Latest Music Reviews

Davide Penitente Rides Again

by Robert Levine


This bizarre event from the Salzburg Festival is a performance by Marc Minkowski and the Salzburg Bach Choir and his Musiciens du Louvre Grenoble of Mozart’s little-performed cantata Davide penitente, the composer’s own reworking of his stupendous, unfinished Mass in C minor. To the 45... Continue Reading

Glorious Bach From Graden and Proprius

by John Greene


If you prefer your Bach choral works performed on a grand scale as opposed to a more intimate (not necessarily more “authentic”) one with typically one or few voices to a part, you’d do well to consider this recent recording of Bach’s magnificent motets by... Continue Reading

Raudales’ Anachronistic Respighi

by David Hurwitz


It was only a matter of time before someone took a “period performance” approach to Respighi’s early music arrangements. The results, as you might expect, are mixed. On the one hand we have some very lively tempos in the Ancient Airs and Dances–indeed, the concluding... Continue Reading

Big Boxes: Glenn Gould’s Complete (ish) Columbia Discography Remastered

by Jed Distler


Given the endless procession of Glenn Gould reissues throughout the CD era, cynical collectors and critics might look askance at Sony/BMG’s Glenn Gould Remastered: The Complete Columbia Album Collection. I mean, haven’t we had our fill of Glenn Gould Big Boxes? Consider 2007’s “The Complete... Continue Reading

Primakov Revisits Chopin’s Mazurkas

by Jed Distler

8 Panel Digi - V. Maz - LIGHT.indd

In 2009 Bridge Records released a CD with Vassily Primakov playing 21 Chopin Mazurkas. I found his pronounced subjectivity and interpretive leeway either convincing and insightful or perverse and indecisive, depending on the piece. Still, Primakov’s fabulous technique, ear for tone color, and strong personality... Continue Reading

Liszt/Meyerbeer Served Up in Fits and Starts

by Jed Distler


Meyerbeer’s operas are the basis for some of Liszt’s most musically ingenious and technically formidable transcriptions and paraphrases. These include the Fantasy and Fugue on “Ad nos, ad salutarem undam” (originally for organ but later arranged by Liszt for piano duet, and by Busoni for... Continue Reading

Lori Sims’ Live and Lively Goldberg Variations

by Jed Distler


Even though Bach’s Goldberg Variations does not need to be recorded again by anyone, ever, it’s hard to resist Lori Sims’ vibrant and communicative live recording from the Dalton Center Recital Hall at Western Michigan University’s Kalamazoo campus. The opening Aria alone attests to the... Continue Reading

Super Start To A Hong Kong Ring

by Robert Levine


Taken from two concert performances in January, 2015, this is the first installment of an entire Ring Cycle from the Hong Kong Philharmonic under Jaap van Zweden to be recorded by Naxos. It makes you hungry for the rest. The recording is clean and clear,... Continue Reading

Barton Pine Plays Vivaldi For Viola D’Amore Con Amore

by David Hurwitz


The viola d’amore is a curious beast. It has extra strings (like the baryton) that exist for no purpose other than to provide resonance, producing a fuzzy timbral halo that sweetens the slightly nasal, husky tone of the instrument, rather like a sort of mild... Continue Reading

Stephen Paulus Choral Works–Powerful & Poignant

by David Vernier


Stephen Paulus was a successful, prolific, and much-revered American composer acclaimed for his work in all the major genres, particularly opera, orchestral, and choral; his death last year (2014) at age 65 from complications of a stroke was noted and lamented around the world, and... Continue Reading

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