Latest Music Reviews

Trevino’s Evocative Americasapes (from Basque Country)

by David Hurwitz

Americascapes

From the cover art adorning this terrific release, you would think that America (or the United States bit of it) was a land characterized by construction cranes, graffiti, and brown leather jackets, none of which has much to do with the music on the disc... Continue Reading

Delightful Dohnányi and Winsome Weiner

by David Hurwitz

DohnanyiSimona

This disc is delicious. Ernst von Dohnányi was one of the few 20th century composers with a genuine sense of musical humor. Tante Simona is a one-act Opera Buffa, and its overture is witty, charming, and full of fun. The American Rhapsody is Dohnányi’s gift... Continue Reading

Big Boxes: The Miraculous Markevitch Philips Legacy

by Jed Distler

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At long last, Australian Eloquence’s highly anticipated Igor Markevitch Philips Legacy. It encompasses the great conductor’s complete recordings for that label on 26 CDs, all remastered from scratch and presented in original jacket facsimiles. Almost everything Markevitch conducted testified to his exemplary musicianship, stylistic breadth,... Continue Reading

Portuguese Music For Piano Duo

by Jed Distler

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What varied and interesting piano duet repertoire we have here! The Melodias rüsticas portuguesas by Fernando Lopes-Garcia (1906-1994) transform catchy folk melodies into charming miniatures full of subtle dissonant jabs and attractive modal harmony. The three-movement Sonatina by Sérgio Azvedo (born 1968) evokes Poulenc’s caustic... Continue Reading

Big Boxes: Orpheus Would Have Loved DG’s Orpheus Complete Recordings

by David Hurwitz

Orpheus

This 55-CD box containing the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra’s complete recordings for Deutsche Grammophon leaves me with mixed emotions. Musically it is absolutely stupendous. Orpheus is without question one of the world’s great ensembles. There is practically nothing here that isn’t recommendable, and much that’s of... Continue Reading

Thielemann Blows Bruckner’s Fourth

by David Hurwitz

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This is an easy call. Thielemann’s conducting is mannered, boring, and utterly predictable, with annoying “expressive” pauses at the ends of lyrical phrases, yielding a “stop and go” syntax that leaves no room for the music’s larger architectural shape. After all, Bruckner is already “stop... Continue Reading

CD From Hell: Brenda Lucas Ogdon Butchers Ravel

by Jed Distler

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First the good news: all proceeds from this release go to Shelter, a UK-based charity for the homeless. Now the bad news: Brenda Lucas Ogdon is no longer the virtuoso she was during her heyday as duo piano partner with her late husband John Ogdon.... Continue Reading

Eloïse Bella Kohn’s Art Of Fugue

by Jed Distler

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When more and more pianists record Bach’s The Art of Fugue, the interpretive bar inevitably rises. As such, Eloïse Bella Kohn falls short of the best. While she’s obviously a sincere and serious musician, she realizes her intentions awkwardly. Kohn’s eagerness to underline subject entrances... Continue Reading

Bach, Beautiful And Buttoned

by Jens F. Laurson

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“Bach Unbuttoned” sounds like a promise: Hair-down, devil-may-care performances, perhaps irreverent or reverent without being slavishly devout. But at least with some whatchamacallit, swing, or groove. The liner notes even speak of the cheek that we need to rediscover in Bach. What we get is... Continue Reading

Respighi Songs: Fine, Dry Art With Ian Bostridge

by Jens F. Laurson

respighisongs

How does the hackneyed phrase go, “Don’t yuck my yum”? So if you are into the somewhat terse, easy-listening-averse ways of Ottorino Respighi’s art songs, or simply want to discover the composer at the opposite end from the lush bombast of Pini di Roma, by... Continue Reading

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