Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

October 2013

Disc of the Month

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Brahms: The Symphonies

Awards:

Gramophone Awards 2014

Record of the Year

Gramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - October 2013

Label:

Decca

Catalogue No:

4787471

Discs:

3

Release date:

9th June 2014

Barcode:

0028947874713

Length:

3 hours 53 minutes

Medium:

CD (download also available)

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Brahms: The Symphonies

Jewel-case version


Brahms:

Symphonies Nos. 1-4 (Complete)

Tragic Overture, Op. 81

Intermezzo in E major, Op. 116 No. 4

Intermezzo in E flat major, Op. 117 No. 1

Variations on a theme by Haydn for orchestra, Op. 56a 'St Anthony Variations'

Liebeslieder-Walzer, Op. 52: excerpts

Nagen am Herzen fühl ich Gift in mir, Op. 65, No. 9

Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80

Hungarian Dance No. 1 in G minor

Hungarian Dance No. 3 in F major

Hungarian Dance No. 10 in F major

Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68 - Andante


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Following the 2011 landmark Beethoven cycle, Riccardo Chailly returns with a recording of the complete Brahms symphonies and orchestral works including the overtures and Haydn Variations.

Rarities include world premiere recordings of two piano intermezzi orchestrated by Paul Klengel (brother of the Gewandhaus’ long-standing principal cellist Julius Klengel); the 9 Liebeslieder waltzes; the original first performance version of the Andante of Symphony No. 1 and the even rarer revised opening of the Fourth Symphony.

Chailly has radically rethought his approach to these works, re-examining the scores and returning to the recorded interpretations of a generation of conductors alive during Brahms’ lifetime, principally Felix Weingartner and one of his Gewandhaus predecessors Bruno Walter.

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

Johannes Brahms: Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68

1. Un poco sostenuto - Allegro - Meno allegro

2. Andante sostenuto

3. Un poco allegretto e grazioso

4. Adagio - Piu andante - Allegro non troppo, ma con brio - Piu allegro

Johannes Brahms: Symphony No. 3 in F, Op. 90

1. Allegro con brio - Un poco sostenuto - Tempo I

2. Andante

3. Poco allegretto

4. Allegro

Johannes Brahms: Symphony No. 2 in D, Op. 73

1. Allegro non troppo

2. Adagio non troppo - L'istesso tempo, ma grazioso

3. Allegretto grazioso ( Quasi andantino) - Presto ma non assai

4. Allegro con spirito

Johannes Brahms: Symphony No. 4 In E Minor, Op. 98

1. Allegro non troppo

2. Andante moderato

3. Allegro giocoso - Poco meno presto - Tempo I

4. Allegro energico e passionato - Più allegro

1. Alternative opening

Johannes Brahms: Tragic Overture, Op. 81

Tragic Overture, Op. 81

Johannes Brahms: Fantasias (7 Piano Pieces), Op. 116 - Arr. Paul Klengel

No.4 - Intermezzo in E major

Johannes Brahms: Intermezzi, Op. 117 - Arr. Paul Klengel

No.1 - Intermezzo in E flat major

Johannes Brahms: Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Op. 56a

Theme: "Chorale St. Antoni"

Variation I: Poco più animato

Variation II: Più vivace

Variation III: Con moto

Variation IV: Andante con moto

Variation V: Vivace

Variation VI: Vivace

Variation VII: Grazioso

Variation VIII: Presto non troppo

Finale: Andante

Johannes Brahms: Liebeslieder-Walzer, Op. 52 - Orchestral Version

No.1

No.2

No.4

No.6

No.5

Johannes Brahms: Neue Liebeslieder Waltzer, Op. 65 - Orchestral Version

No.9

Johannes Brahms: Liebeslieder-Walzer, Op. 52 - Orchestral Version

No.11

No.8

No.9

Johannes Brahms: Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68 - Original First Performance Version

1. Andante

Johannes Brahms: Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80

Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80

Johannes Brahms: Hungarian Dance No. 1 in C Minor

Hungarian Dance No.1 In C Minor

Johannes Brahms: Hungarian Dance No. 3 in F

Hungarian Dance No.3 In F

Johannes Brahms: Hungarian Dance No. 10 in F

Hungarian Dance No.10 In F

Financial Times

26th October 2013

*****

“There’s not a whiff of Germanic stodginess, but nor do you feel the music is being unnaturally pushed. Chailly’s tempi, faster than 20th century tradition and always consistent within themselves, bring out the “classical” in Brahms, and the Leipzigers’ performances – wonderfully lithe as well as meltingly lyrical – are a tonic.”

BBC Music Magazine

December 2013

*****

“dynamic and dramatic readings, faithful to Brahms's intentions. Powerfully conceived, they are rhythmically alert, without an ounce of undue sentiment and never for an instant losing sight of the scores' rock-solid architecture. The Gewandhaus players reward him with magnificent playing, alert and sumptuously rich in sound.”

Sunday Times

17th November 2013

“Chailly achieves a refreshing clarity and vividness...Sometimes, I feel, clarity is achieved at the cost of lightening the bass too much. All in all, though, these are richly stimulating performances.”

Presto Classical

14th October 2013

“the overriding impression I got from these performances was of Chailly wanting to blow away the cobwebs, to set aside tradition and to come up with something that sounded different.”

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Editor's Choice

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Anna Netrebko sings Verdi (standard CD edition)

Anna Netrebko sings Verdi (standard CD edition)


Verdi:

Nel dì della vittoria … Ambizioso spirto … Vieni t'affretta! … Or tutti sorgete (from Macbeth)

Una macchia è qui tutt'ora (from Macbeth)

Qui! Qui dove più s'apre libero il cielo (from Giovanna d'Arco)

O fatidica foresta (from Giovanna d'Arco)

Arrigo! ah, parli a un core (from I Vespri Siciliani)

Mercè, dilette amiche 'Bolero' (from I Vespri Siciliani)

Tu che le vanità (from Don Carlo)

Siam giunti ... D'amor sull'ali rosee ... Miserere d'un' alma gia vicina (from Il Trovatore)

Tu vedrai che amore (from Il Trovatore)


1CD

Already one of the most anticipated classical albums of 2013, this sumptuous, all-Verdi programme is Anna’s heartfelt birthday tribute to the master of Italian grand opera, with selections from Il Trovatore, Macbeth, I vespri siciliani, Don Carlo and Giovanna d’Arco. Music of emotion, power and extraordinary drama – personally selected and performed by the best-selling soprano of the 21st century. 2013 marks Anna’s ten years as a solo performer, and ten years with Deutsche Grammophon. It’s Netrebko’s first solo album in over five years, from the best-selling soprano of the 21st century.

Crowned “the Violetta of our age” (Financial Times), Netrebko is the undisputed superstar – “la prima donna assoluta” (New York Post) – of opera today.

Netrebko lays claim to the tragic repertoire of Italian grand opera: “Already celebrated for her glamorous face and voice, the fiery Russian-born diva has developed into a great tragic performer.” (New York Post)

A decade on from the award-winning Opera Arias, Anna reunites with specialist Verdi conductor Gianandrea Noseda to continue this extraordinary musical journey.

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

“her soprano now offers darker colours and greater weight than it ever did before...she makes every heroine leap before us, fully alive, each widely different from the other...Along the way we also get some of Netrebko’s slippery flights of coloratura, but you can’t have everything in life.” The Times, 16th August 2013 ****

“The big surprises here are the three Lady Macbeth solos...The singing is big and bold, occasionally smudgy when agility is required, but the new vocally expansive Netrebko, idiomatically supported by Noseda’s Turin forces, will undoubtedly excite her fans.” Sunday Times, 8th September 2013

“Her voice has grown in opulence of late, and you also notice greater concentration and subtlety in her declamation...her Lady Macbeth, turned on by power but falling apart under the weight of it, is chilling. Yet greater dramatic incisiveness has come at the price of agility” The Guardian, 19th September 2013 ****

“this is a very serious record by a serious singer in tip-top vocal shape...Netrebko's habitual risk-taking has not deserted her here - this set never feels like a careful assemblage of 'best' takes - and yet there's a vocal security and maturity that's not always been there before...A certain record of the year.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2013

“In many ways, Netrebko justifies her decision to tackle Verdi. She provides singing of sufficient amplitude and power to encompass the needs of Elisabeth de Valois...[and] is at her most expressive and skilled as Leonora, her tone firm and fleshy, her lines nicely shaped and her genuine trill coming in useful.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2013 ****

“her voice isn’t a powerhouse, steely dramatic soprano, but it’s certainly far bigger, darker and heavier than ever before: it’s blossomed into a nigh-perfect ‘spinto’ instrument, opulent and full-bodied rather than metallic, but with plenty of bite when needed...It isn’t flawless...But with such a magnificent sound and such dramatic commitment it barely matters.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 12th August 2013

Presto Disc of the Week

12th August 2013

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2013

DG - 4791052

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Dvorak: Cello Concertos

Dvorak: Cello Concertos


Dvorak:

Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104

with original ending

Four Songs, Op. 82: No. 1, ‘Leave Me Alone’

arranged for orchestra by B Leopold

Cello Concerto in A major, B10

revised and orchestrated by Günter Raphael


Hyperion is delighted to present the world’s best-loved cello concerto performed by one of the world’s best-loved cellists: national treasure Steven Isserlis. Isserlis has waited 40 years to record this pinnacle of the repertoire, and here with his regular collaborators, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Daniel Harding, this long gestation has proved to be overwhelmingly fruitful. Isserlis writes of the concerto that ‘the power of its emotional journey, expressed with Dvorák’s characteristically folk-like simplicity and directness, offers an irresistible mix of the epic and the touchingly confessional’. The combination of emotional power and simplicity is also a feature of Isserlis’s playing, and part of what makes him such a consummate performer of this work.

This album puts Dvorák’s B minor cello concerto in context, including not only the original ending, but an orchestral version of the song Lasst mich allein which is quoted in the concerto’s second and third movements.

Isserlis has also recorded a version of Dvorák’s first cello concerto, a little-known work from the composer’s early period which he never orchestrated. This version (in what is almost definitely its premiere recording) is by German composer Günter Raphael, whose works were performed by Furtwängler among others, and is extensively rewritten from the composer’s original. To turn to Isserlis’s own words again: ‘Of course, it is not a masterpiece on the level of the later B minor concerto; but is it fair to lock up an older child just because their younger sibling is a genius? I love the A major concerto for the beauty of its melodies, for the freshness of its inspiration, for its typically rustic spirit—and for the sense of sheer joy that bubbles through the entire work.’

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

“his performance recalls the reckless abandon of the youthful Jacqueline du Pré in the work’s most extrovert passages, albeit tempered with the wisdom of experience and musical maturity...abetted by magically fresh music-making from Harding’s MCO.” Sunday Times, 29th September 2013

“The death of [Dvorak's] sister-in-law prompted the rewriting of the last movement of the later concerto, played, as is the whole, with a passion that is thrillingly balletic.” The Independent, 29th September 2013 *****

“Isserlis is on spellbindingly eloquent form in an entrancingly poetic and urgently communicative reading that really does sound like it's being captured on the wing...Harding and the Mahler CO are with him every step of the way; theirs is a real, breathing collaboration...Don't miss this special release.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2013

“this performance is remarkably fine and the interaction between soloist and orchestra generates one of the most exciting ensemble performances of recent years. Steven Isserlis is inside the piece from the start...this is a performance to treasure for its beauty and commitment.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2013 *****

“How wonderful to hear a familiar work sounding so fresh and potent. Steven Isserlis's Dvořák anthology is revelatory, in so many ways. There's the sumptious orchestral playing from Daniel Harding's Mahler Chamber Orchestra...Isserlis is terrific – blending security with spontaneity, his quiet playing so eloquent.” The Arts Desk, 9th November 2013

“The overriding impressions I gained in listening to the concerto, right from the outset, were of a confident and majestic treatment of the music, from both orchestra and soloist...This may be a disc built around performances by Steven Isserlis, but I must confess that for me the most delightful track is the orchestrated version of Dvořák’s own Lied, “Lasst mich allein”.” David Smith, Presto Classical, 30th September 2013

Presto Disc of the Week

30th September 2013

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2013

BBC Music Magazine

Orchestral Choice - November 2013

Hyperion & Helios - up to 50% off

Hyperion - CDA67917

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Amore e morte dell’amore

Amore e morte dell’amore

Duets by Monteverdi, Marcello, Handel, Scarlatti, Lotti, Durante


Durante, F:

Son io barbara donna

Handel:

Tanti strali al sen mi scocchi, HWV 197

Sono liete, fortunate, HWV 194

Lotti:

Giuramento amoroso

Marcello, B:

Se morto mi brami

Monteverdi:

Interrotte speranze

Mentre vaga Angioletta

Pur ti miro (I gaze upon you) from L'Incoronazione di Poppea

Ohimè, dov'è il mio ben (Book 7)

Vorrei baciarti

Scarlatti, D:

Keyboard Sonata K90 in D minor


Roberta Invernizzi (soprano), Sonia Prina (contralto) & Luca Pianca (lute, conductor)

This recording gathers together vocal gems from the Italian baroque and some of the most renowned artists in this repertoire: Il Giardino Armonico’s co-founder Luca Pianca, soprano Roberta Invernizzi and contralto Sonia Prina.

This intense and heart-stretching programme on love and sadness gathers a series of amazing duets by Monteverdi, Handel (when living in Italy), Marcello, Scarlatti, Lotti…

“Invernizzi and Prina are so accomplished in this repertoire” The Guardian, 1st August 2013 ***

“The best known is Pur ti miro...now ascribed to one of the great man’s assistants, but the authentic Interotte speranze, Mentre vaga angioletta and Vorrei baciarti benefit from the individuality and the sensual blend of these singers.” Sunday Times, 4th August 2013

“Sonia Prina and soprano Roberta Invernizzi, both stars of the current baroque scene, are beautifully exact partners, their clashing dissonances as perfectly tuned as their harmonious counterpoint.” The Observer, 18th August 2013

“An imaginative, engaging programme that goes from Monteverdi at his most austere to Handel at his Italian brightest...Invernizzi and Prina revel in the range and colour of the works in hand, and are rewarded with benchmark recorded sound and presentation.” Classical Music, September 2013

“Throughout the disc the continuo battery of Ensemble Claudiana provides colourful support...But the disc belongs to Invernizzi and Prina, who aptly cap a feast of glorious Handelian virtuosity.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2013

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2013

Naive - OP30549

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Schumann: Violin Concertos & Phantasie

Schumann: Violin Concertos & Phantasie


Schumann:

Violin Concerto in D minor, WoO 23

Fantasie in C major for Violin and Orchestra, Op.131

Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 129 (arranged from the Cello Concerto)


These works were written in the last three years of Schumann's life, and it was a stroke of ill luck that the Violin Concerto in D Minor was completed in 1854 just as Schumann succumbed to mental illness. Baiba Skride now offers her performer’s perspective on Schumann’s violin oeuvre by recording not just the Violin Concerto but also the 'Phantasie' Op. 131 and the Concerto in A Minor Op. 129. The last of these is an arrangement for violin of Schumann’s Cello Concerto that the composer himself made for Joachim. During Schumann’s own lifetime it was the 'Phantasie' that had most recognition with its rhythmic vigour and highly virtuosic cadenza. Baiba Skride’s rapport here with the conductor John Storgårds (a former violinist) and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, one of the great European orchestras in Romantic repertoire, offers an ideal combination that is ideal for Schumann.

“[the Concerto] has a slow movement of otherworldly beauty… Baiba Skride negotiates it admirably… her silky pianissimo playing in the Violin Concerto is a decided asset. It’s a valuable and enterprising disc.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas Issue 2013

“From the opening tutti of the D minor concertos, Skride and Storgards unite to give a powerful, richly romantic view of Schumann’s works for violin and orchestra. Skride plays with impressive depth of tone and beauty of sound” Classical Music, September 2013

“The more elegiac framework of the slow movement was upholstered with the sonorities of muted strings, their phrasing tapered to perfection” Evening Standard, 4th September 2013

“Skride is their ideal exponent...The beauty of this disc is that Skride, Storgards and the excellent Danish orchestra make the music sound utterly new, so that even if you own one or more of the [other recordings] you still stand to learn a great deal from listening to it.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2013

“her recording comes closer than any other to bringing the work alive...she seizes on every opportunity to give the music real buoyancy and purpose, and finds profundity and fragile beauty in the slow movement.” The Guardian, 22nd August 2013 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2013

Orfeo - C854131A

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Schubert: Death And The Maiden & String Quintet In C Major

Schubert: Death And The Maiden & String Quintet In C Major


Schubert:

String Quintet in C major, D956

with Danjulo Ishizaka (cello)

String Quartet No. 14 in D minor, D810 'Death and the Maiden'


The highly anticipated new recording from the Gramophone Recording of the Year winners in 2011.

Two years on from their award winning Dvorak album, the Pavel Haas Quartet turn their attention to Schubert’s two late masterpiece.

The String Quartet in D minor has a sort of dark cipher encoded within. The title “Death and the Maiden” reflects the quotation from Schubert’s eponymous song in the second movement. The theme of death is also underlined by other quotations and the choice of the key of D minor, which according to the period definition is characterised by “heavy-hearted womanliness, spleen and foreboding”.

Schubert completed his String Quintet in C major for an uncommon formation with two cellos a mere two months before his death. Its instrumentation occasionally gives an almost orchestral impression, with the cello playing a significant role as the bearer of melody.

The Pavel Haas Quartet invited along a distinguished friend to the recording sessions, the exceptional German-Japanese cellist Danjulo Ishizaka, whose qualities were concisely described by Mstislav Rostropovich: “Phenomenal in his technical ability, perfect in his musical creative power”.

“Throughout, their understanding of the musical argument is exemplary...at every stage the performers respond with both passion and a clear feeling for musical line...In truth, there are so many details that delight the ear it would be almost impossible to list the all” BBC Music Magazine

“This album is scalding to the touch. [the Haas's accounts] are irresistible not only for immaculate surfaces, but for effortless engagement of that grief-stricken quality beneath Schubert’s shows of gaiety and even his most serene assurances.” Sunday Times, 15th September 2013

“If CDs had grooves I would already have worn out these marvellous recordings...The young Czechs have the perfect fusion of virtuosity and profundity.” The Times, 21st September 2013 *****

“The Pavel Haas Quartet, with the superb extra cellist Danjulo Ishizaka, even succeed where most other ensembles fail, making the last movement of the String Quintet into something that seems a fitting conclusion to a work whose first three movements are unquestionably supreme...essential listening for anyone who loves Schubert.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas Issue 2013 *****

“The perfect fusion of virtuosity and profundity from the young Czechs of the Pavel Haas Quartet in Schubert. Death and the Maiden is given the more melodramatic reading, but the subtly nuanced performance of the Quintet in C is sublime.” The Times, 14th December 2013

“For me, the performance here ticks all the right boxes. From the opening chords, you feel that these young players are taking you on a journey. Having a clear vision and understanding of the structure of the music, they explore its full emotional range. Warmth and expressive phrasing are a distinguishing hallmark...These young players are a force to be reckoned with” MusicWeb International, December 2013

“we’re treated here to performances of not only great refinement and polish, but also real emotional depth...A combination of subtle elasticity of tempo whilst never slowing too much gives this performance [of Death and the Maiden] great structural coherency from beginning to end.” Chris O'Reilly, Presto Classical, 23rd December 2013

GGramophone Awards 2014

Winner - Chamber

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2013

Supraphon - up to 30% off

Supraphon - SU41102

(CD - 2 discs)

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From the New World

From the New World


Adams, J:

Slonimsky's Earbox

Dvorak:

Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95 'From the New World'

Ives, C:

The Unanswered Question

Stravinsky:

Le Chant du Rossignol


Symphonie Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Andris Nelsons

C Major presents From the New World: a concert featuring Dvořák’s iconic Symphony No. 9 alongside works by Ives, Adams and Stravinsky.

The concert is performed by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra under Andris Nelsons.

Andris Nelsons, Music Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra is one world’s the most interesting up-coming conductors. He has appeared at Covent Garden, the Met, Bayreuth and the Wiener Staatsoper. He has also performed with the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Wiener Philharmoniker.

PICTURE: 16:9, HD

BD: DTS-HD MA 5.1, PCM STEREO

RUNNING TIME: 95 MINUTES

AVAILABLE WORLDWIDE

“[Nelsons'] conducting of the world class Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks is exemplary, scrupulously prepared, colourful, committed and compelling.” MusicWeb International, 24th September 2013

“The highlight of this enjoyable, beautifully filmed concert is the Largo from Dvorak's New World Symphony, one of the gentlest and most tenderly phrased accounts I've ever heard...Camerawork is lively and informative, but then Nelsons himself is a real boon, perhaps the most visually likeable conductor since Carlos Kleiber.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2013

“a terrific memento of a marvellous concert...The performance of the New World...is out of the top drawer, with the same outstanding qualities as their audio recording....Nelsons makes the Symphony sound fresh and vibrant, finding a genuinely new and effective perspective...the playing [in Song of the Nightingale] is superb and Nelsons manages to surprise and delight” BBC Music Magazine, November 2013 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Blu-ray of the Month - October 2013

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

C Major - 713504

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$35.75

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From the New World

From the New World


Adams, J:

Slonimsky's Earbox

Dvorak:

Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95 'From the New World'

Ives, C:

The Unanswered Question

Stravinsky:

Le Chant du Rossignol


Symphonie Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Andris Nelsons

C Major presents From the New World: a concert featuring Dvořák’s iconic Symphony No. 9 alongside works by Ives, Adams and Stravinsky.

The concert is performed by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra under Andris Nelsons.

Andris Nelsons, Music Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra is one world’s the most interesting up-coming conductors. He has appeared at Covent Garden, the Met, Bayreuth and the Wiener Staatsoper. He has also performed with the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Wiener Philharmoniker.

PICTURE: 16:9, HD

SOUND: DVD: DTS 5.1, PCM STEREO

RUNNING TIME: 95 MINUTES

AVAILABLE WORLDWIDE

“[Nelsons'] conducting of the world class Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks is exemplary, scrupulously prepared, colourful, committed and compelling.” MusicWeb International, 24th September 2013

“The highlight of this enjoyable, beautifully filmed concert is the Largo from Dvorak's New World Symphony, one of the gentlest and most tenderly phrased accounts I've ever heard...Camerawork is lively and informative, but then Nelsons himself is a real boon, perhaps the most visually likeable conductor since Carlos Kleiber.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2013

“a terrific memento of a marvellous concert...The performance of the New World...is out of the top drawer, with the same outstanding qualities as their audio recording....Nelsons makes the Symphony sound fresh and vibrant, finding a genuinely new and effective perspective...the playing [in Song of the Nightingale] is superb and Nelsons manages to surprise and delight” BBC Music Magazine, December 2013 ****

GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - October 2013

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

C Major - 713408

(DVD Video)

$27.25

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Marenzio: Primo Libro di Madrigali 1580

Marenzio: Primo Libro di Madrigali 1580


Liquide perle Amor

Ohimè, dov’è il mio ben

Spuntavan già

Quando i vostri begl’occhi

Tirsi morir volea

Dolorosi martir

Che fa oggi il mio sole

Lasso ch’io ardo

Venuta era Madonna

Madonna mia gentil

Cantava la più vaga pastorella

Questa di verd’erbette

Partirò dunque

O tu che fra le selve

from Dolci affetti (1582): In quel ben nato, Sestina “Mentre ti fui sì grato” (Marenzio, Nanino, Moscaglia, de Macque, Soriano, Zoilo)

from Primo fiore della ghirlanda musicale (1577): Donna bella e crudel


La Compagnia del Madrigale: Rossana Bertini, Francesca Cassinari (sopranos), Elena Carzaniga (alto), Giuseppe Maletto, Raffaele Giordani (tenors), Daniele Carnovich (bass) with: Paolo Borgonovo (tenor), Marco Ricagno (bass)

Further evidence of rich and pictorial artistry in the interpretation of Italian madrigals comes from La Compagnia del Madrigale as they now bring all their experience to bear on the early five-part works of Luca Marenzio. The ensemble’s new Glossa recording is set to reflect la dolce vita in Rome in the 1580s and 1590s, and both music and text in Marenzio’s 'Primo Libro di Madrigali a cinque voci' powerfully evoke this age of gold in the arts and sciences, with sumptuous patronage from cardinals and princes.

Marenzio’s 'Primo Libro' (a huge success when published) adds another jewel to Glossa’s madrigalian crown: as well as the Gesualdo Book Six from the same group, there is much Monteverdi, of course, and the Marenzio Books 6 and 9 and Gesualdo Books 4 and 5, all recorded by La Venexiana (which shares many of the same singers as La Compagnia). In addition to the madrigals from the 'Primo Libro' the new recording contains the rarely-performed 'Sestina Mentre ti fui sì grato', co-written by six members of the Renaissance collective known as the ‘Musici di Roma’ (Nanino, Moscaglia, de Macque, Soriano, Zoilo and Marenzio himself).

Once again, the recording benefits from an entertaining essay courtesy of Marco Bizzarini, which vividly sets the scene for the musical life of Luca Marenzio in the Eternal City.

Recorded in Roletto, Italy, in September 2010 and February 2011.

“Time and again as I listened, my jaw dropped at both the quality of Marenzio's cleverly varied five-voice music and the astonishing sonorities of La Compagnia del Madrigale's beguiling performances.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2013

“La Compagnia del Madrigale has done him proud with sublime, gorgeously toned and exquisitely expressive interpretations, moreover, the clarity and depth of the recording itself draws the listener right into the beating and sometimes bleeding, heart of each miniature treasure.” Choir & Organ, November/December 2013

“La Campagnia del Madrigale, recently formed, are superb. They are passionate, beautifully balanced with perfect intonation and clear diction. Their clear understanding of the text is coupled with evident knowledge of where it is going...This is a fascinating and engrossing disc. The extensive booklet notes by Marco Bizzarini are engaging and detailed.” MusicWeb International, 11th November 2013

GGramophone Awards 2014

Winner - Early Music

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2013

Glossa - GCD922802

(CD)

$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.)

Chopin: Études

Chopin: Études


Chopin:

Études (12), Op. 10

Études (12), Op. 25


Jan Lisiecki (piano)

The incredible Jan Lisiecki performs both cycles of Chopin’s virtuosic Études. This is the second Deutsche Grammophon release from the young Canadian pianist, and his first-ever studio recital album

Chopin’s Études are among the most challenging and evocative pieces of all the works in the piano repertoire. Jan Lisiecki has just finished recording the Études in the famous Koerner Hall of the Music Conservatory in Toronto. The Royal Conservatory has been involved in the training of many notable artists such as the pianists Glenn Gould and Oscar Peterson

“When, if ever, have you heard the Chopin Etudes played as pure music, given as naturally as breathing yet recreated from an entirely novel perspective? From Jan Lisiecki, Chopin's poetic essence, hidden beneath every thorny, relentlessly focused problem, emerges with an inimitable subtlety and elegance.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2013

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2013

DG - 4791039

(CD)

$14.00

(also available to download from $10.00)

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

Boris Giltburg: Romantic Sonatas

Boris Giltburg: Romantic Sonatas


Grieg:

Piano Sonata in E minor, Op. 7

Liszt:

Piano Sonata in B minor, S178

Rachmaninov:

Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 36


Pianist Boris Giltburg – winner of the 2013 Queen Elisabeth Competition – releases his second recording on Orchid Classics, following his acclaimed Prokofiev War Sonatas release of 2012 – ORC100023.

ORC100023 received huge critical acclaim, including a Gramophone ‘Editor’s Choice’, and a 5-star review in the Daily Telegraph.

“there is no denying the exceptional impact his playing makes. His virtuosity is beyond question, but it is what he does with it that makes such a difference. There is emotional power here, together with apt tonal weight, but there is also a sensitive inwardness” The Telegraph, 4th October 2013 *****

“Giltburg's fingerwork and the even strength of his octaves are things to marvel at but what makes the playing so special is the seriousness of the approach...you may well wonder when you last heard a performance as dignified or subtly poetic. Finely recorded, this is a record for everyone's delectation.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2013

“The passages of melancholy introspection bathe in a gentle air, and the climaxes...never disappoint, though Giltburg's is not an obvious bravura...There's no denying the fullness and resonant bass register of Giltburg's pianism as recorded in Andrew Keener's splendid production. Virtuosity never swamps clarity of argument” BBC Music Magazine, November 2013 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2013

Orchid Classics - ORC100035

(CD)

$16.00

(also available to download from $10.00)

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

Prokofiev: Complete Works for Violin

Prokofiev: Complete Works for Violin


Prokofiev:

Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major, Op. 19

BBC Philharmonic, Gianandrea Noseda

Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 63

BBC Philharmonic, Gianandrea Noseda

Sonata for Two Violins in C Major, Op. 56

with Amy Schwartz Moretti (violin)

Sonata in D major for solo violin, Op. 115

Violin Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 80

with Andrew Armstrong (piano)

Violin Sonata No. 2 in D major, Op. 94a

with Andrew Armstrong (piano)

Five Melodies for Violin and Piano, Op. 35b

with Andrew Armstrong (piano)


James Ehnes (violin)

This two-CD set offers all the works that Prokofiev wrote for the violin as solo instrument. One of the most sought after and acclaimed virtuoso violinists today, James Ehnes is accompanied by the BBC Philharmonic conducted by Gianandrea Noseda and by the pianist Andrew Armstrong, with whom he has previously made a number of highly acclaimed Chandos recordings. The distinguished Amy Schwartz Moretti joins him in the Sonata for Two Violins.

The First Violin Concerto, begun in 1913 and completed in the summer of 1917, did not receive its first performance until 1923. There is much charm and gentle tunefulness in this work, written during a comparatively lyrical period in Prokofiev’s compositional life, though it is not without passages of bravura, especially in the brilliant central scherzo. The Second Concerto was premiered in 1935 and in feeling and atmosphere inhabits the world of the ballet Romeo and Juliet. The beautiful opening Russian theme is highly seductive, though in the first movement there is an undeniable hint of anxiety. The central movement contains many varied and contrasting ideas whilst the finale is notable for the flamboyant use of the bass drum, which adds both piquancy and drama.

The contrasting Violin Sonatas are closely associated with the violinist David Oistrakh, with whom the composer formed a close association. The Second Sonata (composed first) is a transcription of the Flute Sonata of 1943. Simple, expressive beauty is the hallmark of this work, Prokofiev’s mixture of high-spirits and sharp edges, notably in the finale, having made it a popular repertoire piece. Of the more serious First Sonata (1946), David Oistrakh wrote: ‘this was truly great music, and indeed for sheer beauty and depth nothing to equal it had been written for the violin for many a decade.’ The Sonata for Solo Violin (1947) was written with students in mind, the deceptively simple theme imbued with the composer’s characteristic twists and quirkiness. Prokofiev composed the Sonata for Two Violins (1932) for the Parisian chamber music society Triton, and the composer felt that, ‘in spite of the seemingly narrow framework, it seemed possible to make it interesting enough for the public to listen for ten or fifteen minutes without a sense of fatigue’. The Five Melodies are charming transcriptions by Prokofiev of his Five Songs, Op. 35.

“[Noseda's] Russian immersion lends dividends...to Ehnes’s sizzling accounts of the two popular concertos...Just as compelling are the chamber works...Ehnes and his pianist give performances worthy of the giants (Oistrakh and Richter) for whom their parts were conceived.” Sunday Times

“Wow. Everything works here. James Ehnes rarely disappoints, and the playing on this beautifully recorded two-disc set is immaculate. It’s not just the musicality, the remarkable ability to give shape and colour to the thorniest solo writing, but his modesty...Unmissable.” The Arts Desk, 28th September 2013

“In their mix of lyricism and sharp-edged rhythmic and harmonic piquancy, Ehnes and Moretti are absolutely spot on in defining the music’s character. This is playing that truly grabs you by the scruff of the neck and commands attention.” The Telegraph, 4th October 2013

“Ehnes's particular combination of matchless virtuosity, sweet tone, flowing tempi and interpretative restraint suits all this music down to the ground. You sense that we are in for a special performance of the D major Concerto (No. 1) even before the soloist enters, Noseda eliciting a special quality of fairy-tale unreality.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2013

“I have not heard such a beautiful performance of the First Violin Concerto since Itzhak Perlman's 1982 EMI recording, and Ehnes enjoys the advantage of a more natural balance with the orchestra...Ehnes smoothes some of the First Sonata's rough edges...yet its menace and brutality emerge clearly enough...a real winner.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2013 *****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2013

Chandos - up to 40% off

Chandos - CHAN10787(2)

(CD - 2 discs)

Normally: $29.75

Special: $24.39

(also available to download from $20.00)

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

The Definitive Eric Coates

The Definitive Eric Coates

All of his commercially released recordings 1923-1957


Coates, E:

The Merrymakers - A Miniature Overture

London Symphony Orchestra

From Meadow to Mayfair Suite

London Symphony Orchestra

Idyll: Summer Afternoon

Symphony Orchestra

Cinderella Phantasy

London Philharmonic Orchestra

By the Sleepy Lagoon

London Philharmonic Orchestra

The Jester at the Wedding: March 'The Princess Arrives'

Symphony Orchestra

By the Tamarisk

London Philharmonic Orchestra

Saxo-Rhapsody

London Symphony Orchestra

Summer Days Suite

London Symphony Orchestra

Springtime Suite

Light Symphony Orchestra

For Your Delight - Serenade

Light Symphony Orchestra

Footlights – Concert Waltz

Light Symphony Orchestra

Last Love - Romance

Light Symphony Orchestra

The Seven Seas

Light Symphony Orchestra

I Sing to You - Souvenir

Light Symphony Orchestra

Calling All Workers

Symphony Orchestra

Fanfare No. 1

London Symphony Orchestra

Salute the Soldier - March

London Symphony Orchestra

Fanfare No. 2

London Symphony Orchestra

Eighth Army March

London Symphony Orchestra

Four Centuries

National Symphony Orchestra

The Three Elizabeths Suite

National Symphony Orchestra

Concert Valse: Dancing Night (1932)

London Symphony Orchestra

London Calling

London Symphony Orchestra

London Bridge

London Symphony Orchestra

Knightsbridge March from London Suite

abridged version

New Symphony Orchestra

A Song of Loyalty

New Symphony Orchestra

By the Sleepy Lagoon

New Symphony Orchestra

Bird Songs at Eventide

New Symphony Orchestra

Television March

New Symphony Orchestra

Wood Nymphs

New Symphony Orchestra

London Suite

New Symphony Orchestra

London Again Suite

New Symphony Orchestra

Three Men Suite

New Symphony Orchestra

The Jester at the Wedding: Valse, 'Dance of the Orange Blossoms'

New Symphony Orchestra

The Three Bears Phantasy

New Symphony Orchestra

Music Everywhere 'Rediffusion March'

New Symphony Orchestra

Dam Busters March

Concert Orchestra

Sound and Vision: ATV March

Concert Orchestra

High Flight

Eric Coates and his Orchestra

Impressions of a Princess - Intermezzo

Eric Coates and his Orchestra

Wood Nymphs

Eric Coates and his Orchestra

The Seven Seas

Eric Coates and his Orchestra

London Suite

London Philharmonic (members)

London Again Suite

London Philharmonic (members)

The Three Elizabeths Suite

New Symphony Orchestra of London

Four Centuries

New Symphony Orchestra of London

Summer Days Suite

New Queen's Hall Light Orchestra

Wood Nymphs

New Queen's Hall Light Orchestra

With a song in my heart - Symphony Rhapsody after Richard Rodgers

Court Symphony Orchestra

Bird Songs at Eventide

Billy Scott-Coomber

Jack Payne and his Band

Symphonic Rhapsody on "I Pitch My Lonely Caravan"

London Philharmonic Orchestra

I heard you singing

London Philharmonic Orchestra

London Suite

London Philharmonic Orchestra

London Bridge

Symphony Orchestra

The Jester at the Wedding: March 'The Princess Arrives'

London Philharmonic Orchestra

The Jester at the Wedding: Valse, 'Dance of the Orange Blossoms'

Symphony Orchestra

Three Men Suite

London Philharmonic Orchestra

Wood Nymphs

London Philharmonic Orchestra

A Song of Loyalty

Lance Fairfax (baritone)

Symphony Orchestra

From Meadow to Mayfair Suite: A Song by the Way

Symphony Orchestra

London Again Suite

London Philharmonic Orchestra

By the Sleepy Lagoon

abridged

Symphony Orchestra

The Three Bears Phantasy

London Symphony Orchestra

Knightsbridge March from London Suite

London Symphony Orchestra

Television March

London Symphony Orchestra

Valse from The Three Bears (Phantasy)

New Symphony Orchestra

The Merrymakers - A Miniature Overture

New Queen's Hall Light Orchestra

Moresque (Dance Interlude)

New Queen's Hall Light Orchestra

Joyous Youth Suite

The Aeolian Orchestra

Summer Days Suite

The Aeolian Orchestra

The Selfish Giant

Jack Hylton's Band No. 1 augmented with his Kit-Cat Band, Eric Coates

From the Country Side - Suite 1

The Peerless Orchestra

Miniature Suite

Light Symphony Orchestra, Clarence Raybould

Joyous Youth Suite

Queen's Hall Light Orchestra, Charles Williams

Moresque (Dance Interlude)

Queen's Hall Light Orchestra, Charles Williams

Two Light Syncopated Pieces

Queen's Hall Light Orchestra (Moon Magic), Jack Hylton and his Orchestra (Rose of Samarkand), Charles Williams

The Selfish Giant

New Concert Orchestra, Jack Leon

Four Ways Suite

New Light Symphony Orchestra, Joseph Lewis

Mirage - Romance

Queen's Hall Light Orchestra, Charles Williams

Under the Stars

Queen's Hall Light Orchestra, Charles Williams

Lazy Nights - Waltz Romantique

Cedric Sharpe Sextet

Over to You - March

RAF Central Orchestra, Wing Commander OP O'Donnell

Holborn (March)

Sidney Torch and his Orchestra

Sweet Seventeen - Concert Valse

Danish State Radio Orchestra, Robert Farnon

Dam Busters March

Central Band of the Royal Air Force, Wing Commander AE Sims


Includes an extended essay by Michael Payne

Restoration and Remastering by Alan Bunting

The Transfers

I had been contemplating a ‘Definitive’ Eric Coates collection for some time but it was the discovery of Michael Payne’s Ph.D. Thesis for Durham University “The Man Who Writes The Tunes” that encouraged me to start serious work on it. Michael has since turned this thesis into the definitive book on Coates, “The Life And Music Of Eric Coates” published by Ashgate in 2012, and I was delighted when he agreed to write the booklet notes.

The track order: My original concept was to present the recordings in strict chronological order but it became apparent that, although this would be ideal for those wishing to analyse and study Coates’ work, some pieces would appear twice on the same CD which would be frustrating for the normal listener. The approach therefore has been to make each disc a varied and enjoyable selection of his work.

The acoustic recordings, which I imagine most people will not listen to very often, are grouped at the end of CD 6. Opinions differ widely on how restoration and remastering of acoustic recordings should be done. My aim is to reveal as much detail as possible, some of which would not have been heard when played on a contemporary gramophone. This probably will not satisfy the purists but is, I think, the best approach for a project such as this. Although this collection claims to include every commercial recording Coates made, two are missing. One source says that Covent Garden and Westminster, from The London Suite, recorded in 1933 and issued on Columbia DX 470 (Matrix number CAX 6748-1) were re-recorded in May 1947 with a new matrix number (CAX 6748-2) and issued the following month, paired with the original pressing of Knightsbridge using the same catalogue number. Careful listening and comparison of the wave forms shows that they are virtually identical. It is very unlikely that such similarities could occur in recordings made 14 years apart and only the first is included in this collection.

My sincere thanks are due to collector friends in Australia, Britain, America and Canada without whose generous help this collection would not have been possible.

Alan Bunting

“The 78 record transfers have been excellently mastered with complete removal of all 'shellac' track noise and clicks, yet with no loss of treble frequencies.” MusicWeb International, 30th September 2013

GGramophone Magazine

Re-issue of the Month - October 2013

Nimbus Alliance - NI6231

(CD - 7 discs)

$36.00

Usually despatched in 4 - 5 working days.

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