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Sunday, October 20, 2013
Pettersson, A.: Symphony No. 6 (Norrkoping Symphony, C. Lindberg)

Pettersson, A.: Symphony No. 6 (Norrkoping Symphony, C. Lindberg)
BIS: BIS-1980
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Recording of the Month

True connoisseurs know that one of the finest ways to spend thirty or sixty minutes is listening to an excellent recording of a magnificent symphony. They will also know that some of the twentieth century's greatest symphonists have been Scandinavian... Prominent in that list must stand the name of Swede Allan Pettersson—any arguments to the contrary are truly obliterated by this recording, the latest volume in BIS's long-winded but compelling series dedicated to this relatively unsung master of the genre.

...propelled constantly onwards by the sheer force of musical argument and expression—always fundamentally tonal too—the listener's mind is unable to wander... the tone is almost always expansively serious-minded, graphically introspective, post-apocalyptically serene: the... (read more)

- By Byzantion © 2013 MusicWeb International
 
Haydn, J.: Piano Sonatas, Vol. 4 (Bavouzet) - Nos. 23, 30, 38

Haydn, J.: Piano Sonatas, Vol. 4 (Bavouzet) - Nos. 23, 30, 38
Chandos: CHAN10736
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10/10 Artistic and Sound Quality

These are marvelous works: every one of them has something inspired to capture your attention.

Bavouzet's interpretation is aptly pre-romantic: unusually fluid in terms of large-scale phrasing and tempo rubato, but rhythmically sharp within the bar lines. We also get to hear, as a separate bonus track, Haydn's original, shorter cadenza/coda, without that astonishing tragic eruption that vaults the music forward into the 19th century. I'm not sure I will ever need to hear it again, but it's interesting to have, and Bavouzet smartly plays the final version of the piece as a first option. ...Haydn lovers are in keyboard heaven.

- By David Hurwitz © 2013 ClassicsToday.com
 
Choral Music (Canadian) - Corlis, T. / Enns, L. / Tiefenbach, P. / Watson Henderson, R. (I Saw Eternity) (Elora Festival Singers, Edison)

Choral Music (Canadian) - Corlis, T. / Enns, L. / Tiefenbach, P. / Watson Henderson, R. (I Saw Eternity) (Elora Festival Singers, Edison)
Naxos / Canadian Classics: 8.572812
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9/9 Artistic and Sound Quality

...Noel Edison has chosen 12 first-rate works, whose creators...know not only how to write for voices, but who also (mostly) know how to find fresh and interesting contexts even for the most familiar texts.

I have already heaped praise on the accomplishments of the Elora Festival Singers and director Edison for several of their releases over the past few years...it's among the world's finest choirs...

The production values are predictably high...Serious choral music fans will not miss this; for the rest of you, I can only say that you ignore Canadian choral music at your peril.

- By David Vernier © 2013 ClassicsToday.com
 
Auber, D.-F.: Muette de Portici (La) (Hermus)

Auber, D.-F.: Muette de Portici (La) (Hermus)
CPO: 777694-2
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Recording of the Month

This new recording is superior in many respects and is welcome for revealing an extra dimension to Auber. Hermus's version tends to tease out some previously unobserved detail. There is more sensitivity to the flow of the score, with greater attention shown to dynamics both in the singing and playing. The powerful chorus—of more singers than usual—is supported by an excellent acoustic.

The strong cast is led by the famous Mexican singer, Diego Torre (Masaniello). He is a vibrant and strong tenor, whose power nicely fits his brave fisherman image. His wide register and fine tone lifts the energy of the combat scene in Act V. Angelina Ruzzafante (Elvire) is a... (read more)

- By Raymond J Walker © 2013 MusicWeb International
 
Beethoven, L. van: Piano Sonatas Nos. 28 and 29, 'Hammerklavier' (Mari Kodama)

Beethoven, L. van: Piano Sonatas Nos. 28 and 29, "Hammerklavier" (Mari Kodama)
PentaTone: PTC5186391
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5 Stars

The cycle of Beethoven sonata recordings by the Japanese-born, European-raised pianist Mari Kodama has inspired plenty of divergent reactions, and this ultimate release in the set seems likely to continue the pattern.

Kodama was a student of Alfred Brendel, and she extends his fundamentally analytic approach in ways that can be extremely startling when applied to a work like the Piano Sonata No 29 in B flat major, Op 106 ("Hammerklavier"). Kodama's technical achievement in this treacherous fugue is impressive. But her interpretive daring is the greater achievement. The Op 101 sonata has many lovely moments, but few indeed are the pianists who have rethought Op 106 from the ground up and gotten away with it.

Paired with perfect intimate engineering from the Dutch audiophile label PentaTone, this is an extraordinary Beethoven performance.

- By James Manheim © 2013 Allmusic.com

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