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New POP & JAZZ
La La Land: Original Soundtrack (Interscope, $13.98) – Director Damien Chazelle’s musical, La La Land, starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, swept the Golden Globe awards last Sunday, and is certain to get many Oscar nominations. Two of the awards went to composer Justin Hurwitz for best score, and Hurwitz and lyricists Benj Pasek and Justin Paul for best song (“City of Stars”). The soundtrack recording also includes John Legend’s “Start a Fire.”
Sidenote: Pasek and Paul also wrote the Broadway musical, Dear Evan Hansen (which premiered at Arena Stage in 2015). The original cast album will come out on February 24.
Brian Eno, Reflection (Warp Records, $17.99) – Brian Eno has been producing albums of “ambient” music since the 1970s, the most famous being Music for Airports. Now, he has not only issued a 54-minute Reflection—the “most pensive of his ambient works” (Pitchfork). In addition, Eno also released an app that produces continuous “generative” music, and in fact, produced the music on the Reflection CD.
The xx, I See You (Young Turks Records, $14.98) – The xx are Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim (vocalists, guitarists, and lyricists) and keyboardist, programmer and producer Jamie Smith (aka Jamie xx). The group came up with an influential minimalist sound on their first two albums, xx (2009) and Coexist (2012). On their third album the group expands its pop palette.
John Abercrombie Quartet, Up and Coming (ECM Records, $18.98) – Electric guitarist John Abercrombie recorded his first album for ECM, Timeless (with Jan Hammer and Jack DeJohnette), in 1974. He’s had a long fruitful relationship with the label ever since. His latest is with his quartet featuring Marc Copland on piano, Drew Gress on bass, and Joey Baron on drums. The session features Abercrombie originals, plus the Miles Davis classic, “Nardis.”
Bach: Cantatas (Hyperion, $18.98) – Iestyn Davies ranks as one of the leading countertenors in the world. He is equally at home in Renaissance and Baroque repertoire, as well as modern works (he sang in the premier of Thomas Adès’s new opera, The Exterminating Angel at Salzburg this summer). Davies now collaborates with Jonathan Cohen’s ensemble, Arcangelo, in four Bach Cantatas (Nos. 52, 54, 82 (“Ich habe genug”) and 170.
Prokofiev: Piano Sonatas Nos. 2, 6, 8 (Harmonia Mundi, $18.98) – Among pianist Alexander Melnikov’s recent albums have been superb recordings of Schumann, Hindemith, Shostakovich, Beethoven, and Rachmaninov, many with his chamber partners Isabelle Faust and Jean-Guihen Queyras. Melnikov now performs an all-Prokofiev program.
Les Arts Florissants, La Harpe Reine: Music at the Court of Marie Antoinette (Harmonia Mundi, $18.98) - Conductor William Christie’s renown group, Les Arts Florissant, turns to French and German harp music of the late 18th Century. Marie Antoinette played the pianoforte and the harp, “which became a symbol of the last two decades of the French court.” Harpist Xavier de Maistre is featured in music of Haydn, Krumpholtz and Hermann.