Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

December 2009

Disc of the Month

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Argerich & Freire - Salzburg Concert

Awards:

Gramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - December 2009

Label:

DG

Catalogue No:

4778570

Discs:

1

Release date:

19th Oct 2009

Barcode:

0028947785705

Length:

72 minutes

Medium:

CD (download also available)
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Argerich & Freire - Salzburg Concert


Brahms:

Variations on a theme by Haydn for two pianos, Op. 56b 'St Anthony Variations'

Rachmaninov:

Symphonic Dances, Op. 45

Ravel:

La Valse

Schubert:

Rondo for piano duet in A major, D951


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Two of the world’s legendary pianists join forces in a virtuoso recital program with Johannes Brahms: Variations on a Theme by Joseph Haydn, op. 56b, Sergey Rachmaninov: Symphonic Dances, op. 45, Franz Schubert: Rondo in A, D 951–Grand Rondeau and Maurice Ravel: La Valse–Poème choréographique. The concert will be taped live at the Salzburg Festival and includes the Schubert Rondo in A, D951 which has never been recorded by the artists before.

“Martha Argerich is arguably the most mercurial of all great pianists today, capable of being compellingly inspiring” International record review “I'd say that Martha Argerich is the greatest living performer . . .” BBC Music Magazine

“An extraordinary pianist” New York Times

Johannes Brahms: Variations on a Theme by Haydn, "St. Anthony Variations", Op. 56b

Chorale St. Antoni: Andante

Var. I: Andante Con Moto (Poco Più Animato)

Var. II: Più Vivace

Var. III: Con Moto

Var. IV: Andante Con Moto

Var. V: Poco Presto (Vivace)

Var. VI: Vivace

Var. VII: Grazioso

Var. VIII: Poco Presto

Finale: Andante

Sergey Vasil'yevich Rachmaninov: Symphonic Dances, Op.45

1. Non allegro

2. Andante con moto (Tempo di Valse)

3. Lento assai - allegro vivace

Franz Schubert: Grand Rondeau In A Major, D 951

Allegretto quasi Andantino

Maurice Ravel: La Valse - poème choréographique

La Valse - poème choréographique

Gramophone Magazine

December 2009

“This is a souvenir of what must have been a special evening at the Grosses Festspielhaus; but it’s also so much more than that. To hear two musicians of this stature at the height of their re-creative powers is never less than thrilling and thought-provoking, an gratitude is due to DG for thinking to travel down from Hamburg with their microphones to capture the event in such realistic sound.”

The Observer

6th December 2009

“Argerich and Freire, recorded live at the Salzburg Festival, are totally in sympathy; the perfectly balanced sonorities of the Brahms "Haydn" Variations proclaim that this is really special music-making.”

BBC Music Magazine

February 2010

*****

“The Schubert duet is played with beguiling naturalness, a refreshment after the huge number of notes that Brahms and Rachmaninov employ at every moment. And then the dizzy, insane whirl of La valse, if it doesn’t match the frightening intensity of the orchestral version, is still disturbing, and in the final pages these two great artists throw any remaining caution to the winds. Not to be missed...”

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Baptism of Fire - Katharina Wagners Feuertaufe

Baptism of Fire - Katharina Wagners Feuertaufe

A film by Dagmar Krauss


Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg von Richard Wagner.

The genesis of a Bayreuth production Das Entstehen einer Bayreuth-Inszenierung.

The film documents the genesis of the new production of Wagner’s “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg” in Bayreuth. In 2007, Katharina Wagner made her directing debut at the Bayreuth Festival – a debut unlike any other. For Katharina Wagner is none other than the great-granddaughter of Richard Wagner, the daughter of the long-time Bayreuth patriarch Wolfgang Wagner, and, in his eyes at least, his sole possible successor as head of the Bayreuth Festival. Rarely was the musical world’s attention focused on one opera production as on this staging of “Die Meistersinger”. For eight months, Dagmar Krauss accompanied Katharina Wagner and her team, filming them in candid moments and revealing the inner workings of the Bayreuth Festival such as we have never seen before. Balancing the spontaneity of the roving camera are interviews and statements by singers and theatre employees, as well as by director colleagues such as Christoph Schlingensief and conductors such as Christian Thielemann. As we witness the development of the production concept, we, too, are drawn into the excitement leading to the premiere on 25 July 2007. The film paints the impressive portrait of a gifted, self-controlled, no-nonsense young woman who tackles a work that has stumped many an older and more experienced colleague and endows it with a new, contemporary, controversial message. She cunningly holds up a mirror to the festival public, both the traditional-minded, long-standing Wagnerians as well as the younger opera lovers who demand more risk and innovation. She offers a wealth of surprising views on art in general, demands that one take a stance, and even thematizes her own situation as potential head of the Bayreuth Festival.

Sound Format: DD 5.1 (German), DD 5.1 (English)

Picture Format: 16:9

DVD Format: DVD 9, PAL

Running Time: 82 mins

FSK: 12

Region Code: 2

“Katharina, Wagner's great granddaughter, is now, with her half-sister Eva, co-chief of the Bayreuth Festival. This documentary was made in 2007 about rehearsals for her festival production of Die Meistersinger - which was, effectively, an audition for that directorship, as well as being the first time since 1953 that a new member of the Wagner family had staged a Bayreuth show. Dagmar Krauss's film, fluently shot and edited, shows the rehearsal process director's introductory talk to the cast to first-nigh reception. ...the decision to focus, in some detail, on the solving of production issues and problems - rather than the usual happy-clappy feigned bonhomie of rehearsal footage - makes the DVD valuable. This is an informative, pacy introduction to production work in progress.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2009

GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - December 2009

DVD Video

Region: 2

Format: PAL

Arthaus Musik - 101478

(DVD Video)

$17.75

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Bowen - The Piano Sonatas

Bowen - The Piano Sonatas


Bowen:

Piano Sonata No. 1 in B minor, Op. 6

Piano Sonata No. 2 in C sharp minor, Op. 9

Piano Sonata No. 3 in D minor, Op. 12

Short Sonata in C sharp minor, Op. 35, No. 1

Piano Sonata No. 5 in F minor, Op. 72

Piano Sonata No. 6 Op. 160


Danny Driver (piano)

The recent revival of York Bowen’s music, very much spearheaded by Hyperion, has spawned a plethora of new recordings of his compositions, and won him many new admirers. Among the new releases, this disc of Bowen’s piano sonatas is a uniquely important collection. It contains three premiere recordings, including two recordings of previously unpublished sonatas performed (with special permisson) from the manuscripts. It is thus the first ever recording of the complete sonatas – an unmissable opportunity for piano enthusiasts.

Hyperion is delighted to welcome back the young virtuoso Danny Driver who was enthusiastically acclaimed for his masterly, stylish and technically dazzling performances of Bowen’s Third and Fourth Piano Concertos, and described as an ideal performer of these works.

“Danny Driver, whose debut on Hyperion was an acclaimed recording of Bowen's Third and Fourth piano concertos, is the ideal advocate for this glorious music, playing with razor-sharp articulation and a rich, organ-like sonority… while characterising Bowen's ruminative slow movements with tender introspection and an improvisatory air…” Gramophone Magazine, December 2009

“Danny Driver plays the canon of six sonatas with a blend of warmth, bravura, expressive sensibility and verve … Driver’s superb, astute performances are convincing testimonies to Bowen assimilating stimuli with a potent imagination of his own” The Telegraph

“Scintillating demands amply accomplished by Driver, whose light filigree passagework is sensationally clear … Driver’s virtuosity and technical finesse is remarkable” International Record Review

GGramophone Awards 2010

Finalist - Instrumental

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - December 2009

Hyperion & Helios - up to 50% off

Hyperion - CDA67751/2

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Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 9

Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 9


Shostakovich:

Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47

Symphony No. 9 in E flat major, Op. 70


Following their electrifying account of Shostakovich’s Eleventh Symphony (8572082), Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra explore the profound ambivalences of the composer’s most performed symphony, the Fifth, written in 1937 at a time when he was under intense personal and political pressure from the authorities.

The jaunty, neo-classical character of the Ninth Symphony (1945) prompted Shostakovich to remark that ‘musicians will like to play it, and critics will delight in blasting it’.

Shostakovich’s startlingly different original draft for the opening of the Ninth’s first movement is available on 8572138.

“Petrenko's… Fifth is remarkable for the tight discipline and detailed characterisation of musicians plainly on the up. The five-movement Ninth has sufficient energy and muscle to make it more than a mere divertissement. …Petrenko takes his time with the second movement, imparting almost too much aching reflectiveness, notwithstanding the loveliness of the playing. ...a whizzing Presto, demonstrating just how far the RLPO's corporate virtuosity has developed in a relatively short time. The finale puts on a cartoonish burst of speed at its pompous apex. Though you may not like this or that effect, the performance as a whole is deft and undeniably persuasive.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2009

“…Petrenko's interpretation of the Ninth unleashes the full ferocity of threatening developments and proves that the Moderato, however spare, remains as eloquent a slow movement as any in Shostakovich's works. Superb playing all round, too, not just from the spotlit bassoon in the crucial recitative but also from first oboe, piccolo and the pairs of subtly phrasing clarinets. In the Fifth Symphony, the principal flautist is representative of Petrenko's care in making sure every phrase sounds absolutely right for the context...” BBC Music Magazine, December 2009

“…the Liverpool strings aren't quite as yet a match for the classic Stokowski/Ormandy sound. But they certainly handle every nuance in this detailed score, and in any case Ormandy never peered into the dark corners of this masterpiece in the way that Petrenko does. In Isle of the Dead the obsessive oarsmanship of Charon's boat, and a tauter, more dramatically contrasted dialogue between cloudlet and rock in the earlier tone poem are spellbinding, too, but the Dances are the thing.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2010 *****

“Petrenko’s strategic planning pays off with terrific tension, frightening crescendos and sharply defined emotional moods...The slow movement shivers in desolation. In the finale, woodwinds bring tendrils of hope; then comes the moving, contemplative coda. The series’ best release so far.” The Times, 2nd May 2010 *****

“Choosing a favourite recording of the mighty 5th was not easy, but Vasily Petrenko's fresh new take eventually swayed me. The second movement, in particular, is as punchy as I've ever heard it, while Petrenko's unusually slow tempo in the coda lends a real sense of majestic triumph. The other work on this disc, the 9th Symphony, is an absolute joy - a humorous, brisk and characterful work that deserves to be better known.” David Smith, Presto Classical, May 2014

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - December 2009

Naxos Vasily Petrenko Shostakovich Symphonies - 8572167

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Arnold - Ballet Music

Arnold - Ballet Music


Arnold:

Rinaldo & Armida

Electra

Homage to the Queen (Suite)

Sweeney Todd – Concert Suite for Orchestra, Op.68a


Rumon Gamba: ‘Having recorded symphonies and film music by Malcolm Arnold and knowing how well his music is received by audiences around the world, I was surprised that there was no disc dedicated solely to his music for the ballet. The four scores featured here on this disc have such strong musical ideas and dramatic narrative, to say nothing of their sheer beauty and passion, that they come alive as pieces of music in their own right. And such contrasts on this programme – brutality and energy (Electra), sweeping romanticism (Rinaldo and Armida) and humour in all its guises (Sweeney Todd). I particularly enjoyed recording Rinaldo and Armida which deserves its place in the repertoire alongside those ballet scores we hear all too often in the concert hall.’

Arnold’s first ballet score, Homage to the Queen was commissioned to honour the Queen’s Coronation and performed by the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden in 1953. The Times wrote of the 2006 Royal Ballet revival: “Malcolm Arnold’s score is rich in majesty and filled with colour. A pleasure to hear it again.” The ballet suite begins with a Prelude strongly reminiscent of the ceremonial idiom of William Walton’s Coronation marches. The initial success of Homage quickly led to another ballet commission for Arnold. In 1954 he composed Rinaldo and Armida, a one-act ‘dance drama’, and guest-conducted the first performance himself at the Royal Opera House on January 1955. Rinaldo was based on an episode from Torquato Tasso’s poem Ierusalemme liberate (1581). Electra, which here receives is premiere recording was commissioned by the Royal Ballet and first performed in 1963. This work allowed Arnold to tap the darker side of his musical personality, as evidenced in several of his mature symphonies.

Chandos is well known for its recordings of Malcolm Arnold’s music – indeed, they are generally acknowledged by most to rank amongst the finest available – and the recordings of Arnold’s film music are best sellers.

This unique anthology of ballet music should prove as popular, for the music is similarly illustrative and entertaining. Few of the ballets are represented in the catalogue and one has never before been recorded (Elektra). However they aptly demonstrate Malcolm Arnold’s versatility, covering a broad range of musical moods.

“…the BBC Philharmonic respond with commendable polish and gusto for Rumon Gamba, and their efforts have been afforded typically ripe and lustrous Chandos sound. A hearty endorsement whichever way you look at it.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2009

“Listening to the selection recorded here, you're conscious of the variable mixture of practicality and inspiration that went into [Arnold's ballet scores]...The performances, with Rumon Gamba conducting the BBC Philharmonic, are terrific.” The Guardian, 7th January 2010 ****

“…Arnold… has posthumously found his definitive interpreter in Rumon Gamba: these are performances that mirror the music itself in their ultra-clear verve and colour.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2010 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - December 2009

Chandos - up to 40% off

Chandos - CHAN10550

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Vaughan Williams - Piano Concerto

Vaughan Williams - Piano Concerto


Vaughan Williams:

The Wasps - Aristophanic Suite

Piano Concerto in C major

Ashley Wass (piano)

English Folk Song Suite

orch. Gordon Jacob

The Running Set


The popular overture from Vaughan Williams’s incidental music for Aristophanes’s The Wasps introduces a suite whose mischievously witty, noble and farcical movements underline the play’s satire of the Athenian legal system.

A similar vivacity characterises his English Folksong Suite and The Running Set, where Vaughan Williams relishes setting tunes such as Barrack Hill, Irish Reel, The Blackthorn Stick and Cock o’ the North.

Folksong-like melodies also feature in his magnificent Piano Concerto, in which the magisterial influence of Bach and Busoni may also be heard.

"Make no mistake about it: this boy is special. What I love about his playing is its sincerity and tenderness. He doesn’t just caress the piano, he probes its soft depths with the utmost consideration.” The Independent

“The Piano Concerto of Vaughan Williams has been seriously undervalued… a performance as fine as this one from Ashley Wass will simply have one marvelling at the originality of the piece and its distinctive slant on the idea of a piano concerto.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2009

“Ashley Wass's commanding way with the solo part is beautifully poised in the Romanza, while admirably resisting any temptation to smooth over the Toccata's hard edges. Both in the Concerto and in the more familiar territory elsewhere, James Judd secures orchestral accompaniments of brilliant colour and focus.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2009 ****

“Wass delivers the solo part with impressive command. Outstanding recorded sound.” Classic FM Magazine, July 2011 ****

“Vaughan Williams' concertante works have never enjoyed great fame, but this recording with James Judd and the RLPO shows his Piano Concerto to be worth getting to know - and young pianist Ashley Wass is a great ambassador. Gordon Jacob's orchestral version of the English Folk Song Suite (originally for wind band) is a delight, and the Aristophanic Suite from The Wasps is full of wit and colour.” David Smith, Presto Classical, June 2014

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - December 2009

Naxos - 8572304

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Turbulent Heart

Turbulent Heart

Music of Vierne & Chausson


Chausson:

Poème de l'amour et de la mer, Op. 19

Vierne, L:

Les Djinns, Op. 35

Eros, Op. 37

Ballade du désespéré, Op. 61

Psyché, Op. 33


Steve Davislim (tenor)

Queensland Orchestra, Guillaume Tourniaire

A sumptuous recording of French romantic music at its most ecstatic, led by the brilliant young French conductor Guillaume Tourniaire featuring tenor Steve Davislim and The Queensland Orchestra. Renowned as organist of the Cathédrale de Notre Dame de Paris, the tragedies of Vierne’s personal life are shot through these extraordinary unpublished pieces. The four ‘symphonic poems for voice and orchestra’ by Vierne are all world premiere recordings. Accompanying Vierne’s Poems on this release is Chausson’s masterpiece of 19th century French mélodie, Poème de l’amour et de la mer, recorded here for the first time by a tenor, the voice for which it was originally written.

Steve Davislim is one of Australia’s leading tenors and enjoys a stellar international career in the leading opera houses and concert halls of the world. “Steve Davislim is worth being spoken of in the same breath as his notable predecessors of similar voice - Peter Anders and Fritz Wunderlich - and praise can hardly be higher than that.” (Gramophone Magazine). The brilliant young French conductor Guillaume Tourniaire is currently enjoying a meteoric rise onto the international conducting stage. He continues his exciting groundbreaking work as a champion of world premières and rare music performances, including committing to disc the first recordings of Saint-Saëns’ Hélène and Nuit persane for Melba Recordings. He has also recorded the Mozart Clarinet Concerto with Paul Dean on Melba’s Sublime Mozart.

“Here is a side of Louis Vierne few of us will have encountered before: angry, bitter, vengeful and simply bursting with passion and high emotion. These are four brilliantly crafted songs with almost Wagnerian orchestral accompaniments which are dazzlingly reflected in performances of breathtaking intensity. ...the impressive French conductor, Guillaume Tourniaire, chooses Chausson's Poème de l'amour et de la mer as a companion piece. Certainly Australian tenor Steve Davislim is every bit as impressive here as in the Vierne - and this is highly distinguished singing by any reckoning - while the Queensland Orchestra, on absolutely cracking form... On every count, this is a magnificent release.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2009

“Poème de l’amour et de la mer boasts a majestic sweep and grandeur all of its own and out of which Davislim, Tourniaire and a Queensland Orchestra firing on all cylinders squeeze every ounce of emotion and drama. Inspired performances all round, then, in textbook perfect sound and lavish packaging” Michael Quinn, bbc.co.uk, 15th January 2010

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - December 2009

Melba Recordings - MR301123

(CD)

$14.25

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Rossini - Colbran, the Muse

Rossini - Colbran, the Muse

Opera arias


Rossini:

Armida: D'amor al dolce impero

Fra il padre, e fra l'amante (from La donna del lago)

Tanti affetti in tal momento (from La donna del lago)

Fra il padre, e fra l'amante (from La donna del lago)

Giusto Cielo, in tal periglio (from Maometto II)

Quant'è grato all'alma mia (from Elisabetta, Regina d'Inghilterra)

Serenai vaghirai...Bel raggio lusinghier (from Semiramide)

Ah! Dagli affanni oppressa (from Otello)

Nessun maggior dolore (from Otello)

O come infino al core (from Otello)

Assisa a' piè d'un salice (from Otello)

Deh calma, o ciel, nel sonno (from Otello)

Se al mio crudel tormento (from Otello)

Dove son io! (from Otello)

È ver....gode quest'anima (from Otello)

Lawrence Brownlee (tenor)


“A superstar in the Rossini repertory” Chicago Tribune

After the success of her first Virgin Classics recital – Furore, arias by Handel – Joyce DiDonato turns to the composer whose heroines first brought her to international stardom: Gioacchino Rossini.

“Is Joyce DiDonato the world's best Rossini singer?”, asked the New York magazine Opera News after the American mezzo sang the finale of La Cenerentola at Carnegie Hall in January 2009. “That title certainly seemed hers by sovereign right,” it continued; “Her phrasing was silky, her timbre rich and glowing, and her ornaments were impeccably stylish and utterly beguiling. Most impressive was DiDonato's combination of immaculate technical control with an air of wild, unstoppable joy. This was truly a moment to treasure from an artist who is at the very top of her game.”

If La Cenerentola does not appear in this new recital, recorded in Rome in June, her other signature Rossini role holds a place of honour: she has been described by the UK’s Sunday Times as “the world’s reigning Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia”. In 2009 alone she sings the role in Vienna, London (to be recorded for DVD by Virgin Classics) and New York, and the role has also taken her to Paris, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Houston, San Francisco, Bologna and Rossini’s birthplace, Pesaro.

Rossini’s two best-known comic operas proved essential in building the Kansas-born singer’s reputation over the last decade, but this recital focuses primarily on his serious works – although the tragic tensions do not perhaps run as consistently high as in DiDonato’s first Virgin Classics recital: Furore, the Handel programme released last year and described by The Daily Telegraph as “an exhilarating roller-coaster of a recital from a charismatic singing-actress”.

This Rossini programme includes two arias from La donna del lago, which DiDonato is scheduled to sing over the coming seasons in Geneva, Paris, Milan and London. She takes the role of Elena, written for a soprano, but a great success in the 1980s for DiDonato’s idol, fellow high mezzo Frederica von Stade. The other arias on the CD were also all composed for soprano: they come from Otello, Semiramide, Armida, Maometto II and Elisabetta regina d'Inghilterra. DiDonato proved that she can triumph in music written for soprano with her recent complete recording of Handel’s Alcina and her debut last year in the role of Mozart’s Donna Elvira; the performances at London’s Royal Opera House prompted The Guardian to describe her as “the real star … singing her first Elvira and nailing even the topmost notes,” while The Daily Telegraph praised her performance in a similar vein: “The star of the show was … Joyce DiDonato, who sang Elvira with a style, sensitivity and bravura that outclassed everyone else on stage.”

To return to Rossini and Rosina, the role for DiDonato’s debut at the Vienna State Opera in April 2009, the Wiener Zeitung had this to say: “She tossed off crystal-clear coloratura, presented a dark, secure low register, a confidently nuanced mid-range, bright and voluminous high notes – in short, everything that makes for great, modern bel canto style. She appears undaunted by the role's many technically tricky passages, and even more: she sang musically challenging variations on every repeated phrase, shaped every single bar with brio, and presented a psychologically multi-faceted characterisation with wildly joyful abandon.”

“This is an artist who moves between registers with grace and skill, whose legato is seamless and whose tone is pearly. Indeed so creamy in 'D'amor al dolce impero', also from Armida, that you feel you could eat it on a spoon. Then there's that hushed quality to DiDonato's singing; a thrilling sensation that she's holding back, say at the beginning of 'Tanti affeti' from La donna del lago. Conductor Edoardo Müller is the perfect partner showing DiDonato off to her best advantage.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2010 *****

“DiDonato is proving herself one of the most delightful artists of our time. She sings with a rare purity of tone, ease on the high Bs, an impressive degree of technical skill and lively powers of characterisation. She is invigoratingly precise in her placement, fluent in scale work and well furnished with staccati and trills. ...the difficult repertoire is sung with charm and mastery, and from all we read, their original exponent, to whom the recital is dedicated, is worthily honoured. Choral and orchestral work are equally stylish, and the short tenor solos by Lawrence Brownlee are a treat.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2009

“one of my favourite single-composer recitals of recent years - not only for the sheer technical mastery of DiDonato's singing (her wide range, evenness of tone and flexibility appear to supreme advantage here), but also for her ability to convey the versatility of a composer who's sometimes accused of lacking it!” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, May 2014

“DiDonato’s pearly tone and easy coloratura make this difficult music sound effortless: she sports a more than acceptable trill, brilliant high staccato notes and long-breathed cantilena lines, prerequisites for a singer of the bel canto repertoire...This is outstanding Rossini singing by any standards, idiomatically accompanied.” Sunday Times, 22nd November 2009 ****

“A majestic display from first to last, DiDonato balancing precision and emotion.” The Independent, 20th November 2009 *****

“This disc features some of the most authoritative bel canto singing that I have heard since Cecilia Bartoli emerged 20 years ago. Joyce DiDonato combines superb coloratura technique and clarity of tone with musical intelligence.” The Telegraph, 18th February 2010 *****

“In everything she does, DiDonato convinces...There’s more on display than simple technical triumphs. Her clear diction, controlled breaths and phrasing, and the diversity of her emotional colouring always bring her characters to life and make each one an individual... Long live the yankeediva.” The Times, 20th November 2009 ****

GGramophone Awards 2010

Best of Category - Recital

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - December 2009

Erato - 6945790

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Mozart - Piano Concertos Nos. 23 & 24

Mozart - Piano Concertos Nos. 23 & 24


Mozart:

Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, K488

Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K491


Widely regarded as one of the foremost Mozart interpreters of our time: Mitsuko Uchida returns, conducting the orchestra herself from the piano, with live performances of two of Mozart's most popular concertos.

"we still had the thrill of Uchida, embodying Mozart’s recollections of joy and sorrow with dancing subtlety and love" The Times, London

"Miss Uchida played gracefully and with the flair listeners have come to expect from her….She endows the solo line with a rightness and an inevitability, yet there is originality in the way she shapes every phrase, and remarkable subtlety in her coloration" New York Times

"Uchida’s pellucid, subtly varied tone (no one makes the piano sing more beautifully) and quicksilver response to changes of mood and harmonic colour give unalloyed delight" The Telegraph, London, on Mitsuko Uchida's previous disc of Mozart Piano Concerti

“…here is sublime Mozart-playing whether in C minor turbulence or A major radiance. In K491… Uchida conveys an ineffable sadness with sudden withdrawals of such subtlety that all the shades of autumn seem with us… in K488, while nothing is plain sailing, everything is as natural as it is revelatory. When have you heard the central F sharp minor Siciliano more gently or lovingly confided, or the opera buffa finale more joyfully spun off? ...the Cleveland Orchestra are entirely at one with their inspired soloist. ...even a few bars will convince you that you are listening to one of the truly great artists of our time.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2009

“In the great C minor Concerto, K491, the opening tutti rages with all the ferocity of middle-period Beethoven, and when the piano enters it is pleading, fragile. …I found the last [movement] that series of mainly tormented and ever more convoluted variations, as powerful as any performance I have heard... The much sunnier A major Concerto, K488, is perhaps a less problematic piece to play. Uchida...in the slow movement rises to heights of eloquent grief that are demanded, but seldom risked. The last movement is gloriously abandoned.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2009 *****

“every phrase is elegantly tooled, every texture perfectly weighted. The Cleveland Orchestra is currently one of the finest in the world, and it is fascinating to hear it scaling down its usually opulent sound to the almost chamber-music transparency that Uchida obviously expects.” The Guardian, 2nd October 2009 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - December 2009

Decca - 4781524

(CD)

$14.00

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