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Yao Hong (soprano), Liu Shan (mezzo soprano), Jin Yongzhe (tenor), Sun Li (baritone), He Wangjin (Qiang Flute) & Shen Fanxiu (organ)
China National Orchestra & Chorus, Michel Plasson
The “Earth Requiem” is a gigantic work performed and recorded in Beijing in May 2011 in remembrance of the devastating Sichuan earthquake in 2008.
This is the first Chinese Requiem ever composed
This massive work by renowned Chinese composer Guan Xia is scored for 100 instrumentalists, a choir of 150 singers, an organ and 4 vocal soloists.
The well-established China National Symphony Orchestra invited the legendary French conductor Michel Plasson, who has long had a close association with EMI Classics, to work on the project. This partnership between West and East gives the recording a universal breadth as well as an overarching theme: the Earth. The emotional strength of the work is empowered by its gargantuan scale.
A concert and press conference will be held in May 2013 in Beijing's National Centre for the Performing Arts to mark the 5th anniversary of the Sichuan Earthquake.
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Vermeer and Music: Consort Music and Songs from the Golden Age
Both William Byrd and John Dowland were composers who found themselves somewhat out of sympathy with the times in which they lived, a fact which may help to account for the melancholic strain which pervades much of their music. At first glance, Byrd seems to have enjoyed an eminently successful career: after becoming a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal at the age of twenty-seven, he rapidly consolidated his position ,within the English musical establishment, and in 1575 he and his mentor Thomas Tallis were granted by the Crown the monopoly of music publishing in England. In 1593 Byrd acquired a country estate in Essex, and by the time of his death he was regarded as 'Britanniae Musicae Parens': the father of British music. Yet for all these trappings of respectability, Byrd's position in society was always precarious on account of his Catholic faith. Frequently cited as a recusant, Byrd regularly had crippling fines imposed on him by the courts, and would probably have been subjected to worse persecution had he not enjoyed the patronage of some very powerful friends. His younger contemporary Dowland was not so fortunate in gaining entry to court circles and so spent much of his career as an itinerant lute virtuoso, principally in France, Germany and Denmark. Dowland was suspected of having flirted with popery during an early visit to France and although he later denied having undergone a true conversion to Catholicism, the accusation stuck and probably made it more difficult for him to obtain an English court appointment. His volatile nature may also have counted against him: even when he did secure a permanent position, as Lutenist to the King of Denmark, his regular absences led to him being eventually dismissed from this post. Dowland's Lachrimae (1604) is a remarkable set of ensemble music in which 'Seaven Passionate Pavans' all based on the same four-note descending motif are followed by a sequence of other dances, mainly galliards. Byrd is represented here by a selection of his consort songs and by his Fantasias and In Nomines - both ensemble forms in which he excelled.
Scheduled for release on 3 June 2013. Order it now and we will deliver it as soon as it is available.
Diana Damrau: Recital at Baden Baden & Documentary 'Diva Divina'
From the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden
Fleur des blés (André Girod)
Claire de lune (song)
Apparition - song (1884)
Arabesque No. 1
Impromptu No. 6 in D flat major for harp, Op. 86
Après un rêve, Op. 7 No. 1
Clair de Lune, Op. 46 No. 2
Sérénade toscane Op. 3 No. 2
Les berceaux, Op. 23 No. 1
Adieu, Op. 21 No. 3, from Poème d'un jour
Notre amour Op. 23 No. 2
Lied der Suleika, Op. 25 No. 9
Der Nussbaum, Op. 25 No. 3
Die Lotosblume, Op. 25 No. 7
Er ist's! Op. 79 No. 23 (Eduard Mörike)
Widmung, Op. 25 No. 1
Nichts, Op. 10 No. 2
Freundliche Vision, Op. 48 No. 1
All mein Gedanken ... Op. 21 No. 1
Wiegenlied, Op. 41 No. 1
Die Nacht, Op. 10 No. 3
Morgen, Op. 27 No. 4
Kling! Op. 48 No. 3
Ständchen, Op. 17 No. 2
This DVD, centered on the dazzling German soprano Diana Damrau, complements a ravishing recital with a fascinating documentary.
In March 2013, Damrau achieved “a daring victory” (in the words of the New York Times) when the Metropolitan Opera witnessed her first-ever performances of Verdi’s La traviata. In recent years she has made the transition from glittering, stratospheric roles such as Mozart’s Queen of the Night and Strauss’ Zerbinetta to lyrical heroines of greater emotional complexity, such as Gilda in Rigoletto, Adina in L’elisir d’amore and Lucia di Lammermoor. A series of triumphs at the Met have made her a favourite singer in New York – as she is in other leading opera houses around the world.
In the documentary, Diana Damrau – Diva Divina, the soprano explains that, when she was just 12 years old, it was La traviata (in Franco Zeffirelli’s lavish 1982 cinematic version) that inspired her to make a career in opera. The documentary, directed by Beatrix Conrad, follows Damrau over the course of nine months, covering operatic performances and rehearsals in Geneva, New York, Paris and Munich, recitals, recordings and the arrival of her first child, Alexander.
The recital, filmed at the impressive Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden, pairs Damrau with the French harpist Xavier de Maistre in an exquisite selection of songs by Schumann, Fauré, Debussy and Strauss. Among the best-loved items in the programme are: Schumann’s ‘Widmung’; both Fauré’s and Debussy’s settings of Verlaine’s poem ‘Clair de lune’; Fauré’s ‘Après un rêve’; a harp arrangement of Debussy’s piano Arabesque No 1; Strauss’ ‘Morgen‘ and ‘Ständchen’ and, among the encores, the famed Bach-Gounod ‘Ave Maria’.
In the course of 2013, Damrau and de Maistre will also perform together in concert seasons in Washington D.C., Paris, Geneva, Lyon, Reykjavik, Hamburg, Munich and London and at festivals in Menton, Gstaad, Schwarzenberg and Grafenegg.
Reviewing the performance in Baden-Baden – for which the audience joined Damrau and de Maistre on the stage, rather than being distanced from them in the expansive auditorium – the Badische Neueste Nachrichten wrote of Damrau as a recitalist “whose vocal material and abilities as a storyteller approach perfection”, while the Badisches Tagblatt said:” Damrau’s diction is a pleasure, her vocal flexibility amazing. She sings phrases with ample breath, while her nuanced shadings create subtle changes of mood from song to song.” Die Rheinpfalz described the “gentle, sometimes ethereal tones of the harp” as being in perfect harmony with the “exceptionally subtle and detailed vocal art of the soprano … particularly exceptional are the delicate tracery and colours of Diana Damrau’s singing. Her shaping and accenting of the text is meticulous, her phrasing is of great sensitivity and her dynamics are richly nuanced, yet her song performances are never mannered, rather always full of lyrical feeling.”
Scheduled for release on 27 May 2013. Order it now and we will deliver it as soon as it is available.