Used Bin Troll Tweets PPP.

Ethelbert Nevin

[November 2023.]

Johann Sebastian BACH: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1741-42). Víkingur Ólafsson (pno). DG 486 4553 (1 CD, 2 LP) (

If Ólafsson piloted a ferry, he’d take on water and tip out passengers. This Bach confounds and is rarely soporific or revelatory. MAYBE NOT.

William HERSCHEL: Symphonies Nos. 2, 8, 12, 13, 14 and 17 (ca. 1760-64). London Mozart Players, Matthias Bamert (cond.). Chandos 10048 (1 CD) (

Perhaps more famous as an astronomer, the competent (eccentric?) Herschel illustrates why we hold Haydn and Mozart in high regard. MAYBE YES.

Franco ALFANO: String Quartet No. 1 in D major (1914-18; rev. 1924); String Quartet No. 2 in C major, “In Tre Tempi Collegati” (1925-26); String Quartet No. 3 in G minor (1945). Elmira Darvarova, Mary Ann Mumm (vln), Craig Mumm (vla), Samuel Magill (vlc). Naxos 8.579042 (1 CD) (

Probably easier to digest than his operas, Alfano’s string quartets slither with surprising chords and queasy ideas much like Janáček. MAYBE.

Rough Magic.” William BRITTELLE: Psychedelics (2017). Eve BEGLARIAN: None More Than You (2019). Caroline SHAW: The Isle (2022). Peter SHIN: Bits Torn from Words (2019). Roomful of Teeth. New Amsterdam Records NWAM172 (1 LP, digital) (

Virtuosic voices squandered on gimmicks and gewgaws. Maybe you’ll wince or grimace, but nothing here will make the world a better place. NO.

Missy MAZZOLI: Dark with Excessive Bright (2021)1; Sinfonia (for Orbiting Spheres) (2013)2; These Worlds in Us (2006)3; Orpheus Undone (2021)4; Vespers for Violin (2014)5; Dark with Excessive Bright (2021; arr. string quintet and solo violin)6. Peter Herresthal1,5,6 (vln), Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra1, Arctic Philharmonic2,3,4,6, James Gaffigan1, Tim Weiss (cond.)2,3,4,6. BIS 2572 (1 SACD) (

Maybe time will tell. Long decades after Adams and Torke, Mazzoli contentedly runs in place. The works with violin soloist fare best. MAYBE.

Johan SVENDSEN: Symphony No. 1, Op. 4 (1867); Symphony No. 2, Op. 15 (1877); Polonaise No. 2, Op. 28 (1881). Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Thomas Dausgaard (cond.). Chandos CHAN 9932 (1 CD) (

Some music is obscure for good reason. Focus may stall in No. 1, No. 2 interests a dash more. The Polonaise pleases because it is short. NO.


, , , , , , , ,
[Previous Article: Thirteen Trios]