Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

July 2011

Editor's Choice

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Bach, J S: St John Passion, BWV245

Bach, J S: St John Passion, BWV245

Mark Padmore (Evangelist/tenor arias), Hanno Müller-Brachmann (Jesus), Peter Harvey (Pilatus/bass arias), Joanna Lunn (soprano - 'Ich folge dir gleichfells'), Katharine Fuge (soprano - Ancilla and 'Zerfliesse, mein Herze'), Bernarda Fink (alto), Julian Clarkson (Petrus), Robert Murray (Servus I), Paul Tindall (Servus II)

The Monteverdi Choir & The English Baroque Soloists, Sir John Eliot Gardiner

This album was recorded in Königslutter in 2003.

The booklet contains original notes by John Eliot Gardiner and texts in German, English and French.

Considered to be an expressive and intimate oratorio, the St John Passion was conceived by Bach both as a work of art and an act of worship in itself.

It has a subtle balance between narrative and contemplative, juxtaposing vivid re-enactment and dramatic scene-setting in the ariosos and arias, with stretches of exposition of its meaning in chorales.

The music is in turns evocative, stirring, exultant and profoundly moving. It forces the listener to contemplate the complexities of the Passion story. Regardless of one’s religious view, it captures our attention from beginning to end.

“These performances, taped at the end of an English Baroque Soloists tour in 2006, exude a tremendous sense of common purpose and an un-dogmatic stylistic assurance...Gardiner gets the music to “speak” without ever sounding fussy. In short, he achieves that rare feat of revitalising the familiar.” Financial Times, 26th February 2011 *****

“Gardiner sets the waves gently but urgently lapping in a perfectly judged opening...Padmore's Evangelist is commanding, tireless and beautifully enunciated...There surely cannot be a better account on record. From first to last Gardiner imparts his love for the work and it comes across. The performers share his view and so do we. The liveness of the recording is palpable.” Classic FM Magazine, June 2011 *****

“To borrow a phrase used more than one by Gardiner, his is a reading which lives viscerally in the 'here and now'...throughout, the Monteverdi Choir is typically alert and tautly-sprung. Crowd scenes crackle with indignation...while the chorales are loving sculpted around a close reading of the texts...Padmore's Evangelist holds the whole together with the supple, hypnotic élan of a born story-teller...Truly this is a jewel beyond price.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2011 *****

“Padmore's Evangelist is both ringingly true and acutely observed...perhaps the most disarming quality overall is that Gardiner's understanding of devotional ritual - drawn unquestionably from his unique Pilgrimage a few years earlier - translates into a new world, not wrinkle-free but one where sadness and hope seem to hover as tantalisingly in this work as I have heard.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2011

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2011

BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the month - June 2011

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Schumann: Complete Piano Trios

Schumann: Complete Piano Trios


Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 63

Piano Trio No. 2 in F major, Op. 80

Piano Trio No. 3 in G minor, Op. 110

Studies (6) in Canonic Form, Op. 56

arr. for Piano Trio

Fantasiestücke in A minor for Piano Trio, Op. 88

Frequent collaborators Leif Ove Andsnes, violinist Christian Tetzlaff and cellist Tanja Tetzlaff record three of Robert Schumann’s Piano Trios for this 2-CD set. The trio have recorded Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 63, Piano Trio No. 2 in f and Piano Trio No. 3 in G minor.

“there are so many praiseworthy things. The way these musicians approach Schumann's long spans of rhythmically repetitive writing shows such understanding and sensitivity that you forget there was ever a problem to be solved. There are some very memorable touches here, like the ghostly string tone at the heart of the first movement of the First Trio.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2011 ***

“Andsnes and the Tetzlaff siblings adopt a restrained approach that works most convincingly in Schumann’s songful slow movements...there is rapport here.” Sunday Times, 15th May 2011 ***

“as you would expect from such fine musicians, they make a formidably competent trio. Their playing of all the works here is technically beyond criticism, and there is plenty to admire, whether it's Andsnes's crystalline delicacy in the slow movements or the way in which the two string players can reduce their tone to the merest whisper for dramatic effect.” The Guardian, 19th May 2011 ***

“So what makes this so special? First, the pianist: Leif Ove Andsnes has long been acclaimed for his Schumann...It's not just for their dramatic pacing that I treasure these performances but for their lyrical qualities the 'Duett' from the Op. 88 Fantasiestücke I defy you to find more beauty and understanding bewteen two string players, with Andsnes the most sensitive of supporting artists...a remarkable achievement.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2011

“[Christian Tetzlaff's] strong personality and unmistakeable sound - plangent, witty and often lightly ironic - can seem quite dominant. But Andsnes's sparkling, solid and good-natured pianism is his ideal foil and on the whole the three play as if with one mind. In their hands Schumann emerges as blazingly inspired.” Classic FM Magazine, July 2011 *****

GGramophone Awards 2012

Best of Category - Chamber

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2011

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Holst: Savitri, 7 Part-Songs & Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda

Holst: Savitri, 7 Part-Songs & Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda


Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda, Op. 26: 3rd Group, H99

Osian Ellis (harp)


Janet Baker (Sāvitri), Robert Tear (Satyavān), Thomas Helmsley (Death)

English Chamber Orchestra

Seven Part-songs, H162

English Chamber Orchestra

The Evening-watch, H159

The Purcell Singers, Imogen Holst

An inspired arrangement between Decca and Imogen Holst, led to a series of pioneering recordings of her father Gustav Holst’s music, which appeared on Argo and are now comprehensively released on CD as part of the Eloquence series. This collection highlights Holst’s fascination with mysticism and the Orient, with the inclusion of the Rig-Veda Hymns and the chamber opera Savitri, boasting a trio of luminaries – Janet Baker, Robert Tear and Thomas Helmsley – who, with Imogen Holst, give us a heart-rending performance of this episode from the Mahabharata, which tells how Savitri, the wife of a young woodcutter, wins back her husband, for whom Death has come, by the strength of her love and devotion The Seven Part-Songs, set to poems by Holst’s friend Robert Bridges are subtle and gracious, as befits their verses. Imogen Holst’s notes for the LPs – ‘acutely perceptive, objective and candid’ noted Gramophone’s reviewer Lionel Salter – are here reprinted as are the full texts.

Recording producer: David Harvey

Recording engineer: Kenneth Wilkinson

Recording location: Kingsway Hall, London, UK, October-November 1965

“this classic performance will be difficult to better’ … ‘Janet Baker gives a radiant and most moving interpretation of the title role” Gramophone Magazine (Savitri)

“The ladies of the Purcell Singers give atmospheric performances, with great purity of intonation and wonderfully clear words … the engineering of the whole disc is impeccable” Gramophone Magazine (Rig Veda Hymns)

“Unreservedly recommended” Gramophone Magazine

GGramophone Magazine

Re-issue of the Month - July 2011

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Sophia – Biography of a Violin Concerto

Sophia – Biography of a Violin Concerto

A Jan Schmidt-Garre Film

In August 2007, Anne-Sophie Mutter performed the world premiere of Sofia Gubaidulina‘s 2nd violin concerto in Lucerne with conductor Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic. This piece by the Russian composer (born in 1931) was an important event in many respects. Sofia Gubaidulina is one of the world‘s leading contemporary composers. Her international breakthrough came in 1980 with her first violin concerto, Offertorium, which she wrote for Gidon Kremer. To this day, it remains her most often performed piece. In spite of all the other pieces she has written in the meantime, it is her second violin concerto that violinists, conductors and orchestras around the world have eagerly been awaiting, especially since she was commissioned to write it in 1992 by Paul Sacher, the Basel conductor and patron of the arts. It was his wish that Gubaidulina‘s new violin concerto first be performed by Anne-Sophie Mutter. Fifteen years later, that dream finally came true.

The film focuses on the piece - from its inception, through the many stages of the creative process to its world premiere but also features the many great expectations of the music world and the resulting pressure on Gubaidulina. It’s not the usual portrait of the composer but concentrates on the work in progress and documents the collaboration between Anne-Sophie Mutter, Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic.

"First I hear the end of the piece. I hear it all at once, all mixed up and hard to recognize. As if everything were tied in a knot. It‘s too complicated. I can‘t write that moment down. I have to make it clearer to eventually get back to what I originally heard." Sofia Gubaidulina

"The most beautiful music film I have ever seen." Joachim Kaiser

Award at the Columbus International Film Festival 2008, nominated for Prix Italia

Sound Format: PCM Stereo

Picture Format: 16:9

DVD Format: DVD 5, NTSC

Subtitle Languages: DE, IT, GB, FR, ES, JP

Running Time: 60 mins

FSK: 0

“it's the polarity of composer and performer that is the kernel of the film: Mutter cool, sveltely glamorous and severely practical, Gubaidulina looking more and more like a rumpled Babushka but eloquent (in German and Russian) on matters's an absorbing, interesting, at times touching study of aspects of the creative process..I liked the piece anyway, but I felt I now had a greater understanding and appreciation of it” BBC Music Magazine, June 2011 ****

“This documentary, which feels curiously like an old-school South Bank (and I mean that as a compliment), traces the progress of this new violin concerto...[Gubaidulina] wears her heart on her sleeve and has plenty to say about how she structured her new concerto around her proportion of a Bach chorale...And there are intriguing insights into other personalities” Gramophone Magazine, July 2011

GGramophone Awards 2011

Shortlisted - DVD Documentary

GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - July 2011

DVD Video

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Format: NTSC

Arthaus Musik - 101545

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René Pape sings Wagner

René Pape sings Wagner


Leb wohl...Loge, hör! 'Wotan's Farewell & Magic Fire Music' (from Die Walküre)

Was duftet doch der Flieder (from Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg)

Hört, ihr Leut, und lasst euch sagen (from Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg)

Verachtet mir die Meister nicht (from Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg)

Gott grüß' euch, liebe Männer von Brabant! (from Lohengrin)

Oh Gnade! Höchstes Heil! – Oh Herr! War es ein Fluch (from Parsifal)

Und ich, ich bin's – Nicht doch! Die heil'ge Quelle selbst (from Parsifal)

Gesegnet sei, du Reiner, durch das Reine! (from Parsifal)

Placido Domingo (tenor)

Wie dünkt mich doch die Aue (from Parsifal)

Placido Domingo (tenor)

Wie Todesahnung...O du, mein holder Abendstern (from Tannhäuser)

O du, mein holder Abendstern (from Tannhäuser)

Dresden-born bass René Pape was recently honoured as a “Met Mastersinger”, a distinction shared only by Renée Fleming. Pape’s perfect diction, bel canto beauty of tone, and psychological penetration make him one of our day’s most capable − and celebrated – Wagnerians.

Assembled for this all-Wagner project, a matter of the heart to René Pape, is a prestigious team. Daniel Barenboim, renowned for the sensuality of his Wagner, conducts the Staatskapelle Berlin, the maestro’s long-time collaborators.

Excerpts from such Pape signature roles as Gurnemanz and the Rheingold Wotan are complemented by a terrific teaser of a part Pape has yet to reveal on stage − his eagerly anticipated Hans Sachs, the noble cobbler of Die Meistersinger.

In addition to scenes from Lohengrin, Tannhäuser, and Die Walküre, a special treat features tenor Plácido Domingo with Pape in a scene from Parsifal.

“he is unquestionably magnificent. This is very lyrical Wagner singing, sensual, even sexual in tone, noble in utterance, and shaped as much through the line as off the words...The Fliedermonolog, sounding unusually erotic...[is] one of the disc's high points...There's wonderful playing, too, from the Berlin Staatskapelle under Daniel Barenboim.” The Guardian, 5th May 2011 ****

“he gives his Farewell, from Die Walküre, quite gloriously, his high lyric bass sounding effortless and beautiful even in the most high-lying passages. Above all, he sings his native German with astonishing clarity and eloquence...yet maintains a perfect Italianate legato...In the Parsifal extracts, Placido Domingo, no less, makes his brief contributions with a still remarkable voice...Golden-age Wagner singing.” Sunday Times, 15th May 2011 *****

“he remains more than capable of the spellbinding legato that Wolfram's Hymn to the Evening Star requires...purely musical values are of rare distinction. The Parsifal scene in particular benefits from Barenboim's characteristic blend of spontaneity and deliberation, while Placido Domingo easily matches Pape in his eloquent ardour...when it comes to sheer vocal refinement and the purest Wagnerian gravitas, René Pape is hard to beat.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2011

“His approach is very much that of a Lieder singer: the text could be taken verbatim from his immaculate diction...His liquidity of tone is balm in higher-lying passages, most notably those of Sachs...Teutonic bass-barking is nowhere to be heard...Barenboim deserves equal praise for some of the most sensitive Wagner conducting heard in a long time...this remains Wagner singing of a rare beauty that will give much pleasure” International Record Review, July 2011

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Finalist - Recital

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Bruckner: Motets

Bruckner: Motets


Tota pulchra es, antiphon, WAB 46

Aequalis No. 1 for three trombones

Zwei Totenlieder I: O ihr, die ihr heut mit mir zum Grabe geht

Ave Maria (1861), WAB 6

Offertorium: Afferentur regi

Christus factus est, WAB 11

Ecce sacerdos magnus

Virga Jesse floruit

Locus iste, WAB 23

Pange lingua

Iam lucis orto sidere

Aequalis No. 2 for three trombones

Libera me, for choir & organ, WAB 21

Zwei Totenlieder II: O ihr, die ihr heut mit mir zum Grabe geht

Vexilla regis

Os justi meditabitur sapientiam

Inveni David, offertorium for male chorus & 4 trombones,WAB 19

Nicholas Wearne (organ)

Choir of St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh & RSAMD Brass, Duncan Ferguson

Following their highly acclaimed recording of the 16th-century John Taverner, Duncan Ferguson and his Edinburgh choir turn their attention to one of the 19th -century's compositional giants. This sequence of motets among them several little-known gems are a testament to Bruckner's profound Catholic faith and these performances blaze with fire and fervour in the vast cathedral's icy acoustic.

“within seconds you are are listening to a choir of humans who sing like angels...pitching in with total commitment at every possible dynamic level from fortissimo to the whisper of dulcet prayer...[the tenors] are remarkably healthy; while the basses have the kind of deep vigour mostly associated with Russian voices. What’s in Scotland’s water, vodka?” The Times, 25th March 2011

“These motet performances...are thrillingly homogenous, conveying well the unifying purpose of the works, but also the ecstatic quality that pervades the mighty Ecce sacerdos and the quiet affirmation of Locus iste.” The Scotsman, 5th April 2011

“Ferguson’s singers are beyond reproach; intonation is never less than perfect and the sound made at full stretch is glorious – higher lines piercingly clear thanks to the cathedral’s choristers singing the soprano parts. We also get the two Aequale for three trombones, played here with sombre magnificence. Brilliant.” The Arts Desk, 16th April 2011

“This performance is just superb. It's the kind of disc you want to turn up to full volume and lose yourself in, whether you're of a religious bent or not. Through their crisp, measured phrases, limpid textures, and their reverent but never syrupy tone, they've captured the simplicity and humility of both texts and music...This is a disc to be revisited and savoured again and again.”, 8th April 2011

“There's plenty of drive and commitment to this performance, which adds a sense of spiritual relevance beyond the solely musical...the overall effect is surprisingly uplifting thanks to the clarity and directness of the performance, helped by the cathedral's wonderful acoustic.” Classic FM Magazine, June 2011 ****

“this is Bruckner performed with no holds barred, but instead sung with passionate conviction and raw energy - there is nothing remotely polite about cannot but be aware of Bruckner's originality, and command of texture and sonority: can the art of modulation ever have been bettered? To hear this marvellous music given with such urgency and all-out commitment is a remarkable experience.” International Record Review, May 2011

“The Edinburgh singers perform with a robust though polished fervour. Alto, tenor and bass lines are beyond reproach, while the mixed-sex treble line copes admirably with exposed writing. The recorded sound is first-class, capturing both voices and instruments (including some excellent organ-playing) with an engaging immediacy.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2011

“The Edinburgh choristers (a mix of boy trebles and girls) are fearless in confronting Bruckner’s demands...This is an excellent disc. The performances are thrilling and intense and they are captured in an excellent recording that mixes spaciousness and clarity. The contributions of the uncredited organist (Nicholas Wearne?) and the RSAMD trombonists add a splendid sonority to some of the items.” MusicWeb International, 11th July 2011

“There’s not a dud moment here...Ferguson’s singers are beyond reproach; intonation is never less than perfect and the sound made at full stretch is glorious – higher lines piercingly clear thanks to the cathedral’s choristers singing the soprano parts” The Arts Desk, 15th April 2011

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Editor's Choice - July 2011

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Edward Gardner conducts Britten

Edward Gardner conducts Britten


Phaedra, Op. 93

Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano)

A Charm of Lullabies for mezzo-soprano and pianoforte, Op. 41 (1947)

orch. Colin Matthews

Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano)

Lachrymae for viola & strings, Op. 48a

Maxim Rysanov (viola)

Two Portraits

Sinfonietta, Op. 1

The repertoire on this CD is written across a period of more than forty-five years, from the year Britten entered the Royal College of Music at the age of sixteen, to the very last year of his life. The works are performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and they are conducted by Edward Gardner, whose Britten release in March 2011 (CHAN10658) was made Disc of the Month in the April issue of BBC Music.

They are joined by two extraordinary soloists. Sarah Connolly CBE is one of the foremost British mezzo-sopranos and a fellow of the Royal College of Music. She has been nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award, a TMA Award, and two Grammy awards – and won Edison, Gramophone, and South Bank awards. The violist Maxim Rysanov is one of the up-and-coming stars on today’s classical music scene. In the words of Gramophone: ‘It is rare for a musician featured as our One to Watch, already to be on his second Editor’s Choice…, but such is the pace of viola-player Maxim Rysanov’s rise that it’s difficult to keep up.’

The earliest of the works recorded here is Britten’s Two Portraits for strings. Written around the time Britten joined the Royal College of Music, this work remained unpublished during his lifetime. It was published only posthumously, in 1997. The first ‘portrait’ is an exuberant character-study of a childhood friend. The second, by contrast, is a characteristically introspective self-portrait, with the plaintive voice of the viola (the string instrument that Britten himself played) taking the lead. The soloist in the Two Portraits and Lachrymae is Maxim Rysanov.

The cantata Phaedra, Op. 93 is one of the very last works written by the composer before his death in 1976. Britten modelled the work on the Italian baroque cantatas of Handel, but it is also strongly influenced by Purcell, especially in the quality of the word setting. Phaedra is based on Robert Lowell’s acclaimed verse translation of Racine’s classical tragedy Phèdre, in which Phaedra, who is suffering from unrequited love for Hippolytus, the son of her husband by his former wife, causes his death, before, devastated by remorse, she takes her own life. Originally written for the mezzo-soprano Janet Baker, the tragic part of Phaedra is here sung by Sarah Connolly (also featured in A Charm of Lullabies). This is an extremely taut and economical work, very intense, and emotionally charged.

“[Connolly's] plush mezzo is in prime condition. This is the highlight of an unusual programme of five works spanning more than 40 years of Britten’s career...The prodigious Sinfonietta, which Britten was proud to call his Op 1, completes this surprisingly successful collection of his short works.” Sunday Times, 1st May 2011 ****

“Gardner’s sympathy for the music of Britten is fully displayed in a programme ranging from juvenilia to the late Phaedra, a short cantata with the force of an opera. But the dominating artist is the mezzo Sarah Connolly, compelling as Racine’s heroine in the grip of a tragic passion. In a quieter mood, Maxim Rysanov’s viola shines in the melancholic reflections of Lachrymae” The Times, 7th May 2011 ****

“Sarah Connolly is tremendous is this new recording...her diction is impeccable and her sense of dramatic involvement is enormously impressive. She is also accompanied with exceptional sensitivity, attention to detail and theatrical flair by Edward Gardner and members of the BBC Symphony Orchestra...This disc, part of a series that clearly deserves the most serious attention from Britten collectors, is very strongly recommended.” International Record Review, May 2011

“Connolly reveals Phaedra’s stature, summoning such word-sensitivity, rhetorical flourish and classical poise that you wonder why this remarkable piece is not heard more often in the concert hall. Better still the stage: Connolly turns Racine’s heroine into the protagonist of an imaginary monodrama” Financial Times, 28th May 2011 ****

“Gardner's sensitivity to the bittersweet Thirties idiom of the first portrait and the elegiac eloquence of viola soloist Maxim Rysanov in the second combine to highly atmospheric effect...Spurred on by Gardner's keen sense of theatre, Sarah Connolly goes straight for the drama...creat[ing] a veritable operatic scena...Rysanov returns as solost in a deeply thoughtful performance of Lachrymae...Imaginative programme, highly recommended.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2011

“[Rysanov] gives an outstanding reading of these 'reflections on a song of Dowland'...[Connolly's] ravishing accounts of A Charm of Lullabies and Phaedra subtly suggest in their colourations the singers Britten originally composed for: Nancy Evans and Janet Baker.” Classic FM Magazine, July 2011 ****

“The real Lachrymae...[which] benefits immensely from Edward Gardner's lean conducting and the sparse intensity of Maxim Rysanov's playing. Connolly is notably haunting in Colin Matthews's orchestration of the 1947 song cycle A Charm of Lullabies...Gardner and the BBC Symphony Orchestra are particularly good in the second movement [of the Sinfonietta]” The Guardian, 9th June 2011 ****

“The Charm is a total winner, wrapped by Matthews in string woodwind sleep-music so familiar from the Nocturne and phrased by Connolly with alternate tenderness and edginess. Maxim Rysanov compels in introspective conversation with the excellent BBC Symphony strings in Lachrymae and is also behind the very fine self-portait of the teenage composer in Two Portraits.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2011 *****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2011

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Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 10

Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 10

dsd recording, Mariinsky Concert Hall, St Petersburg, 2009-2010


Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 20 'The First of May'

Symphony No. 10 in E minor, Op. 93

For the the third title in his Shostakovich symphony cycle, Valery Gergiev again couples two works from different stages in the composer’s career. Although Shostakovich’s symphonies are usually highly programmatic, the Third and Tenth Symphonies are amongst his most enigmatic works.

Symphony No. 3 was first performed in January 1930, its final movement setting a text by Semyon Isaakovich Kirsanov praising May Day and the revolution. Shostakovich stated that the work “expresses the spirit of peaceful reconstruction” and yet much of the music is dark and sombre in tone.

The Tenth Symphony is one of his most popular and frequently heard works. It was first performed in December 1953 following the death of Stalin, although Shostakovich had been working on much of the material incorporated in the symphony for many years. The great Russian soprano Galina Vishnevskaya claimed that the symphony was “a composer’s testament of misery, forever damning a tyrant.” Previous releases in Gergiev’s Shostakovich cycle include Symphonies Nos 2 & 11 and Symphonies Nos 1 & 15, the latter of which was nominated for two Grammy Awards. The Mariinsky label will release its second recording with pianist Denis Matsuev during May 2011 featuring Shostakovich’s piano concertos.

Gergiev’s recent releases on LSO Live have included Mahler’s Symphony No 5, an Outstanding Recording in International Record Review.

“Valery Gergiev conducts his Mariinsky Orchestra – on its LSO-backed house label – in thoughtful accounts of astonishing detail. The playing – and recording quality – in this important Shostakovich cycle is hugely impressive.” Yorkshire Evening Post, 15th April 2011

“riveting, pugnacious, and genuinely taut performances...And how wonderful to hear a truly Russian chorus capture the blind utopian optimism of the finale...It is a thrill to sense the contrast of the Third's youthful joy against the pungent maturity of the Tenth. And Gergiev knows exactly how to touch every nerve.” The Scotsman, 3rd May 2011 *****

“He treats [the Third] like a film score, making the most of graphically illustrative passages...and inspiring the massed ranks of the Mariinsky Chorus to sing their hearts out in the stirring choral finale...there are some extremely impressive things to discover in Gergiev's interpretation [of the Tenth], particularly in the second half of the work...There's some wonderfully expressive woodwind playing, too” BBC Music Magazine, June 2011 ****/*

“The Allegretto [of the Tenth] is taken quite swiftly and is the most successful movement, the puppet-like dance quite poker-faced, while the repeated 'Elmira' sensitively played by the horns...[in the Third] Gergiev favour[s] sprightly tempos, even if these exaggerate the sometimes trite nature of the musical material...The performance is capped by the Mariinsky Theatre Chorus, singing with fervour.” International Record Review

“In the Third Symphony, the overriding priority is a sense of enthusiasm - one that has to be driven towards the manic, then shadowed by nightmarish visions, and finally colossally reasserted, one that has to be fuelled from start to finish by unshakeable self-belief. Gergiev and his Mariinsky players have all those qualities at their fingertips...If this is outstanding, the Tenth is even more so.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2011

“Gergiev and his orchestra charge through the Third Symphony's roistering torrent of ideas, so that the music seems to hold itself together by adrenalin alone: the result, like the work itself, is brash and brilliant...the one that matters is the Tenth Symphony: Gergiev's superb, tight-reined interpretation holds its own with the best.” Classic FM Magazine, July 2011 *****

“Gergiev's account of the symphony is visceral and uncompromising - just listen to the initial string chords of the second movement.” David Smith, Presto Classical, April 2014

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2011

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Beethoven: Violin Sonatas Volume 3

Beethoven: Violin Sonatas Volume 3


Violin Sonata No. 9 in A major, Op. 47 ‘Kreutzer'

Violin Sonata No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 12 No. 3

Violin Sonata No. 6 in A major, Op. 30 No. 1

Marking the end of their unanimously-praised series, “star-kissed young performers,” [The Times] Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien, release the third and final volume in their live recordings of the complete Beethoven violin sonatas.

The duo’s recordings on Wigmore Hall Live have set new standards, with volumes one and two garnering superb 5* reviews and several ‘Editor’s choice’ accolades.

This last release features sonatas No.6 in A op.30 no.1 and No. 3 in E flat op.12, as well as the No.9 in A op.47, better known as the 'Kreutzer', Beethoven’s biggest and most challenging sonata. After its live performance at the Wigmore Hall in May 2010, The Times commented “The duo’s boldest showcase was the Kreutzer Sonata, with its firecracker outer movements and lovely soft centre” and “Ibragimova’s bow worked overtime. Loose threads kept dangling. Her pizzicato was wicked.” In accomplishing works that many artists do not attempt until late in their career, the duo have brought something new and original to this pinnacle of the chamber repertoire: “the partnership with Tiberghien sounds fresh and spontaneous [Financial Times]. Meanwhile BBC Music Magazine, in its 5* review, comments “[Ibragimova] has the kind of tone and expression that pins you to the back of your seat.” The duo, who met on the BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists scheme over five years ago, describe their playing and recording of the complete sonata cycle as, as much a personal as a musical journey. Tiberghien comments “To travel through all ten sonatas, to play them live, is really something that changes you, as a musician and also as a human being”.

“Ibragimova and Tiberghien show just how complex Beethoven's emotional language can be - impassioned and direct one moment, wickedly ironic the next - while keeping a tight grip on overall structure...As before, the players are alert, agile and acutely responsive to each other at every turn, and Ibragimova's tone retains that paradoxical balance between apparent fragility and intense inner strength...Excellent live recordings too.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2011 *****

“this live performance positively fizzes with shared inspiration” Classic FM Magazine, July 2011 ****

“their playing has a powerful sense of progress through the series of modulations, born, I imagine, out of the intensity of live performance...their account of the Kreutzer's first movement, with its Furtwängler-like broadening at the climax of the coda, unmistakably exposes the music's portrayal of emotional turmoil” Gramophone Magazine, July 2011

“Particularly impressive is Ibragimova's tone: never unduly sweet, and coloured with an astringency that remains absolutely right for Beethoven, while remaining free of an unpleasant edginess...The prize of this disc is a stunning 'Kreutzer' Sonata, here gaining a performance that conveys the work's inherent grandeur better than any other I have heard...there is no doubt that this cycle ranks with any and surpasses many” International Record Review, May 2011

“this young partnership mesmerises and captivates, achieving rare freshness and vitality in the most familiar repertoire...Ibragimova has no musical inhibitions, and brings period and contemporary performance knowledge to her nimble, lucid playing. Tiberghien is a fiery, daredevil but musically supportive pianist. They sprint through the first movement presto of the "Kreutzer", especially, with self-evident joy.” The Observer, 24th April 2011

“This new recording...catches both the grandeur and the grace...The two players are in total accord...Tiberghien undoubtedly has the harder job technically. There are some finger-twisting triplets in the variation movement of the A major Sonata, but he dances through them with ease...[Ibragimova] may look elfin, but in the Kreutzer her rough tone suggests unhinged passion.” The Telegraph, 20th May 2011 ****

Presto Disc of the Week

25th April 2011

GGramophone Awards 2011

Finalist - Chamber

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2011

Wigmore Hall Live - WHLIVE0045



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