Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

February 2013

Disc of the Month

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Rachmaninov: Vespers, Op. 37

Awards:

Presto Favourites

Recommended Recording

Gramophone Awards 2013

Finalist - Choral

Gramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - February 2013

Label:

Ondine

Catalogue No:

ODE12065

Discs:

1

Release date:

12th Nov 2012

Barcode:

0761195120651

Length:

62 minutes

Medium:

SACD (download also available)

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel
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Rachmaninov: Vespers, Op. 37


Latvian Radio Choir, Sigvards Kļava

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This new release of Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil follows several acclaimed releases from the Latvian Radio Choir under its Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Sigvards Kļava.

Rachmaninov’s Liturgy of St John Chrysostom (ODE11515) and the All-Night Vigil are two supreme examples of choral writing in the Russian Orthodox tradition, featuring music of uplifting spiritual strength.

The All-Night Vigil is composed for unaccompanied voices but Rachmaninov created a work of such richness that it can be described as “choral orchestration”, demanding a wide vocal range from the singers.

The Latvian Radio Choir is regarded as one of the top professional chamber choirs in Europe. Their repertoire extends from the Renaissance to the present day, but always focussing on exploring the capabilities of the voice and seeking to push its limits.

Sigvards Kļava, Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Latvian Radio Choir since 1992, is one of Latvia’s most prolific choral conductors. He has conducted many premières of new choral works by Latvian composers.

Sergei Rachmaninov: All-night Vigil, Op. 37, "Vespers"

Beginning song: Come let us worship

Psalm 103 (104), "O praise the Lord"

Blessed is the man

O Joyful Light

Song of Simeon: Lord, now let your servant depart

Hail, O Virgin Mother (Ave Maria)

Hexapsalms: Glory to God on high

Psalm 134-135 (135-136), "O praise the name of the Lord"

Glorifying song of the Resurrection: Teach me O lord in the way of truth

Hymn of Resurrection: We have seen the resurrection

Magnificat: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord

Great Doxology: Glory be to God on high

Resurrection hymn (Troparion): This day of salvation has com to the world

Resurrection hymn (Troparion): When you had risen

Thanksgiving hymn of Virgin Mary: O victorious leader

The Times

17th November 2012

*****

“Under the masterly direction of Sigvards Klava, the Latvians display the barrel-chested Slavonic tonal resources Rachmaninov would have expected — sepulchral basses, soft-grained but strong sopranos, tenors who soar without strain — but also a precision alien to Russian choirs”

International Record Review

December 2012

“You would need to go far to hear a richer, more rounded alto section than this. They are supported by a wonderfully firm bass line...you want to single out each section for particular praise: the gloriously clear-toned and vital sopranos an the ardent, sweet-voiced tenor section.”

Gramophone Magazine

February 2013

“Klava's interpretation doesn't give the sensation of dragging...He carefully draws out every dramatic nuance from this choral feast. His two dozen singers produce a well-nourished tutti and sound like a much larger group...There is a wonderfully kaleidoscopic (though carefully graded) palette of vocal colours throughout...The Latvians' unanimity of attack is well-nigh perfect...This is a sublimely beautiful yet rapturous recording.”

BBC Music Magazine

March 2013

****

“the Rachmaninov of Latvia's outstanding professional choir presents a golden mean between the uniquely open-throated but not always pitch-perfect Glinka Choir of the hallowed St Petersburg tradition, and the more reserved tones of English choral contenders...this performance is a remarkable achievement”

Presto Classical

David Smith

“Often hailed as the crowning musical achievement of Russian Orthodox Christianity, Rachmaninov's All-Night Vigil has certainly become a firm favourite among choirs in both East and West. Based on various forms of chant that were in use in Russia at that time, it uses these as the building-blocks of a unique and powerfully Romantic harmonic language. The Latvian Radio Choir under Sigvards Kļava give a performance that is the equal of any by Russian choirs!”

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Elgar & Carter: Cello Concertos

Elgar & Carter: Cello Concertos


Bruch:

Kol Nidrei, Op. 47

Carter, E:

Cello Concerto

Elgar:

Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85


The much-anticipated album from a brilliant young American cellist marks one of the most exciting Decca Classics debuts in many years.

The conductor Daniel Barenboim has been a fervent supporter of Alisa Weilerstein’s extraordinary talent since he accompanied her in Elgar’s Concerto as part of the 2010 Europa Concert in Oxford, broadcast on TV across Europe. Together, they have made a recording of searing intensity.

Elgar’s Concerto is paired with a contemporary masterpiece by the doyen of American composers, the late Elliott Carter, who passed away on November the 5th at the age of 103, whose work has often been championed by Barenboim.

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

“Weilerstein avoids nostalgia [in the Elgar] and produces instead an account that is full of passion, grief and nobility of feeling...Her interpretation [of the Carter], at once remarkably expressive and a continuous display of headlong, high-pressure virtuosity, seems to me to outrank the existing recorded versions...a thoughtfully-constructed and thought-provoking programme.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2013 *****

“Her Elgar is not as wayward as du Pre...but it's still remarkably impressive...[in the Carter] Weilerstein, who starts on her own, as in the Elgar, brings the same immaculate tonal control to bear...Kol Nidrei is a fine vehicle for Weilerstein's gorgeous tone.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2013

“within the first seconds [of the Elgar], we know that Weilerstein speaks with her own voice. The muscular bowing, the sound’s depth and warmth in the opening bars: you couldn’t ask for a more characterful beginning...[The Carter] might seem as removed from Elgar as the man in the moon. Not so...with Weilerstein giving her heart and soul to Carter’s constantly evolving filigree line we’re always aware of the concerto’s singing voice.” The Times, 1st February 2013 ****

“To hear an orchestra with such a distinctive central European sound playing Elgar, and relating his music so securely to the wider late-romantic tradition, is one of the disc's great pleasures. Weilerstein's approach is impressively bold and big-boned, even if she seems – for now – more comfortable with the concerto's rhetoric than its intimacy” The Guardian, 14th February 2013 ****

“This is a precious disc, and certainly not in the pejorative sense. Weilerstein plays with robust vigour, but a heart-stopping moulding of phrase. She brings to the Elgar concerto... a portamento beautifully judged and asserted in a brand-new, old-fashioned way (no contradiction!).” Sunday Times, 17th February 2013

“Very ably accompanied, it is very much Weilerstein’s ascendant star which will sell this performance [of the Elgar] to you...[the Carter] is indeed a work which demands focus to appreciate, but the flow of the music has its own sense of inevitability and architectural logic, and there are plenty of magical moments to prickle the senses.” MusicWeb International, 29th April 2013

“Technically Weilerstein is flawless throughout...what a fine work [the Carter] is! Carter’s ear for sonorities and harmonies is endlessly inventive, but what surprised me was how lyrical the work is: he really enables Weilerstein to show off the cello’s capacity for beautiful, elegiac phrases.” James Longstaffe, Presto Classical, 4th February 2-13

Presto Disc of the Week

4th February 2013

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - February 2013

BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the month - February 2013

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2014

Recording of the Year & Concerto Award Winner

Decca - 4782735

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Barber: Cello Concerto & Sonata

Barber: Cello Concerto & Sonata


Barber:

Cello Concerto, Op. 22

Christian Poltéra (cello)

Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Andrew Litton

Cello Sonata in C minor, Op. 6

Christian Poltéra (cello) & Kathryn Stott (piano)

Adagio for Strings, Op. 11

Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Andrew Litton


Cellist Christian Poltéra turns to the music of Samuel Barber. He is joined by the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra under Andrew Litton and pianist Kathryn Stott.

Poltéra opens his programme with the Cello Concerto – one of only three concertos by Barber – which balances the natural lyric expressiveness of his earlier music with a more urgent, rhythmic and intense style.

Poltéra and regular chamber-music partner Stott then perform the Sonata for Cello and Piano, composed while Barber was still a student.

The disc closes with the enormously popular Adagio for strings.

On previous discs, Christian Poltéra has combined concertos with chamber works by composers such as Frank Martin (BISCD1637) and Arthur Honegger (BISCD1617).

“The Zurich-born cellist champions — with masterly elan — the unjustly neglected concerto by the American composer...With the pianist Kathryn Stott, Poltera gives us the ideal coupling...and Litton’s excellent Bergen players round off this outstanding disc with an encore in the form of the Adagio for Strings.” Sunday Times, 13th January 2013

“as Christian Poltéra's fierce, theatrical performance demonstrates, [the Concerto is] a ruggedly impressive achievement in its own right...And while we don't need another recording of Barber's Adagio for Strings, Andrew Litton and the Bergen Philharmonic's is wonderfully refined.” The Guardian, 17th January 2013 ****

“There are three hits here on one CD...[Poltera] is outstanding and invariably well-supported by the Bergen players under Litton. His high positions are effortless, as are the nasty double thirds...Poltera's duet with the oboe in the slow movement is magical...A feature of Litton's Adagio is the way it creeps in fat the start from nothing. Then it's all beautifully paced, spacious and warm. Recorded quality throughout is top-drawer in a truly winning CD.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2013

“Poltera meets [the Concerto's] technical demands with almost complete ease, and projects the more lyrical moments with subtle inflections of line and beautifully centred tone...Poltera and pianist Kathryn Stott bring out [the Sonata's] Brahmsian ardour and its contrasts between tranquillity and restlessness.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2013 ****

“Christian Poltéra is ideally suited to this music, not least because he obtains a gloriously rich and full tone from his 1675 Guarnerius cello. Kathryn Stott, faced with a very full piano part, matches the ardour of his playing...[in the Concerto] Poltéra is a highly persuasive soloist and the accompaniment from Litton and his orchestra is first rate.” MusicWeb International, 3rd May 2013

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - February 2013

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Canciones españolas

Canciones españolas


Falla:

Siete Canciones populares españolas

Trois Melodies

El pan de Ronda que sabe a verdad

Tus ojillos negros

Granados:

Tonadillas al estilo antiguo

Rodrigo:

Cuatro Canciones Sefardíes

Tres canciones españolas

12 Canciones populares espanolas: Coplas del pastor enamorado

Canción del cucú

Fino cristal

Cuatro madrigales amatorios


Bernarda Fink (mezzo-soprano) & Anthony Spiri (piano)

Written between 1902 and 1965, the canciones recorded here faithfully reflect both the evolution of Spanish art song in the 20th century and the attachment of its composers to France. Manuel de Falla’s famous Seven Spanish Folksongs are placed here alongside elegant little gems like the Three Spanish Songs and Four Sephardic Songs of Joaquín Rodrigo.

From the enchantments of Andalusia to the laments of León, this disc invites you on a journey through a Spain of dreams.

Born in Buenos Aires to Slovenian parents, Bernarda Fink studied at the Instituto Superior de Arte del Teatro Colón. She was recently heard in Mahler’s 'Resurrection' Symphony with the Berlin Philharmonic under the direction of Simon Rattle, works by Bach with Harnoncourt at the Vienna Musikverein and Mahler’s 'Kindertotenlieder' with the Nash Ensemble at the Wigmore Hall. She gives song recitals in the principal European and American musical centres and her recordings are regularly acclaimed by the international press.

“she does wonderful things with Granados's Tonadillas and with those expansive Rodrigo melodies in which Moorish and Sephardic influences are strong. But she's too ladylike, in places, for Falla and the demotic carnality of his Siete Canciones Populares Españolas sounds affected rather than natural.” The Guardian, 15th November 2012 ****

“Like de los Angeles and Berganza, Fink can adopt a variety of vocal “faces”, from ingénue to earthy, digging into her chest voice with an intensity that is both visceral and anguished. Fink is one of the song repertoire’s most complete polyglots...these performances are idiomatic and thrilling.” Sunday Times, 25th November 2012

“With her Slovenian (ie central European) parentage and Buenos Aires upbringing, Bernard Fink is ideally paced to dip one performing toe in each of the classical and linguistic/folkloric streams of this music. Together with the pianism of Anthony Spiri - who clearly knows how to let his hair down...- she presents compelling versions of material which is not short of recorded competitors” Gramophone Magazine, February 2013

“Here she [Fink] presents 33 songs, sung as always with impeccable vocal control and absolute understanding and enunciation of text and expressive intent … these canciones espanolas form a collection that falls most pleasantly on the ear” International Record Review, February 2013

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - February 2013

Harmonia Mundi - HMC902133

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Brahms: Works for Solo Piano Volume 1

Brahms: Works for Solo Piano Volume 1


Brahms:

Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, Op. 24

Piano Sonata No. 3 in F minor, Op. 5


British pianist Jonathan Plowright makes his début recording on BIS. Hailed by Gramophone as ‘one of the finest living pianists’, Plowright is recognised worldwide as a truly exceptional artist.

Brahms’s Piano Sonata No. 3 is heroic in scale, unconventional in layout and exudes high quality making it one of the most impressive sonatas since those of Beethoven and Schubert.

Brahms never wrote another piano sonata after completing No. 3 but instead concentrated on a series of large-scale sets of variations, among which the Handel Variations must be considered his crowning achievement. Completed in September 1861 the work shows Brahms at the height of his powers,

“His warmth and sincerity combine with a superbly assured and powerful technique to create one of the finest performances [of the F minor Sonata] on record...His Handel Variations, too, are subtly and economically inflected, never searching for easy glamour or effect...One could hardly wish for more and I can scarcely wait for further volumes from this pianist, adding that both the piano concertos positively cry out for his attention.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2013

“If Brahms ever wrote a symphony for the piano then the Sonata No. 3 Op.5 is very much this piece, and Plowright’s range of expression, his daring periods of absolute repose, extended passages of development and extremes of contrast deliver this impression as few other performances I have encountered.” MusicWeb International, 5th June 2013

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - February 2013

Super Audio CD

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BIS Brahms: Works for Solo Piano - BIS2047

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Sir Georg Solti conducts Mendelssohn & Brahms

Sir Georg Solti conducts Mendelssohn & Brahms


Brahms:

Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68

4 September 1971, Edinburgh International Festival

Mendelssohn:

A Midsummer Night's Dream Overture, Op. 21

4 September 1971, Edinburgh International Festival

plus:

Georg Solti in interview (BONUS)

TX: 19TH NOVEMBER 1972,

OMNIBUS: THE GREAT ORCHESTRAS OF THE WORLD


“Solti’s energy, bordering on the electric, provided the dynamic force necessary to galvanise an orchestra and a city into realising its rightful place as a stellar international centre of commerce, industry and art. That was Solti’s gift to Chicago” (Gramophone).

Internationally renowned for his opera conducting as musical director of the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, particularly his interpretation of Wagner’s Ring cycle, Hungarian-born Sir Georg Solti was also a celebrated symphonic conductor.

Taking up the post as director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1969, Solti remembered his early performances with the CSO as “an absolute joy” and would remain with them for 22 years, leading them in their debut European tour – of which the concert on this recording was the first fixture.

Recorded in 1971, the film on this DVD is taken from the CSO’s appearance at the Edinburgh Festival in the same year: their first ever concert outside America. In a first filmed edition of this performance, Solti conducts the orchestra in Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture and Brahms’s Symphony No.1. His subsequent performances of the Brahms have been praised for their “dignity, energy and splendour”.

With his sometimes Samurai-like gestures, Solti summons tremendous power, elegance and clarity from the Orchestra, which includes such legendary instrumentalists as Dale Clevenger, Adolph ‘Bud’ Herseth and Frank Miller, and which led critic William Mann to write: “I am tempted to describe it as the United States” most completely accomplished orchestra’. Of his relationship with the CSO, Solti remarked: “It’s a marvellous thing to be musically happily married. I am, and I know.”

This is the first release of this material on DVD and is the first in a series of Solti/CSO releases to come from ICA Classics to celebrate Solti’s centenary.

Sound format: Enhanced Mono

DVD format: NTSC

Picture format: 4:3

Running time: 67’

Subtitles: French/German

Menu languages: English

Booklet languages: E/F/G

Region code: 0

Territory Restrictions: None

“Not only is it a privilege to witness a seasoned outfit playing with such opulent tone, unbounded musicality and selfless application, the dynamic yet ever watchful Solti directs proceedings with consummate grip, attentiveness and pleasing strength of personality. Above all, there's an irresistable sense of a conductor and orchestra both acutely mindful and deeply proud of their distinguished heritage.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2013

“Solti is an uncomfortable conductor to watch. His arm movements make him jerk puppet-like, he is continually whisking his players into a lather, his face often contorted into lop-sided grimace. There is however wonderful clarity and energy to fuel the pulse of the music. The overture is thrilling, the violins skate like water-boatmen through those pianissimo string passages, the wind players achieve impeccable ensemble thanks to the flautist’s subtle direction” MusicWeb International, February 2013

GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - February 2013

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

ica classics Legacy - ICAD5089

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$23.75

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Mozart: Sonatas for Piano and Violin

Mozart: Sonatas for Piano and Violin


Mozart:

Violin Sonata No. 32 in B flat major, K454

Violin Sonata No. 27 in G major, K379

Violin Sonata No. 35 in A major, K526


Lars Vogt (piano) & Christian Tetzlaff (violin)

Ondine is pleased to release its first chamber music recording from violinist Christian Tetzlaff, featuring his long time pianist Lars Vogt.

The selection of these sonatas for piano and violin by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart demonstrate the composer’s genius and show a wide range of emotions.

Christian Tetzlaff is considered as one of the very best violinists in the world. His recording of the violin concertos by Mendelssohn and Schumann, released on Ondine in 2011 (ODE 1195-2) was greeted with considerable acclaim.

Lars Vogt was appointed the first ever “Pianist in Residence” by the Berlin Philharmonic in 2003/04 and enjoys a high profile as a soloist and chamber musician.

2013 will see a Schumann Sonata release by Tetzlaff and Vogt on Ondine.

“often bar-by-bar alternation between joy and sadness, beauty and regret, in mature Mozart is something to which Christam Tetzlaff and Lars Vogt are continuously alive...Tetzlaff finding a different articulation and colour for his almost every phrase...hardly 'period' performances, but these players find so much meaning in this music.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2013 ****

“This disc brings toether two musicians absolutely at the top of their game and with long experience of working together, as the easy dialogue between them amply demonstrates...It's the hyper-reactivity between the two players that is a constant delight, as witness their subtle way of varying repeats...A delight from beginning to end. Would it be too much to hope that this might be the start of a series?” Gramophone Magazine, February 2013

“Tetzlaff and Vogt display strong character throughout yet they still evince warmth and sensitivity. The results are impeccable and dignified; teamwork and love for the music is at the heart of this. The sound quality is pleasingly clear with the piano set slightly further forward in the balance. No admirer of Mozart’s chamber music should hesitate with this Ondine release.” MusicWeb International, April 2013

“[Vogt's] spirited, insightful playing complements Mr. Tetzlaff’s sweet tone in elegant interpretations.” New York Times, 11th December 2013

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - February 2013

BBC Music Magazine

Chamber Choice - February 2013

Ondine - ODE12042

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Dvorak: String Quartets Vol. 1

Dvorak: String Quartets Vol. 1


Dvorak:

String Quartet No. 12 in F major, Op. 96 'American'

Cypresses for string quartet, B152

Bagatelles, Op. 47

with Oliver Triendl (harmonium)

String Quartet No. 9 in D minor, Op. 34 (B.75)

String Quartet No. 10 in E flat major, Op. 51 (B92)


This is the first in a series of Dvořák’s String Quartets performed by the sensational Vogler Quartet. Dvořák’s String Quartets number among the best in their genre and cpo is delighted to have the Vogler Quartet on board to record such a gigantic task.

The Vogler Quartet is a phenomenon. Its membership has remained unchanged since 1985 and over the years they have become one of the world’s top chamber ensembles.

“As with the other quartets in the double pack, the American is played with what sounds like spontaneous engagement...Think in terms of Kubelik's recordings of the Dvorak Symphonies, that same attention to inner voices and plenty of amiable interplay between instruments...It's an auspicious start to what promises to be a rewarding series, with Op. 34, a litmus test for any quartet in Dvorak, enjoying one of its best-ever recorded performances.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2013

“Wonderfully lyrical and inventive music, much of it still underrated - though not by the Vogler Quartet who bring affection and insight to these readings.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2013 *****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - February 2013

CPO - 7776242

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American Mavericks

American Mavericks


Cowell, H:

Synchrony

Piano Concerto, HC 440

Jeremy Denk (piano)

Harrison, L:

Concerto for Organ with Percussion Orchestra

Paul Jacobs (organ)

Varèse:

Amériques


Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony release live recordings from their memorable 2012 American Mavericks festival, featuring seminal works by Henry Cowell, Lou Harrison and Edgard Varèse, in Hybrid SACD format.

The latest release from Michael Tilson Thomas and the Grammy® Award-winning San Francisco Symphony features stunning live recordings from their wildly successful American Mavericks festival, a slate of concerts and special events focusing on the compositional voices who created a new American sound for the 20th century and beyond.

Following two weeks of concerts in March 2012 in San Francisco, MTT and SFS took to the road to present these concerts throughout the US, attracting international attention.

Presented in premium audio Hybrid SACD, the recording captures performances of four works by three influential but seldom heard 20th century masters. Henry Cowell's Synchrony and his Piano Concerto, with Jeremy Denk, combine Cowell's distinctive musical language with exceptionally expressive playing. Lou Harrison's eclectic compositional style and organ soloist Paul Jacobs’ spectacular virtuosity are on full display in the Concerto for Organ with Percussion Orchestra. This unique recording concludes with Edgard Varèse's monumental Amériques and the orchestral siren that influenced generations of composers.

“a brilliantly virtuosic and detailed account (in its 1927 revision) of Amériques...[The Piano Concerto's] solo part is dashingly well played by Jeremy Denk.” The Guardian, 25th October 2012 ***

“None of the music here pretends to be subtle. The mystical flavour of Henry Cowell’s atmospheric Synchrony takes the Stravinsky of The Rite of Spring a stage further...The San Francisco Symphony and Tilson Thomas give scintillating performances.” Sunday Times, 28th October 2012

“Michael Tilson Thomas's time at the helm of the San Francisco Symphony has been marked by a courageous dedication to modernist American outsiders, and American Mavericks bears out the orchestra's experience with such outré material.” The Independent, 3rd November 2012 *****

“Jeremy Denk, the gifted soloist, dismisses the [Concerto]’s technical difficulties with ease, as does the trumpeter who begins Cowell’s Synchrony with a sinuous three-minute solo, hot as molten lava...In Varèse’s intoxicating celebration of new horizons, Amériques, Tilson Thomas drives his orchestra through the teeming sounds with tremendous vigour.” The Times, 9th November 2012 ****

“Tilson Thomas doesn't play these composers like they're waggish tricksters, or possessed by idealistic amateurism...Tilson Thomas peels the orchestra open like a considerable box of delights...This is an exceptionally fine Ameriques, filled with depth and sonic glare, and not a little menace.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2013

“This is one of the boldest pieces of programming to have come my way in a long time...Tilson Thomas turns in a superb performance, remarkable as much for the delicacy of the quiet moments as for the raucous climaxes.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2013 *****

“Tilson Thomas, at his best in this kind of off-beat repertoire – a man on a mission - should be loudly applauded for his adventurous programming.” MusicWeb International, 2nd May 2013

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - February 2013

Super Audio CD

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SFS Media - SFS0056

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JS Bach: Ach süßer Trost!

JS Bach: Ach süßer Trost!

Leipzig Cantatas


Bach, J S:

Cantata BWV25 'Es ist nichts Gesundes an meinem Leibe'

Cantata BWV138 'Warum betrübst du dich, mein Herz'

Cantata BWV105 'Herr, gehe nicht ins Gericht mit deinem Knecht'

Cantata BWV46 'Schauet doch und sehet, ob irgend ein Schmerz sei'


The four cantatas selected by Philippe Herreweghe for this recording date from the first year of Bach's activity in Leipzig.

Written at a tight pace between late July and early September 1723, they underscore, above all, the composer's obvious effort to establish original musical proposals.

He continually showed the musicians and listeners that he was not serving them routine 'cantor's music' but was writing sacred music as a true Kapellmeister.

In this first volume of Bach cantatas for the PHI label, the Collegium Vocale Gent is interpreting a few cantatas (BWV 25 and 46) for the first time.

“The virtues of Philippe Herreweghe’s interpretations are lean textures, clarity and superb, light-fingered instrumental dexterity. The drawbacks are a tendency towards ponderous, dogmatic, slightly stabby phrasing from the choir. However, Hana Blazikova supplies ravishing soprano solos, and the supple-voiced British tenor Thomas Hobbs also impresses.” The Times, 1st December 2012 ***

“the choral sound is lean and alert, helped by lively tempos. Its near-solo tone, though, mingles rather than contrasts with the similar-scaled orchestra...Of the soloists, Thomas Hobbs is outstandingly expressive and vocally at ease, while bass Peter Kooij too is magnificent...this is Bach at his most inventive, in a sensitive and polished performance.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2013 ****

“Especially in BWV25, Collegium Vocale Gent create the most ravishing of luminescent textures...Perfect balance is found here and Hana Blažiková's sparkling singing contributes to a memorable account...I defy anyone to find a more deploring and anguished reading of 'Wie zittern', with oboist Marcelle Ponseele performing the obbligato oboe even more exquisitely than before...a reading of experience and great beauty: quite simply a 'must-have' for Bach lovers.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2013

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - February 2013

A Musical Picture - up to 40% off

PHI - LPH006

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Richard Strauss: The Complete Songs 6

Richard Strauss: The Complete Songs 6


Strauss, R:

Einerlei, Op. 69 No. 3

Waldesfahrt, Op. 69 No. 4

Schlechtes Wetter, Op. 69 No. 5

Rote Rosen, AV76

Die erwachte Rose, TrV 90, AV 66

Der Stern, Op. 69 No. 1

Begegnung (Meeting), AV 72

Wir beide wollen springen, AV 90

Das Bächlein, Op. 88 No. 1

Blick vom oberen Belvedere, Op. 88 No. 2

Der Krämerspiegel (12 songs), Op. 66 (texts: Alfred Kerr)

Wer hat’s getan Op. 10 No. 6 bis

Malven, AV 304


Elizabeth Watts (soprano) & Roger Vignoles (piano)

Hyperion’s Strauss Lieder series continues to demonstrate that the composer’s achievements in this genre are among the most fascinating and accomplished of his works. This latest volume includes, for instance, the delicious Schlechtes Wetter from Op 69, and the lovely—and unknown—Waldesfahrt from the same group. The delicately beautiful Malven (never published in Strauss’s lifetime, and first performed by Kiri Te Kanawa in 1985), with which the recital ends, is known as Strauss’s ‘Fifth Last Song’.

The central work recorded here, Krämerspiegel, owes its genesis to Strauss’s long-lasting and bitter dispute with the German music publishing industry. A Berlin literary critic, Alfred Kerr, wrote him a witty set of satirical verses lampooning music publishers, mentioning many of Strauss’s principal enemies by name. Strauss set all twelve poems to music, and this practical joke finally saw the light of day in 1921. It is easy to understand why the cycle is now rarely performed, given that the texts consist entirely of in-jokes, and that the lion’s share of the music is given to the pianist. But Strauss’s music is well worth savouring, not least for its humorous references to Strauss’s own works, such as Der Rosenkavalier and Ein Heldenleben, and especially for the beautiful prelude to the eighth song and its reprise as the final extended postlude—used by the composer nearly a quarter of a century later, in his opera Capriccio.

Roger Vignoles is the curator and pianist of this series, and also writes the informative booklet notes. Making her Hyperion debut is soprano Elizabeth Watts, of whom The Guardian commented at a recent Strauss Lieder recital: ‘Watts, winner of the Lieder prize at Cardiff Singer of the World in 2007, is already a major artist, but this struck me as making a transformation into a great one, as well as allowing us to hear her in music she seems to have been born to sing. Watts has the right tonal glamour for Strauss along with that tricky combination of vocal ease and immaculate control that his work requires.’

“As well as showing her ability to weave around a wide-ranging phrase, apparent in the first song on the disc, 'Einerlei', and incorporating a useful chest voice, she shows a wicked penchant for donning joke fangs in the song cycle.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2013 ****

“Vignoles was and is very impressive indeed, here readily catching the extraordinary variety of mood in each song...My pleasure in this latest volume is without any reservations. Elizabeth Watts sings gloriously, rising fluently to the high tessitura of Strauss's melodic lines...Her beautiful voice, sensitive phrasing and response to word-meanings are consistently rewarding and her partnership with Roger Vignoles could hardly be more beautifully balanced.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2013

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - February 2013

Hyperion & Helios - up to 50% off

Hyperion Richard Strauss Complete Songs - CDA67844

(CD)

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Special: $11.89

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3

Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3

Recorded at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, London.


Brahms:

Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68

recorded 14 October 1992

Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90

recorded by BBC Radio 3, 7 April 1983


Conductor Klaus Tennstedt enjoyed a close and enduring relationship with the London Philharmonic Orchestra that resulted in his appointment as the Orchestra’s Principal Conductor and Music Director in 1983, later becoming its Conductor Laureate. Renowned for his interpretations of the German Romantic repertoire, Tennstedt once said he loved the LPO so much because ‘it is a romantic orchestra’.

Here he conducts the Orchestra in live concert performances of Brahms’s Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3. This Symphony No. 1 performance in 1992 was one of the conductor’s last concerts with the LPO. As the conductor struggled with illness, every one of his late concerts in London became an event, as if any could be his last, and the acute atmosphere of his last London appearances shines through in this performance.

“No conductor ever achieved a wider range of dynamics, more hushed pianissimos. The detail in the first movement of Brahms 1 is wonderful, yet at the same time the music is realised in a single tragic arc.” Sunday Times, 11th November 2012

“These are certainly deeply sympathetic Brahms performances. The account of the Third Symphony in particular is quite wonderful, the finest live account to be preserved on disc since Furtwangler's celebrated 1949 Berlin performance...Make no mistake, this is Brahms-conducting of rare moment and pedigree.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2013

“The sense of purpose with which Tennstedt approaches the first movement is very pleasing...Nowhere is the large scale of the interpretation more apparent than in the introductions to the first and last movements, both of which are imposingly rhetorical..if you don’t have Tennstedt’s live performances of these symphonies in your collection then acquiring them will offer two opportunities to hear a great conductor in action.” MusicWeb International, January 2013

“the 1992 LPO version combines energy with polish; this sounds like a great occasion that elicited exceptional concentration from performers and audience alike. The only disappointment comes in the coda of the finale, which strikes me as unnecessarily stodgy” BBC Music Magazine, May 2013 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Re-issue of the Month - February 2013

LPO - LPO0068

(CD - 2 discs)

$13.75

(also available to download from $20.00)

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