Recorded at Potton Hall, Suffolk, May 26 – 28, 2006
Usually despatched in 4 - 5 working days.
Brazilian cellist Antonio Meneses, Beaux Arts Trio member and a frequent collaborator of the world’s greatest conductors and orchestras, made an indelible impression with his recording of J S Bach’s Six Cello Suites (AV 0052). A consistently strong seller, it garnered a Benchmark accolade from BBC Music Magazine. In this release of works by Schubert and Schumann, Antonio revels in romantic ardour and the composer’s lyrical qualities. Together with his accompanist, Gérard Wyss, Antonio’s consummate artistry results in performances that are so elegant it’s hard to believe that all but one of the works, Stücke im Volkston, were originally written for instruments other than the cello.
“…this recording boasts some of the most beautiful cello playing I have heard in years. The highlight for me is their brilliant account of Märchenbilder, Schumann's 'fairy tale pictures' for viola: this is by far the best recorded account of that work on cello... Spellbinding, too, is this reading of Schubert's Arpeggione Sonata: the slow movement has gleaming surface, the first passage work a violin-like finesse.”
“Meneses negotiates the Arpeggione Sonata's dauntingly high tessitura with no sense of strain, and the other Schumann sets, designed respectively for horn, clarinet and viola, sound like idiomatic cello music. He's a true virtuoso, as the fast passages in the Arpeggione and the third of the Märchenbilder amply demonstrate, but one never feels that he's presenting himself. The impression is rather that he's inviting us into Schumann's or Schubert's inner world, urbanely drawing attention, by means of subtle emphasis or change of colour, to all the music's incidental beauties. Gérard Wyss, as an experienced Lieder accompanist, has a similar eye for illustrative detail; his touch is unusually sensitive, with chords always beautifully balanced, and his left hand gives exceptional vitality to the bass-lines. The finale's minor-key episode in Hungarian style bubbles with vitality. Similarly, all the Schumann pieces are performed in an outgoing, friendly way; especially enjoyable is the first of the Stücke imVolkston, progressing from a light, playful start to sweeping romantic gestures, and the last of the Märchenbilder, sweet and tender, with an almost Mahlerian sense of regret and loss.”
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“Jouni Kaipainen's first two symphonies were in one and two movements respectively but Kaipainen suggests no conclusions should be drawn from the fact that the Third (2004) is in three. The latest symphony is half as long again as No 2 and twice as epic, roaring away from the very first bar. While there are moments of reflection and calm, once it has you in its grip it does not let go. Vividly scored with many solos and ensembles interspersed between passages of invigorating orchestral power, there is a clear thread from start to end. Devotees of Peter Mennin's or Karl Amadeus Hartmann's music will find much to enjoy here. The symphony boasts several prominent bassoon solos in its first half and his concerto for the instrument (2005), dedicated to Finland's bassoonists, followed almost immediately. Deliciously unconventional in format and treatment, it is cast in four movements. The delightful Scherzo is based on music for a children's play (where a piccolo dances with a bassoon); placed between two serious but multi-layered spans, it is as surreal a discontinuity as anything in early Shostakovich. A rip-roaring presto finale completes a disarmingly subtle creation. The Tampere Philharmonic's playing is electrifying, superbly marshalled by Hannu Lintu, with Otto Virtanen the exemplary soloist. Sound of demonstration quality. Splendid.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
“The Liszt especially is scintillating. From the opening octaves Li seems to throw caution to the wind, which is really the only way to play this concerto, fusing electrifying spontaneity with meticulous control.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2007 ****
“Mr. Li is a poetic player with a sensitive touch (but also ample power when he needs it), as well as an ear for textural clarity and an impeccable sense of line. Those qualities, notable on his handful of recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, served the Chopin perfectly.” New York Times
“Brand-new budget-price recordings which can rub shoulders with the best are rarer than one imagines but this fine new Brahms disc probably comes into that category. Finding a recommendable Brahms Third is more difficult than one might suppose. Since Felix Weingartner made his very fine LPO recording in 1938, the number of great, or even successful, Thirds can probably be listed on the fingers of two hands. Marin Alsop's reading is certainly fine: dark of hue, lyrical and long drawn, though never, even for a moment, comatose. Rhythm is good, articulation keen, phrasing exquisite, the reading's crepuscular colours glowingly realised by the LPO. The reading has a quality of melancholy, a wistfulness crossed with a sense of incipient tragedy, which is almost Elgarian (Elgar's fascination with the piece is well attested). Readings such as Furtwängler's and Sanderling's, which are more inclined to tower and course, may not have allowed themselves to be overtopped by the St Antoni Variations, yet there is something rather wonderful about the transition we have here from dark to light. It is a long time since we had a performance of the Variations as well grounded and as keenly profiled as this. Winds are splendidly to the fore: skirling flutes, songful oboes, grumbling descants on the horns 'in deep B'. It is, above all, a reading of great character: the horn-led sixth variation a burgherly jaunt, the seventh variation a handsome galliard, the finale a Meistersinger- like revel.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
“Marin Alsop's reading is certainly fine: dark of hue, lyrical and long drawn, though never, even for a moment, comatose. Rhythm is good, articulation keen, phrasing exquisite, the reading's crepuscular colours glowingly realised by the LPO. The reading has a quality of melancholy, a wistfulness crossed with a sense of incipient tragedy, which is almost Elgarian” Gramophone Magazine
“It would be a shame if the lack of English translations of the sung texts put potential investigators off hearing this enjoyable survey of Schütz's richly expressive music. The sonorous acoustic of the convent where the disc was recorded is ideal for the warm yet stylishly sprung performances. Directed by tenor Benoît Haller, the singers deliver gutsy, assured performances. When all the players and choir combine, with all the stops out, the effect is magnificent: two cornetts and three sackbuts make a tremendous noise when let loose, reinforcing the opulent conclusion to Herr, der du bist vormals genädiggewest. But there is also subtly evocative music here, such as the lush continuo configurations in the soprano solo motet O misericordissime Jesu or the solemn brass and tenor solo texture in Erbarm dich mein, o Herre Gott. Most recordings of this quality concentrate on one of Schütz's major collections but La Chapelle Rhénane instead pick and mix from Symphoniasacrae, Cantiones sacrae and the Kleinegeistliche Konzerte, and throw in a few obscurities, too. The result is a refreshing manifesto from musicians who zealously believe in the music they have chosen to perform. La Chapelle Rhénane's biography claims that the group are 'able to provide original interpretations that are sparkling and flavoursome, in a vision brimming with sensuality and sincerity'. This is one of the rare occasions when we can believe the hype.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
Lang Lang (piano) with Fan Wei (lute), Ji Wei (zither) & Zhang Jiali (double-reed pipe)
Renowned throughout the world for his passionately committed performances of Western classical masterpieces, Lang Lang now returns to his Eastern roots with this ground-breaking album of Chinese music recorded in Beijing. Dragon Songs is also the title of a film documenting the pianist's recent tour of China and the recording of this CD.
Kagel sings Tango, plays bandoneon and performs as a bird!
Hörspiel, Ein Aufnahmezustand /Radiophonic Art
recording, manipulation and collage of sounds, music, conversation made
in a radio studio with all the mics open
(Bonus DVD). A cinematic report directed by Mauricio Kagel
The year 1970, Beethoven returns to his home town, Bonn and his house
in the year of his 200th birthday.A wondrous b/w 35mm film.
Numbered Ltd Edition of 3,000 Worldwide 2CDs +DVD
“fascinating, and a wonderful reminder of how fresh and unique Kagel's place in the history of music in the last half-century is.” The Guardian
“Beethoven shows up at Bonn Station in 1970 to survey how the culture industry is marking his bicentenary. That delicious conceit is the basis for Ludwig van, Mauricio Kagel's miraculous film now available for the first time on DVD. Beethoven himself holds the wobbly camera during the first section of the film, and we only ever get to see his buckled shoes as he minces through the streets. There are road works outside the Beethovenhaus as Our Hero visits his erstwhile lodgings and has to hotfoot it over barriers to reach his front door, where he's met by a jobsworth doorman who insists he buy a ticket. Kagel is the composer who made Bach the narrator of his own story in the St Bach Passion and he's relishing this historical gibberish. Incongruous historical overlays provoke high comedy while creating weird Philip K Dickian reality-busting narratives. But most importantly this technique licenses Kagel to unravel the trajectory of evolving traditions; and the slapstick over, he gets dark. Inside the house, Beethoven is confronted by rotting busts of his own form everywhere while sheet music tumbles out of a cavernous cupboard – in his bicentenary year is his music being celebrated or exploited? Ludwig van's most famous scene is next as the camera zooms into Beethoven's music room where every surface is pasted with fragments of his scores. Until now Kagel's music has consisted of jokey arrangements of LvB lollipops for a wheezing wind ensemble, but now musicians follow the direction of the camera as it pans around these haphazardly arranged scores. Musical syntax breaks down and familiar phrases are mulched into a chaotic soundscape that curiously re-energises them as empiric sources of sound. Another narrative jump and Kagel is featured in an earnest television show discussing Beethoven; one guest puts the boot into Karajan (a particular hate figure for the post-Darmstadt avant-garde) for conducting the orchestra rather than the score. Kagel looks on with gleeful mischief beaming from both eyes. Alongside the DVD are two CDs of remastered near-contemporaneous material – the first documents Kagel's own performances of three intriguing works climaxing in Bestiarium: Musicfor Bird Calls, while the second is his seminal, hyperactive radio piece (Hörspeil) Ein Aufnahmezustand. Of course, it's a paradox worthy of Kagel himself that this set is released to celebrate his own 75th birthday – geddit?” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
“Frieder Bernius gives us a B minor Mass which neither sits obediently in the groove of seasoned reverence nor resorts to well-worn and predictable period reflexes. It is a reading whose invigorating momentum is underpinned by a confident bass presence and an immediacy which resolutely ignores the heavy burden of posterity from which performances regularly suffer. To say that the buoyant, syncopated concertante- like second Kyrie heralds an iconoclastic journey would be an exaggeration but Bernius knowingly approaches the Latin text as a means of liberating the abstract brilliance and lyricism inherent in Bach's great edifice. The 'Et in terra pax' is exquisitely judged with every one of those aspiring figures each yielding a little more ambition, as is the case in the urgent 'Gratias agimus' – though perhaps too driven for some. The same is true in both the 'Qui sedes' and Agnus Dei (despite the introduction being alarmingly faster than the initial vocal strains), sung by the refined Daniel Taylor, where both are approached with an easy and open-ended fluidity which avoids the obvious pit-falls of 'stop-start' between solo movements and the virtuoso ensemble 'concerti'. Bernius repeatedly seeks a close alliance between his singers and instrumentalists with eloquent arched lines and yet without an obsession for homogeneity at the expense of individual character in the ensemble. The 'Crucifixus' is given an unselfconscious and gently accentuated reading, the chromatic ground and the flute and string 'pointings' instinctively realised. If the 'Confiteor' falls slightly short, the large choruses are open-breathed and thrilling. The Stuttgart Chamber Choir are full of vim and alertness and the trumpet playing is cataclysmically brilliant throughout. Of the solo singers, special mention must be made of the bass, Raimund Nolte, whose soft-grained 'Et in Spiritum Sanctum' stands out, though it is the effect of the combined ingredients which makes this the most striking and satisfying Mass in B minor to have appeared in years.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
Book, Musical Arrangements and directed by Mauricio Kagel
Joseh Beuys, Günther Boehnert, Carlos Feller,Werner Höfer, Mauricio Kagel, Rudolf Körösi, Linda Klaudius-Mann, Klaus Lindemann, Heinz-Klaus Metzger, José Montes-Bacquer, Diter Rot, Schuldt,Victor Staub, Otto Tomek, Ferry Waldoff & Stefan Wewerka
Production: 1969 at WDR Studio, Köln and locations near Köln/Bonn
“Kagel's quirky deconstruction of composer anniversaries has Beethoven arriving at Bonn station to observe how his bicentenary is celebrated. The musical arrangements are worthwhile.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2008 ****
“Beethoven shows up at Bonn Station in 1970 to survey how the culture industry is marking his bicentenary.That
delicious conceit is the basis for Ludwig van, Mauricio Kagel's miraculous film now available for the first time on DVD” Gramophone Magazine