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The Wonder of Christmas
Elora Festival Singers
Noel Edison, conductor
Michael Bloss, organ

Naxos 8.573421

The Elora Festival Singers, conducted by internationally acclaimed director Noel Edison, is one of the most exciting contemporary choirs in the world. In The Wonder of Christmas they cover the art of the Christmas carol, a genre covering a variety of styles, both popular and refined. The music ranges from much-loved settings to new works, from polyphony to simple melodies, in a recital stretching from the Middle Ages to the music of today.



Current: Airline Icarus
Carla Huhtanen, soprano
Krisztina Szabo, mezzo-soprano
Graham Thomson, tenor
Alexander Dobson, abaritone
Geoffrey Sirett, baritone
Brian Current, conductor

Naxos 8.660356

Leading young Canadian composer Brian Current, recipient of numerous distinguished international prizes, has collaborated with award-winning writer Anton Piatigorsky in an exciting work for voice and accompanying ensemble. Airline Icarus is set aboard an airliner in which, taking the myth of Icarus as the central image, the composer “explores themes of hubris mixed with technology”. The result is a powerful, resonant work which won Current the Italian Premio Fedora Award in 2011.



Dukas: Symphony in C
RTE National Symphony Orchestra
Jean-Luc Tingaud, conductor

Naxos 8.573296

Paul Dukas is famed for his brilliant, meticulously scored symphonic scherzo The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, first performed in 1897, which almost immediately entered the international repertoire. It was subsequently the focus of a ballet and later Walt Disney’s film Fantasia. Magical scoring is also a feature of La péri, a poème dansé of great imaginative verve. The delightful, colourful Symphony in C was composed mid-way between these works. For this recording, manuscript sources for the three works were consulted, including the hitherto private proofs of the first edition of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, ensuring rigorously faithful performances.




Beethoven: String Quartets Vol. 1
Quatuor Alcan
ATMA Classiques ACD2 2491

The Alcan String Quartet celebrates its 25th anniversary with a landmark three-volume recording of the complete cycle of Beethoven’s 16 string quartets. This first volume being released in November contains the 6 quartets from Beethoven’s early period. Volumes 2 and 3 will be released in 2015. Since its formation in 1989, the Alcan Quartet has forged a reputation for excellence across Canada and abroad.



Marie-Eve Munger, soprano
Louise-Andree Baril, piano

ATMA Classiques ACD2 2692

For her first solo disc with ATMA Classique, Munger has chosen a program of French songs that show off her dazzling voice: Louis Beydts’ rarely recorded song cycle Chanson pour les oiseaux (Song for the Birds), early works by Claude Debussy, and several vocalises (wordless songs) by Glière, Fauré, and Ravel. Madame Munger is accompanied by pianist Louise-Andrée Baril. Upcoming international engagements include an appearance at the Opéra-Comique in Paris as Isabelle in Le Pré au Clercs by Hérold in 2015.



Livre de Noels
Vincent Boucher, organ
ATMA Classiques ACD2 2703

Canadian organist Vincent Boucher returns with Le Livre de Noëls, a collection of carols for organ by French composer Louis Claude Daquin, performed on the Beckerath organ at St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montréal. In the 17th and 18th centuries, organ variations on well-known noëls (Christmas carols) were very popular in France. At midnight mass and throughout the Christmas season, organists would large crowds who came to hear variations. The organists displayed brilliant imagination and virtuosity, and would recreate the sounds of the rural landscapes, with echoes of hurdy-gurdy and bagpipe, fife and drum.



Vivaldi Edition
Various Artists
Brilliant Classics BRI94840

This new, extended, improved and upgraded Vivaldi Brilliant Classics Edition is a veritable feast of historically informed performances by leading ensembles and soloists - mostly Italian forces - the best of today’s Vivaldi playing! These 66 CDs are filled with performances brimming with vitality, passion, instrumental brilliance and Italian sunshine. The complete opus numbers 1‐12 were newly recorded by L’Arte del’Arco, led by the eminent Federico Guglielmo (with numerous record awards to his name), a new recording of the complete Oboe Concertos, Juditha triumphans by Modo Antiquo/Sardelli, the famous Gloria by the Virtuosi Saxoniae, and new recordings by Early Music specialists Stefano Bagliano, Paolo Pollastri and Lorenzo Cavasanti.



Handel: Best of Messiah
Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra
Tafelmusik Media TMK1027CD

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir present an intimate and stirring performance of the highlights of the baroque masterpiece Handel’s Messiah. This CD recording of the full score on period instruments features a stellar cast of soloists. Tafelmusik presents this baroque masterpiece with the spirit and vitality of Handel’s own 18th-century productions. “Superhuman”, “spot-on”, “crisp” and “inspired” are just a few of the words critics have used to describe Tafelmusik’s Messiah. A perennial favourite with audiences and critics alike, Tafelmusik’s Messiah has garnered glowing reviews year after year.



The Polar Express
Nathan Gunn
Isabel Leonard
The Metamorphosis Chamber Orchestra

GPR Records GPR11014

Composer Rob Kapilow, one of the most successful and most performed composers on the planet, has turned two of the most famous and iconic Children’s Classics into musical extravaganzas, Polar Express and Dr. Seuss’s Gertrude Fuzz. Joining Mr. Kapilow are international superstars Nathan Gunn, who sings Polar Express, and Isabel Leonard, who sings Gertrude McFuzz.



Present Perfect
Rob McConnell and the Boss Brass
MPS-Jazz 0209728MSW

Canadian Rob McConnell (b. 1935) played valve trombone in a number of local Toronto-area bands before joining his fellow Canadian Maynard Ferguson’s big band in New York. In 1968, McConnell returned to Toronto and founded a 15-piece brass band with rhythm section, naming it Boss Brass, adding a 5-piece reed section in 1971 but keeping the name. At first, McConnell arranged pop hits for Boss Brass, but as time went on the repertoire became more and more jazzy. Although they had never toured outside of Canada, the band won, through their recordings, international acclaim. 1979s gentle-groover ‘Present Perfect’ was recorded in Toronto and later mixed at MPS’s studio in Villingen, Germany.




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10:15:39 AM, 27 December 2014
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