If you’re anything like us here at EMI Classics US, you’ve managed to skip Black Friday and Cyber Monday and are presently beginning to frantically worry about what you can pick up for those classy Classical music-lovers in your life…well fear not – as always we’re here to help. Below is a selection of the creme-de-la-creme from 2011, perfect gift-giving fodder that will bring a smile to their faces, a twinkle to their eyes, and a gentle but sustained tickling to their ears.
A new DVD documentary with 2CDs and a 160 page booklet.
Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic deliver the definitive Nutcracker – full and uncut and unlike any version you’ve ever heard.
CHRISTMAS CAROL COLLECTIONS
It’s no secret that we’ve got some pretty spectacular recordings of Christmas carols. While they might not match Mariah Carey and Justin Beiber in terms of bizarre and awkward Holiday inappropriateness, they are quite lovely in their own right.
Choose between the beloved “Classic Christmas Carols” two disc set from the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, the fantastically priced, Mp3 only “50 Christmas Carols” (also check out our guide to gifting albums on iTunes), or, for the fan who can never get enough holiday cheer, a whopping “100 Best Christmas Carols” on 6 CDs!
‘BEST OF 2011′ CLASSICAL RELEASES
These may not specifically be ‘holiday-themed,’ persay, but we’ll be snookered if they aren’t among the finest classical releases to come out over the past 12 months…wrap them in gold leaf, douse them in frankincense and myrrh, and make someone’s day!
NPR Classical (who listed this among their top 10 best albums of 2011) says of this gorgeous, String-Quartet-does-Jazz-and-Pop-tunes album: “We like this album so much that it’s made both the NPR Music’s overall 50 Favorites of 2011 and our own classical-centric list. (Come to think of it, we’ve talked about the “ebony” foursome a whole lot of other times this year, too)”
Another album to make both the NPR Classical top 10 albums and NPR Music (all genres) top 50 albums lists, they commented: “Paris-born pianist Alexandre Tharaud can play Chopin, Ravel and Satie with the best of them, but he excels in baroque repertoire, transforming centuries-old music for the harpsichord into vibrant, fresh adventures on the modern Yamaha piano.”
JOYCE DIDONATO - DIVA, DIVO
New Yorker critic and blogger extraordinaire Alex Ross tagged this among his top recordings of 2011, and with good reason – this adventurous recital has been praised by critics around the country, and has also been nominated for a Grammy for Best Solo Vocal Classical Recital.
A bona fide operatic superstar, Angela’s latest album pays tribute to the one and only Maria Callas, with a selection of arias close to the hearts of both divas. Critics have been united in praise of her extraordinarily beautiful singing on this album, the video of her “duet” with Maria Callas has been shot around to all four corners of the interwebs…