Fanfare is the leading periodical for classical music reviews, and every year it asks numerous critics — this time 45 of them — for their top five classical music picks of the year. In turn, each year I present a meta-list, which simply is a list of all the works selected by more than one critic. This year we have:
1. Meanwhile, by Eighth Blackbird., assorted contemporary pieces.
2. Haydn, The Creation, conducted by Martin Pearlman.
3. Arvo Pärt, Adam’s Lament.
4. Bellini’s Norma, with Cecilia Bartoli.
I just ordered 1-3 of those, for the Bellini I am still stuck on Maria Callas. My personal picks of the year, in classical music, would be:
1. Shostakovich string quartets, Pacifica Quartet, several volumes, including some other Soviet compositions as well. I find these more powerful than Emerson, Manhattan, Brodsky, or the other classic sets of Shostakovich.
2. Arvo Pärt, Creator Spiritus.
3. Klára Würtz and Kristóf Baráti, Beethoven sonatas for violin and piano.
4. The Art of David Tudor, seven disc box set, caveat emptor on this one.