WCPE's CD Picks

WCPE-Quail Ridge Books Pick of the Month

We're collaborating with our good friends at WCPE. Here are some of the great recordings that have been featured by WCPE and Quail Ridge.

You can find out more about WCPE and their music by clicking here


Notturno: Songs by Richard Strauss, Thomas Hampson, baritone
Model: 028947929437
June Pick from WCPE:As we celebrate composer Richard Strauss on the 150th anniversary of his birth, American baritone Thomas Hampson explores the Strauss legacy through
this exquisite collection of his lesser-known songs. “Song, after all, is nothing more or less than a diary of human experience,” Hampson says. This is an experience not to be missed.

Blanc: Angèle Dubeau
Model: 774204873721
May Pick of the month from Paul Jordan, Host of Preview!: "During her recent battle with cancer, Canadian violinist Angele Dubeau found strength, comfort and refuge in music.  This new CD, Blanc, tells her story of the fight against that illness.  The musical selections are eclectic, beautiful and evocative, yet full of hope and inspiration."

"Beethoven: The Late Piano Sonatas" - Igor Levit
Model: 888837038720

April Pick of the Month: 

William Woltz, Music Dirctor of WCPE Radio and his colleagues at the station are loving this recording. Here's what Will has to say: 
"Born in Russia, raised in Germany, Igor Levit is the youngest artist to compete in the Artur Rubinstein International Master Competition, where he won four awards in 2005. But he waited until the relatively mature age of 26 to release his first recording: Beethoven's late piano sonatas. There was never any question that he would record this body of music first: 'It simply has every possible emotion,' he has said. ; 'The experience is not to be compared with anything else.' These are intensely personal sonatas, and Levit's playing fathoms all their conflicted emotions, along with some rather daunting technical demands."

Reneé Fleming: Guilty Pleasures
Model: 028947851073
February Pick from WCPE Music Director, William Woltz: "Renee Fleming calls her latest album "Guilty Pleasures" simply because these are songs that she loves to sing. And that joy is evident from the first note. This is not just a collection of opera arias, but also includes some of her favorite art songs by composers including Canteloube, de Falla and Berlioz, plus the Flower Duet from Delibes' Lakme (with mezzo-soprano Susan Graham) and the perennial favorite, "Danny Boy".

Maybe these will become some of your "guilty pleasures" as well."

Brahms Concertos - Helene Grimaud
Model: 028947910589

January Pick from Paul Jordan, host of WCPE's Preview: "Hélène Grimaud is among the finest of pianists of any era. The style, energy and inspiration she brings to these two Brahms concerto will transform these recordings into classic, must have performances in short order."

Musical Gifts from Joshua Bell and Friends
Model: 888837431828

December Pick of the Month from William Woltz, WCPE music director: "The holidays are meant to be shared with friends and family, and that spirit rings throughout the new disc Musical Gifts from Joshua Bell and Friends. Bell's violin sings with stars of classical music, pop, jazz and bluegrass, such as Renee Fleming, Alison Krauss, Chick Corea, Branford Marsalis and the a cappella group Straight No Chaser. A fresh take on seasonal favorites that will make you smile."


Copland: Rodeo, Dance Panels, El Salon Mexico, Danzon Cubano
Model: 636943975824
November Pick of the Month from Paul Jordan, Host of WCPE's "Preview!": "Everyone loves Copland and this collection pairs his more popular works, such as "El Salon Mexico" and "Rodeo", with the no less beautiful, but lesser known, "Dance Panels."  Conductor Leonard Slatkin and the Detroit Symphony turn in first rate performances of these American Classics. You'll come back to this one again and again." 

CD Nigunim: Hebrew Melodies
Model: 892118001105
September Pick from William Woltz, music director of WCPE:Violinist Gil Shaham and pianist Orli Shaham explore the rich and colorful music inspired by the tradition of Jewish folk song, from Joseph Achron's famous Hebrew Melody to Ernest Bloch's Baal Shem Suite: Three Pieces from Hassidic Life, with selections from John Williams' soundtrack to Schindler's List.  The playing is inspired and brilliant, and the music is compelling!  I look forward to playing this recording a lot this month. 

CD Elgar: Enigma Variations
Model: 030911112929
July Pick from William Woltz, music director of WCPE: This month we turn not to New York or L.A. but to our nation's center, where the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra is scoring high marks for its newest album of music by Elgar and Vaughan Williams. 

The first-rate sound of the orchestra is a credit to Michael Stern, son of famed violinist Isaac Stern, who became music director in 2004.  Adding to the splendor is the incredible clarity of the recording.  It's a great choice for audiophiles and for anyone curious about what a U. S. orchestra can do with great British music. 

Vaughan Williams: The Wasps, Greensleeves, The Kansas City Symphony, Michael Stern, conductor, Reference Recordings, $18.99 (2012)

CD Alessio Bax Plays Mozart
Model: 635212032121
June Pick from William Woltz, music director of WCPE:“The last few months have been exciting ones for young Italian pianist Alessio Bax. He's earned the "Critics Choice" award from Gramophone Magazine for his recent Brahms CD, as well as Lincoln Center's Martin E. Segal Award for emerging artists, and the Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award.

With his latest disc, Alessio Bax plays Mozart, he captures the playful spirit of an optimistic and creative young composer. Bax displays his effortless virtuosity on Mozart's piano concertos nos. 24 and 27, plus the Variations, K. 460. Simon Over conducts the Southbank Sinfonia in this recording.

CD Violin Lullabies
Model: 735131913928

May Pick from Tara Lynn, announcer of "As You Like It":“My first exposure to music was not at a concert. It was not on the radio. It was the sound of my mother’s voice as she sang a lullaby to me, just as her mother had sung to her, and her mother before her.” –Rachel Barton Pine

"While Pine has built a reputation on performing the more exciting, blood-pumping, foot-stomping parts of the classical repertoire, this new mother appears to have made a seamless transition from rocking a violin to cradling a newborn. Taking quiet moments to research the genre, Pine found no extant catalog of the many lullabies composers worldwide had written for her instrument. She collected more than one hundred and fifty works and chose the selections for the album on “musical merit” alone. Violin Lullabies, which is dedicated to Pine’s daughter, includes several world premieres along with many traditional favorites to soothe the spirit."

By Rachel Barton Pine, violin; Matthew Hagel, piano, Cedille (2013).

CD Dvorak: Cypresses for String Quartet, String Quartet No. 13 Op. 106
Model: 822252227529
April Pick from Paul Jordan, host of WCPE's "Preview!": Founded in San Francisco in 1996, the Cypress String Quartet crafts a finely layered sound that allows each voice to sing clearly while combining in a complete and beautiful performance.This all-Dvorak CD features "Cypresses" (from which the ensemble takes its name), a delightful set of miniatures inspired by the theme of unrequited love, along with String Quartet No.13. With a discography ranging from the works of modern composers Elena Ruehr and Jennifer Higdon to the late Beethoven Quartets, the versatility and virtuosity of the Cypress String Quartet are seemingly boundless.

CD Pavane - Maxim Rysanov
Model: 675754042615
February Pick from William Woltz, WCPE Music Director: The viola, the alto member of the string choir, sings with a voice that is rich and charismatic.  No one demonstrates this expressive quality better than Ukrainian violist Maxim Rysanov.  In his latest disc, Pavane, he joins English pianist Ashley Wass for a program of French favorites from Debussy, Ravel and Faure.  It's simply beautiful. 

CD The Beethoven Journey
Model: 887254205821
January Pick from Paul Jordan, host of Preview:  Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes brings to these new recordings of Beethoven’s 1st and 3rd piano concertos his stated belief that Beethoven’s music is the most human and deeply spiritual music there is. That conviction is clearly evident in these inspired performances.

CD Noel - Angele Dubeau & La Pieta
Model: 774204873028
December Pick from William Woltz, WCPE music director: In this collection of Christmas works for violin and string orchestra, Canadian violinist Angele Dubeau features a number of traditional favorites, such as the Christmas concertos of Vivaldi and Torelli and, of course, Silent Night. But you'll also hear lesser-known but equally delightful songs of the season by the likes of Sibelius, Glazunov and Dave Brubeck. Consistent throughout is Dubeau's devotion to beautiful sound. This is a program of holiday music you can listen to over and over again.

CD Khatia Buniatishvili: Chopin
Model: 886919712926
November Pick from William Woltz, WCPE music director:  Georgian pianist Khatia Buniatishvili, 25, who earned praise last year for her debut solo recording of Liszt, has followed with a new disc of Chopin favorites that is sure to please. Honored for Best Chopin Interpretation in the 2008 Rubinstein Piano Competition, her playing demonstrates a tremendous technique driven by youthful passion but still highly nuanced. This set includes the Waltz in C sharp minor, Op. 64 No. 2; the famous "Funeral March" Sonata, and the Concerto No. 2, with Paavo Jarvi leading the Paris Orchestra. There's a neat little video, too, that plays on your computer.

CD Symphonie Fantastique - Berlioz
Model: 691062040020
September Pick from William Woltz, WCPE music director: Does the world really need another recording of the Symphonie fantastique? Yes, when it's by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and its principal conductor, 29-year-old Robin Ticciati. He leads the ensemble in a performance that is fresh, detailed, and passionate. 

CD Cotswolds Symphony - Holst
Model: 747313291472
August Pick from Tara Lynn of WCPE: "JoAnn Falletta was recently appointed Principal Conductor of the Ulster Orchestra, making her the first American and first female to accept this role.  With three American orchestras under her direction as well, she continues to captivate audiences and motivate musicians through great repertoire.  Explore delightful, lesser-known works by Holst in one of several albums this in-demand conductor is slated to release in 2012."

CD 10 - tenThing Brass Ensemble, led by Tine Thing Helseth
Model: 5099908832627
July pick from Will Woltz, WCPE Music Director: Young Norwegian trumpet sensation Tine Thing Helseth leads tenThing, an all-female brass ensemble in unique arrangements of favorites by Bizet, Grieg, Mozart, Piazzolla, and Weill, plus 20th-Century Dutch composer Jan Koetsier's Brass Symphony. All CDs should be this much fun to listen to! Enjoy a taste of tenThing at http://youtu.be/qkjMFq7NuF0 .

CD Six Pieces for Orchestra - Tony Banks
Model: 747313298679
June pick from Will Woltz, WCPE Music Director:  Rock keyboardist and composer Tony Banks was a co-founder of Genesis, and his early love of classical music helped shape that band's unique sound. On his new release, Banks serves up music that ranges from introspective to heroic,comprising, as he describes it, "a story without words." Paul Englishby leads the City of Prague Philharmonic in this Naxos recording.

CD Bruch and Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos/Beethoven Romances  by Philippe Quint
Model: 5414706103623

May pick from Paul Jordan of WCPE: "Quint's rendering of the Bruch and Mendelssohn concertos is pure and vibrant. The addition of the two Beethoven Romances makes this CD irresistible."

CD Chopin, Liszt, Ravel - Benjamin Grosvenor, pianist
Model: 028947832065
April Pick from William Woltz, WCPE Musical Director:  Benjamin Grosvenor is a not-quite-20-year-old pianist from Great Britain who combines an effortless yet formidable technique with a musical sensibility suggesting maturity beyond his years.  His first major label recording is an intriguing musical journey from Chopin's scherzos and nocturnes through Ravel's "Gaspard de la nuit", linked by Liszt's "En Reve".  It's a thoroughly enjoyable program and a promise of great things to come from this young talent.

CD Air: The Bach Album by Anne Akiko Meyers
Model: 028947780946
March Pick from Paul Jordan of WCPE: “Violinist Anne Akiko-Meyer’s latest offering, Air: The Bach Album, should not be dismissed as just another Bach CD. It’s fresh, original and full of firsts. Most notably, Meyer plays BOTH parts of the Bach double violin concerto using two different Stradivarius violins, one of which was owned by Napoleon. Also mentionable is the quality of the recording itself: sonically crisp, vibrant and surprisingly modern in character.”