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John Quinn
MusicWeb International, December 2014

John Corigliano’s amazingly inventive percussion concerto receives a first recording from Dame Evelyn Glennie, for whom it was composed. This is an extraordinary score, exploiting a vast array of percussion instruments across its three movements. Glennie plays it with staggering virtuosity and the fascinating sounds that she conjures up from her battery of instruments are enhanced by the stunning realism with which the engineers have recorded the score. The other work on the disc, Vocalise, is also intriguing and solo soprano Hila Plitmann makes a tremendous job of what is clearly a hugely demanding solo part. This is an important and stimulating release and the sound is just about the best I’ve heard from Naxos: I’d love to hear it in BD-A format. © 2014 MusicWeb International

Phillip Scott
Fanfare, May 2014

The performances are first-rate. Glennie is her expected phenomenal self, partnered with pinpoint accuracy by the Albany strings under David Alan Miller, a conductor very much at home in contemporary American repertoire. Plitmann negotiates the difficult arioso line of the Vocalise with deceptive ease. © 2014 Fanfare Read complete review

Joshua Rosenblum
Opera News, April 2014

Soprano Hila Plitmann is quite eloquent, even in her wordlessness… The vocal part is lyrically soothing yet vocally acrobatic, and terrifyingly exposed for the nearly a cappella opening three minutes. Plittman, unfazed, is hypnotic in her crystalline, sorceress-like declamation. The digital effects don’t kick in until about twelve minutes into the twenty-one minute piece; at that moment, it’s as if Plitmann is shouting on pitch into a virtual Grand Canyon. Soon the orchestral instruments jump into the looping game as well. Corigliano is certainly not the first concert composer to mine the digital audio processing vein, but he does it quite skillfully, and he uses the electronics not as a gimmick, but as a tool for realizing his artistic vision. It’s a striking piece, full of both modernist cacophony and opulent neo-Romanticism, fused together with a film composer’s dramatic flair.

The disc also features Corigliano’s fresh and galvanizing Conjurer, a three-movement percussion concerto in which the soloist “conjures” each movement from an introductory cadenza. Corigliano’s wizardly writing and Evelyn Glennie’s blistering performance of the solo part are equally dazzling. David Alan Miller and the Albany Symphony provide versatility and virtuosity to spare in both pieces. © 2014 Opera News Read complete review

Allen Gimbel
American Record Guide, March 2014

The Albany Symphony sounds good…Engineering is sumptuous… © 2014 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Ronald E. Grames
Fanfare, March 2014

Mark Baechle is credited with producing and performing the electronics, and the sound design—an essential part of this work—is credited to Teese Gohl and Angie Teo. David Alan Miller and the Albany Symphony Orchestra…provide impressive accompaniment to the superb soloists. The recording of Conjurer was made in the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, with the exemplary results we have come to expect from that venue. Vocalise was recorded at the Experimental Media Performing Arts Center…of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, also in Troy and with an equally fine outcome. Anyone with any interest at all in contemporary composition or exemplary percussion playing will want to hear this release. © 2014 Fanfare Read complete review

Dan Morgan
MusicWeb International, February 2014

Conjurer comes across with such conviction is due in no small part to Glennie’s white-hot playing and the first-rate recording.

I simply can’t remember when I’ve heard percussion arrays captured with such realism; just sample the scalp-tingling combination of tubular bells, tam-tams and suspended cymbals in the cadenza to Metal. Even the quiet, yearning orchestral part that follows has a tonal sophistication that I don’t usually hear in Naxos recordings. Climaxes are thrilling and fatigue-free, and the soundstage is wide and wondrous. Goodness, what mellifluous and haunting sounds composer and soloist conjure up here; the taut beats and varied rhythms of Skin are no less engrossing or accomplished.

It’s little wonder that Conjurer scooped the instrumental solo award at this year’s Grammys; whatever you might think these industry junkets they definitely got it right this time. These high standards prevail in Vocalise, in which soprano Hila Plitmann makes a secure, soaring protagonist. After the hot, sweaty virtuosity of Skin this substantial filler comes as a cooling zephyr. The initially sinuous, ondes-like vocal lines segue nicely with Mark Baechle’s discreet and sensitive electronics. Indeed, the composer’s ‘millennial message’—it’s time for classical and electronic music to merge—is couched in the most convincing terms.

What an aural and musical pleasure this album has turned out to be; and how refreshing it is to find contemporary music that’s accessible without stooping to the anodyne. Even more appealing is the lack of pretension in both Corigliano’s liner-notes and the works themselves; how often have I had to wade through hefty treatises on what the composer intended, only to find I’m none the wiser? The recording teams need to take a bow as well, for this is as near a demo disc as I’ve ever encountered from Naxos.

Fresh, vital, vigorous; contemporary music of quality, winningly played. © 2014 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Martin Anderson
International Record Review, January 2014

The rock-solid security of pitch and purity of line that Plitmann displays here underlines why she has become such a sought-after singer on the new-music circuit, and David Alan Miller’s Albany players gleam under the solo spotlight that Corigliano often shines on them and also respond with plenty of whump—faithfully captured—on the few occasions that he lets them rip as an ensemble. Both works receive their recordings here; I can’t see them being beaten for a long time ahead. © 2014 International Record Review

Donald Rosenberg
Gramophone, January 2014

The range of sonorities [in Conjurer] is vast and the drama that Corigliano achieves both in the cadenzas and the movements themselves keeps the ear entranced. Glennie draws magical sounds from the artillery at her hands and feet, and the Albany Symphony are superb collaborators.

The trajectory of Vocalise…from acoustic to electronic worlds is but one aspect of its glowing personality. Corigliano keeps the soloist—here the radiant and fearless soprano Hila Plitmann—soaring on phrases of mesmerising shape and character. The voice rides above and within an orchestral soundscape of shimmering hues until electronics (by Mark Baechle) take the soloist into other-worldly terrain suffused with echoes. © 2014 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Michael Johnson
Facts & Arts, December 2013

Corigliano and Dame Evelyn strive in this recording to break new ground and ensure that the melodic interest rests not with the orchestra but with the “arsenal” of percussion instruments.

This recording is a smooth, refreshing and highly musical combination of melodic drums, marimba, vibraphone, bells and other instruments—plus the lush strings of the Albany Symphony—that is almost as interesting to watch as to hear. © 2013 Facts & Arts Read complete review

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, November 2013

The two works complement and give us two excellent examples of later Corigliano. The performances are beautiful, the soloists wonderful, and all makes for an exemplary experience of what’s modern about today’s modern music. Highly recommended. © 2013 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review

Steven Bergman
EDGE Atlanta, November 2013

This new release from Naxos contains two of Corigliano’s pieces performed by the finest artists in their genre. Titled, “Conjurer / Vocalise,” the first work is a percussion concerto written for Dame Evelyn Glennie, the exquisitely talented percussionist, who may single-handedly be responsible for bringing notoriety to the frequently overlooked area of percussion compositions…Glennie’s expert technique, and execution of Corigliano’s writing, is enrapturing.

“Vocalise” is a single movement piece…it is performed by the soprano Hila Plitmann and the Albany Symphony, under the direction of David Alan Miller. A wordless composition for voice, Corigliano explores the evolution of vocal performance, with the melding of the acoustic…and electronic…worlds of classical music, and it is presented wonderfully by Plitmann and the orchestra.

This recording is intriguing, and is a highly recommended listen. © 2013 EDGE Atlanta Read complete review

Cinemusical, November 2013

John Corigliano is one of the most widely-performed contemporary American composers. With a catalogue of hundreds of works in a multitude of forms, he continuously finds ways to connect modern audiences to new music with engaging musical language and a great dramatic and narrative sense. The present recording represents these aesthetics quite well with a massive concerto and a work that stretches the boundaries of musical expectations.

Naxos continues to be the go-to label for practically every musical taste. They are to be lauded for their ability to work with so many great American orchestras helping to highlight these ensembles in contemporary repertoire as well as classic pieces. The performances are all top notch for these world premiere recordings. Sound quality is equally well-matched imaging the orchestral well in the acoustic picture presented here. © 2013 Cinemusical Read complete review

Remy Franck
Pizzicato, October 2013

Even though Corigliano’s ‘Vocalise’ is not so immediately appealing as his terrific Conjurer Concerto, both works are ravishingly performed on this CD. Evelyn Glennie is the ‘singer’ in the Percussion Concerto and her brilliant playing is very well supported by the committed musicians of the Albany Symphony. © Pizzicato

David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2013

John Corigliano is one of the most prolific of the American composers working in the second half of the 20th century, his music coming from a very personal voice. Sharply delineated rhythmic patters; repeated snatches of melodic material, and high impact sound mixed with soothing sonorities are the ingredients that have made Corigliano such a popular composer, and they are all here. Needless to say Glennie has all the virtuosity and flamboyance that has made her such a popular stage act as she displays her high activity performances. As Corigliano has been involved in the recording, we must take the interpretations as ‘benchmark’, the playing of the Albany Symphony so clean cut. The outstanding soprano, Hila Plitmann, is the soloist, and throughout David Alan Miller has reinforced his position as one of America’s leading contemporary conductors. Excellent sound… © David’s Review Corner

Ettore Garzia
Percorsi Musicali, September 2013

…in “Conjurer” we feel alternately mysterious marimbas (the movement Wood), insightful bells, resonating gongs and telepathic drums (the movements Cadence), vibraphones that swallow the time (the movement of metal), compelling mix of membranes and talking drums (the movement skin) and a discrete orchestra that dispenses adventures and mysteries, with stretches innervated by sudden crescendo of intensity…

…“Vocalise” is remarkable in seeking emotional climax, as it is based on a functionally conception of the singing voice in which the amplification and the electronic manipulation seek paradoxical feelings; the goal is to achieve further extensions of soprano that are caused by loops or effects of microphone; these elements, in their turn, are integrated in the orchestra… © Percorsi Musicali

Rémy Louis

Two scores to discover, with the composer himself as a guide, who signs the booklet text © Diapason

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