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Antonio Pappano and Italy’s leading symphony orchestra, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, continue their highly successful collaboration with EMI Classics with a studio recording of Rossini’s work for chorus, orchestra and soloists, Stabat Mater. They are joined by four international star soloists: Anna Netrebko, Joyce DiDonato, Lawrence Brownlee and Ildebrando D’Archangelo.
Stabat Mater: Stabat Mater dolorosa (Introduction)
Stabat Mater: Cujus animam gementem
Stabat Mater: Quis est homo
Stabat Mater: Pro peccatis suae gentis
Stabat Mater: Eja, Mater, fons amoris
Stabat Mater: Sancta Mater, istud agas
Stabat Mater: Fac, ut portem Christi mortem
Stabat Mater: Inflammatus et accensus
Stabat Mater: Quando corpus morietur
Stabat Mater: Amen. In sempiterna saecula
5th November 2010
“The blend of Anna Netrebko's soprano and Joyce DiDonato's mezzo-soprano is particularly effective, both in duet form on "Quis est homo", and underpinned by Lawrence Brownlee's tenor on the opening "Stabat mater dolorosa", while Ildebrando D'Arcangelo brings a magisterial poise to his solo”
11th November 2010
“The chief glory here is the Accademia di Santa Cecilia chorus, one of the greatest in the world. It's well played, too, though not everyone will like the edge on the brass. Anna Netrebko fans will like her hell-for-leather Inflammatus, but the best of the soloists is bass Ildebrando D'Arcangelo: well-nigh ideal.”
19th November 2010
“The Accademia Chorus is one of the world’s best, and the full, honeyed tone is a constant pleasure. Another of the recording’s rocks is the bass soloist, Ildebrando d’Arcangelo, who never confuses eloquence with shouting and hits his notes dead centre...Brownlee avoids vocal preening and makes sure we can still sense the text’s grieving mother, sharing Christ’s pain.”
21st November 2010
“Pappano's tremendous new recording brings out every ounce of its darkness and force. With a superb quartet of soloists, and the deeply coloured playing and singing of his Italian forces, the piece emerges newly minted as a dramatic masterpiece of harmonic twists and turns, spine-tingling solos and heaven-storming choruses: a superb act of reinterpretation.”
28th November 2010
“Although Rossini isn’t ideal Netrebko repertoire, she sounds positively Verdian in the dramatic hellfire of Inflammatus...Her bright timbre is ideally complemented by DiDonato’s plush, silken mezzo...Pappano lives the text like the great opera conductor he is, bringing consolation as well as fire and brimstone to Rossini’s heady spiritual brew.”
“A precondition for success here is the assembling of a matched quartet of technically accomplished singers blessed with a sense of the Rossini style. Pappano has this absolutely. The pairing of Anna Netrebko and Joyce DiDonato is a match made in heaven...This is one of the great choral recordings.”
“Pappano and his team really nail the work in a way I've not experienced before...What makes this recording so special is how the specifically Italian credentials of the music resound as though to the manner born...this is the most endearing benchmark performance of what is now revealed as a truly honest work.”
“Pappano is alive to nuance and inflection in Rossini's score. He allows Anna Netrebko and Joyce DiDonato ample scope for display but never at subtlety's expense...Imaginatively conceived and beautifully delivered.”
12th April 2011
“There is no shortage of good recordings of Rossini's Stabat Mater, but few do this gloriously uplifting work as much justice as Antonio Pappano's new recording...There is a compelling commitment to this performance. The opening chorus, with its hushed cloak-and-dagger atmosphere punctuated by dramatic outbursts, showcases choral singing of a terrific intensity that pins you to your seat.”
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Royal Holloway’s debut Hyperion recording (of the Latvian composer Rihards Dubra) received a rapturous response from the critics. Now they have produced a second volume of Baltic delights, turning this time to Lithuania and the sumptuous music of Vytautas Miškinis, the doyen of current Lithuanian choral culture.
His music, while bearing identifiable Lithuanian roots, is a synthesis of different influences carefully shaped and moulded with an experienced understanding of choral orchestration. Like many other Baltic composers of the same generation, Miškinis takes an essentially diatonic approach but with much overlaying of harmonies and coloured cluster-chords. What makes the music unmistakably Lithuanian is the influence of two folk-song genres. The overall effect is luscious, radiant and exotic. This music is passionately performed by these talented young singers and sensitively recorded in a generous church acoustic.
“Rupert Gough has wrought wonders with his Egham choristers. Their tone glows warmly, with a firm bass-line and bell-like top soprano and tenor lines. Pitching is spot-on and climaxes are beautifully controlled...compelling and committed singing.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2011
“The clarity and translucence of Royal Holloway's young voices, expertly trained and thoroughly prepared for this demanding job, ideally suits Miškinis' infinitely subtle art...the atmosphere and flavour of this album consistently feel 'right'.” Classic FM Magazine, January 2011 *****
“With the ever-responsive Concentus Musicus, [Harnoncourt] duly mines the comically disruptive potential of Haydn's music with unabashed glee... The comic leads are ideally cast...an inventive, thoroughly entertaining performance of a zany, sometimes touching comedy. If you're still sceptical about Haydn's operas, this may convert you.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2010
“[Genaux] sings with easy flexibility and sophisticated style...The rich-voiced mezzo Maite Beaumont's Lisetta does well with the patter...Bahrmann sings strongly, with fine coloratura...[Harnoncourt] is at the helm of his ensemble, the Concentus Musicus Wien, which responds to his every intention with spirited accomplishment.” International Record Review, January 2011
Shostakovich’s monumental Symphony No. 10 ranks among his finest works.
From the bleak introspection of the extended opening movement, through the graphic evocation of violence in the explosive Allegro, and the eerie dance-like Allegretto alternating between dark and light, to the final movement’s dramatic climax, this is a work of breathtaking musical contrasts.
In 2010 Vasily Petrenko was named Male Artist of the Year at the Classical Brit Awards.
“The Tenth is a symphony into which many have been tempted to read parallels with Shostakovich's life...The refreshing thing is that Petrenko treats it as a great symphony in its own right...All dynamics and metronome marks are scrupulously observed, but details never impede the progress of this rippling, human tragedy.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2010 *****
“The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s version boasts both finesse and splenetic attack” Financial Times, 5th November 2010
“Petrenko and the RLPO have achieved a triumph. The orchestral playing is ripe, detailed, lithe, concentrated and intense. Petrenko has full measure not only of the symphony’s overarching architecture but also of the individual facets that make it such a fascinating conundrum.” The Telegraph, 5th November 2010 *****
“Petrenko’s masterly performance builds inexorably from the ruminating brooding of the low strings and lamenting wind solos to the most shattering climax, as the full orchestra erupts in howls of anguish and rage. His whipcrack tempo for the scherzo is one of the most menacing I can recall...A thrilling performance.” Sunday Times, 21st November 2010 ****
“Petrenko's Shostakovich cycle goes from strength to strength...[his] instinct for pacing enables the power of Shostakovich's symphonic design to register to maximum effect. If there has been a finer account of the Tenth in recent years, I confess I must have missed it.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2011
“Petrenko shapes the long first movement - nearly 23 minutes - very well, paying close attention to phrasing and emphases...The orchestra plays for all its worth at the climaxes...The 'Stalin' Allegro is as brutal as you will find anywhere, and there's plenty of excitement and wit in the Finale.” Classic FM Magazine, January 2011 ****
“Petrenko and his band show us that the music has greater timbral interest than we often imagine...there's barely a page of the symphony where we don't hear some telling orchestral detail...Solo work is subtle throughout, especially in the symphony's more introverted passages.” International Record Review, December 2010
In his Musique de Table, through skilful organisation, breadth of imagination and sheer masterful inspiration, Telemann concentrates the entire range of European musical styles. This bravura display brings together ‘what stern custom had divided’. Here is the ultimate glittering banquet of late Baroque goût in all its rich diversity.
The Freiburger Barockorchester can look back on a success story lasting over 20 years and is a popular guest at the foremost concert halls and opera houses. The Freiburgers’ artistic credo, however, remains unchanged: the creative curiosity of each individual member, with the aim of playing a composition in as lively and expressive a manner as possible. This also involves assigning demanding solo concertos to players from the orchestra’s own ranks. Cultivated, yet at the same time exciting, ensemble playing has thus become the orchestra’s international trademark.
The FBO collaborates with leading artists such as René Jacobs, Andreas Staier and Thomas Quasthoff, and enjoys a close cooperation with harmonia mundi France. Under the artistic directorship of its two Konzertmeisters Gottfried von der Goltz and Petra Müllejans, and under the baton of selected conductors, the FBO presents around 100 performances per year in a variety of formations from chamber to opera orchestra: a self-governing ensemble with its own subscription concerts at the Konzerthaus in Freiburg, the Liederhalle in Stuttgart and the Berlin Philharmonie in addition to a worldwide touring programme.
“Telemann’s worklist is vast enough to scare off the crowds. Here he’s at his best, creating three lavish menus of suites, concertos and chamber music. The Freiburg players attack it all with light-footed grace.” The Times, 16th October 2010
“I was reminded time and again that Telemann's music is extraordinarily good, and amazed at the quality of the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra's performances. This is an unmitigated joy.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2011
“Readers familiar with the accomplishments of the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra will be expecting great things and, by and large, they are unlikely to be disappointed. Tempos are judicious...the many solo contributions of the Freiburg set make considerable appeal.” International Record Review, December 2010
The Brook Street Band, feted for their imaginative and stylish Handel recordings offer their first of the music of J S Bach.
The Brook Street Band burst on to the scene in 2003 with their Avie debut, the world premiere recording of Handel’s ‘Oxford’ Water Music, a genuine chamber arrangement of the composer’s ever-popular suite which earned the period-instrument ensemble an Editor’s Choice from Gramophone. Since then the all-girl group, named for the London street where Handel lived and composed for most of his working life in England, has released three further Handel surveys which prove their own adept skills at arranging.
They now apply the age-old practice to their first recording of the music of J S Bach, adapting his Organ Sonatas to their own instrumentation of two violins, harpsichord and cello. The result is yet another unique approach from the Brook Street Band, whose sheer pleasure in sharing this wonderful music shines though in their radiant renditions.
“The Band is as deliciously poised and pertinent as ever.” BBC Music Magazine
“The smartest new baroque band around.” The Times
“Stylish and imaginative…Their pleasure in the music is infectious.” Gramophone
“The Brook Street Band plays stylishly, with well-nigh impeccable intonation and tremendous verve...the vitality is riveting and the counterpoint enthralling. Delightful.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2010 ****
“unaffected performances of remarkable freshness and vitality...The variety of string articulation together with Gibley's discrete harmonisations further serve both to enliven and to elucidate Bach's musical arguments. Superb.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2011
“The Brook Street Band has a trademark playing style that's communicative,energetic, and very, very zingy in every department...the playing has such deftness and verve that time flies by...In chamber music from this period, you won't find more winning and winsome playing.” Classic FM Magazine, March 2011 ****
The exciting young Moldovan violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaya, who earlier this year won a BBC Music Magazine Award for her recording of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, is here joined by a small group of musicians including her mother, also a violinist, and father, a renowned cimbalom player, in a selection of pieces that reflect Eastern European folk and Gypsy traditions. Amongst the composers represented are Enescu, Ligeti, Kurtág, and Ravel.
One of the few pieces to feature the cimbalom as a main instrument in the standard classical repertoire is György Kurtág’s 8 Duos for Violin and Cimbalom. Kurtág comes from a part of Hungary close to Romania, and his music in these short pieces is steeped in the folk tradition both countries. The Romanian composer George Enescu’s music is celebrated for its Gypsy rhythms and these elements come to the fore in his Third Violin Sonata.
Patricia Kopatchinskaya was born in Moldova and raised in a family of musicians. "Rapsodia" was the name of the former band of her father Victor Kopatchinsky, one of the most famous cimbalom players of his generation. Her parents were constantly travelling with their ensemble, playing 300 concerts every year - in the Kremlin for the government and the generals, in factories and prisons, and in Siberia, North Africa, and Latin America. With her father on the cimbalom, her mother playing a second violin and friends such as Mihaela Ursuleasa, she here performs works rooted in traditional Moldovan and Eastern European music alongside pieces such as Ravel’s Tzigane that have a Gypsy inspiration.
“[in the Enescu] both Kopatchinskaya and her partner Mihaela Ursuleasa [project] an instinctive feeling for the almost improvisatory musical line. Finally Ravel's Tzigane is presented not as an empty virtuoso showpiece but as a work brimming with colour and imagination.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2010 *****
“[Kopatchinskaja's] playing, and that of everyone else involved, leaves you in no doubt that refined sophistication and raw intensity can fuse, setting the music on fire...This well-recorded disc is a breath of the freshest musical air.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2011
“The daughter of a cimbalom virtuoso and a classically trained violinist, she is equally at home in both worlds. Enescu's Sonata No 3 is framed by dances and extrapolations by Ligeti and Kurtag. Ravel's touristic "Tzigane" is transformed, while Jorge Sanchez-Chiong's "Crin" sees Kopatchinskaja vocalise Dada-esque syllables to kinetic pizzicato. Spicy and surprising.” The Independent on Sunday, 12th December 2010
“even before the first track is over, you realize this is a bit different…The greatest element of surprise comes in the form of Ravel's Tzigane...The resulting performance has an authenticity to Hungarian folk music Ravel could hardly have imagined...Kopatchinskaja's boldness and spirit of adventure should appeal to like-minded listeners.” International Record Review, March 2011
Beethoven has always been a part of the concert repertoire of exclusive Chandos artist Louis Lortie, and it rose again to the top of his agenda as he prepared to complete his recorded cycle of the composer’s sonatas earlier this year. Sonatas Nos 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 30, 31 and 32, newly recorded, will be released for the first time as part of a box set of the entire canon, which will be available at the bargain price of 9 CDs for the price of 3.
This box set of the complete piano sonatas is a must for all lovers of Beethoven and great piano playing. The compositions are bold and beautiful, challenging, witty and fresh. They seem to encompass all aspects of human sensibility and aspiration, and the superb playing of Louis Lortie takes the music to another level. His recording of the composer’s ‘Eroica’ Variations, which won an Edison Award, was described by Gramophone in glowing terms:
‘His account… is spacious and magisterial, virile yet sensitive, and the wide range of dynamic nuance and keyboard colour is there to illumine Beethoven’s textures and not highlight the artist’s pianism. He succeeds in communicating the power of Beethoven’s imagination: the part-writing in the fugue emerges with a masterly clarity, and is beautifully weighted and balanced.’
Highlights among the new recordings are that of the sublime Sonata No. 30, composed in 1820 – 22, which displays all the characteristics of Beethoven’s last creative phase: rich harmonic structures, a fascination with intricate counterpoint, and a strict adherence to classical and baroque forms. Also worthy of a separate mention is Sonata No. 22, a veritable study in contrasts. Its two complementary themes – a gracious, dignified ‘feminine’ theme resembling a minuet, and a stamping, assertive, ‘masculine’ theme – gradually influence one another in the course of the movement until they become thoroughly integrated and combined in the final passages.
“Lortie seems less interested in metaphysical profundity than in textural stylishness; spending enough time with this set to grasp Lortie's aims and insights is nevertheless genuinely rewarding” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2010 ****
“Time and again a faultless pianistic sheen and mastery are allied to the finest musical perception. Here, surely, is vital and living proof that you can maintain an individual and distinctive voice while remaining scrupulously true to the composer...Nothing is forced or rushed, everything is subtly nuanced and phrased beneath an outwardly urbane surface...These are performances to treasure and revisit.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2011
In celebration of Arvo Pärt’s 75th birthday (on 11 September), ECM New Series and the composer’s publisher Universal Edition have joined forces to present a special deluxe limited edition version of Tabula rasa. This recording launched the New Series in 1984, and the interpretations of Pärt’s unique compositions by a cast including Gidon Kremer, Keith Jarrett, Dennis Russell Davies and Alfred Schnittke changed the landscape of contemporary music.
This epochal recording is being reissued together with a 200-page book that includes previously unpublished facsimile manuscripts in Pärt’s hand, as well as study scores of ‘Tabula rasa’, ‘Cantus in memory of Benjamin Britten’, and ‘Fratres’ in versions for violin/piano and 12 cellos – all the pieces that comprised the now-legendary Tabula rasa album. Additionally the book includes Wolfgang Sandner’s original liner notes, a new introductory essay by Paul Griffiths, photos, discography and work list.
This highly attractive edition will be of intense interest to newcomers to Arvo Pärt as well as to those who loved this music the first time around. Moreover it will provide illumination for musicians and music students. It closely follows the release on ECM New Series of the world premiere recording of Pärt’s Symphony No 4 (4763957).
“This extremely handsome production is a worthy tribute to what is without any shadow of a doubt one of the great recordings of last century.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2011
“The 'original' performers Gidon Kremer and Keith Jarrett remain unsurpassed in the violin/piano version of Fratres, as do the Berlin Phil's players in the version for twelve cellos. Whether you notice it or not, it's the architecture of the pieces that make them powerful and those artists have the measure of it.” Classic FM Magazine, February 2011 ***