Articles by Norman Lebrecht
An extraordinary 40 CD box-set compiles the uncollected glories of the great classical label Westminster Records
Frederick Delius can be an acquired taste. Now a new recording tries to win listeners over with some of his most intriguing compositions. Norman Lebrecht reviews.
For many years he was known as the man who left his skull to the Royal Shakespeare Company for use in the gravediggers’ scene in Hamlet. But a new album showcases André Tchaikovsky’s inimitable music.
The album of the week is the unmatched choral music of James MacMillan and Capella Nova
There’s a certain unforgettable sound that can only come from Hungarian composers; a new recording of György Kurtág’s Splinters suite captures it with bracing clarity
The Zehetmair Quartet delivers a rich new recording of music by Beethoven, Bruckner, Hartmann and Holliger
The great Natalie Dessay is back … this time singing movie soundtracks? Norman Lebrecht listens.
Lang Lang unites with Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Symphony Orchestra unite to perform two of the world’s most show-stopping piano concertos
Deutsche Grammophon brings forth a stunning recital at Wigmore Hall by Portuguese musicians Antonio Meneses & Maria Joao Pires. Norman Lebrecht reviews.
Pianist Boris Giltburg’s somber, beautiful new album shows a heartening independent spirit. Norman Lebrecht reviews.
The songs to My Fair Lady, sung in German? Just one of the idiosyncrasies of Diana Damrau’s irresistible new vocal album.
In 1832, nineteen-year-old Richard Wagner composed two piano sonatas in an effort to fill the vacuum left by Beethoven’s death. Norman Lebrecht discusses the results.
Behold: a near perfect album. German baritone Matthias Goerne soars in a new recording of the music of Hanns Eisler.
Kuniko Kato, percussion virtuoso, uses marimbas, crotales, bells and vibraphones to adapt the work of classical composers
In 1982, Vladimir came to London and gave his first recital in Europe in 31 years. The release of that performance is something no piano lover can do without.
In June, Britten’s “Peter Grimes” was staged on the beach at the Aldeburgh Festival of Music. The results, Norman Lebrecht writes, were remarkable.
The great Austrian pianist Artur Schnabel was in his mind a composer first and foremost. Norman Lebrecht reviews a recording of his piano works.
It’s only July, but Norman Lebrecht may have found his choral album of the year. A review of the magnificent folk songs in Naxos’s “Down by the Sea.”
In her newest release, Romanian pianist Raluca Stirbat turns out some exceptionally supple recitals of Bartok and Debussy
In his new album “Home Stretch,” Timo Andres adapts–or is the word mauls?–some classic Mozart compositions
A collection of uncommonly whimsical music highlights a retrospective album of the late composer Elliott Carter. Norman Lebrecht listens, and smiles.
A new album of the chamber music of one of Israel’s foremost composer’s, Paul Ben-Haim. Norman Lebrecht listens.
Chopin and Dutilleux: two composers, separated by a century and more, are joined by a city and its culture. Norman Lebrecht reviews a new album of their preludes.
One of EMI Classics’ final albums, by 19-year-old Conrad Tao, is an instant collectible. But how is the music?
A batch of bedtime stories, wickedly recited by top actors, interspersed with music derived from the selfsame fairy tales. Why had no one thought of this before?
The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic brings forth a dazzling recording of Shostakovich’s “Leningrad Symphony”
Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov’s enigmatic and disturbing ‘Naive Music’ gets a new recording from pianist Elisaveta Blumina
Norman Lebrecht reviews a remarkable recording of little-known piano music by Olivier Messiaen and Kaija Saariaho
In collaboration with Brazilian soloist Nelson Freire, Wunderkind Lionel Bringuier conducts the 2010 BBC Proms concert in a stirring new DVD release
Norman Lebrecht reviews a new recording of Kossuth, a rare and distinctive turn by Béla Bartók into mainstream romanticism.
Youtube sensation Valentina Lisitsa has put out the finest recording of Rachmaninov’s piano concertos in decades. Norman Lebrecht reviews.
In a hypnotizing new recording from Mirare, pianist Anne Quéffélec performs the soothing chillout music of Frenchman Erik Satie–don’t listen while driving.
Six works by five living British composers for soprano saxophone – you’re shaking your head, but “The Coral Sea” is one of the musical delights of the year
Domenico Scarlatti has always been overshadowed by his contemporaries Bach and Handel. A new recording of his solo sonatas brings his gorgeous music front and center.
The works of Polish emigre Andrzej Panufnik course with passion and political subtext. Norman Lebrecht reviews a new recording of Symphonies 7 and 8.
Romanian pianist Dinu Lipatti died of cancer at age 33, but left behind a treasure trove of adventurous, intellectually satisfying piano music. Norman Lebrecht reviews a new double-CD of Lipatti’s work.
Jacqueline du Pré’s performance of Elgar’s cello concerto is so legendary that few artists have dared to challenge it. Now Alisa Weilerstein does so, in an astonishing new recording. Norman Lebrecht reviews
2013 gets off to a smashing start with Alexandre Tharaud’s wild new recording of the works of postmodernist composer Mauricio Kagel. Norman Lebrecht reviews.
It’s been a bumper year for vocal recitals, but Norman Lebrecht has selected the best of the bunch–and the best album of 2012
A compelling new recording of compositions for the viola da gamba, an ancestor of the cello, is just the antidote to predictable radio classical fare
The embattled Turkish composer Fazil Say releases a symphony rooted in the sounds of his homeland. Norman Lebrecht reviews.
Too little is known about the importance of Irish composer John Field on 19th century music. An exciting new CD brings his wide influence to light.
An English traveller once described the Portuguese love ballad as ‘the most seducing, the most voluptuous music imaginable.’ A new CD reminds of us its delights.
You may wonder if Vivaldi’s overexposed Four Seasons needs a new recording, but Max Richter’s inspired recomposition gives the hoary old favorite a shot in the arm
New for classical music lovers is an invigorating recording of the symphonies of Danish composer Carl Nielsen, as well as a trio of dazzling piano recitals. As always, Norman Lebrecht reviews.
Norman Lebrecht reviews a five-star recording from the extraordinary Finnish soprano Anu Komsi
The deeply unlikely pairing of pianist Glenn Gould and soprano Elisabeth Schwarzkopf was deemed a flop when it took place in 1966–now some of the never-before-published recordings have come out, and they’re well worth the wait.
Jon Lord, the founder of Deep Purple, brings out a concerto that fuses elements of classical music, rock, and ballad singing. Norman Lebrecht reviews the results.
A CD of piano recitals dubbed “The French Album” stars an English pianist and includes pieces by Bach and Liszt. Norman Lebrecht sorts out the confusion.
Norman Lebrecht reviews a new recording of the music of Handel’s contemporary Bononcini–but which Bononcini are we talking about? In addition are three notable CDs for John Cage’s centenary.
Glenn Gould would have turned 80 next month; his legacy is celebrated with a diverse and sometimes instrumentally daring homage
Wunderkind violinist Nicola Benedetti delivers her best album to date with this thoughtful selection of concertos and film themes
A teeming new multi-volume box-set from Decca showcases the magisterial piano performances of Clifford Curzon
Who knew that the avant-garde Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg wrote so many songs? They’re brought together in a revealing new four-disc collection.
Violas are the most overlooked of instruments, but not by Beethoven–an intriguing new release brings together his music for the violin’s deeper-voiced sibling
Natalie Clein delivers an extraordinary performance of Ernest Bloch’s Schelomo, in a disc featuring other classic Jewish music. Norman Lebrecht reviews.
The amazing duo of Stefano Bollani and Riccardo Chailly return with the inter-war music of Ravel, Stravinsky, Kurt Weill, and Victor de Sabata.
In his CD of the Week recommendation, Norman Lebrecht discovers the brilliant exception to a rule, an aria recital disc worth buying
Against all expectations arrives a fantastic new recording of Vivaldi’s sonatas, courtesy of L’Estravagante. Norman Lebrecht reviews.
These rare recordings illuminate the valuable contributions of the Russian composer (and contemporary of Rachmaninov’s) Nikolai Medtner
The Artemis Quartet brings forth a brilliant recording of Schubert’s string quartets 13, 14, and 15 — that plus three notable new releases of the music of Shostakovich
The steady rush of talented new pianists can be overwhelming. Norman Lebrecht helps locate the gold from the dross.
Four new recordings celebrate the oft-forgotten Russian composer Mieczylaw Weinberg. Norman Lebrecht reviews.
Philip Glass’s ninth symphony has some of the minimalist traits listeners will expect–but also a number of surprises
In a clever ploy to extend the copyright of Sergei Rachmaninov’s music, Alexander Warenberg has fiddled with the composer’s second symphony to create a so-called “fifth” piano concerto. Norman Lebrecht reviews the results.
Every conductor tries to locate the key to Edward Elgar’s famous compositions — a new release lets listeners hear how Elgar interpreted himself
A year after the centennial of his death, Gustav Mahler is still inspiring interesting performances. Norman Lebrecht listens to five newly released recordings.
Music from the adventurous Polish composer Henryk Mikolaj Górecki finds a perfect match with the National Youth Choir of Great Britain.
19th-century Russian composer Anton Rubinstein has always been justifiably overshadowed by Tchaikovsky, but a new recording of his Persian music proves a surprising delight
Norman Lebrecht spotlights a striking new recording of a piece that has eluded musicians for years, Edward Elgar’s cello concerto
Arbiter Records gathers together some remarkable archival rarities of Brahms recordings. Norman Lebrecht reviews.
Acquaint yourself with newly recorded Piano Concertos from the talented, eclectic, and little-known Scottish composer Erik Chisholm
Renée Fleming sings “sensual French masterpieces” on a new album from Decca–but are the results as evocative as the billing?
The great Natalie Dessay is at her best in this recording of Claude Debussy’s early piano suites
A bursting box set contains all of the piano music from the iconoclastic American composer John Cage