Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

October 2011

Disc of the Month

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Martinu: Symphonies Nos. 1-6

Awards:

Gramophone Awards 2012

Best of Category - Best of Category

Gramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - October 2011

Building a Library

First Choice - May 2016

Label:

Onyx

Catalogue No:

ONYX4061

Discs:

3

Release date:

27th June 2011

Barcode:

0880040406129

Length:

3 hours 2 minutes

Medium:

CD (download also available)
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Martinu: Symphonies Nos. 1-6


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Recorded live at the Barbican in London, these recordings represent the first complete CD cycle of Martinu’s symphonies conducted by Jiří Bělohlávek. The critically acclaimed concerts were given to mark the 50th anniversary of Martinu’s death in 1959.

Martinu’s six symphonies are a major contribution to 20th-century symphonic literature, and yet are still undervalued. Spanning the years before, during and after the Second World War, they capture the turmoil, hopes and fears of the composer and his homeland – a homeland that suffered unimaginable cruelties under the Nazis. At the end of the war, Martinu was the only major Czech composer of his generation to have survived.

Yet through the underlying currents of menace in the later works, the irrepressible Czech spirit survives, and the country’s folk music is never far from the surface in these powerful and sincere works. As conductor Jiří Bělohlávek says ‘I personally love all of Martinu’s symphonies for the rich, colourful orchestration and undeniable Czech flair which always prevail in them, despite the fact that they also reflect the musical developments of their time.’

Bohuslav Martinů: Symphony No. 1

I. Moderato - Poco Piú Mosso

II. Scherzo: Allegro - Trio : Poco Moderato

III. Largo

IV. Allegro Non Troppo

Bohuslav Martinů: Symphonie No. 2

I. Allegro Moderato

II. Andante Moderato

III. Poco Allegro

IV. Allegro

Bohuslav Martinů: Symphony No. 3

I. Allegro Poco Moderato

II. Largo

III. Allegro - Andante

Bohuslav Martinů: Symphony No. 4

I. Poco Moderato

II. Allegro Vivo - Trio: Moderato - Allegro Vivo

III. Largo

IV. Poco Allegro

Bohuslav Martinů: Symphonie No. 5

I. Adagio - Allegro

II. Larghetto

III. Lento - Allegro

Bohuslav Martinů: Symphonie No. 6 "Fantaisies Symphoniques"

I. Lento - Andante Moderato - Allegro - Lento

II. Poco Allegro

III. Lento - Poco Vivo: Adagio - Allegro - Allegro Vivace - Lento

The Times

15th July 2011

****

“Magic always happens when Belohlávek conducts the BBC Symphony Orchestra in Czech works...this set of Martinu’s six symphonies, taken from Barbican concerts last season, overflows with the same qualities that make the music so endearing: heart-warming ebullience, visionary fantasy, soaring passion, the most piquant orchestral colours.”

Sunday Times

10th July 2011

****

“”

Financial Times

30th July 2011

****

“You won’t find a more persuasive champion than Belohlávek, who has the music in his blood. His skill at unravelling Martinu’s rhythmic and textural knots – evidenced time and again in these live performances by the BBC Symphony Orchestra – is such that you immediately sense the stature of the music.”

The Telegraph

4th August 2011

“Martin˚u’s symphonies tend to divide opinion and have not enjoyed anything like the same exposure as those of his Czech predecessor, Dvorak. But if anyone can find the key to their language, it is Jiří Bělohlávek...there is plenty of freshness, verve and expressive wisdom on this set.”

Classic FM Magazine

October 2011

****

“The BBC Symphony Orchestra sounds consistently alert, nimble and alive to Martinu's distinct musical moods...Bělohlávek demonstrates total commitment and concentration and his players are with him at every turn, captured in sharp sound that reveals the workings of the music. And since when did the BBC SO's strings have such a chameleonic ability to twist and shade their collective mood? Impressive and charming.”

BBC Music Magazine

October 2011

*****

“Belohlavek and the orchestra are superb in the first three symphonies. He captures Martinu's shimmering, luminous orchestral textures and invests the pervasive 'sprung' rhythms of the faster movements with an infectious bounce. Belohlavek's emotional engagement is always complete...and throughout the set, Belohlavek's grasp of the trajectory of the symphonic argument is at all times apparent.”

Gramophone Magazine

October 2011

“Play them back to back and the inevitable risk is that they may all begin to sound too much alike, but such is Jiri Belohlavek's skill as a Martinu interpreter that the effect is still of impressive stylistic variety...In short, Belohlavek and the BBC SO are now my top recommendation for the Martinu symphonies”

Record Review

7th May 2016

“There is no doubt in my mind that Belohlavek and the BBC Symphony Orchestra give us a Martinu 6th Symphony informed not only by the spark of live performance, but also imbued with a deeper understanding of its workings and what lies behind them than anyone else.”

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Mahler: Symphony No. 3

Mahler: Symphony No. 3


Jonathan Nott has been the principal conductor of the Bamberger Symphoniker since the year 2000 and this has been a very successful partnership. Their recording of Mahler’s 9th Symphony (TUDOR7162) won several awards “This is a fine achievement in a towering symphony.” BBC Music Magazine

“a recorded spaciousness...lets every ensemble and solo spirituality resound. That's in evidence from the first magnificent horn cry, to the infinite depth of the truly noble timpani - magnificent throughout - at the end...Nott rejects abstraction, finding tangible vocal expressivity in every little counterpoint and detail...Fujimura's voice is mysterious but young and fresh.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2011 *****

“This is proving to be a searchlight among Mahler cycles...It isn't the spectacle of power of Nott's Mahler that singles him out...but rather an intimate and highly idiomatic understanding of the style and sensibility of the music that sets him apart...Nott is scrupulous about [details] but, far more important, he knows why they are there.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2011

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2011

BBC Music Magazine

Orchestral Choice - October 2011

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2012

Orchestral Finalist

Super Audio CD

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Tudor Jonathan Nott Complete Mahler Symphonies - TUDOR7170

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Grieg: Complete Symphonic Works Volume 1

Grieg: Complete Symphonic Works Volume 1


Grieg:

Symphonic Dances (4), Op. 64

Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46

Peer Gynt Suite No. 2, Op. 55

Funeral March: Rikard Nordraak in memoriam


Edvard Grieg wanted to give Norway its unique voice within European concert repertoire, and he did that with songs, piano pieces, and particularly with his symphonic works, to be released by Audite in a 5-volume complete recording with Eivind Aadland and the WDR Symphony Orchestra.

This first SACD presents Grieg’s principal collections: his four Symphonic Dances of 1898, where the composer draws on his experiences as a conductor of the leading European orchestras; and his two suites from the incidental music to Henrik Ibsen’s drama Peer Gynt, the story of the “Nordic Faust” which inspired Grieg to compose a sonic panorama of the Norwegian character: from the melancholy song of the abandoned Solveig to the furious chase in the Hall of the Mountain King.

Eivind Aadland’s roots in the Norwegian folk tradition audibly influence his interpretations. He comes from a family where folk music played an important role and as a child he came into intensive contact with Grieg’s music. Aadland was chief conductor and artistic director of the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra from 2003 until 2010 and has also worked with many other international orchestras. He initially studied the violin with Yehudi Menuhin and from 1981 until 1989 he was concert master of the Bergen Philharmonic. From 1987 until 1997 he was music director of the European Union Chamber Orchestra. He has subsequently devoted himself fully to his conducting career and studies with Jorma Panula.

Parallel to the release of the first SACD, a video will be available which will be also presented on www.audite. de. The second volume is scheduled for release in August.

“[this disc] should really be heard not only by all admirers of this composer but also by his detractors...in terms of tempos and of internal orchestral balance, Aadland places this music on altogether a higher plane than it usually occupies, and obtains really fine playing from the West German Radio Symphony Orchestra of Cologne. This is notable music-making” International Record Review, July/August 2011

“Aadland is a native of Grieg's Bergen, steeped through his family in the Norwegian folk-music tradition...To the WDR players he has communicated a lightness of touch and a fine Grieg balance in which the winds sing out almost like concertante soloists...With recording matching the scale of the music-making, Aadland's new cycle...has hit the ground running.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2011

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2011

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Audite Grieg Complete Symphonic Works - AUDITE92651

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Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor

Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor

Mariinsky Concert Hall, St Petersburg, 12-16 September 2010. Notes in Russian (cyrillic ), English, French and German, libretto in Italian with English translation


Natalie Dessay (Lucia), Piotr Beczala (Edgardo), Vladislav Sulimsky (Enrico), Dmitry Voropaev (Arturo), Ilya Bannik (Raimondo), Zhanna Dombrovskaya (Alisa) & Sergei Skorokhodov (Normanno)

Mariinsky Orchestra & Chorus, Valery Gergiev

The Mariinsky label’s opera recordings have garnered acclaim and awards from around the world, most recently for Valery Gergiev’s recording of Parsifal released in 2010. For the label’s fifth opera, Gergiev conducts Donizetti’s masterpiece with a magnificent cast led by Natalie Dessay.

Natalie Dessay is one of the world’s most sought-after sopranos and an admired interpreter of lyric heroines. She is particularly renowned for her interpretation of the role of Lucia, which she has performed at the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House and the Mariinsky Theatre. Future engagements include Verdi’s La Traviata with the LSO at the Aix-en-Provence Festival in July and at the Vienna State Opera in October.

Piotr Beczala is rapidly establishing a reputation as one of today’s leading lyric tenors. He has recently sung Edgardo at the Met and on tour in Japan, and this summer will perform at the Bavarian State Opera and Salzburg Festival.

Valery Gergiev recently won the Disc of the Year Award from BBC Music Magazine for his LSO Live recording of Prokofiev’s Romeo & Juliet. In July, Gergiev will conduct the Mariinsky Ballet at New York Metropolitan Opera and in August he conducts at the Edinburgh Festival and BBC Proms with the Mariinsky Orchestra before opening the LSO’s 2011-12 concert season.

In October he embarks on a major tour of the USA and Canada with the Mariinsky Orchestra, including residencies at Carnegie Hall and Berkeley. Forthcoming releases include the final instalment in his Mahler cycle on LSO Live featuring Symphony No 9 and the Mariinsky label’s first DVDs and Blu-Ray Discs.

Natalie Dessay appears courtesy of Virgin Classics.

“The recording is worth owning for Beczala’s classy singing as Edgardo, the only paragon here. The Polish tenor’s gleaming, if not Italianate, tone, superb diction and shapely phrasing are the set’s most consistent pleasures.” Sunday Times, 17th July 2011 **

“Here’s a Valery Gergiev recording in which, for once, the febrile maestro isn’t centre stage. This is all about Natalie Dessay’s performance as poor deluded Lucy. And if you thrill to the French soprano’s hypercharged, histrionic and occasionally wayward delivery of Donizetti’s mad scene, you will forgive the ebullient but sometimes rough-edged playing of the Mariinsky Orchestra...Top singing from Vladislav Sulimsky as Enrico.” The Times, 16th July 2011 ****

“there is something distinctively Russian about this Lammermoor. All those Italian melodies flow beautifully...But there is a sense of drive and purpose about this performance that seems, to me at least, distinctively Slavic...Dessay structures [the Mad Scene] well, always saving something in reserve for the build-ups and outbursts. Some excellent glass harmonica playing from Sascha Reckert...An intense but satisfying experience.” Classical Review, July 2011

“Here is a Lucia to match Callas or Sutherland. Natalie Dessay’s light soprano gives a vivid impression of Lucia’s vulnerable personality. The Mad Scene is enthralling. Piotr Beczala is a gloriously virile Edgardo, and the Italian style of the Russian cast more than acceptable. With Valery Gergiev a surprisingly sensitive conductor, this is a top-rank recording of a marvellous opera.” The Telegraph, 4th August 2011 *****

“Gergiev drives it hard, admirably sustaining an atmosphere of tremendous neurotic tension throughout...Piotr Beczala's Edgardo is stylish and impulsive, if occasionally effortful.” The Guardian, 11th August 2011 ***

“how authentic a Donizettian can [Gergiev] be? The basic answer is that the tinta he establishes for the work - a dark sound with good forward winds and present brass...creates real atmosphere...this is a neurotic, depressed Donizetti, surely right for this story. If this is not always Italian slancio, it certainly has its own mood and lift...It is also sensitive to dynamic markings: this is rarely a loud experience.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2011

“Everything Dessay does is lovely, but there is a lack of the desperation which should pervade the role...[Beczala is] actually more moving and Italianate than Dessay. Still, as post-Maria Callas Lucias go, this is one of the best.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2011 ****

“we can once again relish Dessay's extraordinary command of staccatos, her flexibility (the rapid scales in the Mad Scene cabaletta are stunning) and that uniquely pearly timbre...Finally, and most importantly, she phrases at all times with the sensitivity we have come to expect of her...Beczala, with his gleaming, immaculately centred tone and unfailing sincerity of address, stands comparison with any other recorded Edgardo.” International Record Review, September 2011

“In all honesty, there's little that's particularly Scottish about the score for Donizetti's melodrama after Sir Walter Scott - but it would be churlish to omit this tale of feuding Highland aristocracy. Natalie Dessay's fragile heroine is all the more pathetic against the suitably gutsy, red-in-tooth-and-claw playing of the Mariinsky under Valery Gergiev.” David Smith, Presto Classical

Presto Disc of the Week

1st August 2011

Presto Disc of the Week

1st August 2011

Presto Favourites

Recommended Recording

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2011

Super Audio CD

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Mariinsky - MAR0512

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Benjamin Grosvenor: Chopin Liszt Ravel

Benjamin Grosvenor: Chopin Liszt Ravel


Chopin:

Scherzi Nos. 1-4

Nocturne No. 5 in F sharp major, Op. 15 No. 2

Nocturne No. 19 in E minor, Op. 72 No. 1

Nocturne No. 20 in C sharp minor, Op. post.

Liszt:

Polish Songs S480 No. 5 'Mein Freuden' (Moja pieszczotka, My Joys)' (after Chopin)

Polish Songs S480 No. 1 "Maiden's Wish" (after Chopin)

En rêve - Nocturne S207

Ravel:

Gaspard de la Nuit


Chopin Liszt Ravel is the debut album from the incredible Benjamin Grosvenor. Decca Classics’ new signing made his name as an 11 year old prodigy when he performed at the BBC Young Musician Final, (narrowly missing out to winner, violinist Nicola Benedetti). Still only aged 18, Benjamin has burst onto the performance scene. His debut album, Chopin Liszt, Ravel is out this July.

Benjamin is due to receive nationwide media attention when he performs at the First Night of the Proms, which will be followed by a BBC Breakfast News appearance. He will also tour this season with the National Youth Orchestra (and play at their BBC Prom) showing his relevance and support to young classical musicians today.

“Have you ever heard a more aqueous evocation of Ravel’s water nymph? Grosvenor’s Steinway instrument seems permanently underwater, swimming through the softest of rippling textures...Grosvenor, you can tell, is a Romantic pianist, almost from another age. He doesn’t deconstruct, or stand at a distance. He jumps inside the music’s soul.” The Times, 8th July 2011 ****

“It's an immensely confident set, comparable to Evgeny Kissin's early performances – the most impressive aspect being not his obvious command of technique, but an intellectual and emotional understanding of the music way beyond his tender years.” The Independent, 8th July 2011 ****

“This recital disc shows his ability to twin youthful exuberance with impeccable technique and magisterial musical intelligence...Grosvenor's balance of oratory and ornament, gesture and poetry – evident, too, in Ravel's Gaspard de la nuit – are moving as well as impressive. He's a phenomenon: modest, poised and natural, as well as brimming with talent.” The Observer, 17th July 2011

“The first thing you notice is the limpid surface of Grosvenor’s playing, the warm tonal gleam that he conjures up from the keys. It is a beautiful sound, and beneath it there are seams of passion, discretion and emotional affinity with the music...there is little to quibble with in this recital, which shows intelligence coupled with a command of keyboard colour and musical characterisation that are remarkable.” The Telegraph, 14th July 2011 ****

“In Gaspard he magically combines the micro-refinement of a Pogorelich with the poetic wisdom and golden touch of a Perlemuter, and in Chopin's Scherzos integrates the music's hurtling mood-swings with mesmerising intensity.” Classic FM Magazine, September 2011 *****

“Both the main works here...demonstrate the brilliance of Grosvenor's technique as he takes the challenges of Chopin's pieces in his stride, and vividly conjures up the colours of Ravel's piano writing, if rather underplaying the pieces' nightmarish qualities” The Guardian, 18th August 2011 ***

“one of the most individual things about this stunning debut by Benjamin Grosvenor is his pervasive sense of balance and his unerring blend of Classical restraint and Romantic ardour...He is a virtuoso who declines the mantle of virtuoso, every gestures being put exclusively and exhilaratingly at the service of the music. Grosvenor's playing exudes joy and spontaneity, seeming to release rather than interpret the music.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2011 *****

“evidence of an awesome talent, a pianist with fantastic natural reflexes in the Cziffra class and, more excitingly, a musician with purpose and imagination, whose playing transcends the sterile confines of the studio...Crowning all is a masterly Gaspard in which an astonishing array of touch and tonal colouring are brought to bear in Grosvenor's vivid, distinctly defined characterisation of all three movements.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2011

“This release is quite superlative in every way...Grosvenor's fleet-fingered virtuosity is a match for the finest...Despite this, there's a modesty and humility to these readings which is wonderful to behold...Grosvenor is seemingly incapable of producing an ugly tone and the richness of colour and nuance has been perfectly captured by the Decca engineers. This is essential listening.” International Record Review, September 2011

Presto Disc of the Week

18th July 2011

GGramophone Awards 2012

Best of Category - Instrumental

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2011

BBC Music Magazine

Instrumental Choice - October 2011

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2012

Instrumental Finalist

Decca - 4783206

(CD)

$14.00

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Prokofiev: Piano Sonatas Nos. 1-9

Prokofiev: Piano Sonatas Nos. 1-9


Prokofiev:

Piano Sonatas 1 - 9 (complete)

Four Etudes, Op. 2

Toccata in D minor, Op. 11

Sarcasms (5), Op. 17

Visions fugitives, Op. 22

Tales of an Old Grandmother, Op. 31

Ten Pieces from Romeo and Juliet, Op. 75


Matti Raekallio (piano)

This 4-CD collector’s box features Matti Raekallio with piano solo music by Sergei Prokofiev, including a complete set of the nine Piano Sonatas.

Finnish-born pianist Matti Raekallio has built an international reputation particularly upon his reference interpretations of Prokofiev’s piano music. A prolific pedagogue, he joined in 2007 the faculty of the Juilliard School in New York, having previously held professorships at Western Michigan University, as well as in Helsinki, Stockholm, and Hanover.

Also included are the famous Ten Pieces for Piano from Romeo and Juliet, Visions fugitives, and Sarcasms, as well as further cycles and popular piano solo pieces

All recordings were previously released to highest acclaim.

“Formidably played and well recorded, it will alert even the most seasoned listener to the conflicting elements of Prokofiev's always "difficult", prickly and volatile nature...[Raekallio] plays with a shot-from-guns virtuosity that carries all before it...[it] makes for compulsive listening, achieving a keen sense of "works of art that are full of glittering razor-blades" (Picasso)” Gramophone Magazine, October 2011

GGramophone Magazine

Re-issue of the Month - October 2011

Ondine - ODE11032Q

(CD - 4 discs)

$30.50

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Handel: Theodora, HWV 68

Handel: Theodora, HWV 68


Christine Schäfer (Theodora), Bejun Mehta (Didymus), Johannes Martin Kränzle (Valens), Bernarda Fink (Irene), Joseph Kaiser (Septimius), Ryland Davies (Messenger)

Freiburger Barockorchester, Ivor Bolton (conductor) & Christof Loy (stage director)

Handel’s oratorio Theodora, in its first-ever staging at the Salzburg Festival ,was among the highlights of the Handel year in 2009.

First Theodora on Blu-ray.

Great cast that features Christine Schäfer and Bejun Mehta, conducted by Ivor Bolton.

Acclaimed stage director Christof Loy presented Theodora as the profoundly moving tale of a woman who prefers death to denying her own faith.

Video director Hannes Rossacher, known both in the pop (Rolling Stones) and classical world (Mozart's "Lucio Silla" for UNITEL), captures the essence of this rarely recorded work.

Running Time Opera: 189 minutes

“Ivor Bolton conducts with a freshness, a liveliness, even in sad, inward-looking solos and choruses, which does not mean a lack of sensitivity but rather an avoidance of dullness...Among the six singers in the cas there is not one weakness.” International Record Review, July/August 2011

“The performances are generally dramatically real...Outstanding is Bejun Mehta's sweet-toned yet dynamic Didymus. Ivor Bolton secures an efficient musical performance.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2011 ***

“Joseph Kaiser gives an outstanding vocal and dramatic performance as the beleaguered Roman guard Septimius...The Salzburg Bach Choir manages the impressive feat of moving around a lot while remaining vocally balanced and blended (and their English is flawless)...The music provision from the classy team of the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra and Ivor Bolton is exemplary at letting Handel do the talking” Gramophone Magazine, October 2011

GGramophone Magazine

Blu-ray of the month - October 2011

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

C Major - 705804

(Blu-ray)

$35.75

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Handel: Theodora, HWV 68

Handel: Theodora, HWV 68


Christine Schäfer (Theodora), Bejun Mehta (Didymus), Johannes Martin Kränzle (Valens), Bernarda Fink (Irene), Joseph Kaiser (Septimius), Ryland Davies (Messenger)

Freiburger Barockorchester, Ivor Bolton (conductor) & Christof Loy (stage director)

Handel’s oratorio Theodora, in its first-ever staging at the Salzburg Festival ,was among the highlights of the Handel year in 2009.

Great cast that features Christine Schäfer and Bejun Mehta, conducted by Ivor Bolton.

Acclaimed stage director Christof Loy presented Theodora as the profoundly moving tale of a woman who prefers death to denying her own faith.

Video director Hannes Rossacher, known both in the pop (Rolling Stones) and classical world (Mozart's "Lucio Silla" for UNITEL), captures the essence of this rarely recorded work.

Running Time Opera: 189 minutes

“Ivor Bolton conducts with a freshness, a liveliness, even in sad, inward-looking solos and choruses, which does not mean a lack of sensitivity but rather an avoidance of dullness...Among the six singers in the cast there is not one weakness.” International Record Review, July/August 2011

“The performances are generally dramatically real...Outstanding is Bejun Mehta's sweet-toned yet dynamic Didymus. Ivor Bolton secures an efficient musical performance.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2011 ***

“Joseph Kaiser gives an outstanding vocal and dramatic performance as the beleaguered Roman guard Septimius...The Salzburg Bach Choir manages the impressive feat of moving around a lot while remaining vocally balanced and blended (and their English is flawless)...The music provision from the classy team of the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra and Ivor Bolton is exemplary at letting Handel do the talking.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2011

GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - October 2011

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

C Major - 705708

(DVD Video - 2 discs)

$41.00

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

Bartók: Violin Concerto No. 2 & Rhapsodies for Violin & Orchestra

Bartók: Violin Concerto No. 2 & Rhapsodies for Violin & Orchestra


Bartók:

Violin Concerto No. 2, Sz 112

Rhapsody for Violin & Orchestra No. 1, BB 94b, Sz. 87

Rhapsody for Violin & Orchestra No. 2, BB 96b, Sz. 90


A warmly anticipated new release in the critically acclaimed Hungaroton Bartok series, featuring the award-winning conductor Zoltan Kocsis.

The three works on this CD share an interesting peculiarity. For all three, Bartok composed an alternative ending (as he also did for the Concerto for Orchestra). Whilst concert practice in the past decades has come to prefer one or another of these alternatives, it is both unique and enlightening to listen to the different versions side by side.

“Barnabás Kelemen takes the finger-crippling demands of the concerto in his stride, hoisting Bartok's soaring cantabile aloft at every opportunity, while ensuring that the music's often abrupt changes of mood make a startling impact.” Classic FM Magazine, May 2011 ****

“Not only does Kelemen possess all the necessary technical brilliance to master every aspect of of Bartok's fiendishly difficult writing but he also has an instinctive and idiomatic understanding of the musical language...Kocsis and the National Hungarian Philharmonic offer astonishingly vivid support to Kelemen's rollercoaster playing, bringing a raw incisive edge to the orchestra acccompaniment” BBC Music Magazine, June 2011 *****

“Kelemen lunges at both [Rhapsodies] like a man possessed: his bow knows no fear and his orchestral collaborators are with him all the way. An exceptional disc.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2011

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2011

BBC Music Magazine

Orchestral Choice - June 2011

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2012

Orchestral Finalist

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25% off Hungaroton

Hungaroton Bartók New Series - HSACD32509

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Special: $13.31

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Elgar: Piano Quintet & String Quartet

Elgar: Piano Quintet & String Quartet


Elgar:

String Quartet in E minor, Op. 83

Goldner String Quartet

Mina

Piers Lane (piano)

Laura Valse

Piers Lane (piano)

Impromptu

Piers Lane (piano)

March in D major

Piers Lane (piano)

Piano Quintet in A minor, Op. 84

Piers Lane (piano)

Goldner String Quartet


Inspired by the rural beauty of the surroundings at his country retreat in 1917, Edward Elgar embarked on the composition of some of his most inspired and imaginative chamber works.

Both the String Quartet and the Piano Quintet are works of great depth and elegance. Their conservative style disregards the compositional trends of the time and displays an unabashed late-romanticism. Elgar wrote: ‘It is full of golden sounds and I like it. But you must not expect anything violently chromatic or cubist.’

The disc features sumptuous playing from the acclaimed Goldner String Quartet, who are joined by pianist Piers Lane for Elgar’s sublime Piano Quintet, a large-scale work of almost orchestral sonority.

These masterpieces are accompanied by four previously unrecorded works for solo piano, the last of which was written by Elgar at the age of 72. They are intimate, charming rarities, superbly performed by Lane.

“The quintet is given real stature in this very fine recording, with the Goldners and Piers Lane revelling in the expansive themes of the opening moderato and the unashamedly romantic adagio. The Goldners bring the same emotional intensity to the febrile quartet with its shifting tonality and quirky rhythmic scheme, before Lane presents some fascinating miniatures” The Observer, 12th June 2011

“as this fine account by Piers Lane and the Goldner Quartet demonstrates, [the Piano Quintet is] full of highly expressive, authentically Elgarian tunes. The Goldners' account of the quartet is finely fluent, too, and in both works they resist the temptation to over-egg the climaxes.” The Guardian, 16th June 2011 ****

“Of his 1918 quartet, [Elgar] wrote: “I know it does not carry us further, but it is full of golden sounds and I like it.” The well-named Goldner Quartet capture those golden sounds — and the piece’s elegiac moods — in an exquisitely nuanced way. The Quintet, more extrovert despite its moving adagio, gets brilliant playing from Lane” Sunday Times, 3rd July 2011 ****

“The Goldner String Quartet judges the Elgar idiom persuasively, finding that blend of sensibility and muscularity, wistful meditation and optimistic motivation. The main works are the E minor String Quartet (1918) and the A minor Piano Quintet...both are played with distinction, and with a secure grasp of the give and take of pulse that is integral to Elgar’s music.” The Telegraph, 14th July 2011 ***

“The Quartet is delicately charming, with an exquisite Elgarian touch that the Goldners capture most sympathetically, without sentimentalising it. They also give an excellent performance with Piers Lane of the better known, much more dramatic Piano Quintet, tracing its mood swings seamlessly and handling the great Adagio with the unaffected restraint it deserves.” Financial Times, 23rd July 2011

“This is one of those rare discs that give pleasure and food for thought in equal measure...when [Elgar's chamber music] is played with the kind of understanding shown by these five musicians it leaves one wondering how anyone could miss the subtle variety, the elegant sophistication under the surface...The whole experience is a valuable reminder that Elgar doesn't display his originality openly.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2011 *****

“In the Elgar Piano Quintet, they make the most of the work's Brahmsian qualities balancing solidity with élan, tenderness with tension, delicacy with ferocity. The String Quartet is likewise treated with sensitivity, subtlety and great understanding of its tremulous, troubled nature. Lane gives an affectionate account of the little piano pieces.” Classic FM Magazine, September 2011 *****

“No beating about the bush: the Goldners give the most sublimely articulate and raptly communicative reading of Elgar's elusive String Quartet that it's been my privilege to encounter. It's not just their fabulous technical address and scrupulous adherence to the text that are so impressive...but the recreative ardour, tumbling fantasy and sinewy strength they bring to this marvellous score make it seem as though the ink is barely dry on the manuscript” Gramophone Magazine, October 2011

“A wonderfully warm recording of the String Quartet by the Goldner Quartet. They are joined by pianist Piers Lane for a sensitive performance of the under-rated Piano Quintet.” James Longstaffe, Presto Classical, May 2014

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2011

BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the month - September 2011

Hyperion & Helios - up to 50% off

Hyperion - CDA67857

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Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 'Pathétique' & Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream Overture

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 'Pathétique' & Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream Overture


Mendelssohn:

A Midsummer Night's Dream Overture, Op. 21

Tchaikovsky:

Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74 'Pathétique'


Recorded live in concert at the Royal Festival hall, these 2009 performances see the Philharmonia Orchestra capture the energy and profundity of Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony, led by Sir Charles Mackerras. Signum’s collection of live orchestral recordings with the Philharmonia continues to grow, this being the 14th release. Mackerras brought an extensive wealth and depth of understanding in his work as Principal Guest Conductor with the Philharmonia Orchestra – their disc of Mahler’s 4th symphony, released last year, was universally lauded by critics.

“If there were no further releases in the series, the composer's final symphony would make a fine valedictory effort for Mackerras, who leads the Philharmonia seamlessly through the piece's emotional roller-coaster. The opening movement alone is a masterful journey...A brilliant recording.” The Independent, 3rd June 2011 *****

“the Mendelssohn here is unmissable and the Tchaikovsky very fine indeed Everything's perfectly placed in the first movement...the march-scherzo glows with unusual clarity...A Midsummer Night's Dream follows with perfect, contrasting lightness . Mackerras gives the lovers and mechanicals all the attentive energy of a young conductor...Post-Thomas Beecham, you won't hear a better performance of the overture than this.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2011 ****/*****

“The symphony's first movement, especially, reaches a level of intensity that's seriously frightening, with astonishing virtuoso firepower from every corner of the orchestra.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2011 *****

“The symphony's first movement, especially, reaches a level of intensity that's seriously frightening, with astonishing virtuoso firepower from every corner of the orchestra.” Classic FM Magazine, September 2011 *****

“There is an immediacy and incisive, almost forensic clarity to this 2009 live performance that makes for tremendous drama at points of crisis...The late, great Sir Charles Mackerras's way with style shows itself in tiny details...So much of what Mackerras did was governed by an acute sense of what articulation can achieve - and this is a superb example.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2011

“Sir Charles Mackerras's way with the Pathétique combines a forthright musicality with a keen sense of orchestral colour. In the pungent opening bassoon solos, note the carefully sculpted hairpin dynamics in the supporting strings...The Midsummer Night's Dream Overture is an unhackneyed complement to the symphony, and Mackerras leads a characterful performance. It's good to hear the strings articulating crisply at a reasonable speed. The second theme flows easily; the cross-rhythmic attacks in the development are pointed. The music strides proudly, as it should, into the false ending; the winds transition into the final coda - the real one - with a lovely wistfulness.” MusicWeb International, February 2015

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2011

Signum Philharmonia Orchestra - SIGCD253

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The Music of Poul Ruders, Volume 6

The Music of Poul Ruders, Volume 6


Ruders:

Piano Concerto No. 2

Vassily Primakov (piano)

Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Thomas Søndergård

Bel Canto – for violin solo

Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen (violin)

Serenade on the Shores of the Cosmic Ocean

Mikko Luoma (accordion)

iO String Quartet


With the international success of his operas and symphonic works during the past decade, the Danish composer Poul Ruders has been acclaimed as a major figure in today’s musical world.

Volume 6 of Bridge’s Poul Ruders series presents the première recordings of recent solo, chamber and orchestral compositions. The newest work is Ruders's Piano Concerto No. 2, a brilliant 24-minute composition in three movements.

The work was recorded by its first executants, the Russian/American piano virtuoso Vassily Primakov, and the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, conducted by Thomas Søndergård. Bel Canto was composed by Ruders for the Carl Nielsen International Violin Competition.

Serenade on the Shores of the Cosmic Ocean is arguably Ruders's finest chamber work- a 33 minute, nine movement piece, inspired by the writings of the late Carl Sagan.

“The fount of creative energy that has sustained Poul Ruders since the late 1960s shows no sign of running dry. Or so, at least, this trio of works from the past decade affirms...Imagine [Gubaidulina's] symbolic sound world shot through with the energy of Ligeti and you have some idea of the rewards in store from this marvellous disc, all of which is superbly played and recorded.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2011

GGramophone Awards 2011

Finalist - Contemporary

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2011

Contemporary Music - up to 25% off

Bridge - The Music of Poul Ruders - BRIDGE9336

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