Just in time for the end
of the year, here’s a list of the albums that has caught my ears. I can’t claim
that these are the best albums available, but they are the things that I’ve
enjoyed hearing and often find myself telling friends about.
C.E.F. Weyse: The Key Masterpieces (DaCapo 8.226105-06)
Christoph Ernst Friedrich
Weyse. Who was this guy? According to the liner notes, this Danish composer was
also a “piano virtuoso, court composer, organist, improviser, gourmand, humorist,
and celebrity.” A year ago, I’d never heard of him. Because of listening to
this album, I now know he’s written some delightful symphonies, lovely songs, a
Christmas cantata, and some catchy overtures, all thanks to this collection and
its crisp performances.
Warner/Nuzova: Russian Music for Cello & Piano (Cedille 120)
Great romantic cello performances, with a really nice selection of repertoire. My favorite discovery here is the Miaskovsky Cello Sonata No. 2, but you also can’t go wrong with Rachmaninov’s cello sonata here. These two major works are complemented by miniatures from Scriabin, Schnittke, and Prokofiev. I love the music, the performance, and the sound.
Mozart * Spohr Clarinet Concertos / Jon Manasse, clarinet; Seattle Symphony, dir. Gerard Schwarz (HMU 907516)
Yes, you do need another Mozart clarinet concerto recording, and here it is. I’m not a clarinet expert, but I love listening to Manasse play, so I’m happy to add this recording to my collection (along with Stoltzman and Meyer). Don’t ignore the Spohr concerto either! Will someone please arrange to get Jon Manasse to play here in West Virginia? Either with an orchestra or as a duo with pianist Jon Nakamatsu, he’s an artist from whom I’d like to hear more.
John Sheppard: Media vita / Stile Antico
I just love listening to these guys sing. I can hardly keep up with how many albums they have coming out recently, but it has all been beautiful. John Sheppard might have been a “neglected Tudor master” a year ago, but hopefully no longer after more people hear this recording of church music in Latin and English (my favorite: the Gaude Maria).
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Okay, I’m sure I’ll remember or discover some other forgotten favorite from the past year within a day or two of publishing this list, but it’s time to let it go. The new year will be here in just a few hours, and I hope it brings us all some more great music.
Let me know some of your recent favorites in the comments :)
* Favorite Things (2009)
* Favorite Things (2008)