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review

Welcome to Major Themes, a monthly feature in which classical music experts recommend a must-hear recording based on what's happening at classical stations and programs around the country. This month, we checked in with friends in Minnesota, Ohio and New York, plus the host of Performance Today. Here are their top picks.

Elgar: Enigma Variations; Leonard Bernstein conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra (DG)

©Esther Haase / DG

On her previous album, “Wonderland,” Alice Sara Ott explored the music and myths of Edvard Grieg and his native Norway. Now “Nightfall,” which Ott calls “one of the most personal recordings” she has made, gathers music by three composers who lived and worked in France.

Ecstatic Records

Composer Michael Torke’s new symphonic work, “Unconquered,” is a rousing, bright celebration of the American spirit, a worthy successor to the popular patriotic salutes of Morton Gould. And yet it does not fall into the typical trappings of Red, White & Blue melodies.

Roy Cox Photography

For thousands of years, cultures and civilizations have incorporated myth into their way of understanding life. Myths explain natural phenomena, teach morals, and symbolize spiritual truths; they chart the path of heroes and help to provide meaning for our own personal journey. Each generation of artists create their own renditions, and the Chamber Orchestra of San Antonio shared some by Gluck, Beethoven, and Mozart at their season finale this month (May 13) at the Tobin Center’s Carlos Alvarez Studio Theatre.

Disney/Pixar

It was a great year for music, movies, and more, but as a working dad, I don’t get out to see and hear as many things as I’d like to. Nevertheless I felt inspired to cobble together my own personal Best Of list for 2015. The items below aren’t ranked traditionally, but instead are presented more or less chronologically. I hope you enjoy reading, and may 2016 be filled with joyful moments for you as well.

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