Latest Music Reviews

Second Rate Mahler Sixth from Netopil, Unfortunately

by David Hurwitz

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Czech conductor Tomáš Netopil paces this performance very effectively. He observes the first movement exposition repeat, places the scherzo where it belongs as the second movement, and knows how to deal with Mahler’s special effects: the cowbells, hammer blows, etc. The problem is the orchestra,... Continue Reading

Big Boxes: Eduardo del Pueyo’s Humdrum Beethoven Cycle

by Jed Distler

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Born in Spain, pianist Eduardo del Pueyo (1905-1986) based his career in Brussels, where he taught for many years at the Royal Conservatory. Australian Eloquence brought out a 5-CD set containing his complete recordings for the Philips label, which included seven Beethoven sonatas. Del Pueyo... Continue Reading

Wolf-Ferrari’s Piano Trios From Brilliant Classics….Again!

by Jed Distler

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Brilliant Classics must love Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari’s two early piano trios. Within a year of releasing the Trio Archè’s CD, the label brings out these works again, this time with the Trio Mezzena, Patria, Ballario. This particular ensemble pursues a more emotive, volatile path in relation... Continue Reading

Stephen Hough’s Reference-Worthy Late Brahms

by Jed Distler

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It would be rash, and indeed irresponsible, to claim this recording as the best that Stephen Hough has ever made, or the best version of Brahms’ late piano pieces ever released. Yet Hough’s complete technical mastery, fresh musical insights, and deep stylistic sympathy constantly yield... Continue Reading

On Beethoven’s Beat: “Ludwig Van, House Remix”

by Jens F. Laurson

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Before the year is out, 2020 will see Beethoven-themed everything, so it’s perhaps not so surprising to find non-classical acts having some fun at the master from Bonn’s expense: Jazzrausch Bigband, for example, which has released “Beethoven’s Breakdown” on the fine jazz label ACT, which... Continue Reading

Still More Excellent Saint-Saëns Piano Concertos

by David Hurwitz

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We seem to be undergoing a Saint-Saëns piano concerto bonanza, and this excellent disc could well take pride of place had it not been for Louis Lortie’s Chandos recordings, which are just that much finer still. The outstanding performances here are the Fourth and Fifth... Continue Reading

Dausgaard’s Bad Bruckner 6th: Perfect for a Pandemic

by David Hurwitz

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There’s something curiously satisfying about sitting at home, under Covid 19 lockdown, and listening to bad Bruckner. I mean, if the world is going to hell in so many different ways, why should this be any different? It just confirms what we’ve already known: even... Continue Reading

Peter Serkin’s Final Goldbergs

by Jed Distler

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Bach’s Goldberg Variations figured prominently in the late Peter Serkin’s career, both in concert and on disc. He recorded it for RCA in 1965 at age 17, and again in 1986 for the defunct Pro Arte label, this time with the repeats. A handful of... Continue Reading

Berlioz From Utah

by Jed Distler

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Since Thierry Fischer took over the reins as its music director in 2009, the Utah Symphony has not only thrived but blossomed, as its recent Mahler First Symphony and Saint-Saëns recordings bear out. The musicians certainly give their conductor everything he asks for in this... Continue Reading

Reference Recording: St. Gallen’s Bach Cantatas, Vol. 30

by Jens F. Laurson

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Every release of the St. Gallen Bach cantata cycle-in-the-making is a joy. And every volume only raises the project in my estimation. But just as all animals are equal, some are more equal than others. This applies to these volumes and–closely related–to the cantatas themselves.... Continue Reading

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