July 1, 2022
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Andy Akiho: ‘Pillar III’

“Seven Pillars”; Sandbox Percussion (Aki Rhythm Productions)

A lush, brooding celebration of noise, “Seven Pillars” is the sprawling end result of a deep collaboration between a composer and a percussion quartet. Mixing antsy chimes and a low-slung beat beneath, “Pillar III” builds in drive earlier than collapsing in ferocious shudders, explosions and shivers — and an ominous lullaby coda. ZACHARY WOOLFE

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C.P.E. Bach: Rondo in D minor

“Mozart and Contemporaries”; Vikingur Olafsson, piano (Deutsche Grammophon)

The pianist Vikingur Olafsson has launched one other fascinating album, this one providing works by Mozart alongside items by his contemporaries Domenico Cimarosa, Baldassare Galuppi, Haydn and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. Olafsson’s lucid and intense account of this Bach rondo is particularly exhilarating. ANTHONY TOMMASINI

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J.S. Bach: Fugue in D sharp minor

“Effectively-Tempered Clavier”; Piotr Anderszewski, piano (Warner Classics)

Piotr Anderszewski’s unusual, finally satisfying choice of half the preludes and fugues from E book Two of “The Effectively-Tempered Clavier” may properly be one of the nice Bach recordings — by no means extra so than within the psychological depths it charts within the slowest of its fugues. Anderszewski’s is enjoying of nearly heroic focus, and profound humanity. DAVID ALLEN

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Bartok: ‘Oh! Viragok! Oh! Illatos kert!’

“Bluebeard’s Fort”; Szilvia Voros, mezzo-soprano; Mika Kares, bass; Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra; Susanna Malkki, conductor (Bis)

A tour of Bluebeard’s house is the stuff of HGTV nightmares. His new spouse, Judith, ought to beware what lies behind every locked door, however fatefully insists on opening them. The fourth reveals a secret backyard — rendered vividly on this recording, a grasp class in orchestral coloring and texture. As a result of the stress by no means actually slackens in Susanna Malkki’s interpretation, even a second of fleeting magnificence is shaded with nervous anticipation. JOSHUA BARONE

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Amy Seaside: ‘By the Nonetheless Waters’

“Summertime”; Isata Kanneh-Mason, piano (Decca)

There’s suave Gershwin on Isata Kanneh-Mason’s most up-to-date album, in addition to elegant Samuel Barber and shifting Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, together with a heated but heartbreakingly dignified “Deep River.” However Amy Seaside’s “By the Nonetheless Waters” was new to me, and Kanneh-Mason makes of it a dreamy, unhurried little masterpiece. ZACHARY WOOLFE

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Brahms: Symphony No. 4, Allegro giocoso

“Brahms/MacMillan”; Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra; Manfred Honeck, conductor (Reference Recordings)

After a bland Tchaikovsky Fourth and a finicky Beethoven Ninth, I had began to wonder if Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony have been getting just a little too invested of their innovative approach to the canonical repertoire for their very own good. This livid Brahms Fourth dispels these doubts; at occasions, the orchestral enjoying is barely plausible. DAVID ALLEN

The Best Music of 2021

From Lil Nas X to Mozart to Esperanza Spalding here’s what we cherished listening to this yr.

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Christopher Cerrone: ‘I Will Be taught How you can Love a Particular person and Then I Will Train You and Then We Will Know’

“The Arching Path”; Timo Andres, piano; Lindsay Kesselman, soprano; Ian Rosenbaum, percussion; Mingzhe Wang, clarinet (In a Circle)

In his tune cycle “I Will Be taught to Love a Particular person,” Christopher Cerrone combines Minimalism and a casually profane confessional textual content by Tao Lin, initially suggesting a sure ironic detachment. However then Lindsay Kesselman’s anguish wells forth, spilling over the tune’s brim. As in a lot of Cerrone’s best work, this unraveling is just too uncovered to be blasé, and turns the piece into a real weeper, worthy of early opera. SETH COLTER WALLS

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Debussy: ‘En Bateau’

“French Duets”; Steven Osborne and Paul Lewis, pianos (Hyperion)

At first look, this album of four-hand piano items may appear to be a middlebrow lark coming from two pianists succesful of — and recognized for — rather more problem and depth. However it’s one of the yr’s most disarmingly beautiful recordings, elevating amateur-level scores like Debussy’s Petite Suite with unwavering sensitivity and beauty. JOSHUA BARONE

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Philip Glass: ‘Night Tune’

“Satyagraha”; Richard Croft, tenor; Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; Dante Anzolini, conductor (Orange Mountain Music)

For over a decade, you needed to belief the individuals who stated that Phelim McDermott’s manufacturing of “Satyagraha” was one of the perfect issues on the Metropolitan Opera this century. Now we have now proof on this, the primary full recording of the work — captured in 2011 and at last launched — whose ending exemplifies Philip Glass’s operatic writing at its best: mysterious, meditative, limitless magnificence. JOSHUA BARONE

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Charlotte Greve: ‘Sediments We Transfer,’ Half II

“Sediments We Transfer”; Wooden River; Cantus Domus (New Amsterdam Data)

This bold suite from the saxophonist and composer Charlotte Greve incorporates guitar components that may enchantment to followers of jazz musician Nels Cline. And its choral writing ought to excite devotees of Roomful of Tooth. But it’s the easy really feel of Greve’s fusion that feels most notable — and succesful of creating new audiences of its personal. SETH COLTER WALLS

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Handel: ‘Tu del ciel ministro eletto’

“Bach/Handel”; Sabine Devieilhe, soprano; Pygmalion; Raphaël Pichon, conductor (Erato)

Time appears to face nonetheless when Bellezza — Magnificence — cleanses herself of “faithless craving” and “useless ardour” as she friends towards God on the conclusion of Handel’s “Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno.” It’s a second that Sabine Devieilhe sings with apt simplicity, because the lutenist Thomas Dunford, the violinist Sophie Gent and the conductor Raphaël Pichon solid a spell round her, as if to carry her heavenward. DAVID ALLEN

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Sigismondo d’India: ‘Io viddi in terra angelici costumi’

“Lamenti e Sospiri”; Julie Roset, soprano; Cappella Mediterranea; Leonardo García Alarcón, director (Ricercar)

On the daybreak of the seventeenth century, the composer Sigismondo d’India was a grasp of intimate chamber madrigals of luminous readability, surprising harmonies and startling evocations of emotional extremity. In “Io viddi in terra angelici costumi,” a setting of Petrarch, each the piece and the soprano Julie Roset’s efficiency on a brand new d’India compilation attain hypnotic heights. ZACHARY WOOLFE

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Nikolai Kapustin: Piano Concerto No. 4

“Kapustin: Orchestral Works”; Frank Dupree, piano; Württemberg Chamber Orchestra; Case Scaglione, conductor (Capriccio)

Star pianists have lengthy championed the piano solos of Nikolai Kapustin, a jazz-inspired Russian maverick. However we haven’t had many recordings of his concertos for the instrument. Frank Dupree provided redress this yr, with a fizzy, addictive performance of the Fourth. The efficiency was a reminder of the productive (if underexplored) sway American jazz has had over international classical tradition. SETH COLTER WALLS

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Liszt: Fugue on ‘Advert nos, advert Salutarem Undam’

“Jeanne Demessieux: The Decca Legacy”; Jeanne Demessieux, organ (Eloquence)

Archival releases have proceeded unabated this yr, as document firms proceed to mine their catalogs within the identify of more or less worthy causes. Jeanne Demessieux is actually the previous, an organist of staggering skill whose popularity unfairly dimmed after her premature demise in 1968. This Liszt, from 1952, is ample proof of her skills, a ferocious assault on a piece of scary problem, yielding intensely musical outcomes. DAVID ALLEN

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Liszt: ‘Der König von Thule’

“Freudvoll und Leidvoll”; Jonas Kaufmann, tenor; Helmut Deutsch, piano (Sony Classical)

Lately the charismatic, smoky-voiced Jonas Kaufmann has been in demand as a heldentenor in roles now together with Wagner’s Tristan. However on this marvelous album, with the superb pianist Helmut Deutsch, dedicated to Liszt’s imaginative (and still-neglected) songs, Kaufmann is usually in his extra tender, intimate mode, as in his alluring efficiency of “Der König von Thule.” ANTHONY TOMMASINI

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Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 22, Allegro

“Mozart Momentum: 1785”; Leif Ove Andsnes, piano; Mahler Chamber Orchestra (Sony Classical)

On this fascinating album, the pianist Leif Ove Andsnes presents works that Mozart wrote in the course of the artistically transformative yr of 1785, together with three piano concertos, a piano quartet and different scores. This spirited and crisp but elegant account of the finale from the Concerto No. 22 could also be my favourite observe. ANTHONY TOMMASINI

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Angélica Negrón: ‘Cooper and Emma’

“Alone Collectively”; Jennifer Koh, violin (Cedille)

When the pandemic made in-person performances unimaginable, the very good violinist Jennifer Koh started an inspiring mission to fee brief solos, which she premiered on-line from her Manhattan condominium. “Alone Collectively” gives the outcomes: 39 strikingly numerous items, amongst them Angélica Negrón’s playful, creative “Cooper and Emma.” ANTHONY TOMMASINI

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Salieri: ‘Dilegua il tuo timore’

“Armida”; Les Talens Lyriques; Christophe Rousset, conductor; Lenneke Ruiten and Florie Valiquette, sopranos; Choeur de Chambre de Namur (Aparté)

In Salieri’s opera “Armida,” given a taut, elegant recording this yr, the 2 lovers — Armida, a sorceress of Damascus, and the enraptured Christian crusader Rinaldo — are each sopranos, which lends a “Rosenkavalier” really feel to their early idyll. This duet reveals each their ardour and their mutual suspicion as their spell begins to interrupt. ZACHARY WOOLFE

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David Sanford: ‘Subtraf’

“A Prayer for Lester Bowie”; David Sanford Massive Band (Greenleaf Music)

Except for writing chamber and orchestral music, David Sanford additionally runs an enormous band. That group’s newest launch reveals some of Sanford’s current enthusiasms. On this observe, a strangled-gasp sound reminiscent of Helmut Lachenmann’s music gives some preliminary kindling. Later, the bonfire climax is indebted to the experimentalism of Miles Davis circa “Agharta.” SETH COLTER WALLS

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Kamala Sankaram: ‘Ololyga’

“Resonant Our bodies”; Kamala Sankaram, voice (New Focus Recordings)

From 2013 to 2019, the Resonant Our bodies Pageant explored experimental vocal music in the beginning of every New York fall season. The use of electronics — as canvas for, and distortion of, the voices — was widespread. Texts have been far rarer than squawks, moans, clicks and wails. The prevailing fashion was agile expressionism, as on this 2017 piece by Kamala Sankaram, a spotlight of a memorable compendium of pageant highlights. ZACHARY WOOLFE

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Schumann: ‘Requiem’

“Schumann: Alle Lieder”; Christian Gerhaher, baritone; Gerold Huber, piano (Sony Classical)

If there’s a finer match of musician and composer than Christian Gerhaher and Robert Schumann, I might be shocked. The 11-disc field from which this observe comes fulfills Gerhaher’s mission to document the whole songs of his idol, and it ends with this “Requiem,” a tune “so full of feeling, a coming-together of spirituality and sensuality,” because the baritone has put it. It’s the excellent demonstration of Gerhaher’s surpassing artwork. DAVID ALLEN

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Shostakovich: Prelude No. 14 in E flat minor

“On DSCH”; Igor Levit, piano (Sony Classical)

The newest important launch from the formidable pianist Igor Levit is a three-disc album pairing commanding accounts of Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues with the Scottish composer Ronald Stevenson’s daunting, fantastical “Passacaglia on DSCH,” a 90-minute suite paying homage to Shostakovich. Take heed to Levit’s probing efficiency of this fugue, and it would be best to hear all of them. ANTHONY TOMMASINI

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Gabriella Smith: ‘Bard of a Wasteland’

“Misplaced Coast”; Gabriella Smith and Gabriel Cabezas (Bed room Neighborhood)

This radio-ready opener to Gabriella Smith and Gabriel Cabezas’s album “Misplaced Coast” is troublesome to categorize. Artwork tune, political anthem, pop — all or none of the above? Regardless, it’s a piece of affecting counterpoint: the trend that accumulates within the layered sounds of Cabezas’s prolonged cello method in opposition to the resignation of Smith’s elegiac vocals. JOSHUA BARONE

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Tyshawn Sorey: ‘For George Lewis’

“For George Lewis/Autoschediasms”; Alarm Will Sound (Cantaloupe Music)

Tyshawn Sorey has lengthy labored with a stretched-out scale of time that may invite comparisons with Morton Feldman. However right here, throughout 53 minutes of materials — patiently organized for subgroups inside the chamber ensemble Alarm Will Sound — the extensive variation of instrumental colours and harmonic materials serves as a transparent encomium to a different composer: George Lewis, a mentor of Sorey’s who can also be nonetheless in rude creative health. SETH COLTER WALLS

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Anna Thorvaldsdottir: ‘Enigma,’ I

“Enigma”; Spektral Quartet (Sono Luminus)

Listening to Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s music, I usually really feel like I’m listening to the earth by a stethoscope. However her debut string quartet extra resembles dispatches rising from the white noise of one other world. It’s a masterly entrance to the style, and a deceptively huge soundscape conjured with simply 4 acoustic devices. JOSHUA BARONE

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