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Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Alisa Weilerstein's "Transfigured Night" Should Be A Top-Drawer Recommendation

By Norman Lebrecht on July 27, 2018

Alisa Weilerstein: Transfigured Night
Alisa Weilerstein’s first album with Pentatone and the Trondheim Soloists should be a top-drawer recommendation, but it lacks the power needed for a convincing exploration of Viennese musical heritage.

Haydn: Cello concertos (Pentatone)

★★ (out of five)

There’s a debate going on among agents as to whether it is better for an artist to have an exclusive record contract or to work across several labels. Alisa Weilerstein, who has made outstanding recordings of the Elgar, Dvorak and Shostakovich concertos for Decca, has now popped up on a Dutch label with the two Haydn concertos and Schoenberg’s Transfigured Night. Pentatone is a terrific label, run by former Philips professionals. This ought to be a top-drawer recommendation. Why it isn’t is a matter of some perplexity.

Weilerstein dispenses with a conductor for these pieces, which is not unusual. But her tempi at the opening of the D major concerto are not crisp, and the ensemble is not powerful enough to challenger her into a stronger course. The C major concerto, slightly snappier, sags a bit in the Adagio.

As for the Schoenberg, it warbles along in a convivial blur without ever suggesting it is telling a compelling story of love and death. The Trondheim Soloists make all the right noises, mostly together, but I get no sense of urgency in this enterprise. There are stronger accounts of the concertos by Rostropovich, Isserlis, Maisky, Caucon, Du Pre and Yo-Yo Ma.

Haydn: Cello concertos (Pentatone) is available from Amazon and iTunes.

Norman Lebrecht

Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries.

Norman Lebrecht

Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries.
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Ludwig Van Toronto

THE SCOOP | Tim Roth, Clive Owen To Star In Film Based On Norman Lebrecht's 'Song Of Names'

By Michael Vincent on September 30, 2018

Norman Lebrecht's 'Song Of Names', an intriguing tale about music and betrayal, begins production with A-list actors Tim Roth and Clive Owen.
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THE SCOOP | The Azrieli Foundation Launches New $50,000 Prize For Canadian Composers

By Caroline Rodgers on October 16, 2018

The Azrieli Foundation has announced the third component of the Azrieli Music Prize. With a combined value of $200,000, it makes it the largest prize for composers in Canada.
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GIVEAWAY | Win 2 Tickets To See The Rumi Symphony Project Live In Toronto

By Ludwig Van on October 13, 2018

Courtesy of the Small World Music, we’re giving away two tickets to see the Rumi Symphony Project on Sunday, October 21, 2018, at 7:00 p.m. at the Sony Centre, 1 Front St. East, Toronto, ON.
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