Each month, our arts critics — music, book, theater, dance, television, film, and visual arts — fire off a few brief reviews.
This recording presents one of the most lucid and well-programmed portraits of John Adams to emerge, well, in a long while.
Cellist Nicolas Altstaed’s recording features a fascinating pairing of pieces by Salonen and Ravel, a stirring reminder of the mysterious powers of common origins and creative invention. Don’t miss it.
Marvelously accomplished albums from American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato and Canadian soprano Barbara Hannigan.
John Nelson’s La Damnation de Faust is a triumph; you will rarely encounter Villa-Lobos played with greater understanding or in better sound than here; Paavo Järvi and his orchestra’s survey of Messiaen orchestral works early and late is resplendent.
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.
Night Triptych is an important disc, but also an inviting one that takes you to some fresh places well worth experiencing. Also, another success for harpsichordist Justin Taylor, and a well-earned one at that.
Paavo Järvi and the Estonian Festival Orchestra present a probing and excellent version of Shostakovich’s Symphony no. 6.
Reviews of performances that are energetic, immediate, muscular, and simply breathtaking.