Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

David Denton
David's Review Corner, December 2015

With players chosen from over thirty of America’s orchestras, Gerard Schwarz has created twelve TV programmes taking you into the world of classical masterpieces. Aimed at those just coming to classical music, Gerard Schwarz’s spoken introductions are educational without being condescending, while at his disposal he has a quite remarkable orchestra. Now being released on DVD, each disc will contain two televised programmes, this one taking us to North America with three very different pieces, opening with a rare performance of the original 1924 jazz-band version of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. The young Michael Tilson Thomas also recorded that score many years ago, the two versions sounding quite different, with the elderly members of the All-Star a little too strait-laced in their backing to the gorgeous young soloist, Lola Astanova. Back on their home-ground again, they give a highly enjoyable account of Aaron Copland’s seldom heard Music for the Theatre. This visit to the States ends with Robert Beaser’s Ground “0”, an eerie peace of tranquility picturing the aftermath, and also in memory of those who perished in the 9/11 terrorist attack on New York’s Twin Towers. Then it is off to the Orient seen through the eyes of a Russian composer, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. The four colourful pictures of Scheherazade are ideal to showcase the outstanding members of the orchestra in their many solos, their concertmaster, David Kim, giving a warm and sensual portrait of the young Scheherazade as to save her life she tells stories to the cruel Sultan. As a performance it is very effectual, though in the storm Schwarz unleashes for the shipwreck the tempo gets a little too frenetic. As an aside this would make an ideal Christmas present for a newcomer to the classics, every tiny detail, such as one note on the triangle, being rewarded by a close-up of the player to capture the viewer’s attention. © 2015 David’s Review Corner, September 2015

ALL-STAR ORCHESTRA (THE): Program 9: Visions of New York / Program 10: 1001 Arabian Nights - The Legend of Scheherazade (G. Schwarz) (NTSC) 2.110370
ALL-STAR ORCHESTRA (THE): Program 11: A Hero’s Life in Music / Program 12: Mozart and a World Premiere (G. Schwarz) (NTSC) 2.110371

These [programs] are…excellent ways for people unfamiliar with classical music to learn about it in an enjoyable rather than strictly educational way.

…these are fine made-for-TV programs that will be of most value to people with some interest in classical music but little understanding of it—although the issues raised in certain shows will resonate with longtime classical-music lovers as well. © 2015 Read complete review

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group