Articles in Digital + Disc
An Appreciation: The birth centenary of any great contributor to human affairs gives us pause. But the Oct. 21 concert by the World Orchestra for Peace at Orchestra Hall, honoring the 100th anniversary of Sir Georg Solti’s birth, has personal relevance for me. At the same time Solti commenced his musical directorship of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, in September 1969, I began my professional career as a music critic, at The Milwaukee Sentinel. There’s more to that connection than mere coincidence.
CD Reviews: The latest evidence of the Philharmonia Baroque’s mastery of 18th century fare is a CD release of Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” – plus three more violin concertos by the Red Priest, as Vivaldi was known – featuring the orchestra’s wizardly concertmaster and all-world Baroque star Elizabeth Blumenstock. ****
CD review: Conductor Riccardo Chailly’s new recording of Beethoven’s nine symphonies, with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, may finally be the document that changes the way we think of these seminal works – and the way the next generation of conductors approaches them. *****
The Berlin Philharmonic began live concert broadcasts over the Internet in mid-2009 amid some high-tech speed bumps. Is 2012 the year it all comes together?
Our selective guide to the best national broadcasts, international radio streams, concert replays and festive downloads to help you ring in New Year 2012.
Review: “A Steinway Christmas Album,” a classy bundle of seasonal arrangements compiled and performed by pianist Jeffrey Biegel. (Steinway) ****
British pianist Paul Lewis brings a potent blend of ingredients to a diverse collection that shows Schubert as both Beethoven’s heir and an original, indeed daring creative spirit. ****
Preview: The Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD broadcasts throughout the U.S. feature a landmark of American minimalism not to miss — ”Satyagraha” by Philip Glass, Nov. 19 and Dec. 7. Here’s a peek.
In a quandary about what to give the person you dare not buy for? If that knotty assignment is a music or theater lover, we at Chicago On the Aisle have a garland of happy solutions: concert music, operas, plays and musicals on CDs, DVDs and downloadable recordings. We’ll be stringing our bright recommendations over the weeks ahead, so check back often.
The last three string quartets Mozart composed, in 1789 just two years before his death, utterly belie the desperate financial straits into which he had fallen. These sunny, and technically brilliant, performances by the Emerson String Quartet reveal Mozart at the zenith of his creative powers.
The American guitarist David Russell got my attention a few years back with a CD of Renaissance music that included some very fine readings of works by John Dowland. That same technical finesse and artful musicianship grace this wide-ranging collection of pieces by Isaac Albeniz.
This off-beat CD takes the Russian-born violin virtuoso Viktoria Mullova back to her ancestral roots in the Ukrainian outback, in the traditional music of gypsies and other rural folk. 3 stars
In her Liszt debut CD, Khatia Buniatishvili reveals the heart of an old-school romantic virtuoso. Though she’s still little known in the U.S., the 24-year-old Georgian’s schedule is packed with European concert dates.
Complete Beethoven and Tchaikovsky symphonies are among the many major works in recordings from the 1970s and ‘80s by the CSO’s conductor with the Philadelphia and Philharmonia Orchestras.
Ingrid Fliter’s fresh take on three favorite masterpieces. 4 stars!