Thursday, December 15, 2011

Editor Craig Zeichner gives his Best of 2011 Acclaimed Albums list!

Click here to see the list!

The winding down of the old year is a time for retrospection. We reconsider the great books we’ve read, the films we’ve seen and, for music lovers, our favorite concerts and recordings. Over the course of the year we receive hundreds of new albums, so we are delighted to report that the classical music recording industry is very much alive indeed.

It’s impossible to speak of all the great music we’ve heard over the course of the year, but since ten is a solid round number, here’s ten albums that are Ariama's Acclaimed.

Click here to see the list!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A cold day in Toronto with Glenn Gould

Glenn Gould was the first pianist I heard play Bach. I liked what I heard. This was back in the LP era and you could buy the complete Well Tempered Clavier in what was at the time (the 70s) a six album boxed set. My choice of Gould's WTC was based more on economics than artistry. The boxed set was one of those great six for the price of three deals that high school students like me loved -- not that many of my classmates were rushing out to buy Bach.

New Album Review: The Sixteen - Exclusive Sampler

Is there any choral ensemble with as broad a command of repertoire as the Sixteen? The Sixteen’s mastery of nearly 500 years of choral music is presented on this specially priced Ariama exclusive sampler featuring music from England, Germany, Italy, Spain and France.

This eclectic collection is a superb exploration of musical styles and a tribute to the Sixteen’s versatility.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cantaloupe Label Sale

Cantaloupe Music is the cutting edge record label created in 2001 by the three founders of New York's Bang On a Can Festival. Cantaloupe features eclectic and innovative music by Michael Gordon, David Lang, Julia Wolfe, Phil Kline, So Percussion, Evan Ziporyn and many others.

This week get 20% OFF Cantaloupe Music titles.  
Click here to see the full list >>>
    OFFER ENDS 12/20/11

New Album Review: J.S. Bach: Ouvertüren

I grew up with Otto Klemperer and the Philharmonia Orchestra’s recording of the Bach’s Orchestral Suites for EMI. They were gorgeously played but hardly historically informed performances. Now period instrument bands enjoy interpretive hegemony in this repertoire, so this new set by the Freiburger Barockorchester isn’t the novelty it would have been some years ago.
The suites or “ouvertüren” as they are called in performance source materials are filled with some of Bach’s most colorful orchestral writing. Two of the suites (BWV 1068 and1069) are richly scored for an ensemble that includes trumpets, drums, oboes, bassoon, strings and continuo. The BWV 1066 is more modestly scored for oboes, bassoon, strings and continuo, while the BWV 1067 for flute, violins, viola and continuo. Each of the suites is comprised of dance movements that run a range of styles and moods.

Friday, December 2, 2011

FLAC Friday Sale on Classical Music Lossless Downloads

Each Friday, Ariama will offer six FLAC titles selected for their superior audiophile sound quality and artistic merit. Ariama’s editorial team will select titles from a pool of over 70,000, featuring music in a wide range of genres from such labels as BIS, Chandos, Harmonia Mundi, LSO Live, Naxos, Ondine, Sony, Supraphon and others. Ariama's FLAC Friday sales end on Tuesday the following week.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New Album Review: Paul Lewis, Schubert: Piano Sonatas D.840, 850 & 894

Click to sample and buy the album

Pianist Paul Lewis recently completed a massive Beethoven cycle that included recordings for Harmonia Mundi of the complete sonatas and piano concertos, so the musical chronology would suggest that Franz Schubert would be the next composer on Lewis’s list. The Viennese holy trinity of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven all wrote piano sonatas and their spirit hovers over Schubert’s early sonatas, but the late sonatas, Impromptus and Klavierstücke that Lewis performs here are from a new world where fuller more poetic expression reigns without the shackles of form. Lewis is a masterful guide to this new world.
If you have been following his career, you’ll know that Lewis is not new to Schubert. He’s partnered with Mark Padmore for a series of revelatory recordings of the composer’s great song cycles and has recorded early sonatas and chamber music. Still, as excellent as those recordings are, he trumps them with this album. Lewis brings penetrating intelligence, virtuosity and taste to this late music. His mastery of touch and tone makes sense of the Sonata in C Major’s reiterated passages. Elegance, wit and virtuosity mark his performance of the Sonata in D Major with an opening Allegro that drives forcefully but musically, a Scherzo both pugnacious and poetic, and a delightful Rondo (which Robert Schumann criticized) that’s laced with wry humor.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New Album Review: Chopin, Mendelssohn: Cello Sonatas

Cellist Pieter Wispelwey and pianist Paolo Giacometti partner in Felix Mendelssohn’s effervescent Cello Sonata No. 2 and Frédéric Chopin’s rarely heard Cello Sonata in G minor. The album is rounded out with Mendelssohn’s Song without Words in D, and three of Chopin’s Op. 64 waltzes arranged for cello and piano by legendary 19th century Russian cellist Karl Davydov.
The Mendelssohn Sonata is a terrific adrenalin blast. The rollicking opening Allegro fairly roars out of the gate with the two performers putting their feet on the gas pedal without compromising tonal quality or precision. The Allegretto scherzando (another of Mendelssohn’s great quicksilver scherzi) is nimbly athletic with Wispelwey snapping off crisp pizzicato notes with great alacrity. The gorgeous Adagio features fluid arpeggiated chords from Giacometti that have a chorale-like feel, and when Wispelwey joins him in the song the result is thrilling. As energetic as the opening movement was, the Molto allegro finale trumps it for pure propulsion. This is a brilliant performance from start to finish.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Aaron Copland Anniversary Sale - 20% OFF 20 Titles - Ends 11/29/11

Here’s a Fanfare for an Uncommon Man. We are celebrating the birthday of American master composer Aaron Copland by offering 20% off 20 selected Copland albums.

Check out the list and tell us: what’s your favorite Copland work?

Offer ends 11/29/11.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New Album Review: Music in a Time of War

The album’s title, Music for a Time of War, forces the conceit a bit because, with the exception of John Adams’s The Wound Dresser and possibly Benjamin Britten’s Sinfonia da Requiem, there’s nothing specifically wartime-related on the program. But that shouldn’t dissuade you from picking up this outstanding album of music by Charles Ives, Adams, Britten and Ralph Vaughan Williams performed by the Oregon Symphony conducted by its music director, Carlos Kalmar.

What does Ives’s mystical The Unanswered Question have to do with war? Not very much, but as Steven Kruger says in his liner notes, “Ultimately, a contemplative work is whatever the listener makes of it.” This is a superb performance of Ives’s mini-masterpiece. With their beautifully hushed well-articulated playing, the Oregon strings make the slow-motion opening chorale something that’s both mysterious and beautiful. Here’s an interesting listening exercise, listen to the Ives and then Ingram Marshall’s Fog Tropes and you will appreciate how prescient the old guy from Danbury really was.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Choral music for women's voices

Amy Beach

When was the last time you heard a choral piece by Amy Beach? You'll have an opportunity to do just that when the Melodia Women's Choir of NYC performs Beach's "The Chambered Nautilus," a large-scale choral work set to a text by American poet Oliver Wendell Holmes. 

Melodia is a vibrant and vital force advocating music for women's voices through its commissions, residencies and performances. Since it was founded in 2003 by Jenny Clarke, the ensemble has performed a vast range of repertoire, from Medieval music of Hildegard of Bingen to world premieres by living women composers. When Melodia performs on November 13th (at West End Collegiate Church) and November 19th (at Church of the Holy Apostles) they will be performing music by Beach, Cecilia McDowell and the world premiere of Catherine Aks's "The Journey." Oh yes, Melodia also performs music for wormen's voices written by men, so works by Eric Whitacre, Gabriel Fauré, Giuseppe Verdi and Gustav Holst will also be on the bill.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Christopher Jackson and the Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montréal

Christopher Jackson is the founder and leader of the vocal ensemble Studio de Musique de Montréal (SMAM)

For nearly 40 years Jackson and SMAM have performed and recorded a wide range of repertoire, from the Renaissance to contemporary works. SMAM’s newest recording is Musica Vaticana, a collection of sacred music by 17th century Roman masters. Ariama editor Craig Zeichner spoke with Jackson about the new album.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

New Album Review: Appalachian Christmas

Click to sample and buy the album, now 20% OFF until 11/15/11

Mark O’Connor is best known as the outstanding violinist who partnered with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and bassist Edgar Meyer on the megahit Appalachia Waltz and Heartland, An Appalachian Anthology albums. O’Connor continues with the Appalachian theme on his new Christmas album, An Appalachian Christmas.

O’Connor is featured on the violin (on Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride” he also plays guitar, mandolin, mandola, bass, banjo and percussion) and is joined by a star studded group of guest artists, including Renée Fleming, Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer and Sharon Isbin. O’Connor is equally at home in the world of bluegrass, country swing and jazz, and his guests from those genres are equally top-shelf with Chris Thile, Alison Krauss, James Taylor and Jane Monheit joining the festivities.

Friday, November 4, 2011

What are conductors really thinking?

We all know conductors are famous for being physically emotive when leading an orchestra. but what's really on their minds when they wave their batons?

We've taken a tongue-in-cheek look at some photos of conductors and matched them to famous lines from AFI's 100 greatest film quotes. Be sure to check out the music from the movies and recordings from the conductors. Follow the link and tell us which are your favorites?
Click to see the rest!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Exclusive Yo-Yo Ma Video Interview

Yo-Yo Ma and the Goat Rodeo Sessions crew are featured in an exclusive video interview with Ariama editor Craig Zeichner. In this light-hearted chat, Yo-Yo and company discuss genre breaking music, what’s a Goat Rodeo and how there was a “special” list for Yo-Yo – watch the interview to learn more!

Click here to sample and buy Yo-Yo Ma's new album The Goat Rodeo Sessions.

Get 20% off the album and 13 other fantastic Americana recordings this week only.
Click here to see the full list.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Eleven Number 1’s

Today is November 1, 2011 or 11/1/11. Music and numerology sometimes go hand-in-hand. The number nine seemed to be the cut point for symphonies. Beethoven, Bruckner, Schubert and Dvorak all got to nine and then wrote no more. Rossini apparently suffered from triskaidekaphobia (the fear of the number 13). Rossini also was worried about Fridays and ironically died on a Friday the 13th. He was also born on a leap year, so the numbers were always against him. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Opera Shorts at Weill Recital Hall

Shakespeare said "brevity is the soul of wit" and the Remarkable Theater Brigade takes the bard at his word when they present their third annual night of "Opera Shorts" at Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall on November 4th. This year's line-up features ten operas, each ten minutes long, by some outstanding living composers. This operatic version of speed-dating is just the thing for all who have squirmed through Wagner or endless recitative of Baroque opera.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Anonymous 4’s Susan Hellauer Shares Some Secrets

Anonymous 4 (photo by Chris Carroll)

In the first part of a chat between Anonymous 4’s Susan Hellauer and Ariama editor Craig Zeichner, Hellauer talked about the group’s new album, Secret Voices. Hellauer then shared a look at some of Anonymous 4’s future projects and what the New York Yankees need for the 2012 season.

Ariama: Here you are now 25 years in with albums that have appeared on the Billboard charts. Do you ever imagine it would be this way?

SH: Oh God no! But you know what the great thing is? We were just a group of people who got together to do just what we wanted. We got together because we had some sort of passionate goal and you know that’s very lucky.

Zombie Apocalypse! 20 Track Halloween Sampler

Click to sample and buy the 20 Track Sampler!

It’s creepy and it’s kooky, mysterious and spooky, it’s all together ooky... Okay, apologies to Vic Mizzy (writer of the Addams Family theme song), but Music for the Zombie Apocalypse, a new 20 track digital album from the fertile mind of Naxos’s Collin J. Rae is everything Mizzy mentions in the song and then some. It’s also brilliantly offbeat, eerie and, at times, simply gorgeous. If zombies are this year’s vampires (horror trends are fickle), then this is the ideal soundtrack for stepping out with the walking dead.

The album is marvelously eclectic. It opens with a brilliant musical around the horn as the Introit of the Fauré Requiem leads into a passage from the Schütz Seven Last Words of Christ and then to Penderecki’s Polymorphia. Styles, tonalities and atonalities constantly crash, collide and blend, but ultimately it all hangs together. If it was a little odd hearing the slow movement of the Schubert Piano Trio No. 2, it was because Stanley Kubrick used it so effectively in a very different context in his film Barry Lyndon. But Kubrick was also a master of taking classical music and using it to evoke fear and anxiety and ultimately calm, just as the album does (fans of the The Shining will surely remember the Adagio from Bartok’s Music for strings, percussion and celesta being used to accompany the scene where Jack Nicholson stares vacantly into space from his hotel bed).

Music for the Zombie Apocalypse works as a terrific soundtrack for your darkest thoughts, but also as a sampler of some superb music spanning the Middle Ages to the present day. I can only imagine what Rae has on tap next, Music for the 2012 Presidential Election? Now, that’s spooky.

Click to sample and buy the 20 Track Sampler!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New Album Review: Emerson Quartet - Mozart: The Prussian Quartets

Sample and buy the album at Ariama!

It’s been nearly twenty years since the Emerson String Quartet last recorded music by Mozart, so this new recording of the three “Prussian” quartets (works that the Emersons used to play in their early days) is most welcome.

A 1789 visit to the court of King Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia (an amateur cellist) resulted in the King offering Mozart a job at court. Mozart turned down the gig in deference to the Emperor in Vienna, but did (according to his own account) leave with a commission for a set of six quartets for the King.

Shostakovich and Jewish Music

When Kurt Masur leads the New York Philharmonic in performances of Dmitry Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13, “Babi Yar” on October 27–29, the courageous side of this enigmatic composer will be showcased through his love and respect for Jewish causes and music.

Shostakovich lived his life running before threats from the Soviet government. It began in 1936 when Stalin and a group of officials attended the premiere of Shostakovich’s opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. They didn’t like it. Their displeasure resulted in an unsigned article in Pravda, “Muddle instead of music,” blasting the work. On one level it was a bad review based on musical ignorance, but the article also contained a chilling warning: “This is playing at things beyond reason that can end very badly.”

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Exclusive Video Interview with Lang Lang

Lang Lang stars on the big screen October 22nd when he celebrates Liszt’s 200th anniversary in a live world-wide concert simulcast. Ariama editor Craig Zeichner spoke with Lang Lang about Liszt, Chopin and some Chinese culinary delicacies in this exclusive Ariama video interview.

Click here to sample and buy Lang Lang's new album Liszt, My Piano Hero

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New Album Review: Anonymous 4 "Secret Voices"

The “secret voices” of the album’s title refers to Cistercian nuns (of mostly aristocratic birth) living at Las Huelgas, a convent near Burgos in south-central Spain. The “secret” was that these women were singing polyphony (music with two or more voices with independent melodies) despite an edict from church fathers forbidding the practice. The polyphonic music, as well as secular and other forms of sacred music, is found in the Codex Las Huelgas, a collection of European music spanning the entire 13th and early 14th centuries. Anonymous 4 sing music from the Codex on this new recording.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sounds of a New Century Festival

photo by Michael Geller

New music is alive and kicking in New York and there’s nothing like a nine-day festival of music by more than 100 composers age 40 and under to make the point. Tomorrow is the kick off for the Sounds of a New Century Festival (SONIC), the American Composers Orchestra-produced new music extravaganza.

Classical Legends Sale - Ends 10/25

Every generation has its masters. We revere past greats while also treasuring the new generation of musical stars. Our special collection offers selected albums by legendary artists and artists who are the legends of our day.

From past master Jascha Heifetz to present day virtuoso Rachel Barton Pine, this week get
20% off select recordings and take advantage of this offer to complete your collection!

Click here to see the list of albums on sale

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New Release and Review: Soviet Experience, Vol. 1: Shostakovich & Myaskovsky

Soviet Experience, Vol. 1: Shostakovich & MyaskovskyClick to sample and buy the album

As William Hussey’s illuminating but theory-heavy liner notes point out, the fifteen string quartets of Dmitri Shostakovich are “arguably, the greatest string quartet cycle of the twentieth century.” The Pacifica Quartet launch a complete quartet cycle with this recording that couples the String Quartets Nos. 5 – 8 with the last quartet by Shostakovich’s older contemporary Nikolay Myaskovsky (1881 – 1950). Ongoing volumes will feature Shostakovich quartets with quartets by his other Soviet contemporaries.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Catching up with new and recent releases

I’m very fortunate because when the daily mail arrives it’s usually filled with recordings. Lots of them. Despite the mutterings of doomsayers, the classical music recording industry is very much alive and continues to knock out new releases, reissues and DVDs in every conceivable genre.

It can be a little frustrating because on occasion it seems like every label is trying to introduce a flashy young pianist or violinist in the same week. The publicity photos usually feature earnest young people with edgy clothing and quirky haircuts hovering over their Steinways or holding their bow in mid-air like so many budding Chopins or Paganinis. But I’m very thankful there are young people for whom the name Chopin means something more than a brand of vodka.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New Lang Lang Release!

Lang Lang's Liszt, My Piano Hero is the most eagerly anticipated album of the Liszt anniversary year. The megastar pianist is joined by Valery Gergiev and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 1 and as a soloist in some of the composers most famous piano music.

Check out the album at Ariama

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Exclusive Sharon Isbin Interview

Sharon Isbin is one of the great guitarists. Her repertoire is vast and her discography enormous. Isbin’s newest album, Guitar Passions, features some of her favorite music from Spain and Latin America. But Guitar Passions is unique because it also features her performing with some of her favorite guitarists from the worlds of classical, jazz and rock.

We sat down with Sharon to discuss the album. Read the full interview on our site!

Plus, we're offering Guitar Passions and 9 other fantastic classical guitar albums 20% off! Click to see the list of titles.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Exclusive EP from New York Polyphony

Take three Gregorian chant melodies sung by the acclaimed early music vocal ensemble New York Polyphony and have six visionary artists remix them. The result? Devices and Desires, a specially priced Ariama-exclusive album that puts a 21st century spin on early music.

Check out the EP at Ariama

Next week the ensemble will be recording a new album in Sweden and will be sending Ariama exclusive videos from the studio!

Be sure to check back in early October for updates.

Monday, September 26, 2011

You Know you're a classical music aficionado when...

Do you have multiple recordings of the same Mozart symphony? Stand at the stage door in the rain to get a glimpse of your favorite singer? You might be a classical music aficionado.

Take a look at our list of the telltale signs and see if you agree!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Baroque Brilliance from Les Arts Florissants

Atys and chorus
How often do you step out into the night air after nearly five hours of music and wish that you could go back into the hall and listen for five hours more? If you were one of the fortunate few who had tickets for the Les Arts Florissants production of Jean Baptiste Lully’s opera Atys at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Craig Hella Johnson and Conspirare's Sing Freedom - Exclusive Interview

Ariama: You said in your liner notes that spirituals are typically performed as encores or contrast pieces in concerts. Why aren’t more choirs doing full programs of this music?

CHJ: I think about what Dvorak said so beautifully about spirituals, “they are the foundation of all American music.” If it’s true, and I firmly subscribe to his view, we can’t play lip service to the music. When you start to know this music and fully immerse yourself in it, you see that spirituals make perfect sense for a full concert. I feel quite passionate about this and hope that we can see more performances of them.

Editor's Choice - Top 10 New Releases 20% Off - ends 10/4/11

There are three more months left in the year, but we have already selected some albums that we think are front-runners for the best of 2011. From Lorraine Hunt Leiberson's impeccable performance of Berlioz's Les nuits d'ete to Rachel Barton Pine's virtuoso Capricho Latino, there's something for all musical tastes on our sales list.

Check out his list to see what you might have missed and what you'll want to pick up for your holiday shopping.

OFFER ENDS 10/04/11

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New Album Review: Mendelssohn: Double Concerto; Piano Concerto

In 1840 Robert Schumann called Felix Mendelssohn “the Mozart of the nineteenth century, the most brilliant musician to penetrate the contradictions of the age and the first to reconcile them.” The two works on this recording, the Concerto for piano and strings in A minor and Double Concerto for piano, violin and orchestra in D minor, were written by the teenage Mendelssohn as he approached musical maturity, a growth spurt that would result in the Octet for strings and Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture. Fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout is joined by violinist Gottfried von der Goltz and the Freiburger Barockorchester in the two concertos.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Five for the Weekend – New Productions at The Metropolitan Opera

The first opera performance I attended was a 1974 production of Wagner’s Parsifal at the Metropolitan Opera.  The cast included Jess Thomas (Parsifal), Janis Martin (Kundry), John Macurdy (Gurnemanz) and Thomas Stewart (Amfortas) with William Steinberg conducting. Opera hit me like a narcotic and I’ve been addicted ever since. The current Metropolitan Opera house in Lincoln Center opened on September 16, 1966 and I can think of no better way to honor that historic day than with recordings of operas that are receiving new productions this season.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lahti Sibelius Festival 2011 – Coda

Sibelius monument, Helsinki
Hearing Sibelius’s seven symphonies and  violin concerto over just three nights, I was afraid that since I didn’t have much time to absorb each work, the symphonies might all blur together. Thankfully, each Sibelius symphony is so unique that it never happened. Here are some final musings about my three days and one morning with Janne. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New Album Review: Boccherini

Click here to sample and buy the album!

How many pieces of chamber music do you know with castanets in them? We have one here: the brilliant Luigi Boccherini’s Guitar Quintet No. 6 in D major. The quintet is one of four works on this delightful album by Cuarteto Casals. The album takes its title from Boccherini’s innovative foray into programmatic chamber music, the String Quintet in C Major.

Italian by birth, Boccherini was a musician at the court of the Spanish Infante Luis. When the Infante was banished from Madrid, Boccherini accompanied him to a town near Ávila and composed the quintet to cheer up his boss. Boccherini sketched out a detailed program with the quintet imitating the sounds of bells, drum-rolls, marches and more.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lahti Sibelius Festival 2011 -- Music and Technology

How to sum up two days of glorious music? That’s one of the challenges of being at the Lahti Sibelius Festival, absorbing it all, beingready for more the next day, and then communicating what you have experienced. The festival ended on Sunday and I’ll have more to say about the inspired performances as well as providing a preview of next season’s festival in my next post. For now I want to share a few thoughts about the miracle that's taking place in this quiet Finnish city.

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Liszt Performance for the 21st Century

On any pianist’s checklist of most challenging repertoire, you’re likely to find Liszt’s Piano Sonata in B minor. Performing the piece on the intended instrument is daunting enough; performing it on a violin presents an even greater challenge.

This Saturday, September 10th 2011, violinist Giora Schmidt will attempt just that, with the aid of a few technological tools. Transcribed for violin by Noam Sivan and published in 2007, this will be the first time Sivan's adaptation of the piece will be performed on a concert stage.

To help navigate the non-stop thirty five minute piece, Schmidt will read Listz's masterpiece from an iPad, and control each page turn using a wireless foot pedal.

Ariama asked Giora about his unique presentation and performance, to find out what inspired him to reimagine such an iconic piece.

Lahti Sibelius Festival 2011 – Opening Night

It takes a long time to get to Lahti, Finland. I left my Brooklyn apartment on a Wednesday morning and arrived in my Lahti hotel room a little after 1PM the next day. Feeling ragged and working on about three hours sleep, I was in my seat in the superb Sibelius Hall to hear Okko Kamu conduct the Lahti Symphony Orchestra in Jean Sibelius’s Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2 by7:30PM. Was it worth it? Let’s put it this way: next time, I wouldn't mind swimming to Lahti to hear this orchestra and conductor perform Sibelius’s music.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Interview With Composer Robert Moran

Trinity Church Wall Street is only a few blocks from Ground Zero in lower Manhattan and was perilously close to the terrible events of September 11th 2001. The church commissioned composer Robert Moran to write a piece to mark the 10th anniversary of the national tragedy. The world premiere recording of Moran’s Trinity Requiem, scored for youth choir, organ, harp and strings is now available and Moran took some time to speak with Ariama about his work.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

New Album Review: Lorraine Hunt Lieberson: A Tribute

This must have been a very difficult album to produce. The consistent brilliance of mezzo-soprano’s Lorraine Hunt Lieberson’s Harmonia Mundi recordings certainly must have made the practical task of selecting recordings, by an artist who never sung an unfelt note in her life, a challenge. Then there’s the emotional weight of assessing the career of an artist whose life was tragically brief. I couldn’t imagine what it must have been like for producer Robina G. Young to put this beautiful album together, but she has made a great one and we are grateful.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Five for the Weekend – A Worker’s Playlist

We are coming up on Labor Day, a holiday that’s means many things to many people. For some the Labor Day weekend is the final opportunity to head out to the beach or stoke up the barbecue until next summer. For others it’s a celebration of the dignity of labor and a day of rest. What music would be fitting for Labor Day?  I’m not talking about the music you’d listen to at the beach, but music that says something about workers and their labor. Here are some works about work. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Live Recordings From The Metropolitan Opera

There’s nothing as thrilling as a live performance at the Metropolitan Opera. New thrills are yours to enjoy at home with the latest installment in the electrifying series of Saturday afternoon broadcast recordings taken directly from the Metropolitan Opera’s archives. Freshly re-mastered from their original sources and available on CD for the first time, the series features some of the greatest singers ever to grace the Met stage.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Happy Birthday Itzhak Perlman!

Itzhak Perlman is one of the greatest violinists of our day. He's a master soloist, a brilliant chamber music player and can passionately play a klezmer tune.

We wanted to honor him on his birthday by offering all Perlman titles 20% off! Offer ends 9/6/2011, so start browsing today!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

New Release & Review: Berlioz: Harold in Italy; Paganini: Sonata per la Grand Viola

There’s plenty of fine music for viola but David Aaron Carpenter is a daring musician, so he chose Lionel Tertis's viola arrangement of the Elgar Cello Concerto for his recording debut. This time around he’s playing a work, Berlioz’s Harold in Italy, that was written for viola, but with an intriguing wrinkle. In the first movement, “Harold in the Mountains,” Carpenter plays the viola part that was originally written for Nicolò Paganini. The Paganini connection and the album is fleshed out with Carpenter and the Helsinki Philharmonic conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy taking on the great fiddler’s Sonata per la Gran Viola e Orchestra, Op. 35.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Five for the Weekend -- A Wind Music Playlist

As the east coast battens down the hatches in anticipation of Hurricane Irene’s visit, it’s probably best to think about some softer winds – music for wind ensemble. Small wind ensembles were all the rage in the late 18th century. The Emperor Joseph II of Austria had a wind band to serenade him on summer evenings. Why not emulate the Emperor and enjoy some wind music? Here are five wind albums you’ll want this weekend.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Like many people my age, my first exposure to classical music was watching Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts on television. I didn’t become an instant fan of the music, but I was fascinated by the incredibly articulate man who was speaking.

Years later (after I became a music aficionado) I was mesmerized by his brilliant Norton Lectures. Has anyone ever spoken so eloquently about music? Has anyone ever gotten so "inside" a Beethoven sonata in such an amusing way? Take a look. Leonard Bernstein was a master composer for the concert hall and musical theater. He was also the great conductor of his day. How many people could write the Serenade for violin (after Plato’s Symposium), the song “New York, New York” and conduct an ecstatic performance of Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony? Leonard Bernstein was sui generis.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Album Review - Mahler: Symphony No. 3

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra has a great Mahler tradition and an especially fine track record with the Symphony No. 3. There’s Bernard Haitink’s 1966 recording for Philips and Riccardo Chailly’s 2003 album for Decca, both are benchmark readings. The RCO’s newest recording features conductor Mariss Jansons, mezzo-soprano Bernarda Fink, the Netherlands Radio Choir, the Boys of the Breda Sacrament Choir and Rijnmond Boys’ Choir in a live version (taken from February 2010 concerts) of the gargantuan symphony.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Five for the Weekend -- A French Baroque Playlist

I’ve been enjoying a really terrific collection of French Baroque sacred music and it triggered a listening binge. It’s a fairly typical listening pattern for me;  I’ll enjoy an album and then will bury myself in similar repertoire for a week. Last week it was Beethoven keyboard variations, this week it’s music from Louis XIV’s day. Why don’t we all binge together? Here’s five French Baroque albums that you’ll want this weekend.

This is the album that started the binge – the François Couperin motets are gorgeous.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Salieri Rehabilitated

Today is Antonio Salieri’s birthday. You know, the guy who killed Mozart. Not. Many of us know the story because of playwright Peter Shaffer’s deliciously wicked play Amadeus. Amadeus was then made into a film directed by Milos Forman and starred F. Murray Abraham as Salieri and Tom Hulce as Mozart. The film was a huge hit and Salieri’s doom was sealed.