Holiday Gift Guide: Classical Music

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Los Angeles Times
Mark Swed, Music Critic
November 28, 2010

Someday the naysayers will be right, of course. Nothing lasts forever. But classical CDs and DVDs remain plentiful, and it was a great year. Buy, wrap, and give the real thing while you still can. Downloads make lousy gifts.

Virgil Thomson: Three Pictures
Thomas Meglioranza, baritone; Kristen Watson, soprano
Boston Modern Orchestra Project, conducted by Gil Rose
(BMOP/sound 1018); $16.99

Two 20th-century American composers, Lou Harrison and Virgil Thomson, don't get their due these days, so two major new recordings of their works matter, and both should have wide appeal. Harrison's Scenes From Cavafy (New World Records) contains three bell-besotted pieces written for an Indonesian gamelan orchestra but given a West Coast lyrical twist. Three Pictures (BMOP/sound) features the Boston Modern Orchestra Project in a variety of Thomson scores from the '50s and '60s that sound simple, in his Franco-American way, but are not.