Latest Music Reviews

First Rate Novak from Falletta and Buffalo

by David Hurwitz

Novak

Here is yet another fine release from the Buffalo Philharmonic under its dynamic and enterprising conductor, JoAnn Falletta. All three of these works have been recorded before, almost exclusively by Czech artists, but the excellence of these performances shows, if any proof were necessary, that... Continue Reading

Major Discoveries: Two Röntgen Symphonies and a Serenade

by David Hurwitz

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Julius Röntgen was a remarkable composer: prolific, joyous, traditional at heart, but eclectic in practice. As with many, similarly productive artists, his output is often adjudged “variable” by those who haven’t heard most of it. Of the roughly two dozen symphonies that he composed, most... Continue Reading

Vänskä Starts His New Mahler Cycle Badly

by David Hurwitz

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This has got to be the most expressively sterile, emotionally neutral performance of Mahler’s Fifth yet captured on disc. I might call it a “CD from Hell” except that it’s not even that interesting. To be sure, the symphony has tripped up many a fine... Continue Reading

Pietro De Maria’s Up And Down Goldberg Variations

by Jed Distler

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It’s a cliché to lead off a review with the phrase “and still they come”. Yet given the seemingly endless parade of Bach Goldberg Variations recordings on the piano, what else can I say? Be that as it may, the strong personality and convincing pianistic... Continue Reading

Freya Waley-Cohen’s Permutations

by Jed Distler

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Listening to Freya Waley-Cohen’s Permutations without reading the accompanying booklet notes, one would assume that it is a work for multiple violins partitioned into continuous, gently contrasting sections. Certain parts feature sparse sustained chords (sometimes shaped by a collective crescendo), while others contain wispily jagged... Continue Reading

Bychkov & Vienna’s Soft-Edged Schmidt

by Victor Carr Jr

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Franz Schmidt’s Symphony No. 2 has been in the Vienna Philharmonic’s repertory since its premiere under the composer’s baton in 1913. Knowing this, and with expectations raised by Zubin Mehta’s emotionally intense 1971 Vienna recording of Schmidt’s Symphony No. 4, it’s a little disappointing that... Continue Reading

Michael Endres’ Masterful Schubert Impromptus

by Jed Distler

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Michael Endres’ Schubert Impromptus come close to reference standards for technical refinement, perceptive musicianship, and idiomatic sense of style in a splendidly engineered recording that originates from Cologne Radio. Unlike Artur Schnabel’s drama and rhetoric in the D. 899’s opening C minor piece, Endres largely... Continue Reading

Ashkenazy’s Best “Rach 3”?

by Jed Distler

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Vladimir Ashkenazy was the piano soloist in no less than four studio recordings of Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto. Three came out on Decca, respectively conducted by Anatole Fistoulari (1963), André Previn (1970), and Bernard Haitink (1985). The pianist also set the concerto down in 1975... Continue Reading

Finally, A Worthy New Turina “Canto a Sevilla”

by David Hurwitz

Turina

Canto a Sevilla is one of the great unknown masterpieces of 20th century music. It has been recorded a handful of times, but this is the first version that challenges the supremacy of the classic, mono Victoria de los Angeles performance on EMI/Warner. One of... Continue Reading

Copland’s Third with Original, Even Louder Ending

by David Hurwitz

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Leonard Slatkin can always be counted on to offer a new take on familiar classics. He recorded an excellent Copland Third for RCA back in his St. Louis days, and this performance is almost identical in terms of tempo and expression–but not quite. Copland’s publishers,... Continue Reading

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