Bartoli's latest album, as is her custom, explores uncharted areas with the music of the little-known but brilliant Italian Baroque composer and diplomat Agostino Steffani. The deluxe album has extensive notes reviewing Steffani's amazing career.
The former conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic is also a brilliant composer and recently composed an adventurous violin concerto for the celebrated violinist Leila Josefowicz. The music incorporates pop elements but is in no way a crossover piece and is a deeply personal statement by Salonen.
Richter, who is British of German birth, is quickly becoming a leading composer of experimental music. Recomposed is his brilliant and witty electronic take on Vivaldi's Four Seasons. The violin solos are done superbly by famed English violinist Daniel Hope.
Claudio Abbado, at 79, is considered by many to be the greatest living conductor. Abbado has never recorded Beethoven's only opera, Fidelio. It is an important document, with the lead roles of Leonora and Florestan performed by Nina Stemme and Jonas Kaufmann. The orchestra and Chorus is the Lucerne Festival.
5. Berg & Beethoven - Violin Concertos
Isabella Faust is the violinist Claudio Abbado is again conducting the orchestra of the Lucerne Festival. Though both concertos are superbly performed, the Berg is of special interest. It is subtitled "To the Memory of an Angel" as a memorial for the young and radiant beauty Manon Gropius, the daughter of Mahler's widow, Alma, and the great architect Walter Gropius. Manon died of polio at 16. It also serves as a memorial to the great modernist Alban Berg, who died a few months later on Christmas Eve, 1935.