Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

For the past five years or so I've posted reviews of classical music CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays, in various places on the web: Amazon.com, iTunes and other sites. I'll collect those earlier reviews, and add four or five new ones every month.

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Monday, November 2, 2015

An outstanding Dvorak Requiem

From February 4, 2015:


Dvorak’s Requiem is a big work full of amazing tunes, awesome effects of instrumentation, choral and solo voice writing, and emotional peaks. Written for an English audience more familiar with oratorios than opera, it doesn’t have the same dramatic logic of that other great 19th century Requiem, Verdi’s. What’s needed in a great recording of Dvorak’s work is a well-matched set of soloists with musicianship at least matching their strong voices, a very good orchestra and an outstanding choir. But above all one needs a conductor with a vision of the work as a whole, and the ability to keep the fire lit under everyone in its not infrequent valleys as well as its peaks. Antoni Wit has the experience, the background, and the intimate knowledge of his forces to do just that. This is a recording to match his best, such as his Grammy winning Penderecki disc, or (since Wit is about much more than Polish music) his amazing Mahler 8th Symphony. Back in 2011 Wit mentioned in an interview that Naxos wanted him to record all of Dvorak’s choral music. I hope that happens, and that he can continue the excellent work begun with the Requiem, with his Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir.

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