CD Review: An Urgent ‘St. Matthew Passion’ for Our Time

Pinchon and his superb singers and ensemble offer an immersive, all-encompassing experience. Throughout, they let Bach’s dance rhythms propel music and narrative. The conductor’s attention to relative weights and specific articulations adds a dimension of almost sensual physicality—the emotions expressed here are vividly embodied, not abstract prayers, What makes this interpretation a significant contribution to the vast Matthäus-Passion discography is the admirable balance it finds between dramatic, contemplative, and even architectural approaches, too often taken as polarities.

CD Review: Vivaldi Cantatas, Thrilling and Intimate

‘Vivaldi: Cantate per soprano I’ is the first of two volumes dedicated to Vivaldi’s chamber cantatas for soprano, part of Naïve’s colossal Vivaldi Edition. This new recording of six cantatas, composed between 1718 and 1735, reveals the depth of Vivaldi’s ingenious ability to shape moods, timbres, and emotions. Italian soprano Arianna Vendittelli and Abchordis Ensemble, led by Andrea Buccarella, have imbued this music about love with their own sense of drama, daring, and intimacy.

CD Review: How Much ‘Historical’ Performance Do We Really Want?

A new recording of Debussy’s opera raises complicated and interesting questions on issues of vocal sound and the attitude towards performance style. Do we want to adopt every aspect of Debussy’s sound world into our own? Do we prefer to call upon the highly refined and skilled vocal qualities that are prevalent today, or are we obliged to adhere to the styles of the past?

CD Review: Orlando Consort Premieres Music from Golden Age Florence

The Orlando Consort’s latest album explores music from GuillaumeDu Fay, Heinrich Isaac, and numerous anonymous pieces. But a standard treatment of the Florentine Renaissance this is not. In conjunction with research by musicologist Patrick Macey, who authored the detailed liner notes, the album presents a surprising number of premiere recordings.

CD Review: A Mesmerizing Medieval Debut from Concordian Dawn

It’s exciting to discover an up-and-coming early-music ensemble, especially one with a focus on Medieval repertory. Concordian Dawn, with its debut album, is just such an ensemble. Its theme speaks to us today: fortune, desire, and hope, in the wake of forces beyond our control. The ensemble focuses on music that depicts medieval love and loss, anger, bitterness, grief, anticipation, and joy—emotions many of us have felt over the last few years.

CD Review: Apollo’s Fire Seeks Unity with “O Jerusalem!”

Jeannette Sorrell and Apollo’s Fire, based in Cleveland, seek the themes that unite diverse cultures in “O Jerusalem!,” an intriguing new recording that explores folk, religious, and high-art traditions. These live recordings, arranged from traditional sources and played with fire and reverence, offers a musical tour through each of the city’s four neighborhoods.

CD Review: Cantata Collective Opens Its Bach Account

The Oakland-based Cantata Collective opens its Bach series with a sampling of the solo-cantata repertoire in an engaging, intimate setting of one-to-a-part performances. This rewarding new disc features two gifted singers and Nic McGegan at the keyboard.

Recording Review: Scarlatti on a One-of-a-Kind Instrument

The star of Luisa Morales’ uniformly excellent recording isn’t the performer or the repertoire, it’s the keyboard instrument: a hybrid with a lower manual on which the strings are plucked and an upper manual where the strings are struck by hammers. The sound is sweet with plenty of expressive nuance.

Scroll to Top