Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

September 2011

Disc of the Month

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Beethoven: Fidelio, Op. 72


Presto Disc of the Week

20th June 2011

Presto Favourites

Recommended Recording

Gramophone Awards 2012

Best of Category - Opera

Gramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - September 2011



Catalogue No:




Release date:

20th June 2011




1 hour 54 minutes


CD (download also available)
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Beethoven: Fidelio, Op. 72

Jonas Kaufmann (Florestan), Nina Stemme (Leonore), Falk Struckmann (Pizarro), Christof Fischesser (Rocco), Rachel Harnisch (Marzelline), Christoph Strehl (Jaquino), Peter Mattei (Don Fernando), Juan Sebastian Acosta (Erste Gefangener), Levente Pall (Zweite Gefangener)

Lucerne Festival Orchestra & Arnold Schoenberg Chor, Claudio Abbado

CD - 2 discs


(also available to download from $20.75)

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Read Presto's complete review of this recording here.

Recorded live at the Lucerne Festival 2010 with the Festival Orchestra, this Fidelio is led by the legendary conductor Claudio Abbado − making this release a major operatic event.

The central tenor role of Florestan is known as one of the most demanding and difficult in all opera. For his first complete opera recording for Decca, Jonas Kaufmann, “the world’s greatest currently performing tenor” (London’s Daily and Sunday Express), delivers everything the role demands: fearless tone, peerless style, and heart-stopping dramatic intensity.

Ludwig van Beethoven: Fidelio op.72 - Edited Helga Lühning & Robert Didio


Ludwig van Beethoven: Fidelio, Op. 72 - Edited Helga Lühning & Robert Didio / Act 1

Jetzt, Schätchen, jetz sind wir allein

Seit Fidelio bei uns ist

O wär' ich schon mit dir vereint

Ich täusche die Menschen

Mir ist so wunderbar

Marzelline und Fidelio haben sich offensichtlich recht lieb

Hat man nicht aud Gold beineben

In den finstersten Gewolben sitzt ein Gefangener

Gut, Sohnchen, gut


Etwas Neues vorgefallen?

Ha! Welch ein Augenblick!

Und nun zu dir mein lieber Rocco

Jetzt, Alter, hat es Eile!

Abscheulicher! Wo eilst du hin?

Wie Fidelio das wieder geschafft hatte war mir ein Rätsel

O welche Lust

Nun sprecht, wie ging's?

Ach, Vater, eilt!

Verwegener Alter

Leb wohl, du warmes Sonnenlicht

Ludwig van Beethoven: Fidelio op.72 - Edited Helga Lühning & Robert Didio / Act 2

Gott! - Welch Dunkel hier!

Wie kalt es ist diesem unterirdischen...Nur hurtig fort, nur Frisch gebraben

Ihr habt wieder geruht

Euch werde Lohn in bessern Welten

Ist alles bereit?

Er sterbe!

O namenlose Freude!

Heil se idem Tag, Heil sei der Stunde

The Telegraph

23rd June 2011


“Abbado’s command of the score and its structure is consummate, the atmosphere palpable through his perceptive application of orchestral colour. The detail he elicits from his hand-picked Lucerne Festival Orchestra is phenomenal, the blend of sonorities aglow, the clarity of texture refined with a masterly touch.”

Sunday Times

26th June 2011


“Abbado and his hand-picked Lucerne orchestra certainly do not disappoint here, as Beethoven’s epic score is delivered with drama and incandescence...Kaufmann’s thrilling Florestan emerges with a gut-wrenching cry from his dungeon. The set is worth sampling for him alone.”

The Times

1st July 2011


“Jonas Kaufmann’s first note alone is a good reason to buy this new recording of Beethoven’s stirring opera...The effect makes your jaw drop, your pulse pause, your hairs stand on end...Abbado conducts with magisterial but selfless understanding. In the overture alone (Beethoven’s punchy fourth version is used) you feel electricity and humanity in every jabbing rhythm and lyrically sculptured phrase.”

Financial Times

9th July 2011


“this is a “modern” Fidelio in so far as it espouses lightly pointed rhythms, transparent textures and attention to detail – but it also captures the hallowed glow of Beethoven tradition...Interest for opera fans lies primarily in Jonas Kaufmann’s Florestan: his aria, beginning on a thread of sound, is as much a meditation as a cry from the depths.”

The Guardian

7th July 2011


“Abbado's contribution is without doubt extraordinary – a loving if slow interpretation, noble in its anguish and elation...An exceptional Florestan – arguably the finest since Jon Vickers's – from Jonas Kaufmann wonderfully conveys his moral greatness as well as the extremity of his suffering.”

Daniel Ross

1st July 2011

“Under Claudio Abbado’s assured direction, the Mahler Chamber and Lucerne Festival orchestras derive a fantastic amount of energy...[Stemme] manages to imbue her Fidelio/Leonore role with the requisite disguised anguish...High praise also must go to the spellbinding ensemble work...Jonas Kaufmann also impresses, most of all in his lachrymose opening to the second act...Due in part to the relative infrequency of recordings of Fidelio, this is one in particular to be cherished.”

The Independent on Sunday

24th July 2011

“the instrumental performance is faultlessly sensitive to the drama it is illustrating. The singing is heroic, both from Nina Stemme as Leonore/Fidelio and Jonas Kaufmann as Florestan. Rachel Harnisch is a touching Marzelline, Falk Struckman a terrifying Don Pizarro.”

Gramophone Magazine

September 2011

“Abbado leads a viscerally charged performance that flies to the very heart of the matter...One of the many glories of this thrillingly articulated Fidelio is the playing of the basses and lower strings sharp-featured and black as the pit of Acheron...This is the best-conducted Fidelio since Furtwängler's; a joy to experience and a privilege to possess.”

BBC Music Magazine

September 2011


“The real star of this the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, in whose hands the music seems to glow from within. The playing is thrilling throughout, with Claudio Abbado caressing every detail of Beethoven's score...The Arnold Schoenberg Choir rises to the occasion, too, producing hushed singing of great beauty in the Act 1 prisoners' chorus...Kaufmann is a commanding Florestan. His opening phrase as he lies in the depths of the dungeons is spine-tingling.”

Classic FM Magazine

October 2011


“Abbado brings elegance to everything he touches. In the event, Kaufmann is superb, Stemme sings with technical control and warmth of tone, and Abbado conducts with exemplary clarity.”

International Record Review

September 2011

“I could be in the minority when I state that I find this performance almost clinical...[Kaufmann] can do no wrong and, in fact, he does no wrong here, articulating his despair as well as his hope and desperation with great sincerity...Abbado is obviously going for a lean performance, and he succeeds; one hears things in both orchestra and vocal lines that are frequently smudged elsewhere.”

Opera Britannia

6th October 2011

“this is a lean, chamber-sized account, every note precisely placed, but with enough punch for the drama to hit home...for superb technical playing, transparency of sound and with Stemme and Kaufmann in glorious voice, this is a Fidelio to treasure.”

Presto Classical

Katherine Cooper

20th June 2011

“From the opening flourishes of the overture, Abbado and his hand-picked festival orchestra arrest the attention...The ensemble-singing has the balance and synthesis which characterise the very best performances of Beethoven’s chamber-music...[Kaufmann's] first note alone is worth the price of the set...this is truly glorious, exhilarating music-making, and a superb document of one of the most thrilling live performances of 2010.”

Presto Classical

James Longstaffe

“My colleague Katherine would never forgive me if I didn't choose this live recording from the 2010 Lucerne Festival of Beethoven's only opera, conducted by Claudio Abbado and featuring the incomparable pairing of Nina Stemme as Leonore and Jonas Kaufmann as Florestan. His agonised cry of "Gott! Welch Dunkel hier!" after the slow orchestral build-up is astonishingly moving, and there's memorable support from Falk Struckmann as Pizarro and Christof Fischesser as Rocco.”

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Elgar - Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2

Elgar - Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2


Symphony No. 1 in A flat major, Op. 55

Symphony No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 63

Recorded 1968

2 CDs for the price of 1

“…40 years on the comparisons with Boult's other recordings of the Elgar symphonies demonstrate very clearly how fine they are, arguably the finest versions he ever recorded.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2007

“In 1968, when Sir Adrian Boult recorded the two Elgar Symphonies for Lyrita, he wrote an open letter to Gramophone, couched diplomatically but reflecting his fury that at the sessions his recording manager had forced him on technical grounds to have all the violins on the left instead of his usual habit of dividing them between the two sections. That said, and 40 years on, the comparisons with Boult's other recordings of the Elgar symphonies demonstrate very clearly how fine they are, arguably the finest versions he ever recorded.
Compared with the EMI versions recorded less than five years later, they are tauter, the ensemble noticeably crisper. The recording is brighter and clearer in this transfer. The difference is particularly marked in No 2 which, as Elgar said, was a work which Boult was the first conductor to make a success after the disappointing reception given at its premiere. The comparison is closer with the mono recording of No 2, which Boult recorded with the BBC SO in 1945, a superb performance but which is still marginally outshone by the Lyrita version.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

GGramophone Magazine

Collection Winner - September 2011

Lyrita - SRCD221

(CD - 2 discs)


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Byrd: Complete Consort Music

Byrd: Complete Consort Music


Fantasia à 3 No. 3

Browning (The Leaves be Green)

Te Lucis Ante Terminum a4

In Nomine No. 3 a 5

Christe Redemptor

In nomine a5 (V)

Fantasia a 4

Sermone Blando a3

Fantasia a 5

Two parts in one in the 4th above

Fantasia a 3

Christe Qui Lux Es Et a4


In nomine a5 (II)

on the sharp

Christe Qui Lux Es Et a4


In Nomine a 4 in D minor

Fantasia a 6 (I & II)

Miserere a4

Fantasia a 4

Christe Qui Lux Es Et a4


In nomine a5 (V)

In nomine a4


Pavan & Galliard à 6

Fantasia a6 (III) (‘to the vyolls’)

Pavan à 5

Sermone Blando a 4 (II)

Fantasia a3 (II)

Queen's Goodnight (Prelude and Ground)

Phantasm, Laurence Dreyfus

“Phantasm’s playing is impeccable...” BBC Music Magazine

This new recording is the only complete collection of William Byrd’s consort music and includes new hymn settings that are premiere recordings.

William Byrd, who studied under Thomas Tallis, was the most celebrated Elizabethan composer of Renaissance consort music, English song, masses, Latin motets and keyboard works.

Byrd’s viol music is polyphonic and full of melancholy. The performances bring out the rich, overlapping textures of the compositions creating a mesmerising sound.

‘William Byrd Complete Consort Music’ is Phantasm’s second album with Linn; the first, ‘John Ward: Consort music for five and six viols’, was a Finalist in the 2010 Gramophone Awards.

Inspired by the great twentieth-century string quartets, Phantasm enjoys taking risks in its search for renditions that renew the expressive traditions of early music.

Critics have called Phantasm’s performances and recordings 'intoxicating', 'revelatory', 'electrifying', 'interpretations pervaded by a truly burning spirit'.

Phantasm’s recordings have won two Gramophone Awards, in addition to numerous other international nominations and citations, and are recognised as the most exciting viol consort active on the world scene today.

Director Laurence Dreyfus, who is also an esteemed musicologist, has made the study of 16th and 17th century instrumental music his life’s work. He brings this vast knowledge and immense passion into Phantasm and its recordings.

Phantasm has been made ‘Ensemble in Residence’ at Magdalen College, Oxford, which will enable them to present exciting series of concerts, both in the UK and internationally, in the coming months.

“Phantasm's new recording is intoxicating...In three, four, five and six parts, the blend, balance, ensemble and tuning is faultless, the sound sweet but never cloying” The Independent on Sunday, 15th May 2011

“With perfect balance, immaculate tuning and exquisitely mathematical rhythm, phantasm reveal the genius in Byrd. While one viol takes the steady plainsong theme in the In Nomines the others move around it, at first decorously, then, unable to resist, dancingly.” Classic FM Magazine, August 2011 *****

“Laurence Dreyfus (himself something of a Renaissance man), combines rigorous intellect with sensitive musicianship...Ensemble and intonation are flawless; keen rhythms and feather-light bowing give a lightness of touch to the dances. The recorded balance is acutely judged, too, ensuring that Byrd's contrapuntal lines are always distinct.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2011 *****

“You’re continually surprised by the potency of Byrd’s musical imagination – the occasional quirky modulation, or the subtle use of dance rhythms which give the music such lift. Linn’s production values are as exceptional as the performances, and this release is also available as a high-quality download. Blissful.” Graham Rickson, The Arts Desk, 23rd July 2011

“The playing is quite simply divine. Phantasm have long been known for their musical precision, to which they bring to this music a warm, woody, soft-edged articulation that suits it very well. The pacing of individual pieces and sections within them seems particularly sensitively judged and Byrd's textures sublimely balanced.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2011

“there is...a sense of richness and interaction between the players which gives everything a warmth and uniformity of sound that is most satisfying.” International Record Review, July/August 2012

“The Phantasm ensemble, led by musicologist Laurence Dreyfus, have made something of a speciality of Tudor and Renaissance consort music. Here they perform Byrd's whole output of consort works, demonstrating a side to the composer that is not often heard. The counterpoint that characterises his style (particularly in the in nomines) is clearly delineated and the sound is appropriately rich in melancholy.” David Smith, Presto Classical, October 2014

Presto Disc of the Week

13th June 2011

GGramophone Awards 2011

Finalist - Early Music

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2011

BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the month - August 2011

Super Audio CD


Hybrid Multi-channel

Up to 25% off Linn

Linn - CKD372


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O Guiding Night

O Guiding Night

The Spanish Mystics


The Dark Night

Commissioned by the Genesis Foundation

Prayer of St.Teresa of Avila

Commissioned by the Genesis Foundation

A Birthday


fleeting, God

Commissioned by the Genesis Foundation

O vera digna hostia

Beloved, all things ceased

Commissioned by the Genesis Foundation

Williams, Roderick:

O Guiding Night

Commissioned by the Genesis Foundation

Let nothing trouble you

Commissioned by the Genesis Foundation

O Adonai

Harry Christophers and The Sixteen embark on their second new commissions project with the Genesis Foundation this time featuring works inspired by The Spanish Mystics - St Teresa of Ávila and St John of the Cross.

O Guiding Night is the fascinating result of The Sixteen’s second major collaboration with the Genesis Foundation and features six new works by contemporary British composers Tarik O’Regan, Roderick Williams and Ruth Byrchmore. The new works are all inspired by the poetry of two principals of The Spanish Mystics movement - St. Teresa of Ávila and St. John of the Cross.

The Spanish Mystics were major figures in the Catholic Reformation in Spain during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Their attempts to express in words their experience of a mystical communion with Christ produced some exquisite poetry and writings which went on to influence and shape the Spanish language.

All three of the composers featured on this disc have won critical acclaim for their work in recent years and accolades include GRAMMY Nominations and Composer of the Year Awards as well as numerous commissions and broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 and 4. Please see following page for more information on each composer.

The Sixteen and the Genesis Foundation last collaborated on the Padre Pio Prayer recording (COR16071), which featured commissions by James MacMillan, Roxanna Panufnik and Will Todd. As well as the O Guiding Night release, the ensemble is about to embark on a new project, supported by the Foundation, to find the UK’s next generation of ensemble choral singers. For more information on the Genesis Sixteen project visit

“Thanks to the visceral commitment of Harry Christophers and his choir, and the refulgent beauty of the music, the listener will connect body and soul with these sensuous performances. It's hard not to be moved by the wholehearted expression and emotionally engaging styles of each composer's work, especially given the passion of the music-making here.” Classic FM Magazine, August 2011 *****

“Most conservative in idiom are those of Roderick Williams, moonlighting from his day-job as a baritone. His St John setting O Guiding Night is striking for the instinctive word-setting and audibly engaging the singers...O'Regan relies on an ululating underlay of voices to evoke the erotic, visionary nature of St John's clandestine nocturnal assignation. Harry Christophers and The Sixteen nail it expertly.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2011 ****

“Each composer has set the same three texts and much of the satisfaction of this programme derives from comparing their differing word-setting approaches. In general terms, Tarik O'Regan favours repeating, hypnotic ostinatos, whereas Ruth Byrchmore's approach is more intense and dramatic. Roderick Williams's innate lyricism bursts through and sounds the most naturally and comfortably singable.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2011

“As always, The Sixteen's performances are impeccable, with director Harry Christophers careful to allow the import of the texts and, in the case of the St Teresa and St John settings, the different viewpoints of each composer, to register fully through a careful yet by no means micro-managed deployment of tonal balance and vocal colouring.” International Record Review, September 2011

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2011

Contemporary Music - up to 25% off

Coro Genesis Foundation - COR16090


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Boughton: The Queen of Cornwall

Boughton: The Queen of Cornwall

A music-drama based on the play by Thomas Hardy

Heather Shipp (Queen Iseult), Joan Rodgers (Iseult of Brittany, the Whitehanded), Jacques Imbrailo (Sir Tristram), Patricia Orr (Brangwain), Neal Davies (King Mark), Peter Wilman (Sir Andret), Elizabeth Weisberg (Damsel)

New London Orchestra, Members of The London Chorus, Ronald Corp

To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the death of the composer Rutland Boughton (1878-1960), during summer 2010 Dutton Epoch brought a notable team of soloists to the fine acoustic of London’s St Jude-on-the-Hill to make a complete recording of Boughton’s opera The Queen of Cornwall under the sympathetic baton of Ronald Corp. Based on the play of the same name by Thomas Hardy, Boughton’s glorious, lyrical score is vividly realised with Joan Rodgers (Iseult of Brittany), Jacques Imbrailo (Sir Tristram), Neal Davies (King Mark) and Heather Shipp (Queen Iseult) in the leading roles. This is a notable discovery, and all lovers of Boughton’s music will want to explore this lovely score. Included in this deluxe 2-CD set is a 32-page booklet containing the full libretto text, plus rare pictures from the Boughton family archive showing the original 1924 Glastonbury Festival Production of The Queen of Cornwall.

World premiere recording: recorded at St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, 8th - 10th July 2010

“One of the high points here is the singing of Jacques Imbrailo. His firm voice is well supported and cleanly produced, and his holding a good line is to be praised...Shipp catches Iseult well, her basically soft-grained tone takes on a harder edge when it needs to...[Corp] brings full-blooded playing from the orchestra as is fitting but also draws quieter response in intimate scenes.” International Record Review, March 2011

“If you can ignore the words, the writing for both voices and orchestra has a surging confidence that's very appealing, and the musical substance grows on one with repeated hearings. In a strong cast, Heather Shipp as the eponymous Queen and Joan Rodgers as the other Iseult stand out...this is admirably full-blooded performance.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2011 *****

“The Queen of Cornwall dates from 1924, by which time Boughton had moved on to a full and productive assimilation of Wagner's instrumental conception of opera and flexible vocal declamation...For me this opera was quite a revelation and it makes one wonder what other treasures of Boughton await rediscovery.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2011

“This performance is very well cast. Fresh from his success as Billy Budd at Glyndebourne, Jacques Imbrailo sings with an outstanding lyrical beauty that makes Sir Tristram’s ballad-like solos a musical high point, rather than an English apology for Wagnerian grandiloquence. Heather Shipp is excellent as his admirer Iseult...The Queen of Cornwall is a collector’s item for English Wagnerians.” Opera

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2011

Dutton Epoch - 2CDLX7256

(CD - 2 discs)


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Casals Encores

Casals Encores


Cello Sonata in A major, G4a: Allegro Moderato


Nocturne No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 9 No. 2

arr. David Popper

Prelude Op. 28 No. 15 in D flat major ‘Raindrop'

arr. Pablo Casals


Petite Suite: Menuet

arr. Gaston Choisnel


Salut d'amour, Op. 12


Nana (No. 5 from Siete canciones populares españolas)

arr. Maurice Maréchal


Après un rêve, Op. 7 No. 1

arr. Pablo Casals

Godard, B:

Berceuse from Jocelyn


Danza española, Op. 37 No. 5 'Andaluza'

arr. Pablo Casals


Chanson Louis XIII and Pavane (In the style of Couperin)


Thine Eyes So Blue

arr. Pablo Casals


Romance for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 35


La Chanson villageoise, Op. 62 No. 2

Mazurka in G minor, Op. 11 No. 3

Vito, Spanish Dance Op. 54/5


Le carnaval des animaux: Le Cygne

Allegro Appassionato in B minor Op. 43


Serenata napoletana, Op. 24 No. 2


The Song of the Birds

traditional, arr. Pablo Casals


O du, mein holder Abendstern (from Tannhäuser)

arr. Leo Schulz

Alban Gerhardt (cello) & Cecile Licad (piano)

This sensational new release from German cellist Alban Gerhardt recaptures the novelty of the much-loved encores performed by Pablo Casals. Spanish-born Casals was universally recognized as one of the world’s greatest cellists and had a vast repertoire of intimate encores which were adored by his audiences. The disc features transcriptions of works by many notable composers including Fauré, Chopin, Saint-Saëns, Boccherini and Wagner. Also featured are frequently performed musical gems by David Popper: Vito, Chanson villageoise and his Mazurka in G minor, pieces which have gained a special place in the cello literature.

Gerhardt performs these miniature masterworks with extraordinary finesse and verve. His very personal interpretations never lapse into self-indulgence and he projects a distinctive luminescence of tone with infallible intonation. Gerhardt is intelligently partnered and perfectly matched by pianist Cecile Licad on her Hyperion debut. This unique disc demonstrates sublime musicianship, with both performers revelling in a wide expressive scope from the vivacious to the lyrical.

“There is much more to an encore, as Alban Gerhardt will tell you, than casually capping a recital with an audience-pleaser...Listen to Gerhardt in Benjamin Godard’s Berceuse de Jocelyn and there is a paradigm of the exceptional eloquence and discernment that distinguishes the entire disc.” The Telegraph, 2nd June 2011 *****

“his playing [is] less heart-on-sleeve than Casals's own, but wonderfully eloquent and noble: he can be extraordinarily moving in such once-familiar standards as the Berceuse from Godard's Jocelyn, or in Casals's arrangement of Chopin's Raindrop Prelude...Some of this music makes considerable demands on the pianist, and Cecile Licad rises to its challenges with considerable elegance.” The Guardian, 9th June 2011 ****

“Gerhardt has a honeyed, liquid tone all his own. He has created a well-contrasted programme that clearly took a long time to research and hone...This is cello playing of exquisite sophistication and bold imagination. Casals, I feel sure, would have approved.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2011 *****

“An unexpected disc from a cellist one usually thinks of as a heavyweight...he brings to them absolutely the same seriousness of approach and sensitivity that he does to everything. And it works for an album that feels worthwhile as well as easily digestible.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2011

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2011

BBC Music Magazine

Chamber Choice - August 2011

Hyperion & Helios - up to 50% off

Hyperion - CDA67831


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Daniel Barenboim conducts Mahler Symphony No. 9

Daniel Barenboim conducts Mahler Symphony No. 9

including a Documentary with Barenboim and Boulez


Symphony No. 9

Video director: Andreas Morell & Christoph Engel

Performed as a complete cycle in Berlin, Vienna and New York, the concerts were a tremendous success. The Financial Times even wrote “New York is going Mahler mad.”

A fascinating 22 minutes Documentary on the musical world of Mahler as seen by Barenboim and Boulez.

2011 is the 100th anniversary of the death of Gustav Mahler.

“Barenboim´s reading seethes with subtly controlled passion.” New York Times

“A milestone for the Staatskappelle Berlin.” New York Times

Running Time Total: 101 minutes

Symphony: 79 minutes

Documentary: 22 minutes

Picture 16:9, color

Sound PCM Stereo, DTS 5.1

(Bonus: PCM Stereo)

Subtitles Documentary: English

Packaging NTSC: Amaray 1 DVD

Booklet English, German, French

Sticker Yes

“The camerawork here is strong, bringing the viewer into the most interesting sections of the orchestra at any given moment and doing so in a particularly musical fashion. For Barenboim and Boulez, the Mahler project was as much about developing a relationship with a particular orchestra as it was with the composer; short of actually being with them in the concert hall, this is probably the best way to experience the results.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2011

GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - September 2011

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

C Major - 703708

(DVD Video)


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Miklós Rózsa: Orchestral Works Volume 2

Miklós Rózsa: Orchestral Works Volume 2


Variations on a Hungarian Peasant Song, Op. 4 (1929)

Jennifer Pike (violin)

The Vintner's Daughter, Op. 23a

Notturno ungherese, Op. 28

Concerto For Cello And Orchestra, Op. 32

Paul Watkins (cello)

This is Volume 2 in the series of orchestral music by Miklós Rózsa. No fewer than four exclusive Chandos artists perform on this release: The BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, the conductor Rumon Gamba, and soloists Paul Watkins on cello and Jennifer Pike on violin.

Miklós Rózsa was best known for his film music, for which he was Oscar-nominated on thirteen separate occasions, winning three times with A Double Life, Ben Hur, and Hitchcock’s Spellbound. Alongside his film music, Rózsa also wrote music for the concert hall, including some notable concertos.

The Cello Concerto, Op. 32 is a dark, savage, and often quite brutal work. It consists of three movements; a strong driving first movement, an introspective second movement, and an energetic finale which brings the work to a brilliant conclusion. The soloist is Paul Watkins. As one of Britain’s foremost cellists, he performs regularly with the major British orchestras and has made six appearances as concerto soloist at the BBC Proms.

The new, exclusive Chandos artist Jennifer Pike (BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2002) is the featured soloist in Rózsa’s colourfully orchestrated Variations on a Hungarian Peasant Song, Op. 4. Here the theme is taken from a collection of Hungarian folk tunes. It is presented very simply by solo violin, and followed by a series of fourteen variations. These are performed without a break and require some very expressive and virtuoso playing from the soloist. The CD represents Jennifer Pike’s first orchestral release on Chandos. Her first recording for us was a disc of French violin sonatas (CHAN10667) - released in April 2011

“the sheer exuberance and command of orchestral colour channelled into these readings by Rumon Gamba moves this disc into its own sui generis category -- and like its predecessor, this second volume is a delight. The days when the composer’s long association with Hollywood ensured that Rósza’s concert works were looked askance should be firmly put to rest by this exhilarating issue.”, 17th June 2011

“The second volume in Chandos's survey of Miklos Rozsa's orchestral output gets off to an auspicious start with a beautifully nuanced performance from violinist Jennifer Pike of the Variations on a Hungarian Peasant Song...Paul Watkins delivers a strongly committed performance of the Concerto, brilliantly negotiating the hair-raising technical challenges of the solo part.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2011 *****

“the seductive Jennifer equally impressive in both the virtuosity and sweet lyricism of her solo role...[The Cello Concerto] is comparatively austere but emotionally gripping...These are four first-rate works by a still neglected composer, marvellously played and recorded.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2011

“[Watkins is] a very impressive contender and no fan of the composer should hang back from acquiring his account...Chandos scores especially with the sumptuousness of its recorded sound. I await further volumes with interest.” International Record Review, July/August 2011

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2011

Chandos - up to 40% off

Chandos Rózsa Orchestral Works - CHAN10674


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Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 4 and Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 4 and Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini


Piano Concerto No. 1 in F sharp minor, Op. 1

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

Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43

Simon Trpčeski’s recording of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 3 was one of the most acclaimed and best-selling classical releases of 2010. His frequent collaborations with Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra are justly celebrated. Together they complete the Rachmaninov canon with this highly-anticipated follow up of Concertos Nos. 1 and 4, and the Paganini Rhapsody.

Rachmaninov Concertos 2 and 3 made the Top 10 of Billboard’s Classical Chart and won a Diapason d’or de l’année. Simon Trpčeski will support the sequel with extensive touring and CD signings at which he regularly attracts hundreds of fans.

“Simon Trpčeski, Vasily Petrenko and the RLPO bring understanding and instinct to their performances, and take to heart the different temperaments that each of the three works on this recording manifests...the judicious variety of touch and colour, and ability to reveal important details of the music, combine with an expressive maturity to make these performances utterly compelling.” The Telegraph, 16th June 2011 *****

“The virtuosi Macedonian Simon Trpčeski and St Petersburg-born Vasily Petrenko combine in taut, poetic performances with notably coruscating brass playing from an RLPO on impressive and expressive form.” The Observer, 26th June 2011

“Trpčeski captures the music’s protean mood switches to perfection, his mercurial fingers dashing off the vivace flourishes of the outer movements and the most brilliant Paganini variations with insouciant bravura and brio...These performances are a meeting of dazzling musical minds, offering an untraditional approach that never sounds wilful, attention-seeking or eccentric.” Sunday Times, 3rd July 2011 *****

“Trpčeski relishes Rachmaninov, thrilling his audience with virtuosic passages which easily demonstrate why these pieces in particular were important vehicles for Rachmaninov the exiled pianist. Petrenko maintains timing and tension, whilst never allowing lush lyricism to become stodgy or overwhelming...this is a musical combination which works superbly.” Classic FM Magazine, August 2011 *****

“[Nos 1 & 4] have never been such sure-fire crowd-pleasers, but Trpčeski certainly plays them with fire and passion. No. 1 emerges as big-boned and compelling, while he plays up the leanly modernist aspects of No. 4...Trpčeski is aided throughout by the unanimity of feeling produced by Vassily Petrenko's direction of the orchestra, conductor and pianist working hand in glove.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2011 ****

“Expectations are fully realised in performances of the highest order...Trpčeski was put on this earth to play this music and Petrenko to conduct it...This is a riveting disc, another major landmark for Trpčeski and one on which Rachmaninov finds interpreters thoroughly attuned to his emotional world.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2011

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2011

Avie - AV2191



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Chausson Concert & Mathieu Trio & Quintet

Chausson Concert & Mathieu Trio & Quintet


Concert in D major for piano, violin and string quartet, Op. 21

Mathieu, A:

Trio for violin, cello & piano

Quintet for piano and string quartet

Alain Lefevre (piano), David Lefevre (violin)

Quatuor Alcan

Alain Lefèvre offers a rare recording of Mathieu's Piano Trio and Piano Quintet. Alain wants the audience to discover this masterful composer who uses the musical language of the great French schools, anchored in the 20th century.

Chausson's Concert is a masterwork of the chamber repertoire and is a true concerto for piano and violin.

“Both works merit attention, the more so in performances, led by the pianist Alain Lefèvre, that are so eloquently expressive, so sure in ensemble and so alert to the music's arresting fluxes of mood. There seems to be an underlying narrative to this music, which the performers convey with animation, tenderness and urgent passion.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2011

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Editor's Choice - September 2011

Analekta - AN29286



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Cavalli: Artemisia

Cavalli: Artemisia

Recorded in Mondovì (Sala Ghisleri), Italy, in October 2010

Francesca Lombardi Mazzulli (Artemisia), Roberta Mameli (Artemia), Valentina Coladonato (Oronta), Maarten Engeltjes (Meraspe), Andrea Arrivabene (Alindo), Marina Bartoli (Ramiro), Silvia Frigato (Eurillo), Salvo Vitale (Indamoro), Alberto Allegrezza (Erisbe) & Alessandro Giangrande (Niso)

La Venexiana, Claudio Cavina

Where next for Claudio Cavina and La Venexiana after their exhilarating run of recordings of Monteverdi madrigals, operas and much more?

One route is proving to be in the direction of Francesco Cavalli, the 17th -century composer who spent much of his working life in Venice, starting off as a chorister in St Mark’s Basilica when Monteverdi himself was in charge. Although Cavalli has been known as a composer of Venetian seicento sacred music, it is his prolific contribution in the field of opera – where he became one of the leading figures involved in the development of commercial opera companies from the 1640s onwards – that has been receiving greater attention from artists in more recent times. And it is with a dramma per musica in Artemisia from the mid 1650s, with its tale of love, deceit and honour and the upholding of the virtues of the Venetian Republic (all this richly captured by the expressive style of Cavalli), that Cavina has chosen to contribute to that fresh look at Cavalli’s music on this new recording from Glossa.

Singers in the established style of La Venexiana, including the vocal star of ’Round M, Roberta Mameli and, recent finalist in the Handel Singing Competition, Francesca Lombardi Mazzulli (who takes the role of the love-torn Queen Artemisia, a character strong enough to drink her dead husband’s ashes...) give vent to this glorious display of Venetian operatic splendour.

“The score is a musky pot pourri of dewy love songs, indignant recitatives, balmy passacaglias, lullabies and laments...Together with Silvia Frigato's nimble page Eurillo, Allegrezza delivers a warm performance...the house style is super-stylish and the continuo uniformly suave.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2011 ****

“The music is terrific and so is the cast. The singers are especially adept at putting across the dialogue, which has the vigour of a staged performance...The orchestra is perfect: six plucked continuo instruments plus single strings, which accompany some of the arias...this is a triumph for Claudio Cavina and La Venexiana.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2011

“Cavina's choice of singers is perfectly matched to the scale of the production. Soprano Francesca Lombardi Mazzulli captivates us from the very start...It's a voice which can be steely, vulnerable, pathos-laden, joyous and deceitful - all without over-singing or drenching the vocal lines with vibrato...Engeltjes plays the love-interest, Meraspe, with a Michael Chance-like thinness of tone. It's brilliant...the rewards are outstanding.” International Record Review, July/August 2011

“Meraspe's act three lullaby is among the most beautiful things [Cavalli] ever wrote...La Venexiana's performance nicely captures the work's dominant tone of sadness... The vocal honours go to Roberta Mameli and Marina Bartoli, heartbreaking as Artemia and Ramiro.” The Guardian, 9th June 2011 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2011

Glossa - GCD920918

(CD - 3 discs)


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