These are the CDs I acquired in 2013 that I liked the best and listened to the most: Morton Feldman's Triadic Memories and For Samuel Beckett,
Nick Edwards - Plekzationz, Lusine's A Certain Distance, and Wolfgang Rihm's Jagden und Formen.
Morton Feldman was a composer that I'm afraid I used to dismiss. How foolish was that.
The Nick Edwards CD is obscure. I picked it up at Wall of Sound in Seattle.
I discovered Lusine using Shazam, since then I've downloaded or bought most of his CDs. A Certain Distance is my favorite. There is very little pop/techno/electronica I can listen to more than once or twice. Lusine has become a large exception to that.
I wish I had more time! to explore electronic music for myself.
Two amazing recordings from Musica Antiqua Köln. The Telemann was apparently one of their big achievements, and it is marvelous. But the Veracini recording held my attention for the better part of a month. According to Reinhard Goebel's excellent note, this is the first recording of these pieces. The music rivals (and maybe supersedes) Vivaldi & Handel for invention & energy. Goebel's humble Wikipedia article hardly does justice to his enormous influence. For me there hasn't been such a musician since Glenn Gould.
I found the Hindemith choral recording as a follow-up to a post here, and it is lovely. The music a little somber & austere.
Someone found the Jimmy Yancey recording in a drugstore sale bin and gave it to me. Yancey was a groundskeeper for the Chicago White Sox & a piano man on the side. His simple, primitive style has an airy touch that I really like. I plan to get to know him better.
The past few weeks I've been listening to Anouar Brahem, and to a couple of discs of the Orchestre des Champs Elysées.
Brahem had been on my Amazon wish list for several years, but I didn't know much about him. These discs have a certain minimal aspect (but not quite the American/Estonian trance aesthetic). The sound of the oud, a very ethnic clarinet, and the dry, crisp Arabic drums is very appealing to me. The makeup of his ensemble has shifted to a slightly more European constitution over the past ten years.
The Herreweghe recordings of these two monuments of Western music are very fine. (The $8 download of the Mass in B minor is a steal.) I heard this group live recently and their sound is amazing - softer and more intense than a modern instrument orchestra. Instead of pumping up the emotional volume, which so often distorts the architecture of these pieces, Herreweghe applies an elegant restraint.
I'm an iPod newbie. I used to think I wouldn't enjoy one and dismissed the notion. But I bought an iTouch before my recent trip to Spain & France mainly for the dictionaries I could load and movies for the plane.
Before I left, I loaded up as many CDs as I could - some Spanish Renaissance things, all of the "recorded legacy" of Stravinsky, and assorted other stuff. I didn't listen to the iPod at all in Spain - I guess I was busy enjoying the conversation. But when I got to Paris, where I was by myself for 5 days, I plugged in the earphones and listened a lot, and I bought a few more CDs over there.
I was surprised what a good companion it was: I had Marin Marais in the Louvre, Agon and Apollo in the Pompidou, Perotin in the Sainte-Chappelle, jazz on the streets, and Annie Lennox going out at night.
Since then I've been enjoying the Sony Ligeti recordings...