Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

Mel Martin
Audiophile Audition, June 2016

The Pacific Chorale and Orchestra played faultlessly, and the producers of this recording captured these performances in a very realistic way.

Bolcom is always interesting, and these two works will please lovers of contemporary music. Prometheus is the highlight of the disc to my ear, but the entire disc is beyond reproach musically and technically. © 2016 Audiophile Audition Read complete review

Huntley Dent
Fanfare, May 2016

[René Barbera’s] part is demanding, at times florid and high-flying, always passionate. © 2016 Fanfare Read complete review

Richard S. Ginell
Classical Voice North America, April 2016

The PSO finally recorded the piece [William Bolcom’s song cycle Canciones de Lorca] after a seven-year wait—without [Plácido] Domingo, alas, but with an excellent tenor, René Barbera, who gives a beautiful, clear-voiced account of the vocal line.

The companion work, Prometheus, with a text by Lord Byron chanted and sung by the Pacific Chorale and an extensive solo piano part expertly handled by Jeffrey Biegel, is something else entirely. The model for the forces involved may have been Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, but there is little uplift in this weighty, rugged, troubled soundscape, almost the polar opposite of the eclectic, populist Bolcom of Canciones. Edge to Canciones in this coupling. © 2016 Classical Voice North America Read complete review

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, March 2016

[Canciones de Lorca] takes on the various moods of the poetry and Bolcolm shows genuine brilliance combining Spanish traditional strains with contemporary Bolcomism. Barbera is dramatic and expressive in his role, originally fashioned for Placido Domingo. Those are big shoes to fill but Barbera holds his own. The orchestral parts breathe in ingenious ways.

“Prometheus” is somewhat more thoroughly modern and expressionist. …The music is exceedingly well crafted and luminous in its dark brooding, though that may sound contradictory. Tonality and dissonance stand side-by-side and work together for a result that brings the whole convincingly together and creates a complex set of moods well suited to the subject matter. © 2016 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review

Allen Gimbel
American Record Guide, March 2016

…Iberian-tinged songs written for Domingo, and performed here with flair by Sr Barbera. …Expressive and thoughtful, they are, like the poems, moving and communicative. © 2016 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Steven A. Kennedy
Cinemusical, February 2016

The orchestra does a great job here perfectly capturing the sense of energy and stylistic qualities of the music.

…the chorus balance also works well with the music carefully put together to create a powerful experience. © 2016 Cinemusical Read complete review

Midwest Tape, January 2016

Winner of a Pulitzer Prize and multiple Grammy Awards, William Bolcom is one of America’s leading composers with a prolific and widely performed catalogue. Written for tenor Plácido Domingo, Canciones de Lorca explores the full variety of that Spanish poet’s surrealistic humor, passion, and mystery. © 2015 Midwest Tape, December 2015

The performance led by Carl St. Clair is a strong one, attentive to the work’s rhythmic variety and the coloristic effects that Bolcom skillfully evokes. © 2015 Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2015

In his programme notes for the premiere of Canciones de Lorca, William Bolcom wrote that only the Spanish-speaking world know all about García Lorca’s poems. He was referring to the bleak and tragic poems as the only side of Lorca that had been set to music, his deeper exploration discovering a very diverse range of surrealism, humour, passion, and, most importantly, an Andalusian flamenco tradition. The result was the seven pieces that, together with two orchestral interludes, complete his orchestral song cycle, the voice used with the great flamenco singers in mind. Maybe Bolcom responded in isolation to the various moods of each of the poems, so that an integrated feel to the score was never his intention. That he has a ready gift for producing melody that lodges in our memory, and that he is a most gifted orchestrator, creates a new and most welcome addition to his large portfolio of compositions. Prometheus, using the poem of Lord Byron, came three years later in 2009, Bolcom’s programme notes indicating a work that asks us to look at present-day values, and in an often violent score it looks a bleak future. It was requested by the pianist, Jeffrey Biegel, who asked for a score with the same forces as Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, with the piano surveying the surrounding events as a commentator. The tenor, René Barbera, is suitably authentic as the Spanish flamenco singer, and in these ‘live’ concert performances, the Pacific Symphony and Pacific Choral are in fine form for their Music Director, Carl St. Clair. The sound is first class and applause thankfully removed. © 2015 David’s Review Corner

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group