Anna Netrebko is one of the many new faces who kept classical music fresh in 2008.
From the poetic playing of pianist Ingrid Fliter to the high notes (and high drama) of soprano Anna Netrebko, this group of talented musicians represents the next generation of emerging classical artists, most of whom are still in their 20s and 30s. These 2008 releases offer fresh takes on classic favorites, whether it's cellist Matt Haimovitz's string-trio rendition of Bach's Goldberg Variations or off-the-beaten-path discoveries, such as Rachel Barton Pine's performance of the Violin Concerto by Beethoven's contemporary, Franz Clement.
Click here for more entries in the Best CDs of 2008 series.
Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto, Op. 35 - III
1. Tchaikovsky, Glazunov: Violin Concertos
- Song: Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto, Op. 35 - III
- by Vadim Gluzman
As a teenager, Vadim Gluzman played for the legendary Isaac Stern, who became a source of influence and support. Now, the Ukrainian-born violinist plays his Stradivarius with nearly every major orchestra in the world. Gluzman shares Stern's technical brilliance and passion in Tchaikovsky's great concerto.
Piano Sonata No. 3, Op. 58
2. Chopin - Ingrid Fliter
- Song: Piano Sonata No. 3, Op. 58
- from Chopin: Piano Sonata No. 3; Ballade No. 4; Waltzes; Mazurkas; Barcarolle
- by Ingrid Fliter
Argentinian pianist Ingrid Fliter's career took flight after she received the 2006 Gilmore Artist award, an honor granted every four years to celebrate an extraordinary pianist of any age. Just after she received that award, NPR welcomed Fliter into the studio, where she proved to be a thoughtful and poetic player of Chopin's music. Now, the proof is on record with this beautiful, all-Chopin recording.
La Ronde des Lutins (Goblins' Dance), Op. 25
3. Antonio Bazzini: Virtuoso Works for Violin & Piano
- Song: La Ronde des Lutins (Goblins' Dance), Op. 25
- by Chloë Hanslip
British violinist Chloe Hanslip made her BBC Proms debut in 2002 and her U.S. debut a year later. She's earned wide recognition in Germany and the U.K., including the Echo Klassik Award for best newcomer in 2002 and the Young British Classical Performer honor at the Classical Brit Awards. On this CD of tuneful miniatures, Hanslip showcases her musicality and virtuosity, particularly in Bazzini's best-known work, La Ronde des lutins (The Dance of the Goblins).
Sonata in E flat major: I
4. Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven: Sonatas
- Song: Sonata in E flat major: I
- by Rafal Blechacz
In 2005, Rafał Blechacz became the first Polish pianist in 30 years to win Warsaw's coveted Chopin International Competition. Although a Chopin specialist, Blechacz shares his love for the great classical masters on this recording, as he expertly plays sonatas by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven.
Goldberg Variations: Aria, Variations 1-3 & 16
5. Bach: Goldberg Variations
- Song: Goldberg Variations: Aria, Variations 1-3 & 16
- by Various
Matt Haimovitz has performed with nearly every major orchestra in the world, has toured all 50 states in America, and is known for his pioneering efforts to bring a fresh ear to familiar repertoire. He's also been known to unpack his cello in a bar and play Bach. On this recording, he's joined by Jonathan Crow and Douglas McNabney to perform Bach's monumental Goldberg Variations in an intimate string-trio arrangement.
Sibelius: Violin Concerto in D minor: III
6. Schoenberg, Sibelius: Violin Concertos
- Song: Sibelius: Violin Concerto in D minor: III
- by Hilary Hahn
Grammy-winning violinist Hilary Hahn was named America's best young classical musician by Time magazine in 2001. In many ways, she's still living up to that accolade. The main attraction on this disc is her soulful rendition of Sibelius' great violin concerto. But she also offers a rare chance to hear Arnold Schoenberg's lesser-known and challenging concerto. It's stunningly performed, and not as scary as you might think.
Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor: III
7. Chopin: The Piano Concertos
- Song: Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor: III
- by Lang Lang
The Chinese pianist Lang Lang has achieved rock-star status in many circles, performing in the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics and being named to People magazine's 2008 list of the "Sexiest Men Alive." His first recording with the Vienna Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta offers sensitive renditions of Chopin's two great Piano Concertos.
Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D Major: III
8. Beethoven, Clement: Violin Concertos
- Song: Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D Major: III
- by Rachel Barton Pine
When Rachel Barton Pine was 6, she remembers being allowed to stay up late to watch classical performances on PBS. That's where she saw Itzhak Perlman play Beethoven's violin concerto. She sensed that Beethoven's music was, as she calls it, "the pinnacle of violin concertos." On this recording, she shares her worthy interpretation of the piece, and pairs it with a performance of Franz Clement's Violin Concerto in D. It's a work that lay unperformed for some 200 years, and Barton Pine notes its remarkable "aesthetic similarities" to Beethoven's masterpiece, which was written one year later.
Piano Concerto No. 3: III
9. Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3
- Song: Piano Concerto No. 3: III
- by Olli Mustonen
Olli Mustonen is something of an old-fashioned throwback to pianists of the 19th century. He's a triple-threat musician who plays, conducts and composes. In 2003, the Finnish musician was named conductor of the Tapiola Sinfonietta, and on this excellent recording, he combines at least two of his talents, conducting from the keyboard a fresh rendition of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3.
"Solveig's Song" from Peer Gynt, Op. 23
10. Anna Netrebko - Souvenirs
- Song: "Solveig's Song" from Peer Gynt, Op. 23
- by Anna Netrebko
In 2007, Anna Netrebko became the first opera singer ever to be named to the Time 100 list -- the magazine's survey of the most influential people in the world. Ranging from operetta classics and salon songs to German lieder and various vocal bon-bons, each selection on this new recording holds a cherished place in Netrebko's memory. She even includes the first piece she learned as a teenage student: Grieg's touching "Solveig's Song," from Peer Gynt.