Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Email Password  
Not a subscriber yet?  
Keyword Search
 in   
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews



 
See latest reviews of other albums...


Dave Saemann
Fanfare, November 2018

Arthur Fagen gives us the first recording of David Diamond’s Sixth Symphony, more than 60 years after it was written. The symphony is a compact distillation of the pugnacity and tension in Diamond’s personality. Fagen fills out the album with fine performances of two of Diamond’s better-known pieces that belong in the standard repertoire of American music, Rounds and Music for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. © 2018 Fanfare Read complete review



Roger Hecht
American Record Guide, September 2018

Indiana University has a fine music department, and the playing bears that out. I cannot imagine doing much more with the symphony; and the other pieces are fine, especially Rounds. © 2018 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



David DeBoor Canfield
Fanfare, September 2018

The performances by the Indiana University Chamber Orchestra (the Jacobs School of Music has a half dozen orchestral ensembles) are likewise exceptional, and compare very favorably with prior recordings of the work by Schwarz on Delos and others I’ve heard. I actually prefer the greater clarity and delineation of instruments on Fagen’s Naxos recording to the sound on the Delos recording of Romeo. Never did I find myself thinking “student orchestra” as I listened to this CD. © 2018 Fanfare Read complete review



Dave Saemann
Fanfare, September 2018

Diamond is a creator with an extremely broad emotional palette. He can be tender, or jaunty, or downright ornery. From the beginning of Diamond’s career, orchestras have seemed to like to perform his music, for he writes with an innate understanding of all the instrumental choirs. © 2018 Fanfare Read complete review



Henry Fogel
Fanfare, September 2018

Diamond’s music would probably find an audience if it was performed with enough frequency.

That would be especially true if performances showed the care and obvious love demonstrated by Arthur Fagen and his Indiana University musicians. It is shameful that Diamond’s Sixth Symphony had to wait 61 years after its premiere, by Charles Munch and the Boston Symphony, for its first recording. It is in some ways one of Diamond’s toughest symphonies, with a grittier and leaner texture than most of the others… © 2018 Fanfare Read complete review



Karl F. Miller
Fanfare, September 2018

Having listened to all of the numbered symphonies on many occasions, the Sixth is, to my ears, the most challenging, in its thematic content and harmonic vocabulary. This is a virtuoso work for an orchestra and a challenge to any listener. It is music of great intensity, uncompromising in its expression. The music, if given a chance, can have an overpowering impact. © 2018 Fanfare Read complete review




Michael Quinn
Classical Ear, August 2018

American symphonic music at its most acutely lyrical, relaxed and immediate.

Performances from Indiana’s student players under Arthur Fagen’s well-proportioned control are exemplary throughout. © 2018 Classical Ear Read complete review



David DeBoor Canfield
Fanfare, July 2018

The performances by the Indiana University Chamber Orchestra (the Jacobs School of Music has a half dozen orchestral ensembles) are likewise exceptional, and compare very favorably with prior recordings of the work by Schwarz on Delos and others I’ve heard. I actually prefer the greater clarity and delineation of instruments on Fagen’s Naxos recording to the sound on the Delos recording of Romeo. Never did I find myself thinking “student orchestra” as I listened to this CD. Fagen has a keen ear for orchestral sonority and color, and recording engineer Konrad Strauss and his colleagues have ably assisted him in this, as well as making the acoustic qualities of the two very different halls in which these works were recorded match each other well. This disc therefore comes highly recommended to all enthusiasts of tonal American music. © 2018 Fanfare Read complete review



Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, June 2018

Arthur Fagen and the Indiana bring the scores to life with fine nuance and bold strokes. And each work is in its own way exemplary and a world unto itself.

The opening “Rounds for String Orchestra” (1944) has vivid plein air energy in the outer movements and an “Appalachian Springish” tenderness in the center. It seems vaguely Americana-like yet there are no obvious thematic homespun allusions exactly. It is a delight, really. © 2018 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review



Barry Forshaw
Classical CD Choice, June 2018

Rounds is his most enduringly popular piece, whose simple economy of means prompted Aaron Copland to exclaim, “Oh, I wish I had written that piece.” The concert suite Romeo and Juliet explores the “innate beauty and pathos” of Shakespeare’s play. © 2018 Classical CD Choice Read complete review




Steven A Kennedy
Cinemusical, June 2018

A moment of light, comedic writing is a delightful change of pace for “Juliet and Her Nurse”. The finale has some of Diamond’s most romantic music with very intriguing shifts of harmony. The performance here is quite convincing and very engaging. Fagen’s interpretation is a bit quicker in spots than Schwarz. The sound though is fabulous. © 2018 Cinemusical Read complete review




James Manheim
AllMusic.com, June 2018

David Diamond was one of those composers suppressed by the dominance of academic modernism despite his championing by Leonard Bernstein and Serge Koussevitzky, and his Symphony No. 6, written in the early 1950s, here receives its first recording. It’s ironic in that the work was badly reviewed at its premiere, probably because it was too modernistic. Sample the startling contrasts of its first movement, Adagio - Allegro, fortemente mosso, worked out and reconciled in a wholly individual way. It gets an enthusiastic and professional performance here from the Indiana University Philharmonic Orchestra under Arthur Fagen, together with fine engineering, and it’s no surprise that the album has had commercial success in Britain as well as the U.S. © 2018 AllMusic.com Read complete review




Remy Franck
Pizzicato, June 2018

Excellent performances of David Diamond’s Rounds for String Orchestra and of his Romeo and Juliet Suite will certainly enjoy those who already know the pieces and allow worthwhile discoveries for any other listener. Alas, the heavily accentuated and lumbering performance of the Sixth Symphony drastically reduces the success of this CD. © 2018 Pizzicato



Henry Fogel
Fanfare, June 2018

David Diamond’s music has never entirely disappeared from the repertoire, but nor has it entered the canon either. Firmly rooted in classical tradition, scrupulous in its avoidance of dodecaphonic techniques, emotionally expressive but restrained…Diamond’s music would probably find an audience if it was performed with enough frequency. That would be especially true if performances showed the care and obvious love demonstrated by Arthur Fagen and his Indiana University musicians.

Good music schools today have fine orchestral ensembles, and the University of Indiana is no exception. Effectively conducting Diamond’s music requires both a strong rhythmic pulse and an innate feel for a lyrical line, and Fagen demonstrates both. © 2018 Fanfare



Rob Barnett
MusicWeb International, May 2018

Music and readings that are telling, tough, thoughtful, emotionally fleet and powerfully recorded. © 2018 MusicWeb International Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, May 2018

In laying claim to David Diamond as an American composer, many commentators omit that he was a pupil of Boulanger in Paris with his middle years living in Italy. The works contained in the present disc pre-date his self-imposed exile in Europe, and comes within the era of Copland, with Rounds a catchy folk-inspired score that could well have formed a ballet, and sets the mood of Diamond as a tonal composer who avoided the avant-garde movements that were surrounding him at the time. It was completed in 1944 three years before his Romeo and Juliet music, a concert score that pictures five scenes in Shakespeare’s play, and after a boisterous Overture centres its attention on the love story aspects, the scene between Juliet and her Nurse particularly delightful. Seven years later he completed the Sixth Symphony, a work that at its first performance was so pilloried by the critics, it has since been largely forgotten, this being the work’s World Premiere Recording. In three movements, it is scored for a conventional symphony orchestra, and is not quite as tonal as we might expect. Certainly it is not overflowing with memorable thematic material, the score never taking you anywhere but emerges in episodes. An explosive finale is, at least, in keeping with the mood of the 1950’s. I do not have a score to hand, but the Indiana orchestra, conducted by Arthur Fagen, has the feel of dedicated champions. Recorded sound is just a little acidic on upper strings, but has a suitably wide dynamic range. © 2018 David’s Review Corner



Lynn René Bayley
The Art Music Lounge, April 2018

This may well be the finest single collection of Diamond’s music, and surely one played by a great interpreter who understands his aesthetic. You need to hear it, particularly the symphony! © 2018 The Art Music Lounge Read complete review





Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group