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Symphonies - Released May 30, 2007 | Berlin Classics

As part of Berlin Classics' Moods series, Peaceful Inspirations offers rather interesting excerpts and short pieces, though most of these set moods quite at odds with the album's title. The selections by such modern masters as Ravel, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Kodály, and Hindemith, among others, are a refreshing change of fare from the expected Pachelbel Canon or Albinoni Adagio, and it's gratifying to see that the roster of performers includes several fine orchestras and conductors, including the famous Gewandhausorchester Leipzig and the Dresden Staatskapelle. But listeners will find that the music is often far from peaceful, even though it is all inspired. Ravel's Le jardin féerique and Pavane pour une infante défunte, Tchaikovsky's "Arabian Dance" from the Nutcracker, and Respighi's "Italiana" from Ancient Airs and Dances are consistently restrained in mood, but the rest of the selections have loud and fast sections that tend to be too exciting for this collection's stated aim and are often fairly tense in feeling and flamboyant in style. (Note in particular the Scherzo moderato from Hindemith's Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes by Carl Maria von Weber, which is nothing short of rousing). Had this CD been titled "Exotic Inspirations," then the program would be a perfect match since the pieces touch on fairy tales and distant locales and the music shimmers throughout with fantastic instrumental colors. For a mellower sampler by the same label, try Sensual Tunes, which is far more subdued and relaxing than this disc.
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Classical - Released March 1, 2010 | Classico

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