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Medtner & Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos

Medtner & Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos


Medtner:

Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 50

Rachmaninov:

Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30


A typical release—in so far as there can ever be such a thing—from Marc-André Hamelin, combining a stimulating, unexpected coupling; brilliant new light shed on the familiar; and pianism of the very highest calibre. Not to be missed.

“…no pianist past or present understands Medtner's idiom better…Obviously in vastly superior sound, this is a recording which stands beside the composer's classic account.” Gramophone Magazine, April 2017

“Rachmaninov-lite [the Medtner] may be, but it is certainly worth investigating when played as well as this.” The Guardian, 22nd March 2017 ****

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Hyperion - CDA68145

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Dvorak: Symphonies Nos. 6 & 7 & Othello Overture

Dvorak: Symphonies Nos. 6 & 7 & Othello Overture


Dvorak:

Symphony No. 6 in D major, Op. 60

Symphony No. 7 in D minor, Op. 70

Othello Overture, Op. 93


Yannick Nezet-Seguin was Principal Guest Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra from 2008 to 2014 and has become one of the world’s most renowned conductors, currently holding leadership posts with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and Montreal’s Orchestre Metropolitain. In 2020 he will succeed James Levine as the third Music Director of the Metropolitan Opera, New York. The three works heard on this disc are taken from live concert recordings at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, and together offer a summary of Nezet-Seguin’s nine year relationship with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Yannick Nezet-Seguin made his debut with the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 2007 with Dvorak’s vibrant Sixth Symphony; this repeat performance from 2016 is coupled with Dvorak’s powerful and strikingly original overture to Othello.

“In these live performances, the melodies sing, the music-making is unexaggerated, the spirit is joyous” Financial Times, 17th March 2017

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LPO - LPO0095

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Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2 & Corelli Variations

Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2 & Corelli Variations


Rachmaninov:

Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Kirill Karabits

Variations on a theme of Corelli, Op. 42


Vanessa Benelli Mosell (piano)

Following the success of her first two albums, which established Vanessa Benelli Mosell as a successful classical artist (pupil of Stockhausen and devotee to the development of classical music), her third album with Decca focusses on mainstream repertoire.

Accompanied by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted by Kirill Karabits, this album presents Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2, considered one of the most popular pieces for piano. Featured in several films (including The Seven Year Itch), it appears very often in concert programmes worldwide.

The concerto is coupled with one of Rachmaninov’s most popular pieces for solo piano, Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42, which traditionally combines strong virtuosic playing with deep thinking.

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Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto & Lalo: Symphonie espagnole

Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto & Lalo: Symphonie espagnole


Lalo:

Symphonie espagnole, Op. 21

Omer Meir Wellber

Tchaikovsky:

Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35

Vasily Petrenko


These live concert recordings feature Grammy-Award winning violinist Augustin Hadelich. Establishing himself as one of the great violinists of his generation, he is consistently cited for his phenomonal technique and gorgeous tone.

The pairing of these pieces has been carefully considered; the influence of Lalo’s fresh and unassumingly simple approach can be heard in Tchaikovsky’s Concerto, and Hadelich brings out the range of emotions across both pieces.

Following Omer Meir Wellber’s acclaimed debut at Glyndebourne Festival Opera in May 2014 with Eugene Onegin, the London Philharmonic Orchestra invited him to make his Royal Festival Hall debut with them in April 2015, the concert from which this Lalo recording comes.

This release will add to Vasily Petrenko’s catalogue of Tchaikovsky recordings; his Manfred Symphony won the Gramophone Recording of the Year in 2009 and he also recorded the First, Second and Fifth Symphonies with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

These recordings are taken from live concert performances at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall on 17 April 2015 (Lalo) and 24 February 2016 (Tchaikovsky).

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LPO - LPO0094

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Stravinsky: Le sacre du Printemps & Petrushka

Stravinsky: Le sacre du Printemps & Petrushka


Stravinsky:

The Rite of Spring

1921 version

London Philharmonic Orchestra

Petrushka (1911 version)

FIRST INTERNATIONAL RELEASE ON CD

Thomas Rajna (piano)

New Philharmonia Orchestra


Stravinsky began work on Petrushka in the summer of 1910, shortly after the successful première of his first ballet, The Firebird. Like The Firebird, and The Rite of Spring which came later, Petrushka was written for Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. The choreographer was Mikhail Fokine, and the title role was danced by the mercurial Vaslav Nijinsky. Nijinsky was also involved with this production of Rite, but as the choreographer rather than dancer. The choreography, in keeping with the ballet’s subject matter and the composer’s use of dissonance and complex rhythms, made a complete break with tradition. Looking back on the tumultuous première, Stravinsky described the curtain as rising on ‘rows of knock-kneed Lolitas’. The first performance, which took place on 29 May 1913, was of course one of the most famous scandals in musical history.

Both of the Stravinsky ballet scores here recorded by Erich Leinsdorf in the 1970s were released on Decca’s then super-sonic Phase 4 imprint. Decca’s lurid cover for Petrushka caused a stir and is reproduced here on this Eloquence reissue – the first release on Decca CD. Thomas Rajna, solo pianist for the Petrushka recordings, has contributed his own reminiscences for this release.

“always interesting, sympathetic and never forced […] and an excellent contribution from Thomas Rajna at the piano” Gramophone Magazine, March 1971 (Petrushka)

“by no means inconsiderable as a performance, and often very clearly recorded” Gramophone Magazine, October 1975 (Le Sacre du printemps)

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Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 4

Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 4


Beethoven:

Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21

Recorded live at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, London, on 24 November 2004

Symphony No. 4 in B flat major, Op. 60

Recorded live at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, London, on 27 November 2004


This recording features former Principal Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Kurt Masur, who conducted more than 150 performances in London and internationally during his tenure (2000-07). Masur inaugurated the launch of the LPOs own Label in 2005 with live performances of Shostakovich’s Symphonies Nos. 1 and 5 (LPO0001).

Kurt Masur sadly passed away in December 2015; this captivating pair of concert recordings from 2004 pays tribute to his musical legacy: he conducted Beethoven with insight, cohesion, these concert performances conducted from memory.

When audiences heard Beethoven’s First Symphony, they were struck by something new in the air – there is no mistaking its Beethovenian energy and dash. Released for the first time on the Orchestra’s Label, Symphonies 1 and 4 contribute to the expanding collection of Beethoven works on the label; the most recent being Beethoven’s Fifth conducted by Tennstedt (LPO0087).

Often neglected between the more famous Third and Fifth, the Fourth Symphony is a joyous work which inspired many of Beethoven’s contemporaries, including Schumann and Berlioz.

It’s propelled with unstoppable momentum and buoyancy, after a searching opening perhaps inspired by Haydn’s Representation of Chaos.

These recordings are taken from live concert performances at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall on 24 and 27 November 2004.

“Commendably Masur observes the composer’s metronome markings – the speeds of the beats – but ignores the importance of flexibility within those speeds, what Beethoven also meant by “a tempo of feeling”.” Classical Ear, 9th February 2017

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LPO - LPO0093

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Kodály & Bartók: Orchestral Works

Kodály & Bartók: Orchestral Works


Bartók:

Dance Suite, BB 86, Sz. 77

Music for Strings, Percussion & Celesta, BB 114, Sz. 106

Kodály:

Háry János Suite

Variations on a Hungarian Folksong 'The Peacock'

William McAlpine (tenor)

London Philharmonic Choir

Psalmus hungaricus, Op. 13

William McAlpine (tenor)

London Philharmonic Choir

Dances of Galanta


Georg Solti studied piano with Bartók and although they never developed a close personal relationship, Solti was always in awe of the composer’s dedication and intensity. Bartók’s music featured regularly in Solti’s concert programs and he recorded the Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta and the Dance Suite again for Decca. This 1952 recording of the Dance Suite with the London Philharmonic Orchestra was one of his earliest orchestral discs and the conductor’s instinctive sense of rhythm is ever-pervasive. There are also some delightful touches of humour to be encountered in these recordings, such as those in Kodály’s Háry János Suite.

Kodály’s Psalmus Hungaricus was the first work to bring him international recognition, and it also brought him back into favour at home. It was composed to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the unification of the cities of Óbuda, Buda, and Pest to form modern-day Budapest. Solti revisited both the Peacock Variations and Psalmus Hungaricus 43 years after the present recording, in June 1997. This 1954 recording of Kodály’s choral masterpiece is performed in English.

“Orchestra and chorus shine in the Psalm […] Georg Solti is to be congratulated on two such vital readings” Gramophone Magazine, October 1954 (Psalmus Hungaricus, Peacock Variations)

“The finale goes with an exhilarating swagger, and the balance between the trumpets’ and horns’ imitative block chords is well maintainied” Gramophone Magazine, August 1955 (Kodály: Háry János)

Building a Library

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Australian Eloquence - ELQ4806599

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Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos

Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos


Mendelssohn:

Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64

Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. post.

first release on CD


It is common to refer to ‘the’ Mendelssohn Violin Concerto – the one in E minor, Op. 64 – but earlier in his career, Mendelssohn composed another, which was posthumously published. After falling into complete obscurity for a century, this score eventually found its way into the hands of Yehudi Menuhin, who published the first edition of the work in 1952, and is credited with its modern day revival.

Although noted for his fearless and thrilling performances of music by Paganini for Deutsche Grammophon, Salvatore Accardo, who celebrates his 75th birthday in October 2016, also recorded extensively for Philips in the 1970s and 80s. His repertoire ranged from Baroque music through to 19th and 20th concertos, including the complete music for violin and orchestra by Bruch, and concertos by Brahms and Sibelius. He coupled the two Mendelssohn concertos on a single LP which was recorded with Charles Dutoit for Philips in London in 1976.

“[Accardo] applies his characteristically lithe, fresh style here to the concertos of Mendelssohn … Accardo’s technique is secure and his playing, imbued with the classical spirit, undoubtedly gives pleasure” Gramophone Magazine, March 1977

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Beethoven: Symphony No. 4 & Violin Concerto

Beethoven: Symphony No. 4 & Violin Concerto


Beethoven:

Symphony No. 4 in B flat major, Op. 60

Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61

Mischa Elman (violin)


Georg Solti recorded the Beethoven Fourth three times – twice with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (1974, 1987) and in 1950 with the London Philharmonic. The LPO recording was among Solti’s earliest Decca recording sessions and was issued, first on 78rpm and immediately after on LP using Decca’s then revolutionary FFRR technology.

Fêted by the Victor Talking Machine Company in the early decades of the twentieth century, Mischa Elman was a considerable presence in the recording world in those years. The arrival of Jascha Heifetz in 1917 had a considerable impact on violin recordings in general, and public interest in Elman flagged. Victor was Elman’s company for more than 40 years, but in 1954 he decided to move to Decca for whom he recorded several concertos (something relatively absent from his Victor repertoire). For his recording of the Beethoven concerto he was paired with the young Solti, who allowed him due elasticity and freedom of interpretation. While there’s no pretending that by 1955 when the recording was made Elman was past his prime, it remains a fascinating account – a meeting of two very different minds, with dynamic extremes on Solti’s part and an instinctive nineteenth-century leaning towards portamento on Elman’s.

“many good qualities, and the recording is excellent” Gramophone Magazine (Violin Concerto)

“the flute tone is noticeably sweet […] Tonally and technically this is a wide-ranging record” Gramophone Magazine, May 1951 (Symphony No. 4)

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Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38

Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38


Sir Adrian Boult was a supreme interpreter of Elgar’s music, winning accolades and awards for performances and recordings. Boult championed his music throughout his conducting life following the composer’s prophetic words in a letter to Boult in 1920, ‘I feel that my reputation in the future is safe in your hands’.

Boult only made one recording of The Dream of Gerontius, in 1975, of which the Penguin Guide enthused, ‘Boult’s total dedication is matched by his powerful sense of drama…the spiritual feeling is intense throughout’ while The Gramophone Guide ended their review with ‘Boult directs with commendable energy and typical humanity. A document to be treasured.’

This DVD represents the only existing film of Boult conducting The Dream of Gerontius filmed in Canterbury Cathedral in 1968.

The performance features a stellar cast of soloists: Dame Janet Baker, a leading interpreter of The Angel in The Dream of Gerontius, who recorded the role twice, in 1964 in Sir John Barbirolli’s famous recording, and in 1986 under Sir Simon Rattle; John Shirley Quirk who, with Boult, recorded a definitive interpretation of Peter in The Kingdom and about whom Boult said” J.S.-Q. […] was perfection and I don’t think any of the old guard could surpass [him]”; Peter Pears, who recorded the work in 1972 under the direction of his close friend Benjamin Britten.

The film uses the original BBC master which is far superior to the poor copies which have been in circulation over the years.

This was the first classical music production filmed in colour, for which Brian Large, “an understanding musician as well as a brilliant producer” in Boult’s words, had secured eight out of the nine colour T.V. cameras existing in the UK at that time. This DVD also features a 60-minute documentary on Sir Adrian Boult as a bonus. This film was produced in 1989 by the BBC to celebrate Sir Adrian Boult’s 100th anniversary.

The booklet includes a note written by Andrew Neil, from the Elgar Society, as well as a long extract from Sir Adrian Boult’s biography in which Boult gave his extended insight on the filming. The booklet also includes the sung text in English.

DVD format: NTSC

Picture format: 4:3

Running time: 100 mins (feature); 60 mins (bonus)

Subtitles: None

Menu languages: English

Booklet languages: English

Region code: 0

Territory Restrictions: None

“[Pears] is, in a word, magnificent. Shirley-Quirk is marvellous, too, in both his roles, and Janet Baker, inhabiting the Angel as only she could, is in a league of her own...the TV sound is remarkably good for its time and the quality of the solo performances... makes this a must-see.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2016

“A very important DVD release for Elgar lovers and admirers of Sir Adrian Boult.” MusicWeb International, 11th January 2017

“Boult’s handling of the Prelude, and his masterly accompaniment – especially to Janet Baker’s radiant final benediction – is so beautiful, so magisterial in its intensity, that it feels as though the score is simply being opened before us, its truths unclouded by any merely human ‘interpretation’…the accompanying documentary is excellent: full of fascinating, moving insights into Boult as man and conductor…a beautifully devised portrait of a great musician” BBC Music Magazine, February 2017 ****

GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - December 2016

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

ica classics - ICAD5140

(DVD Video - 2 discs)

$28.00

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