Latest Music Reviews

Faceless Beethoven from Angelich & Equilbey

by David Hurwitz


No need to waste much time here. The Insula Orchestra is yet another one of those faceless period performance groups whose conductor, Laurence Equibey, seems to believe that the timbre of the instruments legitimately substitutes for interpretive insight. These are sensibly paced, well-intentioned performances whose... Continue Reading

CD From Hell: Peter Gregson Banalizes Bach

by Jens F. Laurson


I like re-orchestrations, transcriptions, and re-compositions as much as the next guy. In fact, more than the next guy. Max Richter’s re-composed “4 Seasons” is terrific in its way; Hans Zender’s “composed interpretation” of Die Winterreise can be endlessly fascinating. Uri Caine’s Mahler is supremely... Continue Reading

Emerson Quartet Serves Tchaikovsky With A Side Of Schoenberg

by Victor Carr Jr


This is a rather unusual pairing, as Tchaikovsky and Schoenberg seem about as far apart as any two composers could be. (Although one could argue that Schoenberg’s highly-expressive, post-romantic work is not too distant in style from Tchaikovsky’s even more highly-expressive Pathètique symphony.) In any... Continue Reading

Giltburg’s Liszt: Impressive Pianism, Frustrating Musicianship

by Jed Distler


Boris Giltburg’s Liszt Transcendental Études abound with fussy rhythmic adjustments and quirky voicings that usually stop the music in its tracks and prevent a sense of flow and momentum. You hear this right from the start in the opening étude’s accelerandos and ritards (Giltburg’s, not... Continue Reading

Big Boxes: The Classic André Previn

by David Hurwitz


André Previn is one of those artists who’s difficult to pigeonhole, not that there’s anything wrong with that. A talented pianist, composer, and conductor in both the classical film, and jazz fields, his discography is vast and largely distinguished, but one thing is certain: he... Continue Reading

A Lady Macbeth From Hell

by Jens F. Laurson


The idea of Verdi’s Macbeth (in the original, dramatically taut 1847 version) performed by a period instrument ensemble is, generously viewed, intriguing–at least when Europa Galante and Fabio Biondi are involved, with all their creditable expertise in Italian music. Granted, Verdi is not Vivaldi and... Continue Reading

Alfred Bruneau’s Oh So Serious Orchestral Bits, Again

by David Hurwitz


This release duplicates exactly a somewhat more lively recording of the same repertoire on Marco Polo featuring James Lockhart and the Rhenish Philharmonic Orchestra. To be honest, Naxos needn’t have bothered doing it again. The music just isn’t that interesting. Bruneau (1857-1934) was an earnest,... Continue Reading

Fellner In Concert: Splendid Liszt, Less Impressive Beethoven

by Jens F. Laurson


If you favor pianism over star-power, Austrian Till Fellner should be right up your alley. Although the one-time Alfred Brendel-protégée is generally well regarded among connoisseurs, he strikes as perennially underrated. At his worst, Fellner’s style can appear straightforward, neat, and well behaved, making extremes... Continue Reading

Chamayou Dazzles in Saint-Saëns

by David Hurwitz


Ever since my colleague Jed Distler raved about Bertrand Chamayou’s remarkable release of Liszt’s complete Années de pèlerinage, I have been following his career on disc with great interest. This latest release sustains Mr. Distler’s high opinion of him without question. These have been oodles... Continue Reading

Heino Eller’s Almost Excellent Orchestral Works

by David Hurwitz


Estonian composer Heino Eller’s (1887-1970) career offers a classic illustration of being a big fish in a small  pond. His was certainly not a great musical voice, but it was an attractive one. Take the Violin Concerto, which probably represents some of his best work.... Continue Reading

View The 50 Latest Music Reviews »

Welcome to Classics Today