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The New Faces Of Classical Music

Anna Netrebko is one of the many new faces who kept classical music fresh in 2008.
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.

1. Tchaikovsky, Glazunov: Violin Concertos

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.

2. Chopin - 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.

3. Antonio Bazzini: Virtuoso Works for Violin & Piano

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).

4. Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven: Sonatas

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.

5. Bach: Goldberg Variations

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.

6. Schoenberg, Sibelius: Violin Concertos

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.

7. Chopin: The Piano Concertos

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.

8. Beethoven, Clement: Violin Concertos

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.

9. Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3

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.

10. Anna Netrebko - Souvenirs

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.

Copyright 2008 91.7 WVXU

Robin Gehl
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