Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

For the past five years or so I've posted reviews of classical music CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays, in various places on the web: Amazon.com, iTunes and other sites. I'll collect those earlier reviews, and add four or five new ones every month.

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

A set I'll be collecting

From November 3, 2010:


"Opera Omnia" is the very encouraging title of this new series of CDs from the Accord label that feature the music of Witold Lutoslawski. This is the second disc in the series, and it features the second symphony, written in the period from 1965-7, and the fourth symphony, one of the last works Lutoslawski completed before his death in 1994.

Coming as they do before and after Lutoslawski's magnum opus, the great (and relatively popular) third symphony, these works provide some historical context to someone new to the music of this great master. They also demonstrate the wide range of musical styles Lutoslawski was comfortable writing in.

Jacek Kaspsyk leads the NFM Orkiestra Filharmonii Wroclawskiej in performances that are distinguished by their verve and energy in the 2nd, and a real sense of mystery in the 4th. In both works the complex inner parts are exposed without draining the music of its forward momentum. The musicians are well supported by the producers and engineers, and the disc is as splendidly presented as any CD I've seen this year. Downloading the audio files and a PDF of the liner notes doesn't match up against this package. It's a rare musical analogue of the question of whether eBooks can compete with the paper book. If all CDs were this beautifully packaged, there might be more sold!

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