After tackling two lengthy works in the Liverpool Oratorio and Standing Stone, Paul McCartney works in much smaller form on the pieces in his third album of classical music, Working Classical. The album consists of three compositions performed by the London Symphony Orchestra that run 10-12 minutes each, plus 11 short selections performed by the Loma Mar Quartet, some of which are versions of his pop songs…
Nikolaus Harnoncourt and his period orchestra, Concentus Musicus Wien, never recorded a complete cycle of the symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven, and this 2016 Sony release is their only recording of the Symphony No. 4 in B flat major and the Symphony No. 5 in C minor, made almost ten months before the conductor's death. Harnoncourt planned for this to be his last recording before his retirement, so it inevitably has the feeling of a valedictory performance, and one can also hear it as the orchestra's warm tribute to its leader and his sterling musicianship.
At a simply unbeatable price, Meditation offers ten CDs worth of intimate instrumental favorites by classical masters. These timeless melodies are a soothing, soul-satisfying balm for our hectic, harried lives. Sail away with Pachelbel's Canon, Albinoni's Adagio, Beethoven's "Moonlight" Sonata, Debussy's "Clair de lune," and Brahms's Lullaby, as well as melting masterworks by Mozart, Bach, Tchaikovsky, Chopin, Mendelssohn, and many others.
'Artaxerxes is a rare beast, perhaps a unique one: an 'opera seria' composed to English words. Almost all of the numbers are solo arias; there are two duets, and an ensemble Finale newly composed by Duncan Druce to replace the missing ending. Arne owes much to Handel, but he tends to write more concisely. This studio recording is based on a staged production, and it shows in the natural way in which the characters interact. The recitatives—also new, composed by Ian Page—are delivered with conviction, flowing seamlessly into the arias. Christopher Ainslie as Artaxerxes woos with honeyed tone, while Caitlin Hulcup as his friend Arbaces impresses with her coloratura. 'The soldier, tir'd of war's alarms', recorded years ago by Joan Sutherland, goes to the excellent Elizabeth Watts as Arbaces' lover. There's much delectable writing for the woodwind and horns, all beautifully played. This lively account of a charming work will give much pleasure' (Classic FM)