Cyrille Dubois, Benjamin Appl & Eleonora Buratto Lead New CD/DVD Releases

By Francisco Salazar

As part of this week’s CD / DVD releases, audiences will get to hear rarely performed works, a Rossini album, a documentary, a streamed opera, and a solo album by one of the great tenors of his generation.

George Walker

The fifth audio release on The Cleveland Orchestra’s own label showcased Music Director Franz Welser-Möst performing music by American composer George Walker.

The four works on this Cleveland Orchestra album were recorded in live performances in the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Concert Hall at Severance Music Center in Cleveland. Walker’s early lyrical work Antifonys (for string orchestra, 1968) was recorded in October 2020. Also featured is Walker’s Lilacs (for voice and orchestra), which received the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Music and is a setting of lines from Walt Whitman’s poem “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d.” The Cleveland performance is with soprano Latonia Moore from concerts in March 2022. Two one-movement symphonies are also included: Sinfonia No. 4, “Threads” (2012) and Sinfornia No. 5, “Visions” (2018), recorded at concerts in October 2021.

The sphere of intimacy

Aparté releases Cyrille Dubois’ latest album featuring music by Francois Coupérin. Les Talens Lyriques and Christophe Rousset accompany the tenor on the album.

Artur Schnabel: Complete Vocal Works 

In her newest album under the Steinway & Sons label, pianist Jenny Lin and contralto Sara Couden release the first complete recording of Artur Schnabel’s vocal works. The album features the world premiere recording of Schnabel’s Five Songs for Medium Voice and Piano. The recording is sponsored by the Schnabel Music Foundation and the music is published by Peermusic Classical.

The Labor of forgetting

False Azure Records debuts with an album by Ryan MacEvoy McCullough, who also plays piano on the album with soprano Lucy Fitz Gibbon. The album features c. 25’ song cycle, estrangement a framed work in Just Intonation by Dante De Silva.

“Estrangement” was commissioned in 2019 by the Brooklyn Art Song Society for Gibbon to be a song-to-song response to Schumann’s Dichterliebe, but from the beloved’s perspective of the whole affair.

The Magic Flute (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

The Magic Flute has never been seen and heard quite like this – a reinvention of Mozart’s famous opera as a captivating visionary fantasy adventure to fascinate and thrill the audience, by Executive Producer Roland Emmerich. The soundtrack is a juxtaposition of Mozart’s arias and the complementary orchestral score by German composer Martin Stock, a former student of Ennio Morricone.

Hans Sommer Orchestral Songs 

Pentatone presents a new album full of world-premiere recordings of orchestral songs by Hans Sommer, sung by an excellent quartet of soloists Mojca Erdmann, Anke Vondung, Mauro Peter, and Benjamin Appl. They are joined by the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin under the baton of Guillermo García Calvo.

Sommer was a Liszt student whose operas were performed and praised by Richard Strauss, but sunk into relative oblivion due to his unusual career path and independence from major publishers. The songs were discovered recently and can finally be presented to the world

Riders of the Purple Sage: The Making of a Western Opera

First Run Pictures releases the documentary that follows a classically trained composer as he adapts a dime novel masterpiece into a grand opera. In 1912, Zane Grey’s Riders of the Purple Sage flew off bookshelves around the world and today is recognized by the Library of Congress as “One Hundred Books that Shaped America.” The documentary was a winner of an Emmy Award and features Ed Mell, Craig Bohmler, Fenlon Lamb, Steven Mark Kohn, Joseph Mechavich, Keitaro Harada, Karin Wolverton, Morgan Smith, Laura Wilde, Joshua Jeremiah, Joshua Dennis, and Keith Phares.

Rossini Messa Di Gloria

Antonio Pappano and Orchestra dell’ Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia expand their notable Rossini discography with the composer’s Messa di Gloria of 1820. They are joined by soprano Eleonora Buratto, mezzo-soprano Teresa Iervolino, bass Carlo Lepore, tenors Lawrence Brownlee, and Michael Spyres.

“The Messa di Gloria is a mass of light,” says Pappano. “Rossini always connected vividly to his audience in his inimitable way. The soloists need to sing with great spiritual fervour and also powerful confidence as they convey the fearlessness of the composer’s relationship to God. The work is a celebration, praising God’s glory. … Rossini is just open eyes, open face, and open arms to God.”

The Prodigal Son

A streaming version of English composer Benjamin Britten’s The Prodigal Son will be available on demand.  The production by the Engima Chamber Opera was staged Oct. 21 & 22 at the Cathedral Church of Saint Paul in Boston. The stream will feature performers are Omar Najmi as The Tempter/Abbott, Aaron Engebreth as The Father, David McFerrin as the Elder Son, Matthew DiBattista as the Younger Son. Paul Soper, Tom Oesterling and Daniel Fridley are chorus members playing servants, beggars and other characters. Edward Elwyn Jones leads an eight-piece orchestra and plays organ. Lighting design is by Paul Marr; Rebecca Shannon Butler is costume designer; projection design is by Peter Torpey.

These Distances Between Us

Naxos releases an album that presents the work of four living composers Craig Brandwein, Edie Hill Jonathan Santore, and Jessica Rudman around the single theme of longing. The songs feature lyrics from Suplicia I (b. ca. 40 BCE), Rainer Maria Rilke, and Aiden K. Feltkamp.

Of note are the computer-generated electronics heard on the settings by Brandwein and Santore which yield both surprising similarities and differences when compared with the more ‘traditional’ tracks on the album for voice and piano.



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