Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

September 2006

Disc of the Month

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Mozart - Arias

Awards:

Gramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - September 2006

Label:

DG Archiv

Catalogue No:

E4776272

Discs:

1

Release date:

11th Sept 2006

Barcode:

0028947762720

Length:

67 minutes

Medium:

CD (download also available)
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Mozart - Arias


Mozart:

Giunse alfin il momento... Deh, vieni, non tardar… (from Le nozze di Figaro)

Voi che sapete (from Le nozze di Figaro)

Ch'io mi scordi di te?... Non temer, amato bene, K505

In uomini, in soldati (from Così fan tutte)

Ei parte...Per pietà (from Così fan tutte)

E amore un ladroncello (from Così fan tutte)

Non più di fiori (from La clemenza di Tito)

Quando avran fine omai ... Padre, germani, addio! (from Idomeneo)

Vado, ma dove? oh Dei!, K583

Non so più cosa son, cosa faccio (from Le nozze di Figaro)

Alma grande e nobil core K578

Giunse alfin il momento - Al desio di chi t'adora K492/577


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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro, K.492 / Act 4

Giunse alfin il momento...Deh, vieni, non tardar...

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Le Nozze Di Figaro, K.492 - With Embellishments By Domenico Corri / Act 2

Voi che sapete

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Ch'io mi scordi di te... Non temer, amato bene, K.505

Ch'io mi scordi di te... Non temer, amato bene, K.505

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Così fan tutte ossia La scuola degli amanti, K.588 / Act 1

"In uomini, in soldati"

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Così fan tutte ossia La scuola degli amanti, K.588 / Act 2

"Ei parte...Per pietà"

"E amore un ladroncello"

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: La clemenza di Tito, K.621 / Act 2

"Non più di fiori"

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Idomeneo, re di Creta, K.366 / Act 1

"Quando avran fine omai" - "Padre, germani, addio!"

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Vado, ma dove? oh Dei!, K.583

Vado, ma dove? oh Dei!, K.583

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro, K.492 / Act 1

"Non so più cosa son, cosa faccio"

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Alma grande e nobil core, K.578

Alma grande e nobil core, K.578

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro, K.492 / Act 3

"Giunse alfin..." _ "Al desio di chi t'adora" (K.577)

Gramophone Classical Music Guide

2010

“'Singing Mozart is second nature to her,' enthuses Rattle of Magdalena KoOená. 'Each woman on each track is a completely distinct personality.' Promotional hype? Well, in hyper-Beckmesserish mode you could say her legato in 'Per pietà' is not quite seamless, the tempo for 'Deh vieni' a touch too jaunty. But this is barrel-scraping. If anyone has recorded a lovelier Mozart recital in recent years, we've yet to hear it. In her early thirties, KoOená is now consummate mistress of her art. Her liquid high mezzo, with its easy upward extension, combines warmth with the bloom and freshness of youth, while her coloratura, on display in 'Al desio di chi t'adora', is as brilliant and expressive as Bartoli's, yet without the Italian diva's intrusive aspirates.
Beyond this, Rattle's claim is hard to refute.
Cherubino (whose 'Voi che sapete' is sung in an embellished version published in 1810) and Dorabella (a blithe, flighty 'È amore un ladroncino') are the only roles here in KoOená's stage repertoire. But she 'lives' each of these wide-ranging characters intensely, from the remorseful Vitellia in La clemenza di Tito (sorrow etched into the texture of her voice) via the tenderness and anguish of Ilia in Idomeneo to a delightfully sly, knowing Despina. The vivid, tangy accompaniments from Rattle and the OAE go well beyond mere good style, with a classy basset-horn obbligato from Anthony Pay in the Vitellia aria. Fortepianist Jos van Immerseel is an equally sympathetic partner in an impassioned yet intimate performance of Ch'iomi scordi di te.”

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Editor's Choice

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Verdi: La Traviata

Verdi: La Traviata

Illustrated Synopsis & Cast Gallery

Stage Director - Pier Luigi Pizzi


Norah Amsellem, José Bros, Renato Bruson, Itxaro Mentxaka, Maria Espada, Emilio Sánchez, David Rubiera & Marco Moncloa

Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatro Real, Madrid, Jesús López Cobos

PICTURE FORMAT: 16:9
LENGTH: 175 Mins
SOUND: DTS SURROUND / LPCM STEREO
SUBTITLES: EN/FR/DE/ES/IT

‘Norah Amsellem’s Violetta flourishes - vocally and dramatically, nothing is a challenge to her… Thanks to Pizzi’s intelligence, every detail in the action works in this production… Jesus Lopez Cobos’ maturity is astonishing… his perfect conducting looks for emotion and finds it… This production is only waiting for a DVD to make history.’ Le Monde de la Musique

“Pier Luigi Pizzi's updating of Traviata to occupied Paris, first seen in 2003 in Madrid, might seem gratuitous, but because of his skill as designer and his experience directing singers, the new milieu hardly ever interferes, after the opening scene, with the central tragedy of Violetta's plight. That owes much to the freshness and immediacy of the portrayal by Norah Amsellem. From Violetta's first fevered entry to her agonising death she is totally absorbed in the role, acting and singing with the most eloquent feeling.
In the first scene we see her entering her soirée from her bedroom, the stage split in two – a slightly questionable idea – and she becomes infatuated with Alfredo in their Act 1 duet while on her lavish bed. It sounds gimmicky but as played by Amsellem and the sympathetic and stylishly sung Alfredo of José Bros it is totally convincing. The act ends with an all-consuming account of 'Ah! fors e lui', both verses, shaped in long lines and phrased with unerring conviction so that one forgives harshness when she presses on her higher notes.
Act 2 scene 1 is set in the drawing-room of a 1930s-style country villa. Here the central encounter of Violetta and Germont père is the emotional centre of the work, as it should be, with Amsellem and Renato Bruson acting and reacting to each other with rewarding rapport.
Bruson, at 69, sings with all the experience of his years and few signs of wear, and follows it with a masterly account of 'Di provenza'. In the second scene the whole company excels itself and the heroine is infinitely touching in 'Alfredo, Alfredo'.
In a stark, simple set for Act 3, this Violetta conveys her sorrow and terrified thoughts with inward passion. 'Addio del passato', again two verses, is notable for the length of line and exquisite phrasing Amsellem provides. She and Bros sing a near-ideal 'Parigi, o cara' before Violetta dies, a desperately tragic figure. Amsellem's slim figure and expressive face are notable assets in achieving her intelligent reading.
López-Cobos conducts an interpretation notable for yielding support of his singers combined with dramatic dash, and the Madrid orchestra play as though their lives depended on the results. No wonder this staging has received so much praise in Spain. Its preservation on DVD is welcome.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“Pier Luigi Pizzi's updating of Traviata to occupied Paris… might seem gratuitous, but because of his skill as designer and his experience in directing singers, the new milieu hardly ever interferes… with the central tragedy of Violetta's plight. That owes much to the freshness and immediacy of Norah Amsellem. From Violetta's first fevered entry to her agonising death, she is totally absorbed, acting and singing with the most eloquent feeling. López-Cobos conducts an interpretation notable for yielding support of his singers combined with dramatic dash, and the Madrid orchestra play as though their lives depended on the results.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2006

GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - September 2006

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Opus Arte - OA0934D

(DVD Video - 2 discs)

$35.75

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Wagner: Die Walküre

Wagner: Die Walküre


Georgine von Milinkovic, Hans Hotter, Ramón Vinay, Gré Brouwenstijn, Josef Greindl, Astrid Varnay, Gerda Lammers, Elisabeth Schärtel, Maria von Ilosvay, Hilde Scheppan, Jean Watson, Maria Graf & Hertha Wilfert

Bayreuth Festival Orchestra, Joseph Keilberth

“…a quite remarkable performance from New Bayreuth's golden era, with an underrated conductor and truly classic cast. …Hotter's magnificent Wotan… his verbal sensitivity and expressive range make this tragically sympathetic characterisation unequalled on disc. ...the performance as a whole sounds splendid, carrying one along with immense dramatic sweep.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2006 *****

“Very properly, Hans Hotter, as Wotan, dominates this utterly absorbing and exciting account of Walküre, the second instalment of the rediscovered Keilberth Ring at Bayreuth in 1955.
There exist several other incarnations of his dominant reading but perhaps only that in the Krauss cycle of 1953 reveals him in such superb form. Whether arguing the moral toss with von Milinkovi?'s harrying Fricka, sunk in deep desolation after his capitulation to his spouse (Wotan's long narration so full of insights, not for a moment dull), his fury at Brünnhilde's disobedience and his final relenting in an unforgettable account of the Farewell, Hotter commands every aspect of the role. His sonorous, wide-ranging voice is matched by his verbal acuity, text and tone in ideal accord. This, much more than his portrayal in the Solti cycle, when his voice often struggles with the part, is the performance to judge him by.
As ever, his long-standing stage partnership with the Brünnhilde of Astrid Varnay pays many dividends. She, too, is in prime form; she, too, melds words and voice into a well-nigh perfect unity. Not even a god could fail to response positively to her appeals to be forgiven, and that follows a warmly sung and deeply considered account of the the Todesverkündigung in Act 2.
That wonderfully moving scene also finds Ramón Vinay's Siegmund in most eloquent form. As throughout the first two acts, his singing benefits from his attractively plangent tone and, in Act 1, his tale of his sad plight. That, of course, turns to ecstasy in the glorious love music that ends Act 1, where Gré Brouwenstijn's womanly, vibrant Sieglinde is a fit match. She is properly distraught and guilt-ridden in Act 2 but – as so many lyrical sopranos have found – the taxing passages in Act 3 prove a shade beyond her.
In Act 1, Keilberth's direction takes a while to catch fire. From the exciting start of Act 2 he is in his most persuasive form, he and his fine orchestra projecting the manifold events and changes of mood with a persuasively dramatic drive. The Ride of the Valkyries whizzes along, Wotan's fury is frightening, the Magic Fire music elating. Once more, he proves that this was the year his Ring came into its own.
The recording is again amazingly lifelike, catching the excitement of a notable occasion on the Green Hill. The stage noises are hardly ever distracting, nor should one be too bothered by two or three moments when a singer forgets his or her words. Altogether we are here in the highest realm of Wagnerian interpretation.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“Hans Hotter's Wotan dominates this utterly absorbing and exciting account of Walküre, the second instalment of the rediscovered Keilberth Ring at Bayreuth in 1955, following on from the much-lauded Siegfried… Hotter command every aspect of the role. His sonorous, wide-ranging voice is matched by his verbal acuity, text and tone in ideal accord. ...Astrid Varnay... too, is in prime form; she, too, melds words and voice into a well nigh perfect unity.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2006

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2006

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

Testament - SBT41391

(CD - 4 discs)

$56.00

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Strauss, R: Eine Alpensinfonie, Op. 64

Strauss, R: Eine Alpensinfonie, Op. 64


Staatskapelle Weimar, Antoni Wit

“The Weimar Staatskapelle… are a top-class orchestra, with superb strings which sound overwhelmingly, sensuously beautiful.” Gramophone Magazine

“This is a magnificent record. The Weimar Staatskapelle are rare visitors to disc, but they are a top-class orchestra, with superb strings which sound overwhelmingly, sensuously beautiful in the opening 'Night' and 'Sunrise' sequences.
The warm and spacious acoustic of the Weimarhalle helps; reminiscent of the Lukaskirche in Dresden, where the Staatskapelle there made their famous analogue Strauss recordings under Kempe. This disc is in that same league of excellence.
Indeed, conductor Antoni Wit must take a lion's share of the credit for the success of this mountain-climb.
His tempi are spacious but his pacing is not consistently slow. It is during the vistas that Wit takes his time to overwhelm us with the beauty of what his orchestra are describing, the 'Entry into the Forest', dallying a little 'On the Alpine Pasture' and, most telling of all, the burst of radiance on reaching the summit. Then on the way down there is a storm, thunderously captured, but in the calm before it breaks, Wit creates an almost sinister atmosphere of apprehension.
As Strauss's descent nears its end and the music winds down, Wit manages a wonderful feeling of triste, a consciousness of danger experienced and triumphed over, and in that 'Ausklang' the organ steals in magically.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“This is a magnificent record. It is during the vistas that Wit takes his time to overwhelm us with the beauty of what his orchestra are describing… dallying a little 'On the Alpine Pasture' and, most telling of all, the burst of radiance on reaching the summit. As Strauss's descent nears its end and the music winds down, Wit manages a wonderful feeling of triste, a consciousness of danger experienced and triumphed over, and in that 'Ausklang' the organ steals in magically.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2006

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2006

BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the month

Naxos - 8557811

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Julian Anderson: Alhambra Fantasy

Julian Anderson: Alhambra Fantasy


Anderson, Julian:

Alhambra Fantasy

Khorovod

London Sinfonietta

The Stations of the Sun

The Crazed Moon

Diptych


World Premiere Recordings

“The big orchestral canvases show Anderson’s priceless gift for making complex formal shapes totally lucid. Oliver Knussen’s beautifully integrated performances with both the BBC Symphony and the Sinfonietta help inestimably too.” ***** performance/**** sound BBC Music Magazine, August 2006

“Anderson's confidence in handling and shaping his musical material and his wonderfully precise ear for instrumental colour have been constants in his music… Oliver Knussen's beautifully integrated performances with both the BBC Symphony and the Sinfonietta help inestimably... and the detail in the recordings is always faithful to Anderson's fastidious sensibility.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2006 *****

“For more than a decade British composer Julian Anderson has been consolidating his reputation as a leading talent. This first CD shows that talent at full stretch. The music is always direct in its tone of voice and unfailingly approachable without turning its back on all contact with progressive modernism. It has the benefit here of superbly prepared and executed performances, recorded with fine responsiveness to instrumental colour and textural balance.
The earliest work, Diptych, is already formidably accomplished in its control of gradually intensifying formal design but it is in Khorovod, Anderson's first London Sinfonietta commission, that his feeling for balancing resonant harmonic densities and spontaneous melodic flow comes into its own. Anderson filters his admiration for such powerful contemporary presences as Per Nørgård and Tristan Murail through aspects of folk and popular music which are most immediately evident in the rhythmic and motivic profile of the piece. The result of such conjunctions could be mindlessly disparate but Anderson's knack for dramatising unexpected compatibilities makes for an enthralling structure of genuine substance, and this kind of process is replicated on the more ambitious scale of his 1998 Proms commission The Stations of the Sun, as well as in a second, no less rewarding Sinfonietta piece, Alhambra Fantasy.
The Stations of the Sun is complemented by TheCrazed Moon, written slightly earlier, whose much darker, dance-free character indicates that Anderson is well able to inhabit quite different emotional spheres with equal success.
With this release Ondine has made an impressive start to the Anderson discography; it is high time that Anderson was given his due.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“The music is always direct in its tone of voice and unfailingly approachable without turning its back on all contact with progressive modernism. It has the benefit here of superbly prepared and executed performances, recorded with fine responsiveness to instrument colour and textural balance.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2006

Presto Disc of the Week

27th October 2008

GGramophone Awards 2007

Best of Category - Contemporary

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2006

BBC Music Magazine

Orchestral Choice - August 2006

Contemporary Music - up to 25% off

Ondine - ODE10122

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Ravel: Piano Concerto in G major, etc.

Prokofiev:

Piano Concerto No. 5 in G major, Op. 55

Ravel:

Piano Concerto in G major

Schlimé:

3 Improvisations


“…I listened with increasing awe to this dynamic and determined young pianist. Only 25 and already an international award-winner, Schlime has established his own ensemble alongside conducting and performing engagements…The principal works on this disc are often paired and compared, given their shared artistic influences; Schlime draws you into this mesmerising and sometimes playful Parisian whirl, especially in the final exhilarating movements from Prokofiev. Terrific orchestral playing under Pletnev…” Jane Jones, Classic FM Magazine

“Here is music-making to wonder at. Rarely in their history can the two concertos have been performed with such meticulous care and affection. The Luxembourg-born, 25-year-old pianist includes Pletnev – his more-thandistinguished partner on this disc – among his teachers and has won first prize in one of the less celebrated competitions (so often venues of true musical discovery).
What sadness and introspection he conveys beneath Ravel's clowning surface, shadowed, as it were, by the Left Hand Concerto, by an inwardness mirrored in his own haunting ThreeImprovisations. The central Adagio emerges as a timeless reverie, making it hard to recall a performance of greater magic or tonal translucency, a far cry indeed from a more superficial tradition emanating from Marguerite Long, the work's dedicatee. In the Prokofiev Schlimé and Pletnev take an almost chamber music-like view of the grotesquerie and acrobatics and the result is lyrical and musicianly in a wholly fresh and unsuspected way. Nothing sounds bleak or conventionally percussive and a mysterious, winterfairytale aura hangs over the entire work (never more so than in the Larghetto).
Schlimé confesses that he has always felt impelled to play what he calls his 'other' music, in this case improvised reflections on the two concertos. Recorded late one night in the Moscow Conservatoire, they were added with Pletnev's blessing, and the concluding mournful, jazzman's chime is very much music that registers 'long after it was heard no more'.
Pentatone's sound and balance are exemplary.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“Here is music-making to wonder at. Rarely can the two concertos have been performed with such meticulous care and affection. The Luxembourg-born, 25-year-old pianist includes Pletnev among his teachers. What sadness and introspection he conveys beneath Ravel's clowning surface... The central Adagio emerges as a timeless reverie, making it hard to recall a performance of greater magic or tonal translucency... In the Prokofiev, Schlimé and Pletnev take an almost chamber music-like view of the grotesquerie and acrobatics, and the result is lyrical and musicianly in a wholly fresh and unsuspected way. ...Schlimé's... improvised reflections on the two concertos... were added with Pletnev's blessing, and the concluding mournful, jazzman's chime is very much music that registers 'long after it was heard no more'.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2006

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2006

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

Pentatone - PTC5186080

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