Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

May 2013

Disc of the Month

Prices shown exclude VAT. (UK tax is not payable for deliveries to United States.)
See Terms & Conditions for p&p rates.
Britten: Violin Concerto & Piano Concerto

Awards:

Gramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - May 2013

Label:

Chandos

Catalogue No:

CHAN10764

Discs:

1

Release date:

29th April 2013

Barcode:

0095115176429

Length:

76 minutes

Medium:

CD (download also available)

Chandos - up to 40% off

click here for full details

special offer ends 25/09/2017

| Share

Britten: Violin Concerto & Piano Concerto


Britten:

Violin Concerto in D minor Op. 15

Tasmin Little (violin)

Piano Concerto, Op. 13

1945 version as well as original third movement, ‘Recitative and Aria’

Howard Shelley (piano)


CD

Normally: $15.25

Special: $12.20

(also available to download from $10.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

The prolific nature of Benjamin Britten’s operatic and vocal output makes it is all too easy to forget that prior to the phenomenal success of Peter Grimes in 1945, he was primarily known as a composer of vividly orchestrated instrumental music. Tying in with the 100-year anniversary in 2013 of the composer’s birth, we here present two such works, performed by the BBC Philharmonic under Edward Gardner. Tasmin Little and Howard Shelley are the soloists in the Violin Concerto and Piano Concerto, respectively.

These concertos reflect two very different sides to the composer’s character. The Violin Concerto, which Britten completed in 1939, is essentially tragic and weighty in tone, perhaps reflecting his growing concern with the escalation of war-related hostilities. On the other hand, the Piano Concerto, written the previous year, is generally lighter and brighter, more transparent and simpler in style.

On this disc we have recorded the Piano Concerto in Britten’s familiar revision of 1945, but we also include the original third movement, ‘Recitative and Aria’, which Britten replaced with a new and extended movement entitled ‘Impromptu’. Howard Shelley writes of the decision Britten made to revise the concerto: ‘Why he found it necessary to replace the slow movement, I cannot quite understand – as far as I am concerned both options are masterpieces, and with this in mind we have also recorded the original version, which is fantastical and fabulous, jazzy and endlessly dramatic.’

The Violin Concerto was the first composition Britten completed after arriving in the US in 1939. Our soloist, Tasmin Little, writes of the work: ‘One of the miracles of the piece is the way that the structure is conceived as an ongoing journey. Britten does not conform to the usual pattern of the classical concerto... rather the shape of the work emerges organically as each thought leads invariably to the next. A favourite moment of mine is near the end of the first movement where the violins play the opening melody and I weave in and around them with delicate pizzicato.’

Benjamin Britten: Piano Concerto, Op. 13 (1945 revised version)

I. Toccata: Allegro molto e con brio

II. Waltz: Allegretto

III. Impromptu: Andante lento

IV. March: Allegro moderato sempre a la marcia

Piano Concerto, Op. 13: III. Recitative and Aria (1938 original version)

Benjamin Britten: Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 15

I. Moderato con moto - Agitato - Tempo primo

II. Vivace - Animando - Largamente - Cadenza

III. Passacaglia

Financial Times

18th May 2013

“A rapturous disc”

MusicWeb International

20th May 2013

“This is a desirable Chandos release of two marvellous Britten concertos that deserve to be far better known. The playing from soloists Shelley and Little is exemplary. They are accompanied by the outstanding BBC Philharmonic under Edward Gardner’s sensitively controlled baton.”

Sunday Times

26th May 2013

“Little’s interpretation strikes me as one of the finest committed to disc...Even though her partnership with Gardner is new in the work, their dramatic and emotional conception is unified — and particularly arresting in the sizzling central movement’s vivace”

BBC Music Magazine

July 2013

****

“Shelley and Edward Gardner create something more mercurial [than Britten's own reading], Gardner conjuring that lithe, high-tension drama he has so successfully achieved with Britten's stage works...We also have a very special reading of the Violin Concerto...Little and Gardner plumb its emotional heart in a performance of great passion and spontaneity.”

Gramophone Magazine

July 2013

“Gardner's BBC Phil leads the rough-and-tumble with its sharp-edged wind and brusque brass, and the exuberant Howard Shelley matches then every inch of the way...Little has fewer emotionally warm sounds at her disposal than she does energy and commitment...another strong Britten release from Chandos.”

The Arts Desk

20th July 2013

“Gardner starts Britten’s Piano Concerto with amazing ferocity and drive...Shelley relishes the fast tempo when he makes his entrance...white-hot playing from the BBC Philharmonic and close-up, widescreen Chandos sound.”

Choose Format:

What is MP3 and FLAC?

Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.

Editor's Choice

Prices shown exclude VAT. (UK tax is not payable for deliveries to United States.)
See Terms & Conditions for p&p rates.

Gluck: Iphigénie en Aulide & Iphigénie en Tauride

Gluck: Iphigénie en Aulide & Iphigénie en Tauride

Recorded live at De Nederlandse Opera, September 2011


Gluck:

Iphigénie en Aulide

Véronique Gens (Iphigénie), Salomé Haller (Diane), Nicolas Testé (Agamemnon) & Anne Sofie von Otter (Clytemnestre)

Iphigénie en Tauride

Mireille Delunsch (Iphigénie), Laurent Alvaro (Thoas), Jean-François Lapointe (Oreste), Yann Beuron (Pylade) & Salomé Haller (Diane)


Les Musiciens du Louvre Grenoble & Chorus of De Nederlandse Opera, Marc Minkowski (conductor) & Pierre Audi (stage director)

Two late and baleful tragedies by Euripides focus on the ill-starred daughter of the Greek King, Agamemnon. Will he sacrifice Iphigenia in order to secure fair winds for his voyage to Troy? In Aulis, the drama rages until she is spared. Having escaped to Tauris, Iphigenia finds herself compelled to kill her own brother before, once more, the fickle gods intervene.

Gluck's operatic settings are very rarely staged together, but Pierre Audi's production makes a darkly compelling case for their dramatic unity. All the lead performers here are experienced exponents of Gluck, and together they present a powerfully idiomatic experience.

First ever release together on DVD/Blu-ray.

Iphigénie en Aulide has never been issued before on DVD/Blu-ray.

Top international cast includes Véronique Gens as Iphigénie and Anne Sofie von Otter as Clytemnestre.

Marc Minkowski & Les Musiciens du Louvre Grenoble have been widely acclaimed for their Gluck performances.

Running time: 267 minutes

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/DU/KO

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

“in this performance every cross-hatched, baleful figure is crisp and clear...Veronique Gens's submissive, poised Iphigénie [en Aulide] becomes Mireille Delunsch's red-eyed, hysterical Iphigénie en Tauride...Both sopranos sing magnificently despite Audi's over-stylised movement direction” BBC Music Magazine, May 2013 *****

“[von Otter] presents a deeply sympathetic character...[Gens's] Iphigenia is equally touching and just as beautifully sung...one or two [production] oddities are far outweighed by the intensity that Pierre Audi secures from his team. Minkowski conducts superbly.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2013

“Some of the finest French Classical stylists around come together under the baton of Marc Minkowski on this double-bill of Gluck's two 'Iphigénie' operas...Anne Sofie von Otter is a magnetic Clytemnestre.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, July 2014

GGramophone Magazine

DVD/Blu-ray of the Month - May 2013

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

Opus Arte - OABD7115D

(Blu-ray)

$35.75

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Maria João Pires: Schubert

Maria João Pires: Schubert


Schubert:

Piano Sonata No. 16 in A minor, D845

Piano Sonata No. 21 in B flat major, D960


Iconic Deutsche Grammophon pianist and celebrated Schubert interpreter Maria João Pires returns to further explore the music of the quintessential romantic composer; deepening a musical relationship that has captivated critics and public alike throughout her career. The Portugese pianist has not recorded either of these sonatas for DG before and this recording of the brooding and expansive Sonata no.16 in A minor is her first for any label.

Both her DG debut recital and the acclaimed 1997 album, Voyage Magnifique, revealed Maria João Pires's unique empathy with the clarity of gesture and melodic line in the solo music of Schubert and this new album, combining the rarely heard Sonata No.16 with one of the composer’s best-loved late works, adds to her acclaimed discography of the composer.

“her performances are characteristically thoughtful – too much so for my liking. Pires’s approach is more high Romantic than late Classical, constantly oscillating between loud and soft, fast and slow, with the sort of artful phrasing that, instead of suggesting the music’s architectural scale and emotional anguish, ends up limiting them. She is at her most persuasive in the central movements of D845 and the Scherzo of D960” Financial Times, 9th February 2013 ***

“Pires has recorded Schubert's B flat major Sonata D960 before, as part of a series of Schubert discs for Erato in the mid-1990s, and in terms of timings the two performances are often strikingly similar...What remains unchanged is the patience with which Pires allows Schubert's music to unfold so naturally that nothing seems forced or contrived.” The Guardian, 21st February 2013 ****

“Here is a Schubertian still at the peak of her pianistic powers with the maturity of an interpreter who has lived with this music for a lifetime (she will be 70 next year). Even though countless great pianists have set down their thoughts on this sublime music, she makes you listen to Schubert’s genius with fresh ears...An enthralling disc.” Sunday Times, 14th April 2013

“The Portugese pianist produces such a consistently beautiful, mellow sound that one is liable to be seduced by that single element of her playing...Pires, you feel, lives in the sunshine and must surely play D960 to her grandchildren...Even for one with a lifelong affection for Schnabel, this is a B flat major to live with and savour.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2013

“Pires makes her anti-interpretation standpoint clear and manages to create performances which are uniquely communicative and fresh, keeping the ageing ears of this listener agape and agog from beginning to end...If you want to enhance your life with as ‘perfect’ a Schubert piano disc as can be recommended, then let this be your Elysian Field.” MusicWeb International, 21st May 2013

GGramophone Awards 2013

Finalist - Instrumental

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2013

DG - 4778107

(CD)

$14.00

(also available to download from $10.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Bach, J S: St John Passion, BWV245

Bach, J S: St John Passion, BWV245


‘Layton has directed this annual St John Passion for several seasons now. His readings, which are becoming ever more dramatic and daring, have a raw intensity. It was easy to see why these concerts have become one of the highlights in London’s musical calendar’ (The Guardian)

Polyphony and Stephen Layton present their celebrated performance of Bach’s most dramatic masterpiece. Accompanied by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and a starry team of soloists, Layton directs a vivid account, the excitement of the narrative drama contrasting with heartbreaking moments of reflection.

In Ian Bostridge, we have the most iconic Evangelist of the last twenty years; an artist who is an incomparable communicator, a singer of technical brilliance, and an impassioned, experienced interpreter of Bach’s music.

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

“[Bostridge is] a magnificent Evangelist though one aspect of his approach may not be to all tastes. He is highly expressive at all times and there are several occasions where some may feel he overdoes the expressiveness..Polyphony show vividly just what can be achieved in Bach singing by a fairly small professional choir, especially in terms of such things as flexibility, attack and agility...This desirable new recording deserves a place in the front rank.” MusicWeb International, February 2013

“Layton has honed his preferred version, but only aficionados will notice or mind. Concentrate instead on the purity of sound, the emotionally expressive yet restrained performance by all and the impeccable attention to text of the soloists. Ian Bostridge (Evangelist) lives every word of the narration but never over dramatises. Countertenor Iestyn Davies's almost disembodied account of Es ist vollbracht! (It is finished!) is unforgettable.” The Observer, 3rd March 2013

“the choral singing is wonderfully pure, buoyant and transparent...Ian Bostridge’s Evangelist, mannered and occasionally stretched but full of “narrative” character, dominates Layton’s performance” Financial Times, 9th March 2013 ***

“when Bach’s goal is mellifluous comfort, as in the final chorus, Ruht wohl, Polyphony wins hands down.” The Times, 15th March 2013 ****

“this new recording's credentials border on the unassailable...Layton's pacing is compelling - there's no mistaking the gambling fever as the soldiers cast lots for Christ's garment...[Neal Davies] reserves a melting tenderness for the utterances from the cross. It's crowned by Iestyn Davies's sublime account of 'Es ist vollbracht'...Both Carolyn Sampson's arias are priceless.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2013 ****

“this St John Passion brings to the fore the traits of style and taste that are distinguished hallmarks of Layton and the forces he gathers around him...Bostridge is the tenor Evangelist, eloquent, pure of tone, fluent and strong in communicating the import of the German narrative...The choir sings with a well-rounded sound, firm accents and with diction that brings the text crisply to life” The Telegraph, 22nd March 2013 *****

“about as state-of-the-art a Bach Passion recording as you'll hear...Take as read the urgency, clarity, balance and delamatory unanimity of the chorus...Layton's reality is about cultivating the focus of each sentiment with supreme corporate executancy...Bostridge is the master story-teller who surveys all about him.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2013

“it’s remarkable simply because it’s practically perfect in every way...though [Bostridge has] been singing the Passions for over a decade he still sounds as if he’s telling this familiar story for the first time...The soloists, too, are all perfectly cast...But it’s Iestyn Davies who really takes the laurels.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 18th February 2013

“Stephen Layton directs this intense, dramatic reading with intelligence and integrity, ably assisted by an excellent team of soloists...Layton’s small choir, Polyphony, responds alertly to the changing dramatic demands...The OAE plays with style and authority, and Hyperion’s recording is spacious, full, clear and detailed.” Early Music Today

Presto Disc of the Week

18th February 2013

Presto Favourites

Recommended Recording

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2013

Hyperion & Helios - up to 50% off

Hyperion - CDA67901/2

(CD - 2 discs)

Normally: $29.75

Special: $23.50

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Kaufmann: Wagner

Kaufmann: Wagner


Wagner:

Ein Schwert verhieß mir der Vater (from Die Walküre)

Dass der mein Vater nicht ist (from Siegfried)

Allmächt'ger Vater, blick herab! (from Rienzi)

Inbrunst im Herzen (from Tannhäuser)

Am stillen Herd (from Die Meistersinger)

In fernem Land (from Lohengrin)

extended version with second verse

Markus Brück (bass-baritone)

Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin

Wesendonck-Lieder (5)


Jonas Kaufmann (tenor)

Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin, Donald Runnicles

Kaufmann’s fifth solo album on Decca is specially recorded for the Wagner anniversary year by the world’s leading Wagner tenor. Kaufmann and Wagner is a classic combination: “For any Wagnerians who've been slumbering, Fafner-like, in their caves during the last few years, here's your wake-up call: Jonas Kaufmann is the tenor we've been waiting for” (Washington Post).

A selection of the great Heldentenor scenes and arias coupled with the complete (and rarely recorded by the tenor voice) Wesendonck Lieder. Also includes scenes from Die Walküre, Siegfried , Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Tannhäuser and Lohengrin (extended Grail Scene – Gralserzählung - with its original second verse).

Joined by one of the most formidable combinations in the opera world today – the chorus and orchestra of the Deutsche Oper, Berlin, under director Donald Runnicles – this recording is also a sonic spectacular, made in Decca’s time-honoured tradition.

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

“As Siegmund, his dark, baritonal timbre comes into its own. In Rienzi’s Prayer and Tannhäuser’s Roman narration, his Italianate timbre — surely what Wagner wanted — easily negotiates the bel canto turns and grace notes overlooked by burlier singers...No Wagner tenor sings Lieder with such musicianship, colour and sensitivity. With this glorious disc, Kaufmann sets a standard for our time.” Sunday Times, 3rd February 2013

“a matchless Wagner recital...Tannhäuser’s Act 3 Rome Narration is a triumph of heroic timbre, dramatic intensity and musical sensibility...The gem for me is the Wesendonck Lieder, intended for soprano and yet, thanks to singing of such melting ardour, perfectly “owned” by the world’s leading Wagner tenor.” Financial Times, 2nd February 2013 *****

“When I listen to Wagner, this is how I dream it should sound.” Musical Toronto, 5th February 2013

“His artistry is exceptional. His sexy, heroic way with Siegmund, and the marvellous introversion he brings to Lohengrin's In Fernem Land, leave us in no doubt as to why he is today's interpreter of choice for both roles. Yet he brings the same insight and intensity to his new material...Best of all is Rienzi's prayer, in which his almost oceanic tone blends with the elegance of the fine Mozart singer he once was.” The Telegraph, 7th March 2013 ****

“This new disc is mostly magnificent, but had me pining for more...Kaufmann may never sing Siegfried in the theatre, but the Forest Murmurs here, in an usually extended version, makes one long to hear him in the complete role; the Tannhäuser Rome Narration even more so, a shattering account...all told this is a further testimony to [Kaufmann's] lonely greatness among contemporary Wagner tenors.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2013 *****

“To judge from the performances on this wide-ranging sampler, the Met's new Parsifal seems ready for coronation as the reigning Wagnerian tenor of his generation.” Opera News, April 2013

“Turn immediately to the Tannhäuser excerpt...Kaufmann both darkens and stresses up his voice to portray the failed pilgrim's predicament...The other operatic excerpts...also find the tenor pushing the confines of a recital disc excitingly towards the level of live performance...the disc is something of a triumph.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2013

“Kaufmann is so careful that the sudden fire of some of his operatic performances can shock...[He] lets us in to the naivety and the purity of [Siegfried]...his enacting of Tannhäuser’s “Rome Narrative...is tremendously effective...it is as near to an internal Tannhäuser as we are going to get” Opera Today, April 2013

“Just when you think you’ve got the measure of this singer, he hits new heights of interpretative insight, vocal drama and sheer horse-power (that second, searing ‘Wälse!’ in the Walküre scene quite literally knocked me backwards!)...I’ll eat my Tarnhelm if this doesn’t win a slew of awards!” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 24th December 2012

“This recording has all the allure and dark beauty of his singing...but also the thoughtfulness of an artist who does not take his stardom for granted. His rendition of the “Wesendonck Lieder” — rarely sung by men — has Mahlerian desolation and elation.” New York Times, December 2013

Presto Disc of the Week

11th February 2013

Presto Favourites

Recommended Recording

GGramophone Awards 2013

Winner - Vocal

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2013

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2014

Vocal Award Winner

Decca - 4785189

(CD)

$14.00

(also available to download from $8.25)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Vaughan Williams: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 8

Vaughan Williams: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 8


Vaughan Williams:

Symphony No. 5 in D major

Symphony No. 8 in D minor


Hallé returns with its second volume of works by Vaughan Williams, continuing its award winning survey of British music under its Musical Director, Sir Mark Elder.

Latest release for award winning label in the English repertoire at which it excels

The release combines two highly contrasting works to provide a disc which is both moving and uplifting.

Symphony No.5 is a generally tranquil work with music influenced by Ravel, with whom Vaughan Williams had studied, and is scored for very traditional forces

Symphony No.8 is dedicated to Sir John Barbirolli and was premièred by the Hallé in 1956. It is the shortest and least serious of the symphonies and whilst not being without moments of somber mood, is generally light hearted in tone. It is has a more exotic instrumental colour, with an enhanced percussion section.

These works have long been part of Hallé’s concert repertoire under Sir Mark Elder in performances which have drawn great critical praise:

'I cannot think of another conductor around today better equipped to conduct this score than Sir Mark and he didn’t disappoint.' Michael Cookson, 'Seen and Heard International', Review of performance of Symphony No.5, Nov 2011

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

“Elder's account of the Fifth has a wonderful easy breadth, a sense of inevitable unfolding that pays most dividends in the third-movement Romanza...it's the shimmering tuned percussion in the outer movements [of the Eighth] that defines the work, and Elder makes the integration of those textures seem the most natural thing in the world.” The Guardian, 28th February 2013 ****

“It is the performance of the Fifth...that sounds special here...Elder and the Hallé claim this music as much their own as they do their Eighth.” Sunday Times, 17th March 2013

“Vaughan Williams’s outwardly serene Symphony No. 5 is a difficult work to get right...Which is why Sir Mark Elder’s recording does succeed; he manages to inject a hint of drama into the static opening movement and brings the Scherzo to life...Elder plays up the [Eighth] symphony’s offbeat battiness...It’s wonderful – trust me.” The Arts Desk, 16th March 2013

“These wonderfully affectionate recordings of the Fifth and Eighth Symphonies ...are essential listening for devotees of English music...Both are gloriously played.” The Times, 30th March 2013 ****

“Elder's way with Vaughan Williams' Fifth Symphony is one of those interpretations that grows with repeated hearings. As expected from the current Halle vintage, it's finely played in every department, with true live-recording atmosphere.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2013 *****

“Elder’s is the most satisfying performance of RVW’s Symphony 5 that I’ve heard. Why? For me it’s because he gets the tempi just right. He isn’t afraid to be unhurried and yet at the same time a flowing, forward pulse is always apparent...The glory of this CD from Elder is that it offers a consistent and sustained appreciation of the reflective aspects of these RVW symphonies.” MusicWeb International, April 2013

“An unexpectedly rewarding disc” Financial Times, 13th April 2013

“Elder's sense of atmosphere and specific locality win out...The Scherzo shows the Hallé winds and brass to excellent effect and I was warmed by Elder's well-aimed use of string portamentos in the 'Cavatina'...I would recommend it unreservedly.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2013

“The playing on this live recording is superb throughout...For me, though, the stars of this recording are definitely the horns: their sound is consistently glorious...All in all this is a splendid recording from Elder and the Hallé.” James Longstaffe, Presto Classical, 25th February 2013

Presto Disc of the Week

25th February 2013

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2013

Hallé Elder Vaughan Williams Series - CDHLL7533

(CD)

$14.75

(also available to download from $10.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

In The Shadow of War

In The Shadow of War


Bloch, E:

Schelomo

Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Hugh Wolff

Bridge:

Oration - Concerto elegiaco for cello and orchestra

Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Hugh Wolff

Hough:

The Loneliest Wilderness, elegy for cello and orchestra

Tapiola Sinfonietta, Gábor Takács-Nagy


This programme is well conceived and draws some truly moving playing. The coda to Bridge’s Oration makes a serious challenge for the title of ‘most beautiful ending to a cello concerto’ Isserlis.

Schelomo is an extraordinary work where Bloch seems to have created a new musical language inspired by Jewish music dating back thousands of years. Often mistaken for film music, Schelomo’s immediacy and descriptiveness has influenced many film composers.

Isserlis plays the ‘Marquis de Corberon’ Stradivarius of 1726, formerly owned by Zara Nelsova who was the first to record Bloch’s Schelomo with the composer conducting.

“A mood of poignant intensity characterises the three works here, played by Steven Isserlis with two different orchestras...Some ridiculed [Schelomo] as suitable only for a Hollywood epic but Isserlis conveys its simple, urgent message.” The Observer, 7th April 2013

“Isserlis's spellbinding advocacy of Bridge's raptly compassionate masterpiece in particular has acquired an extra richness of experience and plangent intensity...both performances [the Hough and the Bloch] really are tremendously compelling in their articulate composure, nourishing intelligence and clear-sighted purpose.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2013

“this profoundly engaging reading [of the Bridge] sets a new standard. [in Schelomo] nothing is forced or overdone, no rhetoric or posturing gets in the way of the work's own soulful expression...What he has achieved in this beautifully balanced recording with Hugh Wolff is a breathtaking new fluency and freedom.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2013 *****

“Bloch’s famous Schelomo is given a superb performance, with Isserlis on inspired form. This is music that can seem overblown in the wrong hands, but here everything goes marvellously...This is an outstanding disc of glorious music, superbly played and recorded.” MusicWeb International, 31st July 2013

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2013

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

Contemporary Music - up to 25% off

BIS - BIS1992

(SACD)

Normally: $15.25

Special: $12.20

(also available to download from $10.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Kaufmann: Wagner

Kaufmann: Wagner


Wagner:

Ein Schwert verhieß mir der Vater (from Die Walküre)

Dass der mein Vater nicht ist (from Siegfried)

Allmächt'ger Vater, blick herab! (from Rienzi)

Inbrunst im Herzen (from Tannhäuser)

Am stillen Herd (from Die Meistersinger)

In fernem Land (from Lohengrin)

extended version with second verse

Markus Brück (bass-baritone)

Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin

Wesendonck-Lieder (5)


Jonas Kaufmann (tenor)

Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin, Donald Runnicles

Kaufmann’s fifth solo album on Decca is specially recorded for the Wagner anniversary year by the world’s leading Wagner tenor. Kaufmann and Wagner is a classic combination: “For any Wagnerians who've been slumbering, Fafner-like, in their caves during the last few years, here's your wake-up call: Jonas Kaufmann is the tenor we've been waiting for” (Washington Post).

A selection of the great Heldentenor scenes and arias coupled with the complete (and rarely recorded by the tenor voice) Wesendonck Lieder. Also includes scenes from Die Walküre, Siegfried , Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Tannhäuser and Lohengrin (extended Grail Scene – Gralserzählung - with its original second verse).

Joined by one of the most formidable combinations in the opera world today – the chorus and orchestra of the Deutsche Oper, Berlin, under director Donald Runnicles – this recording is also a sonic spectacular, made in Decca’s time-honoured tradition.

A physical high-resolution Pure Audio format, using existing Blu-ray technology; no video content. It is intended for playback on any Blu-ray disc player, giving it an advantage over previous high-definition standards (such as SACD) which required specific hardware; navigated with the remote control of your Blu-ray player.

Formats:

HD formats 2.1/5.1

PCM Non-Compressed

DTS HD Master Audio

Dolby True HD

Sampling frequency: 96khz to 192khz

Dynamic range: 144 Decibels

Bit-rate: 21.5 Megabits/sec

NB: This product is audio-only: there are no images or video-content. It also requires a Blu-ray player and will not play on standard CD-players.

“As Siegmund, his dark, baritonal timbre comes into its own. In Rienzi’s Prayer and Tannhäuser’s Roman narration, his Italianate timbre — surely what Wagner wanted — easily negotiates the bel canto turns and grace notes overlooked by burlier singers...No Wagner tenor sings Lieder with such musicianship, colour and sensitivity. With this glorious disc, Kaufmann sets a standard for our time.” Sunday Times, 3rd February 2013

“a matchless Wagner recital...Tannhäuser’s Act 3 Rome Narration is a triumph of heroic timbre, dramatic intensity and musical sensibility...The gem for me is the Wesendonck Lieder, intended for soprano and yet, thanks to singing of such melting ardour, perfectly “owned” by the world’s leading Wagner tenor.” Financial Times, 2nd February 2013

“His artistry is exceptional. His sexy, heroic way with Siegmund, and the marvellous introversion he brings to Lohengrin's In Fernem Land, leave us in no doubt as to why he is today's interpreter of choice for both roles. Yet he brings the same insight and intensity to his new material...Best of all is Rienzi's prayer, in which his almost oceanic tone blends with the elegance of the fine Mozart singer he once was.” The Telegraph, 7th March 2013 ****

“When I listen to Wagner, this is how I dream it should sound” Musical Toronto, 5th February 2013

“To judge from the performances on this wide-ranging sampler, the Met's new Parsifal seems ready for coronation as the reigning Wagnerian tenor of his generation.” Opera News, April 2013

“This new disc is mostly magnificent, but had me pining for more...Kaufmann may never sing Siegfried in the theatre, but the Forest Murmurs here, in an usually extended version, makes one long to hear him in the complete role; the Tannhäuser Rome Narration even more so, a shattering account...all told this is a further testimony to [Kaufmann's] lonely greatness among contemporary Wagner tenors.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2013 *****

“Turn immediately to the Tannhäuser excerpt...Kaufmann both darkens and stresses up his voice to portray the failed pilgrim's predicament...The other operatic excerpts...also find the tenor pushing the confines of a recital disc excitingly towards the level of live performance...the disc is something of a triumph.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2013

“Kaufmann is so careful that the sudden fire of some of his operatic performances can shock...[He] lets us in to the naivety and the purity of [Siegfried]...his enacting of Tannhäuser’s “Rome Narrative...is tremendously effective...it is as near to an internal Tannhäuser as we are going to get” Opera Today, April 2013

“a magnificent display of musical talent and recording excellence.” MusicWeb International, 7th January 2014

“This recording has all the allure and dark beauty of his singing...but also the thoughtfulness of an artist who does not take his stardom for granted. His rendition of the “Wesendonck Lieder” — rarely sung by men — has Mahlerian desolation and elation.” New York Times, December 2013

GGramophone Awards 2013

Winner - Vocal

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2013

Decca - 4785678

(Blu-ray Audio)

$24.25

(also available to download from $8.25)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Gluck: Iphigénie en Aulide & Iphigénie en Tauride

Gluck: Iphigénie en Aulide & Iphigénie en Tauride

Recorded live at De Nederlandse Opera, September 2011


Gluck:

Iphigénie en Aulide

Véronique Gens (Iphigénie), Salomé Haller (Diane), Nicolas Testé (Agamemnon) & Anne Sofie von Otter (Clytemnestre)

Iphigénie en Tauride

Mireille Delunsch (Iphigénie), Laurent Alvaro (Thoas), Jean-François Lapointe (Oreste), Yann Beuron (Pylade) & Salomé Haller (Diane)


Les Musiciens du Louvre Grenoble & Chorus of De Nederlandse Opera, Marc Minkowski (conductor) & Pierre Audi (stage director)

Two late and baleful tragedies by Euripides focus on the ill-starred daughter of the Greek King, Agamemnon. Will he sacrifice Iphigenia in order to secure fair winds for his voyage to Troy? In Aulis, the drama rages until she is spared. Having escaped to Tauris, Iphigenia finds herself compelled to kill her own brother before, once more, the fickle gods intervene.

Gluck's operatic settings are very rarely staged together, but Pierre Audi's production makes a darkly compelling case for their dramatic unity. All the lead performers here are experienced exponents of Gluck, and together they present a powerfully idiomatic experience.

First ever release together on DVD/Blu-ray.

Iphigénie en Aulide has never been issued before on DVD/Blu-ray.

Top international cast includes Véronique Gens as Iphigénie and Anne Sofie von Otter as Clytemnestre.

Marc Minkowski & Les Musiciens du Louvre Grenoble have been widely acclaimed for their Gluck performances.

Running time: 267 minutes

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/DU/KO

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

“in this performance every cross-hatched, baleful figure is crisp and clear...Veronique Gens's submissive, poised Iphigénie [en Aulide] becomes Mireille Delunsch's red-eyed, hysterical Iphigénie en Tauride...Both sopranos sing magnificently despite Audi's over-stylised movement direction.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2013 *****

“[von Otter] presents a deeply sympathetic character...[Gens's] Iphigenia is equally touching and just as beautifully sung...one or two [production] oddities are far outweighed by the intensity that Pierre Audi secures from his team. Minkowski conducts superbly.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2013

“Some of the finest French Classical stylists around come together under the baton of Marc Minkowski on this double-bill of Gluck's two 'Iphigénie' operas...Anne Sofie von Otter is a magnetic Clytemnestre.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, July 2014

GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - May 2013

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Opus Arte - OA1099D

(DVD Video - 2 discs)

$35.75

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Julia Lezhneva: Alleluia

Julia Lezhneva: Alleluia


Handel:

Saeviat tellus inter rigores HWV 240

Mozart:

Exsultate, jubilate, K165

Porpora:

In caelo stele clare fulgescant

Vivaldi:

In furore iustissimae irae, RV626


Julia Lezhneva talks to Presto's Katherine Cooper about Alleluia here.

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

The vocal sensation everyone’s talking about – Russian soprano Julia Lezhneva – makes her Decca solo debut with a celebratory disc of motets from Vivaldi, Handel, Porpora and Mozart, partnered by one of the world’s leading early music ensembles, Il Giardino Armonico, conducted by Giovanni Antonini.

Praised for her “pure tone” (Opernwelt) and “flawless technique” (Guardian), Lezhneva’s career has skyrocketed since her brief but extraordinary appearance at the 2010 Classical BRIT Awards in London, at the invitation of her mentor, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. “Few young singers have been as widely celebrated so early in their careers as Kiri Te Kanawa’s protegé, the . . . Russian soprano Julia Lezhneva”, wrote The Independent. Dame Kiri recently added her voice to the critical consensus, observing that “from time time to time a really outstanding talent appears and I believe that Julia Lezhneva is just that. The brilliance of her voice and technique are extremely impressive.”

“Lezhneva is at her most accomplished [in the Mozart], providing spirited and focused vocalism, running up and down the scales with effortless abandon and to fine effect. Elsewhere there are occasional deficiencies, including high notes slightly wide of the mark...Yet the precision and determination Lezhneva bring to Vivaldi's In furore...is remarkable...the period-instrument orchestra sounds fesity under Giovanni Antonini.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2013 ***

“a singer of uncommon ability and vivacity...Il Giardino Armonico provide apt support throughout: their dashing, frothy strings offer a syllabub-light bed for her glass-like clarity and poise” The Independent, 12th April 2013

“a voice of bell-like purity, even throughout its compass, immaculately fluent in coloratura...Though Il Giardino Armonico's punchy, adrenaline-fuelled playing may disconcert some in Mozart, they vividly complement a singer who rivals the young Bartoli in high-octane virtuosity” Gramophone Magazine, May 2013

“[Alleluia] certainly showcases her unusual status as a Russian coloratura specialist, and one who trills and leaps with enviable cleanliness and clarity...She sings sweetly, with trills effortlessly folded in like sparkling jewels, and four top Ds easily scaled...Lezhneva’s voice, however, still seems a work in progress.” The Times, 14th June 2013 ***

“The purity of her voice has been much vaunted in the press, but this is no vibrato-free, pseudo-treble sound: there’s a warmth and sensuality to the timbre, and she treats repeated text with insight and imagination that never descends into mannerism...This is a real Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman, and I can’t wait to see where she’ll go next!” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 1st April 2013

Presto Disc of the Week

1st April 2013

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2013

Decca - 4785242

(CD)

$14.00

(also available to download from $10.00)

Usually despatched in 8 - 10 working days. (Available now to download.)

Lutosławski: Orchestral Works 4

Lutosławski: Orchestral Works 4


Lutosławski:

Dance Preludes

Michael Collins (clarinet)

Symphony No. 1

Partita for violin & orchestra

Tasmin Little (violin)

Chain 2 - Dialogue for Violin and Orchestra

Tasmin Little (violin)


This is the fifth and now final volume in our survey of orchestral works by the Polish composer Witold Lutosławski. Gramophone wrote of a previous volume in the series (CHSA5106) that it ‘offers a broad view of Lutosławski’s creative profile, which the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Edward Gardner fleshes out with playing that is as polished as it is animated, and alert to the individuality of Lutosławski’s musical vocabulary and mode of expression’.

Lutosławski wrote his Symphony No. 1 between 1941 and 1947, but interestingly it does not display any obvious signs of his trying to come to terms with the ordeal that befell his people. Quite the opposite, in fact. Lutosławski himself described the symphony as bright and cheerful, ‘because that was the idea of the composition, which was conceived in the period of independence before the war, but brought into being during the terrible wartime and in far from idyllic post-war years’. At the time, one Polish colleague went so far as to call it ‘fauvist’, so wild and vibrant did it appear to the audiences at its first performance in April 1948.

Lutosławski was a meticulous collector of folk materials in the first half of the 1950s, but for him, Dance Preludes was a ‘farewell to folklore’, even though he privately still explored folk tunes for several more years. Here the orchestra and conductor are joined by the clarinettist Michael Collins, an exclusive Chandos artist.

As his career developed in the more open environment that emerged after the ‘socialist-realist’ period, Lutosławski began to receive international recognition, and with the Partita (1984, orchestrated 1988), for violin and orchestra, he presented a newly relaxed, more melodic compositional style to the public. The soloist is the exclusive Chandos artist Tasmin Little.

Chain 2 (1984 – 85) was premiered by Anne-Sophie Mutter on 31 January 1986 with Collegium Musicum, conducted by Paul Sacher to whom it was dedicated. On this recording Tasmin Little leads the orchestra through a succession of ideas, much as the soloist had done in the ‘Episodes’ movement of the Cello Concerto (recorded on CHSA5106 with Paul Watkins).

“The BBCSO and Edward Gardner, in the latest of this excellent series, capture the range of moods eloquently.” The Observer, 17th March 2013

“the violin concertos [are] notable for their expressive intensity, a quality matched by Tasmin Little’s performances. Finally, Michael Collins relishes the solo opportunities of Dance Preludes for clarinet and chamber orchestra” Financial Times, 16th March 2013 ****

“[Gardner's] ear for detail, a feature of all these Chandos releases, brings out colours and associations which you might have missed in other versions...This is as vibrant and engaging a performance of this symphony as I have ever heard on record...a series of recordings which has to be considered a worthy new reference in some of the best music the 20th century has to offer.” MusicWeb International, 23rd April 2013

“Gardner's interpretative decisions vary from Lutoslawski's, swifter in the fast movements, very slow in the Poco adagio...The composer had the balance between them just right but Gardner is very persuasive...Highly recommended.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2013

“[Little] finds the soft-edged energy of the Partita and traces a broad melodic arc in its central Largo. All the performers show their awareness of the work's indebtedness to Baroque gesture.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2013 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2013

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

Chandos - up to 40% off

Chandos Edward Gardner Polish Music Series - CHSA5108

(SACD)

Normally: $15.25

Special: $12.96

(also available to download from $10.00)

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

Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 52 'Lobgesang'

Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 52 'Lobgesang'


Judith van Wanrooij (soprano) & Patrick Henckens (tenor)

Netherlands Symphony Orchestra, Jan Willem de Vriend

Following their acclaimed cycle of the Beethoven symphonies for Challenge Classics, conductor Jan Willem de Vriend and the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra are now recording the five symphonies of Felix Mendelssohn, beginning with one of the least well-known, the Symphony No. 2 ‘Hymn of Praise’.

The symphonies will be released on hybrid SACDs and the performances will incorporate instrumental techniques from Mendelssohn’s own time. The fingerings and bowings for the edition employed here are by Ferdinand David, a friend of the composer and concertmaster of the Gewandhaus Orchestra.

"Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang is undoubtedly the greatest work that has proceeded from any German composer since Beethoven. It is great in plan, great in development, and masterly in detail." [From: Annual report - Sacred Harmonic Society London (1844)]. That the symphony was forgotten, despite such reviews, was largely due to unfavourable comparisons with Beethoven’s Ninth, and the large vocal portion of the work. But de Vriend and his orchestra believe fully in its qualities and give an insightful performance which could well lead to its revaluation.

Artistic director of Combattimento Consort Amsterdam, Jan Willem de Vriend has, since 2006, also been the chief conductor and artistic director of the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra. De Vriend has been a guest conductor with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic, the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, The Hague Philharmonic and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

“Two highly sympathetic soprano soloists (Judith van Wanroij and Machteld Baumans) and the warm chorales and clean fugal entries of the Consensus Vocalis choir make a persuasive argument for Jan Willem de Vriend's recording of "Lobgesang".” The Independent, 10th February 2013

“No rival version is better and few are as good...for a fresh, immediate statement that compels one's attention from start to finish, I cannot imagine anyone being disappointed by this new release” Gramophone Magazine, May 2013

“de Vriend paces the various sections of the finale shrewdly. I particularly appreciate the energy he brings to the music, even when the tempo is not fast; there is no stuffiness or sentimentality about this. This symphony may not consistently display Mendelssohn at his best but this performance is a successful launch for de Vriend’s cycle.” MusicWeb International, 6th May 2013

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2013

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

Challenge Classics Jan Willem de Vriend Mendelssohn Symphonies - CC72543

(SACD)

$16.25

(also available to download from $10.00)

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

Tine Thing Helseth: Tine

Tine Thing Helseth: Tine


Bull, E H:

Perpetuum Mobile

Enescu:

Légende

Falla:

Siete Canciones populares españolas

arranged for trumpet and piano by Tine

Glazunov:

Albumleaf for trumpet & piano

Hindemith:

Sonata for Trumpet and Piano

Ibert:

Impromptu for Trumpet & Piano

Kreisler:

Marche miniature viennoise

arranged for trumpet and piano by Tine

Toy Soldiers' March

arranged for trumpet and piano by Tine

Puccini:

Storiella D'amore

arranged for trumpet and piano by Tine

Sole e Amore

arranged for trumpet and piano by Tine

E l'uccellino

arranged for trumpet and piano by Tine

Canto d'anime

arranged for trumpet and piano by Tine

Avanti Urania

arranged for trumpet and piano by Tine

Rachmaninov:

Vocalise, Op. 34 No. 14

arranged for trumpet and piano by Tine

Sommerfeldt:

Divertimento for solo trumpet, Op. 21


A recital disc which solidifies Tine’s place in the core classical world, whilst at the same time maintaining those key elements from “Storyteller” - interest, variety, approachability, whilst showcasing her talents, and incorporating plenty of repertoire that she can tour with.

“The Norwegian trumpeter encapsulates many moods in her choice of repertoire” Financial Times, 2nd March 2013

“Helseth's playing is stylish in every way and there is ready virtuosity when required...Stott obviously identifies with her and both artists achieve striking spontaneity.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2013

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2013

Warner Classics - 4164712

(CD)

$13.75

(also available to download from $10.00)

Usually despatched in 3 - 4 working days. (Available now to download.)

Jonas Kaufmann: Wagner - Vinyl Edition

Jonas Kaufmann: Wagner - Vinyl Edition


Wagner:

Ein Schwert verhieß mir der Vater (from Die Walküre)

Dass der mein Vater nicht ist (from Siegfried)

Allmächt'ger Vater, blick herab! (from Rienzi)

Inbrunst im Herzen (from Tannhäuser)

Am stillen Herd (from Die Meistersinger)

In fernem Land (from Lohengrin)

Wesendonck-Lieder (5)


Jonas Kaufmann (tenor)

Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin, Donald Runnicles

“Just when you think you’ve got the measure of this singer, he hits new heights of interpretative insight, vocal drama and sheer horse-power (that second, searing ‘Wälse!’ in the Walküre scene quite literally knocked me backwards!)...I’ll eat my Tarnhelm if this doesn’t win a slew of awards!” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 24th December 2012

“This recording has all the allure and dark beauty of his singing...but also the thoughtfulness of an artist who does not take his stardom for granted. His rendition of the “Wesendonck Lieder” — rarely sung by men — has Mahlerian desolation and elation.” New York Times, December 2012

“Kaufmann is so careful that the sudden fire of some of his operatic performances can shock...[He] lets us in to the naivety and the purity of [Siegfried]...his enacting of Tannhäuser’s “Rome Narrative...is tremendously effective...it is as near to an internal Tannhäuser as we are going to get.” Opera Today, April 2013

“To judge from the performances on this wide-ranging sampler, the Met's new Parsifal seems ready for coronation as the reigning Wagnerian tenor of his generation.” Opera News, April 2013

“This new disc is mostly magnificent, but had me pining for more...Kaufmann may never sing Siegfried in the theatre, but the Forest Murmurs here, in an usually extended version, makes one long to hear him in the complete role; the Tannhäuser Rome Narration even more so, a shattering account...all told this is a further testimony to [Kaufmann's] lonely greatness among contemporary Wagner tenors.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2013 *****

“His artistry is exceptional. His sexy, heroic way with Siegmund, and the marvellous introversion he brings to Lohengrin's In Fernem Land, leave us in no doubt as to why he is today's interpreter of choice for both roles. Yet he brings the same insight and intensity to his new material...Best of all is Rienzi's prayer, in which his almost oceanic tone blends with the elegance of the fine Mozart singer he once was.” The Telegraph, 7th March 2013 ****

“Turn immediately to the Tannhäuser excerpt...Kaufmann both darkens and stresses up his voice to portray the failed pilgrim's predicament...The other operatic excerpts...also find the tenor pushing the confines of a recital disc excitingly towards the level of live performance...the disc is something of a triumph.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2013

“As Siegmund, his dark, baritonal timbre comes into its own. In Rienzi’s Prayer and Tannhäuser’s Roman narration, his Italianate timbre — surely what Wagner wanted — easily negotiates the bel canto turns and grace notes overlooked by burlier singers...No Wagner tenor sings Lieder with such musicianship, colour and sensitivity. With this glorious disc, Kaufmann sets a standard for our time.” Sunday Times, 3rd February 2013

“a matchless Wagner recital...Tannhäuser’s Act 3 Rome Narration is a triumph of heroic timbre, dramatic intensity and musical sensibility...The gem for me is the Wesendonck Lieder, intended for soprano and yet, thanks to singing of such melting ardour, perfectly “owned” by the world’s leading Wagner tenor.” Financial Times, 2nd February 2013 *****

Presto Disc of the Week

11th February 2013

Presto Favourites

Recommended Recording

GGramophone Awards 2013

Winner - Vocal

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2013

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2014

Vocal Winner

Decca - 4830961

(Vinyl)

$25.25

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Copyright © 2002-17 Presto Classical Limited, all rights reserved.