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.
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.
Isabelle Faust makes Arnold Schoenberg’s thorny Violin Concerto sing; Mariss Jansons lends heft to Saint-Saëns’ Symphony no. 3, and John Wilson continues to be your go-to conductor for Erich Wolfgang Korngold.
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin’s pairing of Beethoven with Knecht is intelligent, programmatically and musically, but Thierry Fischer’s Symphony fantastique is a disappointing misfire.
John Wilson and the Sinfonia of London are one of the new decade’s most exciting partnerships; Javier Perianes’ album with the Orchestre de Paris is quite clever; Is Liszt’s music trash? The debate continues.
Imagine the excitement of experiencing, for the first time, an opera by one of the greatest composers to have come out of the Spanish-speaking world!
Diana Tishchenko’s a violinist well worth keeping an eye on; Jun Märkl leads the MSO in brisk, shapely readings of pieces by Saint-Saëns; Françoix-Xavier Roth and Les Siecles come up with some winning Berlioz.
A fresh, bracing take on Beethoven as a dramatist, Tesla Quartet serves up refreshingly direct and emotionally-complex performances of Mozart, and flautist Emmanuel Pahud has crafted an ear-catching, unpredictable program.
Enjoy Boston Camerata’s Free America! for its high spirits and its crafty, delicious way of making the iconoclasm of the past come alive.
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.