Suffice it to say, the tour was an extraordinary experience, musically and culturally, and, for me, a conspicuously potent introduction to a new continent.
The BPYO’s repertoire in Brazil is drawn from last year’s programs and is built around Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto no. 2.
The six pieces hailed from various corners of the country and examined a wide range of expressive and social viewpoints.
François-Xavier Roth’s Mahler offers plenty of personality and ideas; there’s nothing on Mariss Jansons’ disc that’s really worth your time; guitarist Daniel Lippel draws out Steve Reich’s lyrical qualities.
Vasily Petrenko’s Elgar disappoints, Edward Gardner’s Mendelssohn excites, and Alain Lefévre’s Paris is delights.
Vladimir Jurowski’s new recording of Rachmaninoff’s Symphony no. 1 is a tightly-played, exciting reading; The Yiddish Cabaret’s only real offense relates to poor labeling; The transcriptions in Russian Masquerade are played with spunk and vitality.
Railroad Rhythms is one of the year’s delights: unexpected, well played, and thoroughly charming. Theodore Kuchar is a conductor who seems to know precious few limitations; Eduard Strauss, despite his champions, turns out to have been a competent writer of music for the day.
Arguably, the strongest entry in the BSO’s complete Shostakovich symphony cycle thus far; Esa-Pekka Salonen’s 2016 Cello Concerto is emotionally direct and, at times, simply gorgeous; the resurgence of interest in the music of Boston-educated composer Florence Price is a good thing.
Charles Villiers Stanford’s bold Mass Via victrix is finally heard; Pablo Heras-Casado wraps up his survey of the Mendelssohn symphonies in high style; Anna Shelest completes her performance of Anton Rubinstein piano concertos.
Markus Maskuniitty’s solo debut recording is stunning, Howard Shelley and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra play Clara Schumann’s Piano Concerto with zest, and this is one of the strongestNew Year’s Concerts of the decade from the Vienna Philharmonic.