Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

Walter Simmons
Fanfare, September 2012

A pianist herself, Zaimont has composed a good deal of music for the keyboard. Christopher Atzinger…on Naxos features the most important pieces, and is budget-priced.

Zaimont’s most ambitious work for piano solo is the Sonata…This half-hour work in three movements covers a good deal of expressive territory within the generally modern-traditionalist language.

The other major work is the cycle A Calendar Set, which occupied the composer on and off throughout the 1970s, and was her first extended work for piano.  These subjective associations create an attractive, evocative, and convincing conceit. Two of the pieces—July and December—are quodlibets that ingeniously weave familiar tunes (patriotic for the former, carols for the latter) into a subtle texture…the performances are all extremely good…

The nocturne La Fin de Siècle…is a superb and often beautiful work in its own right—not in the least hackneyed or preoccupied with retrospection, but, rather, spontaneous and improvisatory… © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review

Jed Distler
Gramophone, August 2012

[Judith Lang Zaimont’s] 30-minute, three-movement Piano Sonata (1999-2000) abounds with substance and authority. The opening ‘Ricerca’ movement features lithe, quicksilver contrapuntal writing and stern, granitic blocks of chords, while the central ‘Canto’ goes back and forth between rhapsodic flurries and expansive, tuneful melodies that wouldn’t be out of place in the Leonard Bernstein songbook. The finale, ‘Impronta digitale’, is a relentless yet texturally varied toccata, featuring long single lines that dart up and down the keyboard.

Zaimont has a sympathetic interpreter in Christopher Atzinger, who imbues her works with solid virtuosity, a strong sense of long lines and a keen ear for textural variety. © 2012 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Stephen Estep
American Record Guide, July 2012

The sonata…is quite the ferocious, fascinating beast. What an excellent set…Atzinger is perfect for this music; he handles the difficulties admirably and paints the drama clearly. © 2012 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Joshua Kosman
San Francisco Chronicle, June 2012

American composer Judith Lang Zaimont writes for the piano with a keen sense of the instrument’s physical qualities…and a wonderful tonal range…The two large pieces on this disc, played with fervency and panache by pianist Christopher Atzinger, provide a glimpse of both her monumental vein and her more intimate voice—and both are compelling. The former is the province of her Sonata, a massive three-movement opus that runs nearly 30 minutes and maintains a fierce level of energy throughout. Once or twice the piece threatens to be pulled apart by its sheer centrifugal force, but the cogency and clarity of Zaimont’s writing—especially in the torrentially virtuosic finale—keep things on track. In a more concentrated and personal strain is “A Calendar Set,” a set of 12 evocative preludes keyed to the months of the year. Here Zaimont conjures up the seasons, the holidays…and the particular sounds and flavors of each part of the year with expressive brio. © 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, April 2012

Writing in a modern tonality that slips into atonality as the years have passed by, Judith Lang Zaimont is among America’s prolific and long established composers. Following a career as a concert pianist in her younger years, she eventually moved to Paris to study with the distinguished composer, Andre Jolivet. Her works have received many awards in the States, with her orchestral scores having become part of the major American symphonic repertoire. The present disc dips into works for piano at two different parts of her life, the earliest, A Calendar Set, having begun in 1972 and completed six years later. In twelve virtuoso preludes, each one representing a month it begins in the cold blast of January; progressing through March that heralds Spring; a warm romantic June; a very blustery September, and a freezing cold and sombre December. From the high level of activity in the first movement, through the extended central movement that swings from calm to storm in the twinkling of an eye, the work finally launching into a pungent and demanding toccata. The much travelled North American pianist, Christopher Atzinger, deals admirably with the challenges Zaimont poses from time to time, and is obviously a dedicated champion of her music. Reliable sound from the Canadian location. © David’s Review Corner

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group