Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

May 2007

Disc of the Month

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Tchaikovsky & Medtner - First Piano Concertos

Awards:

Gramophone Awards 2007

Finalist - Concerto

Gramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - May 2007

BBC Music Magazine

Orchestral Choice - June 2007

Label:

BIS

Catalogue No:

BISSACD1588
(BIS-SACD-1588)

Discs:

1

Release date:

2nd April 2007

Barcode:

7318599915883

Length:

71 minutes

Medium:

SACD (download also available)

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel
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Tchaikovsky & Medtner - First Piano Concertos


Medtner:

Piano Concerto No. 1 in C minor, Op. 33

in one movement

Liebliches Kind, Op. 6 No. 5

transcribed for solo piano by Yevgeny Sudbin

Tchaikovsky:

Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23


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Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23

I. Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso

II. Andantino

III. Allegro con fuoco

Nicolas Medtner: Piano Concerto No. 1 in C minor, Op. 33

Allegro

Tranquillo, meditamente

Tempo I

Coda: Allegro molto

Nicolas Medtner: 9 Goethe-Lieder, Op. 6 (arr. for piano)

9 Goethe Songs, Op. 6: No. 5. Liebliches Kind! (arr. Y. Sudbin)

Gramophone Magazine

“Yevgeny Sudbin's performance here fairly explodes with imagination, feeling and desire. Here, one feels, is a pianist hungry to test himself intellectually and emotionally as well as technically”

BBC Music Magazine

January 2008

“His stunning virtuosity and the sensitive interaction with the conductor and orchestra really does the talking.”

Gramophone Classical Music Guide

2010

“To describe 26-year-old Yevgeny Sudbin as music's brightest young star pianist is in a sense to do him a disservice. For he is above all an artist, and here in his eagerly awaited concerto debut on disc he gives us a Tchaikovsky First of spine-tingling brilliance, poetry and vivacity. This is never the Tchaikovsky you have always known, but an arrestingly novel rethink with the concentration on mercurial changes of mood and direction.
Here, amazingly, is one of the most familiar of all concertos rekindled in all its first glory, brimming over with zest and shorn of all the clichés that have adhered to it over the years.
In the first movement Sudbin's octaves ring out like a giant carillon, while the Andantino's central prestissimo becomes in such extraordinary hands a true firefly scherzo. Not even Cherkassky at his finest possesed a more elfin sense of difference or caprice. And to think that all this and more is accomplished without the lift, or hindrance, of a major competition success.
Medtner's massive First Concerto, too, could hardly be played with a more burning clarity and commitment. Medtner's music remains formidably inaccessible, despite displaying the outward trappings of Romantic rhetoric yet Sudbin clearly believes in every note and his playing evinces, as on live occasions, a rare sense of affection. Such poetry is confirmed in his encore, his own transcription of Medtner's song Liebliches Kind! It only remains to add that BIS's balance and sound are of demonstration quality and that the São Paulo SO under John Neschling sound as if influenced by neighbouring Rio's carnival spirit, so infectiously do they respond to their radiant soloist.”

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Editor's Choice

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Music from the Sistine Chapel

Music from the Sistine Chapel


Allegri:

Christus resurgens ex mortuis

Missa - Che fa oggi il mio sole

Anerio, F:

Ave Regina caelorum a 8

Regina caeli laetare a 8

Stabat Mater a 12

Magnificat secundi toni a 8

Marenzio:

Che fa oggi il mio sole

Palestrina:

Ascendit Deus a 5

Ave Verum

Angelus Domini descendit de caelo a 5

Assumpta est Maria a 6


This disc offers a fascinating collection of works written for the Papal Chapel. Researched and sung by one of the world's leading choirs, The Sixteen and Harry Christophers, this recording includes many world premiere recordings of these rarely heard sacred works. Felice Anerio displays a fluid mastery of the Roman style of composition, and some of his surviving settings are shown to advantage here, in particular his glorious twelve-part setting of Stabat Mater, more ambitious and possibly more beautiful than those by Palestrina and Lassus. Gregorio Allegri is famous for his Miserere (available on CORO as COR16014); this recording contains representative examples of his polyphonic style. Together with settings by the towering figure of Palestrina, all receive warm and vital performances.

“Director Harry Christophers draws controlled performances which highlight the music's extremes of spiritual serenity and visceral energy. As one might expect from this crack choir, there is some seraphic singing and standards of intonation and ensemble are impeccable.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2007 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2007

Coro - COR16047

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Nielsen & Aho - Clarinet Concertos

Nielsen & Aho - Clarinet Concertos


Aho:

Clarinet Concerto

Nielsen:

Clarinet Concerto Op. 57 (FS129)


“Those who cherish earlier versions of Neilsen's masterpiece… will know how deep this music runs and how haunting it is. The young Swedish clarinettist give what I must say is the most searching and gripping performance of all, and reveals qualities of imagination and insight that make you listen with new ears. Kalevi Aho's... 2005 concerto was written for Martin Fröst... It strikes me as one of his finest pieces, immediate in its appeal and full of compelling musical incident and a dazzling virtuosity that Fröst takes effortlessly in his stride.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2007 *****

“Kalevi Aho's Concerto starts arrestingly but without a trace of the attention-seeking that afflicts certain other clarinet concertos of recent times. There is something in Aho's five continuous movements that recalls Nielsen's directness and free-flowing succession of ideas, and the cadenza that forms the second movement even brings momentary echoes of Nielsen's uncompromising skirls and flourishes.
But the Finn's sights are set more on the starkly elemental than on the quirkily personal.
For Aho the Vivace con brio third movement is the 'centre and culmination', and it is certainly exuberant – dangerous, even – in its restless virtuosity, rather like Strauss's Till Eulenspiegel driven mad by inner demons. After this a sad slow movement brings sober reflection, and an Epilogue concludes the work on a note of mystery.
There can have been few equally impressive head-on engagements with the concerto medium in recent years.
There are eight or so modern accounts of the Nielsen Clarinet Concerto in the catalogue.
Most have fine qualities. Yet for sureness of idiomatic touch none dislodges Ib Erikson's classic 1954 Danish accounts (now available on Dutton Labs).
Closer to the mark than any modern rivals is this new issue from Martin Fröst, the clarinettist of the moment for all-round artistry allied to adventurous approach to repertoire. He seems to have Nielsen's irascible masterpiece in his bloodstream, as surely as he has its technical contortions under his fingers. Vänskä ensures that the Lahti players are never fazed by the exposed edges in the accompaniment, and only the very drawn-out final bars come across as slightly self-conscious. Detail for detail, phrase for phrase, this team takes the palm over the old Danish recording, even before considering BIS's immeasurably superior sound quality.
Even so, Erikson and Wöldike remain a benchmark for insight into the character of the piece.
In sum, a CD of rare distinction.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2007

BBC Music Magazine

Orchestral Choice - July 2007

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Contemporary Music - up to 25% off

BIS - BISSACD1463

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Nathan Milstein - Master of Invention

Nathan Milstein - Master of Invention

(Some Memories of a Quiet Magician)


Bach, J S:

Partita for solo violin No. 2 in D minor, BWV1004: Chaconne

Beethoven:

Violin Sonata No. 9 in A major, Op. 47 ‘Kreutzer'


Personal introductions by Christopher Nupen. Subtitles: DE/ES/FI/FR/IT

“Christopher Nupen: king of the music documentary.” Gramophone Magazine

GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - May 2007

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Christopher Nupen Films - A06CND

(DVD Video - 2 discs)

$29.75

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Godár: Mater

Godár: Mater


Iva Bittová (voice) & Miloš Valent (violin, viola)

Solamente Naturali & Bratislava Conservatory Choir, Marek Štryncl

Remarkable Czech singer Iva Bittová is the warm, tender and expressive soloist in an unforgettable hour-long suite on the subject of motherhood composed for female voice, mixed choir and Baroque string orchestra by Slovak composer, Vladimír Godár. A traditional Yiddish folksong, a dramatic setting of the Magnificat, a collection of Slovak lullabies, a cheerful Regina Coeli and James Joyce’s Ecce puer are all set to music of stunning beauty.

“It’s as if Janácek, Górecki and Monteverdi have settled on a universal language. A wonderful listen” BBC Radio 3

“To say that Vladímir Godár is a typical ECM discovery is certainly not to diminish either him or ECM. This Slovak composer uses a vocabulary in the works recorded here that will inevitably recall Górecki, and also at times Pärt and Tavener, though the music's emotional intensity, the particular way in which repetition is used and the use of certain sonorities and chords, relate much more to the Polish composer than the other two, very noticeably in the Stabat mater; aficionados of these composers will certainly enjoy what is recorded here. But though the music may recall them, it does not sound like any of them for any length of time: Godár has his own way of saying what he wants to say, which is, for him, intimately connected with what he calls 'musical archaeology', specifically Slovak culture, musical, literary and religious.
Thus there are works that draw upon Slovak translations of the Magnificat and Stabat mater, traditional lullabies, a Latin Regina coeli and, rather oddly, a single poem by James Joyce.
The Magnificat is based very simply on the immediately recognisable first tone, for solo voice and dark string underpinning, but is interrupted by massive choral interjections of the word 'Magnificat' at its climax – a simple but effective device. There are conscious references to the Baroque at various points but folk monody – the archetypal lullaby of the mother – is what really holds all this material together.
Godár's transparent but strong style is greatly helped in this by the powerfully raw voice of the amazing Iva Bittová, but also by the precision of Solamente Naturali and the Bratislava choir.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2007

Contemporary Music - up to 25% off

ECM New Series - 4765689

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Martinu - Complete Piano Music Volume 2

Martinu - Complete Piano Music Volume 2


Martinu:

Puppets: Book 1, H.137

Puppets: Book 2, H.116

Puppets: Book 3, H.92

Film en miniature, H.148

Butterflies and Birds of Paradise

The Fifth Day of the Fifth Moon

Spring in the Garden, H.125

Les bouquinistes du Quai Malaquais, H.319


Giorgio Koukl (piano)

The Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu was highly prolific, with over 400 works in many forms to his credit. In this second CD of his piano works, we have three sets of Puppets, written between 1912 and 1924. These and his Film in Miniature of 1925 reflect Martinu's fascination with popular culture.

The two sets of Garden Cycles from 1920 predate the composer's move to Paris. The Fifth Day of the Fifth Moon is dedicated to Hsien-Ming Lee Tcherepnin, the Chinese-born pianist and that composer's wife, while Les Bouginistes is dedicated to his own wife Charlotte - both written in New York in 1948.

Martinu was an enormously prolific composer, who seemed often enough careless of the fate of what he had written. He tended to avoid revision of his work and in consequence the vast quantity of music he wrote is of uneven quality and varying style, although he came, in the 1930s, to make increasing use of Czech thematic material and to be identified with his native country, from which he remained an exile.

“Koukl’s performances…are very warmly recorded but this is a splendid disc despite that. Recommended.” Gramophone Magazine

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2007

Naxos - 8557918

(CD)

$9.00

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Boult conducts Coates

Boult conducts Coates


Coates, E:

The Merrymakers - A Miniature Overture

Summer Days Suite

From Meadow to Mayfair Suite: In the Country

From Meadow to Mayfair Suite: Evening in Town

The Three Elizabeths: Youth of Britain (Princess Elizabeth)

The Three Bears Phantasy

Dam Busters March

Delius:

Marche Caprice

Grainger:

Children's March 'Over the Hills and Far Away'

Holst:

Suite No. 1 for Military Band in E flat major, Op. 28 No. 1, H105

Rossini:

Soirées Musicales: March

(arranged by Benjamin Britten)

Vaughan Williams:

The Wasps: March past of the kitchen utensils

Walton:

Funeral March from Hamlet


“As ever, Coates's music has great craftsmanship as well as good tunes and, lightweight though it is, it lies firmly within the English tradition. Here Boult finds its affinities with Elgar in delicacy of scoring and hints of nostalgia.” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2007

Building a Library

Featured - June 2011

Lyrita - SRCD246

(CD)

$15.50

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David Bednall: Hail, Gladdening Light

David Bednall: Hail, Gladdening Light

and other choral works


Bednall:

Easter Alleluia

The Wells Service

Come, Holy Ghost

Lux et Origo

Alternatim Mass for Douai Abbey

Hail, Gladdening Light

Adagio for Organ

The Gloucester Service: Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis


David Bednall (organ)

Wells Cathedral Choir, Matthew Owens

“…the overall choral sound is wonderfully blended and must rank as one of the top cathedral sounds outside London. Overall, it's nicely shaped, in tune and excitingly projected, aided by Regent's able engineering.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2007 ****

“The Wells Cathedral Choir are in world class form here…. This is immensely inspired writing.... ...David Bednall is announced as an important and individual voice... magnificently captured in this superlative recording.” Gramophone Magazine

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2007

Contemporary Music - up to 25% off

Regent - REGCD247

(CD)

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Special: $11.11

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