Latest Music Reviews

A Lucia Bloodstained and Proud Of It

by Robert Levine

There’s no want for superb recordings of this opera–there are at least a half-dozen Maria Callas performances alone, and one would certainly not want to do without at least one starring Joan Sutherland or Renata Scotto. Diana Damrau is an undeniably great soprano: her Queen... Continue Reading

Another Bastard Bruckner Edition, This Time The Eighth

by David Hurwitz

Gerd Schaller is a sensitive and idiomatic Bruckner conductor, but he has caught Bruckneritus, the uncontrollable urge to perform a stupid new edition of one of the major symphonies. In this case, we have William Carragan’s lovingly restored and utterly pointless version of something that... Continue Reading

Tepid Bruckner from Jansons and the RCO

by David Hurwitz

The deluge of Bruckner symphony releases continues, having all of the appeal and value for the recording industry of a bloom of jellyfish clogging the intake pipes of a power plant. The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, of course, has a long and proud tradition of playing... Continue Reading

Honeck and Pittsburgh Do Right By Bruckner’s Fourth

by David Hurwitz

Everyone plays Bruckner these days. Everyone records Bruckner these days. Ninety-nine percent of those recordings, never mind the live performances, are dreck. They exist for a few reasons. First, the International Bruckner Society in Vienna churns out endless “critical editions” of the various symphonies, documenting... Continue Reading

Stravinsky’s Ultra-Complete Music for Piano and Orchestra

by David Hurwitz

Petrushka began life as a “concert piece” for piano and orchestra before morphing into the ballet that we all know and love, and that is the logic for including it in this collection of Stravinsky’s remaining three works for piano and orchestra, even though in... Continue Reading

Sokolov’s DG Debut, Live from Salzburg 2008

by Jed Distler

Deutsche Grammophon has a history of signing exclusive contracts with pianists who cultivate enigmatic and awesome reputations, such as Martha Argerich, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, and Vladimir Horowitz, and now Grigory Sokolov. It’s quite a catch, to say the least, because for years Sokolov has refused... Continue Reading

Elegant Stravinsky from Osborne and Volkov

by David Hurwitz

Stravinsky’s complete music for piano and orchestra comprises only three works: the Concerto for Piano and Winds, the Capriccio, and Movements for Piano and Orchestra. Together they total only about 45 minutes of playing time, and so don’t fill out a CD very well. Additional... Continue Reading

The Grimmest Chopin Recital Ever Recorded?

by Jed Distler

Is this the grimmest Chopin recital ever recorded? David Wilde’s craggy, massively textured performances aren’t so much interpretations as they are monuments, reinforced by added octaves and filled-in fifths of the Alfred Cortot and Ignaz Friedman variety. Think of the Klemperer Mozart/Da Ponte cycle, Celibidache’s... Continue Reading

“Safety First” Schumann from Boris Giltburg

by Jed Distler

In 2006 I gave a mixed review to Boris Giltburg’s solo debut CD, while indicating my desire to hear the pianist again. My hunch paid off, for Giltburg’s artistry and career have positively progressed. Along with his first-prize victory in the 2013 Queen Elisabeth Competition... Continue Reading

Namekawa Impresses in the Glass Etudes

by David Hurwitz

Philip Glass’ Etudes for piano are, for the most part, studies in rhythm and textural layering, yet it would be a mistake to assume that they all sound the same. True, many of them begin with some ostinato pattern over which Glass adds a catchy... Continue Reading

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