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Classical CD reviews: Pascal and Ami Rogé's 'Wedding Cake'; Mark Kosower's 'Hungarian Music for Cello and Piano'; and more

Pascal and Ami Rogé

Album: Wedding Cake (Onyx)

In stores: Now

Why we care: French pianist Pascal Rogé has long been a presence on the Tampa Bay music scene. He has played concertos with the Florida Orchestra and has appeared on the Encore chamber music series, most recently in the March premiere of Mark Sforzini's The Voyage of Life. Now Rogé and his pianist wife, Ami (they were married in 2009), have joined forces on a charming album for four hands, two pianos.

Why we like it: To hear the Rogés in French repertoire is pure pleasure, such as Saint-Saens' Wedding Cake for "four hands and two hearts.'' The one non-French piece is Ami by Japanese-American composer Paul Chihara.

Reminds us of: Love at the keyboard

Download these: Wedding Cake, La Valse

Grade: A

Mark Kosower

Album: Hungarian Music for Cello and Piano (Naxos)

In stores: Now

Why we care: Cellist Mark Kosower, a soloist next season with the Florida Orchestra in the Dvorak Cello Concerto, collaborates with pianist Jee-Won Oh in works of Hungarians Erno Dohnányi, Béla Bartók, Zoltán Kodály, Miklós Rózsa, Franz Liszt and David Popper.

Why we like it: Kosower has a marvelously rich sound. He is a forceful interpreter of demanding works like Dohnányi's Sonata and Rozsa's Toccata capricciosa. Oh brings authority to the repertoire as a former assistant to János Starker, the great Hungarian cellist.

Reminds us of: How amazing it is that such a small country as Hungary has produced so much enduring music

Download these: Ruralia Hungarica, Adagio

Grade: A

Paavo Jarvi

Album: Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Paavo Jarvi: Beethoven Symphony No. 9 (RCA)

In stores: Now

Why we care: Add conductor Paavo Jarvi and the German Chamber Philharmonic to the long list of Beethoven symphony cyclists. The competition is fierce — most recently, the Minnesota Orchestra and its conductor, Osmo Vanska, have gotten raves for their Beethoven on the Bis label — but Jarvi and company bring a nice light touch to the repertoire. This is their fifth and final release in the cycle.

Why we like it: The vocal quartet includes the tremendous baritone Matthias Goerne.

Reminds us of: The Beethoven symphony cycle by Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe

Download this: Ode to Joy (tracks 4-11)

Grade: B+

Leon Kirchner

Album: Concert: Chamber Works of Leon Kirchner (Albany Records)

In stores: Now

Why we care: Leon Kirchner, who died in September at age 90, was an important figure in 20th century American music. He studied with Schoenberg as an undergraduate at UCLA, though he was not strictly a 12-tone composer. His String Quartet No. 3 won the Pulitzer Prize. As a music professor at Harvard, his students included John Adams.

Why we like it: Albany has a series devoted to Kirchner, and its new release includes fine performances, such as Paula Robison in Flutings for Paula. Kirchner plays piano in Sonata Concertante for violin and piano with Eudice Shapiro. Excellent liner notes by Paul Griffiths.

Reminds us of: Elliott Carter, Charles Wuorinen

Download these: Trio No. 2

Grade: A-

Classical CD reviews: Pascal and Ami Rogé's 'Wedding Cake'; Mark Kosower's 'Hungarian Music for Cello and Piano'; and more 04/03/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 30, 2010 4:46pm]

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