Classical picks: 'Cold Mountain' on record; a new voice comes to WRTI; Bach and beer


"Cold Mountain," the premiere, on record. A few different singers make last year's Santa Fe Opera premiere of the Jennifer Higdon/ Gene Scheer opera - as heard on the newly released Pentatone recording - far more than just a dry run for the later Opera Philadelphia outing in February. For one thing, you're not forced to look at the compromised set design in Santa Fe. For another, Nathan Gunn generates much vocal magnetism in the central role of Inman, even if his Philadelphia replacement, Jarrett Ott, filled in for him more than capably. But as much as conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya seems to have a solid connection with the piece, this big-orchestra opera won't reveal its full dramatic vitality until the players are going beyond just getting the notes right. But at least there's now a recording on whose shoulders other performers can stand.

- David Patrick Stearns

Classical voice. A new on-air voice is joining WRTI-FM (90.1), Temple University's radio station, as soon as Monday. Kevin Gordon succeeds Jill Pasternak, who retired over the summer, as afternoon classical music host from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Gordon was previously at WKCP in Miami, which he left after the station was sold and changed formats. He had also been a host for WQXR, WINS, NBC News, and the RKO Radio Network - all in New York. "Not only are his credentials impressive, but his knowledge and enthusiasm of music and the arts became quite obvious during the interview," said WRTI general manager David Conant. "Although he's never lived in Philadelphia, he clearly knows a great deal about the city and its many cultural treasures. Before his flight back, he made certain he was able to visit the Barnes." Gordon is also a painter. Information:

- Peter Dobrin

If beer, then Bach. It's OK to be skeptical about an event that promises to "discover the connections between the art of brewing and the art of playing the music of Bach." Connections or not, there's considerable joy in either, so what's not to like about experiencing them simultaneously? We can't vouch for the beer this Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Dock Street Brewery, but we can report that cellist Steuart Pincombe, who will be pairing beers with the Cello Suites, is excellent in any venue. Dock Street is at 701 S. 50th St. Information:

- P.D.