5 Classical Albums To Listen To Right Now

Paul Lewis (Harmonia Mundi)

Not all that long ago, Haydn’s piano sonatas were taken less seriously than those of Mozart and Beethoven. Certainly not so now, at least on record. Marc-Andre Hamelin brings an amazing selection around Hyperion a decade Earlier, his talent tempered with elegance; Jean-Ephlem Bavouzet’s ongoing survey on Chandos is one of them. NS Pride NS NS 21stcentury Record Industry, nine Volume and count play that’s balanced and polished, as well as ideally flamboyant and suitably witty.

Paul Lewis offers a different look at Haydn, one that he hears heavily through the music of Beethoven and Schubert – although this is understandable, as this pianist’s imagery of Beethoven and Schubert has always been conceived in a classical vein. Is. NS first section Lewis’ Hayden was excellent, if perhaps a little self-serious for this musician’s absurdity. This second section – consisting of four sonatas, including Nos. 20 and 31, Aphoristic No. 51 and Symphonic No. 52 – is exceptional, confirming Lewis as our finest, most purely eloquent pianist of the great Viennese Masters. David Allen


When the Juilliard String Quartet was founded in 1946, a central part of its mission, in the words of the then Juilliard School president and quartet founder William Schuman, was “to create new works with a reverence usually reserved for the classics”. Was. . The commitment to new music in its early years can be gauged from the 16-disc box set of its early recordings for the Columbia label, many of which appear on disc for the first time.

What other quartets of that era would not have made their record debut with the standard repertoire, but with a cantata by Darius Milhaud, written a few years earlier? Here are works by composers both famous (Berg, Webern, Copeland) and virtually forgotten (Peter Menin, Alexey Haif), all rendered in Juilliard’s trademark sound: X-rays clear and devoid of schmaltz. . You don’t encounter any music written before the 20th century – two Mozart quartets – until disc 13.

Two full circles anchor the set: Bartók (their first recording of six quartets) and Schoenberg. Given how unfamiliar these works were at the time, Juilliard’s confidence and authority is astonishing. Subsequent recordings may have revealed other aspects of this repertory, but that does not diminish the freshness and spirit of the audible discovery here. David Weininger

yarn / wire; Nate Woolley, Trumpet (Black Truffle)

In 2017, the Black Truffle imprint re-released “Tiger Balm”, a 1970 tape piece by Anne Lockwood – and combined it with the latest recording Two other Lockwood works from the late 20th century. For a follow-up with the same composer, the label is focusing on new endeavors.

“Being Air / In the Vanishing Point” Presents material developed in collaboration with leading figures of the contemporary music scene. Trumpeter Nate Woolley (soloist on “Becoming Air”) and members of the percussion and piano quartet Yarn/Wire (pictured on “Vanishing Point”) have spent their careers swimming in the experimental pool that Lockwood helped fill. They perform these subtle restless new tasks with unmistakable devotion and enthusiasm.

“Beaming” for trumpet and electronics tells Woolley to use his extended-tech chops—sometimes pristine, sometimes gravel, usually whisper—in sections that are, without embellishment, ritualistic gong thanks. pass through. But at the end of 19 minutes of work, Woolley’s tone rises wildly, with sharp bursts of distortion that still manage to feel controlled.

Equally hypnotic is “disappearance,” which also provides surprises of late. Here, after an extended period of melodic percussion and scraping, the slow-moving figures in the lowest register of a piano erase the casual chaos of the opening minutes, and help drive the work into a mystical port. Seth Coulter Walls

Igor Levitt, piano (Sony)

Brilliant pianist Igor Levitt gears up for wide-ranging projects like his recent set Beethoven’s 32 Sonatas. For his latest album he teamed up with Scottish musician Shostakovich’s 24 Prologues and Fugues – about two and a half hours of music Ronald Stevenson “Passacaglia at DSCH,” a 90-minute suite in three parts that pays homage to Shostakovich.

Shostakovich, inspired by listening to the pianist, wrote his Prelude and Fugitives in a few months in 1950 and ’51 Tatiana Nikolaev A performance of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier. Prologues are surprisingly different in character and approach; Fugues range from seemingly straight-forward excursions to blatantly complicated, hard-driving statements. The overall style is distinctly neo-classical, at least on the surface; Beneath that surface, however, the pieces come alive with wayward sonority, elusive intricacies, and dark subtexts. Levitt put these elements into commanding accounts.

Stevenson’s massive, stilted score, mostly written in 1961, includes wildly varied pieces: strangely playful dances, brutal marches, brooding ruminations, frenzied fantasies, diabolical études, all for a triple fudge. building. The color, sweep and intensity of play are nothing but technical barriers for Levitt. Anthony Tomasini


“sweet Land” – a fictionalized essence of American history, and its impossibility to know the truth – may be the opera the country needed most in 2020. The pandemic ended the work prematurely. premier run, manufactured by Industry in Los Angeles, but it has been at: Before a . In form of Video Capture Posted Online, and now in the form of an excellent, horribly terrifying album.

The show always had elements of “choose your own adventure”: audience members bought tickets to discrete “tracks” and few ever watched the entire opera. (Plus, the improvements made each performance unique.) Options continue with two versions of the recording. Streaming services like Spotify are offering an abbreviation of the work that still captures the distinctive yet mixed sounds of the work’s two composers, Dou Yun and Raven Chacon, and the poetry of the librettists, Aja Kakois Duncan and Douglas Kearney. Missing, however, is the opera’s conceit of seeing the same story twice, which is distorted by mythology and erasure.

For that, you should listen and listen to the full version, Available at Bandcamp. Recorded live, then supplemented by studio sessions, the album is extremely intimate. The most immediate and exciting are Carmina Escobar and Micaela Tobin’s extended vocal technique feat as Coyote, and Sharon Chohee Kim as Windigo. And the closing scene, “Echoes and Expulsions,” hasn’t lost any of its power. As personally as it was, this collage of monologues and choruses explicitly yet indelibly asks: What is this land so dear to? Joshua Barron

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