Browsing: CD and Book Reviews

Schubert: Trout quintet (DG) Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin), Daniel Trifonov (piano). Hwayoon Lee (viola), Maximilian Hornung (cello) and Roman Patkolo (bass). There are five trouts on the cover of DG’s new release and it’s clear from the photo that some are more pouty than others. Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin) takes up the most space, reclining on a divan. Sitting on the bare floor is Daniel Trifonov (piano). In the dark background are Hwayoon Lee (viola), Maximilian Hornung (cello) and Roman Patkolo (bass). If this were just a ranking of record industry hierarchies it would hardly be worth a mention, but the recording…

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John Blow: An ode on the death of Mr Henry Purcell (Hyperion) For a brief window in the 1690s – until the night Mrs Purcell shut her husband out in the cold – London was the go-to place for young composers in search of top tuition and an appreciative audience. Italians like Arcangelo Corelli were keen to study with Henry Purcell and English composers grew in confidence. Then, one November night in 1695, Mrs P decided not to stay up til her old man got back from the theatre and poor Henry caught cold and died, or so the story goes.…

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Brahms: An English Requiem (Delphian) Mary Bevan, soprano Marcus Farnsworth, baritone James Baillieu and Richard Uttley, piano Choir of Kings College London, conductor Joseph Fort This has to be the least expected record of the year – a performance of Ein deutsches Requiem in the original English, at least in the texts of the original English Bible. The work was so popular on reception, at a time when Bismarck was planting German boots all over Denmark, Austria and France, that London impresarios felt it might be prudent to produce it in a less contentious language. Since Victorian concertgoers knew their…

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Cecilia and Sol: Dolce Duello (Decca) Cecilia Bartoli, mezzo Sol Gabetta, cellist I am about to break another of my hard-and-fast rules. A while back, I swore never to give another three-star review as long as lived on the grounds that such things are cop-outs for critics who cannot make up their minds, one way or another, about the recommendability of a record. One way or another, I stand by that judgement. So why the exception? The present album brings together the super-mezzo Cecilia Bartoli, the highest-selling diva on record since Callas, and Sol Gabetta, an Argentine cellist of mostly…

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Schubert: Sonatas D959, D960 (DG) Some records grab you by the ears, others take longer to impress. It is in no sense to Krystian Zimerman’s discredit that his first attempt at late Schubert took three spins on my deck before I grasped the originality of his interpretation. Rather, it is a mark of Zimerman’s thoughtfulness that the heart of the music is revealed layer by layer in a manner that makes you want to listen again and again. Winner of the 1975 Chopin competition, the Polish pianist has been playing these pieces for half his life before he was ready…

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Seiji Ozawa: Looking back at a thrilling career Bartók: Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta Concerto for Orchestra. Boston Symphony Orchestra/Seiji Ozawa/Rafael Kubelik. Pentatone PTC 5186247. Time: 69:53. New Year’s Concert 2002 Music by Johann Strauss, Josef Strauss and Josef Hellmesberger. Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra/Seiji Ozawa. Arthaus Musik DVD 109315. Time: 109:00 + 32:00 (special features). Haruki Murakami: Absolutely on Music: Conversations with Seiji Ozawa. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2016. 325 pages. This past September Seiji Ozawa celebrated his 83rd birth­day. In spite of a serious cancer in recent years, Ozawa remains active as a conductor.Next sum­­­mer he plans to…

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Mark Miller: Claude Ranger — Canadian Jazz Legend Toronto, 2017; ISBN 978-1-77302-559-9 Canadian jazz lore has its fair share of exceptional figures. Drummer Claude Ranger is one of them, albeit for none of the usual reasons. If not mistaken, he is the only musician whose ­career was equally divided between the country’s three main centres, Montreal for his formative years, Toronto in mid-life and Vancouver for the final chapter, one that remains open-ended with his disappearance in November 2000, age 59. ­Seventeen years later, his whereabouts are still unknown, and a missing person’s file remains open at an RCMP detachment. But…

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Download/Téléchargez PDF (see bottom of post) Contents (English Edition) Cover: 12 Susan Platts 16 Alexandre Da Costa: The Journey to Oneself 18 Alexandre Da Costa: Violinist on a Mission 8 Editorial 10 Industry News 20 Great Canadian mezzos & contraltos 21 Julie Boulianne 22 Éva Gauthier (1885-1958) 24 Handel’s Messiah 26 Collegium 1704 & Vaclav Luks 27 Montreal Bach Festival 27 Saint-Joseph’s Oratory 28 Quatuor Brentano String Quartet 29 Qu4rtz 29 Les Idées heureuses 30 Jazz : « Actuelle » autrement 32 Concerts Reviews 34 CD Reviews Special : Audio 36 Music, Hi-Fi, and Wonder 40 Audio Note UK 41 Streaming…

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Berlioz: Les Troyens (Erato) John Nelson, Joyce DiDonato, Michael Spyres, Marie-Nicole Lemieux Almost every new release I sampled this week should never have been made. One album after another lacked conviction, coherence and, sometimes, pulse. These are records where label and artist ask one another what to do next without either side asking aloud whether this project is absolutely necessary. None of which can be said about the present release. The need for a new-gen recording of Berlioz’s epic opera is pressing, given that the last two trustworthy attempts, by the late Sir Colin Davis, are wearing thin. Erato’s no-holds-barred…

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George Martin: Film scores and orchestral music (Atlas Realisations/Pias Classics) How good a musician was the Beatles’ producer? I talked to George Martin three or four times and, while I found him very likeable, was unimpressed by his musical curiosity. Like many other producers I knew at Abbey Road, he was a purposeful fixer who knew what needed to be done to make a track work and which of London’s hundreds of freelancers he had to call in to patch up a session that, somehow, lacked the finishing touch. String quartet for ‘Yesterday’, piccolo trumpet for ‘Penny Lane’, George Martin…

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