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Category Archive for 'Classical'

“To give listeners a clear idea of this critically acclaimed conductor’s range and versatility, short pieces and movements from larger works have been selected from seven CDs to highlight his repertoire on Discoveries… Conducting the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic, and the Vienna Philharmonic, he shows his [...]

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Jeremy Denk: Ligeti; Beethoven

“American pianist Jeremy Denk is emerging as his generation’s Alfred Brendel, offering cerebral but not dry programs and performances informed by a deep structural grasp of the piano literature… This fine release offers an excellent introduction to his work.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“After his widely praised recordings of Schubert’s late piano sonatas, British pianist Paul Lewis returns with another two-disc box covering the Wanderer-Fantasie in C major, Op. 15, the Piano Sonata in A minor, D. 845, and two sets of smaller works… Strongly recommended, as usual with this intelligent player.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“South African-born historical-performance specialist Kristian Bezuidenhout uses unusual microphone placement in this recording of two of Mozart’s mature and very frequently recorded concertos, and the effect is certainly different enough to justify yet another version.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“Recorded between 1975 and 1979 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and grouped here with the Violin Concerto and various famous tone poems, such as Finlandia, The Swan of Tuonela, and Tapiola, Davis’ set is still a viable contender against other packages on the market, and listeners who want lucid interpretations will be hard pressed to [...]

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“As with The Lord of the Rings films, the music is lush and richly orchestral — with the occasional choir — utilizing similarly pastoral themes for the hobbits and rhythmic, suspenseful ones for the threatening creatures and characters.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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Elgar & Carter: Cello Concertos

“Alisa Weilerstein presents three major works of the cello repertoire with Daniel Barenboim leading the Staatskapelle Berlin. The star vehicle, naturally, is Edward Elgar’s Concerto in E minor, which Weilerstein plays with commanding presence, rich tone, and emotional depth.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“Renowned as one of the world’s leading conductors, Esa-Pekka Salonen is also a gifted composer of highly expressive, colorful, and idiomatic music that has found a growing audience… If there is one influence that shines through this darkly brilliant score, it seems to be Sibelius, for Salonen shares much of the master’s sensitivity to low [...]

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Arvo Pärt: Adam’s Lament

“This beautifully recorded album collects music by Arvo Pärt, most of it composed (or at least revised) since the turn of the century. Performed by a superb group of Baltic musicians, the album makes a fine choice for those wishing to explore new directions in Pärt’s music.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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Elīna Garanča: Romantique

“Latvian mezzo soprano Elina Garanca has a voice that’s miraculously creamy yet smoky. The voice, by itself, can stand the comparison in this collection of mostly French Romantic arias. These are for the most part lesser-known numbers, and Garanca makes them her own musically; she picks pieces that optimize her range, with its impressive power [...]

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Khatia Buniatishvili: Chopin

“Georgian pianist Khatia Buniatishvili is a phenomenon, and kudos to Sony Classical for snagging her! This is Chopin of the old school, with massive interposition of the performer between music and listener. And it’s glorious…. This is the kind of Chopin playing that people used to line up to hear.” –All Music Guide Check Our [...]

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“Mike Oldfield, the self-taught guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, and producer, is chiefly remembered for his album-length ‘Tubular Bells’ composition, an eerie, fascinating, and conceptual piece that did so much to set the tone for the movie The Exorcist… This self-chosen set makes a great introduction to his life’s work, although ardent fans will no doubt [...]

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“The second volume in local a cappella choir Blue Heron’s releases of music from the Peterhouse Partbooks pays tribute to a pair of little-known English composers, Nicholas Ludford (circa 1490-1557) and Richard Pygott (circa 1485-1549). …[T]his CD, which was recorded last September at the Church of the Redeemer in Chestnut Hill, [has] extraordinary sound — [...]

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Alfie Boe: Alfie

“Having reached the U.K. Top Ten for the first time, performed for the English National Opera in La Boheme and The Mikado, and received rave reviews for his role as Jean Valjean in Les Misérables, Blackpool tenor Alfie Boe rounds off an incredible year with his fifth studio album, simply titled Alfie….Alfie should consolidate Boe’s [...]

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“As more cellists record albums of solo works, there appears to be a growing demand for an expanded repertoire, beyond the handful of pieces that are usually performed. For this 2012 release on ECM New Series, Miklós Perényi has chosen three works of varying degrees of familiarity that show an awareness of the need to [...]

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Jean Sibelius: Symphonies 1-4

“[Paavo Berglund] made everything he did sound like Shakespeare, whether it was Beethoven, Brahms, Smetana, or Rachmaninov. But it was the conducting of Sibelius that he revolutionized…. The sound of his Sibelius is hard but not hard-edged; it’s all forest murmurs and oscillating universes. In his hands, the symphonies don’t develop, in the usual Western-music [...]

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“[Paavo Berglund] recorded the complete symphonies three times; the middle set, done between 1984 and 1987 with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, makes for an inexpensive and readily available introduction…. Symphony No. 5 is a particular treat; Sibelius had swans in mind, and Berglund’s just keep getting whiter and whiter. As for ‘Tapiola,’ it’s a conversation [...]

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Franz Schubert: Late Masses

“Schubert’s last great masses – No.5 in A flat and No.6 in E flat – are his greatest achievements in this genre…. They are much more substantial than the composer’s earlier masses, which still lie firmly within the classical tradition of Haydn and Mozart…. Wolfgang Sawallisch is renowned for his performances of Schubert’s church music, [...]

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“Sminova makes her ECM debut with these rarely collected suites. …It is apparent that she gave much thought and practice to the material and has made its transition to the modern piano a revelation. …The faster-paced pieces are dispatched with the Baroque tartness of the harpsichord while taking advantage of the tonal well afforded the [...]

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