Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

Hugo Shirley
Gramophone, October 2017

With its sheer technical splendour, this is an account of breathtaking clarity and virtuosity—taken from live performances—captured in stunning sound. Jansons doesn’t look too far beneath the surface—but what a surface! © 2017 Gramophone

Jerry Dubins
Fanfare, May 2017

As a performance, Jansons’s Alpine Symphony is quite good. His sun rises with glowing warmth; his ascent is filled with awe of the mountain and expectant hope for a successful climb; his flowering meadows fill the air with the scent of fragrant blossoms and enough pollens to make the allergy sufferers wish they’d stayed home; and his storm, the work’s climax and high point for many listeners, rages effectively enough, …Overall, this is a well-played and thoroughly respectable Alpine Symphony…

Once again, as in An Alpine Symphony, the BRSO’s execution is impeccable, and though Jansons’s reading of Death and Transfiguration strikes me as a bit hectoring, he can’t be blamed for the composer’s garish rite of passage. Well-known music commentator and critic Ernest Newman probably summed up the crass nature of Strauss’s tone poem best when he described it as music one wouldn’t want to die or awake to. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review

Arthur Lintgen
Fanfare, May 2017

For most listeners, the heart of An Alpine Symphony encompasses the sections from “On the Summit” though “Sunset.” Jansons and the orchestra explode here. The so-called Bruch Violin Concerto theme is milked for every ounce of emotion, accented by a very aggressive timpanist. The orchestra’s brass section is magnificent, as expected.

This is to my knowledge Jansons’s first recording of Death and Transfiguration. …The timpani play an important role in Death and Transfiguration, presumably depicting an irregular heartbeat. Jansons seems to understand this, but doesn’t overdo it. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review

Huntley Dent
Fanfare, May 2017

Two things make the reading special. First is the glorious sound that Jansons gets from a less than world-class orchestra. The brass are heroic long into this lip-burning marathon. Second is Jansons’s instinctive feeling for how to shape Strauss’s overlapping melodic lines.

Everything one could wish for—sweeping drama, an enormous range of musical effects, deeply felt emotion, perfect orchestral execution—manifests at a level remarkable even for a premier orchestra like the Bavarian Radio Symphony. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review

Hugo Shirley
Gramophone, April 2017

Three recordings of the Alpensinfonie have appeared within the past year, with this one from Mariss Jansons following those from Sebastian Weigle and Kent Nagano. Recorded at two Munich concerts barely six months ago, this new account is undoubtedly the best played and best recorded. In fact, it’s probably one of the best played and best recorded tout court.

The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra bring a burnished, polished sound to every strand of Strauss’s kaleidoscopic score…

Jansons conjures up some thrilling moments, and, as a sonic spectacle and display of virtuosity and musicianship, this disc takes some beating. You’ll have to go a long way to find a more glitteringly brilliant ‘Waterfall’, for example, or a more impressively executed account of the ‘Storm’. There are dozens of moments where one hears details of the score that are usually lost in the congestion. © 2017 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Antony Hodgson, April 2017

Bringing out pictorial references to the various scenes while ensuring that the drama progresses in symphonic terms is something that Bernard Haitink achieves (Concertgebouw and LSO); to his credit, Jansons sees the general structure in a way similar to the distinguished Dutchman while adding personal touches—for example, after an especially vivid representation of the waterfall during the ascent, there is an unexplained ‘Apparition’—a moment which Jansons contrives to make all the more mysterious as the shining woodwinds and tremulous strings lead to a quiet hint of the grand theme that will be heard when the journey reaches the summit. © 2017 Read complete review

Ralph Moore
MusicWeb International, March 2017

With so many superlative and recommendable recordings already in the field, hailing another as the “best” is foolhardy, but despite my attachment to the classic version from Karajan and recordings by Thielemann, Shipway and Maazel—with the same orchestra as here—I think this would now be my prime recommendation to anyone new to the work, simply because of its combination of superb sound, the technical excellence of execution by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and the sheer electricity of this performance under Jansons’s direction. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Mark Novak
Fanfare, March 2017

An Alpine Symphony (1915) is written for a huge orchestra, including some unconventional instruments: wind and thunder machines, glockenspiel, celesta, and organ. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this recording is the sound itself—everything is captured and presented in proper perspective without undue highlighting. The organ never dominates but undergirds the orchestra in a natural way. Also notable is the excellence of the musicians themselves—what a wonderful testament to their capabilities of performing live. Jansons’s conducting is also quite fine. He explores the full dynamic range of the score with a mainstream sense of tempo. …This is an Alpine worthy of your consideration.

Death and Transfiguration (1888) comes second and it, too, is a worthy performance. …Kudos to the brass, both low and high, who blow with solid authority and intonation. As in the Alpine, Jansons brings out all of the important elements of the score and the recording team captures it well. The transcendent ending positively glows with ethereal splendor as the music fades to oblivion. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review

Daniel Foley
The WholeNote, February 2017

It hardly comes as a surprise that the exemplary Munich orchestra does their level best to honour the reputation of Bavaria’s greatest composer, …The performance is utterly transcendent and the live recording from October of 2016 is richly detailed. …Of the numerous renderings currently available of this grandiose Alpine work this one rises triumphantly to the summit with the greats. Not to be missed! © 2017 The WholeNote Read complete review

Blair Sanderson, February 2017

Jansons elicits powerful playing from the orchestra, and draws out resplendent sonorities that are thrilling for their brilliance and force. …The sound of this standard CD is rich and vibrant, and practically every detail can be heard clearly. © 2017 Read complete review

Michael Cookson
MusicWeb International, January 2017

High on splendour and artistry, Karajan’s players are in commanding form and the glossy strings in particular display their magnificence throughout.

Jansons and his Bavarian players…provide an exquisitely paced and affecting performance of the score creating a glorious wash of orchestral sound. This is one of the finest performances of Tod und Verklarung I have heard.

Both are wholly satisfying, being clear, quite warm and well balanced. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group