Latest Music Reviews

Major Discoveries: Prokofiev’s Real Cello Concerto

by David Hurwitz

ProkIsser

Prokofiev’s Cello Concerto Op. 58 is a major work. It dates from the mid 1930s, and for a variety of reasons it never enjoyed many performances or much success on the infrequent occasions when it was performed. As a consequence, the composer reworked some of... Continue Reading

St. John’s College Choir Finds Its Mojo

by James Imam

Johns-Kyrie

After a productive but largely uninspired five-year stint with Chandos, the Choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge has gone it alone, and rediscovered its mojo in the process. Its most recent discs, released on the choir’s own imprint with Signum Classics, have achieved renewed appeal... Continue Reading

First Rate Dvorák From The Jerusalem Quartet

by David Hurwitz

DvorakSextet

This coupling is a popular one, and with good reason. The Sextet marks the beginnings of Dvorák in “Slavonic” mode, with a second movement “Dunka” and a “Furiant” for a scherzo, while the String Quintet comes from his “American” period, with all that this entails... Continue Reading

CD From Hell: Immerseel’s Ghastly, Gruesome, Grotesque Gershwin

by David Hurwitz

GershwinImmerseel

This is a remarkably generous, perfectly dreadful program: eighty-six minutes of the worst Gershwin it has ever been my misfortune to hear. Actually, it would have been about seventy-five minutes had Immerseel played the music up to speed, but more on that anon. Its sole... Continue Reading

Major Discoveries: Emilie Mayer’s Piano Quartets

by David Hurwitz

Mayerpqs

German composer Emilie Mayer (1812-83) does not deserve to be forgotten. She was one of the very few nineteenth-century female composers who actually made a living as a female composer. Her output is large and comprehensive, including chamber music of various kinds, vocal works, symphonies... Continue Reading

Dausgaard’s Uninteresting Brahms Second

by David Hurwitz

BrahmsDaus

This latest installment in Thomas Dausgaard’s ongoing effort to downsize the romantic symphonic repertoire isn’t as bad as some of his previous releases, but it’s nothing special either. The performances are easily described, and just as easily dismissed. In the Second Symphony, Dausgaard takes the... Continue Reading

Stephen Hough’s Debussy Recital

by Jed Distler

614NdelK7oL

Until now, Debussy’s music has eluded Stephen Hough’s eclectic discography, save for two short pieces. As it happens, his first all-Debussy release contains a good share of stunning, reference-worthy performances alongside some that fall short of Hough’s highest standard. In Estampes’ opening piece, Pagodes, for... Continue Reading

Neschling’s Most Memorable Respighi Yet

by David Hurwitz

RespighiNesch

This is a wonderful program, both for the performances and for the intelligent overview it gives of Respighi’s art generally. It begins with a piece for chamber orchestra, continues with an intimate work for voice and string quartet, and concludes with one of the composer’s... Continue Reading

Haydn and Mozart by Handel and Haydn

by David Hurwitz

Haydn Christ

In his booklet note for this release. Harry Christophers spouts the usual nonsense about “stripping away the cobwebs” from this music using period instruments, blah, blah, blah, and frankly I couldn’t be more sick of it. The music has never needed “stripping,” to make is... Continue Reading

Brabbins Blows It in A London Symphony

by David Hurwitz

RVWBrab

No, no, no. This won’t do at all. A London Symphony is a big, beefy, swaggering piece punctuated with intimate, poetic moments. Brabbins clearly understands the latter, but ignores the former. The result is tedium. The BBC Symphony Orchestra, as if anticipating the ordeal to... Continue Reading

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