Latest Music Reviews

Another Excellent Dutilleux Disc, This Time From Naxos

by David Hurwitz

DutAng

Henri Dutilleux wrote very little music, yet he is being recorded as though he were one of the great masters, and just as popular. Certainly the quality of his output was extremely high, and as far as popularity goes, if anyone deserves it, he does.... Continue Reading

CD From Hell: Tenitone Jonas Kaufmann Crashes And Burns In Das Lied

by David Hurwitz

MahlerKauf

This performance memorializes a stupid stunt. One singer trying to perform all six songs in Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, written for alto (or baritone), tenor, and orchestra, is the vocal equivalent of motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel’s failed attempt to jump over the Snake... Continue Reading

Litton’s Best Prokofiev So Far

by David Hurwitz

ProkLit47

This is a perfect disc. Andrew Litton’s Prokofiev symphonies have been inconsistent so far, ranging from an excellent Sixth to a ho-hum Fifth. Here absolutely everything goes right. The revised, enlarged version of the Fourth Symphony can sound bloated and too long for its material.... Continue Reading

A Lively Delivery of Rota’s Gems

by James Imam

Rota-disc-1-art

Nino Rota’s film scores are widely celebrated, but much of his output (including 22 stage works) is relatively unknown. Decca’s ambitious series of 6 double-disc volumes–not quite his opera omnia, as it has been described, though no single collection comes closer–attempts to put the record... Continue Reading

Polyphony For Nuns

by David Vernier

borgiasdaughter

Artists and record labels often attempt to attract attention to their projects with innovative programming, intriguing/provocative titles, or both. Here’s one–and it does catch your interest. If the title doesn’t get you, the subtitle–“Princess, nun, and musician; Motets from a 16th century convent”–presents an irresistible... Continue Reading

Karin Kei Nagano’s Solo CD Debut

by Jed Distler

71N3-UXyTQL._SL1200

Born in 1998, Karin Kei Nagano is the daughter of conductor Kent Nagano and pianist Mari Kodama, and has been performing in public since childhood. Making one’s solo CD debut with Bach’s Inventions and Sinfonias is an audacious gesture, yet overall Nagano’s solid technique and... Continue Reading

Gál’s Marvelous Music for Mandolins

by David Hurwitz

GalMand

Aside from having a remarkably flat head (see cover photo), Hans Gál was a composer of real distinction. He had a buddy in Vienna who ran an “orchestra” of mandolins–a “Zupforchester,” or “plucked orchestra.” It consisted primarily of mandolins, guitars, and now and then, a... Continue Reading

Another Pointless Mahler Second

by David Hurwitz

Mahler2Gerg

This is a sad review to have to write. There was a time when a new recording of Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony was an event, something to be celebrated. Not now. Gergiev is, at best, a patchy Mahler conductor, but he directed a fine No. 2... Continue Reading

See-Through, Cool Wozzeck

by Robert Levine

wozzeck

This is the recording of this opera I would recommend to people who have never heard it before. Wozzeck is an opera that rarely fails to impress even the most conservative listener when it is seen, but recordings are another story; its apparent formlessness and... Continue Reading

Big Boxes: DG’s Random Vienna Philharmonic 175th Anniversary Edition

by David Hurwitz

Vienna175DG

This 45-disc random assortment of material does a singular disservice to the Vienna Philharmonic, but it reveals some interesting facts about the corporate catastrophe that is Universal Music. You would think that because Decca, Philips, and DG effectively constitute a single company, it should be... Continue Reading

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