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The releases below were chosen from popular critics’ year-end ‘Best of 2011’ lists.

Featured Releases:

New York Times Gift Guide:

BACH, J.L.: Funeral Music (Trauermusik) (Rademann)

“Here is a wealth of music — some somber; much jubilant, occasionally to the point of giddiness; and all delectable — in a brilliant performance.” - JAMES R. OESTREICH, New York Times


FRIEDMAN, J.: String Quartets Nos. 2 and 3 (Chiara String Quartet, Matmos)

“Both quartets have an essentially neo-Romantic frame, but Mr. Friedman heads in unexpected directions, with hints of neo-medievalism, modernist effects and occasional rock influences.” - ALLAN KOZINN, New York Times


BRITTEN, B.: Winter Words / 7 Sonnets of Michelangelo / Folk Song Arrangements (Phan, Myra Huang)

“Britten’s song cycle “Winter Words” is inexplicably neglected. These bleakly beautiful, sometimes satirical and stunning settings of eight Thomas Hardy poems prove ideal for Nicholas Phan, the sweet-voiced young tenor, sensitively accompanied by Myra Huang.” -  ANTHONY TOMMASINI, New York Times


GORDON, M.: Timber (Slagwerk Den Haag)

“Mr. Gordon has six percussionists beat rapidly on a simantra (a wooden slab) to create a magnificently tactile texture in which densities and implied harmonies unfold, often surprisingly, over five movements lasting 55 minutes.”  - ALLAN KOZINN, New York Times


HAYDN, J.: Piano Sonatas, Vol. 2 (Bavouzet) - Nos. 19, 20, 32, 48, 50

“Mr. Bavouzet’s slow movements are particularly memorable; he shows instinctive feeling for the way this music breathes”. - ZACHARY WOOLFE, New York Times


MOMPOU, F.: Musica callada / Secreto (Silent Music) (Jenny Lin)

“Ms. Lin’s elegant, focused performances draw you fully into Mompou’s quirky world.” - ALLAN KOZINN, New York Times


SCHUMANN, R.: Piano Trios (Complete) (Andsnes, C. and T. Tetzlaff)

“In these scintillating performances, three splendid musicians — Leif Ove Andsnes, Christian Tetzlaff and Tanja Tetzlaff, his sister — convince you that the Schumann trios are consistently inspired and major scores.”  - ANTHONY TOMMASINI, New York Times


SHOSTAKOVICH, D.: String Quartets Nos. 5-8 / MYASKOVSKY, N.: String Quartet No. 13 (The Soviet Experience, Vol. 1) (Pacifica Quartet)

“The group conveys every shade of Shostakovich’s extreme emotional palette in a set — Volume 1 of a series called “The Soviet Experience” — that also includes a stirring rendition of Miaskovsky’s String Quartet No. 13 in A minor.” - VIVIEN SCHWEITZER, New York Times


Vocal Music (American) - WHITE, B.F. / CAREY, H. / PHILE, P. / BILLINGS, W. (Rose of Sharon: 100 Years of American Music) (Frederiksen)

“From a seemingly unlikely source — the Munich-based Ensemble Phoenix, directed by an American, Joel Frederiksen — this was the gem among recordings of Americana this year.” - ALLAN KOZINN, New York Times


Vocal Music (16th-17th Centuries) - ORTIZ, D. / CABEZON, A. de / ATTAINGNANT, P. / VALDERRABANO, E. de (Yr A Oydo) (More Hispano)

“In works by Strozzi, Cabezón, Attaingnant, Monteverdi and others, the recorder player Vicente Parrilla and his superb Seville-based ensemble More Hispano elaborate freely and inventively on the composers’ melodies and classic dance rhythms, much as a virtuoso jazz band would do with standards.” - ALLAN KOZINN, New York Times

LA Times Audiobook Gift Guide:

HAGGARD, H.R.: She - A History of Adventure (Abridged)

“Degas' effortless reading of Mervyn Peake's trilogy (and a final installment by Peake's widow) doesn't overperform this moving story of a fantastic kingdom where a boy named Titus lives. “ – Los Angeles Times


PEAKE, M.: Gormenghast (Abridged)

“Homewood employs a proper British pronunciation that fits the mood and time period of Haggard's classic tale of a Cambridge academic's adventure in search of a legendary African queen.”  - Los Angeles Times

St. Louis Post-Dispatch Gift Guide:

"Christmas is about both the traditional and about the new, the familiar and the foreign — and so are a batch of fine new compact discs, recently released in time for the holidays. More than any other holiday, Christmas is about choral music, and most of these discs reflect that."



RIMSKY-KORSAKOV, N.A.: Capriccio espagnol / Overtures (Seattle Symphony, Schwarz)

"Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony are in incredibly fine form with this repertoire, which you can also hear on recordings of Scheherazade and Capriccio espagnol, also released on Naxos this past May and September, respectively."  - Olivia Giovetti, Operavore - Gift Guide:

ANTHEIL, G.: Violin Sonatas Nos. 1, 2 and 4 / Solo Violin Sonata (Fewer, J. Novacek)

"The works -- jazzy, modern, colorful and yet tonal -- were written for the violinist Olga Rudge, tailored, as Antheil said, for her "Irish adrenal personality." - Laurie Niles,


BIBER, H.I.F. von: Mystery Sonatas (Wedman)

"Here is something to inform your Bach, the "Mystery Sonatas," by Heinrich Biber, an early Baroque composer. The sonatas, written to explore the mysteries of the rosary, are played by Canadian violinist Julia Wedman, a member of the Baroque period orchestra Tafelmusik, among many other groups." - Laurie Niles,


YSAYE, E.: 6 Sonatas for Violin Solo, Op. 27 (Ingolfsson)

"The six solo sonatas by Eugene Ysaye offer violinists some of the most challenging and harmonically interesting music for violin without accompaniment. Whether you intend to play them anytime soon or not, these are an important part of any violin-lover's listening library." - Laurie Niles,


Violin Recital: Pine, Rachel Barton - ALBENIZ, R.B. / CORDERO, R. / ESPEJO, C. / QUIROGA, M. / YSAYE, E. / GONZALEZ, L.J. (Capricho Latino)

"What a lot of treasures Rachel Barton Pine has uncovered in this album of solo violin works, "Capricho Latino."" - Laurie Niles,



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