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David Shengold
Opera News, April 2017

Lyric baritone Roderick Williams, currently one of Britain’s most acclaimed lieder singers, renders with sensitive phrasing the words of Mahler’s four poems expressing amatory dejection. Once past a bit of grittiness as the cycle begins, he produces luminous, attractive tone.

Falletta is in full control of her forces. Canadian mezzo Susan Platts has few rivals in her generation as a satisfying interpreter of Mahler; Scotland’s Karen Cargill is the only coeval who comes to mind that shares Platts’s timbral and temperamental affinity to the Bohemian-born composer’s particular sound world. Platts has essayed Erda and some Britten roles onstage, as well as Dido and Orfeo in concert readings, but she has won renown as an orchestral soloist and recitalist. …Her voice here is even and possessed of a handsome sheen; her musicianship is impeccable. © 2017 Opera News Read complete review



John Quinn
MusicWeb International, March 2017

…the playing throughout this disc is admirable; I’m not over impressed with the tenor but Susan Platts is very fine and JoAnn Falletta conducts both scores expertly. Roderick Williams is also very fine in Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen. If you want to hear the chamber version of Das Lied von der Erde—and it’s interesting to hear it once—then this disc is well worth your attention. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Guy Weatherall
Classical Music, March 2017

Keen that, in the days before recorded sound, recent music be heard more widely, Schoenberg made these exquisite arrangements for his own Society for Private Musical Performances. Such was his skill, and such is the quality of these performances, that the ear quickly ceases to miss the full orchestral soundworld of the originals. Falletta paces Das Lied faultlessly and if Susan Platts is more winning a Mahlerian than Charles Reid, both throw themselves at every challenge set them. Better still is Roderick Williams in the slighter cycle, in one of his finest outings on record. Good sound, Naxos price. © 2017 Classical Music



Stephen D Chakwin Jr
American Record Guide, March 2017

Schoenberg’s arrangements are extraordinary. He has managed to capture so much of the sound profile of Mahler’s works: the brightness and darkness of the Wayfarer Songs the extraorinary orchestration of Das Lied. He brings in a harp, a gong, many woodwinds, and a solo horn who practically plays a concerto. © 2017 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Huntley Dent
Fanfare, March 2017

Mezzo Susan Platts also has an attractive voice, along with some tremulousness and a fairly mature tone. She is faced with the challenge of conveying the profound poetic feeling of “Der Abschied,” with memories of great singers like Kathleen Ferrier, Christa Ludwig, and Janet Baker hovering in the background. The inwardness of this farewell to life is aided by the chamber music ambience, and Platts has an opportunity to communicate with the listener intimately. She does this beautifully, even if the interpretation is rather lightweight, both in vocal and emotional terms. Falletta also keeps the orchestral part on the light side, even considering that she has a small ensemble to work with. But there’s a lovely delicacy throughout, and instrumental solos, especially the oboe and flute, are done with artistry. The prize-winning Attacca Quartet features a fine, expressive first violin in Keiko Tokunaga, and the Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Players are quite accomplished. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review



James H. North
Fanfare, March 2017

Susan Platts has a lovely mezzo-soprano; at calm moments its similarity to Kathleen Ferrier’s contralto is startling—and may have been exaggerated for this performance. …Although his tenor is more lyric than heroic, Charles Reid manages the difficult “Das Trinklied vom Jammer der Erde” well, if not as easily as Fritz Wunderlich. Reid is a consistent asset throughout his three songs. JoAnn Falletta leads a no-nonsense performance… © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review



Opera Canada, February 2017

This recording features the Attacca Quartet supplemented by the Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Players under the direction of JoAnn Falletta. The soloist in Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen is British baritone Roderick Williams. He has a clear, clean sound that suits the music and matches the clarity of the ensemble playing well. This is a very enjoyable way to hear this work, the band is joined by American tenor Charles Reid and Canadian mezzo Susan Platts. © 2017 Opera Canada



Daniel Foley
The WholeNote, January 2017

The ensemble of a dozen players and their direction by Buffalo-based conductor JoAnn Falletta is admirable, with special kudos for clarinetist Ricardo Morales and the noble horn of Jacek Muzyk. © 2017 The WholeNote Read complete review



Tim Ashley
Gramophone, January 2017

Falletta conducts with admirable refinement and passion, …the playing is extremely fine, with a real sense of give and take between the instrumentalists. Solo strings make ‘Der Einsame im Herbst’ more wintry than autumnal, though the Attacca Quartet sound creepily effective here. The woodwind are particularly beautiful and poised. © 2017 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



Phil Muse
Audio Video Club of Atlanta, January 2017

Tenor Charles Reid and mezzo-soprano Susan Platts obviously relish exploring these nuances that make the poetry come alive against a backdrop of transparent, luminous sound…

The other first-rate voice we hear on the present disc is that of baritone Roderick Williams. Its dry, direct and honest quality is perfectly suited to Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer. © 2017 Audio Video Club of Atlanta Read complete review




Infodad.com, December 2016

…tenor Charles Reid is quite fine in his three numbers, it is Platt who, in her three, gives this performance its emotional power—which is very considerable. Much credit must also go to JoAnn Falletta, the overall leader and shaper of the music, who once again shows her outstanding ability to delve into less-familiar repertoire and produce highly meaningful musical and emotional experiences. © 2016 Infodad.com Read complete review




Colin Anderson
Classicalsource.com, December 2016

Throughout both works, vividly recorded in a single day following a concert, the instrumentalists play quite superbly, and for the most part JoAnn Falletta paces things admirably and shows the keenest concern for the music post-Mahler, not least in ‘The Farewell’, which certainly has its share of haunting exquisiteness but the continuation of so much that is edgy does become disconcerting, as does further exposure to Platts’s pulses, if, it must be said, more restrained here and which some may well find more expressive than I do; there is no reason to doubt her identification with the words and music. In Wayfarer, Williams is afforded just as much exposure in the balance, but it matters less with him. © 2016 Classicalsource.com Read complete review



Hilary Finch
BBC Music Magazine, December 2016

Performance:
Recording:

In these performances, from the Virginia Arts Festival of 2015, it’s a heady perfume. The Lieder eines fohrenden Gesellen, though light on forces, is heavy on nostalgia. Roderick Williams’s baritone bathes even in the sparse instrumental textures and in JoAnn Falletta’s slow tempos. Though rubato is not quite as idiomatic as it could be, Williams’s typical skill at drawing in the listener captures well the intimacy of Schoenberg’s arrangement.

Ensemble is more robust for the chinoiserie of Das Lied von der Erde. Charles Reid’s tenor voice—though sometimes tight at the top—has a cutting edge which energises the music, and makes for a nicely edgy characterisation of the ‘Drunkard in Spring’. Fine solo winds recreate an exquisite willow-pattern of an accompaniment for Susan Platt’s smoky mezzo in Mahler’s responses to Qian Qi’s autumn elegy. © 2016 BBC Music Magazine



Gavin Engelbrecht
The Northern Echo, November 2016

This release of Mahler Songs arranged by Schoenberg and featuring Das Lied von der Erde and Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, boasts a world-class tea, of musicians. They include Grammy Award-winning JoAnn Falletta, prize-winning Mahlerian soloist, soprano Susan Platts, tenor Charles Redi and baritone Roderick Williams. They are joined by Attaca Quartet and the Virginia Arts festival Chamber Players. A must for all Mahlerians. © 2016 The Northern Echo



Hank Zauderer
My Classical Notes, November 2016

Mahler’s ‘Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen’ are given a feel of great intimacy in this form, while the lighter scoring of Das Lied von der Erde has the advantage of clarifying instrumental textures, its magical effects capturing ‘the finite nature of earthly things’. © 2016 My Classical Notes Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2016

With Arnold Schoenberg at the helm, the first decade of the Twentieth century saw a seismic upheaval that would for ever change the way classical music is composed. That it was neither understood nor accepted by audiences was to become his first hurdle, a problem he sought to answer with the creation of ‘The Society for Private Musical Performance’, at which the audience were given no idea of what they were about to hear. He wanted no publicity, no critics and the listeners would make no show of approval or otherwise. From this idea sprang ‘Mahler to the present’, a series of concerts to introduce names that were still on the fringe, the difficulty being his inability to afford large Mahlerian orchestras. The answer to that problem presented a challenge for him and his pupils, who then set about re-orchestrating works for just eight instruments, with, in exceptional circumstances a slight augmentation. It is almost certain that Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfarer) was the work of Schoenberg, but Das Lied von der Erde (Songs of the Earth) may be a combined exercise with his pupils. They were reductions made for that one specific purpose, and as one of the disc critics who championed the re-emergence of Mahler in the 1960’s, I thought I would hate the emaciated ‘orchestral’ sounds. I was so totally wrong, Schoenberg having performed the impossible task of making me love every note just as if I was rediscovering familiar scores, the unforced vocal lines allowing the singers to bring so much radiant beauty to the music. The outstanding baritone, Roderick Williams, is cruel as he digs deep into the heart in the Gesellen songs of sadness; Charles Reid an heroic tenor for Das Lied, and the flutter in Susan Platts’ mezzo only adds to the poignancy of The Farewell that ends the work. Gathered around JoAnn Falletta, at the Virginia Arts Festival in 2015, were a fine group of instrumentalists, and the sound is superb. Go out, buy it, and be amazed. © 2016 David’s Review Corner





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