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Fireworks From Cuba, And Schubert That Grooves: New Classical Albums

The new album by The Knights, <em>A Second of Silence</em>, celebrates Schubert and more modern but like-minded composers.
Ancalagon Records
The new album by The Knights, A Second of Silence, celebrates Schubert and more modern but like-minded composers.

Although it always seems fashionable to forecast the downfall of classical music, enterprising musicians both young and not so young continue to make deeply satisfying recordings. For this visit to weekends on All Things Considered, I was delighted to uncover the little known (at least in this country) Jorge Luis Prats, a terrifically talented Cuban pianist whose once uncertain career appears to be resurging — at 55, he has signed a handsome record deal. Then there's The Knights, a young chamber orchestra with a postmodern take on Schubert. They cleverly juxtapose his music with kindred spirits from the 20th and 21st centuries — Erik Satie, Philip Glass and Morton Feldman. Conductor John Eliot Gardiner, now an elder statesman of the period instrument movement, takes his second shot at the Brahms German Requiem with extraordinary results. And on the lighter side, Israeli composer Ronn Yedidia writes sparkling music for a great clarinetist. Listen to excerpts from these new releases below.

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Tom Huizenga is a producer for NPR Music. He contributes a wide range of stories about classical music to NPR's news programs and is the classical music reviewer for All Things Considered. He appears regularly on NPR Music podcasts and founded NPR's classical music blog Deceptive Cadence in 2010.