• Elgar: Violin Concerto

    Elgar: Violin Concerto

    Like a dog who keeps burying his favorite bone so he can have the pleasure of “discovering” it again, I return to the Danish violinist Nikolaj Znaider. It’s been gratifying to see him taking on ...
  • Stravinnsky: Pulcinella

    Stravinnsky: Pulcinella

    Nearly 84 years old when these live performances were recorded in Chicago, Pierre Boulez remains a musical force to be reckoned with. The composer and conductor, once known to members of the New York Philharmonic ...
  • Paganini: 24 Caprices

    Paganini: 24 Caprices

    Niccolò Paganini was arguably the greatest virtuoso on any instrument of all time—and the 24 Caprices his finest creation. The intrepid violinist who takes on this staggeringly difficult compendium of technical challenges, playing alone, without ...
  • Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen

    Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen

    How many versions of Richard Wagner’s Ring cycle do you own? Whether the answer is one, two, five...or zero, this 14- CD box set, recorded at the 2008 Bayreuth Festival and reasonably priced at $139, ...
  • Mendelssohn Discoveries

    Mendelssohn Discoveries

    The 200th anniversary of Mendelssohn’s birth has come and gone, without having produced much excitement on the recording front. Leaving us to wonder: Where are today’s Mendelssohnians? Well, one seems to be right where you ...
  • Gassman: Overtures

    Gassman: Overtures

    Students of music’s Classical period are familiar with the name of Florian Leopold Gassmann, though few, it’s safe to say, have ever actually heard his music. It was the Bohemian-born, Italian-trained Gassmann (1729-74) who brought ...
  • 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 ...
  • Wagner: Parsifal

    Wagner: Parsifal

    Hans Knappertsbusch (1888-1965) had a special affinity for Wagner—a connection to the source. In the early years of the last century, he was an assistant to the composer’s son Siegfried and a pupil of Hans ...
  • 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 ...
  • Rachmanioff: Symphonic Dances

    Rachmanioff: Symphonic Dances

    This recording has been an audiophile favorite for decades. Engineer David R. Hancock captured a rather dry but clarifying acoustic in McFarlin Auditorium at Southern Methodist University in May of 1967, and the sonics stop ...
  • Britten's Orchestra

    Britten's Orchestra

    Wayne Garcia lauded the HDCD iteration of this program in Issue 201 for its musical virtues and its exceptional transparency and realism. Reference Recordings has now released the same program as an SACD—the company’s first. ...
  • Prokofiev: Violin Concertos

    Prokofiev: Violin Concertos

    Prokofiev’s First Violin Concerto reminds me of a phrase I used to hear in the South: “We’ll treat you so many different ways, you’re bound to like one.” Fireworks, charm, neoclassic pirouettes, good humor, growling ...
  • Mahler: Symphonies 8 and 10 (Adagio)

    Mahler: Symphonies 8 and 10 (Adagio)

    This 2-SACD set completes the Michael Tilson Thomas/San Francisco Symphony Mahler cycle, unquestionably the most successful from an American orchestra and conductor since Leonard Bernstein’s iconic 1960s recordings. Following an intense performance of the Adagio ...
  • 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 ...
  • Beethoven: Piano Concerto 4

    Beethoven: Piano Concerto 4

    After Gould and Bernstein performed Beethoven’s Fourth piano concerto in January 1957, the conductor said, “Glenn, that was tremendous! We’ll have to record it.” “Glad you liked it,” Gould replied, but confided to a friend, ...

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