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April 30, 2017

John Pitman’s CD Reviews blog spotlights recent recordings of classical music. As the music director, John auditions dozens of new releases every month, focusing on titles that stand out in terms of performance, repertoire or recording quality.


April 24, 2017

Jennifer Higdon’s Majestic music

On the heels of their triple-Grammy® – winning CD of Michael Daugherty’s music (Tales of Hemingway), the Nashville Symphony Orchestra continues its commitment to American music with this showcase of Jennifer Higdon works.  All Things Majestic (Naxos) includes the eponymous composition, which was written for the Grand Teton Music Festival.  It certainly captures the splendor... More


April 6, 2017

A Sibelius Saga in Minnesota

In the 19th century, millions of people from European countries emigrated to the United States. A large number of Finns settled in the upper Midwest, especially in Minnesota and the Great Lakes regions. Here they fished, farmed and established communities which thrive today. So, it was no surprise that many Finnish-descended Minnesotans should turn out... More


March 18, 2017

Youthful Chopin, youthful pianist

The Canadian pianist, Jan Lisiecki (lee-SHYETS-kee) first garnered the attention of critics in 2010 (the bicentenary of Chopin’s birth) with a recording of the Polish composer’s piano concertos. The recording caught Deutsche Grammophon’s attention, and they signed the teen pianist right away. Mozart and Schumann works soon followed. Now Lisiecki (whose parents are Polish) returns... More


February 6, 2017

Benjamin Grosvenor’s “Homages”

The young British pianist, Benjamin Grosvenor, is an artist whose recordings have featured in All Classical Portland’s programming for the past few years. “Dances” was a disc that make a creative connection between such disparate styles and eras as Bach and Granados. “Homages”, Mr. Grosvenor’s newest, also extends a hand across the centuries, but some... More


January 10, 2017

Tchaikovsky is conductor’s “Beloved Friend”

Being Russian, conductor Semyon Bychkov seems naturally to be drawn to the music of his countrymen, including Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. However, the maestro would argue that Tchaikovsky’s music is everyone’s music. While the Tchaikovsky Project that Mr. Bychkov has just launched has personal meaning for the conductor, and is embarking on this multi-year, multimedia endeavor... More


December 13, 2016

Kirill Gerstein offers Transcendental Liszt

Pianist Kirill Gerstein, a favorite of Portland audiences for his orchestral and solo recital appearances, has just released a CD that illustrates both the pianist’s abilities and those of the composer of these works.  Franz Liszt’s Transcendental Etudes simultaneously pay homage to his good friend Chopin (Etudes, Opp. 10 and 25), and Bach, while propelling... More


December 1, 2016

Ginastera turns 100 (Yolanda Kondonassis and the Harp Concerto)

“Beauty is the emergence of a spiritual climate in which each artist is transfigured through the impulse of creation. It becomes universal” – Alberto Ginastera Last year, American harpist Yolanda Kondonassis brought Alberto Ginastera’s Harp Concerto, Opus 25 to Portland, when she performed it with the Oregon Symphony. Recently, as part of the centennial of... More


November 17, 2016

America Again: Lara Downes explores the fabric of the nation in music

When Lara Downes crafts a recording, she explores not just themes in music, but meanings and expressions.  In my conversation with Lara, America Again was prompted by one of the many shootings that took place earlier this year, and so she put aside the project she’d been working on, to reconnect with America, its music,... More


November 2, 2016

Words Fail: Violinist Yevgeny Kutik

I was only recently introduced to Yevgeny Kutik, yet the Belarus-born violinist is up to his third CD already, with Words Fail (Marquis Classics). Mr. Kutik’s earlier releases focus in large part on Russian repertoire. What I discovered is a passionate musician with a warm, expressive tone in his playing which is perfectly suited to the... More


October 5, 2016

Matt Haimovitz plays “Overtures to Bach”

Cellist Matt Haimovitz, who started his career nearly 30 years ago on the DG label, recording the standard cello repertoire, soon broke out of that corner of classical music to seek a more personal journey. I recall, in the 1990s, interviewing Matt as he was about to head out across the country, with CDs in... More