The Britten Year opens with two stunners – the complete cello music on two Hyperion CDs played by Alban Gerhardt with an altogether un-Aldeburgh insouciance, and possibly the best-ever cast of Rape of Lucretia from EMI at Glyndebourne: Ian Bostridge, Angelica Kirschlager, Susan Gritton, Hilary Summers, Claire Booth, conductor Oliver Knussen. Beat that.
For all of us who missed the Paris Opéra’s provocative Cherubini Medée, it’s coming up on Harmonia Mundi with Nadja Michael as the heroine. Expect the rest of the year’s opera to be freighted with Verdi and Wagner. You may prefer solo piano.
Decca and DG have signature albums by young pianists Ingolf Wunder and Alice Sara Ott and the boutique label Odradek has the Travel Preludes of Scriabin, a notable rarity.
But the test pressing that has already spun three times round my table is cellist Alisa Weilerstein’s account of the Elgar Concerto, conducted by Daniel Barenboim who studied the piece with his late wife, Jacqueline du Pré. The old warhorse – Elgar, not Barenboim – is overdue for a millennial freshen-up, and this could well be it.
Alisa pairs the Elgar with an ash-dry concerto by the centenarian Elliott Carter, who died last month just as he’s becoming fashionable on record – his Clarinet Concerto is coming up on Aeon. A very different modernist, Mauricio Kagel might yet deliver the first five-star shocker of 2013… but you’ll have to wait a little longer to find out why and how. Waltz in New Year’s Day with Christian Thielemann from Dresden on DG or Franz Welser-Möst in Vienna at Sony. Then put the serious headphones on for an adventurous 2013.
Alice Sara Ott's new album Pictures is available now and EXCLUSIVELY from Sinfini Music until January 2013 here.