Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

Harry van der Wal
Harry’s classical music corner, May 2017

The performance of this orchestra is excellent. The recording is very good… © 2017 Harry’s classical music corner Read complete review

David Hurwitz
Listen: Life with Classical Music, June 2013

The Budapest Symphony Orchestra MÁV plays with great spirit and finessed under Mariusz Smolij. Get to know this music; it’s worth your time. © 2013 Listen: Life with Classical Music Read complete review

Cinemusical, March 2013

Mariusz Smolij and the Budapest Symphony continue to show an affinity for these pieces with committed performances. The performances are wonderfully captured in a good overall sound with a touch of ambience that allows here for the crisp playing. Both this and the initial Naxos release…are well worth picking up and are simply great releases… © 2013 Cinemusical Read complete review

David Hurwitz, March 2013

The performances on this disc are excellent. The Budapest Symphony Orchestra MÁV plays with great spirt and finesse under Mariusz Smolij. Zádor was, as you might expect, a superb orchestrator. He did it for a living, after all, and by this I don’t mean he resorted to a gratuitous excess of color standing in for musical inspiration, but rather a knack for finding the right sound to convey the musical message. These players seem to appreciate this aspect of the music; the playing has soul, however subjective that may sound, while the engineering is excellent. Get to know this music; it’s worth your time. © Read complete review

Roger Hecht
American Record Guide, September 2012

I recommend this to anyone interested in American music with a foreign touch. The sound has fine clarity…The notes are informative and detailed. © 2012 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide online

Cinemusical, June 2012

The works on this new Naxos release cover the broad arch of Zador’s concert works displaying a wide range of amazing color and melodic inventiveness. The recording opens with Aria and Allegro for Strings and Brass. The opening movement is a very Americana-like theme which then moves into a very dramatic second movement that is like a blend of Bartok-ian Neo-classicism and Rozsa’s 1950s scoring style. It will make for the first of several pleasant surprises, not the least is its somewhat jazzy final bars…Effective and an instant audience pleaser, this work is certainly deserving a resurrection.

The brilliant colors of the orchestra will be most striking to listeners throughout the work. “Autumn Pastorale” has a somewhat Asian quality with light scoring for harp and bells contrasting to darker wind colors and a florid flute line. It is an interesting mid-century work eschewing more atonal writing and emphasizing thematic material and intriguing dense harmonies. “Phantasy” is an interesting study in contrasts with angular melodic lines straight out of the darkest film noir era music. The…“Scherzo rustico” …is one of many examples of Zador’s superb handling of large orchestral writing in what is his very assured style.

One of Zador’s most popular pieces worldwide was A Children’s Symphony…The music is a strong piece of its time with an accessible musical language, a heart-melting melody in its second movement and plenty of humor throughout. The childlike innocence, a variation on a teasing childhood melody, is simply amazing to hear as it goes through a number of guises in the final movement, “The Farm.”

Mariusz Smolij and the Budapest Symphony…get to show off their ability to shift from more traditional to more atonal music quite naturally capturing the many moods in this music. The recording is very immediate and captures the performances in realistic sound. Easily recommended as one of the highlights of the year. © 2012 Cinemusical Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, May 2012

‘A middle of the road extremist’ was the description the Hungarian composer, Eugene Zador gave to himself. He was one of many who was enjoying a highly successful career as a European composer when political events of the 1930’s brought about his departure for the safety of the United States. To that point he had studied composition with Heuberger in Vienna and Reger in Leipzig, his arrival in New York allowing him to continue working as a composer until financial consideration took him to Hollywood. He spent the remainder of his life there orchestrating film music for famous names who either did not have the time or the knowledge to take their piano sketches to the next stage. When time was available he continued working as a ‘serious’ composer, his eventual catalogue including four symphonies, several operas and chamber music. Though his orchestral works captured the attention of major conductors and orchestras, it has sadly fallen into oblivion. Yet if you listen to the Bartók inspired Five Contrasts for Orchestra, you will recognise a composer of real quality and importance. His cryptic description of himself was to define a modern writer who still wanted to relate with his audience, a feature of A Children’s Symphony, a work whose distant roots are embedded in Hungarian folk music. But it is in the Csardas Rhapsody, composed just after his arrival in the States, and the Hungarian Capriccio that we find his most outgoing scores. The Budapest orchestra, under the direction of Mariusz Smolij, strikes me as being very worthy champions of their native composer, and the recorded studio sound is of a pleasing quality. © 2012 David’s Review Corner

Film Music: The Neglected Art, May 2012

Aria and Allegro for Strings and Brass[’]…first movement features a horn fanfare which is nicely counterpointed by the strings. A somewhat complex fugue follows in the second movement but still arranged and orchestrated to give the ear nice accessibility.

A Children’s Symphony…begins with a very classical style with the strings evoking a happy and uplifting mood well supported by woodwinds and brass. It leads to more peace and serenity with the clarinet offering a melody backed by a hint of the orient from the flutes and woodwinds. Another great example of an easy accessible movement is the march beat from a single snare drum with a solo trumpet leading the orchestra with a melody and response being given back by different orchestral combinations. Overall this is a very nice introduction to classical music for children.

[In the] Csardas Rhapsody…The clarinet begins with a slinky introduction offering a sharp contrast between it and the harp. The dance turns into a playful cheery situation…It ends with a wonderful gypsy dance…

Mariusz Smolij conducts the Budapest Symphony in a spirited performance. It sounds like their quite familiar with his material. Take a chance and you won’t be disappointed. © 2012 Film Music: The Neglected Art Read complete review

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group