Music News 4/18/24




Taylor Swift, THE TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT (Republic, $16.98) – Extending her triumphant year of touring, recording, and influencing (Time Magazine chose her as its Person of the Year), Taylor Swift unveils a new album of new songs. There’s a bonus track on the CD, “The Manuscript.”




Bill Frisell, ORCHESTRAS (Blue Note, 2 CDs, $17.98) – Composer Michael Gibbs wrote some dynamic arrangements for large ensembles for guitarist Bill Frisell and his trio with Thomas Morgan on bass and Rudy Royston on drums.

Each of the CDs features a different group in live settings, namely, the 60-piece Brussels Philharmonic and the 11-piece Umbria Jazz Orchestra.

There are renditions of Frisell tunes such as “Lookout for Hope,” “Strange Meeting,” and “Monica Jane,” as well as standards, among them Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life,” Stephen Foster’s “Beautiful Dreamer.” There are two versions of Ron Carter’s “Doom,” and the album ends with “We Shall Overcome.”


LIVE ON MOUNTAIN STAGE: OUTLAWS AND OUTLIERS (Oh Boy, $20.98) – The long running public radio show from West Virginia, Mountain Stage (which celebrated its 40 anniversary last year) has presented live music featuring a great mix of established and up-and-coming musicians. Live on Mountain Stage: Outlaws and Outliers presents 21 tracks, including Wilco, Rhiannon Giddens, Alison Krauss, Jason Isbell, Lucinda Williams, Molly Tuttle, Gillian Welch & David Rawlings, Indigo Girls, Tyler Childers, Margo Price, Sierra Ferrell, and the late John Prine, singing “Souvenirs.”





CHOPIN: ÉTUDES (Decca, $14.98) – In 2022, Yunchan Lim became the youngest winner the Van Cliburn Piano Competition, astonishing judges and audiences with his rendition of Liszt’s Transcendental Études in the semi-finals, and the Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 3 in the finals. (The Liszt recording is available as Live from the Cliburn.)

Now Lim makes his debut on Decca with Chopin’s Études, Op 10 & Op. 25.


Fred Hersch, SILENT, LISTENING (ECM, $24.98) – Fred Hersch went into ECM’s studio in Lugano and played seven originals, as well as Billy Strayhorn’s “Star-Crossed Lovers,” Sigmund Romberg’s “Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise,”Alec Wilder’s “Winter Of My Discontent,” and Russ Freeman’s “The Wind.”





Emahoy Tsege Mariam Gebru, SOUVENIRS (Mississippi, $15.98) – Even though the Ethiopian nun Emahoy Tsege Mariam Gebru (1923 – 2023) lived a religious secluded life, her compositions and recordings have reached a wide audience of listeners, and influenced composers. She uniquely combined aspects of the Western classical canon, Ethiopian traditional music, and Ethiopian Coptic hymns. Most of her recorded music is solo piano, but on Souvenirs, recorded between 1977 and 1985, we hear Emahoy (Sister) play piano and sing.

(an alternate spelling of her name is Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou)


Elīna Garanča, WHEN NIGHT FALLS… (Deutsche Grammophon, $14.98) – Mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča immerses listeners in “the special magic of the evening hours” in her new recital.

There are songs by Schubert, Brahms, Strauss, Humperdinck, Berio, several composers from Spain (Falla, Montsalvatge, del Rey), and from her native Latvia (Pauls, Kalninš). She is accompanied on piano, guitar, oboe by many distinguished guests, as well as the Berlin Music Ensemble and Orqeustra Filarmónica de Gran Canaria on several tracks.


Jakub Józef Orliński, BEYOND (Erato, $18.98) – The countertenor’s new album features arias by Monteverdi, Caccini, Frescobaldi, Kapsberger, Netti, among others. Mr. Orliński unveils 10 world premiere recordings (uncovered by musicologist Yannis François); he is accompanied by Il Pomo d’Oro.