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Category Archive for 'Classical'

“Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom… actually makes its own musical journey through the decades alongside Mandela’s. Beginning sparsely with African folk instruments, the score expands into full orchestral territory as Mandela’s story deepens (and darkens), then adding electric guitars and synths as things get nearer to the present, all of which gives this presentation a kind of [...]

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“Japanese-British pianist Mitsuko Uchida continues to impress with recordings that are not so much intellectual as simply well thought out, making a challenging yet extremely satisfying overall impression….Decca’s engineering staff outdoes itself with its capture of an ideal sound environment for the work: not the usual concert hall or studio but the well-known audiophile venue [...]

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“The combination of piano and orchestra isn’t a common one on Stravinsky programs, and none of the works here is among the most frequently heard Stravinsky works….For Stravinsky’s underrated piano concerto music, however, this is a strong pick.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“Macedonian pianist Simon Trpceski has emerged as a major recitalist, with a specialty in the high virtuoso repertory of the late Romantic period. There’s a lot to like in this London Wigmore Hall recital of music by Schubert and Liszt, which gives an idea of the nature of Trpceski’s talent.” –All Music Guide Check Our [...]

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“Claudio Abbado’s live album of Robert Schumann’s music with the Orchestra Mozart is a curious diversion from the ensemble’s ongoing series of Mozart recordings, though it shows a willingness to explore other repertoire that is less predictable for them….[T]he symphony and the overtures are rendered with plenty of emotion and the musicians display commitment and [...]

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“Always one of the most popular of Dmitry Shostakovich’s symphonies, the Symphony No. 7 in C major was premiered in 1942….The orchestra gives a committed and sure-footed performance, and Petrenko’s rapport with his musicians goes a long way toward explaining the spontaneity and energy of their playing. Naxos’ recording is clean and spacious, with a [...]

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“With each annual installment of Martha Argerich’s chamber music festival, you are plunged into a spontaneous ferment of music-making: few recordings capture so well the vivid energy of live performance.” –The Guardian Check Our Catalog

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Benjamin Britten: Vocal Works

“[W]hen one examines Britten’s output it is hard not to credit him with at least one work of genius, if not a masterpiece, virtually every year for the rest of his composing life….” –Presto Classical Check Our Catalog

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“One of the most innovative and imaginative composers of the 20th century, Benjamin Britten was a master of the orchestral genre. This extensive collection charts the development of Britten’s orchestral voice and features some of his greatest works, including the evocative Four Sea Interludes, the powerful and majestic Sinfonia da Requiem, the virtuosic Young Person’s [...]

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“German violinist Isabelle Faust has accomplished highly regarded Bartók performances in the past, and she truly comes into her own with this recording….[T]he prime attraction of the album might be the earlier work, composed in 1907 and highly personal in content; it was written for a violinist with whom Bartók was hopelessly in love. She [...]

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“Beautifully presented as always, the latest collection from the conductor-less choir Stile Antico is of music ‘inspired by Holy Week….’ [T]he repertory ranges from classic Gibbons for Palm Sunday to one real discovery, an Easter motet by the little-known Jean l’Héritier, with a contemporary setting of Woefully Arrayed by John McCabe in the centre.” –The [...]

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“Gergiev’s Tchaikovsky is stunning in its immediacy, passion, and vitality, and the somewhat naïve early symphonies benefit greatly from his intensity and the abundant energy of the London Symphony Orchestra.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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Christian Gerhaher: Ferne Geliebte

“Ferne Geliebte, Christian Gerhaher’s 2012 Sony release, is a collection of lieder by the masters of the Classical Viennese style, Franz Joseph Haydn and Ludwig van Beethoven, and the chief representatives of the Second Viennese School, Arnold Schoenberg and Alban Berg….Gerhaher is controlled and balanced, letting most of the expression come through the melodic lines [...]

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“Best known for his operas, he nonetheless created works in a remarkable range of genres: chamber music, orchestral scores, piercing song cycles and choral works….As a pianist and conductor, he understood the visceral joys of performance.” –The Boston Globe Check Our Catalog

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David Lang: Death Speaks

“Like The Little Match Girl Passion, the instrumental forces are simple: Bryce Dessner of the National on guitar, Nico Muhly on piano, and Owen Pallett on violin and occasional backup vocals. If The Little Match Girl Passion resembled a frozen, minimalist recasting of the English madrigal, Death Speaks sounds like the stem cells of Schubert [...]

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Herbert Von Karajan: Legacy

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“For all practical purposes, Morton Feldman’s Violin and Orchestra resembles an anti-concerto, insofar as the soloist’s role is minimized and frequently buried within the heavy textures of the orchestra, rather than featured prominently before it….[T]his piece is like many other compositions by Feldman, requiring suspension of expectations to let it flow by and create its [...]

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“This is a refreshing change from the usual Tchaikovsky or Rachmaninov concertos one hears from young artists eager to impress, and Grosvenor is clever enough to play not only engaging concertos by Saint-Saëns, Ravel, and Gershwin, but to toss in short bon-bons by these composers to sweeten the program….Decca’s reproduction is close-up and vivid, so [...]

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Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 9

“Dudamel and Los Angeles give this symphony a coherent and compelling performance…where the conductor’s pacing and phrasing carry the work to its inevitable goal…. It is refreshing to hear the piece played with real melodic sweep, and to understand that Dudamel’s vision of the symphony is organic, developed, intensely lyrical, and mature.” –All Music Guide [...]

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