Now, these are not all, in fact not mostly, records that were first issued in 2007. They are just things that I heard for the first time in 2007, or, in the case of the Brahms First Sym listed here, the first time I have heard the CD incarnation. So, without further ado....

1. Shostakovich: The Golden Age, Op. 22, complete ballet (1930) (2'23:42)--Jose Serebrier, cond. Royal Scottish National Orch.--2 Naxos CDs, rec. 2006. The story line is standard, heavy handed Soviet agitprop boilerplate. Per the synoptical short liner note on the back cover of the set, it "revolves around the visit of a Soviet football team to a Western city (referred to as 'U-town') at the time of an industrial exhibition, only for its heroic sporting and social endeavors constantly to be undermined by hostile administrators, decadent artistes and corrupt officials. Even before its premiere Shostakovich had prepared a suite, including the famous Polka...,which barely hints at the dissonant harmonies and intricate contrapuntal designs to be found elsewhere in the ballet. This recording is the first to present the ballet complete with all repeats observed, enabling listeners to assess the ballet in all its exhilarating, and, at times, anarchic intensity." Incredibly, despite its story line not having made any waves in terms of Soviet orthodoxy, the Soviet critics panned the work, mostly because of is adventurous, dissonant harmonies. This lukewarm response is, apparently, what discouraged performances of the complete work until past the end of the 20th century.

But, I must say, for those of us who are still here, it was worth the wait. This is a magnificent, landmark recording, vigorous, lively, and exciting. It is extraordinarily well paced and conveys a great dramatic sense on the part of both composer and conductor. Interest never flags, and the sound is superb. Highly and urgently recommended.

2. Karlowicz, Mieczyslaw (1876-1909): Music for the White Dove Inc. Mus., Op 6: Bianca da Molena, symphonic prologue (11:11) |Serenade for String Orch, Op 2 (21:25) |Symphony, Op. 7 "Rebirth" (39:45)--Gianandrea Noseda, cond. BBC Phil.--MHS CD, lic from Chandos.--I will hazard a guess as to why Karlowicz, despite his evident mastery as a composer, is so little known. His music has Brahmsian and Wagnerian influences and tendencies in about equal parts. That sort of fusion, or hybridization, didn't have much of a constituency during his lifetime, and, unfortunately, still doesn't. But you are missing out on a truly great composer if you choose to ignore his work.

3. Honegger: Chamber Music--4 timpani CD box. I have never heard of any of the musicians involved in this project except for cellist Raphael Wallfisch, but these are fine performances. CD1 has 3 violin sonatas, a sonata for solo violin, and 2 very short works, each under 3 minutes, for violin and piano. CD2 has a sonatine for 2 violins, a sonatine for violin and cello, a sonata for cello and piano, a sonata for double bass and piano, and a sonata for viola and piano. Also a 2:41 second Paduana for cello solo, and a 5:03 Piano Trio. CD3 has 13 pieces, each of which includes at least one wind or brass instrument, the longest of which is the 9:18 Rapsodie for 2 flutes, clarinet, and piano. CD4 has 3 substantial 3 movement string quartets, and a 3 movement 6:41 piece called Paques a New York (1920) for mezzo-soprano (Fusako Kondo) and the Qutuor Ludwig. Although Honegger is best known for his orchestra and choral works, he himself considered his chamber music to be the core of his oeuvre, and this set firmly establishes the reasonableness of that belief. These are fine performances of wonderful works, well recorded, and are highly recommended.

4. Grieg: Peer Gynt (Premier Recording of the complete music for Ibsen's Dramatic Poem) (101:47)--Per Dreier, cond. London SO, Oslo Phil Chorus, Toril Carlsen, soprano, Asbjorn Hansli, baritone, Vessa Hanssen, mezzo-soprano, Kare Bjorkoy, tenor--2 CD Unicorn-Kanchana set. Ibsen's work was staged a number of times during Grieg's lifetime, and each production was different. Some had massive cuts, some a few, all different from the total manuscript, and from each other. Grieg wrote music for these productions at various times in his life to meet exigent circumstances. Per Dreier has done us the estimable service of gathering every scrap of music Grieg wrote for Peer Gynt together and working it into a fine performing edition for the first time, and then he recorded it. Here it is. And a magnificent, lively, and engaging performance it is, too. Listening to it is like hearing the work for the first time, all fresh and new. Even though it is from 1987, it is an AAD recording, but very good, for all that. Just as an aside, I must say that the Arabian Dance sounds like it was, ah, the inspiration, let us say, for Richard Rodgers' March of the Siamese Children from The King and I.

5. Gade: Violin Sonatas 1, 2, & 3--Dora Bratchkova, violin; Andreas Meyer-Hermann, piano. cpo CD. These are suprisingly beautiful, lushly lyrical works with real emotional as well as formal depth. Highly recommended.

6. Bruch: 3 posthumously published chamber works--String Octet (24:48 ) |Piano Quintet (28:11) |String Quintet (25:51)--Ensemble Ulf Hoelscher--cpo CD. I find these chamber works altogether more interesting, more tuneful, and more sophisticated than most of Bruch's more popular orchestral music.

7. Gershwin: Porgy and Bess (Restored Original 1935 Broadway production version) (1:24:55)---John Mauceri, cond. & reconstructor, Nashville Sym Orch. & Cho, Blair Childrens Chorus members, Tennessee State Univ. Band members, Alvy Powell, (Porgy), Marquita Lister (Bess), Nicole Cabell (Clara), Robert Mack (Sporting Life), Leonard Rowe (Jake), Monique McDonald (Serena), Linda Thompson Williams (Maria), Lester Lynch (Crown)---2 MHS CD set, lic from Decca, recorded 2006.

8. Moore, Douglas: The Ballad of Baby Doe, opera in 2 Acts (134:02)--Emerson Buckley, cond. NYC Opera Orch & Chorus, Beverly Sills, soprano (Baby Doe), Walter Cassel, baritone, (Horace Tabor), Frances Bible, soprano (Augusta, Horace Tabor's first wife) + others. 2 CD DGG set. Although the NYC Opera's first performance was in 1944, this 1958 performance was their first recording. It sure doesn't sound like a recording from the 1950's. It crackles with life and vigor and edge of the seat excitement, at least as much because of the magnificent sound quality as for the wonderful performances. The opera portrays real historical figures, and hews fairly closely to the actual historical record. The story of the actual historical figures is to be found @

9. Mahler: Syms—Segerstam—Chandos.

10. Mahler: Kindertotenlieder (27:18 ) |5 Ruckertlieder (19:28 ) |Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfarer) (17:40) |Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen (Ruckert) (6:52)--Dame Janet Baker, mezzo-soprano, Sir John Barbirolli, cond. New Philharmonia Orch (5 Ruckertlieder), Halle Orch (all others)--EMI GROC series CD. These are, of course, sublime, magnificent performances. The GROC series often exaggerates the meaning of greatness. Not in this case. Urgently recommended.

11. Beethoven: Piano Sonatas (complete)—Annie Fischer, piano—Hungaroton.

12. Brahms: Sym 1 |Tragic Overture--Bohm, cond, BPO (Sym, 1960), VPO (Over, 1977)--DG Eloquence (Australia). I have long had the Sym on LP and considered it absolutely the greatest MOR recording of the First Sym ever done. I am happy to report that this CD transfer is a faithful copy of the original. So far as I know, it is available only from Australian sources; I got it from Buywell there. This is a truly great performance that belongs in every collection.

13. Beethoven: String Quartets—Gewandhaus Quartet—10 CD NCA (New Classical Adventure) set

14. Shostakovich: String Quartets (complete)—Shostakovich Quartet—5 CD Regis set.

15. Schubert: Syms 3, 5, & 6--Beecham, cond. Royal Phil. EMI GROC CD. There's a blurb on the cover from a Gramophone review, "...these extremely charming and elegant performances, with exquisitely polished playing, afford deep pleasure..." And may I add, viscerally exciting, too? None of the sorts of atrocities Sir Thomas was noted for committing against Handel and Haydn are in evidence here. These are just superb, involving performances.

16. Foote, Arthur (1853-1937): Piano Quintet in A Minor, Op. 38 (23:33) |String Quartet #2 in E Major, Op. 32 (26:49) |String Quartet #3 in D Major, Op. 70 (25:15)—Da Vinci Quartet, James Barbagallo, piano—NAXOS CD
Arthur Foote was an American composer, born in Salem, Massachussets to Caleb Foote, who had been an orphan at a young age, but made a fine life for himself, starting out as an apprentice at a local newspaper, later becoming its editor and co-owner, active in school affairs and his church, and getting elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

Arthur studied at Harvard with John Knowles Paine, among others, earning a bachelor’s degree in 1874; in 1875, he became the first American to be awarded a Master of Arts in Music degree from Harvard or any American college or university.

Despite the fact that he was thoroughly American, however, his music is firmly rooted in the middle European, mid-Romantic idiom of Schumann, Brahms, and Dvorak, with just a dash of Wagner thrown in. In form and style, these works are thoroughly derivative, but he is no pale imitation, like, say, Bruch or Goldmark, of the real masters. His familiarity with sonata form is thorough, and his musical arguments are rigorous, complex, sophisticated, and often beautiful. He is a composer well worth anyone’s getting to know.