Favorite Recordings of 2017

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.

A Beethoven Odyssey, Volume 5
Piano Sonatas Nos. 5, 6, 7 and 10. James Brawn, piano. MSR Classics
To read the review, click here:

America Again
Lara Downes, piano. Sono Luminus
To read the review, click here:

Black Manhattan, Volume 3
Rick Benjamin, The Paragon Ragtime Orchestra. New World Records
To read the review, click here:

Cimarosa: Overtures, Vol. 4
Michael Halasz, Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice. Naxos
To read the review, click here:

Dvorak: Symphony No. 9
Istvan Kertesz, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. HDTT remastered
To read the review, click here:

Krenek: Complete Piano Concertos
Mikhail Korzhev, piano; Kenneth Woods, English Symphony Orchestra. Toccata Classics
To read the review, click here:

Music of the Royal Swedish Navy
Andreas Hanson, the Royal Swedish Navy Band. Mike Purton Recording Services
To read the review, click here:

Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade
Sir Thomas Beecham, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. HDTT remastered
To read the review, click here:

Strauss: Eine Alpensinfonie
Also, Horn Concerto No. 1. Alan Civil, horn; Rudolf Kempe, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Testament remastered.
To read the review, click here:

The Italian Job
Music of the Italian baroque. Adrian Chandler, La Serenissima. Avie
To read the review, click here:

Toscanini 150th Anniversary
Steven Richman, Harmonie Ensemble/New York. Bridge
To read the review, click here:

Tribute: Dover Quartet Plays Mozart
Quartets K.589, K.590; Quintet K. 406. Dover Quartet. Cedille
To read the 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

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