Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra

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Distant Light

Distant Light


Barber:

Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Op. 24

Bjork:

Virus

Joga

All is Full of Love

arr. Hans Ek

Hillborg:

The Strand Settings

world premiere recording


Read Katherine's exclusive interview with Renée Fleming about the recording here.

‘Distant Light’ is Renée Fleming’s first foray into the hypnotic world of Scandinavian music. For her first new studio album in three years she has chosen to inspire and provoke with a daring mix of music.

The title comes from a poem in a new song cycle dedicated to Renée and here receiving its world premiere recording: Anders Hillborg’s ‘The Strand Settings’.

"At once atmospheric, elegiac and unsettling, the work was crafted with Ms. Fleming’s creamy voice in mind”, wrote the New York Times at its first performance in 2013. One of Sweden’s brightest star composers Hillborg has a close relationship with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic where this recording was made in February 2016 with its principal conductor Sakari Oramo.

Renée couples this with three songs by Björk in specially commissioned orchestrations by the brilliant Swedish composer and arranger Hans Ek, recorded here for the first time.

Why Björk? Both she and Renée are recipients of Sweden’s Polar Music Prize. Both dare to be original. In the fascinating booklet interview Renée talks about her admiration for Björk: “Her originality is breathtaking. She just blazes her own path forward”. Renée chooses the songs which mean the most to her personally and musically.

“[Fleming] still commands the creamiest, spine-shiveringly sensuous timbre in the business. That’s evident throughout Knoxville, as is her excellent diction, an area often perceived as her weakness...There’s a much more ghostly, even ominous, atmosphere in Hillborg’s writing.” The Times, 6th January 2017 *****

“At once alluring and uneasy, the songs are a gift for Renée Fleming, whose siren-like soprano draws the listener on to the unknown. The atmosphere is potently captured by Sakari Oramo and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra.” Financial Times, 6th January 2017 ****

“As a vehicle for the soaring purity of Fleming’s voice, and as an evocation of Strand’s very finely etched sensibility, Hillborg’s settings are genuinely beautiful and their cumulative effect is powerful...And the three songs by Björk that end the disc don’t seem out of place either.” The Guardian, 11th January 2017 ****

“Fleming obviously relishes the atmospheric music that Hillborg provides for her, and her soprano sails and swoops through the generally wistful and gossamer textures that the orchestration provides” Opera Now, February 2017 ****

“Fleming is in her best voice for Hillborg, sometimes digging into her lower range with great effect but also resorting to breathy mannerisms to characterise awed disbelief at the visions at hand…[she] finds much to connect with in the rhapsodic repetitions of ‘Jóga’. ‘All is Full of Love’ benefits from overdubbing: Fleming seems to be everywhere at once, with rather intoxicated effect” Gramophone Magazine, February 2017

“[The Strand Settings] already seems a classic with its declamatory vocal ardour, orchestral finesse, and communicative confluence of styles, from tinkling minimalism to a snatch of mock Handel. As she soars upwards on words like ‘stars’ and ‘freedom’ – Hillborg’s not afraid of the obvious – Fleming’s top register seems as golden as ever” BBC Music Magazine, March 2017 ****

“Fleming is in great voice and makes the strongest possible case for the [Hillborg], and turns in a masterfully judged account of Barber’s lyric rhapsody.” Classical Music, May 2017 *****

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Anders Hillborg: Sirens

Anders Hillborg: Sirens


Hillborg:

Beast Sampler for orchestra

Hannah Holgersson (soprano)

Sakari Oramo

O dessa ögon for soprano and strings

Sakari Oramo

Cold Heat for orchestra

David Zinman

Sirens for two sopranos, mixed choir and orchestra

Ida Falk Winland & Hannah Holgersson (sopranos)

Swedish Radio Choir, Esa-Pekka Salonen


The works recorded here testify to the widespread international interest in the music of the Swedish composer Anders Hillborg. Two purely orchestral works, Beast Sampler and Cold Heat, frame the brief and emotionally concentrated song O dessa ögon for soprano and strings, and demonstrate Hillborg's expert handling of the forces of the large symphony orchestra, often described by him as a 'sound animal'. Sirens, the closing and culminating work on this disc, is also Hillborg’s largest work to date in terms of both scoring and duration, and its emotional depth is unmatched in his output. Inspired by the dangerous yet alluring sirens in Homer's Odyssey, Hillborg has constructed a score and libretto in which the sirens – two soprano soloists and a large mixed choir – with increasing desperation attempt to manipulate Ulysses. Performing this colourful programme is the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, joined by the sopranos Ida Falk Winland and Hannah Holgersson and two of Sweden's foremost choirs, the Eric Ericson Chamber Choir and the Swedish Radio Choir. The performances are led by three different conductors: the eminent trio of Sakari Oramo, David Zinman and Esa-Pekka Salonen, dedicatees of the works they conduct here.

“Rich, sonorous playing from Oramo's orchestra under all three conductors, and singing full of purity, accuracy and fresh air above it; both soloists are agile, strong and able to tell a story. But that all comes from what Hillborg writes for them. Sirens should be heard.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2016

“[this music] is unpacked with great care by Esa-Pekka Salonen, with Ida Falk Winland and Holgersson as the entwining soprano soloists. All the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic performances, under Sakari Oramo for Beast Sampler and O Dessa Ögon and David Zinman for Cold Heat, are first-rate; there seems to be no doubt that orchestras enjoy playing Hillborg’s music.” The Guardian, January 2016 ****

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Nielsen: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 6

Nielsen: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 6


Nielsen:

Symphony No. 2, Op. 16 (FS29) 'The Four temperaments'

Symphony No. 6, (FS116) 'Sinfonia semplice'


“Sakari Oramo's cycle of Nielsen symphonies roars to its conclusion with an account of the Second, The Four Temperaments, irresistibly driven by a fifth - Oramo himself. The choleric hero positively steams into our midst - a Berliozian pirate whose ferocious energy is tamed only by the impassioned lyricism of his more romantic inclinations…a terrific performance of a marvellous symphony, with the delicious easy-going undulations of the phlegmatic fellow really singing here and the melancholic reaches of the slow movement achieving an almost Brucknerian grandiosity…Nielsen's last symphony - anything but 'semplice' - is also finely tuned and disturbingly precise” Gramophone Magazine, June 2015

“That the music ebbs and flows so naturally here and in the restless third movement is testimony to Oramo’s sure grasp of the symphony’s architecture, both internal and external. As in his accounts of the First and Third he builds truly commanding climaxes; indeed, there’s something of Sibelius’s imposing topography at times…there are many fine versions of the Sinfonia Semplice in the catalogue, but in the face of Oramo’s overwhelming account there’s little point in trotting them out for comparison. To put it bluntly, this the most penetrating, the most complete, account of Nielsen’s last symphony that I have ever encountered…a feisty, unfettered Second and a benchmark Sixth; a triumph for all concerned.” MusicWeb International, April 2015

“Oramo is totally in control, letting the panic of the first movement of the sixth take hold with alarming speed but also giving the orchestra space to breathe, as in the broad first movement of “The Four Temperaments”, allowing its rich, full-bodied sound to overwhelm us.” The Observer, 3rd May 2015 ****

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Nielsen: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3

Nielsen: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3


Nielsen:

Symphony No. 1 in G minor, Op. 7 (FS16)

Symphony No. 3, Op. 27 (FS60) 'Sinfonia espansiva'


The first volume of this new cycle was widely acclaimed upon its release in December 2013 (BIS2028).

Symphony No. 1 owes much to Schumann and was completed in 1892, when the composer was still in his mid-twenties.

Symphony No. 3 was the true breakthrough work, following twenty years after the first symphony and rapidly taken up by Europe’s leading orchestras.

“Bravo...to the Finnish conductor, a Sibelian whose credentials need no advertisement, for championing his national composer’s exact Danish contemporary’s symphonies. This second instalment of his Nielsen cycle offers bracing accounts of the G minor (No 1) and “Espansiva” (No 3).” Sunday Times, 18th January 2015

“It's a joy to find so much intelligent care and attention expended on Nielsen's First Symphony...You can feel the exuberance, the intellectual control, and also the sense of danger...But there's also a tender, affectionate streak in this symphony, which Oramo and his orchestra bring out well while resisting the temptation to indulge...The Sinfonia Espansiva (No. 3) is also finely controlled and full of character.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2015 *****

“Oramo had his Royal Stockholm Philharmonic wind players relax into [No. 1's] almost Baroque-like ornateness, and when the tune 'turns' in the violins, its does so with effortless charm...The 'Espansiva' heart of the [Third] is the second movement...and is a departure in every sense - it's a rarefied air that Oramo breathes.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2015

“This is a Nielsen First to sweep listeners off their feet and blow old favourites into the proverbial weeds…[and the] Third is no less gripping...This is a field-leading release, both musically and sonically; roll on Two and Six.” MusicWeb International, April 2015

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2016

Orchestral Winner

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Daniel Hope: Escape to Paradise

Daniel Hope: Escape to Paradise

The Hollywood Album


Castelnuovo-Tedesco:

Sea Murmurs

Eisler:

The Secret Marriage

Heymann:

Irgendwo auf der Welt (from Der Blonde Traum)

Hupfeld:

As Time Goes By: theme

Jurmann:

Tranen in der Geige

Korngold:

Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35

Serenade from Der Schneemann

Morricone, E:

Nuovo Cinema Paradiso: Love Theme

Newman, T:

American Beauty

Rozsa:

Ben Hur: Love Theme

El Cid: Theme

Spellbound: Prelude and Love Theme

Waxman, F:

Reminiscences From 'Come Back, Little Sheba'

Weill, K:

Speak low

Williams, John:

Schindler's List: Theme

Zeisl:

Menuhim's-Song


Daniel Hope (violin), with Maria Todtenhaupt, Jacques Ammon and Sting

Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Quintet of the Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin, Alexander Shelley

Daniel Hope talks to Presto's David Smith about Escape to Paradise here.

In his latest album Daniel Hope shines a new light on Hollywood scores as he takes a widescreen musical journey, seeking out the echoes of exiled European composers, such as Miklos Rózsa, John Waxman, Hanns Eisler, Erich Wolfgang Korngold. The center piece is the famous Violin concerto by Erich Wolfgang Korngold.

The album also contains contemporary soundtrack classics such as Schindler´s List, American Beauty and Cinema Paradiso to reflect on the strong musical influence the Exile composer had and still has on contemporary film composers.

Guest artists featuring on this record are no one less than Sting who performs in a new arrangement on “The Secret Marriage” – a Hanns Eisler composition (originally with lyrics of Bertold Brecht, to which Sting wrote his own lyrics back in 1987) – and German singer phenomenon Max Raabe on the famous “Speak Low” by Kurt Weill. Top Arranger Paul Bateman provided brand new orchestral arrangements.

“the real singing comes from Hope’s violin, soaring through an agreeable selection from the works of European composers who found refuge in California. The highlight is Korngold’s Violin Concerto, luxuriously rendered with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and conductor Alexander Shelley.” The Times, 29th August 2014 ***

“Pieces played in new arrangements bask in the luxuriantly romantic world of Korngold, Rósza and their contemporaries.” Financial Times, 6th September 2014

“At the heart of this disc is his swashbuckling performance of Korngold's Violin Concerto, where Hope brings off with aplomb the tension between the work's contrasting lyrical ideas and the electric energy of the virtuoso writing. It's as if he had in mind the screen hero Errol Flynn” Gramophone Magazine, October 2014

“Hope's highly-charged and sumptuously expressive account of Korngold's Violin Concerto does the work proud.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2014 ****

DG - 4792954

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Elgar: Symphony No. 1

Elgar: Symphony No. 1


Elgar:

Symphony No. 1 in A flat major, Op. 55

Cockaigne Overture, Op. 40 'In London Town'


Conducting this all-Elgar programme is Sakari Oramo, the Finnish conductor who has been all but adopted by English music-lovers and orchestras - for ten years he was music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and since 2013 he holds the post as chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

It was during the winter of 1900–01 that Elgar began to sketch what he hoped would turn into his first symphony. However, the sketches were quickly absorbed into several shorter pieces, one of which was the Cockaigne overture - an unashamedly populist portrait of ‘old London town’.

As for the First Symphony, seven years would pass before its première in Manchester and subsequent London performance.

“Oramo has secured a vibrant, electric orchestral sound that underpins everything, making even the slow introduction seem exuberant underneath its finely judged nobilmente breadth...The orchestra offers similarly big-hearted, vital playing in Cockaigne. The opening theme kicks up its heels cheekily.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2014 ****

“Oramo's commendably trim and purposeful conception is clearly the result of painstaking preparation and he certainly knows his way round the score; scarcely a fleck of detail escapes his eagle eye, and the antiphonally divided fiddles are an enormous boon...Oramo's reading of the main work has enough in the tank to merit investigation by any Elgarian seeking a fresh view.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2014

“Oramo uses a lot of rubato in the scherzo and at times you can feel it lurching into a slower gear with a sudden clunk. It’s like being in the car with someone who is learning how to use the clutch...That’s my only complaint about a performance which is outstanding all the way through...A First Symphony that only just misses perfection.” MusicWeb International, 1st July 2014

“There’s nothing portentous about the performance: take the athleticism demanded of the band by Oramo in the Scherzo — full of bright, good-natured humour — and the dashing final Allegro. It’s good news that non-Brits can respond to this music with such affection and authenticity.” Sunday Times, 3rd August 2014

“It's a finely judged and paced performance, one that avoids extremes but still manages to give a tremendous sense of cumulative momentum to the whole work...Oramo has always obtained a wonderfully refined string tone from the orchestras he conducts, and the hushed playing of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic...is strikingly effective.” The Guardian, 31st July 2014 ****

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Nobel Prize Concert 2009

Nobel Prize Concert 2009

Recorded at the Stockholm Concert Hall, 8 December 2009


Prokofiev:

Romeo and Juliet - Suite No. 1, Op. 64a

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

Ravel:

Piano Concerto in G major

Martha Argerich (piano)

Shostakovich:

Festive Overture, Op. 96


As part of the official Nobel Week, the world’s most renowned artists are gathering each year to pay tribute to the Nobel Laureates. An event of world class stature and performances of highest international standard. Members of the Swedish Royal Family as well as guests of the Nobel Foundation are attending the highly acclaimed event, which gathers internationally renowned artists and conductors each year.

Very special highlight was this year’s soloist Martha Argerich, one of the very charismatic and brilliant pianists, performing Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major under Yuri Temirkanov leading the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. The program also includes Prokofiev’s Suite from Romeo and Juliet.

Born in Buenos Aires in 1941, Martha Argerich had her performing debut at the age of eight. Her breakthrough came in 1965, when she won the prestigious Chopin Competition in Warsaw. Working with most of the world’s leading conductors Argerich is passionate about supporting young talents. In 1999 the first International Martha Argerich Piano Contest was held in Buenos Aires, a competition that she founded and of which she is now the chief judge.

Picture format: 1080i Full HD - 16:9

Sound format: PCM Stereo, DTS-HD Master Audio

Region code: All

Booklet notes: English, German, French

Running time: 80 mins

German FSK: 0

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Region: all

EuroArts - 2057894

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$34.25

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Anders Hillborg: Eleven Gates

Anders Hillborg: Eleven Gates


Hillborg:

King Tide

Sakari Oramo

Exquisite Corpse

Alan Gilbert

Dreaming River

Esa-Pekka Salonen

Eleven Gates

Esa-Pekka Salonen


As demonstrated by the four works on this disc, the music of Anders Hillborg couples complexity with directness, sensuality with humour, hypnotic meditation with pulsating rhythms, and all is combined with an original sense of form and unfaltering craftsmanship.

Hillborg recently became the first Swedish composer to have a work premièred by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra when Cold Heat was performed in January 2011.

Hillborg has called the symphony orchestra a ‘sound animal’. His love affair with the orchestra started in the 1980s, when he abandoned electronic music, and around the same time, Hillborg formed a bond with the conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen, who here conducts Dreaming River from 1998 and Eleven Gates, a work he premièred with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2006.

Sakari Oramo and Alan Gilbert are both among the most highly regarded conductors of our time, and also have a special relationship with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra in common, as its current and former chief conductor. The Stockholm orchestra also commissioned both Dreaming River and Exquisite Corpse.

“The present collection showcases Hillborg's typically multifaceted and wickedly good-natured humour...The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra is on splendid form throughout, led by conductors who have championed these works at home and abroad. BIS's SACD sound is typically spectacular, making this release very strongly recommended.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2012

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Brahms: Violin Concerto

Brahms: Violin Concerto


Brahms:

Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77

Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Sakari Oramo

Hungarian Dances, WoO 1 Nos. 1-21 (complete)

arr. Joseph Joachim

Lauma Skride (piano)


Baiba Skride (violin)

Baiba Skride is not just one of the most sought-after artists when it comes to finding a soloist for one of the great violin concertos. She is also much in demand for chamber music. This makes her ideal for her new recording, her first on the ORFEO label, devoted to the work of Johannes Brahms. It is a highly promising start to our collaboration with this First-Prize winner of the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels in 2001. Besides Brahms’s Violin Concerto, she here offers his Hungarian Dances in the version for violin and piano made by Joseph Joachim. The long-standing musical partnership of Brahms and Joachim is reflected doubly here, for Joachim was also the dedicatee of the Concerto. Baiba Skride’s Brahms interpretations are themselves characterized by happy musical constellations. In Sakari Oramo she has a conductor who is himself a violinist and who offers the appropriate momentum with the Royal Philharmonic in Stockholm. One clearly hears the energy and vigour with which every instrumental grouping plays. Thus the great arch of the work is perfectly formed, from the solo interjections (not just from the violin!) to the symphonic dialogue between the partners. The chamber-music intimacy of the Hungarian Dances could not be achieved more powerfully or more beautifully than in Baiba Skride’s tried-and-tested duo partnership with her sister Lauma Skride at the piano. Unhindered by the “pianistic” violin part with its many double stoppings, Baiba develops an ensemble that is in tempo and in its gestures carefully moulded with the piano. The piano may have what is clearly an accompanying part, and Lauma Skride certainly adapts to her sister’s playing in an unpretentious manner, but nor is her part understated. The result is a performance of these atmospheric dances that is at times resilient and fiery, at other times melodic, gentle and smooth. They belong just as much to Brahms’s art as do the formal stringency and unity we find in his large-scale works – and it is all the lovelier when we find all of this on a single CD recording.

“This performance...reveals Baiba Skride as the complete violinist, with an exceptionally precise, reliable technique, splendid tone and presence, and discerning musicianship, who makes the quietest moments tell. And her playing is complemented by a sympathetic, finely balanced accompaniment.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2011

“It’s soon clear that Baiba Skride is going to give an intensely poetic, singing account of the solo part [of the Concerto]. Her technique sounds flawless – as one would expect at this level – but I really admired the consistency of her tone, especially above the stave, as well as her ability to sustain the line.” John Quinn, MusicWeb International, November 2011

Orfeo - C829112A

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Peter Mattei: Great Baritone Arias

Peter Mattei: Great Baritone Arias


Britten:

Look! Through the port comes the moonshine astray (from Billy Budd)

Gounod:

Avant de quitter ces lieux (from Faust)

Mozart:

Meta di voi qua vadano (from Don Giovanni)

Fin ch'han dal vino (from Don Giovanni)

Se vuol ballare (from Le nozze di Figaro)

Hai gia vinta la causa! (from Le nozze di Figaro)

Rivolgete a lui lo sguardo (from Così fan tutte)

Rossini:

Largo al factotum (from Il barbiere di Siviglia)

Tchaikovsky:

Uzhel ta samaya Tatyana (from Eugene Onegin)

Vy mne pisali…Kogda by zhizn domashnim krugom (from Eugene Onegin)

Ya vas lyublyu 'Yeletsky’s aria' (from Pique Dame)

Verdi:

Son io, mio Carlo... Io morro (from Don Carlo)

Wagner:

Blick ich umher in diesem edlen Kreise (from Tannhäuser)

Wie Todesahnung...O du, mein holder Abendstern (from Tannhäuser)


The Swedish baritone Peter Mattei has made a formidable reputation for himself performing at the most prestigious opera houses in the world including the Metropolitan, Teatro alla Scala and Covent Garden.

In the recording studio he is, however, a more rarely seen guest. On this his first and long-awaited disc of arias, he revels in the rich opportunities offered by the baritone literature, performing a selection of his favourite arias and roles. Lovelorn young men and cynical libertines, friends faithful unto death and innocent victims of oppression.

All of these are brought to life as one of today’s finest operatic baritones displays his entire range with the eminent support of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and Lawrence Renes on the podium.

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