Latest Music Reviews

Historical Gems: Gieseking’s Debussy Remastered

by Jed Distler


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

A Fine New Disc Of Brahms Serenades From Ondine

by David Hurwitz


The Brahms serenades have done well enough on disc, but does anyone ever program them in concert anymore? They do have their quirky features–the First Serenade’s loosely structured six movements, with that very long Adagio, and the Second Serenade’s unique scoring omitting violins entirely–but they... Continue Reading

Tallis Real And Reflected

by David Vernier


My strategy for listening to this recording, which primarily consists of works by Thomas Tallis, interspersed with six newly commissioned pieces designed to give a contemporary “response” to specifically assigned pieces, was not to look at the track list beforehand, consulting the liner notes only... Continue Reading

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