Selections From The Critic's Cupboard

November 07, 1993|By J.D. CONSIDINE

Eat at a cook's house, and you expect first-rate food; eat at a music critic's house, and you expect equally great dinner music. Like what? Like one of these:

Classical

Sergio and Odair Assad "Rameau, Scarlatti, Couperin, Bach" (Nonesuch 79292). Adapted from clavier compositions, these guitar duets have all the sparkle of Baroque music, but a softer, warmer sound than harpsichord albums.

Berliner Solisten "Wagner/Liszt/Schoenberg/Reger/Strauss" (Teldec 2292 46277). Although a few of the composers in this collection qualify as modernists, the pieces themselves are late romantic, and are given a warm, intimate performance by this scaled-down ensemble.

London Chamber Orchestra "Tchaikovsky/Suk/Dvorak Serenades" (Virgin 260 662 218). Lush and tuneful, these orchestral serenades are wonderfully sensual and rapturously melodic.

Jazz

Richie Beirach "Sunday Songs" (Blue Note 80511). Deftly walking the line between jazz and classical, this solo album shifts easily between recognizable piano pieces and suitably melodic improvisations.

Miles Davis "Kind of Blue" (Columbia 52861). Although this album by Davis' greatest sextet holds a pivotal place in jazz history, you needn't be a scholar to appreciate its understated passion and moody lyricism.

Joe Henderson "The State of the Tenor" (Blue Note 46296). Recorded with just a trio -- tenor sax, bass and drums -- and sound so vivid you can almost smell the cigarette smoke, this album epitomizes the kind of quiet intelligence great jazz players can bring to bear.

Pop

Maire Brennan "Maire" (Atlantic 82421). Maire Brennan is the singer from Clannad, Ireland, as well as the older sister of Enya, and brings a similar warmth and beauty to these haunting melodies.

Bryan Ferry "Taxi" (Reprise 45246). Ostensibly an album of oldies, Ferry's super-suave remakes are as casually elegant as they are warmly atmospheric.

Joao Gilberto "The Legendary Joao Gilberto" (World Pacific 93891). Stan Getz may have popularized the samba in America, but these ineffably cool recordings by Gilberto were the ones that first won Brazilians over.

k.d. lang "Ingenue" (Sire 26840). Beautifully sung, emotionally evocative and powerfully romantic, it's like champagne for the ears.

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