Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Check it out!

Great recordings in the Naxos Music Library

The Naxos Music Library is an extraordinary resource. I’ve been a fan since my undergraduate years when I worked in my university’s music library. Now I work for Naxos Music Library full-time and have unlimited access to some of the world’s best classical music 24-7! I’ve discovered a lot of new music since joining the NML team, both through my own perusal and recommendations from subscribers world-wide. With a constantly growing selection of almost 40,000 CD’s, it’s easy to gloss over some worthwhile pieces and recordings.
For this reason I’ve decided to compile a weekly playlist of pieces that deserve a bit of extra attention. Perhaps some of these pieces will be old news to you. Perhaps you will not like some of my suggestions, but the hope is that we’ll all spend a little more time with classical music and discover a few new favorites that would have otherwise remained unknown to us.

Week of 11-15 January 2010

1. Georg Christoph Wagenseil—Symphony in C, Op. 5, No. 5, WV361 (777112-2) I’ve had a soft-spot for Wagenseil ever since my Classical Symphony class in Vienna. His symphonies are short, sweet, and were dwarfed by Haydn, Mozart and other Classical composers who advanced the genre; however, as my prof used to say, “The symphony had to start somewhere.”
2. Johann Christian Bach—Sinfonia for Double Orchestra in D, Op. 18, No. 3 (8.553367)
3. Zdenek Fibich—Symphony No. 1 in F, Op. 17 (8.553699)
4. Gloria Coates—Symphony No. 15, “Homage to Mozart” (8.559371) The most prolific female symphonist in history certainly deserves more recognition. Liner notes for this CD are especially interesting.
5. Herman Berlinski—Symphonic Visions (8.559446)
6. William Schuman—Symphony No. 3 and Symphony No. 5 (8.559317)
7. William Grant Still—Afro-American Symphony (BCD9086) This has been my favorite symphony for 2 years now. Still’s Americana and use of a solo banjo are brilliant.
8. Alan Hovhaness—Symphony No. 63 “Loon Lake”, Op. 411 (8.559336) Alan Hovhaness wrote 67 symphonies, among many other works. Like all prolific composers, some of his works have faded into the background of his vast output. His 63rd symphony caught my attention because of the unique sounds (sounds of the loon and bird-songs) and beautiful flute/piccolo parts.
9. Bedrich Smetana—Festive Symphony (8.223120) Smetana played a large role in establishing a Czech national sound. This is one of his lesser-known works, and I enjoyed getting acquainted with it.
10. Vincent Persichetti—Symphony No. 8, Op. 106 (FECD-0034)

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