Latest ones (Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky)
...Not since I heard Stokowski conduct his own orchestration at the Proms in 1966 have I been so impressed with an alternative to the Ravel. The Great Gate of Kiev brings the house down – this version makes it all the more regrettable that it was never built. The other works are equally effective...
(Brian Wilson, musicweb-international.com)
Suites sound like true Tchaikovsky, richly romantic and quite dramatic in places, so memorable...this disc will win Breiner further plaudits.
(Otago Daily Times)
I found Voyevoda especially energetic, and played with flair by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
(Peter Mechen, The Critic's Chair, Radio New Zealand)
How it is that “sounds and perfumes turn in the evening air” is something more easily perceived by the mind than it is realized physically: Breiner, to his credit, succeeds in this daunting task as well as is humanly possible…
[Debussy: 24 Preludes, Phil's Classical Reviews, Audio-Video Atlanta]
He clearly loves the music and has done Debussy proud. This is a fine achievement and the music can stand alone as an orchestral piece. When listening to the wonderful playing of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Debussy’s Images and La Mer kept springing to mind and Breiner never takes any liberties with Debussy’s originals. That suggests “a job well done”.
[John Whitmore, musicweb-international.com]
Breiner aborda la obra de Debussy sin apenas complejos, lo que podía haber sido un riesgo o incluso casi un pecado. Pero los resultados no son para nada turbadores. Al contrario. Lo cierto es que no trata de salirse de la lógica de la orquesta impresionista (el viento metal cuenta con una frecuente presencia del saxo, las arpas confieren el necesario cromatismo, incluso en las piezas de aire ibérico no faltan las castañuelas). Pero más allá de aspectos anecdóticos, Breiner es respetuoso con las 24 piezas, e incluso permite admirarlas con una perspectiva sonora distinta, sin faltar al debido respeto. Claramente por encima de cualquier expectativa (al menos la mía) previa. Muy recomendable.
[Juan Berberana, Ritmo]
Reviews from around the world
...his arrangements delight the aural palate and tease the intellect... this disc is a feast of fun .... Breiner's Tour de Force
Mr Breiner must have studied the composer's orchestral music well because his scorings are all idiomatic and tasteful and his sensitive conducting cooperates beautifully with the soloist
(Lawrence Hansen, American Record Guide - Tchaikovsky None but the Lonely Heart)
Astounding virtuosity, daring inventiveness, incredible skill and acrobatic wonders......master of improvisation...not only a briliant virtuoso but also a consummate entertainer
(The Review, Washington D.C.)
Peter Breiner is an Andre Previn of our time, if not a Leonard Bernstein, and I think he deserves far greater recognition
(Albert Wong, MusicData Hong Kong)
The performances are excellent… and [Breiner] seems a more than competent conductor
(Henry Fogel, Fanfare Magazine, USA)
One of the most prominent representatives of new music from over the Atlantic - sensitive, emotional, and breathtaking. An absolute must hear!
(Revue Musicale de Suisse Romande, Switzerland)
These eight CD's belong to the most important recordings in cross-over catalogue ever with all their dignity and high craft... Mr. Breiner's fantasy knows no limitations
Superb orchestration by Breiner. In fact his version sounds to me as though Tchaikovsky wrote this suite for orchestra to begin with.
What kind of wonder allowed him to couple Baroque music with songs of the Beatles in this extremely impressive way? He wrote a modern "Brandenburg Concerto"
(Le Monde, France)
Breiner, who is a personification of music, led the orchestra with sober and distinct gestures and made them play the incredibly demanding score of Debussy's Preludes with brilliance and grace
Janacek Triple CD reviews samples 1
…splendid disc. Extracts expertly chosen…conducted with passion and sympathetic understanding…delivers treasure upon treasure…
(Gramophone, May 2009)
…Breiner's skilful arrangements retain all of that delight...
(Gramophone, Jun 2009)
…Breiner conducts, securing accomplished playing from New Zealanders…Suites…are almost too much of a good thing...I’d rather have too much than too little…those who want to dip more that their toe into Janacek’s sound world should turn to Breiner.
(Gramophone, December 2009)
Breiner fills the void with his beautifully crafted symphonic suites based on music from "Jenufa," "Katya Kabanova," "The Cunning Little Vixen" and other masterpieces.
(John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune, Ten Best Classical CDs of 2009, December 13, 2009)
Breiner captures the flavor of the composer's sound and dramatic instincts so well that it's easy to imagine Janacek penned the suites himself. At more than a half-hour each, there is a lot of action in these pieces, and the New Zealand Symphony digs deeply into to the material with the guidance of Breiner on the podium…Not a note of vocal music, but a strong sense of each opera's melodic and emotional power.
(Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun, December 21, 2009)
When I began listening I wasn’t certain how well Breiner would do. I needn’t have worried; both suites are wonderfully arranged and the New Zealand Symphony plays them very well. The recording is rich and full-blooded, and the notes are satisfactory. Score another triumph for Naxos.
(Carl Baumann, American Record Guide, Jun 2009)
Janacek triple CD reviews samples 2
Peter Breiner ist zweifelsohne ein begnadeter Arrangeur und zudem ein solider Dirigent. Alle Jahre wieder überrascht der Slovake mit neuen Streichen. Diesmal sind es Suiten aus Leoš Janáceks Opern "Das schlaue Füchslein" und "Aus einem Totenhaus", die Breiner behutsam modernisiert hat. Peter Breiner gelingt es, die Essenz beider Opern zu gewinnen, ohne dass das Ganze musikalisch verlieren würde. Im Gegenteil, selbst jene, die sonst nicht unbedingt zu den Fans Janácekscher Opern gehören, dürften von dieser Aufnahme angetan sein. Komprimiert wird hier Janáceks musikalische Vielfalt vor Augen gebracht, Märchenhaftes neben Düsterem, Modern anmutendes neben Folkloristischem. Das New Zealand Symphonie Orchestra vermag sich wunderbar in die musikalische Welt dieses ungewöhnlichen Meisters einzufühlen.
(MDR Germany, September 2009)
…gives even opera-resistant listeners the chance to experience the piquant melody and shimmering texture…the New Zealand orchestra punching way above its weight, this is a disc to set on repeat…
(Star-Ledger, March 20, 2009)
So worthy is this homage, and so well performed here is it under Breiner's own baton, that the strong cinematic heart, which is one of the many charms of Janacek’s music, beats with great passion.
(Ireland Tribune, March 29,2009)
The original, colorful orchestrations and harmonies, grounded in the Czech language and folk-melody, convey powerful emotions. Breiner arranged this suite for orchestral concerts, and it's a stunner.
(Michael Barone, Minnesota Public Radio, September 17, 2009)
Janácek fans will be salivating at the prospect of a new series of suites from his operas…very satisfying …much more lyrical and tuneful than you might have thought possible…Breiner has arranged the excerpts very intelligently for continuous listening…Strongly recommended
(David Hurwitz, classicstoday.com)
Janacek triple CD reviews samples 3
…With the arranger conducting, all of these performances by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra are totally committed and even passionate where appropriate. In the process the musicians from down under certainly prove themselves a class act…all Janácek enthusiasts will want these whether they have other versions or not…Audiophiles take note!
(Bob McQuiston, Classical Lost and Found, September 2009)
To judge from what I hear in these suites from Jenufa and The Excursions of Mr. Broucek, Breiner has succeeded admirably as both arranger and conductor.
(Phil Muse, Sequenza21.com, May 2009)
…I like the creative and convincing way Breiner has brought sometimes-disparate material together to create new movements
(Dominy Clements, musicwebinternational.com, April 2009)
Each suite has five or so short orchestral pieces with glorious brass work, folk-like singing melodies, and sweet/sad emotional complexity in Janacek's instantly recognizable late romantic, early Czech nationalist style. Buy these--you will not regret it.
(Rex Barron, Amazon.com)
…an addictive collection of orchestral songs without words.
(Bradley Bambarger, nj.com)
…Peter Breiner has transferred the drama of Leos Janácek's operas into clever orchestral tone poems…clear-headed work lets us hear the composer's imaginative orchestrations in a way that creates and releases its own tension using building blocks made up of just a few repeating notes.
(John Terauds, Toronto Star, October 20, 2009)
This second release in Naxos’s cycle of Peter Breiner arranged suites from Janacek’s operas is a winner…Even in a compressed form like a suite, Breiner conveys the essentials of these operas – sadness, passion, torment, and fate. Janacek’s appealing musical fragments and harmonies are retained too… What a great, new way to experience these two operas. Fans of Janacek shouldn’t hesitate – get this disc.
(Zach Carstensen, Seattle Sound Magazine, May 2009)
Janacek triple CD reviews samples 4
*****We seem to have missed Volume 1 of this series, but I wanted to bring to the attention of readers these excellent orchestral suites introducing some of the most effective music by the highly original composer. New Zealand’s leading professional orchestra is first rate in these suites.
(John Sunier, Audiophile Audition, December 14, 2009)
The two Suites on this new CD released in April of 2009, represent Janácek at his best, and could even be a clear first choice for anyone new to this composer. A welcome addition for any music collector.
(Jean-Yves Duperron, Classical Music Sentinel, October 2009)
Je mehr ich von Peter Breiners Bearbeitungen der Musik aus Janacek-Oper hore, desto begeisterter bin ich. Er ist ohne jeden Zweifelein intelligenter und hoch musikalischer arrangeur, der um die Wirkung der Musik weis und sie brillant zu orchestrieren vermag, indem er den Stimmungen der Opern hundertprozentig gerecht wird. Die Aufnahmen mit dem NZSO sind tadellos.
(Pizzicato, Germany, December 2009)
I’ve never heard these operas, so I can’t attest to the authenticity of Mr. Breiner’s arrangements, but both these suites are pregnant with glorious melodies, theatrical flourishes and brilliant orchestrations. The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra plays well and the recording is excellent. A delightful disc, especially if you’ve never encountered Janacek’s music.
(Robert Moon, Audiophile Audition, December 23, 2011)