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Best of 2013 (So Far) - New Releases Only

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Initial post: Jul 4, 2013 11:53:49 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 4, 2013 12:04:17 PM PDT
WH says:
We've reached the midpoint in the year. So it seems a good moment to take stock and assess what, for us, have been the best new releases of the year. I recommend restricting this ONLY to NEW releases -- i.e. NOT the many, many remasters that keep getting reissued or new box sets of old conductors or performers. I recognize that most of my purchases over the last six months have involved filling in the many gaps in my collection and picking up a number of older recordings. I'm looking to see what others have found among new releases.

These have been the best that I've found this year in rough order of preference:
1. Pacifica Quartet: The Soviet Experience, Vol. 3 -String Quartets by Shostakovich and Contemporaries (Cedille, 2013).
2. Steven Osborne: Mussorgsky: Pictures from an Exibition; Prokofiev: Sarcasms, Visions fugitives (Hyperion, 2013)
3. Vasily Petrenko / Royal Liverpool Orchestra: Shostakovich: Symphony No. 7- Leningrad (Naxos, 2013).
4. Edward Gardner / BBC Orchestra: Lutoslawski: Orchestral Works, Vol. 4 (Chandos, 2013)
5. Trio Solisti: Trio Solisti: Dvorak recording (Bridge, 2013). This has Piano Trios #3 & 4 ("Dumky").

A few on the wishlist:
*Viktoria Mullova / Accademia Bizantia: Bach: Violin Concertos (Onyx, 2013)
*Haydn London Quartet: Haydn: String Quartets Op.33 (Hyperion, 2013)
*Emmanuel Bertrand / Pacal Amoyel / BBC Orchestra of Wales: Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No.1, Cello Sonata Op.40 (Harmonia mundi, 2013)
*Esa Pekka Salonen: Dutilleux: Correspondances (Deutsche Grammophon, 2013)

Posted on Jul 4, 2013 1:42:55 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 4, 2013 1:44:15 PM PDT
Max O. says:
***Bacewicz: Cello Concertos***

I just got mine in the mail. It is tremendously exciting and crisp!! Bacewicz should be much more well-known. I plan to write a review when I've had more time to digest this. The production value is very high, so it's worth paying full price for a cd that's only 45 minutes long.

What are some differences between Petrenko's Shostakovich 7th and the recent live Gergiev one? The latter is the only one I own at the moment.

Posted on Jul 4, 2013 1:48:59 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 4, 2013 8:23:18 PM PDT
Here are the best recordings I've heard in 2013, thus far:

1) Mozart Solo Piano Music, Vol. 4--Kristian Bezuidenhout: Mozart: Keyboard Music Vol.4, following his excellent Mozart Piano Concerto disc in November, 2012, with the Freiburger Barockorchester.

2.) De Orto/Josquin: Music at the Sistine Chapel around 1490--Cut Circle: De Orto & Desprez : Musique à la chapelle Sixtine autour de 1490. As far as I can recall, this is the first recording of De Orto's music I've ever heard, and he's yet another extraordinary Franco-Flemish composer to add to my long list.

3) Ockeghem--Missa Prolationum--Ensemble Musica Nova--Lucien Kandel: Ockeghem: Missa Prolationum.

4) J.S. Bach Violin Concertos--Petra Mullejans, Gottfried von der Goltz, Freiburger Barockorchester: Bach: Violin Concertos.

5) Witold Lutoslawski--Symphonies--Esa-Pekka Salonen, Los Angeles Philharmonic. A very good bargain 2 CD set.

5) Bach French Suites, Alessandra Artifoni, harpsichordist. This is a very good set, but probably doesn't quite displace my current favorites by Christophe Rousset, Blandine Rannou, and Bob van Asperen.

Best Reissues:

1) Paavo Berglund's 1970s Bournemouth S.O. cycle of Sibelius Symphonies 1-7, and selected tone poems:Sibelius: Complete Symphonies. This is probably my favorite Sibelius cycle by Berglund, except for the recent issues of 'live' recordings made with the LPO in the 2000s (which offer magnificent performances of the 5th & 7th symphonies especially).

2) Historic: F. Charles Adler conducts the Vienna Symphony Orchestra (in Bruckner 3rd, and Mahler 2nd Symphonies): Adler Conducts Vienna Symphony Orchestra. One of the great Mahler 2nds I've heard, and the historic sound isn't that bad actually. Adler was a protege of Mahler's, & was chosen to be the choral conductor for the premiere of Mahler's 8th. Suffice it to say that Adler understands Mahler's music better than most conductors since Mahler, IMO.

3) Historic: I've yet to get to this one, but it should be mentioned, regardless: Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande, conducted by Debussy's friend, the conductor Desire-Emile Inghelbrecht, with soprano Suzanne Danco singing the role of Melisande, and the Philharmonia Orchestra, on the Testament label: Debussy: Pelleas et Melisande.

4) Schumann Project: the Complete Piano Solo Music--by pianist Eric le Sage--a good bargain set (though it isn't complete).

At the tail end of 2012--I suppose these recordings don't officially count--but as with last year's set of the Complete Works of Johannes Ciconia, which received British awards in 2012 but was actually released in late 2011--they may end up on the British magazines best of 2013; so I thought I'd mention them:

1) Josquin Desprez--De Profundis--Psalm Settings-Motets: Manfred Cordes, and Weser-Renaissance Bremen: Josquin Desprez: De Profundis- Psalm Settings- Motets.

2) Jean Mouton--Missa Dictes moy toutes voz pensees--Tallis scholars: Mouton: Missa Dictes moy toutes voz pensees--this is the best Tallis Scholars' recording I've heard in decades.

3) This is from May 2012, but was completely overlooked. I thought I'd mention it as this new ensemble is very fine, and deserves much more attention: Clemens Deus Artifex--La Main Harmonique: Clemens Deus Artifex: Office Polyphonique en présence de Clément VI (14e siècle).

On order:

1) Vivaldi: Concerti per l'Orchestra di Dresda, played by Les Ambassadeurs, led by Alexis Kossenko, on the Alpha label.
2) J. S. Bach: Suites Anglaises--played by harpsichordist Pascal Dubreuil.
3) Leon Fleisher--Complete Album Collection.

Posted on Jul 4, 2013 3:19:32 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Nov 26, 2013 10:14:30 AM PST]

Posted on Jul 4, 2013 3:34:46 PM PDT
WH says:
M.R.S., Thanks for recommendations. I knew that you would be in touch with one of those areas that I enjoy but that I don't do a good job of keeping pace with, namely, early music. The Ockeghem and Josquin look great. I was puzzled that such the Bach Violin Concertos with such a major ensemble as the Freiburger Barockorchester and such a major label as Harmonia mundi be unavailable from Amazon and so expensive. I checked Harmonia mundi website and found it for half the price. Here's the link:

Posted on Jul 4, 2013 3:54:43 PM PDT
WH--Regarding the Mullejans-Freiburger Bach recording, I initially linked to a more expensive import listing, I think. It is available at a more reasonable cost on Amazon (for under $13 new): Bach: Violin Concertos.

Posted on Jul 4, 2013 7:13:26 PM PDT
David Mayer says:
I'm doing this without notes, but off the top of my head my favorites are:

1. Hindemith: Mass / Apparebit Repentina Dies (Creed) (Hänssler)

A choral masterpiece by Hindemith (Apparebit repentina dies) in its first CD release/modern recording, plus excellent performances of the *previously recorded masterpieces* 6 Chansons, Mass, and Songs on Old Texts. Anyone interested in Hindemith's choral music should hear this (along with the Gritton and Gronostay recordings on Wergo, Globe, and Chandos).

2. Bartók: Works for Violin & Piano, Vol. 2 (Ehnes) (Chandos)

Excellent performance of the solo violin sonata, combined with some fun rarities.

3. Atterberg: Symphony No. 4 ''Sinfonia Piccola'; Suite No. 3; Symphony No. 6 'Dollar Symphony'; En varmlandsrapsodi (N. Järvi) (Chandos)

Really well-played, in terrific sound, and the start of a complete orchestral cycle.

4. Arvesylv: Works by Tveitt, Sæverud and Mørk Karlsen (Gimse) (Fabra, MP3 only)

I bought it for the Tveitt, and was pleasantly surprised by the rest. Håvard Gimse is a sensitive pianist, IMHO leagues better than Andsnes or Austbø, and I devoutly wish that some record label would have the good sense to record him playing Grieg.

5. Irgens-Jensen: Symphonic Works (Aadland) (CPO)

Having not listed enough obscure 20th century Norwegians, here's one more. David Hurwitz is correct in his assessment that "had he written more music, Norwegian Ludvig Irgens-Jensen would be considered a great composer today." This is the best available collection of his orchestral works, rivaled only by the OOP recording by Ole Kristian Ruud (NKF).

6. De Brévillle/Koechlin/Tournemire: Viola Sonatas (ATMA)

Uniformly good, and it's exciting whenever a previous unknown composer (Pierre de Bréville) knocks my socks off.

7. Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition; Prokofiev: Sarcasms, Visions fugitives (Osborne) (Hyperion)

I'm excited anytime there's a new recording of Prokofiev's piano music. This one is good.

Posted on Jul 4, 2013 9:30:16 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 4, 2013 9:32:16 PM PDT
WH says:
M.R.S., Thanks for the Amazon link on the Bach Violin Concertos. I've put in my basket, but I'm going to hold off. I'm in California at the moment, and there's a very good brick-and-mortar record store here that just might have it. (I'm heading over tomorrow).

David, Thanks for the list. The Ehnes Bartok has been on my list since I have the two previous volumes in that series (the Concertos & the earlier volume of violin & piano works -- both excellent). But I wasn't as sure that about getting the solo violin. So the recommendation pushes it up the list. I agree about the Osborne Mussorgsky & Prokofiev. The Visions fugitives was an unexpected highlight (I figured his Mussorgsky would be great). You say that you enjoy new recordings of Prokofiev's piano music. One of my best discoveries of the summer was Boris Giltburg's Prokofiev: War Sonatas (Orchid, 2012). I would have listed that, but technically, it came out towards the latter half of 2012. Almost all the others are composers I'm unfamiliar with (I just beginning to explore Koechlin, but don't know that work). I have a feeling that this thread is going to start costing me some money.

Posted on Jul 4, 2013 9:41:25 PM PDT
0Brian0 says:
Here's a few:
Dudamel: Mahler #9 (DG)
Moeran: Cello Concerto, Serenade (Naxos)
Pejacevic: Chamber Works (CPO)

And if I can sneak in a couple of late-2012 releases:
Zarebski/Zelenski: Piano Quintet/Quartet (Hyperion)
Bernarda Fink - Canciones Espanolas (Harmonia Mundi)

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 4, 2013 9:41:49 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jul 5, 2013 12:16:16 AM PDT]

Posted on Jul 5, 2013 3:26:00 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 5, 2013 3:28:04 AM PDT
Mandryka says:
I've only liistened to the Visions Fugitives in Steven Osborne's new Prokofiev CD, and I've only listened once, so I could well have missed something major. I was a bit less enthusiastic other people I know. On the -ve side I thought he was a bit casual and glib sometimes, in #7 for example, and in # 12 and #13. And somehow the whole thing didn't quite have enough tension and angularity, I can't explain why, but I hear these things with Demidenko and Mustonen, but not with Osborne. On the +ve side, it's extremely colourful and fun to hear, very easy to listen to the whole thing without feeling bored or saturated or challenged. Good sound.

The best I can think of for a new release is Enrico Baiano Scarlatti CD, which explores how Scarlatti started to take up the piano.

Posted on Jul 5, 2013 3:44:36 AM PDT
BACH Mass in B minor, Live in Fontfroide Abbey, La Capella Reial de Catalunya. Le Concert des Nations / Jordi Savall. Alia vox 2 DVD + 2 SACD

Unfortunately so far it only seems to be available as a download in the US.

Posted on Jul 5, 2013 4:27:21 AM PDT
Herreweghe on Phi
Big orchestral sound for a period orchestra - not unlike Bruggen.

Rachel Podger on Channel

BACH Sei Solo. Sonatas & Partitas for Violin. Christine Busch. PHI 2cds
(Christine Busch, leader of the orchestra of Collegium Vocale Gent)

I also like the Freiburger Bach violin concertos, but wouldn't put them on the top of my list of all time favorites.

Posted on Jul 5, 2013 11:27:37 AM PDT
Mozart: Piano Concertos 23, 25.
Buchbinder on fortepiano(!) and Harnoncourt conducting his usual period band.
The 25th has got to be the wildest I have heard so far and the 23rd is also very good. But I'm still in the newly acquired excitement phase...

Posted on Jul 5, 2013 1:07:01 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 5, 2013 1:07:30 PM PDT
Anonymouse says:
I'm sure I have more, but the only two 2013 releases I can think of are two CDs on Sargasso, Felipe Otondo's Tutuguri, which is extremely gorgeous, and Ambrose Field's Quantaform Series, which alternates between quantaform for solo flute and technoform for unattended electronics.

I haven't bought much music in 2013, come to think of it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 5, 2013 1:11:08 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jul 5, 2013 1:11:56 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 5, 2013 2:00:22 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 5, 2013 2:06:13 PM PDT
Larkenfield says:
The Mozart performances themselves are fine, but I find the artificial reverb on this HIP recording to be noticeable, excessive, and somewhat annoying. I wish the producers and engineers would take greater advantage of natural acoustics on HIP recordings, or at least cut down on the length of the added reverb - that is, if they're dedicated to greater authenticity of sound, because the excessive reverb can have a way of spoiling the illusion. I find such a contrary juxtaposition of the historical old and an excessive modern reverb to be a combination of great falsity. But I'm glad the juxtaposition is not enough to spoil the performances. ♬

Posted on Jul 8, 2013 9:55:04 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 8, 2013 10:22:40 PM PDT
WH says:
M.R.S. had recommended the new performance by the Freiburger Barockorchester: Bach: Violin Concertos (Harmonia mundi, 2013). Well, I got my copy today. Two listens, and I'm sold. It has jumped to the top of my list. Absolutely exquisite playing and dazzling sonics. Their performance of Bach's Orchestral Suites (Bach: Orchestral Suites) won awards as one of the best releases of 2011/2012. My guess is that this will get similar acclaim.

As I listen to this, I think back of when I first heard original instrument recordings back in the late 1960s, what a revelation they seemed. I fell in love with the sound immediately. Well, this record is one of those glimpses how many light years the original-instruments / HIP movement has come two generations later: what precision of playing, what sensitivity to dynamics, ornaments (and, oh yeah, the sound quality of the instruments themselves). It's a marvel.

Here's the review from The International Record Review (April 2013): "utterly breathtaking ... what distinguishes this disc - along with the absolutely top-notch recorded sound - is the utterly committed, and beautifully detailed playing of the Freiburger Barockorchester. If the three soloists are elevated by the brilliance of this music, the orchestra is raised to almost inconceivable levels of musical excellence ... an absolutely glorious recording."

Posted on Jul 14, 2013 3:58:13 AM PDT
Nada says:
Until now I bought seven CDs which have been published in 2013.

These are:
- Pergolesi: Septem verba a Christo - Pergolesi: Septem verba a Christo
- Krenek: Works for Violin - Works for Violin
- Tubin: Works for Violin and Piano - Works for Violin & Piano 2
- Shostakovich: Cello Concerto no. 1 - Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No.1, Cello Sonata Op.40
- Bacewicz: Cello Concertos - Bacewicz: Cello Concertos
- Dobrinka Tabakova: String Paths - Tabakova: String Paths
- Britten: Violin Concerto/Berger: Jiyeh - Britten: Violin Concerto Op.15; Berger: Jiyeh

- The Shostakovich is outstanding and I recommend it wholeheartedly as I've done before in this forum. I'll repeat here what I said earlier - in the thread: "String Quartets (from 1900 to today)" -:
"I read the review in the BBC Music magazine. I don't understand it. They must have listened half-heartedly only. How one can describe Bertrand's playing as wearing 'the piece lightly' is beyond me. BBC Music rates her performance only with three stars.
But: My favorite review website* (German) gives the highest accolades. Bertrand's performance is described as playing with feverish intensity, very brusque, even audacious (I'd say in the sense of 'daring')and with almost unbearable tension. It's characterized as 'a treat - with cathartic effect'."


It has definitely become my favorite. In the meantime FonoForum, the German classical music magazine, has reviewed Bertrand's Shostakovich as well (June 2013, p. 74). The review says that in this work Bertrand's intensity of expression and permanent high tension is on a par with Rostropovich. Can somebody imagine a better praise?

- On second place is Britten/Berger. Especially the violin concerto by Britten. It managed to rouse great interest and made me listen several times. Heck, I had forgotten that I already had Britten's violin concerto, performed by Lorraine McAslan Violin Concerto. In comparison to McAslan Livia Sohn's sound is thinner, more bleak - and yet - to my mind it matches the intention of the violin concerto. The mourning, the quiet and not yelling despair, the falling into silence, losing strength. Despite of the "bleakness" her playing succeeds in holding the attention all the time. Livia Sohn's playing may not be the ultimate performance, but it needn't hide and can stand proud. I hope it will be considered as a positive outcome that my interest for this violin concerto has been piqued by her playing (whereas not by McAslan's), so I felt curious about other performances and ordered now a CD with Frank Zimmermann. - As for Jonathan Berger's "Jiyeh" for violin, cimbalom, percussions and string orchestra: I'm quite fond of it, though the emotional impact of his earlier works (for example the - rather short - "Eli, Eli", see: Miracles & Mud: Works for String Quartet & Violin) isn't reached; but that may be simply my very own feeling, and those not knowing his former works might be "hooked" nonetheless. All in all: this CD is highly recommended.

- Bacewicz, too, made me listen quite a few times. I wouldn't go so far as calling her cello concertos to be on the same level as Shostakovich's, as I've seen it somewhere (unfortunately I don't remember where). But they are - as Max O. says above -: "exciting and crisp" (and worthwhile although rather short). I'm looking forward to the review ...

- Warmly recommended as well is Pergolesi. I didn't listen to it as often as to the aforementioned works. But that's due to my interest shifting more and more to contemporary works (i.e. 20th and 21st century). I remember at least to enjoy it very much.

That leaves now
- Tubin, which I bought as a follow-up to vol. 1: quite good, though not as good as vol. 1 (which triggered a lot of enthusiasm), I'm quite sure to turn to vol. 1 more often;
- Krenek, which I bought in the hope to finally find a "door" to his compositions (I still don't "get" his choral "Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae" Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae). Yet, it left me disappointed. It seems the compositional style just is not my cup of tea - although I think Krenek to be an important composer. The above mentioned music magazine FonoForum (May 2013, p. 84) says in its review that the music sounds as if Krenek had invested too much work, too much ambition and that the mannered, overly emphatic playing would be just tiring;
- and the newcomer Tabakova, which I bought out of curiosity, following the PR-hype. Well, I guess I felt cheated. It made me so angry I didn't finish the first listening. It probably will be regarded as bad style if I continue railing about it. So I'll leave it here.
Concerning all three of these disc: This is - of course - no definitive verdict: I really need to listen again. But it will take time ...

Posted on Jul 14, 2013 10:09:35 PM PDT
WH says:
Nada, Thanks so much for the list. I always look forward to exploring your recommendations. I really do need to get that Shostakovich Cello by Bertrand. I keep running into other things at the local CD stores, and using up all my money. Also I keep hoping to find a good price on it at one of the local record stores, but it's full price. I'll probably have to get it from some Amazon seller soon. In the meantime, I continue listening obsessively to that great Freiburger Barockorchester performance of the Bach Violin Concertos.

Posted on Jul 15, 2013 8:07:08 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 15, 2013 10:46:38 PM PDT
WH--I'm glad you've enjoyed the Bach Violin Concertos. Would you believe that one of the British rags only gave it a moderately warm review? (It was either BBC or Gramophone, but I can't recall which.) The performances are too good to fully get in one or two listens, and I bet the critic in question only listened to it once. Each time I listen I keep hearing new subtleties & details. It's deceptive, because the Freiburgers don't do anything especially out of the ordinary, tempo-wise, or otherwise, and their ornamentation is minimal and just right, yet, at the same time, they are responding to the score so freshly, with a strong sense of discovering this music for the first time. Which in the case of the concerto for three harpsichords--played on three violins!, may be partly true. Hopefully, they'll get to BWV 1060 in the future.

I'm presently enjoying the new Vivaldi disc from Les Ambassadeurs, led by Alexis Kossenko, which arrived the other day: Vivaldi: Concerti per l'Orchestra di Dresda. This is a very good new group (& so young), and they're exceptionally well recorded by Alpha (as usual). There's a video included on the Alpha website, which may be of interest:

Thanks, Nada, for your interesting post, as always.

EDIT--WH--If you don't mind revealing personal info. (& if you do that's perfectly fine), I'm just curious, where do you live that you have access to multiple classical CD stores & collections in great libraries? My local libraries are terrible in this regard, and I thought the internet had put most classical stores out of business, everywhere, except for a few remaining dinosaurs. Your comment surprised me.

Posted on Jul 15, 2013 9:21:17 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 15, 2013 9:33:23 AM PDT
WH says:
MRS--You asked about CD stores and libraries. I get out to the San Francisco Bay Area most summers for a few weeks where I do research. It's, of course, a great place to explore music. One of the finest surviving CD stores in the country is here: Amoeba Records. They have a Berkeley branch and an amazing one in the Haight Ashberry district. The one on Haight street is a former bowling alley. That should give you some sense of the massive size of the place. And they have everything from electronica, rock, folk, world, jazz and classical. And much of it is used and includes tons of hard-to-find and out-of-print discs and vinyl. And the prices range from very reasonable to downright amazingly cheap. Many prices are better than anything I can get from Amazon or its sellers. When I go there, I have to come armed with a list of items to look for. Otherwise, I get overwhelmed by the sheer size of what they have. Their buyers tend to be very knowledgeable. And the people who work there know their stuff and offer very fine recommendations. So I do much of my purchasing there during the summer. In Berkeley, there is a small but superb classical music store called "A Musical Offering". The front is a cafe which serves lunches, but the manager really, really knows her stuff. The selection is excellent, and they tend to carry all the recent releases from labels large and small. You do pay full price, but I tend to buy things there partly because I want to support such stores and because I can walk out of the store and hear it immediately. For instance, Musical Offering had a copy of the Freiburger Barockorchester right in its shelves. So I got it. Paid full price, but no complaints. In downtown San Francisco and in Berkeley is Rasputin Records. They are not strong on classical, and used to be excellent on jazz but both collections have diminished in size.

As for libraries, the Berkeley Public Library, like most public libraries, is quirky in its collection, but I have found a number of gems. I heard that they sometimes hire Berkeley music students or graduates, and that helps explain the quality of their holdings. Most of their choices are very good, but not always very up to date. Like a lot of public libraries, they don't have a big budget, but there is a steady stream of new items -- but to my eye, 6 months to a year behind the curve. I had gone there originally because of their superb jazz collection. It is quite remarkable. Also I have access to the University of California libraries, including the Cal Berkeley music library. It's quite amazing for scores and books on music, whether histories or biographies or musicological analyses. They have lots of CDs, but some quirky choices. Sometimes it looks like a faculty member has zeroed in on a particular favorite artist. For instance, when I looked for Schumann's piano works, it seemed that someone decided that Pollini was the pianist of choice for the repetoire. One advantage to the CalBerkeley library is that the CDs cannot be checked out of the library, only listened to there. So older CDs aren't beat up the way they get in public libraries. I was initially pleased to find a Radu Lupu performance of Schumann from the public library only to discover that it was so scratched as to be unplayable. In any case, I was able to fill in a few gaps this summer from the CalBerkeley collection. I had bought CDs of all the Quatuor Mosaiques of the Haydn except opus 33, which I then was able to copy from the library; the same with the Quatuor Mosaiques versions of Beethoven, opus 18. I had bought two discs (#1 & 4, #5 & 6), but the price for #2 & 3 was outlandish. But I found the disc at the library.

Temperamentally, I'm a CD person. I want the disc -- especially for the quality of the sound. I use libraries mainly to see if I enjoy this or that work. With libraries, I can't be very finicky about the performer. Once I decide I enjoy a particular work from having heard a library version, I then come here and elsewhere to decide which performer I want to go with.

Hope that gives you some idea.

Posted on Jul 15, 2013 10:13:53 AM PDT
WH - you are a fortunate fellow indeed! And you've brought back some good memories - I went to Grad School at Berkeley in '79-'80. Haven't lived in the Bay Area since those days, but I have many great memories and have enjoyed visits back there from time to time. Phil

Posted on Jul 15, 2013 10:35:51 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 15, 2013 10:47:26 PM PDT
WH--Thankyou for your very interesting & informative post. It sounds like I should take a vacation to the west coast sometime (the Berkeley store with a cafe sounds nice). I was last in the Bay area in the late 1960s, as a child, & only remember hoards of hippies camped out in a park.

Posted on Oct 6, 2013 12:54:15 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 6, 2013 1:09:57 PM PDT
Excellent post and discussion- thanks, all! Here are a few more that stood out for me:
1) Bach: John Passion - Dunedin Consort and Players/ John Butt - The St. John is embedded in a "liturgical reconstruction"- which for you Bach lovers means, among other things, that you also get some great organ music of Bach (and Buxtehude) played by JB with his special eloquence and freedom, and for you choral lovers, you get a real gem of a Renaissance motet by Jacobus Gallus Handl. And hearing the opening chorus of the St. John emerge out of an organ prelude, as it would have back in the day, is thrilling (sample it here: ) As for the performance, it is profound, and the singing is more consistently excellent than in their B-Minor Mass (perhaps my favorite B Minor) and St. Matthew. (No, I haven't yet got my hands on their new Brandenburgs.)
2) Jonathan Biss, Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Vol.2 (Onyx)- Among Beethoven's sonatas, op 7 and op 78 are special favorites of mine, but for various reasons elude many performers; Biss nails them - better put, inhabits them. Also a fantastic "Moonlight' (a sonata in which balancing/doing justice to all of what's happening is VERY hard; he pulls off the alchemy). And there's the Fantasia that, Biss convinces us, is a companion piece to op. 78; this CD's performance is superior to his earlier recording of it.
3) Jeremy Denk, J.S. Bach: Goldberg Variations (CD+DVD) (Nonesuch). The hype isn't hype- it really IS the most irresistible and compelling Goldberg disc I've heard in a long, long while. (Barometer: I loved the Andras Schiff ECM recording; didn't like Dinnerstein or Gould 2. YMMV.)
4) Oxford Queen's College Choir/ Brook Street Band - Handel and A. Scarlatti, Dixit Dominus (Avie) - I don't know what the greatest Handel Dixit is - there are so many to choose from - but I'm partial to the kind of fresh voices that this disc features. And I LOVE Alessandro Scarlatti's setting of this psalm, which I was glad to "discover" through this CD.
5) Paul O'Dette,Milano: Il Divino - Lute Music (Harmonia mundi)- They had me at "Paul O'Dette" - a great musician- and this disc introduced me to a major composer of Michelangelo's day whose music I hadn't heard before. Outstanding CD if you like plucked-string music from the era.
6) Caleb Burhans - Evensong- Alarm Will Sound (Canteloupe) - a favorite new-music CD this year; beautiful and personal.
7) Jennifer Higdon: An Exaltation Of Larks(Bridge)- this is one of two CDs of her chamber music that I've received this year and choosing between them is tough (the one on Albany has completely different music); but since "Scenes from the Poet's Dreams" moves me and strikes me as special, and is played by Gary Graffman and the Lark Quartet, I'll go with this one. The rest of the disc is also top-notch.
8) Bartok: Violin Concertos Nos.1 & 2 - Isabelle Faust (Harmonia mundi). For me, she sets the new standard for these works.
9) Orchestra of the Swan/ Kenneth Woods -Gal Symphony 2, Schumann 4th Symphony No. 2 / Symphony No. 4 (Avie) - A resounding "You go, Gal!" to a masterpiece of a symphony by him - and these players have a special feeling for it - and a special Schumann 4th that makes a convincing case for the revised version.
10) David Starobin, guitar - New Music With Guitar, Vol. 8(Bridge) - superb.
12) among reissues, Eugen Jochum: Icon- The Complete EMI Recordings - the greatest stereo Brahms and Bruckner cycles I've heard (I've heard a lot). The Beethoven is expert if stylistically out of date and maybe not Jochum's finest work in this composer (e.g. the mono Berlin Phil Eroica is more powerful) - but these ARE the better Brahms and Bruckner cycles, and to get all this at such a bargain price is an opportunity worth taking.
Now I'll try to get my hands on some of the other things you all have listed, like the Tabakova and the Podger Bach concerto CD - love that woman's playing, so it sounds very promising!
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Discussion in:  Classical Music forum
Participants:  28
Total posts:  91
Initial post:  Jul 4, 2013
Latest post:  Feb 16, 2014

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