CD Reviews | CTD (Briefly Noted) | JFL (Dip Your Ears) | DVD Reviews

6.5.20

On ClassicsToday: Strauss' Enoch Arden in a new Reference Recording

Granitic Enoch Arden From Bruno Ganz And Kirill Gerstein

Review by: Jens F. Laurson
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Artistic Quality: ?

Sound Quality: ?

Monodramas are tricky to pull off. The text has to be very good and the music has to be better still, to fulfill its dual duty of underscoring the drama and offering enough interest on its own, when it does pipe up. The results vary: from the rare best, like the ingenious masterpiece that is Viktor Ullmann’s Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph Rilke, to the tawdry and banal, like Liza Lehmann’s The Happy Prince (based on one of Oscar Wilde’s lesser efforts). One of the few gems that works quite well is Richard Strauss’ Enoch Arden on Alfred Lord Tennyson’s ballad by that name. [continue reading]

5.5.20

On ClassicsToday: Josephine Knight in Lovely Piatti World Premieres

Self-Serving Schumann And Lovely Piatti World Premieres

Review by: Jens F. Laurson
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Artistic Quality: ?

Sound Quality: ?

This new release of the Schumann Cello Concerto purports to be the premiere recording of its absolute original version–a faithful reconstruction of the 1850 “Concertstück”. After cellist Josephine Knight found the autograph in Krakow, she set about to discern the differences from the modern version we know, which apparently include some alterations made or suggested by Robert Emil Bockmühl on whom Schumann relied for advice, and several subsequent performers’ changes. She found “hundreds of differences”, mostly accents, dynamic markings, bowings. The notes, but for a handful, are the same, though. She’s since made this her vehicle and this recording is meant to propel the original version–and presumably her–into the limelight. [continue reading]

4.5.20

On ClassicsToday: Evan Johnson compositions on Kairos

CD From Hell: Evan Johnson’s Sound Installation (With Sadistic Toy Piano)

Review by: Jens F. Laurson
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Amid the sea of beautiful, intelligent, vigorous contemporary music, which has at long last recovered from the damage that ideologically charged academicism and anti-sensual strands had successfully inflicted on it, there are still plenty of exponents of yesteryear’s avant-garde music.... [continue reading + sound samples]
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2.5.20

On ClassicsToday: Jazzrausch Bigband Inspired by Beethoven

On Beethoven’s Beat: “Ludwig Van, House Remix”

Review by: Jens F. Laurson
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Artistic Quality: ?

Sound Quality: ?

Before the year is out, 2020 will see Beethoven-themed everything, so it’s perhaps not so surprising to find non-classical acts having some fun at the master from Bonn’s expense: Jazzrausch Bigband, for example, which has released “Beethoven’s Breakdown” on the fine jazz label ACT, which itself has a track record of excellent classically inspired jazz. (Dieter Ilg’s Parsifal or Otello suites come to mind). It’s an album full of surprises, starting with the name: Whatever you might be expecting “Big Band Beethoven” to mean, that’s decidedly not what you are getting here... [continue reading]

1.5.20

On ClassicsToday: Supreme St. Gallen Bach Cantata Cycle with BWV 105

Reference Recording: St. Gallen’s Bach Cantatas, Vol. 30

Review by: Jens F. Laurson
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Every release of the St. Gallen Bach cantata cycle-in-the-making is a joy. And every volume only raises the project in my estimation. But just as all animals are equal, some are more equal than others. This applies to these volumes... [continue reading]
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Excerpt from the opening Chorus of BWV 105. Bach Stiftung St. Gallen




Excerpt from the Aria of BWV 105. Bach Stiftung St. Gallen

30.4.20

On ClassicsToday: Antheil Serenades on CPO

Major Discoveries: The Wonderful, Gentle Side of George Antheil

Review by: Jens F. Laurson
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CPO’s series of George Antheil's music has been a boon to music lovers and very successful in showing the composer's softer side, as musically he wasn’t so much the bad boy he liked to present himself. As Robert Reilly points... [continue reading]
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6.3.20

The Diabelli Project - Buchbinder bringt Neues über Diabelli: Latest @ Wiener Zeitung

Wiener Zeitung

Buchbinder bringt Neues über Diabelli

Pianist Rudolf Buchbinder hob Variationen aus der Taufe.

Im Musikverein hob Rudolf Buchbinder das "Diabelli Projekt" aus der Taufe, das auf seine Initiative mit zehn Konzerthäusern von Wien bis Peking entstanden ist: Elf neue Variationen zeitgenössischer Komponisten über den Walzer von Anton Diabelli. Faszinierend, was dabei herausgekommen ist: Lera Auerbach versenkt den Ausgangswalzer in dunklem Klaviermorast; wie eine Ruine im Nebel ragt das Thema aus dem schwarzen Moor. Nach Brett Deans sich schnell verflüchtigendem Wirbelwind einer Variation wirkten die leichten, entschleunigten Pinselstriche eines Toshio Hosokawa berührend; bedrohlich tiefe Noten setzten dabei immer wieder Zäsuren. Christian Josts Beitrag klingt, als hätte sich ein experimentierfreudiger Jacques Loussier das Thema geschnappt. Philippe Manoury hat energetischen, kurz gehaltenen Pointillismus beigesteuert.... [weiterlesen]

Photo © Marco Borggreve

5.3.20

Martha Argerichs virtuose Nonchalance. Die Pianistin interpretierte im Wiener Konzerthaus Sergej Prokofiews drittes Klavierkonzert: Latest @ Wiener Zeitung

Wiener Zeitung

Martha Argerichs virtuose Nonchalance

Die Pianistin interpretierte im Wiener Konzerthaus Sergej Prokofiews drittes Klavierkonzert.

In gleichem Maße populär und von Kennern verehrt ist Martha Argerich seit über einem halben Jahrhundert einer der ganz wenigen Superstars der klassischen Musik. Ein musikalisches Phänomen, das auch mit 78 Jahren noch zu beindrucken weiß, wie sie im Wiener Konzerthaus mit Prokofjews drittem Klavierkonzert - und eingebettet von gut aufgelegten Wiener Symphonikern unter der Leitung von Lahav Shani - zur Schau stellen konnte.... [weiterlesen]

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