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

Sunday, May 18, 2014
Moniuszko, S.: Overtures (Warsaw Philharmonic, Wit)

Moniuszko, S.: Overtures (Warsaw Philharmonic, Wit)
Naxos: 8.572716
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5 Stars

Antoni Wit and the Warsaw Philharmonic are not only devoted but extremely competent when it comes to play Moniuszko's overtures. They do it brilliantly and give a maximum of musical quality to the 10 pieces, some of them being revealed here as really gorgeous music.

- By Remy Franck © 2014 Pizzicato
 
Shostakovich, D.: String Quartets Nos. 13-15 / Schnittke, A.: String Quartet No. 6 (The Soviet Experience, Vol. 4) (Pacifica Quartet)

Shostakovich, D.: String Quartets Nos. 13-15 / Schnittke, A.: String Quartet No. 6 (The Soviet Experience, Vol. 4) (Pacifica Quartet)
Cedille: CDR90000-145
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Here...is the final volume of the Pacifica Quartet's Shostakovich cycle, and, in a word, the performances are superlative...in terms of fine timbral control, precision of gesture...dynamic shaping...ensemble, and vertical balance...these...performances meet the high standards of their predecessors. Still, even in the context of this consistent excellence, there's something special about this release, for beyond their grasp of Shostakovich’s idiom in general, these four players have a special, if hard to define, virtue that makes them especially adept in the often spare and enigmatic last quartets.

If you're just beginning to explore this repertoire, this is the place to start—and if you've already got this music in your collection, this is an ideal way to expand your vision.

- By Peter J. Rabinowitz © 2014 Fanfare
 

Shostakovich, D.: 6 Romances, Op. 62a / Annie Laurie / Suite on Verses of Michelangelo, Op. 145a (Finley, Helsinki Philharmonic, T. Sanderling)

Shostakovich, D.: 6 Romances, Op. 62a / Annie Laurie / Suite on Verses of Michelangelo, Op. 145a (Finley, Helsinki Philharmonic, T. Sanderling)
Ondine: ODE1235-2
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10/10 Artistic and Sound Quality

...Finley applies his consummate technical facility and unfailing interpretive instincts to elucidate each text in its special musical context...Finley inhabits these songs completely and confidently, captivating and sometimes unnerving us with his affinity for the particulars of sound and language.

This is one of those recordings that affirms its value not only by presenting something truly new and important from something familiar, but by doing it in such a way that it invites you to listen and then compels you to come back, not for a voice, or a tune, or a message, but to be moved by the whole experience of a great performance of timeless music.

- By David Vernier © 2014 ClassicsToday.com
 
LeClair, J.-M.: Sonatas for 2 Violins (Complete) - Opp. 3 and 12 (Ewer, LaMotte)

LeClair, J.-M.: Sonatas for 2 Violins (Complete) - Opp. 3 and 12 (Ewer, LaMotte)
Sono Luminus: DSL-92176
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4 Stars

Sono Luminus has gifted us with very powerful performances and a recording to match with this disc of the complete Sonatas for Violin by Jean Marie LeClair... The performers here are Greg Ewer and Adam Lamotte. The sound...is first rate.

This disc will appeal to lovers of Baroque, especially those wanting to venture out into composers not often heard. The performances are superb, and the recording is as perfect as one could hope for.

- By Mel Martin © 2014 Audiophile Audition
 
Poulenc, F.: Stabat mater / 7 Répons de Ténèbres (Sampson, Cappella Amsterdam, Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Estonian National Symphony, Reuss)

Poulenc, F.: Stabat mater / 7 Répons de Ténèbres (Sampson, Cappella Amsterdam, Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Estonian National Symphony, Reuss)
Harmonia Mundi: HMC902149
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4 Stars

...the two works performed so beautifully by Estonian musicians share the entirely mysterious problem of wholesale underperformance with almost of all of Poulenc's repertoire. In the aesthetic politics of 20th century music, Poulenc, in the 21st century, seems to suffer the fate of writing music too ravishing for anyone's comfort. It is bewildering why music as beautiful as this seems to be recorded with such relative infrequence—and, at that, seldom as magnificently as this. A wonderful record.

- By Jeff Simon © 2014 The Buffalo News

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