Latest Music Reviews

Major Discoveries: Victor Babin, the Composer

by David Hurwitz


Bartók added an orchestral part to his Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion in order to give him and his wife a virtuoso vehicle to take on tour and make a few bucks. The original being one of his greatest masterpieces, the Concerto version stands... Continue Reading

Alison Balsom Plays Two Trumpets Well

by Robert Levine


The first time I recall being impressed with a “classical” trumpet was back in what seems like the Middle Ages when I heard a recording of Maurice André playing a concerto by Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel. I sought others like it. I loved the penetrating, bright... Continue Reading

A First-Class New Music Trumpet Recital

by Jed Distler


You don’t find many trumpet recitals outside of conservatories, brass clinics, and other specialized contexts, and not so many recordings for that matter. Yet the truth is that the contemporary trumpet repertoire is more extensive and wide ranging than you’d expect. Fortunately trumpet virtuoso extraordinaire... Continue Reading

Gaudete Brass Fanfares And Prayers

by David Vernier


Here’s a disc that shows off all the cool things that brass players do: a program of mostly world premieres that features the scnitillating dissonances, the tonguing–triple, quadruple, and god knows octuple and beyond–plops, pops, lip slurs, slides, swoops, blares, and every possible conception of... Continue Reading

Vänskä’s Kullervo Remake: Nothing New, Bad Marketing

by David Hurwitz


Osmo Vänskä recorded a superb Kullervo Symphony in Lahti–indeed, that was and remains a reference version. It featured a particularly brave, because very slow but also remarkably powerful, account of the second movement, Kullervo’s Youth. Unlike Vänskä’s other Sibelius symphony remakes in Minnesota, which are... Continue Reading

Major Discoveries: Harth-Bedoya Plays Garrido-Lecca

by David Hurwitz


You gotta love those hyphenated Spanish surnames. Peruvian conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya pays loving tribute to the music of one of Latin America’s major composers, Celso Garrido-Lecca, a major force in the musical development of both Peru and Chile. The four works included here were composed... Continue Reading

Dausgaard Plays A Mean Mahler 10

by David Hurwitz


Thomas Dausgaard’s recent, mostly idiotic series on BIS of large symphonic works played by chamber forces almost made me forget what a talented and dynamic conductor he really is. This terrific performance of the Cooke edition of Mahler’s Tenth restores my faith in him. It’s... Continue Reading

DiDonato Scores Again–A Perfect, Timely Recital

by Robert Levine


In the notes accompanying this spectacular CD, mezzo Joyce DiDonato asks, “In the midst of chaos, how do you find peace?” She goes for answers–and gets them–from a baritone who was a Freedom Combat Victim, as well as from Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a prisoner in... Continue Reading

Elegant, Intelligent Liszt Stylist’s Steinway & Sons Debut

by Jed Distler


Gábor Farkas has several prize-winning Liszt releases to his credit, and the pianist’s all-Liszt Steinway & Sons debut gives further proof of his affinity for this composer’s aesthetic. In the paraphrase on the Waltz from Gounod’s Faust, Farkas makes salient points through finely honed details... Continue Reading

Five Mahler 3s, Mr. Haitink, Is Four Too Many

by David Hurwitz


Bernard Haitink once gave an interview in Gramophone Magazine where he said something to the effect that because Mahler is such a special composer, recordings of his music should be rare. That was when only one Mahler cycle by him was generally available. Since then,... Continue Reading

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