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This article was published 22/12/2016 (2019 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
1. Angela Hewitt
Domenico Scarlatti Sonatas (Hyperion)
Canada’s grande dame of piano Angela Hewitt brings her customary finesse to Scarlatti’s keyboard sonatas, including crystal clear articulation and filigree ornamentation she has built her reputation on. Critically acclaimed for her sensitive interpretations of J. S. Bach, the Ottawa-born pianist now based (primarily) in the U.K. is always at her best with baroque repertoire. Her latest album continues to prove why this national treasure is regarded one of the top living pianists in the world.
2. Anna Netrebko
Verismo (Deutsche Grammophon)
After a recording hiatus of three years, Russian powerhouse Anna Netrebko returned with a vengeance this year with a new set of 16 arias by Puccini, Leoncavallo, Ponchielli, Boito, Giordano and Catalani. Hailed as one of her generation’s most revered sopranos, Netrebko’s dramatic vocals bring full throttle emotionalism to these "realistic style" works closely tied to the late-19th-century Italian school. Antonio Pappano leads the Accademia di Santa Cecilia Orchestra and Chorus, with Netrebko joined by her tenor husband Yusif Eyvazov in two selections.
3. Steve Reich
Double Sextet. Radio Rewrite — Ensemble Signal, Brad Lubman (Harmonia Mundi)
Legendary minimalist pioneer Steve Reich turned 80 in October and the party’s in full swing. This new release celebrates the New York City-based artist’s milestone birthday with two of his driving string ensemble works performed by Ensemble Signal led by Brad Lubman. Reich’s 2009 Pulitzer-prize winning Double Sextet (2007) bolts out of the gate like a banshee, while Radio Rewrite (2012), inspired by two songs by British rock band Radiohead, marks the musical trailblazer’s first time using source material from the pop/rock world.
4. Vladimir Ashkenazy
Shostakovich: Piano Trios 1 & 2 — Viola Sonata (Decca Classics)
5. Martha Argerich & Daniel Barenboim
Live from Buenos Aires(Deutsche Grammophon)
6. Staatskapelle Berlin
Elgar Barenboim: Symphony No.1 (Decca Classics)
7. Sistine Chapel Choir
8. Elena Langer
Landscape with Three People (Harmonia Mundi)
9. Nicola Benedetti
Shostakovich & Glazunov: Violin Concertos(Decca Classics)
10. Mitsuko Uchida/The Cleveland Orchestra
Mozart Piano Concertos Nos. 17 & 25(Decca Classics)
1. Sturgill Simpson
A Sailor’s Guide to Earth (Warner)
Simpson brought the sounds and swing of Muscle Shoals and Memphis to traditional country, working them into a seamless, relentlessly grooving collection of tunes that celebrated the birth of his son and reflected on his own path.
2. Drive-By Truckers
Maybe they weren’t loud enough. Regardless, in the year of Trump, America’s best rock band released a dozen political and personal songs that celebrate their country’s heritage, ponder its mistakes and, sadly, sometimes angrily, lament the moral poverty of its cultural divide.
3. Margo Price
Midwest Farmer’s Daughter(Third Man)
Everything you need to know about Margo Price can be gleaned from one listen to Hands of Time. A semi-autobiographical, six-minute epic, the song traces her life’s journey and is a profound expression of her deceptively laid-back take on soulful pickin’ and singin’.
4. David Bowie
6. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
7. John K. Samson
8. The Tragically Hip
Man Machine Poem(Universal)
9. Car Seat Headrest
Teens of Denial(Matador)
10. Tanya Tagaq
1. Royal Stockholm Philharmonic
EST Symphony— (ECM)
Orchestral arrangements of music by the groundbreaking EST Trio.
2. Miles Davis
Freedom Jazz Dance: The Bootleg Series Vol. 5(Legacy Recordings)
Fascinating glimpse into the complete evolution of a jazz classic, complete with studio takes and chatter.
3. Jack DeJohnette/Ravi Coltrane/Matt Garrison
Master drummer DeJohnette with the sons of two former greats creating some beautiful music.
4. Myriad 3
5. Darcy James Argue
Real Enemies(New Amsterdam)
6. John Coltrane
A Love Supreme: The Complete Masters (Verve/Impulse)
8. Charlie Haden Liberation Music Orchestra
9. Laura Karpman
Ask Your Mama(Avie)
10. Fred Hersch
Sunday Night at the Vanguard(Palmetto)
1. Iggy Pop
Post Pop Depression(Loma Vista/Concord)
True to form yet still out of the ordinary, the head Stooge brings some fresh noise and melodies galore.
2. Various artists
Astonishing Sound Show Stories Volume 2(Dig the Fuzz Records)
A mix of mostly U.K.-based funsters proving wild punky rock and disturbingly catchy indie music is alive and well across the pond.
3. Margaret Glaspy
Emotions and Math(ATO Records)
A woman and her Fender Telecaster making the kind of music that more women with more guitars should aspire to make.
4. Mohair Sweets
Dream Filled Nights(Independent)
5. The Claypool Lennon Delirium
Monolith of Phobos(Prawnsong/Chimera/ATO)
6. Jeff Beck
Loud Hailer (Rhino/Atco)
7. Lake Street Dive
8. The Minus 5
Of Monkees and Men(Yep Roc)
9. Sleaford Mods
10. Luke Haines
Smash the System(Cherry Red)
Is the Is Are(Captured Tracks)
DIIV frontman Zachary Cole Smith’s high-profile arrest with girlfriend Sky Ferreira and the pressure to follow up 2012’s stunning debut, Oshin, could have easily destroyed the group. Instead, it became the catalyst for an emotionally revealing album filled with self-doubt and disillusion that uses Smith’s battle with addiction as an underlying theme. Draped in shimmering guitar textures that hover like a fog in the morning, Is the Is Are is the year’s most mesmerizing album.
2. A Tribe Called Red
We Are the Halluci Nation(Pirates Blend Records)
A vitally important album from one of Canada’s most innovative and politically provocative groups, Ottawa’s A Tribe Called Red are intent on smashing every preconceived notion thrown at them.
3. Andy Shauf
The Party(Arts & Crafts)
Few artists could pull off Andy Shauf’s gentle-slacker vibe and make it work. A skilled multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, Saskatchewan songwriter Shauf’s depiction of a night out and its collection of odd characters is both captivating and the best near-concept album of the year.
4. Foreign Fields
Take Cover (Communion UK)
6. Bon Iver
22, A Million (Jagjaguwar)
7. Car Seat Headrest
Teens of Denial(Matador)
8. White Lung
9. Ryan Elliott
Fabric 88 (Fabric)
What’s the Price (Sound Verite Records)