Time for a review of classical CDs that were outstanding in 2012. My lists for the previous years: 2011, (2011 – “Almost”), 2010, (2010 – “Almost”), 2009, (2009 – “Almost”), 2008, (2008 - "Almost") 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004.
# 10 - New Release
E-P. Salonen, Violin Concerto, Nyx, Leila Josefowicz, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Finnish RSO, DG 1752102
E-P.Salonen, Violin Concerto, Nyx,
L.Josefowicz / E-P.Salonen / Finnish RSO
Nyx is an orchestral piece half the way to a clarinet concerto and a truly great work. It’s palpable, image-inducing music, belly music rather than brainy musical theory. It’s music that grabs you by the lapels; possibly lower. It lures, beguiles, makes luxurious use of quiet, brings out militaristic tones. Best: it’s not a second longer than the music it contains. Nyx communicates with American efficiency and candor, yet hints at a hypothetical modern continuation of Debussy; ditto Mahler, just less convoluted. Like all music Nyx benefits greatly from the live experience. But so does Beethoven and even on record it’s easy to hear how this is ingenious music. And Nyx is only supposed to be the filler on this disc which features prominently Salonen's new Violin Concerto, "Out of Nowhere". A partially sparse, partially snappy virtuoso work, played masterly by Leila Josefowicz, it's just about as appealing as Nyx: This is altogether one of the finest, most readily appealing 21st century classical music releases.
# 10 – Reissue
L.v. Beethoven, Piano Sonatas 1 - 32, Paul Badura-Skoda, Gramola
Beethoven, Piano Sonatas,
Paul Badura-Skoda, born in Vienna in 1927, Edwin Fischer student, completes—alongside his two more famous contemporaries, the fellow Fischer-student Alfred Brendel (*1931) and fellow Viennese Friedrich Gulda (*1930)—the Austrian triumvirate of pianist that shaped the interpretation of the classical repertoire. They all recorded complete Beethoven Piano Sonata cycles multiple times (see LvB Sonata Cycle Survey); eight times between them. This is the first of Badura-Skoda’s two goes at it… and while his second traversal for Auvidis Astrée (1978 – 1989) is HIP and performed on seven different Fortepianos and Hammerklaviers, this first cycle on a Bösendorfer Imperial Grand is the connoisseur's Echt-Viennese cycle. Americans might remember it through the issue of the Musical Heritage Society’s recordings for Beethoven's bicentenary in 1970. It has now been re-issued for the second time on CD, by its ‘original’ label, Gramola. To make it more interesting still, they throw in an additional CD with two further, hitherto unpublished interpretations of the op.106, the Hammerklavier Sonata: a live concert recording from Warsaw, 1976 and a studio recording from four years later, performed on a Fortepiano from Beethoven's time.