My music-expert husband’s new fave CD

Pedrag Rachmaninov cover art

I happen to be married to a somewhat well-known person. After TV stints as CNN’s film critic and 12 years hosting “Sneak Previews” on PBS, for the past 21 years Michael Medved’s been hosting a 3-hour-long nationally syndicated radio show, from a studio at his affiliate station here in Seattle.

He’s incredibly knowledgeable about history and politics, arising each day at 6 to read five newspapers and then drive to his office where he peruses several more. He’s in the midst of writing his 14th book, which is about divine providence in American History, second of two volumes, this one covering from the time of Abraham Lincoln to the present.

Lots of people know all that about him, but few realize he’s a polymath, expert in many, many more subjects, including art and especially classical music.

Step into his den, his writing room, and you’ll not only see a wall of books, but two walls of floor-to ceiling shelves housing thousands upon thousands of classical music CDs. Despite all that, he scours the catalogues of Naxos or Arkiv, companies that must make very little profit specializing in obscure classical recordings. My dear husband’s stealth self-indulgence in the wee hours is to frequent classical music sites and find new releases at bargain prices. The relish with which he announces a fresh discovery equals the delight expressed upon hearing we were to have our first child.

I firmly believe he now treasures that child even more than his CDs, but children can at times bring frustration, and nothing uplifts and delights Michael Medved so consistently as unearthing a most stereophonically excellent classical disc. When phoning home from the office to hear the contents of that day’s mail, he becomes most thrilled learning a coveted CD has arrived, followed by receiving a substantial check.

Today I awoke to find my husband tackling his day, especially bouncy. He was twinkling in a way inconsistent with mornings like this one, socked-in by wet, dreary fog. He made a gleeful announcement:

“Today there was finally a review posted for my favorite CD!”

Me: “Really? What?”

“Yes, the Predrag Gosta Rachmaninov Symphonic Dances!”

He was prancing.

I certainly remembered that recording, as he has been swooning since it arrived a couple weeks ago. It is indeed a masterpiece, recorded so beautifully you’d swear the orchestra was in your living room, at least if you have a carefully-curated stereo system (as my husband can proudly demonstrate). And Predrag Gosta? Who has ever heard of him? Michael fairly glowed when he dug up that one–a conductor so obscure that Arkiv Music must have sold, oh, two copies of the recording with the London Symphony Orchestra (also featuring Mussorgski’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” with the Rachmaninov; Release Date: 07/29/2016, Label: Edition Lilac, Catalog #: 160530).

My bouncy spouse urged me to immediately look up the review on my smartphone, and I obliged. The review was stunningly effusive yet heartfelt, spilling with superlatives, and I urge you to sup at its table:

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  ( 1 Customer Review )
 Glorious Demonstration of High Art, Peerless Sound June 20, 2017
By Michael M.
It’s hard to know which deserves more praise in this extraordinary release: the deep, detailed, remarkably resonant sound and its peerless demonstration of recording technology, or the passionate, richly romantic conducting that gives new glow to two tired war horses.
I’d never heard of Predrag Gosta prior to this disc and knew nothing of the Edition Lilac label under which it appears. I suspect this may be some specially-funded vanity project to highlight Gosta’s conducting skills and if so it’s a smashing success.
The Rachmaninoff sizzles and sparkles, with every detail exploding with passion and new life. Music that can seem tedious and over-wrought in lesser hands here sounds spontaneous, heart-felt and, where appropriate, subtle and cunning. The powerful brass of the LSO shine with special sheen and double basses have never thrummed with more authoritative impact. The Mussorgsky is also a knock-out- comparable to the justly celebrated classic recordings with the Chicago Symphony and Reiner or Giulini. Altogether, an unexpected triumph. Don’t miss this dazzling gem!
     I was duly impressed, and suggested if he mentioned the recording on his show, Arkiv would receive a surge in sales for that disc.
     “Yeah, the number sold will jump from two to four.”
     Well, take it from me–you’ll never get a bad recommendation for classical music from Michael Medved. And the more people who gain the enjoyment and spiritual high my husband has received from this music, the happier our world will be.

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