Each month, our arts critics — music, book, theater, dance, television, film, and visual arts — fire off a few brief reviews.
The world-premiere recording of a first rate production of a brilliant, fantastical opera, unstaged and unheard since 1914.
Mariss Jansons’ ultimate performance, taped live at Carnegie Hall, shows the maestro at the top of his game; François-Xavier Roth’s new recording of pieces by Ravel and Debussy is a bit of a hit-or-miss affair; Diana Damrau’s Tudor Queens, a survey of heroines from three Donizetti operas, is nothing short of terrific.
Françoix-Xavier Roth delivers a must-have cycle of Robert Schumann’s symphonies; Herbert Blomstedt’s Brahms’s Symphony no. 1 is spacious, restrained, and – too often – dull; Daniel Barenboim’s latest Elgar installment features a regrettably unsung masterpiece.
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.
François-Xavier Roth’s Mahler offers plenty of personality and ideas; there’s nothing on Mariss Jansons’ disc that’s really worth your time; guitarist Daniel Lippel draws out Steve Reich’s lyrical qualities.
Benjamin Zander conducts a conspicuously fine Mahler Nine; François-Xavier Roth’s new account of Mahler’s Symphony no. 3 proffers nothing particularly special.
An impressive collection of nine new releases (seven of which are reviewed here). While some might not displace the classic recordings of Debussy already out there, this gathering offers some welcome and fresh interpretive contrasts.
Strong discs from Edward Gardner and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Francois-Xavier Roth and his Paris-based period-instrument ensemble Les Siècles, and the National Orchestral Institute Philharmonic, an ad-hoc summer orchestra comprised of some of the U.S.’s finest conservatory musicians.
Francois-Xavier Roth’s Mahler is full of energy; the National Orchestral Institute Philharmonic’s account of Randall Thompson’s Symphony no. 2 is gripping.