Latest Music Reviews

Playing It Like Toscanini

by Victor Carr Jr

Toscanini-anniversary

For Arturo Toscanini’s 150th anniversary, Steven Richman and the Harmonie Ensemble/New York present a collection of orchestral pieces particularly associated with the maestro. In terms of repertoire there’s little here that you probably don’t have duplicated already in your collection, but there is one rarity:... Continue Reading

An Enduring Christmas Oratorio From Mainz

by David Vernier

bachchristmasoratorio

Bach’s Christmas Oratorio has been treated very well on disc. In our own archives we list several first-rate choices, including sets from Harmonia Mundi (Jacobs), Hänssler (Rilling), and Channel Classics (Veldhoven). If you don’t own one of those, or happen to be looking for another... Continue Reading

Enjoyable (Mostly) Early Copland from Wilson

by David Hurwitz

CopSym1Wilson

A pattern in this series is starting to emerge. John Wilson and the BBC Philharmonic tend to do better in Copland’s earlier works. The reason isn’t hard to fathom. These pieces are stylistically more diverse and exploratory, as well as less personal, than his later... Continue Reading

Shallow Copland Third from Wilson and the BBC Phil

by David Hurwitz

CopSym3Wilson

This release is billed as Orchestral Works 4, and Symphonies Vol. 3, which strikes me as a bit of overkill, especially given the fact that Copland’s output was not that large. Never mind. The performance of the Third Symphony is swift and light, with the... Continue Reading

Copland’s Third with Original, Even Louder Ending

by David Hurwitz

CopSlat

Leonard Slatkin can always be counted on to offer a new take on familiar classics. He recorded an excellent Copland Third for RCA back in his St. Louis days, and this performance is almost identical in terms of tempo and expression–but not quite. Copland’s publishers,... Continue Reading

King’s Celebrates 100th Carol Service

by David Vernier

kingslessonsandcarols

This two-disc set’s title–100 Years of Nine Lessons & Carols–is a bit confusing. This year, 2018, is indeed the 100th anniversary of King’s College’s now legendary Christmas Eve service known as A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. However, no recordings were made until the... Continue Reading

Ashkenazy’s Illuminating Debussy Preludes

by Jed Distler

askenazydebussy

Although Vladimir Ashkenazy no longer performs in concert as a pianist, he continues to record and to explore new repertoire, such as the complete Debussy Preludes. Book I stems from studio sessions held in October 2017, and, happy to report, Ashkenazy’s 80-year-old fingers prove impressively... Continue Reading

CD From Hell: Andrew Davis’ More Is Less Messiah

by David Vernier

davismessiah

Wait. What’s that snare drum doing there? And is that a harp in “Comfort ye”? Brass and winds–lots of them–in the Sinfonia? (Someone forgot to tell the horn (trombone?) to cut off at the end…) Did someone just discover a trove of missing parts for... Continue Reading

Christmas With Sonoro

by David Vernier

sonorochristmas

For most listeners, even those experienced with Christmas choral collections, the majority of original works and arrangements on this program will be unfamiliar. And that turns out to be a good thing–the selections are diverse enough yet compatible and complementary in style, all set with... Continue Reading

Larsson’s Reactionary Third Symphony

by David Hurwitz

Larsson3

Larsson composed his Third Symphony in 1944-5, but you’d think it was written 75 years earlier. It has absolutely nothing interesting or distinctive to recommend it. From the shopworn approach to form, to the conservative unto death orchestration, it sounds like the work of a... Continue Reading

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