Some Favorite Recordings of 2014


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" implies that I've sampled everything available in order to come to a decision, 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.

1865
"Songs of Hope and Home from the American Civil War." Anonymous 4, with Bruce Molsky. Harmonia Mundi.
To read the full review, click here:
http://classicalcandor.blogspot.com/2014/12/1865-sacd-review.html

A Beethoven Odyssey, Volume 2
Piano Sonatas Nos. 8, 14, 19, 20, and 21. James Brawn, piano. MSR Classics.
To read the full review, click here:
http://classicalcandor.blogspot.com/2014/05/a-beethoven-odyssey-volume-2-cd-review.html

Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 "Pastoral"
Also, Egmont Overture. Fritz Reiner, Chicago Symphony Orchestra. HDTT.
To read the full review, click here:
http://classicalcandor.blogspot.com/2014/08/beethoven-symphony-no-6-pastoral-hqcd.html

Chopin: A Chopin Recital
Andrew Rangell, piano. Steinway & Sons.
To read the full review, click here:
http://classicalcandor.blogspot.com/2014/11/a-chopin-recital-cd-review.html

Chopin: Life According to Chopin
Jeffrey Biegel, piano. GPR Records.
To read the full review, click here:
http://classicalcandor.blogspot.com/2014/02/chopin-life-according-to-chopin-cd.html

Chopin: Preludes
Ingrid Fliter, piano. Linn Records
To read the full review, click here:
http://classicalcandor.blogspot.com/2014/11/chopin-preludes-sacd-review.html

Fantasy
Piano Fantasies of Schubert, Hirtz, Mozart, Di Liberto, and Schumann. Jon Kimura Parker, piano. FP.
To read the full review, click here:
http://classicalcandor.blogspot.com/2014/11/fantasy-cd-review.html

French Fantasy
Music of Saint-Saens, Faure, and Ravel for duo pianists. Susan Merdinger and Steven Greene, piano. Sheridan Music Studio.
To read the full review, click here:
http://classicalcandor.blogspot.com/2014/10/french-fantasy-cd-review.html

Myung Whun Chung: Piano
Myung Whun Chung, piano. ECM New Series.
To read the full review, click here:
http://classicalcandor.blogspot.com/2014/06/myung-whun-chung-piano-cd-review.html

Paganini: Violin Concerto No. 1
Also, Wieniawski: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 and 2. Michael Rabin, violin; Sir Eugene Goossens, Philharmonia Orchestra. EMI Japan.
To read the full review, click here:
http://classicalcandor.blogspot.com/2014/06/paganini-violin-concertos-no-1-cd-review.html

Sharon Kam: Opera!
Sharon Kam, clarinet; Ruben Gazarian, Wurttembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn. Berlin Classics.
To read the full review, click here:
http://classicalcandor.blogspot.com/2014/01/sharon-kam-opera-cd-review.html

Schubert: Arpeggione
Also, music by Debussy, Britten, and Schumann. Gautier Capucon, cello; Frank Braley, piano. Erato.
To read the full review, click here:
http://classicalcandor.blogspot.com/2014/03/schubert-arpeggione-cd-review.html

Schubert: Songs of the Harper (SACD review)
Also, Sonatina for Violin and Piano; Impromptus Nos. 2-4; Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel; Sonata in A minor for Arpeggione and Piano; Piano Trio in B-flat Major. Marie-Pierre Langlamet, harp; Anna Prohaska, soprano; Ludwig Quandt, cello; Lara St. John, violin. Ancalagon.
To read the full review, click here:
http://classicalcandor.blogspot.com/2014/10/schubert-songs-of-harper-sacd-review.html

Thomson: The Plow That Broke the Plains
Also, The River. Leopold Stokowski, Symphony of the Air. HDTT.
To read the full review, click here:
http://classicalcandor.blogspot.com/2014/09/thomson-plow-that-broke-plains-hdcd.html

JJP

No comments:

Post a Comment

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