The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: What recordings would you add to NPR’s “Deceptive Cadence” blog list of its “Top Classical Recordings of 2012 So Far”? | July 26, 2012

By Jacob Stockinger

Many classical music writers — in newspapers, magazine and blogs — wait until the end-of-the-year gift-giving season to list their top picks of new recordings. And generally that works fine – which is why I also do that.

But it can be hard to keep track of a full year’s worth of new recordings.

Plus, that means a lot of catching up to do, a lot of listening in a short time if you want to hear them and judge them for yourself.

So I really like that NPR (to me, it was and remains National Public Radio) and its outstanding “Delayed Cadence” blog lists the best picks for the first half of the year. It’s kind of like celebrating your half-birthday.

They did it last year and they have done it again this year.

Here is a link:

You’ll notice that it is an eclectic list compiled by the ever-sharp Tom Huizenga (below), with a lot of different kinds of instruments, music and performers.

I am very pleased that it includes pianist Jeremy Denk’s debut solo album (below) for Nonesuch, which includes excerpts from Ligeti’s two books of etudes and Beethoven’s iconic last piano sonata Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor.

You may remember that the talented Denk – whose blog “Think Denk” is a favorite of mine and of acclaimed critic Alex Ross of The New Yorker. So it is small wonder that he writes his ow insightful liner notes for the CD. You may also remember that Denk spent a week in residence at NPR playing J.S. Bach’s “Goldberg” Variations, which he performed here in Madison two seasons ago and also in Carnegie Hall to great acclaim. NPR also has included Denk (below) is its series of musicians that allowed NPR to peek in on their practicing.

Finally you might recall that Denk is booked on the upcoming season of the Wisconsin Union Theater to perform next spring, and in an interview with The Ear said he might perform Brahms (“Paganini” Variations) and Liszt.

Here is a link to the Q&A Denk did with The Ear, who got to sit on a blogging panel with Denk two years ago:

Anyway, I like the NPR list. But to mind, it is hardly exhaustive. I would also add the Pacifica Quartet’s second volume of “Music of the Soviet Union” (for the Chicago-based label Cedille), which couples a Shostakovich cycle with other Soviet-era composers such a Miaskovsky and Prokofiev.

Readers know s me a piano fan So I think I might also add new piano albums by Benjamin Grosvenor, the British pianist who is the youngest pianist ever signed by the major label Decca and who performs Chopin Liszt and Ravel for his debut; and by Inon Barnatan, the acclaimed young Israeli pianist whose playing shines rhythmically and propulsively in his debut album for Avie called  “Darkness Visible,” with music by Debussy, Ravel, Ades and Britten.

What new recordings would you add to the “Best Recordings of 2012 So Far” list?

Leave your nomination in the COMMENT section. I will thank you and so will other readers.


  1. Hi.
    On this article you go through quite a few of the more
    integral tips!
    Straightforward to read and full of very useful content.

    Thanks for posting Classical music: What recordings would you add to NPR’s “Deceptive
    Cadence” blog list of its “Top Classical Recordings of 2012 So
    Far”? | The Well-Tempered Ear.

    Comment by Krystyna — January 5, 2013 @ 5:20 pm

  2. […] Classical music: What recordings would you add to NPR’s “Delayed Cadence” blog lis… ( […]

    Pingback by Classical Music Roundup – G Roald Smeets – « G Roald Smeets — July 31, 2012 @ 1:19 pm

  3. Jacob: nice post, but the whole point of the pun in the title of the blog is that it’s a DECEPTIVE cadence…

    Comment by Benjamin k roe — July 26, 2012 @ 6:12 am

    • Good morning Benjamin,
      You are right, of course!
      Thank you for your sharp eye and prompt reply, which allowed me to fix it right away.
      This is the second time (at least) that I have done that.
      I must have a block of some kind. And it is a stupid mistake.
      I try to pay attention, and I’m not sure the Spellcheck featured hasn’t automatically substituted the wrong one for the right one.
      But that just means I have to do a better job at proofing.
      Whatever the process, it is my fault and I apologize.
      I hope to get it right ALL the time in the future because I respect NPR and Delayed Cadence so much.
      Thanks again for your help and the correction.

      Comment by welltemperedear — July 26, 2012 @ 8:41 am

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