BEST & WORST OF 2012: CLASSICAL CDS

 
BEST CLASSICAL CDS FOR 2012
(Published in The Sunday Times on 24 December 2012)
 
 
 
 
LA NOCHE Works for Flute & Harp
ROBERTO ALVAREZ, Flute
KATRYNA TAN, Harp
 
This is a unique, unlikely to be repeated, anthology of new works for flute and harp by Singaporean composers including Ho Chee Kong, Robert Casteels and Chen Zhangyi and their Spanish counterparts from Asturias. All are World Premiere recordings, covering a wide and diverse range of voices and idioms with the mystery and splendour of night as unifying theme. Here is strikingly beautiful music, lovingly performed.
 
 
 
RACHMANINOV Cello & Piano Works
QIN LI-WEI, Cello
ALBERT TIU, Piano
Decca 8898195
 
The most celebrated cello and piano duo resident in Singapore has returned to the recording studio for Rachmaninov’s complete cello music, including the 40-minute long Cello Sonata in G minor (Op.19), two early pieces and song transcriptions. Here are the true voices of yearning and nostalgia, in an album that is the worthy successor on Decca to the beloved 1980s recording by Lynn Harrell and Vladimir Ashkenazy.
 
 
 
 
 
INTRODUCING RE:MIX
Foo Say Ming, Violin & Leader

Local cross-over band re:mix believes that classical music has taken itself too seriously, and its début album breaks down the demarcation between classical music and pop culture. Violinist Foo Say Ming’s method is to apply “classical” methods to popular hits in a novel and highly intelligent manner. Allied to this cause are Cultural Medallion winner Kelly Tang’s witty arrangements of Latin and Chinese songs, and his Two Contrasts, a work as eclectic as the ensemble itself.
 
  
WORST CD of 2012
 
 
ADAGIOS 101
Decca CD-Rama 4783985
Compilations are a lazy way to listen to music, and it is worse when a lack of thought and incoherence influence the programming. There is much fine music, performed by big-name artists (Vladimir Ashkenazy, Sir Neville Marriner and Kiri Te Kanawa among them) in this selection of 101 slow movements, but the overall effect is as dreary as Symphony 92.4 FM’s all-night broadcasts.