The winners of this year's BBC Music Magazine Awards have been announced. It's no great surprise that Vasily Petrenko's triple-bill of Tchaikovsky Symphonies with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra has scooped this year's top spot; it impressed us here at Presto enough to make our Top 10 last year, and has been garnering critical acclaim ever since its release.

Among the other winners are Teodor Currentzis' iconoclastic Don Giovanni, the Smetana Trio's complete set of Martinů's String Trios and a fascinating collection of choral works by the late Jonathan Harvey performed by the choir of St John's College Cambridge under Andrew Nethsingha.

(Full details of the awards are on our BBC Music Magazine Awards 2017 page.)

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Tchaikovsky: Symphonies Nos. 1, 2 & 5

Tchaikovsky: Symphonies Nos. 1, 2 & 5


Tchaikovsky:

Symphony No. 1 in G minor, Op. 13 'Winter Daydreams'

Symphony No. 2 in C minor, Op. 17 'Little Russian'

Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

The eagerly awaited Tchaikovsky Symphony cycle from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Vasily Petrenko gets underway with Symphonies 1, 2 & 5. In 2015 The Tchaikovsky Album with Petrenko and the RLPO, released to coincide with the orchestra’s 175 anniversary, became one of the best-selling classical CDs in the UK and met with fulsome praise from reviewers. Volume I of the Symphonies looks set to replicate that success and indeed critical acclaim.

“in some ways Petrenko's approach is a straightforward one: just do what it says in the score! He takes such care to observe every accent and dynamic marking...The Liverpool strings are fantastic...maintaining clarity and precision even when presented with a seemingly endless flurry of quavers whizzing by at a hundred miles an hour. As well as technical proficiency, Petrenko and his orchestra bring tremendous amounts of character.” Presto Classical, 10th June 2016

“Petrenko’s Tchaikovsky is authentically Russian in its bright, sharp-edged colours and rhythms...these are splendidly vivid performances.” Sunday Times, 12th June 2016

“bursting with promise...Symphony No 5, full of light, shade, intensity, yearning accentuation, is a fine addition to a busy field. Petrenko and the RLPO continue to make an exciting partnership.” The Guardian, 19th June 2016 ****

“the orchestra sounds amazing … it has a wonderful warmth and reserve and depth; it’s very fresh, I don’t think it imitates any other recordings.” CD Review, 9th July 2016

“It was worth the wait: this release of Symphonies Nos 1, 2 and 5 makes the best possible start to the projected cycle...If future releases match these impetuous, glorious performances, Petrenko’s should be a cycle to be reckoned with.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2016

“Petrenko’s approach has bite and urgency, and there’s plenty of both in the more typically Tchaikovskian and more heavily emotional Fifth Symphony, where the cut and thrust of the Liverpool orchestra’s playing is impressive, too.” Irish Times, 1th August 2016

“Alive and articulate, these three performances remind us that it’s just as possible to be stunned by an original interpretation of a familiar symphony (the Fifth) as it is to be refreshed by a bright-eyed approach to less familiar works (the First and Second).” BBC Music Magazine, October 2016 *****

Presto Disc of the Week

10th June 2016

Presto Discs of 2016

Finalist

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2016

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2017

Recording of the Year/Orchestral Winner

Onyx - ONYX4150

(CD - 2 discs)

$21.25

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CPE Bach: Cello Concertos

CPE Bach: Cello Concertos


Bach, C P E:

Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Wq. 170 (H432)

Cello Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Wq. 171 (H436)

Cello Concerto No. 3 in A major, Wq. 172 (H439)


The unpredictable and ‘fantastical’ qualities which are so fundamental to the music of C P E Bach are here given free rein by Nicolas Altstaedt, aided and abetted by Jonathan Cohen and Arcangelo in performances of astonishing brio.

“Nicolas Altstaedt and the sinewy warmth of his 1760 Gigli are a great fit for this often rather wild music…Arcangelo under Cohen breathe the music, capturing the frequent storminess but also bringing substantial dignity, their zing coming from their actual tone and lucid textural balance…a great listen” Gramophone Magazine, September 2016

“Whether intended for cello or harpsichord, these oeuvres are feverishly inventive” Financial Times, September 2016

“This recording captures all the fiery wit of orchestral-soloist banter.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2016

“If not the best introduction to CPE Bach, then surely an important part of a good collection of his work.” MusicWeb International, 23rd November 2016

Presto Discs of 2016

Finalist

BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the month - November 2016

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2017

Concerto Winner

Hyperion - CDA68112

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Mozart: Don Giovanni, K527

Mozart: Don Giovanni, K527


Dimitris Tiliakos (Don Giovanni), Vito Priante (Leporello), Myrtò Papatanasiu (Donna Anna), Kenneth Tarver (Don Ottavio), Karina Gauvin (Donna Elvira), Guido Loconsolo (Masetto), Christina Gansch (Zerlina), Mika Kares (Il Commendatore)

MusicAeterna & MusicAeterna Choir, Teodor Currentzis

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here

The release of Don Giovanni will complete the exceptional 4-year Mozart project Sony Classical has undertaken to studio-record the 3 Da Ponte Operas with Teodor Currentzis and his orchestra and choir MusicAeterna ("The next revolutionary sensation of classical music" - The Independent). Now finally comes Currentzis’ take on the cornerstone of the Da Ponte trilogy – which everybody has been waiting for. Mozart’s mighty and dark magnum opus – Don Giovanni. It promises to follow in the same vein as the previous two outstandingly received recordings Figaro and Così. In addition, BRMI are creating an new 50-min documentary titled “The Archetype of Myself – The Conductor Teodor Currentzis” which followed the conductor over several months following his artistic and private endeavours with MusicAeterna last year. This recording of ‘Don Giovanni’ forms the focal point of this documentary.

“This is the last — and best — of Currentzis’s controversially explosive trio of recordings of the great Mozart-Da Ponte comedies...the singers here are new, including two exemplary Italians, Vito Priante and Guido Loconsolo, who make as much of the fast-moving recitatives as they do of the arias...Tiliakos is an outstanding Don, bassy in timbre and relishing his rolled Rs as much as the Italians.” Sunday Times, 16th October 2016

“his MusicAeterna orchestra is on scorching form...it’s not just the virtuosity that compels admiration but the stylistic subtleties too...As for the singing, that continues to be shaped by Currentzis’s belief that Mozart’s performers would have had very different voices — less “operatic”, more naturalistic or even folky — to those customarily singing Mozart today.” The Times, 28th October 2016 ****

“[Currentzis is] sceptical, questioning, reinventing with bright lights and vividly colourful insights. Currentzis’s Russian orchestra steals the show with its incisive approach (but sack the clever-clever fortepianist). The ensemble is superbly tight.” The Guardian, 6th November 2016 ****

“[this Don Giovanni] strips away many of our distorting performance habits, and the result is refreshing, revelatory and unsettling…Tiliakos is a dramatic Don…Loconsolo is vocally nimble and petulant as required…Gauvin has [Elvira] fully under control and her roulades in the quartet are ravishing. Do not expect a familiar ‘warm bath’ experience here; it offers an invigorating shower of fresh new insights” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2016 *****

“an idiosyncratic, sometimes startling, always riveting listening experience.” New York Times, 24th November 2016

“we have a very pleasantly sung Don Giovanni from the Greek baritone Dimitris Tiliakos…Vito Priante’s Leporello is in many ways excellent…Kenneth Tarver sings pleasingly as a lyrical Don Ottavio…Christina Gansch is a very respectable Zerlina” Gramophone Magazine, November 2016

“What makes this a recording to conjure with, for me, is the way Currentzis harnesses the score’s manic energy and nails the crucial balance between absolute technical precision and a sense of underlying recklessness that could upset the apple-cart at any moment: rather like Giovanni himself, he seems to be constantly pushing the boundaries of what’s physically possible.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 8th December 2016

Presto Disc of the Week

8th December 2016

Presto Discs of 2016

Winner

BBC Music Magazine

Opera Choice

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2017

Opera Winner

Sony Currentzis Mozart Operas - 88985316032

(Not available)

Berio: Sinfonia & Berio/Mahler: Frühe Lieder

Berio: Sinfonia & Berio/Mahler: Frühe Lieder


Berio:

Sinfonia

The Synergy Vocals

Mahler:

Ablösung im Sommer (Lieder und Gesänge aus der Jugendzeit)

orchestrated Berio

Zu Strassburg auf der Schanz (Lieder und Gesänge aus der Jugendzeit)

orchestrated Berio

Um schlimme Kinder artig zu machen (Lieder und Gesänge aus der Jugendzeit)

orchestrated Berio

Erinnerung (Lieder und Gesänge aus der Jugendzeit)

orchestrated Berio

Hans und Grete (Lieder und Gesänge aus der Jugendzeit)

orchestrated Berio

Ich ging mit Lust (Lieder und Gesänge aus der Jugendzeit)

orchestrated Berio

Frühlingsmorgen (Lieder und Gesänge aus der Jugendzeit)

orchestrated Berio

Phantasie aus Don Juan (Lieder und Gesänge aus der Jugendzeit)

orchestrated Berio

Scheiden und Meiden (Lieder und Gesänge aus der Jugendzeit)

orchestrated Berio

Nicht wiedersehen (Lieder und Gesänge aus der Jugendzeit)

orchestrated Berio


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here

"Since it was first performed in 1969, Luciano Berio's Sinfonia has become a classic, certainly the most widely known of all his works and arguably the most successful concert piece by a composer of his generation." The Guardian

This release is dedicated to the pioneer of Italian modernism Luciano Berio. His 5-movement 'Sinfonia', is undoubtedly his most well-known work, written for the New York Philharmonic and dedicated to Leonard Bernstein. It has become one of the key works and principle musical manifestations of the 1960s bringing together collage technique and modernism.

A few years later, Berio went on to orchestrate a number of songs on texts from 'Des Knaben Wunderhorn', which Mahler had scored for piano and voice, as if they had been written at the time of the later 'Kindertotenlieder'. A symphonic backcloth tailor-made for the great baritone voice of Matthias Goerne [whose 'Knaben Wunderhorn' songs are already available on DVD, with Andris Nelsons, from Lucerne]. His warm, dark voice allows him to capture the sombre and tragic atmosphere of this music like no one else.

“Berio’s skilful arrangements invoke a similar soundworld as Mahler’s own orchestrations of his songs: it’s colourful, slightly brittle, and vividly pointed up by Pons...Goerne gives the vocal lines the slightly larger-than-life quality they need, exaggerating their expressive extremes and running through his full palette of baritonal shades.” The Guardian, 28th September 2016 ****

“any attempt to describe this [third] movement can't possibly do full justice to how extraordinary an accomplishment it is; it's much more than simply copying out some Mahler and throwing in a few other bits and pieces, and the overall effect in performance is remarkable, shifting from violent orchestral outbursts to some truly sublime moments.” James Longstaffe, Presto Classical, 16th September 2016

“Berio’s Sinfonia, premiered in 1968, remains an incomparably rich conundrum...On a disc such as this outstanding one, balance can be contrived so that the throng of words is audible to just the right degree.” Sunday Times, 9th October 2016

“Goerne summons a dark, curdled tone, which can switch in an instant to a delicate tenderness...Altogether, this disc is a wonderful introduction to one of the 20th century’s great composers.” The Telegraph, 22nd October 2016 ****

“Pons’s new, gorgeously textured performance couples the endlessly fascinating work with Berio’s two-decades-later, light-touch orchestrations of Mahler songs, sung with heart-piercing point by Matthias Goerne.” Irish Times, 26th October 2016

“We have only to listen to [Berio’s] exquisite song orchestrations, graced with Goerne on riveting, vibrant form, to feel the depth of his empathy, an almost palpable longing to be absorbed into that lost Viennese world…this coupling is a must-have” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2016 *****

“Matthias Goerne projects each song with ursine power and humour, albeit in slightly frayed voice. His larger-than-life stage persona fits Berio’s vividly faithful arrangements…this new [recording] feels even truer to the spirit of '68 which inspired Sinfonia” Gramophone Magazine, December 2016

Presto Disc of the Week

16th September 2016

Presto Discs of 2016

Winner

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2017

Vocal Winner

Harmonia Mundi - HMC902180

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Jonathan Harvey: Deo

Jonathan Harvey: Deo


Harvey, J:

I love the Lord

Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis

Toccata for Organ and Tape

Come, Holy Ghost

Praise ye the Lord

Missa Brevis

The royal banners forward go

Laus Deo

The Annunciation


Edward Picton-Turbervill (organ)

St John's College Choir Cambridge, Andrew Nethsingha

Read David's exclusive interview with Andrew Nethsingha about the project here.

The Choir of St John's College Cambridge launch their new series of recordings by exploring the close connections between the college and celebrated British composer Jonathan Harvey (1939-2012), in a disc of works for choir and organ. Harvey s music has influenced a generation of composers, described by The Guardian s Tom Service as being 'at once vividly contemporary and timeless'. The Choir's director Andrew Nethsingha reflects on his own experiences and work with the Jonathan Harvey in CD s programme note, in particular as the choir collaborated on what would be Jonathan Harvey s final work for the choir, The Annunciation (2011).

“This album of liturgical choral music pays wonderful tribute to Harvey...Harvey used to describe music coming out of silence and dissolving back into it. It’s a good starting point. The Choir of St John’s tackles all with confidence and clarity.” The Observer, 1st May 2016 *****

“Certainly these are difficult works, including various vocal techniques hardly common in the normal run of church music, but the investment the choir has clearly put into them really gives extraordinary results…this recording is outstanding on every count: remarkable and under-performed repertoire, beautifully performed and recorded” Gramophone Magazine, July 2016

“nuanced and exhilarating performances.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2016 *****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2016

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2017

Choral Winner

Up to 30% off Signum

Signum - SIGCD456

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Martinu: The Complete Piano Trios

Martinu: The Complete Piano Trios

Recorded at the Martínek Studio, Prague, between May 2015 and January 2016


Martinu:

Piano Trio No. 1 'Cinq pièces brèves', H. 193

Piano Trio No. 2 in D minor, H327

Bergerettes - Five Pieces for Violin, Cello and Piano

Piano Trio No. 3 in C major, H332


Smetana Trio: Jitka Čechová (piano), Jiří Vodička (violin) & Jan Páleníček (cello)

The complete set of Bohuslav Martinů’s piano trios affords a fascinating insight into the constant transformations of his musical idiom from the early 1930s to the 1950s, also giving testimony to the composer as a human and his particular mindset.

The first, five-movement, trio, Cinq pièces brèves (1930) was written in a carefree manner (within a mere ten days) and intuitively. It is the very first Martinů piece to reflect his penchant for Neo--‐Baroque music, so salient a trait of his later creations. The second trio, Bergerettes, comes across as surprisingly light-hearted, given the time of its coming into being – in February 1939, a month prior to the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia and half a year before the outbreak of World War II ... The last two piano trios, composed in the 1950s, bear all the features of Martinů’s mature musical phraseology. Trio No. 2, completed in 1950, ranks among the apices of Martinů’s Neo--‐Classicist period, while the structurally more complex Trio No. 3 (also known as the “Grand Trio”) has a concertante nature.

The recording of the complete Martinů trios was made by the renowned Smetana Trio, who masterfully render all the colour shades, from airiness to the broad lyrical cantilena typical of Martinů’s late works.

The first new Supraphon album of the complete Martinů piano trios in more than 30 years …

“The virtuoso demands of this hugely attractive music are meat and drink to these wonderful Czech musicians, including Jitka Cechova. Indeed, it would be hard to imagine a better way to get to know this exhilarating and fresh music than from the hands, heads and hearts of the Smetanas.” Sunday Times, 3rd April 2016

“it's already obvious that the music for piano trio performed here by the Smetana Trio is going straight on the shortlist for 2016. Martinu's chamber music reveals originality at every turn; there's so much of it, but each new discovery — sonata, duo, trio, quartet, serenade — seems to unveil a gem….It's hard to imagine more ardent champions for this visceral, unpredictable music. And clear, warm sound is exactly what we've come to expect from the Supraphon label over the years.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2016 *****

BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the month - June 2016

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2017

Chamber Winner

Supraphon - SU41972

(CD)

$14.25

(also available to download from $10.00)

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Bach, J S: Goldberg Variations, BWV988

Bach, J S: Goldberg Variations, BWV988


Mahan Esfahani (harpsichord)

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here

Harpsichord star Mahan Esfahani approaches one of the greatest masterpieces of the Baroque repertoire with fresh eyes: Bach’s incomparable Goldberg Variations, which he presents in a unique virtuosic way.

“It’s an enormously colourful, varied journey, and “journey” definitely seems like the right term to use. When the Aria da capo comes round to finish the set, there’s a sense somehow that Esfahani is returning home, tired but happy after a long and scenic walk...whatever your go-to recording of the Variations, I think this one can give it a run for its money.” Presto Classical, 26th August 2016

“Everyone wants to record Bach’s Goldbergs, but not many show as much piercing insight as harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani...Esfahani shows amazing rhythmic freedom at times, sometimes teasing us with a long pause before a repeat starts...A hugely stimulating account of one of the peaks of western music.” The Guardian, 18th September 2016 *****

“you sense Esfahani mastering an intractable instrument for which Bach fashioned a masterpiece.” Sunday Times, 9th October 2016

“The first thing you notice about this remarkable recording is the unusual warmth and tonal vibrancy of the harpsichord...Esfahani obviously revels in its capabilities...His sophisticated virtuosity, stylistic aplomb and strong personal profile give fresh and meaningful voice to this well-travelled score.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2016

“Esfahani's contributions are the extraordinary range and delicacy of his touch and his scrupulous attention to matching phrasing.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2016

Presto Disc of the Week

26th August 2016

Presto Discs of 2016

Finalist

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2016

BBC Music Magazine

Instrumental Choice - November 2016

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2017

Instrumental Winner

DG - 4795929

(CD)

$13.00

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Prokofiev & Tchaikovsky: Piano Concertos

Prokofiev & Tchaikovsky: Piano Concertos


Prokofiev:

Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 16

Tchaikovsky:

Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23


Beatrice Rana talks to Presto Classical's Katherine Cooper about the recording here.

At just 22, Beatrice Rana has already made a big splash on the international scene. Winning the 1st Prize and all special prizes at the Montreal International competition in 2011 at the age of 18, was followed in June 2013 with winning the Silver Medal and the Audience Award at the prestigious Van Cliburn competition. She is already a seasoned performer, having made her orchestral debuts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Santa-Cecilia Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, RAI Symphony Torino, Dresdner Philharmonie, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, and Filharmonica della Scala, performing in halls including the Zurich Tonhalle, Vienna Konzerthaus, Wigmore Hall, Kennedy Center, Laeiszhalle, and Walt Disney Hall.

In a testament to her musical maturity and the high quality of her playing, she is accompanied on her debut Warner Classics release by Italy’s finest orchestra, the Orchestra Dell’accademia Nazionale Di Santa Cecilia, under their Music Director Sir Antonio Pappano. This album is a tour de force, demonstrating the very best of Italian musicianship today.

“[the Prokofiev] presents formidable technical challenges, all of which are surmounted almost with nonchalance, the pianist's focus resolutely serving the score, not the mechanisms involved in performing it. She has a particularly rewarding sense of rhythm, high sprung, light and incisive and entirely secure…[there is] no doubt that this is a young pianist to be watched” BBC Music Magazine, February 2016 *****

“Rana is fierce! And not only as a pianist but as a fully developed artist of a stature that belies her tender years. You don’t want to miss her concerto debut, held aloft in inimitable style by Antonio Pappano and the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. This is a Prokofiev Second to conjure with: shapely, subtle, nuanced, musical in every detail.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2015

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - December 2015

BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the month

Warner Classics - 2564600909

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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

LPO - LPO0089

(CD)

$9.75

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Berg: Wozzeck

Berg: Wozzeck


Christian Gerhaher (Wozzeck), Brandon Jovanovich (Drum Major), Mauro Peter (Andres), Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke (Captain), Lars Woldt (Doctor) & Gun-Brit Barkmin (Marie)

Chor der Oper Zurich & Philharmonia Zurich, Fabio Luisi (conductor) & Andreas Homoki (stage director)

The soldier Wozzeck flits through a world that he is unable to decipher. The Doctor torments him with absurd medical experiments; the Captain humiliates and ridicules him. And Wozzeck’s lover, Marie, with whom he has a child, cuckolds him with the Drum Major. Wozzeck becomes a murderer, stabbing Marie to death.

Georg Büchner’s drama fragment, on which Alban Berg based his first opera, is an unflinching case study of social injustice and human suffering. But it is also a grotesque piece that thrives on exaggeration – and in which only a fine line separates the unfathomable from the ridiculous. Accordingly, director Andreas Homoki forgoes all realism. His nightmarishly radical production is inspired by puppet theatre. Christian Gerhaher’s role début as Wozzeck can only be described as sensational: his capacity for vocal and dramatic subtlety is simply breath‐taking. At the rostrum of the Philharmonia Zurich, Fabio Luisi explores both the expressionistic and the more intimate aspects, reminiscent of chamber music, in Berg’s seminal score.

Picture Format: NTSC 16:9

Sound Formats: PCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1

Region Code: 0 (worldwide)

Running Time: 100:58 min

Disc Format: DVD‐9

Subtitles: German (original), French, English, Japanese, Korean

“This is a triumph – gripping and moving. The performance of Christian Gerhaher is outstanding, but there is also much else to admire and recommend.” MusicWeb International, October 2016

“This is a finely honed production that follows its premise to an absurdist conclusion with slick theatricality and dispassionate zeal...All sentimentalism is banished here. So, largely, is the opera’s plea for justice and compassion. It is left to Christian Gerhaher’s Wozzeck to fight that battle, which he does with formidable diction and great lyrical beauty, offering, where he can, a still centre in the tumult.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2016

“While the Lieder-like beauty of Gerhaher’s singing Is matchless – he can act too – this is no star vehicle. It is ensemble work of the highest order…the relationships are brilliantly drawn, and the murder of Marie is more shocking for its surrealism. The string and woodwind solos are incisive, and the blossoming of the orchestral interludes as directed by Luisi is almost indecently lovely” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2016 *****

“Something of a triumph for all concerned.” Opera, May 2017

GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - November 2016

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2017

DVD/Blu-ray Winner

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Summer Opera Sale

Accentus Music - ACC20363

(DVD Video)

Normally: $27.75

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Berg: Wozzeck

Berg: Wozzeck


Christian Gerhaher (Wozzeck), Brandon Jovanovich (Drum Major), Mauro Peter (Andres), Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke (Captain), Lars Woldt (Doctor) & Gun-Brit Barkmin (Marie)

Chor der Oper Zurich & Philharmonia Zurich, Fabio Luisi (conductor) & Andreas Homoki (stage director)

The soldier Wozzeck flits through a world that he is unable to decipher. The Doctor torments him with absurd medical experiments; the Captain humiliates and ridicules him. And Wozzeck’s lover, Marie, with whom he has a child, cuckolds him with the Drum Major. Wozzeck becomes a murderer, stabbing Marie to death.

Georg Büchner’s drama fragment, on which Alban Berg based his first opera, is an unflinching case study of social injustice and human suffering. But it is also a grotesque piece that thrives on exaggeration – and in which only a fine line separates the unfathomable from the ridiculous. Accordingly, director Andreas Homoki forgoes all realism. His nightmarishly radical production is inspired by puppet theatre. Christian Gerhaher’s role début as Wozzeck can only be described as sensational: his capacity for vocal and dramatic subtlety is simply breath‐taking. At the rostrum of the Philharmonia Zurich, Fabio Luisi explores both the expressionistic and the more intimate aspects, reminiscent of chamber music, in Berg’s seminal score.

Picture Format: NTSC 16:9, Full HD

Sound Formats: DTS HD Master Audio, PCM Stereo

Region Code: 0 (worldwide)

Running Time: 100:58 min

Disc Format: BD 25

Subtitles: German (original), French, English, Japanese, Korean

“This is a finely honed production that follows its premise to an absurdist conclusion with slick theatricality and dispassionate zeal...All sentimentalism is banished here. So, largely, is the opera’s plea for justice and compassion. It is left to Christian Gerhaher’s Wozzeck to fight that battle, which he does with formidable diction and great lyrical beauty, offering, where he can, a still centre in the tumult.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2016

“While the Lieder-like beauty of Gerhaher’s singing Is matchless – he can act too – this is no star vehicle. It is ensemble work of the highest order…the relationships are brilliantly drawn, and the murder of Marie is more shocking for its surrealism. The string and woodwind solos are incisive, and the blossoming of the orchestral interludes as directed by Luisi is almost indecently lovely” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2016 *****

“This is a triumph – gripping and moving. The performance of Christian Gerhaher is outstanding, but there is also much else to admire and recommend.” MusicWeb International, October 2016

“Something of a triumph for all concerned.” Opera, May 2017

GGramophone Magazine

DVD/Blu-ray of the Month - November 2016

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2017

DVD/Blu-ray Winner

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

Summer Opera Sale

Accentus Music - ACC10363

(Blu-ray)

Normally: $33.25

Special: $26.60

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

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