By Robert Battey
DIGITAL REVIEW – Former Buenos Aires child prodigies Martha Argerich and Daniel Barenboim often collaborate as soloist and conductor, but before a concert caught on DG they had played duo pianos together only once.
By Richard S. Ginell
SAN FRANCISCO – Around the corner from the main entrance of Davies Symphony Hall, a huge rehearsal room has been converted into a cabaret-cum-black-box space like the lounge of an upscale urban hotel. It’s called SoundBox.
By Philippa Kiraly
SEATTLE – Cellist Joshua Roman and conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla ushered in a new concerto by Mason Bates that combines classical lyricism with blues, jazz elements, and techno rhythms from the club scene.
By Rodney Punt
BOOK REVIEW – Graham Johnson’s definitive survey of Schubert’s lyric art is at one stroke the indispensable reference for singers, pianists, scholars, lovers of music in general, and Schubert fans in particular. It arrives Dec. 16.
By Susan Brodie
BRUSSELS – Krzysztof Warlikowski’s new X-rated production at La Monnaie explores the more lurid instincts unleashed by the Don’s uncontrollable urges, but manages only to confuse and distract from the music.
By Richard S. Ginell
DIGITAL REVIEW – Once a rarity, complete recordings of Shostakovich’s 15 symphonies now number well over a dozen. One of the best has just reached its conclusion with a powerful rendering of the choral Symphony No. 13.
HOUSTON — Britain’s Iain Bell is the latest in a long line of composers who have created operas based on Dickens’ beloved tale. Plucky tenor Jay Hunter Morris plays all of the roles in the world premiere at Houston Grand Opera.
By Judith Malafronte
NEW YORK – James Levine’s clear and buoyant reading of Wagner’s only comedy led an evening of glorious music-making, firmly anchored by the splendid Met orchestra and chorus, as Otto Schenk’s 1993 production began its final run.
By Lawrence B. Johnson
DETROIT – Some bright young musicians know early on that they want to be a conductor. Leonard Slatkin had a more specific vision. He believed himself born to be a music director, “a very different job from just waving your arms.”
By Paul Hyde
The spirited chronicle of a golden era when the New York scene was dominated by the likes of Toscanini, Bernstein, Copland, Horowitz, and Heifetz, Thomson: Music Chronicles 1940-1954 is a classical music lover’s delight.
By Richard Todd
OTTAWA – The Salzburg Marionette Theatre has toured North America with a playful show built around Schumann’s Papillons and Debussy’s Boîte à joujoux. Remarkably life-like puppets teamed with pianist Orion Weiss. Paris is next.
By Colin Eatock
TORONTO – Danish composer Carl Nielsen is still on the fringes of the canon, but his music has a chance to find a wider audience this concert season, with a mini Nielsen-fest in Toronto, and more to come in the U.S. and Europe.
By Bill Rankin
EDMONTON, Alberta – An eight-stop tour by the Quebec chamber orchestra has an early romantic flavor, with an arrangement of Schubert’s String Quartet in D Minor (Death and the Maiden), plus Mendelssohn and Schumann.
By James L. Paulk
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Chaos surrounds the Teatro Colón these days, the result of the country’s economic crisis. But great artistry often rises from the disorder, as it did with director Hugo De Ana’s ambitious Madama Butterfly.
By Matthew Gurewitsch
VIENNA — Leading the opening programs of the Vienna Philharmonic’s season at the Musikverein, Ingo Metzmacher and Daniel Barenboim followed the same template, to strikingly dissimilar effect.
By Rebecca Schmid
BERLIN – The Komische Oper and Staatsoper opened the season with new productions that fell flat. Barrie Kosky’s La belle Hélène offered strangely little Offenbach, and ‘Tosca,’ led by Daniel Barenboim, veered toward Wagner.
By Mike Telin
SAN FRANCISCO – One budding writer chosen to train with the pros at the Stephen and Cynthia Rubin Institute for Music Criticism likened the experience to competing in a TV reality show like Top chef, complete with a $10,000 prize.
By John Fleming
How is classical music radio adapting to the digital world? Directors of enduring stations and programs in the U.S. paint a picture of an industry in flux. They pledge to compete by accenting on-air programs that are live – and lively.
By Barbara Jepson
Orchestras tend to pack their inaugural concerts with the tried and true, but The Bass Whisperer, featuring soloist and co-composer Victor Wooten, for the Nashville Symphony, is one of this season’s intriguing departures.
By Paul E. Robinson
DIGITAL REVIEW – France was the model for Russia’s tsaritsas, but not in musical matters. Italian composers beat a path to St. Petersburg in the 18th century. In her CD research pilgrimage, Cecilia Bartoli uncovered real gems.
By Richard S. Ginell
DIGITAL REVIEW — Against all odds, the upstart Seattle Opera made Wagner’s Ring its signature achievement in 1975, and just as astonishingly kept at it. Now the company is taking its 2013 Ring to the world in a CD box from Avie.
By Paul E. Robinson
DIGITAL REVIEW – There is really no excuse for Moses Pergament’s magnum opus to languish in obscurity. The new CD incarnation of a notable 1974 LP may help to bring overdue attention to the late Finnish-Swedish composer.
Ludovic Morlot, Chief Conductor of La Monnaie, resigns post midway through a poorly received run of Don Giovanni. Brussels’s loss is Seattle’s gain, but budget cuts make it a difficult time for La Monnaie to scramble for new talent.
By Roy C. Dicks: What’s the Score?
CD reviews: Leif Ove Andsnes’ Beethoven concertos; Anne Akiko Meyers’ Barber, Corigliano and Mason; Boston’s A Far Cry in Dreams & Prayers
By Richard S. Ginell: From Out of the West
Here are a handful of recent CD releases in jazz – or within striking distance of …
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Welcome to Classical Voice North America (CVNA), an online journal of classical music criticism and commentary written by the expert members of the Music Critics Association of North America (MCANA), with occasional guest contributors. We aim to convey the richness of musical life in the U.S. and Canada at a time when traditional print media is shrinking, and to bring classical music to life via digital images, audio samples, video and more. Full Story →
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Disc and Stream
Rejecting Bernstein’s disjointed operatic approach, Michael Tilson Thomas’ recording is all of a piece, the sound of 1957 Broadway stretching confidently into tragic territory instead of a work at war with itself. Richard S. Ginell reports.
In recording circles, May 2014 will be remembered as the Berlin Philharmonic’s new spring. A bold Schumann project under Simon Rattle is the orchestra’s first venture as a go-it-alone label. Nancy Malitz reports.
Joining the go-it-alone recording trend, the Seattle Symphony under Ludovic Morlot has issued an all-American release including Elliott Carter’sInstances, written for them at the unbelievable age of 103. Richard S. Ginell reports.
Stories We Like: Recommended by Members
Edmonton composers Alissa Cheung and Vivian Fung finding success on bigger stages -- By Mark Morris at the Edmonton Journal
Vocal Arts Ensemble Tells Compelling Christmas Story -- By Mary Ellyn Hutton at Music in Cincinnati
Orchestra London Canada's musicians sound alarm on leadership -- By Patrick Maloney at the London Free Press
New Orchestra of Washington embraces smaller-is-better movement -- By Joan Reinthaler at the Washington Post
Cleveland Orchestra is making money and beautiful music -- By the Editorial Board at the Cleveland Plain Dealer
Board chair gives Curtis Institute of Music $11.5 million -- By Peter Dobrin at the Philadelphia Inquirer
Ten pieces by living Canadian composers that you will love -- By Matthew Parsons at CBC Music
In With the New: It’s time we took more risk in new music programming -- By Barbara Jepson at the Wall Street Journal
Bid for New York City Opera's assets wins board support -- By Michael Cooper at the New York Times
Yuja Wang and Daniil Trifonov are Wunderkinds at work -- By Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim at the New York Times
Laser light show goes highbrow at Walt Disney Concert Hall -- By Shaunacy Ferro at Fast Company
Noseda, Teatro Regio hit the mark with a thrill-packed 'William Tell' -- By John von Rhein at the Chicago Tribune
Dallas Symphony conductor Jaap van Zweden plays tough -- By Michael Granberrry at the Dallas News
Boston Symphony's Andris Nelsons: maestro of emotionality -- By Christopher Lydon at Radio Open Source (audio interview)
Finally, a Max Reger moment at the L.A. Philharmonic -- By Mark Swed at the L.A. Times
Alasdair Neal returns to New World Symphony for thrilling Dvořák -- By Lawrence Budmen at South Florida Classical Review
Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra launches in Los Angeles -- Rodney Punt at Huffington Post
The shape of opera to come: 'The Fool' at issue project room -- By John Chiaverina at ArtNews
Atlanta Symphony returns to applause and criticism -- By Mark Gresham at ArtsATL.com
LA Opera's double-bill of Bluebeard's Castle and Dido and Aeneas frustrates -- By Timothy Mangan at the Orange County Register
Atlanta Symphony musicians agree to a four-year contract -- By Howard Pousner at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Pianist asks the Washington Post to remove concert review -- By Caitlin Dewey at the Washington Post
Vienna Aisle: Inside reeling mind of Tannhäuser via a bold psychological thriller at the Staatsoper -- By Lawrence B. Johnson at Chicago On the Aisle
Dido & Aeneas , Bluebeard’s Castle in a Duo at LA Opera -- By Rodney Punt at LA Opus
Why failing orchestras are the problem of every American -- By David Donnelly at the Huffington Post
Four New Yorkers offer different perspectives on 'Klingoffer' -- By Moustafa Bayoumi, Kayla Epstein, Alan Yuhas and Eli Valley at the Guardian
Newly created Pennsylvania Philharmonic launches season -- By David Patrick Stearns at the Philadelphia Inquirer
Has veneration of Beethoven stifled his successors? -- By Alex Ross at the New Yorker
United focus, local talent, help Utah Opera find success -- By Whitney Butters at the Deseret News
Boston's Handel and Haydn Society celebrates 200 years -- By Andrea Shea at the Artery (WBUR)
Does classical music sound better when you're high? -- By Chris Walker at OC Weekly
Stop sanitizing, and show the great works as they were created -- By Philip Kennicott at the Washington Post
Protesters disrupt St. Louis Symphony with song for Michael Brown -- By Ed Mazza at the Huffington Post
Gustavo Dudamel leads Mahler's Fifth in Los Angeles -- By Mark Swed at the Los Angeles Times
Dark, funny, musically vibrant ‘Don Giovanni’ raises the curtain on new Lyric Opera season -- By Lawrence B. Johnson at Chicago On the Aisle
Toronto's $32-million Integral House was built for music -- By Robert Everett-Green at the Globe and Mail
Alan Gilbert nears completion of his Carl Nielsen cycle with the New York Philharmonic -- By Anthony Tommasini at the New York Times
Robert Spano and Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed urge ASO and musicians to resolve conflict -- By Jenny Jarvie at ArtsATL
Mozart, Adams Combine for Perfect Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Opening -- By Mary Ellyn Hutton at Music in Cincinnati
Inaugural concert ushers in the Nelsons era for the Boston Symphony -- By David Wright at Boston Classical Review
Quire Cleveland presents exquisite vocal exhibit of Flemish Renaissance Polyphony -- By Daniel Hathaway at Cleveland Classical
Bach, Played in Living Color: From Christian Tetzlaff, Violin Sonatas and Partitas -- By James R. Oestreich at the New York Times
Musicians go to bat for threatened Conservatoire, seen as valuable training ground for top Quebec talent -- By Arthur Kaptainis at the Montreal Gazette
In Mozart’s 'Don Giovanni,' director Robert Falls sees a complex figure worthy of Shakespeare -- By Lawrence B. Johnson at Chicago On the Aisle
New Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal disc is more crossover than classical -- By Arthur Kaptainis at the Montreal Gazette
Miami Lyric Opera offers vibrant, semi-staged 'Un ballo in maschera' -- By Lawrence Budmen at South Florida Classical Review
Author Robert Freeman says schools aren't building classical audiences -- By Mark Kanny at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Gazette
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra's crisis matters everywhere -- By Tom Service at the Guardian
The trouble with 'Klinghofer' isn't quite what you think -- By Justin Davidson at New York magazine
Met opera with new contract gears up for season that nearly wasn't -- By Anne Midgette for the The Washington Post
South Carolina Philharmonic funds commission through Kickstarter -- By Amanda Coyne at the State
'The Persians' of Aeschylus Premieres at Getty Villa -- By Rodney Punt at LA Opus
White Lights Festival presents spiritual journey in New York -- By Anthony Tommasini at the New York Times
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