Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

July 2008

Disc of the Month

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Melancholie

Awards:

Gramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - July 2008

Label:

RCA

Catalogue No:

88697168172

Discs:

1

Release date:

7th April 2008

Barcode:

0886971681727

Length:

72 minutes

Medium:

CD
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Melancholie


Schumann:

Melancholie Op. 74 No. 6 (Francisco Saa de Miranda / Emanuel Geibel)

Liederkreis, Op. 39

Lieder (5), Op. 40

Sechs Gedichte aus dem Liederbuch eines Malers, Op. 36

Gesänge des Harfners aus, Op. 98a

Tief im Herzen trag' ich Pein, Op. 138 ,No. 2

Der Einsiedler, Op. 83 No. 3


Christian Gerhaher (baritone) & Gerold Huber (piano)

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Robert Schumann: Melancholie, Op. 74/6

Melancholie, Op. 74/6

Robert Schumann: Liederkreis nach Joseph von Eichendorff, Op. 39

1. In der Fremde

2. Intermezzo

3. Waldesgespräch

4. Die Stille

5. Mondnacht

6. Schöne Fremde

7. Auf einer Burg

8. In der Fremde

9. Wehmut

10. Zwielicht

11. Im Walde

12. Frühlingsnacht

Robert Schumann: Lieder, Op. 40 nach Hans Christian Andersen und Adelbert von Chamisso

Märzveilchen, Op. 40, Nr. 1

Muttertraum, Op. 40, Nr. 2

Der Soldat, Op. 40, Nr. 3

Der Spielmann, Op. 40, Nr. 4

Verratene Liebe, Op. 40, Nr. 5

Robert Schumann: Sechs Gedichte aus dem Liederbuch eines Malers, Op. 36 nach Robert Reinick

1. Sonntags am Rhein

2. Ständchen

3. Nichts Schöneres

4. An den Sonnenschein

5. Dichters Genesung

6. Liebesbotschaft

Robert Schumann: Gesänge des Harfners aus Op. 98a (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

Nr. 4: Wer nie sein Brot mit Tränen aß

Nr. 6: Wer sich der Einsamkeit ergibt

Nr. 8: An die Türen will ich schleichen

Robert Schumann: Tief im Herzen trag' ich Pein, Op. 138/2

Tief im Herzen trag' ich Pein, Op. 138/2

Robert Schumann: Der Einsiedler, Op. 83/3

Der Einsiedler, Op. 83/3

BBC Music Magazine

July 2008

*****

“Gerhaher twins the Eichendorff Liederkreis with Schumann's four settings of poems by Hans Christian Andersen - and reveals, in minutely sensitive, sometimes harrowing performances their emotional and musical kinship. And the Op. 39 Liederkreis itself? Well, Gerhaher's fusion of deeply pondered insight and unselfconscious enunciation, together with Gerold Huber's sentient piano allow this exceptional performance to become a benchmark in its own right.”

Gramophone Classical Music Guide

2010

“Though the catch-all title 'Melancholie' is slightly misleading, Christian Gerhaher's enterprisingly planned programme provides a conspectus of Schumann's art as a Lieder composer.
With his bright, burnished high baritone, expressive diction and alert, unexaggerated response to mood and nuance, Gerhaher confirms his credentials as one of the most probing Lieder singers of the younger generation. While it is virtually impossible for a single voice to do equal justice to all 12 songs of the Liederkreis, he succeeds better than most. He beautifully suggests the melancholy and mystery of the opening 'In der Fremde', singing with fine legato and a subtly judged use of rubato, and brings an impetuous urgency and a chilling final frisson to the Lorelei scene 'Waldesgespräch'. 'Die Stille', a difficult song for a man to bring off, is delicate and wondering without archness; the bardic 'Auf einer Burg' is hypnotically sustained in a numb, blanched tone, devoid of all nuances, while the final 'Frühlingsnacht', which can easily sound flustered, here has an ecstatic sense of finality.
Perhaps Gerhaher and the discerning if sometimes over-discreet Gerold Huber slightly miss the tremulous expectation of 'Intermezzo'; and there have been more magical performances of 'Mondnacht', here taken dangerously slowly.
But for imaginative depth in the Liederkreis Gerhaher can certainly stand alongside the best.
Gerhaher and Huber choose unusually slow tempi for one or two of the other songs, most questionably in the Andersen song 'Der Spielmann', where the village wedding music should surely suggest more feverish wildness than here.
Far more often, though, Gerhaher impresses with his unselfconscious eloquence, whether in the anguished life-weariness of the Harpers' songs, a chillingly timed and coloured 'Der Soldat' or in the potentially mawkish 'Liebesbotschaft', sung with a rapt, echt Schumannesque inwardness. Not for the only time in these Reinick songs, Gerhaher makes you 'upgrade' music that can look distinctly homely, even bland, on the printed page. The baritone provides his own thoughtful note, though frustratingly you'll have to go to his website for English translations of the song texts.”

Gramophone Magazine

July 2008

“With his bright, burnished high baritone, expressive diction and alert, unexaggerated response to mood and nuance, Gerhaher confirms his credentials as one of the most probing Lieder singers of the younger generation.”

The Times

25th April 2008

****

“The German baritone’s approach to Schumann’s lieder is eminently sensible, sensitive to every word, the curve of each phrase, carefully weighting emotions and colours, strongly supported throughout by Gerold Huber’s poetic piano accompaniments. The Liederkreis cycle is the prime offering, but watch out too for the Hans Christian Andersen settings (Op 40) – in these musicians’ hands, masterpieces of foreboding, death stalking sunshine.”

Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.

Editor's Choice

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Martinu - The complete music for violin and orchestra Volume 3

Martinu - The complete music for violin and orchestra Volume 3


Martinu:

Suite concertante for violin and orchestra (first version), H276

First Recording

Suite concertante for violin and orchestra (second version), H276A

Rhapsody-Concerto for Viola and Orchestra


Bohuslav Matoušek (violin & viola)

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Christopher Hogwood

This is the third volume in Hyperion’s set of the complete works for violin and orchestra by Martinuo, featuring the wonderful Bohuslav Matoušek with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra under Christopher Hogwood. Many first ecordings are included in the series, as well as works totally unperformed outside the Czech Republic. The two very different versions of Martinu’s Suite concertante are fascinating rarities. The only well-known work on this disc is the

Rhapsody-Concerto for viola and orchestra: a lyrical, virtuosic piece written for Jascha Viessi and one of the most performed viola concertos of the twentieth century.

The programme notes by Aleš Buesina are meticulously researched and provide a comprehensive background to the genesis and performance history of these works.

“Bohuslav Matousek plays all three works here with energy and an imaginative range of tonal colour, while the accompaniments from Christopher Hogwood and the Czech orchestra are equally resourceful.” The Telegraph, 3rd May 2008

“The new Suite languished unplayed until 1999. Both versions are delightful. Matoušek plays both with great understanding and finesse: the music needs lightness of touch. In the Rhapsody-Concerto Matoušek shows himself as adept a viola-player as he is violinist, sweeter-toned that Telecký and a match for Imai and Bukac.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2008

“The performance of the second version is exemplary, as is that of the two-movement Rhapsody Concerto where Matoušek, exchanging violin for viola, luxuriates in the radiant lyricism of Martinu's last period.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2008 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2008

Hyperion & Helios - up to 50% off

Hyperion Martinu Violin and Orchestra Series - CDA67673

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Donizetti: Don Pasquale

Donizetti: Don Pasquale

Stage Director: Daniel Slater, Sets & Costumes: Francis O'Connor, Lighting: Bruno Poet & Choreography: Nicole Tongue


Patrizia Ciofi (Norina), Simone Alaimo (Don Pasquale), Marzio Giossi (Dr. Malatesta), Norman Shankle (Ernesto) & Romaric Braun (Notary)

Chorus of the Grand Theatre de Geneve & Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Evelino Pido

Bel Air present Don Pasquale, a true masterpiece from Donizetti. It's one of the funniest operas ever composed, but it also shines with Donizetti's trademark touch of gentle pathos and some of his finest music. The production is from the Grand Theatre of Geneva, with soprano Patrizia Ciofi as Norina and baritone Simone Alaimo in the title role.

“Donizetti's final comic masterpiece demands velocity, pathos and above all wit. This Don Pasquale from Geneva has them all, and with Evelino Pidò conducting in the pit, it bubbles with excitement.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2008 *****

“Evelino Pidò is a specialist in this repertory and he leads the Geneva forces in a well balanced account of what many people consider Donizetti's masterpiece, The outstanding performance comes from Simone Alaimo in the title-role.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2008

GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - July 2008

BBC Music Magazine

DVD Choice - May 2008

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Bel Air Classiques - BAC033

(DVD Video)

$24.25

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Roussel: Symphony No. 2

Roussel: Symphony No. 2


Roussel:

Symphony No. 2, Op. 23

Pour une fête de printemps, Op. 22

Suite in F major, Op. 33


The three works included here outline the transitional phase in which Roussel’s mature idiom took shape. Most important of these is his Second Symphony, with its densely intricate orchestration and its wide range of expression, while Pour une fête de printemps is a symphonic poem that could be thought of as preparation for the larger work.

With the Suite in F, Roussel arrived at his mature style; the piece is taut and economical in design, with a distinctly ‘contemporary’ feel.

“Stéphane Denève and his orchestra bring plenty of verve and nuance to their interpretation [of Roussel's Second Symphony], and with the equally well-played couplings - a festive symphonic poem and a more Classically shaped suite - the disc adds up to a highly recommendable window on to the world of a fascinating composer” The Telegraph, 3rd May 2008

“Denève's pacing feels perfectly natural… The Royal Scottish National Orchestra play with élan throughout, relishing the music.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2008

“Denève and the RSNO are strong advocates for the all-too-rarely heard Second Symphony.” BBC Music Magazine, Proms 2008 ****

“energy, enthusiasm, and panache” American Record Guide

“The most recent digital set on Naxos is, on balance, perhaps the best [Roussel cycle], and is certainly well on its way to being the most comprehensive...Unlike the majority of performances in this cycle, the Second Symphony is taken at quite a slow pace, but not unsympathetically slow. All the brooding colours of this densely impressionistic score are brought out, allowing the listener to wallow in much gorgeous orchestration.” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2008

Naxos Stéphane Denève Roussel Orchestral Works - 8570529

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Mahler & Wagner - Lieder

Mahler & Wagner - Lieder

Transcribed for chamber ensemble by Christian Favre


Mahler:

Rückert-Lieder (5 songs, complete)

Wagner:

Wesendonck-Lieder (5)

Tristan und Isolde: Prelude & Liebestod


Dame Felicity Lott (soprano)

Quatuor Schumann

“What a revelation this disc actually turns out to be. Lott's voice brings wonderful subtlety and intensity to the music, Isolde's death scene in particular.” Classic FM Magazine

“The Schumann Quartet's pianist, Christian Favre, has made these clear, practical transcriptions (rather than arrangements, the bookletnote stresses) inspired by Chausson's Chansonperpetuelle, and with a view to adding to the chamber music literature from the Romantic world of song. So expect a scaled-down report on the works concerned rather than Schoenberg's interventionist way with Johann Strauss or Brahms, or the risk-taking panache of Liszt's operatic adaptations.
Not the least virtue of the exercise is that we get Dame Felicity Lott in repertoire she might otherwise not have attempted. Her performance of the Liebestod – or 'Verklärung' as we should call it – is such an object lesson in engagement with the text, sensuality and controlled power that one might imagine the late Carlos Kleiber (whose favourite Marschallin she was) contemplating a further recording of the opera with her.
The Wesendoncks have a similar sensual (and lean) intelligence, devoid of the stuffy Victorian abstractions that Mathilde's dreadful poetry can often produce in performance. And, if this is not the ideal-est voice for the darker corners of the Rückert-Lieder, you'll need to hear what Lott makes of the poems. The Tristan Prelude is fine too; it's just that it doesn't have a voice part.
Good recordings, and 100 per cent worth it for the singing.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“Her performance of the Leibestod is an object lesson in engagement with the text, sensuality and controlled power.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2008

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2008

A Musical Picture - up to 40% off

Aeon - AECD0858

(CD)

Normally: $15.75

Special: $9.45

(also available to download from $10.00)

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