Reviews by the editorial staff of Early Music America. Have a new recording or book? Submit it for consideration.


Book Review: Music, Power, and the Divine Right of Kings

Book Review: Music, Power, and the Divine Right of Kings

Catherine Gordon
In one of the most turbulent eras in French history, music served to consolidate the power of Louis XIII and legitimize the Bourbon monarchy. Peter Bennett's new book brings together history, theology, and philosophy to fill a major gap on French music in the early 17th-c.
Recording Review: 'Mother Sister Daughter' Made Music

Recording Review: ‘Mother Sister Daughter’ Made Music

Karen Cook
Musica Secreta's exceptional new release is as much about gorgeously sung Renaissance polyphony as about musicological discoveries. A must-listen album.
CD Review: You've Got Mail—a Forgotten Violinist Gets Her Due

CD Review: You’ve Got Mail—a Forgotten Violinist Gets Her Due

Andrew J. Sammut
She's remembered for a letter the great Tartini sent her, a key document on 18th c. violin technique. But Maddalena Lombardini Sirmen was herself an inventive composer, and this is the first historical performance CD of her engaging Violin Duets Op. 5.
Book Review: 'Like an Electric Shock,' Channeling the Ancestors and Discovering Historical Performance

Book Review: ‘Like an Electric Shock,’ Channeling the Ancestors and Discovering Historical Performance

Wendy Heller
Peter Bassano's story goes back 500 years, when five Bassano brothers were hired by Henry VIII as court musicians. In the late 1960s, Peter joined David Munrow in London's exploding early-music scene. He describes it as "an electric shock going through me."
CD Review: Yi-heng Yang, free-spirited on fortepiano

CD Review: Yi-heng Yang, free-spirited on fortepiano

Steven Silverman
Yi-Heng Yang's latest recording on the fortepiano covers three early Romantic composers: Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, Robert Schumann and Franz Schubert. She makes the case for the music, but equally for use of the fortepiano in this repertoire.
CD Review: The Lonely Life of Baroque Pastiche

CD Review: The Lonely Life of Baroque Pastiche

Anne E. Johnson
It's fascinating to see how artists responded to pandemic lockdowns. Violinist Martin Davids' clever project takes Baroque pastiche into new realms, stitching together movements from various composers.
CD Review: Masterful Music for Two

CD Review: Masterful Music for Two

Karen Cook
The Flanders Recorder Duo, exacting in technique and joyful in expression, explore two-part repertoire from across the centuries, going back to the 13th century and as fresh as a world premiere.
A Vivid New Life of Beethoven

A Vivid New Life of Beethoven

Valerie Walden
Jan Caeyers’ expertise with both the social history of the composer’s world and the music of the period makes this an important addition to the Beethoven literature. Told with almost operatic drama, the book tells us much that we did not know, adding to our understanding and appreciation of this pivotal figure in musical history.
A New François Couperin Edition, of Music in a Life

A New François Couperin Edition, of Music in a Life

Mark Kroll
With this new publication of François Couperin's celebrated 'Pièces de clavecin' (Book III) together with his 'Concerts royaux,' we now have a chance to compare the keyboard composer with the chamber musician in a single volume. The introduction alone is invaluable scholarship on this period of the composer's life and world.
CD Review: Rewarding Music for Virginal on a c. 1590 Instrument

CD Review: Rewarding Music for Virginal on a c. 1590 Instrument

Steven Silverman
Performer-scholar Charles Metz’s 2021 valuable recording includes English virginal music by William Tisdale, plus 16 works by other late 16th-century English composers. The lovely instrument, mostly preserved, dates to c. 1590.
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