Latest Music Reviews

Schaller’s First Rate Bruckner 6th

by David Hurwitz

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The success or failure of Gerd Schaller’s Bruckner recordings seems to stem less from the conducting, which is invariably sympathetic and idiomatic, as from the variable sonics and the sound of the Philharmonie Festiva, a pick-up band that has its good days and its less... Continue Reading

Schaller’s Hollow Bruckner First, Vienna Version

by David Hurwitz

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The Vienna version of Bruckner’s First Symphony, although the first one published, lost ground to the (to some ears) brighter, fresher Linz edition, but some conductors, notably Günter Wand, prefer it and in a great performance it can make just as fine an impression. This... Continue Reading

The Miró Quartet’s Beethoven Cycle: A Major Accomplishment

by Jed Distler

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The Miró Quartet recorded Beethoven’s six Op. 18 string quartets in 2004. They resumed the cycle in 2012 with the three Op. 59 works, and with a new second violinist in tow, William Fedkenheuer replacing Sandy Yamamoto. Op. 74, Op. 95, and the late quartets... Continue Reading

Grand Romanticism From Provincial Eastern Sweden

by Jens F. Laurson

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The world of classical music is divided into those who find Arnold Schoenberg’s liberally late-romantic orchestration of the Brahms Piano Quartet an ingenious work of alluring beauty–and those who are wrong. The Romans were talking through their hat when they suggested “de gustibus non disputandum... Continue Reading

Les Vents Français: Marvelously “Moderniste”

by Jed Distler

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Writing chamber music for mixed winds with or without piano always seems to bring out the best in composers. Darius Milhaud’s busy bitonal style operates at full capacity in his four-movement Sonata; André Jolivet’s Serenade features an austere first movement followed by a second movement... Continue Reading

Forgotten Romantics, Outstanding Performances

by Jed Distler

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Notwithstanding this CD’s “Forgotten Romantics” title, these three clarinet sonatas have appeared before on CD, yet it’s good to bring them together, especially with such fine and terrifically engineered performances as we have here. Not only are clarinetist Guy Yehuda and veteran pianist Ralph Votapek... Continue Reading

The Melancholic Bach

by Jens F. Laurson

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“The Melancholic Bach” brings together bits and pieces from Johann Sebastian’s output–excerpted, newly combined, and arranged for viola da braccio and harpsichord–which exude, more or less, the wistful aspect in Bach’s music. In doing so, Emilio Moreno and Aarón Zapico have created an album of... Continue Reading

Great Grieg Pianism At Bargain Price

by Jed Distler

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Håkon Austbo’s wonderful and well-engineered Grieg recordings have floated around Brilliant Classics’ catalog for years. They now appear in the label’s new Quintessence series on five CDs that sell for the price of one. Austbo’s performances are consistently direct, idiomatic, and as natural as breathing.... Continue Reading

A Stunning Sorabji Premiere From Jonathan Powell

by Jed Distler

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Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji’s Sequentia Cyclica super Dies Irae (hereafter SC) is by far the longest of this composer’s multi-hour-long behemoths for solo piano to have been performed publicly, totaling nearly eight and a half hours on seven CDs via Jonathan Powell’s world-premiere recording. Composed between... Continue Reading

Steinway & Sons Launches A Beethoven Cycle

by Jed Distler

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The Steinway & Sons label weighs in for Beethoven’s 250th anniversary year, launching a sonata cycle featuring pianist Konstantin Scherbakov. Each volume will be released via download and streaming platforms only. Once the cycle reaches completion, it will be released as a physical CD boxed... Continue Reading

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