Music News 11/2/23



The National Symphony Orchestra has generously given us some George Walker tote bags to give away (free with the purchase of the CD below).  

Come by Connecticut Avenue for yours. 


GEORGE WALKER: FIVE SINFONIAS (National Symphony Orchestra, SACD, $21.98) – Composer and pianist George Walker (1922 – 2018) was born in Washington, attended Oberlin, Curtis Institute, Eastman School, taught at Rutgers for many years, and received the Pulitzer Prize. His compositions for piano, chamber groups, and orchestras are being rediscovered, and performed more and more.  

After Simon Rattle’s suggestion that he look at Mr. Walker’s music, National Symphony Orchestra conductor Gianandrea Noseda has become a champion of his work. In the last season, Maestro Noseda has paired Mr. Walker’s five Sinfonias with Beethoven Symphonies. The complete recordings of Sinfonias is now out.  






Barbra Streisand, EVERGREENS: Celebrating Six Decades on Columbia Records (Columbia, $21.98) – Ms. Streisand has triumphed on Broadway, the concert stage, in movies and television specials, and certainly on her celebrated albums.  

Next Tuesday, November 7, Ms. Streisand’s memoir, My Name is Barbra (Viking, $45), is released. 

On Evergreens, she has selected her favorite track from each of her 22 studio albums, from “I’ll Tell the Man in the Street” and “Bewitched (Bothered and Bewildered)” to “Here’s to Life” and “Evergreen” (from A Star is Born). 



Jimmy Buffett, EQUAL STRAIN ON ALL PARTS (Sun Records, $14.98) – Mr. Buffett, who created a body of feel-good songs that spawned a lifestyle empire, died on September 1. Completed shortly before his death, Equal Strain on All Parts (with an iconic cover of Jimmy in a hammock) features guest appearances by Paul McCartney, Emmylou Harris, Angelique Kidjo, and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. 


Van Morrison, ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE (Virgin, $15.98) – In the last few years, Van Morrison has been fondly revisiting the music that he grew up with: rhythm & blues, skiffle, jazz, and early rock & roll. He continues on Accentuate the Positive with versions of “You Are My Sunshine,” “Flip, Flop and Fly,” “Problems,” “Shakin’ All Over,” “Sea of Heartbreak,” “Blueberry Hill,” “Lucille,” “Hang Up My Rock & Roll Shoes” among many others. 


Hailu Mergia, PIONEER WORKS SWING (LIVE) (Awesome Tapes from Africa, $15.98) – Hailu Mergia is a pioneer of Ethiopian jazz as a keyboardist, composer and bandleader. For the last couple of decades, he’s been based in the DC area, driving his cab, but also playing his ground-breaking music. 

Recorded at the New York performance space, Pioneer Works, on July 1, 2016, Mr. Mergia plays keyboards, accordion, and melodica, and is accompanied by his DC-based trio featuring Alemseged Kebede on bass, and Kenneth Joseph on drums.  





Every year, Gramophone Magazine’s critics vote on their favorite classical CDs of the past season (roughly, autumn of 2022 to autumn, 2023), in categories, as well as conferring special awards.  

Another winner, which we have on display: 


Recording of the Year and Best Orchestral Recording 


CARL NIELSEN: SYMPHONIES (Deutsche Grammophon, 3 CDs, $25.98) – The Danish National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Fabio Luisi 

The winning volume, Symphonies Nos. 4 & 5, is part of the box set. 




Bruce Liu, WAVES: Music by Rameau, Ravel, Alkan (Deutsche Grammophon, $14.98) – The winner of the 2021 Chopin Piano Competition curates a program of French piano music spanning 200 years. There is plenty of Rameau—including Gavotte et Six BoublesLes SavagesLes Cyclopes, and Les Tendres Plaintes—interspersed with Ravel’s Miroirs, and Alkan’s Barcarolle and Le Festin d’Éssope