The Well-Tempered Ear

Here is The Ear’s wish list of classical music CD’s for 2010. What’s yours?

January 2, 2010
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By Jacob Stockinger

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It’s a new year, and one that is a Chopin year and Schumann Year. (Both composers were born in 1810, so we are marking the 200th anniversaries of their birth. 2011 will be a Liszt Year.)

One of my little fantasies is to play A&R manager — that’s Artists and Repertoire — for a major classical record label.

Of course, I have my prejudices and biases: First and foremost I love piano music and then chamber music. Then comes orchestral music and after that, vocal music and opera.

I also increasingly love recital formats, which allow for added originality and synergy when it comes to well-known classical music.

And I like a lot of live recordings – as long as the audience is quiet and the acoustics are good. But I hate bad sound (my problem with historic CDs) and interference. So I find studio recordings are often better.

I also like little reverberation on the CD. My own livingroom or car can provide that.

Anyway, here is my fantasy wish list for 2010:

Polish pianist Rafal Blechachz (below right) in Chopin’s mazurkas.

French pianist Alexandre Tharaud in Scarlatti sonatas. (His baroque piano CDs of Bach, Rameau and Couperin are superb.)

Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic in late Mozart and Haydn symphonies. I want to hear the Latin Lenny in something clearer and more transparent than Beethoven and Mahler.

Pianist Murray Perahia in J.S. Bach’s French Suites, to help him complete his terrific Bach cycle.

British tenor Ian Bostridge (below right) in a recital of Faure songs.

The Emerson String Quartet in a second volume of the Haydn Project.

Pianist Maurizio Pollini in late Brahms piano pieces.

Austrian pianist in Till Fellner in Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier Book 2. He is the best Bach pianist in the business today, and Book 1 of the WTC is tops.

Rene Jacobs (below left) and the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra in Haydn’s Sturm und Drang symphonies.

“Super-virtuoso” Marc-Andre Hamelin in a Bach or Mozart recital, so he will continue to pull back from goofball repertoire.

British pianist Paul Lewis starting or continuing a Schubert cycle with the smaller works such a Impromptus and Moments Musicaux. His Beethoven cycle shows what levels of musicianship he can reach.

Leon Fleisher in late Brahms pieces. Wisdom meets wisdom.

David Zinman and the Zurich Tonhalle in Brahms symphonies.

Yefim Bronfman, whose energetic Beethoven concerts with David Zinman are riveting, in solo Beethoven sonatas.

Emanuel Ax in his upcoming Carnegie Hall recital of Chopin and Schumann.

Richard Goode in his Carnegie Hall recital of Chopin and Bach, done at the end of last season.

The New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert in Schumann symphonies.

James Levine and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in George Szell’s arrangement of Wagner’s “Ring” without singers.

Violinist Hilary Hahn in Brahms’ three violin sonatas with Valentina Lisitsa on piano.

Violinist Victoria Mullova in a French recital, perhaps Faure, Ravel, Saint Saens and Poulenc (she has done Debussy).

Pianist Andras Schiff in music by William Byrd and Orlando Gibbons on the piano.

Violinist Isabelle Faust and pianist Alexander Melnikov in Brahms violin sonatas.

The Wanderer Trio in Mozart piano trios.

Pianist Nelson Freire in Ravel’s major piano works. A virtuoso Francophile in heaven.

Pianist Yuja Wang in Rachmaninoff’s preludes. What chops for choppy music!

Pianist Mitsuko Uchida (below right, in a photo by Richard Avedon) in late Haydn sonatas or Bach suites or early Beethoven sonatas. Why be picky?

Do you have a fantasy CD you would like to see recorded and released in 2010?

What is it? With what artist and repertoire?

The Ear wants to hear.

Posted in Classical music

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