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  Casa Guidi: Frederica von Stade Sings Dominick Argento

Dominick Argento: Casa Guidi: Frederica von Stade Sings Dominick Argento
Frederica von Stade, mezzo; Burt Hara, clarinet; Eiji Oue/Minnesota Orchestra
Reference 100

Three different sides of Minnesota's Dominick Argento come together in this disc: his love for literature and the human voice, in the song cycle Casa Guidi ; his orchestral writing in In Praise of Music; and in the exuberant Rossini in Paris for clarinet and orchestra, his idea that “all music need not aspire to transcendent loftiness.” The clarinetist is the Minnesota Orchestra's superb Burt Hara.


    Corelli: Violin Sonatas, Op. 5

Arcangelo Corelli: Violin Sonatas, op. 5
Andrew Manze, violin; Richard Egarr, harpsichord
Harmonia Mundi 90.7298.99

For Andrew Manze, the Corelli sonatas are not only landmarks of baroque violin writing, they're also springboards for ornamentation and improvisation. Manze brings them off with all of his trademark vitality.


  Grieg, Schumann: Piano Concertos

Grieg and Schumann: Piano Concertos
Leif Ove Andsnes, piano; Mariss Jansons/Berlin Philharmonic
EMI 57562

Robert Schumann and Edvard Grieg wrote just one piano concerto apiece, each one a repertory standard, and they've been paired on recordings innumerable times. It's not easy to stand out in this crowded field, but, with these keenly judged performances, Leif Ove Andsnes does just that.


  Haydn: 6 Great Masses

Haydn: 6 Great Masses (Boxed Set)
Andrew Busher, Angharad Gruffydd Jones, Bernarda Fink, Brindley Sherratt, Christoph Pregardien, Donna Brown, Elinor Carter, English Baroque Soloists, Gerald Finley, Joanne Lunn, Julian Clarkson, Monteverdi Choir, Oliver Widmer, Peter Butterfield, Ruth Ziesak, Sally Bruce-Payne, Sara Mingardo, Susanna Spicer, Topi Lehtipuu
Philips 470 286

John Eliot Gardiner, who has recorded everything from Bach to Lehár, here gives us six of Haydn's masses (the "Harmoniemesse", "Heiligmesse", "Lord Nelson", "Schöpfungsmesse", "Theresienmesse", and "Paukenmesse"
masses) in vibrant, alert interpretations.

  Introducing the World of American Jewish Music: Rare, New and Rediscovered American Classics

Introducing the World of American Jewish Music
Composers: Abraham Kaplan, Anonymous, Yiddish, Bruce Adolphe, Darius Milhaud, Dave Brubeck, Ernst Toch, Israel Schorr, Joseph Achron, Joseph Rumshinsky, Joshua Lind, Julius Chajes, Kurt Weill, Leonard Bernstein, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Paul Schoenfield, Robert Stern, Sholom Kalib / Meyer Machtenberg, Yehudi Wyner
Naxos 8.559406

This may not be the ideal time to put a massive recording project on the market, but no one told that to the Naxos label. This remarkable series (of which this sampler is the calling card) will eventually document American Jewish music in 50 CDs, from liturgical music to opera to klezmer.


  Mahler: Symphony No. 3

Mahler: Symphony No. 3; Kindertotenlieder
Michael Tilson Thomas/Michelle DeYoung, Pacific Boychoir, San Francisco Girls Chorus, San Francisco Symphony Chorus, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra
San Francisco 821936-0003-2

Nature, childhood, folksong, the sinister, the heartfelt—all these elements of the Mahlerian world and more are traversed in a symphony of more than 100 minutes. A superb performance by San Francisco's musicians and sound engineers.


  Ninna Nanna: ca. 1500-2002

Ninna Nanna: Lullabies (1500-2002)
Composers: Arvo Pärt, Darius Milhaud, English Traditional, Federico Garcia Lorca, Greek Traditional, Johann Friedrich Reichardt, Jordi Savall, Manuel de Falla, Max Reger, Modest Mussorgsky, Sephardic Traditional, Tarquinio Merula, Traditional, Traditional, Berber, Traditional, Israeli, William Byrd
Performers: Andrew Lawrence-King, Arianna Savall, D. El Maloumi, Hesperion XXI, Jordi Savall, Montserrat Figueras, Paul Badura-Skoda, Pedro Estevan, Xavier Díaz-Latorre
Alia Vox 9826

This beguiling collection of lullabies (“Ninna Nanna” means “lullaby” in Italian) features soprano Montserrat Figueras, best known for her recordings of early music. With composers such as Byrd, Mussorgsky and Arvo Pärt on the program, this may be more for discriminating grownups than recalcitrant toddlers.


  Die Ägyptische Helena

Strauss: Die Ägyptische Helena
American Symphony Orchestra, BJ Fredricks, Carl Tanner, Celena Shafer, Christopher Robertson, Deborah Voigt, Elizabeth Batton, Eric Cutler, Jill Grove, Kathlene Ritch, New York Concert Chorale, Tamara Mesic, Teresa Buchholz /American Symphony Orchestra
Telarc 80605

You won't see this opera on stage regularly, probably because of an idiosyncratic libretto. But that's just the kind of gap that recordings are made to fill. Deborah Voigt is perfectly cast as the “Egyptian Helen” (none other than Helen of Troy), one of Strauss' biggest soprano roles.

  Ned Rorem: Three Symphonies

Rorem: Symphonies Nos. 1-3
José Serebrier/Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Naxos 8.559149

Ned Rorem is best known for writing vocal music, not symphonies, and in fact two of the three works here have never been recorded before. So this recording of these lyrical, energetic works from the 1950s will be a pleasant surprise to many music lovers. (It's also a handsome birthday salute to Rorem, who turned 80 in 2003.)





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