Next Generation Classical: WGUC's Top CDs of 2007

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To paraphrase an old marketing slogan, "this is not your father's Oldsmobile," these are not your father's classical artists. A new generation of instrumentalists, singers, and conductors has been taking the concert stage by storm, represented in part by these ten standout recordings of 2007.

1. HELENE GRIMAUD

Beethoven: Concerto No. 5 "Emperor" & Piano Sonata No. 28

An award-winning recording artist since the age of fifteen, the French pianist has collaborated with many of the world's major orchestras and is a founder and co-director of The Wolf Conservation Center based in New York. Regarded as a great warhorse, Beethoven's "Emperor" concerto appears fresh and vibrant at the hands of Grimaud.

Vladimir Jurowski conducts the Dresden Staatskapelle, with pianist Helene Grimaud. (DG 477 6595)

2. VADIM REPIN

Beethoven: Violin Concerto & "Kreutzer" Sonata

This award-winning 36-year-old Russian violinist offers a commanding presence on the concert stage and a pure, fluid, effortless sound in these violin masterpieces by Beethoven.

Riccardo Muti conducts the Vienna Philharmonic, with violinist Vadim Repin. (DG 477 6596)

3. PAAVO JARVI

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6, "Pathetique"

This marks the twelfth recording with Paavo Jarvi and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, one of few American orchestras with an active recording contract. Son of conducting icon Neeme Jarvi, whose own discography numbers hundreds of recordings, the younger Jarvi and the CSO—regarded as a top American orchestra—are on their way up, beautifully performing these two Tchaikovsky stalwarts.

Paavo Jarvi conducts the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. (Telarc 80681)

4. LANG LANG

Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 4

The 25-year-old Chinese pianist received his big American break in 1999 filling in at the Ravinia Festival's "Gala of the Century," playing Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He's been recording and touring extensively ever since.

Known for his technical bravura, Lang Lang showcases a light, lyrical touch, as well, in these tuneful titans of the piano repertoire.

Christoph Eschenbach conducts the Orchestre de Paris, with pianist Lang Lang. This recording is a Grammy Nominee. (DG 477 6596)

5. NETREBKO & VILLAZON

Netrebko & Villazon: Duets

This new operatic "dream team" established itself in charismatic performances of "La Traviata" at the 2005 Salzburg Festival. Here the soprano and tenor perform love duets from opera's greatest composers, such as Puccini, Donizetti, and Verdi.

Nicola Luisotti conducts the Dresden Staatskapelle, with soprano Anna Netrebko & tenor Rolando Villazon. (DG 477 6663)

6. STILE ANTICO

Music for Compline

Despite this choral group's name—"Stile Antico" means "old style"—this is an ensemble of young British singers gaining acclaim. In 2005, the group won the Audience Prize at the Early Music Network International Young Artists' Competition and tours throughout the UK. The group's debut CD contains music by England's great choral composers, such as William Byrd and Thomas Tallis.

Stile Antico performs a cappella music for Compline. This recording is a Grammy Nominee. (Harmonia Mundi 807419)

7. SARAH CHANG

Vivaldi: The Four Seasons

The crisp, light sound of the Grammy award-winning Orpheus Chamber Orchestra meets its match in the violin artistry of Sarah Chang, the now twenty-something child prodigy. Vivaldi's tuneful, and at times dramatic, "Four Seasons" concertos provide a perfect vehicle for the Orpheus/Chang pairing.

The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra performs with violinist Sarah Chang. (EMI 94431-2)

8. MIKHAIL PLETNEV

Beethoven: The Nine Symphonies

This new 5-CD set of all nine quintessential symphonies by Beethoven offers a great way to jump-start a music-lover's collection of great recordings. As a young performer, multi-talented Pletnev also won the Gold Medal at the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow.

Mikhail Pletnev conducts the Russian National Orchestra. (DG 477 6409)

9. CANTUS

Cantus

This all-male choral ensemble has been performing for ten years and already claims an impressive collection of quality recordings. This lush arrangement of Pavel Chesnokov's "Salvation is Created" fully utilizes all voice ranges, as does Morten Lauridsen's "Ave Dulcissima Maria." Music on this CD ranges from 9th-century plainchant to the world-premiere recordings of Lee Hoiby's "Last Letter Home," and Peter Hamlin's "Casey at the Bat." "Cantus" is the name of both the ensemble and the CD. (Cantus Recordings CTS-1207)

10. SIMONE DINNERSTEIN

J.S. Bach: Goldberg Variations

Creating a stir in the classical recording world, this relatively unknown 30-year-old pianist recently released her debut album of Bach's gargantuan work for solo keyboard. Dinnerstein offers a fresh and appealing perspective on the 30 variations, previously recorded by such renowned pianists as Glenn Gould and Andras Schiff.

Simone Dinnerstein performs Bach's Goldberg Variations. (Telarc 80692)

A twenty-five year public radio veteran, Robin Gehl serves as Vice President for Programming at WGUC and WVXU, in Cincinnati.

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Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5; Piano Sonata No. 28

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Album
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5; Piano Sonata No. 28
Artist
Hélène Grimaud
Label
Deutsche Grammophon
Released
2007

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Beethoven: Violin Concerto; Kreutzer Sonata

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Album
Beethoven: Violin Concerto; Kreutzer Sonata
Artist
Vadim Repin
Label
Deutsche Grammophon
Released
2007

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Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 "Pathétique"; Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture

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Album
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 "Pathétique"; Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture
Artist
Paavo Järvi
Label
Telarc
Released
2007

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Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 4

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Album
Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 4
Artist
Lang Lang
Label
Deutsche Grammophon
Released
2007

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Anna Netrebko & Rolando Villazón: Duets

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Album
Anna Netrebko & Rolando Villazón: Duets
Artist
Various
Label
Deutsche Grammophon
Released
2007

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Vivaldi: The Four Seasons

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Album
Vivaldi: The Four Seasons
Artist
Sarah Chang
Label
EMI Classics
Released
2007

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Music for Compline

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Album
Music for Compline
Artist
Stile Antico
Label
Harmonia Mundi
Released
2007

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Beethoven: The Nine Symphonies

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Album
Beethoven: The Nine Symphonies
Artist
Mikhail Pletnev
Label
Deutsche Grammophon

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Bach: Goldberg Variations

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Album
Bach: Goldberg Variations
Artist
Simone Dinnerstein
Label
Telarc
Released
2007

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