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Sunday, September 22, 2013
21st Century Spanish Guitar, Vol. 1 - Brotons, S. / Puerto, D. del / Morales-Caso, E. / Cruz De Castro, C. / Balada, L. (A. Levin)

21st Century Spanish Guitar, Vol. 1 - Brotons, S. / Puerto, D. del / Morales-Caso, E. / Cruz De Castro, C. / Balada, L. (A. Levin)
Naxos / Guitar Collection: 8.573024
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Recording of the Month

There's a gratifying amount of diversity on display here. From Leonardo Balada, a more abstract voice of an older generation who grew up trained in avant-garde techniques, to Ricardo Llorca’s Handeliana, an overt tribute to the past, the pieces suggest that the Spanish guitar scene is as varied, exciting, and as full of activity as it ever was.

...these are all important contributions to the repertoire, for which we have Levin to thank. He's clearly overjoyed to be playing them: you see it in his words in the booklet, and hear it on every track. These composers could not have asked for a better, more thoughtful and dedicated guitarist to premiere their works. If I'm especially excited about Vazquez' Nostos, it's as the crowning jewel of a superb CD produced by Norbert Kraft and Bonnie Silver to the high standards almost every Naxos guitar CD sets.

There are three more volumes to come. If they're as good as this, they'll form one of the most exciting guitar series of the century so far.

- By Brian Reinhart © 2013 MusicWeb International
 
Bach, J.S.: Cello Suites Nos. 1-6, BWV 1007-1012 (C. Carr)

Bach, J.S.: Cello Suites Nos. 1-6, BWV 1007-1012 (C. Carr)
Wigmore Hall Live: WHLive0060-2
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Gramophone Choice

...Colin Carr's phrasing and articulation are so precise yet carefully understated, and of a kind of total-acceptance simplicity, that the music is given space to sing (aided by his spectacular Marquis de Cordobon Stradivari) at the same time as entering the room without any pomp.

Carr is so fleet of foot, even in the slowest movements, that it is not long before it becomes clear that this performance is a masterclass in restraint and musical altruism. The musical interpretation itself is almost transparent—nothing disturbing the millpond, save the knowledge that the tranquillity of its performance is in inverse proportion to its depth.

- By Caroline Gill © 2013 Gramophone
 
Bull, J.: Keyboard Works (Basically Bull) (Feinberg)

Bull, J.: Keyboard Works (Basically Bull) (Feinberg)
Steinway and Sons: Steinway30019
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10/10 Artistic and Sound Quality

English virginal music from the 16th and early 17th centuries played on a modern Steinway? Unthinkable! Shocking! Forget it; this disc is fabulous. It may be a heretical notion in this era of authenticity, but the simple fact is that anything a harpsichord or virginal can do, a piano can do better, never mind its other advantages.

...all of the works here, from the simple Dutch Dance to the Pavanes and Galliards of Bull's contemporaries Byrd, Gibbons, and Tomkins, reveal a remarkably mature, expressive musical language, one that you can appreciate afresh in Alan Feinberg's vibrant interpretations. He doesn't romanticize the music.

Sonically the recording sounds beautiful, richly capturing the timbre of the piano without any blurring of the musical lines. After listening, you will certainly be left wondering why this music has remained the province of early music specialists. We're lucky that Alan Feinberg has done it so superbly. A revelation.

- By David Hurwitz © 2013 ClassicsToday.com
 

Cordero, E.: Caribbean Concertos - Concierto Festivo / Insula / Concertino Tropical (Pepe Romero, Figueroa, I Solisti di Zagreb)   Cordero, E.: Caribbean Concertos - Concierto Festivo / Insula / Concertino Tropical (Pepe Romero, Figueroa, I Solisti di Zagreb)

Mozart, W.A.: Piano Concertos Nos. 20 and 21 (Schoonderwoerd, Cristofori)
Accent: ACC24265
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Mozart, W.A.: Piano Concertos Nos. 18 and 19 (Schoonderwoerd, Cristofori)
Accent: ACC24278
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Recording of the Month

These two CDs...are revelatory.

...the stunning design of these four concertos can be appreciated as never before. ...this is what Mozart's piano concertos should always sound like. What a pleasure it is, for example, to hear the slow movement of the C major concerto freed from the clichés of 20th-century pianism, or the first movement of the D minor work communicate musical Sturm und Drang rather than the confected melodrama of many a modern performance. Intriguing too to hear the reconstructed timpani and (F!) trumpet parts of the F major concerto.

Sound quality is also top quality. ...this is a double coup de maître for him [Mozart], Cristofori and Accent—one of the finest recordings of 2012 and 2013. Mission accomplished: Mozart has been liberated. Long live Mozart!

- By Byzantion © 2013 MusicWeb International

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