Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

March 2005

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Bach Cantatas Volume 1


Gramophone Awards 2005

Record of the Year

Gramophone Awards 2005

Winner - Baroque Vocal

Gramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - March 2005



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Bach Cantatas Volume 1

Cantatas for the Feast of St. John the Baptist & Cantatas for the First Sunday after Trinity

Bach, J S:

Cantata BWV167 'Ihr Menschen, rühmet Gottes Liebe'

Cantata BWV7 'Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam'

Cantata BWV30 'Freue dich, erlöste Schar'

Cantata BWV75 'Die Elenden sollen essen'

Cantata BWV39 'Brich dem Hungrigen dein Brot'

Cantata BWV20 'O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort'

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The first issue in the long-awaited series of live recordings, made on the artists’ Bach Cantata Pilgrimage of 2000. The cantatas were performed on the feast days for which they were written and this series will be the first to reflect those couplings. The 2CD set is sumptuously packaged in a beautiful case-bound book, with stunning cover photos by Steve McCurry, detailed programme notes adapted from John Eliot Gardiner’s Pilgrimage Journal, and full sung texts and translations.

Johann Sebastian Bach: Ihr Menschen, ruhmet Gottes Liebe, BWV 167

Aria: Ihr Menschen, ruhmet Gottes Liebe (Tenor)

Recitative: Gelobet sei der Herr Gott Israel (Alto)

Duet: Gottes Wort, das truget nicht (Soprano, Alto)

Recitative: Des Weibes Samen kam (Bass)

Chorale: Sei Lob und Preis mit Ehren (Chorus)

Johann Sebastian Bach: Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam, BWV 7

Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam (Chorus)

Aria: Merkt und hort, ihr Menschenkinder (Bass)

Recitative: Dies hat Gott klar (Tenor)

Aria: Des Vaters Stimme liess sich horen (Tenor)

Recitative: Als Jesus dort nach seinen Leiden (Bass)

Aria: Menschen, glaubt doch dieser Gnade (Alto)

Chorale: Das Aug allein das Wasser sieht

Johann Sebastian Bach: Freue dich, erloste Schar, BWV 30

Part I: Freue dich, erloste Schar (Chorus)

Part I: Recitative: Wir haben Rast (Bass)

Part I: Aria: Gelobet sei Gott, gelobet sein Name (Bass)

Part I: Recitative: Der Herold kommt und meldt den Konig an (Alto)

Part I: Aria: Kommt, ihr angefochtnen Sunder (Alto)

Part I: Chorale: Eine Stimme lasst sich horen (Chorus)

Part II: Recitative: So bist du denn, mein Heil, bedacht (Bass)

Part II: Aria: Ich will nun hassen (Bass)

Part II: Recitative: Und obwohl sonst der Unbestand (Soprano)

Part II: Aria: Eilt, ihr Stunden, kommt herbei (Soprano)

Part II: Recitative: Geduld, der angenehme Tag (Tenor)

Part II: Freue dich, geheilgte Schar (Chorus)

Johann Sebastian Bach: Die Elenden sollen essen, BWV 75

Part I: Die Elenden sollen essen (Chorus)

Part I: Recitative: Was hilft des Purpurs Majestat (Bass)

Part I: Aria: Mein Jesus soll mein alles sein! (Tenor)

Part I: Recitative: Gott sturzet und erhohet (Tenor)

Part I: Aria: Ich nehme mein Leiden mit Freuden auf mich (Soprano)

Part I: Recitative: Indes schenkt Gott ein gut Gewissen (Soprano)

Part I: Chorale: Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan (Chorus)

Part II: Sinfonia

Part II: Recitative: Nur eines krankt ein christliches Gemute (Alto)

Part II: Aria: Jesus macht mich geistlich reich (Alto)

Part II: Recitative: Wer nur in Jesu bleibt (Bass)

Part II: Aria: Mein Herze glaubt und liebt (Bass)

Part II: Recitative: O Armut, der kein Reichtum gleicht! (Tenor)

Part II: Chorale: Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan (Chorus)

Johann Sebastian Bach: Brich dem Hungrigen dein Brot, BWV 39

Part I: Brich dem Hungrigen dein Brot (Chorus)

Part I: Recitative: Der reiche Gott wirft seinen Uberfluss (Bass)

Part I: Aria: Seinem Schopfer noch auf Erden (Alto)

Part II: Aria: Wohlzutun und mitzuteilen vergesset nicht (Bass)

Part II: Aria: Hochster, was ich habe (Soprano)

Part II: Recitative: Wie soll ich dir, o Herr! (Alto)

Part II: Chorale: Selig sind, die aus Erbarmen (Chorus)

Johann Sebastian Bach: O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort, BWV 20

Part I: Chorale: O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort (Chorus)

Part I: Recitative: Kein Ungluck ist in aller Welt zu finden (Tenor)

Part I: Aria: Ewigkeit, du machst mir bange (Tenor)

Part I: Recitative: Gesetzt, es dau'rte der Verdammten Qual (Bass)

Part I: Aria: Gott ist gerecht in seinen Werken (Bass)

Part I: Aria: O Mensch, errette deine Seele (Alto)

Part I: Chorale: Solang ein Gott im Himmel lebt (Chorus)

Part II: Aria: Wacht auf, wacht auf, verlornen Schafe (Bass)

Part II: Recitative: Verlass, o Mensch, die Wollust dieser Welt (Alto)

Part II: Duet: O Menschenkind, hor auf geschwind (Alto, Tenor)

Part II: Chorale: O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort (Chorus)

Gramophone Magazine

October 2008

“The first release in Gardiner's 2000 Bach Cantata Pilgrimage, an extraordinary undertaking - a deeply moving experience that swept up the Record of the Year Award in 2005.”

Gramophone Classical Music Guide


“In 2000 John Eliot Gardiner commemorated the 250th anniversary of Bach's death with theBach Cantata Pilgrimage, a year-long European tour by the English Baroque Soloists and Monteverdi Choir that presented all of Bach's extant cantatas on the appropriate liturgical feast days. Here are the first two instalments of the complete cycle.
Soli Deo Gloria's presentation is first class. The CDs are cased in a handsomely designed hardbound book, complete with texts, translations and Gardiner's extensive, informative notes based on a journal he kept during the pilgrimage.
The interpretations are consistently fine – often superb, in fact – with surprisingly few wrong steps or disappointments, especially given the unusually gruelling performance schedule that produced them. Among the many mind-blowing, beautiful moments is the deliciously syncopated contralto aria from No 30, sung with poise by Wilke te Brummelstroete and graced by playing of magical delicacy from the EBS. And there's the extraordinary opening chorus of No 8, with its seemingly endless melodic tendrils, chiming flute part and plucked strings, sounding like a celestial dance. Special mention must be made of the artistry of tenor Mark Padmore, who maintains his sweet, ringingly clear tone even in the demanding leaps and roulades of his aria in No 95.
It's in delicate or intimate music that Gardiner shines most luminously, and some may find that he unduly emphasises the contemplative.
His thoughtful, refined approach is strikingly similar to Suzuki's cycle on BIS, though Gardiner's versions sound just a bit warmer.
Although his interpretations offer the finest attributes of period practice – transparency and litheness – there's a long-breathed musicality here that can be lacking in other accounts.”

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Fauré - The Complete Songs - 1

Fauré - The Complete Songs - 1


Les matelots Op. 2 No. 2

Seule! Op. 3 No. 1

Chanson du pêcheur Op. 4 No. 1

Barcarolle Op. 7 No. 3

Tarentelle Op. 10 No. 2

Au bord de l'eau, Op. 8 No. 1 (Prudhomme)

Les berceaux, Op. 23 No. 1

Au cimetière, Op. 51 No. 2

Larmes Op. 51 No. 1

Cinq Melodies 'de Venise', Op. 58

Pleurs d'or Op. 72

Accompagnement Op. 85 No. 3

La fleur qui va sur l'eau Op. 85 No. 2

Mirages, Op. 113

C'est la paix Op. 114

L'horizon chimérique, Op. 118

Felicity Lott, Jennifer Smith, Geraldine McGreevy (sopranos), Stella Doufexis (mezzo), John Mark Ainsley (tenor), Christopher Maltman, Stephen Varcoe (baritones), Graham Johnson (piano)

“Few singers would give over a whole evening to Fauré's songs on the concert platform, and choosing a way of presenting them on disc obviously poses problems. Previous sets had all the songs in chronological order; others chose poets or moods: Graham Johnson and company have begun with songs about water. This means a lot of dreaming and melancholy, whether in Gautier's Chanson du pêcheur ('Ma belle amie est morte', also set by Berlioz), or Richepin's Aucimitière. The latter is given a most beautiful rendition by John Mark Ainsley, who otherwise only sings on two tracks, with Jennifer Smith in the sentimental Pleurs d'or, and the homage to Venice and its lovers in Marc Monnier's Barcarolle.
Three cycles are the main items here. Felicity Lott sings the Cinq Mélodies de Venise, which includes some of Fauré's best-known songs, 'Mandoline', 'En sourdine' and 'Green'. She brings to bear on them a lifetime's devotion to French song. Her other contribution is Au bordde l'eau, to a poem by Sully-Prudhomme. This is made to sound very sad; taken faster it can be quite merry; it's a celebration of love, as well as a meditation on the passing of time.
Stephen Varcoe sings Mirages, Fauré's penultimate cycle (1919). As Graham Johnson writes in his fascinating notes, these poems by Brimont permitted Fauré 'uneventful passion'. Christopher Maltman is the other featured singer, in five separate songs and L'horizon chimérique. All the performances are elegant and well-balanced, but one misses the extra slight note of acid that native French singers bring to Fauré's songs.
Hyperion's sound is impeccable and in both his playing and accompanying essay, Graham Johnson penetrates to the heart of one of music's most subtle and enigmatic geniuses.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - March 2005

Hyperion & Helios - up to 50% off

Hyperion French Song Edition - CDA67333


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Beethoven - Symphonies Nos. 4 & 5

Beethoven - Symphonies Nos. 4 & 5


Symphony No. 4 in B flat major, Op. 60

Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67

“the modern Beethoven recording par excellence” (The Financial Times )

“It was during Osmo Vänskä's time with the BBC Scottish SO that his Beethoven began winning golden opinions. His reading of the Fourth is fiery but not relentless. Metronome marks are important but not mandatory. Transparent textures and a rigorous way with dynamics also feature. Of particular interest is the skill with which he continuously keeps in view the bass line, and thus the music's harmonic contour, never easy, given the 'open' nature of Beethoven's scoring.
The Minnesota Orchestra are extraordinarily proficient: fleet-footed and articulate, though tonally they have less in reserve than the Berlin or Vienna orchestras. This can be a limitation in the Fifth, where the sound occasionally edges towards coarseness but it makes little or no difference in the Fourth, even in the Adagio. What Vänskä sacrifices in lyric poetry he makes up for in justness of rhythm and chasteness of texture.
Skilful as BIS's engineers are in dealing with the quietest passages, finding an optimum playback level for the vibrant but pianissimo-strewn Fourth takes time and patience.
The performance of the dynamically less problematic Fifth also also bristles with character.
Typically, Scherzo and finale are bound to one another structurally but not tamed emotionally.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“Osmo Vänskä's readings are full of character and imagination and, in his Minnesota orchestra, he has the perfect ensemble to support his approach.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2005

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - March 2005

BBC Music Magazine

Orchestral Choice - March 2005

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Kalman: Die Csárdásfürstin

Kalman: Die Csárdásfürstin

Yvonne Kenny, Michael Roider, Mojca Erdmann, Karl Michael Ebner, Marko Kathol, Heinz Holecek, Karl Michael Ebner, Hellmuth Klumpp, Yvonne Kálmán

Slovak Philharmonic Choir and Radio Symphony Orchestra, Richard Bonynge

“The English title of Kálmán's most celebrated operetta is a misnomer. The heroine is a princess not of gypsies but (as the German title, DieCsárdásfürstin, indicates) of the csárdás; she's a Budapest cabaret-singer in love with a young aristocrat. Its score shows Kálmán at his most fluent, with a succession of gloriously tuneful hit numbers that mix spicy Hungarian rhythms with the more graceful strains of the Viennese waltz.
Individual numbers have often been committed to disc, but complete recordings have been much less frequent. Yet to appreciate the overall structure of Kálmán's operetta scores you really need to hear his elaborately constructed act finales, in which musical reprises are interspersed with passages of dialogue and melodrama.
Apart from sensibly reducing the opening orchestral flourishes from three to one, Bonynge typically gives us total fidelity to what Kálmán actually wrote. He brings out to the full Kálmán's highly charged rhythms, every detail of the exotic orchestration, and the contrasts of mood between the fiery big numbers and the moments of melancholy and sadness in the Acts 1 and 2 finales. Among a wholly admirable cast, Yvonne Kenny provides the vocal strength, fire and beauty required by the title role. A wonderful bargain.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - March 2005

Naxos Opera Classics - 8660105-06

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Beethoven - Complete Works for Piano & Cello

Beethoven - Complete Works for Piano & Cello


Cello Sonatas Nos. 1-5 (complete)

Variations (12) on "Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen" for Cello and Piano, Op. 66

Variations (12) on "See the conquering hero comes" for Cello and Piano, WoO 45

Variations (7) on "Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen", for Cello and Piano, WoO 46

Adrian Brendel (cello) & Alfred Brendel (piano)

"All five sonatas are in my view really extraordinary." Alfred Brendel in the Guardian (London) June 2004.

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - March 2005

Building a Library

First Choice - March 2005

Philips - 4753792

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