Latest Music Reviews

Jurowski’s Quick-ish Brahms Symphonies 1 & 2

by Victor Carr Jr

These are fleet and economical Brahms performances, influenced by period performance practice (as evidenced by that style’s sawed-off phrase endings). The orchestral balance favors the winds over the strings, imparting a more classical sound than the lush, romantic string sonorities heard in “traditional” performances. By... Continue Reading

A Russian Recital by Sandro Russo

by Jed Distler

As pianist Sandro Russo readily admits, not all of the “Russian Gems” compiled for his recital are “Piano Rarities”. Certainly not Balakirev’s frequently recorded Islamey, or even the less frequently recorded Medtner First Sonata and Taneyev Prelude and Fugue. More importantly, however, the selections add... Continue Reading

A Distinctive Recital Debut from Claire Huangci

by Jed Distler

Before discussing this disc, I need to make a disclaimer. In 2006 I was one of three people judging the annual Kosciuszko Foundation competition for young pianists. We were all but bowled over by the then-16-year-old Claire Huangci, whose effortless technique and deep musicality consistently... Continue Reading

Abbado’s Not Much Better Bruckner Ninth

by David Hurwitz

Claudio Abbado usually has been a satisfying Bruckner conductor, but then his previous recordings were mostly made with the Vienna Philharmonic, a great Bruckner orchestra. Even so, his previous Ninth with that group was disappointing. This version is better, but not much. Granted, it has... Continue Reading

Lise De La Salle’s Oddly Unsatisfying Schumann

by Jed Distler

Judging from this Schumann recital, Lise de la Salle seems to have evolved from the remarkably talented 14-year-old prodigy on her debut release to a bafflingly inconsistent pianist in her mid-20s. Right at the start of Kinderszenen you sense a problematic interpretation in store. The... Continue Reading

Pickard’s Monumental Gaia Symphony

by David Hurwitz

Writing a 65-minute piece for band (and extended percussion) presents no small challenge, one that John Pickard has approached thoughtfully, if perhaps not entirely successfully. The four movements of his Fourth Symphony (“Gaia Symphony”) are subtitled: Tsunami, Wildfire, Aurora, and Men of Stone, the latter... Continue Reading

Duos, Dynamic & Distinctive

by David Vernier

Jennifer Koh has been cited previously on this website several times for her “imaginative and illuminating programming”–and she’s done it again on this disc of violin duets, artfully performed with mentor/teacher Jaime Laredo. In her earlier projects for Cedille, she explores a wide and very... Continue Reading

Welcome Walküre From BBC Archives

by Robert Levine

This “find”, a BBC recording of a live 1961 performance at Covent Garden of Georg Solti conducting what is now his first recorded Walküre (the Decca set was 1965), is a mixed blessing. Since most heavy-duty Wagnerians are familiar with the Decca recording–it was a... Continue Reading

Argerich & Friends 2013 Edition

by Jed Distler

Like its predecessors, the 10th three-disc anthology culled from the Lugano Festival’s annual Progetto Martha Argerich features the celebrated pianist alongside established and emerging musician colleagues in a wide range of chamber and concerted repertoire. Three selections showcase Argerich herself. She inflects Beethoven’s First concerto... Continue Reading

London Baroque’s Distinguished Trio Sonata Series Continues

by John Greene

London Baroque offers another installment in its ongoing European Trio Sonata series, this time devoted to 18th-century Italy; as with the ensemble’s previous efforts the program features generally excellent performances of lesser-known repertoire. Ten years ago I reviewed a similar 18th-century Italian program by this... Continue Reading

View The 50 Latest Music Reviews »

Welcome to Classics Today