ClassicsOnline - Your Classical Music Source Highly Reviewed Newsletter
Log In to your Account

Our newsletter highlighting the latest highly reviewed recordings available at ClassicsOnline.

Sunday, January 12, 2014
Burhans, C.: Magnificat / Amidst Neptune / Iceman Stole the Sun / Super Flumina Babylonis (Evensong) (Burhans)

Burhans, C.: Magnificat / Amidst Neptune / Iceman Stole the Sun / Super Flumina Babylonis (Evensong) (Burhans)
Cantaloupe Music: CA-21094
Preview and Download at ClassicsOnline
NPR Music's 50 Favorite Albums of 2013

Caleb Burhans is a musical sponge. He's soaked up Episcopal church music as a long time chorister, he's played in disco and rock outfits and, as a multi-instrumentalist, he's a member of a half-dozen new music ensembles. It all contributes to his agility as a composer, startlingly apparent on his strong, beautiful debut album, Evensong. Old vocal forms—from plainchant to polyphony—get filtered through the 33-year-old composer's eclectic past, emerging fresh with touches of minimalism and mysticism. There's a trompe l'oeil for the ear with The Things Left Unsaid. It poses as a single cello fed through a loop pedal, but in acoustic reality it's a gorgeously blended cello octet.

Discoveries are around every corner in Evensong, a thoroughly engaging introduction to a formidable young composer.

- By Tom Huizenga © National Public Radio
 
Strauss, R.: Don Juan / Death and Transfiguration / Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks (Pittsburgh Symphony, Honeck)

Strauss, R.: Don Juan / Death and Transfiguration / Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks (Pittsburgh Symphony, Honeck)
Reference Recordings: FR-707SACD
Preview and Download at ClassicsOnline
5 Stars

It never ceases to amaze me that a recording can be so near the real concert hall experience. Here is an exceptional collection of three of Richard Strauss’ engaging tone poems from Reference Recordings.

With an inspired conductor, Manfred Honeck (from Austria), and a world class orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony, recorded live, these performances are bathed in the latest SACD multi-channel sound (courtesy of Sound/Mirror). They have to be heard to be believed.

...let me say this recording is the best I have ever heard of these compositions. With overall tonal accuracy, an astounding dynamic range and a feeling that the orchestra was electrically charged, this is simply an amazing encounter... (read more)

- By Zan Furtwangler © Audiophile Audition
 
Schmelzer, J.H.: Sonatas / Balletti (Barockes Welttheater) (Freiburg Baroque Consort)

Schmelzer, J.H.: Sonatas / Balletti (Barockes Welttheater) (Freiburg Baroque Consort)
Harmonia Mundi: HMC902087
Preview and Download at ClassicsOnline
9/10 Artistic and Sound Quality

The Freiburger BarockConsort...include three brief, rarely heard Balletto examples here...

The program's opening Serenata con altre arie serves as a brilliant overture, beginning with a striking drum roll joined shortly by dramatic rhythmic strings that eventually give way to a series of widely diverse, instrumentally varied dances. It's a captivating work that previously has received only a few relatively uninspired recorded performances; here the piece finally receives the reading it has long deserved.

Harmonia Mundi's sound is magnificent, with exceptional dynamic range...and remarkably convincing spatial clarity. If you're a fan of the composer and/or period, you would do well to consider adding this remarkably satisfying offering to your collection. A delight.

- By John Greene © ClassicsToday.com
 
Heyer, G.: Grand Sophy (The) (Unabridged)

Heyer, G.: Grand Sophy (The) (Unabridged)
Naxos AudioBooks: NA0142
Preview and Download at ClassicsOnline
The Washington Post's Best Audiobooks of 2013

Georgette Heyer is considered the founder of regency romance novels, but unlike so many other practitioners, she brings a genuine sense of history, an ear for period language and considerable wit to her wildly exciting, early 19th-century romps. "The Grand Sophy" is a delightful specimen.

Narrator Sarah Woodward utilizes a voice of British magnificence, introducing the listeners to the great house of Lord and Lady Ombersley, where soon Sophia Stanton-Lacy will arrive to reroute its inhabitants' destinies. Woodward lends appropriate tones and cadences to the many characters, among them a conniving and prudish fiancee, a vaporous poet, a mollycoddled stuffed shirt, a sultry Spanish princess, one suitor hewn of English oak and another of broadcloth, and the redoubtable, joyous Sophy herself.

- By Katherine Powers © The Washington Post
 
Paganini, N.: 24 Caprices (Gringolts)

Paganini, N.: 24 Caprices (Gringolts)
Orchid Classics: ORC100039
Preview and Download at ClassicsOnline

Gramophone Choice

...[Gringolts] presents here what may be 'a work of archeology' but it is clearly a fresh, modern take on these technical masterpieces. What he has achieved is to make them playful. Having discovered the dramatic qualities within, he has reflected on them. What in other recordings is somewhat predictable here becomes an exciting journey. Where we were once content simply to marvel at the pyrotechnics, now, because of Gringolts's acute sense of timing and close attention to dynamics, we hear the music.

These are performances that would surely have made Paganini smile.

- By Julie Anne Sadie © Gramophone

Like us on Facebook
   Follow us on Twitter

Copyright © 2014 Naxos Digital Services Ltd. All rights reserved.