Channel Classics Discoveries by Bill Aug 25 by Bill Dodd in Dodd's DSD Discoveries

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This is my 21st post, and I’m really happy that I’ve been able to help people get know about some great music! This time I’ve decided to do something a little different. Many of you know the Channel Classics label for unsurpassed recording quality. That’s a given with all of their releases. The label is the home of some world class artists– including Ivan Fischer conducting the Budapest Festival Orchestra, considered one of the ten best orchestras in the world. Another is violinist Rachel Podger whose Vivaldi, Bach, Mozart and other recordings have topped charts and made fans all over the world. But Channel Classics has many other amazing artists and ensembles. I want to tell you about some of them, with a sampling of their available albums.

Let’s start with the Piano. Dejan Lazic is no stranger to my blog. His re-imagining of the Brahms Violin Concerto as the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 3 was just featured in Sikorski Magazine– a very interesting read. As Dejan says, great composers often intended that their works be performed on different instruments. Take a listen to the result:

29410 Dejan Lazic-Brahms Channel Classics NativeDSD

29410

Brahms (arr. Lazic)
Piano Concerto no.3 major
after Violin Concerto op.77

Dejan Lazic, piano
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Robert Spano, conductor

 

DSD 64fs
Stereo, Multi

 

In addition, be sure to check these– they are just a few of his many albums. “Retrospection” is one of the finest sets of works for piano by Ravel I’ve ever heard.

17502 Dejan Lazic-Ravel Channel Classics NativeDSD
17502

M. Ravel
Retrospection

Dejan Lazic, piano

 

 

DSD 64fs
Stereo, Multi

 

His three “Liaison” albums each feature two works by two composers one would not ordinarily expect to hear together– Like Bartok and Scarlatti. Check this one out, as well as his other two “Liaisons” sets.

23407 Dejan Lazic-Liaisons1 Channel Classics NativeDSD
23407

Liaisons vol. 1
Scarlatti, Bartôk

Dejan Lazic, piano

 

 

DSD 64fs
Stereo, Multi

 

And here’s another one you might have missed. I especially like the Beethoven.

19703 Dejan Lazic-Haydn Beethoven Channel Classics NativeDSD19703

Haydn – English Sonatas
Beethoven – Piano Concerto no.2 

Dejan Lazic, piano
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Robert Spano, conductor
DSD 64fs
Stereo, Multi

 

Another superb pianist is Paolo Giacometti. His “Compared” set lets you hear the same Ravel pieces on both a modern Steinway, and a period Erard. Which one do you like best? Ravel composed on one and generally played the other in concert.

31612 Paolo Giacometti-Ravel Channel Classics NativeDSD
31612

Ravel – Compared:
Érard / Steinway & Sons

Paolo Giacometti, piano

 

DSD 64fs
Stereo, Multi

 

 

I just spent a wonderful hour with Giacometti’s “Complete works for Piano” by Rossini, Volume 5. The entire series is delightful, but this is an especially nice one:

20504 Paolo Giacometti-Rossine Channel Classics NativeDSD
20504

Rossini: Gymnastique d’Écartement
Complete Works for Piano, vol. 5

Paolo Giacometti, piano Érard

 

 

DSD 64fs
Stereo, Multi

 

And Giacometti is extremely enjoyable in the Schumann and Dvorak Concertos!

17802 Paolo Giacometti-Schumann Dvorak Channel Classics NativeDSD
17802

Schumann / Dvorák: Piano Concertos

Paolo Giacometti, piano

 

 

DSD 64fs
Stereo, Multi

 

And don’t forget Giacometti with Bart Schneemann on oboe doing the “Duosonatas” of Jacques Widerkehr. I know you’ve never heard of Jacques Widerkehr. But it doesn’t matter. These sonatas for piano and oboe from the early 1800’s (probably) are delightful. Giacometti and Schneemann are playing classic oboe and fortepiano from the period. You can tell they are enjoying themselves.

19204 Giacometti-Schneemann-Widerkehr Channel Classics NativeDSD
19204

Widerkehr: The Duosonatas

Bart Schneemann, classical oboe
Paolo Giacometti, pianoforte

DSD 64fs
Stereo, Multi

 

 

But wait, there’s more! Channel Classics is also where you can find the work of the fortepiano artist with the familiar name: Gary Cooper! Cooper is the amazing keyboardist accompanying Rachel Podger on her Mozart Sonata albums. But what I want to talk about are two of his solo sets. – Beethoven’s Diabelli Veriations, and the Late Piano Works of Haydn. I love this Diabelli!

 

29110 Gary Cooper-Beethoven Channel Classics NativeDSD
29110

Beethoven: Diabelli Variations

Gary Cooper, pianoforte
DSD 64fs
Stereo, Multi

 

 

 

 

I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed Haydn piano music more than this set:

26509 Gary Cooper-Haydn Channel Classics NativeDSD26509

Haydn: Late Piano Works

Gary Cooper, pianoforte

 

 

 

DSD 64fs
Stereo, Multi

 

By the way, Haydn’s variations on cut 3, “God Preserve Emperor Franz” might be a bit of surprise– it certainly was to me!

Art songs, lieder, etc— they’re not for everyone. But I strongly suggest a quick listen to both volumes of “Complete Songs For Voice and Piano” by Elgar, featuring Konrad Jarnot, Rienild Mees, and Amanda Roocroft. I’m listening to Volume II as I write this. As with Elgar’s orchestra works, the style seems far closer to Continental European than what is typically thought of as British.

27507 Elgar vol1 Channel Classics NativeDSD
27507

Elgar:
Complete Songs for Voice and Piano, Vol. 1

Amanda Roocroft
Konrad Jarnot
Reinid Mees

 

DSD 64fs
Stereo, Multi

 

28610 Elgar vol2 Channel Classics NativeDSD
28610

Elgar:
Complete Songs for Voice and Piano, Vol. 2

Amanda Roocroft
Konrad Jarnot
Reinid Mees

 

DSD 64fs
Stereo, Multi

 

And then there’s the Ebony Band! What marvelous musicians! I first encountered them with the “Homenaje a Revueltas” album from a few years back. Silvestre Revueltas was a very unique Mexican composer, born on the very last day of the 19th Century, and living until 1940. His music can’t be anything but “contemporary,” but its Mexican origin jumps out at you. Rhythms are fascinating, and the music is – different, but very accessible. I’ve grown to love it! The wonderful Channel classics recording quality is a huge plus. I can guarantee you’ll be using it to make friends envious of your music system.

21104 Ebony Band-Revueltas Channel Classics NativeDSD
21104

Homenaje a Revueltas

Ebony Band
Werner Herbers
, conductor
Juan Carlos Tajes
, reciter
DSD 64fs
Stereo, Multi

 

 

 

The musicianship and recording quality are also evident in their “Around Prague” set. This avant garde music is what you might have heard in Prague in the 1930s.

34813 Ebony Band-Around Prague Channel Classics NativeDSD
34813

Around Prague

Ebony Band
Werner Herbers, conductor
Barbara Kozelj, mezzo-soprano
DSD 64fs
Stereo, Multi

 

 

Finally— I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve ever heard from the Amsterdam Sinfonietta led by Candida Thompson. This superb string orchestra plays Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphonies, Ops 110a and 118a. Both were adapted by Rudolph Barshai– from Shostakovich’s 8th and 10th string quartets. They keep the character and emotion of the originals, but add the sound of the massed strings. These are beautifully played by the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, along with Wienberg’s Concertino Op 42. It’s a great pairing.

34313 Amsterdam Sinfonietta-Shostakovich Weinberg Channel Classics NativeDSD
34313

Shostakovich / Weinberg:
Chamber Symphonies 110a & 118a

Amsterdam Sinfonietta
Candida Thompson

DSD 64fs
Stereo, Multi

 

 

And don’t miss this one either:

21504 Amsterdam Sinfonietta-Tchaikovsky Verdi Channel Classics NativeDSD
21504

Tchaikovsky: Souvenir de Florence
Verdi: String Quartet

Amsterdam Sinfonietta
Candida Thompson

DSD 64fs
Stereo, Multi

 

 

With the wealth of great music so many different labels and performers, it’s worth taking the time to explore— And you’ll find your own treasures.

Bill Dodd

Bill Dodd

Bill Dodd is a retired radio broadcaster who was born and raised near San Francisco, but now lives in the USA’s Pacific Northwest. “Discovery is important to me. Along with finding an exciting new viewpoint of a favorite work, I really love discovering music and composers I haven’t heard before, or haven’t been able to get close to in the past.”

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