5 Classical Music Albums You Can Listen to Right Now

‘American Counterpoints’

Experiential Orchestra; James Blachly, conductor; Curtis Stewart, violin (Bright Shiny Things)

Julia Perry, who would have turned 100 this month, achieved some real recognition during her lifetime, but — in a tale all too common for composers who aren’t white men — fell into obscurity after her death in 1979. There have been recent efforts to revive her works, including her Violin Concerto, written in the 1960s and now recorded by the Experiential Orchestra under James Blachly, with Curtis Stewart as the soloist.

This brooding, 25-minute piece begins with a passionate violin cadenza, played like the rest of the concerto with heated commitment from Stewart, and then evolves frequently, without defined section breaks. It is a fine example of the sober yet seething angularity of its era, leavened with warm strings and hints of Coplandesque expansiveness.

It’s a vigorous work of mid-20th-century Neo-Classicism, and has fine company on the album in another: Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson’s Sinfonietta No. 1, with a wrenching slow movement and a driving finale. The recording also includes Perkinson’s violin solo “Louisiana Blues Strut,” lively in the performance by Stewart, whose raucous, hip-hop-influenced “We Who Seek” appears as well. And there is more Perry: the lushly contemplative Prelude for Strings, the alternately assertive and hovering Symphony in One Movement for Violas and Basses and the hymn “Ye, Who Seek the Truth,” in an instrumental arrangement by Jannina Norpoth. ZACHARY WOOLFE

‘Copland Conducts Copland: The Complete Columbia Album Collection’


When Aaron Copland died in 1990, Allan Kozinn wrote in The New York Times, “Composers’ performances are not always definitive, but Copland was a fine, communicative conductor and pianist.” That assessment is amply borne out by this 20-CD box set of the composer’s recordings of his own oeuvre for Columbia Records.

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