Music News 12/11/2019


Here’s a link to list of some of my favorite CDs of the year. A printed version is available at the store


More new Christmas albums:

Keb’ Mo’, MOONLIGHT, MISTLETOE & YOU (Concord, $15.98) – Bluesman Keb’ Mo’ swings some originals (two are duets featuring Melissa Manchester and Gerald Albright), and also brings out some deep cuts from the song-bags of Louis Jordan and Koko Taylor (“Santa Claus, Santa Claus” and “Merry, Merry Christmas” respectively).

The McCrary Sisters, A VERY MCCRARY CHISTMAS (Rounder, $15.98) – The four McCrary Sisters are the go-to backing sisters on gospel, country, and pop sessions in Nashville. They are joined by guests Shirley Caesar, Alison Krauss, Keb’ Mo’, Buddy Miller for some rousing Christmas songs.

John Legend, A LEGENDARY CHRISTMAS: The Deluxe Edition (Columbia, $15.98) – A Legendary Christmas came out a year ago. Now, there’s an updated, expanded version with four additional songs: “This Christmas,” “My Favorite Things,” “Christmas in New Orleans,” and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” with Kelly Clarkson, featuring updated lyrics by Legend and comedian Natasha Rothwell.

Idina Menzel, CHRISTMAS: A SEASON OF LOVE (Decca, $14.98) – The singing star of Frozen invites a few guests to her second holiday album: Billy Porter, Ariana Grande, Josh Gad, and Aaron Lohr.

Stile Antico, A SPANISH NATIVITY (Harmonia Mundi, $19.98) – The English vocal ensemble performs works by Baroque composers Victoria, Guerrero, Lobo, Morales, Rimonte, and Flecha.


Every year, for their Awards Issue, the Gramophone Magazine critics vote on their favorite classical CDs of the past season (roughly, autumn of 2018 to autumn, 2019). There are winners in respective categories, then a Recording of the Year is selected from that group. The Awards Issue is on display in our classical CD section, and some winning CDs are available for purchase. A few awardees:

Solo Vocal

SCHUMANN: FRAGE (Sony Classical, $13.98) – Baritone Christian Gerhaher and pianist Gerold Huber in their first volume of a complete Schumann lieder cycle.

NOTE: The second volume has just been issued: SCHUMANN: MYRTHEN (Sony Classical, $13.98), with soprano Camilla Tilling.


DEBUSSY: LES TROIS SONATES – The Late Works (Harmonia Mundi, $19.98) – The Sonata for Violin and Piano, the Sonata for Cello and Piano, and the Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp. Artists include violinist Isabelle Faust, pianists Alexander Melnikov and Javier Perianes, cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras, flutist Magali Mosnier, and harpist Xavier de Maistre, and violist Anotine Tamestit.


BUXTEHUDE: ABENDMUSIKEN (Alpha, $17.98) – Two ensembles, Ensemble Masques and Vox Luminis, team up

Early Music

CARDOSO: REQUIEM (Hyperion, $19.98) – The Portuguese group Cupertinos, led by Luis Toscano, presents music by Manuel Cardoso (1566 – 1650), during Lisbon’s  “golden age of polyphony.”

Young Artist of the Year

Countertenor Jakub Józef Orlinski has a new album, FACCE D’AMORE (Erato, $18.98) – With Il Pomo d’Oro