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.

Monday, November 2, 2015

The highlight of the Nielsen Year

From July 15, 2015:


The highlight of the Nielsen Year has been this series of orchestral works on Da Capo, with Alan Gilbert conducting the New York Philharmonic. This is the fourth, and unfortunately the last, disc in the series, but the project ends as strongly as it began. The acerbic clarinet concerto is brilliantly played by Anthony McGill, while Robert Langevin provides virtuosity and passion in the flute concerto.

The most important work, though, is the violin concerto, which I consider the greatest in the 20th century. The competition on record is very strong, with Myung-Whun Chung, Michael Schonwandt and Maxim Vengerov providing persuasive versions. My favourite version on disc has always been Cho-Liang Lin’s. A live performance of his, back in the mid-1980s, was a revelation, and gave me my first understanding of Nielsen’s place among the greatest composers of the century. This recording with Nikolaj Znaider, though, surpasses them all. There is more tenderness, fire and sheer beauty in this half-hour of music than I thought possible. Thanks to Da Capo, to the New York Philharmonic, and to Maestro Gilbert for these beautiful CDs.

Here Gilbert talks about Nielsen & Znaider:


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