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Top 10 Classical Albums, September 2015

by Seth Colter Walls

Top 10 Classical Albums, September 2015

Playlist

About this playlist

The tail end of August blessed us with a high-octane pack of new classical releases that are powerful enough to propel us beyond the last lazy days of summer and into a new season. Topping our list of the best classical albums this month is Changing Same, a new album from composer Joseph C. Phillips, Jr., and his ensemble, Numinous. Take a listen to the undeniably funky sound of the album’s opening track, “19.” Far better than most attempts to fuse “in the pocket” textures and chamber music instrumentation, this work shows how skillfully Phillips is able to to blend writing for electric guitar and bass, wordless vocals, woodwinds, and strings.

Cellist Matt Haimovitz delivers a blistering new recording of The Beatles’ classic “Helter Skelter.” If you don’t think a solo player can communicate the cathartic noise and iconic melody of the song, give Haimovitz a listen. Also included in this month’s mix is the latest album from rising Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottír.

Don’t forget to check out the latest albums from two well-regarded West Coast orchestras: San Francisco Symphony (which tackles a new piece by post-minimalist John Adams) and the Seattle Symphony (which continues its engagement with the works of the late French master Henri Dutilleux). Sprinkled in between the big, multi-movement works we have Debussy miniatures played by Michael Lewin, plus shorter works by Anthony Coleman and Philip Glass (whose considerable career in the movies continues with the release of his soundtrack to the new Fantastic Four film).

Numinous, Changing Same
International Contemporary Ensemble, Thorvaldsdottir: In the Light of Air
San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Adams: Absolute Jest & Grand Pianola Music
Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Dutilleux: Métaboles, L'Arbre Des Songes & Symphony No. 2
Matt Haimovitz, Orbit: Music for Solo Cello
Boston Symphony Orchestra, Shostakovich Under Stalin’s Shadow: Symphony No. 10
Berliner Philharmoniker, Lutoslawski: Piano Concerto, Symphony No. 2
Michael Lewin, Debussy: Starry Night, Preludes Book I and Other Works
Anthony Coleman, You
Philip Glass, The Fantastic Four (Original Soundtrack)

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