A lot of Noise — Staff Picks by Alex

So here we are. With all the CD’s to pick from its hard to choose only 5 to recommend. Oh well, here we go…

Symphony No. 5 — Petyr Illych Tchaikovsky: performed by Kurt Masur and the Gewandhausorchester — CD 9333

As a major work of Orchestral literature, Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony has been recorded more times than I care to count. So what does this recording have that makes it stand out? Ill let you take a look at the cover.

I know you shouldn’t judge a book (or CD?) by its cover, but this immediately got my attention. As a brass player, I love playing Tchaikosvky because he writes so well for brass. The parts are written in a way that is satisfying to the sound of the instrument. This recording, apart from having a great cover, reflects that sound as Masur knows how to handle a brass section in this very Brassy symphony.

Alina — Arvo PärtCD 9432

This recording was a collaboration between the the composer and several different musicians. It consists of several interpretations of two of Pärt’s seminal works. The music is very relaxing and a reminder that the best music does not have to be the most intricate.

Ahknaten — Phillip GlassCD 8384

I’ve always had a hard time getting into opera. I don’t really enjoy lighter opera, while the bigger, more romantic stuff has always been too dense and impenetrable for me to enjoy. Ahknaten on the other hand is just light enough that I do not feel overwhelmed while keeping my interest. Besides, as you can probably tell, I am a bit of a fan of minimalism.

Mingus Big Band 93CD 4467

A bunch of really great musicians get together and make a really great band. Then they play some really great music by Charles Mingus.

Dark Full Ride — Julia Wolfe CD 9549

Do you ever wonder what 9 bagpipes bending pitches sound like? If the answer is yes, look no further. This, in my opinion is one of the coolest CD’s we’ve acquired in recent memory. Julia Wolfe, formerly of Bang on a Can, decided to put together four pieces where the focus was on exploring the sounds possible by combining large numbers of the same instrument. If you want more information, you should check out this review by Jay Batzner over at Sequenza21.