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Sunday, March 10, 2013
Nicolai, O.: Psalms (Bernius)

Nicolai, O.: Psalms (Bernius)
Carus: Carus83.299
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Recording of the Month, MusicWeb International

(Excerpt)

Frieder Bernius is an adventurous conductor who is always on the look-out for neglected repertoire. That is certainly the case here: all but two of the compositions on this disc have never been recorded before. Moreover, Nicolai's choral music has been almost completely neglected. It is telling that in the article on the composer in New Grove hardly any attention is paid to this part of his oeuvre. That is unfair: this disc proves that his choral writing should be taken very seriously. If you like 19th-century choral music and can, for instance, appreciate the motets of... (read more)

By Johan van Veen © 2013 MusicWeb International
 
Dvorak, A.: Serenade in E major / Suk, J.: Serenade in E flat major (Orchestre de Chambre Appassionata, Myssyk)

Dvorak, A.: Serenade in E major / Suk, J.: Serenade in E flat major (Orchestre de Chambre Appassionata, Myssyk)
Fidelio Musique: FACD-036
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4 Stars

(Excerpt)

Appassionata, a Canadian chamber music ensemble of some twenty musicians, has been active since c. 2002 under its founder and conductor Daniel Myssyk. The two most famous Czech string serenades, those by Joseph Suk and Antonin Dvorak, make excellent vehicles for the lush sonority and brilliantly homogeneous tone of this fine ensemble. The Suk Serenade in E-flat Major (1893; rev. 1895) demonstrates the horizontal layering and rich melodic tapestry...Indeed, the Adagio movement communicates that "serene night" quality that defines the term "serenade" etymologically...I must recommend this stunning audio document quite favorably, for its sonic splendor as much as for its breathed phrases.

By Gary Lemco © 2013 Audiophile Audition
 
Penderecki, K.: Fonogrammi / Horn Concerto / Partita / The Awakening of Jacob / Anaklasis / De natura sonoris No. 1 (Warsaw Philharmonic, Wit)

Penderecki, K.: Fonogrammi / Horn Concerto / Partita / The Awakening of Jacob / Anaklasis / De natura sonoris No. 1 (Warsaw Philharmonic, Wit)
Naxos: 8.572482
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10/10 Artistic and Sound Quality

(Excerpt)

...any of Antoni Wit's Penderecki recordings for Naxos deserves recognition: they are uniformly superb.

Fonogrammi, Anaklasis, Partita, and De natura sonoris I consist almost entirely of noise—often wonderful, imaginative noise...

The Awakening of Jacob shows the composer on his way to the "romantic revival" of his later work, while the Horn Concerto of 2008 is drop-dead gorgeous…get this stunningly played and recorded disc, as well as the others in this important and worthy series.

By David Hurwitz © 2013 ClassicsToday.com
 
Brahms, J.: Piano Music (Bax)

Brahms, J.: Piano Music (Bax)
Signum Classics: SIGCD309
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9/9 Artistic and Sound Quality

(Excerpt)

The challenges of Brahms' piano works suit Alessio Bax's big technique, multi-colored sonority, and innate musicality. He imbues the Op. 10 Ballades' first two pieces with both long-lined lyricism and fiery power while assiduously integrating the final piece's improvisatory impulses into a fluid whole.

...Bax's joyful panache is right on the money, as in his amazingly brisk and supple dispatch of the triple-time Book II Variation 5. For an encore Bax dusts off Georges Cziffra's garish rewrite of Brahms' Fifth Hungarian Dance...speeds up the basic tempo, and polishes its jagged edges, while adding a few flourishes of his own for good measure. Altogether a fine, often stimulating and excellently engineered release.

By Jed Distler © 2013 ClassicsToday.com
 
Telemann, G.P.: Weine, nicht, siehe / Sie verachten das Gesetz / Gott Zebaoth, in deinem Namen (Three Cantatas) (Max)

Telemann, G.P.: Weine, nicht, siehe / Sie verachten das Gesetz / Gott Zebaoth, in deinem Namen (Three Cantatas) (Max)
CPO: 777261-2
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Recording of the Month, MusicWeb International

(Excerpt)

Here we get three powerful and expressive cantatas.

This is a Telemann you don't hear that often—or, rather, who is mostly overlooked. This is Telemann at his best in the musical illustration of the text and its meaning, in sometimes passionate arias, sermon-like recitatives and in the effective use of instruments. Hermann Max was an early advocate of Telemann's vocal music, and he shows here again his faculty for exploring the full dramatic power of his cantatas. The Easter cantata has the brilliance which reflects its character, whereas the message of the other two cantatas is incisively conveyed. The four soloists are simply outstanding; the recitatives—which are often the weak spot in performances of baroque cantatas—are perfectly executed as a speech on music. The orchestra delivers very colourful performances.

By Johan van Veen © 2013 MusicWeb International

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