New Releases: Tafelmusik's 'Dreams,' Buchbinder's Schubert, Rarities by Moniuszko

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra (Sian Richards)

Toronto's Tafelmusik blows the dust off of period-instrument performance with its multimedia "House of Dreams" project. Rudolf Buchbinder plays electrifying Schubert and the Warsaw Philharmonic introduces us to the neglected works of Stanislaw Moniuszko.

House of Dreams (CD & DVD)
Baroque Orchestra
Tafelmusik media

The Canadian period instrument ensemble Tafelmusik has previously captured our attention with the Galileo Project, a unique multimedia project that wove together Baroque music with images from the Hubble telescope and writings by important scientific figures. The ensemble returns with another visually-driven project, built around five historic houses in five European cities – London, Paris, Delft, Venice and Leipzig – where the music of Bach, Handel, Purcell, Telemann, Vivaldi and others was played.

These houses contained a wealth of visual art, including paintings by Vermeer, Canaletto, and Watteau, and this is where the visual imagery comes in. The documentary film presents a guided trip through European art and architecture blended with an international assortment of music: two numbers from Handel’s Theodora, several movements from Vivaldi concertos, three instrumental pieces by Purcell, Marin Marais’s Suite from Alcyone, three Bach transcriptions and finally, the Overture to Telemann’s Wassermusik. All of the music was memorized for the DVD performance and there’s an audio CD as well. 

Tafelmusik is to perform this program at Carnegie Hall on March 17, part of a farewell tour by the group’s music director and violinist, Jeanne Lamon. See an excerpt from the DVD at the bottom of this page.

Schubert Impromptus and Sonata, D. 960
Rudolf Buchbinder
Available at

Rudolf Buchbinder’s latest Schubert album, released last September, features repertoire that he previously recorded in the studio. But this was recorded live at the Golden Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna and the presence of an audience seems to have inspired this veteran Austrian pianist to more expressive freedom and rhetorical license. In the famous B-flat Sonata, D. 960 he plays with power and resonance but also takes time to linger over details and consider odd harmonic twists. The Four Impromptus Op. 90 are equally poetic but with a penchant for swagger when the mood calls for it. Given that Buchbinder doesn't have quite the name recognition in the U.S. that he has in Europe, this recording serves as a fine introduction to his music-making.


Stanislaw Moniuszko: Overtures
Warsaw Philharmonic, Antoni Wit, conductor

In Poland, Stanislaw Moniuszko (1819-1872), is a respected national composer, known for his vibrant use of color and Slavic folk sources. Yet most everywhere else, his music is largely forgotten. The Warsaw Philharmonic presents 10 of his overtures including that to his best-known work, the Overture to Halka (The Fairytale, which also happened to be the first important Polish opera). Many are quite zesty and full of charm, a reminder that there’s always new music to be discovered beyond the core Western canon.


More in:

Comments [2]

Nela from Hillsborough, NJ

"The Fairytale" ("Bajka")is an orchestral overtures by Stanislaw Moniuszko and not the overture to the opera "Halka". Both overtures are probably included on the CD. "Halka" is indeed the first Polish modern opera. The write-up suggests that the translation of "Halka" is "The Fairytale" which is not correct. Halka is a (proper) name of the heroine of the opera.

Mar. 12 2014 11:07 PM
Peter J Blume from Westchester, NY

Am very much looking forward to this new Tafelmusik release! Was listening to the Galileo Project again in my i-pod just this morning on my walk into work; stunning audio. And the video concept (DVD) set in conjunction with the music is also very interesting & very well done; of course it also helps that Cristina Zacharias comes into camera view every couple of minutes! I'm bummed though that Jeanne Lamon will be retiring this year as Music Director; this group was her inception & she really honed it into one of the finest & most reputable Baroque ensembles in the world--delivering a prolonged legacy of excellence on period instruments. I'm certain that standard will continue, but I'm glad to hear that she will still continue to perform with the group. Am looking forward to 'House of Dreams' this next conceptual Tafelmusik project--as they look to begin their own next chapter.

Mar. 11 2014 10:42 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.


About Albums of the Week

The Albums of the Week are compelling new recordings that we spotlight every week. These include creative repertoire choices, engaging musical personalities and artistic statements that stand out from the pack. You can hear the Albums of the Week throughout the day and evening on WQXR.