One of the supreme pleasures of my life is hearing music for the first time. That all-important first-listen can only happen once. To make matters even more dramatic, I purposely do not want to have any inkling whatsoever what I am about to hear. The instantaneous shock-of-recognition that accompanies, for instance, a riveting new cover version of an old favorite song, can keep me enthralled and talking about it for days on end to friends and family. They're used to it. Some of them are sick of it. So I write. The four CDs by Melissa Aldana, Jon Stickley, Cristian Perez and Bastian Stein made me smile. They're all keepers.
This year's Martin E. Segal awards went to a unique pair: a quartet and a saxophone.
So, in an effort to keep all you Classicalites abreast of each and every situation, we'll be trawling the web for the best headlines--those stories, those people making the biggest waves.