Grasshopper – Miles in the Sky (Baked Tapes; 2009)
Current 93 – The Light Is Leaving Us All (Jnana; 2018)
Vanessa Rossetto – you & i are earth (Tone Glow; 2019)
George Benjamin – Written on Skin – Barbara Hannigan, Bejun Mehta, Christopher Purves, Rebecca Jo Loeb, Allan Clayton, Mahler Chamber Orchestra/George Benjamin; Duet for Piano and Orchestra – Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Mahler Chamber Orchestra/George Benjamin (Nimbus; 2013)
Annea Lockwood – A Sound Map of the Danube (Lovely Music; 2008. Audio samples here.)
Richard Wagner – Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg – Michael Volle, Roberto Saccà, Anna Gabler, Monika Bohinec, Peter Sonn, Markus Werba, Georg Zeppenfeld, Vienna State Opera Chorus, Vienna Philharmonic/Daniele Gatti (Euroarts; 2014)
Trying to tally the year's "best" recordings is a thankless task, not least because there's no realistic chance anyone has heard everything.… every listener's taste is individual, and focus can be contingent upon situation. All of which said, the following lists comprise the new recordings and archival projects that impressed and moved me most in 2016, with an appendix of still more albums that brightened this year.
https://nationalsawdust.org/thelog/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/albums2016.jpg5401182Steve Smithhttps://nationalsawdust.org/thelog/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/national-sawdust-log.pngSteve Smith2016-12-30 22:31:302017-12-27 18:59:23Best of 2016: Noteworthy Recordings
For anyone expecting a painstakingly winnowed-down, tightly focused tabulation of the most significant events to take place in the musical world circa 2016: I apologize, but you'll have to look elsewhere. Even so, it's not at all difficult to name 10 meaningful and affecting musical performances I witnessed this year.
For all the manifold benefits that come with being a music journalist and critic embedded at a performing-arts incubator and presenter – and they are substantial – one meaningful constraint is that it feels inappropriate now to include my employer's projects and products among my year-end best-of listings. What follows is a concise tally of NS-related events and releases that under other circumstances absolutely would have figured into my own personal summaries of the year's most vital art.
https://nationalsawdust.org/thelog/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/IMG_6407.jpg24483264Steve Smithhttps://nationalsawdust.org/thelog/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/national-sawdust-log.pngSteve Smith2016-12-29 19:29:212017-12-28 00:40:28Best of 2016: In Praise of National Sawdust
Most likely you know the dynamic pianist Vicky Chow best for her most visible job: as keyboardist in the versatile, eclectic, and always expressive Bang on a Can All-Stars. A O R T A, her second solo album, arrives on Nov. 18, but you can hear the entire album here, now.