Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

For the past five years or so I've posted reviews of classical music CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays, in various places on the web: Amazon.com, iTunes and other sites. I'll collect those earlier reviews, and add four or five new ones every month.

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The healing and inspirational power of music


BBC Radio 3 has a great program called Through the Night which begins every day after midnight (12:30 on weekdays, 1 am on weekends), running, well, through the night. They play great music from recorded concerts, mainly from Europe, and for some reason the playlist nearly always includes music I enjoy listening to. The theme for the program is one that I've always loved; it's the hauntingly beautiful Madrigal Nocturne from Darius Milhaud's Cheminee du Roi suite. This CD isn't up yet on Spotify, so I'll post this version by the Athena Ensemble so you can listen while you read the rest of this review:



Isn't that lovely? And so sad. I always think of insomniacs and shut-ins being comforted by the music. It sets the stage so beautifully for the healing and inspirational power of music to follow, even here on Canada's west coast, where Through the Night begins at 4:30 in the afternoon.

The Warsaw-based Gruppo di Tempera is made up of a wind quintet (flute, clarinet, oboe, horn and bassoon) plus piano. They've put together a great program of French music that often partakes of the Madrigal Nocturne's nostalgically sad but hopeful sound, but then, in the French way, quickly changes in turn to satire, mock pomp and ceremony, and sheer nervous energy. This Dux CD, due to be released on Amazon on March 11, 2016, is recommended for its cleverly designed program, the ebullience of the playing and the clarity of the sound.

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