Simone Dinnerstein: A Character of Quiet (OMM 2020)
- Glass, Etude No. 6
- Schubert, Piano Sonata No. 21 in B-Flat Major, D. 960, II. Adagio sostenuto
Schubert at the keyboard, among friends.
Christopher Tyler Nickel: Concertos for Oboe (AVIE 2020)
Mary Lynch, Northwest Sinfonia
- Concerto for Oboe d'amore (2014): II. Andante misterioso – Andante agitato – Andante
Mary Lynch, Ulysses of the oboe.
And there's more...
Buried Alive (Bridge Records 2020)
Michael Nagy, The Orchestra Now, Leon Botstein
From Othmar Schoeck, Lebendig begraben ("Buried Alive"), op. 40
- No. 1, Wie poltert es
- No. 9, Zwölf hats geschlagen
- No. 14, Und wieder schlägts, ein Viertel erst
The discography of the German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, who recorded just about everything ever written for a classically trained baritone and then some, includes a historic performance of this album's eponymous orchestral song cycle. Written in the first person, the Poesque verse is from the pen of Gottfried Keller, a Swiss novelist and poet who occupies a place of honor in the German literary pantheon. Though his compatriot Othmar Schoeck (1886-1957), who wrote the music, had an ardent fan in James Joyce, posterity has let him slip unmourned into oblivion. Leave it to Leon Botstein, musician, cultural historian, and inveterate excavator, to exhume this sunken treasure. His performance has atmosphere and excitement to burn, and the psychedelic, ultimately otherworldly instrumental palette fascinates. The bad news is that the baritone soloist, Michael Nagy, has a wobble impossible to pass off as an expressive choice. Yet his gnarly, coal-black timbre suits the material to a T, as do his biting dramatic instincts.
Ludovico Einaudi: Undiscovered (Decca 2020)
- Fuori dal mondo
The Hail Mary cure for tarantula bites.
Kvartan Sweinsson: Der Klang der Offenbarung des Göttlichen (Sono Luminus 2020)
- Teil IV (Part IV)
A "banally romantic" "opera" in which no actors appear.
American Gifts for Marimba Duo (Bridge 2020)
Jack Van Geem, Nancy Seltsman
- Joseph Brackett, "'Tis a gift to be simple"
The familiar Shaker song, in an arrangement that is star-spangled, wild, and quirky. Love it.
Songs for Sir John (Divine Art 2020)
Lesley-Jane Rogers, John Turner
- Jeremy Pike, "The Cat and the Moon"
- Robin Smith, "Men Improve with Age"
Sir John would be Sir John Manduell, composer, BBC producer, festival director, principal of the Royal Northern College of Music, cricketer, and devotee of W.B. Yeats, whose verse more than a dozen colleagues, students, and friends of Sir John have set to music. I'm guessing the intramural crowd will find more to enjoy here than a casual interloper.
Michael Shapiro: Second Symphony and Overture to Frankenstein: The Movie Score (City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Michael Shapiro 2015)
- Overture to Frankenstein: The Movie Score
Boom! Boom!! Boom!! Strings on fire like souls in hell!!!! Written to accompany Boris Karloff's 1931 classic, which had spoken dialogue but no music track, Shapiro's thing of thrills and chills is in contention for the least subtle music ever. As such, it hits the nail squarely on the head.
 According to the Joyce scholar Myra T. Russel, Schoeck was Joyce's favorite composer (New York Times, Letters, August 22, 1999).