Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

Tracy Anne Smith
American Record Guide, March 2020

Boccherini’s Quintet brings the recording to a jolly close, his pan-European style tying together the program in a neat bow. © 2020 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

David Vernier, January 2020

…Isbin’s appearance here informs the music with an authority—enlivened by her unique ornamentation and occasional improvisatory licks—that elevates the performances far beyond the merely respectable or routine efforts of some of her very competent colleagues. And the Pacifica Quartet, commanding its own list of impressive achievements and honors, is a more than worthy partner. Perhaps we may even look forward to a further exploration of guitar/string quartet repertoire by these musicians? Brouwer? Daugherty? Miguel Bareilles? Gabriela Lena Frank? Thanks for this—and we’ll be watching. © 2020 Read complete review

Colin Clarke
Fanfare, January 2020

What a beautiful way to start a disc: Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s radiant, serene Quintet for Guitar and String Quartet, composed after the composer’s arrival in Beverly Hills, at the request of Segovia. The composer himself rightly described the first movement as “Schubertian,” and indeed it does exhibit a sense of easy, endless invention that Isbin and the Pacifica Quartet revel in.

…Isbin and the Pacifica Quartet’s disc has a charm and rightness all its own. © 2020 Fanfare Read complete review

Robert Schulslaper
Fanfare, January 2020

When musicians of the stature of multiple-Grammy winner Sharon Isbin and the Grammy-winning Pacifica Quartet collaborate, it’s a safe assumption that mastery of such technical niceties as intonation, phrasing, and overall musicality will be a given. Still, I’ll risk redundancy by praising Isbin’s clear, well-rounded tone and variety of attack and articulation that, combined with the Quartet’s silken polish and liquid phrasing, so enhance these performances. Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the muy simpatico affinity between Isbin and the Quartet that gave birth to these unerringly satisfying interpretations. © 2020 Fanfare Read complete review

Terry Robbins
The WholeNote, November 2019

The two performances of the Boccherini quintet are also very similar and equally impressive, the main difference being the addition of castanets and tambourine for almost the entire Fandango on this current disc, whereas on the Vieaux, the castanets (no tambourine) only appear for a brief single spell in the middle of the movement.

Isbin adds her own Baroque ornamentation in a measured and thoroughly enjoyable performance of the Vivaldi concerto; indeed, the two middle works on this CD give it a decided edge over the Vieaux disc. © 2019 The WholeNote Read complete review

Steven Ritter
Audiophile Audition, November 2019

Sharon Isbin just keeps churning out the hits, and this new release is guaranteed to please her legion of fans. Joining her is the always sterling Pacifica Quartet, who add a polished and incisive sheen to all these performances.

…Sharon Isbin is her usual stunning self, technically adept, creative, and full of interpretative nuance. This delightful disc is a welcome addition to anyone’s library, and the sound is superb. © 2019 Audiophile Audition Read complete review

Phil Muse
Audio Video Club of Atlanta, October 2019

“Souvenirs of Spain & Italy” features American guitarist Sharon Isbin displaying her customary verve and her love of pulse-quickening rhythms and searing melodies in music that provides plenty of opportunity to do just that. She joins forces here with the Pacifica String Quartet, four like-minded spirits who are disposed to take the music for all it’s worth. The result is a program of really glorious music-making. © 2019 Audio Video Club of Atlanta Read complete review

KDFC Radio, September 2019

Renowned guitarist Sharon Isbin teams up with the Grammy award-winning Pacifica Quartet for the first time in a new recording called Souvenirs of Spain and Italy. Selections range from the 20th-century to the Baroque, featuring Italian Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s seldom-heard Quintet for Guitar and String Quartet as well as works by Vivaldi and Boccherini. © 2019 KDFC Radio, September 2019

Excellent playing in the service of some rather oddly assorted repertoire is the hallmark of a new Cedille disc featuring guitarist Sharon Isbin and the Pacifica Quartet. … The most interesting work on it, and the longest, is Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Quintet for Guitar and String Quartet, a work from 1950 that has far earlier roots. It flows beautifully and has a particularly moving slow movement marked Andante mesto that is more wistful than genuinely sad. The Allegro con fuoco marking of the finale is exactly right, however: with the exception of a contrasting middle section, this is forceful, even fiery music that shows Isbin at her best and the Pacifica players at their most intense. © 2019 Read complete review

James Manheim, September 2019

Guitarist Sharon Isbin was arguably the instrument’s preeminent star in the 1980s and 1990s, a golden age for classical guitar music generally. New charismatic players have come along since then, but Isbin’s playing remains a rare pleasure. Catch her if you can! An example is this 2019 release on Chicago’s Cedille label, which features mostly well-worn pieces for guitar and ensemble; the ensemble here is the Pacifica String Quartet.

…This is a treat for fans of Isbin… © 2019 Read complete review

Lisa Flynn
WFMT (Chicago), September 2019

The Grammy Award-winning Pacifica Quartet and multiple Grammy-winning guitarist Sharon Isbin join forces for an album of music for strings and guitar from the Baroque to the mid-20th century. Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Quintet is a seldom-heard gem demanding virtuosity from every player. Isbin and the Pacifica play Emilio Pujol’s guitar arrangement of Antonio Vivaldi’s Lute Concerto in D Major. Luigi Boccherini’s Quintet in D Major melds the emerging classical style of late 18th-century Vienna with hints of Spanish flamenco. Spanish composer Joaquín Turina’s La Oración del Torero evokes the fervor of a matador’s private prayer before entering the bullring. © 2019 WFMT (Chicago)

Jean-Yves Duperron
Classical Music Sentinel, August 2019

The combination of string quartet and classical guitar works so well that I’m surprised it hasn’t been done more often. The variety of the pieces on offer here also adds to the appeal of this new recording featuring multi-award winning guitarist Sharon Isbin and the Pacifica Quartet.

Sharon Isbin plays an Antonius Mueller guitar equipped with Savarez strings. All in all this makes for an unconventional and yet satisfying hour of fine Mediterranean inspired music. Sit down with a fine Italian or robust Spanish wine and enjoy! © 2019 Classical Music Sentinel Read complete review

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group