Best of 2016

Ginastera: One Hundred—Yolanda Kondonassis, harp; Jason Vieaux, guitar; Gil Shaham, violin; Orli Shaham, piano; Oberlin Orchestra/Raphael Jiménez (Oberlin 16)

Mark Satola, WCLV host:

“A compendium of highlights from the vast catalogue of works by the great Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera, whose exciting music deserves to be heard much more frequently than it is.”

Featured Tue 1/3, Tue 1/24


Under Stalin’s Shadow – Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 5, 8 & 9; Suite from Hamlet Op 32a—Boston Symphony/Andris Nelsons (DeutGram 4795201)

Angela Mitchell, host of WCLV All Night:

“Shostakovich has always been one of those composers for me. I am fascinated not only by his music, but by his life and how he had to walk a tightrope with Stalin’s regime. He spent most of his career falling in and out of favor with the Soviets, and despite the toll it took on his mental health, he produced some of the 20th centuries greatest musical works of art. It doesn’t get much better than this recording made by the Boston Symphony and Andris Nelsons of Shostakovich’s 5th, 8th, and 9th symphonies. Also featured on the CD is his music for a production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, an excellent example of his proficiency at writing for the stage.”

Featured Wed 1/11


America Again—Lara Downes (Sono Luminus 90227)

Bill O’Connell, WCLV Program Director:

“You’ll find the words of this album’s title in the slogan of what turned out to be a winning campaign, but the spirit of the pieces in this program is far, far removed from the rough-and-tumble of the 2016 election. In fact, the title comes from Let America Be America Again, a 1935 poem by Langston Hughes that moves from anger at current and past injustices to assert the idea that freedom for all is actually achievable: “O, yes, I say it plain, America never was America to me, And yet I swear this oath—America will be!”  Lara Downes curates 21 selections from a remarkable range of composers, men and women, white, black and Latino, gay and straight. Read the NPR First Listen review. America Again reflects an abiding faith and a quiet confidence that happen to be in short supply right now.  It turns out that appreciation of where we’ve come from—musically as well as historically—and optimism about the future are not passé.”

Featured Thu 1/5, Tue 1/17, Thu 1/26


Blackbird – The Beatles Album—Miloš, guitar (Mercury 24425)

Angela Mitchell, host of WCLV All Night:

“About two years ago, around the time that I entered my 30s, I ‘discovered’ The Beatles, and have listened to hardly anything else since. I know, I know, I’m about five decades late to this party; but boy am I glad to have arrived. I’ve been taking in anything and everything Beatles-related ever since, and even saw Paul McCartney in concert over the summer—the greatest live event I have ever experienced! So when this new CD of Beatles arrangements by Miloš came out, I was thrilled to hear a new and unique take on these beloved songs. Not that the Fab Four’s music needs updating or refreshing; as the sleeve note for 1964’s “Beatles for Sale” put it: “The magic of the Beatles is timeless and ageless. It has broken all frontiers and barriers. It has cut through differences of race, age, and class. It is adored by the world.”

Jenny Northern, General Manager of WCLV:

“Why would I choose as my Choice CD of 2016 a disc that doesn’t contain classical music?  I chose it because the material is so familiar and beloved, and yet is presented in an interesting and, for the most part, refreshingly uncontrived way.  The arrangements by Sergio Assad more than do justice to these great songs by the Fab Four.  (The strings at the beginning of “Here Comes the Sun” very effectively evoke that moment when a tiny pinpoint of sunlight first emerges and spills out over the horizon.)  Milos’ mastery of his instrument and his love for this music are apparent.  This is artistry in appreciation of genius.”  

Featured Mon 1/2, Thu 1/12, Mon 1/23


Traffic Quintet plays Alexandre Desplat (Mercury 481217)

Jacqueline Gerber, Host of WCLV’s First Program:

“The non-traditional instrumentation plus the repertoire – music from The King’s Speech, Girl with a Pearl Earring, and Coco Before Chanel – illustrates the flexibility of good music in the hands of accomplished and inventive arrangers.” (Note: Link sends you to the Traffic Quintet website.)

Featured Mon 1/16


Royal Harp Strings—Claire Jones, harp; London Mozart Players & English Chamber Orchestra/Stuart Morley (Silva 6051) 

Jacqueline Gerber, Host of WCLV’s First Program:

“Aside from the attractiveness of the performances and musical choices, the emotional underpinning of this CD is that it is Claire Jones’s second disc after being diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a debilitating condition which tends to have a long and incomplete recovery.” 

Featured Wed 1/4, Wed 1/25


Sir Edward Elgar: Symphony No. 1—Berlin State Orchestra/Daniel Barenboim (Decca 4789353)

Mark Satola, WCLV host:

“Sir Edward Elgar remains one of the Edwardian era’s most profound musical thinkers, and his two completed symphonies stand at the zenith of his accomplishments. Daniel Barenboim’s long familiarity with these scores make a strong case for Elgar’s inclusion in the ranks of the very greatest Late-Romantic composers.”

Featured Fri 1/13



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