Time for a review of classical CDs that were outstanding in 2014 . My lists for the previous years: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, (2011 – “Almost”), 2010, (2010 – “Almost”), 2009, (2009 – “Almost”), 2008, (2008 - "Almost") 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004.
# 3 - New Release
Johann Sebastian Bach, Goldberg Variations , (after Busoni’s Edition), Tzimon Barto (pianist), Capriccio
Johann Sebastian Bach, Goldberg Variations (after Busoni’s Edition)
Tzimon Barto (pianist)
Actually, I would have liked to hear what he does with repeats, assuming he’d have gone all kinds of different places with them… repeats should never sound the same, after all. No time for wistful thoughts, though: Barto crashes right into the first Aria with such vigor, you’d think he’s checking the instrument for sawdust. And so he goes on, following his nose for beauty and effect, arriving, for example, at Variation 28 where he depicts a music-box, steadily tinkling away in Debussy-esque colors until it slows down on the last notes, coming to a halting stop and then leads right into the steroid-induced brawn of Variation No.29: Part Bach, part Colonel John Matrix from Commando.
Perhaps most telling about the album: It gets better with every listening and doesn’t outstay its welcome. That compared starkly to another recent recording of the Goldberg Variations (by a well-regarded up-and-coming pianist with a consumer-friendly life-story) which were very impressive on first listening and then ground down to banality after repeat exposure. | Charles’ review of this album can be read here.
# 3 – Reissue
Igor Stravinsky, The Complete Columbia Album Collection, Igor Stravinsky (conductor) / Various artists and orchestras, Sony Classical
The Complete Columbia Album Collection
Igor Stravinsky (conductor)
Various artists and orchestras
That’s abetted by the fact that the early recordings sound great in every way: The sonic quality, firstly, given that they are up to three quarters of a century old. Secondly because the orchestras Stravinsky performs with – mostly the New York Philharmonic but also Cleveland – are better than the Columbia Symphony Orchestra out in LA. The 56 CDs (and the film “Stravinsky in Hollywood”, which is included in this set) are a fascinating journey through the many styles of Igor Stravinsky and a joy to behold in every way.