Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

Christopher Williams
Fanfare, June 2003

"The sound of this recording, made in a Toronto church, is warm and natural, suited to Weber's humanistic approach. If you are unfamiliar yet with the accessible yet challenging amalgam of turn- of-the-century and futurist styles that shapes Leo Ornstein's world, Naxos makes it easy to get acquainted."

Peter Quinn
Tempo Magazine, January 2003

"This release will undoubtedly help promote the further dissemination of Ornstein's entirely sui-generis artistry and deserves whole-hearted welcomes."

Calum McDonald
BBC Music Magazine, November 2002

"Janice Weber is an excellent guide to Ornstein's imaginative world...the growing clan of Ornstein fanciers will rightly want both discs for their wealth of stimulating and frequently astonishing music, ultimately unlike anyone else's."

Daniel Felsenfeld

"Pianist Janice Weber is close to perfect in her interpretations, finding the calm amidst all those notes as best she can and drawing out of her piano both a sumptuous "French" quality and a punchy, cheekily dissonant tone as the music requires. She does not lose focus for a second, even when the music does. One could imagine different performances of this music, but it is hard to imagine better ones. Just because certain pieces of music aren't groundbreaking historically or towering achievements of art doesn't mean they are unimportant, and it takes a label with courage to see that. Once again Naxos offers, at the usual discount price, a chance to judge for yourself. Another installment of the label's admirable, always fascinating American Classics series, this disc is certainly a worthwhile - and low-risk - dip into Ornstein's music."

Grant Chu Covell
La Folia

"This recording promises to be the start of a welcome Ornstein resurgence. Highly recommended."

Jed Distler

"The performances are simply breathtaking. Janice Weber's super-proficiency feeds upon difficult, off-the-beaten-path piano repertoire. Her few recordings include a long-deleted ASV disc of Strauss waltz transcriptions, plus the disc premiere of Liszt's Transcendental Etudes in their horrendously hard 1838 versions. Not surprisingly, Weber's pliable hands reveal Ornstein's elaborate textures in their most natural, effortless-sounding state, abetted by Naxos' ample, detailed engineering. Fascinating music, superlative pianism, excellent sound, and low price: need we say more?"

John Sunier
Audiophile Audition

"The program chosen by pianist Weber shows the wide range of Ornstein works. The 4th piano sonata heard here is quite normal sounding with Russian influences, yet the energetic 7th sonata mixes radical material with lovely lyrical passages. Of the short pieces, Wild Men's Dance, and Impressions of the Thames are among the wildest."

Leslie Gerber

Leo Ornstein, who died in 2002 at the approximate age of 110(!), was a notorious wild man in his early years. The inclusion of three of his early pieces, including such titles as Danse Sauvage and Suicide in an Airplane (both from 1913), show where he got his reputation. But there is much more to Ornstein's story than the mad dissonance of his early works. He was a highly accomplished pianist (his only recordings are acoustic 78s of Chopin) and an excellent teacher, and he wrote in a wide variety of styles, sometimes simultaneously. This disc begins with a breathtakingly lovely piece of impressionism from 1971, A Morning in the Woods, and includes two large-scale piano sonatas with many impressive aspects, one from 1924, the other from 1988. Pianist Janice Weber, who is also a successful novelist, seems to specialize in super-virtuosic music, and she is fully up to the challenges of Ornstein's most difficult writing. For its demonstration of the variety of Ornstein's work, its quality of performance, its realistic sound, and even its outstanding booklet, this disc deserves an enthusiastic recommendation.

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group