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.
# 9 - New Release
L.v.Beethoven, The Piano Sonatas, vol. 2 (Opp. 10/1-3, 53 “Waldstein”, 52, 57 “Appassionata”), Paavali Jumppanen (piano), Ondine
Ludwig van Beethoven,
He actually looks to be delivering one of the consistently most playful, subtly surprising Beethoven cycles around, and the early sonatas are doing much to that end. The F-major Presto of op.10/2 superbly embodies these impish qualities; the opening and third movements of op.10/3 sound just about perfect: youthful, impetuous, gripping, steady, quick and with perfect delineation of all lines. Occasionally – largely in the early sonatas so far – Jumppanen inserts personality and interpretation that will make the purist blanch and musicians snigger: A bit of cheek, but never outlandish. Ondine’s direct, close, but not claustrophobic sound is very gratifying—dare I say: ideal!
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# 9 – Reissue
F.Cavalli, La Calisto, Soloists, René Jacobs, Concerto Vocale, Harmonia Mundi
Francesco Cavalli, La Calisto
Soloists / Concerto Vocale
René Jacobs (conductor)
While sitting through an uncut performance of Francesco Cavalli’s La Didone can be secco recitativo purgatory, his La Calisto is a racy firecracker. True, it’s much helped by a great production like David Alden’s (Bavarian State Opera), whose sexy gloss and wit so brings out the juicy subject-matter of Jupiter-the-prowl and how Kallisto (“Most Beautiful”) ends up as the zodiac sign Ursa Major. But the music is top-notch baroque entertainment and Dominque Visse as a horny, bleating countertenor-goat (the synopsis explains!) is hilarious. René Jacobs’ recording has always been the go-to choice and it’s great to see it re-released in Harmonia Mundi’s splendid, shelve-space saving “Heritage” series. Splendid booklets but—expectedly, understandably—no libretto.