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Sharing releases, present and past, to brighten your day. WXXI Classical has its eyes and ears on the latest releases from classical artists working today. When we come across a story or a release we think you might enjoy, we’ll be sharing it with you on CD Spotlight. You’ll learn more about the artists online at WXXI Classical, and you’ll hear selections from these artists on FM 91.5. CD Spotlight shares new releases by artists that you’ll want to know and some by great artists and ensembles that deserve to be in the spotlight again.

CD Spotlight: Consolations by Maya Magub

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Cover of Consolations by Maya Magub

It never fails…the radio announcer finds himself or herself just a couple of minutes short at the top of the hour and needs to fill the gap. Back in the day, Elvis Costello was always a good bet, with songs clocking in at two minutes or less. But what’s a classical announcer to do? Consolations by Maya Magub is a great solution. It’s a CD filled with short, beloved pieces played by violinist Magub and pianist Hsin-I Huang.

But this is more than a collection of pretty fillers. It is an album of music to console and uplift, something we have all needed, especially throughout the pandemic. The centerpiece is Liszt’s six Consolations. Magub, a longtime member of the London Mozart Players, fell in love with violinist Nathan Millstein’s transcription of number three, so she transcribed the other five as well, and put them together as a set for this CD. She dug through her father’s sheet music and recordings and surrounded Liszt’s pieces with transcriptions that have long given us joy and peace: the Bach/Gounod “Ave Maria,” Massenet’s “Meditation” from Thais, Handel’s “Largo” from Xerxes, “Vocalise” by Rachmaninov, and more.

Producing a CD in a pandemic created another challenge. Magub and Huang recorded their parts separately, with plenty of discussion in advance and during the process, which Magub describes as “incredibly democratic and creative.” And, in the end, they created an album that offers a refuge in turbulent times. After all, as Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Music is the best consolation for a despaired man.”

A Strong Memorial baby and Greece Arcadia grad, Julia Figueras is the Music Director and mid-day host for WXXI-FM. She is also the producer and host for the award-winning monthly interview/performance show, Backstage Pass.