Some Favorite Recordings of 2012

I don’t do “best-of” lists. “Best” is so subjective that it implies too many things to too many people. Besides, “best” suggests that I’ve sampled everything available in a given category, and even though I review hundreds of discs a year, I confess I have heard but a fraction of what’s available. Therefore, I prefer to do “favorites” lists. Here are just a few of the recordings (listed alphabetically, to be fair) I heard last year that I enjoyed enormously for their performance and sound. OK, I know I’ve forgotten a few; forgive me. These stood out, some of them new remasters of old favorites.

An English Fancy
Trio Settecento. Cedille CDR 90000 135.

Bach: Air - The Bach Album
Includes Air, Violin Concertos Nos. 1 and 2, Largo, Double Concerto, and Ave Maria. Anne Akiko Meyers, violin; Steven Mercurio, English Chamber Orchestra. eOne Music EOM-CD-7785.

Bach: Brandenburg Concertos
Jeanne Lamon, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. Tafelmusik TMK1004CD2 (2-disc set).

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 “Emperor”
Rudolf Serkin, piano; Seiji Ozawa, Boston Symphony Orchestra. LIM UHD 053.

Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 “Eroica”
Also, 12 Contredanses and the finale from The Creatures of Prometheus. Andrew Manze, Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra. Harmonia Mundi HMU 807470.

Eternal Echoes: Songs & Dances for the Soul
Itzhak Perlman, violin; Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot. Sony Classical 88725 42006 2.

Holst: The Planets
Andre Previn, London Symphony Orchestra. Hi-Q Records HIQXRCD3.

Mahler: Symphony No. 1
Fabio Luisi, Vienna Symphony. Wiener Symphonikor WS 001.

Mozart:  Piano Concertos 17 and 22
Also, Rondo in A major. Kristian Bezuidenhout, piano; Petra Mullejans, Freiburg Baroque Orchestra. Harmonia Mundi HMC 902147.

Nostalgias Argentinas
Piano music of Argentina. Mirian Conti, piano. Steinway & Sons 30010.

Pleyel: Symphonies in B-flat and G
Also, Flute Concerto in C. Patrick Gallois, conductor and flute; Sinfonia Finlandia Jyvaskyla. Naxos 8.572550.

Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuez
Also, Concierto serenata for harp. Narciso Yepes, guitar; Ataulfo Argenta, Spanish National Orchestra; Nicanor Zabaleta, harp; Ernst Maerzendorfter, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra. HDTT HQCD259.

Salon Mexicano
Music of Castro, Villanueva, Ponce, and Rolon. Jorge Federico Osorio, piano. Cedille CDR 900000 132.

Schubert: Symphony No. 7 “Unfinished”
Also, Rondo for Violin and Strings in A Major; Polonaise in B flat Major; Concert Piece in D Major for Violin and Orchestra. Andreas Janke, violin; David Zinman, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich. RCA Red Seal 88697 95335 2.

Steiner: Adventures of Don Juan
Also, Arsenic and Old Lace.  William Stromberg, Moscow Symphony Orchestra. Tribute Film Classics TFC-1009 (2-disc set).


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John J. Puccio

John J. Puccio

About the Author

Understand, I'm just an everyday guy reacting to something I love. And I've been doing it for a very long time, my appreciation for classical music starting with the musical excerpts on The Big John and Sparkie radio show in the early Fifties and the purchase of my first recording, The 101 Strings Play the Classics, around 1956. In the late Sixties I began teaching high school English and Film Studies as well as becoming interested in hi-fi, my audio ambitions graduating me from a pair of AR-3 speakers to the Fulton J's recommended by The Stereophile's J. Gordon Holt. In the early Seventies, I began writing for a number of audio magazines, including Audio Excellence, Audio Forum, The Boston Audio Society Speaker, The American Record Guide, and from 1976 until 2008, The $ensible Sound, for which I served as Classical Music Editor.

Today, I'm retired from teaching and use a pair of bi-amped VMPS RM40s loudspeakers for my listening. In addition to writing the Classical Candor blog, I served as the Movie Review Editor for the Web site Movie Metropolis (formerly DVDTown) from 1997-2013. Music and movies. Life couldn't be better.

Mission Statement

It is the goal of Classical Candor to promote the enjoyment of classical music. Other forms of music come and go--minuets, waltzes, ragtime, blues, jazz, bebop, country-western, rock-'n'-roll, heavy metal, rap, and the rest--but classical music has been around for hundreds of years and will continue to be around for hundreds more. It's no accident that every major city in the world has one or more symphony orchestras.

When I was young, I heard it said that only intellectuals could appreciate classical music, that it required dedicated concentration to appreciate. Nonsense. I'm no intellectual, and I've always loved classical music. Anyone who's ever seen and enjoyed Disney's Fantasia or a Looney Tunes cartoon playing Rossini's William Tell Overture or Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 can attest to the power and joy of classical music, and that's just about everybody.

So, if Classical Candor can expand one's awareness of classical music and bring more joy to one's life, more power to it. It's done its job.

Contact Information

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa