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Charles T. Downey Briefly Noted: Sandrine Piau Enchants

Handel, Opera Arias and Concerti Grossi, S. Piau, Les Paladins, J. Correas
(released on January 7, 2022)
Alpha 765 | 72’08″This new release from Alpha had me at Sandrine Piau, whose recordings and live performances we have followed for twenty years (last reviewed in Washington in 2016). Add to that the programming, which allows Piau to incarnate some of Handel’s notorious seductresses, sirens,

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Unknown In Very Loving, Admiring, Cheery Memory of the Wonderful Roger Tapping

Roger Tapping was instrumental in my falling in love with the viola. I owe Roger countless hours of peerless chamber-music education, courtesy #TakácsQuartet (and a bit of @theJSQ). I admired him as a person and as a player. Roger Tapping has passed away. I will always remember him very warmly.

Here’s a conversation with him from a few years back that hopefully conveys a small bit of how much I

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Unknown The Ten Best Recordings of Kurt Masur, Who Died Today (Six Years Ago)

Kurt Masur Obituary & Discography

Kurt Masur died six years ago today, aged 88. He was born in Lower Silesia and after the war, into which he was drafted at 17, he moved to Leipzig to study conducting. That is the town in which, after short stations in Halle, Schwerin (State Theaters), Erfurt, Dresden (Philharmonic Orchestra), and Berlin (Komische Oper), he rose to musical fame as the

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Unknown Dip Your Ears: No. 264 (A Sibelius-Classic Revisited)


J.Sibelius, Symphony No.4-7++
H.v.Karajan / Berlin Phil
DG
Karajan’s Sibelius is – rightly – uncontroversial, simply because it’s pretty darn good and often better than just that. Still, he would probably not be mentioned among the first five, or even ten names, when talking great Sibelius conductors today. Probably because he never conducted a complete cycle, having eschewed the

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Charles T. Downey ‘Hadestown’ tour opens at the Kennedy Center

(from top left, clockwise) Kevyn Morrow, Kimberly Marable, Nicholas Barsch, Levi Kreis, and Morgan Siobhan Green in the Hadestown North American Tour. Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Months before the coronavirus pandemic unraveled the world of theater, Hadestown received fourteen nominations at the 2019 Tony Awards and won eight awards including Best Musical and Best Original Score. It was the debut

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Unknown On ClassicsToday: Bernard Labadie’s Orchestra Goldberg Variations Re-Issued

 Goldberg Variations Variations (Les Violons du Roy Edition)Review by: Jens F. LaursonArtistic Quality: ?Sound Quality: ?You name any instrument or combination thereof and I give you a recording of the Goldberg Variations to match it. Nearly, anyway. The good versions entice the ears or tug the heartstrings; here is a re-release that errs on the right side of success, adding its spin to old

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Unknown Dip Your Ears: No. 263 (Mullova’s 2009 Bach Sonatas & Partitas)


J.S.Bach, Sonatas & Partitas
Viktoria Mullova
Onyx

Of Bach’s Cello Suites, there has been such a plethora of recent recordings lately that greatness (Queyras) and extroverted excellence (Lipkind) relegated the merely superb (Klinger) and the very good (Gastinel) (never mind the dishwater variety—Isserlis) to shadowy spots they didn’t necessarily reserve and wouldn’t have received

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Unknown On ClassicsToday: New Beethoven Concerto Cycle from Mitsuko Uchida

 Mitsuko Uchida’s Second Beethoven Concerto CycleReview by: Jens F. LaursonArtistic Quality: ?Sound Quality: ?Mitsuko Uchida’s slightly-under-the-radar cycle of Beethoven Piano Concertos with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and the artless Kurt Sanderling (Philips/Decca) is one of my favorites for its almost self-effacing musicality and the orchestral precision that translates into

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Unknown On ClassicsToday: A Vikingur Retrospective, Musicianship over Hype

 Triad: Víkingur Ólafsson’s Greatest HitsReview by: Jens F. LaursonArtistic Quality: ?Sound Quality: ?Triad, the latest release by Icelandic pianist Vikingur (Heiðar) Ólafsson, isn’t a new album. It’s simply a fancy repackaging of his last three main releases for Deutsche Grammophon. This wouldn’t be particularly noteworthy if all three of those releases weren’t absolute corkers. There’s a disc

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