The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Got a holiday gift card or Christmas cash to spend? Here are the choice picks of classical music in 2012 by the New York Times – with an emphasis on new artists, niche labels and smaller name performers. | December 26, 2012

By Jacob Stockinger

So, did you get a gift card for the holidays?

Perhaps some extra cash to spend?

Earlier, I offered several holiday gift-giving guides, including a list from The New York Times music critics that listed CDs, DVDs and books that represented the Best of 2012.


Here is a link to that posting and to the other gift guides that appeared here:

But it turns out that was only the first installment, a down payment, if you will from The New York Times.

Here are many more recordings by such fine Ne wyork Tikes critics as Anthony Tommasini, Vivien Schweitzer, Zachery Woolfe, Corinna da Fonseca-Wolheim and James Oestreich (whose choices were absent from the previous list, as I recall.)

The choices cover virtually all genres of music – symphony orchestra, opera, solo piano and solo violin, vocal and choral, chamber music. (All photos below are by Tony Cenicola for The New York Times.)

NY Tmes best of 2012 1 Tony Cenicola

I myself haven’t heard all of them. But I have heard many of them –- recordings by pianist David Greilsammer, violinist Jennifer Koh, pianist Inon Barnatan, pianist Andras Schiff, the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and conductor Nicholas McGegan — and I heartily concur with the choices. I don’t think you can go wrong.

NY Tmes Best of 2012  2 Tony Cenicola

And if you want to sample some of the, you can always go to and see the website offers samplings from certain tracks. Plus, you can see the number of stars form buyers as well as comments or mini-reviews from others who bought the recordings and listened to it.

NY TImes Best of 2012 3 Tony Cenicola

Here is a link to round-up by the critics of The New York Times:


  1. Just what IS the meaning of a record deal these days? I mean, Louis Lortie can play, I have his complete Ravel set, but, why him? why not 13 other excellent, meaningful, ambitious pianists whose names we will never know?
    Are independent labels really recording companies in the sense that their output is available in some CD store or maybe even a Chain of them? Or is online access enough to get someone’s musical career launched, and stay launched?
    I really think that it is still two things that make the music business sit up and take notice of Anybody. Looks or a Gimmick, just like rock n’ roll. But, the looks thing is not just handsome, beautiful people dressed to the nines.It could be classic nerds or geeks, or some man or woman who is determined to buck the black formal-wear onstage sort of tradition.
    As for gimmicks, it can be anything from off-beat repertoire, to eccentric interpretations, to fire-breathing virtuosity, to one’s personal story. If you haven’t got a Hook, just like a pop song, you can forget about a career in classical music.
    Madison’s own Christopher Taylor has quite the life story to tell, he has three advanced degrees in three disparate areas, for goodness’ sakes! He’s very tall, he’s easy on the eyes, and personable to boot. He plays wild, weird music like there’s no looking back, and plays all of Beethoven’s Sonatas as well. But will he have a genuine, On-the-Map career? Is there anything he can actually DO to help it along? Or will he, and so many others like him, so talented and worthy, be relegated to the innumerable heap of wonderful players who did not, and could NEVER get, the opportunity to play for a really wide audience. Is there, in fact, still anything LIKE a really wide audience for Classical music?
    Life, Music, and Show Biz are the three most unfair things on the Planet, and musicians of high calibre have to put up with all three of them. Do not envy their task. MBB

    Comment by Michael BB — December 26, 2012 @ 10:59 am

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