These superbly produced — and sung, played, and conducted — holiday music albums are perfect stocking stuffers.
Michael Tilson Thomas delivers a towering Ives Fourth; pianist Conrad Tao’s American Rage is hard-edged and defiant, but also poignant and stirring; Gianandrea Noseda’s Shostakovich Fourth is ferocious.
A noteworthy recording of Ernst von Dohnányi’s Symphony no. 1; as usual, Harry Christophers and the Handel & Haydn Society play Haydn with their customary elegance and character; a celebration of British composer Eric Coates – his music’s impossibly fresh tunefulness, striking progressions, and vividly idiomatic orchestrations.
Violinist Liza Ferschtman and the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra’s account of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto lacked nothing for momentum and spirit.
Terrific, fiery playing from George Li, one of the most compelling young pianists on the scene; Mariss Jansons’ recording of Shostakovich’s Tenth trudges from start to finish; irrefutable proof of Andris Nelsons’ excellence as a new-music conductor.
Tool is going to remain relevant as long as the band can still effectively unleash its nightmare-ish delights for fervid fans.
Simon Rattle’s Bruckner is, on the whole, lean and lively; if you’re looking for a new Mahler Four, Vladimir Jurowski’s is the one to check out; Thierry Fischer leads performances of each symphony that take Saint-Saëns’ writing seriously.
Two recent biographies take very different approaches as they revel in the wild lives and examine the distinctive songs of two of rock music’s most enigmatic figures: Lou Reed and Warren Zevon.
These are two practiced masters at free improvisation. I am confident that many listeners will find them as intriguing and accomplished as I do.
In the right hands, Shostakovich’s Twelfth can come off as nothing less than an intriguing, lively symphonic essay.