Latest Music Reviews

Alvin and the Chipmunks Play Bruckner

by David Hurwitz

Yes, you saw it correctly. Asking the Tapiola Sinfonietta (about forty-six members) to play Bruckner’s Fifth Symphony, his grandest work before the Eighth, is like asking Alvin and the Chipmunks to perform Wagner’s Ring. All of it. The result is cartoonish when not simply silly,... Continue Reading

Historical Gems: Martinon’s Mono Philips Legacy

by David Hurwitz

These three discs feature Jean Martinon leading the Lamoureux Orchestra in the early to mid 1950s. A conductor of genius, most all that he did was memorable in one way or another, and there are some amazing performances captured here, albeit is sometimes grotty sound... Continue Reading

A Lucia Bloodstained and Proud Of It

by Robert Levine

There’s no want for superb recordings of this opera–there are at least a half-dozen Maria Callas performances alone, and one would certainly not want to do without at least one starring Joan Sutherland or Renata Scotto. Diana Damrau is an undeniably great soprano: her Queen... Continue Reading

Another Bastard Bruckner Edition, This Time The Eighth

by David Hurwitz

Gerd Schaller is a sensitive and idiomatic Bruckner conductor, but he has caught Bruckneritus, the uncontrollable urge to perform a stupid new edition of one of the major symphonies. In this case, we have William Carragan’s lovingly restored and utterly pointless version of something that... Continue Reading

Tepid Bruckner from Jansons and the RCO

by David Hurwitz

The deluge of Bruckner symphony releases continues, having all of the appeal and value for the recording industry of a bloom of jellyfish clogging the intake pipes of a power plant. The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, of course, has a long and proud tradition of playing... Continue Reading

Honeck and Pittsburgh Do Right By Bruckner’s Fourth

by David Hurwitz

Everyone plays Bruckner these days. Everyone records Bruckner these days. Ninety-nine percent of those recordings, never mind the live performances, are dreck. They exist for a few reasons. First, the International Bruckner Society in Vienna churns out endless “critical editions” of the various symphonies, documenting... Continue Reading

Stravinsky’s Ultra-Complete Music for Piano and Orchestra

by David Hurwitz

Petrushka began life as a “concert piece” for piano and orchestra before morphing into the ballet that we all know and love, and that is the logic for including it in this collection of Stravinsky’s remaining three works for piano and orchestra, even though in... Continue Reading

Sokolov’s DG Debut, Live from Salzburg 2008

by Jed Distler

Deutsche Grammophon has a history of signing exclusive contracts with pianists who cultivate enigmatic and awesome reputations, such as Martha Argerich, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, and Vladimir Horowitz, and now Grigory Sokolov. It’s quite a catch, to say the least, because for years Sokolov has refused... Continue Reading

Elegant Stravinsky from Osborne and Volkov

by David Hurwitz

Stravinsky’s complete music for piano and orchestra comprises only three works: the Concerto for Piano and Winds, the Capriccio, and Movements for Piano and Orchestra. Together they total only about 45 minutes of playing time, and so don’t fill out a CD very well. Additional... Continue Reading

The Grimmest Chopin Recital Ever Recorded?

by Jed Distler

Is this the grimmest Chopin recital ever recorded? David Wilde’s craggy, massively textured performances aren’t so much interpretations as they are monuments, reinforced by added octaves and filled-in fifths of the Alfred Cortot and Ignaz Friedman variety. Think of the Klemperer Mozart/Da Ponte cycle, Celibidache’s... Continue Reading

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