My discoveries of 2013

carlos kleiber

This is a small list of audio or video recordings of music that I’ve come across throughout the year, and that have made a significant impression on me. In some cases, these are piece that were new to me, but some of these – especially the video recordings – are particularly special performance of well-known works. These kinds of discoveries are one of my primary and most consistent musical motivators, and the list below represents pieces and performances that I’ve returned to many times throughout 2013. Enjoy!

Thielemann / Munich Philharmonic: Overture to Tanhauser

I’ve come to find out that this is a renown performance, although I did not know of it until a few months ago. It’s an extraordinarily powerful live performance, led by our greatest living interpreter of Wagner (as far as conductors go, I think). Thielemann is one of my favorite conductors; he takes a very honest approach, and shapes the performance very specifically.

Nikola Lutz: Robin Hoffmann’s An-Sprache

A mind-blowing performance of German composer Robin Hoffmann’s An-Sprache. This work is a wildly virtuosic and amazingly imaginative piece for body percussion. I have a secret ambition of performing this in the fall of 2014, but don’t tell anyone.

Gerard Pesson: Aggravations et final

I’ve grown very interested in Pesson’s music this year. He is doing something deeply personal and unique with a color palette founded in the techniques of Musique Concrete Instrumentale. I greatly look forward to leading his Rescousse this March!

Fritz Hauser: SCHRAFFUR

A beautiful work for solo gong and child percussionists. I find the intense focus of the children in this video moving and captivating.

Marc-Andre Hamelin: Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit

An incredible live performance of Ravel’s epic Gaspard by Hamelin. Taken from a recital in Moscow from April, 2013.

Carlos Kleiber / Concergebouw: Beethoven Sym. no. 7

Although I’ve revered this recording for years, it is an appropriate addition to this list, as it remains a deep source of personal inspiration. Kleiber is the “father of us all” (as Simon Rattle put it), and this is likely one of the greatest orchestral performances ever caught on film.

Marc-Andre Hamelin; Anteil’s jazz Sonata

A 90-second work by often under-appreciated American composer George Antheil, whose work shared many intersections with the Italian Futurists. This performance was an encore in a recent recital by Hamelin. The playing is spectacularly virtuosic!

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