Soon to be released new CD, “Lorraine,” from the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra was created by two live performances on stage at UCLA’s Royce Hall. The stuff of great drama, it is dedicated and named after the soprano soloist, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, who lost her battle with cancer in 2006. Classical music writer and reviewer Bill Peters shares his impressions of the recording:
“It's a haunting moment when following a bright, even snappy Brandenburg Concerto No. 4, that the brilliant mezzo-soprano, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson's voice soulfully begins singing the Bach Cantata 'Mein Herze Schwimmt in Blut' ('My Heart swims in Blood') on a newly released CD that combines the deep-seated talents of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and its conductor, Jeffrey Kahane, with the now lost genius of Hunt-Lieberson. The CD is taken from live performances recorded on two differing dates at UCLA's Royce Hall. It is this unusual firkin due to be released next week on Yarlung Records that results in one of the best recordings in the classical field in ages.
“Under Kahane's leadership, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, with leading long-time mainstays, concertmaster Margaret Batjer, flutist David Shostac (and flutist Brook Ellen Schoenwald who is often heard with the ensemble) the Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 is steady-handed, and even determined. Following that breezy performance, the reading of the Bach Cantata highlights the best of Hunt-Lieberson who in this recording continues her well-known authoritative vocalization. The CD altogether produces the kind of musical chilling moment that rarely occurs.
“The album cover reveals that the dedication by the chamber group to the soprano is serious: the CD is merely entitled 'Lorraine' and carries a simple almost at-home photograph of the late artist, who died a cancer victim in 2006.
“The CD is a result of two live performances: the first with Hunt-Lieberson recorded at UCLA's Royce Hall in 2003; the second a portion of LACO's yearly Brandenburg Bash, the consistently sold-out performance of all the concerti, this one recorded at UCLA's Royce Hall on Nov. 6, 2011.
“The Bach Cantata is an eight-part work for solo voice and small ensemble meant as an adjunct to Lutheran Sunday church services. Taken from Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians regarding his 'sins' and Luke's parable of a Pharisee encountering an unpure tax collector, the biblical texts seek a road to redemption. “’The results of my sins’ according to the English text provided in the excellent liner notes, is accounted for in the final aria, claiming ‘now that God has reconciled me…’.
“Throughout, Hunt-Lieberson presents the words in strong and authoritative tones that is direct and without embroidery. It is this very intense focus that makes the performance absolutely soaring in tone and perfected performance. The glorious conclusion confirms the great Bach music and stands prominently as the answer to the pain and grief those who seek true redemption often experience.
“Orchestra principal oboist, Allan Vogel and principal violist Roland Kato add measurably to the overall effect.
“The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra will celebrate the release of their new CD on Saturday, March 23 at the Alex Theatre, Glendale, and at UCLA's Royce Hall on Sunday, March 24. Following their performance at both locations (with works by Mozart and Stravinsky, the program will include the Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 5) ticket holders are invited to meet LACO musicians for complementary drinks and appetizers in the lobby, where copies of the CD will be on sale.
“The CD is available online at Yarlung Records website, www.yarlungrecords.com priced at $19.99 plus shipping and handling.”
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