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Even Lacking Visuals, Handel’s Vivid Music Illustrates ‘Alcina’ CD

DIGITAL REVIEW – Conductor Mark Minkowski’s period-instrument orchestra, Les Musiciens du Louvre, has recorded many Handel operas since its founding in 1982, but nothing in two decades. For Baroque opera fans, this Alcina is good news.

Freshening Up Josquin With A Scholarly Flair, Down-To-Earth Clarity

DIGITAL REVIEW – On a disc of motets and chansons, Cut Circle under Jesse Rodin achieves a deeply human sound, not rarefied or operatic, that makes Josquin’s emotional use of rhythm and dissonance feel like a friend telling you a secret.

Through Diverse Voices Over Millennia, Cantata Invokes Spirit Of Mercy

DIGITAL REVIEW – With six languages under his belt, composer Daniel Knaggs is keenly aware of every aspect of text, a sensitivity that serves him well in the world-premiere recording of his Two Streams, featuring the Houston Chamber Choir.

Schubert Song Cycles, Recycled In Lyric Glory Of Marginalized Mezzo

DIGITAL REVIEW – Mezzo-soprano Inez Matthews (1917-2004) belonged to a generation of Black singers blocked from much classical work, but she pursued a career. Her restored recordings of Die schöne Müllerin and Winterreise bear attention.

In An Unlikely Kinship, Shostakovich Echoes Heavy Metal On Disc

DIGITAL REVIEW – Rachel Barton Pine, virtuoso violinist and self-admitted passionate metalhead, couples Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No. 1 with fellow violinist-metal fan Earl Maneein's concerto, which aims to bridge heavy metal and classical.

Purcell CDs Showcase Historical Music-Making In Vibrant New Frames

DIGITAL REVIEW – New recordings of Dido and Aeneas by La Nuova Musica and fantasias by the John Holloway Ensemble serve as a reminder that Purcell’s music can be both a gem of historical performance and a playground for exploration.

You’re Doin’ Completely Fine, Oklahoma! (On CD That’s Not So Complete)

DIGITAL REVIEW – A new recording, touted as all-in, indeed contains every note from the original 1943 musical, and it's played as it was written. But without the essential dialogue, we get only a superficial sense of what the story is about.

Pianist Spans Centuries On CD Featuring Music By Female Composers

DIGITAL REVIEW – At Play, the third and final disc in this project by pianist Sarah Cahill, which she initiated in 2018, stands out for the many living composers included. It shows her commitment to the series title, The Future is Female.

Slow Food For Thought: Late Beethoven Quartet Mulled At A Snail’s Pace

DIGITAL REVIEW – Slow Beethoven is a recording project – a sonic journey­, a composition­­­, an exploration of reverberation – that transforms the opening fugue of his String Quartet in C-sharp minor, Op. 131, in a new, elongated perspective.

Bologne Comic Opera, An 18th-Century Gem, Flourishes In CD Debut

DIGITAL REVIEW –L'amant anonyme, the only surviving opera by Joseph Bologne, also known as the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, receives a stylish, charming, and thoroughly vivacious recording by the Chicago-based Haymarket Opera Company.

The Play Was The Thing For Henry Purcell, Other Restoration Composers

DIGITAL REVIEW – In its recording Love Restor’d, the British ensemble Ceruleo examines the musical art of later 17th-century England, particularly the way instrumental and vocal music interacted in Restoration works of theater.

In Music Of Our Time, Venerable Harpsichord Speaks In New Accents

DIGITAL REVIEW – On a new CD collection of 10 modern harpsichord works by 10 women, the Italian keyboardist Luca Quintavalle offers an eye-opening exhibit of music we didn't know we were missing. The old instrument is not just old school.

17th-Century Blossoms Strewn By The Handful: Music For Triple Harp

DIGITAL REVIEW – On a new CD titled Laura, after Laura Peverara, a member of the Duke of Ferrara’s celebrated ensemble of women, Marie-Domitille Murez plays a multi-strung instrument that produces a rich, almost orchestral sound.

Gods Behaving Badly, But Stylishly, Ignite CD Of French Opera Rarity

DIGITAL REVIEW – It seems Jean-Marie Leclair (1697-1764) wrote only one opera. But the orchestra and choir of Il Giardino d’Amore, directed by Stefan Plewniak, have polished up this hidden gem, Scylla et Glaucus, to a high sheen.

3 Swedish Composers Rule Virtual Stage On CD Of Piano Concertos

DIGITAL REVIEW – Pianist Peter Friis Johansson, with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra under Ryan Bancroft, finds great variety in concertos that span more than 100 years between turn-of-the-century romanticism and minimalism.

A Charmed New Baton Etches Vivid Arc Of Sibelius’ Symphonies

DIGITAL REVIEW – Klaus Mäkelä is the most dazzling new star in the conducting firmament. His cycle of Sibelius' seven symphonies with the Oslo Philharmonic shows why, at 26, the Finnish maestro has mesmerized seemingly everyone.

In Cage Choral Music, Bracketing Time And Minding Stopwatches

DIGITAL REVIEW – The bulk of a CD by the Latvian Radio Choir under Sigvards Kļava spotlights music from the latter years of Cage’s long fascination with aleatory procedures and different kinds of indeterminacy, tapping into his ethos of chance.

Hollywood Bowl At 100: Multi-Genre History On (What Else?) Vinyl LPs

ANALOG REVIEW – Despite the limited space of a seven-LP box and selections that could be second-guessed, this might be the most wildly diverse collection of music ever issued. Gustavo Dudamel is among LA Phil music directors represented.

Mastery Of Mitropoulos On Generous Display Across 69 Historic CDs

DIGITAL REVIEW – Dimitri Mitropoulos: The Complete RCA and Columbia Album Collection shows the conductor defying his surroundings as much as he adapted to them, and moving in the upper echelons without being fully part of them.

Mining Neglected Veins Of 20th-Century Music, And Turning Up Gems

DIGITAL REVIEW – On one CD, conductor Debora Waldman leads an intriguing array of works by a French woman, Charlotte Sohy, while a second disc brings to light orchestral music by the Ukrainian-born Greek composer Georgios Axiotis.
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