A welcome political homage to Woody Guthrie, a new recording of Ethel Smyth’s 1931 choral symphony makes a strong case for a full reconsideration of her output, and David Lang’s rejiggering of Beethoven’s Fidelio is both stirring and timeless.
Rossini’s Zelmira is a powerhouse opera that features two coloratura tenors and equally demanding roles for soprano and mezzo.
For fans of David Lang and/or one of the country’s best choirs, this is a can’t-miss release; Christopher Rouse’s Fifth is about as fresh and engaging a Symphony as the composer wrote; Hub New Music plays the daylights out of Robert Honstein’s Soul House.
Thomas Adès is a formidable pianist and his output for his native instrument is fundamentally gripping; yMusic’s new album is a spectacularly-played and -recorded disc; Michael Gordon’s Anonymous Man is undeniably hypnotic but gets stuck in a loop that goes on for a mite too long.
The two best things about Simon Rattle’s new recording of Die Walküre are, well, Rattle, himself, and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra; a strongly played and majestically sung performance of Felix Mendelssohn’s unfairly neglected Die erste Walpurgisnacht.
A terrific release showcases the Boston Symphony Orchestra and composer Thomas Adès. Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony deliver a radiantly honest recording of Aaron Copland’s Symphony 3.
The practice of re-using large chunks of an opera for a new plot and new words may sound implausible to us, but in Rossini’s hands the result is delightful and surprisingly coherent.
Lovers of American music, don’t miss Aspects of America: The Pulitzer Edition ; Lindberg’s recording of Leonard Bernstein’s first two symphonies lacks a compelling command of the musician’s singular voice; the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra tackles four pieces by Morton Gould.
Diana Tishchenko’s a violinist well worth keeping an eye on; Jun Märkl leads the MSO in brisk, shapely readings of pieces by Saint-Saëns; Françoix-Xavier Roth and Les Siecles come up with some winning Berlioz.
John Nelson’s La Damnation de Faust is a triumph; you will rarely encounter Villa-Lobos played with greater understanding or in better sound than here; Paavo Järvi and his orchestra’s survey of Messiaen orchestral works early and late is resplendent.