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Classical 101

The Gift of NEW Music

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Absolute Jest by John Adams uses a few fragments from some of Beethoven's string quartets and made what he termed "one of the world's largest and most manic scherzos."

Yesterday, I wrote about giving someone the gift of experiencing music LIVE. Today, I want to go one step further and mention an offshoot of going to a live concert...hearing new music.

There is no lack of opportunities in Columbus to hear performances of music written by living, breathing composers. Yes, I want to hear Bach's Brandenburgs, Beethoven's piano concertos and symphonies, and Dvorak's Slavonic Dances, but I also want to hear what has been written recently by Nico Muhly, John Adams, Josh Roman, and - now - Giya Kancheli.

In yesterday's blog, I mentioned my experience with Vadim Gluzman and Vivaldi's Four Seasons. Also on the program were works by Mozart and Schubert. Then I was introduced to a composer with whom I was mostly unfamiliar, Giya Kancheli. Kancheli's Little Danielade for Violin, Piano, Strings, and Percussion is a visceral experience...one which motivated me to listen to more of his music. When I saw his name mentioned in a year-end look at great recordings by NPR's Tom Huizenga and Anastasia Tsioulcas, I rushed to check it out.  Wow!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHDcd623TWU

After hearing excerpts from Kancheli's Chiaroscuro, I will be looking for the entire work. Amazingly, there were so many great new recordings, they felt they had to leave that one off the list, though it got a mention.

Here is a sampling, then, of the best recordings of 2015 through the eyes of NPR's Tom Huizenga and Anastasia Tsioulcas.  Happy hunting!

Absolute Jest by John Adams is at the top of the list, according to Tom Huizinga and Anastasia Tsioulcas.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1oTy7lpT-M