Latest Music Reviews

Colin Tilney’s Leisurely Bach Partitas

by Jed Distler

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Colin Tilney’s tempos in Bach’s music have considerably slowed down with age (the harpsichordist is 87 at this writing), and he never was a sprinter to begin with. As a consequence, his Six Partitas rarely reflect the music’s dance roots. Indeed, movements dependent on rhythmic... Continue Reading

Aurora

by David Vernier

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You will want at least six minutes of quiet, uninterrupted listening time and space in order to fully appreciate the highlight of this program: James Jordan and Jeremy Powell’s Interpolations on Sicut cervus disiderat. And then you will need another six minutes because you will... Continue Reading

Big Boxes: Fritz Reiner’s Columbia Recordings

by Jed Distler

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Because Fritz Reiner’s reputation primarily rests with his “golden age” recorded legacy as the Chicago Symphony’s music director, it’s easy to overlook his 1938-1948 stint in Pittsburgh. Reiner essentially rebuilt the Pittsburgh Symphony from scratch, raising its standards to a level worthy of the so-called... Continue Reading

Ethel Smyth’s The Prison: A Work To Be Reckoned With

by Robert Levine

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The works of Dame Ethel Smyth (1858-1944) are rarely played despite the fact that she was the first woman to have an opera, Der Wald, performed at New York’s Metropolitan Opera in 1903. Her works tended to be overlooked in her native England mostly due... Continue Reading

Pierre Henry’s Epigonic La Dixième Symphonie

by Jens F. Laurson

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Pierre Henry’s La Dixième Symphonie – Hommage à Beethoven is a work of the genre where a modern composer takes an ancient model and weaves a modern cloth around familiar and loved structures, hoping thereby to benefit from the soothing sense of the familiar and–ideally,... Continue Reading

Rosbaud’s Astonishing Mahler Symphonies (Video Review)

by David Hurwitz

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The Bottom Line: Buy this. Rosbaud was a very great conductor whose legacy is precious; and his Mahler is as fresh, insightful and gripping as anyone has left us. The mono broadcast quality sound and occasionally stressed orchestral playing detract very little from the overall... Continue Reading

Hans-Jürg Strub’s Schubert

by Jed Distler

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Although I’ve known about Hans-Jürg Strub’s highly regarded reputation as a piano pedagogue, I actually had not heard him play until the present release crossed my reviewer’s desk. Schubert’s A major D. 959 sonata attests to this pianist’s powers of projection, legato mastery, and all-around... Continue Reading

Blomstedt’s Boring Brahms First Symphony (Video Review)

by David Hurwitz

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The bottom line: This new release is a snooze, plain and simple. I wish it were otherwise; Blomstedt is such a fine conductor, but here he turns in a “sensitive” performance strong on nuance but fatally weak in fire and passion.... Continue Reading

Leinsdorf in Mahler, Wagner, and Strauss

by David Hurwitz

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It’s good to see this material reappearing for avid collectors, even if not all of it is the best. Leinsdorf’s Mahler First is a generally brisk, direct, unfussy performance that would have been more notable several decades ago than it is today, Such is the... Continue Reading

Schubert Gone Wild

by Jens F. Laurson

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Here’s a recording the success of which depends entirely on how you approach it. If you think of it as a classical Lied recital that experiments, you’ll likely regard it as an experiment gone wrong. Come to it as a folk-blues-country-jazz-crooner album (or whatever genre... Continue Reading

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