• Beethoven: The Nine Symphonies

    Beethoven: The Nine Symphonies

    Though I don’t usually care for chamber-sized Beethoven, Paavo Järvi’s exciting new cycle with the forty-some strong Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen gave me much pleasure. The playing is sensational: alert, responsive, virtuosic—a good thing too, since ...
  • Tchaikovsky: The Sleeping Beauty

    Tchaikovsky: The Sleeping Beauty

    This Sleeping Beauty, arguably the finest of Tchaikovsky’s ballets, was recorded in 1959 with Ernest Ansermet on the podium leading L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. These meticulously manufactured Speakers Corner LPs demonstrate well what Kenneth ...
  • Holst: The Planets

    Holst: The Planets

    Holst’s orchestral spectacular seems designed as an audiophile showpiece, and as you probably know there are several recordings of it that hit the sonic jackpot. Here’s another such, but with a twist: this one’s played ...
  • Mendelssohn: Symphony 3, Scottish

    Mendelssohn: Symphony 3, Scottish

    Wonder of wonders—the great German classical recording company Deutsche Grammophon has issued its first LP in a quarter-century (on 180-gram vinyl, no less): Gustavo Dudamel conducting the Vienna Philharmonic, in a December 2011 live-in-concert performance ...
  • Delibes: Sylvia and Coppelia Suites

    Delibes: Sylvia and Coppelia Suites

    For 30 years, “Professor” Keith Johnson and Reference Recordings have provided audiophiles with orchestral spectaculars to challenge high-end systems. This new CD of two perennially popular ballet favorites could be their best yet. The sense ...
  • The Grandeur of the Baroque

    The Grandeur of the Baroque

    Renowned guitarist David Russell offers a well-recorded album of transcriptions of Baroque keyboard and lute works on this new Telarc. He has an excellent tone, avoiding both brightness and murkiness; the sound is rich throughout ...
  • Canfield: Saxophone Sonatas

    Canfield: Saxophone Sonatas

    Vinyl collectors know David Canfield for his mail-order sales of vintage classical LPs, but he’s also an accomplished composer, as these pieces he wrote for saxophone virtuoso Kenneth Tse show: four sonatas (one for each ...
  • Vaughan Williams: Symphonies 4 & 5

    Vaughan Williams: Symphonies 4 & 5

    Like many other symphonic institutions, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra has established its own in-house record label. All six TSO Live releases to date have been conducted by Peter Oundjian, the Orchestra’s music director since 2004. ...
  • Bacewicz: Piano Quintets; Piano Sonata 2

    Bacewicz: Piano Quintets; Piano Sonata 2

    Though doubtless the greatest Polish composer between Szymanowski and Lutoslawski, Grazyna Bacewicz (1909- 69) is (unlike them) known more for her chamber music than her orchestral works. This new release collects three of her mid-century ...
  • Gregory Spears: Requiem

    Gregory Spears: Requiem

    Spears is no compositional Caspar Milquetoast; he writes biting, exotic harmonies and, like Stravinsky, draws forth a beauty at times rough-hewn or violent. If I had to make a comparison, I’d say his Requiem is ...
  • Handel: The Eight Great Suites

    Handel: The Eight Great Suites

    Handel isn’t known these days as a keyboard composer, but far more copies of his keyboard works were in circulation during his life than copies of Bach’s or Scarlatti’s. These suites are in fact similar ...

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