Latest Music Reviews

Antonio Pompa-Baldi: Loud and Lisztian

by Jed Distler

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Liszt’s influence on his contemporaries, his younger colleagues, and today’s piano composers is the subtext of this excellent release. As I’ve previously noted in reviews, Antonio Pompa-Baldi was the 2001 Van Cliburn Competition Silver Medalist who should have been the Gold Medalist. He opens with... Continue Reading

MTT’s Sober, Serious Tchaikovsky Fifth

by David Hurwitz

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This release had me worried. Michael Tilson Thomas, like so many of today’s most talented conductors, sometimes takes advantage of the excellence of his orchestra in late romantic music to turn in performances full of “expressive” mannerism and self-indulgence. He did it in his Mahler... Continue Reading

Resonant, Resplendent Poulenc Motets, Mass, Chansons

by David Vernier

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One thing choirs who’ve sung Francis Poulenc’s choral works know is that he wasn’t concerned about making it easy for singers. Yet, unlike some other composers of the last (and current) century, neither was he creating difficult music just because he could. Instead, there is... Continue Reading

Rémi Geniet Plays Bach: This Kid’s Got It!

by Jed Distler

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Pianist Rémi Geniet was 21 when he recorded this absolute honey of a Bach recital. His articulation often recalls Glenn Gould’s dry-point detaché touch, but with additional lightness and color, as the deliciously yet not excessively decorated Fourth Partita Ouverture demonstrates, along with the characterfully... Continue Reading

Osorio Goes to Russia, Enjoyably

by David Hurwitz

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Jorge Federico Osorio is a fine artist and he deserves the opportunity to venture outside the Spanish and Latin American repertoire on which he has built his reputation on disc. This Russian recital is well-planned, and by and large quite successful. In Prokofiev’s Sixth Sonata,... Continue Reading

Big Boxes: Martinon’s Complete Chicago Recordings At Last

by David Hurwitz

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These recordings are stunning, plain and simple. There isn’t a single performance in this set that could not serve as a reference version for the repertoire in question (OK, maybe the Weber Clarinet Concertos with Benny Goodman…). Some of been reissued already, and are well-known:... Continue Reading

Paine’s Second from Ulster and Falletta: Modified Rapture

by David Hurwitz

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Paine’s Second Symphony, subtitled “In the Spring”, is a more ambitious work than his First, and it’s less successful. Despite a slightly more advanced harmonic idiom, the nearly 50-minute piece rambles–albeit amiably–in its outer movements. The slow introduction isn’t auspicious: it takes some time to... Continue Reading

A Little Night Music from Stephen Hough

by Jed Distler

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Stephen Hough’s penchant for intelligent thematic programming once again manifests itself throughout “In the Night”. Ironically, the music’s dark subtexts often benefit from the pianist’s interpretive “illumination”. The opening selection, “In der Nacht” from Schumann’s Fantasiestücke Op. 12, is a case in point. Hough not... Continue Reading

Happy 80th, Arvo, From The Tallis Scholars

by Robert Levine

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I don’t believe the Tallis Scholars have recorded any of Arvo Pärt’s music before; their repertoire has been happily and brilliantly placed in the Renaissance, aside from a side trip to that contemporary semi-bore, the late John Tavener, who, I presume, must be acknowledged by... Continue Reading

Spohr’s 7th: Part Earthly, Part Divine, and Totally Silly

by David Hurwitz

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Spohr’s symphonic music (and much else) is earnest to the point of caricature. The Seventh Symphony is subtitled “The Earthly and Divine in Human Life,” believe it or not. Interestingly scored for two orchestras, the smaller of them consists of solo instruments, while the full... Continue Reading

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