I want to share two classical albums that have really caught my ear and fancy. The first is by an English trumpet player named Alison Balsom, born in Royston, England in 1978. Balsom has recorded many popular classical albums, but her record Paris, with works by Ravel, Debussy, Satie, Messaien, and Piazzolla, has completely captivated me. All the eclectic music on the album–ranging from classical composers to jazz to chanson–was written in or inspired by the city of love. It has been refreshing to hear a female virtuoso on an instrument that most women musicians don’t play (with women preferring violin, piano, harp, violins, and cellos). At just 38, Balsom has already been honored as an member of the OBE—Order of the British Empire—and has received several Classic BRIT Awards. She teaches masterclasses at Julliard and the Curtis Institute, and advocates for the importance of music education.
Peter Boyer is a prolific composer and conductor from Providence, R.I. who now teaches at Claremont College in California. His works exude optimism and have an American streak in them, but also reference Bartok and other modern composers. His 2014 Naxos CD with the London Philharmonic Orchestra is exciting, and under his baton the London Philharmonic turns in a peerless performance.
I don’t listen to classical music all the time, probably because it takes a lot more time to do so! But these two albums are exceptional so I had to tell you about them.
Here is Alison Balsom performing Erik Satie:
And Boyer conducting music from his Naxos CD in London: