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Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade & Borodin: Polovtsian Dances

Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade & Borodin: Polovtsian Dances


Borodin:

Prince Igor: Polovtsian Dances

London Philharmonic Choir & London Philharmonic Orchestra

Rimsky Korsakov:

Scheherazade, Op. 35

Concertgebouw Orchestra


For the first century of its history, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam had only four principal conductors, and it was the second and fourth, Willem Mengelberg and Bernard Haitink, who enjoyed a truly international reputation.

Previous issues on Eloquence from Haydn (476 8483) to Debussy (4646362) have shed light on the recordings made with the Concertgebouw by the third of its directors, Eduard van Beinum. With him the orchestra made many recordings for Decca which are being restored to the catalogue and uncovering the particular interpretative gifts identified by Classical Source: ‘With Van Beinum there is no artifice, just wholesome regard for the music. His is an intelligent approach to the music he plays through scrupulous attention to detail.’

Speaking of a recording made in July 1956 for Philips of Scheherezade, the four-movement tone poem in which Rimsky-Korsakov demonstrated his supreme gifts as an orchestrator, Classical Source called it ‘a superbly musical account, blessedly free of crass mannerisms and cheap vulgarities – with power and sensitivity in equal measure’. Particular praise was accorded on all sides to the solo part of the story-teller Scheherezade herself: ‘really beautiful solos by the Concertgebouw concertmaster of the day, Jan Damen’, noted Jay Nordlinger in the National Review.

This is among the fleetest accounts of Scheherezade on record, and Van Beinum’s control of line even at the swiftest of tempi is also a distinguishing feature of the Polovtsian Dances from Borodin’s unfinished magnum opus, Prince Igor. These were recorded with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus (singing in English) several years earlier.

“The orchestral playing in this issue of these vivid dances is positively brilliant – the whirling introductory dance is quite breathtaking.” Gramophone Magazine, November 1950 (Polovtsian Dances)

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Rachmaninov: The Isle of the Dead & Symphonic Dances

Rachmaninov: The Isle of the Dead & Symphonic Dances


Rachmaninov:

The Isle of the Dead - Symphonic Poem, Op. 29

Symphonic Dances, Op. 45


Vladimir Jurowski is probably the most exciting of the younger generation of conductors. He first gained international attention in 1996 at the Wexford Festival conducting Meyerbeer’s L’étoile du nord, (subsequently released on Naxos). Jurowski has gone on to become Music Director of Glyndebourne Opera and in 2003 was appointed Principal Guest conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra.Russian repertoire, for Jurwoski, is particularly close to his heart and here delivers fantastic interpretations of these cornerstone orchestral works. Exceptional dynamic control married with exactly the right sense of foreboding distinguished this Isle, ...Vladimir Jurowski is a potent weapon in the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s armoury, Daily Telegraph

‘…the performance of Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances was quite simply superb… The London Philharmonic Orchestra and Vladimir Jurowski are a winning combination.’ Guardian

Jurowski on the LPO’s Label: ‘It gives us the opportunity to release recordings which capture the energy and adrenaline of a live performance which is so often missing from studio recordings. It is only performances that have something very exciting and unique musically and artistically which will be selected for release’.

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Berlioz: Béatrice et Bénédict

Berlioz: Béatrice et Bénédict


Stéphanie d’Oustrac (Béatrice), Paul Appleby (Bénédict), Philippe Sly (Claudio), Sophie Karthäuser (Hero), Lionel Lhote (Somarone), Frédéric Caton (Don Pedro) & Katarina Bradić (Ursule)

London Philharmonic Orchestra & The Glyndebourne Chorus, Antonello Manacorda, Laurent Pelly (director)

Through the eye of French director Laurent Pelly this expression of Berlioz’s undying admiration for the Bard — his adaptation of Much Ado about Nothing as an opéra comique — becomes ‘an elegant treatise on love and music designed in shades of grey with 50s-era costumes’ (Sunday Express ????). Housed by designer Barbara de Limburg in a series of oversized boxes, it’s ‘terribly chic, terribly pretty’ (The Spectator). Soaring over the ‘warmly graceful playing of the London Philharmonic’, Paul Appleby sings ‘attractively’ as Bénédict and Stéphanie d’Oustrac ‘makes a marvellously wiry and fiery Béatrice, singing with charm and acting with gusto’ (The Telegraph).

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/JP/KO

Running time: 129 minutes

Sound format: LPCM & DTS 5.1 (DVD)

“I loved everything about Laurent Pelly’s elegantly monochrome production of Berlioz’s rom-com treatment of Much Ado About Nothing when I saw it in the cinema broadcast from Glyndebourne last summer, and it works just as beautifully on the small screen. Stephanie d’Oustrac’s chic, gamine Béatrice and Paul Appleby’s golden-toned Bénédict exude charm, and the drunken revels which open Act Two are a slapstick delight.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, June 2017

“This is Pellyland, a deeply satisfying comic world with its own style conjured up for Glyndebourne by one of the most assured opera directors at work today...The LPO rise magnificently to the challenge of Berlioz's vibrant orchestration and daring harmonies...d'Oustrac is a perfect Béatrice, a comic actress with impeccable timing who relishes every word...Appleby's Bénédict is much more than the bluff soldier.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2017 *****

BBC Music Magazine

Opera Choice - September 2017

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Berlioz: Béatrice et Bénédict

Berlioz: Béatrice et Bénédict


Stéphanie d’Oustrac (Béatrice), Paul Appleby (Bénédict), Philippe Sly (Claudio), Sophie Karthäuser (Hero), Lionel Lhote (Somarone), Frédéric Caton (Don Pedro) & Katarina Bradić (Ursule)

London Philharmonic Orchestra & The Glyndebourne Chorus, Antonello Manacorda, Laurent Pelly (director)

Through the eye of French director Laurent Pelly this expression of Berlioz’s undying admiration for the Bard — his adaptation of Much Ado about Nothing as an opéra comique — becomes ‘an elegant treatise on love and music designed in shades of grey with 50s-era costumes’ (Sunday Express ????). Housed by designer Barbara de Limburg in a series of oversized boxes, it’s ‘terribly chic, terribly pretty’ (The Spectator). Soaring over the ‘warmly graceful playing of the London Philharmonic’, Paul Appleby sings ‘attractively’ as Bénédict and Stéphanie d’Oustrac ‘makes a marvellously wiry and fiery Béatrice, singing with charm and acting with gusto’ (The Telegraph).

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/JP/KO

Running time: 129 minutes

Sound format: DTS HD Master Audio (Blu-ray)

“I loved everything about Laurent Pelly’s elegantly monochrome production of Berlioz’s rom-com treatment of Much Ado About Nothing when I saw it in the cinema broadcast from Glyndebourne last summer, and it works just as beautifully on the small screen. Stephanie d’Oustrac’s chic, gamine Béatrice and Paul Appleby’s golden-toned Bénédict exude charm, and the drunken revels which open Act Two are a slapstick delight.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, June 2017

“This is Pellyland, a deeply satisfying comic world with its own style conjured up for Glyndebourne by one of the most assured opera directors at work today...The LPO rise magnificently to the challenge of Berlioz's vibrant orchestration and daring harmonies...d'Oustac is a perfect Béatrice, a comic actress with impeccable timing who relishes every word...Appleby's Bénédict is much more than the bluff soldier.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2017 *****

BBC Music Magazine

Opera Choice - September 2017

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Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia

Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia


Danielle de Niese (Rosina), Alessandro Corbelli (Dr Bartolo), Björn Bürger (Figaro), Taylor Stayton (Count Almaviva), Christophoros Stamboglis (Basilio) & Janis Kelly (Berta)

London Philharmonic Orchestra & The Glyndebourne Chorus, Enrique Mazzola (conductor) & Annabel Arden (director)

The ‘sheer visual sophistication’ of Annabel Arden’s Barbiere serves ‘a triumphant celebration of Rossini’s musical genius’, featuring de Niese’s ‘powerfully sung’ Rosina, Bürger’s ‘gale-force’ Figaro and Stayton’s ‘pure and mellifluous’ Almaviva – a leading trio ‘musically and dramatically beyond compare’ (The Independent ★★★★★). Contributing to the ‘ensemble precision’, the rest of the cast includes a ‘scene-stealing’ Berta in Kelly, a ‘suavely unctuous’ Basilio from Stamboglis and Corbelli’s Bartolo, ‘an object lesson in comic understatement’ (The Guardian). With Enrique Mazzola at the helm of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, ‘the score bubbles along on a Puckish current of merry mischief’ (The Telegraph).

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/JP/KO

Running time: 172 minutes

Sound format: Dolby Stereo, Dolby Surround (DVD)

“High-flying American tenor Taylor Stayton proves vocally agile and dramatically vital as Count Almaviva, with Danielle de Niese an entrancing Rosina…as for Alessandro Corbelli’s Bartolo, his seriousness of comic approach and sheer expertise as a buffo performer place him in the very top league. Björn Bürger is quite rightly at the centre of the action as Figaro and his splendid baritone a major asset” BBC Music Magazine, September 2017 ****

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Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia

Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia


Danielle de Niese (Rosina), Alessandro Corbelli (Dr Bartolo), Björn Bürger (Figaro), Taylor Stayton (Count Almaviva), Christophoros Stamboglis (Basilio) & Janis Kelly (Berta)

London Philharmonic Orchestra & The Glyndebourne Chorus, Enrique Mazzola (conductor) & Annabel Arden (director)

The ‘sheer visual sophistication’ of Annabel Arden’s Barbiere serves ‘a triumphant celebration of Rossini’s musical genius’, featuring de Niese’s ‘powerfully sung’ Rosina, Bürger’s ‘gale-force’ Figaro and Stayton’s ‘pure and mellifluous’ Almaviva – a leading trio ‘musically and dramatically beyond compare’ (The Independent ★★★★★). Contributing to the ‘ensemble precision’, the rest of the cast includes a ‘scene-stealing’ Berta in Kelly, a ‘suavely unctuous’ Basilio from Stamboglis and Corbelli’s Bartolo, ‘an object lesson in comic understatement’ (The Guardian). With Enrique Mazzola at the helm of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, ‘the score bubbles along on a Puckish current of merry mischief’ (The Telegraph).

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/JP/KO

Running time: 172 minutes

Sound format: LPCM & DTS HD Master Audio (Blu-ray)

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Rachmaninov & Khachaturian: Piano Concertos

Rachmaninov & Khachaturian: Piano Concertos


Khachaturian:

Piano Concerto in D flat major

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos

Rachmaninov:

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

London Symphony Orchestra, André Previn


Although Alicia de Larrocha was justly crowned in her own lifetime as the Queen of Spanish piano music, the larger-scale Romantic concertos were also within her repertoire during the first half of her long career, until her finger-span could not accommodate the outsize hand-stretches required by Rachmaninov’s music in particular. To such works as Eloquence has reissued in a series devoted to her Decca recordings (see www.eloquenceclassics.com), Larrocha brought the same articulate clarity, palette of colours, rhythmic buoyancy and depth of expression that distinguished her recordings of Albéniz and Granados. As Raymond Tuttle remarks in the booklet-note appreciation of de Larrocha’s art, ‘these recordings, made during her glory days, remind us once again of her versatility and how completely she identifies with this music’.

Along with Brahms’s Second, the Third Concerto of Rachmaninov is the most arduous and demanding within the central repertoire, both on account of sheer length and the torrents of notes with which the concerto’s passion is poured out. While fully in command of such passages as the famously taxing first-movement cadenza, however, Larrocha unerringly locates the more playful side of the concerto as well as giving the slow movement a performance of especial, limpid grace. In this she is aided by insightful accompaniment from the London Symphony Orchestra and André Previn, who became prized as Rachmaninov interpreters during the 1970s through celebrated accounts of the symphonies and the concertos (with Ashkenazy).

As the critic Felix Aprahamian once observed, ‘Alicia de Larrocha never puts a finger wrong’: true no less in the more unfamiliar territory of the concerto by Aram Khachaturian, which enjoyed decades of popularity after its composition in 1936 before the composer’s Armenian-tinged, cinematically conceived Romantic idiom fell out of fashion. At the climax of the impassioned slow movement, its sweeping melody is played on both piano and flexatone, a musical saw which produces unearthly glissandi, somewhat like an ondes martenot.

“The slow movement of the Piano Concerto as interpreted by a Spanish pianist and a Spanish conductor sounds evocatively like Falla and the finale is also infectiously jaunty.” Penguin Guide, 1996 (Khachaturian)

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Elgar Rediscovered: An Anthology of Forgotten Recordings

Elgar Rediscovered: An Anthology of Forgotten Recordings


Elgar:

Elegy for strings, Op. 58

Sonatina

May Grafton (piano)

Serenade, Op. 73 No. 2

La Capricieuse, Op. 17

Coronation March, Op. 65

Coronation Ode, Op. 44: Crown the King

The Dance (No. 1 from Scenes from the Bavarian Highlands, Op. 27)

Lullaby (No. 3 from Scenes from the Bavarian Highlands, Op. 27)

The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38, Part I: Kyrie eleison

Fringes of the Fleet No. 1. The Lowestoft Boat

Fringes of the Fleet No. 2. Fate's Discourtesy

The Pipes of Pan

Sea Pictures, Op. 37 - Where Corals Lie

Violin Concerto in B Minor, Op. 61 (abridged version)

Albert Sammons (violin)

Salut d'amour, Op. 12

Albert Sammons (violin)


May Grafton (narrator & piano), Alfredo Campoli (violin), Harold Pedlar (piano), Stanley Roper (organ), Baker (piano), Fred Taylor (baritone), Frederic Austin (baritone), Maartje Offers (contralto), Albert Sammons (violin), Gerald Moore (piano)

BBC Symphony Orchestra, Alfredo Campoli & His Salon Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, The Imperial Bandsmen, Sheffield Cathedral Choir, Leeds Cathedral Choir, Edward Elgar, Landon Ronald, Henry Coward, John Barbirolli, Henry Wood

We are proud to issue a CD of Elgar recordings including the first ever release of Elgar’s April 1933 recording of his Elegy Op. 58 with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. In August 1933 Elgar recorded the work for a second time with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and it was this recording that was released shortly after Elgar’s death in 1934. In 2015 a test pressing of the earlier recording was discovered and is now being released for the first time. There is no doubt that this recording has more energy with a greater sense of ‘line’ and ebb-and-flow than the later performance and its neglect by Elgar and HMV is something of a mystery. In addition the CD contains a recording of the composer’s Sonatina played by its dedicatee, Elgar’s niece May Grafton. Privately recorded in 1958 at her home by the Elgar biographer, Jerrold Northrop Moore, this is an enchanting reminder of a close relationship that flourished particularly when Miss Grafton acted as Elgar’s secretary. The great violinist Albert Sammons performed the Elgar concerto with the composer over many years. However, they were each contracted to different record labels so in 1929 Sammons recorded the concerto complete with the New Queen’s Hall Orchestra conducted by Sir Henry Wood. Sixteen years earlier, in October 1916, Sammons and Wood made the first recording of the concerto in a version cut by Wood to fit on four sides of 78 rpm discs which Columbia released at the end of 1916. This recording has not been reproduced in any other form since its release in 1916, until now. Sammons’s masterly technique is also displayed in his final Elgar recording — Salut d’amour which concludes this CD but there are several other treasures on the same disc. SOMM is now filling in the gaps with recordings which have not been heard since their original release.

“Copiously detailed presentation and judicious transfers grace a fascinating issue that all experienced Elgarians are sure to appreciate.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2017

“Not essential listening, perhaps, but intriguing.” Sunday Times, 9th July 2017

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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.

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

“…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

“Expectations are inevitably high as Marc-Andre Hamelin, who marries phenomenal technique with sensitive musicianship, joins Vladimir Jurowski and the London Philharmonia Orchestra, now truly a world-class ensemble….Hamelin’s playing soon takes flight, and the Concerto works its charm, sparkling with virtuosity and – particularly in the finale – with wit. It also receives the most polished orchestral playing it has enjoyed on any recording.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2017 ****

“Hamelin and Jurowski offer imposing but unsentimentalised Rachmaninov and persuasive advocacy for Medtner's Second Concerto, which appears to best advantage in this lean, rhythmically vital performance thanks to the unflagging momentum generated by soloist and conductor alike.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, April 2017

“Hamelin’s performance [of the Rachmaninov is] notable for its breadth and nobility…in the Medtner, the pianist surpasses alternative recordings by Demidenko and even by the composer himself, taking the composer’s outwardly discursive idiom by the scruff of the neck yet never at the expense of musical quality.” International Piano, July 2017 *****

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Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 & Fidelio Overture

Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 & Fidelio Overture


Beethoven:

Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 55 'Eroica'

Fidelio Overture Op. 72c


This recording features one of today’s most sought-after conductors, Vladimir Jurowski, who was appointed Principal Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 2007, with many of his recordings on the LPO Label being chosen for special mentions by BBC Music Magazine and Gramophone Magazine.

Inspired by acts of heroism, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 broke the mould of the classical symphony, and is considered the first symphony of the romantic era – its scale and ambition went on to be adopted by his contemporaries.

Released for the first time on the Orchestra’s Label, Symphony No. 3 contributes to the expanding collection of Beethoven works on the label; the most recent being Symphonies Nos. 1 & 4 conducted by Kurt Masur (LPO0093).

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 is coupled here with the Overture to Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio, taken from the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s highly acclaimed performance at the BBC Proms in 2015 – The Independent named it a ‘spirited performance’.

These recordings are taken from live concert performances at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall on 22 January 2014 (Symphony No. 3) and the Royal Albert Hall on 4 September 2015 (Overture, Fidelio).

“so wholeheartedly is Jurowski immersed in its [the Overture’s] spirit.” Classical Ear, 10th April 2017 ***

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