THIS has been, and continues to be, a glorious year for album recordings.
It has also been, for me, a great year of discovery, sometimes with the most familiar of repertoire. More of that before the year is out, but if I had to pick my record of the year, there would be a queue. Leading that queue, and ticking every box, is the stunning, revelatory new recording of Mendelssohn's Scottish Symphony and Hebrides Overture, with, to my taste, one of the finest performances of Schumann's Piano Concerto that I have ever heard. All feature Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducting the London Symphony Orchestra in electrifying form, and the extraordinary Maria Joao Pires as soloist in an account of the Schumann that, with her moderate pacing of the finale, overcomes technical hurdles in a performance that is as pristine and common-sensical as it is soulful and beguilingly expressive. The whole thing is absolutely wonderful, and an education.
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