Latest Music Reviews

Intriguing Impromptus, Incongruous Coupling

by Jed Distler


Thomas Osborne’s cycle of four impromptus entitled The Ends of the Earth draws from traditional Indonesian music, Japanese court traditions, and other eastern influences. The first piece, Terra Incognita, leisurely unfolds in a succession of repeated notes, and there are sequences where the pianist plays... Continue Reading

Suchon: Not Quite Wonderful Orchestral Works

by David Hurwitz


Eugen Suchon (1908-93) is called by the note-writer of this release the most “influential” Slovak composer of the mid to late 20th century. I’m not so sure what that means. You don’t often hear about a “Suchon School”, at least not outside of Slovakia. His... Continue Reading

Romantic Quartets from Chamber Music Society

by Robert Levine


Recorded live at The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center at two concerts in March, 2015, this CD caught my eye with the promise of a glimpse of Mahler–albeit a 16-year-old Mahler–in his formative years. And indeed the 12-minute fragment is interesting, if for no... Continue Reading

Hasse’s Siroe: A Bel Canto/Baroque Fiesta

by Robert Levine


Hasse was a major 18th century composer, up there with Handel. He was married to the even more famous soprano, Faustina Bordoni; they were what is now called a “power couple”. Based in Dresden and bathed in the Italian style of composition, Hasse turned that... Continue Reading

String Gems From New Zealand

by David Vernier


Writing a string quartet is one of the hardest things there is (you know if you’ve tried it), and after the defining works of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven only a handful of composers have succeeded in producing works of equivalent profundity and originality in the... Continue Reading

Hogwood’s Big Vivaldi Box Is No Bargain!

by David Hurwitz


Talk about Caveat emptor! With the single exception of the Nisi Dominus, not terribly appealingly crooned by James Bowman, you get all of this music in exactly these versions in another Decca box called “Vivaldi Masterworks”, additionally featuring all of the collections with opus numbers... Continue Reading

Kalmar and Oregon Celebrate American Kitchen Appliances

by David Hurwitz


Someone, somewhere, probably gets paid to come up with the dumb titles of collections such as this, and the tendency to use them is definitely on the increase. No, the “range” in question on this disc devoted to the “Spirit of the American Range” is... Continue Reading

Elegant Chopin From Louis Lortie

by Jed Distler


The fourth volume of what promises to be a complete Chopin piano music survey from Louis Lortie contains five nocturnes and the 19 waltzes. Lortie devises a running order that mixes and matches the works to achieve variety and contrast. For example, the youthful E-flat... Continue Reading

Liszt, Not So Transcendental

by Jed Distler


A less dry and drab acoustic might have cast Jozsef Balog’s Liszt Transcendental Etudes in a more flattering and fluent light. Yet the sonics only underline the pianist’s choppy phrasings and fussy distentions in the A minor Etude, or his tendency to ramble in Paysage.... Continue Reading

Donizetti’s Les Martyrs–Complete and Exciting

by Robert Levine


Coming in at a tidy three hours and eight minutes, Donizetti’s huge Les Martyrs, composed (or adapted) for Paris in 1840, is here presented in its fullest conceivable form, including ballet and many passages cut right after the first performances. The opera was a reworking... Continue Reading

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