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Universal New Releases: New Collectors Edition, Originals Resurrects, and more

We haven’t done a “new release” post in some while, so here is one to keep you updated with some new things you can anticipate in the coming few months.




First, some exciting news:  a new Collectors Edition (we believe the 3rd incarnation of the series) will be out in September, and the first few offerings are pretty exciting, in particular Continue reading


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Two New Alkan Releases from Piano Classics

Seemingly, most of the releases to celebrate Alkan’s bicentenary this year are by Piano Classics–sad that many major labels couldn’t be bothered to reissue their Alkan legacies long forgotten in their annals.  At any rate, Top Ear is very happy that Piano Classics will be releasing 2 Alkan discs soon, generous and much-needed additions to the rather small pool of present Alkan recordings.

Untitled Untitled 2

Vincenzo Maltempo continues his Alkan series on Piano Classics with this:  the variations on a theme “Le Festin d’Esope” and Ouverture from the sprawling set of Op. 39 etudes, as well as Continue reading

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Obituary: János Starker

János Starker, widely regarded to be one of the greatest cellists ever, passed away yesterday.  He was 89.

János Starker was born in 1924 and was instantly recognized as a child prodigy, giving his first public performances at age 6.  In his professional career he served as the principal cellist of a few orchestras, such as the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra under Antal Doráti, and most notably the Continue reading


Obituaries: Sir Colin Davis and Bud Herseth

In just two days, two great stars have fallen:  Sir Colin Davis (25 September 1927 – 14 April 2013), president of the London Symphony Orchestra, and Adolph “Bud” Herseth (July 25, 1921 – April 13, 2013), long-standing principal trumpet of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Colin Davis

Sir Colin Davis is probably most well known for his long-standing relationship with the London Symphony Orchestra, having conducted his debut with the orchestra in 1959.  He was appointed principal conductor in 1995, and stepped down from the post in 2007 to be its second ever president after Leonard Bernstein in 1990.  A clarinettist by training, Continue reading

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Very Exciting New Releases in April

Remember our news of the exciting releases in March?  To be very honest, we weren’t THAT excited, especially compared to the releases that will reach your nearest disc shop in April.  Therefore, kindly observe the comparative form of “exciting” that we have used in this news’  title:  “Very Exciting”.

And it is Very Exciting, because Universal’s Virtuoso budget series, whose offerings Continue reading


Obituaries: Sawallisch and Cliburn

Yet two more respected musicians have died recently:  the conductor Wolfgang Sawallisch and the pianist Van Cliburn.  Both of them have contributed significantly to the world of classical music and their absence is a painful loss.

Wolfgang Sawallisch died at his home in Grassau, Germany on 22 February.  He was 89.  He assumed positions with various orchestras:  the most fruitful tenures being the principal conductor Continue reading


Exciting new releases in March

Here are some interesting new albums that will be released in March.  Stay tuned to Top Ear because we may review some of these albums in due course.

Marc-André Hamelin’s in-progress cycle of Joseph Haydn’s piano sonatas has gone very well, offering exquisite musicality and fidelity to the score (and needless to say Hamelin’s amazing technique).  In this new spinoff album Continue reading