Music News 12/15/21

To order any CDs, for music suggestions & questions, and to sign up for the CD/Book of the Month, email me directly:




Neil Young & Crazy Horse, BARN (Reprise, $18.98) – Neil Young and Crazy Horse have been playing together since the 1970’s. Young is at his very best with bassist Billy Talbot and drummer Ralph Molina, along with Nils Lofgren back on guitar (who’s played with Young between playing with Bruce’s E Street Band). Recorded at Young’s barn in Colorado, the songs are mostly “first-take, best-take” fresh. Look for the long article about this project in last Sunday’s Washington Post Arts & Style section. 

High Low Duo, RAVEL & BARTÓK  (Sono Luminus, $14.99) – Two electric guitarist, Cameron Greider and Jack Petruzzelli, have made fresh arrangements of Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite (arrangement for two pianos), and selections from Bartók’s 44 Duos for Two Violins

Jeff Parker, FORFOLKS (Nonesuch/International Anthem, $15.98) – Solo guitar tracks, some looped and multi-tracked. There are versions of Monk’s “Ugly Beauty,” and the standard “My Ideal,” as well as Parker originals.  



There has been a convergence of new opera and recital releases, both books and CDs, along with a major historical set. 

Marian Anderson, BEYOND THE MUSIC: THE COMPLETE RCA RECORDINGS 1923 – 1966 (Sony Classical, 15 CDs and book, $99.98) is one of the most important reissues recently. Restored and re-mastered from the original lacquer discs and analog tapes, the box set includes the Farewell Recital at Constitution Hall, October, 1964. The box set includes a 228-page, coffee-table book with essays by scholar Raymond Arsenault, and a wealth of materials from the Anderson collection at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Note: I have one copy in the store; more can be special-ordered.  


A book tie-in (with Marian Anderson on the cover) is Singing Like Germans: Black Musicians in the Land of Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms (Cornell University Press, $32.95) by Kira Thurman. 

Composer Matthew Aucoin’s new book is The Impossible Art: Adventures in Opera (FSG, $28), whose opera, Eurydice, just premiered at the Met. 

Jakub Jósef Orliński, ANIMA AETERNA (Warner Classics, $18.98) – The countertenor (one of the stars of Eurydice, and the cover story in October’s Gramophone) has a new recital album with arias and works by Zelenka, Fux, Handel, Nucci, Manna, and De Almeida. There is a duet with soprano Fatama Said, and Francesco Corti leads Il Pomo d’Oro.  

Sabine Devieilhe, BACH HANDEL (Erato, $18.98) – Ms. Devieilhe, a coloratura soprano, sings Bach’s “Mein Herze  schwimmt im Blut,” and “Jauchzet Gott in allen Lande,” and excerpts from Handel’s Brockes Passion and Giulio Cesare.  



Steven Spielberg’s new West Side Story, is playing at the Avalon.  

With a new screenplay by Tony Kushner, it gives us a new take on the Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim/Jerome Robbins/Arthur Laurents 1957 Broadway musical, and 1961 movie. The music was newly arranged by Thomas Newman, and conducted with energy by Gustavo Dudamel. 

Listen to WEST SIDE STORY: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack 2021 (Hollywood, $14.98), with stars Rachel Zegler, Ansel Elgort, Ariana DeBose, Mike Faist, David Alvarez, and (back from the 1961 film), Rita Moreno.