Latest Music Reviews

Soustrot Plays A Mean Organ

by David Hurwitz

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This second volume in Naxos’ ongoing Saint-Saëns symphony cycle is as good as the first. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised in this day and age that a work like the Organ Symphony, which used to get recorded a couple of times in a decade,... Continue Reading

Søndergård Offers Some Impressive Sibelius

by David Hurwitz

SibSond

These performances of the Second and Seventh Symphonies are impressive–particularly the case with the Second. Despite the work’s popularity, or maybe because of it, no other Sibelius symphony has received so many disappointing recordings, some by very major conductors (think: Karajan, for example). Søndergård gets... Continue Reading

Koroliov’s Last Three Beethoven Sonatas

by Jed Distler

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Evgeni Koroliov follows up his earlier Beethoven Op. 101 and 106 release with masterful performances of the composer’s last three sonatas that hold their own alongside the finest versions. The pianist unfolds the florid fantasy of Op. 109’s first movement with such grace and proportion... Continue Reading

Félix Ardanaz “Bangs Out” with Liszt

by Jed Distler

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The booklet notes to Félix Ardanaz’s live 2010 Liszt recital emphasize the fact that the pianist was 21-years-old at the time of its recording. Big deal. Hundreds of talented young pianists play the B minor sonata, Mazeppa, and the Mephisto Waltz No. 1, and often... Continue Reading

Competent Couperin, So-So Sound

by David Vernier

570034bk Hasse

These four suites–or ordres–have been recorded several times in part or all together, by some very distinguished ensembles, most notably Hesperion XX, Florilegium, Music Antiqua Köln, Quadro Amsterdam, and the Purcell Quartet, the latter’s release for Chandos on two separate CDs standing as the overall... Continue Reading

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

TchaikMTT

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

elorapoulenc

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

Osorio

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

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