It’s Beethoven’s 250th birthday year: reviews of four sets of the complete piano concertos from, respectively, Paul Lewis, Stewart Goodyear, Inon Barnatan, and Stephen Hough.
An impressively original release from violinist Lara St. John and pianist Matt Herskowitz; a tremendous Ligeti performance from the Jupiter String Quartet; Justin Badgerow releases a finely curated and played survey of mostly 20th-century solo piano music from Brazil.
Pianist Thomas Adès proves himself a sympathetic champion of Czech composer Leoš Janáček; it’s not often that a Schumann-Mendelssohn album focuses on the music of Clara and Fanny (rather than Robert and Felix); Jenny Lin’s performances of piano pieces by Philip Glass don’t lack for style or technical command.
It took more than a century, but Amy Beach’s Piano Quintet has finally got the recording it deserves; it would be hard to beat the all-star line-up featured in The Cave of Wondrous Voice; and ready for some flawless Shostakovich?
What lies beyond COVID-19 for the arts community?
Metamorfosi is a marvelously effective and amusing one-act opera that would suit college opera workshops splendidly.
Immortal Beloved is a CD that will appeal to lovers of fine singing and to people curious about some hidden corners of Beethoven’s output.
Thomas Adès is a formidable pianist and his output for his native instrument is fundamentally gripping; yMusic’s new album is a spectacularly-played and -recorded disc; Michael Gordon’s Anonymous Man is undeniably hypnotic but gets stuck in a loop that goes on for a mite too long.
François-Xavier Roth and his period ensemble Les Siècles serve up freshness of playing and conviction of interpretation; Manfred Honeck is a conductor who can draw compelling, electrifying accounts of the standard canon as if on cue; the verdict’s mixed on the music of Lithuanian-born composer Mikalojus Čiurlionis.
James MacMillan’s Viola Concert is a magnificent addition to the repertoire; the debut recording of Magnus Lindberg’s song cycle Accused leaves a bit to be desired; a fetching, brilliant gathering of orchestral music by Sir Richard Rodney Bennett.