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BBC Music Magazine, December 2013

Typically adventurous, Naxos programmes Rutter’s pastoral prettiness with Glass’s insistent dancing patterns and Françaix’s lissom, quirky lyricism. © 2013 BBC Music Magazine



Richard Whitehouse
Gramophone, November 2013

Best known for his choral music and carol arrangements, John Rutter essayed several orchestral pieces in his earlier years—of which Suite antique (1979) is among the most attractive in its judicious alternation of slower and faster numbers…More subtle in its expressive contrasts, the Harpsichord Concerto (1959) of Jean Françaix looks to the economical neoclassicism of the inter-war period…

The Harpsichord Concerto (2002) of Philip Glass…makes for an understated and appealing piece, and one to which Christopher D Lewis is as responsive as he is to the other works here—sensitively accompanied by the West Side Chamber Orchestra under the attentive direction of Kevin Mallon. The sound ensures due definition between soloist and orchestra, while the booklet-note is neatly succinct. If the programme appeals, then there is no need to hesitate. © 2013 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



Bob McQuiston
Classical Lost and Found, October 2013

One couldn’t ask for better soloists than flautist John McMurtery and harpsichordist Christopher Lewis, who deliver virtuoso performances tempered with a lightness of touch suited to these scores. They receive excellent support from conductor Kevin Mallon…and the West Side Chamber Orchestra. This ensemble…proves to be a class act with every one of its members a virtuoso in their own right.

These recordings… project an ideally proportioned, well-focused soundstage in warmly reverberant surroundings. The balance between the instruments is good…

The instrumental timbre is generally good with a musically convincing midrange and clean bass. © 2013 Classical Lost and Found Read complete review




David Hurwitz
ClassicsToday.com, October 2013

What a great disc this is: three delightful contemporary works for harpsichord and orchestra, easy on the ear, but clever and consistently interesting. John Rutter’s Suite Antique might be English Poulenc. The tunes are captivating, and the “antique” element needs to be taken with a large grain of salt (the “waltz” is subtitled “A Jazz Waltz”). The writing for flute and strings is immaculate, graceful, and sounds like great fun to play, while the keyboard solo takes excellent advantage of the instrument’s sparkling timbres and ability to delineate rhythmic patterns with gentle persistence. The performance is also terrific, as fine as the composer’s own, with John McMurtery an excellent flute soloist with a firm, round tone.

Christopher D. Lewis plays a bright, sweet-toned harpsichord with minimal mechanical clatter. His digital dexterity proves very satisfying, and he’s excellently balanced against the extremely capable West Side Chamber Orchestra under Kevin Mallon. This is one of those discs that you might overlook, but you’d be missing a real treat. I’ve already played it several times just for pleasure, and so will you. © 2013 ClassicsToday.com Read complete review



Joseph Newsome
Voix des Arts, September 2013

…it is an abiding sense of enjoyment that makes this disc such a sterling achievement. Ably supported by John McMurtery, Kevin Mallon, and the West Side Chamber Orchestra, Christopher D. Lewis performs with unassailable technique and a pervasive spirit of adventure that makes this disc a pleasure to hear. This is not gimmicky music for an antiquated instrument: this is wonderful, novel music for an instrument about which it seems likely that Christopher D. Lewis will teach listeners much in the years to come. © 2013 Voix des Arts Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, September 2013

The highly prolific French composer, Jean Françaix, makes a rather belated appearance in the Naxos catalogue as part of a disc of ‘Harpsichord Concertos’. His ‘concerto’ opens with one of the most catchy tunes from that ‘naughty’ period of French composition in the 1930’s, though in content it is a concertante score where the harpsichord is used in a most imaginative way as one of the work’s solo instruments. The slow movement was not his most inspired moment, but a charming Minuet and a vivacious finale put the icing on the cake. Rutter’s Suite Antique is in no way a work for harpsichord, but a joyful Flute Concerto, the orchestral part including a role for the keyboard, but a piano would do just as well. Its fourth of six short movements, A Jazz Waltz, is one of the many catchy tunes that brings Rutter popularity, before we move to one of his ‘trademark’ creamy melodies for the fifth movement Chanson.  By contrast the work by Philip Glass is a harpsichord concerto in the true sense of the description. Minimalist writing perfectly suited to the instrument, the keyboard’s repeated patterns embroidered by the sparingly used chamber orchestra. Glass has to use all of his skill to sustain the long central movement before moving to a energized finale, the orchestral part being quite complex in its need for detailed shading. Throughout the disc Naxos’s thoroughbred Canadian recording team resist the temptation to closely mike the solo instrument, but retain a credible concert hall balance. Excellent flute and harpsichord soloists in John McMurtery and Christopher Lewis, New York’s West Side Chamber Orchestra with their Irish conductor, Kevin Mallon, capturing the various national idioms to perfection. Looking eagerly forward for more from this source. © 2013 David’s Review Corner






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8:35:42 AM, 21 August 2014
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