Violinist Lucia Micarelli‘s career has been a stylistic mash-up of epic—and wonderful—proportions. After an impressive classical-musical upbringing (Juilliard Pre-College? Check. Manhattan School of Music? Check. Repeat Aspen alum? Check.), Micarelli embarked on an eclectic career that included a role on HBO’s Treme, and extensive tours with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Barbra Streisand, Josh Groban, and Chris Botti. With her PBS special airing throughout the United States, the violinist took a few minutes to describe the recordings she comes back to again and again.
*Janine Jansen – Beethoven and Britten Violin Concertos
I have so much love for Janine Jansen—she is a force of nature and this pairing of concerti in particular is incredibly powerful! Her playing is so passionate, so thoughtfully interpreted, so beautifully executed—just delicious and I always love when an artist brings a lesser-known work (like the Britten) to the forefront to share the beauty with an audience that may not have come across it themselves.
*Danish String Quartet – Wood Works
I adore what the Danish String Quartet does with classical repertoire, so when they released this album of Nordic folk songs (that they arranged themselves), I was super excited. This collection of music takes me through all the feelings—introspective and melancholy to joyful and even humorous. Their playing is exquisite—so nuanced and delicate, and so tight!
*Itzhak Perlman – Cinema Serenade
Itzhak Perlman is a living legend! I grew up listening to him and have idolized his playing since I was a tiny child. While his extensive recordings of the classical repertoire are literally the gold standard, I find that this is the album of his that I return to most often. His sensibility for film music and his ability to bring out every last bit of beauty and color in a melody are second to none. His phrasing, his vibrato, his slides—I love every note of this. And John Williams‘ arrangements! The pairing of Williams and Perlman is fantastic.
Vilde Frang plays the crap out of some of the most virtuosic and well-loved encore pieces in the violin repertoire on this record. Her playing is equal parts fierce, charming, wild, and sensitive, and her musicianship is just stunning to hear.
It’s pretty much a given that if you put Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile, Stuart Duncan, and Yo-Yo Ma in a room together and have them make a record, it’s gonna be awesome. These guys are all-stars of their instruments individually, so hearing them collaborate is just a total treat. The songs feel new and yet familiar at the same time, the musicianship by everyone (including the beautiful Aoife O’Donovan, who lends her golden pipes to a song) is through the roof, and there is something timeless about this music that I just love.
*Guarneri String Quartet – The Late Beethoven Quartets
I have listened to these recordings over and over again throughout my life and discover new things every time. This quartet is legendary and these works by Beethoven are some of the most epic, complex, and beautiful in the quartet repertoire.