BYRD, W.: Mass a 4 / PLUMMER, J.: Missa Sine nomine / TALLIS, T.: Mass for 4 Voices (Times Go by Turns) (New York Polyphony)
You may not think the world yearns for another Byrd 4-part Mass recording—that is, until you hear these four male voices sing it. Sure, you’ve heard the Tallis Scholars’ reference version, but have you ever heard it performed by just four voices, ideally matched, of uniquely compatible timbre, combined into such a richly resonant sound? Not to mention the nuances of phrasing, of breathing, of inflection obtainable only by small ensembles whose members are closely bonded personally and are musically of one mind.
Recommended with the assurance that you will listen to this disc often.
© 2013 ClassicsToday.com
VIVALDI, A.: Concerti per l'Orchestra di Dresda (Les Ambassadeurs, Kossenko)
…this is a highly interesting disc which not only sheds light on a lesser-known aspect of Vivaldi’s oeuvre, but especially on performance practice in Dresden. It reveals the freedom virtuosic performers took. Once again the high standard of playing in the court orchestra, by Pisendel himself, but also by the oboists and hornists is clear. Listening to this repertoire one is not surprised that the orchestra was considered the best in Europe.
The performances by Les Ambassadeurs are admirable. The players show impressive technical skills. Zefira Valova delivers brilliant interpretations of the solo violin parts. She plays with modesty as she realises that she is not the star of the show and has to share the role of soloist with others. The players of the natural horns deserve special mention as they greatly contribute to this highly compelling recording. The character of the repertoire, the standard of the performances and the extensive documentation fully merit Recording of the Month.
By Johan van Veen © 2013 MusicWeb International
Piano Recital: Pompa-Baldi, Antonio - POULENC, F. / MONNOT, M. / LOUIGUY / BERNHEIM, A. (The Rascal and the Sparrow: Poulenc meets Piaf)
(Steinway and Sons: Steinway30015)
…[Pompa-Baldi] offers an unusual, intelligent, and very satisfying disc of transcriptions of songs…
There are 27 numbers in all, each wonderfully played, with a pathos that never turns pathetic in the more languishing pieces, and a zesty swagger where the music asks for it. …this disc a splendid tribute to two major contemporaneous figures in French music…How satisfying it also is that Steinway is…willing to let talented yet lesser-known artists record truly interesting, distinctive programs. This one’s certainly a winner from start to finish.
By David Hurwitz © 2013 ClassicsToday.com
KOMARNITSKY, O.: Chamber and Instrumental Music (Atchison, Dudnik, Jones)
(Toccata Classics: TOCC0196)
For me the combination of first recordings of works by a completely unknown composer is an irresistible one and that’s what this disc offers. To learn at the same time that it constitutes virtually everything that remains of this composer’s output, despite the fact that he wrote much in many genres, is almost too hard to come to terms with after hearing how good it is.
I was bowled over by the music on this record and sincerely hope that there is more to be discovered of this composer’s works, perhaps lying in some archives somewhere which is often where such things end up. It is tantalising to have heard this music and not to be sure of being able to explore further examples of it. I wait with bated breath and great hopes that more from him will emerge.
The members of the London Piano Trio play all of this music with passion, commitment and great skill making me want to seek out music where they play as a trio.
By Steve Arloff © 2013 MusicWeb International
LISZT, F.: Hungarian Rhapsodies Nos. 1-6 (Vienna Academy Orchestra, Haselbock)
…this is a very attractive set of the six orchestral Hungarian Rhapsodies. Martin Haselböck remains a fine organist and musician generally, and his belief in Liszt is both honest and musically persuasive.
Haselböck paces this music very well. The First Rhapsody, for example, doesn’t really get going until it’s almost half over, but Haselböck finds a flowing tempo from the outset that makes those introductory gestures sound, well, rhapsodic rather than merely spasmodic. Rhapsody No. 4 manages to sound less repetitious than it usually can, while No. 5, the darkest of the set, really does have a nicely “Hungarian” tang that never turns merely glum.
…very pleasing, listenable performances even at a single sitting. Textures are clean and clear… Toss in excellent engineering from the Liszt Concert Hall in his home town of Raiding, and the result is a very enjoyable experience that just might be more musically substantial than you thought possible.
By David Hurwitz © 2013 ClassicsToday.com