Music Reviews
Classical Music Reviews - Part 2 - April, 1996

By Benjamin J. Foster


  ***** Extraordinary
  **** Good
  *** Acceptable
  ** Mediocre
  * Poor


Mandolin Concertos by Vivaldi and Hummel
Vyacheslav Kruglov, mandolin; Northern Crown Soloists Ensemble
Distributed by Olympia Compact Discs Ltd. (London)
MK 417114, CD-Single
$15.95, 60:34

Performance: starstarstarstarstar
Audio Quality: starstarstarstar

The magic of late 17th Century Venetian music comes alive in this fine recording. Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741), former priest, now music head for the Ospedela della Pieta music conservatory, wrote music to accommodate the learning development for his all girl orchestra. The mandolin concertos are just but a few of many concertos written for unusual leading soloists. Austrian born Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778- 1837), a prized student of Mozart and Salieri, followed his teacher's practice of clarity in texture and importance of melody in his compositions. On this CD, Vyacheslav Kruglov, graduate of the St. Petersburg Conservatory and teacher at the Gnesin Institute of Music, gives an outstanding performance with particular attention to the minute details of performance practices. Intended for background music, this CD offers a glimpse of life from another era that is sure to bring the utmost delight to its listeners.

Benjamin J. Foster

Classic Digital Claude Debussy Klavierwerke 1888-1910
Peter Schmalfuss, piano
Distributed by Pilz Media Group (Kranzberg, Germany)
140 130-2, CD-Single
$4.99, 66:35

Performance: starstarstarstarstar
Audio Quality: starstarstarstarstar

The World Exhibition of 1889 served as the impetus for Claude Debussy (1862-1918) to develop his own style. While visiting the newly constructed Eiffel Tower, Debussy heard melodies and harmonies from different cultures. From those sounds, masterpieces erupted in his piano works. Peter Schmalfuss, concert pianist who most recently performed at the Darmstadt Action Theatre, exposes the listener to luscious sonorities and melodies. Beginning with the Deux Arabesques (1888) and Clair de Lune (1890), the listener is taken into a journey of complete calm and serenity. Jardin sous la plui (Gardens in the rain, 1903) is exceptionally played as is the Children's Corner Suite, which he dedicated to his daughter. The last two selections, Preludes (1910) from his two volume work and Valses pour piano (1910), allow the listener to follow Debussy's "mature" style. This CD is an outstanding buy and one well worth getting.

Benjamin J. Foster

Copyright 1995, 1996, 1997 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity
Return to Table of Contents for this

Our Vault pages may have some display quirks. Let us know if we need to take a look at this page or fix a bug.
Connect with us
  • Instagram
  • Google+
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
Secrets "Cave"