Soprano Ruby Hughes’ album is fine, well played, sung, and programmed; baritone Christoph Prégardien delivers vocal works by Mahler, Alexander von Zemlinsky, and Max Reger with warmth; soprano Diana Damrau is in her glorious prime singing the songs of Strauss.
Diana Tishchenko’s a violinist well worth keeping an eye on; Jun Märkl leads the MSO in brisk, shapely readings of pieces by Saint-Saëns; Françoix-Xavier Roth and Les Siecles come up with some winning Berlioz.
John Nelson’s La Damnation de Faust is a triumph; you will rarely encounter Villa-Lobos played with greater understanding or in better sound than here; Paavo Järvi and his orchestra’s survey of Messiaen orchestral works early and late is resplendent.
A fresh, bracing take on Beethoven as a dramatist, Tesla Quartet serves up refreshingly direct and emotionally-complex performances of Mozart, and flautist Emmanuel Pahud has crafted an ear-catching, unpredictable program.
Michael Tilson Thomas delivers a towering Ives Fourth; pianist Conrad Tao’s American Rage is hard-edged and defiant, but also poignant and stirring; Gianandrea Noseda’s Shostakovich Fourth is ferocious.
Terrific, fiery playing from George Li, one of the most compelling young pianists on the scene; Mariss Jansons’ recording of Shostakovich’s Tenth trudges from start to finish; irrefutable proof of Andris Nelsons’ excellence as a new-music conductor.
Among the reviews: a terrific, important release that celebrates one of the most interesting – and hitherto overlooked – composers of the late-19th- and early-20th centuries in style. Don’t miss it.
Vasily Petrenko’s Elgar disappoints, Edward Gardner’s Mendelssohn excites, and Alain Lefévre’s Paris is delights.
A trio of fine discs: Leonard Bernstein’s music for solo piano, Charlie Chaplin’s songs, and Charles Hubert Hastings Parry’s trios.
This is one of the year’s standout orchestral albums and it’s a special treat to catch the ensemble live on these shores so soon after its release.