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Peter J. Rabinowitz
Fanfare, September 2014

…Finley is comfortable in opera, oratorio, and song…his sense of musical phrase is unfailing…He’s heard in peak form on this new release.

Pride of place goes to the most familiar work, the Suite on Poems by Michelangelo…Finley has the tact necessary to bring out its range of expression without in any way diluting its over-riding bleakness. And he’s just as comfortable and convincing in Shostakovich’s 1944 orchestration of Annie Laurie, performed with utter simplicity.

Given the particular choices of language and orchestration…there’s really no competition for this release…this would be a top priority. © 2014 Fanfare Read complete review

William Yoeman
Limelight, September 2014

…the sort of release that warms my heart: intelligent artists at the top of their game exploring obscure but important repertoires. © 2014 Limelight Magazine

David Shengold
Opera News, August 2014

Leading a highly responsive and precise Helsinki Philharmonic…[Thomas Sanderling] demonstrates commendable understanding of the composer’s sometimes craggy, sometimes tender, always challenging idiom. The singing throughout is both scrupulously limned and tonally beautiful, and Finley colors the English-language texts with subtle mastery. © 2014 Opera News Read complete review

Stephen Estep
American Record Guide, July 2014

…this is a recording to own—the musicians would be hard-pressed to do better, Finley’s diction is excellent, the sonics are outstanding… © 2014 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

David Fanning
Gramophone, July 2014

Finley and Sanderling are compelling advocates, and their subtlety makes for a refreshing change from the more stentorian delivery of certain old Soviet counterparts…this new disc has to be applauded for its initiative, as also for its top-notch sound quality… © 2014 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

BBC Music Magazine, July 2014

The great if under-recorded conductor Thomas Sanderling discovered that the manuscript [to the Romances] had only recently come to light, and the result is this superlative document…Everything here works beautifully. © BBC Music Magazine

International Record Review, July 2014

Finley’s honeyed tone and fluent, articulate delivery are long established as one of the glories of our vocal age…this new version unquestionably casts interesting light on one of Shostakovich’s most unflinching and personal masterpieces and is beautifully engineered throughout. © 2014 International Record Review

Mary Kunz Goldman
The Buffalo News, June 2014

Finley, a native English speaker, brings relish to the language. Sanderling…knew Shostakovich personally and was trusted by him, and he handles the orchestral accompaniments with sensitivity and nuance. © 2014 The Buffalo News Read complete review

Rick Phillips
Opera Canada, June 2014

…Finley is perfectly cast in this recording. Finley gives…a relatively straight reading, allowing the simple beauty of the melody to work its magic and sometimes delving into his beautiful upper register, almost to the tenor range.

The Helsinki Philharmonic has a burnished, rich, dark sound, perfect for this material, and the recording is luxurious but clean. Finley is always clearly heard throughout with great diction and articulation, even at the pianissimo level. The love of Finley and Sanderling for the genius of Shostakovich is evident and makes this disc a very worthwhile and unforgettable experience. © 2014 Opera Canada

Alain Steffen
Pizzicato, May 2014

Thomas Sanderling proves once more that he is a really outstanding conductor for Shostakovich’s music. His conducting, Gerald Finley’s warm timbre as well as his technically flawless singing, and the nuanced orchestral playing make this CD one of the best Shostakovich productions in decades. © 2014 Pizzicato

Zachary Woolfe
The New York Times, May 2014

Gerald Finley, his voice dark and solid, his command of texts absolute and his dramatic instinct sure, is always of interest, but even more so here, in what is also an act of scholarship… © 2014 The New York Times Read complete review

David Olds
The WholeNote, April 2014

This recording uses Michelangelo’s original Italian texts and there is an extended essay by Finley in the booklet which discusses the intricate process of Setting Michelangelo to Shostakovich. Finley was obviously very involved and dedicated to this project and his fine bass-baritone voice makes the music shine. All in all, these are welcome additions to the canon. © 2014 The WholeNote Read complete review

Norman Lebrecht
Sinfini Music, April 2014

The conductor Thomas Sanderling, son of Shostakovich’s close friend and interpreter, has come up with three huge finds from the archive—a set of English-sung romances to poems by Shakespeare, Walter Raleigh and Robbie Burns; an original Scottish ballad; and an Italian version of the Michelangelo songs. His singer on this world-premiere set is the brushed-velvet bass-baritone Gerald Finley, backed by a Helsinki Philharmonic on pure silk. This is an hour of Shostakovich heaven. © 2014 Sinfini Music Read complete review

David Vernier, April 2014

…Finley applies his consummate technical facility and unfailing interpretive instincts to elucidate each text in its special musical context…Finley inhabits these songs completely and confidently, captivating and sometimes unnerving us with his affinity for the particulars of sound and language.

This is one of those recordings that affirms its value not only by presenting something truly new and important from something familiar, but by doing it in such a way that it invites you to listen and then compels you to come back, not for a voice, or a tune, or a message, but to be moved by the whole experience of a great performance of timeless music. © 2014 Read complete review, April 2014

The performances are…top-notch, and the music highly involving…The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra under Thomas Sanderling participates fully in the music, serving as partner rather than merely as backup—a stance that makes perfect sense when playing Shostakovich…Finley performs the entire suite with high involvement and understanding, and his pronunciation is exemplary; Sanderling, who was a friend of Shostakovich, brings to the CD an intimate understanding of the composer’s mindset and compositional techniques. This is an unusual and highly rewarding disc that is a significant addition to the recorded Shostakovich repertoire. © 2014 Read complete review

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