Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

July 2012

Editor's Choice

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Bach, J S: St Matthew Passion, BWV244

Bach, J S: St Matthew Passion, BWV244

A ritualisation by Peter Sellars

contains 2 DVDs and Blu-ray disc


Mark Padmore (Evangelist), Christian Gerhaher (Jesus), Camilla Tilling (soprano), Magdalena Kozena (mezzo), Topi Lehtipuu (tenor), Thomas Quasthoff (bass)

Berliner Philharmoniker, Rundfunkchor Berlin, Knaben des Staats- und Domchors Berlin, Sir Simon Rattle

Recorded live at the Philharmonie Berlin on 11th April 2010

It is no surprise that Sir Simon would one day tackle this most comprehensive of Bach’s compositions in view of his much applauded interpretation of the St. John Passion in 2006. The Berliner Morgenpost wrote at the time: “A performance of this musical calibre renders superfluous all questions about authenticity and historical performance practice. At the Philharmonie Sir Simon Rattle and his orchestra performed the St. John Passion [...] with highly concentrated and flawless beauty devoid of any distorting indulgence.”

German daily Die Welt hailed this performance of the St. Matthew Passion as “Simon Rattle’s Easter miracle,” and The Guardian in the UK wrote: “I challenge you not to be an emotional wreck by the end of it: the singers, especially Mark Padmore as the Evangelist, give the performance of their lives; Sellars sensitively connects the Passion story with the performances and the audience, without distorting Bach’s drama; and Rattle and his players are collectively raised to spooky, spiritual levels of inspiration.”

Bonus feature includes a conversation between Peter Sellars and Simon Halsey, conductor of the Rundfunkchor Berlin

Please Note: JAPAN, CHINA & HONG KONG - For contractual reasons, we have been asked not to sell this product to customers in Japan, China and Hong Kong. We apologise for any disappointment or inconvenience caused.

DVDs
Disc 1: Bach, J S: St Matthew Passion, BWV244 - Part 1 + Bonus video
Disc 2: Bach, J S: St Matthew Passion, BWV244 - Part 2
[Video: NTSC 16:9 / Audio: PCM Stereo, DTS 5.1]

Blu-ray Disc
Bach, J S: St Matthew Passion, BWV244 - Parts 1/2 + Bonus video
[Video: 1080i Full HD 16:9 / Audio: 2.0 PCM, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1]

Running Time
Concert: 195 mins
Bonus: 51 mins

Digital Concert Hall
7- Day Ticket for the Berliner Philharmoniker’s video streaming service

Subtitles
English, German, French, Spanish, Japanese, Korean

See also Bach, J S: St John Passion, BWV245.

“The long rehearsal period, the expertise of everyone involved and the authority of the solo singers: all this quickly becomes evident...this is a defiantly modern performance, one that exults in disturbance and the irony that arises from a deeply intimate staging within the round of the Berlin Philharmonie: appropriate in terms of architectural politics but jarringly opulent and public.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2012

“It sounded like a risky undertaking...but the resulting “ritualization” of Bach’s oratorio, captured on DVD, is most riveting and moving. Mr. Sellars has the choirs and orchestras facing each other in the round, turning the Passion into a soul-searching dialogue between individual and society, man and God. Instrumentalists and singers, too, enter into communion with one another.” New York Times, 23rd November 2012

“Sellars hasn’t dramatised the work as such, but simply freed it from the static confines of a standard concert-performance by breaking down the barriers between performers and audience...Padmore here becomes a man re-living and articulating these terrible events for the first time...The reduced-force Berlin Phil players are – predictably – superb.” Presto Classical, 4th June 2012

“Some of Sellars's gestures...are searing, and the rapt attention of the audience leaps out of the screen...Padmore is a great Evangelist and this must be his greatest performance of the role...while the symbiosis entwining vocal and instrumental soloists leavens Simon Rattle's compelling musical direction. Ultimately, a St Matthew Passion even greater than the sum of its parts - and they were already pretty awesome to begin with!” BBC Music Magazine, September 2012 *****

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Recommended Recording

GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - July 2012

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2013

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Berliner Philharmoniker - BPHR140021

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Delius: Mass of Life & Idyll

Delius: Mass of Life & Idyll


Delius:

A Mass of Life

Janice Watson (soprano), Catherine Wyn-Rogers (mezzo-soprano), Andrew Kennedy (tenor), Alan Opie (baritone)

The Bach Choir

Prelude & Idyll

Janice Watson (soprano) & Alan Opie (baritone)


Bournemouth Symphony, David Hill

Long an admirer of Nietzsches poetry, Frederick Delius composed A Mass of Life while at the height of his powers, blending passages from Also Sprach Zarathustra into orchestral textures of great expressive depth and striking beauty. Written in his final years, the Prelude and Idyll sourced music from a long discarded opera, transforming a story of lust and vengeance into one which emphasizes the transience of life and love. David Hills previous BSO recordings include a perfectly judged Dies natalis by Gerald Finzi (The Guardian on 8570417), while his Vaughan Williams Sancta Civitas (8572424) was described as thrilling a great case for a neglected work (Classic FM).

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

“The singing is suitably majestic for Nietzsche's vision of mankind's destiny...Hill draws some marvellously expressive playing from the BSO, with soloists – chief among them Alan Opie – in magnificent form.” The Observer, 27th May 2012

“Alan Opie, who has the lion's share of the solo music in the work, is almost Wotan-like in his performances...Andrew Kennedy, Catherine Wyn-Rogers and Janice Watson also offer fine lyrical interpretations of their solo parts...This is a must for any Delius Liebhaber and...a marvellous starting point for anyone new to Delius's unique but compelling art.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2012

“Even if you already have those discs, the excellent line-up of vocal and orchestral forces in this new one is well worth investigating, the Bach Choir on fine form and the four soloists sounding thoroughly immersed in their roles...Hill maintains the inner momentum and points up the essential poetry of the piece.” The Telegraph, 7th June 2012 *****

“David Hill's impressive new recording with his Bach Choir (in the original German) boasts confident, ardent choral singing and orchestral playing, and a string solo team - even if Alan Opie, representing the prophet Zarathustra, perhaps makes his points with too much Wagnerian declamation at the expense of line....But listeners tempted by Naxos's bargain price into exploring this work won't be disappointed.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2012 ****

“splendid modern sound, a thrilling choir and orchestra, and, in David Hill, a conductor no less devoted to Delius than his more celebrated predecessor [Beecham]. His soloists are outstanding: Janice Watson, Catherine Wyn-Rogers and Andrew Kennedy sing with clarity and radiance, but the star is Alan Opie, whose lyrical singing is wonderful.” Sunday Times, 10th June 2012

“Even I, congenitally allergic to Delius’s music and Nietzsche’s writing, can scarce forbear to cheer this stunning recording...it certainly celebrates life, especially in this thrilling performance by the Bach Choir, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and quality soloists” The Times, 16th June 2012 *****

“fresh, finely nuanced singing.” Financial Times, 23rd June 2012

“It's a tribute to David Hill and his musicians and technical team that this rolling wave of joy is exceptionally well caught.” MusicWeb International, August 2012

“Hill draws some magnificent playing from the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and has a top-class quartet of soloists, most notably baritone Alan Opie (who has the lion’s share of the solo music in the work) who delivers a lyrical and radiant account. The chorus parts are notoriously hard but the members of the Bach Choir rise to the challenges superbly and help produce a really thrilling performance.” Chris O'Reilly, Presto Classical, 16th July 2012

Presto Disc of the Week

16th July 2012

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2012

Naxos - 8572861-62

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Bei dir allein!

Bei dir allein!

Schubert Songs


Schubert:

Bei dir allein, D866/2

Lied der Delphine, D857 No. 1

Lied des Florio, D857 No. 2

Suleika I, D720

Suleika II, D717

An Sylvia, D891

Der Zwerg, D771 (Collin)

Geheimes, D719 (Goethe)

Heimliches Lieben D922 (Klenke)

Gretchen am Spinnrade, D118

Frühlingsglaube, D686

Im Frühling, D882

Der Sänger am Felsen, D482

Totengräbers Heimwehe D842 (Craigher)

Litanei auf das Fest Allerseelen, D343


Camilla Tilling (soprano) & Paul Rivinius (piano)

The Swedish soprano Camilla Tilling here performs songs by Franz Schubert, accompanied by Paul Rivinius.

The disc includes some of Schubert's best-known songs, such as the carefree An Silvia, the serene Litanei, and the first Suleika song.

The programme features great changes in emotion: from the portrayals of the joy and despair of young love in Bei dir allein! and Lied des Florio, to the Gothic drama of Der Zwerg and the despondency of Totengräbers Heimweh.

As well as having a highly successful opera career, Camilla Tilling has made a name for herself in concert and in recital. Her previous recording for BIS – the Strauss recital Rote Rosen (BISSACD1709) – was met with great critical acclaim.

“Above all, Tilling is versatile and protean...Her soprano sounds peachier than ever, her diction is clear and her musical instincts are immaculate. This lovely singing is underpinned by Paul Rivinius’s outstanding playing of the equally important piano parts. A must for Schubertians.” Sunday Times, 8th April 2012

“Tilling is a Swedish singer whose enchanting soprano voice and acute musical intelligence are both admirably deployed in this well-chosen selection...The opening song of the recital is the lively, exhilarating 'Bei dir allein!'...Tilling negotiates it without strain and sings it with delightful spontaneity...This is a lovely disc, a treat for all lovers of Schubert's songs.” International Record Review, May 2012

“The al fresco exuberance of 'Bei dir allein' gets this recital off to a delectable start: Camilla Tilling's vernal tone is fresh and smiling, her phrasing both shapely and feurig, as Schubert demands, her response to mood and harmony vivid...Tilling's tonal radiance and free-soaring top notes are priceless assets...a Schubert recital of rare pedigree.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2012

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2012

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

BIS - BISSACD1844

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Elgar: Cello Concerto

Elgar: Cello Concerto


Elgar:

Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85

Paul Watkins (cello)

Introduction & Allegro for strings, Op. 47

Elegy for strings, Op. 58

Pomp and Circumstance Marches Nos. 1-5, Op. 39


Paul Watkins is the cello soloist in a recording that showcases some of Elgar’s most popular works. He is accompanied by the BBC Philharmonic and Sir Andrew Davis, a conductor steeped in the English music tradition.

Elgar studied the violin from a young age, and had some early hopes of making a career as a soloist. Consequently, he wrote for the strings of the orchestra with a special understanding and flair, not least in a handful of works for strings alone. The showpiece among these is the Introduction and Allegro, written in 1904, for the newly formed London Symphony Orchestra to be included in an all-Elgar concert. The premiere performance was conducted by the composer.

Elgar started writing his Pomp and Circumstance Marches in 1901 in the wake of his national successes with the Enigma Variations and The Dream of Gerontius. The Marches vary considerably in mood. The First March gained worldwide fame largely due to the trio melody, which Elgar considered ‘a tune that comes once in a lifetime’, and the Second displays a certain air of urgency with its brazen horn calls and jaunty trio. Also on this disc is Elgar’s intimate and restrained Elegy for Strings.

The Cello Concerto in E minor, written in 1918 – 19, was the last major work Elgar completed. Its mood is often described as ‘autumnal’, and highly reflective of the ageing composer’s own state of mind. At the time of writing it, Elgar was concerned about the failing health of his wife and about his own waning popularity; he was deeply disturbed, too, by the horrors of the First World War. Paul Watkins writes of his experience of recording this work: ‘It is a privilege to have the opportunity to add my voice to the many different interpretations of this iconic work. I prepared for this recording by using my experience as a conductor: in other words, to study Elgar’s masterful score as deeply as possible, and to realise how intimately the solo cello is linked to the orchestra throughout. In this respect I feel fortunate to have been working with Sir Andrew Davis. He is the most natural and intelligent interpreter of Elgar I know.’

“Poetic pianissimos, abrupt explosions, finely tapered phrases: each of Watkins’s expressive details immediately reach the listener...There’s also perfect rapport between soloist, conductor and orchestra. Watkins’s ten years of conducting experience comes into play here...time and again the ear is moved and beguiled by Watkins’s quiet ache or varied colours or the orchestra’s sheen and fleet panache.” The Times, 6th April 2012 ****

“Watkins' account seems the best to have appeared on disc for years. It has intensity, presence and warmth, which never topples over into sentimentality, and Davis and the BBC Philharmonic accompany with panache; the exchanges in the scherzo are wonderfully deft. The rest of disc is equally fine.” The Guardian, 5th April 2012 *****

“Watkins writes in the booklet that he found it “daunting” to record Elgar’s Cello Concerto...but he rises superbly to the challenge. His playing — of exceptional beauty, refinement and technical address — is all the more remarkable given that he is no longer a full-time soloist.... With Davis, one of the most experienced of all Elgarians, as his conductor, this is a valedictory account of the composer’s last important orchestral work” Sunday Times, 22nd April 2012

“Watkins plays with consummate artistry, his golden-toned and technically flawless contribution striking a judicious balance between classical poise and unexaggerated depth of feeling...Durable rewards guaranteed, then, and the same certainly holds true for Davis's dashingly articulate, meticulously observant and superbly musical handling [of the Marches]...for the two main offerings alone every Elgarian should investigate this release” Gramophone Magazine, July 2012

“there are times when a recording of a popular classic comes along that's so fresh, understanding and heartfelt that it demands to be approached solely on its own terms. Paul Watkins's Elgar Cello Concerto is firmly in that class. Watkins's emotional shading is individual, without it ever sounding as though he's trying to be individual.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2012 ****

“Paul Watkins is a sensitive soloist, and he and Davis clearly have a special rapport...The BBC Philharmonic strings are richly full-blooded and rhythmically taught in the Introduction and Allegro. There is a wonderful ebb and flow to the lighter passages, which radiate warmth and geniality” Graham Rogers, bbc.co.uk, 25th July 2012

“Davis, an Elgarian of perception, understands the smallest implications in the light but beautiful orchestration, ideal accompaniment to the cello. Watkins is watchful of the detail in the heartfelt opening statement...Watkins and Davis give [the finale]...a distinct dryness of utterance. Much falls into place with this approach” International Record Review, May 2012

“Watkins does so much more than just play the tunes. His range of colour and expression is tremendous, and the instrument he uses he describes in the booklet as having a “combination of burnished woody timbres and a plangent expressivity, reminiscent perhaps of an English tenor voice.”..With stunning recorded sound, what more could one ask.” MusicWeb International, June 2012

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2012

Chandos - up to 40% off

Chandos - CHAN10709

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Hans Gál: Symphony No. 4 & Schumann: Symphony No. 2

Hans Gál: Symphony No. 4 & Schumann: Symphony No. 2


Gál, H:

Symphony No. 4 (Sinfonia Concertante), Op. 105

Schumann:

Symphony No. 2 in C major, Op. 61


Orchestra of the Swan, Kenneth Woods

Kenneth Woods and Orchestra of the Swan continue their revelatory cycle pairing the symphonies of Hans Gál and Robert Schumann, with the world premiere recording of the Gál’s Fourth and Schumann's Second.

Kenneth Woods’ and Orchestra of the Swan’s world-premiere recording of Hans Gál’s Symphony No. 3, coupled with Schumann’s Third (AV 2230), was one of the most lauded classical releases of 2011. With features on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and Performance Today, in Gramophone and BBC Music Magazine, and dozens of newspaper and online reviews, a new generation is discovering and seeking out Gál’s wide-ranging and extensive oeuvre. Ken, a prolific blogger, further stokes the interest with his extensive posts on A View from the Podium, one of the 25 most read classical blogs in the world.

Woods and OOTS continue their cycle which pairs these two composers, with the world premiere of Gál’s Fourth and Schumann’s Second. Written in his ninth decade and premiered in 1975, Gál’s Fourth and final Symphony is scored for chamber orchestra and akin to a concerto grosso. The music exhibits Gál’s trademark pastoral and lyrical style, yet inwardly this is music of intense rigor and deep concentration. While Gál’s compositional pedigree is strongly linked to the Austro-German tradition of the Viennese classical masters, Schumann’s Second looks to an earlier era, taking much inspiration from the spirit of J.S. Bach with its contrapuntal textures and chorale themes.

“the soloists take part seamlessly in a constantly evolving symphonic argument, not so much displaying their virtuosity as bringing out the individual voices of Gal's deft and intricate polyphony, into enhanced relief...[they] play throughout with refinement, beautiful tone, an understanding of the idiom and composer's polyphonic web. All in all, this is a very welcome and highly recommendable release.” International Record Review, May 2012

“The Orchestra of the Swan provide a quietly compelling account, relishing the many solos, duos and textural intricacies that Gal wrings from his orchestra. Their account of Schumann's C major brings playing necessarily of great fire...Woods's finely wrought interpretation confirms his credentials - if confirmation were needed - as a symphonic conductor of stature.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2012

“As far as this symphony is concerned, time really does seem to have stopped for Gál in the 1930s. I leave readers to decide whether this matters. They will certainly find a skilfully assembled work...if you like late Strauss, give it a try. The performance seems excellent.” MusicWeb International, July 2012

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2012

Avie - AV2231

(CD)

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Nikolaus Harnoncourt: Waltzer Revolution

Nikolaus Harnoncourt: Waltzer Revolution


Lanner:

Pas de neuf nach Saverio Mercadante, WoO

Sehnsuchts-Mazur, Op. 89

Hansjörgl-Polka

Malapou-Galopp, Op. 148, No. 1

Hexentanzwalzer, Op. 203

Marsch (from the ballet Corso Donati)

Cerrito-Polka, Op. 189

Jagers Lust (Jagd-Galopp), Op. 82

Die Schönbrunner Waltzer, Op. 200

Mozart:

Kontretanz, KV603, No. 1

Contredanse, K609 No. 1

Contredanse, K609 No. 4

Six German Dances K571

Strauss, J, I:

Radetsky March, Op. 228

Kettenbrücke-Walzer, Op. 4

Schäfer-Quadrille, Op. 217

Der Carneval in Paris, Galopp, Op. 100 (The Carnival in Paris)

Walzer (a la Paganini), Op. 11


An album of lively waltzes and other dance music, consummately performed by Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Concentus Musicus Wien.

With rarely-heard dance pieces by Mozart, Lanner, and Johann Strauss I.

On his new album, Walzer Revolution, Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the Concentus Musicus Wien turn their attention to a selection of dances by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Josef Lanner and Johann Strauss the Elder himself, in order to give it a new interpretation in the spirit intended by the composers.

Harnoncourt, who more than any other conductor of our time represents a revolution in the way works are performed and in the reception of music, traces the line from the dances of Mozart to 19th-century dances that were profoundly characteristic of the society of that time.

Thanks to his typical practice of performing the works in a historical manner, he succeeds in making this dance music an authentic listening experience that is constantly denied to us by the usual modern orchestration. The purpose of the resulting album is not only to convey the true joy of listening but also to narrate music history.

“With his “waltz revolution”, Harnoncourt and his period CMW band throw down a gauntlet to the established Philharmonic professors, arguing for more transparent textures and a wider range of wind and brass colours than those available to modern orchestras...A delicious pair of discs.” Sunday Times, 18th March 2012

“Two CDs of pure joy, and full of fine scholarship as well...The performances are sinuous yet nuanced, the pacing just sedate enough to reveal fascinating detail and the revelations — Strauss’s Chain Bridge Waltz and an early version of the Radetzky March — startling and delightful.” The Times, 31st March 2012 *****

“The orchestra's period instruments (including 10 different types of trumpet) and Harnoncourt's distinctive use of rubato lend novelty to New Year's classics such as the Radetzky March. But it is Lanner's flourishes of the gothic, operatic and exotic that really catch the ear.” The Independent, 22nd April 2012

“This is fun! Instructive, too, as Nikolaus Harnoncourt once again strips away centuries of 'tradition' and goes back to basics...Harnoncourt and his players bring both 'rough trade' and many an insight into what makes this music tick...Harnoncourt plays it seriously and with respect while relishing its creative place in Viennese society and appreciating the music's balance between sophistication and amusement.” International Record Review, May 2012

“The collection succeeds, though, not just in pioneering period performances but also through imaginative programming...One way and another it's a collection that demands the attention of anyone who thinks he knows how Viennese music should sound.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2012

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2012

Sony - 88697914112

(CD - 2 discs)

$25.75

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Beethoven: Bagatelles

Beethoven: Bagatelles


Beethoven:

Bagatelles (7), Op. 33

Bagatelles (11), Op. 119

Bagatelles (6), Op. 126

Bagatelle in C major, WoO56

Bagatelle in C minor, WoO52

Piano Pieces (4), WoO 59-61a


Following his highly acclaimed Beethoven ‘Moonlight’, ‘Pathétique’ and ‘Waldstein’ Sonatas release, Hyperion’s Gramophone-award-winning artist Steven Osborne turns his talents to Beethoven’s complete Bagatelles. Though the composer himself referred to these thirty short piano works, which he penned throughout his life, as ‘trifles’, these are nonetheless trifles from the mind of a genius. In this polished album, Osborne lends his remarkable artistry to everything from the Six Bagatelles of Op 126, which at times occupy the same rarefied spiritual world as the late quartets and were the very last works Beethoven ever wrote for the piano, to the composer’s most famous stand-alone piano piece, the mysterious little A minor Bagatelle known to all the world as ‘Für Elise’.

“[Beethoven's] Leipzig publisher complained that they were such insignificant trifles no one would believe they were by Beethoven: not only slight but on the whole easy too. The joy of having a player of Steven Osborne's spare, rhythmically incisive brilliance shows the idiocy of the publisher's words.” The Observer, 16th April 2012

“vigorously and sparklingly played by Steven Osborne, who must bring his pianistic intelligence to bear on elementary and virtuosic performance levels alike.” Sunday Times, 22nd April 2012

“the range is enormous...Osborne encompasses this transition in masterly fashion. This disc follows on from his one of Beethoven sonatas, and it ignites a similar joy in the way that he conveys ideas so lucidly and with such subtle shades of tone, distilling the essence of each miniature with potency and freshness.” The Telegraph, 19th April 2012 *****

“It's a part of [Osborne's] personal excursion to seek the individual potency of each Bagatelle...Osborne has delved deep to extract so much from cameos that pack emotional enormity within small spaces.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2012

“The air of faux naivete Osborne brings to these trifles is particualrly persuasive, with understatement providing the perfect setting and foil for Beethoven's droll humour...Whatever preconceptions you may bring to these pieces, the crystal clarity of Osborne's exquisitely polished pianism is an unalloyed joy to the ear...Osborne's new recording will take its place without apology in any company.” International Record Review, June 2012

“His playing is immaculately polished, but here he misses something of the arresting brusqueness, heartfelt lyricism, madcap zaniness, and tender melancholy...Osborne's most expressive playing comes in the reflective moments of the Op. 126 Bagatelles.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2012 ***

“Despite playing on a modern grand, Osborne’s attack, tone and phrasing suggest an awareness of period performance practice. Climaxes are powerfully telling, yet always remain within “classical” parameters...[Osborne is] captivating, with a gentle touch that produces an astonishing inwardness.” MusicWeb International, July 2012

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2012

Hyperion & Helios - up to 50% off

Hyperion - CDA67879

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Beethoven - Complete Works for Solo Piano Volume 11

Beethoven - Complete Works for Solo Piano Volume 11


Beethoven:

Variations (12) on a Russian Dance, WoO 71

Variations (8) on the Romance 'Une fièvre brûlante', WoO 72

Variations (10) in B-flat major on the duet 'La stessa, la stessissima' from the opera Falstaff by Antonio Salieri, WoO 73

Variations (7) on the Quartet 'Kind, willst du ruhig schlafen', WoO 75

Eight variations in F major on Tändeln und Scherzen (by Süssmayr), WoO 76

Variations (6) on an original theme in G major for Piano, WoO 77

Eroica Variations, Op. 35


Ronald Brautigam (fortepiano)

Following on his acclaimed recordings of Beethoven’s sonatas, sonatinas and bagatelles, Ronald Brautigam here presents the first disc of four with variations, comprising works composed between 1796 and 1802.

The ‘Eroica variations’ Op.35 is on a much larger scale than any of the variations he had written before, and Beethoven himself described it as a work in ‘a wholly new style’.

Brautigam has used two different fortepianos on this recording: the earlier works are played on an instrument by Paul McNulty after Walter & Sohn c.1805, while the Op.35 set is performed on another by the same maker, after Conrad Graf c.1819.

“They are virtuoso works, and Ronald Brautigam, who tends to favour quick tempos, plays them in genuine virtuoso style, but without ever failing to bring out the music's more expressive moments...A must for those interested in the byways of Beethoven's keyboard music.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2012 *****

“Brautigam's interpretations are stunning. He brings stylish character and life to each of the small variation sets and never misses a trick, so to speak...What breathtaking elan and point Brautigam brings to the flashy scales and biting trills throughout the [Salieri] Variations...He also gives one of the finest recorded performances of the Eroica Variations...Raise a glass to this terrific disc.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2012

“BIS’s SACD sonics are superb, and with the usual accessible and informative booklet notes by Roeland Hazendonk this is something of a highlight even of Brautigam’s brilliant Beethoven.” MusicWeb International, May 2012

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2012

Super Audio CD

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BIS Ronald Brautigam Beethoven - BISSACD1673

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Vivaldi: Opera Arias

Vivaldi: Opera Arias


Vivaldi:

Combatta un gentil cor (from Tito Manlio)

Leggi almeno, tiranna infedele (from Ottone in villa)

Da due venti un mar turbato (from Ercole sul Termodonte)

Non ti lusinghi la crudeltade from Tito Manlio

Rete lacci (from Dorilla in Tempe)

Se garrisce la rondinella (from Orlando finto pazzo)

Ombre vane, ingiusti orrori from Griselda

Vanne perdida... Frà le procelle from Tito Manlio

Dite, oimè! Ditelo, al fine (from La Fida Ninfa)

Nacque al bosco e nacque al prato (from Il Giustino)

Tu dormi in tante pene (from Tito Manlio)

Gelosia, tu già rendi l’alma mia from Ottone in villa

Se mai senti spirarti sul volto from Catone in Utica

Griselda - dramma per musica : Dopo un' orrida procella


A new recording from Roberta Invernizzi always gives pleasure, but on the rare occasion when the Italian soprano is placed in the spotlight, as with this new collection of opera arias, it promises something very special indeed. Invernizzi is known for her style and drama in the music of the Baroque (as on recent discs of Handel and Campra). This new journey, on Glossa, showcases Vivaldi’s own fertile dramatic capacity to capture moods and a whole range of emotional highs and lows embracing anger, despair, anxiety, amorous frustration and touching intensity. Invernizzi triumphs, crowned by her electrifying performance of 'Dopo un’orrida procella' from 'Griselda'.

The programme offers a set of contrasts in known arias from Vivaldi’s operatic music and those which deserve to be better-known. Invernizzi’s interpretation is aided and abetted by La Risonanza’s fine group of instrumentalists and, of course, sympathetic direction from Fabio Bonizzoni, speaking volumes for their long musical association.

“In Da due venti, from Ercole sul Termodonte, and Fra le procelle del mar turbato (Tito Manlio), she plunges into Cecilia Bartoli waters — her technique is more fluid, even if her timbre is edgier. Her bright, intense voice comes into its own in the slow numbers.” Sunday Times, 22nd April 2012

“Invernizzi, perhaps the most exciting Italian Baroque soprano today, chooses three of the most flamboyant ['storm' arias] and dazzles with her coruscating yet perfectly controlled coloratura...La Risonanza, pounding, strumming continuo to the fore, match Invernizzi all the way in flair and theatrical intensity...In sum, another winner for La Risonanza and a triumph for Invernizzi.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2012

“One of Invernizzi's virtues is her ability to be fluently articulate and expressive, both in show-stoppers and arias that call for compassion, contemplation and reflection. Unlike some of her rivals, she always resists playing to the gallery. Her technique and sense of theatre are tempered to meet the requirements of the music, making for a musically rewarding as well as dramatically engaging recital.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2012 *****

“La Risonanza is irreproachable. Under Bonizzoni’s expert direction, its soloists, alert strings and inventive continuo team of cello, double bass, harpsichord and, by turns, a very attractive archlute and theorbo provide Invernizzi with an unfailing sensitive support.” International Record Review, October 2012

GGramophone Awards 2012

Finalist - Recital

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2012

BBC Music Magazine

Opera Choice - September 2012

Glossa - GCD922901

(CD)

$15.25

(also available to download from $10.00)

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days. (Available now to download.)

London Mozart Players: Complete HMV Stereo Recordings Volume 2

London Mozart Players: Complete HMV Stereo Recordings Volume 2


Mozart:

Symphony No. 36 in C major, K425 'Linz'

Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K491

Philharmonia Orchestra

Minuets (12), K568

First release in stereo


Recorded in December 1954, Symphony No. 36, ‘Linz’ is the earliest extant EMI stereo recording of a complete work.

This release follows on from the highly successful first volume (FHR05) of Harry Blech recordings, achieving an Editor’s Choice with Gramophone – “A thoroughly welcome reminder of the brilliance of Harry Blech”. All tracks are issued here for the first on CD, Symphony No.36 and Twelve Minuets are first releases in stereo. Recorded in December 1954, Symphony No.36 is the earliest surviving example of an EMI stereo recording of a complete work.

“Kentner’s playing...is very strongly characterized. His tone is lucent, but with slowish tempi, allowing the music to unfold spaciously, the effect is of a dark lucidity...A souvenir of a conductor and orchestra that had something of its own to offer even in a city where the likes of Beecham, Klemperer, Boult and countless more were regularly plying their wares... It doesn’t sound its age.” MusicWeb International, August 2012

GGramophone Magazine

Re-issue of the Month - July 2012

First Hand - FHR15

(CD)

$13.75

Usually despatched in 4 - 5 working days.

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