Latest Music Reviews

Oddly Frustrating Motets From Bavarian Radio Chorus

by Jens F. Laurson

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If this recording, with the Bavarian Radio Chorus and Howard Arman in charge, had come out half a century ago, it would have shot to the top of the list of Bach’s motet recordings. As a performance of a then normal-sized choir at unheard-of tempos... Continue Reading

Enjott Schneider’s Latest: Cribbed Beethoven; Darling Schneider

by Jens F. Laurson

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There’s nothing wrong with modern composers leaning on past composers for their inspiration. Except when it is. Falling on the good side you have Zender’s Winterreise, Berio’s Rendering, or Udo Zimmermann’s Cello Concerto. Less successful, to put it generously, are Bernhard Lang’s removing any complexity... Continue Reading

Igor Levit’s Significant and Stimulating Beethoven Cycle

by Jed Distler

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Reviewing Igor Levit’s stunning 2013 solo CD debut featuring Beethoven’s last five piano sonatas, I wrote how the then-26-year-old pianist’s affinity for the composer’s essentially linear style and intense expressivity bordered on clairvoyance. Indeed Levit’s youthful ardor and mature intellect augured well for a complete... Continue Reading

Honeck’s Remarkable Bruckner Ninth

by David Hurwitz

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This is an amazing performance, captured in terrific sound. It’s the most savage Bruckner Ninth since Jochum’s Dresden recording on EMI, especially in the terrifying first-movement coda and the positively vicious, swift account of the scherzo. Honeck’s aided by typically exceptional brass playing, with horns,... Continue Reading

Icelandic Bach With Heart and Panache

by Jens F. Laurson

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It has been 13 years since the Alexandre Tharaud Bach recital “concertos italiens” came out. It’s taken that long for any Bach-on-piano recital disc to come even close to that recording-for-the-ages. By way of clever selection of works—staples of transcribed Bach with original Bach and... Continue Reading

Beethoven Unbound (Well, Some Of The Time!)

by Jed Distler

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Between 2014 and 2016 Llyr Williams gave nine all-Beethoven recitals at London’s Wigmore Hall devoted to all 32 sonatas, the principal variation sets, the Op. 33 and Op. 126 Bagatelles, and several short pieces. These performances provide the basis for the present release, along with... Continue Reading

Fine Period Performances of Beethoven’s “Triple” and Choral Fantasy

by Robert Levine

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I’ve never really enjoyed Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, and listening to this performance I’m pretty sure why. It’s really more a piece of chamber music than a full-grown mid-Beethoven symphonic affair; it has to be lean so that the interplay among the three soloists’ strands and... Continue Reading

A Graceful New Version of Beethoven’s Prometheus

by David Hurwitz

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The Creatures of Prometheus is a much better piece than its reputation would suggest. Beethoven took the project seriously, and scored the piece voluptuously. Indeed, the Adagio in Act 2 for harp with solo cello sounds almost like Tchaikovsky, especially in this uber-romantic performance. The... Continue Reading

CD From the Elevator to Hell: 12 Conversations With Thilo Heinzmann

by Jens F. Laurson

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12 Conversations with Thilo Heinzmann, a new release from Deutsche Grammophon, is best listened to on vinyl (it’s available in that format!) in a fashionable, faux-derelict loft apartment in Soho, London, or Berlin. Thick beard, suspenders, horn rimmed glasses, woolen vest, and ironic T-shirt—pork pie... Continue Reading

Tetzlaff and Ticciati: Glacial Beethoven and Sibelius Violin Concertos

by David Hurwitz

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Christian Tetzlaff has recorded these two concertos before, very successfully: the Beethoven with Zinman, and the Sibelius with Dausgaard. There was no need or reason for him to do them again, and the audible results here only offer proof. These are icy cold interpretations. Of... Continue Reading

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