Artist of the Year – Igor Levit

2020 Artist of the Year – Igor Levit I was fortunate last year to hear pianist Igor Levit’s US debut, where he played a Beethoven concerto with an ebullient demeanor that was truly stirring. He has remained a touchstone artist for me throughout the pandemic. Levit has been generous in sharing mini-recitals via his TwitterContinue reading “Artist of the Year – Igor Levit”

Best of 2020 – Vivaldi’s Il Tamerlano

Il Tamerlano Antonio Vivaldi Bruno Taddia, Bajazet; Filippo Mineccia, Tamerlano; Delphine Galou, Asteria; Sophia Rennert, Irene; Marina De Liso, Andronico; Arianna Vendittelli, Idaspe; Accademia Bizantina, Ottavio Dantone, director Naïve Vivaldi Edition Vol. 65 In recent years, there has been a reconsideration of Antonio Vivaldi’s stage works. A Vivaldi Edition is appearing on the Naïve label,Continue reading “Best of 2020 – Vivaldi’s Il Tamerlano”

Best of 2020: Simone Dinnerstein

A Character of Quiet Simone Dinnerstein, piano Orange Mountain Music Pianist Simone Dinnerstein has been playing Philip Glass’s music live for the past few years. Her interpretations, recorded on an Orange Mountain CD (Glass’s label) reveal dynamic subtleties and a romantic sensibility that creates a sense of vulnerability in the three etudes presented here; manyContinue reading “Best of 2020: Simone Dinnerstein”

Best of 2020: Ingrid Laubrock

Ingrid Laubrock Dreamt Twice, Twice Dreamt Intakt 2xCD Dreams can be a potent force for creators. Saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock has harnessed her subconscious to make her strongest work yet. Dreamt Twice, Twice Dreamt is a double album, the first CD featuring a chamber orchestra and the second CD small ensembles, both performing the same dream-basedContinue reading “Best of 2020: Ingrid Laubrock”

Harold Shapero on BMOP (Best of 2020)

Harold Shapero Orchestral Works Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Gil Rose, conductor BMOP Sound Composer Harold Shapero (1920-2013) was a central figure during the mid-twentieth century. A member of the Boston neoclassical group of composers, he was one of the first professors hired by Irving Fine for a new composition program at Brandeis University. Shapero hadContinue reading “Harold Shapero on BMOP (Best of 2020)”

Piano Concertos on DG (Best of 2020)

John Adams Why Must the Devil Have All the Good Tunes? Yuja Wang, piano; Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel, conductor Deutsche Grammophon Thomas Adés Adés Conducts Adés Kirill Gerstein, piano: Christianne Stotijn, mezzo-soprano, Mark Stone, baritone;  Boston Symphony, Thomas Adés, conductor Deutsche Grammophon This year saw the release of two formidable new piano concertos onContinue reading “Piano Concertos on DG (Best of 2020)”

Cappella Amsterdam (Best of 2020)

Roland de Lassus Inferno – Motets for Six and Eight Voices Cappella Amsterdam, Daniel Reuss, director Harmonia Mundi CD Roland de Lassus (1530-1594)  – also known as Orlando di Lasso – was one of the most important vocal composers of the sixteenth century. His extant catalog contains more than 2,000 pieces in nearly every sacredContinue reading “Cappella Amsterdam (Best of 2020)”

Matthew Shipp (Best of 2020)

Matthew Shipp The Piano Equation Tao Forms CD Jazz pianist Matthew Shipp turned sixty this year and celebrated in part with the solo release The Piano Equation. Shipp is an extraordinarily prolific recording artist, with dozens of releases as leader or co-leader and numerous more as a supporting musician; his solo catalog alone is extensive.Continue reading “Matthew Shipp (Best of 2020)”

Scelsi revisited (Best of 2020)

Scelsi Revisited Klangforum Wien, Sylvain Cambreling, Johannes Kalitzke, conductors Kairos 2XCD A number of prominent European composers took part in Scelsi revisited, a festival, documented on this double-CD, celebrating Giacinto Scelsi’s music. Their tribute pieces were based on unrealized tapes of Scelsi playing the Ondiola, a three-octave tube synthesizer that was his preferred instrument forContinue reading “Scelsi revisited (Best of 2020)”

Ora Singers – Spem in Alium.Vidi Aquam (CD Review)

Spem in Alium. Vidi Aquam Ora Singers, Suzi Digby Harmonia Mundi, 2020 English choral group the Ora Singers, led by Suzi Digby, present Thomas Tallis’s magnificent forty-part motet Spem in Alium on their latest Harmonia Mundi recording. Split into eight choirs of five apiece, the singers are given many opportunities to overlap in successive entrances,Continue reading “Ora Singers – Spem in Alium.Vidi Aquam (CD Review)”