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John Fleming's CD picks: Cleveland Orchestra, Trio Solisti, Michael Sidney Timpson, Howard Shore

Cleveland Orchestra

Album: Haydn: Early London Symphonies (Sony)

In stores: Now

Why we care: Haydn wasn't the greatest symphonist of the classical era, but he paved the way for the composer who was: Mozart. This year marks the 200th anniversary of the death of Haydn, who wrote an astonishing 104 symphonies.

Why we like it: Conductor George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra are at their crisply disciplined best in the reissue of a two-disc set recorded in the 1960s of Haydn's Symphonies No. 93-98 from his first London sojourn.

Reminds us of: Why the Cleveland Orchestra under Szell set the standard for American symphony orchestras

Download this: Symphony No. 94 in G Major (Surprise)

Grade: A

Trio Solisti

Album: Cafe Music (Bridge)

In stores: Now

Why we care: Trio Solisti — Maria Bachmann, violin; Alexis Pia Gerlach, cello; Jon Klibonoff, piano — explores the links between classical and pop music in works of Paul Schoenfield, Astor Piazzolla and others. The group gives a concert July 19 at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg.

Why we like it: Schoenfield's jaunty Cafe Music is one of the masterpieces of our time, and the trio plays it with tremendous elan. Piazzolla's Four Seasons of Buenos Aires includes gleefully exuberant sound effects and extended string technique. The suave virtuosity of Joaquin Turina's Trio No. 2 in B minor is a delightful surprise.

Reminds us of: High-class dinner music

Download this: Cafe Music

Grade: A

Michael Sidney Timpson

Album: Cross-Cultural Collisions, Reinventions and Fertilizations (Capstone)

In stores: Now

Why we care: Timpson, who teaches composition at the University of South Florida, has a refreshing hybrid style, fusing traditional Asian music with Western jazz and pop. This CD of 10 of his works features Tampa Bay area musicians such as singer Theresa D'Aiuto Andrasy, flutist Kim McCormick and the trio Confluences.

Why we like it: The combinations — hip-hop rhythms and a Chinese silk and bamboo ensemble in Chasin' Bill, soprano sax and guzheng (a plucked string instrument) in Crush — are ingenious and infectious.

Reminds us of: An Ang Lee Chinese movie

Download these: Chasin' Bill, Chosen Words, Crush, Confluquences

Grade: B+

Howard Shore

Album: Doubt (Howe Records)

In stores: Now

Why we care: This is Shore's score to the Meryl Streep-Philip Seymour Hoffman movie from John Patrick Shanley's great play about change in the Catholic Church. A production of Doubt by American Stage opens July 24 in St. Petersburg.

Why we like it: Fans of Shore's work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy will recognize the Irish influence in his use of hammered dulcimer, recorder, Celtic harp and mandolin. There are 19 tracks on the CD, but only eight of them were used in the film. The score on its own is not really much of a pure listening experience, as the sound is unvaryingly somber, but its restraint captures the gray atmosphere of St. Nicholas in the Bronx in 1964 extremely well.

Reminds us of: Gorecki's Symphony of Sorrowful Songs

Download this: Main Title

Grade: B

John Fleming's CD picks: Cleveland Orchestra, Trio Solisti, Michael Sidney Timpson, Howard Shore 07/11/09 [Last modified: Saturday, July 11, 2009 4:30am]
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