Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

September 2013

Editor's Choice

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Bruckner: Symphony No. 7 & Wolf: Lieder

Bruckner: Symphony No. 7 & Wolf: Lieder

Recorded live at Semperoper Dresden, September 2012


Bruckner:

Symphony No. 7 in E Major

Strauss, R:

Befreit, Op. 39 No. 4

Wolf, H:

Verborgenheit (No. 12 from Mörike-Lieder)

Renée Fleming (soprano)

Er ist's (No. 6 from Mörike-Lieder)

Renée Fleming (soprano)

Elfenlied (No. 16 from Mörike-Lieder)

Renée Fleming (soprano)

Anakreons Grab (No. 29 from Goethe-Lieder)

Renée Fleming (soprano)

Mignon II 'Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt' (No. 6 from Goethe-Lieder)

Renée Fleming (soprano)


The Dresden Staatskapelle has a living Bruckner tradition, stretching back a century and more, which is lovingly curated by its new music director, Christian Thielemann, who is himself a powerful advocate for the composer’s symphonies as the pinnacle of the Austro-German tradition; and in particular for the Wagnerian resonances of the Seventh, whose Adagio was shaped by news of Wagner’s death in Venice. Hugo Wolf was also deeply affected by that news; his songs, like Bruckner’s symphonies, can be seen as oblique reflections on the influence of Wagner, especially when sung, as they are here by Renée Fleming, with the utmost delicacy and intimacy.

Christian Thielemann’s first concert as Principal Conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden.

Both Thielemann and Fleming are renowned interpreters of Romantic repertoire.

Bruckner’s 7th Symphony premiered in 1884 to universal acclaim & established him as a serious composer of symphonic music, Wolf’s Songs were composed four years later.

Wolf was a great admirer of Bruckner and both idolized Wagner, whose influence is felt in the 7th Symphony.

Running time: 106 minutes

Subtitles N/A

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

“Thielemann's interpretation of Bruckner's Seventh Symphony is majestic and clean, as expected, though it falls just short of the cumulative power that the audience's warm reception suggests. The camera's close scrutiny underlines how minimal his conducting can be.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2013 ****

GGramophone Magazine

DVD/Blu-ray of the Month - September 2013

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

Opus Arte - OABD7127D

(Blu-ray)

$35.75

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Bartłomiej Pękiel: Missa Concertata La Lombardesca

Bartłomiej Pękiel: Missa Concertata La Lombardesca


Pekiel:

Audite morales

Dulcis amor Jesu

Resonet in laudibus

Magnum nomen Domini

Ave Maria

Assumpta est Maria

O Adoranda Trinitas

Nativitas tua

Missa Concertata 'La Lombardesca'

Missa a 14 (Kyrie & Gloria)


The Sixteen, Eamonn Dougan

Associate Conductor of The Sixteen, Eamonn Dougan, makes his full conducting debut on CORO in the first of an exciting new series exploring some of Poland’s greatest choral composers.

Bartłomiej Pękiel was one of the most eminent Polish composers of choral music of the 17th century. He served at the court in Warsaw from around 1633 and was assistant to Marco Scacchi at the Chapel Royal in Warsaw before becoming Kapellmeister himself from 1645-1655 - the first non-Italian to hold the post. He then moved to Wawel Cathedral in Krakow where he wrote for the Rorantist vocal ensemble.

Just 29 of his compositions survive today and on this new album by The Sixteen under the direction of Associate Conductor, Eamonn Dougan, we present 10 of his works for choir and orchestra including the Missa Concertata La Lombardesca resplendent with double choir, violins and sackbuts and the extraordinary and dramatic Audite mortales.

In this recording dedicated solely to his works, Pękiel shows himself to be a skilled craftsman, mastering the techniques taught by the Italian maestri, but also imbuing his works with his own particular harmonic colour in all the varied styles in which he writes.

“The sound world, very loosely, brings to mind Monteverdi. The exciting dissonances and strange harmonic colours set Pękiel in a category of his own.” The Observer, 26th May 2013

“The first native to break the Italian monopoly on top musical positions in 17th-century Poland, Pekiel wrote attractive (and harmonically daring) music in the style of Monteverdi and Buxtehude.” The Times, 1st June 2013 ***

“The richness and sheer ambition of the latter pieces, such as the Missa Concertata La Lombardesca, testify to a talent worthy of standing alongside Monteverdi and Cavalli.” Sunday Times, 16th June 2013

“The choral sound is well-focused in the men-only Ave Maria and the mini-duets for sopranos (Charlotte Mobbs and Alice Gribbin) are stylish. Apart from the edgy haute-conte (high tenor) solos in the Carissimi-influenced rhetoric of Audite mortals, it's a delightful performance.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2013 ****

“The Sixteen, here numbering 17 singers plus a 13-member instrumental ensemble, turn in polished performances, clearly enjoying the many opportunities for the solo work with which Pekiel provides them.” International Record Review, September 2013

“This craftsman's masterful music is presented here with an assured charisma by the mighty Sixteen...[Dougan] draws typically golden performances from his vocalists and mixed instrumental ensemble...Sit back and relish this treasure-trove which has clearly been prepared with passion.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2013

“While the four masses featured on this disc are often distinctive in expressive variety and nuance Italian polyphony, the musical styles of Monteverdi and Cavalli are never far away...The Sixteen, under Eamonn Dougan’s direction, is on characteristically strong form providing persuasive advocacy for this hitherto almost forgotten music.” Early Music Today

GGramophone Awards 2014

Shortlisted - Baroque Vocal

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2013

Coro Polish Music - COR16110

(CD)

$15.25

(also available to download from $10.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Pascal & Ami Rogé play Debussy & Ravel

Pascal & Ami Rogé play Debussy & Ravel


Debussy:

La Mer

arrangement for two pianos

Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune

arrangement for two pianos

Fête galante

arrangement for two pianos

Ravel:

Rapsodie Espagnole (for 2 pianos)

Ma Mère l'Oye

arrangement for two pianos

Saint-Saëns:

Scherzo for 2 Pianos, Op. 87


Pascal Rogé & Ami Rogé (pianos)

For his new ONYX CD Pascal is joined by his wife Ami for a programme of French masterworks for orchestra by Debussy and Ravel in arrangements for two pianos. The arrangement of 'La Mer' is the Rogés' own, the others are by the composers. The transcription by Maurice Ravel (1908) of Debussy’s 'Fetes', in the words of the distinguished musicologist Maurice Hinson, "has been translated into the two-piano idiom with independent artistry [and] ranks with the best original writing in the two-piano medium." Unlike Liszt’s single-movement 'Spanish Rhapsody' for solo piano, Ravel’s is a four-movement suite for two pianos: ‘Prélude à la Nuit’, ‘Malagueña’, ‘Habanera’ and ‘Feria’. It was written within the space of a few weeks in October but built around the ‘Habanera’ which had formed the first movement of his 'Sites articulaire' of 1895. Its recycling may have had something to do with Ravel’s resentment at being accused of plagiarising a passage from Debussy’s ‘La soirée dans Grenade’ of 1903 written in the same key with a habanera rhythm and a similar use of an insistent C sharp clashing against the harmonies.

Ravel pointedly attached the date ‘1895’ underneath his ‘Habanera’ in the two-piano score of Rapsodie espagnole and the orchestral version which he prepared in the early months of 1908.

Pascal Rogé has for many years been considered the prime interpreter of French piano repertoire. His recordings of Satie and the Debussy Preludes (ONYX4004) are benchmark recordings. BBC Radio 3 when reviewing the Debussy Preludes said they "came close to a definitive interpretation" and Telerama in France commented "Très beau, tres éduisant. Souverain".

“Here is quintessential Frenchness, beautifully realised, including a two-piano version of Debussy’s symphonic sketches, La Mer, by the players themselves, and wonderfully convincing it is, leaving little sense of orchestral deprivation.” Sunday Times, 9th June 2013

“The Rogés' arrangement of Debussy's La mer is so resouceful that you hardly regret the absence of orchestral colour and range...you could hardly better the Rogés' presentation, finely recorded by Onyx.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2013

“Rewarding is the irresistible energy of ‘Fetes’ and Ravel’s equivalent counterpart in the closing ‘Feria’” International Record Review, September 2013

“Ravel in Spanish mode works very well for the two-piano combination. The rhythms of Malagueña and Habañera are crisply articulated. Feria is a suitably joyful affair, the opening of which loses nothing from the absence of orchestral timbres...It is interesting to have the Debussy arrangements but I would happily have this CD on account of the Ravel pieces, not forgetting the Saint-Saëns.” MusicWeb International, 27th September 2013

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2013

Onyx - ONYX4117

(CD)

$15.25

(also available to download from $10.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Mahler: Symphony No. 8 (with bonus bluray disc)

Mahler: Symphony No. 8 (with bonus bluray disc)


Mahler:

Symphony No. 8 in E flat major 'Symphony of a Thousand'

with bonus bluray


Christine Brewer, Camilla Nylund, Maria Espada, Stephanie Blythe, Mihoko Fujimura, Robert Dean Smith, Tommi Hakala & Stefan Kocán

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Choir, State Choir 'Latvija', Bavarian Radio Choir, National Boys Choir & National Children's Choir, Mariss Jansons

"Try to imagine the whole universe beginning to ring and resound. There are no more human voices, only planets and suns revolving in their orbits," wrote Gustav Mahler to his friend, Willem Mengelberg, on 18 August 1906. The day before, he had completed the sketches of the Eighth Symphony in little more than three weeks, and that after a very hectic season.

The legendary relationship between Gustav Mahler, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Willem Mengelberg has established a firm tradition of playing Mahler in Amsterdam. During the 1960s the orchestra and Bernard Haitink started recording a Mahler discography that still remains one of the cornerstones of any Mahlerian's collection. Ricccardo Chailly's tenure as chief conductor yielded another brilliant Mahler cycle and now Mariss Jansons is steadily building his tribute to the composer.

Recorded during the same Mahler cycle as the recently released Symphonies Nos. 2 and 3 – part of the full Mahler cycle that the orchestra performed in the 2009-2011 seasons to celebrate the composer's 150th birthday and 100th anniversary of his death - Mariss Jansons's interpretation of the Eight Symphony is one more jewel in the crown of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra; with a star-studded cast and excellent choral forces, this 'Symphony of a Thousand' left a lasting impression on the audience.

“Jansons conveys a thrilling sense of occasion” Financial Times, 3rd August 2013

“Jansons keeps the music moving and gives himself something to pull back from in the biggest tuttis...And he has a shining Christine Brewer as his first soprano popping those top Bs and Cs above the stave...up there among the select front-runners.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2013

“It immediately takes the lead among interpretations of this phenomenal work...a reading of the score that is both thrilling and telling in its emotional finesse and sincerity...With the Royal Concertgebouw on supreme form, Jansons unequivocally delivers a performance of cosmic impact.” The Telegraph, 11th July 2013

“The performance has absolutely no weak links. The choral singing, so crucial in this work, is highly disciplined and excellent...The playing of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra is superb throughout...the performance is superbly controlled and though Jansons gives the music its head he keeps a very firm grip on things and also displays tremendous attention to detail” MusicWeb International, 22nd July 2013

“Jansons' line up of Wagnerian soloists for this live Concertgebouw Mahler spectacular is possibly the most impressive since Georg Solti's classic 1971 recording...If this still doesn't rise quite to the top of my list of recorded Mahler Eights, it's partly because Jansons doesn't 'do' impetuous from the outset as Mahler asks” BBC Music Magazine, October 2013 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2013

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

RCO Live Mariss Jansons Mahler Symphonies - RCO13002

(SACD)

$16.25

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Mahler: Symphony No. 8 (with bonus DVD disc)

Mahler: Symphony No. 8 (with bonus DVD disc)


Mahler:

Symphony No. 8 in E flat major 'Symphony of a Thousand'


Christine Brewer (soprano), Camilla Nylund (soprano), Maria Espada (soprano), Stephanie Blythe (mezzo), Mihoko Fujimura (mezzo), Robert Dean Smith (tenor), Tommi Hakala (baritone), Stefan Kocán (bass)

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Choir, State Choir 'Latvija', Bavarian Radio Choir, National Boys Choir, National Children's Choir, Mariss Jansons

1 SACD + DVD

"Try to imagine the whole universe beginning to ring and resound. There are no more human voices, only planets and suns revolving in their orbits," wrote Gustav Mahler to his friend, Willem Mengelberg, on 18 August 1906. The day before, he had completed the sketches of the Eighth Symphony in little more than three weeks, and that after a very hectic season.

The legendary relationship between Gustav Mahler, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Willem Mengelberg has established a firm tradition of playing Mahler in Amsterdam. During the 1960s the orchestra and Bernard Haitink started recording a Mahler discography that still remains one of the cornerstones of any Mahlerian's collection. Ricccardo Chailly's tenure as chief conductor yielded another brilliant Mahler cycle and now Mariss Jansons is steadily building his tribute to the composer.

Recorded during the same Mahler cycle as the recently released Symphonies Nos. 2 and 3 – part of the full Mahler cycle that the orchestra performed in the 2009-2011 seasons to celebrate the composer's 150th birthday and 100th anniversary of his death - Mariss Jansons's interpretation of the Eight Symphony is one more jewel in the crown of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra; with a star-studded cast and excellent choral forces, this 'Symphony of a Thousand' left a lasting impression on the audience.

“It immediately takes the lead among interpretations of this phenomenal work...a reading of the score that is both thrilling and telling in its emotional finesse and sincerity...With the Royal Concertgebouw on supreme form, Jansons unequivocally delivers a performance of cosmic impact.” The Telegraph, 11th July 2013

“The performance has absolutely no weak links. The choral singing, so crucial in this work, is highly disciplined and excellent...The playing of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra is superb throughout...the performance is superbly controlled and though Jansons gives the music its head he keeps a very firm grip on things and also displays tremendous attention to detail” MusicWeb International, 22nd July 2013

“Jansons conveys a thrilling sense of occasion” Financial Times, 3rd August 2013

“Jansons' line up of Wagnerian soloists for this live Concertgebouw Mahler spectacular is possibly the most impressive since Georg Solti's classic 1971 recording...If this still doesn't rise quite to the top of my list of recorded Mahler Eights, it's partly because Jansons doesn't 'do' impetuous from the outset as Mahler asks.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2013 ****

“Jansons keeps the music moving and gives himself something to pull back from in the biggest tuttis...And he has a shining Christine Brewer as his first soprano popping those top Bs and Cs above the stave...up there among the select front-runners.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2013

“Jansons sets off Mahler’s cosmic clockwork with all-encompassing vision and jewelled precision. Contrapuntal textures never flag or become garrulous in density or over-insistence. The few passages where the music draws breath are shrewdly punctuated as moments of re-charge...a compelling course is steered towards a torrential closing passage.” International Record Review, November 2013

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2013

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

RCO Live Mariss Jansons Mahler Symphonies - RCO13003

(SACD)

$16.25

(also available to download from $10.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Bruckner: Symphony No. 7 & Wolf: Lieder

Bruckner: Symphony No. 7 & Wolf: Lieder

Recorded live at Semperoper Dresden, September 2012


Bruckner:

Symphony No. 7 in E Major

Strauss, R:

Befreit, Op. 39 No. 4

Renée Fleming (soprano)

Wolf, H:

Verborgenheit (No. 12 from Mörike-Lieder)

Renée Fleming (soprano)

Er ist's (No. 6 from Mörike-Lieder)

Renée Fleming (soprano)

Elfenlied (No. 16 from Mörike-Lieder)

Renée Fleming (soprano)

Anakreons Grab (No. 29 from Goethe-Lieder)

Renée Fleming (soprano)

Mignon II 'Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt' (No. 6 from Goethe-Lieder)

Renée Fleming (soprano)


The Dresden Staatskapelle has a living Bruckner tradition, stretching back a century and more, which is lovingly curated by its new music director, Christian Thielemann, who is himself a powerful advocate for the composer’s symphonies as the pinnacle of the Austro-German tradition; and in particular for the Wagnerian resonances of the Seventh, whose Adagio was shaped by news of Wagner’s death in Venice. Hugo Wolf was also deeply affected by that news; his songs, like Bruckner’s symphonies, can be seen as oblique reflections on the influence of Wagner, especially when sung, as they are here by Renée Fleming, with the utmost delicacy and intimacy.

Christian Thielemann’s first concert as Principal Conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden.

Both Thielemann and Fleming are renowned interpreters of Romantic repertoire.

Bruckner’s 7th Symphony premiered in 1884 to universal acclaim & established him as a serious composer of symphonic music, Wolf’s Songs were composed four years later.

Wolf was a great admirer of Bruckner and both idolized Wagner, whose influence is felt in the 7th Symphony.

Running time: 106 minutes

Subtitles N/A

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

“Thielemann's interpretation of Bruckner's Seventh Symphony is majestic and clean, as expected, though it falls just short of the cumulative power that the audience's warm reception suggests. The camera's close scrutiny underlines how minimal his conducting can be.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2013 ****

GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - September 2013

DVD Video

Region: 0

Opus Arte - OA1115D

(DVD Video)

$29.75

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Handel: Serse

Handel: Serse


Anna Stéphany (Serse), Rosemary Joshua (Romilda), David Daniels (Arsamene), Hilary Summers (Amastre), Joélle Harvey (Atalanta), Andreas Wolf (Elviro), Brindley Sherratt (Ariodate)

Early Opera Company, Christian Curnyn

Handel’s opera Serse is characterised by its ironic libretto, humorous situations, and high number of short arias.

The main character is the unpredictably obsessive and volatile King Xerxes, a historical character who ruled the Achemenid Empire from 486 BC to 465 BC. The plot concerning the rivalry between Xerxes and his brother, Arsamene, for Romilda, however, is entirely fictional, as is the King’s betrayal of his fiancé, Amastre.

The opera is based on a libretto adapted by the poet Silvio Stampiglia for Giovanni Bononcini, whose setting was staged at Rome’s Teatro di Torre Nona in 1694. Handel completed his opera in 1738 in little more than a month. However, his typically swift pace and resourceful treatment of musical themes and models should not be misconstrued as complacency, carelessness, or low imaginative powers. The autograph manuscript reveals that Handel invested considerable skill in arias that are perfectly tailored to the dramatic storyline, many of which were meticulously crafted and then redrafted.

The opera was premiered at The King’s Theatre on the Haymarket on 15 April 1738, but it only received five performances, which at the time ranked it as one of Handel’s worst commercial failures. The opera was not performed again until Oscar Hagen’s arrangement was staged at Göttingen in 1924, after which several productions in the USA and the UK followed. In recent times, the work has finally received the recognition it deserves, partly thanks to the uncut production, mounted at English National Opera to mark the composer’s 300th birthday in 1985.

Serse is here performed by the Early Opera Company under Christian Curnyn, who won a BBC Music Award in 2013 for its recording of Handel’s Alceste. They are joined on this recording by a host of excellent soloists including Rosemary Joshua in the role of Romilda, Anna Stéphany as Xerxes, David Daniels as Arsamene, and Hilary Summers as Amastre.

“[a] flowing, affectionate and beautifully shaped reading...The cast is superb throughout...But it's Anna Stéphany's show: she sweeps all before her as a magnificent Serse. This is one of the most consistently satisfying current Handel opera recordings.” The Observer, 22nd September 2013 *****

“an extremely classy account...Stéphany can compete with the best of today’s mezzos: she combines feeling, dignity, elegance...this really is a baroque vocal feast...Curnyn shows such an easy command of the idiom: there is no aggressive accenting or exaggeration of tempo.” Financial Times, 28th September 2013 *****

“[This] goes to the top of the list of original-language performances on disc...thanks to the conductor’s unerring sense of style...[Stéphany] launches the opera raptly...and is fearless in the two great bravura scenes...[Daniels's] lamenting arias approach the sublime here. A total success.” Sunday Times, 6th October 2013

“Stephany sings superbly...Joshua far eclipses her counterparts on the rival recordings, singing with sweet, sensuous tone and characterising deftly...Summers suggests the pathos as well as the outrage of Serse's wrong fiancee Amastre...this beautifully recorded new version is the one to go for.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2013

“[Stéphany's] is a stunning central performance, comfortably matched by incisive playing from the Early Opera Company orchestra. Sopranos Rosemary Joshua (as Romilda) and Joelle Harvey (Atalanta) melt and sparkle to order, accompanied by fluttering recorders.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2013 ****

“Replacing an indisposed Sarah Connolly at short notice, Anglo-French mezzo Anna Stéphany stamps her own authority and temperament on the title-role on Christian Curnyn's new recording of Serse with the Early Opera Company, starring David Daniels as Arsamene and Rosemary Joshua as Romilda.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, August 2014

“Stéphany does a good job with the unstable Xerxes, snapping between sentimentality and psychopathy, and sings the part forcefully and with character...Curnyn conducts with spirit, though things flag a bit at the beginning of Act 3.” Opera Now ****

“With its short, tuneful arias and amorous imbroglios, Serse is delectable baroque entertainment, and the Early Opera Company’s polish and vivacity seem a fair exchange for Curnyn’s downplaying of the broader humour on offer.” Early Music Today

GGramophone Awards 2014

Finalist - Baroque Vocal

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2013

Chandos - up to 40% off

Chandos Chaconne - CHAN0797(3)

(CD - 3 discs)

Normally: $29.75

Special: $25.28

(also available to download from $30.00)

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

Schoenberg: Works for piano

Schoenberg: Works for piano


Schoenberg:

Klavierstücke (3), Op. 11

Kleine Klavierstücke (6), Op. 19

Klavierstücke (5), Op. 23

Suite for Piano, Op. 25

Klavierstück, Op. 33a

Klavierstück, Op. 33b


Florent Boffard (piano)

1 CD + BONUS DVD

Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951) wrote five volumes of piano pieces that match the key phases of his musical evolution: tonal, atonal, the tone-row, while maintaining a remarkable stylistic unity that influenced most 20th century composers.

Comes with a bonus DVD, 'Schoenberg, the misunderstood'. Florent Boffard studied with Yvonne Loriod, Geneviève Joy and Germaine Mounier and from 1988 to 1999, was soloist of the Ensemble InterContemporain, where he worked with several of today’s most prominent composers, including Boulez, Donatoni, Ligeti…

His commitment to contemporary music is mirrored in his discography, which includes Boulez’s 'Structures' for two pianos with Pierre-Laurent Aimard (DGG), Berio’s 'Sequenza' for piano (DGG), Bartok’s 2nd Sonata for violin and piano with Isabelle Faust (hm) as well as a CD dedicated to Debussy and Bartok’s 'Etudes pour piano' (also hm).

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2013

Mirare - MIR191

(CD)

$15.25

(Sorry, download not available in your country)

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

Bach, J S: Cello Suites Nos. 1-6, BWV1007-1012

Bach, J S: Cello Suites Nos. 1-6, BWV1007-1012


Colin Carr (cello)

Performing regularly throughout the world as a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist and teacher, British cellist Colin Carr is a frequent guest at the world’s leading concert halls and festivals. He counts Maurice Gendron and William Pleeth amongst his teachers. In May 2012 he retruned to Wigmore Hall to record Bach’s cello suites, true masterworks regarded as the pinnacle of the repertoire for the instrument. Demonstrating his great technical prowess and mastery, Carr searched deep beneath the richly detailed surface of the six suites and explored their inner workings with great style. His meditative performance and profoundly personal communion with the works of Bach are captured within this recording.

"I have played these pieces for decades; there is no music with which I am more familiar. It may sound like a cliché but every time I come back to them they are different. The other day I played them in London for a recording. At the end of the session we decided it would be worth playing the C minor suite through again and the Allemande was 35 seconds faster than the previous time. Nothing had been discussed and I had not listened to the previous one and made an adjustment. It was a spontaneous thing for better or worse; at the moment it felt better. But imagine that, a movement of four to five minutes being 35 seconds faster. I was delighted. If I have the misfortune to have to listen to performances from long ago I don't recognize myself. The challenge always is to prepare everything meticulously and then to be a thoroughly clean vessel through which the music can flow, as it needs to at that moment, not knowing how it will emerge. Always paradox!" Colin Carr

“the aural impression is of Carr playing simply what Bach wrote, free from exaggerated gesture and histrionics...Carr's limited dynamic range is a blessing: no brutally forced tone.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2013 ***

“Carr's phrasing and articulation are so precise yet carefully understated, and of a kind of total-acceptance simplicity, that the music is given space to sing...this performance is a masterclass in restrain and musical altruism” Gramophone Magazine, September 2013

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2013

Wigmore Hall Live - WHLIVE0060/2

(CD - 2 discs)

$16.25

(Sorry, download not available in your country)

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Grieg: Complete Symphonic Works Volume 3

Grieg: Complete Symphonic Works Volume 3


Grieg:

In Autumn, Op. 11

Lyric Suite, Op. 54

Lyric Pieces Op. 54: No. 6 - Bell-Ringing

Old Norwegian Romance with Variations, Op. 51

Sigurd Jorsalfar - three orchestral pieces, Op. 56


The WDR Sinfonieorchester and the Norwegian conductor Eivind Aadland continue their survey of Edvard Grieg’s orchestral works with this selection from the composer’s orchestral repertoire which he liked to conduct himself across Europe. Not all of Grieg’s orchestral works were originally conceived as such. As he became increasingly famous as a composer and conductor, the Norwegian also arranged piano works which later became popular above all in their orchestral versions. Amongst these is the suite from his 'Lyric Pieces', Op. 54, to which belongs another single piece, the almost impressionist study, 'Bell Ringing'. The 'Old Norwegian Melody with Variations', Op. 51, originally a set of variations for two pianos, was also skilfully provided with orchestral colours, at the same time increasing the musical drama. The Concert Overture 'In Autumn', completed by the 22-year-old composer during a stay in Rome, creates an exception: it was apparently conceived from the outset as an orchestral work, but as initially published as a piano piece and orchestrated at a later stage. Amongst all these innovative works, the only 'original' ones are the three pieces from the incidental music to Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson’s Norwegian play 'Sigurd Jorsalfar', of which the "Homage March" remains an obligatory item to the present day at coronations and festivities of the high nobility. Eivind Aadland was chief conductor and artistic director of the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra from 2003 until 2010 and has also worked with many other Scandinavian, European and international orchestras. Aadland initially studied the violin with Yehudi Menuhin. From 1981 until 1989 he was concert master of the Bergen Philharmonic and from 1987 until 1997 music director of the European Union Chamber Orchestra. He subsequently devoted himself fully to his conducting career and studied with Jorma Panula.

“None of these is a major work, it's fair to say, but all have the kind of easy fluency and melodic freshness that characterise so much of Grieg's finest music, and the WDR orchestra's performances under Eivind Aadland have exactly the light touch they need.” The Guardian, 1st August 2013 ***

“Aadland has the advantage of truly first-class orchestral playing: the Cologne WDR Sinfonieorchester is a fine orchestra indeed, and its account of the Lyric Suite is notable for its excellence and the apt tempo Aadland adopts” International Record Review, September 2013

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2013

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

Audite Grieg Complete Symphonic Works - AUDITE92669

(SACD)

$16.00

(also available to download from $10.00)

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

Hindemith: Violin Concerto and Sonatas

Hindemith: Violin Concerto and Sonatas


Hindemith:

Violin Concerto

Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Paavo Järvi

Sonata for Solo Violin, Op. 31 No. 2 'Es ist so schönes Wetter draussen...'

Sonata for Violin & Piano in E flat major, Op. 11 No. 1

with Enrico Pace (piano)

Sonata for Violin & Piano in E major

with Enrico Pace (piano)

Sonata for Violin & Piano in C major

with Enrico Pace (piano)


Frank Peter Zimmermann, who in 2010 was awarded the international Paul Hindemith Prize of the City of Hanau, makes a great case for these works. His Trio recently won the 2013 BBC Music Magazine Award for their Chamber recording of Beethoven’s Trio Op. 9.

In the concerto Zimmermann teams up with Paavo Järvi, another recipient of the Paul Hindemith Prize and principal conductor of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra.

“Such a fine production can only be greeted in the warmest possible terms. If your idea of Hindemith is one of him as a rather dry 20th century Germanic caste give this disc a try - a juicier programme of violin music would be harder to find this side of WWI.” MusicWeb International, 8th October 2013

“this rewarding new release is a reminder of [Hindemith's] continued close affinity with the [viola]...Virtuosity is not so much the music's aim as expressivity, yet Zimmermann plays with brilliance throughout.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2013 *****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2013

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

BIS - BIS2024

(SACD)

$15.25

(also available to download from $10.00)

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

Wagner: Lohengrin

Wagner: Lohengrin

Vienna State Opera, 16/5/1965


Martti Talvela (King Henry), Jess Thomas (Lohengrin), Claire Watson (Elsa), Walter Berry (Telramund), Christa Ludwig (Ortrud), Eberhard Waechter (Herald), Kurt Equiluz, Fritz Sperlbauer, Herbert Lackner & Ljubomir Pantscheff

Chorus & Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera, Karl Böhm

For a performance of 'Lohengrin' to be completely successful, it depends largely on the evil couple who stand opposed to the Swan Knight and the girl he protects, Elsa. The 1965 production at the Vienna State Opera was acclaimed for its musical aspects, and on its opening night Christa Ludwig as Ortrud made evident why Wagner himself described this character as “terribly magnificent”. Christa Ludwig celebrates her 85th birthday on 16 March 2013, and with her interpretation of roles such as this she secured for herself a place in the annals of the Vienna State Opera. Her curse ('Entweihte Götter!') was accorded spontaneous ovations by the audience and the subtlety that she brings to this role, straddling as it does the range of a dramatic soprano and a dramatic mezzo, makes this sorceress the undisputed manipulator of the action. All this can be heard clearly, on this live recording. With the dramatic baritone Walter Berry as Telramund, she had a partner on that evening whose vocal power was hitherto largely unsuspected, yet who offered no less vocal sophistication. Overall, the performance on that evening was stormier and more agitated than many a more 'ethereal', enraptured version such as one often hears. It was driven by Karl Böhm at the helm of the orchestra of the Vienna State Opera, and with a State Opera Chorus that had been excellently prepared by Wilhelm Pitz. Eberhard Waechter as the Herold and Martti Talvela as King Heinrich were powerfully resplendent, while Claire Watson as Elsa and Jess Thomas as the title hero formed the 'good' couple, rounding off this superb cast with their bright tone colours. Her voice, schooled in Mozart, was slender and clear in focus, while his virile tenor, clear in accentuation and in diction, offered a model of the Wagner style of the 1960s that also dominated in Bayreuth: as was preferred by the director, Wieland Wagner. This 'Lohengrin' offered a modern reading in the best sense of the word, allowing the characters their mythical grandeur while at the same time letting them approach the contemporary audience as men and women of flesh and blood.

“Claire Watson excels her studio performances, singing Elsa with floods of pure tone that rarely falters...[Ludwig's] 'Entweihte Götter!' literally stops the show...Waechter makes a keen Herald, and the chorus is on good form...manna for Böhm admirers.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2013 ****

“It must be said straight away that there are cuts aplenty..., that the radio sound is not great to begin with and that interventionist remastering has not helped. If you are allergic to all that and to generous portions of stage noise...look elsewhere. If you aren't this might be the most thrilling performance of the opera yet put on disc.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2013

“Ludwig and Berry are a formidable team and they do much to convince me that this is unmissable… The whole of this Vienna performance has a unity of purpose and concentration that makes it special- no surprise given Bohm’s gifts as a Wagner conductor. His direction is intensely dramatic and never lingers, but nor does he hustle the music which is very well played. The whole experience is spellbinding.” International Record Review, December 2013

“The most interesting contrast, and the factor which impels this release, is the conducting of Karl Böhm...he prefers fast tempi, and this drives the drama along at an exciting pace...Thomas is on top notch form here and he sounds sensational in his farewell to the swan in the first act...Watson is also on her very finest form as Elsa..The dramatic temperature of the whole set rises when [Ludwig] enters” MusicWeb International, 9th July 2013

“This is real edge-of-your-seat stuff...The vocal honours go to Walter Berry and Christa Ludwig, formidable, genuinely sinister – and in Ludwig's case literally show-stopping – as Telramund and Ortrud. Jess Thomas is the glamorous-sounding hero...The mono sound is clean and clear.” The Guardian, 8th August 2013 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Re-issue of the Month - September 2013

Orfeo - Wiener Staatsoper live - C862133D

(CD - 3 discs)

$33.75

(also available to download from $30.00)

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

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