Latest Music Reviews

Paavo Järvi’s Beethoven In A Box

by David Hurwitz


These performances have enjoyed only very spotty availability domestically, and at crazy prices. This box is no exception. I saw it listed on US for $168, which is patently insane, but you can get it on the international sites–both Amazon and everyone else–for around... Continue Reading

Mustonen’s Thoughtful, Intriguing Prokofiev Concertos

by David Hurwitz


This is Prokofiev with a difference, thoughtful and provocative, but all in a good way. Mustonen’s horror of the sustain pedal and his “Glenn Gould on steroids” detaché articulation make his instrument sound almost like a fortepiano–that is until the big moments require some concert... Continue Reading

Nebolsin’s Tchaikovsky: “Allegro brillante” Indeed

by David Hurwitz


These performances are as lively and attractive as any on disc. The Second Piano Concerto, played in its original version, is bigger than the first, and some would say duller. Not here. Michael Stern launches the opening movement (Allegro brilliante) with impulsive energy, and Nebolsin,... Continue Reading

CD From Hell: Barenboim Blows It In Bruckner

by David Hurwitz


“Barenboim” is a corruption of “Birnenbaum,” German for pear tree. The Spanish word is “peral.” This is also the name of the production company from which DG licensed this set. Barenboim comes from Argentina, hence “Peral Music.” Get it? Actually, this isn’t as clever as... Continue Reading

Enchanté, M. Mondonville

by David Vernier


There’s not a lot that needs to be said about these trio sonatas from 1734: if you enjoy Baroque chamber music for violins and continuo (cello and harpsichord), occasionally joined by flute, you will discover on this program an 18th-century French composer who was writing... Continue Reading

Big Boxes: Late, But Not Decrepit, Böhm

by David Hurwitz


Most conductors stay active way past their expiration dates, but Karl Böhm did better than most. Yes, he slowed down a bit and became a tad stiff and crotchety, but then, he was always a tad stiff and crotchety, so his age showed less than... Continue Reading

Major Discoveries: Two Fine Finnish Violin Concertos

by David Hurwitz


Here’s an easy call. These are two excellent violin concertos by two excellent Finnish composers. Einar Englund’s Violin Concerto is based on an expansive five-note motive (sound clip) that permeates all three movements, but never in a pointlessly repetitive or simplistic way. He was, in... Continue Reading

Paul Juon’s Pleasing Symphonic Music

by David Hurwitz


Russian-German composer Paul Juon’s symphonic music already has featured on a couple of releases on the Sterling Label, while CPO has focused on the chamber music–until now. These two pieces date from the end of Juon’s life: the 1930s. They are both enjoyable, if not... Continue Reading

Pärt’s Canon of Repentance

by David Vernier


It’s rarely a positive sign when a review begins–or ends–with, “if you like this sort of thing you’ll enjoy this program…”; but I like this sort of thing, so I’m offering that opening as assurance that fans of Arvo Pärt’s music will find no surprises... Continue Reading

Foursome’s 18-Part Acte III Almost A 10

by David Vernier


When you hear the opening “soldier’s chorus” (“Gloire immortelle de nos aïeux”) from Gounod’s Faust you may be reminded for a moment of something the King’s Singers might have done. But that ensemble is a sextet, and its few forays into opera (the overture to... Continue Reading

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