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RCM Community Makes Up Half of CBC Music's Top 20 List

RCM Community Makes Up Half of CBC Music's Top 20 List

Published on December 4, 2020

RCM Community Makes Up Half of CBC Music's Top 20 List

CBC Music has just released its Canada's top 20 classical albums of 2020 list. The story states: “With concert halls shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the arrival of new music — along with quarantine videos and live streams — was the closest we got this year to the thrill of live performance. And while records will never replace the concert experience, we're grateful to Canada's classical musicians for the profusion of new music they continue to release for our enjoyment.”

From alumni and faculty of the RCM Certificate Program and The Glenn Gould School (GGS) to Royal Conservatory Honourary Fellows, here are the members of the RCM community celebrated on this year's Top 20 list this year:


The ARC Ensemble (Artists of The Royal Conservatory)

Walter Kaufmann: Chamber Works (Chandos)
“Listen for Eastern scales in Violin Sonata No. 2 (wonderfully rendered by Erika Raum and Kevin Ahfat) and Sonatina No. 12, arranged for Joaquin Valdepeñas's liquid clarinet tones and Ahfat again on piano. Impassioned performances of two string quartets as well as a septet for strings and piano belie the klezmer in Kaufmann's soul, not to mention his reverence for the music of Gustav Mahler.”

Stewart Goodyear (GGS alumnus and Honorary Fellow)

Beethoven: The Complete Piano Concertos (Orchid Classics)
“Stewart Goodyear, the pianist known for his Beethoven sonatathons, is up to the challenge and takes the listener on a journey from the lithe, classically conceived concerto No. 1 through to the dramatic and decidedly heroic fifth. Especially impressive are his rondo movements, which have palpable lift, and Goodyear nicely coveys the bittersweet ache of the largos.”

Jan Lisiecki (GGS alumnus), Matthias Goerne

Beethoven Songs (Deutsche Grammophon)
“One of the best discoveries of 2020 was that Jan Lisiecki, soloist extraordinaire, is also a fine collaborative pianist — especially remarkable, since this was his first experience playing Lieder.”

The Canadian National Brass Project - Featuring Charles Benaroya, Robert Weymouth and Adam Zinatelli (GGS alumni); Sasha Johnson, David Pell, Gabriel Radford and Gordon Wolfe (GGS faculty), and Michael Fedyshyn (RCM Certificate Program teacher)

Constellations (Analekta)
“The members of the Canadian National Brass Project are drawn from various orchestras across North America, so the logistics involved in getting this ephemeral group together for recording sessions boggle the mind. That's why we greeted their second album with extra enthusiasm — and were not disappointed.”

Erin Wall, Joshua Hopkins (RCM alumnus), Andrew Staples (RCM alumnus), Nathan Berg, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Davis

Massenet: Thaïs (Chandos)
”[Erin Wall’s] duets with baritone Joshua Hopkins (Athanaël) are especially hair-raising. Take a moment to remember Wall while listening to violinist Jonathan Crow play the opera's beloved "Méditation."

Alice Ping Yee Ho, Vania Chan (RCM alumna), Patty Chan, Lulu

The Venom of Love: Electronic Ballet Music (Leaf Music)
“The music positively seduces you with intricately organized and endlessly inventive sounds, hurtling you into an enchanting and sometimes dangerous-sounding world. Warning: once you've been bitten by this music, there's no antidote.”

Duo Concertante - Timothy Steeves and Nancy Dahn (RCM alumni)

Franz Schubert: Music for Violin and Piano (Marquis)
"They imbue the Sonata in A Major with youthful tenderness, whereas the Fantasy in C Major exudes autumnal vibes, a tinge of melancholy colouring even the prettiest phrases. Also, the unostentatious recorded sound suits the duo's refined, honest music-making”

Andrew Wan, OSM, Kent Nagano (Honorary Fellow)

Ginastera, Bernstein, Moussa: Works for Violin and Orchestra (Analekta)
“Not only did [Kent Nagano] excel at making bold repertoire choices, but he also loved putting concertmaster Andrew Wan into the spotlight, and this album features Wan in three modern works, including the world premiere of Samy Moussa's Violin Concerto, which successfully imports Romantic harmonies and gestures into a contemporary idiom.”

James Ehnes (co-curator of the RCM’s Beethoven 250 Festival), Andrew Armstrong

Beethoven Sonatas 4, 5 and 8 (Onyx)
“Its centrepiece is the "Spring" Sonata, whose first movement Ehnes and Armstrong play with remarkable vigor, accentuating the pulse and turning its middle section into a veritable storm scene. … Look no further than the third movement of Sonata No. 4 and its twisting figurations for proof of the duo's superhuman cohesiveness.”

Charles Richard-Hamelin (Koerner Hall artist), Les Violons du Roy, Jonathan Cohen

Mozart Piano Concertos Nos. 22 and 24 (Analekta)
“Charles Richard-Hamelin's ease at the keyboard translates into seamless passage work, perfectly controlled dynamics and an uncanny symbiosis with conductor Jonathan Cohen and his orchestra, whether they're spreading Figaro-esque cheer in No. 22 or exploring the moody turbulence of No. 24. Hats off to the recording crew who captured these soulful performances so faithfully.”

Don't miss James Ehnes and Charles Richard with New Orford String Quartet in concert on December 10. Learn more about The Royal Conservatory’s livestreamed performances – purchase a ticket today!