• Robert Fuchs Chamber Music Rates a Listen

    The perception of classical music is that its immutable — the great composers have always been considered great, and the works we revere have always been so. Of course the reality is quite different. Take Robert Fuchs, for example. At the turn of the 20th Century he was considered one of the greatest living composers. […]

  • Michael Torke – Concerto for Orchestra runs true to form

    I’ve liked everything I’ve heard by Michael Torke. In my opinion, his musical style seems to sit a sweet spot — his language is tonal without being tied to tradition, his rhythms propulsive without the intense repetition of minimalism (some consider him post-minimalist). The Concerto for Orchestra starts with a very simple motif — C-G-C-A. […]

  • Isidora Žebeljan Chamber Music – simple yet complex

    This was a difficult release to review. It was easy to form an option (I really enjoyed it). But trying to describe Serbian composer Isadora Žebeljan’s music to someone who’s not familiar with it is something of a challenge. The liner notes gave it a try: “Isidora Žebeljan grew up listening to Serbian, Romanian, Hungarian […]

  • WTJU and Ash Lawn Opera Present: Opera in the Park July 12

    Ash Lawn Opera Principal Artists and Young Artists will perform favorite arias and show tunes, including selections from the 2016 summer season, Cosi fan tutte and South Pacific. This FREE event takes place on Tuesday, July 12th at the IX Art Park from 7-10pm. Food trucks (Côte-Rôtie, Spice Sea Gourmet, Smojo), beer and wine will […]

  • Marc Ponthus plays Boulez with authority

    Boulez didn’t write much for solo piano. But what he lacked in quantity he certainly made up for in quality. This release contains all six of Boulez’s published solo piano works, and it makes for a fascinating program. All three piano sonatas are included, of course. The 1948 Second Sonata’s probably the best known, and […]

  • Joachim Nikolas Eggert: Symphonies Nos. 2 and 4

    If Joseph Martin Kraus (1758-1792) is known as the “Swedish Mozart,” it might seem logical to consider his successor, Joachim Nikolas Eggert (1779-1813), the “Swedish Schubert.” While there’s a strong stylistic resemblance between Schubert and Eggert, to my ears Eggert’s music more closely resembles Beethoven’s. That’s not surprising. Eggert was a forward-looking composer and music […]

  • Aleck Karis plays Poulenc with humor and wit

    Aleck Karis delivers some fine performances of Francis Poulenc’s piano music with this release. Karis plays with a lightness of tone and just the right amount of emotional restraint to make these works sound absolutely charming. And Karis pays just as much attention to the program. The works aren’t arranged chronologically, but rather in a […]

  • Jean Sibelius: Scaramouche, Op. 71

    Leif Segerstam’s traversal of Sibelius’ orchestral scores has been a real treat for me. While I was familiar with the big hits (the symphonies, the Karelia Suite, the violin concerto, et al), I didn’t have a complete picture of Sibelius’ output, and where those great works fit into it. This series has helped me gain […]

  • Stefan Wolpe – Music for Violin and Piano

    Volume seven of Bridge Record’s on-going Stefan Wolpe series focuses on music for violin and piano. And it also presents a capsule summary of the composer’s development. As a young man, Wolpe was enamoured of Schoenberg and his 12-tone technique. The Duo for Two Violins, Op. 2 (1924) comes from that period, but it’s no […]