Not to dampen your summer fun, but we've got a couple of real downers today.
The painting at left, The Isle of the Dead by Arnold Boecklin, inspired Sergei Rachmaninoff's piece of the same title, which we hear in the first hour of Midday Music. The music begins and ends with the repeating heavy, low pulses of Charon's oars as he ferries the newly deceased across the River Styx.
For The Wood Dove, Antonin Dvorak took inspiration from Czech folklore. A woman murders her husband. She remarries. But she imagines the plaintive sound of the wood dove to be the voice of her first husband. The guilt drives her around the bend. She kills herself. Again, not a super cheerful scenario: two funeral marches with a wedding and some chirping in between.
- Chopin: Polonaise-Fantaisie in A-flat, Op. 61. Richard Goode. Nonesuch 79452.
- Davidoff: Cello Concerto No. 1 in B minor, Op. 5. Wen-Sinn Yang, Latvian National Sym, Mikkelsen. CPO 777 263.
- Rachmaninoff: The Isle of the Dead. Royal Phil Orch, Litton. Virgin 90830.
- Saint-Saens: Fantaisie for flute and harp, Op. 124. Renie Yamahata, Angela Jones. Discover 920281.
- Palestrina: Alma Redemptoris. Voices of Ascension, Keene. Delos 3179.
- Haydn: Piano Concerto in G major. Mikhail Pletnev, German Chamber Phil. Virgin 61881.
- Ravel: Sonatine. Lise de la Salle. Naive 4936.
- Wagenseil: Symphony for Six Parts in A major. Stuttgart Chamber Orch, Goritzki. CPO 777 112.
- Dvorak: The Wild Dove (Holoubek), Op. 110. Netherlands Phil Orch, Kreizberg. PentaTone 5186 065.
- Bach: Orchestral Suite No. 2. Christopher Krueger, Boston Baroque, Pearlman. Telarc 80619.