BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

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Erik Chisholm: Violin Concerto & Dance Suite

Erik Chisholm: Violin Concerto & Dance Suite


Chisholm, E:

Violin Concerto

Matthew Trusler (violin)

Song of the mavis (Prelude 9 from From the True Edge of the Great World)

Ossianic lay (Prelude 1 from From the True Edge of the Great World)

Port a beul (Prelude 8 from From the True Edge of the Great World)

Dance Suite for orchestra and piano

Danny Driver (piano)


A bracing excursion to the Indian subcontinent via the Scottish Highlands: the compelling force of Scottish Modernism that is Erik Chisholm makes a welcome reappearance on Hyperion. Matthew Trusler and Danny Driver are the committed soloists in the two large-scale concertante works.

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Hyperion - CDA68208

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Walton: Violin Concerto, Partita & Hindemith Variations

Walton: Violin Concerto, Partita & Hindemith Variations


Walton:

Violin Concerto

Anthony Marwood (violin)

Partita for Orchestra

Variations on a Theme by Hindemith

Spitfire Prelude & Fugue


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra follow up their definitive account of the symphonies (on CDA67794) with another outstanding album of Walton. From the sunlit Mediterranean lyricism of the Violin Concerto to the rousing Spitfire Prelude and Fugue, this is the composer at the height of his power.

“Anthony Marwood’s un-flashy individualism seems to be operating at an opposite pole to the Heifetz way, and generates memorable results of its own. While Marwood has all the virtuosity that the music demands, nothing is rushed…[and] the design here hangs together quite naturally. He searches out remarkable colours, too…alert accompanying by the orchestra sets a benchmark for the musical riches that follow” BBC Music Magazine, July 2017 ****

“Proceedings are launched in fine style with a supremely affectionate and agreeably lithe account of the immensely personable concerto that Walton conceived for the great Jascha Heifetz. Anthony Marwood proves an enviably secure and articulate soloist...their consistently absorbing performance will unquestionably give lasting pleasure.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2017

“an engrossing sequence. Marwood is a thrilling, virtuosic soloist in the ever-seductive concerto, and the orchestra matches his power.” Sunday Times, 2nd July 2017

“Walton’s musical and scoring virtuosity is to the fore in this wide-ranging and substantial piece that is done handsome service to by the BBCSSO and Brabbins, whether intimately expressive, fleet and spectral (Walton often with a twinkle in the eye), or grandiose.” classicalsource.com, July 2017 *****

“Marwood gently entwines himself with the orchestral texture. He's never flashy for its own sake, and yet his virtuosity and absolute command come across at every moment. Both he and the orchestra respond wonderfully to the concerto's changing moods...A fascinating disc that's well worth investigating, especially if you're tempted to explore some of Walton's lesser-known works.” James Longstaffe, Presto Classical, 7th July 2017

“Marwood is the incisive, poetic soloist in Walton’s Violin Concerto...Brabbins and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra relish the showpiece Partita.” The Observer, 9th July 2017 *****

“Anthony Marwood has the technique to encompass the dazzling finger work designed with Heifetz in mind. An unqualified success.” The Strad, July 2017

“Hyperion becomes not only my overall choice for the coupling but a very strong contender in all the individual works.” MusicWeb International, July 2017

“[a highlight is] Anthony Marwood’s intelligent reading of the sultry Violin Concerto. The work usually leaves me cold, but this taut performance is a keeper, especially in the long closing movement where the reprise of music from the concerto's opening is devastatingly effective. The coda’s fireworks are sensational.” The Arts Desk, 29th July 2017

Presto Disc of the Week

7th July 2017

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Siècle - Leonard Elschenbroich

Siècle - Leonard Elschenbroich


Debussy:

Cello Sonata

Alexei Grynyuk (piano)

Dutilleux:

Tout un monde lointain (Concerto for cello and orchestra)

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, John Wilson

Messiaen:

Louange à l'Éternité de Jesus (from Quatuor pour la fin du temps)

Alexei Grynyuk (piano)

Ravel:

Vocalise-étude en forme de habanera

Alexei Grynyuk (piano)

Saint-Saëns:

Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op. 33

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Stefan Blunier


A century of French music for cello is the focus of a fascinating programme from Leonard Elschenbroich. The two cello concertos on this album, composed 100 years apart frame Debussy’s late cello sonata, Ravel’s 'Habanera' and movement 5 of Messiaen’s 'Quartet for the End of Time'. These compositions span years of the Franco-Prussian War, the First and Second World wars, and into the 1970s: a whole distant world.

Former BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist, Leonard Elschenbroich’s debut CD for Onyx Classics of Sonatas by Rachmaninov and Shostakovich was released in 2013 and received 5-star reviews from The Telegraph, Guardian as well as Editor’s Choice in Gramophone. His second disc was released in 2014 and featured Kabalevsky’s Cello Concerto No 2 with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and Andrew Litton. A third disc included works by, and his personal tribute to, Schnittke. Future releases will include concertos by Saint-Saens and Dutilleux with the BBC Scottish Symphony. He plays a cello made by Matteo Goffriller “Leonard Rose” (Venice, 1693), on private loan.

“it is the Dutilleux concerto that is most fascinating, a mystically-charged work with tender nuance and haunting colours, worthily supported by the BBC SSO under John Wilson” The Scotsman, 6th June 2017 ****

“Elschenbroich and John Wilson go in for clear lines and focused phrasing [in the Dutilleux]…the Saint-Saens First Cello Concerto is highlight of the disc…Elschenbroich, now working with conductor Stefan Blunier, doesn't over-emphasize the music's Romantic heritage, preferring instead to project lithe, angular lines…you come away afterwards with the feeling that each of these pieces has been presented with a rare conviction and intensity” Classical CD Review

“The undoubted jewel on the disc is the performance of the Dutilleux concerto, which is in every way outstanding…Elschenbroich demonstrates virtuosity and musicianship of a high order” BBC Music Magazine, September 2017 ****

“This is cello playing that really smiles” The Strad, August 2017

“Elschenbroich deftly sweeps through the Saint-Saëns, full of elegance, grace, dramatic flair and tight-lipped expressiveness.” MusicWeb International, 31st August 2017

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Ravel: Piano Concertos & Falla: Nights in the gardens of Spain

Ravel: Piano Concertos & Falla: Nights in the gardens of Spain


Falla:

Noches en los jardines de Espana

Ravel:

Piano Concerto in G major

Piano Concerto in D major (for the left hand)


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

Steven Osborne’s solo Ravel for Hyperion has invited comparisons with the distinguished interpretations of the past; this new recording of the concertos is certain to win similar plaudits. The Falla is a generous and appropriate coupling, perfectly complementing these wonderful works.

“Full of colour, both Osborne’s poetry and his exceptional touch are to the fore, the sparkling cascades in the final movement being especially breathtaking…strong performances of a programme that bears repeated listening” BBC Music Magazine, June 2017 ****

“Time and again whilst listening I had to dash to my score to check that everything I could hear was actually being played by just the one hand! More importantly, though, Osborne doesn’t just treat it as a series of notes: he always manages to maintain the line, and to bring out each phrase effortlessly, no matter what else may be going on at the same time!” James Longstaffe, Presto Classical, 2nd June 2017

“This performance is atmospheric and suggestive, Osborne and Morlot (Nights is more for orchestra with piano) conjuring an intoxicating impressionism that finds, for me, more in this three-movement score than hitherto, especially the outer ones – the second always makes an immediate appeal – and further recognition that this is an outstanding release in every way.” classicalsource.com, June 2017 *****

“Osborne and the orchestra imbue [the Falla] with fabulous drama, especially in the rambunctious third movement...Broadly speaking, these performers [of the Ravel] make the great Left Hand Concerto in D seem like a traumatic postlude to the war and the much jollier Piano Concerto in G sound like the purest escapism from it.” The Times, 23rd June 2017

“[Morlot] brings stylistic flair to Ravel’s bluesy melodies, and the orchestra and Osborne revel in the cascading chords and cakewalky rhythmic piquancy of the D major’s central section. Falla’s nostalgic evocation of his homeland has fallen out of favour, but Osborne has a great time with the Spanish dance flavour of the piece.” Sunday Times, 25th June 2017

“The Concerto for the Left Hand is done with élan and rhythmic zest, and Osborne flies through the massive challenges of the grand coda. The BBC Scottish SO is a sensitive partner; Ludovic Morlot occasionally drives the players hard but they rarely struggle, with the strings especially producing a mellow supportive tone.” Pianist Magazine, July 2017 ****

“I would go so far as to suggest that this is the finest modern recording of both concertos- and a rival to any predecessor. Osborne and Morlot catch a much more vivid and nicely drawn Iberian feel to the music. This is one to have.” International Piano, September 2017 *****

Presto Disc of the Week

2nd June 2017

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The Romantic Piano Concerto 70 - Beach, Chaminade & Howell

The Romantic Piano Concerto 70 - Beach, Chaminade & Howell

Beach, Chaminade & Howell: Piano Concertos


Beach, A:

Piano Concerto, Op. 45

Chaminade:

Concertstück for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 40

Howell, D:

Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in D minor


International Women’s Day falls on 8 March, celebrating the ‘social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women’. Volume 70 in our Romantic Piano Concerto series champions three female composers, and three works whose in-the-face-of-it-all joie de vivre makes them irresistibly worthy of our attention.

“Pick of the bunch is the Concerto by Amy Beach…Danny Driver is a highly accomplished soloist, if occasionally lacking in Romantic flexibility; the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under Rebecca Miller makes a telling contribution” BBC Music Magazine, March 2017 ****

“If Driver offers a robust, muscular view of the Beach, he is certainly in touch with his feminine side in the highly attractive single-movement Concerto by Dorothy Howell...but even more appealing is Cécile Chaminade’s Concertstück in the same key as the Beach...In Driver’s hands it is enchanting.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2017

“[Beach's] Piano Concerto has the heft and torrent of music that needs to be written and Danny Driver plays it with clarity and steel, absolutely unsentimental but flecked through with empathy...the sturdy weft Rebecca Miller gets from the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra generally suits Beach’s broad-stitch writing.” The Guardian, 2nd March 2017 ***

“Its exotic features anticipate Saint-Saëns’s ‘Egyptian’ Concerto, and overall it is colourful, capricious and charming.” classicalsource.com, May 2017 ****

GGramophone Awards 2017

Finalist - Concerto

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - March 2017

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Hyperion - The Romantic Piano Concerto - CDA68130

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The Romantic Violin Concerto 21 - Bruch

The Romantic Violin Concerto 21 - Bruch


Bruch:

Violin Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op. 44

Konzertstück, Op. 84

In Memoriam, Op. 65

Adagio appassionato Op. 57


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here

The ‘justly celebrated’ Jack Liebeck (as described by The Strad) follows in the footsteps of Heifetz and Perlman in championing Bruch’s now neglected Violin Concerto No 2, originally written for Sarasate. Three shorter concertante works for violin and orchestra complete the album (Bruch thought the Adagio appassionato one of his best works) which marks volume 21 in our highly regarded Romantic Violin Concerto series.

“as Jack Liebeck’s nicely restrained performance shows, [Bruch's Second Violin Concerto is] a piece that’s perfectly capable of standing on its own musical feet. His fine-grained playing gets exemplary support from Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, who never overdo the menace that underlies the first movement especially” The Guardian, 23rd December 2016 ****

“Liebeck is certainly equal to all the challenges, moving from impeccable double-stopping one moment to the sweetest, most ardent of tones in some of the more impassioned passages.” Presto Classical, 23rd December 2016

“There’s much to admire in Jack Liebeck’s patrician account of Bruch’s D Minor Violin Concerto. His playing is virtually flawless in its technical ease, scintillating articulateness and purity of tone.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2017

“Throughout the Second Concerto, with its unforgettable soaring opening, Liebeck combines a beguiling silvery sound with tantalising interpretative restraint, free of heart-on-the-sleeve rhetoric…rarely has Bruch’s melodic genius been sounded with such chaste sweetness as here, ideally complimented by Liebeck’s captivating narrow-fast vibrato” BBC Music Magazine, January 2017 ****

“Impressive performances of the Concerto and of the ‘lesser’ pieces.” MusicWeb International, 1st February 2017

Presto Disc of the Week

23rd December 2016

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Elgar: Enigma Variations

Elgar: Enigma Variations

& other orchestral works


Elgar:

In the South (Alassio), Op. 50

Enigma Variations, Op. 36

Carillon, Op. 75

Florence Daguerre de Hureaux (narrator)

Une Voix dans le Désert

Kate Royal (soprano)

Le Drapeau Belge

Florence Daguerre de Hureaux (narrator)

Pleading, Op. 48 No. 1

Yann Ghiro (clarinet)


Two much-loved orchestral favourites representing the summit of Elgar's maturity are coupled with three of the lesser-known wartime works, here receiving their rst recordings with the original French texts. Kate Royal is the soprano soloist in 'Une voix dans le désert', a hauntingly tender masterpiece which every Elgarian should know.

“Both [In the South and the Enigma Variations] are well known and given impressively emotional and dramatic performances by Brabbins...The entire disc is a collector’s item.” Sunday Times, 30th October 2016

“fine, firmly unsentimental, bracingly muscular performances.” The Guardian, 3rd November 2016 ****

“Exceptional Elgar. ‘Nimrod’ has the grandeur of a Bruckner slow movement.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2016 *****

“Brabbins masterminds an expansive, ideally flexible and notably unflustered reading of Elgar’s In the South, one which quarries this evocative score’s plentiful reserves of noble grandeur, pantheistic wonder and vulnerability…[he] proves a comparably unhurried, affectionate and cannily observant guide through Enigma, the friends pictured within springing to life with unforced naturalness…an enjoyable and stimulating anthology that Elgarians everywhere should try and hear” Gramophone Magazine, November 2016

“Splendidly performed and recorded versions of Enigma and In the South, plus some fascinating rarities.” MusicWeb International, 1st December 2016

“Every work is recreated with penetrating musicianship and skilled empowerment from the podium. Every performance is of superlative calibre” Classical Ear, January 2017 *****

“Brabbins’ Enigma is a delight: tempi and tone perfectly judged, a feeling of freshness throughout which is lacking from a number of high-profile recent accounts” Classical Music, January 2017 *****

BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the month - December 2016

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MacMillan: Violin Concerto & Symphony No. 4

MacMillan: Violin Concerto & Symphony No. 4

World Premiere Recordings


MacMillan:

Violin Concerto

Vadim Repin (violin)

Symphony No. 4


Two major works from Sir James Macmillan make their CD debut! The Violin Concerto is performed on this disc by its dedicatee Vadim Repin.

Reviewing the world premiere, David Nice of The Arts Desk lauded, "As soloist Vadim Repin and conductor Valery Gergiev whirled us tumultuously through its hyperactive songs and dances, there was so much I wanted to savour, to hear again. That won't be a problem. So long as there are violinists of Repin's calibre able to play it, the work is here to stay."

The 4th Symphony is dedicated to Donald Runnicles and was written to celebrate his 60th birthday. Sir James MacMillan is one of today’s most successful composers. His musical language is flooded with influences from his Scottish heritage, Catholic faith, social conscience and close connection with Celtic folk music, blended with influences from Far Eastern, Scandinavian and Eastern European music.

The 4th Symphony recording is from the 2015 BBC Proms and was the world premiere performance "Densely, at times exotically scored, it was grandly played. Runnicles conducted it with great affection and dignity" Tim Ashley, The Guardian

“There is a frisson in the fact that it is live, but it is also easy to hear why re-recording was rejected as an option because the playing, across every section of the orchestra, is of such energy and commitment that replicating it would have been a tall order.” The Herald (Glasgow), 28th October 2016

“Repin has made this concerto his own on the live circuit, and here turns in another virtuosic performance with Donald Runnicles and the BBC SSO, also on top form. In his Symphony No 4, MacMillan claims to present a more abstract musical statement. Yet I find it impossible not to feel embraced by its strength of personality and expression, much of it arising from the ghostly references to Robert Carver’s music.” The Scotsman, 31st October 2016

“Rarely has a CD of new music engaged me quite as much as this one has … The superb performances are extremely well recorded. I predict an award somewhere along the line.” Classical Ear, 2nd November 2016

“That the symphony conveys the eloquence that it does is in no small part down to the conviction of Donald Runnicles, who draws a committed response from the BBC Scottish Symphony. Vadim Repin is also admirable in the solo part of the concerto, which could well find itself a place in the modern repertoire. Immediate sound and insightful notes by the composer enhance a significant release” Gramophone Magazine, December 2016

“Donald Runnicles and his BBC forces navigate the arresting work’s excitement and beauties with fearless panache.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2017 ****

Onyx - ONYX4157

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The Romantic Violin Concerto 20 - Stojowski & Wieniawski

The Romantic Violin Concerto 20 - Stojowski & Wieniawski


Stojowski:

Violin Concerto, Op. 22

Romance for violin & orchestra, Op. 20

Wieniawski:

Fantaisie brillante on themes from Gounod's Faust, Op. 20


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here

The music of Zygmunt Stojowski has yet to benefit from the renaissance enjoyed by other Polish composers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His violin concerto—enthusiastically received at its premiere—is here revivified alongside Wieniawski’s dazzling Fantaisie in volume 20 of our Romantic Violin Concerto series.

“Stojowski’s compatriot Bartłomiej Nizioł (who’s previously done sterling work exploring lesser-known Polish repertoire on the Dux label) performs [the concerto] with palpable affection and a lightness and sweetness of tone tempered with moments of astringency that prevent everything from becoming too saccharine.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 5th August 2016

“[Nizioł] has a seductively silky-smooth tone and a narrow vibrato, and plays with exactly the kind of lyrical, ecstatic intensity that Stojowski’s demanding Violin Concerto requires. He is partnered by Łukasz Borowicz who, as in his Hyperion piano concerto recordings with Jonathan Plowright, lends an explosive dynamic to proceedings” Gramophone Magazine, August 2016

“Bartłomiej Nizioł rises admirably to the challenges posed by these works with his ripe yet never over-succulent tone, tempered by focused vibrato and secure technique…Łukasz Borowicz has the BBC Scottish SO sounding at home on Polish soil” Classical Ear, September 2016 *****

“Nizol posseses an ideal silvery sound for this late-Romantic work, enhanced by gently, cushioned bow-strokes, ear-ringingly true intonation and a fast and narrow vibrato that gives his cantabile playing a captivating eloquence.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2016 *****

“A nice apportionment of showy dazzle, confidently ardent melody and staunch determination.” MusicWeb International, 28th July 2016

Presto Disc of the Week

5th August 2016

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Hyperion - The Romantic Violin Concerto - CDA68102

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The Romantic Piano Concerto 68 - Moszkowski

The Romantic Piano Concerto 68 - Moszkowski


Moszkowski:

Piano Concerto in B minor, Op. 3

Schulz-Evler:

Russian Rhapsody, Op. 14


Ludmil Angelov (piano)

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Vladimir Kiradjiev

The first recording of Moritz Moszkowski’s long-lost—and eagerly awaited—early Piano Concerto makes for a particularly important addition to the Romantic Piano Concerto series. The coupling is another rarity (and recorded premiere): the Russian Rhapsody by Adolf Schulz-Evler.

“[the Moszkowski] is given an unstintingly engaged and engaging performance by pianist, conductor, and the BBC Scottish SO…Angelov’s experience of Chopin serves him well, helping him make the most of writing that abounds in a sense of rhapsody and silvery filigree. Add to that an exuberant virtuosity and a penchant for spinning a good tune, and you have a worthwhile addition to the series” Gramophone Magazine, July 2016

“Ludmil Angelov achieves minor miracles by throwing everything he can technically and interpretatively at these works, as does Vladimir Kiradjiev, who secures admirably direct playing from the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra” Classical Ear, September 2016 *****

“Ludimol Angelov plays with enviable fluency and affection” International Piano, September 2016 ****

“Angelov dispatches the hugely taxing piano part with consummate virtuosity, and the orchestra respond with alert and strongly characterised playing under Vladimir Kirjadev…a very welcome addition to Hyperion’s invaluable Romantic Piano Concerto series” BBC Music Magazine, November 2016 *****

BBC Music Magazine

Concerto Choice - November 2016

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