Latest Music Reviews

Calmus’ Cool Luther Chorale Collage

by David Vernier

luthercollage

The 500th anniversary of the generally agreed beginning of the Reformation–when Martin Luther published his famous “disputations” (the Ninety-five Theses) in October, 1517–not surprisingly has sparked an outpouring of recordings focused not on the Reformation but on Luther’s justly famous chorales and the many settings... Continue Reading

Major Discoveries: Feldman’s Three Voices

by David Hurwitz

Feldman

If you’re looking for an introduction to Morton Feldman’s special sound world, I can’t think of a better place to start than with Three Voices. It was originally written for Joan La Barbara, whose recording for New Albion is pretty hard to beat, but Juliet... Continue Reading

CD From Hell: Sokolov’s Bogus Profundity In Mozart and Rachmaninov

by David Hurwitz

Sokolov

Put this release squarely into the “naked emperor” category. Scrounging around for unpublished Sokolov recordings, DG has dug up a lackluster Rachmaninov Third from a 1995 Proms Concert at Royal Albert Hall, and a Mozart 23rd Concerto from Salzburg in 2005 so devoid of tension... Continue Reading

Hamelin Kills It In Medtner 2 and Rachmaninov 3

by David Hurwitz

Hamelin

Hyperion already has excellent recordings of both of these concertos, from Demidenko (Medtner) and Hough (Rachmaninov), but as they saying goes, “greatness is its own justification,” and this is a great disc. At eighty-two minutes, it’s also a very generous one. In a way, these... Continue Reading

Bach On Cruise Control

by Jed Distler

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Before auditioning Annhelena Schlüter’s recording of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier Book I, I did a Google search on her, out of curiosity. It turns out that she’s a singer/songwriter, and an improviser as well. Her pop style is pleasant though derivative, and would not be out... Continue Reading

Songs By Pavel Haas

by David Vernier

haassongs

In May, 1944, in the Terezín concentration camp (the infamous garrison town north of Prague where, among the many thousands, numerous important Czech musicians were imprisoned during 1941-44), the young bass Karel Berman was preparing a recital. Along with songs by Beethoven, Dvorák, and Wolf,... Continue Reading

CD From Hell: Karajan’s Choral Music Box

by David Hurwitz

KarajanChoral

If you think that songs like “Dropkick Me Jesus Through the Goalposts of Life” represent sincere expressions of religious sentiment, then you’ll surely respond to Karajan’s handling of the choral music in this set. Indeed, calling it “choral music” may be technically correct, but what... Continue Reading

Davis’ Ives Vol. 2: Good Work

by David Hurwitz

IvesDavis

This well-filled disc contains excellent performances of some of Ives most popular and significant works. It’s easy to understand why the “Holidays” Symphony has enjoyed greater success as four individual tone poems. With the exception of Thanksgiving, the three other movements (as well as Central... Continue Reading

Bach By Blechacz

by Jed Distler

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Rafal Blechacz’s Deutsche Grammophon releases have yielded mixed results, ranging from a superb Haydn/Mozart/Beethoven recital to his crude and calculated Chopin Polonaises. The pianist’s first all-Bach outing for the label proves similarly inconsistent, although its finest moments are keepers. Using minimum pedal, Blechacz serves up... Continue Reading

Gillian Keith’s Respectable German Arias

by David Vernier

handelgermanarias

In 1985 there was Emma Kirkby and London Baroque; in 2000 there was Dorothea Röschmann and the Akademie für Alte Musik; and now we have Canadian soprano Gillian Keith and Florilegium. Others have also performed and recorded Handel’s Nine German Arias, but these three represent... Continue Reading

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