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  Classical Music Home > UK > Press Reviews 2009


August 2009

8.559622-23 Bernstein: Mass
“Marin Alsop has done her mentor proud…from the start, Alsop conducts with inspiring rhythmic energy…her pacing is superb…the result is not only a welcome opportunity to revisit Mass but also an experience that is both thrilling and moving….This outstanding performance comes  with the benefit of excellent sound…from every point of view, this can be counted a triumphant success.”
-Nigel Simeone, International Record Review July/August issue

“Happy times a go-go  for fans of Bernstein’s Mass… the extraordinary baritone Jubilant Sykes takes the central role of the celebrant,… Alsop also relishes the stylistic smorgasbord, from which flows an incisive dramatic whole.”
-Philip Clark, Classic FM Magazine, October issue

“This magnificent new recording combines youthful energy and vital experience… [Alsop] conducts with a fervent belief in the blazing variety and validity of the score. The result betters the composer’s own recording and makes a bold and persuasive claim for Mass.”
-Michael Quinn, Choir and Organ, November/December issue

“Since there’s something in Leonard Bernstein’s Mass for everyone (classical, pop, gospel, jazz, atonality, lyrics both clever and sappy, rhythms both languid and snappy), it makes sense to give a gift that might well please all, and, in Marin Alsop’s standard-setting recording, pleases me no end.”
-Jed Distler, Gramophone December issue

“Marin Alsop’s fiercely committed rendition of Bernstein’s crisis-of-faith masterpiece is right up there with the composer’s own – and that really is saying something. Pace the naysayers, Bernstein’s belief in the power of music to heal broken communications is a sentiment worth passing on.”
-Edward Seckerson, Gramophone December issue

 “Alsop’s Jubilant Sykes is the best of all possible celebrants… Sykes was born to play this part…. Alsop is at the root of everything, of course, and her Baltimore players surge ever forward… Alsop and co have probed so deeply, it is not at all assured that the old doubts will not resurface at some point. Blistering.”
-Philip Clark, Gramophone,  September issue

 “This Naxos issue is a virtual triumph from beginning to end…. In terms of technical achievement it trumps all…the Baltimore Symphony plays most eloquently, particularly in the many lyrical woodwind passages. Engineering is superb, as is [the] booklet essay… Alsop’s tight-knit, symphonic pacing delineates the structure of the work without diluting its exuberant eclecticism or softening its hard road towards spiritual awakening.”
-Howard Goldstein, BBC Music Magazine,  September issue

 “[Mass] demands total belief from its performances if its theatrical power is to conquer its self-referential zaniness. Alsop obliges. Conducting the BSO and massed choirs, she inspires a reading of joyous finesse.”
-Andrew Clark, Financial Times,  18 July 2009

 “Alsop directs a performance that attests not only to her admiration for the piece, but also to the way she can tap the music’s colour and spirit… enthusiasts need look no further for a first rate recording.”
-Geoffrey Norris, The Daily Telegraph, 1 August 2009


8.572025 Martinu: Piano Music Vol. 7
 “[This music] is as evocative of its composer as it is easy on the ear and Czech-born Koukl is a most persuasive advocate.”
-Andrew Clark, Financial Times,  25 July 2009

“The seventh volume of an invaluable survey of Martinu’s piano music…Koukl glides effortlessly through all the pieces… and once again produces a programme of enjoyment and interest in equal measure. A splendid recording, too… a model of balance for this music.”
-Guy Rickards, Gramophone Novemberissue


8.572151 Gurney: Songs
“Susan Bickley and iain Burnside have put together a well-balanced recital of the inward-looking, the tender and the effervescent…. This is subtly and winningly executed by both artists.”
-John T Hughes, IRR, September issue

“What’s wonderful about this performance is the way singer and pianist respond so sensitively to Gurney’s word-painting and musical inflections. Susan Bickley colours every long-breathed phrase imaginatively and Ian Burnside’s accompaniment is subtle and thoughtful.”
-Emma Baker, Classic FM Magazine, September issue

“This recording is also invaluable because Susan Bickley shares with Gurney a direct and instinctive response to the inflections, metres and emotional colours of the English language. Perceptively partnered by Ian Burnside…..[there are] many favourites, and many discoveries here: none of them to be missed.”
-Hilary Finch, BBC Music Magazine Christmas issue

“An impressive disc that am[ply demonstrates Gurney’s greatness…wherever you turn, these songs offer illumination and refreshment, splendidly captured not only by Susan Bickley but by her ever-sensitive accompanist, Iain Burnside.”
-Edward Greenfield, Gramophone November issue


8.660270-71 German: Tom Jones
“A winning performance… German’s colourful orchestration is given its due by Russell Hulme’s players. If you like a good tune and a story with a happy ending, bear this delightful work in mind.”
-John T Hughes, International record Review November issue

“That the work deserves a complete recording is no more in doubt than that it has here received a worthy one. David Russell Hulme, the conductor, has long made a special study of German's music, and his grasp of its scope and nuances is readily apparent...[an] exceptionally fine achievement.”
-Andrew Lamb, Gramophone,  March 2010




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