Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

March 2011

Disc of the Month

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Echoes of Time

Awards:

Presto Disc of the Week

21st February 2011

Gramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - March 2011

Label:

DG

Catalogue No:

4779299

Discs:

1

Release date:

7th Feb 2011

Barcode:

0028947792994

Length:

67 minutes

Medium:

CD (download also available)
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Echoes of Time


Kancheli:

V & V for violin and taped voice with string orchestra

Pärt:

Spiegel im Spiegel

with Hélène Grimaud (piano)

Rachmaninov:

Vocalise, Op. 34 No. 14

with Hélène Grimaud (piano)

Shostakovich:

Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op. 99

Ballet Suite No. 3: Lyric Waltz (from Dances of the Dolls)


CD

$14.00

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Lisa Batiashvili’s debut album for DG, ‘Echoes of Time’, is a matter of the heart - Lisa focuses her program on composers whose lives and work have been heavily influenced by the political happenings in former Soviet Union. Inspired by personal experience, Lisa, herself, went into German exile with her family during the political upheaval in Georgia in 1991.

The program spans the whole of the 20th century, classics by Shostakovich ‘Waltz from the Doll’s Dances’ and Rachmaninov’s ever popular ‘Vocalise’, are combined with Georgian composer, Giya Kancheli’s ‘V and V’, and Estonian, Arvo Pärt’s ‘Spiegel im Spiegel’. ‘Spiegel im Spiegel’ was written shortly before the composer went into exile.

For Pärt’s ‘Spiegel im Spiegel’ and Rachmaninov’s ‘Vocalise’ Lisa teams up with one of our DG’s most distinctive pianists, Hélène Grimaud. Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts the Symphonie orchester des bayerischen.

Dmitri Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No.1 in A minor, Op.99 (formerly Op.77)

1. Nocturne (Moderato)

2. Scherzo (Allegro)

3. Passacaglia (Andante)

4. Burlesque (Allegro con brio - Presto)

Giya Kancheli: V & V

V & V

Dmitri Shostakovich: Dance of the Dolls - orchestrated by Tamas Batiashvili

Lyric Waltz

Arvo Pärt: Spiegel im Spiegel

Spiegel im Spiegel

Sergey Vasil'yevich Rachmaninov: Vocalise, Op.34 No.14

Vocalise, Op.34 No.14

BBC Music Magazine

April 2011

*****

“[the Shostakovich] receives a deeply considered interpretation, its emotional narrative vividly etched by both soloist and conductor...Batiashvili begins the Cadenza in deep contemplation but quickly ratchets up the tension driving us irresistably towards the 'Burlesque', dispatched here with venom and rhythmic drive.”

Gramophone Magazine

March 2011

“few if any [recordings of the Shostakovich] are finer than this one...Batiashvili's reflective, almost weightless approach in the opening Nocturne...is rendered more distinctive by the resonant acoustic of the empty Herkulessaal...the passacaglia is exceptionally poised and the cadenza more sheerly musical than usual. The finale whizzes to its end without undue triumphalism.”

The Independent

11th February 2011

****

“It's a marvellous performance [of the Shostakovich], suitably crepuscular in the opening "Nocturne", before a Gypsy flamboyance takes over for "Scherzo". Salonen proves the perfect accomplice in realising the album's theme of works reflective of the Soviet era, the programme including pieces by Soviet emigrés Arvo Pärt and Giya Kancheli”

The Observer

20th February 2011

“[Shostakovich's] No. 1, Op 77 is the chief work, played with majesty and poetry on this soulful, mixed repertoire recital disc...This DG debut disc confirms Batiashvili as a powerful musical voice with an exciting future.”

The Telegraph

11th March 2011

*****

“Batiashvili is matched in emotional intensity by the Bavarian orchestra and Salonen, as she is in the inspirational way that Shostakovich’s palette of colours is so purposefully deployed.”

International Record Review

April 2011

“I will risk accusations of heresy by saying that this new recording of the Shostakovich Concerto make a btter case for the work than its premiere recording...Batiashvili's playing strikes me as more personal than Oistrakh's, and she seems more willing to dive into its bleakness, its black humour and its frayed nerves. She plays like a protagonist. At the same time, Batiashvili conveys these emotional states without sacrificing an iota of her gorgeous tone.”

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Editor's Choice

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Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf, Op. 67, etc.

Britten:

The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, Op. 34

Prokofiev:

Peter and the Wolf, Op. 67

Rawsthorne:

Practical Cats

first time complete on CD


Robert Donat (speaker) & Richard Baker (speaker)

New Philharmonia Orchestra & Philharmonia Orchestra, Alan Rawsthorne & Raymond Leppard

GGramophone Magazine

Collection Winner - March 2011

EMI Classics for Pleasure - 3822302

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$6.50

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Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection'

Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection'


Gustav Mahler’s epic Symphony No. 2 ‘Resurrection’ with Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Rundfunkchor Berlin and star soloists Kate Royal and Magdalena Kožená was recorded in concert at Berlin’s Philharmonie in late October 2010 and will be released on CD by EMI Classics in February 2011.

The Symphony, scored for orchestra, soloists and chorus, tackles the great mysteries of life and death and was already among the most successful and popular of Mahler’s symphonies during his lifetime. Not only was the work premiered by the Berliner Philharmoniker (in 1895) but it is an important work in Simon Rattle’s musical trajectory. The partnership of Sir Simon and the BPO in Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 portends a ground-breaking new recording.

The concerts on October 28-30 form part of a Mahlerthon of sorts, in which the Berliner Philharmoniker will perform all the symphonies between August 2010 and the end of 2011 in commemoration of two Mahler anniversaries: the 150th anniversary of his birth (7 July 2010) and the centenary of his death (18 May 2011).

The symphonies of Gustav Mahler have been a central theme in Simon Rattle’s career. “[Mahler’s Symphony No 2] was the piece that made me take up conducting in the first place when I heard it in a live performance when I was 12. Mahler aimed to put the entire world into a symphony and this world goes from the death rights of some unnamed hero through a memory of what life was in both its beauty and its horror and final resurrection and redemption. It’s on a vast canvas with many, many performers and, for me, it is one of the most moving of all orchestral works.”

Whilst still a student at the Royal Academy of Music in the 1970s, Rattle organised and conducted a performance of the Second Symphony. Since then, he has performed all of the Mahler symphonies on many occasions, principally with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Wiener Philharmoniker. At his Berlin debut in 1987, Rattle led the Berliner Philharmoniker in the Symphony No. 6, and his inaugural concert as the Orchestra’s Principal Conductor in September 2002 featured the Symphony No. 5.

Simon Rattle’s Mahler symphony performances on disc have won enthusiastic critical praise over the years: “Where Simon Rattle's interpretation is concerned, we must go into the realm of such giant Mahlerians as Walter and Klemperer, dissimilar as they were. For we are dealing here with conducting akin to genius, with insights and instincts that cannot be measured with any old yardstick.” (Gramophone on the 1987 recording of the Symphony No. 2 with the CBSO, Arleen Auger and Dame Janet Baker); “A triumph…It can safely be ranked among the finest performances on record.” (Gramophone on the 2002 recording of Symphony No. 5 with the BPO); “The final ascent to the big blue yonder is surely unsurpassable - on both the sonic and interpretative fronts… There's no doubt, then, that Rattle has inspired all concerned to an achievement which joins his groundbreaking readings of the Third, Seventh and Tenth Symphonies in the Mahlerian heaven.” (BBC Music Magazine on the 2005 recording of the Symphony No. 8 ‘Symphony of a Thousand’ with the CBSO); “One of the finest interpretations on record of Mahler’s great unfinished symphony… Rattle supremely allies mesmerising detail to awesome scale in an intense, award-winning live account” (Classic FM Magazine on the 2000 recording of the Symphony No. 10 with the BPO).

“the post-holocaust enchantments are magically coloured. For anyone who cares about this symphony Rattle's new recording is essential listening, if not necessarily a first port of call...[he] sets new standards with the light, shade and shock of his Berlin funeral rites which open the symphony.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2011 ****

“Throughout [the opening], Rattle marshals his players enough to let the schizophrenic terror of the movement have its effect...Exultantly we are drawn onward, though, toward the inevitable choral closing section, which is positively heaven-sent when it finally arrives... in Rattle's hands it is supremely thrilling.” Daniel Ross, bbc.co.uk, 22/02/2011

“Countless surface details and fleeting shades emerge as Rattle's vision unfolds, delivered not as wilful impostors but according to the score's letter. Beyond breathtaking playing, peerless choral singing and the supernatural beauty of Magdalena Kožená's Urlicht solo, this performance spans Mahler's infinitely complex universe with compelling intellectual insight and expressive force” Classic FM Magazine, March 2011 ****

“Rattle represents its quasi-Expressionist leanings, its wilfulness and Weltschmerz: Mahler as modernist...Rattle’s micromanagement underlines Mahler’s glaring colours and edginess...Magdalena Kozena (Rattle’s wife) handles the Urlicht movement with chaste refinement, and the Berlin Philharmonic plays with phenomenal commitment and finesse.” Financial Times, 5th February 2011 ****

“Kožená brings her customary depth of feeling to the still maternal voice of "Urlicht"...Rattle's famous piano-pianissimos are deployed to breathtaking effect, the choral passages (radiantly illuminated at the top by Kate Royal) sound pure, mysterious and very Bachian, and the returning resurrection hymn is tremendous” Gramophone Magazine, March 2011

“Rattle places considerable weight on this audacious conflation of tone-poem...and sonata-form...his is undoubtedly a reading of as well as for the present.” International Record Review, March 2011

“Rattle’s tempos have broadened slightly, but crucially they never feel self-indulgent, and indeed these broad tempos add to the majesty and grandeur of the performance...while there is still the incredible attention to detail which Rattle’s Mahler is renowned for – with intricate balance, careful phrasing and stunning dynamic contrasts...I think Rattle lets his Berlin players ‘play’ a little more than he did the CBSO.” Chris O'Reilly, Presto Classical, 7th February 2011

“the sound is almost miraculously analytical, and the combination of Rattle's attention to detail and the superlative playing of his great orchestra ensures that every morsel of Mahler's scoring makes its point.” The Guardian, 24th February 2011 ****

“Of course there’s much to admire. The BPO are on fantastic form, the recorded sound is sumptuous but clear and Rattle brings some new thoughts to the piece. The first movement is striking for its deliberate, almost stealthy beginning, and there’s a slow, almost dreamlike delicacy about the music.” The Telegraph, 25th February 2011 ***

“The opening bars certainly make you sit bolt upright. Upper strings tremble; lower strings thrust: Rattle starts the symphony’s journey in a flourish of power and mystery...In the nostalgic second movement Rattle remains winningly light-footed. We also enjoy the benefits of deeper feelings. Listen to the sweetly lyrical strings once the opening hurly-burly is done” The Times, 4th February 2011

Presto Disc of the Week

7th February 2011

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - March 2011

Warner Classics - 6473632

(CD - 2 discs)

$13.75

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Hindemith: The Complete Viola Music Volume 3

Hindemith: The Complete Viola Music Volume 3

Concertos


Hindemith:

Konzertmusik, Op. 48 for viola & large chamber orchestra

Der Schwanendreher

Trauermusik

Kammermusik No. 5 Op. 36 No. 4 Bratschenkonzert


Lawrence Power’s revelationary series of Hindemith’s complete works for the viola continues into a third and final volume with the music for viola and orchestra. Hindemith was an internationally renowned viola player himself, and his legacy for the instrument is an inestimably important body of work. Throughout this series, Power’s searingly vivid and eloquent performances have left critics and the listening public in no doubt that the somewhat ‘difficult’ reputation of the composer is ill-deserved; that this is music full of striking melodic ideas, deep lyrical feeling and high drama.

The works recorded here include Hindemith’s only formally titled concerto for viola and full orchestra, ‘Der Schwanendreher’, based on old German folk-songs. Hindemith explained that in this concerto he saw the soloist as an itinerant fiddler who comes among convivial company and plays for them the repertoire he has learned on his travels, and like a good folk-fiddler, embellishes the melodies freely and sometimes fantastically. This whimsical idea succinctly describes the procedures of the three movements: and it is clear from the unaccompanied solo which begins the first of them that the folksongs are always given Hindemith’s personal colouring. Also included is one of Hindemith’s most celebrated works: ‘Trauermusik’, written at great speed for a BBC broadcast of his music when King George V had died the day before and funeral music had to replace the planned programme. It is a shining example of an ‘occasional composition’ that far transcends its occasion and makes a distinct contribution to the general repertoire. Closely allied in tone to the more reflective portions of the opera Mathis der Maler, it is a grave, shapely and eloquent lament, with a special quality of intimacy.

“once again [Power] projects splendidly warm and rounded tone, bringing compelling focus to these performances.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2011 *****

“...a prince among violists. Hindemith’s modest scoring gives the soloist ample profile, and Power executes the virtuoso flights with easy aplomb.” Financial Times, 11th February 2011 ***

“Power's affinity with Hindemith's music is as evident in these new recordings as in previous installments, his tone perfectly balanced between strength and delicacy...Hyperion's beautifully natural recording is the best yet but it is the partnership with Atheron and the BBC Scottish that makes this such a rewarding listen” Gramophone Magazine, March 2011

“Trauermusik (Funeral Music), the masterpiece here, sounds like a great Shostakovich lament, but the Konzertmusik, Kammermusik No 5 and Der Schwanendreher are packed with some of Hindemith’s most attractive inventions.” Sunday Times, 9th January 2011 ****

“The third instalment of Lawrence Power's Hyperion survey of Hindemith's works for viola is in many ways the most rewarding so far...Trauermusik is a particularly striking three-movement elegy, with David Atherton ensuring that the BBC Scottish Symphony's string textures perfectly cushion the viola's lament.” The Guardian, 6th January 2011 ****

“Lawrence Power lends poignancy to the slow movements and tremendous drive to the fast ones, and the BBC SSO under Atherton gives those machine rhythms real relish.” The Telegraph, 14th January 2011 ****

“This disc, featuring Britain’s star viola player, throbs with lyricism and displays a maligned composer’s true range...Sparks keep flying from Power’s multicoloured viola, and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, conducted by David Atherton, is always clean and neat.” The Times, 7th January 2011

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - March 2011

Hyperion & Helios - up to 50% off

Hyperion Hindemith Viola Music - CDA67774

(CD)

Normally: $15.25

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Liszt Complete Music for Solo Piano: New Discoveries 3

Liszt Complete Music for Solo Piano: New Discoveries 3

Romancero espagnol, Trois Chansons, Two further pieces from Christus, Wilde Jagd – Scherzo, Album-Leaves, and several first and second thoughts.


Liszt:

Romancero espagnol, S695c

Christus, S498c: Two Pieces

Magnificat, S182a

Trois Chansons, S510a

Album-Leaf 'Andantino in A flat major', S166p

Album-Leaf in G major, S166q

Variations 'Tiszántuli szép léany', S384a

Lyubila ya [Wielhorsky] (first version), S577i

Schlummerlied, S186/7a

Valse-Impromptu, S213bis

Marche des pelerins de la symphonie Harold en Italie de Berlioz, S473

Einzug der Gäste auf der Wartburg S445/1

Adagio non troppo, S151a

Album-Leaf 'Andantino in E flat major', S163a/2

Album-Leaf 'Andante in E flat major', S167r

Album-Leaf in C major 'Lyon', S167s

Album-Leaf 'Quasi mazurek in C major', S163e

Album-Leaf 'Adagio – religioso in C major', S164l

Album-Leaf 'Agitato in G major', S167l

Album-Leaf 'Andante religiosamente in G major', S166j

Album-Leaf 'Tempo di marcia in E flat major', S167o

Album-Leaf 'Fugue chromatique' – Allegro in G minor, S167j

Album-Leaf in E flat major, S167k

Album-Leaf in G minor, S166l/2

Album-Leaf 'Langsam in C sharp minor', S166o

Album-Leaf 'Moderato in D flat major', S164k

Album-Leaf 'Vivace ma non troppo in D flat major', S167g

Album-Leaf 'Larghetto in D flat major', S167p

Album-Leaf 'Schlusschor des entfesselten Prometheus' – Andante solenne in D flat major, S167q

Album-Leaf 'Magyar in D flat major', S164e/3

Prozinsky Fragment for piano, S701v

Album-Leaf 'Allegretto in A major', S167n

Album-Leaf in A major, S166a

Album-Leaf in E major, S167t

Album-Leaf 'Andantino in E major', S163d/ii

Album-Leaf 'Purgatorio' – Andante in B minor, S166r/1

Album-Leaf 'Aus dem Purgatorio des Dante Sinfonie' – Lamentoso in B minor, S166r/2

Album-Leaf 'Introduction to the Grande Étude de Paganini No 6', S141/6bis

Cadenza, S695f

Album-Leaf 'Aus den [Erster] Mephisto-Walzer, Episode aus Lenaus Faust' – Der Tanz in der Dorfschenke, S167m

Wilde Jagd – Scherzo, S176a


Liszt was born 200 years ago in 1811, and to begin his bicentenary birthday celebration, Hyperion presents a disc of works that have been recorded, and indeed heard here, for the first time. Leslie Howard has long been acknowledged as the foremost Liszt scholar and performer in the world today, and this disc is a perfect example of his tireless work on behalf of the composer.

“Wayward, expansive, luridly colourful, [Liszt] still needs his advocates. Leslie Howard is one of his most devoted: long-serving, skilful, eloquent in his interpretations of the vast piano output.” The Observer, 16th January 2011

“These CDs...amount to something more than the latest necessary purchase for completists: indeed this latest batch of previously unknown or long-forgotten items assembles into a pleasingly comprehensive musical portrait...As ever, [Howard] allows the composer's spontaneous, improvisatory streak to speak as naturally as it likes, and needs to.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2011 ****

“All of this intriguing new material is presented with the discernment and sympathy which have become the hallmark of Howard's Liszt series.” International Record Review, January 2011

“The collection opens with a real find in the three-movement, 20-minute-long Romancero espagnol...The music is quite extrovert, dramatic and harmonically adventurous...Clearly tackling Liszt anew in the studio has revitalised Howard's pianism.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2011

“An extraordinary tour de force of pianism, musical detective work and scholarship, well recorded and impeccably annotated as always. It honours Liszt's memory in the best possible way by illustrating his many-faceted genius.” Classic FM Magazine, May 2011 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - March 2011

Hyperion & Helios - up to 50% off

Hyperion - Liszt Complete Solo Piano Music - CDA67810

(CD - 2 discs)

Normally: $15.25

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Gounod: Mireille

Gounod: Mireille


Inva Mula (Mireille), Charles Castronovo (Vincent), Franck Ferrari (Ourrias), Alain Vernhes (Ramon), Anne Catherine Gillet (Vincenette), Sylvie Brunet (Taven), Sébastien Droy (Andreloun), Nicolas Cavallier (Ambroise), Amel Brahim-Djelloul (Clemence) & Ugo Rabec (Le Passeur)

Orchestre et Choeurs de l’Opera National de Paris, Marc Minkowski

This production resuscitates Gounod’s largely forgotten opera Mireille. A triumph for Marc Minkowski, conducting at the Opéra National de Paris, it attracted more than 1 million viewers when broadcast on TV!

No competition on DVD or Bluray.

In 1859, a young Provençal poet, Fredéric Mistral, wrote his masterpiece, Miréio, a vast epic love poem. Gounod, whose Faust was created that year, read Mireille shortly after publication and went to Saint-Rémy de Provence to meet Mistral. Gounod was charmed by the originality of the work, the story being much less contrived than many of those on the operatic stage at the time. The opera has had a difficult career and was revised and altered several times. In 1939, Guy Ferrant and Henri Busser, disciples of Gounod, restored the five-act original and Mireille was finally restored from dancing on a fine midsummer's morning, to the gripping scene in the desert-like Crau region.

BONUS INCLUDES interviews with Marc Minkowski, Nicolas Joel & Christophe Ghristi [26’53]

Production de l’Opéra National de Paris

NTSC 16:9, Sound : DTS 5.2,

Language: Fr, Subtitles: Fr, Eng, Ger, Spa, It

2h 32min

“this is beautifully done, with the cast looking as if they were straight out of films like Manon des sources, and singing superbly. Inva Mula's pretty heroine moves appealingly from sparkle to pathos...her fresh soprano blends well with her handsome lover Charles Castronovo's lyrical tenor...It's hard to imagine making a better present-day case for Mireille.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2010 *****

“The scene is so realistic that one half-wonders if a real cornfield was dug up and planted on the Palais Garnier stage...everything feels true to the opera's pastoral spirit. The musical performance is equally fine...Minkowski conducts the five-act version of the opera with his customary light touch and no embarrassment about indulging Gounod when he is at his most sentimental.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2011

“a delightful evocation of the Provence countryside...Mula is on good vocal form...Hers is an affecting assumption. She is extremely well partnered by Charles Castronovo, his singing full of lyricism, his acting and reactions natural and unforced...Minkowski is obviously in sympathy with the work and brings out the different emotions.” International Record Review, March 2011

GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - March 2011

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

fRA - FRA002

(DVD Video - 2 discs)

$39.25

This item is currently out of stock at the UK distributor. You may order it now but please be aware that it may be six weeks or more before it can be despatched.

Mahler: Symphony No. 9

Mahler: Symphony No. 9


At the beginning of the 2010/2011 season Jukka-Pekka Saraste will become principal conductor of the WDR Symphony Orchestra in Cologne, having given regular guest performances with it since 2001.

Jukka-Pekka Saraste has established himself as one of the most eminent conductors of his generation. His artistic work is equally marked by musical depth and integrity. He has not only done much to firmly anchor the music of Scandinavia in concert life, but has also gained broad acknowledgement for his great affinity with late Romantic and modern classical music.

“there's much to commend throughout, especially in the Scherzo and Rondo-Burleske where the woodwind have the lion's share of character; the E flat clarinet shrieks are impressive indeed. A pity Saraste had to slip into a lower gear so soon before the trumpet unleashes heaven in the midst of hell, but the last spurt of horror is brilliantly done.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2011 ***

“Mahler is all about weighing and balancing the extremes...and Saraste's judgement in such matters is sharp and instinctive...[he] creates great atmosphere in [the] "lost" moments, time and pulse suspended like an out-of-body experience...it's the tension between defiance and resignation that really shows Saraste's perception and understanding.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2011

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - March 2011

Profil Medien - PH10035

(CD)

$10.50

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Pierné: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1

Pierné: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1


Pierné, G:

Piano Concerto in C minor, Op. 12

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano)

Ramuntcho, Suites Nos. 1 & 2

Divertissements sur un thème pastoral, Op. 49

Marche des petits soldats de plomb


This is Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s third concerto CD for Chandos, following on from this year’s highly acclaimed accounts of the Bartók Piano Concertos (CHAN10610) and the Ravel Piano Concertos (CHSA5084). Bavouzet is a true master of the French repertoire as can be seen from his award winning complete Debussy series. He is here accompanied by Juanjo Mena – who will from September 2011 be the Chief Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic – in this, his debut recording on Chandos.

Whilst not now a household name, Pierné was a highly respected and very active composer/conductor in his day as well as a key figure in the French musical establishment (he even has a square named after him in Paris). He received the French Légion d’Honneur in 1900 and, in 1910, conducted the premier of Stravinsky’s The Firebird. A pupil of Franck and Massenet, he wrote music with tremendous fluency and all his works were written with a characteristically light, French touch. His style combines the essence of both his key teachers: there was a mixture of the seriousness of Franck and the sensuality of Massenet, and these elements combined to produce a string of very attractive and tuneful orchestral pieces.

Cast in the traditional three movements, the Piano Concerto was completed in 1886. After an imposing introduction, the classical structure of the movement is imbued with a charm reminiscent of Saint-Saëns. A bright and cheerful Scherzando separates this first movement and the brilliant rondo finale, which uses material heard previously in the concerto.

The Suites from Ramuntcho derive from music he wrote for the play of the same name in 1908 by Pierre Loti. Here the story of the Basque smuggler provided Pierné with plenty of opportunities to imbue his score with vibrant Basque colours and rhythms. Whilst the extended overture to the suites is one of his most successful works, other movements such as the lively Fandango and the final Rapsodie Basque are equally appealing, both in terms of melody and orchestral colour.

However, the composer’s most famous work is the once very popular Marches des Petits Soldats (the March of the Little Lead Soldiers) which enjoyed a great vogue up until recent years. This new recording reveals its catchy-charms to new generations once again.

“The early Piano Concerto from 1887 and the two suites taken from the incidental music to a stage version of Pierre Loti's Basque-country novel Ramuntcho are the main works here – the concerto a curiously bombastic mix of Saint-Saëns and Tchaikovsky, the ingratiating incidental music full of local colour.” The Guardian, January 2011 **

“This attractive disc would make an ideal introduction to the charms of Pierné's music...The revelatory heart, though, is the music from Ramuntcho...Inspired by the Basque setting, there is plenty of colour and vigour.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2011 ****

“[Bavouzet] relishes the concerto's theatrics and has both the digital dexterity and the power to bring them off.” International Record Review, January 2011

“[Mena] gives life to the Basque colouring of the Ramuntcho suites and to the deft orchestration of the Divertissements by Gabriel Pierné...Bavouzet plays [the Piano Concerto] with a nice blend of bravura, finesse and rumbustious charm.” The Telegraph, 3rd February 2011 ***

“[Bavouzet] plays with an enthralling virtuosity...he makes it difficult to imagine a more bright-eyed and eloquent soloist, and his partners work with him hand-in-glove. For all those who delight in a wholly French grace and magic, this disc is a winner, and it is superbly recorded.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2011

“the beautifully focused style of the BBC Philharmonic's line-up of principal woodwind players suits Pierné's idiom to near-perfection...[In the Concerto] Bavouzet delivers its solo part with terrific panache...Mena's handling of pace and mood, though never obtrusive, is beautifully skilled.” Classic FM Magazine, May 2011 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - March 2011

Chandos - up to 40% off

Chandos - CHAN10633

(CD)

Normally: $15.25

Special: $12.20

(also available to download from $10.00)

This item is currently out of stock at the UK distributor. You may order it now but please be aware that it may be six weeks or more before it can be despatched. (Available now to download.)

Vivaldi: Concerti per il flauto traversier

Vivaldi: Concerti per il flauto traversier

Juin 2009 à l’Église de l’Assomption de la Vierge Marie du Séminaire Universitaire Catholique de oscikowo-Paradyz (Pologne)


Vivaldi:

Flute Concerto, Op. 10 No. 4 in G major, RV 435

Flute Concerto in A minor RV440

Flute Concerto for flute, strings & continuo in G major, RV436

Flute Concerto, RV430 (275a)

Flute Concerto RV432

Concerto for flute, strings & continuo in G major, RV 438

Flute Concerto, Op. 10 No. 3 in D major, RV 428 'Il gardellino'

extracts

Flute Concerto RV 429

Flute Concerto, Op. 10 No. 5 in F major, RV 434

Flute Concerto RV427


Alexis Kossenko (flute & direction)

Arte dei Suonatori

Vivaldi’s flute concertos form a still badly defined and little known corpus. Between incomplete concertos, transcriptions [including some by Graupner] or revisions, trios or quartets equally called ‘concertos’, apocryphal pages, recently rediscovered works, those still missing but known through catalogues, the ambiguity in the use of the recorder or the flute (maintained by present day exponents), it is rather difficult to have a precise idea of the number of concertos the Venetian devoted to the flauto traversier. Six of them, however, had the good fortune to be published, and have reached us, whether in concerts or on disc. Director and flautist, Alexis Kossenko distinguishes himself once again, after his success with CPE Bach’s flute concertos.

“as a demonstration of the subtle and resourceful range of Vivaldi's imagination as applied within the limitations of a set format, this is an ideal selection...in their astute, flexible and attractive musicianship they miss few tricks, allowing Vivaldi to emerge as a more sensitive artist than many might have thought...Definitely an enhancement to the Vivaldi discography.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2011

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - March 2011

A Musical Picture - up to 40% off

Alpha - ALPHA174

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Rihm/Bartok: Schrift-Um-Schrift

Rihm/Bartok: Schrift-Um-Schrift


Bartók:

Sonata for Two Pianos & Percussion, BB 115, Sz. 110

Rihm:

Schrift-um-Schrift


Graumacher Piano Duo, Franz Schindlbeck & Jan Schlichte (percussion)

Bartók wrote this sonata in 1937, having already written his epoch-making Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta. Rihm’s work is dated 1993/2007. It enjoys a successive development of discrete musical events and attenuated sounds, transformed into a space filled with echoes and resonances.

“This performance is a model of sustained alertness, the recording admirably spacious and sonorous.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2011

“Bartok’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion is a marvel of 20th-century music, an uncanny fusion of the cerebral and the visceral, the folkloristic and geometrical. It is played here with a keen ear for both kinds of attribute, coolly, passionately and altogether thrillingly” Sunday Times, 28th November 2010 ****

“Schrift-Um-Schrift was composed by Wolfgang Rihm as a companion piece to Bartók's great sonata, and certainly uses the pairs of percussionists and pianists to create a shimmering, delicate soundworld that occasionally snaps into focus with much more sharply defined musical objects...Alongside it the Bartók sonata seems a model of clarity and vivid originality” The Guardian, 6th January 2011 ***

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - March 2011

Contemporary Music - up to 25% off

Neos Contemporary - NEOS11032

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Saint-Saëns: Music for Wind Instruments

Saint-Saëns: Music for Wind Instruments


Saint-Saëns:

Caprice sur des airs danois et russes for piano, flute, oboe and clarinet Op. 79

Clarinet Sonata in E flat major, Op. 167

Oboe Sonata in D major Op. 166

Bassoon Sonata in G major, Op. 168

Romance, Op. 67

arr. for horn and piano

Tarantelle in A minor for flute, clarinet & piano/orchestra Op. 6


Stéphane Lemelin (piano)

Canada’s National Arts Centre Wind Quintet

Celebrated as one of the most successful and gifted composers of his day, Saint-Saëns wrote music for woodwind instruments throughout his long career. This recording presents music from his early days as the ‘bright young thing’ on the Parisian music scene to the last year of his life.

Canada’s renowned National Arts Centre Wind Quintet joins Stéphane Lemelin, a laureate of the Robert Casadesus International Competition, to interpret these assured and beautiful works which combine virtuosity, gentle wit and thoroughly French charm.

“...performances that encapsulate the Gallic charm and finesse of the music. At the same time, the Oboe Sonata's mix of the pastoral and the perky is nicely established, as is the blend of warmth and bravura in the Clarinet Sonata...The unifying feature of this programme is the excellently judged piano playing of Stéphane Lemelin, who adds a discerning range of colour and spirit to the performances” Gramophone Magazine, March 2011

“A very enjoyable release...one graced by virtuoso, characterful and committed playing from the members of Canada's National Arts Centre Wind Quintet, and with some notable teamwork when required. The recording in its clarity and immediacy serves the music and performers admirably.” International Record Review, March 2011

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - March 2011

Naxos - 8570964

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Tallis & Byrd: Cantiones Sacrae 1575

Tallis & Byrd: Cantiones Sacrae 1575


Byrd:

Emendemus in melius

Libera me, Domine, et pone

Peccantem me quotidie

Aspice, Domine quia facta est

Attollite portas

O Lux beata Trinitas

Laudate, pueri, Dominum

Memento homo

Siderum rector

SCTBarB

Libera me Domine de morte

Tribue, Domine

Te deprecor

Gloria patri qui creavit

Miserere mihi, Domini

Diliges Dominum

Domine secundum actum meum

Da mihi auxilium

Tallis:

Salvator mundi, salva nos 1 & 2

Absterge Domine

In manus tuas

Mihi autem nimis

O nata lux de lumine 5vv

O sacrum convivium

Derelinquat impius

Dum transisset sabbatum

Honor, Virtus et Potestas

Sermone blando angelus

Te lucis ante terminum

Miserere nostri, motet for 7 voices, P. 207

Suscipe quaeso Domine

Si enim iniquitates

In ieiunio et fletu

Candidi Facti Sunt

Te lucis ante terminum


In 1575 'Thomas 'Tallis then an 'aged man', and his pupil and friend William Byrd, who was in his mid to late 30s, paid tribute to Elizabeth 1 by selecting 17 motets each for their Cantiones Sacrae ('Sacred Songs'), the first major printed collection of music to be published in England.

Many of these works have since become staple in the repertoire of church and chamber choirs throughout the world.

This is the first recording to present the Cantiones in their entirety, by the same group of singers, and in the composers' original order of publication.

“Homophonic passages impress with their splendour, enriched here by the chestnut hues of basses William Gaunt and Robert Macdonald. The clarity of line lays bare the ingenuity of counterpoint, no matter how thick the texture becomes - a formidable achievement in Byrd's 'double imitation' motets.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2011 ***

“The prevailing mood is penitential, but the pieces are never dull; there's much delight to be had in listening to the way the individual voice parts weave in and out...Skinner gets his singers to bring [the false relations] out so that they send shivers down your spine...[He] shapes the music extremely well.” Classic FM Magazine, March 2011 ****

“They use solo voices throughout, mixed voices with a fairly open sound that brings with it more vibrato than we are used to hearing in such music nowadays...That results in performances that are refreshingly free of self-indulgence. Some of the big Byrd pieces in particular are very good indeed.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2011

“This is the first time the Cantiones Sacrae has been recorded complete and 'in the original order intended by the composers themselves'...An auspicious beginning to a mighty undertaking.” International Record Review, May 2011

“Contrasts abound: Byrd’s florid three-section Tribue Domine is almost Marian in its vastness, while Tallis’s hymn setting O nata lux de lumine is brevity itself...The dozen singers perform expressively and blend beautifully throughout, while Skinner, who adopts a commonsense approach to pitch standards, injects passion into every note.” Sunday Times, 30th January 2011 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - March 2011

Obsidian Records - CD706

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Dvórak: Complete Piano Works

Dvórak: Complete Piano Works


Dvorak:

Theme and Variations in A flat major, Op. 36

Polka in E major, B3

Silhouettes, Op. 8

Minuets (2), Op.28

Dumka in D minor, Op. 35

Furiant, Op. 42, Nos. 1 & 2

Waltzes, Op. 54

Four Eclogues

Scottish Dances, Op. 41

Four Album Leaves, B109

Piano Pieces, Op. 52

Mazurkas (6), Op. 56

Moderato in A, B116

Question, B128a

Impromptu in D minor, B129

Poetic Tone Pictures, Op. 85

Humoresques, Op. 101 (complete)

Two Little Pearls, B156

Dumka and Furiant Op. 12

Album Leaf in E flat, B158

Suite, Op. 98

Humoresque in F sharp major, B138

Two Piano Pieces, Op. posth, B. 188


Inna Poroshina (piano)

Dvorák considered himself only a modest pianist (he was a string player), and his music for piano has for long been neglected and considered of secondary importance to his symphonies, concertos and chamber works.

Whilst undoubtedly true, the output for solo piano does contain some of his more mundane efforts, closer study of the music reveals some gems well worth getting to know, and that all contain his innate gift for melody.

His largest work featuring piano, the G major piano concerto has finally made some headway in the concert repertoire, and has always been championed by leading pianists – Richter and Aimard to name just two. The piano trios, quartets and the quintet all have effective piano parts, and are well laid out for the pianist.

So why has the solo piano music been so neglected? These works span his entire creative life, from the simple little Polka in E of 1860, to the Theme and Variations, Suite in A, and the Humoresques of 1894. These last three works are his masterpieces for piano, and indeed the Seventh Humoresque in G became very famous due its use in a Joan Crawford film in 1946, and through arrangements by Fritz Kreisler and Art Tatum. The Suite in A, dating from his time in America (where he composed his Ninth Symphony ‘From the New World’) is better known today in its orchestral version. These CDs contain some wonderful little known music by one the best loved composers – music that deserves a wider audience.

GGramophone Magazine

Re-issue of the Month - March 2011

Brilliant Classics Piano Library - 94085

(CD - 5 discs)

$17.50

(also available to download from $50.00)

This item is currently out of stock at the UK distributor. You may order it now but please be aware that it may be six weeks or more before it can be despatched. (Available now to download.)

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