Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

Allan Morris
CBC, February 2016

…a musical journey through the extreme emotions experienced in the aftermath of a stroke: the crying, anger, anxiety and depression—then peace, love and hope.

There are loud, brassy, percussive sections with driving rhythms that flow into softer, quiet sections. Tower is a skillful orchestrator and this is a well-crafted, imaginative, powerful piece of music by a master composer. © 2016 CBC Read complete review

Bob Neill
Positive Feedback Online, December 2015

All three works on this recording are world premieres. They are brilliantly performed and the recording’s technical quality is wonderful. …[Nashville Symphony Orchestra] are superb. © 2015 Positive Feedback Online Read complete review

Lynn René Bayley
Fanfare, November 2015

The listener becomes so completely caught up in this work that it’s almost easy to get lost…one is so mesmerized by the textures she creates that the musical flow, though evident, almost becomes secondary…It is just a wonderful work, a real masterpiece. © 2015 Fanfare Read complete review

Allen Gimbel
American Record Guide, November 2015

…the Nashville players acquit themselves professionally. © 2015 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Donald Rosenberg
Gramophone, September 2015

Guerrero shapes fervent and vital performances. In the concerto, he and the orchestra join forces with Cho-Liang Lin, who has remarkable command of Tower’s intricate writing even as he exults in the moments of luminous serenity. © 2015 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Anthony Burton
BBC Music Magazine, September 2015

Violinist Cho-Liang Lin is lyrical and muscular as required, and his slender tone is well balanced with the excellent Nashville Symphony. © 2015 BBC Music Magazine

Leslie Wright
MusicWeb International, August 2015

…I cannot imagine a better performance [of the Violin concerto] than the stunning one Cho-Liang Lin accomplishes. It is always heartening when a star soloist takes on a work that might otherwise have gone unnoticed after its premiere recording. The Violin Concerto clearly deserves the kind of exposure it gets here. © 2015 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Ralph Graves
WTJU, August 2015

Lin has an intense style that imbues his performance with a frantic energy that gives the entire [concerto] a sense of urgency—and to good effect. © 2015 WTJU Read complete review

Robert Moon
Audiophile Audition, July 2015

Cho-Liang Lin negotiates the difficult violin parts with ease and the Nashville Symphony play with passion.

The recording is ideal—close enough to identify the solo and group passages but reverberant enough to experience the full orchestral presence. © 2015 Audiophile Audition Read complete review

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, June 2015

Joan Tower manages to stay within a general modernist camp but uses tonality as well for some very dynamic music that will appeal to the new music fan while remaining pretty accessible for the more general classical listener. These are strong works, performed with enthusiasm and precision by Guerrero and the Nashville Symphony.

This forms a nice introduction to Tower’s later music but holds its own for anyone who already appreciates her. Very recommended. © 2015 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review

Steven A. Kennedy
Cinemusical, June 2015

As one would expect, the orchestra responds well to [Guerrero’s] direction. The Nashville Symphony is…continuously demonstrating some great musicianship and an affinity for contemporary music… The sound here is equally marvelous allowing for crisp detail and well-captured orchestral balance. © 2015 Cinemusical Read complete review, June 2015

Stroke is not really an enjoyable work; it scarcely seems to be intended as one. Certainly it is quite well-performed by the Nashville Symphony under Giancarlo Guerrero—and that is no mean feat, since Stroke is quite a challenge to play. The other music on this CD is also handled quite well. © 2015 Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, May 2015

Joan Tower is a reformed serialist who in recent years has concentrated on compositions that will create an immediate audience response and relationship. Born in the United States in 1938, she spent her formative years in South America, returning to the States for her formal education as a pianist and composer. It is said that she has received more commissions than any other women, and is America’s most frequently performed female composer. The three works on this disc came into the world for many different reasons, Stroke the result of a request from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and was dedicated to her younger brother who had suffered a stroke just before she began work on the score. The result is an often disturbed atmosphere, and while remaining within tonality, its jarring harmonic relationships reflect the effects on the victim and the massive mood swings they suffer. It calls for as high degree of technical skill from the orchestra, not least from the principal trumpet in a lengthy solo. Not a work aimed at our enjoyment, but one that is deeply moving. That was completed in 2010, four years after Chamber Dance, a score commissioned by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and intended for a group of modest size. It is abstract in concept spinning along in its opening section, the quiet introspection often disrupted by large blocks of sound. Tower’s description of the Violin Concerto of 1991 as being ‘organic’ is a most apt description, the work steering clear of a conventional concerto format. Fashioned so allow the violin to sing, it is also a minefield of technical challenges, Cho-Liang Lin admirably meeting every one with consummate ease. Though not a disc of virtuoso showpieces, the Nashville orchestra, and their conductor, Giancarlo Guerrero, prove throughout to be dedicated champions of Tower’s unique musical voice. A very good and detailed recording. © 2015 David’s Review Corner

Brian Wilson
MusicWeb International, May 2015

I hadn’t previously encountered the music of Joan Tower and the title of the first piece on a new Naxos recording, Stroke (2011), seemed pretty unpromising: it really is an emotional reaction to her brother’s stroke and it receives a powerful performance from the Nashville Symphony and Giancarlo Guerrero.

…I approach most contemporary music with trepidation but I enjoyed this enough to seek out more of Joan Tower’s music: I could easily get to like it. © 2015 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group