Latest Music Reviews

Big Boxes: Virtuoso Piano Etudes

by Jed Distler

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This 22-CD boxed set more-or-less encompasses the history of the piano etude. It contains several Brilliant Classics releases devoted to complete etude cycles by various composers, along with disc compilations culled both from the label’s back catalog and various licensed labels. The curatorial vision behind... Continue Reading

Major Discoveries: Kalliwoda’s Intriguing First Symphony

by David Hurwitz

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Written in 1825, Kalliwoda’s First Symphony attracted many admirers, including Mendelssohn and Schumann, before dropping from sight for almost two centuries. It did not deserve the neglect. In fact, Schumann liked it so much that he cribbed the opening the scherzo (here still called Menuetto)... Continue Reading

Kancheli’s Sunny Night

by David Vernier

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You’re in a café, a quiet little out of the way place. The sudden sound of violin and piano, perhaps later a bandonéon, playing a sweet, romantic tune creates the perfect atmosphere for evening romance, contemplation, or just enjoying the wine and the solitude (sound... Continue Reading

Viols LeStrange & Lovely

by David Vernier

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It’s so easy to immediately warm to well-written, well-played, and well-recorded music for viols–and why would you even think about resisting its reedy, rich, resonant magic, anyway? The ensemble known as LeStrange Viols (named cleverly but legitimately after a “17th-century English nobleman” and collector of... Continue Reading

Emanuele Delucchi’s Chopin/Godowsky Cycle Completed

by Jed Distler

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In my review of Emanuele Delucchi’s first of two projected CDs devoted to Leopold Godowsky’s complete studies based on the Chopin Etudes, I cited the Italian pianist’s “comfort with and absorption of Godowsky’s serpentine idiom”. These words similarly apply to Volume 2, which feature Godowsky’s... Continue Reading

White Nougat: David Fray In Bach’s Multiple-Keyboard Concertos

by Jens F. Laurson

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When Evgeni Koroliov & Co’s recording with the six multiple-keyboard concertos of Bach, performed on modern instruments, came out earlier this year, it became the immediate reference version. Not because it is the only complete such set, convenient though that is, but because of the... Continue Reading

Kempff’s Schubert in Blu-ray Pure Audio: A Reference Revisited

by Jens F. Laurson

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Schubert—almost as much as Beethoven—had been a staple of pianist Wilhelm Kempff’s repertoire from the beginning to the end of his career, including his final public recital where he played (apart from Beethoven, of course) Schubert’s Sonata D. 845. And if his set of Schubert... Continue Reading

Handel’s Acis–Clear, Finely Felt, Beautifully Sung & Played

by Robert Levine

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Fine performances of Handel’s delightful, brief pastoral are not rare: John Butt leads the Dunedin Consort in a five-voice version (as it was in 1718 at the premiere) that is crystal clear and spotless; William Christie’s 1998 performance is elegant and florid; Mendelssohn’s German version... Continue Reading

Major Discoveries: Braga Santos Missing Pieces

by David Hurwitz

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This disc fills a useful gap in the discography of Portugal’s greatest twentieth-century composer, Joly Braga Santos. There have already been a couple of recordings of the Symphonic Overture No. 3, but none of Nos. 1 and 2 (subtitled “Lisbon”) until now. The First is... Continue Reading

Khatia Buniatishvili’s Schubert: Artistic or Airheaded?

by Jed Distler

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Khatia Buniatishvili continues to toe a line between airheaded and artistic music making in this Schubert release. She plays the great B-flat sonata’s long first movement in a compulsively affetuoso manner, splintering the music into unrelated fragments that alternately dawdle, speed up, press forward brusquely,... Continue Reading

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