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RACHEL PODGER/J. S. Bach Violin Concertos: The winner and still champeen of period music is Podger, her violin and her baroque ensemble associates. Making the most of modern recording techniques, this presentation is right in front of you providing the grandest virtual chamber music you can imagine. Up market and classy while still being accessible and classy, Podger is a wondrous player and focal point showing how she earned her stripes one bow swipe at a time. A winning work throughout, this is more than the real deal. Classical tourists as well as classical fans ought to take this to heart.

MARTYN-WEST & FOSTER/Strings in the Earth ands Air: This reissue from 2005 in the Dunelm Series from the label finds them exploring the kind of material Sideshow Bob would be singing as he tried to kill Bart if Fox wouldn't have to play royalties on it. Spirited early 20th century British songs, these are the kind of art songs that never quite hit the mainstream but were treasured in parlors back in the day. This vocal/piano combo have their fingers on the pulse of the material delivering something well beyond an arts council recording. It helps if you have a drawing room sensibility to get into this material, but if you are there, this record is more than happy to meet you half way.

GOLDSTONE & CLEMMOW/The Jazz Age for Piano Duo: Goldstone picks some super pleaser material but goes out on a limb for a varied program that takes you back a century or so for some fun, atavistic listening that sounds right in the moment but sounds modern as well. With his duet partner bringing the other two hands to the fore, this is a snazzy classical/crossover date that's expertly played and a gasser to listen to. Too heady to be simply cocktail music, it's best enjoyed in your fave easy chair away from the maddening crowd. Well done.

DAVID HAMILTON/Plays J. S. Bach Organ Works: Start with Bach and organ, add a cat that knows and loves both and let the fun begin. Unless you're talking about a game changer like Wendy Carlos, there's only so much you can do with the basics here but if you bring some vision and passion to the proceedings, the work is a nice addition to the canon. Using all ten fingers and all ten toes, Hamilton comes in with a great gift idea, for yourself or any other Bach lover. Well done and tasty.

AKADEMIE FUR ALTE MUSIK BERLIN/Stabat Mater: All of you who think anything classical sounds like the soundtrack from "Amadeus" can be excused since this set kicks off with some riffs that run very much in the same vibe. Of course, like Mozart, Pergolesi did some of his more enduring work right before he died, as did Vivaldi who also gets a few licks in on this set. Very much the kind of full bodied classical date that you can easily say ‘they don't make them like this anymore", this ensemble loves the work and the period enough to make it come alive. This is one of the most important religious classical works of all time and everyone is up to the challenge of leaving their mark on it. Well done.

JONATHAN LORENTZ/Borderlands: Here's a tenor sax man that delivers an outing of crime jazz for "Star Trek" fans. Taking it to the next plane, as well as the next level, influenced by Coltrane and loft jazz, Lorentz is a real genre splicer that serves it hot for left leaning tastes.

SHAI WOSNER/Brahms Schoenberg: The fleet fingered piano man doesn't just bring together some works of Brahms and Schoenberg, he brings together the works of Brahms and Schoenberg in a classical fantasy mash up showing once again that there is a spirited future in the classical world. Whether bringing out the nuance in little pieces or stepping up to present the grand gestures in the grand moments, Wosner is a high octane player that knows when to put the petal to the metal and when to pull back. A soloist that knows how to hold your interest with just his 10 fingers, this is a date for anyone that wants some well done, intimate piano recorded in a very clear, present fashion.

PHILLIP GLASS/Violin concerto #2-The American Four Seasons: For those who think Glass is an acquired taste, perhaps they will enjoy him more when he steps outside himself as evidenced here with Marin Alsop leading the London Philharmonic featuring Robert McDuffie on violin, front and center. With a lot of the Glasswegian edges rounded off, this performance is very much in the pocket of a classic classical performance and even moldy figs can enjoy it's modern approach. Recorded live at the work's Euro premiere, This is a fine way to bring Glass out of the art house and into the masses. With just a few digressions, the work hangs as a lovely whole that let's you sink right into it and enjoy what these season's have to offer. Check it out.

Volume 33/Number 345
October 13, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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