The Edge of Light // Gloria Cheng and Calder Quartet // Harmonia Mundi UK — Radiant sonorities by Messiaen and Saariaho, including Saariaho’s Prelude and Ballade, two works for solo piano.
Le Cirque // Anderson-Fader Duo // Furious Artisans — Contemporary classical played by guitar duo with refreshingly catholic tastes, from Wuorinen to Lang. Despite this variety, the album holds together well — maybe because things can’t help sounding good on guitar duo, including a haunting Gillian Welch arrangement here.
Handel: Bad Guys // Xavier Sabata with Il Pomo d’Oro and Riccardo Minasi // Aparté — Grab bag of villainous Handel arias, incongruously written for the warbling counter-tenor range. Sabata sings strongly and expressively, but he’s not going to make anyone quiver in their (historically informed) boots.
Haydn: Piano Concertos, Nos. 3, 4 & 11 // Marc-André Hamelin with Les Violons du Roy and Bernard Labadie // Hyperion — Remarkably clear and lively performance, though Hamelin’s playing is sometimes too dry & distant for my taste