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DEJAN LAZIC/Johannes Brahms: Brahms piano concertos are simply supreme works. Here, in this world premiere recording, Lazic transcribes them for violin and really gets to strut his stuff as a masterful musician. Backed by the spot on Atlanta Symphony, it really doesn't get any better than this. Giving himself a little room to be a rock star, Lazic takes on some interstitial rhapsodies and scherzo doing them up as he sees fit, offering some fine improvisation and insight that he brings to bear. Tasty and full blooded throughout, Lazic is one of those you have to keep an ear out for. You won't be disappointed.

TALLIS SCHOLARS/Lamentations of Jeremiah: Choral music written in the 1500s for Holy Week, this crew, now on their 50th album, know how to make it sound like you are squarely in the middle of church, looking over your shoulder about all the bad stuff you've done that needs to be expunged---quickly. This set gathers the complete "Lamentations" and takes chant records to a whole new level of the game. Vocal perfection throughout.

ANDREAS STAIER/Goldberg Variationen: Staier is a master musician that takes his work seriously, so much so that this recording was gestating for 35 years; 25 years before he even felt up to the task of playing it in public and ten years more to finally commit it to posterity. Up for the task of putting his stamp on one of Bach's best known compositions, Staier can easily call this set the result of a life's work. With just him and his harpsichord, such levels of enchantment are achieved that it's hard to imaging this as anything less than the definitive statement on the matter. A must for the true classical fan, especially those that think there's nothing new under the sun that can be done to the essentials. Hot stuff that's purely magnificent. And then there's the DVD that comes along with it...

GOLDNER STRING QUARET/Dvorak Piano Quintets: Dvorak has a good sense of the dramatic and the Goldner String Quartet are a wonderful bunch of musicians that know how to bring out the finer points. Pianist Piers Lane provides just the right accent and undertone to the main of the quartet, all adding up to a session of fine listening. A really good album that makes a wonderful way to pass time for someone that simply wants to get lost in the listening and let the rest of the world go about it's business.

LSO/Mahler Symphony 4: Valery Gergiev shows that one way to keep war horse repertoire fresh is to bring new interpretations to the fore. This set finds Mahler brought to an even keel where the music is given free reign to speak for itself rather than have the dramatic highs and lows ebb and flow you along. Almost assaying the piece backwardly, the earlier pieces at the end of the movement inform the rest of the work. Certainly something that will get the hard core Mahler fans talking about it one way or another. All told, it's like a classic movie being remade by the right hands.

DAVID GORTON/Trajectories: Contemporary classical is alive and well in England as this composer struggles to make complex pieces palatable. This recording, supervised by the composer, is loaded with music that seems difficult to play but certainly rewards the listener for sticking with it. The centerpiece of this collection is a cello sonata, given a two readings, each with a different spin that should open the ears. Between them are some caprices that hold the intensity of the core. A pretty solid bet for the classical malcontent that wants to chart some new waters.

PASCAL & AMI ROGE/Wedding Cake: Hopefully this husband/wife piano duo's life is as charming as their playing. A delightful and sprightly set that shows another side to four handed piano, this duo is on the money throughout with a program of French music that might tangentially seem about romance but certainly knows how to elicit the playful, flirty side that seems to have gone out of fashion. Hard to resist, this light and easy outing is thoroughly enchanting and sure to be a go to record when you want to see things on the sunny side of the street.

DAVID RUSSELL/Sonidos Latinos: Latin guitar is one way to measure a guitarist's mettle since there is so much out there to compare him to that anything that doesn't measure up will quickly be disposed of. Here we find Russell going a bit off the beaten path, even if the composers he picks on were major players at one time back in antiquity. If anyone has any lingering doubts about whether Russell should be mentioned in the same breath as the rest of the contemporary greats, this set should go the distance in erasing them. Playing like a champ, Russell knows how to wring the most from his strings crafting a first class tapestry of some of the best music and playing you are bound to hear. A really cooking date that has anything a deep guitar fan could want to hear, and you want to hear a lot more of this guy.

Volume 33/Number 136
March 17, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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