Wicked Local
Keith Powers
December 10, 2018

Selling recordings has never been a strength of classical music. In fact, now it’s not strength of any kind of music. But  classical music ensembles have found a way — with limited pressings, direct sales from web sites, recording live performances, touring and selling disks like the entrepreneurs they are — to make the economics of recording feasible.

And listeners benefit. Chosen mainly from artists in the greater Boston area — with a bit of Iceland, and elsewhere, thrown in — from the hundreds of recordings that have crossed the transom this year, these few truly stand out.

Don’t call this a “best-of” — such scope would be beyond this listener. These recordings were heard, and appreciated.

Chen Yi/Boston Modern Orchestra Project
Concertos for String Instruments

BMOP sound (bmopsound.org)

Every year BMOPsound produces more than one disc that merits attention; Charles Fussell’s “Cymbeline” could easily have been the choice here from this year’s batch, or Leon Kirchner’s “Music for Orchestra.” But Chen Yi’s music merits all the attention it can get — it brings us closer to whatever world harmony might be, not just some east-meets-west pastiche. Four works here, all concerto-type pieces for string soloist and ensemble. Of particular note: “Fiddle Suite for Huqin” (a family of simple stringed instruments, with the erhu best known in the west), with soloist Wang Guowei. Snaky, melodic and haunting.