Some Favorite Recordings of 2016

As you may remember, I don't do "best-of" lists. "Best" suggests that I've sampled everything available, and even though I review a lot of music every year, I have not heard but a fraction of what's out there. So I prefer to do a simple "favorites" list. Here are just a few of the discs (listed alphabetically, to be fair) I heard last year that I enjoyed for their performance and sound. I know I've forgotten some; forgive me. These discs stood out, mostly new releases, one of them an old favorite remastered.

Gal: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra
Also, Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 22. Sarah Beth Briggs, piano; Kenneth Woods, Royal Northern Sinfonia. Avie.
To read the full review, click here:

Gershwin: An American in ParisAlso, Concerto in F; Three Preludes; Overture to Of Thee I Sing. Lincoln Mayorga, piano; Steven Richman, Harmonie Ensemble/New York. Harmonia Mundi.
To read the full review, click here:

Krenek: Piano Concertos Nos. 1-3
Mikhail Korzhev, piano; Kenneth Woods, English Symphony Orchestra. Toccata Classics.
To read the full review, click here:

Pierre de La Rue: Missa Nuncqua fue pena mayor
Also, Salve regina VI; Missa Inviolata; Magnificat sexti toni. Stephen Rice, The Brabant Ensemble. Hyperion.
To read the full review, click here:

Manhattan Intermezzo
Jeffrey Biegel, piano; Paul Phillips, Brown University Orchestra. Naxos.
To read the full review, click here:

Moszkowski: From Foreign Lands
Rediscovered orchestral works. Martin West, San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. Reference Recordings.
To read the full review, click here:

Schulhoff: Complete Music for Violin and Piano
Bruno Monteiro, violin; Joao Paulo Santos, piano. Brilliant Classics.
To read the full review, click here;

Sephardic Journey
"Wanderings of the Spanish Jews." Nell Snaidas, soprano; Karim Sulayman, tenor; Jeffrey Strauss, baritone; Jeannette Sorrell, Apollo's Fire and Apollo's Singers. Avie.
To read the full review, click here:

Sibelius: Symphony No. 2
Sir John Barbirolli, The Halle Orchestra. HDTT remastered.
To read the full review, click here:

Van der Sloot: Shadow, Echo, Memory
Hans Jorgen Jensen, Northwestern University Cello Ensemble. Sono Luminus.
To read the full review, click here:


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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