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Kodály & Bartók: Orchestral Works

Kodály & Bartók: Orchestral Works


Bartók:

Dance Suite, BB 86, Sz. 77

Music for Strings, Percussion & Celesta, BB 114, Sz. 106

Kodály:

Háry János Suite

Variations on a Hungarian Folksong 'The Peacock'

William McAlpine (tenor)

London Philharmonic Choir

Psalmus hungaricus, Op. 13

William McAlpine (tenor)

London Philharmonic Choir

Dances of Galanta


Georg Solti studied piano with Bartók and although they never developed a close personal relationship, Solti was always in awe of the composer’s dedication and intensity. Bartók’s music featured regularly in Solti’s concert programs and he recorded the Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta and the Dance Suite again for Decca. This 1952 recording of the Dance Suite with the London Philharmonic Orchestra was one of his earliest orchestral discs and the conductor’s instinctive sense of rhythm is ever-pervasive. There are also some delightful touches of humour to be encountered in these recordings, such as those in Kodály’s Háry János Suite.

Kodály’s Psalmus Hungaricus was the first work to bring him international recognition, and it also brought him back into favour at home. It was composed to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the unification of the cities of Óbuda, Buda, and Pest to form modern-day Budapest. Solti revisited both the Peacock Variations and Psalmus Hungaricus 43 years after the present recording, in June 1997. This 1954 recording of Kodály’s choral masterpiece is performed in English.

“Orchestra and chorus shine in the Psalm […] Georg Solti is to be congratulated on two such vital readings” Gramophone Magazine, October 1954 (Psalmus Hungaricus, Peacock Variations)

“The finale goes with an exhilarating swagger, and the balance between the trumpets’ and horns’ imitative block chords is well maintainied” Gramophone Magazine, August 1955 (Kodály: Háry János)

Building a Library

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Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38

Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38


Sir Adrian Boult was a supreme interpreter of Elgar’s music, winning accolades and awards for performances and recordings. Boult championed his music throughout his conducting life following the composer’s prophetic words in a letter to Boult in 1920, ‘I feel that my reputation in the future is safe in your hands’.

Boult only made one recording of The Dream of Gerontius, in 1975, of which the Penguin Guide enthused, ‘Boult’s total dedication is matched by his powerful sense of drama…the spiritual feeling is intense throughout’ while The Gramophone Guide ended their review with ‘Boult directs with commendable energy and typical humanity. A document to be treasured.’

This DVD represents the only existing film of Boult conducting The Dream of Gerontius filmed in Canterbury Cathedral in 1968.

The performance features a stellar cast of soloists: Dame Janet Baker, a leading interpreter of The Angel in The Dream of Gerontius, who recorded the role twice, in 1964 in Sir John Barbirolli’s famous recording, and in 1986 under Sir Simon Rattle; John Shirley Quirk who, with Boult, recorded a definitive interpretation of Peter in The Kingdom and about whom Boult said” J.S.-Q. […] was perfection and I don’t think any of the old guard could surpass [him]”; Peter Pears, who recorded the work in 1972 under the direction of his close friend Benjamin Britten.

The film uses the original BBC master which is far superior to the poor copies which have been in circulation over the years.

This was the first classical music production filmed in colour, for which Brian Large, “an understanding musician as well as a brilliant producer” in Boult’s words, had secured eight out of the nine colour T.V. cameras existing in the UK at that time. This DVD also features a 60-minute documentary on Sir Adrian Boult as a bonus. This film was produced in 1989 by the BBC to celebrate Sir Adrian Boult’s 100th anniversary.

The booklet includes a note written by Andrew Neil, from the Elgar Society, as well as a long extract from Sir Adrian Boult’s biography in which Boult gave his extended insight on the filming. The booklet also includes the sung text in English.

DVD format: NTSC

Picture format: 4:3

Running time: 100 mins (feature); 60 mins (bonus)

Subtitles: None

Menu languages: English

Booklet languages: English

Region code: 0

Territory Restrictions: None

“Boult’s handling of the Prelude, and his masterly accompaniment – especially to Janet Baker’s radiant final benediction – is so beautiful, so magisterial in its intensity, that it feels as though the score is simply being opened before us, its truths unclouded by any merely human ‘interpretation’…the accompanying documentary is excellent: full of fascinating, moving insights into Boult as man and conductor…a beautifully devised portrait of a great musician” BBC Music Magazine, February 2017 ****

“[Pears] is, in a word, magnificent. Shirley-Quirk is marvellous, too, in both his roles, and Janet Baker, inhabiting the Angel as only she could, is in a league of her own...the TV sound is remarkably good for its time and the quality of the solo performances... makes this a must-see.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2016

“A very important DVD release for Elgar lovers and admirers of Sir Adrian Boult.” MusicWeb International, 11th January 2017

GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - December 2016

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

ica classics - ICAD5140

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Julian Anderson: In lieblicher Bläue, Alleluia, The Stations of the Sun

Julian Anderson: In lieblicher Bläue, Alleluia, The Stations of the Sun


Anderson, Julian:

In liebliche Bläue (for violin and orchestra)

Carolin Widmann (violin)

Alleluia

The Stations of the Sun


'Anderson is a composer of ringing, bell-like harmonies and subtly shifting orchestral colour. There’s a naive glow about his music, a pearly new-dawn iridescence, as if the world has returned to a state of primal innocence’. The Telegraph, March 2015

This recording features one of today’s most sought-after conductors, Vladimir Jurowski, who was appointed Principal Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 2007, with many of his recordings on the LPO Label being chosen for special mentions by BBC Music Magazine and Gramophone Magazine.

This recording of In lieblicher Bläue is taken from its world premiere performance at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall on 14 March 2015. The recordings of Alleluia and The Stations of the Sun are also taken from live concert recordings at the Royal Festival Hall in March 2014 and December 2013 respectively.

As Composer in Residence from 2010–14, Julian Anderson has a close affinity with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and this CD is a celebration of his time at the LPO. This is Julian’s second release on the LPO label, featuring premiere recordings of Alleluia and In lieblicher Bläue.

Two of the three pieces on this CD were composed specially for these musicians: Alleluia for the London Philharmonic Choir, the LPO and Vladimir Jurowski to perform at the re-opening concert of the Royal Festival Hall in June 2007, and In lieblicher Bläue for Carolin Widmann, one of the leading violinists of her generation.

“the highlight is In Lieblicher Bläue, captured at its premiere last year, a violin concerto in all but name...Anderson uses a brilliant orchestral palette to create sonorities that dazzle, suggesting intense colour and almost blinding sunlight. Above and through all this, Carolin Widmann’s violin soars serenely.” The Guardian, 3rd March 2016 ****

“The writing is characteristic in its insistent mix of glitter and grit, new (American) colours added to an eclectic pick of the 20th-century bran tub…if Vladimir Jurowski's punchy performances were indeed captured live with only minimal patching, they are all three remarkably accomplished” Gramophone Magazine, April 2016

“Carolin Widman is superb as the often diaphanous, yet frequently impulsive soloist negotiating an uneasy relationship with the orchestra in this recording of the world premiere. Vladimir Jurowski ensures everything is deftly paced in all three pieces, while the LPO’s joyous commitment to new music shines through” BBC Music Magazine, September 2016 *****

“[In lieblicher Bläue] is assured and ravishingly scored, as one might expect of this composer. Equally assured is the playing of Carolin Widmann, no stranger to contemporary music, and her tone and colour are as well caught in this premiere performance off-stage as on” Classical Music, August 2016 *****

GGramophone Awards 2016

Finalist - Concerto

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2017

Premiere Winner

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LPO - LPO0089

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Walton: Belshazzar's Feast, Choral Works & Songs

Walton: Belshazzar's Feast, Choral Works & Songs


Walton:

Coronation Te Deum

Salisbury Cathedral Choir, Winchester Cathedral Choir & Chichester Cathedral Choir

Belshazzar's Feast

Benjamin Luxon (baritone)

London Philharmonic Choir & London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Georg Solti

Jubilate Deo

First release on CD

Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, Simon Preston

Set me as a seal upon thine heart

First release on CD

Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, Simon Preston

Where does the uttered music go?

First release on CD

Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, Simon Preston

Missa Brevis

First release on CD

Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, Simon Preston

The Twelve

First release on CD

Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, Simon Preston

A Litany 'Drop, drop slow tears'

First release on CD

Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, Simon Preston

All this time

First release on CD

Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, Simon Preston

Make we joy now in this fest

First release on CD

Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, Simon Preston

What cheer?

First release on CD

Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, Simon Preston

A Song for the Lord Mayor's Table

First release on CD

Three Sitwell Songs

First release on CD

Heather Harper (soprano) & Paul Hamburger (piano)


This 2CD set reveals two sides of Walton, the composer of music for the voice. CD1 features the extravagant side of the composer with multiple choirs and a huge orchestra for swaggering performances of the Coronation Te Deum and Belshazzar’s Feast, both with Sir Georg Solti conducting. CD2, with all items released on CD for the first time, features the more intimate side of the composer, with settings of choral miniatures, from the earliest setting (Drop, drop, slow tears of 1917) up to the 1972 Jubilate. Simon Preston’s LP was released on Argo to mark Walton’s 70th birthday. The remainder of the items come from a L’Oiseau-Lyre LP coupling songs by Walton and Machonchy and performed by Heather Harper. A Song for the Lord Mayor’s Table was commissioned by the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths for the first City of London Festival; the texts were chosen by the English dramatist and poet Christopher Hassall and the poems come mostly from 18th-century verse related to London. The collection is rounded off with Walton’s Three Songs to poems by Dame Edith Sitwell date from 1932, all based on the composer’s Façade.

“Solti's Belshazzar's Feast is more symphonic than dramatic but monumentally impressive. Preston directs a useful anthology of short choral works.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2012 ****

“The disc thus gives a panorama of the composer's choral development over five decades … Preston has welded the choir into a most expressive and flexible instrument … The disc does credit to all concerned and will add lustre to the already high standard of Argo recordings in this field.” Gramophone Magazine (CD2: Choral works)

“Decca have done it again, transferring this highly spectacular choral work [Belshazzar’s Feast] with incredible aplomb. The Coronation Te Deum is hardly less impressive, the choral sound richer textured to suit the occasion, and there is a great bass pedal effect near the end. … Solti has come to Belshazzar's Feast, a great British masterpiece, and in his refreshing way has given it a crisp, international look … It is certainly a most distinctive performance, sharply focused and helped by a recording of superb clarity and brilliance … Indeed the range and bite of the sound here is little short of miraculous” Gramophone Magazine (Belshazzar’s Feast, Coronation Te Deum)

“Heather Harper’s singing … is a constant pleasure. Paul Hamburger, a first-rate accompanist who has appeared far too little on records, plays the quite demanding piano parts with great skill and sensitivity” Gramophone Magazine (Songs)

“Georg Solti brings out the tragic elements of Belshazzar's Feast to great effect in this excitingly dramatic recording with Benjamin Luxon as the soloist. This set also includes a stirring account of the Coronation Te Deum with the combined might of the choirs of Salisbury, Winchester and Chichester cathedrals.” James Longstaffe, Presto Classical, July 2014

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Vaughan Williams: A Cotswold Romance & Death of Tintagiles

Vaughan Williams: A Cotswold Romance & Death of Tintagiles


Vaughan Williams:

A Cotswold Romance

Death of Tintagiles


This re-release of two rarely heard works by Ralph Vaughan Williams, A Cotswold Romance and Death of Tintagiles, forms part of the new commemorative Hickox Legacy series on Chandos Records, leading up to (and continuing beyond) the fifth anniversary, in Nov 2013, of the conductor's untimely death. The recording is released on the Classic Chandos label at Mid Price.

Vaughan Williams composed his ‘ballad-opera’ Hugh the Drover, from which A Cotswold Romance is adapted, between 1910 and 1914. In his own words, he had an idea for an opera written ‘to real English words, with a certain amount of real English music’. The finished product, set in the Cotswold Village of Northleach during the Napoleonic wars, certainly does contain a host of identifiable English elements: the bringing-in of May, the bustling fair, and the prize-fight, for instance. Accommodating his publishers’ request for a version of the music which was more appropriate for concert performance, Vaughan Williams came up with the cantata A Cotswold Romance for tenor and soprano soloists with mixed-voice chorus and orchestra. The writing has the open, fresh, and vital quality that coloured many of Vaughan Williams’s works composed before the First World War.

In contrast, Death of Tintagiles, the incidental music for Maurice Maeterlinck’s play of the same name, is powerfully atmospheric and possesses a strong elegiac quality throughout. In five acts, the play concerns the tragic fate of a young child, Tintagiles, at the hands of his suspicious and jealous grandmother. Vaughan Williams perfectly captures the sense of foreboding and gloom in the play. In its simplicity and overall atmosphere the music recalls both Holst and Sibelius, while in the tender moments there are hints of A London Symphony, too.

BBC Music Magazine wrote of this disc: ‘Richard Hickox directs a vivid performance [of A Cotswold Romance] with splendid support from his assembled forces… Although not major works, these are notable additions to the catalogue, and the performances could hardly be better *****’.

Chandos Classics - The Hickox Legacy - CHAN10728X

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Land of Hope and Glory

Land of Hope and Glory

The Last Night of the Proms


Arne:

Rule, Britannia (from Alfred)

Elgar:

Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 in D major, Op. 39 No. 1

Parry:

Jerusalem

Stanford:

Songs of the Sea, Op. 91

Vaughan Williams:

Serenade to Music

Walton:

Crown Imperial

Wood, Henry:

Fantasia on British Sea Songs


There's nothing quite as heady as being at the Last Night of the Proms. As the summer comes to a close and this great annual festival in London concludes, the crowds gather in the park to watch this event broadcast in the park (and now, in other British cities too). And those that have been lucky enough to get a ticket from the ballot allocation, crowd into the Royal Albert Hall. The core of the event is, of course, the second half, with such staples as Parry's Jerusalem, Arne's Rule Britannia, and, with considerable audience participation (voice, claps, whistling), Land of Hope and Glory and the Fantasia on British Sea Songs. Here, you can enjoy these highlights in studio performances, but, with a cast of superb soloists under Sir Roger Norrington's crackerjack direction, with all the frisson of the live event itself. Excitement apart, it all gets quite emotional too. This CD returns to the catalogue at super-budget price after a long absence from the Decca catalogue and the original liner notes are expanded to include a description of the making of this recording by its executive producer, Evans Mirageas.

“Sarah Walker is the vibrant mezzo in Arne's Rule Britannia, heard in Malcolm Sargent's expert arrangement...Thomas Allen is in top voice for Stanford's briny Songs of the Sea, with the opening Drake's Drum making an unforgettable impression.” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

Australian Eloquence - ELQ4800476

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Berlioz: Te Deum, Op. 22

Berlioz: Te Deum, Op. 22


Francisco Araiza (tenor)

European Community Youth Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Choir, Wooburn Singers, St Albans School Choir, The Haberdashers' Aske's School Choir, The Southend Boys' Choir, Desborough School Choir, Claudio Abbado

Claudio Abbado’s acclaimed 1981 recording of Berlioz’s monumental Te Deum still leads the field 35 years later. First release at mid-price. The sung text and translation are included in the booklet.

“This is such a splendid record that few words are needed to exalt it and fewer still to carp. Abbado’s sense of phrasing and timing is exemplary and he draws wonderfully committed singing from all his choirs.” Hugh Macdonald, Musical Times, April 1983

DG Originals - 4795875

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Mendelssohn: The Complete Symphonies Vol. 1

Mendelssohn: The Complete Symphonies Vol. 1


Mendelssohn:

Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 11

Bernard Haitink

Symphony No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 52 'Lobgesang'

Margaret Price (soprano), Siegfried Jerusalem (tenor), Sally Burgess (soprano)

London Philharmonic Choir, Riccardo Chailly

Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 56 'Scottish'

Bernard Haitink

Hebrides Overture, Op. 26

Bernard Haitink


Philips - 4560712

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Gloria in excelsis Deo, Vol. 5 (Recordings 1954)

Gloria in excelsis Deo, Vol. 5 (Recordings 1954)


Bruce Boyce (baritone), Ralph Downes (organ), Jacqueline Delman (soprano), George Maran (tenor), Norma Procter (contralto)

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Hampstead Parish Church Choir, London Philharmonic Choir, Josef Krips

Documents - 299698

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Lord of the Proms, Vol. 10: Busoni

Lord of the Proms, Vol. 10: Busoni


Busoni:

Doktor Faust


Ian Wallace (baritone), Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone), John Cameron (bass), Heather Harper (soprano), Richard Lewis (tenor)

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Ambrosian Singers, Royal Academy of Music Chorus, London Philharmonic Choir, Adrian Boult

Documents - Sir Adrian Boult: Lord of the Proms - 299269

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