Latest Music Reviews

Zukerman Offers Enjoyable Elgar & RVW

by David Hurwitz


It’s very good to see Pinchas Zukerman back on disc in music he clearly enjoys playing and conducting. He seduces with a sweet violin in The Lark Ascending and Salut d’amour, and then takes up the viola for In Moonlight (a.k.a. the slow interlude from... Continue Reading

Motets By Magnificat

by David Vernier


The disc’s title refers to the fate of the outspoken and for a time widely popular 15th-century friar Girolamo Savonarola, executed in Florence in 1498 following his continued calls for church reforms, his criticism of papal corruption, and finally his direct defiance of papal orders.... Continue Reading

Idil Biret’s Beethoven/Liszt Symphonies

by Jed Distler


Liszt’s solo piano transcriptions of Beethoven’s Nine Symphonies began to proliferate in the 1980s when Cyprien Katsaris launched a cycle for Teldec, and Harmonia Mundi followed suit, using different pianists. Idil Biret, however, became the first to complete all nine on disc. Recorded in 1985... Continue Reading

Victor Herbert’s Fine Cello Concertos

by David Hurwitz


There’s a tendency to consider all of Victor Herbert’s concert works in the same category as his operettas: “light” music, amiable and diverting, but not terribly substantial. Certainly these two concertos are tuneful, and I’m not trying to go revisionist on you and insist that... Continue Reading

Admirable But Not Top Choice Weber Sonata Cycle

by Jed Distler


Why do Carl Maria von Weber’s four piano sonatas resist coming back into fashion? One reason may be that they occupy a kind of no-man’s-land between the Classical and Romantic eras, making them hard to program with Mozart or Beethoven on one side and Chopin... Continue Reading

Ives’ Concord Via Barto’s “Neo-Impressionist” Fingers

by Jed Distler


Given Tzimon Barto’s penchant for interpretive mayhem on disc, I approached his recording of Charles Ives’ Concord Sonata with trepidation. As it happens, Barto turns in an expansive, “neo- Impressionist” account of the music. It may not suit all tastes, yet Barto’s accomplished and sophisticated... Continue Reading

Zhu Xiao-Mei Revisits The Goldbergs: “Mah…”

by Jed Distler


Zhu Xiao-Mei’s first recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations was released by the Mandala label in 1999, and later reissued by Mirare. My review praised the pianist’s contrapuntal clarity while disparaging her occasional expressive mannerisms and tendency to slacken the pulse in quicker variations. Nearly... Continue Reading

Faust’s Reissued Haydn Hits The Mark

by David Vernier


It took a little digging, but in fact it turns out that this “new” 2016 release of three Haydn violin concertos by Isabelle Faust actually is a reissue—the original is from nearly 10 years ago, but if, like me, you missed it the first time... Continue Reading

Argerich’s Early Recordings: A Legend In The Making

by Jed Distler


Out of all the CD releases tied in with Martha Aregrich’s 75th birthday, this cache of German Radio broadcasts probably will hold the most interest among collectors. All of the performances date from 1960, when Argerich was 18 and 19, save for the 1967 Prokofiev... Continue Reading

Don Gillis’ Sweet Suites for Wind Quintet

by Jed Distler


If you like classical “pops” composers like Leroy Anderson, Ferde Grofé, Alec Wilder, and of course George Gershwin, you’ll welcome Don Gillis into your life. My colleague David Hurwitz has championed many releases devoted to Gillis’ orchestral works, and the composer’s three suites for wind... Continue Reading

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