The High Notes

Remembering a year of classical triumphs.

Orchestral Moments of the Year

Conductor Mstislav Rostropovich wielding the baton two-handed, baseball-bat style, as Seattle Symphony timpanist Michael Crusoe shook Benaroya Hall's walls at the end of Shostakovich's Fifth; Huw Edwards sending the Seattle Youth Symphony hurtling exhilaratingly through the closing pages of Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique.

Piano Moments of the Year

Craig Sheppard capping his triumphant seven-recital traversal of all of Beethoven's sonatas; Julie Ives tackling her namesake Charles' huge and intricate "Concord" Sonata at Polestar Music Gallery.

Best New Works

Meade Crane's Eleven Pieces, subtle and ravishing pastels written for his chamber group Quake; Joe Hill, Wayne Horvitz's heartfelt and thoughtful song-cycle tribute to the labor movement.

Best Works That Had Been Forgotten

"Rachel, quand du seigneur," the big number from Halevy's La Juive, with which tenor Vinson Cole melted the audience at the SSO's season-opening gala, making a powerful case for an opera that reigned a century ago but plummeted out of sight; Carl Reinecke's Flute Concerto, hyperconservative for 1908 but gorgeous, brought to life by flutist Sara Jolivet, Roupen Shakarian, and Philharmonia Northwest.

Best Saves

Jane Eaglen, on a week's notice, taking the daunting title role in Seattle Opera's Ariadne auf Naxos—she'd never sung it onstage before—and scoring in it (she was even funny!); Gust Burns, Nathan Levine, and other musicians resurrecting the closed Polestar Music Gallery as the new Gallery 1412, continuing its role as the center of Seattle's nü-muzik scene.

Most Exciting New Trend

On the Boards' presentation of string players in offbeat solo recitals—namely, cellist Maya Beiser (with a compelling multimedia program of recent works by Golijov, Reich, and others) and violist Christian Frederickson (with a no less fresh and intriguing concert of music by Bach and Reger).

Honorable Mention

Composer John Adams, in town to guest-conduct the SSO, dropping in to chat about his work at a Seattle Composers Salon; Seattle School's Grapefruits, an evening of the gnomic conceptual/performance art of Yoko Ono; Puccini's adorable Girl of the Golden West at Seattle Opera; Seattle Symphony's towering, thrilling Mahler's Fifth, showing the orchestra and conductor Gerard Schwarz at their best; Polestar's multihour improv marathon commemorating the first anniversary of the death of bassist Matthew Sperry, featuring nearly everyone who's anyone in Seattle's musical avant-garde.

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