Latest Music Reviews

Yablonsky’s Edgy Shostakovich Chamber Symphonies

by David Hurwitz

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These loving transcriptions of Shostakovich quartets by Rudolf Barshai have become quite popular, and rightly so. They work extremely well and offer chamber orchestras some very worthy repertoire consisting of truly great music. Yablonsky’s performances are very good, as are most of those available except,... Continue Reading

Neschling’s “Meh” Version Of Respighi’s “Meh” Symphony

by David Hurwitz

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Respighi’s Sinfonia Drammatica has been recorded three times (at least): Nazareth on Naxos with the Slovak Philharmonic; Downes on Chandos with the BBC Philharmonic; and this one. All three offer similar timings, but the Nazareth remains the best. Granted, the Slovak Philharmonic is not a... Continue Reading

Egon Kornauth’s Piano Music

by Jed Distler

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Toccata Classics claims this to be the first recording devoted to piano music by the Czech-born Viennese composer Egon Kornauth (1891-1959). Judging from most of the works here, we haven’t missed much. By and large, his keyboard style is compulsively chromatic, texturally padded, melodically unmemorable,... Continue Reading

Justin Taylor’s Harpsichord Debut

by David Vernier

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Whatever would possess a gifted young boy to choose to study the harpsichord? Something about the instrument attracted 11-year-old Justin Taylor who went on to win a major international prize in Belgium at age 23. This debut release is a result of that success. Perhaps... Continue Reading

An Attractive French Violin Recital

by Jed Distler

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Violinist Christian Svarfvar first caught my attention with his intimately idiomatic interpretations of the three Grieg sonatas, released in 2013 on the Sterling label, a disc that now appears to be commercially unavailable (or, as we used to say in the old days, “out of... Continue Reading

Peter Miyamoto Hits And Misses

by Jed Distler

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Peter Miyamoto, who won the first Gilmore Festival Young Artist award back in 1990, is a faculty member at the University of Missouri Music School and frequently gives master classes throughout the United States. The pianist’s marvelous all-Schubert release for Blue Griffin made me curious... Continue Reading

Serebrier’s Stokowski Transcriptions: A Fine Selection

by David Hurwitz

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José Serebrier’s several discs of Stokowski transcriptions for Naxos were very successful, as this well-chosen selection reminds us. Stoki was not really a “great” orchestrator, if by this we mean organic and idiomatic, but he was distinctive. His timbral palette was based on a rich... Continue Reading

Netrebko More Than “At Home” In Verismo

by Robert Levine

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I won’t attempt comparisons; they really don’t pay anymore when it comes to Anna Netrebko. And so no mention of Callas in the Wally, Chenier, or Gioconda arias; Olivero in the Adriana or Mefistofele; Scotto in “Un bel di”. The color of Netrebko’s voice has... Continue Reading

New York Polyphony’s Roman Masses

by David Vernier

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Before New York Polyphony there was the Hilliard Ensemble, a male vocal quartet that performed similar repertoire, from early music to modern; in fact, this group set the bar, pioneered this kind of highly polished, sensitively balanced singing, focused on tone and timbre while giving... Continue Reading

Ingolf Wunder’s Tchaikovsky and Chopin Concertos

by Jed Distler

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That the catalog is filled to the brim with excellent recordings of the Tchaikovsky and Chopin First piano concertos does not stop Deutsche Grammophon from adding these new versions. Never mind that the yellow label already has recorded the Tchaikovsky with Argerich (twice), Berman, Cherkassky,... Continue Reading

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