Top 15 Classical, September 2012

This was a fantastic season for classical music releases -- especially once you escape the genre's staid reputation. From Hilary Hahn's improvisations with the prepared-piano auteur Hauschka to Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood's latest score for a PT Anderson film to a young Columbia University PhD candidate's experiments in dark ambient and extreme power-noise, "classical" music is continually proving that it can transcend mere tradition.

Which isn't to say tradition isn't served well here, too: Jeremy Denk's intelligent approach to Beethoven and Ligeti was a pleasure, Gustavo Dudamel notched another Beethoven effort, and an all-Shostakovich disc from Esa-Pekka Salonen and The L.A. Philharmonic brought a surrealist opera back from the brink of (unjust) obscurity. The nearly four-hour playlist above hits the collection of 15 new releases below, along with just a couple welcome reissues. Enjoy.

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