Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

Awards Issue 2010

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Marc-André Hamelin: Études

Awards:

Gramophone Awards 2011

Shortlisted - Instrumental

Gramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - Awards Issue 2010

BBC Music Magazine

Instrumental Choice - November 2010

Label:

Hyperion

Catalogue No:

CDA67789

Discs:

1

Release date:

31st Aug 2010

Barcode:

0034571177892

Medium:

CD

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Marc-André Hamelin: Études


Hamelin:

Étude No. 1 in A minor 'Triple Étude, after Chopin'

Étude No. 2 in E minor 'Coma Berenices'

Étude No. 3 in B minor 'after Paganini-Liszt'

Étude No. 4 in C minor 'Étude à mouvement perpétuellement semblable, after Alkan'

Étude No. 5 in G minor 'Toccata grottesca'

Étude No. 6 in D minor 'Esercizio per pianoforte, Omaggio a Domenico Scarlatti'

Étude No. 7 in E flat minor 'after Tchaikovsky, for the left hand alone'

Étude No. 8 in B flat minor 'Erlkönig, after Goethe'

Étude No. 9 in F minor 'after Rossini'

Étude No. 10 in F sharp minor 'after Chopin'

Étude No. 11 in C sharp minor 'Minuetto'

Étude No. 12 in A flat minor 'Prelude and Fugue'

Little Nocturne

Con intimissimo sentimento

Theme and Variations 'Cathy's Variations'


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Hamelin plays Hamelin: a glimpse into the fabulously bizarre musical mind of one of the greatest piano virtuosos of today. The pianophile population has been clamouring for this disc for some time.

Marc-André Hamelin’s 12 Études, written over a period of nearly twenty-five years, have already achieved cult status by reputation as pianistic challenges beyond the reach of most human fingers. They are also highly-wrought character pieces. That they will immediately take their place in the concert repertoire of any pianist who thinks themself equal to them is indicated by their contemporaenous publication by Peters Edition New York.

The disc is completed by more of Hamelin’s compositions: the quiet and reflective Con intissimo sentimento, and the lovepoem ‘Cathy’s Variations’. As a whole it is a detailed portrait of this most talented and complex musician.

Twelve Études in all the minor keys I. Triple Étude (after Chopin)

Twelve Études in all the minor keys II. Coma Berenices

Twelve Études in all the minor keys III. after Paganini-Liszt

Twelve Études in all the minor keys IV. Études à mouvement perpétuellement semblable (after Alkan)

Twelve Études in all the minor keys V. Toccata grottesca

Twelve Études in all the minor keys VI. Esercizio per Pianoforte (Omaggio A Domenico Scarlatti)

Twelve Études in all the minor keys VII. after Tchaikovsky (for the left hand alone)

Twelve Études in all the minor keys VIII. Erlkönig (after Goethe)

Twelve Études in all the minor keys IX. after Rossini

Twelve Études in all the minor keys X. "Pour les Idées Noires" after Chopin

Twelve Études in all the minor keys XI. Minuetto

Twelve Études in all the minor keys XII. Prelude and Fugue

Little Nocturne

Con Intimissimo Sentimento I. Ländler I: Moderato e malinconico

Con Intimissimo Sentimento IV. Album Leaf: Molto placido, sospeso

Con Intimissimo Sentimento V. Music Box: Delicatamente meccanico

Con Intimissimo Sentimento VI. after Pergolesi: Allegretto moderato, grazioso ma un poco dolente

Con Intimissimo Sentimento VII. Berceuse (in tempore belli): Lento e molto tenero

Theme and Variations (Cathy's Variations) Theme: Con semplicità, eleganza e tenerezza

Theme and Variations (Cathy's Variations) Var.I Più mosso, corrente

Theme and Variations (Cathy's Variations) Var.II L'istesso tempo, ma cantabile

Theme and Variations (Cathy's Variations) Var.III Molto più moderato, poco rubato

Theme and Variations (Cathy's Variations) Var.IV Poco animato ma cantabile e senza prestezza

Theme and Variations (Cathy's Variations) Envoi: A capriccio

The Telegraph

2nd September 2010

***

“Marc-André Hamelin has long been astonishing the musical world with his superhuman performances of the great virtuoso pianist/composers. Here he plays pieces he’s composed himself in the same style. The simpler pieces are affecting”

International Record Review

October 2010

“Hamelin the composer has the same kind of tact and imagination that Hamelin the pianist does...there's so much harmonic and contrapuntal interest in these works, so much sheer joie de vivre, such evident love for the instrument and its history, and such consistent wit...that even music lovers who disdain virtuoso excess are likely to be seduced.”

BBC Music Magazine

November 2010

*****

“Hamelin's original etudes...with their blend of tasteful lyricism and striking textures and harmonies, are as enjoyable as his homages...While brashly flaunting his influences (Gershwin, Poulenc, Rachmaninov), he sounds utterly individual. Of course, the composer makes all the technical difficulties sound easy to play in these vividly recorded performances.”

Gramophone Magazine

Awards Issue 2010

“...some of the most witty, charming, entertaining and devastatingly effective piano music of [his] generation...sophisticated yet accessible at the same time...no piano music lover can afford to miss it.”

The Guardian

24th March 2011

****

“a refreshingly cool antidote to those pianists who treat the technical challenges in Liszt's piano writing as an end in themselves. Hamelin takes everything in his stride immaculately, whether it's the unfolding of the contrapuntal lines in the B-A-C-H Fantasy and Fugue or the fine-spun melodies of the Bénédiction de Dieu dans la Solitude, both superbly presented”

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

Editor's Choice

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Wagner: Parsifal

Wagner: Parsifal


Gary Lehman (Parsifal), Violeta Urmana (Kundry), René Pape (Gurnemanz), Evgeny Nikitin (Amfortas), Alexei Tano Vitski (Titurel) & Nikolai Putilin (Klingsor)

Mariinsky Orchestra & Chorus, Valery Gergiev

DSD Recording, Mariinsky Concert Hall, St Petersburg, 5–13 June 2009.

The Mariinsky label’s first recording of an opera by Wagner features an exceptional international cast led by René Pape, Gary Lehman and Violeta Urmana.

The Mariinsky Theatre has a long association with Wagner’s music. The composer himself conducted at the Theatre, which in 1863 was the location of the first performance of music from his as yet unstaged Ring Cycle. Over the past decade Valery Gergiev has become a frequent conductor of Wagner’s operas, establishing a formidable reputation in the repertoire, although remarkably this is his first recording of the composer’s operas.

Wagner described his final complete opera as a ‘A Festival Play for the Consecration of the Stage’ and the work has always sparked controversy, mixing moral and religious themes with music of irresistible sumptuousness. The opera was inspired by Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Arthurian poem Parzifal. Yet despite the story’s overt Christian imagery, Wagner also draws on ideas from other beliefs including Buddhism. The ‘harmonic experiments’ that he adopted for his previous opera Tristan und Isolde are further refined to create music of astonishing beauty that still retains and reflects the deep morality of the tale.

Recording took place between 5 and 13 June 2009 at the Mariinsky Concert Hall in St Petersburg, incorporating live concert performances. It was recorded in high resolution multi-channel DSD by award-winning producer James Mallinson and engineered by John Newton and Dirk Sobotka. Parsifal will be the fourth opera on the Mariinsky label. Previous releases have included Shostakovich’s The Nose, Shchedrin’s The Enchanted Wanderer and Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex, which have collected numerous international awards. The Nose, the label’s debut release, also received two Grammy Award nominations.

Sung in German, Notes in Russian (cyrillic), English, French and German.

Libretto in German with Russian (cyrillic), English & French translations.

“Above all, this is Gergiev's Parsifal and it is the superlatively good playing of the Mariinsky Orchestra that, with René Pape's gloriously sung Gurnemanz, makes this new set essential listening for Wagnerians” Hugh Canning , IRR September

“The great strengths of his performances in the theatre here underpin at least one remarkable performance: René Pape's outstanding Gurnemanz. Gary Lehman's Parsifal is competent, while Violeta Urmana's Kundry mixes thrilling moments with unstable ones. Gergiev's conducting is more than sufficient compensation for those minor shortcomings, though.” The Guardian, 26th August 2010 *****

“What really distinguishes this...is Gergiev. His reading is vivid and luminous, generally expansive but with fluidly shifting tempos, unashamedly guilty of theatrical excitement. Yet he evokes a rapt quality which does convey an authentic spirituality - passionate 'Russian soul', perhaps, rather than sombre Germanic brooding, but if so, so much the better.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2010 *****

“... it’s for René Pape’s majestic Gurnemanz that Wagnerites will want this set. Violeta Urmana’s Kundry is unexpectedly voluptuous, while Gary Lehman makes a conscientious Parsifal...sceptics should be won over by the way his wonderful orchestra and chorus bring Wagner’s problematic swansong to life.” Financial Times ****

“Above all, this is Gergiev's Parsifal and it is the superlatively good playing of the Mariinsky Orchestra that, with Pape's gloriously sung Gurnemanz, makes this new set essential listening for Wagnerians...[Pape's] beautifully rounded tone and poetic diction make musical highlights of his long monologues” International Record Review, September 2010

“His approach is vigorously dramatic and red-blooded, treating this massive score as an urgent call to arms rather than a dreamy meditation. The Mariinsky Orchestra plays with glowing commitment throughout...Lehman is an agreeably youthful Parsifal, bright in voice and clear in diction...Evgeny Nikitin and Nikolai Putilin bring a distinctively Russian intonation to Amfortas and Klingsor.” The Telegraph ****

“...on grounds of the general excellence of its singers and the cumulative authority of the interpretation, this is a performance to be reckoned with...it has an imaginative force, overall, which pushes any hints of contrivance to the musical and dramatic margins.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2010

“[Gergiev delivers] a reading full of emotional intensity and he's helped by an impressive team of soloists. Gary Lehman is powerfully clarion-like in the title role and Rene Pape is an authoritative Gurnemanz...Urmana's Kundry, full of self-loathing, passion and longing, is hard to forget.” Classic FM Magazine, December 2010 ***

“a glowing, spacious, near-flawless performance. The solid cast, headed by the tenor Gary Lehman as Parsifal, includes the greatest Gurnemanz of our time: the bass René Pape, in resplendent voice.” New York Times, 26th November 2010

Presto Disc of the Week

20th September 2010

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - Awards Issue 2010

BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the month - October 2010

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Handel: Admeto, Re di Tessaglia HWV22

Handel: Admeto, Re di Tessaglia HWV22


Tim Mead (Admeto), Marie Arnet (Alceste), William Berger (Ercole), Andrew Radley (Orindo), David Bates (Trasimede), Kirsten Blaise (Antigona), Wolf Matthias Friedrich (Meraspe)

Gottingen Festival Orchestra, Nicholas McGegan

When one of Germany’s most famous filmmakers and stimulating operatic directors focuses her creativity on a rarely performed Handel opera, the result is a “mixture of dancers and singers, comedy and pathos” (The Times). “Admeto”, one of Handel’s most popular operas in his lifetime, was premiered in London in January 1727. Doris Dörrie, whose Japan-inspired feature film “Cherry Blossoms – Hanami” was a major German box-office hit and won several international awards, returns to her beloved Japan in this production. Flowing robes, translucent panels and the participation of Japan’s Mamu Dance Theater and ist choreographer/dancer Tadashi Endo add an evocative dimension to the work whose lead roles were written for a popular castrato and two rivaling primadonnas. Sensitively directed for video by Agnes Méth, who worked with Dörrie on Mozart’s “La finta giardiniera” at the Salzburg Festival (available as part of the M22 cycle by UNITEL), the opera is played by Nicholas McGegan’s FestspielOrchester Göttingen on period instruments. For this production, a coproduction of the Internationale Händel- Festspiele in Göttingen and the Edinburgh International Festival on the occasion of the 250th anniversary of Handel’s death, Doris Dörrie was awarded the Edinburgh Festival’s prestigious Herald Angel Award.

For Handel´s Admeto, Oscar® nominated film director Doris Doerrie – winner of the 2009 Edinburgh International Festival´s prestigious Herald Angel Award – returns to her beloved subject of Japan. In vividly coloured and brilliantly realized set pieces, one of Handel´s most popular operas receives a stunning transformation into the stylish ritualized world of samurai culture. “It´s brilliantly played by the period-instrument FestspielOrchester Goettingen, conducted with fine sensibility and sensuality by Nicholas McGegan” (The Times). “In Doerrie´s production … 200 minutes of music fly by” (The Times)

Stage Director: Bernd Lepel

Doris Dörrie and Tadaschi Endo received an Oscar® Nomination in 2008 for Best Foreign Language Film (“Cherry Blossoms – Hanami”).

This production received the prestigious Herald Angel Award, Edinburgh International Festival 2009.

Film and Opera director Doris Dörrie directed successful Operas in Salzburg and Munich.

Recorded live at the Internationale Handel-Festspiele Göttingen, Deutsches Theatre 2009.

“It´s brilliantly played … directed with fine sensibility and sensuality. Weird but delightful.” 5 stars The Times

"Handel would have enjoyed this enchanting shadow theater" Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Bonus Baroque and Butoh (22 minutes)

Picture Format: HD 16:9 - please note this Blu-ray disc - BD is not compatible with standard DVD players

Sound Format: DTS 5.1 PCM Stereo

Region Code: 0

Duration: 181 minutes + 22 minutes bonus material

Recorded: live at the Internationale Handel-Festspiele Gottingen Deutsches Theatre 2009.

Subtitles: English Italian German French

“McGegan conducts the Festival Orchestra with a sure sense of style and no exaggerated stylisation...[Dörrie] has succeeded in creating a distinctive setting, satisfying the eye and yet allowing the music to speak for itself from its due place at the centre.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2010

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

C Major - 702104

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Beethoven: Missa Solemnis in D major, Op. 123

Beethoven: Missa Solemnis in D major, Op. 123


Susanne Bernhard (soprano), Anke Vondung (alto), Pavol Breslik (tenor), Yorck Felix Speer (bass-baritone)

Orchester und Kammerchor der KlangVerwaltung, Enoch zu Guttenberg

Audio-only Blu-ray

“The work's contemplative concluding movements draw a more assured quality of music-making than the preceding three, with the Benedictus the performance's evident highlight.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2010

Blu-ray Disc

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Farao - A108054

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The Infernal Comedy

The Infernal Comedy

Confessions of a Serial Killer


Music by Vivaldi, Boccherini, Gluck, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven & Weber


John Malkovich, Laura Aikin & Aleksandra Zamojska

Orchestra Wiener Akademie, Martin Haselböck

Live Recording from The Ronacher Theater, Vienna, 2009.

written and directed by Michael Sturminger

“The Infernal Comedy“ is a stage-play for a Baroque-Orchestra, two Sopranos and one actor. It is based on the real-life story of Jack Unterweger, a convicted murderer, acclaimed imprisoned poet, pardoned and celebrated author and journalist, notorious womanizer, and prime example of reintegration, who gradually was suspected of killing a growing number of prostitutes in Vienna, Graz, Prague and Los Angeles, later vanished from Vienna, fled into the U.S, got arrested in Miami, transferred to Austria, accused and finally committed suicide after being convicted of homicide in eleven cases.

“If you wear this name, women will love you or hate you - call you a liar or pervert - but they will never leave you alone.”

BONUS: inside THE INFERNAL COMEDY

The deceitful criminal history of Jack Unterweger, the prisoner convicted of killing a woman who subsequently became a literary sensation and was considered to be a model of rehabilitation, is the true source and subject of the musical theatre piece for Baroque orchestra, two sopranos and an actor. This role is perfectly impersonated by John Malkovich. Observations at the rehearsals for this unusual and genre-leaping theatre evening are interwoven with historic background information.

Sound Format: PCM Stereo, DD 5.1

Picture Format: 16:9

DVD Format: DVD 9, NTSC

Running Time: 102 mins (performance) + 43 mins (bonus)

FSK: 6

“A noted Lulu, Laura Aikin throws herself into "Vorrei spiegarvi", and Aleksandra Zamojska's thinner but no less secure top register warms up for the connoisseurs highlight, an insert aria Weber wrote for Méhul's Hélène” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2010

GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - Awards Issue 2010

DVD Video

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Arthaus Musik - 101517

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Bartók: Piano Concertos Nos. 1, 2 & 3 (complete)

Bartók: Piano Concertos Nos. 1, 2 & 3 (complete)


This is the first concerto recording by Jean-Efflam Bavouzet for Chandos. Following the tremendous success of his complete Debussy piano music edition (‘This could well be the finest and most challenging of all Debussy piano cycles’ – Bryce Morrison, Gramophone) – which scooped awards from both Gramophone and BBC Music – and the launch of his ambitious Haydn Piano Sonatas series, the pianist now turns his attention to some of the mightiest concertos of the twentieth century. The three Bartók Piano Concertos on a single CD represents superb value for money.

Bartók wrote his First Concerto, one of his most challenging works, in 1926. The percussive piano writing ads much bite to the textures. The first movement is striking in its rhythmic vigour and dramatic character. The central Andante is essentially a dialogue between the soloist and four percussion players and features much atmospheric ‘Night Music’. In the finale, following without a break, the brilliant motoric rhythms of the first movement return, as does the dramatic use of percussion in a thrilling mêlée of sound.

The Second Concerto was first performed in 1933. The music is more melodically appealing and in the first movement, which is notably contrapuntal, the strings are silent throughout. The hushed slow movement on strings is interrupted half way through by a brilliant and startling scherzo, with a striking sequence of tremolos and note-clusters, before the haunting quiet mood of the opening returns. The finale, again with brilliant use of percussion (as well as brass), ends the work in virtuoso fashion.

The Third Concerto was written at the end of the composer’s life, in 1945, and is much more restrained than the previous piano concertos. The work is lighter, airy, and almost neo-classical compared to much of his earlier music. Unlike much of Bartók’s output, the piece was not composed on commission, but was rather created as a surprise birthday gift for Bartók’s second wife, Ditta Pásztory, who was, like Bartók, a skilled concert pianist. The two lively outer movements, full of the composer’s distinctive rhythmic drive, are separated by a slow movement of great beauty and serenity, with, again, a striking, contrasting middle section. The final seventeen bars were orchestrated by the composer’s pupil, Tibor Serly, after the composer’s death, based on Bartók’s notes.

“Both Bavouzet and the BBC Philharmonic with Gianandrea Noseda are outstanding in the First Concerto, capturing its epic scale and mixture of formality and barbarism...[These performances] generally have all the sweep, intensity and precision that these works demand.” The Guardian, 26th August 2010 ****

“In league with the finely honed BBC Philharmonic, these are performances vibrant in colour, vital in rhythm and detail and viscerally exciting in impact.” The Telegraph, 2nd September 2010 *****

“Bavouzet relishes the high-octane energy of the outer movements of the first two concertos but through his imaginatively varied use of colour manages to avoid the trap of making Bartók's percussive writing seem too relentless.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2010 *****

“Bavouzet's own energy and lightness make the most of the jubilant, rhythmic writing.. It's a beautifully nuanced performance, brimming over with variety of touch and dynamic...The orchestra match him in their deft lightness, brightness and virtuosity.” Charlotte Gardner, bbc.co.uk, 16/09/2010

“Bavouzet's interpretations are masculine, intelligent and direct. In most of the nine movements, he opts for unusually brisk tempos, though quick as they are, the music never sounds rushed or precipitous. Clarity invariably prevails and Noseda and the orchestra are equal partners at every turn...the overall effect is viscerally exhilarating.” International Record Review, October 2010

“If you're after a disc of Bartok's piano concertos that maximises on the music's drive, elegance and sparring potential, then you could hardly to better than his ear-catching new production...Bavouzet doesn't play down the music's earth-derived grandeur...or its drama.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2010

“From the paranoid wranglings of the First Concerto to the helter-skelter glamour of the Second and the burlesque of the Third, the playing is first rate. Pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet delivers coruscating cadenza and locates an almost Beethovenian limpidity for the Adagio Religioso.” The Independent on Sunday, 17th October 2010

GGramophone Awards 2011

Finalist - Concerto

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - Awards Issue 2010

Building a Library

First Choice - November 2015

BBC Music Magazine

Orchestral Choice - October 2010

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2011

Orchestral Finalist

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Chandos - CHAN10610

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Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos Nos. 3 & 4

Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos Nos. 3 & 4


Rachmaninov:

Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30

Piano Concerto No. 4 in G minor, Op. 40


Internationally acclaimed pianist Leif Ove Andsnes teams up once again with conductor Antonio Pappano on his new recording of Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos Nos. 3 & 4. They are joined by the London Symphony Orchestra. Andsnes and Pappano first recorded collaboration was the 2004 EMI Classics release of Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2, with the Berliner Philharmoniker, which received glorious, universal acclaim.

The London Symphony Orchestra, with Vladimir Horowitz, was the first to record Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 3. It was released 70 years ago in 1930.

“[Andsnes] manages to make the first movement sound more sinister and wayward than most of his rivals, yet he's in his element in etching the filigree and fioriture of the highly-decorated solo part in the slow movement” BBC Music Magazine, December 2010 ****

“Technical challenges are shaken off like rainwater, subtler sections are given the requisite grace and poise, and everything else in between is a joyous blur.” Daniel Ross, bbc.co.uk, 2nd November 2010

“You don't really get indulgences and histrionics from Andsnes - he leaves much of that to conductor Antonio Pappano...What Pappano and Andsnes do so well together is pace both pieces and tell the musical stories...In few other recordings does the opening to the Fourth's Allegro sound so hypnotically tight and magical” Classic FM Magazine, December 2010 *****

“If judicious sensuality is indeed on vital quality that manifests itself in [Andsnes's] new recording with the LSO and Pappano, another is the impressive physicality of the performance...He, Pappano and the orchestra breathe together...If Andsnes's playing is arresting for the quantity of relevant detail that he conveys, so too is the orchestra's.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2010

“From the start [of the Fourth Concerto], they pace things superbly: the opening piano theme...has a sweeping nobility that is hugely impressive, and the detail Pappano finds in the orchestral writing is no less remarkable. Best of all is the clear-sighted sense of direction that soloist and conductor project throughout this work - making a formidable case for it.” International Record Review, December 2010

“just as rippling and brilliant as his 1995 live recording with the Oslo Philharmonic but even more rhapsodic and searching.” New York Times, 26th November 2010

“There's no disputing the high standard of Leif Ove Andsnes's pianism in both these concertos, among the most technically demanding in the repertoire – nor the equal brilliance with which Antonio Pappano and the London Symphony Orchestra partner his performances.” The Guardian, 21st October 2010 ****

“The passion burns from within in this incendiary account...The amplitude of his melodies, the rich scoring and the insistent Russian melancholy are most potent when kept under control. The poetic, muscular Andsnes, sensitively and glitteringly accompanied by Pappano and the LSO, does just that.” The Observer, 31st October 2010

“...together with his lustrous tone and physical power he brings to the Third Concerto a compelling poetic sensibility. He and Pappano are entirely as one in finding the music’s pulse, its fluxes of pace and its blend of grandeur, mellowness and bravura...This is a disc of terrific stature.” The Telegraph, 5th October 2010 *****

“emotionally subtle music-making, light and beckoning one minute, steely with tension the next...the orchestra’s lyrical flow is the first thing you notice as the Third Concerto begins. Pappano might not be conducting opera here, but he can’t help bringing out the music’s song or revealing its heart.” The Times, 15th October 2010 ****

GGramophone Awards 2011

Shortlisted - Concerto

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - Awards Issue 2010

Warner Classics - 6405162

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Albéniz: Evocación

Albéniz: Evocación


Disc One:

1. Evocación Iberia Primer cuaderno no. 1 (arr. M. Llobet)

2. El Puerto Iberia Primer cuaderno no. 2 (arr. W. Lieske)

3. El Albaicín Iberia Tercer cuaderno no. 1 (arr. W. Lieske)

4. Tango (arr. R. Tarrago)

5. Tango Español (arr. E. Pujol)

6. Mallorca op. 202

7. Bajo la palmera Cantos de España op. 232 no. 3 (arr. M. Llobet)

8. Rumores de la Caleta Recuerdos de Viaje op. 71 no. 6 (arr. M. Llobet)

9. Oriental Cantos de España op. 232 no. 2 (arr. E. Pujol)

10. Castilla Suite española op. 47 no. 7 (arr. M. Llobet)

11. Córdoba Cantos de España op. 232 no. 4 (arr. E. Pujol)

Disc Two:

1. Rumores de la Caleta (Malagueña) from Recuerdos de viaje, no. 6 (arr. W. Lieske)

2. Zambra granadina (Danza oriental) (arr. A. Segovia)

3. Torre bermeja (Serenata) from Piezas caracteristicas, no. 12 (arr. M. Llobet, rev. W. Lieske)

4. Mallorca (Barcarola) (arr. W. Lieske)

5. Cádiz (Saeta) from Suite española, no. 4 (arr. F. Tárrega, rev. M. Llobet)

6. Sevilla (Sevillanas) from Suite española, no. 3 (arr. F. Tárrega)

7. Oriental from Cantos de España, no. 2 (arr. M. Llobet) (world première recording)

8. Córdoba (Nocturno) from Cantos de España, no. 4 (arr. W. Lieske)

9. Granada (Serenata) from Suite española, no. 1 (arr. F. Tárrega)

10. Asturias (Leyenda - Preludio) (arr. A. Segovia, rev. W. Lieske)


Wulfin Lieske & Fabian Spindler (guitar)

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Isaac Albéniz this summer, Wulfin Lieske and Fabian Spindler have recorded a 2-CD set of transcriptions of his piano works. The Austrian and German guitar duo play on a pair of original Torres guitars, recreating the ideal sound for Albéniz’s romantic Spanish music.

Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909) never wrote for the guitar, but admitted that some of his compositions appealed to him more when played on that instrument. As if he had sensed this, many of his piano pieces first became world-famous in transcriptions. Relatively few listeners know the originals today and think the guitar versions are the authentic ones - hence Albéniz’s outstanding reputation as a ‘guitar’ composer.

“The ideal sound of Isaac Albéniz’s music is indissolubly tied to the sound of the Torres guitar.” - Carles Trepat. The influential guitar virtuoso and composer Francesco Tárrega (who made some of the first transcriptions of his friend Albéniz’s piano pieces) mostly played an instrument made by the 19th-century Spanish luthier Antonio de Torres. Its design and the extended scale length endowed the new model exceptional volume, giving it outstanding depth, majesty in the bass, inner potency, clarity of registers, warmth and carrying power. These characteristics therefore form a crucial component of the interpretation, along with the appropriate version and the corresponding fingering. Playing original Torres guitars, Wulfin Lieske and Fabian Spindler have for the first time enabled the historical versions to be experienced in all their dimensions.

“Lieske and Spindler's interpretations can be expansively orchestral in conception...or intimately lyrical and expressive...Albéniz apparently said his music appealed to him more when played on guitar. Hearing these performances on two such fine instruments, one can understand why that might have been so.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2010

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - Awards Issue 2010

Challenge Classics - CC72374

(CD - 2 discs)

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Steve Reich: Double Sextet and 2x5

Steve Reich: Double Sextet and 2x5


Reich:

Double Sextet

Eighth Blackbird

2x5

Bang On A Can


“The rock-band sound world of 2x5 is certainly new. Reich's sense of proportion, his ability to change direction just at the right moment, is as sure as ever. And the Double Sextet contains one of Reich's most beautiful laments, where his Jewish heritage comes to the fore.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2010 ***

“Beautifully poised throughout, Double Sextet stands as arguably one of Reich’s finest works.” Spencer Grady, bbc.co.uk, 25th August 2010

“Like most of Reich’s oeuvre, Double Sextet (2008) explores the relationship between tempo, timing and rhythm. Its impetus stems from two identical sets of six instruments (flute, clarinet, vibraphone, piano, violin and cello) that interact in a way that generates all sorts of dramatic syncopations.” Financial Times, 17th September 2010 ***

“Steve Reich's smartest, most sonically nourishing recording for years...[Double Sextet is] a seamless return home to familiar Reich territory, and the ensemble eighth blackbird's muscular and thoughtful playing is just what's needed here. No cross-cultural conceit to be traversed. Just enjoy.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2010

“[Double Sextet] is a terrific score, elegantly constructed, with deliciously ambiguous harmonies and glittering textures...2x5 illustrates how Reich's capacity for writing eloquent, exhilarating and ear-catching music remains undimmed.” International Record Review, December 2010

“The Double Sextet...has a propulsive energy supplied by the keyboards and percussion, while the tangy, rock-band sound world of 2 x 5, with its two electric guitars, electric bass, piano and drums, together with their pre-recorded mirror image, is certainly new in Reich's music.” The Guardian, 16th September 2010 ***

“"Double Sextet" is built on the urban pulsing of pianos and vibes, with violins sawing like thread shuttled across a loom. High woodwind cracks the canopy, breaking only for a middle section of petrified string shimmers. "2x5" features Zappa-esque chordings, doubled slightly out of sync to produce a jerky vibrato effect, over which lines of guitar motifs are neatly stitched.” The Independent, 10th September 2010 ***

“These two small groups double their numbers by playing against recordings of themselves, though instruments alone can be used. But this is music, not a game of numbers. It's fresh, hypnotic and beguiling and shows the American Reich on a new curve of invention.” The Observer, 10th October 2010

GGramophone Awards 2011

Shortlisted - Contemporary

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - Awards Issue 2010

Nonesuch - 7559797864

(CD)

$14.00

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Arvo Pärt: Symphony No. 4

Arvo Pärt: Symphony No. 4


Pärt:

Symphony No. 4 ‘Los Angeles’

Fragments from Kanon Pokajanen


Arvo Pärt returns to symphonic structure and scope, in a new work scored for string orchestra, harp, tympani and percussion: the Symphony No. 4 ‘Los Angeles’. Almost 40 years after his Third Symphony, the Estonian composer wrote his Fourth for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen – and ECM releases their premiere performance, recorded live in January 2009, to celebrate Pärt’s 75th birthday (on 11 September).

This is the first symphonic work Pärt has written since developing his “tintinnabulation” style. A composition in three movements, it opens with characteristically shimmering suspended chords, and an extraordinary journey begins. “The symphony is large,” wrote Mark Swed in the Los Angeles Times, “and exceedingly beautiful.”

The Fourth Symphony is both literally and figuratively a 'musical setting', based on an underlying text. Canon of the Guardian Angel forms the work’s point of departure, determining its structure down to the smallest details. It was recorded live at LA’s Walt Disney Concert Hall. The 37-minute work is augmented on disc by a new montage of “fragments” of Kanon Pokajanen, a piece which Pärt feels is closely related to the symphony. “To my mind, the two works belong together and form a stylistic unity.”

A second birthday celebration from ECM will be the release on 13 September of a special deluxe version of Tabula rasa (4763879), Arvo Pärt’s international breakthrough album in 1984. This book/CD edition will include study scores of all four pieces on the disc, previously unreleased facsimile manuscripts, liner notes, an introductory essay by Paul Griffiths and exclusive photographs.

“The mood ranges from serenity, ritual, repetition and non-vocal "chant" to dignified, meditative grandeur...Fragments from Kanon Pokajanen...is delivered with addictive Slavonic passion...In all senses, this latest ECM-Pärt collaboration is entrancing.” The Observer, 22nd August 2010

“...the work, cast in three incantatory movements and scored for strings, harp, timpani and percussion, is as deep as anything Pärt has written.” Sunday Times, 29th August 2010 ***

“Almost 40 years on from his third symphony, Arvo Pärt returned to the form with this "Los Angeles" symphony...Scored for string orchestra, harp, tympani and percussion, it opens imperceptibly in a quiet shimmer of strings before developing in stirring but sombre manner, the waves of rising string flourishes peaking like straining voices” The Independent, 20th August 2010 ****

“Like much of Pärt's other works, it weaves the effect of musical suspension in time, helped by motivic and stylistic similarities across its three movements...The Estonian Philharmonic Choir are just as effective in the Kanon Pokajanen fragments...delivered in a crisply enunciated, religiously-weighted performance.” Charlotte Gardner, bbc.co.uk, 24th August 2010

“Salonen gradually steers the soundworld from Hollywood underscoring towards the monasteries of Orthodox Russia, evoking desolate landscapes and, in the final movement, a sense of ritual deliverance from destruction.” Classic FM Magazine, November 2010 ****

“There has probably never been a symphony like this...Repeated listening brings great rewards: this is a true symphony for the 21st century.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2010

GGramophone Awards 2011

Shortlisted - Contemporary

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - Awards Issue 2010

BBC Music Magazine

Orchestral Choice - November 2010

Contemporary Music - up to 25% off

ECM New Series - 4763957

(CD)

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Special: $12.96

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Mozart: Die Zauberflöte, K620

Mozart: Die Zauberflöte, K620


Daniel Behle (Tamino), Marlis Petersen (Pamina), Daniel Schmutzhard (Papageno), Sunhae Im (Papagena), Anna-Kristiina Kaappola (Königin der Nacht), Marcos Fink (Sarastro), Kurt Azesberger (Monostatos), Inga Kalna (1st Lady), Anna Grevelius (2nd Lady), Isabelle Druet (3rd Lady), Konstantin Wolff (Speaker), Joachim Buhrmann, Konstantin Wolff (2 Priests), Magnus Staveland, Konstantin Wolff (2 Armed Men), Alois Mühlbacher, Christoph Schlögl, Philipp Pötzlberger (3 Boys) & René Möller, Clemens-Maria Nuszbaumer, Christian Koch (3 Slaves)

RIAS Kammerchor & Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, René Jacobs

“René Jacobs’s Mozart opera series [is] one of the recorded marvels of our time” James Jolly, Gramophone, February 2009

We are proud to introduce our biggest priority release for the Autumn: Die Zauberflöte conducted by René Jacobs.

This eagerly anticipated recording represents a major triumph for harmonia mundi and we will be giving it our full marketing support to ensure the album achieves the major success we believe it deserves.

Here are some reminders of Jacobs’ achievements to date: from Gramophone Recording of the Year to the Grammy® Awards, Jacobs’ world-renowned Mozart opera recordings been celebrated by the most prestigious award organisations across the globe. A distinguished expert in the field, René Jacobs’ previous opera recordings have enjoyed a sales history of over 65,000 physical units per title.

Die Zauberflöte will benefit from a diverse online marketing campaign, including a multi-lingual ‘magic flute discovery’ newsletter series and dedicated marketing blog reaching an audience of over 30,000 people.

Enjoy one of the few full studio recordings made of such a popular opera in recent history.

This recording represents the peak of René Jacobs’s Mozartian enterprise: after showing us an alternative way of looking at the Da Ponte trilogy and taking a profoundly innovative approach to the two great opere serie (Idomeneo and La clemenza di Tito), he has now sets out to harmonise and clarify the myriad viewpoints exposed in Die Zauberflöte, ranging far beyond its Masonic rituals and mixture of dramatic genres.

As a result, Mozart’s most ‘nocturnal’ work is illuminated as if by . . . magic.

314pp booklet with essay by René Jacobs and full libretto Fr, Ger, Eng

Included : special leaflet about Mozart by Jacobs

“The star is tenor Daniel Behle, whose Tamino is the finest on disc since Fritz Wunderlich. Jacobs opts on occasion for exaggerated speeds, whether fast or slow. The playing is excellent.” The Guardian, 9th September 2010 ***

“The principal singers inhabit their roles as persuasively as possible for such an absurdly mythopoeic fairytale, with Daniel Behle a noble Tamino and baritone Daniel Schmutzhard particularly effective as Papageno.” The Independent, 9th September 2010 ***

“...fresh, lively, quick-witted – and characteristically full of liberties...The solo singing is impeccably schooled and dramatically believable...Daniel Schmutzhard makes the most of his Viennese Papageno. Daniel Behle is the thoughtful Tamino, Marlis Petersen a virginal Pamina.” Financial Times, 11th September 2010 ****

“From the violently arresting opening chords of the overture, it is clear this Die Zauberflöte is not going to be routine...but to anyone who feels that they know the opera inside out, it’s an exhilarating wake-up call...the entire cast sings with meticulous musicality, and the RIAS Chamber Choir and Akademie für Alte Musik could hardly be bettered.” The Telegraph, 13th September 2010 ****

“Some of his tempi and abrupt gear changes will disturb purist Mozartians, but his youthful cast gives huge pleasure: Marlis Petersen’s radiant Pamina, Daniel Behle’s lyrical, aristocratic Tamino and Daniel Schmutzhard’s garrulous Papageno are among the finest sung on disc, and Anna-Kristiina Kappola’s steely-toned Queen of the Night doesn’t miss a stitch in her coloratura runs.” Sunday Times, 19th September 2010 ****

“With a generally youthful cast boasting some lovely voices, the music is equally captivating. Jacobs is all about excitement and making the most of orchestral detail...Full of surprises, Jacobs’s account is a real game-changer: we will never listen to this multi-faceted masterpiece in the same way again.” Graham Rogers, bbc.co.uk, 25th August 2010

“...this is a total experience, perfectly tailored for private listening. René Jacobs thinks of it as a Hörspiel: it's a play to be heard - I don't know a recorded Zauberflöte more thrillingly alive with fantasy, profoundly musical imagination, real magic, and real fun too.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2010 *****

“There's much to savour in the individual performances here, with often-sublime singing.” Classic FM Magazine, November 2010 ***

“As ever, Jacobs favours lively speeds, light articulation and pungent, colourful textures...I suspect I shall reach for this new recording as often as any, for its bubbling, crackling theatricality and an eager, yet unforced, sense of fun that never short-changes the opera's central message of human enlightenment.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2010

Presto Disc of the Week

13th September 2010

GGramophone Awards 2011

Finalist - Opera

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - Awards Issue 2010

CD Review

Critics' Disc of the Year - December 2010

BBC Music Magazine

Opera Choice - November 2010

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2011

Opera Award Winner

Harmonia Mundi Jacobs Mozart Operas - HMC902068/70

(CD - 3 discs)

$29.00

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Passing By: Songs by Jake Heggie

Passing By: Songs by Jake Heggie


Heggie:

At the Statue of Venus: A Lucky Child (McNally)

Susan Graham (mezzo-soprano)

Some Times of Day (Carver)

Zheng Cao (mezzo-soprano)

Facing Forward/Looking Back

Frederica von Stade (soprano), Susan Graham (mezzo-soprano) & Joyce DiDonato (mezzo-soprano)

Here and Gone

Paul Groves (tenor), Keith Phares (baritone), Dawn Harms (violin), Carlamaria Rodrigues (viola), Emil Miland (cello) & Jake Heggie (piano)

To say before going to sleep

Joyce DiDonato (mezzo-soprano)

Songs and Sonnets to Ophelia

Isabel Bayrakdarian (soprano)

Final Monologue from Master Class (McNally)

Joyce DiDonato (mezzo-soprano)


One of the leading American composers of his generation, Jake Heggie arrives on Avie with 'Passing By', a gorgeous collection of recent songs and duets performed by a superb line-up of international singers and instrumentalists.

Fresh from the extraordinary success of The Dallas Opera premiere of his opera Moby Dick – “a wonderful and rare reminder that new opera truly can excite people if it’s done right,” according to The Washington Post – Guggenheim Fellowship recipient Heggie describes this collection as “songs that tell stories about now and then. Reflections of family, friends and lovers passing by. A missed or mistaken connection, a moment when everything might have been different. People who entered our lives and would be there forever, then suddenly were not there at all.”

Indelibly associated with his acclaimed operas, including Dead Man Walking (which made the Top 10 of Billboard’s Classical Chart), Three Decembers and The End of the Affair, Jake’s heart and soul lie in storytelling through song. With lyrics and poetry by the likes of A.E. Housman, Terrence McNally and Rilke, the songs of Passing By reflect the great American songbook tradition, replete with achingly beautiful melodies and striking observations of life’s journeys.

As ‘Passing By’ illustrates, Jake’s music is championed by the most illustrious international signers, many of whom he has also collaborated with as a pianist. He has received commissions from San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Carnegie Hall and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and has had performances as far afield as Australia, Austria, Germany, Ireland and Sweden and South Africa.

“...the composer's own fluent piano-playing, an expert string group and a good if sometimes over-glossy recording provide support for some world-class singers...who are clearly revelling in the opportunities that Heggie has offered them here.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2010 *****

“I can do scant justice to this collection in the space permitted but suffice it to say that these songs "sing" most ardently. Heggie is not afraid to acknowledge, indeed embrace, America's Broadway heritage...but he displays at all times a really composerly instinct in the way these songs are structured.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2010

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - Awards Issue 2010

BBC Music Magazine

Choral & Song Choice - October 2010

Avie - AV2198

(CD)

$15.25

(also available to download from $10.00)

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days. (Available now to download.)

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