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15.12.10

Best Recordings of 2010 (# 4)


This continues the “Best Recordings of 2010” countdown. You can view the choices so far here. The lists from the previous years: 2009, (2009 – “Almost”), 2008, (2008 - "Almost") 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004.

# 4 - New Release


F.Maffei et al., “Swiss Symphonic Composers, v.2”, E.Siffert / O.d.Svizzera Italiana, Gall (formerly Gallo) 1234


available at AmazonFornerod, Mettraux, Balissat, Maffei, Swiss Symphonic Composers, E.Siffert / O.d.Svizzera Italiana
Gall 1234

A more thorough review of this disc will appear on WETA next year; hopefully coupled with a on-air performance of Fabio Maffei’s “Petit Prince”. So much up front: What makes this four-composer collection, irreproachably performed by the Orchestra della Svizzera italiana under Emmanuel Siffert, so truly special is the Fabio Maffei’s “Le Petit Prince pour orchestra de chambre". The work is simply a masterpiece; music that is felt not ‘constructed’. The result of Maffei’s youthful efforts (he was abot 28 at the time) is a work so unabashedly charming, it is difficult to believe any composer—young or old—had the guts to write it and not fear being accused of being derivative.

Similarities between the final chapter in Maffei’s Prince, “L’Étoile”, and “Des Canyons Aux Étoiles” exist, but they are coincidental—at the time Maffei not only didn’t know that work, he hadn’t even been fond of Messiaen’s music. But both Messiaen and René Gerber, his composition teacher, studied in Paris in Paul Dukas’ class—which might explain a hint of flavor-similarity or two. In any case, this was my musical ‘discovery’ of the year.



# 4 – Reissue


L.v.Beethoven, Violin Concerto ("Beethoven 61a" Cadenza), Romances, Thomas Zehetmair / Frans Brüggen / Orchestra of the 18th Century, Decca Eloquence

available at AmazonL.v.Beethoven, Violin Concerto, Romances,
T.Zehetmair / F.Brüggen / Orchestra of the 18th Century
Decca Eloquence

This is, in my rarely humble opinion, the recording of the Beethoven Violin concerto. The version—performed by Thomas Zehetmair and Frans Brüggen—had been spottily available in the US when it was on Philips… and even now, re-issued, it seems not to be a straight forward North American release. That’s annoying, but the price is right even as an import, and the performance is still superlative, of course. (Ionarts review here.)


-> Best Recordings of 2010 #1
-> Best Recordings of 2010 #2
-> Best Recordings of 2010 #3
-> Best Recordings of 2010 #5
-> Best Recordings of 2010 #6
-> Best Recordings of 2010 #7
-> Best Recordings of 2010 #8
-> Best Recordings of 2010 #9
-> Best Recordings of 2010 #10

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