Latest Music Reviews

Benedetti’s Shostakovich and Glazunov

by David Hurwitz

ShostBen

Nicola Benedetti’s view of the Shostakovich is poised and flowing, rather than raw and edgy. Of course, the music has the raw and edgy part more or less built in, so hers is an entirely valid approach. There’s no want of energy or intensity in... Continue Reading

Sergey Schepkin Revisits Bach’s Partitas

by Jed Distler

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Sergey Schepkin first recorded Bach’s Partitas in the late 1990s for the Ongaku label. The performances stood out for contrapuntal clarity, technical bravura, and arguably over-the-top embellishments at times. Nearly 20 years later, Schepkin has rerecorded the Partitas, and his conceptions have evolved in many... Continue Reading

NZSQ AOK In JB’s SQ 1 & 2

by David Vernier

newzealandbrahms

Successful string quartet performance is all about communication, in the purest sense of the word: constant giving and exchanging, a communion among the players based on an intimate relationship bound by deep understanding, of the music and of each other. It’s the essence of what... Continue Reading

A Superb “Concept Album” From The Lincoln Trio

by David Hurwitz

LincolnTrio

Most “concept albums” don’t work. This one does. Dubbed “Trios from our Homelands”, the three members of the Lincoln Trio have each chosen a piece from their native countries: England, Armenia, and Switzerland. It’s a cute idea, and that’s all it would be if the... Continue Reading

Fascinating Cav and Pag With Brilliant Jonas Kaufmann

by Robert Levine

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This production, from the Salzburg Easter Festival in March and April of 2015, may feature some faulty singing, but it stands as one of the most gripping accounts of these two operas I’ve encountered. Director/designer Philip Stölzl has cut the playing area into six rectangular... Continue Reading

Rachel Podger’s Art of Fugue

by David Vernier

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A new recording from violinist Rachel Podger is always worth attention. And before you even get to appreciating the first-class performances—faithful realizations of Bach’s Art of Fugue skillfully arranged for strings—you notice the immediate, vibrant presence of the instruments. The sound is stunning, reminiscent of... Continue Reading

Rautavaara’s Missa A Cappella

by David Vernier

rautavaaramissa

Einojuhani Rautavaara (1928-2016) is often referred to as the most important Finnish composer since Sibelius. While that’s certainly true, he stands without qualification among the great composers (not just Finnish ones) of the past 60 or 70 years. And unlike many of his peers and... Continue Reading

A Yawn For Yannick’s Figaro

by Robert Levine

figaro

I’ve so far been a fan of Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s DG Mozart cycle, in particular the Don Giovanni (see reviews archive). They all share similarities: fleet tempos, prominent , imaginative continuo that stops short of René Jacobs’ tendency to give cello and fortepiano equal footing with... Continue Reading

Reference Recording: Bruckner Sacred Music by Jochum

by David Hurwitz

BrucknerJoch

In these days, when everyone is recording endless versions of everything, it’s kind of nice to note that there’s not so much duplication in Bruckner’s major sacred works. This set has very little competition–really only the Corydon Singers on Hyperion. Good as that is, this... Continue Reading

Under the Radar: The Late, Great Marni Nixon Sings Copland

by David Hurwitz

CopNix

We have lost two great, largely unheralded American sopranos recently: Phyllis Curtin, and now Marni Nixon, the Hollywood voice of, well, just about everyone. A superb recitalist with a clear, bell-like tone and perfect pitch, Nixon sings this premiere recording of the orchestral version of... Continue Reading

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