Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

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Vaughan Williams: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 4

Vaughan Williams: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 4


Vaughan Williams:

Symphony No. 3 'A Pastoral Symphony'

Symphony No. 4 in F minor


Andrew Manze’s interpretations of Vaughan Williams’ Symphonies have met with acclaim from audiences and critics alike. This second volume in the cycle from the RLPO and Andrew Manze feature Nos 3 & 4: two works heavily influenced by the Great War and its aftermath. A repressed seething rage and sorrow at the futility of the war pervades No.3, "It is really wartime music - a great deal of it originated when I used to go up night after night in the ambulance wagon at Ecoivres" said the composer. The 3rd has been called RVW’s ‘War Requiem’. The 4th is a violent and turbulent work, reflecting the post Great War world and the political turmoil of the 1930s. The audience was perplexed by the nature of the music "I don’t know if I like it, but it’s what I meant" he said after the premiere.

“This second album [in Manze's Vaughan Williams series] has the same persuasive mix of poetry, raw splendour and poignancy, with exceptional playing from the RLPO.” The Observer, 2nd April 2017 *****

“Sterling accounts that come highly recommended.” Northern Echo, 16th March 2017

“Andrew Manze’s approach, at once equable and gently intense, produces fine results in the first movement [of the Third]…[he] keeps a tight rein on all the eruptive orchestral happenings [of the Fourth], which…makes for strikingly coherent results” BBC Music Magazine, June 2017 ***

“The RLPO responds with breathtaking composure throughout, countless strands of texture and flecks of detail are laid bare with almost forensic clarity, and in the second movement and finale respectively there are immaculate contributions from Rhys Owens (playing a natural trumpet) and (as sanctioned in the score) tenor Andrew Staples” Gramophone Magazine, June 2017

“the score [of the Fourth] is delivered with crackling tension, a greater sense of the notes tumbling out…a distinctive point of view, bringing clarity to the music” Classical Ear, 15th May 2017

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David Hackbridge Johnson: Orchestral Music Volume 1

David Hackbridge Johnson: Orchestral Music Volume 1


Johnson, D H:

Symphony No. 9 in C sharp minor, Op. 295

Communion Antiphon No. 14, Op. 359 (‘St Boniface, Whitechapel’)

Motet No. 2, Op. 257, No. 2


The English composer David Hackbridge Johnson (b. 1963) has been, until now, one of the best-kept secrets in music.

He has built up a huge catalogue of works completely unknown even within the classical world.

Learning the orchestra from the inside, as a player, he has developed a confident and powerful language inherited in part from Brian, Copland, Janáček, Rubbra, Sibelius, Simpson, Tippett and other such masters.

As these three pieces show, his music capable of bold strokes of colour and gripping dramatic gestures.

Amazingly, he had heard almost none of his orchestral pieces before this recording was made in December last year.

“The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra audibly believe in the music in three terrific performances. Conductor Paul Mann’s unequivocal acclaim for the works is manifest in every bar” Gramophone Magazine, June 2017

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Toccata Classics - TOCC0393

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Shostakovich: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2

Shostakovich: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2


Shostakovich:

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

Rhys Owens (trumpet)

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Vasily Petrenko

Piano Concerto No. 2 in F major, Op. 102

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Vasily Petrenko

String Quartet No. 2 in A major, Op. 68

arranged for piano by Boris Giltburg. World Première Recording

String Quartet No. 8 in C minor, Op. 110

arranged for piano by Boris Giltburg. World Première Recording


Shostakovich’s two Piano Concertos span a period of almost thirty years. The youthful First Piano Concerto is a masterful example of eclecticism, its inscrutable humour and seriousness allied to virtuoso writing enhanced by the rôle for solo trumpet. Written as a birthday present for his son Maxim, the Second Piano Concerto is light-spirited with a hauntingly beautiful slow movement. With the permission of the composer’s family, Boris Giltburg has arranged the exceptionally dark, deeply personal and powerful String Quartet No. 8, thereby establishing a major Shostakovich solo piano composition.

“Giltburg has all the agility, power and expressive intensity Shostakovich’s piano concertos demand, plus the temperament to negotiate their mercurial shifts of mood. Every phrase is imaginatively coloured or nuanced, and never out of gimmicky point-making, always because he has something worth saying. And he has found like-minded partners in the RLPO and Petrenko, who not only follow and support him superbly but also respond and provoke where appropriate” Gramophone Magazine, January 2017

“Boris Giltburg gives sharp-edged accounts of the two concertos: the strident First more successful than the jokey Second. Excellent support from trumpeter Rhys Owens and the Liverpool Philharmonic.” The Observer, 22nd January 2017 ****

“Boris Giltburg and Vasily Petrenko are a tight unit, the pianist’s dashing virtuosity and subtlety of touch matched by equally incisive interpolations from the orchestra” BBC Music Magazine, February 2017 *****

“Boris Giltburg has all the fierce humour the music demands and has made his own arrangement of the String Quartet No.8” Financial Times, February 2017

“Snap this up! Giltburg and Petrenko work superbly together. Great value for money.” MusicWeb International, 22nd February 2017

“[The First] offers a fund of ideas, from intense lyricism to comic chase music, quick-change music here given a volatile and spiky outing, Rhys Owens the nimble trumpeter and Vasily Petrenko relishing the parodistic elements, Liverpool strings excelling. Giltburg also aims his sympathy and virtuosity at the light-hearted and bittersweet Second Concerto, music of toyshop delight and (in the slow movement) ravishing and eloquent melody.” Classical Ear, 23rd March 2017 ****

“The concertos [are] the main event, and Giltburg’s new accounts with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in top form under Vassily Petrenko are first class…Rhys Owens is as fine a trumpet co-soloist as any pianist could wish for. In the gentler Second Concerto, written for the composer’s son, Maxim, the rapport between soloist and orchestra is a joy to hear.” International Piano, July 2017 *****

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Tharaud plays Rachmaninov

Tharaud plays Rachmaninov


Rachmaninov:

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

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Alexander Vedernikov

Morceaux de Fantaisie, Op. 3

Vocalise, Op. 34 No. 14

Sabine Devieilhe (soprano)

Pieces (2) in A major for piano 6 hands - Waltz & Romance

Aleksandar Madžar (piano) & Alexander Melnikov (piano)


French pianist Alexandre Tharaud takes on the blockbuster ‘Rach 2’ concerto in a thrilling performance with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Russian maestro Alexander Vedernikov. It is coupled with more intimate Rachmaninov for piano six-hands (for which Alexandre is flanked by Alexander Melnikov and Aleksandar Madžar) and the icing on the cake: a sublime Vocalise in the original version for voice and piano, with pure-voiced French soprano Sabine Devieilhe.

Alexandre Tharaud’s recorded catalogue is large and eclectic, but this is the first time he has devoted an entire album to Russian repertoire – specifically to the music of Sergei Rachmaninov. “I was still quite young when I first played this concerto,” explains Tharaud. “I adored it … Rachmaninov’s virtuosity really appeals to young pianists. Today, of course I’m still enthralled by the concerto’s virtuosity, but now I’m more interested in its dark shadows: the sense of despair, of staring into the abyss. My interpretation of Rachmaninov has changed a lot over the years.”

“After the famous introductory bars – following the score rather than the composer’s recording – the sweeping first subject enters faster, thankfully, than Richter’s celebrated account but with the same majestic assurance.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2016

Presto Discs of 2016

Finalist

GGramophone Awards 2017

Shortlisted - Concerto

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2016

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Emily Howard: Magnetite

Emily Howard: Magnetite


Howard, Emily:

Magnetite

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Andrew Gourlay

Threnos

Lucy Goddard (mezzo-soprano) & Simon Whiteley (bass)

Mesmerism

Alexandra Dariescu (piano)

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Andrew Gourlay

Leviathan

scapegoat

Solar

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Andrew Gourlay

Afference

Elias String Quartet


Emily Howard’s degree in maths and computer science has informed her work, but, as she stresses, "I’m a composer, not a mathematician.

My compositions embrace a diverse range of extra-musical influences including science, mathematics, philosophy, poetry, sport and chess, often simultaneously".

Magnetite (2007) was Howard’s first major orchestral commission for the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Magnetite is the oldest known magnetic substance and Howard describes this piece as "a journey deep inside one of these crystals". Continuing a similar theme, Solar (2010) creates a musical image of our sun, using luminous, resonant sonorities and bursts of energy.

Mesmerism (2011) for piano and chamber orchestra is one in a series of works inspired by Ada Lovelace, the pioneering mathematician and daughter of Byron. This piece won a British Composer Award in 2012 with the BASCA judges commenting that 'the harmonic language of the music is lucid and beautiful, sustaining at the heart of the piece a great sense of stillness. This is an original voice'.

Works for smaller forces on this album include Afference (2014) for string quartet; Leviathan (2014-15) for baritone saxophone and percussion and Threnos (2015), a three-part song for bass and soprano voices (including the bass voice in falsetto).

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British Cello Concertos

British Cello Concertos


Bax:

Cello Concerto

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Bryden Thomson

Bliss:

Cello Concerto

Ulster Orchestra, Vernon Handley

Finzi:

Cello Concerto, Op. 40

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Vernon Handley

Moeran:

Cello Concerto

Bournemouth Sinfonietta, Norman Del Mar

Stanford:

Irish Rhapsody No. 3 for Cello and Orchestra Op. 13

Ulster Orchestra, Vernon Handley


This two-album set features British cello concertos from Raphael Wallfisch’s best late-1980s recordings. He has always worked closely with leading British composers of our time and is now regarded as the finest performer of their works for cello. As International Record Review asserted, ‘no British cellist has done more to advocate British composers than Raphael Wallfisch... [His] playing evinces that attention to detail, tonal finesse and understated conviction which has long made him an exponent of new and unfamiliar music.’

Those works are probably among the finest of the twentieth-century British repertoire. The original recordings won enthusiastic reviews, helped by such champions of British composers as Vernon Handley, Norman Del Mar, and Bryden Thomson, here conducting top British orchestras such as the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and London Philharmonic.

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Chandos 241 - CHAN241-56

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Vaughan Williams: Symphonies Vol. 1

Vaughan Williams: Symphonies Vol. 1


Vaughan Williams:

Symphony No. 2 'A London Symphony'

Symphony No. 8 in D minor


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here

Andrew Manze has established himself as one of the leading interpreters of Vaughan Williams Symphonies. His 2012 BBC Proms performances drew critical acclaim, and were highlights of that season's Proms. ONYX Classics will release one volume a year, completing the cycle in the spring of 2019 with Symphonies 7&9. It was RWV’s friend and fellow composer George Butterworth who in 1912 suggested he write a purely orchestral symphony. RVW told him he had absolutely no plans to do so, but Butterworth was a very perceptive friend and colleague, and the premiere took place in 1914. Called ‘A London Symphony’ (RVW considered himself a Londoner), RVW thought a better title would be ‘A Symphony by a Londoner’. On New Year’s Eve that year RVW joined the army and went to the trenches in France. Butterworth would be killed by a sniper at the Somme in 1916. The 8th Symphony of 1955 is a tightly written, brilliant and innovative work that shows RVW’s creativity at full stretch. Although outwardly a sunny work, shadows of the 6th and 7th symphonies lurk in the background at points throughout this brilliant symphony.

Next in the RVW Symphony cycle from Andrew Manze and the RLPO will be Symphonies 3 & 4 [ONYX4161] to be released in March 2017.

“Manze keeps a tight rein but lets the music blossom. The RLPO and its excellent soloists make a warm, lustrous sound.” The Guardian, 24th April 2016 ****

“Vaughan Williams' orchestration is fantastically colourful – he had studied with Ravel a few years previously, and clearly took great inspiration from him both in terms of harmony and in terms of instrumentation – and Manze brings its subtleties out in a way I've never heard anyone else quite manage before.” David Smith, Presto Classical, 8th April 2016

“Remove the encrusted nostalgia for yesteryear that we normally hear in today’s performances and you have Andrew Manze’s virile and colourful account of the Second Symphony, London here bustling with colourful vitality.Tempos are unusually brisk in the outer movements, his wide dynamic range magically capturing the pianissimo passages elsewhere.” Yorkshire Evening Post, 29th April 2016

“Manze’s agreeably vigilant reading of A London Symphony brings much to admire in its clean-cut, unexaggerated demeanour…and the spruce performance of the Eighth likewise reveals Manze as a stylish and committed interpreter. In the ravishing Cavatina for strings alone…[offers] heartwarming lyricism” Gramophone Magazine, June 2016

“if you don't know RVW's A London Symphony and Eighth Symphony, these performances – by turns passionate, dramatic and clear-sighted –would make an ideal introduction. The characteristics of both works are formidably presented, and Manze's unfussy and strong direction is just what is needed.” Classical Ear, 19th May 2016 *****

“This is expressive and atmospheric playing, rarely heard since Boult.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2016

“Manze might be best known as a Baroque specialist, but his Vaughan Williams is as charismatic and affectionate as any on disc...Exquisite played by the RLPO strings too. Manze never puts a foot wrong … Tremendous music and a really recommendable, enjoyable disc.” The Arts Desk, 28th May 2016

“All in all these are terrific performances and convincing interpretations … I can’t wait for the next instalment.” MusicWeb International, June 2016

Presto Disc of the Week

8th April 2016

Presto Discs of 2016

Finalist

BBC Music Magazine

Orchestral Choice - July 2016

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Peter Racine Fricker: The Vision Of Judgement & Symphony No. 5

Peter Racine Fricker: The Vision Of Judgement & Symphony No. 5


Fricker:

The Vision of Judgement, Op. 29

BBC Broadcast 14 October 1980

Jane Manning (soprano) & Robert Tear (tenor)

Leeds Festival Chorus & Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Charles Groves

Symphony No. 5 for organ & orchestra, Op. 74

BBC Broadcast 5 May 1976. Live from the Festival Hall. First performance

Gillian Weir (organ)

BBC Symphony Orchestra, Colin Davis


Peter Racine Fricker was among the first composers in Britain to be influenced by the music of Béla Bartók, Arnold Schoenberg and Igor Stravinsky, assimilating aspects of their very different styles into a distinctive musical voice of his own. Unconcerned by the vagaries of musical fashion, he proceeded to build an impressive body of work in his highly expressive, urbane and freely atonal language. His catalogue, which exceeds 160 pieces in total, encompasses all the main genres with the exception of staged opera.

The Vision of Judgement was first performed on 13 October 1958 at Leeds Town Hall as part of the Leeds Centenary Festival. The performance presented here is conducted by Charles Groves, who was familiar with the Frick er style, having taken up the composer’s

First Symphony and performed it in one of his last concerts as conductor of the BBC Northern Orchestra and then introduced it in Bournemouth and on the Continent.

Dedicated ‘to the many fine musicians with whom I have had the pleasure of working so happily in the Royal Festival Hall’, Fricker’s Symphony No.5 was premiered by organist Gillian Weir with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Colin Davis on 5 May 1976 at the RFH in the presence of the composer. It was featured at the Proms on 11th August 1976 with the organist Jennifer Bate and the BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra under John Pritchard. Terse and direct, the score offers some grand gestures in its lively outer sections which are offset by eloquent dialogues between its two principal protag onists in the interludial central segment. Considerable tension is generated in the closing pages, which present an unbuttoned, euphoric display of bravura.

“There’s a truly impressive work in here, capable of exciting grand gestures, but most personal in the sensitive elegiac sections – the a cappella ‘Libera me’ is a highlight” BBC Music Magazine, November 2016 ***

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Jose Viana da Mota: Complete Orchestral Works

Jose Viana da Mota: Complete Orchestral Works


Vianna da Motta:

Symphony À Pátria 'To the Fatherland'

Chula do Douro

Impromptus (3) on Portuguese Popular Motifs

Dona Ines de Castro - Overture

Vito


The most distinguished pianist of his generation, a brilliant pedagogue and a highly gifted composer, José Viana da Mota was a towering personality in the field of Portuguese music. Disapproving of ‘modernistic’ compositional trends, he stopped composing around 1910, but not before he had written his Symphony ‘To the Homeland’, a brilliantly orchestrated paean to Portuguese prowess and discovery which makes use of Portuguese folk dances and songs.

Based on the dramatic life and murder of the 14th-century noblewoman Inês de Castro, Viana da Mota’s Lisztian symphonic poem is an early work notable for its kaleidoscopic sections full of inspiring contrasts.

This recording presents the complete orchestral works of Viana da Mota.

Naxos - 8573495

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The Tchaikovsky Album

The Tchaikovsky Album


Tchaikovsky:

1812 Overture, Op. 49

Capriccio italien, Op. 45

Romeo & Juliet - Fantasy Overture

Francesca da Rimini, Op. 32


The Tchaikovsky Album is a stunning collection of original recordings showcasing a number of Tchaikovsky's greatest works, including Capriccio Italien, Romeo and Juliet, Francesca da Rimini and the 1812 Overture. Led by Chief Conductor Vasily Petrenko, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra perform these works to a spectacular standard.

The award-winning Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra is the UK’s oldest continuing professional symphony orchestra and Classic FM’s orchestra in North West England. Vasily Petrenko was appointed Principal Conductor of the Orchestra in September 2006 and in September 2009 became Chief Conductor. He joins a distinguished line of musicians who have led the Orchestra during its illustrious history.

Born in 1976, Petrenko started his music education at the St Petersburg Capella Boys Music School – the oldest music school in Russia. He then studied at the St Petersburg Conservatoire and participated in master classes with major classical music figures.

He has worked with many of the world’s most prestigious orchestras and has been awarded with numerous respected awards, including the Classic BRIT Awards Male Artist of the Year twice. The Tchaikovsky Album is released on May 11th 2015, just the week after the great composers 175th birthday. 2015 is also the 175th anniversary year of the founding of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.

Classic FM - CFMD38

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