Friday, December 2, 2016

My Ten Favorite Albums of 2016

As I was just saying the other day, I think that the usual lists that people put up at the end of the year don't have a lot of appeal to me. Instead of the top ten recordings I happened to run across this year that happened to have been released this past year, I would rather list the ten recordings I got the most enjoyment and satisfaction out of this year.

Face it, no-one, not even a professional reviewer, can possibly listen to all the recordings that are released each year. You have to be selective. Even more importantly, you are constantly discovering artists and repertoire that were released a long time ago. I have been professionally involved in music for fifty years and I am still constantly discovering music and performances that I was previously unaware of.

So here is my list of the ten recordings I got the most out of this past year. In no particular order.
  1. Sviatoslav Richter, the Carnegie Hall concerts in 1960
  2. Igor Levit, Late Beethoven Sonatas
  3. Igor Levit, Bach Partitas
  4. Igor Levit, Bach, Beethoven, Rzewski (variations)
  5. Grigory Sokolov, Deutsche Grammophon release of Schubert and Beethoven
  6. Trevor Pinnock and The English Concert: Complete Mozart Symphonies
  7. Steve Reich: Tehillim and The Desert Music, Alarm Will Sound
  8. Trevor Pinnock and The English Concert: Haydn Sturm und Drang Symphonies
  9. Steve Reich, Music for Eighteen Musicians, Ensemble Signal
  10. Ravi Shankar, Six Classic Albums
And here are some excerps from YouTube:

Richter at Carnegie Hall in 1960, last movement of the Appassionata Sonata, Beethoven:

Igor Levit, Beethoven, op. 110

Levit, Bach Partita 1, praeludium

Levit, Bach Goldberg Variations theme

Sokolov, an encore from the Schubert/Beethoven album: Rameau, Tendres Plaintes:

Pinnock, Mozart, Symphony No. 25

Reich, Tehillim, Alarm Will Sound

Pinnock, Haydn, Symphony No. 38

Reich, Music for 18 Musicians, Ensemble Signal

Ravi Shankar one album from Six Classic Albums

There, that should keep you amused all weekend!


David said...

Bryan, thanks for sharing your list with a twist, as you say. From looking at it, it seems that you are becoming something of a "Piano Man". I share your enthusiasm for Richter and the Pinnock Mozart.

Best Wishes

Bryan Townsend said...

As a guitarist, I was not the most intimately familiar with the piano repertoire. But as a musician, I have always been aware that some of the greatest repertoire and greatest performers have been on the piano. I heard Arthur Rubinstein in recital in Spain in 1974 and was deeply impressed. I had always been a Glenn Gould fan and had recordings of Ivo Pogorelich, Maurizio Pollini and others. But yes, this year I have been listening to more piano than ever before.

Craig said...

Bryan, I've just noticed a new release from Igor Levit: the complete Beethoven piano sonatas! I think he had previously recorded only the late sonatas.

I thought you'd be interested, if you didn't already know.

Bryan Townsend said...

Hi Craig, yes I did know about that. It was mentioned in the program to his concert in Salzburg that this was about to be released. Looks like I will have to buy another set of the Beethoven sonatas!