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Music Reviews
Classical Music Reviews - Part 3 - June, 1996


By Benjamin J. Foster

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Ratings:    
  ***** Extraordinary
  **** Good
  *** Acceptable
  ** Mediocre
  * Poor

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Completely Clara: Lieder by Clara Wieck Schumann
Korliss Uecker, soprano; Joanne Polk, piano
Distributed by Arabesque Recordings
Z26624, CD-Single
$16.99, 46:58

Performance: starstarstarstarstar
Audio Quality: starstarstarstarstar

 

Joanne Polk, most recent Director of Chamber Music and Ensembles at the Manhattan School of Music, and Korliss Uecker, Metropolitan Opera Singer, introduce the public to the wonderful lieder (song) by the "Empress of the Piano." Clara Wieck Schumann is most noted for being the wife of Robert Schumann. However, she was a remarkable pianist and composer in her own right. Influenced heavily by her father and her future husband, Clara never found composing an easy task. Most of the things she did compose were for either Christmas or birthday presents to Robert Schumann. When Robert died, Clara opted for a career as a concert pianist and rarely composed afterward. These lieder give the listener the most complete collection of Clara Schumann's works on one CD. One can hear the influences of such great artists as Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann. Included are English translations of the songs. This CD is a definite must for those who are interested in expanding their horizons on women composers.

Benjamin J. Foster

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Copland: Appalachian Spring
Rodeo; Billy The Kid
Fanfare for the Common Man Directed by Leonard Bernstein Distributed by Sony Music
SMK 47543, CD-Single
$10.99, 65:50

Performance: starstarstarstarstar
Audio Quality: starstarstarstar

 

As summer rolls around, music styles turn to that type which resembles something to do outdoors. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the musical style of Aaron Copland (1900-1990). This CD brought together the conducting expertise of Leonard Bernstein with his long time friend Copland. The initial meeting between the two composers came at a dance recital in 1937 with Copland becoming his mentor in the years to follow. Always influenced by dance, Copland set to writing a dance score on the life of Billy the Kidd (1938). The next score is his ever popular Rodeo (1942). The innovator/choreographer Martha Graham commissioned Appalachian Spring (1943). Originally the title had been "Ballet for Martha", but became Appalachian Spring after a poem by Hart Cane. The grand and glorious Fanfare for the Common Man was commisioned by Eugene Grossens for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Bernstein captures the composer's strength and vitality in this outstanding CD.

Benjamin J. Foster


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