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. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Who Are The Most Charismatic Musicians Today?

Zachary Woolfe writes about the importance of charisma in music. Something more than impeccable skill; a certain electricity while performing.

Who do you think are today's most charismatic classical performers?

Read the article on

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Gramophone Award Nominee Sale

The Gramophone Awards are among the most prestigious in the classical music world. The 2011 nominations have just been announced and we have them. 
Are your favorites on the list? This week get 20% off select nominees when you buy them on our site! 
Start browsing now

Coughing at Concerts: What Are Your Pet Peeves?

Composer John Adams posted this hilarious article a while back on the different kinds of coughs typical of concert hall audiences. What audience behavior bothers you most during a concert?

Tell us in the comments!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Lucy Crowe

Lucy Crowe, photo by Sussie Ahlburg
A friend who always wants to know what's the next big thing in music e-mailed me yesterday. She wanted to know if the soprano  singing in the Vesperae solennes de confessore at Mostly Mozart had made any recordings. The singer is Lucy Crowe, she's made some recordings and yes, she's the next big thing. Crowe's Handel aria album will be released by Harmonia Mundi in November, but here's "Let the Bright Seraphim" from Handel's Samson to tide us over. Oh yes, she is the next big thing.

20% Off Great Tenor Recordings! Sale ends 8/20/11

Luciano Pavarotti In Concert (1987)
Get 20% off fantastic recordings from some of the world's greatest tenors! We've selected our favorite recordings from Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Andrea Bocelli, The Canadian Tenors, Vittorio Grigolo, Il Divo, The Three Tenors,  Jose Carreras, Giuseppe di Stefano and Rolando Villazon!
Check out the list of recordings on sale

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Fischer King - Concert Musings

Photo by Budapest Festival Orchestra
Iván Fischer is the finest conductor of our day. There, I said it. While much of the classical music world has become obsessed with a photogenic young conductor (and his naturally curly hair) in Los Angeles, the balding and low key Fischer doesn’t move the needle on the glamour meter. Gustavo Dudamel looks like a rock star, Fischer looks like Dudamel’s accountant.

Mostly Mozart Ticket Giveaway! Enter by 8/15/11

If you love Mozart, Beethoven, and Stravinsky,
then you're in luck! We're giving away 4 pairs of
tickets to 2 concerts at Lincoln Center's Mostly
Mozart Festival. Find out how to enter on our
sweepstakes page.

Click to go to our sweepstakes page

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

CORO Label Sale - 20% Off All titles! (Valid Through 8/16/11)

CORO is preeminent in the choral music world and is the label home to the acclaimed ensemble, The Sixteen. CORO offers a wide range of repertoire from the Renaissance to contemporary music by such composers as James MacMillan and Tarik O'Regan. Artists include:
Start browsing the titles on sale!

Parker Quartet Top 5 Works!

"Hailed by The New York Times as 'something extraordinary,' the Grammy Award-winning Parker Quartet has rapidly distinguished itself as one of the preeminent ensembles of its generation." -
The quartet gave us a list of their Top 5 favorite works, as well as a few restaurant recommendations from the Twin Cities, where the members currently reside.
Click to see the Parker Quartet's Top 5

Album Review - Beethoven: Complete Works for Solo Piano Volume 10

Sample and Buy the Album

Compared to the 32 sonatas and Diabelli Variations, Beethoven’s bagatelles are his least well-known piano works. Of the bagatelles, only one, the bagatelle in A Minor “Für Elise,” is a familiar work. On the other hand, pianists love them and with good reason. Beethoven wrote bagatelles for piano throughout his career and because of that their styles vary; there is always something remarkable to be found in these works. Some of the bagatelles are miniatures of only a few brief measures while others were originally conceived as sonata movements or sketches. What is consistent is the bottomless wit and invention that’s found in each set. Fortepianist Ronald Brautigam continues his traversal of Beethoven’s piano works with this recording of the composer’s complete bagatelles.

Lossless Gains - Special Feature

Prestissimo downloads? Concert quality recordings? No, they are not mutually exclusive! In fact, many audiophiles feel FLAC (Lossless) downloads are the only way to really listen to their favorite recordings without losing the nuances of live performances.
Ariama speaks with two audiophile experts, Chris Connaker and Jason Victor Serinus, about the benefits of Lossless audio downloads and the current state of recorded classical music.
Read the full feature

How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

“How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” You’ve heard the question and we’ve come up with an answer in our “how to.” Let us know what you think!
Click to see the full image