Fanfare meta-list for classical CDs

by on November 2, 2014 at 2:35 am in Music, The Arts | Permalink

Loyal MR readers will know that late fall I survey the yearly “Want Lists” of Fanfare music reviewers.  If you don’t already know, Fanfare is the world’s premiere journal for classical music reviews.  My meta-list is simply those recordings which are mentioned as best of the year by more than one polled Fanfare critic.  This year the winning discs with multiple nominations are:

1. Busoni, late piano works, Marc-Andre Hamelin

2. Prokoviev piano concerti, by Jean-Effiam Bavouzet and  Gianandrea Noseda.

4. Sylvia Berry, Haydn piano sonatas.

5. Manfred Honeck, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Richard Strauss tone poems.

Another meta-list would be discs which I recommend and which a Fanfare critic also recommends, that would include:

Gillian Weir playing Messiaen organ works.

Bach, Brandenburg Concerti, Freiburger Barockorchester.

Gerald Finley and Julius Drake, Winterreise, Schubert.

Igor Levit, Beethoven late piano sonatas.

I would give all a very high recommendation, with this second meta-list being better than the first meta-list.

Other “best of the year” lists will be coming later this month.   Here are earlier posts on what I’ve been listening to.  Here are earlier Fanfare meta-lists.

1 Gary Arndt November 2, 2014 at 3:03 am

Etudes 11-20 from Philip Glass will be released later this month. They have been releasing 1 new one a week running up to the release of the album. Different, but on a par with etudes 1-10 which were released 10 years ago.

2 Michael G. Heller November 2, 2014 at 3:18 am

I was surprised recently to find a saxophone album of Philip Glass music on the Orange Mountain label. Quite good Melodies 1-13, as well as the Windcatcher Pts 1-3.

3 Michael G. Heller November 2, 2014 at 3:14 am

Messiaen’s organ works are too much for me. Much too grinding. But I like his other pieces, almost all 168 of them minus the organ works on the 100th anniversary album. Favourite though is the Quautor Pour La Fin du Temps by Trio Wanderer, which illogically always make me think about the European central bank!

4 jean-louis salvignol November 2, 2014 at 3:42 am

The Messiaen Quatuor pour la fin du Temps is religious in essence, inspired by this quote from the Apocalypse of Saint-jean:

« Je vis un ange plein de force, descendant du ciel, revêtu d’une nuée, ayant un arc-en-ciel sur la tête. Son visage était comme le soleil, ses pieds comme des colonnes de feu. Il posa son pied droit sur la mer, son pied gauche sur la terre, et, se tenant debout sur la mer et sur la terre, il leva la main vers le Ciel et jura par Celui qui vit dans les siècles des siècles, disant : « Il n’y aura plus de temps » ; mais au jour de la trompette du septième ange, le mystère de Dieu se consommera.»

Götterdämmerung is better suited to the pagan Europe of today, maybe?

5 dearieme November 2, 2014 at 10:08 am

“Richard Strauss tone poems”: uuuurgh! “Winterreise, Schubert”: aaaargh!

Bach, Haydn, Beethoven; now you’re talking. But since we have CDs of these already, why would we buy near-duplicates?

6 Ray Lopez November 2, 2014 at 10:49 am

I’m listening to a history of music on the Teaching Company, going though this audio file that’s about 10 hours long. Very interesting, and to answer your question, it is to support the musicians, and to replicate the concert experience, that’s why. It’s like being there, the hushed tones, the confiscated cell phones, the Fat Lady sings! See more here: (more geared to modern music).

7 dearieme November 2, 2014 at 12:01 pm

I gave up concerts decades ago. For me only opera and jazz gain by being live. And the jazzmen I’d really like to hear live are all dead.

(I did break my own rule by going to a piano recital about five years ago. Mainly I learnt that I hated that particular instrument, and secondly that I didn’t think much of that pianist. I left early.)

8 Yancey Ward November 2, 2014 at 11:49 am

I could endorse all those simply by the composer, except for Haydn- simply too boring.

9 dearieme November 2, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Not Papa Haydn. No….ooooooo.

10 dearieme November 2, 2014 at 12:04 pm
11 Yancey Ward November 2, 2014 at 12:55 pm


Sorry, he has never been interesting to me, and I gave it plenty of opportunity over the last 30 years. I recognize the import he had to his successors (and in their own words), but I just never could get into Haydn in any way.

12 Peter Dorman November 2, 2014 at 12:44 pm

I’ve had the Weir set for some time (assuming these are the same recordings). I like it, but I generally prefer Hans-Ola Ericsson. Incidentally, you can hear Messiaen himself playing most of these works, but the sound is poor, which really matters for the organ.

I’ve also been enjoying Noseda and Bavouzet in Prokofiev — very detailed, which is important in this kind of music.

On my own list would definitely be the recent recordings by Kristian Bezuidenhout of Mozart on the fp.

13 Bernard Yomtov November 2, 2014 at 7:21 pm

Shouldn’t a meta-list be a list of lists?

All I see is two separate lists, which don’t even include Liszt.

14 Peter Dorman November 2, 2014 at 7:33 pm

Or Mehta.

15 Bernard Yomtov November 3, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Well done.

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