Latest Music Reviews

Brautigam’s Mendelssohn: Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword

by David Hurwitz

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There’s no need to spend much time on this release. One of the main premises behind the historically informed performance movement is that music of earlier periods sounds better on the instruments for which it was written. This is in itself debatable, but let’s leave... Continue Reading

Van Zweden and the New York Phil Improve, Somewhat

by David Hurwitz

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After their awful Beethoven disc I had low expectations for Van Zweden and the New York Philharmonic, sad to say, but these aren’t bad performances. If you had gone to the concerts, you might have come away satisfied, if not thrilled. The problem is that... Continue Reading

Bezuidenhout & Haydn

by Jed Distler

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Having completed a cycle of Mozart’s solo keyboard works for Harmonia Mundi, Kristian Bezuidenhout now turns his attention to Haydn. He plays on a Paul McNulty reproduction of an Anton Walter instrument, whose timbral differentiation between registers suits the linear transparency of Haydn’s style. Some... Continue Reading

A Weber And Schubert Pairing From Paul Lewis

by Jed Distler

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Although Carl Maria von Weber’s piano sonatas continue to resist coming back into fashion, they somehow manage to find world-class champions on disc. Sonata No. 2 in A-flat has been especially well served, going back to splendid 78-era recordings by Alfred Cortot and Noël Mewton-Wood,... Continue Reading

Corelli Concertos–Necessary Or Just Fine Oddities?

by Robert Levine

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The concerto grosso is a Baroque form in which the musical content is passed between a small group and a somewhat larger group, normally a pair of violins and a cello versus a still-smallish string section, with both groups being supported by continuo instruments. Arcangelo... Continue Reading

Lightweight Sibelius from Sondergard

by David Hurwitz

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How do you ruin the Valse triste? Well, play it this spasmodically for starters. Speed it up, slow it down, strip it of all elegance, all sensuality. I mean, really, how difficult can this be? Thomas Sondergard seems to be one of those conductors with... Continue Reading

The Stamic Quartet’s Great Weinberg & Bloch Combo

by Jens F. Laurson

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For it being one of the absolutely great chamber works of the 20th century, there aren’t actually that many good recordings of the Mieczysław Weinberg Piano Quintet. I have yet to listen to the Attacca Quartet’s and the Silesian String Quartet’s most recent releases, but... Continue Reading

Young Pianist, Old Soul

by Jed Distler

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Naturally I looked askance at this CD’s title, “Summit”, along with the booklet photos featuring pianist Nuron Mukumi pondering his scores in the vicinity of a snowy mountaintop. Are these real or photoshopped? What’s real, however, is this pianist’s undeniable yet still-developing talent. Mukumi was... Continue Reading

Superbly Played Mendelssohn From The Sitkovetsky Trio, But Something’s Missing

by Jens F. Laurson

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The Mendelssohn Piano Trios live an existence in fame-limbo: not neglected but not quite part of the hard core of piano trios that the works of Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, Dvořák, and Schumann occupy. Within Mendelssohn’s œvre they don’t have the beaming geniality of the... Continue Reading

Rikke Sandberg’s Idiosyncratic Brahms

by Jed Distler

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Like many pianists these days, Rikke Sandberg wears several hats. She’s the artistic leader of the Nordic Chamber Music Festival, a frequent competition juror, a professor at the Royal Danish Music Academy, and a frequent orchestral pianist for the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and the... Continue Reading

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