Notes and Editorial Reviews
Clara Schumann's recently recovered G-Minor Sonata['s]...bold gestures and the strong development of its ideas, especially in the substantial and stormy first movement, offer plenty of rewards, both emotional and intellectual... And while the excerpts from Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel's The Year fit more comfortably into the orthodox parameters of music for (advanced) domestic use, they do so with exquisite polish... Highly recommended to anyone intrigued by the repertoire.
-- Peter J. Rabinowitz, FANFARE [9/1996]
reviewing the Jennifer Eley performances of Schumann and Mendelssohn-Hensel, originally released on Koch 7197
Lasting a shade under twenty minutes, Zwilich's Third Symphony is large in scale. Sinewy, assertive and confident, it is very much in the tradition of the Great American Third Symphonies of the 30s and 40s. As is the case with some of her music from the past decade or so, Shostakovich is the muse in some of the symphony's timbres, rhythms, power, and intensity... Marked Largo, the third movement cyclically revisits the first. Its midsection is strikingly dark and somber... This CD is a release of a major importance. Top recommendation.
-- Benjamin Pernick, FANFARE [9/1995]
reviewing the Zwilich 3rd Symphony, originally released on Koch 7278
The great find of this release, however, and reason to rush out and buy it, is Galina Ustvolskaya. Born in 1919, one of the most important students of Shostakovich, and longtime resident of St. Petersburg, her music is fiercely original. I find myself almost at a loss for words to describe it. Simple motives are reiterated and developed with a sort of hypnotic force, but the os.tinati are never “cheap.“ Every gesture seems won through a titanic struggle. This is deeply spiritual music, but informed as much by anguish as transcendence... [B]y the 1988 sonata, Ustvolskaya is completely her own composer. It is only six and a half minutes long, but its thunderous, relentless low clusters (brutal sound-masses, yet still full of harmonic meaning) make it unique among piano music I have heard over the last decade, and its intensity suggests a piece far larger than its real-time duration. Though I have heard some of her music over the radio, and though I know a boomlet of her music is emerging on CD, this is my first encounter with Ustvolskaya on disc, and it has been shattering, the type of discovery that adventurous listeners dream of.
-- Robert Carl, FANFARE [11/1995]
reviewing the Ustvolskaya 6th Sonata, originally released on Koch 7301