MATHIEU, A.: Piano Trio / Piano Quintet / CHAUSSON, E.: Concerto for Violin, Piano and String Quartet (D. and A. Lefevre, Alcan Quartet)
André Mathieu (1929–68), dubbed a Canadian Mozart by his contemporaries, seems to have been completely untouched by any of the radical European trends of the mid-20th century but the fact that his Piano Trio of 1950 has points of contact with French music of several decades earlier does not of itself lessen its allure. … Mathieu’s links with the French past are all the more apparent alongside Chausson’s Concert, which Lefèvre and his string partners play with discretion, fluency and palpable feeling for its heartfelt substance. A warmly recommended disc.
Geoffrey Norris, Gramophone
RACHMANINOV, S.: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 4 / Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (Trpceski, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Petrenko)
(Avie Records: AV2191)
Trpceski, Petrenko and the RLPO here join forces for the eagerly awaited follow-up to their Avie recording of Rachmaninov’s Second and Third Piano Concertos (4/10). Expectations are fully realised in performances of the highest order. … This is a riveting disc, another major landmark for Trpceski and one on which Rachmaninov finds interpreters thoroughly attuned to his emotional world.
Geoffrey Norris, Gramophone
ARNE, T.A.: Overtures / Cantatas (True, Megyesi, Capella Savaria, Terey-Smith)
Sometimes you just want to listen to something light and non-demanding to the brain or ear--something very pleasingly melodious, mellifluous, and even occasionally majestic and dramatically multifarious. This excellent recording makes an ideal choice--Arne's classic 18th-century English music is invariably ingratiating and well-crafted, whether the instrumental overtures or the technically challenging yet always tuneful cantatas. And, I'm sure she's heard this before, Canadian soprano Stefanie True couldn't have a more perfect name to describe her spot-on intonation and impeccable vocalism. And although I've said this many times, there must be something in the water/air/soil/psyche of Canada and Canadians to so consistently produce such world-class singers as represented in True's extraordinary performances here (her exemplary technical and interpretive display in the twists and turns of Love and Resentment is worth the price of the disc). Hungarian tenor Zoltán Megyesi isn't so bad himself--his lovely, light, lyrical voice is perfect for Arne's free, unfussy melodic style. The instrumental offerings are equally impressive, featuring tight, well-balanced ensemble, properly energetic rhythms and tempos, and vibrant sound. A superb disc. Highly recommended.
David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
MOZART, W.A.: String Quartets Nos. 4, 17, "The Hunt", and 22, "Prussian No. 2" (Jerusalem Quartet)
(Harmonia Mundi: HMC902076)
The Jerusalem Quartet performs Mozart with an ingratiating warmth that harks back to the big-hearted playing style common until the last 20 years or so. Yet it's not old-fashioned by any measure, as the musicians combine this quality with the dynamic energy and incisiveness of modern period-style playing. The early Quartet No. 4 issues forth with an engaging litheness and charm, while the Jerusalem brings an infectious jocularity to the "Hunt" quartet (No. 17, one of the "Haydn" quartets).
The "Prussian" quartet (No. 22) is the latest work on offer here, and the Jerusalem points up the music's forward-leaning aspects, highlighting its kinship to early Beethoven (the scherzo and finale contain pre-echoes of Beethoven's Op. 6).
Throughout the program the Jerusalem's solid tone, rhythmic vitality, and impeccable ensemble balance are a joy to hear, especially as it's all captured in excellent sound. Even if you don't think you like Mozart string quartets, this exceptional disc will make you think again. [8/9/2011]
Victor Carr Jr, ClassicsToday.com, August 9, 2011
Choral Concert: Sixteen (The) - O'REGAN, T. / BYRCHMORE, R. / WILLIAMS, R. (O Guiding Night: The Spanish Mystics)
By virtue of some neat time travel and historical research, a trio of today’s composers here bring to life two of the so-called Spanish Mystics of the 16th and 17th centuries. Tarik O’Regan, Ruth Byrchmore and Roderick Williams grapple with making contemporary the texts of old. They succeed amazingly well—managing to inhabit both times at once, with a through line of spirituality. The Sixteen are on fine form.
James Inverne, Gramophone