Various Artists

Classical 2011

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The two-disc set Classical 2011 features 40 tracks of classical pieces, usually single movements from larger works, taken from EMI's deep archives. With very few exceptions, the performances are by top-notch artists in the repertoire for which they are best known, so the quality is high. The collection is heavily weighted toward vocal music, with about half of its tracks devoted to opera and song, featuring singers like Plácido Domingo, Angela Gheorghiu, Roberto Alagna, Anna Netrebko, Jonas Kaufmann, Maria Callas, Luciano Pavarotti, and Mirella Freni. Orchestral music is also prominent, particularly concertos; soloists include violinists Nigel Kennedy and Sarah Chang, flutist Emmanuel Pahud, and pianists Leif Ove Andsnes and Evgeny Kissin. Among pianists playing solo works are Yundi, Gabriela Montero, and Alexandre Tharaud. The pieces come mostly from the Romantic, post-Romantic, and early Modern eras, but there are several Baroque movements, and even one contemporary work , a lyrical excerpt from Thomas Adès' 2004 opera The Tempest. All but a handful of the performances were recorded in the 21st century so the sound quality is very good. Listeners who purchase the CD should be aware that the pages of the accompanying booklet are printed in the wrong order, so the track listing is an almost indecipherable jumble of misinformation and should be ignored; the track listing on the back of the CD case is correct.

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