
1 PM
  • Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3. Yefim Bronfman, The Philharmonia, Salonen. Sony 47183.

Thursday, February 21

Good to be back with you! Many thanks to Eric Nauert for filling in the past three days. Friday's Midday Music will be requests with Alan Cooke.

Here are a few weekend events on tap at venues from Columbus to Columbia County (to move from west to east like today's rain). There's everything from a quadruple guitar concerto to the world premiere of a piece for the Chinese erhu to an opera based on a children's book by Maurice Sendak.

Concerts February 21-24, 2008

  • Saturday in Columbus's RiverCenter, George Del Gobbo leads the Columbus Symphony in Dvorak's Seventh (see first hour) and in Rodrigo works with Andrew Zohn and the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet (whom we hear in the final hour).
  • Two concerts in central Georgia: Tonight at 7:30 the Macon Concert Association presents string player and composer Asmira Woodward-Page at Wesleyan College in Macon. And Sunday at 3:00 the Warner Robins Community Concert Association presents the Juilliard-trained trio ETA-3 (flute, clarinet, piano) in Debussy, Dvorak, Schubert, etc. at the First United Methodist Church. Story here. Details: (478) 923-7024.
  • In Kennesaw, the Cobb Symphony performs Stravinsky's Firebird Suite (heard in the noon hour) Friday and Saturday .
  • In Atlanta, Oliver Knussen leads the Atlanta Symphony in Ravel's Mother Goose Suite (heard in our final hour) and Knussen's own opera Where the Wild Things Are, Friday and Sunday. The Hudson Shad vocal quartet play the wild beasties in Knussen's opera in Atlanta. They seize the intervening day, Saturday, for a light-hearted concert with the Augusta Symphony, on its Columbia County Music Series at the Hardin Theatre.
And now, the Midday Music playlist du jour:

11 AM
  • Bach: Violin Concerto in E major. Eduard Melkus, Capella Academica. Archiv 427 114.
  • Dvorak: Symphony No. 7. Los Angeles Phil, Previn. Telarc 82018.
12 N
  • Scriabin: Prelude and Nocturne Op. 9 for the left hand. Sandrine Erdely-Sayo. AW 2206.
  • Mozart: Symphony No. 25 in G minor, K. 183. Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Marriner. Philips 412 954.
  • Stravinsky: The Firebird, Suite (1910 version). St. Petersburg Phil, Ashkenazy. Decca 448 812.
1 PM
  • Saint-Saens: Tarantelle. Webster Trio. Crystal 356.
  • Ravel: Ma Mere L'Oye (Mother Goose). Royal Concertgebouw Orch, Haitink. PentaTone 167.
  • Crittenden: A Scottish Fantasy. Minneapolis Guitar Quartet. Albany 339.

Thursday, February 14

For Valentine's Day, GPB sets the mood with tuneful, dreamy and passionate music. Off the air, the Columbus and Albany symphonies play lovey-dovey concerts tonight, and there are lots more (sober, clear-headed) concerts of all sorts across Georgia in coming days - read all about it!

A note on Midday Music-al chairs: Alan Cooke in Augusta hosts Friday requests as usual. Then our man in Savannah, Eric Nauert of WSVH, hosts the show February 18-20. (Alan's playlists live here; WSVH's are here.) I'll be back next Thursday. Happy chocolate till then!

11 AM

  • Piazzolla: Histoire du Tango: Cafe 1930. Yo-Yo Ma, Nestor Marconi. .Sony 63122.
  • Gounod: Romeo and Juliet: Juliet's Slumber. Minnesota Orch, Oue. Reference 99.
  • Brahms: String Sextet No. 1 in B-flat, Op. 18. Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble. Chandos 9151.
  • Debussy: Reverie. Minnesota Orch, Oue. Reference 99.
12 N
  • Debussy: Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun. London Sym, Thomas. Sony 48231.
  • Barber: Violin Concerto, Op. 14. Hilary Hahn, Saint Paul Chamber Orch, Wolff. Sony 89029.
  • Liszt: Transcendental Etudes Nos. 11 (Harmonies du Soir) and 12 (Chasse-neige). Claudio Arrau, piano. PentaTone 5186 171.
  • Bach: Air from Orchestral Suite No. 3. Sarah Chang, Berlin Phil, Domingo. EMI 57220.
1 PM

Wednesday, February 13

The italicized, pictured artists are all performing this week in Georgia. The boldface rep was selected for a similar reason - it'll be performed locally. In the final hour, for example, conductor Claire Fox Hillard introduces us to the piece the Albany Symphony plays tomorrow with wife-and-husband soloists Kathleen Winkler and Timothy Pitts, the showy Grand Duo Concertant by Bottesini. Please see the calendar for details on all events, and go, go, go.

11 AM . . .

  • Handel: Concerto Grosso in B minor, Op. 6/12. Boston Baroque, Pearlman. Telarc 80688.
  • Beethoven: String Quartet in E-flat, Op. 127 (the Leipzig Quartet plays this in Auburn). Prazak Quartet. Praga 250 181.
  • Puccini: Crisantemi. Leipzig String Quartet (coming to Auburn, Ala., February 20). MDG 307 1362.
12 N . . . . .
  • Prokofiev: March, Op. 12/1. Gil Shaham, Orli Shaham (coming to Spivey Hall Saturday). Vanguard 1555/Canary.
  • Haydn: Symphony No. 64 in A major, "Tempora Mutantur": mvts 3-4. Apollo Ensemble, John Hsu (who conducts the Atlanta Baroque Sunday). Dorian 90226.
  • Bizet: Carmen Suite No. 2 (the Macon Symphony plays this Saturday). Montreal Sym, Dutoit. London 417 839.
  • Paganini: Quartet No. 15 for string trio and guitar. Diaz Trio (who perform Friday in Macon). Julian Gray. Dorian 90237.
1 PM . . .
  • Harty: An Irish Symphony: The Fair Day. Boston Pops, Lockhart. RCA 68901.
  • Bottesini: Grand Duo Concertant (the Albany Symphony offers this for Valentine's Day). Joshua Bell, Edgar Meyer, Saint Paul Chamber Orch, Wolff. Sony 60956.
  • Rota: Clarinet Sonata in D. Nicolas del Grazia, Chris Lysack. Centaur 2843.
  • Brubeck: The Gates of Justice: Chorale. Dave Brubeck Trio, Deas, Mizrahi, Baltimore Choral Arts Society, Gloyd. Naxos 8.559414. (Brubeck and Gloyd head a performance of this oratorio tonight in Athens. Read the Atlanta Journal-Constitution article about it.)
  • Setaccioli: Clarinet Sonata in E-flat, Op. 31: finale. Nicolas del Grazia, Chris Lysack. Centaur 2843.

Select Classical Concerts, February 12-21

For your convenience and entertainment, behold: events around Georgia for mid February 2008, courtesy of GPB and Midday Music. These listings are based on the best information I could find, but please visit or contact the presenters themselves for the latest details and tickets.

  • Tuesday, February 12: Art Garfunkel joins the Augusta Symphony for a pops concert at Augusta's Bell Auditorium.
  • Wednesday, February 13: The University of Georgia's Hugh Hodgson School of Music presents renowned pianist Dave Brubeck, conductor Russell Gloyd, the Dave Brubeck Quartet and the University Chorus and Symphony in a 40th anniversary performance of Brubeck's oratorio The Light in the Wilderness (1968), 8:00, UGA Performing Arts Center.
  • Thursday, February 14: Happy Valentine's Day! The Brubeck fest continues in Athens with a "Jazz Valentine" featuring the Dave Brubeck Quartet and UGA jazz ensembles. The Columbus Symphony welcomes guest pianist Mac Frampton for "Music in the Key of Love." (There's a pre-concert Valentine's Day dinner too.) The Albany Symphony offers "A Classical Valentine," with music of love or lust or twosomes by Strauss, Bottesini (with wife-and-husband guest artists violinist Kathleen Winkler and bassist Timothy Pitts) and Bartok. The Savannah Sinfonietta gives its Second Annual Diva/Divo Gala, Thursday and repeating Friday at different Savannah-area locations.
  • Friday, February 15: In Macon, Mercer University's Robert McDuffie Center for Strings presents the Diaz Trio (noted members Andres Cardenes, Roberto Diaz and Andres Diaz plus special guests) in a free program in Fickling Hall. In Augusta, the Harry Jacobs Chamber Music Society presents the American Chamber Players (with NPR's Miles Hoffman, viola and director) at Augusta State's Maxwell Theatre. The Augusta Players start their weekend run of the musical Hello Dolly. The Brass Quintet of the U.S. Army Ground Forces Band plays at Reinhardt College's Falany Performing Arts Center in Waleska; free admission. And Friday is Classical Guitar Day at Darton College in Albany, with workshops and lecture recitals culminating in a finale concert that evening.
  • Saturday, February 16: The Macon Symphony presents "An Evening of Opera Choruses" at Macon's Grand Opera House, teaming up with several student choruses (Georgia College and State University Chorus, Mercer University Singers, Wesleyan College Women's Chorus, Macon State College Chorus) for famous numbers from Verdi, Mozart, Gounod and Wagner; the orchestra alone adds hits by Wagner, Borodin and Bizet. In Athens, the visiting Jupiter String Quartet plays a free concert as part of UGA's Franklin College Chamber Music Series. In Albany, the Albany Concert Association presents the touring high-energy hit song-and-dance revue "Red, Hot...& Blue!" at Albany Municipal Auditorium. And the star sibling pair of Gil and Orli Shaham bring Mozart, Faure and Prokofiev to Morrow's Spivey Hall at 8:15 p.m. (Orli also gives a master class for pianists at 11 a.m., open to auditors.)
  • Sunday, February 17: Peter and the Wolf and the Columbia County Ballet feature on the Augusta Symphony's afternoon Family Fun concert at Augusta State's Maxwell Theatre. Augusta soprano Fumilayo Eke Harmon performs at the Morris Museum of Art; free admission. The Israel Chamber Orchestra tours through Athens, with the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, Beethoven's Seventh and more. In Atlanta, John Hsu leads the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra in an afternoon concert called "The Enchanted Forest: Program Music from Italy" (Sammartini, Locatelli, Geminiani"). And Albany State's Lyceum Series presents Leroy Bynum Jr. in a free lecture-recital, "'My Soul Is a Witness': Spirit and Spirituality in the Music of American's Slaves," 4:00 at Albany's First United Methodist Church (note new venue).
  • Tuesday, February 19: The Macon Symphony's Guest Artist in Recital series present clarinetist Monty Cole at Fickling Hall on the Mercer campus.
  • Wednesday, February 20: Touring from Europe, the Leipzig String Quartet brings a program of Mendelssohn, Verdi and Beethoven quartets to the Goodwin Recital Hall at Auburn University, presented by the Auburn Chamber Music Society.
  • Thursday, February 21: New York-based composer and violinist Asmira Woodward-Page comes to Wesleyan College's Burden Parlor, presented by the Macon Concert Association.

Tuesday, February 12

Concert tie-ins. On Midday Music we hear performers appearing in GPB's listening area: Miles Hoffman and the American Chamber Players, coming to Augusta Friday; Roberto Diaz, part of the Diaz Trio Friday in Macon; star siblings Gil and Orli Shaham, in recital Saturday at Spivey Hall; and from Germany the Leipzig String Quartet, headed for Auburn, Ala. Wednesday the 20th.

We also hear music about to be played in Georgia: Wagner's Bridal Chorus, for the Macon Symphony; Beethoven's Seventh, for the Israel Chamber Orchestra, coming to Athens; Arianna's Lament by Locatelli, for the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra; and Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra, for the Albany Symphony. Quite a crop!

A clickable list of these and other concerts appears above.

11 AM

  • Mozart: "Kegelstatt" Trio in E-flat for piano, clarinet and viola, K. 498. American Chamber Players, Hoffman. Koch 7029.
  • Locatelli: Arianna's Lament (Concerto Grosso Op. 7/6). Il Giardino Armonico, Antonini. Naive 30399.
  • Dvorak: Romantic Pieces, Op. 75. Gil Shaham, Orli Shaham. DG 449 820.
  • Prokofiev: Love for Three Oranges: March. French Radio Phil, Jarvi. Virgin 45609
12 N
  • Wagner: Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin (the tune known as "Here Comes the Bride"). Bavarian Radio Sym Orch and Chorus, Kubelik. DG 457 196.
  • Haydn: Variations on "God Save Franz the Emperor" from String Quartet in C, Op. 76/3 (known as the "Emperor" Quartet). Leipzig String Quartet. MDG 307 1362.
  • Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 in A major. Vienna Phil, Kleiber. DG 447 400.
  • Shostakovich: The Golden Age: Polka. French Radio Phil, Jarvi. Virgin 45609.
1 PM
  • Tchaikovsky/Primrose: None but the Lonely Heart. Roberto Diaz, Robert Koenig. Naxos 8.557391.
  • Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra. San Francisco Sym, Blomstedt. London 443 773.
  • Aguirre/Heifetz: Huella: movido y energico. Roberto Diaz, Robert Koenig. Naxos 8.557391.

Monday, February 11

Yes, traditional record companies and the compact disc format are declining in importance every year. And yes, classical music at the Grammy Awards occupies a seat somewhere behind a wide column in a rear balcony. And yes, as with any awards contest, you can argue about the rationality of one choice over another. But be that as it may, there's a new crowd of meritorious classical winners following last night's 50th annual Grammy Awards. Today on Midday Music we celebrate the fresh feathers in their caps. The big Georgia connection is Atlanta-born mezzo-soprano Jennifer Larmore, who sings Hansel in the Grammy-winning, English-language recording of Hansel and Gretel. Here's what we're hearing and, parenthetically, why:

11 AM . . . . .

  • Tchaikovsky: String Quartet No. 1 in D, Op. 11. Ying Quartet. Telarc 80685. (Classical producer of the year: Judith Sherman. She also gets credit for some recordings on Cedille, another midwestern label, including the following one...)
  • Higdon, J.: Zaka. Eighth Blackbird. Cedille 9000 094. (Best chamber music performance: this disc, "Strange Imaginary Creatures.")
  • Dvorak: Violin Concerto: Finale. James Ehnes, BBC Phil, Noseda. Chandos 10309. (Best solo performance with orchestra: James Ehnes, though not for this Dvorak, rather for his Barber, Korngold and Walton with the Vancouver Symphony on the CBC label, pictured above.)

12 N . . . . . .
  • Grechaninov: Passion Week, Op. 58: nos. 1-3. Phoenix Bach Choir, Kansas City Chorale, soloists, Bruffy. Chandos 5044. (Best engineered classical recording, and it is Super Audio as well as super audio.)
  • Humperdinck: Hansel and Gretel, Overture. Philharmonia Orch, Mackerras. Chandos 3143. (Best opera recording, starring Georgia-born mezzo-soprano Jennifer Larmore as Hansel. It's got great, witchy cover art, and it's sung in English.)
  • Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 9 in E major, Op. 14/1. Garrick Ohlsson. Bridge 9207. (Best solo instrumental performance. This is volume 3 of Ohlsson's Beethoven sonata cycle, in progress.)
  • Tower, J.: Made in America. Nashville Sym, Slatkin. Naxos 8.559328. (The big triple winner - best classical contemporary composition, best orchestral recording and best classical album of the year. This 13-minute piece has a cute title, it quotes "America the Beautiful," and it's already been performed in all 50 states. How do you like it?)

1 PM . . . . .
  • Bach: Trio Sonata in C minor from A Musical Offering. Swiss Baroque Soloists, Gabetta. Naxos 8.557755-56. (This Brandenburgs-plus is actually a Grammy also-ran, nominated but not selected, in the category best small ensemble performance. The award went to Yuri Bashmet and the Moscow Soloists playing Stravinsky and Prokofiev, pictured above.)
  • Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem): conclusion (nos. 6-7). Berlin Phil, Berlin Radio Chorus, soloists, Rattle. EMI 65393.
  • Bellstedt: Caprice on Dixie. Rachel Barton Pine. Cedille 90000 097. ("American Virtuosa," another creation of producer Judith Sherman.)

Thursday, February 7

Happy Chinese New Year! It's the lunar new year, ushering in the Year of the Rat. We've got Chinese music, Chinese-American music, Chinese music on Western instruments, Western music on Chinese instruments - and some plain old Western music too, as is our wont.

If you're not already booked for the weekend, please check out Midday Music's list of classical concerts and take your pick.

11 AM

  • Fung: Pizzicato for String Quartet. Ying Quartet. Telarc 80690.
  • Telemann: "La Lyra," Suite in E-flat major. Northern Chamber Orch, Ward. Naxos 8.554019.
  • Nielsen: Aladdin, Suite (including Nielsen's idea of a Chinese Dance). New York Scandia Sym, Matson. Centaur 2780.
  • VColeman: Concerto for Wind Quintet: Danza. Imani Winds. Koch 7599.
12 N
  • Traditional: Two Chinese Songs: Blue Little Flower; Mido Mountain. Yo-Yo Ma and members of the Silk Road Ensemble. Sony 89782.
  • Chen & He: Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto. Takako Nishizaki, New Zealand Sym, Judd. Naxos 8.557348.
  • Riley, T.: The Cusp of Magic: Buddha's Bedroom; Royal Wedding. Kronos Quartet, Wu Man (pipa). Nonesuch 360508.
1 PM
  • Traditional/Kessler: Chinese Folk Music: Kang Ding; Jasmine. Washington Saxophone Quartet. Americus 19981007.
  • Vivaldi: Four Seasons: Autumn: Allegro, on traditional Chinese instruments. Chinese Baroque Players. Kaisonic 44032.
  • Kreisler: Tambourin Chinois. Robert McDuffie, Cincinnati Pops, Kunzel. Telarc 80402.
  • Schumann: Piano Quintet in E-flat, Op. 44. Christian Zacharias, Cherubini Quartet. EMI 50819.

Wednesday, February 6

Super Tuesday is over, dangerous weather rages ... and the music plays on. The playlist for GPB's Midday Music follows, and please see below for what's coming up on Georgia's classical scene, with shows in Macon, Rome, Valdosta, Hawkinsville, Morrow, Atlanta, Augusta, Douglasville, Carrollton, Waleska and Tifton. (Do we use the word "scene" for classical music? Heck, why not.) Featured performers across the state include soprano Indra Thomas, conductor Lowell Graham, the Imani Winds, Art Garfunkel, the Kronos Quartet and pianists Christian Zacharias, Leon Bates and Chu-Fang Huang.

11 AM

  • Mozart: Clarinet Quintet in A major, K. 381. Stanley Drucker, Elysium String Quartet. Elysium 716.
  • Avison: Concerto in E minor, Op. 3/2. Avison Ensemble, Beznosiuk. Naxos 8.557905-06.
  • Atterberg: Symphony No. 8: mvts 3-4. SWR Radio Sym Stuttgart, Rasilainen. CPO 999 641 (in box 777 118).
12 N
  • Telemann: Oboe Concerto in D minor. Albrecht Mayer, Berlin Baroque Soloists, Kussmaul. DV 5761.
  • Byrd: Mass for Five Voices. Tallis Scholars. Gimell 289 454 990.
  • Guastavino: La Rosa y el Sauce. Kim Kashkashian, Robert Levin. ECM 1975.
  • Villa-Lobos/Assad: A Lenda do Caboclo. Los Angeles Guitar Quartet.
  • Ravel: Tzigane. Malgorzata Staszewska, Anna Ho. (Not commercially available.)
1 PM
  • Beethoven: "Eroica" Symphony (No. 3 in E-flat): mvts 2-4. Cleveland Orch, Szell. CBS 37222.
  • Saint-Saens: Havanaise. Nicola Benedetti, London Sym, Harding. DG 987 057.

Tuesday, February 5

Highlighting the noon hour of Midday Music are three sets of performers about to grace Georgia venues: the touring Imani Wind Quintet (right), German pianist Christian Zacharias (left) and Polish-born Georgia violinist Malgorzata Staszewska (below). For details on their exciting concerts and many others coming up this weekend, see Select Concerts below. We also hear the world premiere recording of a violin concerto by Portuguese composer Armando Jose Fernandes, and Grammy-nominated Beethoven from Garrick Ohlsson.

11 AM

  • Sibelius: Scenes Historiques I, Op. 25. New Zealand Sym, Inkinen. Naxos 8.570068.
  • Fernandes: Violin Concerto in E major (1948). Alexandre da Costa, Extremadura Sym, Amigo. Atma 2578.
  • Falla: Asturiana. Kim Kashkashian, Robert Levin. ECM 1975.
12 N
  • Creston: Dance Overture. Albany (NY) Sym, Miller. Albnay 441.
  • Coleman: Umoja; Traditional/Coleman: Ev'ry Time I Feel the Spirit. Imani Wind Quintet. Imani 6227.
  • Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 11 in F, K. 413. Christian Zacharias, Lausanne Chamber Orch. MDG 340 1298.
  • Bach: Chaconne from Solo Violin Partita No. 2. Malgorzata Staszewska. Not commercially available.
1 PM
  • Barber: Agnus Dei (based on Adagio for Strings). Choir of Ormond College Melbourne, Lawrence. Naxos 8.559053.
  • Bartok: Rumanian Folk Dances. Daniel Hope, Sebastian Knauer. Warner 61329.
  • Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 3 in C, Op. 2/3. Garrick Ohlsson. Bridge 9207.

Select Concerts, February 7-12, 2008

Look what's going on around Georgia between Thursday, February 7 and Tuesday, February 12! The list of artists on stage Saturday alone is impressive. Please follow the links or contact the organizations to confirm details and buy tickets. Happy concertgoing!

  • Friday, February 8 in Hawkinsville, the Polish-born violinist Malgorzata Staszewska and pianist Anna Ho give a recital of Svendsen, Bach, Prokofiev and Wieniawski. Staszewska ("StaSHEVska") lives in Athens and is concertmaster of the Ocmulgee Symphony, which presents this performance as part of its inaugural season.
  • In Atlanta, on February 7 and 9 the Atlanta Symphony performs Beethoven's "Eroica" Symphony, John Adams' On the Transmigration of Souls and Barber's Adagio for Strings. And the Atlanta Opera's production of Cold Sassy Tree, with a story set in Commerce, Georgia, continues February 5, 8 and 10.
  • Friday evening, prizewinning young Chinese pianist Chu-Fang Huang does Schumann and Ravel Friday at UGA in Athens. Also Friday, the Imani Winds bring their music to Morrow's Spivey Hall, giving the world premiere of a new work by Atlanta composer Alvin Singelton; they perform again in Columbus's RiverCenter on Saturday.
  • Beyond Imani and the ASO, on Saturday, February 9 take your pick from the following amazing lineup: In Morrow, German pianist and conductor Christian Zacharias makes his Spivey Hall debut with a recital of Schumann, Scarlatti and Schubert. Internationally known soprano and Shorter College graduate Indra Thomas joins the Rome Symphony in Rome for Verdi, Mozart, Gershwin and spirituals. Pianist Leon Bates and guest conductor Lowell Graham head an all-American concert by the Valdosta Symphony in Valdosta. In Douglasville, pianist (and recent GMTA Teacher of the Year) George Mann of Carrollton performs. And the Kronos Quartet and Wu Man, pipa, join forces in music of Terry Riley in Atlanta.
  • Moving on to Sunday, February 10, we've got the Tara Winds at Reinhardt College in Waleska, the Australian Guitar Quartet "Saffire" in their Spivey Hall debut in Morrow, and Billy Joel's music enshrined in Twyla Tharpe's choreography in the dance musical "Movin' Out" in Columbus. The Manhattan Piano Trio visits Macon's Vineville United Methodist Church on Sunday, then Carrollton's First United Methodist Church on Monday.
  • Monday the 11th also brings pianist Tatiana Goncharova to Tifton's ABAC Howard Auditorium. Tuesday the 12th it's none other than Art Garfunkel with the Augusta Symphony in a pops concert in downtown Augusta.

Monday, February 4

It's true, the Super Bowl does not typically yield classical music connections. However, just past 9:00 last night you might've caught a minute-long ad featuring Houston offensive lineman Chester Pitts, who, it turns out, was an oboist (and moonlighting grocery bagger) before he turned on a whim to professional football. In the NFL's "You Should Play Football" spot you see Pitts playing his oboe - specifically, the opening of Bach's Second Brandenburg Concerto. So that piece kicks off Midday Music at 11. As for the implication that football is so much more of a dream than oboe, well ... let's hope he has time for both! Read more about his story here or here.

Also on tap: the Atlanta Symphony's latest Grammy-nominated CD. As Performance Today aired two pieces from it, we'll hear the remaining two: Vaughan Williams' Fifth Symphony and his Serenade to Music, which sets lines from Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice ("How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank! Here will we sit, and let the sounds of music creep in our ears: soft stillness and the night become the touches of sweet harmony... The man that hath no music in himself, nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils; the motions of his spirit are dull as night... Let no such man be trusted...").

Briefly, a couple of concerts Tuesday evening: In Tifton, the Cypress Trio gives a free concert, 7:00, ABAC Chapel. In LaGrange, the LaGrange Symphony offers an American Celebration, 7:30, Callaway Auditorium.

11 AM

  • Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 2. English Chamber Orch, Marsalis, Newman. Sony 66244.
  • Borodin: String Quartet No. 2 in D major. Lark Quartet. Arabesque 6658.
  • Vaughan Williams: Serenade to Music. Atlanta Sym Orch & Chamber Chorus, Rivera, O'Connor, Spano. Telarc 80676.
12 N
  • Albeniz: Suite Espanola. English Guitar Quartet. Saydisc 399.
  • Rachmaninoff: Suite No. 2 for Two Pianos, Op. 5, "Fantaisie-Tableaux." Emanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman. Sony 61767.
  • Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor: Finale. Nikolai Demidenko, London Phil, Lazarev. Hyperion 66858.
1 PM
  • Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 5 in D major. Atlanta Sym Orch, Spano. Telarc 80676.