gene's CLASSICAL shelf

if you are reading this, there's a good chance you know Gene. He's the owner/operator of Horizon Records and he's kind of a geek† about classical in all its many forms, and especially about piano music, things from ECM Records , and lately about what he calls late moderns (ambient, minimalists, and the generally bliss-ed out edges of classical)... I've heard that some days that's the only thing that gets played in the back room. Even Renaissance and Early choral music, omg Poor Luci.

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Distinguished orchestral players with enviable reputations in their own right, the Lso Percussion Ensemble returns with a vibrant, jazz-infused album of music by Gwilym Simcock, Steve Reich, Chick Corea & Makoto Ozone. Quartet Quintet centers around the world premiere of Quintet, a five-movement suite by the British pianist and composer Gwilym Simcock that pulls inspiration from seminal jazz fusion acts Steps Ahead, Yellowjackets and Weather Report, and Steve Reich's 2013 Quartet for two vibes and two pianos. The album also includes new arrangements of classic pieces by jazz legends Chick Corea, Makoto Ozone and Joe Locke.
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2020 release. If the name of Henry Charles Litolff is familiar today only through the scherzo of his Concerto symphonique No 4, the absurdity of that 'one-hit composer' tag is clearly demonstrated by this release. These are among the finest examples of the piano trio genre still inexplicably absent from the standard repertoire.
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Piae Cantiones (Spiritual Songs), the first Finnish music ever to be printed, was published in Greifswald in 1582. Although many of the texts are on religious themes, the Piae Cantiones songs are not hymns. They represent a varied repertoire sung as extra-curricular entertainment for students. Styles range from the lively dance-rhythms and catchy refrains of "Gaudete" and the cool renaissance counterpoint of "Jesu dulcis memoria" to the austere restraint of chant-like melody in "Angelus emittitur." Andrew Lawrence-King, who has been playing alongside Jordi Savall for decades, conducts the Utopia Chamber Choir in this vivid tribute to Finnish music.
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JS Bach's cello suites are known and loved by classical aficionados worldwide. These are the second known recordings of the suites on violin and the first to feature the 6th Suite on 5-string violin. Gandelsman's years of experience with master musicians from various world traditions (Bela Fleck, Martin Hayes, Kayhan Kalhor) bring a refreshing deeply personal view to these magnificent works.
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Jóhann Jóhannsson - "Englabörn & Variations (Remastered 2017)" Deutsche Grammophon releases a newly-remastered version of Jóhann Jóhannsson's critically-acclaimed debut album, Englabörn, combined with a complete album of brand new reworks, Variations. Variations features reworks by artists such as Ryuichi Sakamoto, Theater of Voices, Alex Somers and Viking Olafsson. This double album, beginning with the haunting track "Odi et Amo," takes the listener on a journey through Jóhannsson's unique sound-world.
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Born out of a meeting between Philip Glass and flutist James Strauss in 2011, Venezuelan Elegy is a celebration of the artistic sprit. Despite being a flutist by training, Glass has not written extensively for 'his' instrument. Strauss always wanted to perform Glass's music, so he wrote his own arrangements of several Glass compositions. Strauss moved to Venezuela right as political troubles were coming to a head. For him, this recording was a chance showcase great musicians who found themselves in the midst of a collapsing government.
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This program features the world premiere recordings of three works written for violinist James Ehnes. Familiar to movie fans the world over, James Newton Howard has composed over 120 film scores. Upon being commissioned to write a violin concerto, Howard admitted to feeling, 'thrilled, excited, expectant and ultimately terrified.' Pulitzer Prize winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis first composed for Ehnes in 2007 and a few years later his Violin Concerto followed. Bramwell Tovey and James Ehnes's musical relationship dates back to 1990, and they have performed together countless times. Stream of Limelight gives James's incredible technique ample opportunity to dazzle, and is a superb finale to this fascinating album of new compositions.
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The figures of Auguste Dupont and Peter Benoit may be little known outside their native Belgium, yet both enjoyed pianistic and pedagogical success in their lifetimes. Benoit's symphonic poem is a piano concerto in all but name, ending with a spiritedly Mephistophelean 'fantastical hunt'.
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Feico Deutekom's album Musical Offering presents new piano arrangements of classic Philip Glass works alongside pieces originally composed for piano. Deutekom has a long working relationship with Philip Glass and is one of the preeminent specialists of late-Minimalist music. Featuring Facades, Company, Etudes Nos.16 and 20 and more, this program presents new and old music in ways it's never been heard before.
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Palestrina: Lamentations - Cinquecento - Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina was perhaps the preeminent composer of the sixteenth century. His settings of the Lamentations of Jeremiah would have been integral to the liturgical rites of Holy Week. On this release, Cinquecento offer performances that bring out every nuance of this emotionally powerful music.
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Get Lost is Bruno Bavota's first studio album since the 2016 release of Out of the Blue helped thrust him into that peculiar world of anonymous but significant success via high-volume streaming playlists and high-profile TV commercials. Out of the Blue marked the beginning of Bavota's drift from immaculate, traditional piano music. If Get Lost isn't a complete reinvention, it is at the very least a radical new direction. Rather than obsess over the sound of the piano itself, Bavota now explores the sounds around the piano - the resonance, the silence, and the acoustic ambience of the living, breathing space in which the piano resides. He employs an array of outboard effects pedals and processors to not just capture those sounds that are often overlooked, but to sample, loop, and reposition them as central figures in a story. Bruno Bavota gave Get Lost it's name when he found himself drifting deeper into the darker side of his music. Inspired by a familiar observation of modern life, Bavota confessed, "I think people are becoming more selfish and don't seem to have time to listen to other people who need to be heard. We don't show much empathy." Much like Bavota's evolving approach to the piano, he has discovered profound purpose and influence in the people and places least visible but most meaningful.

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Brad Mehldau

After Bach

CD: $16.98 Buy

MP3 Album: $11.49 Download

2018 release. After Bach comprises Brad Mehldau's recordings of four preludes and one fugue from J.S. Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, each followed by an After Bach piece written by Mehldau and inspired by it's WTC mate. "There have always been elements of Mehldau's style that recall Bach," writes Timo Andres in the liner note. "After Bach surveys their shared ground as keyboardists, improvisers, and composers, making implicit parallels explicit."
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Albrecht Mayer

Longing For Paradise

CD: $13.95 UNAVAILABLE
Albrecht Mayer - "Longing for Paradise" Inspired by the many composers who lived and wrote during wartime, Albrecht Mayer releases Longing for Paradise, featuring Richard Strauss' notoriously difficult Oboe Concerto, written by the octogenarian composer at the end of WWII, with lesser-known masterworks by Elgar and Goosens and a new arrangement for oboe and orchestra of Ravel's yearning Le Tombeau de Couperin.
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