When the name Chopin is mentioned, what often comes to mind first are his Nocturnes and their dreamy qualities. Chopin, of course, wrote much more than that, and some of it is quite dramatic and intense. However, Daniel Barenboim seems to have missed getting that memo before recording Chopin's Preludes and the other works on this album. There is both drama and intensity in at least a few of the Preludes, often overdone, but not here. Those marked agitato, Nos. 1, 8, and 22, are placidly performed, with little impetus to them, while the "Polish Dance," No. 7, has no strength in it. No. 12 in G sharp minor has a little more energy, and No. 16 has a little more forcefulness, both coming closer than the other Preludes to living up to their potential. At the opposite extreme, Barenboim is generous with meaningful rubato in No. 17. The softness, gracefulness, and relaxed nature of Barenboim's playing works well for the Berceuse, but not for much else. The Polonaise-Fantasy still leans toward weaker drama than it could have; the brillantes aspect of the Ludiovic Variations is lost until the very end; and the Paganini Variations sound like a Nocturne throughout. There is little bombast in Chopin's music, but even if Barenboim were trying to avoid melodrama, a little more resolve in these works would have been nice.(Patsy Morita)
Year 2015 marks the 150th Anniversary of the birth of Jean Sibelius (1865–1957), often entitled 'Finland’s national composer'. The fourth album on Ondine by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir is dedicated to the complete works for mixed choir by Jean Sibelius. The award-winning choir, one of the finest of its kind internationally, is conducted here by one of the leading Finnish choir directors, Heikki Seppänen, who has conducted a large number of professional choirs in Finland and abroad. The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir’s releases on Ondine have been a critical success: the first release was given an ‘Editor’s Choice’ by the Gramophone Magazine and ‘Disc of the Year’ by the renowned German weekly Die Zeit.
"Ein musikalisches Meisterwerk, dem Günter Pauler einen Sound schneiderte, der schon auf CD um Welten besser klingt als andere 'hochauflösende' Scheibchen. Die Stimme ist mega-präsent, die Gitarre kommt ungemein konturiert und körperhaft, die Begleitung dermaßen plastisch, dass man selbst als eingefleischter Analog-Fan hochachtungsvoll den Hut zieht." ~stereoplay
Anyone with even a passing interest in the sultry, enigmatic and sensual music of Sorabji needs to have this set. It is a most thoroughly engrossing anthology from a brilliant pianist who is a veteran in Sorabji terms. He has lived with and reflected on this music for approaching forty years. Time and again while listening to this set I was struck by his loving attention to detailing, voicings and speeds. The music communicates Sorabji's striving after transcending the limitations of keyboard, of mechanical action and of the pedestrianly objective.
Like the first volume of this series, this gathers rare recordings from throughout the bulk of Greg Lake's career, spanning the late '60s to the mid-'90s. Lake might be one of the most famous musicians associated with progressive rock, but you'd have a hard time taking that impression away from this CD if it was the first or only sampling of his music you heard. Rarities collections can't serve as a fair career retrospective, of course…
Following the discovery of the Americas, Christianity and the Roman Catholic Church was established with incredible speed. Many of the Native Indians were part of highly sophisticated civilizations, most notably the Aztecs and the Incas, and were very responsive to the new ideas, especially music, which was already an important social and spiritual element in their lives.
Some years ago a distinguished music professor said to me, "You must go and see Doktor Faust at English National Opera - you'll hear a second rank composer at the height of his powers". Backhanded though this compliment may seem, it was clearly conveyed with a spirit admiration and perhaps a tinge of surprise.