Music Reviews

Music Reviews

Apr 7th 2016

Tanglewood chief piano technician Barbara Renner once won a $50 bet by proving to a male tuner that she could manipulate the nine-foot Steinway Model D as well as any man. And she has gone on to thrive in this man’s world of piano tuning, never looking back.

Apr 4th 2016

In an adventurous programming gambit Friday night (April 1) the Cantata Singers and Ensemble under David Hoose matched up two opposites – Johann Sebastian Bach and Anton Webern – and concluded with the monumental Brahms Requiem, all impeccably rendered.

Mar 18th 2016

Kent Nagano made a triumphal return to Boston Wednesday evening (March 16) with his Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, conducting there for the first time in many years before a wildly enthusiastic audience.

Mar 7th 2016

Pianist Georges Cziffra couldn’t believe his eyes when a young soldier delivered an upright piano to him on a military base in Hungary in 1942. The soldier called it “that little cupboard you tap on to make music – sorry, I don’t know the word for it.”

Mar 1st 2016


"[......] music-lovers watched the obituary columns to guess when new subscription seats might become available."

Feb 20th 2016

It’s a crowded field, but to my mind there are never too many variations of Franz Schubert’s late masterpiece, the Winterreise (Winter Journey) song cycle.

Feb 9th 2016

Pianist Alexander Paley’s new CD of Medtner and Rachmaninov couples the works of two great friends whose lives evolved in similar ways. Both enjoyed early success but Rachmaninov’s sense of melody won larger acclaim from the international public.

Feb 9th 2016

Pianist Alexander Paley brings together some rarely heard and nicely coherent pieces by Sergei Rachmaninov and Nikolai Medtner, close friends from their Moscow student days, in a new CD (La Musica LMU005).

Jan 30th 2016

One of the great innovators of new music, composer Julius Eastman, was born unlucky – both black and gay.

Dec 29th 2015

The perfumed prose of music criticism can sometimes be as annoying as it is unhelpful.  For a lesson in turning music into words, however, there is better, as I have found in reading analyses and opinions on Johann Sebastian Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier.

Dec 22nd 2015

French-Armenian pianist Varduhi Yeritsyan has attracted international accolades from major critics for her vigorous interpretations of the ten Scriabin piano sonatas, a corpus that continues to intrigue pianophiles a hundred years after his death.

Dec 17th 2015

Alexander Scriabin’s ten piano sonatas serve as a guide to his journey from Romantic to atonal composition, 20 years in the making. His innovations took him into obscure, abstract territory but rescued him from being labeled a mere Chopin copycat, his starting point.

Dec 5th 2015

British pianist Paul Lewis delivered a silken, stormy and violent performance of the colossal Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1 in D-minor Op. 15 Thursday evening (Dec. 3), joined by the Orchestre Nationale Bordeaux Aquitaine in the city’s new Auditorium.

Nov 26th 2015

Pianist Arcadi Volodos, one of the most impressive virtuosos to emerge from the Russian School in the past few decades, captivated a Bordeaux audience last night (Wednesday, Nov. 25) with a program of Brahms and Schubert. The program climaxed with four sparkling encores and a standing ovation.

Nov 18th 2015

The Chinese piano sensation Lang Lang left his Bordeaux audience somewhat nonplussed Tuesday night (Nov. 17) by opening his recital with 45 minutes of shallow salon music, Tchaikovsky’s “The Seasons”.

Nov 1st 2015

At what point did Pierre Boulez say his teacher’s music made him want to vomit? The teacher, of course, was the great French composer Olivier Messiaen, and Boulez was his ex-student. Scholars have been trying to track down that unkind cut for decades but details remain clouded.

Oct 28th 2015
A decade ago, any mention of a choir would probably have brought Sunday morning hymns to mind. But there’s been a revolution in attitudes towards joining the local choir.

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