Simon Rattle’s Bruckner is, on the whole, lean and lively; if you’re looking for a new Mahler Four, Vladimir Jurowski’s is the one to check out; Thierry Fischer leads performances of each symphony that take Saint-Saëns’ writing seriously.
In the right hands, Shostakovich’s Twelfth can come off as nothing less than an intriguing, lively symphonic essay.
Marc Minkowski’s recording of Jacques Offenbach’s La Périchole pays the composer a handsome tribute in his birthday year; violinist Baiba Skride’s new all-Bartók disc is one of the year’s best.
The Seattle Symphony does right by Langgaard but not Strauss; Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Beethoven is micromanaged to death; Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester offers an ideal off-the-beaten-path Offenbach disc.
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.
There was nothing sleepy or commonplace about the ensemble’s performance of favorites by Mozart, Brahms, and Bartók.
Christian Tetzlaff’s brilliant account of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto makes for a great album; Rachel Barton Pine’s versions of Dvorák and Khachaturian violin concertos are songful; orchestrally, Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra’s Sigfried is unfailingly colorful and fresh.
To Paradise for Onions is a lovely album; Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra ‘s Transatlantic is spirited; Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s Die Zauberflöte is lost in the crowd.
That rarest of Opening Nights: a program that was mostly fun and entertaining, but also substantive and artistically satisfying.
Semyon Bychkov and the Czech Philharmonic do justice to a lot of Tchaikovsky’s orchestral music, while John Eliot Gardiner and the London Symphony play Robert Schumann’s famously-dense orchestrations with clarity. But Michael Stern’s account of The Planets completely lacks mystery.