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Ensemble Resonanz, Wolfe: Cruel Sister

2011 | Label: Cantaloupe Music

Julia Wolfe is one of three composers (along with Michael Gordon and Pulitzer Prize winner David Lang) who founded the ever-expanding contemporary music empire known as Bang On A Can. Her own music occupies a fertile territory that acknowledges both rock music and the twitchy, modernist pole of classical music (so both "downtown" and "uptown" schools), and she has displayed an affinity for scores with multiples of the same instrument. Her works for potentially dubious forces, like nine bagpipes or four drum sets, benefit from her keen ear for texture… more »

Michael Ludwig, Suk: Fairy Tale – Fantastic scherzo

-0001 | Label: Naxos

JoAnn Falletta, the dynamic leader of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, leads her players through some plushly gorgeous, pleasantly filmic music by Josef Suk, an under-heralded Czech composer from the tail end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. He wrote in the same throbbingly tonal, open-hearted idiom that Dvorak made great use of, and his music bears a similarly ingratiating touch. Michael Ludwig is the able, sure-handed soloist for the lovely Fantasy In G Major. more »

London Philharmonic Orchestra, LPO eMusic Sampler – Introducing the London Philharmonic Orchestra

-0001 | Label: LPO

If you've never owned a record of classical music in your life but have always nursed a vague curiosity, there is literally no better place to start than here — thanks to the London Philharmonic Orchestra, which runs its own label, you can start with a healthy skim of some of the most well-loved classical repertoire in existence. Most of the music here is from the late 1800s and early 20th century, when orchestral music was at its ripest. Anything you pluck off this sampler has something to dazzle your… more »

Martha Argerich, Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No.3 / Ravel: Piano Concerto in G major

1996 | Label: Deutsche Grammophon

Martha Argerich has a way of dominating duo or ensemble performances. (Hey, it happens to soloists sometimes.) But here, even had Prokofiev not expressly designed a piano concerto where the orchestra played more than a side role, you get the feeling conductor Claudio Abbado would have kept her outsized talent in proper balance with the whole. The "first you lead, now I'll go" back and forth between pianist and orchestra in the athletic first movement is pure symbiosis. And even when soloist and ensemble are supposed to be duking it… more »