Jan 12, 2010 — The composer's Music for 18 Musicians was a breakthrough work in the history of minimalism and a watershed moment in Reich's career. Its lush textures and expansion of a static harmonic situation make for a dynamic work, bringing elements of "maximalism" to minimalism.
Jan 5, 2010 — Dowland was an important and beloved composer at a time when there was no dichotomy between popular and classical music. He was, in effect, an Elizabethan-era pop musician. The dark, wistful mood that pervades Dowland's lute music was, in its day, a sign of maturity and intelligence.
Dec 29, 2009 — Mahler's grand-scale "Resurrection" Symphony marked the real beginning of his career as a composer. It's the work with which he answered the metaphysical challenge of Beethoven's Ninth, with a turbulent beginning and a triumphant conclusion.
Dec 22, 2009 — Handel's deeply felt musical setting of the life of Christ conveys the emotional tide of its story with almost miraculous insight. In the process, it's acquired a universality that is unique in the history of music.
Dec 15, 2009 — Monteverdi stood on the divide between two great musical periods, the Renaissance and the Baroque. His Vespers illustrates a mastery at blending the new with the old in a way that's coherent, expressive and moving, especially in John Eliot Gardiner's atmospheric recording made in Venice.
Dec 8, 2009 — The song cycle Winterreise stands among the masterpieces in the art of song. Schubert conjures up harmonic twists and melodic turns, conveying emotions with remarkable simplicity and force.
Dec 1, 2009 — After all these years, conductor Fritz Reiner's 1955 recording of Bartok's music remains the best. He understood the poignant, brooding, mysterious and exuberant moods it explores, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra plays as if it has been set on fire.
Nov 17, 2009 — The German composer utilizes powerful orchestral sounds, as well as silence, to elicit a psychological and emotional response from the listener. Who better than conductor Daniel Barenboim, a veteran of the opera pit, to pull it all off?
Nov 10, 2009 — The concerto was the English composer's last major work for orchestra, as well as his most confessional. In this recording, cellist Jacqueline Du Pre gives one of her finest performances, exposing both gentleness in the pain and an edge to the tenderness.
Nov 3, 2009 — Subtle and brilliant at the same time, J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concertos are a microcosm of Baroque music. They contain an astonishingly vast sample of that era's emotional universe.