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Unknown Dip Your Ears, No. 253 (Blomstedt’s Terribly-Reasonably-Delightful Mozart)

W.A.Mozart, Symphonies 40 & 41,
BRSO / Herbert Blomstedt
BR Klassik

The instinct is to love and adore everything that Herbert Blomstedt conducts and records. Naturally. He really is and always has been a marvelous conductor and the fact that Europeans are only realizing this after he turned 90 makes it a heartwarming story, somehow. Certainly, Blomstedt deserves the attention and he

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Unknown On ClassicsToday: Mahan Esfahani’s Intriguing Goldberg Variations

Mahan Esfahani’s Intriguing Goldberg Variationsby Jens F. Laurson
From the start, harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani deviates from the well-worn, well-known embellishments and grace-notes in Bach’s Goldberg Variations as we know them through Grandmaster Glenn Gould and just about everyone since. The easily irritable Esfahani knows he isn’t the first to record these works, but… Continue Reading

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Unknown On ClassicsToday: Roberto Prosseda in the Deceptively Un-Rare Mendelssohn Piano Concertos

Prosseda Splashes Sunshine Over Mendelssohn’s Piano Concertosby Jens F. Laurson
Felix Mendelssohn’s First Piano Concerto in G minor is hardly a youthful effort, seeing that at 22 Mendelssohn was already a grizzled veteran and roughly one third into his entire compositional career. Still, it’s a brilliant, frothy little thing that fits right in there with… Continue Reading

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Unknown Dip Your Ears, No. 252 (Céline Frisch’s Goldberg Variations Re-Issued)

Johann Sebastian Bach, Goldberg Variations
Céline Frisch (harpsichord)

In a Goldberg Variation survey from about ten years ago, I wrote that “Richard Egarr, who impresses with feeling and his soft touch, outplays the fairly similar Céline Frisch, who also includes the 14 Goldberg canons (although in a version for chamber group, not on the harpsichord as does Egarr) and the

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Unknown My Uncle, Harpsichordist: Session 001 (Jean Françaix)

I grew up with the records of my uncle’s (him performing, that is)—most memorably Scarlatti sonatas and some baroque sonatas for harpsichord and recorder. A few years ago I stumbled across a stack of copied CDs—taken from those out-of-print LPs and home-recordings—and grabbed them for memory’s sake. To my great intrigue, I found several discs devoted to works from the 20th century… which made me

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Unknown On ClassicsToday: Classic Stravinsky-Bach Recording from Kavakos & Nagy

Under the Radar: Bach-Stravinsky From Kavakosby Jens F. Laurson
Since his emergence at the 1985 International Sibelius Competition, Leonidas Kavakos has always been among the most promising violinists of his generation, capable of greatness (his Sibelius, most strikingly) but not always consistently so (his Mozart, which he insisted on also conducting). This 2002 recording… Continue Reading

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Unknown Dip Your Ears, No. 251 (Meet Lise Davidsen, the next Hochdramatische)

Lise Davidsen sings Wagner & Strauss
Philharmonia, Esa-Pekka Salonen

Make no mistake about it: The young Norwegian soprano Lise Davidsen, from little Stokke at the southern end of the Oslofjord, is *the* “Hochdramatische” of the near future. That much has been clear pretty much from the moment she stepped onto the stage of the Zurich Opera earlier this year, to give her first

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Unknown On ClassicsToday: LSO Shostakovich 8 Remake Succeeds With Noseda

LSO Shostakovich 8 Remake Succeeds With Nosedaby Jens F. Laurson
Snidely put, Gianandrea Noseda only conducts Italian and Russian works. (He’s musically and linguistically fluent in Russian after having lived and worked in St. Petersburg for years.) It’s a pretty limited repertoire, but one that he often does well. And when he does it well… Continue Reading
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Charles T. Downey Briefly Noted: Christie’s latest, best “Poppea” (CD of the Month)

Monteverdi, L’incoronazione di Poppea, S. Yoncheva, K. Lindsey, S. d’Oustrac, C. Vistoli, Les Arts Florissants, W. Christie
(released on August 30, 2019)
Harmonia Mundi HAF8902622.24 | 186’38”
Claudio Monteverdi is something of an obsession of mine, particularly his final opera, L’incoronazione di Poppea. It is a work under review here in myriad versions, somehow never tiresome to these ears.

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