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May 11 , 2012

Reviews of the Week

Lisa Smirnova's recording of Handels Eight Great Suites continues to surprise reviewers

Until a few years ago, I would not have believed that Handel’s harpsichord suites could be successfully performed on a modern concert grand. . […] I have changed my view […] they can, indeed, be well and successfully performed on the modern instrument. Lisa Smirnova […] has obviously given much thought to these works, and her dedication comes through in her performances. Her tone is appropriately clear, never allowing the sound to become muddied,a s I had always feared the music would become if played on a concert grand. She gives each type of music its due character. Preludes, sarabandes, and allemandes are appropriately weighty, gigues and courants light and fast.
Ron Sami, Fanfare

Steve Kuhn, Steve Swallow and Joey Baron are applauded in French magazine Télérama for their playing on Wisteria

Wisteria, le thème si beau d’Art Farmer, justement, voit passer le trio de la sérénité pensive à l’expressivité expansive. Steve Kuhn, invraisemblable d’autorité rythmique et d’invention harmonique; Steve Swallow, développant des lignes de chant mélodique; Joey Baron, subtil dans ses écoutes du piano, fabuleux artificier dans ses relances fortes : trois grands musiciens qui jouent des dynamiques de telle sorte que le mot perfection s’impose à l’esprit. Alors là, oui, chapeau les artistes!
Michel Contat, Télérama

Renowned American magazine Strings on Miklós Perényi's Britten, Bach, Ligeti

For his solo debut on ECM, Miklós Perényi plays with granite beauty and masterful command an unusual cellistic trinity of Britten, Bach and Ligeti: specifically Benjamin Britten’s Third Suite, Op. 87 (1971); Johann Sebastian Bach’s Suite VI D-Dur; BWV 1012; and Gyorgy Ligeti’s Sonata (1948/53). Despite the passionate intensity with which Britten and Ligeti hurl the cello’s resources into new spheres, the music ultimately shows how towering Bach’s genius remains for his breathtaking sonic vistas tracing deep emotional lines.
Laurence Vittes, Strings

Examiner.com is thrilled by the choice of material on Garth Knox' Saltarello

[…] the CD covers material from the twelfth-century nun Hildegard von Bingen to the two-part suite, Vent nocturne, for viola and electronics, composed for Knox by Kaija Saariaho, as well as one of Know’ own compositions, “Fuga libre” for solo viola. […] overall, the recording is less one of a journey through music history and more a “performer’s perspective” that the corpus accumulated over the last thousand years is all of a piece; and that perspective makes for a thoroughly engaging experience for the serious listener.
Stephen Smoliar, examiner.com

Neue Zürcher Zeitung on Carolin Widmann's and Alexander Lonquich's approach on Schubert

Kalt läuft es einem über den Rücken, wenn die C-Dur-Fantasie D934 von Franz Schubert anhebt – wenn der Pianist Alexander Lonquich mit den heiklen Tremoli im Pianissimo den Sehnsuchtsraum eröffnet, den das Andante des Beginns ausschreitet, und wenn dann die Geigerin Carolin Widmann mit unendlich zarten, fragilen, verletzlichen Klängen ganz von ferne herübergrüsst. Das ist Kammermusik vom Feinsten. […] Ungerührt wird diese CD niemand ins Regal stellen.
Peter Hagmann, Neue Zürcher Zeitung