Latest Music Reviews

Unappealing Chopin Etudes

by Jed Distler


Tatiana Chernichka understandably claims her stake in a pedagogic and familial lineage when it comes to the Chopin Etudes. Her late mother Olga Volchkova, a pianist who studied under Heinrich Neuhaus and Yakov Zak at the Moscow Conservatory, was the first to perform the entire... Continue Reading

A Boring Bartók Reissue from Robertson and Lyon

by David Hurwitz


Reissue in Harmonia Mundi’s “Gold” series does nothing to change this program’s mostly uninspiring music making. The sole exception to the dully antiseptic impression that these performances leave resides in the Four Pieces for Orchestra, a cerebral work in which David Robertson proves himself particularly... Continue Reading

Sudbin Plays It Smart in Rachmaninov 2 and 3

by David Hurwitz


There are elegant, intelligent performances from a soloist who’s clearly thought about the music and knows how to get what he wants out of it. In the Second Concerto, Sudbin throws down the gauntlet right at the start with an unusually swift and (as it... Continue Reading

A Scrumptious Box of Koechlin Chamber and Piano Music

by David Hurwitz

Koechlin Chamber

What a delicious collection this is! Take a moment and listen to the opening of the imposing, half-hour long Viola Sonata’s third movement. A simple sounding melody gradually descends in steps, from the viola’s highest register to its lowest. Underneath, the piano plays a series... Continue Reading

Ishay Shaer’s Distinctive Late Beethoven

by Jed Distler


Born in 1983, the Israeli pianist Ishay Shaer has been building up a healthy resume of international recital, concerto, and chamber music appearances over the years. Although Shaer’s newly released Beethoven recital for Orchid Classics isn’t exactly a CD debut (a 2008 disc with works... Continue Reading

Lugansky/Rachmaninov Redux

by Jed Distler


Until now, Nikolai Lugansky has recorded prolifically but unevenly, bouncing around from label to label. However, Lugansky’s recent contract with Harmonia Mundi may well bring his recording career into focus, if this first release is any indication. Put simply, Lugansky’s remakes of Rachmaninov’s Op. 23... Continue Reading

Debussy: The (Really) Complete Works on Warner

by David Hurwitz


Unlike DG’s recent incomplete Complete Works box, this one, all 33 CDs of it, really makes an effort to do the job right. Indeed, it contains more than the complete works, because you get both everything Debussy wrote as well as everything he arranged or... Continue Reading

DG’s Incomplete, Grab Bag of a Complete Debussy Box

by David Hurwitz


In mathematics it is possible to accept the notion that there can be different sets of infinite yet unequal sizes, but “Debussy Complete Works” ought to mean what it says; and when the present set contains 22 CDs (plus 2 DVDs), and EMI/Warner’s also complete... Continue Reading

Nézet-Séguin Makes a Mess of Mass

by David Hurwitz


It’s really not entirely the conductor’s fault. Granted, the chorus and orchestra sound ill-coordinated in a few spots (like the opening Kyrie), and there are some rushed tempos, but the real problem with this live 2015 performance stems from simply atrocious engineering. However effective it... Continue Reading

Sounds & Silence

by David Vernier

PRINT_Silence & Music_COVER artwork

Silence is a highly underrated component of music. But to fully appreciate and understand–especially in the world of a cappella music–it’s necessary to focus on the moments of silence, the “spaces between the notes”, long or short, to notice the sound of the silence, which... Continue Reading

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