Norman Liebrecht found a lot to like in recordings from 2015, but decided that one in particular rose to the top of his list for his annual honor as “Album of the Year”…
Which album will I still refer to in five years’ time? Probably all of them. Which freezes a moment in time so that I will know exactly where I was when I first heard it?
This one: Menahem Pressler, aged 91, playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto in A major and a Chopin nocturne on live television at the Berlin Philharmonic’s New Year’s Eve concert. Inimitable, indomitable.
The next day, the soloist felt unwell and flew home to the US, where doctors diagnosed an ‘inoperable’ heart condition and told him he could never fly again. Menahem refused to accept that. He found a surgeon who was prepared to take the risk, underwent an aorta repair and is now back in the air, playing for all that life is worth.