“Fine performances of two of Beethoven's seriously undervalued works.”
“Listening to the opening tutti on this joyful new Triple Concerto, you can just picture Nikolaus Harnoncourt cueing his strings, perched slightly forwards, impatiently waiting for that first, pregnant forte. This is a big, affable, blustery Triple, the soloists completing the sound canvas rather than dominating it, a genuine collaborative effort. So beside the Beethovenian strut to this performance there's poetry too. Yet thoughtfulness never spells timidity; Hagen and Thomas Zehetmair throw caution to the winds near the end of the first movement. The Concerto's Largo is simplicity itself, rather like a song without words, but it's the finale that is likely to raise the most smiles, a rumbustious affair, uninhibited without coursing out of control. Harnoncourt and his team go for the burn, always brilliant but, more importantly, full of character and humour. The fill-ups (like the Concerto, recorded at concerts in Graz) are hardly less engaging. The little B flat Rondo is bubbly from the start, Aimard and the orchestra maintaining a feeling of chamber collaboration. And then the ChoralFantasia, so often clunky on disc but here aided by Aimard's sense of style – his arpeggios in the long opening solo have so much colour – and by Harnoncourt's relaxed approach to the music that follows, each variation imaginatively tended within a larger framework. The singing is excellent, the sound both warm and realistic. As 'feelgood' Beethoven programmes go, this is about as enjoyable as it gets, though a high level of musical insight further enhances one's pleasure.”
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“Sarah Connolly is an exemplary Handel singer. Her recital is dominated by two roles she's performed at ENO, with arias from Alcina and Ariodante. 'Scherza infida' is an addictive mixture of vocal elegance and poignant desolation, and 'Mi lusingha' is sung with a beautiful simplicity that lacks for nothing in drama or passion. In contrast, the extravagant coloratura in 'Dopo notte' and the robust 'Sta nell'Ircana' capture the virtuoso thrills of heroic joy. In Dejanira's 'Where shall I fly?', she reminds us that taste and subtlety have an important place even in Handel's tormented and emotionally unstable creation. She avoids contrived intensity and allows the quality of the vocal writing to speak for itself. Harry Christophers' direction is judicious, supportive yet never intrusive. It's pleasant to hear performances that are musically sensible, dramatically sensitive, and brave enough to apply understatement.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
“Marin Alsop and her Bournemouth players do themselves proud on this excellently played and brightly recorded disc.” Classics Today
“A near-perfect Adams Primer containing his tender and powerful meditation, to words by Walt Whitman, on the subject of those lost to AIDS. Touchingly performed by Nathan Gunn.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
"beautiful music which finds persuasive advocates in this talented new French ensemble." The Independent
“This CD completes a trilogy devoted to the airsde cour which help redefine one's perception of French court song. The first two were devoted to Guédron and Moulinié, and this last one to Antoine Boësset, who succeeded Guédron at the French royal court on his death in 1620. In many ways it's the most diverse and complex of the three. Some songs appear in a four-voice version with continuo accompaniment, departing from the voice-plus-lute format that once pervaded recordings of this repertory. Interspersed with the songs are instrumental entrées from ballets decour to which Boësset contributed in the 1620s. (Louis XIII was an avid dancer.) The composer didn't confine himself to French texts; the fraught relations between the Bourbons and the Spanish Habsburgs wrought a certain fascination with Iberian idioms, and an Italian text is thrown in for good measure. These complex links and political undercurrents are explained in an informative booklet-note. This diverse mixture of languages and ensemble may appear unsettling at first, but later it becomes clear how well managed is that diversity, and one begins to trace the threads in common. Dove ne vai, crudele is thoroughly Italianate, and wonderfully sung. Claire Lefilliâtre, in particular, continues to impress: the title track, Jemeurs sans mourir, combines artifice and a restrained but genuine emotional depth.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
“The sheer verve and power of his music leads one to think of Revueltas as primarily an orchestral composer, but many of his works are written for relatively modest forces (or started out that way, like Sensemayá, given a spirited performance here). Often, it's the ferocity of his sound – and liberal use of percussion – that gives the music a bigger texture than its actual layout might suggest. Even so relatively modest a piece as the playful octet Ocho x Radio (1933) feels like a small orchestral score. Curiously, the early Pieza paradoce instrumentos (1929; left untitled by Revueltas) seems much smaller in scale despite being longer. The four movements chart a gentle course in increasing tempi from Lento to Allegro. Here the burlesque and grotesque strains in his musical psyche were yet to be allowed full rein, but were unleashed in El renacuajo paseador ('The Wandering Tadpole', 1933), with its quotations and teasing allusions. The tiny suite describes how a tadpole meets an untimely end after going out for a drink with a mouse, the moral of which did not deter the composer from terminal alcoholism. Caminando (1937) is a real find. One of the final projects Revueltas worked on was Luis Córdova's 'caustic satire on fascism', Este era un Rey ('Once there was a King', 1940). The Preludio y Fuga ritmicos by his close friend José Pomar completes a splendid disc – derived from concert performances – that deserves every success. Highly recommended.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010