Music

Recordings

Beethoven at 8,000 Feet: David Finckel and Wu Han’s ArtistLed Recording of Beethoven’s Cello Sonatas and Variations

With David Finckel and Wu Han's program of Beethoven Cello Sonatas at Union College coming up, I thought it a good idea to take a look at their recording of Beethoven's complete Cello works, which I'd never heard before. I was even surprised to learn that it dates back to 1997, making it one of the earliest recordings they made on their pioneering label, ArtistLed. Like today, they functioned as the producers of the recording, and Da-Hong Seetoo, the extraordinary sound engineer, who works with personally modified hardware and software, made the recording. They purposely chose Harris Hall at Aspen, Colorado as the venue, because they were struck that its particular acoustics were ideal for recording Beethoven. "Built from wood, with a high ceiling, it has a resonance which is warm, clear and brilliant.
A London Summer with Huntley Dent

Susan Graham Sings French Songs at Cadogan Hall

Matinee musicale. On a sunny day off Sloane Square, it was a perfect idea to skip lunch and listen instead to an hour of French songs. The singer was Susan Graham, the acclaimed Texas-born mezzo who has made a speciality of this repertoire, like Frederica von Stade before her. Ever since the Twenties, when young expatriates travelled to Paris to study with Nadia Boulanger, there's been a preference in New York and Boston, now rather slim, for chansons over lieder. Graham has made a recording of songs by Ned Rorem, who duplicates the ephemeral delicacy and finely etched sophistication found in Ravel, Poulenc, and Debussy. The virtues of the French art song are either delectable or debatable, depending on your orientation. Paris or Vienna? I lean so far to the latter that I hesitated about going to hear Graham's recital, but I knew her singing would be very accomplished, so I took my seat in the front row at Cadogan Hall.
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