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Music of Ernest Bloch and Ferruccio Busoni performed by the St. Michel String Orchestra led by a familiar name: Maestro Daniel Raiskin! Read more about the 2007 disc here! 


This month's McNally Robinson Booksellers Classical Recording of the Month takes us back to 2007. More than a decade before his tenure as Music Director of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra began, Maestro Daniel Raiskin was Artist Partner of the St. Michel String Orchestra in Finland. Based in Mikkeli, Finland, the orchestra was founded in 1903 as an amateur ensemble with a professional conductor before slowly transitioning into a fully professional ensemble. Released on the Alba label, this 2007 disc features music of Ernest Bloch and Ferruccio Busoni. 

The Concerti Grossi 1 &2 of Ernest Bloch (1880-1959) both exhibit a Neoclassical/Neoromantic style, with the influence of philosophy, poetry and Judaism. The son of a Jewish family, the tragic turmoil of the 20th century weighed on his life's work and can regularly be felt in his music. With that being said, the Concerti Grossi 1 is a relatively upbeat work with the second exhibiting Bloch's mastery of counterpoint and polystylistic writing. 

Ferruccio Busoni (1866-1924) is best remembered as one of the greatest piano virtuosos to ever live. The only child of musical parents, he was a piano prodigy who began touring at the age of 7. In the tradition of great pianist-composers, Busoni was also a prolific writer producing a large collection of operas, chamber works and symphonic works. Showcasing his ability from a young age (à la Mozart and Mendelssohn), the Concerto for piano and string orchestra op 17 was written by a 12 year old composer! It is a youthful, smiling work featuring Finnish piano Risto Lauriala at the keyboard. 

You can find the CD on the shelves of the music section at McNally Robinson Booksellers!