Latest Music Reviews

Novák Wrote A Piano Concerto! Who Knew?

by David Hurwitz


Vítěslav Novák’s Piano Concerto is a melodious early work, part Liszt and (in the finale) part Dvořák, but none the worse for that. Like just about everything this composer wrote, it displays a certain soulful melancholy which, combined with the very effectively written solo part,... Continue Reading

Adam Fischer’s Mahler 9th–It’s A Duck

by David Hurwitz


What are these people doing playing Mahler? Yes, it’s nice that the Düsseldorfers can do it accurately, if not alluringly, and Fischer does have some ideas about the music (mostly bad ones), but that’s no excuse to produce yet another version of this music in... Continue Reading

Mostly Terrific Sibelius From Gardner and Davidsen

by David Hurwitz


Here’s a mostly excellent disc, smartly programmed to offer an appealing mix of familiar and less-known music. Soprano Lise Davidsen seems to be all over the place these days. She’s the real deal, an intelligent and affecting singer with the vocal heft and secure technique... Continue Reading

One Movement Symphonies: Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad

by David Hurwitz


This latest release from Michael Stern and the Kansas City Symphony reveals typically enterprising programming: three one-movement symphonies in widely divergent styles, ranging from Barber’s neo-romanticism, to the very personal austerity of late Sibelius, to the lush decadence of Scriabin’s Poem of Ecstasy. Let’s get... Continue Reading

Luminous Voices

by David Vernier


Luminous Voices is a Calgary-based chamber choir founded in 2012 by Timothy Shantz, a conductor of wide experience both throughout Canada and internationally. His program here, performing works by another “contemporary” Canadian, Peter-Anthony Togni, proves a good choice, a nicely varied collection of pieces–nine in... Continue Reading

Nelsons’ Shostakovich Misfires Badly

by David Hurwitz


Up to this point, Nelsons’ Boston Shostakovich cycle has been very good to excellent, but these performances of Symphonies Nos. 1, 14 and 15 are, for much of the time, a mess. No. 1 is the worst of all. The fact that Shostakovich makes the... Continue Reading

Video Review: 27 CDs of Dvořák’s Slavonic Soul (Train)

by David Hurwitz


The Bottom Line: Well knock me over with a pin! Someone over at Warner Music knows how to put together a first class Dvořák collection. You get all the symphonies and major orchestral works (including Neumann’s Telefunken recordings with the Czech Philharmonic–sound clip), the concertos,... Continue Reading

Muti’s Mostly Marvelous 91-CD Mega-box (Video Review)

by David Hurwitz


The Bottom Line: Hot on the heals of Warner’s 90+ disc Previn set comes this Riccardo Muti collection, and it’s mostly terrific. OK, his digital Beethoven symphony series wasn’t terribly special, but there are some splendid cycles (Schubert, Scriabin, Tchaikovsky, Cherubini) and spectacular individual discs... Continue Reading

Homilius’ Shining St. Mark

by David Vernier


This beautifully performed and recorded rendition of Gottfried Homilius’ St. Mark Passion claims to be a world premiere, and we can assume that the only reason for the work’s obscurity until now is that its composer’s career fell in the years overlapping those of Bach,... Continue Reading

Goldberg Variations Variations (Les Violons du Roy Edition)

by Jens F. Laurson


You name any instrument or combination thereof and I give you a recording of the Goldberg Variations to match it. Nearly, anyway. The good versions entice the ears or tug the heartstrings; here is a re-release that errs on the right side of success, adding... Continue Reading

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