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December 6 , 2005

Christmas Lists, Part 1

It’s that season again, when critics sum up the year and nominate favourite recordings. As these ‘Christmas lists’ arrive, we’ll note them on this web page. As always, all of the ECM recordings mentioned here can be ordered directly from our web shop, or from any quality online retailer or bricks-and-mortar store.

Gramophone, the British classical monthly, asks “Which of this year’s discs would today’s critics give to friends? Which would they like to receive themselves?” Answers include a couple of ECM discs, Heinz Holliger’s Violin Concerto, as played by Thomas Zehetmair, and Leonidas Kavakos’ “superb Bach and Stravinsky recital”.

British magazine Jazz Review has a number of ECM discs amongst its Critics Choices, including “Sangam” by Trygve Seim, “Neighbourhood” by Manu Katché, “Radiance” by Keith Jarrett, “I Have The Room Above Her” by the Paul Motian Trio, “Electra” by Arild Andersen, “Northbound” by Iro Haarla, and “The Ground” by the Tord Gustavsen Trio.

German daily newspaper the Süddeutsche Zeitung’s “Christmas recommendations”, include Gidon Kremer’s account of Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas, the first volume of András Schiff’s Beethoven cycle, and “The Eleventh Hour” by the Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble.

German classical monthly Fono Forum has nominations for Kremer’s Bach and Alexei Lubimov’s “Messe noir” (Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Scriabin, Shostakovich) as “Album of the Year” , as well as “Artist of the Year” nominations for Kremer, Arvo Pärt, András Schiff and Keith Jarrett.

There are a number of ECM selections also amongst the Critics’ Choices of German monthly Jazzthetik: “The Return”, soundtrack by Andrey Dergatchev for the film by Andrey Zvyagintsev; Jon Balke and Batagraf’s “Statements”; Christian Wallumrød’s “A Year From Easter”; Arvo Pärt’s “Lamentate”; Julian Priester’s “Love, Love”; Giya Kancheli’s “In l’istesso tempo”; Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas as played by Gidon Kremer; John Cage’s "Early Piano Music" as played by Herbert Henck; Charles Lloyd’s “Jumping The Creek”, Manu Katché’s “Neighbourhood”; “Trio” by Marcin Wasilewski, Slawomir Kurkiewicz and Michal Miskiewicz; Steve Kuhn’s “Trance”; Barry Guy’s “Folio”; Arild Andersen’s “Electra”; Savina Yannatou’s “Sumiglia”; and Bobo Stenson’s “Goodbye”.

And U.S. classical magazine Fanfare has, on its ‘Want List 2005’, “There is still time” by Frances-Marie Uitti and Paul Griffiths. We quote: “Oddest of these releases is the collaboration (‘scenes for speaking voice and cello’) between avant cellist Uitti and novelist/music journalist Griffiths. Using only words found in Ophelia’s speeches in Hamlet as his lexicon, Griffiths has constructed (and masterfully recites) a text whose queasy dislocation out-Becketts Samuel Beckett.”

To be continued...