Album review: Compelling Thomas Larcher double-bill from Hannu Lintu and the FRSO

Although Hannu Lintu closed his tenure as Chief Conductor of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in the midst of pandemic lockdown back in May 2021, fabulous recorded documents of their extraordinary collaboration still keep coming. Last year alone, Lintu and the FRSO released no less than three notable albums of contemporary music. In the summer... Continue Reading →

Album review: Opera Recording of the Year – Die tote Stadt of a lifetime from Bayerische Staatsoper

Premiered simultaneously in Hamburg and Cologne on 4 December 1920, under Egon Pollak and Otto Klemperer, respectively, the twenty-three-year-old Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s first full-length music drama, Die tote Stadt, Op. 12 (1916-20), soon became one of the greatest operatic hits of the century.  On 10 January 1921, the opera was first performed in Vienna, the... Continue Reading →

The art of album – Víkingur Ólafsson’s Mozart & Contemporaries comes off as the finest of 2021

Although proclaimed dead repeatedly throughout the streaming era, the old-school concept of an album is alive and well. The latest evidence comes in the guise of Víkingur Ólafsson’s superlative Mozart & Contemporaries, released on the Icelandic pianist’s venerable house label Deutsche Grammophon. Alongside Ólafsson’s outstanding performances, the new album is a case in point of... Continue Reading →

Album review: Dedicated film music anthology from Deutsche Philharmonie Merck and Ben Palmer

Having film music available in both original soundtrack recordings and various re-recordings is an immense joy. Since the pioneering work of Bernard Herrmann and Charles Gerhardt, film music anthologies have mounted into an appealing sub-genre in the record market. Released in the eighties and early nineties, John Williams’s albums with the Boston Pops established a... Continue Reading →

Album review: Celebrating Gubaidulina with Andris Nelsons and the Gewandhausorchester

In conjunction with Sofia Gubaidulina’s two-season residency with the Gewandhausorchester, Deutsche Grammophon has put out a terrific portrait album, coinciding with the composer’s ninetieth birthday. Conducted by Andris Nelsons, three works are featured on the new CD, each scored for an extended orchestral line-up of triple, quadruple and, occasionally, quintuple winds and brass, full strings... Continue Reading →

Album review: Bernstein’s Candide revisited with love by the LSO and a splendid cast under Marin Alsop

The connections between Leonard Bernstein’s comic operetta Candide (1956/1989) and the London Symphony Orchestra and Chours go back thirty two years. On 12 and 13 December 1989, the composer made his last public appearance with his beloved LSO, conducting two concert performances of Candide at the Barbican Centre. Preserved on video, the live performances were... Continue Reading →

From nocturnal images to primordial rites with Andris Nelsons and the Berliner Philharmoniker

Andris Nelsons conducting the Berliner Philharmoniker. © Lena Laine Returning to the Philharmonie podium this week, Andris Nelsons’s latest guest appearance with the Berliner Philharmoniker presented the audiences with a splendid programme, featuring three very different works by three very different composers, Jüri Reinvere, Mieczysław Weinberg and Igor Stravinsky. The program-opener, Reinvere’s Maria Anna, wach,... Continue Reading →

An evening of discovery and rediscovery – celebrating Finnish music with the Helsinki Philharmonic and Susanna Mälkki

Pricipal Cello Lauri Kankkunen, Chief Conductor Susanna Mälkki and the Helsinki Philharmonic performing Esa-Pekka Salonen's Cello Concerto (2017) at the Helsinki Music Centre on Thursday. © Jari Kallio This week, coinciding with Jean Sibelius’s birthday, the Helsinki Philharmonic, Chief Conductor Susanna Mälkki and Principal Cello Lauri Kankkunen celebrated the multi-faceted traditions of Finnish music with... Continue Reading →

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