Latest Music Reviews

CD From Hell: Karajan’s Choral Music Box

by David Hurwitz

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If you think that songs like “Dropkick Me Jesus Through the Goalposts of Life” represent sincere expressions of religious sentiment, then you’ll surely respond to Karajan’s handling of the choral music in this set. Indeed, calling it “choral music” may be technically correct, but what... Continue Reading

Andreas Haefliger’s Seventh Perspectives Volume: Masterfully Done

by Jed Distler

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BIS takes over from Avie presenting Andreas Haefliger’s ongoing (albeit slowly unfolding) Perspectives releases, a series that encompasses intelligent and often unexpected juxtapositions of mixed repertoire. As with its predecessors, Volume 7 features one Beethoven sonata. Haefliger’s careful phrasing and attention to voice leading makes... Continue Reading

Jin Ju’s Evolving Chopin

by Jed Distler

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Jin Ju’s second release devoted to Chopin’s late works finds this Beijing-based pianist to have made interpretive strides since her previous volume. She’s minimized her tendency toward shapeless push/pull rubato—not in the sectionalized and slack treatment of the B minor sonata’s Allegro maestoso (complete with... Continue Reading

Becoming Darkness: A Bass Lied Recital

by Jens F. Laurson

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Famous Lieder cycles—two of which we usually know with mezzos and altos—are here interpreted by Günter Groissböck, a still fairly young bass who has made a name for himself with his physical stage presence and civilized, dark, virile-but-warm voice. On the stages of the Salzburg... Continue Reading

Major Discoveries: Images of Brazil for Violin and Piano

by David Hurwitz

Brazil

This is one of those discs you’d be tempted to overlook: seven works by seven different composers, most of them unknown (except for Villa-Lobos and Guarnieri), scored or arranged for violin and piano, and played (very well) by performers who aren’t exactly household names. I... Continue Reading

Slatkin’s Always Excellent Copland Ballets

by David Hurwitz

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Leonard Slatkin’s Copland is always first rate, and this release is no exception. He already recorded the complete Billy the Kid in St. Louis for EMI, but that disc could be anywhere right now, except readily available, and so if you want the entire work... Continue Reading

Great, Great, Great Dvorák Trios from the Tetzlaffs and Vogt

by David Hurwitz

DvorakTrios

Dvorák’s last two piano trios make such a perfect coupling that many of them have been issued. The F minor Trio shows the composer at the zenith of his “classical” style (many commentators say Brahmsian, but that’s not really accurate, as we’re talking more about... Continue Reading

Stunning Juxtapositions: Glass/Handel, From AR Costanzo

by Robert Levine

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This is a fine idea, beautifully executed. The similarities between Baroque music and minimalism may be somewhat shallow, but they’re valid: repetition, variations slight and less-slight, written and improvised, and a type of ritualism that keeps the listener involved. Still-young, glorious-voiced countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo... Continue Reading

Luchesi’s Nondescript Sonatas, Superbly Played

by Jed Distler

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Born in 1741, the Italian composer Andrea Luchesi had a multi-faceted career. His operas were well regarded in their day, while he enjoyed renown as a keyboard virtuoso. In 1774 he was appointed to the court of Prince Elector Max Friedrich in Bonn. With the... Continue Reading

Hindemith’s Violin Sonatas Plus

by Jed Distler

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Hindemith’s popularity may have waned since the 1960s, yet his wonderful violin sonatas thrive on disc, with several stellar versions available. Roman Mints now enters the ring, offering nearly all of Hindemith’s works for violin and piano. I say “nearly” because Mints leaves out the... Continue Reading

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