Martyn Brabbins

Conductor

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The Romantic Violin Concerto 21 - Bruch

The Romantic Violin Concerto 21 - Bruch


Bruch:

Violin Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op. 44

Konzertstück, Op. 84

In Memoriam, Op. 65

Adagio appassionato Op. 57


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here

The ‘justly celebrated’ Jack Liebeck (as described by The Strad) follows in the footsteps of Heifetz and Perlman in championing Bruch’s now neglected Violin Concerto No 2, originally written for Sarasate. Three shorter concertante works for violin and orchestra complete the album (Bruch thought the Adagio appassionato one of his best works) which marks volume 21 in our highly regarded Romantic Violin Concerto series.

“as Jack Liebeck’s nicely restrained performance shows, [Bruch's Second Violin Concerto is] a piece that’s perfectly capable of standing on its own musical feet. His fine-grained playing gets exemplary support from Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, who never overdo the menace that underlies the first movement especially” The Guardian, 23rd December 2016 ****

“Liebeck is certainly equal to all the challenges, moving from impeccable double-stopping one moment to the sweetest, most ardent of tones in some of the more impassioned passages.” Presto Classical, 23rd December 2016

“There’s much to admire in Jack Liebeck’s patrician account of Bruch’s D Minor Violin Concerto. His playing is virtually flawless in its technical ease, scintillating articulateness and purity of tone.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2017

“Throughout the Second Concerto, with its unforgettable soaring opening, Liebeck combines a beguiling silvery sound with tantalising interpretative restraint, free of heart-on-the-sleeve rhetoric…rarely has Bruch’s melodic genius been sounded with such chaste sweetness as here, ideally complimented by Liebeck’s captivating narrow-fast vibrato” BBC Music Magazine, January 2017 ****

“Impressive performances of the Concerto and of the ‘lesser’ pieces.” MusicWeb International, 1st February 2017

Presto Disc of the Week

23rd December 2016

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - The Romantic Violin Concerto - CDA68055

(CD)

$14.00

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Elgar: Enigma Variations

Elgar: Enigma Variations

& other orchestral works


Elgar:

In the South (Alassio), Op. 50

Enigma Variations, Op. 36

Carillon, Op. 75

Florence Daguerre de Hureaux (narrator)

Une Voix dans le Désert

Kate Royal (soprano)

Le Drapeau Belge

Florence Daguerre de Hureaux (narrator)

Pleading, Op. 48 No. 1

Yann Ghiro (clarinet)


Two much-loved orchestral favourites representing the summit of Elgar's maturity are coupled with three of the lesser-known wartime works, here receiving their rst recordings with the original French texts. Kate Royal is the soprano soloist in 'Une voix dans le désert', a hauntingly tender masterpiece which every Elgarian should know.

“Both [In the South and the Enigma Variations] are well known and given impressively emotional and dramatic performances by Brabbins...The entire disc is a collector’s item.” Sunday Times, 30th October 2016

“fine, firmly unsentimental, bracingly muscular performances.” The Guardian, 3rd November 2016 ****

“Exceptional Elgar. ‘Nimrod’ has the grandeur of a Bruckner slow movement.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2016 *****

“Brabbins masterminds an expansive, ideally flexible and notably unflustered reading of Elgar’s In the South, one which quarries this evocative score’s plentiful reserves of noble grandeur, pantheistic wonder and vulnerability…[he] proves a comparably unhurried, affectionate and cannily observant guide through Enigma, the friends pictured within springing to life with unforced naturalness…an enjoyable and stimulating anthology that Elgarians everywhere should try and hear” Gramophone Magazine, November 2016

“Splendidly performed and recorded versions of Enigma and In the South, plus some fascinating rarities.” MusicWeb International, 1st December 2016

“Every work is recreated with penetrating musicianship and skilled empowerment from the podium. Every performance is of superlative calibre” Classical Ear, January 2017 *****

“Brabbins’ Enigma is a delight: tempi and tone perfectly judged, a feeling of freshness throughout which is lacking from a number of high-profile recent accounts” Classical Music, January 2017 *****

BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the month - December 2016

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA68101

(CD)

$14.00

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Ralph Vaughan Williams: Discoveries

Ralph Vaughan Williams: Discoveries


Vaughan Williams:

Three Nocturnes for Baritone and Orchestra

Numbers I and III orchestrated by Anthony Payne

Roderick Williams (baritone)

A Road All Paved with Stars

arranged by Adrian Williams

Four Last Songs

orchestrated by Anthony Payne

Jennifer Johnston (mezzo-soprano)

Stricken Peninsula

arr. P. Lane


“Three Nocturnes is the stand-out for me – performance, music itself, everything” BBC Music Magazine, January 2017 ****

“Roderick Williams and Jennifer Johnston are on stellar form, while Martyn Brabbins and the BBC SO give of their very best both here and in two purely orchestral offerings…exemplary production values bolster the appeal of [this Albion release] which can be cordially recommended to all RVW acolytes” Gramophone Magazine, November 2016

“An important collection of Vaughan Williams discoveries. The Three Nocturnes make it a mandatory purchase.” MusicWeb International, 28th November 2016

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Albion Records - ALBCD028

(CD)

$14.75

(also available to download from $10.00)

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Havergal Brian: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 14

Havergal Brian: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 14


Brian:

Symphony No. 2 in E minor

Lynda Cochrane (piano 1), Judith Keaney (piano 2)

Symphony No. 14

world premiere recording


Havergal Brian’s Second Symphony (1930-31) is music on an epic scale. Partly inspired by Goethe’s play Götz von Berlichingen and scored for a huge orchestra that includes two pianos, three timpanists and an astonishing sixteen horns, the score contains some of Brian’s richest and most immediately appealing music. This revelatory performance by Brian stalwarts the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and conductor Martyn Brabbins is the first commercial recording to feature the full instrumental forces, as envisaged by the composer. This performance of Brian’s Fourteenth Symphony (1959-60) is the first legitimate recording of the work to have been made. Completed when Brian was 84 years old and embarking on an astonishing Indian Summer of creativity that lasted until he was 92, the Fourteenth is more compact, but no less heroic in spirit: a complex single movement encompassing a kaleidoscopic range of moods and providing a perfect introduction to Brian’s late style.

All tracks available in stereo and multi-channel,

This Hybrid CD can be played on any standard CD player

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

Dutton - CDLX7330

(SACD)

$13.75

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Francis Chagrin: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2

Francis Chagrin: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2


Chagrin:

Symphony No. 1

Symphony No. 2


Francis Chagrin described himself as ‘Romanian by birth, British by nationality and cosmopolitan by inclination’. A student of Paul Dukas and Nadia Boulanger, Chagrin wrote prolifically for films but composed for most genres. The two symphonies are among his most important orchestral works. Both are dramatic, even passionate—not least in the beautiful slow movements—and full of contrasts, both within and between movements. Undeservedly neglected, they reveal Chagrin’s mastery of form and colour.

“As the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s fiercely engaged performances under Martyn Brabbins show, both symphonies are thoroughly worthwhile…there are some echoes of French music, particularly of Roussel in the First Symphony, but much more of that work sounds close to Walton’s music of the postwar period…together, [these symphonies] define an intriguing creative figure, whose music needs to be explored further.” The Guardian, 3rd February 2016 ****

“Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Symphony Orchestra remain excellent guides to the score's closely-worked wonders…you can only regret that life didn't allow Chagrin any time for a Symphony No. 3” BBC Music Magazine, April 2016 ****

“the First Symphony impresses by dint of its solid craftsmanship, tasteful restraint and enviable sense of purpose…[the Second] proves another sinewy and rewarding utterance, skilfully orchestrated, uncompromisingly defiant in spirit…collectors with a fondness for, say, Alan Rawsthorne [or] Lennox Berkeley…should waste no time in investigating these two compositions” Gramophone Magazine, April 2016

Naxos - 8571371

(CD)

$8.25

(also available to download from $7.00)

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The Romantic Violin Concerto 19 - Bruch

The Romantic Violin Concerto 19 - Bruch


Bruch:

Serenade in A minor for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 75

Romance in A minor for violin & orchestra, Op. 42

Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26


Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No 1 is the daddy—the most popular ever written. Much recorded, Jack Liebeck turns in a dazzling performance of youthful vigour, prefacing the Concerto with the gorgeous Serenade and a Romance.

“what Liebeck seems to be saying is that Bruch needs no additional sweeteners. His playing is unpretentious and strikingly introspective, resulting in an Adagio of quiet dignity. And even if the first movement doesn't quite match the grandeur of Julia Fischer's or the sweaty passion of Vadim Gluzman's, it stands out for its poise and clarity.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2016

“Liebeck is a red-blooded, eloquent advocate throughout.” The Guardian, 21st January 2016 ***

“Liebeck certainly has the technioque and the temperament...Brabbins doesn't let the music sit down in the first movement [of the Concerto], which has energy and direction from all concerned...[Liebeck] doesn't wear his heart on his sleeve, letting the music speak for itself, but I can't helping feeling that the orchestra carries the main emotional burden.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2016 ***

Hyperion - The Romantic Violin Concerto - CDA68060

(CD)

$14.00

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The Romantic Piano Concerto 65 - Albéniz & Granados

The Romantic Piano Concerto 65 - Albéniz & Granados


Albéniz:

Piano Concerto No. 1 (Concerto fantastico), Op. 78

orchestrated with Tomás Bretón

Spanish Rhapsody, Op. 70

Granados:

Piano Concerto in C minor 'Patético'

adapted & reconstructed for piano and orchestra by Melani Mestre


Volume 65 (have you got them all?) of Hyperion’s Romantic Piano Concerto series journeys to Spain and the heart-on-sleeve world there to be found. The Albéniz Concierto fantástico owes much to Schumann and Chopin, albeit with an added drizzle of the Iberian peninsula; the perennially popular Rapsodia española, on the other hand, throws all such classical models to the wind.

Granados never actually got round to writing his piano concerto, so our pianist here—Hyperion debutant Melani Mestre—has done it for him. And it’s a romp. The first movement is pretty much ‘echt’, from Granados’ sketches for a putative piano concerto, but thereafter it’s a hugely enjoyable what-if …

“The ebullience of [the Rapsodia española] is infectious in the playing of Melani Mestre, who has also done the speculative reconstruction of Granados’s C minor Concerto...A sombre start, underlining Granados’s adjective patético, has the stamp of originality and its romantic sweep breathes Spanish air.” The Telegraph, 10th May 2015 *****

“The chief interest lies in the Granados, solemn and declamatory in the first movement before leaving its C minor sense of elegy to recall two earlier 'Spanish Dances' and the composer's one unabashed showpiece, the 'Allegro de concierto'. Musical adventure could hardly go further. Impeccably recorded, all the performances by Melani Mestre and the BBC Scottish Orchestra [sic] under Martyn Brabbins are of an unfaltering fluency and stylistic command.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2015

“Mestre plays [the Granados] with flair and the conviction of an evangelist, and is beguiling in the central allegretto. If neither of these works is a “great” piano concerto, both fall attractively within the rubric of Hyperion’s successful Romantic Piano Concertos series, of which this is a remarkable 65th volume.” Sunday Times, 19th July 2015

“Mestre's playing is limpid and convincing, with Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Symphony Orchestra giving discreet support.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2015

Hyperion - The Romantic Piano Concerto - CDA67918

(CD)

$14.00

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Havergal Brian: Symphonies Nos. 5, 19 & 27

Havergal Brian: Symphonies Nos. 5, 19 & 27


Brian:

Festal Dance

Wine of Summer (Symphony No. 5)

world premiere recording

Roderick Williams (baritone)

Symphony No. 19 in E minor

world premiere recording

Symphony No. 27 in C minor

world premiere recording


More world premiere symphony recordings for Havergal Brian fans! In this programme, Martyn Brabbins and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra continue their Havergal Brian series for Dutton Epoch with one of Brian’s most delightful scores, Wine of Summer, the fifth symphony of 1937. The eloquent baritone soloist is Roderick Williams, the orchestral detail beautifully realised in Dutton Epoch’s recording. Brian’s two more powerful later symphonies, No. 19 (1961) and No. 27 (1966-67), make a striking, even heroic contrast, while the ebullient and tuneful Festal Dance of 1908 completes the programme and receives an irrepressible reading.

“Brabbins and his Scottish forces pounce on every glinting detail and quirk…Roderick Williams squeezes every lyrical drop from the sometimes arid vocal line, though it's the orchestral details that grab the ear as the poet lies in his midsummer wood, contemplating bees, brier roses, and old loves that used to burn like 'fierce red kings'. Fruity stuff.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2015 ****

“This disc is something special. It features some of Brian's most attractive scores…and some of the best playing any Brian works have received, as well as vibrantly clear sound quality…[the] performances are beautifully balanced and idiomatic. Brabbins, who has now become Brian's foremost living exponent, directs with complete understanding of the idiom and the orchestra responds with elan. Roderick Williams is an ideal soloist in 'Wine of Summer', his superbly nuanced rendering of Brian's notes and Lord Alfred Douglas's verses fully the equal of Brian Rayner Cook's pioneering interpretations last century” Gramophone Magazine, June 2015

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

Dutton - CDLX7314

(SACD)

$13.75

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The Romantic Violin Concerto 18 - Jongen & Lazzari

The Romantic Violin Concerto 18 - Jongen & Lazzari


Jongen:

Fantasia in E major, Op. 12

Adagio symphonique in B major, Op. 20

Violin Concerto in B minor, Op. 17

Lazzari, S:

Rapsodie in E minor


The Romantic Violin Concerto series reaches Belgium and the music of Joseph Jongen, a composer more celebrated for his organ music now, but who was equally admired in his day for his orchestral and chamber works. Jongen studied at the Liège Conservatoire where he heard the great violinist Eugène Ysaÿe and composer-conductors Vincent d’Indy and Richard Strauss.

In this new album Philippe Graffin (a welcome and familiar presence in this series) collaborates with the Royal Flemish Philharmonic and Martyn Brabbins in Jongen’s Violin Concerto, one of the composer’s first substantial works. It was described by his contemporary Florent Schmitt as ‘one of the finest violin concertos’; and he admired the ‘outpouring of warm lyricism’ and ‘lush profusion of themes and rhythms’.

Also included are other works for violin and orchestra, and a Rapsodie for the same forces by Italian Romantic Sylvio Lazzari (1857–1944) who was influenced—as was Jongen—by the music of César Franck.

“Strongly tonal and lyrical, Jongen's chief influences seem to be Richard Strauss and Cesar Franck…[Graffin's] tender, slender tone in softer passages is one of the disc's main attractions but is not sufficiently brilliant to match with equal vigour the full might of the orchestra.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2015

Hyperion - The Romantic Violin Concerto - CDA68005

(CD)

$14.00

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The Romantic Violin Concerto 17 - Bruch

The Romantic Violin Concerto 17 - Bruch


Bruch:

Violin Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 58

Scottish Fantasy, Op. 46


Award-winning violinist Jack Liebeck brings his impassioned tones, fulsome emotional display and formidable technique to the first of three albums of music by Max Bruch.

This programme presents one of Bruch’s most popular pieces for violin and orchestra, the Scottish Fantasy, alongside one of his least known, the Violin Concerto No 3 in D minor, Op 58. Anyone hearing Jack Liebeck’s performance may well wonder why this concerto has languished in the lumber room for so long—it has never been heard at the BBC Proms, for example. It was written for Joseph Joachim who gave the premiere in Düsseldorf and subsequently played the concerto in Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt, Strasbourg, Breslau, Leipzig, Cologne and London (for the Philharmonic Society).

The Scottish Fantasy in E flat major, Op 46 (or more correctly ‘Fantasia for the violin with orchestra and harp, freely using Scottish folk melodies’), was written in Berlin during the winter of 1879–80 for Sarasate and reflected the Spaniard’s more colourful personality. Although Bruch never visited Scotland, he was typical of German Romantics in having a fascination with the picture of the country painted by such writers as Walter Scott. For the Scottish Fantasy he drew on James Johnson’s voluminous folk-song collection The Scots Musical Museum.

“Jack Liebeck and conductor Martyn Brabbins work hard to make the music come alive. Liebeck’s playing is consistently fresh and his phrasing always imaginative” The Guardian, 23rd October 2014 ***

Hyperion - The Romantic Violin Concerto - CDA68050

(CD)

$14.00

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

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