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Harmonia Mundi

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La Quinta Essentia

La Quinta Essentia

Three Renaissance Masses


Ashewell:

Missa Ave Maria

Lasso:

Missa Tous les regretz

Palestrina:

Missa Ut re mi fa sol la


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Harmonia Mundi - HMGold - HMG501922

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Paolo da Firenze: Narcisso Speculando

Paolo da Firenze: Narcisso Speculando

Madrigals


Firenze, D P:

Fra duri scogli

Un pellegrin uccel

Amor, deh dimmi

Lena virtù

Isabella Istampita instrumentale

Non più infelice

Era venus

Cosa non è Istampita instrumentale

Godi Firenze

Girando un bel falcon

Un c'osa


Mala Punica, Pedro Memelsdorff

There is a fair amount of documentation on the ecclesiastical and diplomatic career of Don Paolo di Marco, abbot and tenorista of Florence in the early 15th century. Less well known are his allegorical madrigals which are perhaps the most innovative, and certainly the most virtuosic of this period. Apparently innocent bucolic or mythological texts conceal philosophical intrigues, political ideas and moral precepts.Their poetry and music still speak intensely to us six centuries later.

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Harmonia Mundi - HMGold - HMG501732

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Campra: Messe de Requiem

Campra: Messe de Requiem


Elisabeth Baudry, Monique Zanetti, Josep Benet, John Elwes & Steven Varcoe

La Chapelle Royale, Philippe Herreweghe

This French Baroque icon from the early days of harmonia mundi [around 1986? Ed] has been 'download only' for some years and we are delighted that Herreweghe's benchmark Campra 'Requiem' is to be reissued at mid price, on hm gold, due to popular demand. Copies on ebay have been sighted at $77 and $90.57…

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Harmonia Mundi - HMGold - HMG501251

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Che puro ciel

Che puro ciel

The Rise of Classical Opera


Bach, J C:

No, che non ha la sorte...Vo solcando un mar crudele (from Artaserse)

Gluck:

Se il fulmine sospendi (from Ezio)

Pensa a serbarmi, o cara (from Ezio)

Che puro ciel (Orfeo ed Euridice)

Vieni a' regni del riposo (from Orfeo ed Euridice)

Hasse, J A:

Dei di Roma, ah perdonate! (from Il Trionfo di Clelia)

Mozart:

Già dagli occhi il velo è tolto (from Mitridate, rè di Ponto)

Ah di si nobil alma (from Ascanio in Alba)

Perché tacer degg'io?...Cara, lontano ancora (from Ascanio in Alba)

Traetta:

Ah, se lo vedi piangere (from Antigona)

Dormi Oreste! (from Ifigenia in Tauride)

Ah, sì, da te dipende (from Antigona)


In the famous Preface to Alceste (1767), Christoph Willibald Gluck and his librettist Ranieri de' Calzabigi posited a new direction for opera. They spoke of moving beyond Baroque forms, of striving for a new naturalism in opera. They wanted, in Calzabigi's lovely phrase, to liberate the language of the heart. Taken from the height of this Reform period, the arias on this disc reveal composers exploring and experimenting, at struggle and at play, as they create the new forms that bring to opera the noble simplicity of the Classical era.

“Mehta shows how [coloratura passages] can have real expressive point and dramatic purpose, while his purity of line in quiet passages is ravishing...René Jacobs's meticulous accompaniments with the Akademie für Alte Musik add the finishing touches.” The Guardian, 14th November 2013 ****

“a well-chosen showcase, Mehta’s dramatic instincts are effectively deployed, and the accompaniments in the recitatives are handled with all the fluency we’ve come to expect from Jacobs complete Mozart opera recordings” CD Review, 16th November 2013

“if you have an ear for the tragic passions beneath the music’s formal contours, you will succumb to its expressive grace, especially with interpreters as persuasive as Mehta and the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin under René Jacobs.” Financial Times, 21st December 2013 ****

“Jacobs and Bejun Mehta unleash the primal energies buried in magnificent yet largely forgotten operas...Jacobs's abrupt tempo twists, the instrumentalists' boldness and the chorus's power make such ensemble sections as electrifying as Mehta's solos. This is a daring and important retelling of the story of Classical opera.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2014 *****

“Always acutely alive to text and dramatic situation...Mehta's dramatic involvement elevates some rather routine invention in the items by the teenage Mozart...The most enjoyable, intelligently planned countertenor recital to have come my way in years.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2014

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - February 2014

BBC Music Magazine

Opera Choice - February 2014

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Harmonia Mundi - HMC902172

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Bach, J S: St Matthew Passion, BWV244

Bach, J S: St Matthew Passion, BWV244


Werner Güra (Evangelist), Johannes Weisser (Christus), Sunhae Im, Christina Roterberg (sopranos), Bernarda Fink, Marie-Claude Chappuis (altos), Topi Lehtipuu, Fabio Trümpy (tenors) & Konstantin Wolff, Artuu Kataja (basses)

Staats- und Domchor Berlin, RIAS Kammerchor & Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, René Jacobs

2 HYBRID SACDs + DVD ('Rediscovering the Saint Matthew Passion' - A Film by Sarah Blum)

It has haunted René Jacobs since childhood: first as a boy soprano in Ghent, then as a countertenor, he has constantly frequented the supreme masterpiece that is the 'St Matthew Passion'. Jacobs uses the layout of the Good Friday Vesper service from Bach's time, with choirs front and back, rather than side-by-side. He also gives us extra soloists to complete the bi-choral effect. For Bach, the two halves were 28 metres apart. At that distance, coordination difficulties begin to appear between the speed of light, and the speed of sound, and we cannot determine how Bach dealt with this problem. However the wonders of SACD multichannel surround sound can at last give an impression of what Bach intended for St Thomas’ Church in Leipzig.

As ever, harmonia mundi's production values are such that we are given several essays on the concept of the layout in Bach's time, reflections on the new recording by René Jacobs, full texts and biographies in a 176 page booklet, with sumptuous packaging. This is, somewhat surprisingly, René Jacobs' first recording of 'St Matthew'.

“The recording is excellent, with committed performances from soloists and period instrumentalists.” Choir & Organ, March/April 2014

“Jacobs has a magnificent vocal presence of soloists from Choir I - led by the polished and increasinly believable Evangelist of Werner Güra...and a Christus in Johannes Weisser who is intensely human, even febrile as he confronts the terrible events one by one...Jacobs's attention to texture and matters of accentuation is what defines his most compelling short-term characterisation” Gramophone Magazine, November 2013

“Despite uneven casting of the soloists — Sunhae Im’s thin, wiry soprano is not to my taste — this is essential listening, not only for Jacobs’s spatial innovations, but for Werner Güra’s gripping Evangelist and Johannes Weisser’s youthful, unsanctimonious Christ.” Sunday Times, 15th December 2013

“A performance of overwhelming sincerity, it's not without controversy...Not everyone will care for it, and some might also be surprised its sensuous immediacy and by Jacobs's ornate way with the recitatives. But the mix of drama and meditation is breathtakingly sustained and the choral singing astonishing in its beauty.” The Guardian, 21st November 2013 *****

“Care is taken to represent the distance between the choirs, along with the parts played and sung from the "swallow's nest gallery"...The results are magnificent, particularly the choral blend in "Kommt, ihr Töchter, helft mir klagen" and "Ich will hier bei dir stehen"… this will surely be the spatially definitive version.” The Independent, 11th October 2013 *****

“the novelty lies in Jacobs’ games with acoustics and space in his studio location in Berlin...this spatial separation keeps you listening intently and listening afresh. Jacobs’s Passion is intimate, dramatic, conducted with audible love...Güra’s Evangelist makes a compelling guide; Fink is most eloquent, with Johannes Weiss solid as Jesus” The Times, 18th October 2013 ****

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Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

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Harmonia Mundi - HMC802156/58

(SACD - 2 discs)

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Veni Emmanuel

Veni Emmanuel

Music for Advent


Bach, J S:

Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern, BWV436

Byrd:

Vigilate (from Cantiones sacrae 1589)

Howells:

The fear of the Lord

Magnificat (Gloucester, 1946)

Mendelssohn:

Say, where is he born, the King of Judaea

Praetorius, M:

Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen

Rachmaninov:

Bogorodice Devo

Ross, Graham:

I sing of a maiden

world première recording

Ross, Guy:

O Come, O come, Emmanuel

world première recording

Rutter:

Hymn to the Creator of Light

Sheppard, J:

Audivi vocem de caelo

Tavener:

God is With Us (A Christmas Proclamation)

Warlock:

Bethlehem Down

Williams, Roderick:

O Adonai

Antiphon I: O Sapientia

Antiphon II: O Adonaï

Antiphon III: O Radix Jesse

Antiphon IV: O Clavis David

Antiphon V: O Oriens

Antiphon VI: O Rex Gentium

Antiphon VII: O Emmanuel

Antiphon VIII: O Virgo virginum


The familiar hymn 'Veni Emmanuel' is emblematic of the Advent season – a period of reflection upon the meaning of Christ’s coming. Framing this programme, the hymn paraphrases the great ‘O’ Antiphons: plainchant settings traditionally sung on the days leading up to Christmas; complemented here by later works echoing their rich imagery and symbolism.

Founded in 1971, the Choir of Clare College has gained an international reputation as one of the leading university choral groups in the world. Beyond its primary function of leading services three times a week in the College Chapel in Cambridge, the Choir maintains an active schedule recording, broadcasting and performing worldwide.

In addition to live performances the Choir has produced an impressive discography. The Choir’s CD of John Rutter’s 'Requiem', also produced by the composer as is this disc, was awarded Editor’s Choice by Gramophone, amongst other accolades. The Choir’s partnership with harmonia mundi includes recordings of Handel’s 'Messiah', Blow’s 'Venus and Adonis', with René Jacobs, and, most recently, world première recordings of choral works by Imogen Holst, hailed for "impeccable ensemble" and "thrilling performances"

“Tavener’s flair for drama is here; so are the influence of the Russian Orthodox liturgy and his gift for writing melodies and harmonies that are hard to shake off. The rest of the programme is attractive enough, but among the Howells, the Rutter and Rachmaninov, Tavener’s five minutes act like a bolt of lightning...Here is music with the power to transform your life.” The Times, 22nd November 2013 ****

“This is a marvellous programme of Music for Advent and it is executed superbly by the Clare College Choir. It’s obvious that the standard built up during Timothy Brown’s long leadership, especially, has been fully maintained by Graham Ross.” MusicWeb International, November 2013

“it’s an eclectic collection, and on paper it did look as if some of the stylistic juxtapositions might be a little jarring. I stand corrected: woven into a seamless whole with connecting plainchant, the entire sequence seems to develop organically...the Clare choir do pianissimo to perfection, and indeed the singing throughout is superb.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 9th December 2013

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Harmonia Mundi - HMU907579

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Furie terribili: 30 Baroque Opera Hits

Furie terribili: 30 Baroque Opera Hits


Arias by Monteverdi, Cavalli, Lully, Charpentier, Rameau, Purcell, Handel, Broschi, Giacomelli, Graun, Dauvergne, Keiser, Telemann and Gluck


This double album invites you on a guided tour of the world of Baroque opera, from its origins in the early 17th century to its decline at the end of the Enlightenment. From recitar cantando to the da capo aria by way of French tragédie lyrique, the leading exponents of the genre will lead you into a dizzying spiral of vocal exploits illustrating all the human passions. Absolutely irresistible! Includes arias from: L'Orfeo, Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in patria, L'incoronazione di Poppea, La Callisto, Armide, Médée, Les Indes Galantes, Castor & Pollux, Dido & Aeneas, King Arthur, Agrippina, Rinaldo, Serse, Idaspe, Merope, Tolomeo, Il pastor fido, Sosarme, Orpheus, Cleopatra & Desare, Croesus, Les Troqueurs, Orfeo ed Euridice.

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Harmonia Mundi - HMX2908537/38

(CD - 2 discs)

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Lamentazioni per la Settimana Santa

Lamentazioni per la Settimana Santa


anon.:

Incipit Oratio Ieremiae Prophetae (Sabbati Sancti, Lectio Terza)

Lamed: Matribus suis dixierunt (Feriae VI in Parasceve, Lectio Seconda)

Toccata arpeggiata

Carissimi:

Lamentationes Ieremiae Prophetae 'Feriae Quintae in Coena Domini': Incipit Lamentatio; Vau. Et egressus est a filia Sion

Frescobaldi:

Jod. Manum suam

Kapsberger:

Libro D'Intavolatura di Lauto: Toccata No. 5

Marcorelli:

Aleph: Quomodo obscuratum est aurum

Palestrina:

Heu mihi Domine

Rossi, M:

Toccate e correnti: Toccata quarta


Maria Cristina Kiehr (soprano) & Jean-Marc Aymes (organ & conductor)

Concerto Soave

“Exquisite 16th- and 17th-century settings of Jeremian texts for Holy Week by various Rome-based composers, beautifully sung by soprano Maria Cristina Kiehr.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2014 ****

“Featuring the agile and yet full vibratoless voice of Argentine soprano Maria Cristina Kiehr… This is a relatively recent recording and a pure delight!” Early Music Review, December 2013

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Harmonia Mundi Musique d'Abord - HMA1951952

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Busnois: Missa O Crux lignum

Busnois: Missa O Crux lignum


The music of Antoine Busnois has inspired intense interest in recent times. With this survey of the different genres - sacred and secular - in which Busnois excelled, the Orlando Consort demonstrates the composer's supreme technical mastery, his melodic flair, and his rhythmic vitality. A comprehensive portrait of an early-Renaissance genius.

This title was released for the first time in 2005.

“Full-bodied yet precise, the singing of the Consort's four voices brings out the glory of several motets and chansons as well as the Mass by this 15th-century master.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2014 ****

“Centrally placed on this disc is Busnois’ Missa O Crux lignum with a beautifully textured and flowing Kyrie, a densely woven Gloria where, nevertheless, individual voices sound out to great effect, each attractive in their own right” The Classical Reviewer, 7th September 2013

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Harmonia Mundi Musique d'Abord - HMA1957333

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Padovano: Mass for 24 Voices

Padovano: Mass for 24 Voices


“Two realisations of Annibale Padovane's Mass...both somewhat sedative in their unblemished beauty.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2013 ****

“Both performances are sumptuous, revealing the rich textures and melodic inventiveness of Padovano’s music… these are powerfully effective accounts of Padovano’s music, which argue strongly for his reinstatement in the history of composition” Early Music Review, October 2013

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Harmonia Mundi Musique d'Abord - HMA1951727

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Normally: $9.75

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