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Sunday Baroque 2013 Holiday Gift List

Dear Sunday Baroque listener,

I frequently receive requests for CD information – from details on a particular recording you've heard on the program to suggestions for building a personal music collection. The Sunday Baroque Holiday Gift List allows me to share some of my recent favorites, and let you know what your fellow listeners are asking about. It's also a way to give you gift ideas for the music lovers on your list this holiday season.

Throughout December, you'll be able to audition selections from a few gift list CDs on every week’s program. Most of these recordings have received rave reviews, and they've stood out as special and noteworthy to Sunday Baroque listeners like you. Some of the recordings feature well-known music and composers, while others offer alternatives that are less well-known, but just as deserving of attention.

Whether you’re planning to buy music for yourself or a friend, or whether you'd just like to enjoy listening to the best of the best of recent releases in the coming weeks, I hope you'll find pleasing music to enhance your holiday season.

Thank you for listening!


Chris Thile – mandolin
The 2012 MacArthur Foundation "Genius Award" winner gives thoughtful and sensitive performances of Johann Sebastian Bach's Sonatas BWV 1001 and BWV 1003, and Partita BWV 1002. If you know Chris Thile for his bluegrass and folk performances, you will fall in love with his Bach. And if you are already familiar with this music played on violin, you'll appreciate his respectful approach on mandolin.

Michelle Makarski – violin, Keith Jarrett – piano
Violinist Michelle Makarski and Keith Jarrett are longtime friends, and for two years they got together to play Bach's Sonatas just for fun. Then they decided to record them, and the result is this captivating, critically acclaimed performance.

JS BACH VIOLIN CONCERTOS BWV 1041-1043 (Harmonia Mundi HMC 902145)
Gottfried von der Goltz, Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, Petra Mullejans – violin, Anne Katharina Schreiber - violin
These are gorgeous performances of beloved Violin Concertos by Johann Sebastian Bach! A great addition of standard works for your music collection, or a terrific introduction to the baroque for someone who might not yet be familiar.

Lavish 3-CD set featuring a variety of performers and ensembles playing music ranging from serene to cheerful and jaunty, both vocal and instrumental. So many holiday recordings offer only the same old music, while this collection taps into the more serene, introspective tone of the season.

CONCERTO BAROCCO (Voices of music recording 2010)
Voices of Music
The acclaimed early music group Voices of Music plays a delightful variety of Concertos by Antonio Vivaldi, Arcangelo Corelli, Johann Sebastian Bach and Johann Pachelbel. A terrific celebration of some of the "pillars" of the baroque era and a few of their most delightful works. You'll want to play this one over and over.

DIVISION (Ostraka recording 29903)
This is the debut recording from the early music trio, Ostraka, which is comprised of viol player Josh Lee and lutenists John Lenti and David Walker. Talented as individual performers, they bring together a winning combination of exceptional skills and artistry playing music by Diego Ortiz, Marin Marais, Richardo Rognoni, Christopher Simpson, Robert de Visee and Nicola Matteis.

GRACEFUL DEGRADATION (C. Wilke recording 2013)
Christopher Wilke – lute
Solo lute music by Franz Joseph Haydn as well as less well known composers of the baroque and early classical eras, such as Jakob Friedrich Kleinknecht and Paulo Carlo Durant. Christopher Wilke explores the lute's many moods and tones, and his artistry is a pleasure to hear.

JEAN-MARIE LECLAIR (Orchid 100032)
Andrew Appel, Four Nations Ensemble
The Four Nations Ensemble gives an elegant performance of chamber music by Jean-Marie Leclair for flute, violin, cello and harpsichord played by Charles Brink, Krista Bennion Feeney, Loretta O'Sullivan, and Andrew Appel. Their artistry on period instruments will transport you to the early 18th century.

MYTHS AND ALLEGORIES (Les Delices recording 2012)
Les Delices, Debra Nagy - oboe
This is the second cd from the Cleveland-based group Les Delices. The group specializes in French Baroque music, which often drew on mythological subjects. MYTHS AND ALLEGORIES includes both instrumental and vocal selections by composers such as Jean-Fery Rebel, Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre, Thomas-Louis Bourgeois, and Michel Pignolet de Monteclair.

Attaignant Consort
The music ranges from the renaissance era through the transitional period into the baroque. A wide range of composers is represented, including Jan Sweelinck, Giovanni Palestrina, Jacques-Martin Hotteterre, Robert de Visee, and Orlando Gibbons.

Leah Gale Nelson – baroque violin, Daniel Swenberg - theorbo, Dongsok Shin - organ
Heinrich Biber's 15 Rosary Sonatas -- Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mystery Sonatas -- were crafted as accompaniment for meditation and prayer. The music is dramatic and intense, and very difficult to play, and this fine recording is especially well done.

Alison Balsom – trumpet, The English Concert
Music by Henry Purcell and George Frideric Handel. Spirited and lovely performances by one of today's top trumpet soloists and the acclaimed early music ensemble, The English Concert. Alison Balsom's effortless playing is virtuosic and thrilling.

ZELENKA: THE CAPRICCIOS (Dorian Sono Luminus DSL-92163)
Daniel Abraham, Bach Sinfonia
This is a great choice for the baroque music lover who already has the standard repertory and would like to branch out to some less well-known music and composers from the era. Zelenka's music is well crafted and the Bach Sinfonia gives an energetic and exciting performance.