Best of the Year Classical List for 2017
Recommendations by Steven Ritter
Mahler: Symphony No. 8 – Mormon Tabernacle Choir/ Utah Symphony/ Thierry Fischer – Reference Recordings
Spectacular, moving, and, well, what else do you need?
GORDON GETTY: The Canterville Ghost – Oper Leipzig/ Gewandhausorchester/ Matthias Foremny – Pentatone
A splendid addition to the Getty catalog, one of his best works.
Link to Review
SHOSTAKOVICH: Symph. No. 5; BARBER: Adagio for Strings – Pittsburgh Symph. Orch./Manfred Hobeck – Reference Recordings
A breathtaking release of crushing power.
Recommendations by Gary Lemco
Reiner conducts Wagner Pristine Audio PASC 517
Fritz Reiner’s legacy of Wagner from shellac sources proves memorably striking, given a fine restoration by Pristine Audio.
Beethoven: Symphonies 4 & 7 – Koussevitzky/BSO – Pristine Audio PASC 515
Previously unreleased Beethoven performances by Koussevitzky and BSO add significant documents to that conductor’s recorded legacy.
Kathleen Ferrier Remembered Somm CD 264
The restoration of long-buried Kathleen Ferrier archives warrants our unconditional praise and support.
Dvorak: String Quartet, Op. 105; String Quintet, Op. 97 Takacs Qt Hyperion CDM 68142
Splendid readings of to late Dvorak chamber music staples provide a lush hour of listening pleasure.
Bruckner: Symphony No. 3; Wagner: opera excepts – Knappertsbusch/Vienna Philh. Praga PRD 350 140
The inimitable “Kna” makes his presence felt in Bruckner and Wagner staples he passionately endorsed.
Mordecai Shehori: The New York Concerts, Vol. 12 Cembal d’amore CD 189
Add yet another gem to the legacy of New York recitals that impressed admirers of Mordecai Shehori.
Messaien: 20 Anniversary Edition Warner Classics
Warner Classics has released an exceptional and comprehensive assemblage of Olivier Messiaen’s significant musical corpus.
British Music conducted by Sir Charles Groves Warner Classics
True to its advertisement, this set brings together a fine selection of British music led by a devoted practitioner of his craft.
Rachmaninov: Piano Sonatas Rustem Hayroudinoff, piano Onyx 4181
Pianist Rustem Hayroudinoff injects voluptuous energy into the Rachmaninov piano sonatas.
William Kapell: Three First Releases JSP Records JSP 684
JSP Records restores invaluable moments from the most promising of America’s young piano virtuosos, William Kapell.
Schubert: Symphony No. 8; Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 – Celibidache/Munich Philh. Munich Philh. Archives 0004
The orchestral alchemy of Sergiu Celibidache resonates by way of this first release from the Munich Philharmonic’s label.
Franz. Schmidt: Symphony No. 2; R. Strauss: Intermezzo excerpt – Bychkov/Vienna Philh. Sony 8898535522
Semyon Bychkov and the VPO celebrate music that proves endemic to Vienna, in their under-rated favorite son, Franz Schmidt.
Carl Schuricht conducts Mozart Concerto No. 27; Brahms Symphony No. 2 Audite 95.645
Grand music-making defines these two concerts led by veteran Carl Schuricht.
Final Thoughts: Late Music of Brahms and Schubert – Jorge Federico Osorio, piano Cedille CDR 9000 171
Jorge Federico Osorio invests an ardor of personal authenticity into the late works of Schubert and Brahms.
Leonard Rose tribute Doremi DHR-8038
Doremi provides us a template of what a recorded tribute to Leonard Rose should contain, including several significant chamber-music additions.
Brahms: String Sextets – Cypress Quartet with Barry Sullivan and Zuill Bailey – Avie AV 2294
For their last recording, the Cypress Quartet invites guests to share the music of Brahms.
Schumann: Fantasy in C; Kreisleriana – Jean-Philippe Collard, piano La Dolce Volta LDV 30
Jean-Philippe Collard celebrates his long commitment to the passionate and fanciful works of Robert Schumann.
Liszt: 12 Transcendental Etudes – Barbara Nissman, piano Three Oranges 3OR-22
Barbara Nissman gives us a dynamic and emotionally aggressive Liszt, virtuosic and poetic.
Dvorak: Piano Trios in F Minor and E Minor – Trio Wanderer – Harmonia mundi HMM 90228
Splendid renditions of Dvorak’s two late Piano Trios, part of Trio Wanderer’s thirtieth-year offerings.
Haydn: Piano Sonatas – John O’Conor, piano Steinway & Sons 30058
John O’Conor deftly brings out the variety and infinite charm of five Haydn sonatas.
Recommendations by Robert Moon
JOHN ADAMS: Scheherazade.2 – Leila Josefowicz, violin – St. Louis Symphony/David Robertson – Nonesuch 557170
John Adams’ new Violin Concerto is dramatically compelling.
WEINBERG: Chamber Symphonies 1, 2, 3 & 4; Piano Quintet – Gidon Kremer, violin; Yulianna Avdeeva, piano; Mate Bekavac, clarinet – Kremerata Baltica/Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla – ECM New Series 2538/39
A major Russian composer emerges in these scintillating chamber works.
WILLIAM WALTON: Symphony No. 1—Symphony No. 2. Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/Kirill Karabits, onyxclassics ONYX4168
Once in a while a reviewer hears a performance of familiar works that is so unique that it redefines the music.