Wednesday, December 5, 2012

early December lake and playlist; the Canadian Armada

I'm planning to make a series of this same view towards the north end of Lake Kittamaqundi as the seasons, the weather and developments around the lake transform it. This shot is from late in the morning on December 1. It looks like one of the last unspoiled views in Howard County, but any readers from out of the area might like to know that my vantage point for this view is on a paved exercise path in front of the Columbia Sheraton; behind me is our semi-vibrant lakefront with its restaurants, dock, paddleboats; out of view behind the trees on the left is one of the nearby townhouse condominium communities; and Route 29 lies beyond the belt of trees on the far shore to the right. (Traffic on 29 is audible from this point and even visible at this time of year.)

For the online classical music network, what I've been listening to at home lately:

Handel's opera, "Ariodante" -- finally, I ordered the new Virgin Classics recording, one of the latest in Alan Curtis and Il Complesso Barocco's Handel opera project. Joyce DiDonato is the star mezzo in the title trouser role, but the whole cast is excellent. What? No countertenors? But amazing contralto Marie Nicole Lemieux in another trouser role as Polinesso more than makes up for that.

Torn between my early love for Russian opera and a desire to get to know Handel better, I also bought Polish baritone Mariusz Kwiecien's Harmonia Mundi disc of Slavic Heroes (Russian, Polish and Czech opera represented). Lukasz Borowicz conducts the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra. This is a fine baritone answer to Polish tenor Piotr Beczala's disc of Slavic tenor arias.

Waiting in the queue for my Malcolm Arnold listening project is the Naxos disc of his string quartets played by the Maggini. I've been listening to Arnold's symphonies and still have a few to cover.

Some music from the old collection, selected for some relaxed background listening and dinner: I pulled out my copy of Prokofiev's ballet, "The Stone Flower", recorded by Gianandrea Noseda and the BBC Philharmonic on Chandos. Based on a book of folk tales called "The Malachite Box" by Pavel Bazhov -- I have not been keeping up with the plot or stories of individual scenes so much as just relaxing and enjoying Prokofiev's inventive and colorful score.