Concertmaster Margaret Batjer shares three albums that make great gift selections for the holidays.
Margaret Batjer has served as Concertmaster since 1998, and has established herself as a versatile and respected artist worldwide. Jalbert, Bach, Pärt & Vasks — LACO’s 2019 album for Swedish record label BIS — features four concertante violin works performed by the celebrated soloist, chamber musician and teacher.
We asked Batjer to pick out some of her favorite sounds to share this holiday season. Check out her top three picks below:
1. Seth MacFarlane — Holiday For Swing
“It is one of my favorite Christmas albums,” writes Batjer.
The album features a 52-piece orchestra recorded at the iconic Abbey Road Studios and a bevy of London’s top session players. The album is the follow-up to MacFarlane’s Grammy Award-nominated 2011 debut album Music Is Better Than Words. Like Music Is Better Than Words, Holiday for Swing was produced by film and television composer Joel McNeely.
[Disclosure: film and television composer Joel McNeely is Margaret Batjer’s husband!]
2. Nathan Milstein — Bach: Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin
“I grew up on these recordings as a young girl and they inspire me to this day,” reflects Batjer. “It is especially poignant for me to hear them now, as I often have the privilege of playing on the Kohls’ ‘Milstein’ Stradivarius.”
Nathan Milstein, widely considered one of the finest violinists of the 20th century, acquired his namesake Stradivarius in 1945, and he used it for the rest of his life. In 2006 the violin was purchased by Jerry Kohl. Currently, Batjer and Martin Chalifor of the LA Phil currently play Kohl’s “Milstein” Stradivarius.
3. Murray Perahia + Radu Lupu — Mozart & Schubert: Works for Piano Duo (Expanded Edition)
“Especially the Schubert Fantasia and Mozart’s Andante and Variations for Piano Four Hands.”
This recording, featuring Murray Perahia with fellow pianist Radu Lupu performing works by works by Schubert and Mozart, won the 1986 Gramophone Award for best instrumental recording.