Latest Music Reviews

Big Boxes: Jansons–The (Necessary?) Oslo Years

by David Hurwitz


The Bottom Line: Although there are some very fine performances here in this 21 CD, 5 DVD box, much of it contains blockbuster repertoire that others have done better. Unless you collect Jansons generally, you probably don’t need this, which is a pity, because there... Continue Reading

Paavo Järvi Thrills in Tchaik 5 and Bores in Francesca

by David Hurwitz


What is it about Francesca da Rimini that makes it so difficult to perform successfully? I mean, it’s not rocket science. All you have to do is play the daylights out of the “hell” sections, and keep the love music in the middle moving steadily... Continue Reading

Nelly Akopian-Tamarina In Slow Motion

by Jed Distler


If you’ve heard Nelly Akopian-Tamarina’s self-indulgent Schumann and glacially slow Brahms recordings, you’ll know what to expect from these 2008/09 live Wigmore Hall performances. In fairness, Chopin’s more introspective Mazurkas such as the C minor Op. 56 No. 3, C-sharp minor Op. 50 No. 3,... Continue Reading

The Twelve Tones of Christmas: Simply Indescribable (video review)

by David Hurwitz


In the grand tradition of “Christmas in Darmstadt,” Tinnitus Classics is proud to offer this, the world’s first and only completely dodecaphonic Christmas album. Words can’t even begin to describe the revelatory and extraordinary music contained on this CD, splendidly performed by the Musica Urethra... Continue Reading

The Gap Sadly Unfilled: Boult’s Abridged Busoni

by Jens F. Laurson


Goethe proclaimed that “only Mozart” (who had already died) was capable of writing an opera based on his Faust. That did not keep others from trying. Arrigo Boito succeeded resoundingly with Mefistofele, Berlioz’s “légende dramatique” La Damnation de Faust offers the most boldly literal operatic... Continue Reading

Reznicek Suites: Curiously Faded, Nicely Played

by David Hurwitz


Emil Nikolaus von Reznicek (1860-1945) presents a puzzle. Obviously talented, his concert music often reveals a curiously faded, tired quality, as though he knew he was working within a tradition on its way out, but perhaps didn’t much care. This is especially true of works... Continue Reading

Paavo Järvi’s Really Fine Schmidt Symphonies

by Victor Carr Jr


Paavo Järvi joins his father Neeme as one of the few conductors to record all four symphonies by Austrian composer Franz Schmidt. Symphony No. 4 is by far the most performed and recorded, as well as the best work of the bunch. Like Josef Suk... Continue Reading

Scintillating Massenet from Tingaud and the RSNO

by David Hurwitz


Between JoAnn Falletta and Jean-Luc Tingaud, Naxos seems to be cornering the market when it comes to unusual but worthy repertoire. Tingaud’s specialty, unsurprisingly, has (thus far) focused on French music, and this Massenet collection includes some pretty nifty and rare titles. Visions, for example,... Continue Reading

Finally, Warner’s Szell Box! (video review)

by David Hurwitz


The Bottom Line: What could be better than a big box of Szell? This set will be self-recommending for anyone who cares about great conducting. There are some classic performances here, including the Beethoven Violin Concerto with Huberman (sound clip), the Dvořák Cello Concerto with... Continue Reading

Neglected Yet Worthwhile American Violin Sonatas

by Jed Distler


The New York-born composer and educator Rubin Goldmark (1872-1936) is best known for teaching two of America’s most influential and original composers, namely George Gershwin and Aaron Copland. His own compositional output generally falls in step with the late-Romantic Austro-German party line, such as the... Continue Reading

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