Thursday, February 1, 2018

~ playlist ~ (Daedalus Books closing?!)

[See the addendum at the end of this post re Daedalus announcement.]

Let me try resuming my mostly classical music playlists, a former more or less regular feature on this blog. No attempt to criticize or analyze the music will be made. If it's listed here, then it's music which I enjoyed.

Some of my recent listening at home:

A Hundred Hardanger Tunes, Suites Nos. 2 ("Fifteen Mountain Songs") and 5 ("Troll-tunes"). Composer Geirr Tveitt (Norwegian, 1908-1981). Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by Bjarte Engeset. On the Naxos label, 2002.

Piano music by Anton Arensky (Russian, 1861-1906). Pianist Stephen Coombs plays sets of short pieces (caprices, etudes, etc.) by Arensky. Hyperion, 1998.

String Quintets and String Octet by Max Bruch (German, 1838-1920). The Nash Ensemble. Hyperion, 2017.

Tancredi -- opera by Rossini. Sung in Italian. Cast includes contralto Ewa Podles in the title role, soprano Sumi Jo, and tenor Stanford Olsen. Capella Brugensis and Collegium Instrumentale Brugense conducted by Alberto Zedda. Naxos, 1994. (Podles is another low-register female voice listed as either contralto or mezzo-soprano in different sources.)

The Fiery Angel -- opera by Prokofiev. Sung in Russian. Soloists and chorus, Kirov Opera and Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev. Philips, 1995.

The World of George Malcolm -- The Decca set of recordings by the English harpsichordist George Malcolm made between 1961 and 1969; reissued by Eloquence (formerly Australian Eloquence) in 2017. Familiar and unfamiliar repertoire by Baroque composers is here, plus some more modern arrangements for the instrument. The latter includes Malcolm's wonderful arrangement of Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee".

Commercial note: A few of the items above were found in an ongoing sale of "music samples" in classical and other genres at our local Daedalus Books & Music Warehouse Outlet on Gerwig Lane in Columbia. The samples are unwrapped and show some light wear. Prices range from about $4.00 to $30.00 or more, apparently depending on number of discs in a set and condition of packaging. Many are decades old and may have been opened and heard only once, as I was told when I enquired. Some are famous, highly regarded recordings which stand out in my memory from reading reviews over the years. They are samples sent to Daedalus by recording companies for review and consideration, so they are single copies. After buying a few in several recent visits, I finally relented yesterday and snapped up the lone Decca set in slightly worn packaging of Rossini's La Cenerentola (Cinderella) with Cecilia Bartoli in the title role.

ADDENDUM re Daedalus closing: Apparently within hours of my posting the note above mentioning Daedalus, the store announced on its Facebook page a going-out-of-business sale for the month of February, then the store will close. I'm just absorbing what details are available and won't go into any more specifics here. Plenty of other people besides myself have posted regrets and praises in comments on the store's Facebook post.

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