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by Seth Colter Walls

July 9, 2013

Top 10 Classical, July 2013

by Seth Colter Walls  |  July 9, 2013

A group of post-minimalist, electronic-aided releases puts a jolt into a lazy summer month. First, French composer Daniel Wohl brings us Corps Exquis, a perfect wedding of chamber music with contemporary whizzing, pulsing, techno-adjacent sounds. (Find "Neighborhood" for the subtle version, then "Insext" for the more aggressive textures.) And Jace Clayton -- better known as DJ/rupture -- brings his sampling kit to live performances of piano works by the late, dearly missed composer Julius Eastman. Meantime, Christine Southworth's "Volcano" also works along similar acoustic-meets-digital lines.

But the thrill of the new isn't the only thing that animates the best classical records we've selected for July. Pianist Alan Feinberg's fiery account of works by baroque composer John Bull is every bit as exciting as the latest compositions; start with "Galliard (Musica Britannica, Vol. 19, No. 78)." And the first-ever digital edition of an experimental opera from 1980, Daytime Viewing, gives us another valuable look at the wildly creative NYC Downtown scene of that period. In other reissue news, a fresh release of a strange, '70s-era classical-meets-hippie-rock radio play, titled Elephant Steps, has also been newly issued as part of Columbia's vault-scouring project. (It's coded as classical because of conductor Michael Tilson Thomas' involvement.)

In the orchestra realm, the New York Philharmonic attends to worthy symphonic pieces by Christopher Rouse (see the hurly-burly climax of "Bump") and Brahms' First Symphony. Toss in some fun orchestral pieces by Gershwin and Strauss -- as well as by more obscure names like Dutch composer Knudage Riisager -- and you've got a corking month of listening ahead. Check the appended playlist for all these pieces and more.

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