Disc and Stream

Novák’s Godiva Rides Lusciously On New Buffalo CD

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By Paul E. Robinson

DIGITAL REVIEW – Everyone knows the story of Lady Godiva riding naked through the center of a town. But what composer would want to write music about that? Vítězslav Novák (1870-1949) did — and did an impressive job of it.

Minnesota Mahler Fifth: Transparent But All Too Cool

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By Paul E. Robinson

DIGITAL REVIEW – The Minnesota Orchestra and music director Osmo Vänskä bring fine playing to the Fifth Symphony, and the BIS production is an audiophile’s delight. What’s lacking is Mahler’s sense of drama.

A Complete(r) View Of Bernstein For Solo Piano

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By Richard S. Ginell

DIGITAL REVIEW – Pianist Andrew Cooperstock’s valuable collection is the first that indeed seems to be genuinely complete. His performances are, for the most part, gentler and softer in focus than most renditions.

Thompson, Barber Symphonies Paired On CD Of Classics

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By Paul Robinson

DIGITAL REVIEW – Under conductor James Ross, the accomplished young musicians of the National Orchestral Institute Philharmonic seem quite at home in Thompson’s Second Symphony as well as Barber’s First for Naxos.

Beethoven: Takács Excels In Quartets; Book Illuminates

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By Paul E. Robinson

DIGITAL REVIEW – In a new boxed set, the Takács Quartet gives memorable readings of the Beethoven string quartets, and a valuable book by the group’s first violinist, Edward Dusinberre, explores the challenge of playing them.

When New Music, Criticism Flowed From Same Pens

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By Richard S. Ginell

DIGITAL REVIEW – A new CD pulls together works by Virgil Thomson and four other composers who once served as music critics for the New York Herald-Tribune. It’s a great idea for a concept album, and beautifully executed.

LA Street Opera: Scenes Assembled In Cars, At Stops

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By Richard S. Ginell

DIGITAL REVIEW – In fall 2015, Los Angeles was the setting for Hopscotch: A Mobile Opera For 24 Cars, with riders listening to fragments en route to various destinations. Now comes the recording on a USB drive shaped like car key.

New CD Shows Off Clarinet Mastery, With Double Twist

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By Paul Robinson

DIGITAL REVIEW – In a pairing of recent concertos by Osvaldo Golijov and Christian Lindberg, Swedish clarinetist Emil Jonason showcases not only his technical virtuosity, but also an exceptional flair for generating excitement.

Wagner’s Other Comedy Makes Merry DVD Debut

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By Richard S. Ginell

DIGITAL REVIEW – The production of Das Liebesverbot (The Ban on Love) from Madrid’s Teatro Real breezily whisks the work into present-day Palermo, where director Kasper Holten presses some pop-culture buttons.

One Prodigious CD Illuminates Music Of Adolf Busch

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By Paul E. Robinson

DIGITAL REVIEW – The great violinist, quartet leader, and festival founder Adolf Busch (1891-1952) composed music of all kinds, some of it championed by son-in-law Rudolf Serkin. Jakob Fichert performs all the piano works.

Melancholy Trios, Where Piano Rules And Strings Serve

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By Paul E. Robinson

DIGITAL REVIEW – Two works from Rachmaninoff’s youth – played by pianist Daniil Trifonov, violinist Gidon Kremer, and cellist Giedré Dirvanauskaité – display a bravura pull to the piano and an uncertainty with strings.

Renée Fleming Explores South, North, And Bjork

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By Richard S. Ginell

DIGITAL REVIEW – The American soprano once again stretches the ears of her fans. She joins the Royal Stockholm
Philharmonic on a trek from Samuel Barber’s familiar Knoxville to music of distant northern climes.

Happily Never After? Turandot Ending Enigmatic

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By Paul E. Robinson

DIGITAL REVIEW – In the Luciano Berio version, as Turandot and Calaf leave together, minus the triumphal outburst, the audience is left to wonder whether such flawed human beings could ever find contentment.

Juilliard Quartet’s Perdurable Mann For All Seasons

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By Paul E. Robinson

DIGITAL REVIEW – Robert Mann had it all. Endurance. Discipline. Love of music. He led the Juilliard String Quartet for 51 years and some 6,000 performances. At 96, the violinist looks back on a life that seems almost impossible.

‘Song-Cycle’ Opera Cuts To Core Of Human Trafficking

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By Richard S. Ginell

DIGITAL REVIEW – Cuatro Corridos, now on CD, is a disturbing 2013 monodrama starring Susan Narucki about sexual trafficking on the California/Mexico border with music by four composers, two Mexican and two American.

Power Of Music Transmutes Cruelty To Hope

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By Paul E. Robinson

DIGITAL REVIEW – Conspirare artistic director Craig Hella Johnson’s
Considering Matthew Shepard is a masterpiece, the essence of which will still speak to us,
especially at times of loss and suffering, for years to come.

Novel Keyboards In Goldberg Feats Accent Variation

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By Arthur Kaptainis

DIGITAL REVIEW – Angela Hewitt has recorded Bach’s Goldberg Variations using her own Fazioli piano, and Mahan Esfahani has employed a Huw Saunders harpsichord based on a Thuringian model of c. 1710, tuned with sharp keys in mind.

Turn Up Volume: Einstein Revisited On Blu-ray, DVD

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By Richard S. Ginell

DIGITAL REVIEW – A video release of Philip Glass’ Einstein on the Beach, with direction and design by Robert Wilson, looks as tradition-shattering and exhilarating as the opera must have been some 40 years ago when it was new.

Bruckner 3 Twice With Care, Insight From Nézet-Séguin

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By Paul E. Robinson

DIGITAL REVIEW – A sensational live recording of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 3 with Staatskapelle Dresden, led by Yannick Nézet-Séguin in 2008, makes for a fascinating comparison with his Orchestre Métropolitain CD of the work.

Adams On Rimsky, Scheherazade.2, Debuts On New CD

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By Richard Ginell

DIGITAL REVIEW – The star of the Arabian Nights is the raison d’être for a massive 2015 violin concerto that composer John Adams calls Scheherazade.2. Leila Josefowicz possesses and devours it on a new recording.