• Norman: Play

    Norman: Play

    What would the music sound like if the composer thought of the orchestra not as an ensemble of carefully balanced instrumental voices, but rather as a marvelous noise-making toy? Andrew Norman’s three-movement, three- quarter-hour-long Play ...
  • Dutilleux: Tout Un Monde Lointain

    Dutilleux: Tout Un Monde Lointain

    Henri Dutilleux (1916-2013) is France’s greatest composer since Debussy and Ravel. His oeuvre is not large; he was satisfied only with masterpieces. His magnificent 1970 cello concerto, Tout Un Monde Lointain (“A Whole Distant World”), ...
  • Hoffer: Violin Concerto

    Hoffer: Violin Concerto

    Bernard Hoffer’s 2012 Violin Concerto begins with the unaccompanied violin announcing the work’s germinal motive: repeated staccato notes followed by a longer-held chord. Soon the soloist and his orchestral partners are tossing it back and ...
  • Tango For Ears

    Tango For Ears

    The tango was born in the late 1800s in Buenos Aires, where it was first danced in grimy bars and brothels. It began as a souped-up habanera, a slower dance made famous in 1875 (and ...
  • Box-Set Bonanza

    Box-Set Bonanza

    If the compact disc is (as some say) dying out as a storage medium, it’s going out with a bang, at least as far as great recordings of classical music go. For the past dozen ...
  • The Great American Symphony

    The Great American Symphony

    We’ve all heard nominations for “The Great American Novel,” whether it be Moby Dick, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, An American Tragedy, The Great Gatsby, or The Sound and the Fury. And for “The Great ...
  • Charpentier: 72 Etudes Karnatiques

    Charpentier: 72 Etudes Karnatiques

    Jacques Charpentier is a French composer (born in Paris in 1933) who adopted a musical-philosophical aesthetic derived from his mentor Olivier Messiaen: mystical, visionary, ecstatic, “Eastern,” cosmic. His 72 Etudes Karnatiques is an expression of ...
  • Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 3

    Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 3

    Brahms was famously casual about performance instructions for his own compositions. And, following Bach and Beethoven before him—both of whom recast their violin concertos using keyboard protagonists—he wasn’t at all averse to arrangements of his ...
  • Prokofiev, Gabriel: String Quartet No.1

    Prokofiev, Gabriel: String Quartet No.1

    New “classical” compositions on vinyl? Yep, here’s the First String Quartet by Gabriel Prokofiev, London-based grandson of the great Sergei. There’s a polycarbonate release of the complete quartet, but the vinyl incarnation includes only two ...
  • Mortensen: Symphony

    Mortensen: Symphony

    One of the few Scandinavian symphonic rivals to Sibelius’ seven, Finn Mortensen’s monumental 1953 Symphony—four movements totaling 38 minutes of brawny turmoil and serene exultation, and a work of authentically Brucknerian heft and solemnity—here gets ...
  • Vivaldi: The Four Seasons

    Vivaldi: The Four Seasons

    Since its founding in 1986, CPO has issued hundreds of superlative first-ever CDs of little-known classical music— mostly late-Romantic and modern-era works—that have much enlarged the recorded repertoire and brought joy to adventurous music lovers ...
  • Sainsbury and Wood: Violin Concertos

    Sainsbury and Wood: Violin Concertos

    Romanticism has proved more durable than seemed possible a half-century ago, when the brutal violence and icy pointillism of Pierre Boulez were all the rage and Samuel Barber was considered as passé as ornate Victorian ...
  • Albrecht: String Quartets Nos. 2 and 3

    Albrecht: String Quartets Nos. 2 and 3

    The music of German composer Kurt Albrecht (1895-1971) is at once modern and very much in the noble lineage of Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms. It balances compact, readily identifiable motives with sinuous, long-lined melodies in ...
  • Amy Briggs: Tangos for Piano

    Amy Briggs: Tangos for Piano

    These are modern-era “concert tangos,” not vernacular numbers danced on stages and in ballrooms, cabarets, and bars around the world. Some are modernist, post-tonal, even subversive, whether angular or recondite or vaporous, splashing tone-clusters up ...

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