Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Email Password  
Not a subscriber yet?  
Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

Penguin Guide, January 2009

Adele Anthony is a talented violinist from Tasmania, who here gives a sweetly expressive reading, despite a rather plodding account of the very opening. In the central movement she finds a rare tenderness, as well as on the high harmonics at the end of the whole work. The concerto makes an excellent centerpiece for a complete disc of Glass’s music, with Yuasa and the Ulster Orchestra equally persuasive in the four brief movements of Company and the two orchestral passages from the opera, Akhnaten.

Marco del Vaglio
CIEMME, August 2002

"At the beginning of his career Philip Glass devoted his energy to so-called minimal music, a movement born in the USA during 1960s and that has gained a strong following among a young audience. Glass gradually distanced himself from this movement but it is still central to his style. In 1983 he score a huge hit with the soundtrack of Koyaanisqatsi, a movie by Godfrey Reggio, comprised exclusively of images and music. Now some of Glass's works have been recorded by Naxos. This CD includes the Violin Concerto, Company and the Prelude and Dance from Akhnaten. Both Company and Prelude and Dance are strongly related to minimal music while the Violin Concerto is a very original composition. Divided into three movements, it represents a significant example of the union between Glass's past and the present. Of special note is the performance of the young Australian violinist Adele Anthony. Her exceptional playing recalls the early recordings of the great Anne-Sophie Mutter. The Ulster Orchestra, conducted by Takuo Yuasa, is also in excellent form, affirming that Naxos has recorded another musical jewel."

Raymond Tuttle
Fanfare, October 2000

"Anthony is a young Juilliard-trained violinist. She and her Guarneri del Gesù violin are...not found wanting. She emphasizes the concerto's melancholic moods in the first movement, and she has the temperament to make even Glass's most unpromising busywork compelling. ...producer/engineer Tim Handley has placed her far forward, creating a largely appealing sensation of vulnerability. ...Glass's work seems more serious and viable than ever in these strong, incisive performances. And the price is right."

David Kettle
BBC Music Magazine, May 2000

"Full marks to Naxos for its continuing 20th-century music releases... The disc contains a fine performance of the [Glass Concerto]: Adele Anthony proves an eloquent soloist whose appealingly understated playing, well articulated and carefully coloured, fits in nicely with the stark, unrelenting formalism of the work... Takuo Yuasa proves a fine proponent of Company and the two sections from Akhnaten, instilling them with a sometimes unsettling sense of urgency in well-shaped readings."

Colin Clarke


"This is a very useful CD. A super-budget coupling of Glass' popular Violin Concerto with two works of the earlier part of the 1980s admirably fills a gap in the catalogue. Indeed, despite being placed second in the running order, the Concerto gets star billing on the CD cover. It was premiered on April 5th, 1987 in New York, the soloist on that occasion being Paul Zukofsky. The young Australian violinist on the present recording, Adele Anthony, comes up against both Gidon Kremer and Robert McDuffie on rival labels (DG and Telarc respectively), and emerges none the worse for it. Her tone is sweet and she has a winning way with the many lyrical passages. Only occasionally in the typically minimalist arpeggiations does her tuning suffer, but her sense of rhythm is robust and the whole is characterised by a most captivating sense of determination. Aided and abetted superbly by the Ulster Orchestra under the Japanese conductor Takuo Yuasa, the sense of controlled inevitability in the powerful momentum of the first movement is gripping. Listen to (and enjoy) the intimate delicacy of the second movement, in which Anthony's phrasing is most touching. Throughout Glass explores the possibilities of what and orchestra can do for his strain of minimalism.

"The programming of this CD is commendable. Whilst McDuffie offers the John Adams Violin Concerto and Kremer gives Schnittke's Fifth Concerto Grosso, Naxos stays with Glass. 'Company' is a set of movements from Glass' score to Fred Neumann's adaptation of Beckett's prose text mounted in New York in 1983, which makes it contemporary with 'Akhnaten'. In this string orchestra version (played by solo instruments it becomes the Second String Quartet), it sounds slightly cumbersome. The final items on the disc, the two excerpts from 'Akhnaten', are made of sterner stuff. At over twelve minutes long the Prelude has the space to exert its darkly hypnotic power, and the Dance from Act 2 Scene 3 is positively sensuous. I hope these two snippets are sufficient to send people scurrying for a complete set of the opera.

"Tim Handley's engineering is exemplary throughout."

Victor Carr

"Naxos' exciting and important American Classics series now includes music of the present day, in this case three recent works by Philip Glass. The Violin Concerto, a work that (surprisingly) adheres to classical conventions, lures us in with beautiful, seductive harmonies. Glass relies both on his trademark arpeggiated technique (sounding in the first movement somewhat like Vivaldi's 'Winter' concerto) and on his favorite harmonic progressions to suggest a sustained melodic line. In the first two movements Glass' carefully timed harmonic and rhythmic shifts keep you in a happy daze. He breaks the mood in the finale, however, leaving the soloist to practice arpeggios at length until the quiet, serene coda steals in. Adele Anthony, who plays with the kind of skill and grace we would expect in a Mozart concerto, brings off Glass' work with consummate, convincing musicianship. Company (music for Becket's prose) for string orchestra is in four movements, characterized by stimulating changes in time signature and rhythm. The Prelude and Dance from Akhnaten, Glass' third opera, sound exceedingly repetitious without the opera's spoken dramatic narrative, but of course, this won't bother committed Glass fans who will find much to cherish in this recording. Newcomers, too, will enjoy this tuneful if unchallenging music, which benefits from the characterful playing of the Ulster Orchestra under Takuo Yuasa's keen leadership. The sound is excellent. Another home-run from Naxos."

[Editor's Note: In the USA, this disc has been released as part of the American Classics series, with the catalog number 8.559056.]

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group