Latest Music Reviews

Garanca–Better Seen And Heard Than Merely Heard

by Robert Levine

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Elina Garanca is great on stage; I have seen her live often, and watching her on DVDs (Carmen, Cenerentola) will allow readers who have never seen her in person to assess for themselves. I think they will agree. She also has a remarkable voice and... Continue Reading

Emanuele Delucchi’s Poetic Chopin/Godowsky

by Jed Distler

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It’s a critical cliché to equate pianists attempting Leopold Godowsky’s complete Studies based on Chopin’s Études with mountaineers ascending Mount Everest, yet it’s the truth. Emanuele Delucchi serves up half of the cycle (all of the studies based on Chopin’s Op. 10 originals), and proves... Continue Reading

Historical Gems: Gieseking’s Debussy Remastered

by Jed Distler

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To several generations of music lovers, Walter Gieseking and the piano music of Debussy are synonymous. Gieseking’s boundless coloristic resources, super-subtle pedaling, and near-clairvoyant ability to tap into the composer’s elusive sense of fantasy remain points of reference to this day. Despite the admittedly limited... Continue Reading

A Generous Schubert/Brahms Feast

by Jed Distler

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A generous feast: All of Brahms’ last piano pieces bracketed in between Schubert’s last two sonatas, performed by a musicianly virtuoso, captured in intimately close yet amply robust sonics. Jorge Federico Osorio’s mastery beckons your attention. The Schubert D. 959 A major sonata’s sprawling first... Continue Reading

Ešenvalds’ Doors Of Heaven

by David Vernier

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This is a recording that makes me wish I had scores at hand while listening. These four works, written by Latvian composer Eriks Ešenvalds between 2006 and 2015, are not so innovative or original as they are successful integrations of techniques–chord clusters, extravagant dissonances, expansive... Continue Reading

Schubert and Haydn Quartets: A Match Made in (Uneasy) Heaven

by David Hurwitz

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In these days of megaboxes and reissues, it’s surprising and delightful to see a new release that couples two beautiful quartets, immaculately played, just because–well, just because. OK, the cover art makes Tetzlaff look like a cult leader hanging out with his three sister-wives, but... Continue Reading

Is This Really Dido & Aeneas?

by Robert Levine

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This performance of Dido and Aeneas was recorded before conductor Teodor Currentzis’ three Mozart/da Ponte operas, but it has just been released in the United States. As we’ve seen from his Mozart, Currentzis thinks he knows better than the composer a good deal of the... Continue Reading

Godard’s Less Than Thrilling Symphonic Works

by David Hurwitz

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You want to love enterprising releases of unknown repertoire, and heaven knows CPO has to its credit a remarkable number of worthy productions. But Benjamin Godard (1849-95), as a symphonist at least, is a composer who promises more than he delivers. His style is conservative... Continue Reading

Shostakovich Chamber Symphonies Vol. 2

by David Hurwitz

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This second and final installment in Dmitry Yablonsky’s survey of “the Barshai cycle” of chamber symphonies arranged from Shostakovich’s string quartets is, on the whole, even more impressive than the first. The Chamber Symphony Op. 73a, scored for strings, woodwinds, and harp, is an arrangement... Continue Reading

Johan Botha: Simply Great In German Opera From Vienna

by Robert Levine

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Recorded live from 1997-2014 at the Vienna State Opera by the Austrian Radio, this collection of “bleeding chunks” from operas by Beethoven, Wagner, and Strauss starring the late South African tenor, Johan Botha, is most welcome. Botha also sang Italian roles–most notably Verdi’s Otello (but... Continue Reading

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