Prague Philharmonic Choir

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Faccio: Hamlet

Faccio: Hamlet

Bregenz Festival, July, 2016


Pavel Cernoch (Amleto), Claudio Sgura (Claudio), Iulia Maria Dan (Ofelia), Eduard Tsanga (Polonio), Dshamilja Kaiser (Gertrude), Sebastien Soules (Orazio), Paul Schweinester (Laerte), Bartosz Urbanowicz (Marcello), Gianluca Buratto (The ghost/A priest)

Prague Philharmonic Choir, Wiener Symphoniker, Paolo Carignani

Staged by Olivier Tambosi

This production ‘offers all an Italian-opera-lover could possibly desire’ wrote the FAZ after the revival of this ‘forgotten gem’ at the Bregenz Festival. The festival continued its rediscovery series with ‘Amleto/Hamlet’, an opera by Verdi contemporaries Franco Faccio and Arrigo Boito, based on Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet. Premiered in 1865 in Genoa and restaged in 1871 at Milano’s La Scala, ‘Hamlet’ was only revived in 2014 concertante in the US before its ‘triumphal rebirth’ (Deutschlandradio Kultur) at the Bregenz Festival, where the opera was also recorded for the first time ever. Faccio, who conducted the first performance of Verdi’s Aida in Italy and the world premiere of Otello, and Boito, Verdi’s librettist of Otello and Falstaff, skillfully and effectively challenge the conventions of Italian opera, which they wanted to revitalize by infusing it with the spirit of Shakespeare’s drama. Anticipating the musical language of later Italian verismo composers, the opera combines lovely musical interludes with superb vocal writing. Heading a supreme cast, Pavel Černoch as Amleto delivers superbly, ‘using his colorful tenor skillfully to develop the transformation of the insecure youngling to the ice-cold avenger’ (NZZ) and ‘granting the work large scale’ (Abendzeitung). Under the baton of Paolo Carignani with the Vienna Symphoniker and Prague Philharmonic Choir ‘it carried terrific punch’ (The Telegraph). Olivier Tambosi’s ‘excellent staging served it well, with a clear focus on the high points’ (The Telegraph). ‘There is a lot of exciting music to discover in this opera…What an amazing richness in ideas! This opera is worth to be rediscovered.’ (SZ) ‘Faccio’s opera is the one that should be performed, and if plans are not already afoot to bring it to the land of Shakespeare, they certainly should be.’ (The Telegraph)

SOUND FORMAT: Blu-ray: PCM Stereo, DTS-HD MA 5.1

PICTURE: 16:9, HD

SUBTITLES: Italian (original language), German, English, French, Korean, Japanese

BOOKLET: English, German, French

TOTAL RUNNING TIME: 145 mins

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

C Major - 740704

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Special: $30.50

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Dvorak: Stabat Mater, Op. 58

Dvorak: Stabat Mater, Op. 58


Eri Nakamura (soprano), Elisabeth Kulman (contralto), Michael Spyres (tenor), Jongmin Park (bass)

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Prague Philharmonic Choir, Jiří Bělohlávek

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

Maestro Bělohlávek and the Czech Philharmonic present an authentic interpretation of Dvořák’s Stabat Mater; a great Czech work performed by Czech musicians with an innate understanding of the music of their homeland.

Dvořák’s Stabat Mater is performed here by Jiří Bělohlávek, the Czech Philharmonic and leading soloists Eri Nakamura, Elisabeth Kulman, Michael Spyres and Jongmin Park.

“This is a wonderfully idiomatic account which really bears out a remark Bělohlávek once made about the ‘singing art of playing [Dvořák]’...he captures the work’s strange synthesis of baroque influences and Verdian grandeur without overegging the pudding in either direction...All in all, this is surely set to become both an award-winner and a benchmark choice for this work.” Presto Classical, 12th May 2017

“[Bělohlávek’s] relaxed though steadfast approach is immediately apparent…the Prague Philharmonic Choir’s contributions are disciplined and impassioned…[the solo quartet] are uniformly superb…Bělohlávek perfectly judges the delicate balance between singers and orchestra” Gramophone Magazine, June 2017

“Bělohlávek’s performance is masterful in its pacing...There’s a spacious, burnished quality to the sound, the orchestra’s dark-timbred strings and emollient, airborne flutes; the choir all warmth and substance, even if one could occasionally wish it a touch more incisive. The four soloists fit their differing roles well.” The Guardian, 15th June 2017 ****

“The Czech orchestra and chorus have this music in their blood...Belohlavek’s choice of an international solo quartet is unusual...but [they] blend as a fine team...Spyres is the standout with his radiant singing of the “Brahmsian” Fac me vere tecum flere. An outstanding follow-up to Belohlavek’s outstanding symphonies and concertos set with the Czech Phil.” Sunday Times, 18th June 2017

Presto Disc of the Week

12th May 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Decca - 4831510

(CD - 2 discs)

$14.00

(also available to download from $10.00)

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Martinu: Cantatas

Martinu: Cantatas


Martinu:

Legend of the Smoke from Potato Fires

Mikes of the Mountains

The Opening of the Wells

Dandelion Romance


Pavla Vykopalova (soprano), Ludmila Hudeckova (contralto), Martin Slavik (tenor), Jiri Bruckler (baritone), Petr Svoboda (baritone), Jaromir Meduna (recitation) & Ivo Kahanek (piano)

Members of the Bennewitz Quartet & Prague Philharmonic Choir, Lukas Vasilek

When Miloslav Bureš sent his first poem Song of the Ruby Spring to Bohuslav Martinů in 1955, he seemed to have touched the deepest spot of the composer’s heart. The poet set his verses into the landscape of the Czech Highlands, the region of Martinů’s childhood and a rich source of his memories. The composer must have identified strongly with the character of the pilgrim returning to his birthplace, because he wrote The Opening of the Springs within nine days. Later he set to music three more poems by Bureš, finishing the last one, Mikeš of the Mountains, half a year before his death. For Martinů, the cantatas represented an important link to his homeland at a time when the political situation and later also his poor health were diminishing his hopes of coming back home. One can only imagine what he felt when he was sitting in Schönenberg, Switzerland, listening to the vinyl record with the first recording of his Opening of the Springs published by Supraphon, or when his friends were sending him reports about the Czech premieres of his works...

Recorded in the Rudolfinum, Prague, October and December 2015

“Baritone Jirí Brückler is superb here, and the top-quality professional Prague Philharmonic Choir master the most harmonically rich cantata of the four, a tale of a girl who doesn’t recognise her long-lost love returning from the wars…valuable messages for our or indeed any time, and superlatively performed. Unmissable” BBC Music Magazine, March 2017 *****

“This is a singularly exotic issue for Czechs and non-Czechs alike...I cannot imagine these cantatas being better performed or recorded than here; Lukáš Vasilek is an outstanding conductor, and the Prague Philharmonic Choir respond to his every interpretative intuition. Very highly recommended.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2017

“The Prague choir gets the balance right: vivid character and resonant voices but never saccharine and rhythmically taut. This is the ensemble that premiered three of the cantatas (in a previous guise) and it’s hard to imagine singing of more authority in Martinů’s music.” The Guardian, 15th December 2016 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - March 2017

BBC Music Magazine

Choral & Song Choice - March 2017

Supraphon - SU41982

(CD)

$14.25

(also available to download from $10.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Janacek: Amarus

Janacek: Amarus

Live performances from Czech Radio, Smetana Hall, Prague


Janacek:

Amarus - Cantata for Soloists, Mixed Chorus and Orchestra

March 28, 1974

Vera Soukupová & Vilém Pribyl

Prague Philharmonic Choir

The Cunning Little Vixen - Suite

March 3, 1988

From the House of the Dead: suite

March 3, 1988

František Jílek

From the House of the Dead: Overture

March 28, 1974

František Jílek


This recording offers listeners over an hour of music by Leos Janácek. From the cantata 'Amarus' to orchestral music from 'The Cunning Little Vixen' and 'From the House of the Dead', Václav Neumann leads the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, soloists and the Prague Philharmonic Choir in idiomatically accurate and stunningly powerful performances. Neumann has been called the undisputed successor to legendary Czech conductors Václav Talich and Karel Ancerl.

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

Praga Digitals - DSD250308

(SACD)

$14.25

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Janacek: Glagolitic Mass & The Eternal Gospel

Janacek: Glagolitic Mass & The Eternal Gospel


Janacek:

Glagolitic Mass

The Eternal Gospel


Prague Philharmonic Choir & Prague RSO, Tomáš Netopil

Brand new recording of a Janacek masterpiece, along with a lesser know gem!

In the wake of the highly acclaimed recording of Janáček’s symphonic works (SU41312) which was an Editor’s Choice in Gramophone, August 2013, Tomáš Netopil and the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra have focused on the composer’s choral pieces.

The Glagolitic Mass is a well known work, yet not in the composer’s original “September 1927” version, as it was performed at the premiere in Brno, which has been recorded for the very first time for this CD. It is fascinating to observe how many distinct traits of Janáček’s expressive musical language have vanished from the work as a result of its later modifications.

The Eternal Gospel, on the other hand, is a piece virtually unknown worldwide (the only previous Supraphon recording was made almost fifty years ago). Janáček was inspired by, and created the libretto on the basis of, Jaroslav Vrchlický’s poem about the medieval monk Joachim de Fiore, to whom an angel appeared, bringing tidings of the arrival of a realm of love. Janáček worked on the piece concurrently with the opera The Excursion of Mr. Brouček to the Moon and completed it in the spring of 1914, a few months prior to the outbreak of World War I.

Netopil’s new recording may facilitate bringing the remarkable work back to concert stages. A premiere recording of the Glagolitic Mass’s original version.

“Raw and thrilling, this is Janácek’s Glagolitic Mass in its never-before-recorded original 1927 version, later toned down by the composer for practical rather than aesthetic reasons. It’s performed with suitably full-throated vigour by Czech forces under Tomas Netopil.” The Times, 4th October 2014 ****

“Netopil's performance seethes with nervous energy, his soloists are dedicated, and so are his chorus and orchestra...The Eternal Gospel hasn't been recorded in aeons...Again, the performance is excellent.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2014

“Elements of drama and complex discourse that had to be toned down in the interests of performers also assert themselves with a special impact here, with chorus and soloists fearless and forthright in expression and the orchestra dynamic and propulsive. The Eternal Gospel of 1914 makes for a radiant coupling.” The Telegraph, 4th November 2014 ****

“It’s rawer, more stringent, and more confrontational than what we are used to hearing now, and even more difficult to perform; many of the revisions that Janáček made were to reduce the demands on the singers and players, and he took away some of the piece’s wildness in the process. The performance is a nicely detailed one, with adequate rather than outstanding soloists.” The Guardian, 5th November 2014 ***

“Netopil directs an excellent performance which, appropriately enough, reflects the operatic world of The Cunning Little Vixen and the Excursions of Mr Broucek...[the Credo] is beautifully shaped and genuinely thrilling. If not entirely perfect, this reading, along with a fine performance of The Eternal Gospel is well worth investigating.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2015 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2014

Supraphon - SU41502

(CD)

$14.25

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Leif Ove Andsnes: The Beethoven Journey (Piano Concerto No. 5 & Choral Fantasy)

Leif Ove Andsnes: The Beethoven Journey (Piano Concerto No. 5 & Choral Fantasy)


Beethoven:

Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major, Op. 73 'Emperor'

Fantasia for Piano, Chorus and Orchestra in C minor, Op. 80

Prague Philharmonic Choir


The celebrated Norwegian pianist completes his multi-annual collaborative journey with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, dedicated to Beethoven’s five piano concertos. The Beethoven Journey is a four-year collaborative project between celebrated pianist Leif Ove Andsnes and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. Together they have recorded all of Beethoven’s Piano Concertos, as well as the Choral Fantasy, with Andsnes not only playing but also directing the orchestra. The series began with the live recording of the Piano Concertos 1 & 3 at the Prague Spring Festival in the historic Rudolfinum building. The second CD, Piano Concertos 2 & 4, was recorded in London in 2013, and the final album was recorded again live at the Prague Spring Festival in 2014. Leif Ove Andsnes has devoted the majority of his performing and recording activities in the last 3 years to the music of Beethoven. Although Andsnes has an extensive discography, “The Beethoven Journey” is his first Beethoven recording ever.

“Andsnes manages to be lithe and spontaneous-sounding, and doesn't overplaying hints of melodrama...In a way Andsnes reminds me of Schnabel in his sureness of touch, albeit in a very different style...The unanimity in the closing bars between Andsnes and his orchestra says it all. Having used up my stash of superlatives, all I can say is: go buy.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2014

“There is no absence of weight here or of rhythmic sinew, but the range of softer dynamics and the flux of light and shade are truly remarkable. With Andsnes, every note counts, and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra complements him in definition and refined phrasing. These are Beethoven performances of arresting maturity, stylistic acumen and utter delight.” The Telegraph, 10th January 2015 *****

“Andsnes's view of the Emperor Concerto's slow movement may strike some listeners as less contemplative and poetic than usual, and it may be that his interpretation of the piece will deepend over time, but it's beautifully played...Particularly notable in Andsnes's performance of the first movement is the mysterious approach to the recapitulation, where he and the orchestra vividly convey the feeling of the music holding its breath.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2015 *****

Presto Discs of 2014

Finalist

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - Awards Issue 2014

Sony Leif Ove Andsnes The Beethoven Journey - 88843058862

(CD)

$13.25

(also available to download from $11.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Martinu: Field Mass

Martinu: Field Mass


Martinu:

Field Mass

Vaclav Zitek (baritone)

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Prague Philharmonic Choir

Double Concerto for Strings, Piano & Timpani

Josef Ruzicka (piano), Jan Bouse (timpani)

Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra

Les Fresques de Piero della Francesca, H. 352

Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra


Supraphon - SU32762

(CD)

$11.00

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Eternamente (The Verismo Album)

Eternamente (The Verismo Album)


Boito:

Spunta l'aurora pallida (from Mefistofele)

Joseph Calleja (tenor), Richard Novak (bass)

Donaudy:

O del mio amato ben

Giordano, U:

No! se un pensier torture (from Siberia)

Vicino a te (from Andrea Chénier)

Joseph Calleja (tenor), Emmanuel Villaume (spoken voice)

Leoncavallo:

La Canzone di Fleana (from I Zingari)

Ed ora conoscetela (from La Boheme)

Mascagni:

Regina coeli laetare (from Cavalleria Rusticana)

Prague Philharmonic Choir

Voi lo sapete o mamma (from Cavalleria rusticana)

Tu qui, Santuzza? (from Cavalleria Rusticana)

Joseph Calleja (tenor)

Mascheroni:

Eternamente

Ponchielli:

Suicidio! (from La Gioconda)

Puccini:

Vissi d'arte (from Tosca)

Parigi! E la citta dei desideri (from La Rondine)

Refice:

Ombra di Nube


Eternamente is described as a collection of verismo – the term used generically for Italian opera of the immediate post-Verdi era. No matter when they were composed, and no matter what their subject matter, all these operas demand great passion and commitment from their performers – and they get it from Angela Gheorghiu. “It is like my soul, it is something different, it is not the voice,” she explained in an interview with Opera magazine. “The voice is also there, it has to be there, and it has had to be prepared – but at that moment of the performance, there is more. The response is never a conscious exaggeration – it is a natural expression. I am never pretending. It is just how I am at that moment.” The character and impact of her voice was summarised thus in Gramophone: “With her smooth and dark-toned soprano, a voice at once powerfully firm and vulnerable, Gheorghiu stands out from an entire generation of talented singers. Her sound is convincingly Italianate in the great tradition; her voice, once heard, is never forgotten.”

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Warner Classics - 9029578024

(CD)

Normally: $13.25

Special: $11.75

Scheduled for release on 20 October 2017. Order it now and we will deliver it as soon as it is available.

Eternamente (The Verismo Album) - Vinyl Edition

Eternamente (The Verismo Album) - Vinyl Edition


Boito:

Spunta l'aurora pallida (from Mefistofele)

Joseph Calleja (tenor), Richard Novak (bass)

Donaudy:

O del mio amato ben

Giordano, U:

Vicino a te (from Andrea Chénier)

Joseph Calleja (tenor), Emmanuel Villaume (spoken voice)

Leoncavallo:

La Canzone di Fleana (from I Zingari)

Mascagni:

Regina coeli laetare (from Cavalleria Rusticana)

Prague Philharmonic Choir

Voi lo sapete o mamma (from Cavalleria rusticana)

Tu qui, Santuzza? (from Cavalleria Rusticana)

Joseph Calleja (tenor)

Mascheroni:

Eternamente

Ponchielli:

Suicidio! (from La Gioconda)

Puccini:

Vissi d'arte (from Tosca)

Refice:

Ombra di Nube


Eternamente is described as a collection of verismo – the term used generically for Italian opera of the immediate post-Verdi era. No matter when they were composed, and no matter what their subject matter, all these operas demand great passion and commitment from their performers – and they get it from Angela Gheorghiu. “It is like my soul, it is something different, it is not the voice,” she explained in an interview with Opera magazine. “The voice is also there, it has to be there, and it has had to be prepared – but at that moment of the performance, there is more. The response is never a conscious exaggeration – it is a natural expression. I am never pretending. It is just how I am at that moment.” The character and impact of her voice was summarised thus in Gramophone: “With her smooth and dark-toned soprano, a voice at once powerfully firm and vulnerable, Gheorghiu stands out from an entire generation of talented singers. Her sound is convincingly Italianate in the great tradition; her voice, once heard, is never forgotten.”

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Warner Classics - 9029575636

(Vinyl)

$20.25

Scheduled for release on 20 October 2017. Order it now and we will deliver it as soon as it is available.

Faccio: Hamlet

Faccio: Hamlet

Bregenz Festival, July, 2016


Pavel Cernoch (Amleto), Claudio Sgura (Claudio), Iulia Maria Dan (Ofelia), Eduard Tsanga (Polonio), Dshamilja Kaiser (Gertrude), Sebastien Soules (Orazio), Paul Schweinester (Laerte), Bartosz Urbanowicz (Marcello), Gianluca Buratto (The ghost/A priest)

Prague Philharmonic Choir, Wiener Symphoniker, Paolo Carignani

Staged by Olivier Tambosi

This production ‘offers all an Italian-opera-lover could possibly desire’ wrote the FAZ after the revival of this ‘forgotten gem’ at the Bregenz Festival. The festival continued its rediscovery series with ‘Amleto/Hamlet’, an opera by Verdi contemporaries Franco Faccio and Arrigo Boito, based on Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet. Premiered in 1865 in Genoa and restaged in 1871 at Milano’s La Scala, ‘Hamlet’ was only revived in 2014 concertante in the US before its ‘triumphal rebirth’ (Deutschlandradio Kultur) at the Bregenz Festival, where the opera was also recorded for the first time ever. Faccio, who conducted the first performance of Verdi’s Aida in Italy and the world premiere of Otello, and Boito, Verdi’s librettist of Otello and Falstaff, skillfully and effectively challenge the conventions of Italian opera, which they wanted to revitalize by infusing it with the spirit of Shakespeare’s drama. Anticipating the musical language of later Italian verismo composers, the opera combines lovely musical interludes with superb vocal writing. Heading a supreme cast, Pavel Černoch as Amleto delivers superbly, ‘using his colorful tenor skillfully to develop the transformation of the insecure youngling to the ice-cold avenger’ (NZZ) and ‘granting the work large scale’ (Abendzeitung). Under the baton of Paolo Carignani with the Vienna Symphoniker and Prague Philharmonic Choir ‘it carried terrific punch’ (The Telegraph). Olivier Tambosi’s ‘excellent staging served it well, with a clear focus on the high points’ (The Telegraph). ‘There is a lot of exciting music to discover in this opera…What an amazing richness in ideas! This opera is worth to be rediscovered.’ (SZ) ‘Faccio’s opera is the one that should be performed, and if plans are not already afoot to bring it to the land of Shakespeare, they certainly should be.’ (The Telegraph)

SOUND FORMAT: Blu-ray: PCM Stereo, DTS-HD MA 5.1

PICTURE: 16:9, HD

SUBTITLES: Italian (original language), German, English, French, Korean, Japanese

BOOKLET: English, German, French

TOTAL RUNNING TIME: 145 mins

Released or re-released in last 6 months

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

C Major - 740608

(DVD Video - 2 discs)

Normally: $38.75

Special: $35.00

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

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