October 21, 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.

October 19, 2017

TROIKA: Cellist Matt Haimovitz and pianist Christopher O’Riley

Cellist Matt Haimovitz has never been content to just “be quiet and play the music”. That statement, often fired at musicians when they express their opinions, has been heard with greater frequency in recent years. One could argue that a musician is paid to play; but it can also be argued that music as an... More

August 31, 2017

Alma Espanola: Isabel Leonard and Sharon Isbin

This is a special recording on a number of fronts.  In the first place, it’s the premiere by these two artists, both of them winners of multiple Grammy awards, recording together after collaborating for several years in concert.  Second, this is the first recording in about 40 years devoted exclusively to Spanish songs for voice... More

July 12, 2017

Composer Jack Gallagher

American composer Jack Gallagher (born in Brooklyn in 1947), is a Grammy®-winning composer of works for a variety of instruments, including several orchestral works.  Some are of a large scale, such as his Symphony No. 2, ‘Ascendant’, while others, such as his Berceuse (lullaby) are diminutive but make as much of an impression.  Part of... More

June 21, 2017

Bel Canto Paganini: Rachel Barton Pine takes on the Caprices

Nicolo Paganini dazzled audiences in his time with his unprecedented virtuosity, made women swoon (and men envious), and helped to create the myth that he must have sold his soul for such abilities.  In truth, Paganini was a gifted creator of original melodies, as well as variations on opera arias and popular tunes of his... More

May 31, 2017

Simone Dinnerstein takes Mozart to Havana

American pianist Simone Dinnerstein, who first received critical acclaim for her recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, has made collaboration a major part of her career since that first, solo recording. She has created recordings that bridge the worlds of classical music, jazz and folk. Her longtime collaborator and arranger, composer Philip Lasser, has been with... More

May 16, 2017

Emerson Quartet bridges the centuries (Music of Britten and Purcell)

The members of the Emerson String Quartet are keeping plenty busy, both onstage and in the studio. They’re touring, too: the four members of the Grammy® – winning chamber ensemble were in Portland recently (presented by Chamber Music NW), and will return in July. It’s all part of a well-deserved celebration of the group’s 40th... More

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