Discover New Music with KDFC's CDs of the Week!
Tune in throughout the week for tracks from KDFC’s CD of the Week. More to discover with KDFC and KDFC.com.
Week of December 9
For French pianist, Alexandre Tharaud, an enore is a "way of letting go once the concert programme is over, a way of maintaining the rapport with the listener." In his latest release, Tharaud presents 23 short pieces, some of which he has played as encores for years, others which are important to him for various other reasons. Composers include Bach, Couperin and Scarlatti from the Baroque; Mendelssohn, Chopin, Faure, and Satie from the 19th century; and surprises like Catalan Federico Mompou and Cuban Ignacio Cervantes. Listen for selections from this new CD throughout this week on KDFC.
Week of December 2
The Sound of Alison Balsom
Alison Balsom is among the most exciting classical artists out there. She was first inspired by Dizzy Gillespie to become a virtuosic trumpet soloist. This year she was named artist of the year by Gramophone Magazine.
'I've spent my whole life trying to show how versatile the trumpet can be,' she says. 'It's only limited by your imagination.' In this selection from her award-winning albums, she plays gems from the Baroque repertoire on both natural and valved instruments. We'll be sampling from this beautifully packaged CD all this week.
Week of November 25
We can't help but feel a special connection with internationally-renowned guitarist Milos Karadaglic. Ever since he released his bestselling debut CD, Mediterraneo, we've known that he had the right stuff to be a star. (Plus we're very proud to have figured out how to pronounce his last name!) His third recording is now available and we've chosen it as our CD of the Week. Milos: Cancion
is a collection of new recordings of popular pieces like "Besame Mucho", "The Girl from Ipanema" and "Somos Novios", alongside classical favorites from Villa- Lobos and Piazolla. A highlight is a guitar version of Ravel's Bolero
Week of November 18
This week's three CD of the Week selections feature three winners from the most recent Van Cliburn Competition. They are gold medalist Vadym Kholodenko from Ukraine, silver metalist Beatrice Rana from Italy and audience favorite Sean Chen from the United States.
Gold Medalist - 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition
Silver Medalist - 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition
Crystal Award - 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition
Week of October 28
Michael Lewin, piano
For Halloween week, we're releasing our inner ghoul with Michael Lewin's new CD, Piano Phantoms
. Ghosts, goblins, spirits, gnomes, and more will haunt the airwaves this week in the form of scary piano music by Schubert, Schumann, Dvorak, Grieg, and lesser-known composers. Included as well is the KDFC listener favorite, Graceful Ghost Rag by American William Bolcom. Boo!
Week of October 14
Philippe Quint, violin/Lily Maisky, piano
Russian-American violinist (and film star) Philippe Quint and pianist Lily Maisky (daughter of famed cellist Mischa Maisky) present Opera Breve
, a selection of attractive arrangements of opera favorites by Saint-Saens, Gershwin, Gluck, Rossini, and others.Featured are Quint's own arrangements of Una Furtiva lagrima
from The Elixir of Love
by Donizetti and The Evening Prayer
from Hansel and Gretel
Week of October 7
Jan Lisiecki, piano
Jan Lisiecki is not a normal kid. At just 18 years of age, the Canadian piano prodigy is being praised by the New York Times for his "pristine, lyrical, and intelligent (playing)". Fresh from winning this year's Leonard Bernstein Award, Lisiecki has released his second recording, consisting of the two sets of Etudes by Frederic Chopin. The choice of Chopin makes perfect sense for Jan, who is of Polish descent and who was first given a Chopin Etude to play when he was 7 years old. The young piano star likes to quote Chopin's instructions to his students: "Every single note must sing; and after all the work, the goal should be simplicity." Hear examples of Lisiecki's love of Chopin throughout this week on KDFC.
Week of September 30
Ferdinand David: Music for Violin and Piano
Stephen Schardt, violin/Philipp Vogler, piano
Ferdinand David (1810-1873) will always be best known for his association with Felix Mendelssohn. The two were close friends and it was David who gave the world premiere of Mendelssohn's famous e minor Violin Concerto. In fact, he served as a kind of collaborator on that work, stepping in with advice as needed for a composer who was not himself a violinist. Our CD of the Week this week is a collection of works written by David for violin and piano with German soloists, Stephen Schardt on violin and Philipp Vogler on piano. There's a cool Bay Area connection to this new CD; the violin for which David wrote this music is now in the hands of the SF Symphony's concertmaster, Alexander Barantschik!
Week of September 23
Arthur Foote: Complete Piano Music
Kirsten Johnson, piano
American composer Arthur Foote (1853-1937) was a member of the so-called "Boston Six" group of composers from the late 19th-century which also included Amy Beach, Horatio Parker, Edward MacDowell and John Knowles Paine. In this 3-CD set of the complete works for piano by Foote, pianist Kirsten Johnson gives this music the exposure it deserves; a number of the pieces are recorded here for the very first time. A Virginia native, Kirsten Johnson received her doctorate in music from the University of Missouri, Kansas City. She now makes her home in England.
Week of September 16
Bach: Six Sonatas for Violin and Piano
Michelle Makarski, violin
Keith Jarrett, piano
This week we explore Jazz superstar Keith Jarrett's first "classical" recording since his Mozart Piano Concertos disc of 1998. For an artist renowned for his improvisations, this project taps into his ability to simply present the music as written. "This music does not need my assistance," he says. "I'm just throwing myself to the other guy, asking him (Bach) to show me something I still don't know about music". His partner in this recording is the Michigonian violinist, Michelle Makarski, who is committed to the standard classical repertory but experienced also in jazz and improvisation. This set of six sonatas was praised by the composer's son, C.P.E. Bach, as "among the best works of my dear father". A portion of the proceeds from the sale of our CD of the Week benefits KDFC.
Week of September 9
The Rascal and the Sparrow: Poulenc Meets Piaf
Antonio Pompa-Baldi, piano
It just so happens that 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the deaths of both the legendary French cabaret singer, Edith Piaf (nicknamed The Little Sparrow) and important 20th-century French composer, Francis Poulenc. The Rascal and the Sparrow brings features songs made famous by Piaf as well as Poulenc's own art songs in new arrangements for solo piano.Though the two may never have met, Poulenc's Improvisation #15 is subtitled "Hommage a Edith Piaf" which suggests a mutual admiration. Italian pianist Antonio Pompa-Baldi plays his own transcriptions of the Poulenc songs, while the Piaf songs (including her signature "La Vie en rose") are heard in what are described as "elaborations" composed by Roberto Piana.
Week of August 26
Bach: Complete Works for Lute
Ricardo Gallén, guitar
New from Spanish guitarist Ricardo Gallén is a recording of the complete works for lute by Johann Sebastian Bach performed on guitar. Bach wrote for the lute on and off for more than 30 years including Suites, Partitas, Preludes and Fugues, all transcribed for the guitar by Gallén. Born in 1972 in the hometown of Andres Segovia, Linares, he studied at various conservatories in Spain as well as at the Salzburg Mozarteum. In addition to the Bach selections, the CD includes Couperin's Mysterious Barricades as a bonus track!
Week of August 19
Wagner and the Piano
Severin von Eckardstein, piano
The concept of reducing the grand opera music of Wagner into solo piano versions may seem counter intuitive, however, it's an idea that has its roots in necessity. Back before there were recordings, piano transcriptions were vital for the dissemination of music. On this new CD, German pianist Severin von Eckardstein has included "reductions" from such masters of the piano transcription as Ferrucio Busoni and Moritz Moszkowski, as well as lesser-known composers, August Stradal and Louis Brassin. Of special interest is an arrangement of the Tristan and Isolde Prelude by the contemporary Hungarian pianist, Zoltan Kocsis.
Week of August 12
Zani: Complete Cello Concertos
Austrian cellist Martin Rummel describes the feeling of playing 12 "new" Cello Concertos from the Italian Baroque composer Andrea Zani as "comparable to the happy sentiment you have stepping onto a sunlit expanse of new snow in the mountains." (Spoken like a true son of the Alps!) The recent discovery can be credited to Dr. Jill Ward of Christchurch, New Zealand, who wrote her Ph.D. thesis on Zani and brought these concertos to light. They are a welcome addition to the limited cello repertory from the first half of the 18th-century. Selections from this world premiere recording are featured this week on KDFC.
Week of August 5
Nine Notes that Shook the World
Ronn McFarlane & Mindy Rosenfeld
Music for lute and flute is the order of the day on a new release from Grammy-nominated lutenist Ronn McFarlane and Philharmonia Baroque flutist Mindy Rosenfeld. "This recording is a gathering of some of our favorites," explains Mindy, "A cross section of.....timeless tunes from the past centuries that still touch us in ways words cannot." With pieces dating from the early English Renaissance (Dowland, Adson) to as late as the 18th-century (Handel and Locatelli), Nine Notes that Shook the World
is a musical feast that presents a wide range of styles. That title, by the way, refers to the limited 9-note range of the bagpipe, which Mindy plays, along with no less than seven period flutes, fifes, and harps.
26-year-old Eldar Djangirov is known primarily as a jazz pianist, praised by the late Dave Brubeck as "a genius". Born in the former Soviet Union, he came to the US at the age of 10 and settled with his family in Kansas City, MO, drawn there, in part, by the city's rich jazz heritage. Eldar began playing the piano when he was three, exploring both jazz and classical. This year, he has released two very different CDs simultaneously. One is a jazz outing called "Breakthrough", the other is our CD of the Week: Bach/Brahms/Prokofiev.
Anima Del Sur: Milongas & Tangos For Two Guitars
Castellani Andriacccio Duo
Anima del Sur or Soul of the South, is a collection of milongas and tangos for two guitars from the Castellani Andriaccio Guitar Duo. The disc presents a compendium of contemporary South American pieces written specifically for guitar duo. From Brazil's Paolo Bellinati to Argentina's Adrien Politi, the composers included reflect the musical heritage of virtually the entire continent. The renowned Castellani Andriaccio Duo was founded at the legendary "Guitar '75 Festival" in Toronto. Together Joanne Castiellani and Michael Andriaccio are the artistic directors of the JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition of Buffalo, New York.
Week of July 15th
French Music for Two Pianos: Saint-Saens, Debussy, Ravel
Pascal Roge/Ami Roge
French pianist Pascal Roge is one of the leading interpreters of French 20th-century piano music. On this new disc, he explores the two-piano French repertory, playing alongside his wife, the Japanese pianist, Ami Roge. Familiar music like The Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun and La Mer sound completely fresh in these arrangements The recording includes Ravel's Mother Goose and Rapsodie espagnole plus a short Scherzo by Saint-Saens. Interestingly, the transcription of La Mer is by the Roges themselves!
Week of July 8th
Canadian Brass: Carnaval
"If Robert Schumann had had the Canadian Brass at hand, what might he have composed for them?" We'll never know but new brass transcriptions of two of Schumann's most popular (and most difficult) piano suites give us an idea of what might have been. Carnaval and Kinderszenen have been adapted by two members of the Canadian Brass, Christopher Coletti and Brandon Ridenour, who both also play the piano. With a discography of over 100 albums and an extensive worldwide touring schedule, Canadian Brass continues to be the superstars of brass!
Week of July 1st
Findlay in Blue: Piano Music of Gershwin, Gottschalk, and Gould
For the 4th of July this week, it's a new CD of American music performed by the Bay Area-born-and-raised pianist, Findlay Cockrell. After graduating from El Cerrito High in 1950's, Findlay attended Harvard and then Julliard. From 1966 until his retirement in 2006, he was a fixture in the music department at SUNY Albany. For his latest recording, he has gathered selections by the three American "G's": George Gershwin, Louis-Moreau Gottschalk, and Morton Gould. We'll be featuring tracks from Findlay in Blue on the air throughout this week.
Week of June 24
"Vexatious" is the word often used to describe the English Renaissance composer John Bull, whose works for the virginal (an early version of the piano) were and remain really difficult to play. Pianist Alan Feinberg has recorded a selection of his works and a few by some of his contemporaries as performed on a modern piano on a CD called "Basically Bull". The New York Times wrote: "It is a mark of Mr. Feinberg's skill that playfulness, along with grace and exuberance, characterizes his performances of these 400-year-old miniatures even though their technical demands are of a sort rarely encountered until the 20th century." Hear tracks from this new release throughout the week on KDFC.
This week we're featuring two new recordings of Bach masterpieces from two exciting violin stars. From the English violinist Rachel Podger comes Double and Triple Concertos with her group the Brecon Baroque. Plus German violinist Viktoria Mullova joins Accademia Bizantina and harpsichordist Ottavio Dantone for four Bach Concertos, two of which are newly arranged for violin solo. Hear selections from these two recordings throughout the week on KDFC!
Rachel Podger and Brecon Baroque: J.S. Bach - Double & Triple Concertos
Mullova, Dantone, Accademia Bizantina: Bach Concertos
Francois Couperin: Les Ombres Errantes
Iddo Bar-Shai, piano
Like his younger contemporary, Johann Sebastian Bach, the French baroque composer Francois Couperin was part of a musical dynasty. For almost two centuries, members of the Couperin family held important posts in Paris and at Versailles. Francois became the most celebrated of them all, especially renowned for his harpsichord pieces. This new CD from the Israeli pianist Iddo Bar-Shai features selections from the several "books" of keyboard works by Couperin which he wrote between 1693 and his death in 1733. Highlights include the "title" track, Les Ombres Errantes (The Roving Shadows)
, and The Mysterious Barricades
. Bar-Shai dedicates this CD to his mentor, the late pianist Alexis Weissenberg.
Pipe Dreams is the name of a musical trio from England consisting of 2 flutes and a piano. Pipe Dreams is also the name of their first CD release. The nine selections range from Trios by Telemann and Vivaldi to a work by the distinguished 20th-century Hungarian conductor Antal Dorati. Composer Franz Doppler contributed significantly to the flute repertory of the 19th-century and Pipe Dreams includes two of his works. French composer Gabriel Faure is represented by the beautiful Sicillienne and the Cantique de Jean Racine which was originally a choral piece. The very first track on the CD is Two Butterflies by Emil Kronke, a perfect beginning to this pleasantly airy offering.
Jeffrey Biegel: A Grand Romance
On his new CD release, A Grand Romance
, American pianist Jeffrey Biegel performs a program of keyboard showpieces celebrating the intimate relationship between pianist and the public. The recording features musical miniatures from the 1830's through the 20th century from such pianist/composers as Anton Rubinstein, Ignaz Paderewski, Moritz Moszkowski, and Adolf Schulz-Evler among others. Selections range from short and sweet piano etudes to novelty items and technical dazzlers. Hear highlights on the air throughout this week on KDFC.
Rachel Barton Pine, violin/Matthew Hagle, piano
Even before she gave birth to her first child (little Sylvia whose photo graces the cover of this CD) Chicago-based violinist Rachel Barton Pine was interested in exploring the Lullaby as a musical form. She has collected "Cradle Songs" by 25 different composers onto this recording, released just in time for Mother's Day. From the familiar works like Brahms' Lullaby
and Gershwin's Summertime to less well-known pieces, the varied line-up even includes 5 world premieres. Interestingly, for half the selections, Pine uses a violin mute in order to soften the sound. Pianist Matthew Hagle is also featured. Listen for tracks from Violin Lullabies
all week on KDFC.
Alvaro Cendoya: Ponce
In honor of Cinco de Mayo on Sunday, this week we're featuring a collection of music by Mexican composer Manual Ponce as performed by Basque pianist Alvaro Cendoya. Manuel Ponce was the founder of Mexican musical nationalism, often incorporating the melodies of folk-songs into his music. He studied in Europe, at first in Bologna and then, between 1925 and 1933, as a pupil of Paul Dukas in Paris. He died in Mexico City in 1948. This is the first of eight volumes from Naxos devoted to Ponce’s complete piano music. Hear selections on the air throughout this week on KDFC.
Joseph Moog, piano
A Scarlatti recital with a twist! The 24-year old German pianist Joseph Moog has designed an interesting program that juxtaposes the original versions of Scarlatti keyboard sonatas with arrangements of the sonatas by some great old-time pianists. From the simplicity of Scarlatti to the in-your-face virtuosity of piano masters Walter Gieseking, Ignaz Friedman, and Carl Tausig, Moog explores the amazing range of the king of instruments. Hear selections from this new recording throughout the week on KDFC.
Histoire du Tango: Music for Violin and Guitar
Augustin Hadelich & Pablo Sainz Villegas
Young German violinist, Augustin Hadelich, makes his SF Symphony debut this week playing the Beethoven Violin Concerto. This CD represents something completely different with short pieces for violin and guitar with a Spanish flavor. The title track is a musical journey through the history of the tango from the father of Nuevo Tango, Astor Piazolla. Also included is music by Falla, Paganini, and the popular Zigeunerweisen by Sarasate. Hadelich's partner is the award-winning Spanish guitarist, Pablo Sainz-Villegas. Hear selections from this new recording featured this week on KDFC.
Tine: Tine Thing Helseth
The latest from Norwegian trumpet sensation, Tine Thing Helseth, is simply entitled "Tine" and presents a personal choice of transcriptions, arrangements and original works for trumpet and piano. Kathryn Stott is Tine's piano partner on this disc which features the music of Puccini, Falla, Rachmaninoff, Kreisler, and more. Hear tracks on the air all this week from KDFC.
Remembranza: Remembrance of Latin Sounds
Rosa Antonelli, piano
Argentine-born pianist Rosa Antonelli has championed latin piano music in her extensive recital tours around the world. On this new disc, she opens with four tangos by Astor Piazolla and then moves on to a set of pieces by Brazilians Heitor Villa-Lobos and Ernesto Nazareth. The "sounds" become decidedly less "latin" with the inclusion of music by the Spaniards Granados and Albeniz. Of her Carnegie Hall debut, Harris Goldsmith wrote: "She infused (the music) with eloquence and an inward poetry." Listen for selections from Remembranza on the air this week on KDFC.
Week of March 18th
Who was August Nolck (1862-1928)? The notes which accompany this new CD describe him as a respected and well-published cello teacher of his day, a director of the Vienna Conservatory and a "voice from the great German cello tradition of the 19th century." His name appears in none of the standard music dictionaries, so this disc is a very refreshing discovery of some great Romantic melodies. Americans Beth Vanderborgh and Theresa Bogard bring to life a sampling of Nolck's Salon Music for cello and piano resulting in a musical journey back to a golden period in Vienna's musical history. Hear selections from this new recording on the air throughout this week. Remember that your CD purchase here benefits listener-supported KDFC.
Week of March 11th
Pianist Lara Downes has become known for her thought-provoking musical concepts. She recently released "Thirteen Ways of Looking at Goldberg" in which she asked thirteen composers to write companion pieces to Bach's Variations. Her latest CD project is an exploration of musical miniatures created by composers in exile. Downes describes the Exiles' Cafe as "a place both real and metaphorical where travelers gather to find a home away from home." Composers represented include Chopin, Kurt Weill, Rachmaninoff, William Grant Still, Milhaud, and many others. Be sure to listen to Jeffrey Freymann-Weyr's conversation with Lara on a recent edition of KDFC's The State of the Arts and look for her this April when she hosts a new series at Yoshi's SF called "The Artist Sessions".
Week of March 4th
Cellist Sara Sant'Ambrogio is a founding member of the Grammy-winning Eroica Trio. The Chopin Collection is her 4th solo recording and has garnered praise from, among others, Grammophone Magazine: "These performances grab you by the ears and refuse to let you go." (Ouch!) The New York Times wrote: "There is an irresistible warmth in everything Miss Sant'Ambrogio does." The CD (which is also available as a 2 GB Flash Drive) features pianist Robert Koenig in 11 Chopin selections. Tracks from this new recording will be showcased on the air all this week.
Week of February 25th
Would you believe a recording that celebrates planetary movement as an existential source of music, a concept historically known as "the music of the spheres"? That's the idea behind the latest release from the English violinist Daniel Hope. Hope explains,"My idea was to bring together works from different centuries, united by the age-old question: is there anything out there?" The disc includes four world premiere recordings plus contemporary arrangements of pieces by Bach and Faure. There are also selections by Karl Jenkins, Ludovico Einaudi, and Philip Glass. This CD is literally "out there"! Listen for excerpts from Spheres on the air all this week.
Week of January 7th
What a journey! Composer Percy Grainger was born in Melbourne, Australia (in 1882) and died in White Plains, New York (1961)! In between, he spent a great deal of time in England and the rest of Europe, perfecting his unique style of composing and trying to satisfy his hunger for musical discoveries. This new CD presents a selection of his folk-inspired music for piano duet. Included are familiar works like Molly on the Shore and Handel in the Strand as well as the super popular Country Gardens. Of special interest is the Fantasy on Gershiwn's Porgy and Bess. The Bilder Duo of Germany performs. As with all of our CDs of the Week, we'll be featuring tracks on the air. Your purchase here benefits listener-supported KDFC.