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Milhaud & Honneger: Cello Concertos

Milhaud & Honneger: Cello Concertos


Hoddinott:

Noctis Equi, Scena for cello and orchestra

Honegger:

Cello Concerto

Milhaud:

Concerto for Cello and Orchestra No. 1 Op. 136


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Erato Mstislav Rostropovich Cellist of the Century - 9029589225

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Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6, Manfred Symphony, Romeo and Juliet & Capriccio italien

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6, Manfred Symphony, Romeo and Juliet & Capriccio italien


Tchaikovsky:

Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74 'Pathétique'

Wiener Philharmoniker, Claudio Abbado

Romeo & Juliet - Fantasy Overture

Boston Symphony Orchestra, Claudio Abbado

Capriccio italien, Op. 45

Berliner Philharmoniker, Ferdinand Leitner

Manfred Symphony, Op. 58

London Symphony Orchestra, Yuri Ahronovitch


A collection of all of Tchaikovsky’s symphonies and ballet suites from the rich archives of Deutsche Grammophon.

All the performances have been justifiably critically appraised. This volume includes Tchaikovsky’s final symphony, the ‘Pathétique’ and the tone poem Romeo and Juliet – both recorded by Claudio Abbado in the early 1970s – as well as a rare recording of the Manfred Symphony by Yuri Ahronovitch and Ferdinand Leitner’s bright 1959 account of the Capriccio italien.

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Tchaikovsky: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 5, Marche slave, Sleeping Beauty & Swan Lake

Tchaikovsky: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 5, Marche slave, Sleeping Beauty & Swan Lake


Tchaikovsky:

Symphony No. 3 in D major, Op. 29 'Polish'

FIRST RELEASE ON CD

Wiener Symphoniker, Moshe Atzmon

Marche slave, Op. 31

Berliner Philharmoniker, Ferdinand Leitner

Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66: Ballet Suite

Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra, Witold Rowicki

Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64

London Symphony Orchestra, Claudio Abbado

Swan Lake, Op. 20 Suite

Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra, Witold Rowicki


A collection of all of Tchaikovsky’s symphonies and ballet suites from the rich archives of Deutsche Grammophon.

All the performances have been justifiably critically appraised. This volume includes the CD premiere of one of Tchaikovsky’s least-known symphonies – the third. Moshe Atzmon’s airborne reading, stunningly recorded in 1973 in Vienna makes a long-overdue appearance. Rowicki’s accounts of the two popular ballet suites – Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty – are expansive and symphonic in their outlook.

“[Abbado] secures clean, brilliant playing from the LSO in the first movement, finely controlled emotional climaxes in the slow movement … and a strong, urgent but unhysterical account of the finale.” Gramophone Magazine, April 1972 (Symphony No. 5)

“by far the most refined recording of any current version of the Polish Symphony, warmly reverberant but well-enough defined in detail” Gramophone Magazine, August 1974 (Symphony No. 3)

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Adès: Asyla, Tevot & Polaris

Adès: Asyla, Tevot & Polaris


Adès:

Asyla

Tevot

Polaris: Voyage for orchestra

Brahms Op. 21

with Samuel Dale Johnson (baritone)


For his LSO Live debut, Thomas Adès, the acclaimed conductor, pianist and composer, conducts all of his seminal ‘Trilogy’ works - Asyla, Polaris and Tevot. Recorded in 2016 during his first LSO ‘Composer Focus’, this is the first time all three works have been presented together on one album, offering a unique chance to hear the musical development of one of the world’s foremost contemporary composers, in Dolby’s new Atmos surround sound format.

Composed in 1997 and winner of the 1999 Grawemeyer award, 'Asyla' is the earliest of the Trilogy pieces, and one of the works that announced Adès as a major new voice. Sir Simon Rattle, a long-time champion of the composer, conducted the work’s premiere with the CBSO as well as programming it in his inaugural concert as Artistic Director of the Berlin Philharmonic. The title is the plural form of the word asylum, and plays on the dual meaning of both madhouse and sanctuary. Typical of his orchestral works, it utilises a large orchestra (including six percussionists and a variety of treated pianos) to achieve an array of colours, textures and timbres. It also showcases Ades’ wide-ranging influences, with a ‘four-on-the-floor’ techno drumbeat as the impetus behind the famous 'Ecstasio' movement.

'Tevot' is a one-movement symphony that builds upon the ideas of 'Asyla' and pushes the players to the limits of their technical ability, with long passages written in stratospheric registers. Again, there is a dual meaning at play in the title, as 'Tevot' is the Hebrew word for bars as well as closely related to the word used in the Bible when referring to Noah’s ark. Adès himself explains: “I liked the idea that the bars of the music were carrying the notes as a sort of family through the piece. And they do, because without bars, you’d have musical chaos. But I was thinking about the ark, the vessel, in the piece as the earth. The earth would be a spaceship, a ship that carries us - and several other species! - through the chaos of space in safety. It sounds a bit colossal, but it’s the idea of the ship of the world.”

The final Trilogy work, 'Polaris', was composed in 2010 and is subtitled ‘A Voyage for Orchestra’. Taking the North Star as its inspiration, despite a relatively short running time it conjures up a definite sense of vastness, with musicians placed offstage to enhance the sense of space. The piece is built up from a simple, looping pattern of notes in the piano, that evolves to suggest a massive spiral with musical magnetic fields expanding, exploding and beautifully rearranging themselves.

The album also includes the Adès miniature 'Brahms'. Sung here by baritone Sameul Dale Johnson, it is an ‘anti-homage’ to the composer inspired by the cold logic of his music, taking his compositional compulsions to extreme conclusions.

“The three pieces do share extra-musical associations...their titles evoke notions of safe havens and the ways of finding them – but what links them more importantly is the sheer mastery of their orchestral writing, as this recording from the Barbican shows so vividly.” The Guardian, 23rd February 2017 *****

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Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream - incidental music, Op. 61 & Overture, Op. 21

Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream - incidental music, Op. 61 & Overture, Op. 21


Mendelssohn:

A Midsummer Night's Dream - incidental music, Op. 61

A Midsummer Night's Dream Overture, Op. 21

Recorded live in DSD128fs at the Barbican Hall, 16th February 2016


Ceri-lyn Cissone (Hermia/Fairy/Titania); Alexander Knox (Lysander/Puck), and Frankie Wakefield (Oberon/Theseus)

London Symphony Orchestra & The Monteverdi Choir, Sir John Eliot Gardiner

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here

Continuing his award-winning cycle of works by Felix Mendelssohn, Sir John Eliot Gardiner leads the LSO, his Monteverdi Choir and three talented young actors from the Guildhall in a landmark performance of 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream', which was performed as part of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. To mark the celebrations, Gardiner produced a special version of the work featuring some cuts to the original movements that, in his words, "remove all of the music relating to the Mechanicals and thus focus on the world of the fairies and the human lovers". Mendelssohn, who adored Shakespeare’s writings, composed his concert overture based on 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream' in 1827 aged 17, after having read a German translation of the play. The overture was immediately acclaimed as a masterpiece and quickly became a popular favourite throughout Europe. Years later in 1843 he was asked by the King of Prussia to provide a score for an entire production: 14 short works based on themes and moods from the original overture, with a broadly romantic sound although classical in style and structure.

The Pure Audio Blu-ray disc includes bonus footage of the concert performance of 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream' and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No 1, alongside high resolution master audio.

SACD Hybrid + Pure Audio Blu-ray | 2 disc jewel case with clear tray

2.0 stereo | multi-channel 5.1

Notes in En, Fr, Ge

“it definitely still feels like a full representation of Mendelssohn's sparkling music. And sparkle it does: there's a real lightness of touch in the Overture, and I was delighted with the way that Gardiner manages to make familiar music sound fresh...I wouldn’t have thought there was anything Gardiner could have done to invigorate that most familiar of tunes, namely the Wedding March, and yet that’s exactly what he does.” James Longstaffe, Presto Classical, 3rd February 2017

“Here, unless you were at the concert from which this recording was taken last year, is Mendelssohn’s Shakespeare music as you’ve never heard it before...Gardiner hears this music through the prism of period instruments and conveys its magic with his outstanding choir and soloists.” Sunday Times, 26th February 2017

Presto Disc of the Week

3rd February 2017

BBC Music Magazine

Orchestral Choice - April 2017

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Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1 and Ballades

Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1 and Ballades


Chopin:

Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11

London Symphony Orchestra, Gianandrea Noseda

Ballades Nos. 1-4


Winner of the 17th International Chopin Piano Competition 2015, one of the most prestigious titles in all of classical music, Seong-Jin Cho presents his first ever studio recording on DG.

Combining Chopin’s immensely popular 1st Piano Concerto with the almost equally popular 4 Ballades, this coupling displays his brilliant fingerwork and mastery of characterization.

Cho recorded the work at London’s famous Abbey Road Studios with the London Symphony Orchestra and its new Principal Guest Conductor, Gianandrea Noseda. His interpretations of the composer’s Ballades were set down at the Friedrich-Ebert-Halle in Harburg, Germany.

“Cho is impressive” – Gramophone

“Unequivocally brilliant” – The Telegraph

“Nothing is done just for show; it’s all about the music” – The Guardian

“Everything is poetic, introspective, graceful” – Financial Times

“The tenderest passages in the concerto have a touching reticence, and there are times in the Ballades when he almost seems to be enjoying hanging back and confounding our expectations of exactly where this music’s passionate eruptions happen.” The Guardian, 22nd December 2016 ****

“what a performance it is: utterly commanding and highly impressive. From his very first entry he shows off the range of his formidable technique...With Noseda's help, the LSO offers some of the most sensitive orchestral accompaniment that I can recall hearing. They're alive to every nuance of Cho's playing, and match his rubato perfectly.” Presto Classical, 25th November 2016

“it is not so much [Cho’s] effortless clarity and articulation or lightly pedalled fioritura that capture the attention as much as his ability to let the music breathe. Every time the first movement’s ineffably lovely second subject returns, it becomes more poignant in Cho’s hands…[a] memorable interpretation” Gramophone Magazine, January 2017

“In the four magnificent Ballades Cho's playing has all the poetic imagination, freshness of new discovery and tender warmth you could wish for, allied to a bomb-proof technique that totally eschews any suggestion of flashy display – the genius of Chopin's inspiration always comes first.” Classical Ear, 1st February 2017

Presto Disc of the Week

25th November 2016

Presto Discs of 2016

Finalist

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DG - 94795941

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Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No. 2 & Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto

Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No. 2 & Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto


Shostakovich:

Violin Concerto No. 2 in C sharp minor, Op. 129

Tchaikovsky:

Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35


Linus Roth pairs Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto - the world premiere recording of its original version - with the Violin Concerto No.2 by Shostakovich, accompanied by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Thomas Sanderling.

This is the first recording of the Tchaikovsky Concerto that takes the new Urtext, published by Henle Edition as a source. There are a few different notes, phrasings and bowings from what is usually played but the most obvious audible difference is that the whole second movement is played with the mute on. While it has become a tradition that violinists remove the mute for the second theme, this was never intended by Tchaikovsky - the mute imparts to this slow movement the feeling and sound of intimacy.

Shortly before composing this work Tchaikovsky married, followed closely by a nervous breakdown and severe depression. His composing was always strongly connected to his personal life, and this work is his coming back to life, a concerto full of optimism and positivity. Linus Roth has played the piece for 20 years and now feels the time is right to record his unique interpretation.

Shostakovich’s Second Violin Concerto is a late work written when the composer was already ill and aware that his life would be soon over. The conductor of this recording, Thomas Sanderling, was a friend who knew Shostakovich well in his late years and provides unique musical insights into a work full of pain and struggle beneath its glittering surface.

The relationship between Roth and Sanderling is very special because they co-founded the international Weinberg Society together. Linus Roth has been an advocate of Weinberg’s music for years. He was the first violinist to record the Complete Works for Violin and Piano (3-CD box, CC72567), receiving great critical acclaim. His next recording, combining the Violin Concertos of Weinberg and Britten (CC72627), was a Gramophone Editor’s Choice. Most recently Roth released Weinberg’s Solo Sonatas for Violin 1-3, also on Challenge (CC72688).

“Roth is stark and uncompromising throughout, drawing you into its claustrophobic world, especially in the central Adagio. Thomas Sanderling and the London Symphony Orchestra provide sturdy support with forwardly placed cellos and double basses in the opening dialogue.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2017 ****

“His tone is strong and dark [in the Tchaikovsky], with plenty of sinew, even if his playing can be over-emphatic…[Shostakovich’s Second Concerto is] given a gritty, deliberate reading” Gramophone Magazine, February 2017

“his delicate, internalised playing is as lovely as his technical dispatch is thrilling. Shostakovich’s second, rarer concerto is a bold coupling, intensely played.” Sunday Times, 11th December 2016

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Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

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Challenge Classics - CC72689

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Stravinsky: The Firebird

Stravinsky: The Firebird


Bartók:

Piano Concerto No. 3, BB 127, Sz. 119

Yefim Bronfman (piano)

The Miraculous Mandarin, Op. 19, Sz. 73 (suite)

Prokofiev:

Romeo and Juliet - Suite No. 2, Op. 64b (excerpts)

Stravinsky:

The Firebird


On 24th October 2015 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Valery Gergiev took to the rostrum for his penultimate concert as Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. An explosive programme of Stravinsky, Bartók and Prokofiev - repertoire that always fires Gergiev’s imagination - this live recording captures a major milestone in the Orchestra’s history.

Stravinsky’s Firebird was an instant hit with audience and critics alike at its 1910 premiere it is a constant in Gergiev’s repertoire.

Piano Concerto No 3 is Bartók’s final work, completed only four days before he succumbed to a long battle with leukaemia. The New York Times found Yefim Bronfman’s interpretation of Piano Concerto No 3 "brilliantly charismatic" and he is an acknowledged master of the great Hungarian’s music, winning a Grammy award for his 2009 recording of all three Bartók Piano Concertos. A story of prostitution and violence, 'The Miraculous Mandarin', performed here in the suite version, is dramatic, mysterious and sinister. Incredibly entertaining, it’s now one of Bartók’s most well-known works and never fails to lure the listener into a deep, dark world of seduction and horror. The LSO’s performance of the work on tour was met with critical acclaim: Closing the album is the encore from the concert, excerpts from Prokofiev’s incredibly popular ballet 'Romeo & Juliet'. That Gergiev chose this work to close his farewell concerts is not surprising, as the music and its composer have special signficance for the conductor and for the LSO. 2016 sees the world mark the 125th anniversary of Prokofiev’s birth and Gergiev has long been a champion of the great Russian’s music. His award-winning recording of the complete score on LSO Live is among the best-selling on the label, winning BBC Music Magazine Best Orchestral recording of 2011.

“This one’s a cracker, a double-CD, recorded live in New Jersey by New York’s classical radio station, with the LSO on tour and Gergiev flying in repertoire he has made his own.” Herald Scotland, 2nd December 2016

“The three main works on offer plus the Prokofiev encore come across with clarity and balance … the performances themselves all show considerable boldness of style … the combination of largeness of scale and extreme tonal refinement in Yefim Bronfman’s solo Bartok playing is answered with wonderful specificity by conductor and orchestra. It’s a concert well worth recreating at home” BBC Music Magazine, February 2017 ****

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Sibelius: Violin Concerto & Six Humoresques

Sibelius: Violin Concerto & Six Humoresques


Sibelius:

Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47

Six Humoresques, Op. 87 and Op. 89 for violin and orchestra


As a young man, Sibelius dreamed – not just figuratively but literally – of becoming an internationally acclaimed violin virtuoso. Sibelius’s best mature compositions, however, are free of mere showmanship and his Violin Concerto might be the composer’s attempt to reconcile the world of the flashy virtuoso with that of the brooding, Nordic ascetic. Whether this reconciliation occurred or not is a matter of opinion, but the reservations of music critics (including Joseph Joachim) have not prevented the work from becoming one of the most popular violin concertos.

Sibelius may have written only one violin concerto, but he wrote other music for solo violin accompanied by orchestra. In 1917, he composed six Humoresques. They were premiered together on 24 November 1919, with soloist Paul Cherkassky, and Sibelius himself conducting the Helsinki City Orchestra. In all six, the orchestral forces required are relatively small; the middle two call for strings alone. Sibelius claimed that the Humoresques convey ‘the anguish of existence, fitfully lit up by the sun’.

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 Mendelssohn.

“this set of six miniatures [Humoresques] would probably tempt me to lay out the whole price of the disc by themselves. They are small, compact works of very concentrated content. One could almost call them musical K-rations except that they bring far more satisfaction than K-rations possibly could. At first they may appear to be mere trifles, but do not be deceived. They are virtual case studies in virtuoso violin technique but with some musical substance mixed in. Accardo provides a ravishingly beautiful performance. Like the Concerto, these are sometimes taken more slowly in tempo than normal, but the pulse never falters and new beauties are revealed.” Fanfare, September/October 1980

“I can’t think of many artists who have more successfully conveyed the innocence as well as the magic of the opening bars. […] The slow movement has warmth and its textures a glowing, lambent quality. […] Throughout the work, the brass have exactly the right kind of power and sonority. The finale is played with effortless brilliance by the soloist. […] Accardo is the first to record all six Humoresques as a fill-up to the concerto and he and Sir Colin Davis bring to them a fine sense of atmosphere and rapture. […] A superb record.” Gramophone Magazine, October 1980

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Sir Georg Solti conducts Haydn & Mozart

Sir Georg Solti conducts Haydn & Mozart


Haydn:

Symphony No. 100 in G major 'Military'

London Philharmonic Orchestra

Symphony No. 102 in B flat major

London Philharmonic Orchestra

Symphony No. 103 in E flat major 'Drum Roll'

first international release on Decca CD

London Philharmonic Orchestra

Mozart:

Symphony No. 25 in G minor, K183

London Symphony Orchestra

Symphony No. 38 in D major, K504 'Prague'

London Symphony Orchestra

Serenade No. 13 in G major, K525 'Eine kleine Nachtmusik'

first international release on Decca CD

Israel Philharmonic Orchestra


As part of the Eloquence series of early Solti recordings, this 2CD set features the conductor in music by Haydn and Mozart, recorded between 1949 and 1958. The 1949 recording of Haydn’s ‘Drum Roll’ Symphony and the 1958 recording of Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik (recorded in spatial early stereo) make their first international appearances on Decca CD. Solti re-recorded the three Haydn symphonies heard here, again with the London Philharmonic, adding the remaining ‘London’ Symphonies, between 1981 and 1991 in stereo. Likewise, he re-recorded the Mozart ‘Prague’ in 1981 as part of a set of the composer’s four last symphonies, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The fiery, passionate account of the G minor, KV 183, and the stereo Eine kleine Nachtmusik are his only recording of these works.

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