Favorite Recordings of 2013

As you may know, I don’t do “best-of” lists. I find “best” too subjective, implying too many things to too many people. Besides, “best” suggests that I’ve sampled everything available, and even though I review hundreds of discs a year, I confess I have heard but a fraction of what’s out there. So 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 for their performance and sound. I know I’ve forgotten a few; forgive me. These stood out, some of them new releases and some of them remasters of old favorites.

Bach: Suites 1, 2 & 3
Hopkinson Smith, theorbo. Naive.
To read the full review, click here:

Beethoven: Triple Concerto
David Oistrakh, violin; Mstislav Rostropovich, cello; Sviatoslav Richter, piano; Herbert von Karajan, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Hi-Q Records.
To read the full review, click here:

D’Indy: Symphony on a French Mountain Air
Also, Ravel: Piano Concerto in G. Nicole Henriot-Schweitzer, piano; Charles Munch, Boston Symphony Orchestra. HDTT.
To read the full review, click here:

Dvorak and Suk: Czech Serenades
Dvorak: Serenade for Strings and Nocturne for Strings; Suk: Serenade for Strings. Daniel Myssyk, Appassionata Chamber Orchestra. Fidelio.
To read the full review, click here:

Elgar: Enigma Variations
Also, Vaughan Williams: The Wasps; Fantasia on Greensleeves. Michael Stern, Kansas City Symphony. Reference Recordings.
To read the full review, click here:

Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue
Uri Caine Ensemble. Winter & Winter
To read the full review, click here:

Handel: Trio Sonatas, Op. 2
Also, Passacaille. The Brook Street Band. Avie.
To read the full review, click here:

Haydn: String Quartets
String Quartets Op. 76, No. 1; Op. 20 No. 4; Op. 64 No. 5. The Endellion String Quartet. Warner Classics.
To read the full review, click here:

Jazz at the Pawnshop
The Fifth and Ultimate Version. Arne Domnerus and friends. LIM.
To read the full review, click here:

La Voce del Violoncello
Solo Works of the First Italian Cellist-Composers. Elinor Frey, baroque cello; Esteban La Rotta, theorbo and baroque guitar; Susie Napper, baroque cello. Passacaille Records.
To read the full review, click here:

Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto
Also, Schumann: Violin Concerto; Beethoven: Romances. Rachel Barton Pine, violin; Christoph-Mathias Mueller, Gottinger Symphony Orchestra. Cedille Records.
To read the full review, click here:

Opera Breve
Operatic transcriptions for violin and piano by Falla, Tchaikovsky, Donizetti, Gluck, Rossini, Strauss, Gershwin, Saint-Saens, Humperdinck, and Raff. Philippe Quint, violin; Lily Maisky, piano. Avanticlassic.
To read the full review, click here:

The Rascal and the Sparrow: Poulenc Meets Piaf
Antonio Pompa-Baldi, piano. Steinway & Sons.
To read the full review, click here:

Rouse: Flute Concerto
Also, Ibert: Concerto for Flute and Orchestra; Debussy: Syrinx; Martin: Ballade. Katherine Bryan, flute; Jac van Steen, Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Linn Records.
To read the full review, click here:

Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring
Leonard Bernstein, New York Philharmonic. Sony.
To read the full review, click here:

Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring
Also, Petrouchka. Jon Kimura Parker, solo piano. Jon Kimura Parker Records.
To read the full review, click here:

Tango Tango
Performed by Viveza. Master Music/JVC.
To read the full review, click here:

Tchaikovsky: Serenade for Strings
Also, Souvenir de Florence. Pierre Amoyal, Camerata de Lausanne. Warner Classics.
To read the full review, click here:

JJP

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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

Readers with polite, courteous, helpful letters may send them to pucciojj@gmail.com.

Readers with impolite, discourteous, bitchy, whining, complaining, nasty, mean-spirited, unhelpful letters may send them to pucciojj@recycle.bin.

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa