Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

August 2011

Disc of the Month

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Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection'


Gramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - August 2011



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Release date:

26th April 2011




83 minutes


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Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection'

Recorded live at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, London, on 25 & 26 September 2009

Adriana Kucerová (soprano) & Christianne Stotijn (mezzo soprano)

London Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, Vladimir Jurowski

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The London Philharmonic Orchestra has a long heritage with Mahler’s symphonies cemented in a mid-European tradition through Tennstedt’s work with the Orchestra in the 1980s and early 1990s. Vladimir Jurowski has waited longer than many other conductors might before tackling Mahler mainly, he says, because to approach this music is “to touch on something that is for me extremely precious and personal”.

Mahler’s Second Symphony is a compelling start to Jurowski’s documentation of this great composer. His approach fully reveals the dynamic extremes in Mahler and this recording emphsises how much soft scoring there is, such is Jurowski’s sensitivity and control. Jurowski differs from Tennstedt in that there is no over emotional self-indulgence, he allows the music to do the talking and his tempos and pacing are faultless.

‘...when the chorus finally stood up and let rip in the closing moments, it set the seal on a masterful performance from a world-class orchestra-conductor team.’ The Guardian, September 2009

Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 2 in C minor, "Resurrection"

I. Allegro maestoso

II. Andante moderato

III. In ruhig fliessender Bewegung

IV. Urlicht: Sehr feierlich, aber schlicht

V. Finale: Im Tempo des Scherzo's - Wild herausfahren

V. Finale: Langsam - Misterioso

V. Finale: Etwas bewegter

The Telegraph

23rd June 2011


“This epic journey from dark to light is hardly short of recordings, but this live one can hold its head up high. The soloists are superb, and the LPO plays beautifully for Jurowski, who shows a total mastery of pacing. The huge narrative of the finale can easily sag, but here it leads unerringly to the magical choral entry.”

Gramophone Magazine

August 2011

“A performance of revelations, big and small, and easily the most illuminating to have appeared on disc in a very long time...probably now the prime recommendation, the "library" choice, that has for so long eluded us...The really big factor here is Jurowski's command of Mahler's very particular and very dramatic way with rubato and the shock of newness that comes from those explicit extremes.”

BBC Music Magazine

August 2011


“The interlude-minuet of bygone days is deliberately nuanced, like much else here. Then Jurowski pulls off his finest feat of tonal novelty in a hyper-modern scherzo...[Stotijn], Kucerová and the chorus then make a swiftish resurrection the most human and personable on disc, deserving all the wild cheers.”

The Arts Desk

Graham Rickson

11th June 2011

“His Allegro maestoso opening is fierce, fast and unyielding...The movement’s dissonant climax is an Expressionist shocker. We’ve tipped over the abyss and the closing pages are pitch black...Jurowski’s finale grips from the outset; offstage brass are perfectly caught, and I like the flowing tempo he adopts when building up to the massive, ecstatic eruption 13 minutes in.”

International Record Review

July/August 2011

“imaginatively conceived and very well played...Jurowski makes the whole structure cohere extremely well, and in his case swift doesn't mean superficial: there's great cumulative power as well as rhythmic precision...'Urlicht' is sung with great poise and dignity by Christianne Stotijn; she has a lovely sense of line and approaches the song with touching simplicity.”

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Mozart: Don Giovanni, K527

Mozart: Don Giovanni, K527

Gerald Finley (Don Giovanni), Luca Pisaroni (Leporello), Kate Royal (Donna Elvira), Anna Samuil (Donna Anna), William Burden (Ottavio), Anna Virovlansky (Zerlina), Guido Loconsolo (Masetto), Alastair Miles (Commendatore)

The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment & Glyndebourne Chorus, Vladimir Jurowski (conductor) & Jonathan Kent (director)

Read Presto's complete review of this recording here.

“Amazing production of Don Giovanni at Glyndebourne, a work of art in itself… Magnificent as the set is, this will also be a Don Giovanni to listen to for the orchestra. The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment are so good that they can generate almost demonic energy from the lighter timbres of period instruments. Vladimir Jurowski has rarely sounded more inspired”. Opera Today

“The graceful purity of Kate Royal as Elvira ... gave lustre to Mozart's kaleidoscopic masterpiece”. The Scotsman

“Suavely ruthless, Finley was both steely monster and molten charmer, singing with a firmness, clarity and stylistic elegance that I can’t easily imagine surpassed”. The Telegraph

For this 2010 production, the first new staging of the opera in 10 years, Glyndebourne welcome back the winning team of director Jonathan Kent and designer Paul Brown with Festival Music Director, Vladimir Jurowski conducting the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Set at a time of seismic social and cultural change - in a Fellini-esque vision of post-war life - Jonathan Kent's urgently propulsive production offers a 'white-knuckle rollercoaster ride' through the events of the Don's last day as they unfold in and around Paul Brown's magical 'box of tricks' set.

In the title role we also welcome back the great bass-baritone Gerald Finley. He has sung Don Giovanni to worldwide acclaim in New York, London, Paris, Vienna, Rome, Budapest and Prague. Finley is joined by Luca Pisaroni (Guglielmo in the 2006 Festival’s Così fan tutte) as Leporello, Kate Royal (the Governess in Jonathan Kent’s 2006 staging of The Turn of the Screw) as Donna Elvira, and the young Russian soprano Anna Samuil making her UK opera debut as Donna Anna.

Bonus features include rehearsal and backstage footage, interviews with the production staff and cast as well as a glimpse into the costume, design and technical departments at Glyndebourne.

The DVD will feature English, French and German subtitles.

The production will be revived next summer at the 2011 Glyndebourne Festival.

Kate Royal is an exclusive EMI Classics artist since 2006. She has made two solo recordings: Kate Royal with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields/Edward Gardner and Midsummer Night with the Orchestra of English National Opera/Edward Gardner. As a guest artist, she has recorded discs for the label with the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, Le Concert d’Astrée/Emmanuelle Haïm and Paul McCartney. Kate Royal's new album ‘A Lesson in Love’ (released in 2011), is an intimate recital with pianist Malcolm Martineau charting a young girl’s journey of love and loss through a combination of German lieder, English and American songs and French melodies. Kate Royal returns to Glyndebourne in Summer 2011.

Designer Paul Brown

“Finley is a Don of remarkable self-assurance and narcissism, his impeccable diction and technically flawless singing an extension of this monstrous character...Pisaroni's great acting occasionally makes his singing imperfect, but the voice is grand and there will be few complaints...[Samuil's] singing is big-boned, fearless and has a nice unpredictability to it...The [OAE] plays with fire and passion...[Jurowski's] reading keeps the listeners on the edge of their seats.” International Record Review, July 2011

“this Don, played by Gerald Finley, is a master of self-control: hands in tailored pockets and operating with a steely indifference to all...And Finley give this vision vocal assurance matching the clarity of Jurowski's conducting and the momentum generated by Kent within the ever-shifting Pandora's box of a design...Kate Royal is a deeply serious, thrillingly sung Donna Elvira, Anna Samuil an equally classy, flaring soprano of a Donna Anna.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2011 ****

“[Finley's] assumption is completely convincing...his fear before the confrontation with the Commendatore in the supper scene is palpable. Finley sings as well as he acts, apart from an oddly unhoneyed serenade...The singing is fine and the OAE play like angels.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2011

“Gerald Finley is vocally and theatrically mesmerising as a dashing Giovanni, and he's matched by Kate Royal on splendid form as the abandoned Elvira and Anna Virovlansky a charming and fresh-voiced Zerlina. Vladimir Jurowski takes the orchestra at quite a lick, adding energy and fizz to proceedings.” Classic FM Magazine, August 2011 ***

Presto Disc of the Week

23rd May 2011

GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - August 2011

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

EMI - 0720179

(DVD Video - 2 discs)


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English Spring

English Spring


Spring Fire Symphony


Enter Spring


Idylle Printemps

North Country Sketches: The March of Spring

Hallé returns with a collection of lesser known English orchestral works which display full range of colour and highly accomplished playing of the award wining ensemble.

“[Enter Spring] is a brilliantly extrovert display of his skill as a colourist, sustained by an irresistible rhythmic energy. The Hallé plays it with fabulous finesse, and the orchestra is equally assured in Arnold Bax's quasi-symphonic Spring Fire” The Guardian, 14th April 2011 ****

“Elder's grasp of [Enter Spring's] structure is idea, the pacing convincing...The golden glow of the strings and the ripe, thrusting brass are extremely satisfying...There is no finer orchestra with a pedigree in this repertoire than the Hallé” International Record Review, July 2011

“Firstly, the Hallé's stellar playing: it's genuinely hard to imagine how music of this English vintage could be performed better. Not only is everything beautifully idiomatic and clear, there's also strong characterisation in every department, with a particularly vivid response to Bridge's intricate solo woodwind writing.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2011 ****

“Not only is Elgar adept at teasing out the myriad details in Bridge's meticulous orchestral canvas, his bracingly cogent conception also manages to stress this music's more daringly progressive, "continental" features without stinting on its gorgeous local colour...a truly cherishable account of a great work to crown a collection that bids fair to be one of my records of the year.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2011

“There couldn't be better advocates for this neglected corner of the repertoire than the Halle and Elder. His conducting is superb in the way it teases out the detail through the overall drive, balancing out the galvanising passion with attention to hummingbird-like flashes of colour. Where there's a danger of galumphing - heavy scoring, supposedly bouncy rhythms - he manages to make the music dance instead.” Classic FM Magazine, August 2011 ****

“Brilliant orchestral playing throughout and ripe sound.” Graham Rickson, The Arts Desk, 21st May 2011

GGramophone Awards 2011

Finalist - Orchestral

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2011

Hallé - CDHLL7528



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Liszt: Harmonies Du Soir

Liszt: Harmonies Du Soir


Ballade No. 2 in B minor, S171/R16

Hungarian Rhapsody, S244 No. 3 in B flat major

Hungarian Rhapsody, S244 No. 8 in F sharp minor

Valse oubliée No. 1, S.215/1

Waldesrauschen, S145 No. 1

Sonetto 104 del Petrarca (Années de pèlerinage II, S. 161 No. 5)

Au lac de Wallenstadt (Années de pèlerinage I, S. 160 No. 2)

Consolations, Six Pensées poétiques, S. 172

In celebration of the Liszt year 2011, multi-award winning pianist Nelson Freire has personally selected the repertoire for his latest recording – his contribution to the anniversary of the pianist-composer’s birth in 1811.

The very personal selection includes Liszt showpieces such as the Harmonies du soir (12 Études d’exécution transcendante), the Hungarian Rhapsodies and Liebesträume.

Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire who The New York Times heralded as “an extra-ordinary pianist”, continues to garner both awards and critical acclaim for his recordings and concert appearances.

Nelson Freire’s most recent album of Chopin Nocturnes (4782182) received a Diapason d’or of the Year award in France and a Grammy nomination.

“it provides a wonderful corrective to those who think of this composer's piano music as all flamboyant gestures and rhetoric. The overwhelming impact of this disc stems from the sheer beauty and elegance of Freire's playing, his crystalline tone and infinitely subtle range of touch and colour, which are combined with all the technique needed to cope with whatever challenges these pieces present him.” The Guardian, 28th April 2011 *****

“Freire is a master of the Romantic repertoire – partly by dint of experience and maturity, which lend his pianism a grace and temperament that is always finely judged, not least in the opulent rhetoric of the Ballade No 2. But he also demonstrates a range of tone-colour and warmth of feeling that are essential to Liszt” Financial Times, 21st May 2011 *****

“[Freire] wears his undeniable virtuosity lightly in this spellbinding programme of choice Liszt...It is, above all, the reflective, dreamy, romantic side of Liszt’s personality that Freire celebrates here...his selections from the Années de pèlerinages...confirm his preference for the poetic Liszt of limpid, transparent sonorities, rather than the flamboyant glitz merchant” Sunday Times, 29th May 2011 *****

“’ll be very surprised indeed if Freire’s new recital isn’t counted as one of the best new recordings for Franz Liszt’s 200th birthday year...Freire has the gift of seeming to slip inside the skin of every piece here, never distracted by surface glitter or showmanship as he seeks the musical truth”, 13th June 2011

“This is immensely distinguished Liszt-playing...Freire seems utterly at one with the music, not only in terms of its innate poetry but also its astonishing diversity of texture and touch...Freire produces a really beautiful piano tone, too, conjuring an astonishing range of colours...Altogether an immaculate disc, enhanced by an excellently recorded balance.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2011 *****

“Freire's selection is a judiciously varied programme of works for which he has a particular fondness - and it shows...Again and again one marvels at the spontaneity of Freire's playing, his ability to think in long paragraphs and bring an almost improvisatory air to proceedings” Gramophone Magazine, August 2011

GGramophone Awards 2011

Finalist - Instrumental

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2011

BBC Music Magazine

Instrumental Choice - July 2011

Decca - 4782728



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Carl Loewe: Songs & Ballads

Carl Loewe: Songs & Ballads

Loewe, C:

Edward, Op. 1 No. 1 (Herder)

Tom der Reimer "Der Reimer Thomas lag am Bach", Op. 135a

Der Erlkönig, Op. 1 No. 3 (Goethe)

Herr Oluf "Herr Oluf reitet spät und weit", Op. 2/2

Wandrers Nachlied, Op. 9 No. 3a

Wandrers Nachlied, Op. 9 No. 3b

Graf Eberstein

Lynceus der Turmer, auf Fausts Sternwarte singend, Op. 9, H.VIII, 3

Süßes Begräbnis, Op. 62 No. 4

Hinkende Jamben, Op. 62 No. 5

Die wandelnde Glocke, Op. 20 No. 3

Im Vorübergehen, Op. 81, No. 1

arr. Fritz

Der Pilgrim vor St Just, Op. 99, No. 3

Odins Meeresritt "Meister Oluf, der Schmied auf Helgoland", Op. 118

Die Uhr, Op. 123 No. 3

Der Wirthin Töchterlein, Op. 1, No. 2

Meeresleuchten, Op. 145 No. 1

Im Sturme, Op. 145, No. 3

Heimlichkeit, Op. 145, No. 4

Reiterlied, Op. 145, No. 5

Florian Boesch (baritone) & Roger Vignoles (piano)

In his lifetime the German composer Carl Loewe was often referred to as the ‘Schubert of North Germany’. He is frequently credited with the development of the romantic ballad into a powerful art form, and his prolific output of ballads and songs amounts to some four hundred works. Loewe’s treatment of long narrative poems in a clever and powerful mixture of dramatic and lyrical styles, has been a template for many subsequent composers.

Many of the ballads on this disc are masterpieces of their genre and they are performed here in a magisterial Hyperion debut by Austrian baritone Florian Boesch. In these refined performances it is clear why Boesch has been labelled as ‘one of the finest interpreters of Lieder of his generation’. His ability to create characters and enact stories brings the dramatic texts vividly to life, while he maintains musical coherence with astonishing lyricism.

Loewe’s daring and imaginative accompaniments are played here by the incomparable Roger Vignoles, in another addition to his acclaimed discography of Hyperion recordings. His eloquent pianism and penetrating musicianship match Boesch’s artistry to perfection.

“Boesch is arguably [Loewe's] finest interpreter today, and this disc is mesmerising. An expressionistic vocal actor, Boesch has the ability to change the sound of his voice to fit the character he is portraying; when he gets to the big dialogues like Erlkönig, Edward or Herr Oluf, it's hard to believe that only one person is singing...A benchmark recording, and essential listening.” The Guardian, 12th May 2011 *****

“Loewe is at his best when the drama of a ballad unfolds through the characters' words, and his 'Erlkönig', though less terrifying than Schubert's, is more chilling: the child's death is a greater musical shock....Boesch sings these ballads with strong dramatic sympathy...Vignoles's accompaniment is always confident, very musical and perceptive.” International Record Review, May 2011

“Boesch's performance...demonstrates huge imaginative variety in characterisation (offering two different voices when necessary, or even three in Loewe's setting of Erlkonig), and moving convincingly to the lower register...Vignoles matches him in playing of perception in what is pretty well an ideal introduction to a fascinating figure.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2011 *****

“Loewe's writing is perhaps less sophisticated than Schubert's but, like him, he had a supremely appealing melodic gift...As for the singing, I cannot praise it too highly. Florian Boesch has a warmly attractive baritone voice and his diction is first class, as is his response to the word meanings. Roger Vignoles's accompaniments, too, give great pleasure in themselves, especially in the pictorial devices which Loewe so relishes.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2011

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2011

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2012

Vocal Finalist

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Hyperion - CDA67866


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Brahms & Schumann: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 4

Brahms & Schumann: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 4


Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68

Wiener Philharmoniker

Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98

London Symphony Orchestra


Symphony No. 1 in B flat major, Op. 38 'Spring'

London Symphony Orchestra

Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op. 120

1956 version

London Symphony Orchestra

Born in Vienna in April 1902, the cheery-looking Josef Krips seems to have been pre-destined to achieve eminence in the Viennese classics. He recorded with both, the Wiener Philharmoniker and the key London orchestras for Decca in the 1940s, 50s and 60s and the interpretations have genuine expressive power while remaining devoid of exaggeration or affectation.

Here we have Krips giving us the First and Fourth symphonies, respectively of Brahms and Schumann. With the Wiener Philharmoniker he whips up an almost uncontainable sense of thrill in Brahms’s First. ‘I wrote the Symphony in that first flush of spring which carries a man away even in his old age, and comes over him anew every year’ wrote Schumann of his First Symphony. Krips’s way with the work is unforced and natural, and of his two recordings of Schumann’s Fourth (in 1952 and 1957), the second is included here.

This issue forms part of a series of five reissues devoted to the art of Josef Krips.

Recording producers: John Culshaw (Brahms No. 1); Victor Olof (Brahms No. 4); James Walker (Schumann No. 1); Christopher Whelan (Schumann No. 4);

Balance engineers: James Brown (Brahms No. 1); unidentified (Brahms No. 4); Ken Cress (Schumann No. 4); Gordon Parry (Schumann No. 4)

Recording locations: Sofiensaal, Vienna, Austria, October 1956 (Brahms No. 1); Kingsway Hall, London, United Kingdom, April 1950 (Brahms No. 4), October 1956 (Schumann No. 4), May 1957 (Schumann No. 1)

“the glory of this disc is Brahms 1 - an Andante of unalloyed bliss.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2011 ****/*

“An extremely fine performance in many ways with plenty of weight and sense of purpose. The playing of the Vienna Philharmonic is both sensitive and splendidly alive; the slow movement is thoroughly felt and eloquently phrased. Krips’s reading combines strength and tenderness, power and lyrical feeling” Gramophone Magazine (Brahms Symphony No. 1)

“The Schumann [Fourth] shows powerful structural conviction … It begins by striking just the right ominous note, and the Allegro grows from this compellingly … Krips’s avoidance of easy sentimentality is welcome, as is his refusal to linger affectionately over passages that please him at the expense of overall vision. Transfers are up to Decca’s customary high quality, giving a clean, immediate sound.” Gramophone Magazine

“Krips’s smiling, companionable approach is so sympathetic” Gramophone Magazine (Schumann Symphony No. 1)

“Superb… There are no histrionics about Krips’s reading, in which everything is beautifully proportioned and carefully calculated. The music moves forward to its natural climaxes, in each of the four movements, with a wonderful feeling of inevitability that leads logically and dramatically to the crowning achievement of the great Finale. The orchestral playing is sensitive, vigorous, and poised to a nicety, and the recording does full justice to it.” Gramophone Magazine (Brahms Symphony No. 4)

GGramophone Magazine

Re-issue of the Month - August 2011

Australian Eloquence - ELQ4804325

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Daniel Barenboim: The Chopin Concertos

Daniel Barenboim: The Chopin Concertos


Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11

Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21

Two releases on Deutsche Grammophon will be devoted to Chopin: a solo recital recorded in Warsaw, with deeply-felt Waltzes, a Polonaise, a Fantasia, a Nocturne and the B flat minor Sonata, as well as Chopins two Concertos, accompanied by the Berlin Staatskapelle under Andris Nelsons, captured live at the Ruhr Piano Festival in July 2010.

“The Chopin concerto disc offers playing of some crystalline appeal and surface sparkle, nicely surrounded by suave orchestral playing from Barenboim’s Staatskapelle Dresden conducted by Andris Nelsons” The Times, 15th April 2011 ***

“these are performances on a grand scale, yet wonderfully fluent, charged with an infectious energy and effortless poise. They are perhaps remarkable most of all for the rapport between Barenboim and the Berlin Staatskapelle...All too often in other performances of these concertos, the orchestra is kept firmly in its accompanying place; here Nelsons repeatedly reveals how much beauty and detail there is to be found in the orchestral writing, too.” The Guardian, 21st April 2011 *****

“Unsurprisingly, even the piano entry at the beginning of the Chopin concerto disc is striking. The languid orchestral tutti that opens the work has its calmness well and truly shattered by the clang of Barenboim’s fingers. He shows equal lightness of touch later on, though...[The Second Concerto] is just as joyous to hear under the maestro’s control. it is a singular treat to hear Barenboim have at these concerti for the first time.”, 18th April 2011

“The recording is notable for the clarity with which both the piano and orchestra are captured: there's far more orchestral detail to be heard on this disc than in many rival versions, and it's great to have it, especially as Nelsons conducts with such sensitivity” International Record Review, July 2011

“Always authoritative, Barenboim is by turns graceful and gutsy, an especially good combination in the E minor Concerto - and his orchestra, the Berlin Staatskapelle (here under Andris Nelsons), responds warmly, with wonderful woodwind solos. In the strongly accented, dancing finales to both concertos, Barenboim leads the way with playing of suppleness and wit.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2011 *****

“His amplitude of phrasing and dynamics, matched by the orchestra's, is in place as a response to the pageantry and flow of events that is unceasingly generous. You could say that the playing is big, but what is predominant is its's his qualities of insight and distinction in the musical control of these beautiful pieces that carry the day, and in that regard it seems to me that they have rarely been served so well.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2011

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2011

Building a Library

Also Recommended - September 2016

DG - 4779520



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Beethoven: Complete Works for Cello and Piano

Beethoven: Complete Works for Cello and Piano


Cello Sonatas Nos. 1-5 (complete)

Variations (7) on "Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen", for Cello and Piano, WoO 46

Variations (12) on "Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen" for Cello and Piano, Op. 66

Variations (12) on "See the conquering hero comes" for Cello and Piano, WoO 45

Cello Sonata in F major, Op. 17 (transcribed by Beethoven from horn sonata)

Cello Sonata in E flat major, Op. 64

David Geringas (cello) & Ian Fountain (piano)

David Geringas is one of today’s most respected cellists. His intellectual rigor, stylistic versatility and warm tone have earned him accolades the world over. This is an important addition to the chamber music discography.

“Geringas and Fountain seem totally committed to [the Duo Sonata], delivering a wonderfully elegant account that emphasises the music's strongly Mozartian features. Both players are equally enthralling in the Horn Sonata transcription, projecting a muscular view of the opening movement...There are some really outstanding performances throughout the rest of this beautifully recorded set...these three discs offer compelling and insightful musicianship” BBC Music Magazine, August 2011 ****

“A pianist of finely tuned artistic sensibilities, [Fountain] leans into notes and plays into textures, his tonal palette encompassing a stark accent as easily as it does a graduated lyrical line. David Geringas is a master of line too, protean in his command of subtleties and nuances of expression. Both are superlative artists and in just accord,their interpretations wholly thought through and wholly communicated.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2011

“What these performances do not lack is lightness of touch, vital especially in the variations with their deft 'give and take' between the instruments...These performances do them justice, neither overplaying their humour nor underplaying their pathos, and are equally attuned to the transcriptions.” International Record Review, July/August 2011

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2011

Hänssler - HAEN93272

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Donizetti: Linda di Chamounix

Donizetti: Linda di Chamounix

Eglise Gutiérrez (Linda), Ludovic Tézier (Antonio), Stephen Costello (Carlo), Marianna Pizzolato (Pierotto), Alessandro Corbelli (Marchese de Boisfleury), Bálint Szabó, Elizabeth Sikora (Maddalena), Luciano Botelho (Intendant)

Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Sir Mark Elder

One of the biggest successes of Donizetti’s career, Linda di Chamounix was performed all over the operatic world in the decades following its 1842 Viennese premiere, then fell into neglect. The live concert performances recorded by Opera Rara at Covent Garden, in 2009, were its first there since 1887.

This is one of Donizetti’s finest achievements, aimed at the musically sophisticated Viennese public and featuring some of his best arias, ensembles and choruses, including the brilliant soprano showpiece ‘O luce di quest’anima’; in this semi-seria opera this much-admired aria is sung by Linda (Eglise Gutiérrez), who has fallen in love with Carlo (Stephen Costello – a recent Richard Tucker Award winner) believing him to be a painter, though he is in reality a nobleman. Packed off to Paris to stop her falling into the clutches of his uncle, the dubious Marchese de Boisfleury (Alessandro Corbelli), Linda is discovered in compromising circumstances by her father Antonio (Ludovic Tézier), who curses her, causing her to lose her reason. Supported by the loyal Pierotto (Marianna Pizzolato), Linda returns to Chamounix and sanity and, eventually, to the arms of the man she loves. Sir Mark Elder conducts the recent critical edition of this outstanding score.

The 3CD set comes with a lavishly illustrated book including a complete libretto with an English translation, comprehensive article and synopsis by the eminent 19th-century musical scholar, Jeremy Commons.

“Dramatically conducted by Elder, the ROH casts the opera without a weak link. Eglise Gutierrez’s soprano shines most in her glittering high notes; Stephen Costello’s elegant, Italianate Carlo is youthful enough to retain sympathy; the contrasting serious and buffo bass parts of Linda’s father, Antonio, and the Marquis are superbly taken by Ludovic Tézier and Alessandro Corbelli...All in all, the strongest possible case for reviving this unjustly neglected piece.” Sunday Times, 22nd May 2011 ****

“Mark Elder's conducting is punchy and delicate by turns, the chorus and orchestra responding to his vigilant control of dynamics...The best performance comes from Alessandro Corbelli, in a part that could have been written for him. Ludovic Tezier spins a beautiful proto-Verdian line as Linda's father, and Balint Szabo is his equal ...As a whole the performance does the composer proud.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2011

“What this recording of 2009 concert performances at Covent Garden underlines is that it contains some of the mature Donizetti’s most refined and melancholic music...Mark Elder conducts a characteristically stylish performance. Eglise Gutiérrez has the musicality to impress in the title role, and Stephen Costello makes an attractive Carlo – a valuable addition to Opera Rara’s Italian series.” Financial Times, 16th July 2011 ****

“[Elder] infuses the whole performance with conviction, right from the rather impressive overture...All the singers are up to their roles, and the playing of the orchestra is bold; even the most conventional passages sweep you along. This opera has been recorded before, but not to this standard. It's hard to imagine this set ever being replaced, or even rivalled.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2011 *****

“Alessandro Corbelli, seasoned as he is, is in his element...As they are so good, it would be unfair to say that Gutierrez rises above her colleagues, except in range, but her singing deserves full praise...Stephen Costello produces a clear voice, without strain and well supported...The chorus, orchestra and conductor join the singers in making this a set to captivate bel canto enthusiasts.” International Record Review, October 2011

“Cuban coloratura soprano Eglise Gutiérrez heads up a cast of promising young bel canto singers including Stephen Costello as Carlo and the wonderful Italian mezzo Marianna Pizzolato in the trouser-role of Pierotto.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, June 2014

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2011

BBC Music Magazine

Opera Choice - August 2011

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2012

Opera Finalist

Opera Rara - ORC43

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Donnacha Dennehy: Grá agus Bás

Donnacha Dennehy: Grá agus Bás


Grá agus Bás

He wishes his Beloved were Dead

The Old Men Admiring Themselves in the Water

The White Birds

These are the Clouds

Her Anxiety

That the Night Come

Iarla O’Lionáird (voice), Dawn Upshaw (soprano)

Crash Ensemble, Alan Pierson

Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy, whom, the New Yorker has called "a star of Dublin's active new music scene," makes his Nonesuch debut with Grá agus Bás. This ambitious set features a pair of dramatic pieces written for two very different but equally extraordinary voices - former Afro-Celt Sound system vocalist Iarla O’Lionáird and American soprano, and Nonesuch label-mate, Dawn Upshaw. Often described as a post-minimalist, Dennehy, says British music magazine The Wire, "has a sound world all his own." Here he uses elements of Irish traditional culture as a springboard to create work with no visible roots-a borderless music that is mysterious and elegiac, as deeply moving as it is utterly transfixing.

Dennehy's work has been performed at many prestigious new-music events, including Lincoln Center's Sonic Evolutions and the London Sinfonetta's State of the Nation at the South Bank Centre. He has received commissions from, among others, the BBC, Ireland's RTE, and New York's WNYC (creating a piece for the Bang On a Can All-Stars).

“[Grá agus Bás] a powerful symbiosis of old and new: modal inflections and reflections driven forward by muscular post-minimalist patterns and processes.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2011

“[Grá agus Bás is] a piece of startling freshness, with Ó Lionáird's voice at the centre of a seething web of instrumental lines that seems to commute freely between utterly different musical worlds without any trace of dislocation. The WB Yeats settings...[are] exquisitely shaped and perfectly conceived for Upshaw's voice.” The Guardian, 19th May 2011 *****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2011

Nonesuch - 7559797727



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