Various Artists
The Ultimate 2001 Album
(Deutsche Grammophon)

This disc boasts so many recognizable pieces of orchestration that each of the 14 tracks is sure to bring an “Ahhh yes” with the sound of each opening note. From Johann Strauss’ “The Blue Danube” to Bach’s “Gavotte & Rondeau” and Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 5,” this is great music to take on the road, or anytime you just want to unwind with some comfortable and familiar sounds.

Luciano Pavarotti Live Recital (Decca)
Forty years ago, megatenor Luciano Pavarotti debuted his now-famous pipes playing the character Rodolfo in La Bohéme at Reggio Emilia, Italy. With this disc, Pavarotti’s first new recital recording in 13 years, the 66-year-old Italian sets in motion a host of new releases aimed at celebrating his lifetime of accomplishments.

— JAMES E. MAYFIELD