Each week, we dig through new releases to handpick the KUSC Album of the Week. With so many great recordings in 2018 already, we’ve picked our favorite albums so far. Read more below about why we picked each selection.


Alan Chapman's Picks


Hilary Hahn
Retrospective

I’m a big, big fan and I’m delighted to hear her play such a wide range of material.

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Sheku Kanneh-Mason
Inspiration

Young, talented, and had to cancel on the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra to play at the royal wedding.

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Stephen Hough
Dream Album

I’m a follower of Hough (both on recordings and on Twitter). This is a thoroughly delightful recording and I truly enjoy his transcriptions and original compositions.

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Brian Lauritzen's Picks


Martha Argerich & Sergei Babayan
Prokofiev for Two

Whatever projects Martha Argerich undertakes, I’m interested in them. In most cases, I’m also into them. Like this one with the Armenian-American pianist Sergei Babayan, who arranged a bunch of Prokofiev’s ballet music for two pianos. You get a bunch of R&J, a tantalizing snippet of War and Peace (not all 1,225 pages worth), and more.

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strong>Menahem Pressler
Clair De Lune: Music of Debussy, Faure and Ravel

Nuff said.

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Stewart Goodyear
For Glenn Gould

One great Canadian pianist pays tribute to another on this album where Goodyear recreates Gould’s now-legendary U.S. debut recital.

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Dianne Nicolini's Picks


Sheku Kanneh-Mason
Inspiration

He made a splash performing at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, (and before that, apparently, on Britain’s Got Talent). He is the young cellist, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, a musician to watch. His debut album, Inspiration, gave us a lot of great moments, from Saint-Saens’ The Swan to Bob Marley’s No Woman, No Cry

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Lara Downes
For Lenny

Subtitled “An intimate tribute to Leonard Bernstein and his American legacy”, Lara Downes’ 2018 release, For Lenny is a kind of family-and-friends effort, featuring opera legend Thomas Hampson, roots singer Rhiannon Giddens, superstar beatboxer Kevin “K.O.” Olusola (a member of the a cappella group Pentatonix), and Mexican/American clarinet prodigy Javier Morales-Martinez.

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Joshua Bell
Bruch: Scottish Fantasy

When the man who is arguably the most famous violinist of our time releases a new album, it’s a big deal. I was surprised that this was Bell’s first go at the super-popular Scottish Fantasy. He says he’s “only” been playing it for ten years, and it’s time to record it! Paired with the Fantasy is the other work for which Max Bruch is best known, the Concerto #1. This disc represents the second time Joshua Bell has recorded this work, but his insights into why it’s a different piece to him now are fascinating.

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John Van Driel's Picks


Ray Chen
The Golden Age

Ray Chen is such an electrifying violinist. Besides it worth it just for his version of Waltzing Matilda.

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David Aaron Carpenter
Motherland

Finally, a recording that features the viola front and center. A wonderful mix of old and new music.

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Varius Artists
The Royal Wedding: The Official Album

A great musical document of one the most positive events of the year. Worth it just for the rousing version of God Save the Queen!

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Robin Pressman's Picks


Menahem Pressler
Clair De Lune: Music of Debussy, Faure and Ravel

Listen for the dreamy repertoire, and cheer for Pressler, who at age 94 is on his third act. After 53 years at the helm of the Beaux Arts Trio, he began touring solo and just released this new recording.

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Stephen Hough
Dream Album

A very personal collection of favorite pieces, many transcribed for solo piano by Hough, including one of the first pieces he learned “with [his] infant fingers,” a piece he has played as an encore for more than forty years.

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Anderson and Roe
Mother: A Musical Tribute

The piano duo of Anderson and Roe (not married) explore all manner of musical takes on mothers and motherhood from expected classical fare like Brahms’ Lullaby, and Dvorak’s Songs My Mother Taught Me, to some fun surprises like Paul Simon’s Mrs. Robinson, and their own arrangement of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

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