Béla Bartók – Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta; Paul Hindemith – Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes by Carl Maria von Weber; Arnold Schoenberg – Five Pieces for Orchestra (Op. 16) – Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Rafael Kubelík (Mercury/Decca; 1951-54/2005)
Béla Bartók – Concerto for Orchestra – Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Fritz Reiner (RCA/Sony Classical; 1956/2016)
Richard Strauss – Also sprach Zarathustra; Ein Heldenleben – Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Fritz Reiner (RCA/Sony Classical; 1954/2012)
Franz Joseph Haydn – Symphonies Nos. 101 in D (“Clock”) and 95 in C minor – Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Fritz Reiner (RCA/Sony Classical; 1964/2013)
Edgard Varèse – Arcana; Frank Martin – Concerto for Seven Wind Instruments, Timpani, Percussion, and String Orchestra; Carl Nielsen – Symphony No. 4 (Op. 29, “The Inextinguishable”); Helios Overture; Jean Martinon – Symphony No. 4 (Op. 53 “Altitudes”); Peter Mennin – Symphony No. 7 in One Movement (“Variation Symphony”) – Chicago Symphony Otchestra/Jean Martinon (RCA/Sony Classical; 1966-67/2015)
Franz Schubert – Symphony No. 8 in B minor (D. 759, “Unfinished”); Benjamin Britten – Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings – Robert Tear, Dale Clevenger, Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Carlo Maria Giulini (Deutsche Grammophon; 1976-78/2011)
Gustav Mahler– Symphony No. 5 in C-sharp minor; Sergei Prokofiev – Scythian Suite; Lieutenant Kijé Suite – Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Claudio Abbado (Deutsche Grammophon; 1977, 1981/2017)
Arnold Schoenberg – Concerto for Piano and Orchestra – Peter Serkin, Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Seiji Ozawa (RCA/Sony Classical; 1968/2017)
David Del Tredici – Final Alice – Barbara Hendricks, Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Georg Solti (Decca; 1981)
Michael Tippett – Byzantium; Symphony No. 4 – Faye Robinson, Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Georg Solti (Decca; 1981/1993)
Giuseppe Verdi – Requiem – Leontyne Price, Janet Baker, Veriano Luchetti, José Van Dam, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus/Georg Solti (RCA Red Seal; 1977)
Richard Wagner – Der fliegende Holländer – Overture; Tannhäuser – Overture; Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg – Prelude; Tristan und Isolde – Prelude & Liebestod (concert version); Hector Berlioz – Overture Les francs-juges; Ludwig van Beethoven – Leonore Overture No. 3 – Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Georg Solti (Decca; 1978)
Ludwig van Beethoven – Symphony No. 7 in A; Coriolan Overture – Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Georg Solti (Decca; 1975)
Toshiya Tsunoda – Extract from Field Recording Archive (Erstwhile; due May 24, 2019)
Gustav Mahler – Symphony No. 9 in D – Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Pierre Boulez (Deutsche Grammophon; 1998)
Witold Lutosławski – Concerto for Orchestra; Symphony No. 3 – Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Daniel Barenboim (Erato/Elatus; 1993/2002)
Anton Bruckner – Symphony No. 9 in D minor – Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Daniel Barenboim (Deutsche Grammophon; 1976/2011. Audio sample here.)
Igor Stravinsky – Le sacre du printemps; Claude Debussy – La mer; Pierre Boulez – Notations I-IV, VII – VII – Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Daniel Barenboim (Teldec; 2001. Available on Naxos Music Library.)
Wilhelm Furtwängler – Symphony No. 2 in E minor – Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Daniel Barenboim (Teldec; 2002)
Mournful Congregation – The Incubus of Karma (20 Buck Spin; 2018)
Dmitri Shostakovich – Symphony No. 4 in C minor – Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Bernard Haitink (CSO Resound; 2008)
Anton Bruckner – Symphony No. 7 in E – Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Bernard Haitink (CSO Resound; 2007)
Anna Clyne – Night Ferry; Mason Bates – Alternative Energy – Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Riccardo Muti (CSO Resound; 2014)
Mieczysław Weinberg – Symphonies Nos. 2 and 21 (“Kaddish”) – Gidon Kremer, Kremerata Baltica, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra/Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla (Deutsche Grammophon; due May 17, 2019)
John Luther Adams –Become Desert – Seattle Symphony Chorale, Seattle Symphony/Ludovic Morlot (Cantaloupe Music; due June 14, 2019. Audio sample here.)
Sergei Prokofiev – Suite from Romeo and Juliet – Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Riccardo Muti (CSO Resound; 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.