• Beth Orton: Sugaring Season

    Beth Orton: Sugaring Season

    On the delicate “Mystery,” the final track of her first album in six years, Beth Orton calls to mind early Joni Mitchell. Up to that point, the most obvious vocal reference is the same as ...
  • Silk Road Ensemble: Off the Map

    Silk Road Ensemble: Off the Map

    The Silk Road Ensemble, originally developed at Tanglewood by Yo-Yo Ma, is now ten years old. The group’s latest effort, Off the Map, encompasses myriad musical flavors that hail from beyond the ancient Silk Road ...
  • Johnny Cash: American VI

    Johnny Cash: American VI

    “Oh death, where is thy sting? Oh grave, where is thy victory?” Johnny Cash intones at the start of “I Corinthians 15:55.” The tune, among the last Cash ever wrote, is lovely and reflective, and ...
  • Sam Cooke: Night Beat

    Sam Cooke: Night Beat

    Back in the late fifties, when I was in grade school, my mom gave me a table radio that I promptly ensconced by my bed. Every night I listened to it—to the late-night programming on ...
  • Barber: Choral Pieces

    Barber: Choral Pieces

    In these ten beautifully performed and recorded choral pieces, most of them about love and loss, the chamber choir Conspirare rejoices in Samuel Barber’s ardent but modern romanticism. Though Barber’s idiom, firmly tonal and melodic, ...
  • Woody Guthrie: American Radical Patriot

    Woody Guthrie: American Radical Patriot

    This lavish seven-disc box set gathers85 songs plus conversations between singer/songwriter Woody Guthrie and historian Alan Lomax (appearing here for the first time in their unedited form). Recorded in 1940 at the Department of the ...
  • Keith Jarrett: Testament

    Keith Jarrett: Testament

    Anyone delving into Keith Jarrett’s solo piano music for the first time with this three-CD set will find the qualities that made him hugely popular in the 1970s. Romance, drama, startling leaps, and spins along ...
  • Arcade Fire: Reflektor

    Arcade Fire: Reflektor

    While listening to Arcade Fire’s Reflektor the first time I quickly flashed back to the Talking Heads’ Remain in Light, and there was probably some rationale behind that. Both albums replaced a readily-identifiable sound with ...
  • Krakauer: The Big Picture

    Krakauer: The Big Picture

    Clarinet virtuoso David Krakauer was an acclaimed Juilliard-trained classical performer before he went on a journey of self-discovery in the 80s, immersing himself in music from the Eastern European shtetls and later interpreting Jewish music ...

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