Time again for the annual ritual of Listening Listfully: cataloguing album/EP-length recordings released in the past twelvemonth that most particularly tickled my fancy. Personal favorites, as always, rather than "bests"—although I would maintain that everything here is genuinely among the best things of the past year, and not simply because I have enjoyed it. There are inevitably many records of quality omitted here, simply because I have yet to listen to them.
For 2014, I have reverted to dividing the larger List in two, very roughly segregating these recordings by application of that old fugitive, "genre". Below is the portion of the List that slouches roughly into the "classical" or "art music" category. The other portion follows, here.
The cut is very rough: Jacob Cooper's Silver Threads, for example, appears here because it is a song cycle for soprano, but could equally well be place on the other sub-List as my favorite ambient electronic album of the year (with Seaman & Supko's s_traits close behind). The No Lands and Wedren/Friedman records land here because of the ostensible "New Music" orientation of the New Amsterdam label on which they were released. The Bad Plus is Stravinsky, but also jazz, so could be over there rather than over here. Juice Vocal Ensemble enjoys the distinction of being the only artists appearing on both of the sub-Lists. Et cetera. Go figure.
I should have more extended comment on a number of these recordings before the year is out, leading toward my resolution to treat 2015 as The Year of Writing Musically.
Flawed, entirely subjective, and internally contradictory as always, here begins The List:
14 Inoo/Kallay Duo – Five Conversations About Two Things
20 Philip Corner – Satie Slowly
30 Los Angeles Philharmonic/Orli Shaham – American Grace
31 Gavin Bryars Ensemble – Sinking of the Titanic [live 2012 Centenary tour]
32 Nico Muhly – Two Boys [Metropolitan Opera]
33 'In the Shadow of No Towers' [Mohammed Fairouz]
34 Lorelei Ensemble – Live. Know. Love.
35 Olga Bell – Krai
36 James McVinnie – Cycles