• Woldemar Bargiel — Romantic masterworks

    Music talent definitely ran in the family. Woldemar Bargiel wasn’t just a well-respected composer. He was also the half-brother of Clara Wieck Schumann, a pianist and composer of no mean ability herself. Woldemar also won the respect of her husband Robert. He also worked closely with Brahms, co-editing editions of works by Chopin and Schumann. […]

  • Edvin Kallstenius — A composer worth exploring

    When I first read about Swedish composer Edvin Kallstenius and his claim that “musical religion is called harmonics – everything else is secondary,” I thought he might be another Charles Ives. When I heard his music, though, I revised that opinion. If I had to characterise Kallstenius’ music in terms of another composer, I’d choose […]

  • Trio Solisti offers fresh takes on Ravel and Chausson

    The Trio Solisti perform two French piano trio repertoire standards, and have something substantial to offer with both. The Ravel trio benefits from a nice balance between delicacy and full-blown expressiveness. Trio Solisti means “trio of solists” and in this work that’s what you get — three soloists taking turns spinning out the exposed passages […]

  • Erno Dohnanyi Piano Quintets Have Potential

    Erno Dohnányi wrote his first piano quintet in 1895, while he was still very much under the influence of Brahms. Published as his Opus 1, Dohnányi s first piano quintet is a solid enough composition, especially for a young man of 22. Dohnányi’s natural voice wasn’t that far removed from that of his idol, so […]

  • Horszowksi Trio lives up to its namesake

    I first became aware of the Horszowksi Trio through their performances on Dan Visconti’s “Lonesome Roads” release. There they played Visconti’s music with steely precision and a sense of urgency. This release shows the trio in a different light. Their namesake, pianist Mieczyslaw Horszowksi had first-hand experience with the composers on this album. As a […]

  • Johann Baptist Vanhal – Four String Quartets

    Johann Baptist Vanhal was one of the most successful composers of the classical era. Although Vanhal wrote over hundreds of works, he’s mostly remembered today for his concerto for contrabass. The Lotus String Quartet helps fill out our understanding of this composer with their performances of four of his string quartets. The earliest, (string quartet […]

  • Louise Farrenc Piano Quintets Beguile and Delight

    In her day (the mid 1800’s) Louise Farrenc was renowned as a piano virtuoso, teacher, and a composer. Today, she’s most likely to be performed in programs showcasing obscure women composers. And that’s a shame. As this recording of her two piano quintets demonstrates, Farrenc’s music has plenty to recommend it regardless of gender. Farrenc’s […]

  • An operatic Dream of Gerontius

    Sir Andrew Davis has performed “The Dream of Gerontius” with these same forces in live performance. And that may be why this recording sounds so organic. Sarah Connolly, Stuart Skelton, and David Soar sound like they’ve all settled into their roles, and the duets seem sometimes almost conversational. Davis’ vision of Elgar’s massive work leans […]

  • Stephen Paulus – World Premier Concertos

    Two concertos by the late Stephen Paulus receive their world premier recordings with this Naxos release. And both contain many rewards for the listener. The Concerto for String quartet and Orchestra (Three Places of Enlightenment) moves from an intense, tightly-wound first movement, through a relaxed, ethereal middle movement to a rousing, emotionally satisfying conclusion. The […]