It’s the middle of winter, and though we have passed the winter solstice it’s still dark and cold. Sometimes all you want is some nice music to listen to while cooking a roast or stew to try and warm yourself up.
The other day I was mulling over the idea of winter, listening to the new Arianna Savall recording which features a series of tunes, many from the Nordic regions of the world. Thinking of the endless winter at that end of the world, I realised that music was a way we could escape the darkness and let in a little bit of light. We’re a bit spoilt for choice in this month’s selection but here are my picks for some good listening to bring in the sunshine and get us ready for spring.
Arianna Savall is of course my first pick, not only is her voice pure and lovely but her musical counterpart, Petter Udland Johansen in this new album form ECM is equal to her in every way. Both multi-instrumentalists as well as proficient singers they weave in and out of each song elegantly.
Keeping it in the family we have Arianna's father, Jordi Savall releasing another one of his glorious book/CD packages. In this particular compilation he looks at the legend of Joan of Arc and the music of her era. This would be a great album to listen to while reading the companion book curled up by the fire.
Bottisini is a composer oft forgotten, as one of his most famous works is for the double bass. But don't let that fool you, this recording is a terrific way to bring a spark of something different into the cold winter days. Featuring virtuosic playing from Rick Stotijin it's got a underlying rhythmic intensity to it that will be appreciated during the cold afternoons.
If you looking for something with meat to it though, you can't go past the new release from the LSO Live label. Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 9 with Valery Gergiev at the helm. Not only one of the greatest works for orchestra but a fabulous orchestra performing it live.
After that though you might be feeling a little emotionally exhausted. Daniel Barenboim has put together a 2 CD set simply called, Beethoven For All. This is Beethoven as we know and love. Some of the most complex music ever written is on this album. And yet he keeps it true to the core and every musical moment on this CD will speak to you.
There are many more new recordings out there, so have a look at our new release page to get some ideas and find something to tied you over until spring joins us again.