Each week, we dig through new releases to handpick the KDFC Album of the Week. With so many great recordings in 2018 already, we’ve picked our favorite albums so far. Read more below about why we picked each selection.
Alan Chapman's Picks
I’m a big, big fan and I’m delighted to hear her play such a wide range of material.
Young, talented, and had to cancel on the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra to play at the royal wedding.
I’m a follower of Hough (both on recordings and on Twitter). This is a thoroughly delightful recording and I truly enjoy his transcriptions and original compositions.
Dianne Nicolini's Picks
He made a splash performing at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, (and before that, apparently, on Britain’s Got Talent). He is the young cellist, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, a musician to watch. His debut album, Inspiration, gave us a lot of great moments, from Saint-Saens’ The Swan to Bob Marley’s No Woman, No Cry.
Subtitled “An intimate tribute to Leonard Bernstein and his American legacy”, Lara Downes’ 2018 release, For Lenny is a kind of family-and-friends effort, featuring opera legend Thomas Hampson, roots singer Rhiannon Giddens, superstar beatboxer Kevin “K.O.” Olusola (a member of the a cappella group Pentatonix), and Mexican/American clarinet prodigy Javier Morales-Martinez.
Bruch: Scottish Fantasy
When the man who is arguably the most famous violinist of our time releases a new album, it’s a big deal. I was surprised that this was Bell’s first go at the super-popular Scottish Fantasy. He says he’s “only” been playing it for ten years, and it’s time to record it! Paired with the Fantasy is the other work for which Max Bruch is best known, the Concerto #1. This disc represents the second time Joshua Bell has recorded this work, but his insights into why it’s a different piece to him now are fascinating.
Ray White's Picks
Martha Argerich & Sergei Babayan
Prokofiev for Two
Two old piano playing friends with new arrangements of Sergei Prokofiev’s music for stage and screen. It’s refreshing, bright, and alive.
Rachmaninoff – 24 Preludes
Catch a Russian pianist at the top of his game. This full set of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s 24 Preludes sparkles through your speakers.
Gowanus Arts Ensemble
American Romantics II
There’s a good chance you might not recognize any of these lesser-known works by late 19th American composers. But don’t let that keep you from discovering this music. Brooklyn New York’s Gowanus Arts Ensemble has followed up last year’s surprise release with a gem of a Vol. 2.
Robin Pressman's Picks
Clair De Lune: Music of Debussy, Faure and Ravel
Listen for the dreamy repertoire, and cheer for Pressler, who at age 94 is on his third act. After 53 years at the helm of the Beaux Arts Trio, he began touring solo and just released this new recording.
A very personal collection of favorite pieces, many transcribed for solo piano by Hough, including one of the first pieces he learned “with [his] infant fingers,” a piece he has played as an encore for more than forty years.
Anderson and Roe
Mother: A Musical Tribute
The piano duo of Anderson and Roe (not married) explore all manner of musical takes on mothers and motherhood from expected classical fare like Brahms’ Lullaby, and Dvorak’s Songs My Mother Taught Me, to some fun surprises like Paul Simon’s Mrs. Robinson, and their own arrangement of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.
Rik Malone's Picks
The Golden Age
Magnificent playing with a real sense of style.
David Aaron Carpenter
Hit and miss, since I’m not sure Dvorak’s Cello Concerto works on the viola, but worth it for Alexey Shor’s tuneful and engaging suites.
Everything Beethoven wrote for solo piano – what’s not to like? Stylish and insightful live performances.