Taylor's subtle but energized touch and flowing melodic inventions find a ready response from Johnson and Baron, two players who excel in the kind of unexpected twists and turns and intricate textural interplay so typical of the pianist's musical imagination. Taylor's original inspiration lies deep in the central jazz tradition, whatever the complex weave of influences and new directions he may have added. Lyrical, intelligent and hugely resourceful music-making, with pristine recorded sound to match.
~ Jazzwise, Kenny Mathieson
Great Estates of Scotland tells the stories of ambitious landowners who have acquired some of the most beautiful tracts of land in Scotland, areas ranging in size from a handful of acres to tens of thousands.
These are spirited and well-recorded versions of what probably remain Spohr's most popular works. The Nonet is freshly and attractively played, with a proper sense of chamber music informing the performance: that is to say, there is a companionable approach to phrasing, with ideas taken up and returned or passed on as if the players were really listening to one another rather than waiting to say what they were going to say anyhow. Only in the finale do matters become a touch competitive: it is not necessary to go at quite such a speed, and indeed the feeling is of pace rather than the real liveliness which only a very slightly easier tempo might have produced; while some of the string articulation is only just in position. The Adagio is beautifully played, and together with the nimble Scherzo is given a gentle serenade manner: nothing is gained, and sometimes all lost, by trying to make something too profound of these movements.
Pilar Lorengar never achieved the fame and recognition of some of her Spanish peers, such as Victoria de los Angeles and Teresa Berganza; because of this, her singing is relatively unknown to contemporary listeners. Fortunately, anyone with interest can get to know this terrific soprano through The Art of Pilar Lorengar, Decca's two-disc retrospective featuring operatic excerpts and songs of Spanish composers. It is well worth the time; Lorengar had a gorgeous voice, and at its best her singing competes with anything on record. This is especially true of the purely lyrical excerpts on the album, such as "Je dis que rien ne m'épouvante" from Carmen and "Glück, das mir verbleib" from Korngold's Die tode Stadt, both of which would be tough to beat for sheer beauty of singing.