Latest Music Reviews

Respighi Roman Trilogy Done Right on Naxos

by David Hurwitz


JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic have made previous Respighi discs for Naxos, but none as fine as this. In fact, this is as impressive a recording of the composer’s Roman Trilogy as any in the catalogue. Everything about the program, from the order of... Continue Reading

Here Comes The Son: Daniele Pollini’s Solo DG Debut

by Jed Distler


Judging from his solo-piano debut recording for Deutsche Grammophon, it appears that Daniele Pollini is a different kind of pianist from his celebrated father, Maurizio Pollini. You notice this right away in Chopin’s Op. 10 Etudes. Whereas the elder Pollini’s impeccable articulation is akin to... Continue Reading

Chandos’ Antheil Cycle Continues

by Jed Distler


My colleague Victor Carr Jr. accurately pegged George Antheil’s modus operandi, saying that the composer “had a peculiar way of absorbing every music he encountered, and then inserting it—not always fully digested—into his own work.” One moment you might encounter plaintive Copland-esque lyricism, to be... Continue Reading

Mightily Superfluous Excellence: Saraste and Beethoven Cycle No. 176

by Jens F. Laurson


Raise your hand if you really, truly need another, a new set of the nine Beethoven symphonies—the 176th* such cycle? No one? I thought so. Well, maybe you are a fan of Jukka-Pekka Saraste or the West German Radio Symphony Orchestra and you were at... Continue Reading

Brautigam’s Mendelssohn: Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword

by David Hurwitz


There’s no need to spend much time on this release. One of the main premises behind the historically informed performance movement is that music of earlier periods sounds better on the instruments for which it was written. This is in itself debatable, but let’s leave... Continue Reading

Van Zweden and the New York Phil Improve, Somewhat

by David Hurwitz


After their awful Beethoven disc I had low expectations for Van Zweden and the New York Philharmonic, sad to say, but these aren’t bad performances. If you had gone to the concerts, you might have come away satisfied, if not thrilled. The problem is that... Continue Reading

Bezuidenhout & Haydn

by Jed Distler


Having completed a cycle of Mozart’s solo keyboard works for Harmonia Mundi, Kristian Bezuidenhout now turns his attention to Haydn. He plays on a Paul McNulty reproduction of an Anton Walter instrument, whose timbral differentiation between registers suits the linear transparency of Haydn’s style. Some... Continue Reading

A Weber And Schubert Pairing From Paul Lewis

by Jed Distler


Although Carl Maria von Weber’s piano sonatas continue to resist coming back into fashion, they somehow manage to find world-class champions on disc. Sonata No. 2 in A-flat has been especially well served, going back to splendid 78-era recordings by Alfred Cortot and Noël Mewton-Wood,... Continue Reading

Corelli Concertos–Necessary Or Just Fine Oddities?

by Robert Levine


The concerto grosso is a Baroque form in which the musical content is passed between a small group and a somewhat larger group, normally a pair of violins and a cello versus a still-smallish string section, with both groups being supported by continuo instruments. Arcangelo... Continue Reading

Lightweight Sibelius from Sondergard

by David Hurwitz


How do you ruin the Valse triste? Well, play it this spasmodically for starters. Speed it up, slow it down, strip it of all elegance, all sensuality. I mean, really, how difficult can this be? Thomas Sondergard seems to be one of those conductors with... Continue Reading

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