Editors' Choice

Selections for

December 2017

Franz Schubert: Forellenquintett
Deutsche Grammophon
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The distinctive Trout Quintet is the reason to acquire this fine album.
- James Manheim
Xenakis: Orchestral Works - Metastaseis A, Terretektorh, Nomos Gamma
Mode Records
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Three of Xenakis' innovative orchestral works are performed by Arturo Tamayo, the Orchestra Sinfonica RAI, and the Resident Orchestra of the Hague.
- Blair Sanderson
Asking Alexandria
Sumerian Records
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The metalcore quintet's polished fifth effort marks the welcome return of prodigal frontman Danny Worsnop.
- Neil Z. Yeung
From A Room: Volume 2
Decca / Mercury / Mercury Nashville
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Another modest, winning collection of straight-ahead, old-fashioned country.
The Gate of Glory: Music from the Eton Choirbook, Vol. 5
Avie
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English polyphony of the 15th century is not for everybody, but here it takes a big step forward in intelligibility.
- James Manheim
Jean-Philippe Rameau: Pygmalion
Aparte
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Rameau's 1748 acte de ballet Pygmalion receives a period-style performance by Les Talens Lyriques, conducted by Christophe Rousset.
- Blair Sanderson
Offenbach: Overtures
Naxos
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Darrell Ang and the Orchestre National de Lille present overtures from Offenbach's operettas and the youthful Ouverture à grand orchestre.
- Blair Sanderson
Songbook
Interscope / Polydor
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Double-disc retrospective includes one CD of remastered vintage favorites and a new song, and a second CD of radically reworked versions.
- Thom Jurek
Scarlett Roses
The Royal Potato / Royal Potato Family Records
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After six long years, this Gulf Coast singer/ songwriter delivers a raw, rough-and-tumble roots rock album worthy of the wait.
- Thom Jurek
Dear December
Yep Roc
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Scott McCaughey and company bring us a doozy of a Christmas gift with this set of rockin' original tunes for the holidays.
- Mark Deming
Gold
Signum Classics
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Marking the 50th anniversary of The King's Singers, this is an entirely new recording containing 60 tracks that represent the group's repertory.
- James Manheim
Handel: Messiah 1754
Alpha
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Hervé Niquet and Le Concert Spirituel celebrate 30 years together with this performance of the 1754 version of Handel's Messiah.
- Blair Sanderson
Secrets: French Songs
Erato
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A French song recording in which everything comes together.
- James Manheim
Voyages
Signum Classics
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Performing settings of poems by Baudelaire and Goethe, soprano Mary Bevan delivers an atmospheric program that reveals her profound artistry.
- Blair Sanderson
Wagner: Siegfried
Naxos
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Jaap van Zweden and the Hong Kong Philharmonic present the third music drama in Wagner's Ring, Siegfried.
- Blair Sanderson
Philip Glass: The Trial
Orange Mountain Music
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The Trial is the first Philip Glass opera to receive its premiere in the U.K., and this recording is taken from the 2014 premiere.
- James Manheim
Schumann: Symphonies Nos. 1-4
San Francisco Symphony
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This is an excellent accomplishment for Tilson Thomas as he nears the end of his San Francisco tenure.
- James Manheim
Quella Fiamma: Arie Antiche
Erato
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Stutzmann strips away the layers that have accumulated on the surface of this music, well known to vocal students.
- James Manheim
The Moon and the Village
Tapete Records
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The English Baroque pop cult hero delivers a stripped-down late-career highlight produced by members of the Ladybug Transistor.
- Timothy Monger
In an Open Field
Tin Angel
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Predictably lush and pretty set of R&B-hued ballads that add some surprise touches of cosmic country and '70s soft rock to the mix.
- Tim Sendra
Prins Thomas, Vol. 5
Prins Thomas Musikk
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Norwegian space disco producer Prins Thomas does what he does best on his fun, freewheeling fifth solo album.
- Paul Simpson
Debussy: Sonates & Trio
Erato
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Hearing a group of Debussy works in traditional forms together is of considerable interest; these performances are attractive.
- James Manheim
Mozart: Requiem
Harmonia Mundi
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René Jacobs and the Freiburger Barockorchester present Pierre-Henri Dutron's 2016 revision of Süssmayr's completion of Mozart's Requiem.
- Blair Sanderson
A Farewell to Kings [40th Anniversary Edition] [3 CD]
Mercury / Virgin EMI
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Rush's fifth studio album gets grand reissue treatment with a 1978 concert, covers of set classics, and an unreleased studio experiment.
- Thom Jurek
Mirages
Erato
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This 2017 Erato release by soprano Sabine Devieilhe has multiple strengths that propelled it onto the charts.
- James Manheim
Music for Brass Septet, Vol. 5: Fauré, Ravel, Debussy
Naxos
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Septura's fifth volume is one of the strongest, filled with songs and orchestral pieces not immediately associated with a brass ensemble.
- James Manheim
Electric Looneyland
Skeleton Key Records
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Swirling, hooky psych-pop from the duo of Ian Skelly and Paul Molloy, both on loan from the Coral.
- Tim Sendra
Veni Domine: Advent & Christmas at the Sistine Chapel
Deutsche Grammophon
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A standout holiday release, sung from the Vatican's manuscripts, with sumptuous sound adjusting easily from the majestic to the intimate.
- James Manheim
On Air
BBC / Polydor / Universal
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The first official release of the Rolling Stones' BBC sessions from 1963-1965.
Another Night: Sire Recordings 1979-1981
Omnivore
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A double-disc set chronicling the Searchers' exceptional power pop comeback of 1979-1981.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine
The Way Is Read
Nonesuch
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The result of a collaboration between the English indie folk trio and the New York chamber sextet is both intricate and graceful.
- Marcy Donelson
All on the First Day
Gaarden / Tapete Records
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Minimalist psychedelic folk from a trio influenced by the Incredible String Band, but totally off on their own fascinating trip.
- Tim Sendra