Philharmonia Orchestra

Orchestra

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Ligeti: Le Grand Macabre

Ligeti: Le Grand Macabre


Hungarian-born composer György Ligeti is one of the late 20th-Century’s most influential creative figures. This recording was made under the composer’s supervision & captures the live performance of the opera ‘Le Grand Macabre’ at Paris’ Theatre du Chatelet. Esa-Pekka Salonen, known for his brilliant interpretations of contemporary music, conducts the Philharmonia Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta Voices & soloists. This recording comes with full libretto. World-premiere recording of the 1997 version. Based on the theatre piece ‘La Balade du Grand Macabre’ by Michel de Ghelderode, Ligeti’s ‘Le Grand Macabre’ is a surreal, darkly whimsical vision of a modern world – much of the action is set in a place called Breughelland – that is approaching apocalypse. The libretto is by the composer & Michael Meschke (the great puppet theatre expert). The opera had its world premiere in Stockholm in 1978, but Ligeti made a number of revisions to the score over the next two decades. A final revised version had its premiere at the 1997 Salzburg Festival, in a production staged by Peter Sellars, which was later presented at the Theatre du Chatelet in February 1998, when this recording was made.

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Sony - S2K62312

(CD - 2 discs)

$11.00

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Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 7

Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 7


Beethoven:

Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67

Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92


Vladimir Ashkenazy recorded three of the Beethoven symphonies for Decca and this coupling of two of the most popular date from the early 1980s. They are grand and expressive readings, at once thrilling and visionary.

“the slow movement […] has that feeling of spontaneous live performance which has marked most of Ashkenazy’s conducting on record … The recording […] is wide-ranging in the spread of stereo and warmly atmospheric” Gramophone Magazine (Symphony No. 5)

“a warmly spontaneous, generally direct reading taken at sensible unexaggerated speeds […] there are few modern Beethoven recordings so satisfying or more alive than this with sound – recorded in Kingsway Hall – which sets new standards against any rival version, full and spacious yet warmly co-ordinated” Gramophone Magazine, November 1984 (Symphony No. 7)

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Australian Eloquence - ELQ4824951

(CD)

$8.50

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Verdi: La Traviata

Verdi: La Traviata

1980 Recording


Renata Scotto (Violetta Valéry), Sarah Walker (Flora Bervoix), Cynthia Buchan (Annina), Alfredo Kraus (Alfredo Germont), Renato Bruson (Giorgio Germont), Suso Mariategui (Gastone), Henry Newman (Barone Douphol), Richard Van Allan (Marchese d’Obigny), Roderick Kennedy (Dottore Grenvil), Max-René Cosotti (Giuseppe) & Christopher Keyte (Commissionario)

Philharmonia Orchestra, Ambrosian Opera Chorus & Band of the Royal Marines, Riccardo Muti

2 CD Hardback, cloth-bound book + dust jacket

Riccardo Muti and Renata Scotto collaborated frequently, both in the recording studio and the opera house. Muti, a supreme Verdian, brings dramatic urgency and delicate lyricism to the score of La traviata while Scotto interprets Violetta with a wealth of perception and artistry.

Original digital recording

Full libretto: IT with translations in EN, DE, FR

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Warner Classics Deluxe Opera Series - 2564648318

(CD - 2 discs)

$26.25

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Bartók: The Miraculous Mandarin

Bartók: The Miraculous Mandarin

& other works


Bartók:

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

Philharmonia Chorus & Philharmonia Orchestra, Esa-Pekka Salonen

Dance Suite, BB 86, Sz. 77

Philharmonia Orchestra, Esa-Pekka Salonen

Contrasts for violin, clarinet & piano, BB 116, Sz. 111

Zsolt-Tihamér Visontay (violin), Mark Van de Wiel (clarinet) & Yefim Bronfman (piano)


Recorded as part of their critically praised ‘Infernal Dance’ season, the Philharmonia Orchestra under Esa-Pekka Salonen explores three contrasting works by Béla Bartók—Dance Suite, The Miraculous Mandarin, and the chamber piece Contrasts.

“There’s an energy and freedom which takes the work away from its sometimes strait-jacketed perfromances.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2016

“the Philharmonia’s playing vibrant with nightmare scenarios – not least the stabbed, refusing-to-die Mandarin, and the whole is a compelling theatrical experience and a musically striking one.” classicalsource.com, September 2016

“Superb clarinet playing from the Philharmonia soloists, as in the two subsequent games, where the tension mounts (screaming woodwinds really tell) and Salonen marks the mandarin’s arrival with gutsy accents and powerful brass…[he] keeps this highly graphic and emotionally potent music on the move…this performance is more compelling than most. It generates a genuine sense of theatre” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2016

“a performance bristling with energy, colour and, entirely appropriately, lust.” Record Review, September 2016

“Salonen and the Philharmonia relish the rhythmic barbarity, which rivals that of The Rite of Spring — the strings digging deep in the furious allegro. Salonen is in his element in Bartok’s hardcore modernism, but the more accessible Dance Suite is superbly played, too.” Sunday Times, 4th September 2016

“the now-or-never concert adrenaline is palpable. There’s unflinching attack in the savage pantomime The Miraculous Mandarin, deadpan wit in the gentler Dance Suite, and it’s all delivered with that unnervingly meticulous, steely focus that conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen gets from the Philharmonia.” The Guardian, 11th August 2016 ****

Signum Philharmonia Orchestra - SIGCD466

(CD)

$14.00

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Strauss, R: Capriccio

Strauss, R: Capriccio


Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (Countess), Eberhard Wächter (Count), Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Olivier), Nicolai Gedda (Flamand), Hans Hotter (La Roche), Christa Ludwig (Clairon), Rudolf Christ (Taupe), Anna Moffo (Italian Soprano), Dermot Troy (Ein italienischer Tenor), Karl Schmitt-Walter (Haushofmeister)

Philharmonia Orchestra, Wolfgang Sawallisch

Few singers have fused words and music as eloquently as Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, and few sopranos have proved more radiant in Strauss. All this makes her the ideal protagonist in the composer’s final opera, his ingenious and engaging ‘conversation piece’ on artistic themes. Schwarzkopf is joined by a cast of superlative stature and style and by a conductor intimately identified with the works of Strauss, Wolfgang Sawallisch.

Warner Classics - The Home of Opera - 2564648319

(CD - 2 discs)

$12.75

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Verdi: Nabucco

Verdi: Nabucco


Matteo Manuguerra (Nabucco), Renata Scotto (Abigaille), Veriano Luchetti (Ismaele), Robert Lloyd (Gran Sacerdote), Elena Obraztsova (Fenena), Nicolai Ghiaurov (Zaccaria), Kenneth Edwards (Abdallo), Anne Collins (Anna)

Ambrosian Opera Chorus & Philharmonia Orchestra, Riccardo Muti

Verdi holds a special place in Riccardo Muti’s heart. Here he conducts the explosive opera whose nostalgic chorus, ‘Va, pensiero’, turned the composer into a hero of the Risorgimento, the movement for the unification of Italy. In the title role of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar, Matteo Manuguerra is a baritone in the great tradition, while Renato Scotto brings both formidable temperament and bel canto delicacy to Abigaille.

Warner Classics - The Home of Opera - 2564648317

(CD - 2 discs)

$12.75

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Holst: The Planets, Op. 32

Holst: The Planets, Op. 32

Rec: 1980


Simon Rattle’s original 1980 recording of The Planets with the Philharmonia Orchestra.

Warner Classics Original Jacket Reissues - 2564615540

(CD)

$8.00

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Elgar & Walton: Cello Concertos

Elgar & Walton: Cello Concertos


Elgar:

Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85

Philharmonia Orchestra, Paavo Järvi

Holst:

Invocation

Philharmonia Orchestra, Paavo Järvi

Holst, I:

The Fall of the Leaf

Walton:

Cello Concerto

Philharmonia Orchestra, Paavo Järvi


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here, and watch Chris O'Reilly's exclusive video-interview with Steven Isserlis here.

Sir Edward Elgar’s sublime Cello Concerto receives an impassioned new performance from Steven Isserlis, the Philharmonia Orchestra and Paavo Järvi. With additional works by Sir William Walton and Gustav Holst, as well as a miniature suite for solo cello by Imogen Holst, this is unquestionably one of the year’s most eagerly awaited releases.

“This mesmerising meditation couldn't be in better hands” BBC Music Magazine, March 2016

“Isserlis’s playing of the solo part in the Elgar evokes an elegy for a lost world, while he captures perfectly the bittersweet languor of the Walton.” Sunday Times, 28th February 2016

“older, wiser and even more convincing [than his first recording of the Elgar]...Isserlis’s cello rages against the dying of the light, sounding angry yet still beautiful, and under Järvi the orchestra is full-bodied but focused.” The Guardian, 3rd March 2016

“So, how much has he re-thought the work during the past 25 years? The answer is not dramatically, but everything evolves a little with time, and there is definitely more musical conviction to the phrasing and general direction in the new recording - giving each movement (and indeed the whole work) a tighter and much more defined structure.” Chris O'Reilly, Presto Classical, 19th February 2016

“With his immaculate technical address and ravishingly songful, mellow tone, Isserlis strikes precisely the right balance between classical strength and private introspection, his contribution as full of radiant spontaneity and tumbling fantasy as one could wish...An unmissable release.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2016

“Isserlis gives a deeply touching account, the sort that restores faith in a too-often-performed work, here reclaimed as the masterpiece that it is, personal and private, yes, but outgoing in a consoling way without negating buoyancy or go-getting...There is universal appeal to this reading, thankfully without the mawkishness or exaggeration that some interpreters impose upon it.” classicalsource.com

“no praise can be too high for Isserlis’s splendid playing, eloquent without being indulgent and technically always in complete command.” MusicWeb International, April 2016

Presto Disc of the Week

19th February 2016

Presto Discs of 2016

Finalist

GGramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - March 2016

BBC Music Magazine

Instrumental Choice - March 2016

Hyperion - CDA68077

(CD)

$14.00

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Sibelius & Glazunov: Violin Concertos

Sibelius & Glazunov: Violin Concertos


Glazunov:

Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 82

Grand Adagio

Sibelius:

Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47

Suite for Violin & Strings Op. 117


Vladimir Ashkenazy collaborates with Esther Yoo in a new recording of Sibelius and Glazunov Violin Concertos with the Philharmonia Orchestra. Yoo first came to international attention in 2010 when, aged 16, she became the youngest prize-winner of the 10th International Sibelius Violin Competition. She made her London debut in 2014, performing Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 3 under the late Lorin Maazel at Royal Festival Hall. That same year, she was a soloist on the Philharmonia’s South America tour under Ashkenazy.

“While it’s the strength and passion of her playing [in the Sibelius] that shines through rather than an especially individual take on the work, hers is a rounded, vibrant performance...[The Glazunov] should be heard more often; Yoo is a convincing advocate, lavishing thick, dark tone on its long melodies, though occasionally making the ends of phrases sound blunt.” The Guardian, 18th February 2016 ***

DG - 4812157

(CD)

$12.75

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Beethoven: Fidelio, Op. 72

Beethoven: Fidelio, Op. 72


Christa Ludwig (Leonore), Jon Vickers (Florestan), Walter Berry (Don Pizarro), Gottlob Frick (Rocco), Ingeborg Hallstein (Marzelline), Gerhard Unger (Jaquino), Franz Crass (Don Fernando), Kurt Wehofschitz (First Prisoner), Raymond Wolansky (Second Prisoner)

Philharmonia Chorus & Philharmonia Orchestra, Otto Klemperer

“One of the glories of recording history,” was how this Fidelio was hailed on its initial release in 1962. The intervening years have repeatedly affirmed its towering status. Otto Klemperer’s readings of Beethoven are proverbial for their grandeur and humanity, while the Leonore of Christa Ludwig and Florestan of Jon Vickers remain unsurpassed.

Warner Classics - The Home of Opera - 2564695614

(CD - 2 discs)

$12.75

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