Best Classical Music Tracks of 2022 | Big Indy News
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Best Classical Music Tracks of 2022



“Chasing the Phantom”; Dewa Alit and Gamelan Salukat (Black Truffle)

This Balinese composer combines two different gamelan scales in his latest project. Just as you start to grasp the harmonic implications, his ensemble begins navigating virtuoso rhythm changes. Recommended if you like innovative tunings, torrid riffing, blooming transitions of percussive color, or hip-hop beat-tapes. SETH COLTER WALLS

“Mother Sister Daughter”; Musica Secreta; Laurie Stras, director (Lucky Music)

Musica Secreta — its name inspired by the mystery still surrounding works written by and for Renaissance and Baroque women — is pressing into tantalizingly early repertoire from around the turn of the 16th century, including this “Vespers of St. Lucy” and other rare polyphonic settings of psalm antiphons (chants sung alongside psalm verses) believed to have originated in Italian convents. ZACHARY WOOLFE

“Matthäus-Passion”; Lucile Richardot, mezzo-soprano; Pygmalion; Raphaël Pichon, conductor (Harmonia Mundi)

It’s been a good year for Raphaël Pichon and his period ensemble Pygmalion: critically adored opera stagings and excellent recordings, including one for the pantheon of “St. Matthew Passion” accounts. Hear how, alongside precision, the purity of sound — in the strings, and in Lucile Richardot’s robust yet smooth tone — maintains rending beauty and a softly dancing lilt. JOSHUA BARONE

Beethoven: “Diabelli” Variations; Mitsuko Uchida, piano (Decca)

Mitsuko Uchida playing Beethoven: It’s a self-recommending prospect, really. Still, it’s a mark of this pianist’s surpassing artistry that her “Diabellis” prove so unerringly fine. There is elegance, of course, and sensitivity; a wink or two of wit even breaks through, though Uchida is not exactly looking for laughs. What is so striking, rather, is how scrupulously she rethinks each variation, even as she ensures that each finds its rightful place in the whole. DAVID ALLEN

“Arias”; Jonathan Tetelman, tenor; Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria; Karel Mark Chichon, conductor (Deutsche Grammophon)

On his debut album, Jonathan Tetelman lavishes his sumptuous tenor and almost poetic attention on classic Romantic and verismo arias. For the “Flower Song” from “Carmen,” Tetelman cushions the contours of his phrases, hooks into high notes without breaking the musical line and nails the diminuendo on the high B flat. OUSSAMA ZAHR

“Walking in the Dark”; Julia Bullock, soprano; Christian Reif, piano (Nonesuch)

At last we have a solo album from Julia Bullock. As debuts go, it’s eclectic and understated, and astonishing for its intensity of feeling with such restraint — perhaps most so in “One by One.” This track, by the pioneering but elusive singer-songwriter Connie Converse, is here whispered and prayerful, with the intimacy and elegance of an Ivesian parlor song. JOSHUA BARONE

“X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X”; Boston Modern Orchestra Project; Odyssey Opera Chorus; Gil Rose, Conductor (BMOP Sound)

In which a young Malcolm Little — not yet surnamed X — receives a tour of Boston while listeners get a sense of what makes Davis one of today’s great opera composers: Simultaneous warmth and apprehension in lines for Malcolm’s sister Ella hint at both spirituals and Berg. Yet her warnings collide with a pool hall hustler’s even more compelling pitch, eloquent and brash in the manner of Mingus. SETH COLTER WALLS

“Pelléas et Mélisande”; Vannina Santoni, soprano; Alexandre Duhamel, baritone; Jean Teitgen, bass; Les Siècles; François-Xavier Roth, conductor (Harmonia Mundi)

Closer and closer to our own time stride François-Xavier Roth and the period-instrument players of Les Siècles, and on, too, toward ever more revealing interpretations. Supporting somewhat lighter voices than the norm, Les Siècles’ gut strings and piping winds give Debussy’s more delicate writing a glinting fragility, his outbursts of violence a raw savagery. This is “Pelléas” not as a mystery play, but as an unsparingly forceful drama. DAVID ALLEN

“What Is American”; PUBLIQuartet (Bright Shiny Things)

Dvorak’s “American” quartet has elicited dozens of winning, faithful recordings. This one has other goals. As the performers improvise around the original material, they attain a communion with Dvorak’s love of Black American music that most other interpreters fail to achieve. SETH COLTER WALLS

“Julius Eastman, Vol. 2: Joy Boy”; Wild Up (New Amsterdam)

The Los Angeles ensemble Wild Up has embarked on a series of recordings of the once-forgotten music of Julius Eastman (1940-90). The second installment closes with the bright party of “Stay On It,” a paean to community that veers between precision and lush chaos: troubled by shadows but ultimately, patiently, quietly triumphant. ZACHARY WOOLFE

“Amaryllis”; Mary Halvorson Sextet; Mivos Quartet (Nonesuch)

After spending part of the pandemic studying up on string quartet writing, this guitarist and composer collaborated with the Mivos Quartet on two enjoyable albums released this year. For this exultant and meticulously patterned work, Halvorson invited the string quartet into her standing sextet of improvising players, creating her richest ensemble sound yet. SETH COLTER WALLS

“Tristan”; Igor Levit, piano; Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra; Franz Welser-Möst, conductor (Sony)

Another astonishing recording from the pianist Igor Levit, “Tristan” is bookended by Liszt and includes dreamlike solo transcriptions of the Adagio from Mahler’s 10th Symphony and Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” Prelude. But the album centers on Hans Werner Henze’s postmodern “Tristan” (1973), which musters piano, tape and orchestra to reckon with the Germanic tradition, furthering Liszt, Wagner and Mahler’s bendings of time and harmony. ZACHARY WOOLFE

“Hollywood Soundstage”; Sinfonia of London; John Wilson, conductor (Chandos)

It would be easy to argue that a track from any of the five sensational recordings John Wilson and his elite Sinfonia of London have released this year should be on this list, but every time I play this Korngold, I find it hard to move on to anything else. The virtuosity Wilson lavishes on a composer he is determined to restore to stature is stunning, no matter how many times you hear it. DAVID ALLEN

“Little Jimmy”; Yarn/Wire (Kairos)

Named for a campsite in California where Andrew McIntosh made field recordings a few months before it was devastated by a fire, “Little Jimmy” (2020) folds those recordings of birds and wind into alternately shimmering and chalk-hard music for piano-percussion quartet. The natural world is wondrous, McIntosh suggests, but also stark, lonely and fragile, even threatening. ZACHARY WOOLFE

Mendelssohn: Complete String Quartets, Vol. 1; Quatuor Van Kuijk (Alpha Classics)

The latest Quatuor Van Kuijk recording, the first in a promised survey of Mendelssohn’s string quartets, is, like the group’s previous outings, vigorously and precisely executed, and — without cluttering affect — expressed with refreshing, sometimes revelatory, straightforwardness. Particularly in the slow movement of the Op. 12 Quartet in E flat, whose direct phrasing has an irresistibly simple, moving sweetness. JOSHUA BARONE

Mozart: The Piano Sonatas; Robert Levin, fortepiano (ECM)

An impossible challenge: Choose a single track from the dozens in Robert Levin’s tirelessly lively, eloquent collection of Mozart’s piano sonatas, recorded on their composer’s own fortepiano. But, to pick almost at random, the slow movement from the “Sonata Facile” (K. 545) demonstrates the sensitivity, sustained legato and dashing embellishments that characterize Levin’s whole, sprawling set. ZACHARY WOOLFE

“From Afar”; Vikingur Ólafsson, piano (Deutsche Grammophon)

Vikingur Ólafsson has emerged in his recordings as not only one of the most thoughtful pianists of our time, but also one of the finest arrangers. Something of anti-Liszt, he humbly translates the essence of each work, such as in his treatment of Mozart’s “Laudate Dominum,” whose flowing melody over an arpeggiated accompaniment could pass for one of the composer’s delicate sonatas. JOSHUA BARONE

Dora Pejacevic: Piano Concerto and Symphony in F Sharp Minor; BBC Symphony Orchestra; Sakari Oramo, conductor (Chandos)

Sakari Oramo has long been a friend to the hardly heard, and it is to his credit that he is now lending his persuasive skills to the effort to bring female composers to greater prominence. His righteous advocacy certainly blazes for the Croatian Dora Pejacevic, who died in 1923 at just 37; her bold symphony, finished in 1920, might be in the Dvorakian tradition, but Oramo leaves you in no doubt of its fundamentally adventurous spirit. DAVID ALLEN

“French Bel Canto Arias”; Lisette Oropesa, soprano; Saxon State Opera Chorus Dresden; Dresden Philharmonic; Corrado Rovaris, conductor (Pentatone)

A peerless bel canto interpreter, the soprano Lisette Oropesa combed through her bread-and-butter repertoire to come up with an album’s worth of material in French, her favorite language to sing. In this showstopper from Rossini’s elegant comic opera “Le Comte Ory,” Oropesa’s classy singing sneaks subtle flecks of color into fiendish runs taken at the speed of light. OUSSAMA ZAHR

“Elegie”; Christian Gerhaher, baritone; Basel Chamber Orchestra; Heinz Holliger, conductor (Sony Classical)

The baritone Christian Gerhaher mumbles, sighs and occasionally sings full out amid the stark, transfixing musical landscapes of Othmar Schoeck’s orchestral song cycle “Elegie.” “Liebesfrühling” turns the metaphor of spring inside out, locating in its verdancy memories that cause anguish, as Gerhaher’s voice rises to a pained pitch suffused with light. OUSSAMA ZAHR

“Mein Traum”; Stéphane Degout, baritone; Pygmalion; Raphaël Pichon, conductor (Harmonia Mundi)

The conductor Raphaël Pichon’s brilliantly curated album with Pygmalion and the baritone Stéphane Degout, “Mein Traum,” is a marvel of sustained tension in melancholy hues. “Der Doppelgänger” exemplifies their shared purpose: Singer and orchestra, breathing as one, crescendo ever so slowly into a climax of uncanny horror. OUSSAMA ZAHR

“How Do I Find You”; Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano; Kirill Kuzmin, piano (Pentatone)

The mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke kicks off her album about the pandemic with the emotional wreckage of the title track by Caroline Shaw. Over a simple sequence of diatonic chords, played with compassion by the pianist Kirill Kuzmin, Cooke describes a couple circling their feelings with an amber-toned voice suspended between tears and solace. OUSSAMA ZAHR

“The Understanding of All Things”; Kate Soper and Sam Pluta (New Focus)

In Kate Soper’s playfully searching album, she doesn’t reach some universal understanding. Instead, her title track’s fragmented telling of a Kafka story, recounted through vocalise and Laurie Anderson-like elevated speech over the sound of a spinning top, seems to make a statement, but with the syntax of a question. Figuring out what to make of that is part of the fun. JOSHUA BARONE

“Richard Strauss: Three Tone Poems”; Cleveland Orchestra; Franz Welser-Möst, conductor (Cleveland Orchestra)

There is no more glorious demonstration than this of what makes the partnership between the Cleveland Orchestra and its music director so special. Listen closely to any section of the orchestra, and you will hear playing that is little short of immaculate; draw back to listen to the whole, and you will find Welser-Möst, at his most direct, turn a Strauss piece that most conductors ignore into a minor masterpiece. It’s exhilarating. DAVID ALLEN

“Bernd Alois Zimmermann: Recomposed”; WDR Sinfonieorchester; Heinz Holliger, conductor (Wergo)

After World War II, the modernist composer Bernd Alois Zimmermann produced orchestral arrangements of French chansons and Villa-Lobos for West German radio. The conductor (and oboist) Holliger has rescued those sparkling adaptations from oblivion. Crucially, he also provides fresh looks at Zimmermann originals like “Alagoana,” with its funhouse-mirror reflections of Villa-Lobos (and Milhaud). SETH COLTER WALLS

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This Off-the-Shoulder Sequin Top Is Perfect for New Year’s Eve — On Sale Now!



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Our closet is like a New Year’s Eve graveyard, filled with the sequined skeletons of past holiday outfits we’ve since discarded. That’s the thing about New Year’s — it often feels like a waste of money for just a few hours of fun. Rather than splurge on a sparkly dress you’ll only wear once, we recommend buying a staple piece you can style over and over again. Our top choice? This off-the-shoulder shirt that’s currently on sale from Amazon.

Adorned with sequins and available in 12 different colors, this trendy top features a flattering silhouette that complements all figures. The drapey style shows off a little skin while still covering trouble areas on arms, and the relaxed fit skims curves nicely. You can mix and match this statement shirt with a variety of bottoms, from high-waisted pants to a mini skirt. Since the options are endless, you’re getting more bang for your buck.

Read on to find out why this sequin shirt is a New Year’s Eve necessity!

Get the Anna-Kaci Women’s Short Sleeve One Shoulder Sequin Top for just $36 (originally $45) at Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, December 23, 2022, but are subject to change.

The Anna-Kaci Women’s Short Sleeve One Shoulder Sequin Top is perfect for a New Year’s Eve party! The unofficial dress code of the holiday is sequins, so you’ll fit right in. Bonus: this top is surprisingly comfortable.

We also love the versatility of this sparkly shirt. As everyone else around you is freezing in frocks, you can choose to complete your ensemble with warm pants or a blazer on top. Pair this shirt with faux leather pants in the winter or shorts in the summer! Stick with a solid shade, or go all out with a multicolored or ombré option.

Get the Anna-Kaci Women’s Short Sleeve One Shoulder Sequin Top for just $36 (originally $45) at Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, December 23, 2022, but are subject to change.

Take this sparkly shirt from a holiday party to a concert! Stand out on any special occasion in this fun top that will earn you all the compliments. As one shopper said, “This shirt was perfect for attending a bling Christmas party. It fit well and shined brightly. It’s perfect for events.” Another customer gushed, “This shirt is everything! Comfy, flattering and makes this boxy girl have a waist!” And if you’re worried about this top feeling less than luxe, just read this rave review: “Many sequined tops and dresses look more like a costume to me, but this one doesn’t. I ordered for a concert but feel like it is something I will also wear on other occasions.”

On New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, rock this one-shoulder sequin shirt, on sale now at Amazon!

See It! Get the Anna-Kaci Women’s Short Sleeve One Shoulder Sequin Top for just $36 (originally $45) at Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, December 23, 2022, but are subject to change.

Not your style? Shop more from Anna-Kaci here and explore more tops here! Don’t forget to check out all of Amazon’s Daily Deals for more great finds!

Looking for other New Year’s outfit ideas? Check out more picks below:

This post is brought to you by Us Weekly’s Shop With Us team. The Shop With Us team aims to highlight products and services our readers might find interesting and useful, such as wedding-guest outfits, purses, plus-size swimsuits, women’s sneakers, bridal shapewear, and perfect gift ideas for everyone in your life. Product and service selection, however, is in no way intended to constitute an endorsement by either Us Weekly or of any celebrity mentioned in the post.

The Shop With Us team may receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. In addition, Us Weekly receives compensation from the manufacturer of the products we write about when you click on a link and then purchase the product featured in an article. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product or service is featured or recommended. Shop With Us operates independently from the advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback at Happy shopping!

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‘Babylon’ stars Margot Robbie, Jean Smart fear deepfakes: ‘Year 3000 porn’



Jean Smart and Margot Robbie aren’t so fond of advanced technology in Hollywood.

During promotion for the film “Babylon” — which documents the rise and fall of characters in 1920s Hollywood — the cast of the movie was asked what they believe will be the next big shift in Tinseltown.

In Entertainment Weekly’s “Around the Table” video series, almost all the actors who joined — including Robbie, Smart, Brad Pitt, Diego Calva, Jovan Adepo and Li Jun Li — agreed they were concerned about deepfakes.

Deepfakes use artificial intelligence to manipulate videos and replace the likeness of one person with another.

Margot Robbie and Diego Calva in “Babylon.”
Scott Garfield/Paramount Pictures via AP

“Are they just going to take our faces, and we won’t even be going to work anymore?” Robbie, 32, said.

“So creepy,” Pitt, 59, chimed in.

Smart echoed the concern but pointed out that their likeness can be used even after they’re gone.

“Or after you’re dead, they’ll go, ‘Oh, let’s put Margot Robbie in that movie’ — a hundred years from now, having her doing God knows what. And your estate will have to sue them. It’ll be horrible, Margot,” the 71-year-old actress said.

Margot Robbie, left, and Li Jun Li in "Babylon."
Margot Robbie and Li Jun Li in “Babylon.”
Paramount Pictures via AP

The “Hacks” star continued saying that she’s troubled by seeing Marilyn Monroe in TV commercials and Fred Astaire in Coke commercials due to the technology in Hollywood — and said she will not be OK with her likeness being used after she’s dead.

“Unless my kids are getting rich off it. Of course. In that case, then it’s all right,” Smart quipped.

But there’s one thing that is absolutely off the table for Smart’s likeness.

“I don’t want to be in a year-3000 porn,” she added.

Jean Smart in "Babylon."
Jean Smart said she will not be OK with her likeness being used after she’s dead.
Scott Garfield/Paramount Pictures via AP

Meanwhile, some celebrities are already using deepfakes for projects.

Back in September, it was reported that an AI platform created a “digital twin” of Bruce Willis, who was diagnosed with aphasia — a brain disorder that affects his ability to communicate, which will allow him to appear on screen after his retirement from acting.

The “Die Hard” actor’s deepfake already made its debut in August 2021 when his face was “grafted” onto Konstantin Solovyov for a commercial for MegaFon, a Russian telecommunications company.

His estate has the final say on what’s created with his face.

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Erika Jayne is spotted in LA as she sports a pale blue sweatsuit and sunglasses during shopping trip



Make-up free Erika Jayne shops for expensive Christmas gifts at luxury store Hermès in LA – amid the RHOBH star’s money woes

Erika Jayne went without makeup as she shopped in Los Angeles days before Christmas.

The fashionista was low-key as she wore a pair of oversized glossy black rectangle-shaped sunglasses. 

The 51-year-old Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star – who has been battling money woes ever since her ex husband was declared bankrupt – was dressed expensively in a pale blue Alexander Wang sweatsuit and sneakers.

Bare face: Erika Jayne went without makeup as she shopped in Los Angeles days before Christmas

The platinum blonde beauty wore her locks bone straight, styled in an undefined part as they cascaded over her shoulders.

She looked cozy in her crew neck top and matching loose-fitting sweats, which she coordinated with pale pink and blue sneakers. 

Erika carried an Hermès bag on her arm as she carried a small, bottled water with pristinely manicured hands.

She was out and about by herself as she fit in some retail therapy two days before Christmas.

Under the radar: The fashionista was low-key as she wore a pair of oversized glossy black rectangle-shaped sunglasses

Under the radar: The fashionista was low-key as she wore a pair of oversized glossy black rectangle-shaped sunglasses

Last weekend Erika got into the holiday spirit as she attended a Christmas party with friend and costar Lisa Rinna.

Both women flaunted their long, toned legs as they wore dresses to the event hosted by friend Sanela Diana Jenkins.

Jayne took to Instagram to share a snapshot from the gathering in which she and Lisa kicked their legs up.

‘This was the BEST Christmas party EVER!!!’ she wrote in the caption as the photo showed her in a luxe white fur coat.

Season's greetings: Last weekend Erika got into the holiday spirit as she attended a Christmas party with friend and costar Lisa Rinna

Season’s greetings: Last weekend Erika got into the holiday spirit as she attended a Christmas party with friend and costar Lisa Rinna

The fashion-forward socialite donned a pair of pointy-toe metallic purple heels as she sat in a chair designed to look like a sleigh.

Rinna was equally stylish in a cream blazer dress with a black satin collar and gold accoutrements set in a pattern.

She added a pair of knee-high black leather boots and carried a metallic gold clutch.

Erika finished her caption with a shoutout to Lisa as she wrote: ‘thanks for babysitting me and telling me what happened at the party.’

Looking great: The two gal pals were also spotted together earlier this month as they attended the 2022 People's Choice Awards with their Bravo TV castmates

Looking great: The two gal pals were also spotted together earlier this month as they attended the 2022 People’s Choice Awards with their Bravo TV castmates

The two gal pals were also spotted together earlier this month as they attended the 2022 People’s Choice Awards with their Bravo TV castmates. 

For her part, Erika wore a long, mock neck bodycon dress with a trendy, nude silhouette graphic design.

Rinna, who’s feuding with Kathy Hilton amid the RHOBH hiatus, donned a long black dress with a plunging neckline. 

Engaging with her 2.5 million followers on Instagram, Jayne shared photos and wrote in a caption: ‘I had fun last night.’

Hot! Erika wore a long, mock neck bodycon dress with a trendy, nude silhouette graphic design

Hot! Erika wore a long, mock neck bodycon dress with a trendy, nude silhouette graphic design

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