Saturday, February 28, 2009

just nattering: more memorable albums; new albums; this economy

My list of 15 plus most memorable recordings in a recent post was typed up on the spot to see what would come to mind first (as truly memorable?). I made a couple of spelling and title corrections later, then I started thinking of other albums I might have mentioned on a different day. Rita Streich. Various collections of arias and lieder sung by Christoff, Chaliapin, Hvorostovsky... One chamber music set that came to mind was the Philips box of Mozart's six string quintets played by the violinist Arthur Grumiaux and friends. Then there's the DG box of Dvorak's complete music for string quartet played by the Prague Quartet. And what about a movie soundtrack? "Monsoon Wedding".

~Bjoerling and Melchior~
After I made my list the other night, I listened to some of the Nimbus collections of Jussi Bjoerling -- still magnetic as ever after repeated listening; would that he had not been killed by the drinking problem. Then I found my RCA disc of the Heldentenor Lauritz Melchior. The opening track of a both hypnotic and ringing rendition of "Mein lieber Schwann!" has been played here many times, but there is more on this album which I must revisit, including duets with sopranos Lotte Lehmann and Kirsten Flagstad. The photo of Melchior on the front of this album shows us one of the Nicest People of the 20th Century.

~A partial playlist of new discs on the player recently~

-- guitarists Sergio and Odair Assad's "Jardim abandonado" album on Nonesuch. It's a great disc to hear straight through in one sitting, but a couple of tracks that might get repeated listening are Sergio Assad's composition, "Tahhiyya Li Ossoulina", and the duo's rendition of "Rhapsody in Blue". (From memories of my early concert-going days: I heard the Assads in a performance on campus many years ago.)

-- "Immortal Soul". A two-disc set done by Rhino for Nordstrom, spotted in a counter display at Nordstrom the other night. Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Little Richard and others. Some of the performers and titles were very familiar, some new to me. I had to have it. Listening to it at home also made me seek out my album of Sam Cooke.

~the economy (now Theater Project?)~
I won't post links to all the bad economic news I see. There's plenty of it for all of us to read, but the item about the Walters Art Museum in my last post was upsetting, and it provided a summary of other things that have happened. Note Theater Project fearing they might have to cancel next season, which I hadn't read about yet. This has been a location for some productions by Peabody Chamber Opera and American Opera Theater among other groups.

Some good signs, not really arts-related: A young family a couple of doors down from me who want a bigger house for the kids finally have an "under contract" notice on their house sale sign. For myself, this weekend on the social calendar: Taking a break from concert-going, I'm joining a sizable party of friends for dinner at a restaurant here in Columbia.

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