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.
Marc Minkowski’s recording of Jacques Offenbach’s La Périchole pays the composer a handsome tribute in his birthday year; violinist Baiba Skride’s new all-Bartók disc is one of the year’s best.
Julia Wolfe’s Fire in my mouth is one of 2019’s most memorable recordings; Donnacha Dennehy’s The Hunger, a meditation on the Irish potato famine of the mid-19th-century, leaves an indelible impression; Derek Bermel’s Migrations is a grand celebration of one of America’s great living composer at the top of his game.
Once much-performed, then banished from the stage by the Nazis, The Miracle of Heliane, now available in a fine new recording, is perhaps the best opera by the man who would become one of Hollywood’s leading composers.
A freshly thought through, energetically executed Berlioz disc; a lovely album that contains excellent performances of underperformed and unfamiliar repertoire that deserves to be heard and championed; a fine, sometimes inspired account of Respighi.
Fine recordings of symphonies by neglected American composers Florence Price and George Antheil; and a curious album from Cornelius Meister and the ORF Radio-Sinfonieorchester Wien.
JoAnn Falletta’s recording of Schreker’s orchestral works is fantastic; Manfred Honeck and his Pittsburgh Symphony make Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony shocking again, and Baiba Skride proves a strong advocate for Miklós Rózsa’s Violin Concerto.
Two Mahler symphonies, one sluggish the other intense, while symphonies composed by Louise Farrenc, Mozart, and Haydn are done right.
Violinist Michael Barenboim is an exceptional young musician with a famous name who stands on his own two feet.