Latest Music Reviews

Dropping In, And Chilling Out With Handel’s Op. 3

by David Vernier


It’s the way these things often happen: it had been a while since I last heard a recording of Handel’s Op. 3, and this one appeared just at the right moment, after a slog through the thorny, scrubby thicket of some woefully dissonant, persistently pointless,... Continue Reading

Capturing Capricornus

by David Vernier


You may not have heard of 17th-century composer Samuel Capricornus, born (1628) into a Lutheran family in what is today’s Czech Republic, and finishing his career (and life) 37 years later in Stuttgart, but if you enjoy music of that place and time, especially church... Continue Reading

Oramo Stuck With Sibelius?

by David Hurwitz


Must all Finnish conductors make Sibelius recordings? Sakari Oramo did all of the symphonies and a batch of other orchestral pieces, not terribly interestingly, in Birmingham. Now he’s got the BBC Symphony, and we get more Sibelius. I wonder, if he were asked what he... Continue Reading

Finding Fasch Via Vocal Works

by David Vernier


There were more than a few Johanns coloring the musical landscape in early 18th century Germany. At almost the same time as a certain composer named Johann Sebastian took his post as cantor in the city of Leipzig, another, Johann Friedrich, assumed his position as... Continue Reading

Changyong Shin’s Second Steinway & Sons Solo Recital

by Jed Distler


Changyong Shin’s 2018 solo debut CD on the Steinway & Sons label featured a performance of Beethoven’s Op. 101 sonata that revealed this young pianist’s affinity for the composer’s linear aesthetic, if not necessarily the combative emotional subtext behind the notes. One can say the... Continue Reading

Close To Ideal Damnation Under Rattle With LSO

by Robert Levine


It had been a long time between listens to Berlioz’s one-of-a-kind La damnation de Faust, and the very opening seconds caught my attention in a new way: It begins with the aging Dr. Faust’s reflecting on life, with from-nowhere viola phrases both aching and nostalgic.... Continue Reading

Bruckner From Switzerland, Handicapped And Below Par

by Jens F. Laurson


I wouldn’t rule out that a small orchestra with something to say can’t do invigorating romantic music—even Bruckner. Thomas Dausgaard’s Bruckner Second comes to mind, where the incense-free très sportif atmosphere does its part to bring out Bruckner’s kinship with Schubert. So when Thomas Zehetmair... Continue Reading

Bach’s Pupils Shine In Sacred Motets

by David Vernier


The idea to make a program of music composed by members of Johann Sebastian Bach’s family, especially the lesser-known ones, has been realized many times, including in several earlier productions by Hänssler. Here we have some motets by both a son—Johann Christoph Friedrich—and a son... Continue Reading

Distinctive and Different Falla from Gil-Ordóñez

by David Hurwitz


There have been a couple of recordings of El amor brujo in its original, two-act chamber version of 1915, but this one is as fine as any and just might be the best around. Conductor Angel Gil-Ordóñez chooses ideal tempos, the members of the Perspectives... Continue Reading

CD From Hell: More Bad Bruckner From Nelsons

by David Hurwitz


This next installment in Andris Nelson’s ongoing project to record bad Bruckner coupled with boring Wagner runs true to form. Unfortunately. Aren’t you tired of the endless stream of bad Bruckner recordings fouling the catalog like some sort of noxious, invasive species of musical vegetation?... Continue Reading

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