Reviews From the Press
The Neue Zeitschrift für Musik offered the musicological community a whole-hearted recommendation for our Hessenberg recording. In closing, Lutz Lesle remarked,
Das Slowakische Radiosinfonieorchester aus Bratislava und sein engagierter Dirigent Leland Sun geben der Einschätzung Furtwänglers recht: Mehr noch als im Orchesterkonzert ist in der Sinfonie ein Meister am Werk, der im Vollbesitz seines kompositorischen Handwerks den alten Formen neuen Sinn einschreibt und mit dem Orchester souverän umgeht...
/ The Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra of Bratislava and its committed conductor Leland Sun give justice to Furtwängler’s estimation. Even more than in the Concerto for Orchestra is in the Symphony a master at work, who in full possession of his compositional craft ascribes new meaning to the old forms and handles the orchestra with supreme command...
2001 “Want List”
Underscoring his high praise earlier in the year, Paul Snook in Fanfare selected our Hessenberg CD as one of the Five Best Recordings of 2001.
"Star of the Month"
Our press coverage in Germany began with Michael Kube’s commending review in Fono Forum, wherein our Hessenberg CD was awarded a “Star of the Month” and was given the top spot amongst the honorees.
In der Sinfonie spricht Hessenberg eine eigene, gewichtige Sprache, deren originelle tonale Harmonik einem oft melancholischen, teilweise aber auch rhythmisch akzentuieren Ausdruckscharakter dient.
/ In the Symphony, Hessenberg speaks an individualistic and serious language, whose original tonal harmony serves its often melancholic and rhythmically accentuated expressive character.
. . .
Leland Sun und das Orchester aus Bratislava werden mit spürbarem Engagement und straffer Disziplin dem erheblichen Ansrpuch der Partitur gerecht. Hoffentlich verhelfen sie mit iher gelungenen Interpretation der bedeutenden Sinfonie zu größerer Aufmerksamkeit!
/ Leland Sun and the orchestra from Bratislava do justice to the considerable demands of the score with notable engagement and intense discipline. Hopefully with their successful interpretation they will help to bring the important symphony to wider attention!
Classical Music on the Web
An extensive Internet coverage of our Hessenberg release appeared in Classical Music on the Web, comprising two reviews, a short discography and other background information on the composer. Editor Rob Barnett remarked,
The work [Second Symphony] exudes a dignified nobility associated with its Bachian forebears. Leland Sun who proves himself an often inspired friend to Hessenberg’s curtained start makes much of the symphony.
. . .
The music [Concerto for Orchestra] has some of the fibre and sinew of one of Stokowski’s Bach syntheses but shorn of the extremes of the chromatic palette.
. . .
A most intriguing disc, thoroughly well documented. A real credit to Cassandra’s sense of adventure. Long may such ventures continue.
Furthermore, his fellow reviewer John France asserted,
The CD is beautifully produced. I cannot fault the playing, the quality of the sound, the sleeve design or the programme notes. The conductor, Leland Sun, has contributed to the Hessenberg scholarship, as well as giving us a first class performance. The programme is excellent too, giving, in just over the hour, two of the composer’s ‘best known’ works. To my mind it is a fine example of what a CD should be.
Los Angeles Times
Jun. 10, 2001
In the Los Angeles Times, principal music critic Mark Swed said of the music and the performance,
The [Hessenberg 2nd] symphony is impressively grand… Sun leads commanding, committed, even winning, performances of music that hardly plays itself.
After an enthusiastic introduction in the previous issue, Fanfare Magazine gave us a further recommendation, in which reviewer Paul Snook exclaimed,
This out-of-the-blue release from a small new label, headed by a dedicated and very knowledgeable enthusiast, of two major orchestral scores by one of the many long-neglected German composers who came to notice and maturity before and during World War II is a source of high astonishment and unlimited gratitude.
. . .
Under the close guidance of executive producer Thomas von Benda, conductor Leland Sun has realized an extremely well-prepared and smoothly flowing interpretation from the experienced Slovak Radio Symphony, together with an acoustic redolent of a burnished Old World glow.
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No one interested in the history of 20th-century repertoire can afford to pass up this disc. Let us hope it inaugurates a whole new and more broad-minded approach to European music of the recent century.
Our very first review appeared in Fanfare Magazine, together with an interview of our conductor Leland Sun and executive producer Thomas von Benda. In conclusion, David Denton wrote,
The attribute that does shine through both performances is Sun’s deep conviction to Hessenberg, and it is obvious that he transmitted this burning enthusiasm to his musicians. The brass-playing is particularly rock steady, and you would also have to mention the many beautiful flute contributions. The engineers have concentrated on a mellow and warm sound quality, never reducing the impact, though at the same time never allowing those moments to become coarse in texture. In sum, Hessenberg is a most interesting composer who is very well served in this debut recording, and I urge you to become acquainted with his music.