The Fanfare classical music meta-list for best recordings of the year

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.


Wrong link for Haydn's Creation.

I too like classical music. I listen to the interpretive synthesis of Walter Anthony Murphy, Jr.

Unfortunately I only found two of these on Spotify. But here you go.

4. Callas is not perfect, and that Norma is Callas, but Bartoli is not going to be the lady to vanquish her. Her voice is too pretty.

I am surprised that you list Emerson, Manhattan and Brodsky as the classic sets of Shostakovich's quartets. The classic sets are, and likely will remain for quite some time, are recorded by the Beethoven and the Borodin quartets. After all, these were recorded under the supervision of the composer himself. The two are different from one another, and both powerful in their evocation of Dimitry's dread and fear.

I happen to have have heard Pacifica performing the 3rd, 7th, 8th and 13th in concert, and, to my ear anyway, I find them bland and superficial. It may be that the experience of a lifetime of nightly fearing the dread knock on the night-time door may be required to really encompass this composer's most intimate creations.

That Tudor box is really great, though, yeah, only for listeners with a tolerance for avant garde music.

If you don't already know the compilation of Tudor's piano recordings on Editions RZ from a few years ago, it's also excellent.

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