LSM Newswire

Friday, October 3, 2008

Telarc Announces October New Releases


Yolanda Kondonassis: Air

Featuring Debussy and Takemitsu

Music for Harp, Flute, and Strings

with Joshua Smith, flute, Cynthia Phelps, viola, and Oberlin 21

Telarc (CD-80694)

A portion of the proceeds from each purchase of Air will be donated to organizations devoted to worldwide environmental causes. For more information on ways we can all help, visit ..

Hailed by The New York Times for her "powerful playing and musicianly energy," Yolanda Kondonassis celebrates her fourteenth recording on the Telarc label with the October 28, 2008, release of Air. One of the world's foremost harpists, Yolanda has appeared all over the world as a concerto soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician. On this album, she is joined by friends and colleagues, flutist Joshua Smith, violist Cynthia Phelps, and the string orchestra, Oberlin 21 led by Bridget-Michaele Reischl.

"In selecting the music to include on this album, we were drawn to the luminous color and atmosphere that is so magical in these parallel works by Debussy and Takemitsu," says Kondonassis. The repertoire on this recording highlights Debussy's genius as well as his enduring inspiration and influence on Toru Takemitsu, who once said, that while he was technically self-taught, he considered his greatest teacher to be the music of Claude Debussy. In the liner notes, Richard Rodda writes, "Takemitsu, like Debussy, sought to transmute dreams, water, gardens, sky, birds, and the quiverings of the human heart into patterns of sounds and silence that would penetrate to the quiet, inner place where the spirit dwells."

In 1904, Debussy was commissioned by the instrument-making firm of Pleyel to create a work to showcase their new chromatic harp. The commission was to serve both as a test piece for students at the Brussels Conservatory and as a demonstration of their harp's potential to prospective buyers. The result was a matched pair of dances, one "sacred" and one "profane," for chromatic harp and string orchestra called Danses sacrˆ©e et profane for Harp and String Orchestra. It should be noted that the standard harp used today is not Pleyel's designer Lyon's chromatic harp but rather Erard's double-action pedal harp.

Takemitsu's And Then I Knew 'Twas Wind title is derived from a line of poetry by Emily Dickinson: "Like rain it sounded till it curved / And then I knew 'twas wind / It walked as wet as any wave / But swept as dry as sand." Takemitsu wrote that the work, composed in 1992, "has as its subject the signs of the wind in the natural world and of the soul, or unconscious mind (or we could even call it 'dream'), which continues to blow, like the wind, invisibly, through human consciousness."

This environmental theme continues through Takemitsu's other works on this album. Toward the Sea II is a short piece of pastoral music with three key notes taken from the word 'SEA' (E-flat [i.e., 'Es,' the conventional German designation for the pitch E-flat], E-natural, A-natural)." The titles of the work's three movements ’Äî The Night, Moby Dick and Cape Cod ’Äî imply programmatic associations, but the music, except for a slight animation in the second and third sections, is vague and equivocal, "more an expression of feeling than a painting," as Beethoven said of his "Pastoral" Symphony. If Toward the Sea is indeed an evocation of the New England shore, then it is not the New England of granite boulders and glinting sunlight and billowing sails running fast before the wind, but of first light and creeping mists and indistinct horizons, of undulant reflections in a tide pool, of distant buoy bells muffled by fog. The two solo flute pieces, one by each composer, are interspersed within the program. Takamitsu's Air is an introspective and unhurried piece. That lends its name to the title of the album. It is reminiscent of the French Impressionism heard in Debussy's Syrinx, about a nymph who was transformed into a reed to save her from the lusty pursuits of Pan, who then plucks that very reed and plays a song of longing for his loss of Syrinx.

Closing out the program is Debussy's Sonata for Flute, Viola, and Harp is one of most uncompromisingly modern creations, about which the composer himself expressed some uncertainty regarding its emotional effect: "[The music is] so terribly melancholy," he wrote to his friend the Swiss journalist Robert Godet, "that I can't say whether one should laugh or cry. Perhaps both at the same time?" Perhaps the colon cancer that would end Debussy's life three years later was already playing its part on his compositions.

Joshua Smith, known for his "gorgeous sound, bracing virtuosity, and breathtaking lyricism," enjoys a multi-faceted career as a leading soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, teacher, and clinician as well as his role as Principal Flutist of The Cleveland Orchestra, Joshua played on Yolanda's first release for Telarc, Scintillation (CD 80361). Making her Telarc debut, violist Cynthia Phelps enjoys a versatile career as an established chamber musician, solo artist, and Principal Violist of the New York Philharmonic, a position to which she was appointed in 1992. Founded in 2008, Oberlin 21 is an exceptional group of young artists from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, led by Oberlin's Director of Ensemble Programs and Music Director of the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra, Bridget-Michaele Reischl.


Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops: Vintage Cinema

Telarc (CD-80708 and SACD-60708)

Vintage Cinema, the newest release by Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra on the Telarc label, chronicles the journey of classic film scores from 1933 to 1962 in sequence, highlighting the musical evolution of film scoring. Both the CD and SACD versions of the recording are due in stores on October 28, 2008.

The disc showcases developing musical styles used in films spanning nearly 30 years, beginning with Max Steiner's theme to the original King Kong (1933), a classic fantasy adventure movie that has dazzled generations of fans and spawned two re-makes. From Skull Island, where the giant gorilla Kong rules, the listener is swept to merry old England for Eric Wolfgang Korngold's theme to the spectacular 1938 film, The Adventures of Robin Hood. As one of the most popular and influential movie directors of all time, Alfred Hitchcock understood the vital role music plays in film. Hitchcock film music appears twice on Vintage Cinema. Miklˆ„s Rˆ„zsa's suite from the 1945 thriller Spellbound captures the psychological suspense with the unique timbre of a theramin and Rˆ„zsa won his first Oscar for this score. Setting the stage for what is in store for Cary Grant, is legendary film composer Bernard Herrmann's overture to Hitchcock's "wrong man" thriller, North by Northwest (1959). Celebrated American composer Aaron Copland lent his considerable talents to Hollywood on several occasions, including the 1947 screen adaptation of John Steinbeck's The Red Pony. This Cincinnati Pops recording includes selections from the folk-like score. Two Oscar-winning scores by Franz Waxman, one from Billy Wilder's 1950 classic Sunset Boulevard, as well as A Place in the Sun the following year, deliver quintessential 50's film music. Composer Alex North captured the flavor of New Orleans in his 1951 score for A Streetcar Named Desire, the first important Hollywood score to incorporate jazz. The great Leonard Bernstein scored only one film, but On the Waterfront (1954) is widely regarded as cinematic classic. Vintage Cinema then turns to the 1960s in its three final tracks: Rˆ„zsa's Spanish-flavored overture to the lavish Charlton Heston epic, El Cid (1961), Elmer Bernstein's main title theme from To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), and the rousing "Ride of the Cossacks" from Taras Bulba, a 1962 film scored again by the inimitable Franz Waxman.

Vintage Cinema is the 87th Telarc recording by Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. Their previous release, Bolero (CD-80703), was declared "another sonic blockbuster" by Audiophile Audition. The 2007 release of Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker Selections (CD-80674) was one of the most popular classical recordings of the Christmas season, while another 2007 release, Masters and Commanders (CD-80682), was lauded by American Record Guide as "a rousing program of nautical music, performed by a top-notch orchestra and conductor." A 2006 release, Russian Nights (CD-80657), was praised by Gramophone as "gorgeously played and sumptuously recorded."

RECENT RELEASE: September 23 (October 27 UK)

Cameron Carpenter: Revolutionary

Telarc (CD-80711/DVD / SACD-60711)

>>Sample the DVD HERE <<

The release of this CD coincides with glam organist Cameron Carpenter's 6-day Organ Exposˆ© (Sept 23-28) at Middle Collegiate Church in New York City (, which features the Marshall & Olgetree virtual pipe organ he designed. Revolutionary is Carpenter's Telarc debut CD/DVD release and includes Demessieux's Etude in Octaves; Duprˆ©'s Prelude and Fugue in B major; Bach's chorale-prelude Now Come, Savior of the Gentiles; the world premiere recording of Carpenter's Love Song No. 1 (2008); Duke Ellington's Solitude (combined with Bach's Sheep May Safely Graze); Liszt's Mephisto Waltz; Horowitz's Carmen Variations; two Chopin ˆâtudes; and Carpenter's Evolutionary Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.

"If I had to play the organ like they teach you to play it, like they want you to play it in the conservatory and the church, I'd go mad. I'd take up the electric guitar. Or law," opined Cameron Carpenter last March during a break in recording sessions for Revolutionary. "The organ is the darkest remnant of classical music's archest tradition’Ķ you don't see organists creating, really questioning boundaries like you see in dance, hip-hop, film." Until now, that is. Cameron Carpenter has been lauded as "the Maverick organist" (The New York Times), "madly original" (, and "a superstar of the 21st-century organ" (Departures Magazine).

RECENT RELEASE: September 23 (August 25 UK)

Moussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition; Night on Bald Mountain, Prelude to Khovanshchina

Paavo Jˆ§rvi/Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

Telarc (CD-80705 / SACD-60705)

The fourteenth Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Telarc recording with Music Director Paavo Jˆ§rvi is an all-Mussorgsky disc, in CD and SACD formats. The repertoire includes the Pictures at an Exhibition and Night on Bald Mountain, and closes with Prelude to Khovanshchina. "I have always wanted to record Pictures at Exhibition," said Jˆ§rvi. "There's a good reason it has become one of the best known pieces in the world’Ķ It's such an irresistible concept ’Äì walking from one painting to another and describing not only what you're seeing, but the whole promenade experience of walking from frame to frame. This work is full of color."

RECENT RELEASE: September 23 (September 22 UK)

John O'Conor: Beethoven Piano Concertos Nos. 1, 3, and 4

Andreas Delfs/London Symphony Orchestra

Telarc (CD-80704)

In 2007, Irish pianist John O'Conor and the London Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Andreas Delfs recorded a brilliant version of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, Op.19 and No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73, "Emperor" (CD-80675). Gramophone heaped high praise on the Telarc recording: "’Ķpianist John O'Conor and conductor Andreas Delfs invest these much-recorded scores with deep feeling relaxed yet never draggy tempi. The London Symphony Orchestra provides vibrant and unfailingly alive support under Delfs' caring leadership." O'Conor and Delfs return to complete the cycle with stunning interpretations of Nos. 1, 3 and 4. O'Conor first gained critical acclaim in the United States in 1986 with the release of the initial volume of the complete Beethoven Sonata cycle. This recording was made at the famed Abbey Road Studios, and produced by GRAMMY-Award-winning producer Elaine Martone and GRAMMY-Award-winning engineer Jack Renner.

RECENT RELEASE: August 26 (September 23 UK)

Simone Dinnerstein: The Berlin Concert

Telarc (CD-80715)

>>Watch a video of the Berlin concert HERE <<

American pianist Simone Dinnerstein's second solo recording for Telarc, The Berlin Concert, was released on August 26 worldwide and earned the No. 1 spot on the US Billboard Traditional Classical Chart during its first week of sales. Last year, Ms. Dinnerstein's debut solo album, a recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations, also topped the chart in its first week of sales in September 2007. The Berlin Concert is a live recording of Ms. Dinnerstein's recital debut at the Kammermusiksaal of the Philharmonie in Berlin, which took place on November 22, 2007. The program features J.S. Bach's French Suite No. 5 in G major, BWV 816; the world premiere recording of American composer Philip Lasser's Variations on a Bach Chorale; and Beethoven's landmark Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111. Grammy Award-winning engineer Adam Abeshouse is the producer for the CD. Of The Berlin Concert CD, International Piano raves, "Dinnerstein's subtly-inflected tonal purity and exquisite dynamic suppleness impart a sense of concentrated musical inevitability to the Bach French Suite rivalled only in my experience by Dinu Lipatti's incandescent reading of the B flat Partita. . . The Gigue finale is not only touch-perfect (how does she create such an exquisite, velvety staccato?) but also so mellifluously voiced and immaculately balanced that it is difficult to imagine the music being played with a more complete grasp of every parameter. . . Most remarkably of all one has the extraordinary sense of Beethoven's epic structures (particularly the theme and variations finale) not so much unravelling in time but emerging as one coexistent whole."




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