Featured Album & Giveaway: Rachel Barton Pine’s Mozart

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For her latest album, Rachel Barton Pine worked with legendary conductor Sir Neville Marriner (a “hero” to her) and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields recording all of Mozart’s violin concertos and the Sinfonia Concertante, K. 364. While putting together this double-disc set of concertos was a huge undertaking, even more surprising is that Ms. Barton Pine gave a concert of all five concertos in 2011, just three weeks after giving birth to her first child! We’re featuring her album all week and giving you a chance to win a copy!

Featured Album: Elīna Garanča’s Meditation

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Latvian singer Elīna Garanča‘s new album Meditation explores music that is transcendent and, that she says can offer “…fulfillment, comfort and salvation.” Read Alan Brandt’s thoughts on our Featured Album this week and tune in to hear selections.

Featured Album and Giveaway: The Art of Bach

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Since meeting in 2000 at the Juilliard School, Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe have carved a unique path as a piano duo. They’ve performed on MTV’s Total Request Live and APM’s Performance Today, and their self-produced videos have received over a million views (the Libertango video has almost reached the 1.5 million mark).

Anderson & Roe’s fourth album features Johann Sebastian Bach’s seminal works, from a Brandenburg Concerto to portions of the St. Matthew Passion, arranged for two pianos and piano four-hands. Hear The Art of Bach this week on Classical 90.5 and enter for a chance to win a copy!

Britten and Bax

Arnold Bax

Benjamin Britten’s Hymn to St Cecilia was mostly written during the composer’s trip home to the UK after visiting the United States. This work had a long gestation as Britten had problems finding a suitable text. W H Auden was eventually asked and produced the poem in 1940. Britten’s setting was immediately recognised as a major addition to the choral repertory and has since become one of his most enduringly popular choral works.

The poem’s division into three ‘movements’ gives Britten his musical structure, and the provision of a refrain (‘Blessed Cecilia, appear in visions to all musicians, appear and inspire…’) gives a point of reference marking the end of each section, and of the work. The three ‘movements’ are completely different from each other. The work is extremely demanding of its performers.

Arnold Bax (photo) wrote his Symphony No. 7 in 1938 and 1939. he was originally going to dedicate the piece to conductor Basil Cameron but received a commission for the 1939 World Fair in New York and decided to use the symphony for this purpose. It was dedicated to “The People of America.”

We’ll hear both works on An English Pastorale, Sunday at 9 am.

Metropolitan Opera: Hansel and Gretel

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Christine Rice as Hansel, Robert Brubaker as the Witch, and Aleksandra Kurzak as Gretel in Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel.” Photo: Cory Weaver/Metropolitan Opera

Returning for the holidays, this season’s family entertainment is Richard Jones’s witty production of Humperdinck’s fairy-tale opera Hansel and Gretel conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, in which two children face off against a wicked witch. In a lush setting of giant chefs, suit-clad trees, and an industrial kitchen where the Witch gets what’s coming to her, Aleksandra Kurzak as Gretel and Christine Rice as Hansel lead a visual and delightful feast for our younger patrons.

Originally created for Welsh National Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago

Richard Jones’s “arresting… haunting” production stars Christine Rice as Hansel, whose voice is “bright and lean, her diction crisp and energetic.”
Aleksandra Kurzak as Gretel is “a veteran of this production whose slender tone has lately gotten subtly fuller… Their chemistry delightful, Ms. Rice and Ms. Kurzak danced, crept and cowered with ease, radiating sweetness without ever tipping over into sentimentality… The poignant moments of Humperdinck’s luminous score [are] conducted with a light, sensitive touch by Andrew Davis.” (New York Times)