Mathias Zachariassen (Mitridate), Henriette Bonde-Hansen (Aspasia), Maria Fontosh (Sifare), Kristina Hammarström (Farnace), Lisa Larsson (Ismene), Anders J. Dahlin (Marzio) & Richard Lewis (harpsichord)
Vocal Group Ars Nova & Danish Radio Sinfonietta, Adam Fischer
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Mitridate, re di Ponto (Mithridates, King of Pontus), K. 87 (74a), is an early opera seria in three acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The libretto is by Vittorio Amadeo Cigna-Santi after Giuseppe Parini's Italian translation of Jean Racine.
Mozart wrote Mitridate while touring Italy in 1770. It was first performed at the Regio Ducal Teatro, Milan, on the 26th of December 1770 (at the Milan Carnival). The opera was a success, having been performed twenty-one times despite doubts because of Mozart’s extreme youth - he was 14 at the time.
No revival took place until the 20th century. This opera features splendid virtuoso arias for the principal roles.
Mozart’s Mitridate is what literary scholars call a heroic historical drama, and the genre was considered the most prestigious theatrical form in the second half of the eighteenth century.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Mitridate, re di Ponto, K. 87
Act I: Recitativo: Vieni, Signor (Arbate, Sifare)
Act I: Recitativo: Se a me s'unisce Arbate (Sifare, Aspasia)
Act I: Aria: Al destin che la minaccia (Aspasia)
Act I: Recitativo accompagnato: Qual tumulto nell'alma (Sifare)
Act I: Aria: Soffre il mio cor con pace (Sifare)
Act I: Aria: Sin a quando, oh Regina (Farnace, Aspasia, Sifare)
Act II: Recitativo: E crederai, Signor (Sifare, Mitridate, Aspasia)
Act II: Aria: Gia di pieta mi spoglio (Mitridate)
Act II: Recitativo: Sifare, per pieta stingi l'acciaro (Aspasia, Sifare)
Act II: Recitativo accompagnato: Io sposa di quel mostro (Aspasia, Sifare)
Act II: Duetto: Se viver non degg'io (Sifare, Aspasia)
Act III: Recitativo: A terra (Aspasia, Mitridate, Ismene)
Act III: Aria: Tu sai per chi m'accese (Ismene)
Act III: Recitativo: Re crudel (Aspasia, Mitridate, Arbate)
Act III: Aria: Vado incontro al fato estremo (Mitridate)
Act III: Recitativo: Con piu coraggio (Aspasia)
Act III: Recitativo accompagnato: Ah ben ne fui presaga! - Pallid'ombre (Aspasia)
Act III: Recitativo: Che fai, Regina? (Sifare, Aspasia)
Act III: Recitativo: Che mi val questa vita (Sifare)
Act III: Aria: Se il rigor d'ingrata sorte (Sifare)
Act III: Recitativo: Sorte crudel, stelle inimiche (Farnace, Marzio)
Act III: Aria: Se di regnar sei vago (Marzio)
Act III: Recitative and Aria: Vadasi gia dagli occhi il velo e tolto (Farnace)
Act III: Aria: Gia dagli occhi il velo e tolto (Farnace)
Act III: Recitativo: Figlio, amico, non piu (Mitridate, Sifare, Aspasia)
Act III: Non si ceda al Campidoglio (Chorus)
“The new set possesses notable features...excellent modern-instrument orchestra, the graceful, versatile and touching Henrietta Bonde-Hansen as prima donna, and - greatest strength of all - the conductor Adam Fischer...here a Mozartian of rhythmic incisiveness, lyrical warmth and a powerful sense of formal shape and balance.”
“Fischer conducts with a sure sense of pacing; dramatic details in the orchestral ritornellos of each aria are astutely brought out... Most impressively, this performance captures the full theatrical potency of the unfurling plot...I shall be surprised to hear a more satisfying Mozart opera recording any time soon.”
24th March 2010
“This Danish recording is crisply conducted by Adam Fischer and has outstanding singing from soprano Henriette Bonde-Hansen (Aspasia) and mezzo-soprano Kristina Hammarström (Farnace).”
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Isabelle Faust has gone back to the original manuscript sources to offer us her version of a masterpiece of the violin repertoire. In Bach’s time, music for solo instruments was still little explored territory, and his sonatas, partitas and suites immediately established themselves as a benchmark, technically challenging and brimming with creativity. Isabelle’s previous recording was our best selling title over the Christmas period.
“Her serious dedication soars from her Stradivarius, a dark-toned beauty but capable of much silver light in its higher reaches...Faust’s wonderfully focused playing pulls you right inside the music, and magically makes you imagine the harmonies that Bach only implies.” The Times, 10th April 2010 ****
“Faust's account of the music is gently voiced and eloquently inflected. Her lightly articulated bowing, which eschews anything in the nature of aggressive declamation, is a constant pleasure...a poetic player with an irresistably warm sound, a tightly controlled vibrato and an athletic technique.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2010 ****
“Faust finds her own distinct path, using minimal vibrato but deploying varieties of tonal colouring and proving plucky enough to add pliability to a phrase or to pause momentarily for expressive effect...[She] plays with exuberance, grace and, in the gavotte, minuets, bourrée and gigue, with polished élan.” The Telegraph, 16th April 2010 ****
“Quite often her playing allows a generous measure of rhythmic freedom...at other times she's concerned to maintain a strong momentum....In short, Faust has a magnificent grasp of this music. Hear her if you can!” Gramophone Magazine, June 2010
“Isabelle Faust has made a special impression as a deep, thoughtful, unshowy player, and these qualities make her ideally suited to the great Bach solo works...her command of the big structures, especially the huge C major Fugue and D minor Chaconne, is superb.” The Observer, 27th June 2010
“[Faust's] sound is deliciously straight with little or no vibrato, and bowed with such sensitivity to Bach’s phrasing that you could almost kid yourself at times that she’s using a baroque bow. But a couple of features are especially telling: her instinct for ornamentation in the repeats, and the sense of cumulative musicianship” Andrew McGregor, bbc.co.uk, 24th June 2010
“Her thoughtful approach is well suited to such searching music, and while there have been warmer, more spontaneous and expressively charismatic performances, few can match Faust’s intellectual concentration, purity and poise.” Financial Times, 11th August 2012 ****
This is the first complete recording of all thirty songs by George Butterworth, which are performed by devoted English song advocates Mark Stone and Stephen Barlow. The CD includes all 11 of the settings from A Shropshire Lad and the 1st complete edition of his Eleven folk songs from Sussex, 8 of which are world premiere recordings as are Haste on my Joys and Love blows as the wind blows.
“Stone and his pianist, Stephen Barlow, treat the songs with intelligence and sensitivity” The Guardian, 25th February 2010 ***
“The label is Mark Stone's, his the informative notes, and he is of course also the very good singer: we are much indebted to him...Stephen Barlow is his excellent pianist and together they give a particularly fine performance of "On the idle hill of summer"...A truly enterprising tribute to Butterworth's subtle art.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2010
“[Stone is] a fine performer, well supported by Barlow - and a thoughtful one, as his sleeve notes confirm” BBC Music Magazine, July 2010 ****
Auser Musici’s recordings for Hyperion have been praised for their stylish period-instrument charm and lithe, flexible, elegant sound. They have rediscovered many hidden gems of the Italian baroque repertoire. Works featuring the flute are something of a speciality of the ensemble and their disc of Boccherini Flute Quintets was highly acclaimed. The baroque flute virtuoso Carlo Ipata returns for this latest release.
Previously concentrating on music of Tuscan origin, Auser Musici now turns to 18th century Naples. The city at this period was an extraordinarily fecund artistic crucible, with many commissioning opportunities for young composers. The composers recorded here are contemporaries of the great composers such as Porpora who were at the forefront of the achievements of Neapolitan music in the first half of the eighteenth century; and the startling quality of the music demonstrates the richness of the artistic life of the age.
“This is above all music to beguile the ear. The performances are a delight. What with Carlo Ipata's liquid tone and secure virtuosity, and the brightness, nimbleness and transparency of the one-to-a-part strings of Auser Musici, this unassuming but sunny and attractive music has surely achieved its finest hour.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2010
This new recording by German conductor Thomas Hengelbrock, who will assume the position of Chief Conductor of the NDR Symphony Orchestra starting in September 2011, includes sacred works by three Baroque composers, Antonio Lotti (1667-1740), Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679-1745), and Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750).
“The Balthasar-Neumann Ensemble and Choir perform with full-blooded tension; Hengelbrock makes the fullest possible use of the plangent oboes and pulsating string chords but also ensures that the music-making never loses its focused precision...This is nothing short of revelatory.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2010
“The Elias is the best young quartet I’ve come across in years.” Paul Driver, Sunday Times, Nov. 2009
The Quartet was formed in 1998 at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, working regularly with the late Dr. Christopher Rowland, and subsequently studying at the Hochschule in Cologne with the Alban Berg quartet.
The Quartet received second prize and the Sidney Griller prize at the 9th London International String Quartet Competition in 2003 and were finalists in the Paolo Borciani Competition in 2005.
The Elias String Quartet have performed extensively in the UK, at the Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room, Snape Maltings, Kettle’s Yard, Bridgewater Hall, Turner Sims and Fairfield Halls. They have also toured widely, playing at the Stockholm Concert Hall, the Auditorium du Louvre, Paris, and Jordan Hall, Boston, as well as in Germany, Austria, Italy, Australia and the USA. The Quartet have broadcast live on national radio in the UK, France, Australia and Sweden.
From 2005-9 the Elias were String Quartet in Residence at Sheffield’s Music in the Round as part of the Ensemble 360, taking over from the Lindsay Quartet.
The Elias Quartet were recently selected to join BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists scheme.
Future engagements include concerts at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam and Carnegie Hall, New York.
“Almost nothing in Britten's output compares with the visionary, shadowy yet gleaming fifth movement of Quartet No 3 (1975), written when he was dying...These players do it magnificent justice, playing with virtuosity and intensity.” The Observer, 28th March 2010
“These newcomers...have plenty to offer. I particularly like the variety of colour and meaning they bring to the transformations of the Second Quartet's opening motif...there's plenty of passion and a strong feeling for shape.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2010 ****
“These are highly sensitive, touching performances...there is a wonderful pensiveness here and a real appreciation of the beauty of sound and colour, aided by a fine recording...these lyrical Elias performances remind us [Britten] was primarily a composer of vocal music...Nobody who buys this new disc is likely to regret it.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2010
“Having revealed themselves as superb exponents of Mendelssohn’s music, the Elias players now seem natural Brittenists, but the styles are not without their common features: clarity, economy, lyrical decisiveness, faultless technique.” Sunday Times, 2nd May 2010 ****
“The Elias String Quartet highlight the germs of greatness in this apparently decorative music – the eerie harmonics and brute malice...Sophisticated phrasing, subtle colouring and impeccable tuning .” The Independent on Sunday, 6th June 2010
“The Elias Quartet catches the powerful emotional undercurrents superbly. The colours, the subtlety of the sounds and the sensitivity of the playing are telling, and in Britten’s Second Quartet...they show that they’re not afraid to explore the violence of the central Vivace, making it snap and bristle with positively Bartok-ian physicality.” Andrew McGregor, bbc.co.uk, 7th June 2010
Ayres studied composition, electronic music, and trombone. He moved to Den Haag to study with Louis Andriessen on the postgraduate composition course at the Royal Conservatoire. He settled in Holland permanently and since2006 has taught at the Amsterdam Conservatoire. Ayres’ postmodern style is eceletic, comic and theatrical.
When asked what inspires his writing he replied ‘... consonance, dissonance, melody, texture, elephants, clouds, snowballs, anything, from any time andwhenever it is needed – bound only by the borders of my limited imagination’!
Ayres has won many awards, including the International Gaudeamus Prize for composition in 1994 during the Gaudeamus Music week and the Vermeulen Prize in 2003, the highest award for composition in the Netherlands.
This disc features two of Richard Ayres’ ongoing series of ‘NONcerti’ – a form he has invented which, he explains, is both an ‘un-concerto’ and an ‘uncertain concerto’. Rather than the traditional virtuoso soloist ‘battling’ with an orchestra, he explores ideas of collaboration, failure, imperfection and mortality, but expressed in a riot of melody, quotations and invented sounds.
His works often tell or illustrate a story, as the track-titles show, below: in No. 36 the solo horn player runs up and down ramps as part of its Alpine scenario, while No.37b, although not a NONcerto by name, draws on the same narrative ideas. Based in Ayres’s Cornish-Swiss fantasy world the later stages of the first movement sees the two percussionists try some carpentry, one with a saw, the other with a hammer, as if they are trying to nail the piece together.
“Would that all musical postmodernism were as intriguing and provocative as this!” Gramophone Magazine, June 2010
“Ayres's approach appears to reflect Mahler's wish to include everything, but in its episodic spirit Ayres's music comes across as Janacek for the 21st century and, like both composers, it is richly exhilarating...Trumpeter Marco Blaauw and horn-player Wim Timmermans are excellent soloists” BBC Music Magazine, October 2010 *****
This recital by renowned soloist David Russell presents the works of four Latin American masters of the guitar: Augustín Barrios Mangoré, Manuel María Ponce, Héctor Ayala, Armando Neves, and Jorge Morel.
One of the great pioneers of classical guitar, Augustín Barrios Mangoré was one of the first Latin American guitarists to appear successfully in Europe and one of the first guitarists to record. Featured on this recording is Mangoré’s “Maxixe” which is based on the Brazilian dance that became popular in Rio de Janeiro in the 1870s. Manuel María Ponce was one of the most distinguished and influential figures in Mexican music. He arranged Tres Cancíones Populares Mexicanas from 1925-26 for Segovia.
Two of the pieces on the disc written by Argentine-American guitarist and composer Jorge Morel are dedicated to David Russell, “Recuerdos del Caribe” is filled with the flavors and rhythms of the West Indies, whilst “Mangoré” is a tribute to Augustín Barrios Mangoré. Even though his career was focused on tango, Héctor Ayala still had a thorough understanding of other Latin American musical styles, as demonstrated by his “Serie Americana”.
“...another very fine collection of colourful, enjoyable music that in Russell's hands speaks of a deeper humanity...As always, Russell's supreme musical intelligence is supported by a superlative technique. For fans, indispensable; for the rest, essential.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2010
Patricia Petibon, admired for her command of Baroque style, records her first album of Italian Baroque arias partnered by Andrea Marcon and the Venice Baroque Orchestra
Saluted by the International Record Review for her “rare ability to inject into her performance vocal characterizations which . . . nullify the need to see these operatic characters in the flesh,” Rosso frames Petibon’s gift of transformation by purely vocal means
Petibon’s keen interpretive intelligence and gleaming tone summon into vivid life a wealth of characters tangled up in the power plays of gods, kings, witches, and devils
Rosso mixes beloved Handel airs like “Lascia ch’io pianga” with newly discovered arias by his contemporaries and predecessors. Sartorio’s “Quando voglio” and Porpora’s floating “Morte amara” are potential hits
Her Deutsche Grammophon debut, Amoureuses, won 2009’s BBC Music Magazine Award for “Best Opera Album”
“Her voice is absolutely extraordinary. The higher her register, the stronger her tone, pouring out in a molten flow of shining beauty...And it’s not just Petibon’s voice. It’s also the dramatic impulse running alongside, pulsing and throbbing in step with every expression of sorrow or revenge in the texts.” The Times, 23rd April 2010 *****
“This enterprisingly planned recital confirms Patricia Petibon as a singing actress with few peers in Baroque opera...it is hard to resist the mesmeric intensity of Petibon's singing...[Marcon's] expert period band matches Petibon all the way in acuity and dramatic flair.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2010
“plenty of character and vivacity” The Telegraph, 7th May 2010 ***
“Ms. Petibon sings with spontaneous abandon, impressive coloratura and distinctive ornamentation. The Venice Baroque Orchestra, led by Andrea Marcon, adds to the tempest with vibrant playing.” New York Times, 26th November 2010
This CD, almost entirely comprised of world premieres and original versions, gives Salieri a chance to be heard on his own merits as a composer. Fey’s first recording of Salieri was a huge success internationally; the quality of the music in particular gave rise to many very positive comments.
“Salieri was no pushover. Neither is Fey who, as usual, couples individuality in interpretation to dynamic, sizzling conducting and whiplash precision of ensemble...[His] grasp of extremes is a fearless re-creation of Salieri's creative invention. Bravo!” Gramophone Magazine, June 2010
Historical ‘live’ recordings from the archive of Danish broadcasting
Denmarks Radio Symphony Orchestra
These recordings were first published on two Danacord LP sets and when released in 1983 met with international critical acclaim. With modern CEDAR technique Danacord have now transferred these all to CD. This 6CD set is released for the price of 3 and also includes ‘bonus’ material, making this a truly wonderful collector’s item.
“The sound quality throughout the set is often rather better than you might expect, given the clandestine nature of the enterprise and the age of the originals...What a wonderful privilege, being able to hear these great artists recorded "live". It's a priceless window on the musical past, one that every devotee of historical recordings should investigate without delay.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2010