Friday, September 29, 2023

#ClassicsaDay #HispanicHeritage Week 4

 September 15 kicks off Hispanic Heritage Month. The Classics a Day team has also made it their theme for September. The challenge is to post video performances of Hispanic composers. The posts can be on any social media platform you choose. 

We recently completed a month of posts featuring Mexican composers. This month, I'm sharing music by Hispanic composers further south. Here are my posts for the fourth and final week of #HispanicHeritage.

09/25/23 Marcos Coelho Neto (1763–1823): Maria Mater Gratiae

Neto was the son of a former enslaved person. His talent as a trumpeter and composer took him far. At age 23 he oversaw the production of three operas for the royal wedding of João VI and Carlota Joaquina.

09/26/23 Augustin Barrios Mangore: Prelude in A minor

Paraguayan Barrios is considered to be one of the greatest guitarists of all time. He wrote over 100 original works for the guitar and over 300 transcriptions. Virtually all his music is regularly performed.

09/27/23 Teresa Tanco Cordovez: Serenata para orquesta de curedas

Columbian pianist Cordovez had a successful career concertizing in Europe. Her compositions were mostly inspired by the music of her native land.

09/28/23 Ernesto Lacuona: La Comparsa

In a sense, Lacuona was the George Gershwin of Cuba. He was equally at home writing popular and classical music. He was immensely popular as a performer and composer in both North and South America.

09/29/23 Gisela Hernandez: Two Cuban Dances

Cuban composer Hernandez founded Ediciones de Blanck Publishing and was a member of the Grupo Minorista. Her music draws on Afro-Cuban music traditions.

Next month

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Chorinho Celebrates the Music of Brazil

The title for this release is worded very carefully. "Music for Viola and Piano from Brazil." All the works are indeed by Brazilian composers. But they're not all for viola and piano. Some are, and some are for the viola or piano as a solo instrument. 

I don't there was any intent to deceive. It's just a case of accurately describing something in as few words as possible. And I think it makes for a much more effective program. The solo pieces allow each performer to shine. And they provide variety to the sound of the album. 

Both performers are top-notch. Georgini Rossi plays with a clear, warm sound. Her performance of Ernani Aguair's "Meloritmias No. 5 for solo viola" is especially fine. She articulates the interwoven lines effectively, making them easy to follow. 

Heitor Villa'Lobos' Valsa da dor is masterfully performed by Silvie Cheng. Waltz though it may be, Cheng understands Villa-Lobos' heritage. She gently distorts the melody -- a slight pause here, a little rush there. It brings out connections between the piece and Brazilian dance music. 

I wasn't familiar with all the composers on this release. But after hearing their music, I'm keen to explore further. All seem to use Brazilian folk music as a starting point. But not all incorporate it to the same extent. Chiquinha Gonzaga's Lua branca is very close to folk music. 

While Brenno Blauth's Sonata for Solo Viola seems about as far away from folk music as one can get. And yet there are moments when it peeks through. 

An imaginative program of music that for me both enlightened and entertained. 

Chorinho: Music for Viola and Piano from Brazil
Georgina Rossi, viola; Silvie Cheng, piano
Navona Records NV 6537

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Mengyiuyi Chen Performs Mel Bonis with Subtlety

Mélanie Bonis was a talented pianist and composer. At age 16 she attended the Paris Conservatory. While there, she studied with César Franck. She attended classes with  Gabriel Pierné and Claude Debussy. 

It's significant that Debussy was her classmate. I'd describe Bonis' music as Debussy-adjacent. Much of it has the Impressionist aesthetic. 

Harmonies are sometimes vague and don't suggest motion to a climax. Her melodies aren't foursquare, but flowing. Phrases are as long -- or as short -- as they need to be. 

The selections in this release span Bonis' career. Bonis published her Mazurka, Op. 26 when she was in her late 20s. Her Transcription of Faure's "Claire de Lune" was done in 1933, four years before her death. 

There's a remarkable consistency to Bonis' style across the decades. Over time the influence of Impressionism faded only slightly. And her work is consistent in its quality. 

Pianist Mengyiuyi Chen performs admirably. Bonis requires a certain degree of subtlety, and Chen has it. Phrasing is often nuanced rather than fully articulated. Her use of the pedal is strategic and effective. 

Bonis wrote about 150 works for solo piano. There's a lot to choose from for volume two! 

Mel Bonis: Complete Music for Solo Piano, Volume One
Mengyiuyi Chen, piano
Toccata Classics TOCC 0361

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Lorenzo Perosi Piano Quintets -- Masterful Chamber Works

Lorenzo Perosi was an incredibly talented composer. And one who still hasn't completely gotten his due.  was well-known and well-respected during his lifetime. 

Perosi was part of the Verismo school of composers. Puccini, Leoncavallo, and Puccini all considered Perosi a friend and musical equal. Debussy, d'Indy, and Massenet also admired his work.

Toscanini was a supporter, and both Carosuo and Gigli performed his songs. So why is Perosi so little known outside his native Italy? Probably because Monsignor Lorenzo Perosi was a cleric. 

The theater was a problematic arena for Perosi. And so he was the only Verismo composer who didn't write opera. And opera is what made the Verismo composers' reputation worldwide. 

But Perosi didn't just compose sacred music. He was prolific and wrote a great deal of secular orchestral and chamber music. This release features two of his five piano quintets. It also includes the first of his three numbered string trios.

The quintets date from 1931. Lorenzo had a gift for melody. To me, these quintets have a Schubertian quality. The music just seems to flow from one lushly beautiful theme to the next. Perosi doesn't push the envelope on technique, but that's not his point. The instruments sing and sing in conversation. And that's the point.

The String Trio No. 1 in C minor does the same, albeit on a smaller scale. Perosi was well familiar with polyphonic writing (thanks to his day job). Here lines weave in and out almost continually. The three instruments come together to punctuate the start of new sections. 

The Roma Tre Orchestra Ensemble with Matteo Bevilacqua takes the right approach to this music. Perosi didn't write operas, but his aesthetic centered on the human voice. His music wants -- and needs to -- sing. The players lean into the lyricism, creating some truly wonderful sounds. 

Also included are several string trio sketches and exercises from Perosi's student days. And yes -- they're definitely worth hearing. Even as he was learning his craft, Perosi was a master craftsman.

Lorenzo Perosi: Piano Quintets Nos. 3 & 4
String Trios
Matteo Bevilacqua, piano; Roma Tre Orchestra Ensemble
Naxos 8.574484

Friday, September 22, 2023

#ClassicsaDay #HispanicHeritage Week 3

 September 15 kicks off Hispanic Heritage Month. The Classics a Day team has also made it their theme for September. The challenge is to post video performances of Hispanic composers. The posts can be on any social media platform you choose. 

We recently completed a month of posts featuring Mexican composers. This month, I'm sharing music by Hispanic composers further south. Here are my posts for the third week of #HispanicHeritage.

09/18/23 André da Silva Gomes (1752–1844): Missa em Sol maior

Gomes is one of the earliest native Brazilian classical composers. Most of his music was written for the church. He wrote over 130 works, although many were lost over time.

09/19/23 Juan Manuel Olivares (1760-1797): Stabat Mater

Oliveres was one of the first native Venezuelan composers. He's credited with composing the first chamber music in the country. Most of his major works were written for the church, like the Stabat Mater.

09/20/23 Enrique Iturriaga (1918-2019): Sinfonia Junin y Ayachucho: 1824

Peruvian composer had a career in popular music before turning the classical compositon. He studied with Arthur Honegger. Iturriaga was director of the National School of Music and later the National Conservatory of Music in Peru.

09/21/23 Jacqueline Nova (1935-1975): Asimetrias for flute and percussion

Nova pioneered electroacoustic music in Columbia. She hosted a contemporary music radio program, and established an ensemble to perform works by living composers.

09/24/23 Luis Humberto Salgado (1903-1977): Sinfonia No. 1 Andina

Salgad strove to incorporate Ecuadorian music into his classical works. He even developed a four-movement symphonic form based on Ecuadoran folk dances. This is the form he used for his first symphony.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Myron Silberstein Masters Creston's Rhythmicons

Paul Creston's heyday was the immediate postwar period. Through the 1960s, he was one of the most frequently performed American composers. And with good reason. 

Creston was a self-taught composer, who never fully abandoned late-Romantic tonality. And yet his fascination with rhythm took his music in new directions. 

Creston was also a pianist and organist. His most enduring works may be his concertos for marimba and alto saxophone.  

But some of his most interesting are for the piano. As this new album demonstrates. 

Creston's exploration of rhythm led to a series of piano works he termed "Rhythmicons." He published ten volumes of these rhythmic etudes. And each volume was more complex than the previous. Myron Silberstein presents the final four volumes, each piece in sequence. 

This allows the listener to hear the development as the series progresses. At the same time, it shows the impressive variety of music Creston created for this project. Some of these pieces are quite serious, a few bordering on the academic. 

But then there are pieces like the Psychedelic Waltz (No. 118), Jaunty James (No. 116), and Secret Game (No. 110). They're all light-hearted, and good fun -- if you have the chops to play them. 

Myron Silberstein does. He delivers on technique and musicality. All the notes are there. The complex rhythms and complex cross-rhythms are played with metronome accuracy. But he also plays with emotion. 

These pieces don't sound like formal exercises. They sound like spontaneous creations of music. And that's really the point. Creston wasn't an academic. He was a natural and spontaneous composer at heart. And that's the quality Silberstein conveys in this recording. 

If you only know Creston through his greatest hits, give this album a listen. It furthered my appreciation for this American genius. It may do the same for you. 

Paul Creston: Piano Music
Three Narratives; Rhythmicon, Vols. 7-10
Myron Silberstein, piano
Toccata Classics TOCC 0674

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

William Smethergell Regency Overtures Still Entertain

This release features music by a little-known composer. And to all involved with this project, let me say it was worth the effort. 

William Smethergell was an extremely popular organist and composer in Georgian England. He was of the generation following Handel. And part of the generation that followed Handel's ideals.

Smethergell's orchestral works were regularly performed at the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. The audiences had an appetite for the latest music, beginning in the 1740s with Mr. Handel's. Thomas Arne, William Boyce, and John Hebden were just a few to supply that need. 

In the late 1790s fashion changed with the arrival of Haydn. Smethergell and his music lapsed into obscurity. This release features his set of six overtures, published as his Opus 5. These works were written over several years and then collected for publication. 

Each overture has its own character, and in some cases even vary in form. Smethergell had a fondness for winds. He uses flutes, oboes, and French horns far more than other composers of his day. 

I found these pieces fun to listen to. They're light fare, and have an English quality to them. Sorry, I can't be more specific. But if you listen, you should hear it, too. 

The Südwestdeutsches Kammerorchester Pforzheim is directed by Douglas Bostock. The ensemble has a clean, clear sound. Its lightness is ideal for this music. I'm looking forward to Volume 2.   

William Smethergell: Overtures Vol. 1
Sudwestdeutsches Kammerorchester Pforzheim; Douglas Bostock, conductor
CPO 555 540-2

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Medtner in England Paints a Sympathetic Portrait

The title is accurate. Two of the three works in this release were composed when Nicolai first settled in England. The third, "Eight Songs" was started in 1921, but the bulk of them were composed in England.

Nicolai Medtner pianist/composer, and a younger contemporary of Sergei Rachmaninoff, he fled the 1917 Russian Revolution. But Medtner never achieved the same level of success as Rachmaninoff. 

It wasn't due to lack of talent. Mednter was recognized as one of the piano greats of the early 20th Century. He was never comfortable touring and did so infrequently.

Medtner remained somewhat conservative as a composer. Like Rachmaninoff, his music was both well-constructed and accessible. Unlike Rachmaninoff, Medtner never seemed to push the boundaries. That conservatism may have hampered his music's popularity over time.

Careful listening reveals Medtner to be an imaginative and subtly innovative composer. I was only familiar with Medtner's piano music. This release provided me additional insights into his style. 

The Violin Sonata No. 3 in E minor is an ambitious piece. It runs about 43 minutes and is a solidly constructed piece. 

The music isn't especially expansive, it just unfolds at its own pace. Medtner carefully sets up his motifs, providing coherence for the listener. Every time a theme returns, we know where we are.

The Sonata-Idylle in G major is subtitled Piano Sonata No. 14. But it's far removed from the sonatas of the late Romantics. As the title suggests, this work is somewhat free-form. Medtner weaves together a musical narrative in an unconventional manner. 

Medter wrote quite a few art songs. His Op. 61, "Eight Songs on Russian and German Poems"  comes late in his career. These are straightforward melodies, here to deliver and illustrate the texts. 

Theodore Platt sings with a round, full tone. And yet his performance is a little understated, which is well-suited to these songs. 

Medtner in England
Natalie Lomeiko, violin; Alexander Karpeyev, piano; Theadore Platt, baritone
Somm Records SOMMSCD 0674

Friday, September 15, 2023

#ClassicsaDay #HispanicHeritage Week 2

 September 15 kicks off Hispanic Heritage Month. The Classics a Day team has also made it their theme for September. The challenge is to post video performances of Hispanic composers. The posts can be on any social media platform you choose. 

We recently completed a month of posts featuring Mexican composers. This month, I'm sharing music by Hispanic composers further south. Here are my posts for the second week of #HispanicHeritage.

09/11/23 Francisco Gomes da Rocha (1746–1808): Novena de Nossa Senhora do Pilar

Gomes was a bassoonist in the Brazilian Dragoons Regiment in the 1760s. Although quite prolific, only five of approximately 200 works survive.

09/12/23 Jose Angel Montero (1832-1881): Quiero tu cruz

This Venezuelan composer specialized in music for the voice. He wrote over 15 operas and zarzuelas. And he composed a large amount of sacred music for choruses.

09/13/23 Jose Bernardo Alcedo (1788-1878): Miserere

Alcedo's anthem was chosen as the Peruvian national anthem in an 1821 contest. He wrote for military band, and composed folk songs. Most of his major works were written for the church.

09/14/23 Alba Lucia Potes Cortés (1954 - ): Dulzuras for soprano and guitar

Cortés was born in Columbia and studied at the University of Valle. She moved to the U.S. when she was 29, and is now on the faculty of the Mannes School of Music.

09/15/23 Roque Cordero (1917-2008): Adagio tragico

Cordero was born in Panama and was the director of the Panamanian Institute of Music. He later joined the faculty of Illinois State University.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Tingyue Jiang Bring Fire to Henry Litolff Piano Music

Henry Litolff was a larger-than-life piano virtuoso. At least, that was his reputation. He had impressive technique (it even impressed Franz Liszt). And he was something of a ladies' man with his wild, flowing hair (and married four times). As a publisher the Collection Litolff was highly regarded -- and remains so as part of Edition Peters. 

Litlolff composed over 125 works, plus eleven operas. But today, only a single work -- the scherzo from his Fourth Concerto Symphonie -- remains in the repertoire. Hopefully, this new series from Toccata Classics will change that. 

Pianist Tingyue Jiang makes her debut with an album of world recording premieres. I love it. Jiang has the technique to play anything Litolff composed. And some of these piano works are quite challenging. 

But she also has the musicianship to make sense of it all. It turns out that Litolff had a gift for melody. Each of these piano miniatures is beautifully composed. The melodies are lyrical and attractive to the ear. Well, he did write eleven operas after all. 

Jiang makes each piece shine. There's never a question about what's foreground and what's background material. And she lovingly shapes each phrase. It maximizes the emotional impact of each melody. And that makes this release a joy to listen to from start to finish. 

Henry Litolff was a prolific composer, so there's a lot of material left to cover. I'm definitely looking forward to volume two. Litnolff has a unique compositional voice. It's one that bears reexamining.

Henry Litolff: Piano Music, Volume One
Tingyue Jiang, piano
Toccata Classics

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Unbounded: Music by American Women

One of the reasons I like reviewing independent label releases is they're interesting. When a violinist makes a recording debut with a major label, it's usually with tried and true masterworks. Nothing wrong with that. A new artist can bring new insights to old warhorses. 

But I much prefer artists like Dawn Wohn. Her debut album, Perspectives, featured music from women around the world. In other words, music Wohn was personally invested in. 

Her sophomore effort, Unbounded, further explores music by women. And as with her previous release, Wohn delivers committed, insightful performances. 

The program is nicely balanced. It includes Amy Beach's Sonata for Violin and Piano in A minor. Jennifer Higdon, one of America's pre-eminent composers (regardless of gender) is also represented. And there are works by Dorothy Rudd Moore and Irene Britton Smith, two composers of color. 

Dorothy Rudd Moore co-founded the Society of Black Composers. She was one of her generation's most important and influential black composers. "Three Pieces for Violin and Piano" (1962) is modernist, yet still quite accessible. Moore is under-represented in recordings, so this was a welcome selection.

Irene Britton Smith had an impressive pedigree. She did graduate work at Julliard, studied at the Eastman School of Music, and took composition lessons from Nadia Boulanger. All the while she taught elementary grades in the Chicago school system. 

Her 1947 Sonata for Violin and Piano is both modern and tonal. It's straightforward and plain-spoken music. It's beauty lies in the artful way Moore constructed it. This sonata is a real gem.  

So instead of listening to yet another recording of the Mendelssohn violin concerto, I spent some time with Unbounded. Dawn Wohn's choice of music is as impeccable as her playing. It was time well spent.

Unbounded: Music by American Women
Dawn Wohn, violin; Emely Phelps, piano
Delos DE 3599

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Antonio Meneses Performs Villa-Lobos Cello Concertos

Maestro Karabtchevsky and the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra are past masters of Villa-Lobos' music. After all, they recorded a complete cycle of his surviving symphonies -- plus some other works. 

Those recordings set the standard for Villa-Lobos or4chestral performances. And this release maintains that standard. This time three works for cello and orchestra are featured.

The Cello Concerto No. 1, Op. 50 was completed in 1915, when Villa-Lobos was 28. It was his first major work for orchestra and his inexperience shows. 

The orchestrations are a little ambitious. And youthful enthusiasm carries the listener along, rather than rigorously developed motifs. And that's fine with me. 

Villa-Lobos wrote the Fantasia for Cello and Orchestra when he was 58. As the title implies, this is a free-wheeling work. But by this time Villa-Lobos was at the height of his creativity. It's a beautifully crafted work that explores the expressive qualities of the cello.

The Cello Concerto No. 2 came eight years later, in 1953. The New York Philharmonic premiered it with cellist Aldo Parisot. Villa-Lobos and Parisot worked together to fine-tune the piece. This is a true showpiece for the cello. It's challenging, yet playable. 

Antonio Meneses is a world-class cellist, and also a native of Brazil. That's important. Villa-Lobos was inspired by his country's music. But he didn't use that inspiration overtly. But it's still there. And a Brazilian steeped in the culture can easily spot it -- and know how to interpret it.

That quality made the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra's symphonic cycle definitive. And the same is true for the partnership of the orchestra, conductor, and Antonio Meneses.

Heitor Villa-Lobos: Cello Concertos Nos. 1 and 2
Fantasia for Cello and Orchestra
Antonio Meneses, cello
Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra; Isaac Karabtchevsky, conductor
Naxos 8574531

Friday, September 08, 2023

#ClassicsaDay #HispanicHeritage Week 1

 September 15 kicks off Hispanic Heritage Month. The Classics a Day team has also made it their theme for September. The challenge is to post video performances of Hispanic composers. The posts can be on any social media platform you choose. 

We recently completed a month of posts featuring Mexican composers. So this month, I'm sharing music by Hispanic composers further south. Here are my posts for the first week of #HispanicHeritage.

09/04/23 José Joaquim Emerico Lobo de Mesquita (1746–1805) Brazil: Mass in F minor

Emerico was a virtuoso organist and skilled improvisor. He took orders in 1776. Virtually all of his music is written for the church, including at least seven masses.

09/05/23 Teresa Carreño (1853-1917) Venezuela: La falsa nota, Op. 39

Carreño enjoyed an international concert career as a virtuoso pianist and conductor. She was known as the "Valkyrie of the Piano." As a soprano, she appeared in productions at the Met. Although most of her compositions are for piano, she also wrote chamber and orchestral music.

09/06/23 Jose Maria Valle Riestra (1959-1925) Peru: En Oriente

Riestra studied in London and Paris before beginning his music career in Peru. His three operas are all based on Incan stories, and incorporate Incan melodies.

09/07/23 Guillermo Uribe Holguin (1880-1971) Columbia

Holguin was a violinist and prolific composer. He founded the National Symphony Orchestra of Columbia. His catalog includes 13 symphonies, 10 string quartets, and 2 violin concertos.

09/08/23 José Maurício Nunes Garcia (1767–1830) Brazil: Te Deum

Garcia was one of the most important Brazilian composers of the Classical Era. He wrote over 400 works, most for the church. Being of mixed race, the church had to formally declare him free of "any color defect" before he could take orders. They did and he did in 1792.

Thursday, September 07, 2023

Tra Ngyuen Excels with Borenstein Piano Works

I first became aware of Tra Nguyen through her traversal of Joachim Raff's piano music. Her exceptional technique and nuanced reading of Raff's music made me a fan. I wondered what she would do next. After auditioning this release, I think it's the next logical step. 

Borenstein writes in what I would call an accessible post-tonal style. That is, his music is tonal, but it's not hemmed in. Modern ears are comfortable with harmonic progressions and key relationships that were last century no-nos. Borenstein's music has a natural flow to it.

And his use of tonality makes his compositions extremely accessible. I would almost say welcoming to the listener. It's a mystery why his music is so in demand. 

One of Borenstein's style characteristics is his use of polyrhythms. Come to think of it, it was one of Raff's signature gestures, too. Nguyen takes the right approach to them. She plays the polyrhythms with precision. We hear the intended tension between the patterns. At the same time, she plays them expressively, giving them a melodic purpose. 

Most of the works receive their world recording premiere with this release. Nguyen's playing is first-rate. She delivers exciting, engaged performances. They made me want to revisit this release time and again. 

Highly recommended, both for the quality of the music, and the quality of the performances. Nguyen wrote that Borenstein's music was "inspirational and rewarding." I can hear it in her playing. 

Nimrod Borenstein: Piano Works
Tra Nguyen, piano
Grand Piano GP851

Wednesday, September 06, 2023

Heinrich Sutermeister Orchestral Works Impress

Heinrich Sutermeister was a Swiss composer, of the generation following Artur Honegger. He studied with Carl Orff and spent most of his career in Switzerland. Volume One of Toccata Classics' series featured his orchestral works. It focussed on his strictly orchestral works.

This release offers music closer to Sutermeister's interest -- the human voice. Sutermeister composed seven operas for radio or television broadcasts. He also wrote eight operas for the stage. This album features four works for voice and orchestra. 

They demonstrate Sutermeister's compositional skill. He uses the orchestra to support the voice, of course. But it also amplifies and underscores the meaning of the text. Unease is signaled by restless skittering in the strings. Stark declarations are reinforced with brass and winds. 

Juliane Banse delivers some fine performances, especially in "Ich reise weit." This was an aria from the opera "Romeo und Juliet." It was an international hit for Sutermeister, and it's easy to hear why in this excerpt. (Volume One included an orchestral suite from the work.)

The Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz directed by Rainer Held is in exceptionally fine form. Fascinating music, indeed. Another composer well-served by Toccata Classics.

Heinrich Sutermeister: Orchestral Music, Volume Two
Works for Voice and Orchestra
Juliane Banse, soprano; Benjamin Bruns, tenor
Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz; Rainer Held, conductor
Toccata Classics TOCC 0608

Tuesday, September 05, 2023

Fantfonis Bring Mauro D'Alay Concertos to Life

Not much is known about Mauro D'Alay. He was born in or around Parma c.1687, and was a violinist of considerable renown. He was attached to the court of Princess Elisabetta Farnese.  And he followed her to Spain when she married King Philip V in 1714. 

D'Alay also did some concert tours. He had a successful run in London, and also in Germany. The works in this release come from that period. 

Five of these concertos were manuscripts preserved in the Dresden Sächsische Landesbibliothek. The Concerto "For Anna Maria" was found in the Conservatory of Venice library. 

Violinists Daniele and Luca Fanfoni had previously recorded D'Alay's 12 Opus 1 concertos. As with those pieces, they edited the music for performance. 18th-century manuscripts require more editorial thought than printed material from the era.

Here the pair, along with the Reale Concerto, have created excellent realizations of this material. The concertos sound fresh and vibrant. D'Alay was an exceptional violinist. And he apparently expected anyone playing his music to be the same.

The Reale Ensemble has a nice, warm sound. The Fanfonis play violins of the period. They have a rich, full tone I liked. Daniele played a Gioffredo Cappa 1690 violin. Luca used a Lorenzo Storioni 1778 instrument.

The two solo instruments blended well. Yet they also had slightly different tonal qualities. And that difference made the duet passages especially effective. 

D'Alay is far from a household name. So it's not surprising that these are all world premiere recordings. And yet the quality of the music makes me ask, "why haven't these been recorded before?

Mauro D'Alay: The Dresden Concertos for violin, strings and organ
Concerto "For Anna Maria"
Daniele Fanfoni, Luca Fanfoni, violin
Reale Concerto

Friday, September 01, 2023

#ClassicsaDay #ClassicalA Week 5

 Big A, little a, what begins with A? The Classics a Day team noticed that August did. And so the challenge for August was set. During the month post music by composers whose last names begin with the letter "A."

There are actually quite a few. And I even found some whose first and last names began with A! Here are my posts for the fifth and final week of #ClassicalA of the #ClassicsaDay challenge.

08/28/23 Pierre Attaingnant (c.1494–late 1551 or 1552): Basse-dance "La Brosse"

Atttaingnant was a successful music publisher as well as a composer. In the late 1500s, he was one of the first to adopt single-impression printing. This enabled him to publish faster and cheaper. Over 110 of his publications have survived.

08/29/23 Johann Friedrich Agricola (1720–1774): Die Auferstehung des Erlösers (Cantata)

Agricola's reputation rests on his operas. He studied with Johann Sebastian Bach in 1740. In 1754 he co-authored Bach's official obituary with his son< Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach.

08/29/23 Adolphe Adam (1803–1856): Overture to "Si j'etais Roi"

"Si j'etais Roi" (If I Were King) is considered one of Adam's best opéra comiquesd. It received over 170 performances in a ten-year run from 1852-1862.

08/30/23 Thomas Arne: The Morning cantata

Arne was one of the biggest names in British theater in the mid-1700s. Most of his works were for operas, masques, incidental music, and other theater projects. This is one of six cantatas published in a 1755 collection by Arne for salon use.

08/31/23 Jacques Arcadelt: Chansons

Arcadelt is best known for his madrigals. In the mid-1500s they became the standard model for madrigal composition. But his 125 chansons run a pretty close second in quality and popularity.

Next Month: