Music News 01/20/2021



Eva Cassidy, ACOUSTIC (Blix Street, $10.98) – Eva Cassidy (1963 – 1996) holds a special place in DC music lore, and new fans still connect very powerfully to her emotion-filled voice. She made her debut recording in duets with go-go godfather Chuck Brown (The Other Side, 1992), and released her Live at Blues Alley (1996) in the year of her early death from cancer. Posthumous collections and releases made her an international favorite. Acoustic is a good introduction, a budget-price compilation with 20 of her best loved tracks.  

Alexandre Tharaud, LE POÈTE DU PIANO (Erato, 3 CDs, $18.98) – Pianist Alexandre Tharaud has released wonderful recordings for about twenty years, first on Harmonia Mundi, and now with Erato. Le Poète du Piano is a bargain collection of three CDs of old and never-before-released material.  

CD 1, “Solo” has works ranging from Bach, Rameau, and Scarlatti to Satie, Gershwin and Mahler. 

CD 2, “Concertos” includes Mozart, Ravel, Poulenc, Rachmaninov, and Hans Abrahamsen. 

CD 3, “Rarities and Surprises” includes Debussy, Mompou, Morricone, Grieg, the Beach Boys, and Tharaud’s own composition. Over four hours of great music.


CAROLINE SHAW: NARROW SEA (Nonesuch, $14.98) – Composer Caroline Shaw new work, Narrow Sea, is a five-movement work written for So Percussion, soprano Dawn Upshaw, and pianist Gilbert Kalish. Each movement is a “new melodic setting of a text from the Sacred Harp, the famous 19th-century collection of shape note hymns.” So Percussion also performs Taxidermy (2012), an earlier Shaw piece written for the group. It prominently features flower pots, which were famously used in musical ways by Lou Harrison and John Cage.  

Paul Hillier & Ars Nova Copenhagen, AND… (Naxos, $12.99) – A beautiful choral album also has a new Caroline Shaw piece on it. And…juxtaposes works by Ms. Shaw (and the swallows, from Psalm 84), Julia Wolfe (Guard My Tongue), five recent Arvo Part works, interspersed with six laude from the 13th-century collection known as Laudario di Cortona. Paul Hillier—who was a founding member of the Hilliard Ensemble, then the Theatre of Voices—directs the group Ars Nova Copenhagen.