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Karl F. Miller
Fanfare, November 2019

Guitarist Jason Vieaux is a player with an extraordinary technique. His playing is overflowing with expression and musicality. He is an amazingly fine musician. Giancarlo Guerrero is a musician of great intelligence. He has a magnificent sense of line, and is a master of letting music breathe. This is music that is, to my mind, all about line, and Guerrero certainly knows how to shape a line to its best advantage. He is able to make the most of the thematic material in these works, allowing us to hear them in the best possible light. The Nashville Symphony plays magnificently. Producer Tim Handley has done his usual first-rate job. © 2019 Fanfare Read complete review



Ralph Graves
WTJU, September 2019

Jonathan Leshnoff is a talented composer. And his fourth symphony is a well-constructed work. It has engaging themes, nicely shaped melodies, and a fresh take on tonality…

I liked the symphony, and the Nashville Symphony performs it well.

Jason Vieux plays the concerto with fire and spirit. I especially enjoyed his rapid passage-work and the ringing quality of his held notes. © 2019 WTJU Read complete review



Allen Gimbel
American Record Guide, September 2019

The music of Jonathan Leshnoff (b. 1973) is filled with references to Jewish theology. Symphony 4 (2017), subtitled Hiechalmos, deals with notions of “Rooms” that house essences of the terrestrial world. The music is tonal and dark. II is a love song between man and God, lushly tinged and respectful. © 2019 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Phil Muse
Audio Video Club of Atlanta, September 2019

…The celebrated guitarist Jason Vieaux joins the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and conductor Giancarlo Guerrero in Leshnoff’s Guitar Concerto. The composer was at first hesitant to begin the project because of the difficulty of reconciling the guitar’s inherently soft acoustic with the presence of an orchestra alongside it without running into the problem of “blackout zones.” Happily, he has, in the presence of Vieaux, an artist capable of meeting all the dynamic and expressive challenges of the music, starting with the opening movement in which the guitar meditates on several subjects while the orchestra mirrors them sensitively, like a reflecting pool. © 2019 Audio Video Club of Atlanta Read complete review



Bob McQuiston
Classical Lost and Found, July 2019

The NSO makes a welcome return to these pages (30 September 2016 and 30 June 2017) under their internationally acclaimed music director, Nicaraguan-born, US-trained Giancarlo Guerrero. One of America’s most active recording orchestras and biggest champions of up-and-coming composers, they deliver a superb account of these engaging Leshnoff selections.

And a big hand goes to award-winning, US classical guitarist Jason Vieaux for his highly sensitive, well-articulated performance of the Concerto. Along with Maestro Guerreo and the NSO, they make a strong case for a most welcome addition to the few extant, modern orchestral works featuring this instrument. © 2019 Classical Lost and Found Read complete review



Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, July 2019

A full CD of his [Leshnoff] orchestral compositions (Naxos 8.559809) comes our way thanks to the resources and considerable interpretive talents of conductor Giancarlo Guerrero and the Nashville Symphony. They tackle two somewhat lengthy and ambitious works and an addendum, namely his “Heichalos” Symphony No. 4 (2017), his Guitar Concerto (2013) and the eight-minute Starburst (2010).

This however is by no means institutional music but rather a living breathing thing. Each work stands alone as an offering for our appreciation and pleasure. Nicely done! © 2019 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review



Textura, June 2019

In this performance with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, Vieaux’s front and center throughout, the virtuoso even admitting that the work’s technical challenges forced him to practice the piece for performance more than any before and even made him a better guitarist. Still, as dazzling and exhilarating as the framing “Maestoso” and “Finale” movements are, it’s the moving “Adagio” that speaks most powerfully on behalf of the composer. Performed at a stately tempo, its material exudes tenderness, the combination of strings and guitar here providing moments of exquisite pleasure. © 2019 Textura Read complete review



Lisa Flynn
WFMT (Chicago), June 2019

Distinguished by The New York Times as “a leader of contemporary American lyricism,” composer Jonathan Leshnoff is renowned for his music’s striking harmonies, structural complexity, and powerful themes. Leshnoff’s Symphony No. 4 is a powerful new work written for the Violins of Hope, a collection of restored instruments that survived the Holocaust. The composer draws inspiration from an ancient Jewish mystical text, Heichalos, to explore spiritual and ethical questions at the heart of the Jewish experience. This world premiere recording also features his energetic Starburst and his Guitar Concerto, a stunning virtuoso showcase for soloist Jason Vieaux. © 2019 WFMT (Chicago)



Records International, June 2019

Leshnoff’s original use of unexpected but logical modulations and harmonic juxtaposition are a constant reservoir of energy and with his vigorous rhythmic drive imbue his music with a sense of irresistible momentum. © 2019 Records International Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, May 2019

Now aged forty-six, Jonathan Leshnoff, joins that group of American composers who are turning the clock back to sounds at the end of the nineteenth symphony. He has written that he believes in the traditional symphony and concerto formats ‘because they are time-tested forms that have shown they work’. His Fourth Symphony dates from 2017, its subtitle ‘Heichalos’ relates to the Jewish mystical text, Heichalos Rabbasai, that text is detailed in the accompanying booklet. There is also a parallel reason for the name, the work having been commissioned by the ‘Violins of Hope’ project, those being the instruments played by Jewish musicians incarcerated in the Holocaust, here recreated and featured in solo passages in the second movement. Taken purely at face value the often violent first movement makes a dramatic impact, while the second is spacious and sad in equal measures. Both are effectively scored and are a direct response to the title, and as such serve as a reminder of a dreadful sector of history. In a complete contrast the three-movement Guitar Concerto from 2013 is a very happy score that uses the conventional sounds of the guitar. As such you will hear influences of Rodrigo’s concerto as a fundamental factor in that era of guitar music, the two energetic movements surrounding a rather sentimental adagio. It is performed by the American multi-award winning guitarist, Jason Vieaux, his immaculate playing I have previously admired on Naxos releases. Completing a rather short disc, Starburst is an orchestral showpiece displaying the excellent Nashville Symphony conducted by Giancarlo Guerrero. The sound quality throughout is excellent. © 2019 David’s Review Corner



Rob Barnett
MusicWeb International, April 2019

The three-movement Guitar Concerto is bejewelled and does not seek to distance itself from Rodrigo; quite the contrary. It’s played by Jason Vieaux with the breathless concentration of an adept. The recording appears to pick up every nuance and effervescent ascent and descent. … There’s also another kinship and it’s with Michael Daugherty who has also been championed by Guerrero and Naxos in Nashville. © 2019 MusicWeb International Read complete review





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