Latest Music Reviews

Jenny Lin Soars in Stravinsky’s Piano Works

by David Hurwitz

Stravinsky’s piano works, slender as they are, have been very well served on disc, starting with Aleck Karis on Bridge and continuing with Victor Sangiorgio on Naxos. Add Jenny Lin to the list of first-rate Stravinsky interpreters. Each of these discs has a slightly different... Continue Reading

Dances, Poems, Fairy Tales

by Jed Distler

The booklet notes for this release begin with a rather befuddled paragraph that contains the following sentences: “To Anna Scheps, an indispensable part of her passion for music is to connect with her listeners, to thrill them and to kindle their imagination. The prerequisites for... Continue Reading

Poetic Shostakovich World Premieres

by David Vernier

Aside from his extensive work in opera and oratorio, over the last decade baritone Gerald Finley has put together an impressive collection of recordings of 20th-century song, including complete programs dedicated to works by composers such as Ives, Britten, Ravel, and Barber. This new one,... Continue Reading

“Extended Voices” Finally on CD

by Jed Distler

Issued for the first time on CD courtesy of Arkivmusic.com and Sony/BMG, the 1967 release Extended Voices features works for chorus and for voices altered by electronic means, featuring the Brandeis University Chamber Chorus, conducted by composer Alvin Lucier. I owned the original LP a... Continue Reading

The Pacifica Quartet’s Harrowing Soviet Experience IV

by David Hurwitz

This disc brings the Pacifica Quartet’s Shostakovich cycle to the most satisfying possible conclusion. The last three quartets aren’t exactly easy listening. Curiously, for me anyway, the Fifteenth, which consists of five adagios and an adagio molto Funeral March just for contrast, is the easiest... Continue Reading

An Amadeus Affair to Remember

by Jed Distler

For their second Steinway & Sons release the Anderson & Roe Piano Duo dedicates their highly calibrated keyboard prowess, clever arranging skills, and canny program building on behalf of Mozart. They open with a lithe and beautifully sculpted reading of Busoni’s Duettino concertante, which is... Continue Reading

Fischer’s Bland Mahler Fifth

by David Hurwitz

Iván Fischer offers a strange commentary on the Fifth Symphony in the booklet accompanying this CD. He describes the work as Mahler’s most “Jewish” symphony, proceeding from Jewish lamentation (no argument there) to “a childlike vision of messianic joy” in the finale. That remark strikes... Continue Reading

Max Reger’s (not so) Easy Pieces

by Jed Distler

Take these work titles with a grain of salt, for Reger’s Op. 67 Chorale Preludes and Op. 56 Preludes and Fugues are not all that easy to play. Yet their relatively modest scale might appeal to listeners curious about Reger’s organ music but not wishing... Continue Reading

50 Years Later: The Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center

by Jed Distler

How well I remember borrowing the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center LP from the West Orange, New Jersey public library when I was nine years old, back in 1965, the year after its release. I put it on my little portable stereo record player and was... Continue Reading

OK Turina From Mena And The BBC Phil

by David Hurwitz

Turina’s music is so beautiful and so enjoyable that I wish I could welcome this disc with more enthusiasm. It has some rarities in the form of the vocal works: Poema en forma de canciones, Saeta en forma de salve a la Virgen de la... Continue Reading

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