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Ionarts

Charles T. Downey Briefly Noted: The Dover Quartet Starts on Beethoven

Beethoven, Complete String Quartets (Vol. 1), Dover Quartet
(released on July 18, 2020)
Cedille CDR90000-198 | 154’56”
It begins. The Dover Quartet’s programs in Washington have not featured much Beethoven yet, including their last (canceled) appearance at the Kennedy Center in April. The single glimpse of their approach to this most revered string quartet composer was the third movement of

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Charles T. Downey Briefly Noted: Christmas in the Pandemic Summer

Christmas Carols, SWR Vokalensemble, M. Creed
(released on August 10, 2020)
SWR Classic SWR19094CD | 59’10”
How keenly music’s absence is felt during the pandemic struck me recently listening to this little disc. It is nothing spectacular in terms of programming: an hour’s worth of English Christmas carols. The singing is excellent, done in beautiful sound by the SWR Vokalensemble, about thirty

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Unknown Dip Your Ears, No. 261 (Satie Vexation)


Erik Satie, Vexations
Noriko Ogawa (piano)
(BIS)

Erik Satie’s Vexations is an aptly named work that you have to have heard in order to know that you’ll never need to have heard it. Simple, repetitive, and demanding endurance from the performer, not skill.
18 notes, harmonized, inverted. Just one page of brutalist-simplistic music, but rinsed and repeated – by disingenuous fiat of

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Unknown On ClassicsToday: Another Vivaldi Edition Violin Concerto Must-Have

Another Vivaldi Edition Violin Concerto Must-Have

Review by: Jens F. Laurson

Artistic Quality: ?

Sound Quality: ?

Unless you are a cetologist, all whales of a species look alike to you. The seasoned eye, meanwhile, will take one glance at a disappearing dorsal fin and immediately conclude: “Oh, look, there’s Laura!” Same thing with Vivaldi violin concertos: The more we indulge, the

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Unknown On ClassicsToday: Best Recording of Hans Zender’s Superb Winterreise

Best Remembrance Of Hans Zender

Review by: Jens F. Laurson

Artistic Quality: ?

Sound Quality: ?

Composer/conductor Hans Zender, who died last October (2019), is better known for his “composed re-composition” of Schubert’s Winterreise than for any of his other work. That’s not to sell those other “original” compositions short, or his work as a conductor (a fine Mahler Ninth and

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Unknown On ClassicsToday: Haydn & The Harp: Light Delights

Haydn & The Harp: Light Delights

Review by: Jens F. Laurson

Artistic Quality: ?

Sound Quality: ?

“Haydn and the Harp” is a delightful disc of music written for the harp based on works and themes of Haydn by the composer’s contemporaries, as well as compositions of Haydn’s where the harp can (or was always meant to) be an alternative to the piano. All the music is tied in some way to

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Unknown On ClassicsToday: Mayseder, a Viennese Bridge Between Classical and Romantic

Mayseder: A Viennese Bridge Between Classical And Romantic

Review by: Jens F. Laurson

Artistic Quality: ?

Sound Quality: ?

The late classical/early romantic Viennese composer Joseph Mayseder is a wonderful discovery whose music is being methodically made available by the Gramola label. He was the concertmaster of the predecessor of the Vienna State Opera Orchestra and of the Wiener

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Unknown On ClassicsToday: Margherita Torretta’s Bang-On Scarlatti

Margherita Torretta: Bang-On Scarlatti From Out Of Nowhere

Review by: Jens F. Laurson

Artistic Quality: ?

Sound Quality: ?

Scarlatti recitals on the piano are no longer a rarity, but really great ones still are. Since Horowitz’s groundbreaking disc, outstanding recordings have been made by Mikhail Pletnev, bursting-with-wilful fantasy, Ivo Pogorelich absorbed in his dynamic

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Unknown On ClassicsToday: Strauss’ Enoch Arden in a new Reference Recording

Granitic Enoch Arden From Bruno Ganz And Kirill Gerstein

Review by: Jens F. Laurson

Artistic Quality: ?

Sound Quality: ?

Monodramas are tricky to pull off. The text has to be very good and the music has to be better still, to fulfill its dual duty of underscoring the drama and offering enough interest on its own, when it does pipe up. The results vary: from the rare best, like the

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