Music Reviews

Music Reviews

Jun 1st 2014

A new CD from Ivan Ilic, the Serbian-American pianist based in France, offers a most refreshing change of pace from the current crop of young keyboard speedsters and clavier hammerers.

May 25th 2014

Frederic Rzewski's The People United Will Never be Defeated is one of those pieces that seems to have popped or plopped out whole and near perfect.

May 23rd 2014

With a selection of three rarely recorded piano pieces, the great neglected American composer Frederic Rzewski surges back into view this spring on a new CD from the Naxos “American Classics” series.  Where has he been these past few years?

May 21st 2014

Robert Beaser is one of our very strongest composers.

May 19th 2014

John Adams is one of the most frequently performed of American composers and justly so.

May 16th 2014
As an arts snob, I had never paid much attention to Irish traditional music but here, in a new CD called “Sleepsongs” (Heresy 014, U.S. distribution by Naxos), the lovely Irish singer Caitriona O’Leary’s calming voice overwhelms from the first track onward.
May 13th 2014

Of the perhaps inappropriately named New York School, I find Earle Brown's the most musically rich and articulate. Sign Sounds is for a small chamber orchestra.

May 9th 2014

My friend Stephen Albert once said that he couldn't imagine writing a string quartet after those of Bartok.

Apr 18th 2014

The $10,000 Music Pulitzer Prize went this year to Alaskan composer John Luther Adams, launching a heated debate in the music world over who was – or wasn’t – most deserving of this perpetually controversial award.

Apr 15th 2014

Contrary to many keyboard artists, pianist William Grant Naboré seems perfectly at home with Beethoven’s daunting Diabelli Variations.

Mar 11th 2014
The expatriate young pianist Mauro Bertoli, now artist in residence at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, brings his feathery Italian touch to a new CD, Italian Memories, featuring his personal collection of little-known Italian keyboard works.

His timeline stretches

Mar 3rd 2014

Every few years, music lovers should try to attend a live performance of Olivier Messiaen’s Turangalila Symphonie. Not just to clean one’s pipes but to be reminded what a composer’s volcanic imagination can do with an orchestra.

Feb 23rd 2014

Pierre Boulez’s brainchild from 1976, the renowned Ensemble Intercontemporain, is on the road again with a combination program of standards and some striking new sounds from the world of new music. Audiences are responding with rapture.

Jan 11th 2014
When Katia and Marielle Labèque, the French piano duo, brought their New York minimalist avant-garde show to Bordeaux recently (Jan. 10) I was afraid for them.
Jan 7th 2014

You would have to be quite a sure-footed composer to believe you could improve on something as perfect as the harpsichord sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti.

Dec 30th 2013

Nothing clears the mind of overplayed Christmas season tunes – popularly known as earworms -- like an hour in the company of Keeril Makan’s music. His new CD, Afterglow, is as refreshing as a glass of cold Chablis.

Dec 23rd 2013

Dame Evelyn Glennie works wonders with her mallets, hammers and her bare hands in a new CD of John Corigliano’s percussion concerto – a piece that he initially hesitated to undertake for fear that it couldn’t be done. At least not to his exacting standards.

Dec 8th 2013

Alexander Tcherepnin’s piano music, just completed on last of four CDs, reflects his lifelong span of variegated composition, including his earliest creations at 15 years of age while on the run with his family from Russian revolutionaries. 

Dec 4th 2013

French composer Charles-Valentin Alkan, a member of the Liszt-Chopin circle and one of the most respected piano virtuosos of his day, is back with us after decades of neglect.  The occasion for his return is the 200th anniversary of his birth, and two striking CDs o

Nov 30th 2013

The intensity of the relationship between Johannes Brahms and Clara Schumann has intrigued music historians for 150 years and now conductor/pianist John Axelrod has tackled the liaison with a new double CD set (Brahms Beloved, Telarc) linking them in words and music.

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