Sunday, November 27, 2011

WME Top 10 Classical and Early Music Recordings of 2011

  If you take a look at my classical and early music list for 2011, you'll see that classical music is here to stay and diverse as ever.  I considered including an Indian classical CD on this list then added it to the Best World and Jazz Albums of 2011 list instead.  And yes, I find the music on this list healing.

1.     San Francisco Symphony with Michael Thomas and Emanuel Ax, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, San Francisco Symphony

2.     Stephen Hough and Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Grieg and Liszt Piano Concertos, Hyperion

3.     21st Century Symphony Orchestra, Howard Shore’s Lord of the Ring Symphony, Howe Records

4.    Anonymous 4, Secret Voices, Harmonia Mundi

5.    Trio Mediaeval, A Worcester Lady Mass, ECM

6.     Jerusalem Quartet, Mozart String Quartets, Harmonia Mundi

7.      Elizabeth Watts, JS Bach Cantatas and Arias, Harmonia Mundi

8.     The Byrd Ensemble, Our Lady (Music from the Peterhouse Part Books), independent (Seattle)

9.     Bezvidenhout and Von der Goltz, Mendelssohn Double Concerto for Piano and Violin and Piano Concerto in A minor, Harmonia Mundi

10. Emmanuelle Bertrand, Le Viol Celle Parle, Harmonia Mundi

WME Top Ten World and Jazz Albums of 2011

Top 15 World and Jazz Recordings for 2011

I struggled with compiling a top 10 list of recordings for 2011 so I came up with a top 15 list which made my life easier. The first criteria for an artist or recording ending up on the list was how I felt when I first listened to the recording. I admit I am subjective in my approach as are most journalists.  Yet, each of the recordings on the list possess merit too.  Some of these musicians preserve musical traditions, other musicians have mastered their tradition, and others engage their audience through their love of their tradition as in the case of Ana Moura.  You can't help but fall in love with these performers.  The last question I ask, "Do I find these recordings healing for me?"

Most years I find that I'm heavier with African recordings, but this year Latin music from the new and old worlds dominate.  If you have not had a chance to hear these recordings I hope you will get on your favorite search engine and look up these recordings.  No doubt many of them will end up on other journalists' top 10 lists this year. You can visit to check out these lists.

1. Yamandu Costa and Hamilton de Holanda, Live!, Adventure Music (Brazil)

2. Paulo Fresu, A Filetta and Daniele di Bonaventura, Mistico Mediterrano, ECM (Italy/Corsica)

3. Ballake Sissoko and Vincent Segal, Chamber Music, Six Degrees (Mali/France)

4. Ana Moura, Coliseu, World Village (Portugal)

5. Kyle Carey, Monongah, independent release (Americana/US)

6. Dino Saluzzi, Anja Lechner, Felix Saluzzi, Andean Christmas and Tango, ECM (Argentina/Germany)

7. Gabriel Ayala and Will Clipman, Passion, Fire, and Grace, Canyon Records (Native American/Classical/US)

8. Amjad Ali Khan and Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Samaagam, World Village (Indian/European)

9. Maeve Gilchrist, Song of Delight, Adventure Music (US/Scotland)

10. Marilyn Mazur, Celestial Circle, ECM (jazz)

11.Mamadou Diabate, Courage, World Village (Mali)

12. Le Trio Joubran, Asfar, World Village (Palestine/France)

13. Genticorum, Nagez-Rameurs, independent, (Quebec/Canada)

14. Contradanza, Tentenelaire, independent, (Spain) 

15. Gilad Atzman and The Orient House Ensemble, Tide Has Changed, World Village