November 2018 Staff Picks
November’s staff picks feature albums and playlists that we’re listening to this month! Each featured release has been handpicked by our staff along with a brief quote. Want to listen to the featured release? Simply click “Listen Now” in each review section. Happy listening!
“Very much partial to this stunning new Dacapo release, Peter Navarro-Alonso’s subtle and haunting arrangement of the Goldberg’s for the unusual combination of recorder, sax and percussion. This is music of great delicacy that has been skillfully instrumented (orchestrated is not the right word), and you’ll find yourself discovering a familiar piece with new ears. Don’t miss this exciting release.”
– Sean | LISTEN NOW
“For the sixth volume in their ‘Music For Brass Septet’ series, Septura created brass septet arrangements of British classical works from Walton, Elgar, Finzi, and Walton. I’m fascinated with the sheer musical inventiveness of this ensemble. Since the brass septet is a highly unusual type of ensemble, Septura had to create all of their own repertoire, so, using this Naxos series as a catalyst, Septura set out to record music from diverse musical eras, including works from Brahms, Handel, Rachmaninov, Victoria, Debussy, and much more. For this sixth volume, I was particularly taken by their arrangement of Elgar’s Serenade for Strings- the harmonic color produced by this brass septet is as rich and lush as any string ensemble I’ve heard. Highly recommended! ” – Jesse | LISTEN NOW
Check out our exclusive interview with Septura here!
“This month, I am listening to Jenö Jandó’s recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations. We might not know much about the mythical legend of Jenö Jandó, but he sure knows how to tickle the ivories. First rate; a cult classic.” – Natalie | LISTEN NOW
“This is the 11th and final volume of pianist Alessandro Marangoni’s project covering all 200 or so pieces that Rossini put together under the title ‘Sins of My Old Age’, which was music he wrote in the last decade of his life. Señor Rossini packs a lot of variety into these pieces that are by turn moving, beautiful and sometimes very funny. He wrote an entire Ave Maria in which the singer only sings two different notes – each one a bunch of times; and the last 16-second track on the album is Rossini’s setting of own name as a final chord. A fine album for the musical explorer.” – Raymond | LISTEN NOW
Check out our exclusive interview with Alessandro here!
“American composer Ferde Grofé is perhaps best known for his film scores and his popular arrangements of Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’, but he was also a talented classical composer in his own right. This throwback Naxos recording from 1999 captures the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s performance of three tone poems by Grofé. These tone poems are inspired by three of America’s most beloved natural landmarks: The Mississippi River, Niagara Falls, and The Grand Canyon. The music brilliantly conveys the majestic nature of these landmarks and makes for an interesting listening experience.” – Kris | LISTEN NOW
“Peaceful Music for Sleeping is eight hours of music to help you unwind and clear your mind for a full night’s rest. It’s a good blend of ambient-leaning contemporary composers like Max Richter and Arvo Pärt with cozy and familiar tracks from the likes of Chopin and Schumann. This is your best bet for a great night’s sleep.” – Dan | LISTEN NOW
“My selection this month is the Chineke! Orchestra’s recent recording on Signum Classics. This orchestra is not only remarkably talented, but it also serves as a non-profit organization that provides career opportunities to young Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) classical musicians in the UK and Europe. Their motto is ‘Championing Change and Celebrating Diversity in Classical Music’, which resonates very strongly with me! I also follow their conductor (Roderick Cox) on social media and really enjoy his content!” – Mara | LISTEN NOW
“If you don’t know the music of Franz Schreker (1878 -1934), I recommend you to start with this fantastic album with a mix of pieces from the beginning of the 20th century till the end of the 1920’s. His orchestral works are outstanding, matching any great work from Richard Strauss. This period of classical music represents the end of the golden era of big orchestras.” – Philippe | LISTEN NOW