Music Reviews

Pentatone Has a Rising Star! 

Pentatone has a rising star! Venezuelan Rafael Payare has been making a name for himself for the past few years, and these two newer releases from Pentatone are lighting up my listening room. I have so many great Mahler 5’s, and I’ve praised many of them right here. But this new one from Payare with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra was a joy to hear from the very first. It’s exciting, holding nothing back!

And there’s Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben, and Mahler’s Ruckert-Lieder, recently released! My first exposure to A Hero’s Life was about decades ago with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra, on a super-hifi Columbia recording. It was certainly lively, but a bit over-cooked. Others through the years impressed me, but the piece never became one of my favorites. But this one, whiles certainly exciting, exposes far more layers of feeling than I’ve heard before. It’s a bit different in spots, but it all sounds… right! And its peaceful ending leads beautifully into Mahler’s Ruckert-Lieder, with the crystal clear voice of Sonya Yoncheva.

I don’t care how many recordings you may have of the works on these two albums. Stop what you’re doing and check them out. Plug in your headphones and listen!

I know, I get a bit excited sometimes.

Written by

Bill Dodd

Bill is Senior Music Reviewer at NativeDSD. He lives in the Portland, Oregon area. He is an avid photographer too! Along with his early interest in broadcasting and high fidelity audio, he was exposed to classical music in small doses from age 5, was given piano lessons from age 9— Starting with Bach and including Gershwin. Successful morning personality in San Francisco at age 22. (true). Sang in choirs in high school and college. Although the broadcasting experience was all in popular music, his personal listening has been mostly classical his whole life—along with others including Benny Goodman, Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, Joni Mitchell, The Who, and Led Zeppelin.


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