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Byzantion
MusicWeb International, December 2013

The Naxos disc…is glorious: Rota at his breezily nostalgic best, with some ravishing cantilenas…Sound is first-rate too and the musicians give terrifically poised performances, especially clarinettist Goran Gojevic and pianist Mary Kenedi. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Phillip Scott
Fanfare, September 2013

Performances are excellent, particularly Gojevic’s smooth clarinet; he knows how to capture the Italianate warmth that permeates the composer’s writing. Recording is clean, bright, and open, like the music itself. © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review



Patrick Hanudel
American Record Guide, September 2013

Kuo, Zelenka, Sweeney, and Kenedi all play with consummate professionalism and artistic commitment, infusing Rota’s scores with color, wit, zest, and power…this is worth a look. © 2013 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



John Terauds
Musical Toronto, July 2013

We…need to thank musicians like Toronto pianist Mary Kenedi and her band of enthusiastic collaborators—violinist Lynn Kuo…cellist Winona Zelenka…bassonist Michael Sweeney…and clarinettist Goran Gojevic—for showcasing some excellent chamber music by Rota.

As Kenedi & co show on their album…there is a lot of fine compositional talent on display here, compellingly interpreted.

The pairing of Zelenka and Gojevic is inspired.

Although this album is all about the fine ensemble writing and ensemble work, Kenedi and her piano are the glue that holds all of this music together. She is by turns fiery and reflective, playing with beguiling élan as well as elegance. She has a great opportunity to let the full breadth of her abilities show in a big, melodramatic Fantasia for solo piano. © 2013 Musical Toronto Read complete review




Gary Lemco
Audiophile Audition, June 2013

Opening this chamber music divertissement—by a fine group of Toronto-based musicians—is the 1973 Trio for Clarinet, Cello, and Piano, a piece whose first movement, played staccatissimo, enjoys a lyrically breezy persuasion, very much in the light Stravinsky mode.

The Rota collection concludes with a recent discovery, the composer’s 1945 Fantasia in G Major… The virtuosity and coloration Kenedi achieves certainly convince us of her digital and poetic prowess, her having convinced us that the Rota legacy extends meaningfully beyond his cinematic repute. © 2013 Audiophile Audition Read complete review



Richard Haskell
The WholeNote, June 2013

This is a charming disc, its appeal not only in the high level of performance, but in the inherent contrasts found within the music. The Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano from 1973 is pure cheekiness, with two playful outer movements surrounding a languorous andante. In contrast, the lyrical Clarinet Sonata…clearly looks back to the 19th century with its expansive melodies and mood of introspection. Gojevic’s warm tone and Kenedi’s solid command of the score result in a fine performance.

This collection is a most welcome addition to the catalogue, and ample proof that there is much more to Nino Rota than what we’ve heard on the big screen during the last 45 years. Bravo to all performers involved for some fine music making. © 2013 The WholeNote Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, April 2013

‘The composer for the film score of The Godfather’, will be the epitaph for Nino Rota, though he spent much of his life writing an abundance of concert music. On his own admission it would have taken ten years to sort out his manuscripts discovered on his death, and only recently has the Piano Fantasia come to light. Born in 1911 with music in his ancestry, an oratorio written at the age of 12 received much acclaimed performances in Milan and Rome. He was later to study in Rome and at the Curtis Institute in the United States, and was subsequently highly regarded as a composer. Yet in those years when he began writing film scores, the classical music establishment lost interest in him, as they did with so many others who followed that path. Stylistically he did not take music much past the lyrical composers of the early 20th century, and he had no liking for atonal music. He wrote in many modes, his incredibly funny opera, The Italian Straw Hat, my own favourite among his works. The earliest piece on the disc, the Clarinet Sonata, dates from 1945, its musical feet very much in the world of Brahms, the piano being as important as the clarinet. From the same time the Fantasia for solo piano moves its inspiration to Chopin seen through the eyes of Liszt, both works having more than a hint of the sadness the world had just experienced. Following a very short virtuoso Improvviso for a Violin and Piano, we move to the 1970’s for the Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano.. At times quirky and humorous, Rota has devised a score of equal importance for each instrument, the finale a madcap chase. The performances come from Canadian based soloists, notably the outstanding Yugoslav-born clarinettist, Goran Gojevic. Pleasing music well recorded. © David’s Review Corner





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