IN: News & Features

Reminiscences on the Musical Year Past


As the old year wanes, many of us are subject to bouts of introspection. The several BMInt writers who are not immune to that tendency have each submitted lists of three of their favorite CDs and concerts of the last season. We thank them for their reflections. Some have chosen to nominate concerts they have reviewed while others have chosen from concerts which they merely attended. During the past 12 months BMInt has published over 600 reviews and articles, so this article must needs place a severe test on the memories of the participants. But this exercise also gives us all yet another reminder of how much to be grateful for the musical life of Boston and its environs. We salute all of our players, writers and presenters. Happy New Year.

David Patterson

BSO Chamber Players Create Gorgeous Music

Uncorked Vintage Oeuvres
from Denève
BSO Apr 16 2011 Master(ful) Class in Electroacoustic Music

Olivier Messiaen 100th Anniversary Box
Set- EMI Composer Boxes 217466214 discs
John Adams Son of Chamber Symphony
; String Quartet  Nonesuch label
Works of Lili Boulanger Igor Markevitch, Orchestre Lamoureux Everest label

Mark DeVoto

Marc-André Hamelin playing his own works, with special emphasis on his Twelve Etudes
The Grainger Edition, including most Percy Grainger’s works in various versions; 19 discs
Organ works by Alexis Chauvet, on two French instruments by Carolyn Shuster

Morlot Endorsement
BoCo’s Shoenberg

David Dominique

Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus

Os Mutantes by Os Mutantes
Kurtag: Kafka Fragments by Tony Arnold

Jon Damian featuring Allan Chase and Bob Nieske at Outpost 186, Cambridge.
Professor Bad Trip”, by Fausto Romitelli, presented by Argento Chamber Ensemble in LA
Charles Ives: The Astonishing Pioneer, conducted by Gunther Schuller and presented by Alea III at BU.

Andrew Sammut

Newton Baroque with CPE Bach

L’Academie with Charpentier

MOPR’s “Winter’s Cheer”

Ricardo Kanji and Cesar Villavicencio’s recorder duos

Europa Galante’s “La Stravaganza” (Walsh’s 1728 edition

Patricia Petibon: “Rosso” Italian Baroque arias

Michael Rocha

Dust Blown Off Zesty Zelenka

Rock-Solid Borromeo in Rockport
Gossamer to Rugged Ravel from Thibaudet

Lee Eiseman

BSO in Bartok: Bluebeard’s Castle

Spectrum Singers Patriotic Program

The Lure of Hamelin

BluRay Videos:
Sunrise 1927


Operas on Bluray by Opus Art

David Shengold

Opera Boston – CARDILLAC

Boston Lyric Opera AGRIPPINA
Boston Baroque -DIE SCHOEPFUNG

Porpora: Arias – Karina Gauvin
: Alan Curtis (ATMA Classique)
Schubert: Three Sonatas, Impromptus – Paul Lewis (Harmonia Mundi)
Vivaldi: Farnace – Diego Fasolis (Virgin Classics)

Geoff Wieting

NEC’s YPO Ben Zander, playing Tchaikovsky and Mahler, June 3

Niobe, Regina di Tebe
by Steffani, at the Boston Early Music Festival, June 12
Audra McDonald
at Symphony Hall (Celebrity Series), October 2

Susan Miron

Audra McDonald- Celebrity Series
Marc-André Hamelin – Rockport Music
Philipe Jaroussky (with Apollo’s Fire) Boston Early Music Festival

Philipe Jaroussky “Vivaldi Heroes”
Cecilia Bartoli   “Maria”

Jean-Yves Thibaudet  “Aria: Opera without Words”

Fred Bouchard

BLO (Britten’s Midsummer Night’s Dream)

BSO (Prokofiev, Sibelius, Newhouse
Discovery (Ravel, etc., Lewis)

Most Regretted Misses:
BSO (Berlioz Requiem, Dutoit)
Alea III (Ives Concert, G. Schuller)

Tom Delbanco

8/20 “Fish and Fanfare…”

9/21 Denk and Miro…
10/29 Kremer and BSO…

Schubert piano trios: Beaux Arts Trio (1967, with Guilet, Greenhouse, Pressler)

Beethoven violin sonatas: Szigeti and Arrau (1944)
Bartok:  Violin concerto # 2 (Menuhin and Dorati) (1957)

Liane Curtis

Sofonisba by Maria Teresa Agnesi, presented by La Donna Musicale.

Complete piano music by Luisa Adolpha le Beau

In Praise of Woman: 150 Years of English Women Composers

Vance Koven

BSO/Morlot, with Harbison 4, Mahler 1 and Ravel D&C 2
Don Berman and friends doing Schoenberg and Shostakovich
New England Philharmonic featuring Mahler 10 and works by Earl Kim, Donald Erb and Andy Vores.

BBC Concert Orchestra under Keith Lockhart doing the American Sketches and other orchestral works by Frederick Shepherd Converse

Cashman Kerr Prince

Jeremy Denk – Goldberg Variations & Ligeti Etudes, book 1 @ Gardner off-site

Serkin, Eschenbach, BSO – All-Brahms at Tanglewood

Bang on a Can All-Stars at Kresge Auditorium

Daniel Müller-Schott & Julia Fischer, Brahms Double Concerto

Jean-Guihen Queyras, Britten Suites for Solo Cello

Bruckner, Symphony 4 – Orchestre Métropolitain, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, cond

Geoff Wieting

All-Night Vigil (Vespers), Sergei Rachmaninoff USSR Ministry of Culture Chamber Choir
“An American Masterpiece” Thomas Murray, organ, Church of the Immaculate Conception, Boston
Daphnis et Chloe, Maurice Ravel Montreal Symphony Orchestra & Chorus/Charles Dutoit


8 Comments [leave a civil comment (others will be removed) and please disclose relevant affiliations]

  1. I didn’t get my comments in to Lee in time for them to be included in his article, but of the concerts I’ve reviewed this year I’d say the three most significant–either because they were IMO the best done or had the best music or for other idiosyncratic reasons–would be (in reverse chronological order):
    BSO/Morlot, with Harbison 4, Mahler 1 and Ravel D&C 2
    The ad hoc trio performance at Tufts in September with Don Berman and friends doing Schoenberg and Shostakovich
    The New England Philharmonic program on April 30 featuring Mahler 10 and works by Earl Kim, Donald Erb and Andy Vores.
    As for CDs, I don’t buy many, and most of what I buy is older material I have recently discovered, but having heard some of it on the radio, I would recommend the new CD by the BBC Concert Orchestra under Keith Lockhart doing the American Sketches and other orchestral works by Frederick Shepherd Converse.

    Comment by Vance Koven — December 28, 2011 at 12:53 pm

  2. It’s not too late, Vance. Your choices are in the article now.

    Comment by Lee Eiseman — December 28, 2011 at 1:10 pm

  3. With Boston concerts it is understood. Might I ask other readers of the BMI to post in here themost memorable recordingsyou heard for the first time in 2011?

    Comment by Romy The Cat — December 28, 2011 at 4:39 pm

  4. An interesting take:

    Comment by Romy the Cat — January 2, 2012 at 7:55 pm

  5. Thanks Romy for the pointer. I listened to the movement from the Ives second violin sonata, which is a piece I know pretty well. Hahn’s rendering is probably the most accurate I’ve heard, but not as robust as some of the others (Zukofsky/Kalish being probably still the gold standard here). The pianist was also a bit too deferential to the “superstar” fiddler. So, apart from having a nice new set of Ives sonatas (always a good thing), and keeping in mind that “ten best of 2011” is inherently a relative assessment, it wouldn’t send me rushing to the store (if there are such things anymore) or Amazon or iTunes.

    Comment by Vance Koven — January 3, 2012 at 10:22 am

  6. The most notable new (to me) recordings I heard in 2011 (without any particular order).

    Bruckner 1, WDR under Gunter Wand. This is 1891 version recorded in Cologne during 1981 in my estimation the best Bruckner 1 interpretation committed to recording. The CD is available as a part of box set of Sony 9 CD “Gunter Wand conducts Bruckner”. Sony made it as inexpensive series of “masters” clamming that they are were able to make it inexpensive as it was re-mastered as 88kHz instead of 96kHz. What the idiots!!!

    George Walker, Sonata for Cello and Piano. This is 1995 recording by Walker plays himself with Italo Babini. Why not all contemporary music sounds like this?! The CD is available from Albany Records, Troy 154.

    Bruckner 3, SWR Symphony under Hans Zender. If you never hear it then you never heard Bruckner 3, ever. The Bruckner 3 and 6 are kind of “weak” symphonies for Bruckner. Holly cow, try this version and the Third never will be the same. The recording is available from exclusively.

    Bruckner 7, 8, 9 by Vienna and Giulini. They are not celebrated Giulini recordings that were pressed by DG but live recordings of the concerts from June 1986, May 1984 and  June 1988. Wonderful and lash sound with beautifully-slow Giulini-style interpretation and brilliant phrasing. The box is available from Sandra Records SACD 132/5

    Williams, Symphony No. 4, Colin Davis with BSO from 1973 – Eventually I found this year the Williams’ Symphony No. 4 that I like.

    Bruckner 2 by Vienna and Horst Stein from 1973.  This interpretation is a amassing balance between overly vaselino-romantic presentation of Bruckner and in way pop-presentation.  The recording is available from Decca Eloquence.

    Schubert’s Trout Quintet by some French folks: Frank Braley, Alois Posch, Renaud Capucon, Gerard Causse, Gautier Capucon. This is what I call: how Schubert’s Trout might sound in 21 century. This is VERY contemporary high-pressure interpretation with truly amassing sense of taste and delicacy – very seldom happening. The CD is available from EMI Classics and the recording is from 1995.

    Mahler 3 by WDR under Semyon Bychkov. I have commented on this recording at this site a few days back when WCRB broadcast it. The recording is available from Avie Records.

    Zender-Schuberts,  Winterreise. After a few years back I fell in love with Winterreise orchestrated by Zender I could not help myself to like what Sylvain Cambreling did with Austrian chamber orchestra. It is not the Hans Hotter from WWII and not Fischer-Dieskau. This is very different take on the celebrated work. I still much prefer the Ensemble Modern version but the Cambreling/ Prégardien version also pleases my antidisestablishment sentiments :-). The CD is available from Kairos and recorded in 2000.

    As for live BSO event I do not think that in 2011 anything toped the Strauss’ “A Hero’s Life” that BSO played under de Burgos.

    Comment by Romy The Cat — January 3, 2012 at 2:16 pm

  7. Not really a new 2011 release, but released as a collection this past year: the complete recordings of Grigory Sokolov –
    You’ll need to break out your thesaurus for superlatives. He is unbelievable. Too bad he doesn’t get out much. He’s better-known in Europe than in the U.S. I wish we could convince him to come to Boston.

    Comment by Leon Golub — January 4, 2012 at 5:37 am

  8. Great Concerts: Angela Hewitt; Jeremy Denk; Gunther Schuller-“Unknown”Ives.
    Recordings: Badings:Symphonies (2 downloads; Ligeti: Complete Piano Music, Fredrik Ullen; and finally caught up with Tennstedt’s Mahler 

    Comment by morty schnee — January 8, 2012 at 11:52 am

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