Britten Sinfonia

Chamber Ensemble

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ConNotations

ConNotations


Berg:

Chamber Concerto for Piano and Violin with 13 Wind Instruments

Saint-Saëns:

Le carnaval des animaux

Shostakovich:

Piano Concerto No. 1 in C minor for piano, trumpet & strings, Op. 35


Mei Yi Foo (piano), Ashley Wass (piano), Bartosz Woroch (violin) & Philipp Hutter (trumpet)

Britten Sinfonia, Clement Power

Mei Yi Foo explores boundaries between music & cryptography on ConNotations, searching for hidden meanings between the dots and messages woven between the lines

Malaysian pianist Mei Yi is highly regarded for her work. with fellow outstanding musicians, and is an acclaimed concert performer. She currently teaches at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and is the recipient of BBC Music Magazine’s Best Newcomer Award. Mei Yi’s profits from sales of ConNotations will be donated to the Marine Conservation Society in the UK and Malaysia, to support their efforts in securing a future for our living seas, and to save the threatened marine wildlife before it is lost forever.

“The trio of concertos – each of which features piano plus another solo instrument – forms a surprisingly satisfying programme, with lighter, exuberant Shostakovich and Saint-Saens framing Berg’s darker introversions.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2017 ****

“Its centrepiece comprises an uncommonly perceptive account – concentrated, witty and affectionate by turns – of Berg's meaty 1925 Chamber Concerto with its sly thematic references to his friends Schoenberg and Webern. Shostakovich's sardonic First Piano Concerto (with trumpeter Philipp Hutter a stylish co-soloist) also enjoys a splendidly alert and vivacious outing” Classical Ear, 30th March 2017

“The thread running through this disc, brainchild of pianist Mei Yi Foo, is that all three works are hiding something behind the notes. The idea promises more intrigue than it delivers, yet the pieces still add up to an enjoyable programme...With trumpeter Philipp Hutter and the pleasingly lean-sounding Britten Sinfonia, Foo makes light work of the Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and Strings.” The Guardian, 9th March 2017 ****

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Music for Remembrance

Music for Remembrance


Duruflé:

Requiem, Op. 9

Roderick Williams (baritone), Christine Rice (mezzo-soprano)

Howells:

Take him, earth, for cherishing

Moore, P:

Three Prayers of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Tavener:

The peace that surpasseth understanding

Vaughan Williams:

Lord, Thou has been our refuge


This latest album from Westminster Abbey is a programme of memorial music composed in England and France in the shadow of two World Wars.

The main feature is Duruflé’s Requiem, one of the best-loved of all works of the twentieth century, and given an astoundingly beautiful performance here, enhanced by distinguished soloists Christine Rice and Roderick Williams.

The Requiem is many ways a paradoxical work, based on plainsong but with Durufle’s sensuous harmonies suffusing every note with feeling: ‘This Requiem is not an ethereal work which sings of detachment from human concerns’, he said. ‘It reflects, in the unchanging form of Christian prayer, the anguish of man faced with the mystery of his final end.’ It is a work of unimpeachable integrity, a miraculous synthesis of the old and the new.

Throughout the past century the Abbey has been a focus of national remembrance on Armistice Day, and ‘O God, our help in ages past’—the ‘great ceremonial hymn of the English nation’, quoted in Vaughan Williams’ Lord, thou has been our refuge—has been a constant and reassuring presence, from the Burial Service of the Unknown Warrior on 11 November 1920 to the Service commemorating the Passing of the World War One Generation on 11 November 2009. The anthem by John Tavener recorded here was composed for that service, and all the other English music has some special significance in this place: a statue of Dietrich Bonhoeffer stands above the west door of Westminster Abbey (one of the ten twentieth-century Christian martyrs installed in the niches there in 1998), while the ashes of Herbert Howells and Ralph Vaughan Williams are buried in the church where their music has contributed so much to daily services and great state occasions.

“The two soloists are excellent. Roderick Williams shows his usual sensitivity not just to the music but also to the text...The Westminster choir gives a fine account of the wonderful, eloquent Howells anthem... James O’Donnell’s excellent choir is on top form throughout this recital.” MusicWeb International, 7th November 2014

“Roderick Williams features widely in remembrance recordings this year...and here in Duruflé’s transcendent Requiem, his beautiful unforced baritone perfect for the mysterious Domine Jesu Christe, with the strings of the Britten Sinfonia adding an elegant sheen in the expansive acoustic of the abbey.” The Observer, 9th November 2014

“This is an exquisite performance of the Durufle Requiem...The playing of the Britten Sinfonia is superb, Robert Quinney's fluid, immensely colourful organ-playing a joy to behold and Roderick Williams a supremely compelling baritone soloist...O'Donnell moulds and shapes every moment with infinite care...as a beautiful listening experience it is in a class of its own.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2014

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Vaughan Williams: On Wenlock Edge & Ten Blake Songs

Vaughan Williams: On Wenlock Edge & Ten Blake Songs


Dove:

The End

Nicholas Daniel (cor anglais)

Britten Sinfonia (members), Jacqueline Shave

Vaughan Williams:

On Wenlock Edge

Britten Sinfonia (members), Huw Watkins (piano)

Ten Blake Songs

Nicholas Daniel (oboe)

Warlock:

The Curlew

Nicholas Daniel (cor anglais)

Britten Sinfonia (members), Jacqueline Shave


Mark Padmore (tenor)

Fresh from his triumph in the Glyndebourne 'Billy Budd', star tenor Mark Padmore is joined by members of Britten Sinfonia in 3 quintessentially British song-cycles: Ralph Vaughan Williams’ 'On Wenlock Edge', with pianist Huw Watkins; 'Ten Blake Songs' with oboist Nicholas Daniel; and Peter Warlock’s best-known work, 'The Curlew'. 'The End' by Jonathan Dove (a co-commission by Britten Sinfonia and Wigmore Hall) receives its world première recording here.

British composer Jonathan Dove (b. 1959) made the following remarks on the genesis of his new work, 'The End' (2012), with support from the 'Tenner for a Tenor' campaign.

"When I heard Mark Strand read his poem ‘The End’ to a small gathering of artists in Italy a few years ago, I was moved – and also felt immediately that it was a poem that could be sung. I hoped that one day I might have the chance to set it to music. I did not know exactly what the music would sound like, but I imagined a solo voice with several instruments.

Britten Sinfonia gave me the opportunity to make this wish come true, by inviting me to write something for Mark Padmore to sing, with instrumentation to match Warlock’s 'The Curlew'. String quartet with two solo wind instruments seemed the perfect combination to suggest the gentle rocking motion of the ship slipping into darkness, and perhaps hear birds suspended in flight."

“This is a reflective, beautifully delivered recital of English song much concerned with death, its nature well suited to this tenor’s mellifluously lyrical, emotionally intense music-making.” Sunday Times, 29th September 2013

“This is an extremely fine disc. Mark Padmore’s singing is technically beyond reproach and his eloquence is telling in all four works on the programme. At every turn he finds superb partners in the members of Britten Sinfonia...this new release is one of the finest discs of English song to have come my way in a long time.” MusicWeb International, 1st November 2013

“Dove's musical nightscape shifts slowly and slightly...The same vocal simplicity and white timbre that chafes so tellingly at the smugness of Blake's Innocence poems (aided there by exquisite solo oboe) also works well here for Padmore, never blurring the clarity of the composer's melodic architecture.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2013

“Edge, rather than lyrical elegance, is Mark Padmore's expressive strength, combined with his superb diction...I've never heard [the Blake Songs] come across so convincingly...Lavish praise too for the wonderful playing of the Britten Sinfonia...I shall be coming back to this.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2013 ****

“Many of Blake’s finest, most condensed verse utterances are here, Innocence and Experience nestling side by side: darkness is ever-present, as we move for instance from the Sunflower- and then to the comforting ‘Divine Image’. Ten Blake Songs is a bleak masterpiece and Padmore and Daniel are exceptional… This fine release earns plaudits on every front” International Record Review, November 2013

GGramophone Awards 2014

Finalist - Solo Vocal

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Tõnu Kõrvits: Kreek's Notebook

Tõnu Kõrvits: Kreek's Notebook

Spiritual Songs from the Baltic States


Kõrvits:

Kreegi vihik 'Kreek's Notebook'

Britten Sinfonia

The night is darkening round me

Kate Telfer (soprano)

Maskats:

Lacrimosa for choir, strings and organ

William Mason (organ)

Britten Sinfonia

Lugums naktij 'Prayer to the night'

Plakidis:

In memoriam

Fatamorgana 'Mirage'


Royal Holloway Choir, Rupert Gough

The Choir of Royal Holloway have proved themselves as inspirational performers of contemporary Baltic music through their previous recordings.

The main work on this fascinating album is based on Estonian folk hymns, an unusual variant of folk melodies, collected in the early twentieth century for the first time by Cyrillus Kreek, who was the Estonian equivalent of Bartók or Grainger. Most of these religious folk songs were originally eighteenth-century Lutheran hymns which have been passed across generations and embellished with elements of secular folk-singing. During the Soviet regime, the singing of these religious songs was forbidden and this cultural genre was all but forgotten. By the end of the twentieth century fresh light could be shone on these folk collections, and Tõnu Kõrvits (born 1969) was particularly struck by the fresh possibilities and newly discovered meanings of folk hymns. In writing Kreek’s Notebook Kõrvits pays homage to Cyrillus Kreek while presenting a contemporary view of folk hymns. Although there is a dramatic unity to this eight-movement work, there is much diversity in timbre and scoring. The effect is improvisatory in the creative ornamentation of the vocal lines, and suffused with dreamy textures that bring to mind the great tradition of Eastern European choral writing.

“This disc proclaims the excellence of British choral singing and the remarkable quality of contemporary choral music from the Baltic countries.” International Record Review, June 2013

“This is a programme packed with interesting music. Yet again Hyperion’s enterprise in issuing a disc like this shows us what fine choral music is to be heard in the Baltic States. The performances are out of the top drawer. The quality of the singing is consistently excellent” MusicWeb International, 17th September 2013

“Their championship of the music of the Baltic countries is a true feather in their cap, as this proves once again...Performances and recording are outstanding.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“More from the ever-renewing, never emptying, storehouse of Baltic song...this Baltic compilation is given gently sympathetic performances by the student singers of Royal Holloway College and the Britten Sinfonia under Rupert Gough.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2013 ****

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Britten: Serenade for tenor, horn & strings

Britten: Serenade for tenor, horn & strings


Britten:

Serenade for Tenor, Horn & Strings, Op. 31

Stephen Bell (horn)

Nocturne, Op. 60 for tenor, obbligato instruments and strings

Finzi:

Dies natalis, Op. 8


Mark Padmore (tenor)

Britten Sinfonia, Jacqueline Shave (director)

Celebrated tenor Mark Padmore joins the Britten Sinfonia in some of the most beautiful English music for voice and orchestra. The centrepiece is Britten's magical evocation of twilight and nightfall, the 'Serenade' (with Stephen Bell, horn). In Gerald Finzi's war-time cycle 'Dies natalis', the ecstatic mood reflects a child's wide-eyed wonder at the world. Britten's poignant 'Nocturne' completes the programme.

“Padmore proves to be a more convincing interpreter of Finzi than he is of Britten...there remains something rather neutral and restrained about his approach at moments when the music would really benefit from a firmer grip. In Dies Natalis, though, he shows that grip – it's a wonderfully muscular performance, beautifully judged and shaded, set off by suitably rapturous string playing.” The Guardian, 3rd May 2012 ***

“so tender and piercing that you really do seem to be listening to these song cycles anew...Padmore’s tenor audibly sports some family resemblances [to Pears], though he’s less precious than Pears, with a conversational ease when singing pianissimo never mastered by Britten’s love and muse. These are intensely sensitive and poetic readings, strengthened further by Stephen Bell’s clean and lyrical horn” The Times, 4th May 2012 *****

“It was high time Mark Padmore, one of our most thoughtful tenors, set down his interpretation of the “Serenade” – softer-grained than we might have expected from a singer of such probing spirit and dramatic antennae, and softer-edged than the orchestral accompaniment from the Britten Sinfonia, whose horn player, Stephen Bell, proves a robust soloist.” Financial Times, 12th May 2012 ***

“the sense of the poems across with extra immediacy, as if Padmore has read the texts many times over before fitting them to the music. There is much beauty - not perhaps in the purely vocal sense...but in the marriage of words and music...Highly recommended.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2012

“[Padmore's] not found wanting in the “Nocturne for tenor, seven obbligato instruments & strings”, in which he ably negotiates Shelley's reverie, Wordsworth's melodrama and Tennyson's “thunders of the upper deep”; the “Serenade for tenor, horn & strings” is equally impressive...“Dies Natalis”, however, offers too stark a contrast to the otherwise elegaic tone.” The Independent, 19th May 2012

“The performance of Nocturne is the highpoint: a wide-eyed, variegated account from singer, obbligato instrumentalists and orchestra alike.” classicalsource.com

“Apart from the sheer beauty of his timbre, Padmore and his sympathetic accompanists have the full measure of Britten’s genius, and the readings are unlikely to be bettered for years to come.” Cd Choice

“Padmore's singing is very loving indeed, but in places I can't help feeling that it's a case of 'less is more'. The Britten Sinfonia and instrumental soloists are admirably attuned to Padmore's approach...Padmore is more successful in the exquisite Dies Natalis, where a more extrovert approach really pays off.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2012 ***/****

“Deeply intense, questing performance of two of Britten's great orchestral song-cycles, matched by the players with whom Padmore has rehearsed, workshopped and toured these works extensively. The Finzi is much more than just a filler...this is the masterly performance is deserves.” Classical Music, 5th May 2012 ****

“Padmore’s new recording is terrific - his voice is expressive, beautiful and terrifying by turns...Bell’s performance is spectacular...Padmore sings with such sweetness that you’ll convince yourself that Finzi was an underrated genius.” The Arts Desk, 16th June 2012

“Peerless tenor extends the Peter Pears legacy into a new century.” New Zealand Herald, August 2012

“He sings with less of the honeyed beauty that he is famous for and more incisive bite, which works for some songs, such as the Dirge, but not so well for others, such as the opening Pastoral. However, this does have the advantage of lending his word-painting that extra edge...Both playing and singing are at their most alluring in the concluding Keats Sonnet, seductive and beautiful with a hint of danger, leading wonderfully into the softly dying horn epilogue.” MusicWeb International, August 2012

“Mark Padmore brings a sense of excitement, but also of serenity, to the music, accompanied by the Britten Sinfonia.” David Smith, Presto Classical, October 2014

GGramophone Awards 2012

Finalist - Solo Vocal

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Eriks Ešenvalds: Passion & Resurrection

Eriks Ešenvalds: Passion & Resurrection

& other choral music


Ešenvalds:

Passion and Resurrection

Evening

Night Prayer: Mistress of night watching down on me

A Drop in the Ocean

Legend of the walled-in woman: Atje te ura në lumë 'There at the bridge o'er the river'

Long Road: I love you night and day


‘Rarely before have I sat in a concert hall and heard a new work that sounded so fresh yet so familiar … Ešenvalds Passion and Resurrection is surely set to become a classic, a position Hyperion’s forthcoming CD release of the work should consolidate’ (On an Overgrown Path).

The live performance last year of this major and substantial work by the young Latvian composer Ešenvalds thrilled critics and audiences alike. As a new liturgical work that looks set to enter the repertoire it is comparable to Arvo Pärt’s Passio.

Eschewing the single narrative perspective that characterizes the great Passion settings of the past, the composer has assembled an interlocking mosaic of texts from the gospels, from Byzantine and Roman liturgies, and from the Old Testament.

Stephen Layton’s commitment to new Baltic music is well-known and he has a deep understanding of the musical language of the area – reflected by performances of great integrity and passion. This recording is particularly splendid, featuring not only the matchless Polyphony and Britten Sinfonia but also Carolyn Sampson, acclaimed for her performances of early music on Hyperion but heard here to dazzling effect, crowning the performance with her extraordinary singing.

“Within seconds I knew I was going to adore this disc...everything here has in common a wonderful sincerity of expression and a shimmering sense of colour...If the music wasn't so utterly gorgeous, I would happily devote several hundred words to praising Stephen Layton for these totally absorbing performances.” International Record Review, March 2011

“The star is soprano Carolyn Sampson, whose rich timbre and effortless ascents into the stratosphere crown this splendid performance.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2011

“Ešenvalds responds to the purpose of the words he sets, occupying similar choral territory to the likes of Whitacre and Shchedrin, character rather than ego dominating. Carolyn Sampson is the featured guest on the title piece and sings superbly, but there is also very fine work by soloists from within Polyphony, particularly the sopranos...Polyphony typically balances beauty of timbre with precise articulation and empathy with the texts” BBC Music Magazine, May 2011 ****

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Handel: Messiah

Handel: Messiah


Allan Clayton (tenor), Andrew Foster-Williams (bass), Iestyn Davies (countertenor) & Julia Doyle (soprano)

Polyphony & Britten Sinfonia, Stephen Layton

2CDs for the price of 1

‘No-one, but no-one performs Messiah better every year than the choir Polyphony under the conductor Stephen Layton’ (Evening Standard)

Polyphony and Stephen Layton’s live Messiah at St John’s Smith Square has become one of the highlights of the musical season. The joyful sincerity and urgent brilliance of the performers has brought the familiar story to life again and again. Now this wonderful experience is available on disc, recorded in 2008 for a new release that will surely prove a strong competitor in a necessarily crowded market. Polyphony is joined by the Britten Sinfonia and a quartet of magnificent young soloists – all variously acclaimed as the premier Handel singers of the new generation.

“…underpinned by the incisive modern instruments of Britten Sinfonia, the new release has both a fine sense of style and is full of refreshing insights… Tempos - after a slightly low-key start - are well judged, and the choir, the odd momentary hint of strain aside, sings with an effortless control and well-modulated fluency that takes wing when gutsiness is added to the mix.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2009

“…there is plenty of music-making here that has the lightness, textures and vocabulary of period style, but there is also the spiritual grandeur (and interventionist treatment of the score) of the great Northern choral society tradition. Julia Doyle is a charismatic Angel/narrator... and her embellishment recapitulation of the line "I know that my Redeemer liveth" is spine-tingling. Andrew Foster-Williams's singing is marvellous... Iestyn Davies's... ornamentation in "But who may abide" is masterful for its stylish vocabulary and expressive wisdom... Layton's affection for the oratorio is frequently discernible, not least in the technical and communicative qualities of Polyphony's exceptional singing of the choruses.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2009

“The 16 strings of Britten Sinfonia make the most of Handel’s wonderfully varied accompaniments (their Why do the nations is hair-raising), the 31-strong Polyphony are excellent... and Layton’s direction is vivid and masterly.” Sunday Times, 20th December 2009 ****

Hyperion - CDA67800

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Lukaszewski: Via Crucis

Lukaszewski: Via Crucis


Stephen Layton’s first disc of Lukaszewski’s choral works (CDA67639, The Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge) was widely praised by listeners entranced by the composer’s unique yet accessible musical language. For this new release Layton and Polyphony, together with the Britten Sinfonia and a team of world-class soloists, have taken on a major work which is destined to become a modern classic in the vein of Taverner’s The Veil of the Temple or Pärt’s St John Passion. Via Crucis is a dramatization of the Stations of the Cross, a musical reading of this most solemn journey that evolves through its 55-minutes in an arc of culminatory ritual power.

“Thanks principally to Stephen Layton's advocacy, Pawel Lukaszewski's reputation is growing rapidly, and rightly so. All the performers evince an emotional commitment to the content as well as to accurate technical realisation of the music. The purity of sound achieved by Polyphony's sopranos and countertenor Iestyn Davies is notable, so too is Roger Allam's sonorous narration.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2009 *****

“This string of moments, by turns bright and oppressively dark, dramatic and reflective, receives a performance of the very deepest conviction by Polyphony and the Britten Sinfonia under Stephen Layton, and the recorded sound is wonderful.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2009

“This devotional piece, which makes a noble addition to the music of Passiontide, could be seen as a reflection on Pawel Lukaszewski's native Poland and Catholicism's triumph over communism. Whatever its genesis, there is no denying the beauty of the choral writing and the sincerity of faith which lies behind it. Built around the Stations of the Cross, jewel-like recurring refrains, exquisitely sung by Polyphony, give the whole work a ritual power of startling originality.” The Observer, 5th April 2009

“Polyphony and The Britten Sinfonia’s performance of Lukaszewski’s Via Crucis sometimes achieves such a frightening intensity that, if you were to play it in a darkened room, alone, it would almost be too emotionally overwhelming...one can’t help but feel that this is a work due to receive a great many performances, and a recording to be used as a benchmark” Charlotte Gardner, bbc.co.uk, 8th April 2009

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Poulenc - Gloria and Motets

Poulenc - Gloria and Motets


Poulenc:

Gloria

Salve Regina

Quatre motets pour un temps de pénitence

Quatre motets pour le temps de Noël

Exultate Deo


Stephen Layton and Polyphony continue to blaze a trail as great interpreters and dazzling performers of a wide range of choral music. Their recent disc of Bruckner’s Mass in E minor and motets was acclaimed as a benchmark recording. For their latest Hyperion disc they turn to some of the most bewitching and unusual, yet well-loved, choral works of the twentieth century.

Poulenc’s choral music is a deep expression both of his faith and of his unique musical language. In the various motets, the music responds to the composer’s studies of Bach, Monteverdi, Palestrina and Gabrieli, but is always stylistically progressive. Prominently featured are Poulenc’s distinctive and often ingenious chord progressions. Each motet has its own delightfully etched personality.

Poulenc’s Gloria is one of his most enduringly appealing works. In some ways straightforwardly pious, it is also tinged with mischievous irreverence and a sense of rollocking enjoyment. ‘When I wrote this piece’, Poulenc famously recalled, ‘I had in mind those frescoes by Gozzoli where the angels stick out their tongues; and also some serious Benedictine monks I had once seen revelling in a game of football.’ This recording by the Britten Sinfonia, The Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge, Polyphony and the soprano soloist Susan Gritton under Stephen Layton brings out all these aspects in a classic performance.

“From the very outset of the Gloria its clear that this is a performance of real distinction. …the scintillating choral entry, the basses starting the ball rolling with the kind of pent-up energy which you just know is going to explode in the most spectacular way. In the final chorus of the Gloria, after the boisterous start, we have a moment of profound sanctity and another, crowned with incredible delicacy by Susan Gritton, of mouth-watering enchantment.” Gramophone Magazine, April 2008

“Stephen Layton's tight control of his forces, both choral and orchestral, lends impeccable ensemble and heart-thumping excitement - has the opening tutti ever had such punch? Soprano Susan Gritton is superb, too, in her committed, soaring performances. The combined choirs of Trinity College, Cambridge and pro group Polyphony are astounding as a virtuoso choral unit...” BBC Music Magazine, April 2008 *****

“Poulenc’s riotously wild, spiky and humorous Gloria is given a marvellously fresh interpretation here by Polyphony … but perhaps the real interest in this disc lies in the more unfamiliar motets. Each is an exquisite example of Poulenc’s daring choral writing, handled here by Polyphony with the same subtlety and skill they brought to their Bruckner Hyperion disc last year” The Observer

“From the very outset of the Gloria it's clear that this is a performance of real distinction. The gloriously pompous opening orchestral fanfare has a swagger and a self-satisfied strut which is one of those rare moments on disc where you would wish it were tracked separately so that you could just play it over and over again. But to do that would miss the scintillating choral entry, the basses starting the ball rolling with the kind of pent-up energy which you just know is going to explode in the most spectacular way. Other recordings have a pleasant, smiley quality here; Stephen Layton's crew has an almost piratical swagger, buoyantly breasting Poulenc's turbulent waves of barely restrained exuberance.
The 38 voices of Polyphony are augmented by 31 from Trinity College, Cambridge, while an unusually hefty contingent of orchestral players makes up the Britten Sinfonia on the disc. What results is not only music-making of immense power and vibrancy – take the riveting declamation 'Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris', hardly subtle or even particularly refined (the men shout and the brass blares) but unbelievably spine-tingling – but also an ability, brilliantly directed by Layton, to capture Poulenc's 'half hooligan, half monk' musical persona (in Claude Rostand's oft-quoted aphorism). Thus, in the final chorus of the Gloria, after the boisterous start, we have a moment of profound sanctity and another, crowned with incredible delicacy by Susan Gritton, of mouth-watering enchantment.
Not everything is quite so enticing: Gritton wallows a little too much perhaps in the 'Domine Deus', mischievously abetted by Layton's almost kitsch romanticism. But it is the vivid sense of unfettered joy in the Gloria and the matchless intensity of feeling revealed in the motets that make this such a gloriously distinguished disc.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

GGramophone Awards 2008

Finalist - Choral

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - April 2008

Hyperion - CDA67623

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$14.50

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Hartmann - Concerto funebre

Hartmann - Concerto funebre


Hartmann, K:

Concerto Funèbre for violin & string orchestra

Suite No. 1 for solo violin

Suite No. 2 for solo violin

Sonata No. 1 for solo violin (1927)

Sonata No. 2 for solo violin (1927)


Making her recording debut for Hyperion in this disc of important repertoire is the spectacular young Russian violinist Alina Ibragimova (b1985). Alina’s many concert appearances throughout Europe have earned her the highest praise, and, as Richard Morrison wrote in The Times, she is ‘destined to be a force in the classical music firmament for decades to come … you feel that you are getting the music straight from the composer’s quill’.

“She is Russian, 23, and a scorchingly good violinist. This is her CD recital debut; always a testing occasion, but especially for young violinists. What repertoire should be chosen? … Ibragimova has chosen the third route, towards serious and neglected repertory … Hartmann had his youthful iconoclasms, but the agony of the Second World War brought out the tragic artist in him … [Concerto funebre] To the adagio section she brings passion without mawkishness; and the control wielded at high altitudes is phenomenal … Ibragimova is marvellously sturdy and exact, especially when making perilous leaps from exposed places. And she plays with such commitment and feeling … as for her next disc, the doors are wide open. But whatever Ibragimova plays, it’ll be worth hearing” The Times

“Crisply and incisively argued … musicianship of the highest order” International Record Review

“Hard on the heels of Orfeo's marvellous mid-price issue of Schneiderhan's gripping performance of the Concerto funebre, Ibragimova's fiercely clear-eyed account - alive to the music's expressive demands as well as its dynamic markings (some of which Schneiderhan and Gertler are less scrupulous with) - faces stiff competition but need not fear comparison with any of the dozen or so rival accounts. Her technique is formidable to say the least...” Gramophone Magazine, October 2007

“…the Concerto funebre for violin and strings has established itself as Karl Amadeus Hartmann's most familiar work…the way in which the Britten Sinfonia support and enfold their young soloist's beautifully nuanced and textured playing is a model of close-knit ensemble playing, and the natural, detailed sound picture captures all of that give and take.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2007 ****

“It is such an obvious idea to combine Hartmann's Concerto funebre (1939, rev 1959) with the four unaccompanied works from 1927 that it's surprising that no company has thought of it before now. The Suites and Sonatas are not well known, not even being performed until the mid-1980s. Hartmann composed them while still a student with his mature style some years away, yet their muscularity, contrapuntal and harmonic élan and the sense of self-belief they exude show them to be products of a for- midable, free-thinking creator. Ibragimova proves an ideal exponent, her tempi free and elastic (and mostly quite quick). Her fluency and flexibility pay great dividends time and again, as in the First Suite's central Rondo or concluding Ciaconna or the Second Suite's second span, Fliessend. Hyperion's sound-picture is natural.
Ibragimova's fiercely clear-eyed account of the Concerto funebre– alive to the music's expressive demands as well as its dynamic markings – faces stiff competition but need not fear comparison with any of the dozen or so rival accounts. Her technique is formidable to say the least and if marginal preferance is for Isabelle Faust (Harmonia Mundi), Ibragimova is on her shoulder, although Hyperion's couplings and recording quality, to say nothing of the excellent Britten Sinfonia, deserve a share in the plaudits. Recommended.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2007

Hyperion - CDA67547

(CD)

$14.50

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