Latest Music Reviews

Diminution, Division: Distraction Or Artful Enrichment?

by David Vernier

art of dimunitions

For some period during what we now call the Renaissance and Baroque, it was popular practice for vocalists and instrumentalists to embellish or ornament a melodic line by dividing longer note values into many shorter, more elaborate figures as a means of variation. This was... Continue Reading

Persuasive Schubert From Shai Wosner

by Jed Distler


Shai Wosner continues working his way through Schubert’s sonatas on disc, with largely distinctive results. In the A minor sonata’s opening Moderato, the pianist brings a variety of touch and emphasis to each iteration of the martial repeated-note theme, and manages to convey both unity... Continue Reading

Big Boxes: A Final, Excellent Jochum Collection (Video Review)

by David Hurwitz


Please click on the link below for the video review, and please subscribe to our YouTube channel (it’s free). The bottom line: this beautifully assembled and reasonably priced box includes all of the Jochum Philips recordings not found in the two big DG boxes. You... Continue Reading

The Exquisite Piano Music of Jean Roger-Ducasse

by Jed Distler


The piano music of Jean Roger-Ducasse (1873-1954) is cut from the same subtle and refined cloth as that of his teacher and mentor Fauré, particularly in the latter’s elusive late works. Its difficulties lie not so much with virtuosic challenges as they do with issues... Continue Reading

Tony Chen Lin’s Digressions

by Jed Distler


Pianist Tony Chen Lin understandably tries to explain and justify why he’s brought these particular four compositions together for a recital disc. Yet he doesn’t need to, because they add up to a wonderfully contrasted program. Opening with Bartók’s Piano Sonata guarantees attention, especially considering... Continue Reading

Beautiful, Involving Recital From Ekaterina Siurina

by Robert Levine


When this came across my desk and I checked the playlist, my heart sank. Chestnuts galore. Did I really want to hear this selection of French and Italian arias (and duets) sung by a Russian soprano? I’d made a pact with myself that right or... Continue Reading

First Class Tcherepnin Narcisse et Echo

by David Hurwitz


Nikolai Tcherepnin (1873-1943) was the father of Alexander, who might be just a smidge better known. A pupil of Rimsky-Korsakov, he was a composer of some talent, and believe it or not this is the second complete recording of his ballet Narcisse et Echo. The... Continue Reading

Karl Weigl’s Last Two String Quartets

by Jed Distler


The chamber and orchestral works of Karl Weigl (1881-1949) have been gradually finding their way onto recordings, including the last two of his eight string quartets, recorded here for the first time, so far as I know. The harmonic content and polished workmanship of his... Continue Reading

A New Path And A Fresh Voice: Andreas Staier’s Beethoven

by Jed Distler


The sonority of the circa 1810 Mathias Müller Viennese fortepiano model featured on this recording crosses over into twangy harpsichord territory in loud moments, while making hauntingly muffled, almost disembodied sounds at the lowest volume. Because the sustain mechanism is nowhere near so prolonged as... Continue Reading

Wilson’s Faceless French Collection

by David Hurwitz


These are without question the most characterless performances of this music available. John Wilson leads what sounds like a reading rehearsal with a group of studio musicians who can play virtually anything with the same mechanical, faceless efficiency. Tempos are uniformly swift–indeed, too fast to... Continue Reading

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