Categories Delos Reviews, News
“He does indeed have his own sound; the pieces are quick to move to the next texture or idea, and he’s free with tonality but not abrasive. The opening ideas can almost sound like tone rows, but Hickey spins them into interesting patters and colors. The writing suits the instruments just fine, and his points are clear. There are hints of Messiaen in Cusrive (piano solo) and of Ives in Ampersand (violin and piano), but they’re tributes, not cribbing. … Of all the program, Cursive held the most interest for me — if I were more of a soloist than an accompanist, I’d seriously consider performing it.” — Stephen Estep, American Record Guide
Categories Delos Reviews
This is music of little compromise and much scholarship. Cursive is a long-form piano piece which Hickey rightly compares to Messiaen; the piece has a long dramatic arc which contains moments of respite that recall Messiaen’s notations of birdsong. … Ampersand has a more lyrical bent, Julia Sakharova’s violin given melodies which recall the catchy yet uneasy tunes of Prokofiev. … Bear in mind that I’m not comparing this music to past composers to denigrate it or call it unoriginal; I’m doing it to give you an idea of what to expect. Sean Hickey has his own voice, and although it sometimes scolds, it’s a deep and rich voice. Dolmen is a haunting nocturne with full rich, chords, meant to evoke ancient Celtic mysteries. It is justly one of Hickey’s most performed works. Were I a pianist, I would want to learn it. … Delos’s sound is consistently close but resonant. Philip Edward Fisher does heroic work as the star of the album, and the guest stars are good too, especially violinist Sakharova. The composer’s own liner-notes are thankfully approachable and easy to read. …[a] rounded picture of a composer with diverse ideas, interests and influences.” —Brian Reinhart, MusicWeb International
Categories Delos Artist News, Delos Reviews
“This recording, a sampling of Moore’s recent output interpreted by some of today’s best artists, shows why singers admire his work so much. … Moore’s perceptive and sensitive choices are matched by his ability to spin out phrases that play to singers’ strengths. Appleby sounds magnificent in ‘The Red Vineyard,’ an intimate setting of a piece in which van Gogh expresses a childlike wonder at the glory of color, and the tenor nails the slight melancholy in the closing ‘Souvenir’. Brian Zeger … emphasizes the lyricism in Moore’s sweeping piano lines. … Soprano Susanna Phillips is masterful in So Free Am I, with texts written by women from various historical periods, including two poems by sixth-century Buddhist nuns. …In each of the cycle’s seven songs, Phillips offers lustrous tone coupled with strong characterization, and Zeger’s accompaniment is marvelously clear and attentive. Brett Polegato’s gorgeous baritone closes the program with John Keats’s Ode to a Nightingale. Moore shows great finesse setting the dense beauty of the text’s eight stanzas, and has created a cycle that, like the other two, many singers would do well to add to their arsenal. Zeger combines clarity and sensitivity in Moore’s florid piano part. … Recording engineer Adam Abeshouse shows all three singers and the pianist in the best possible light.” —Bruce Hodges, Juilliard Journal
AllMusic Guide has a new review for our Kabalevsky DRD Re-issue:
Categories Delos Reviews
“…these are clean, enthusiastic performances of some of Kabalevsky’s most popular works. The Comedians, Op. 26, is crisp and downright fun… Romeo and Juliet, Op. 56, is a colorful setting … the three somewhat lesser known pieces that close out the album are very attractive. All have the uncomplicated structures, more than his conventional harmony, make Kabalevsky’s music easy to grasp, but they also have touches that suggest how he was not a mere clone of earlier musicians.” —James Manheim
Critic Robert Tomas, writing in the online Canadian music magazine The Whole Note, had some very positive things to say about three song cycles by composer Ben Moore, as recorded on Delos’ recent release, DEAR THEO (DE 3437).
Tomas begins his review by reminding his readers of Moore’s distinguished reputation as a composer of art songs, chamber music and (lately) opera; he also mentions Moore’s previous collaborations with quite a few globally prominent vocalists. He is also complimentary about the composer’s careful choice of texts from leading poets and other artists.
The only non-literary artist whose words Moore sets on this disc is the great Vincent van Gogh. Speaking of Moore’s settings of the mentally disturbed artist’s “dark letters” to his brother (as set in the album’s Dear Theo cycle), Tomas opines that tenor Paul Appleby renders them with “…the right balance of anguish and raw energy.” Tomas goes on to call attention to baritone Brett Polegato’s “velvet-smooth voice” as he delivers Moore’s setting of John Keats’ Ode to a Nightingale, to “create an instant classic.” He also makes mention of “the great Brian Zeger,” the program’s piano accompanist.
Tomas sums up his commentary by advising that modern song lovers “…will find it a fine disc.” So, if you’re a fan of modern songs, take heed – and give Moore’s most excellent art song collection a try: this CD is for YOU.Categories Delos Reviews
“I enjoyed this recital for the way it displays Cabell’s considerable talents in a programme which explores French song with an interesting selection of the known and unknown. The recital has a nice trajectory to it, and Cabell brings out the langour and orientalisme of many of the songs with a nicely seductive feel combined with a lovely sense of line, though you may worry about the diction in some of the songs. Throughout, Cabell is finely supported by Craig Terry, who gets some of the more interesting piano writing in the later songs.” —Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill
Read the full, thorough review at www.PlanetHugill.com!Categories Delos Reviews
Categories Delos Reviews
“…a wide selection of works by Manuel de Falla, Enrique Granados, Joaquin Turina, Joaquin Rodrigo, Federico Mompou and Isaac Albéniz, all in outstanding arrangements by quartet member Tadeo do Amaral.… quite dazzling performances and a beautiful quality to the recorded sound, which fully captures the nuances, sonorities and colour of the playing. The arrangements themselves are quite brilliant, and easily pass the acid test: they sound like original works, and it’s really difficult to imagine them as having been originally written for piano, which all but one were.” —Terry Robbins, The WholeNote
“The Reinecke concerto was written in 1864, and is a lovely, immediately accessible work clearly influenced by Reinecke’s teacher, Felix Mendelssohn. Samis has the necessary big, warm tone, and there is some lovely orchestral support from the Gateway Chamber Orchestra under Gregory Wolynec. Samis considers the work to be ‘a lost gem that richly deserves a place in the repertoire,’ and it’s hard not to agree with him. … Samis’ playing throughout is of the highest order, and there is depth, resonance and excellent balance in the recorded sound.” —Terry Robbins, The WholeNote
Read the full review at www.thewholenote.comCategories Delos Reviews
Categories Delos Reviews, featured
“This was my first exposure to the music of Jane Antonia Cornish, and I must admit, I was more than impressed. I was overwhelmed. … Using almost minimal musical materials, she creates an emotionally moving and powerful sound world where a few musical gestures coalesce into striking and powerful statements. … she is able to invoke states of mind and perhaps a state of her soul in a way that is stark and bares her feelings to the world. I find it remarkable that she is willing to do this; certainly, music that cuts this deep is not the usual way of writing nowadays; but Cornish’s aesthetic seems to me very much based on her own state of being, and her urgent desire to share those feelings with others. … If the reader picks up on my references to sensuality in these works, well and good, because that is exactly what I hear in Cornish’s music. It is, as I said earlier, deeper than its form seems to indicate, thus sensuality is only one of its features, but that is certainly present. …this is far from being background music. This is extraordinarily deep music. … All the performances on this CD are up to the challenge of the music, and thankfully, the sound quality is crisp and clear. …the music is so intense that 45 minutes is about as much as one can handle at one time. This is really good music, different in a way that may upset or challenge your norms, but powerful and moving nonetheless.” —Lynn René Bayley, Fanfare Magazine
Categories Delos Reviews, featured
“The three cycles represented in this disk show [Ben Moore's] talent for dramatic musical settings of interesting texts. As the composer remarks in the liners, all three have as underlying theme the wish for freedom. … It’s a well-thought out tonality Ben Moore creates in these songs, neo-romantic in their own way, with an excellently integrated vocal and piano nexus, a sophisticated, ultra-musical approach that wears well over many listenings. … Brian Zeger has a poetic touch and a flowing way with the piano parts. The vocalists approach the songs mostly in a very declamatory, operatic style—Paul Appleby as tenor for “Dear Theo”, Susanna Phillips, the soprano featured on “So Free Am I”, and Brett Polegato, whose baritone seems especially suited to “Ode to a Nightingale”. All cover their parts well and allow the music to bloom forth for us to enjoy and enter into. Moore has a true affinity with and talent for the song cycle. Anyone who appreciates the form and looks for something modern and contemporary-tonal will respond readily to these cycles. Moore and his music have conviction and a beautiful sense of line. Recommended.” —Grego Applegate Edwards, Classical-Modern Music Review