I'm ready to make a first recommendation from among the CDs I got from Register music critic Tim Mangan, though there are others I really should mention between now and Christmas, though my tastes are eclectic enough that it might take a rather odd "classical" music fan to appreciate some of these. For example, as a singer myself who considers life rather empty if I'm not singing with at least a very good amateur group, I have an unusual attraction to choral music.
"Cantus" is a group of nine men out of Minneapolis, each exceptionally skilled, and together they make, on their new CD, "While You Are Alive," some of the richest, deepest, most sonorous choral sounds I have heard. All-male groups are not to everybody's taste, and this is a pretty modern group of songs (three world premiere recordings here), but while there are some strange harmonies, most of it is quite tonal. I am especially entranced by "Lux Aurumque," by Whitacre, and "Lullaby" by Nelson. The major new piece, "A Sound Like This," by Hill, a series of original songs, has some really nice places and a few I haven't quite warmedup to yet, though I like even the odd places sound better each time I listen. "Things I Didn't Know I Loved," by Takach, is also sonorous and adventurous, but the whole thing is worth listening to and repays repeated listening.