Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

Awards Issue 2013

Editor's Choice

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Nino Machaidze: Arias & Scenes

Nino Machaidze: Arias & Scenes


Bizet:

Me voilà seule…Comme autrefois (from Les Pêcheurs de Perles)

Massenet:

Dis-moi que je suis belle (from Thaïs)

Toi ! Vous ! Oui ! Je fus cruelle… N’est-ce plus ma main (from Manon)

Puccini:

Quando me'n vo (from La Bohème)

O mio babbino caro (from Gianni Schicchi)

Thomas, Ambroise:

A vos jeux, mes amis (from Hamlet)

with Les Paysans

Verdi:

È strano! è strano!...Ah! fors è lui (from La traviata)

Teneste la promessa...Addio, del passato (from La Traviata)


Nino Machaidze’s new recording for Sony Classical, “Arias & Scenes”, looks further ahead to the new roles she will sing in the future. Machaidze is joined by Orchestre national de France and their resident Maestro Daniele Gatti.

French repertoire has become a major part of Machaidze’s career and is represented in this recital with arias by Massenet, Bizet and Ambroise Thomas. Machaidze debuted the role of Thaïs last year alongside Plácido Domingo in the lead role of Athanaël in Seville. She will debut at the Vienna State Opera this June in the role of Juliette with Plácido Domingo conducting and Piotr Beczala as Roméo.

Since her momentous breakthrough replacing Anna Netrebko as Juliette alongside Rolando Villazon’s Roméo in Salzburg’s 2008 production of Roméo et Juliette (Gounod), Nino’s career has taken off.

In an astonishingly short amount of time she debuted at many of the world’s major opera houses, in the lead heroine-roles alongside some of the greatest singers of our time, including Plácido Domingo (Thaïs) , Vittorio Grigolo (Roméo et Juliette at both La Scala and LA Opera) and Juan-Diego Flórez (I Puritani) among others.

“Machaidze is already an exciting if slightly shrill young coloratura” BBC Music Magazine, August 2013 ****

“Her characterisations are generalised, though her smoky tone makes her a particularly alluring Manon. A number of technical problems are apparent, however: trills are approximate, her high notes can turn alarmingly shrill and her diction is variable” The Guardian, 29th August 2013 ***

“The voice accommodates a range of expression that encompasses the cynicism of Violetta's Act 1 scene in La traviata and the naivety in 'O mio babbiino caro' from Gianni Schicchi. Her vocal accuracy is considerably more assured than in her first arias disc...Technique rules her singing; dramatic concept is revealed only in intermittent flashes.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

Sony - 88765447912

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Wagner in Switzerland

Wagner in Switzerland

Scenes & Orchestral Pieces from The Flying Dutchman and The Ring Of The Nibelung


Wagner:

Der fliegende Holländer: Overture

Die Frist ist um (from Der fliegende Holländer)

Egils Silins (baritone)

Abendlich strahlt der Sonne Auge (from Das Rheingold)

Egils Silins (baritone)

Die Walküre: Ride of the Valkyries

Leb wohl, du kühnes, herrliches Kind! (from Die Walküre)

Egils Silins (baritone)


Celebrating the 200th Anniversary of Wagner in 2013, David Zinman conducts the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich performing Scenes and Orchestral Pieces from “The Flying Dutchman” and “The Ring of the Nibelung”.

David Zinman is one of the world’s finest, most respected conductors, whose passion for music, dedication to furthering careers of young musicians and as an orchestral builder makes ‘music a better world’.

This CD features famous international Wagner baritone Egils Silins who can be heard as “Dutchman” and as “Wotan”.

Zinman has extended his contract with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich until 2014, where, since 1995 as conductor and music director, he has raised the standard of the orchestra to an international level.

Zinman’s previous recordings on Sony have been received with superb critical acclaim.

In January 2006, David Zinman, received the prestigious Theodore Thomas Award, presented by the Conductors Guild in New York’s Roosevelt Hotel. The award is presented biannually to a conductor, in recognition of outstanding achievement and extraordinary service to one’s colleagues in advancing the art and science of conducting, reflecting honour on the profession.

“the poetic grandeur David Zinman brings to his acclaimed Mahler is equally evident here, with tempos slow enough to please Klemperer.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2013 ****

“all Zinman's success in the German repertoire from Beethoven to Strauss breeds period-conscious, exciting Wagner from him and his players, never over-bloated to a later-in-the-century sound.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“[Silins] has a powerful voice that has a colour and tone that are absolutely right for Wagner...[he] sings Wotan's Farewell from Die Walkure with great presence and steely resolve where it's called for, but he is not afraid to produce real tenderness in places.” International Record Review, September 2013

“It's superbly done. Zinman's speeds are on the relaxed side, but there's wonderful transparency in the playing, far removed from the thick textures favoured by some interpreters. A thrilling account of Siegfried's Rhine Journey is the high point.” The Guardian, 4th July 2013 ****

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Wagner: Das Liebesverbot

Wagner: Das Liebesverbot


Anna Gabler (Mariana), Michael Nagy (Friedrich), Peter Bronder (Luzio), Charles Reid (Claudio), Simon Bode (Antonio), Franz Mayer (Angelo), Thorsten Grümbel (Brighella), Kihwan Sim (Danieli), Anna Ryberg (Dorella), Julian Prégardien (Pontio Pilato)

Frankfurt Opera and Museum Orchestra, Sebastien Weigle

After the success of The Fairies, Oehms Classics is proud to present The Ban on Love. The mini-series is being completed with Rienzi as part of the Frankfurt Opera edition.

“[Weigle] has an excellent cast: singers such as Anna Gabler, Christiane Libor and Michael Nagy all ensure that the score's strongest, least hell-for-leather episodes are heard to full effect...Perhaps, after all, Wagner was right not to destroy it.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“Michael Nagy sounds pretty good and ranges freely over the very wide vocal ambit that Wagner has written for him...Christiane Libor is fully Nagy’s match as Isabella, but Charles Reid as her brother Claudio sounds slightly over-parted...this set will do very well indeed for those who want a recording of absolutely every opera that Wagner wrote. It may be enjoyable for others too” MusicWeb International, 5th September 2013

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Meyerbeer: Robert Le Diable

Meyerbeer: Robert Le Diable

Recorded live at the Royal Opera House, December 2012


Bryan Hymel (Robert), Patrizia Ciofi (Isabelle), John Relyea (Bertram), Marina Poplavskaya (Alice), Nicolas Courjal (Alberti), David Butt Philip (Master of Ceremonies), Pablo Bemsch (Second Chevalier/Herald), Ashley Riches (Prince of Granada), Jihoon Kim (Fourth Chevalier/Priest), Jean-Francois Borras (Raimbaut) & Dušica Bijelic (Lady-in-waiting to Isabelle)

Royal Opera Chorus & Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Daniel Oren (conductor) & Laurent Pelly (director)

A grand opera that dominated the stages of Europe for most of the 19th century, Robert le diable is a masterpiece.

Director Laurent Pelly breathes new life into Giacomo Meyerbeer’s great spectacle and audaciously entertaining moral fable, in this colourful new staging for The Royal Opera. The wonderful score includes brilliant arias, dramatic ensembles, rousing choruses and a ballet of ghostly nuns, and with the wavering hero of the title sung by Bryan Hymel, acclaimed for his role as Énée in Les Troyens for The Royal Opera and the Metropolitan Opera, this is an unmissable experience.

Premiered in 1831, it was one of the first grand operas staged at the Paris Opéra.

Meyerbeer’s European fame was initiated with “Robert” – performed 470 times in Paris alone by the time of the composer’s death in 1864.

“It is a masterpiece...Meyerbeer has made himself immortal” (Frédéric Chopin)

Extra features: ‘The legacy of Robert le diable, and a cast gallery.

Running time: 122 minutes

Subtitles EN/FR/DE/JP/KR

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

“Meyerbeer's vocal writing demands virtuoso singing, and receives that here. Bryan Hymel hurls himself unstintingly at the title role, impossible high notes and all. Marina Poplavskaya suggests the spiritual inspiration of Alice, while Patrizia Ciofi is a worthwhile if mature Isabelle.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2013 ***

“Hymel deals skilfully with the title-role, reaching up to the high Cs, even at one point a D, with impressive ease. His nemesis, the devilish Bertram, is firmly sung by bass John Relyea...Ciofi rises to some heartfelt singing in Isabelle's big solo...Oren gets excellent contributions from the orchestra and chorus” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“[Ciofi] makes a vital impression with her fluent coloratura, gentle cantilena, good legato, intelligent phrasing and pleasing tone. With her timbre contrasting with Poplavskaya's fuller sound, Ciofi is a huge plus mark...[Hymel] makes a pretty impressive job as he takes everything in his vocal stride.” International Record Review, September 2013

“[Hymel's] voice has a burnished, heroic quality above the stave that sounds very good...Ciofi does a brilliant job as Isabelle...but the chief hero is John Relyea’s Bertram...The cavernous depths of his voice sound bottomless...If you want Robert le Diable then this is the version to get” MusicWeb International, 8th October 2013

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Opus Arte Royal Opera House Collection - OA1106D

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Meyerbeer: Robert Le Diable

Meyerbeer: Robert Le Diable

Recorded live at the Royal Opera House, December 2012


Bryan Hymel (Robert), Patrizia Ciofi (Isabelle), John Relyea (Bertram), Marina Poplavskaya (Alice), Nicolas Courjal (Alberti), David Butt Philip (Master of Ceremonies), Pablo Bemsch (Second Chevalier/Herald), Ashley Riches (Prince of Granada), Jihoon Kim (Fourth Chevalier/Priest), Jean-Francois Borras (Raimbaut) & Dušica Bijelic (Lady-in-waiting to Isabelle)

Royal Opera Chorus & Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Daniel Oren (conductor) & Laurent Pelly (director)

A grand opera that dominated the stages of Europe for most of the 19th century, Robert le diable is a masterpiece.

Director Laurent Pelly breathes new life into Giacomo Meyerbeer’s great spectacle and audaciously entertaining moral fable, in this colourful new staging for The Royal Opera. The wonderful score includes brilliant arias, dramatic ensembles, rousing choruses and a ballet of ghostly nuns, and with the wavering hero of the title sung by Bryan Hymel, acclaimed for his role as Énée in Les Troyens for The Royal Opera and the Metropolitan Opera, this is an unmissable experience.

Premiered in 1831, it was one of the first grand operas staged at the Paris Opéra.

Meyerbeer’s European fame was initiated with “Robert” – performed 470 times in Paris alone by the time of the composer’s death in 1864.

“It is a masterpiece...Meyerbeer has made himself immortal” (Frédéric Chopin)

Extra features: ‘The legacy of Robert le diable, and a cast gallery.

Running time: 122 minutes

Subtitles EN/FR/DE/JP/KR

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

“Meyerbeer's vocal writing demands virtuoso singing, and receives that here. Bryan Hymel hurls himself unstintingly at the title role, impossible high notes and all. Marina Poplavskaya suggests the spiritual inspiration of Alice, while Patrizia Ciofi is a worthwhile if mature Isabelle.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2013 ***

“Hymel deals skilfully with the title-role, reaching up to the high Cs, even at one point a D, with impressive ease. His nemesis, the devilish Bertram, is firmly sung by bass John Relyea...Ciofi rises to some heartfelt singing in Isabelle's big solo...Oren gets excellent contributions from the orchestra and chorus” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“[Ciofi] makes a vital impression with her fluent coloratura, gentle cantilena, good legato, intelligent phrasing and pleasing tone. With her timbre contrasting with Poplavskaya's fuller sound, Ciofi is a huge plus mark...[Hymel] makes a pretty impressive job as he takes everything in his vocal stride.” International Record Review, September 2013

“[Hymel's] voice has a burnished, heroic quality above the stave that sounds very good...Ciofi does a brilliant job as Isabelle...but the chief hero is John Relyea’s Bertram...The cavernous depths of his voice sound bottomless...If you want Robert le Diable then this is the version to get”” MusicWeb International, 8th October 2013

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Opus Arte Royal Opera House Collection - OABD7121D

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Tõnu Kõrvits: Kreek's Notebook

Tõnu Kõrvits: Kreek's Notebook

Spiritual Songs from the Baltic States


Kõrvits:

Kreegi vihik 'Kreek's Notebook'

Britten Sinfonia

The night is darkening round me

Kate Telfer (soprano)

Maskats:

Lacrimosa for choir, strings and organ

William Mason (organ)

Britten Sinfonia

Lugums naktij 'Prayer to the night'

Plakidis:

In memoriam

Fatamorgana 'Mirage'


Royal Holloway Choir, Rupert Gough

The Choir of Royal Holloway have proved themselves as inspirational performers of contemporary Baltic music through their previous recordings.

The main work on this fascinating album is based on Estonian folk hymns, an unusual variant of folk melodies, collected in the early twentieth century for the first time by Cyrillus Kreek, who was the Estonian equivalent of Bartók or Grainger. Most of these religious folk songs were originally eighteenth-century Lutheran hymns which have been passed across generations and embellished with elements of secular folk-singing. During the Soviet regime, the singing of these religious songs was forbidden and this cultural genre was all but forgotten. By the end of the twentieth century fresh light could be shone on these folk collections, and Tõnu Kõrvits (born 1969) was particularly struck by the fresh possibilities and newly discovered meanings of folk hymns. In writing Kreek’s Notebook Kõrvits pays homage to Cyrillus Kreek while presenting a contemporary view of folk hymns. Although there is a dramatic unity to this eight-movement work, there is much diversity in timbre and scoring. The effect is improvisatory in the creative ornamentation of the vocal lines, and suffused with dreamy textures that bring to mind the great tradition of Eastern European choral writing.

“More from the ever-renewing, never emptying, storehouse of Baltic song...this Baltic compilation is given gently sympathetic performances by the student singers of Royal Holloway College and the Britten Sinfonia under Rupert Gough.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2013 ****

“Their championship of the music of the Baltic countries is a true feather in their cap, as this proves once again...Performances and recording are outstanding.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“This disc proclaims the excellence of British choral singing and the remarkable quality of contemporary choral music from the Baltic countries.” International Record Review, June 2013

“This is a programme packed with interesting music. Yet again Hyperion’s enterprise in issuing a disc like this shows us what fine choral music is to be heard in the Baltic States. The performances are out of the top drawer. The quality of the singing is consistently excellent” MusicWeb International, 17th September 2013

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Down By The Sea

Down By The Sea

A Collection of British Folk Songs


Andrew:

All Things Are Quite Silent

Bairstow:

The Oak and the Ash

Bingham, J:

The Orphan Girl

Burke, P:

Fare Thee Well

Byrt:

Among the Leaves So Green O

Campbell, H:

Blow the Wind Southerly

Campkin:

A Lover and his Lass

Duggan, J:

Over the Moon

Grainger:

Mo Nighean Dubh (My dark-haired maiden)

Holst:

Awake Awake

MacMillan:

Lassie Wad Ye Loe Me

Moeran:

The Sailor and Young Nancy

Turnbull, S M:

Skye

Vaughan Williams:

The Dark-Eyed Sailor

Warlock:

Yarmouth Fair


Blossom Street, Hilary Campbell

Following its award-winning Christmas album, Sleep, Holy Babe (Naxos 8572868), Blossom Street explores a wide-ranging sequence of British folk song settings for choir, with a particular focus on the nautical. The repertoire embraces pioneers in the rediscovery and arrangement of folk songs such as Vaughan Williams, Grainger and Warlock, adds little-known gems by Holst and Bairstow, and also introduces vibrant new additions to the repertoire from contemporary composers, including James MacMillan and Judith Bingham and the conductor herself.

Sleep, Holy Babe (8572868), Blossom Street’s last album with Naxos, was selected as one of ClassicFM’s Christmas CDs of the Year.

“It is some indication of the quality of the 23 singers in Blossom Street that all the solos are outstanding, pure and true...It adds to the value of the disc that full texts are provided, and the recording is excellent, vivid and immediate with a nice feeling of atmosphere.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“The singing of Blossom Street gives much pleasure. The choir numbers 23 (6/5/6/6) and the sound is consistently fresh and well-balanced...It makes for enjoyable listening.” MusicWeb International, 17th October 2013

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Guan Xia: Earth Requiem

Guan Xia: Earth Requiem


Yao Hong (soprano), Liu Shan (mezzo soprano), Jin Yongzhe (tenor), Sun Li (baritone), He Wangjin (Qiang Flute) & Shen Fanxiu (organ)

China National Orchestra & Chorus, Michel Plasson

The “Earth Requiem” is a gigantic work performed and recorded in Beijing in May 2011 in remembrance of the devastating Sichuan earthquake in 2008.

This is the first Chinese Requiem ever composed

This massive work by renowned Chinese composer Guan Xia is scored for 100 instrumentalists, a choir of 150 singers, an organ and 4 vocal soloists.

The well-established China National Symphony Orchestra invited the legendary French conductor Michel Plasson, who has long had a close association with EMI Classics, to work on the project. This partnership between West and East gives the recording a universal breadth as well as an overarching theme: the Earth. The emotional strength of the work is empowered by its gargantuan scale.

A concert and press conference will be held in May 2013 in Beijing's National Centre for the Performing Arts to mark the 5th anniversary of the Sichuan Earthquake.

“given Michel Plasson's inspired direction and the exceptionally responsive playing of the China National Symphony Orchestra, the music is given every chance to speak for itself, and there is certainly much to impress in it. One only wishes that Guan could have scaled it down a bit” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“the piece is like pentatonic Andrew Lloyd Webber, rising to Hollywood-soundtrack portentousness. Michel Plasson conducts enormous forces, including — for one blissfully non-Western interlude — Chinese folk instrumentalists.” The Times, 25th May 2013 ***

Erato - 9341192

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Judith Bingham: Choral Music

Judith Bingham: Choral Music


Bingham, J:

Wells Service

first recording

Harvest

first recording

Missa Brevis: Awake My Soul

The Shepherd

Ave verum corpus

Jesum quaeritis Nazarenum

first recording

Finn Lacey (treble)

Corpus Christi Carol

Christmas Past, Christmas Present

solo organ. First recording

Epiphany

Edington Service

first recording

God be in my head

first recording

Our faith is a light

first recording


‘A one-time member of the BBC Singers, Bingham possesses the enviable gift of writing music of uncompromising integrity, resourcefulness and questing spirit that both consistently ignites the imagination and engages directly with the listener’ (Gramophone)

Under the inspirational direction of Matthew Owens, Wells Cathedral Choir has made a speciality of the performance of contemporary sacred music, and has commissioned works from many composers including Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, James MacMillan and Judith Bingham herself. This album features first recordings of a number of Bingham’s sacred choral works. The living relationship between the composer and the musicians is clear from the vivid, committed performances given by the children and gentlemen of the choir.

Also included is an extensive work for solo organ, Christmas Past.

“The whole setting memorably commingles an anxious, questing quality with glimpses of certitude and placidity, a balance sensitively struck in this assured Wells Cathedral performance.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2013 ****

“There is some highly original music here but one thing - of many - that I like about it is that the originality isn’t originality for its own sake and doesn’t leave the listener behind... It receives splendid advocacy from these Wells musicians. The choir sing this demanding music with great skill and assurance while Jonathan Vaughn is on top form at the organ console.” MusicWeb International, 24th September 2013

“There's a frankness to the Wells choral sound that suits music that has nothing previous or twee about it. It creates an underlying muscularity...The use of a cathedral choir of men and boys...rather than a chamber choir helps anchor this music in the Anglican cathedral tradition” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - Awards Issue 2013

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Godowsky - Piano Music Volume 11

Godowsky - Piano Music Volume 11


Godowsky:

Symphonic Metamorphoses of the Schatz-Walzer Themes from The Gypsy Baron

Six Pieces for both hands

Suite for the left hand alone

Märchen

Prelude and Fugue for the left hand alone

Moto Perpetuo


Leopold Godowsky, one of the world’s greatest piano virtuosos, wrote a sequence of demanding works for his own instrument that fully reveal his exceptional command of the keyboard. The 1929 Six Pieces for both hands, each dedicated to a celebrated fellow pianist, are full of huge vitality, whilst the Suite for the left hand alone hints at baroque procedure in its movement titles but actually revels in late-romantic richness of expression. The Symphonic Metamorphoses on themes from the Gypsy Baron, only published after Godowsky’s death, is a brilliantly artful concoction.

“Scherbakov makes one marvel anew at what just five fingers and two feet can achieve.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

Marco Polo Scherbakov Godowsky Piano Music - 8225350

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JS Bach: Organ Works Vol. II

JS Bach: Organ Works Vol. II


Bach, J S:

Toccata & Fugue in D minor, BWV565

Chorale Prelude BWV739 'Wie schön leuchte der Morgenstern'

Toccata, Adagio & Fugue in C major, BWV564

Fuga sopra il Magnificat 'Meine Seele erhebt den Herren', BWV733

Chorale Prelude BWV662 'Allein Gott in der Höh' sei Ehr'

Chorale Prelude BWV663 'Allein Gott in der höh sei Ehr'

Trio super 'Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr', BWV664

Passacaglia in C minor, BWV582

Toccata & Fugue in F major, BWV540


Robert Quinney (Metzler Organ of Trinity College, Cambridge)

Continuing its work with the rising stars of the early music world, CORO is delighted to be releasing its second recording with one of The Sixteen Orchestra’s principal members - organist Robert Quinney.

This new album, which was recorded at Trinity College, Cambridge, on the beautiful Metzler Organ, features a number of virtuosic works from Bach's early years including one of the most famous pieces of organ music in the repertory - the Toccata and Fugue in D minor (BWV 565). The disc also includes the Toccata and Fugue in F (BWV 540) and the Passacaglia (BWV 582) - one of Bach’s most well-known and important organ works. Robert Schumann described the variations of the Passacaglia as "intertwined so ingeniously that one can never cease to be amazed."

Robert Quinney is Director of Music at Peterborough Cathedral. As Sub-Organist of Westminster Abbey he played at the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in April 2011. In addition to his daily work, he maintains a busy freelance schedule as a soloist and ensemble player, and is also Director of Oundle for Organists. His double compact disc The Grand Organ of Westminster Cathedral, recorded in 2004, was Instrumental Disc of the Month in BBC Music, earned a 5-star review in the French journal Diapason, and was an Editor’s Choice in Gramophone. His first disc for CORO - J.S. Bach Trio Sonatas for Organ (COR16095) - also received excellent reviews when it was released in October 2011.

“It is an organ of beautifully defined sonorities, well suited to the music. The programme begins with the D minor Toccata and Fugue, to which Quinney brings a remarkable freshness thanks to his flamboyant decorations.” Sunday Times, 4th August 2013

“the most distinctive feature is the way Quinney's authoritative distillation of the music never results in dry, academic essays - while, also, never playing to the gallery with maverick rhetorical effects...Quinney's Bach gets to the heart of the music with refreshing clarity and a communication born of genuine understanding.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“Several of Bach's greatest hits for the organ are heard here on an ideal instrument (Trinity College, Cambridge) in sober performances from Robert Quinney.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas Issue 2013 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - Awards Issue 2013

Coro - COR16112

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Corelli: Chamber Sonatas Opp. 2 & 4: Chamber Sonatas

Corelli: Chamber Sonatas Opp. 2 & 4: Chamber Sonatas


Corelli:

Sonate da camera a tre, Op. 2 (complete)

Sonate da camera a tre, Op. 4 (complete)


The Avison Ensemble: Pavlo Beznosiuk (violin), Caroline Balding (violin), Richard Tunnicliffe (cello), Paula Chateauneuf (archlute), Roger Hamilton (harpsichord)

Popular since their publication, Corelli’s two sets of chamber sonatas are a pinnacle of Baroque Italian instrumental music.

They demonstrate a superior level of craftsmanship; they are of the highest quality, exquisitely refined and a good example of perfection in music.

Corelli’s contribution to the history of violin performance was immense. All six of his published collections of instrumental music demonstrate his exceptional skill as a violinist and composer, but it was in his chamber sonatas that he first used what was to be known as the ‘Corelli clash’.

‘Opus 2 & 4: Chamber Sonatas’ marks the third recording in a series which will see The Avison Ensemble record Corelli’s complete chamber music celebrating the 300th anniversary of the composer’s death in 2013.

Formed in 1985, the Ensemble has attracted great critical acclaim. The Guardian commented: ‘I’d take the Avison Ensemble over Karajan…any day’.

The Avison Ensemble comprises some of Europe's leading Baroque musicians, including artists from The Hague, Germany, France, Austria and London, with international soloists from all over the globe.

Pavlo Beznosiuk, the UK's foremost baroque violin virtuoso, is in demand as a soloist and orchestral leader performing regularly with the Academy of Ancient Music and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

“These performances occupy fresh ground - intimately styled and seemingly less obviously inspired by public performance than previous recordings...Beznosiuk and the Avison Ensemble have clearly given much thought and attention to their performances: beautifully understated, and allowing the music to speak for itself.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“To hear the intertwining lines spun by the violins of Pavlo Beznosiuk and Caroline Balding is to suspend worldly cares...Linn's recording of this beautiful music is well nigh perfect: every instrumental line is clear and placed within a natural acoustic.” MusicWeb International, 21st October 2013

“The Avison Ensemble captures their essence in graceful, finely controlled performances - by turns lyrical, fleet, playful, imbued with an effortless style that eschews mannerisms and fireworks but rather lets the music speak for itself. The string sound is silky and clean; the ensemble neat and subtly articulated.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2013 *****

“As with all of Corelli’s music, the byword is elegance. Every piece is given with stylish finesse and polish, even when the players allow themselves delicious decorative extravagances.” Sunday Times, 27th October 2013

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Haydn: String Quartets, Op. 33 Nos. 1-6 (complete)

Haydn: String Quartets, Op. 33 Nos. 1-6 (complete)

performed from the Schmitt edition published in Amsterdam in 1782


A fourth volume of Haydn String Quartets finds period band The London Haydn Quartet on sparkling form. Their previous recordings have been praised for the ‘glowing sound of gut strings played perfectly in tune … the ensemble’s delicacy of nuance and sensitivity to harmonic colour, treating the listener as a privileged eavesdropper’ (Gramophone).

This competitively priced set contains the six Op 33 quartets, which Haydn wrote in Esterhazy after neglecting the genre for a decade, and which immediately became popular around Europe on publication.

“The LHQ’s style might seem less fierce in attack than that of the most admired modern-instrument quartets, but that pays dividends, especially in the serene slow movements...this delectable set is a bargain, too.” Sunday Times, 9th June 2013

“amazing precision of intonation and articulation. Yet the piecing [sic] intensity of their virtually vibrato-less style, enhanced by the bright, resonant Hyperion recording, can sometimes weary the ear.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2013 ***

“[the playing] is indeed good, the lovely plangency of gut strings combining with that characteristic 'ticking' that's so much a feature of ancient instruments...These musicians know how to have gentle fun together - and they seem happy to welcome interested listeners in to share it with them.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

GGramophone Awards 2014

Shortlisted - Chamber

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Medtner: Violin Sonatas Nos. 1 & 3

Medtner: Violin Sonatas Nos. 1 & 3


Medtner:

Violin Sonata No. 1 in B minor, Op. 21

Violin Sonata No. 3 in E minor ‘Epica', Op. 57


Chloë Hanslip (violin) & Igor Tchetuev (piano)

The great composer of piano music Nikolai Medtner also wrote three violin sonatas (and other works for the instrument), two of which are recorded here.

The ‘Sonata Epica’ is, as its title suggests, one of the most ambitious and colossal works in the repertoire, and without doubt one of the most important violin sonatas of the twentieth century. It draws deeply on Medtner’s Russian heritage, with intimations of orthodox chant and folk dances. Its continual syncopations show why Medtner was fleetingly regarded as one of Russia’s most progressive composers during the first decade of the twentieth century, yet also contrast with an essentially conservative harmonic idiom. The Sonata No 1 is more understated and reminiscent of Fauré.

Chloë Hanslip has proved herself an eloquent performer of the lesser-known Romantic violin repertoire, displaying rare commitment and resonant vitality.

“Chloe Hanslip and Igor Tchetuev certainly have the measure of these voluble and passionate yet always disciplined works, turning in performances of the first rank. The bubbling rhythmic liveliness of Hanslip's playing in the fast movements never compromises beauty of tone...this is a very competitive new recordings of both [works].” BBC Music Magazine, October 2013 ****

“Hanslip and Tchetuev are impressive as interpreters: his fine touch and beautifully balanced chordal playing is matched by her lovely tone and phrasing - her singing legato lines are an especial delight.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

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Shostakovich & Rachmaninov: Cello Sonatas

Shostakovich & Rachmaninov: Cello Sonatas


Rachmaninov:

Cello Sonata in G minor, Op. 19

Vocalise, Op. 34 No. 14

arr. L. Rose

Shostakovich:

Viola Sonata, Op. 147

arr. D. Shafran


Leonard Elschenbroich (cello) & Alexei Grynyuk (piano)

The young German cellist Leonard Elschenbroich has rapidly made a name for himself as one of the most exciting and gifted cellists of his generation. Leonard Elschenbroich’s many awards include: the Leonard Bernstein Award, Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award, Eugene Istomin Prize, Pro Europa prize, Landgraf von Hessen price of the Kronberg Academy, Nordmetall Prize of the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festiva and the Firmenich Prize of the Verbier Festival.

From 2004–2008 he was supported by the Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation, performing with her on a number of occasions, including a European tour. He is also part of the BBC New Generation Artists programme, and appeared at the 2012 Proms season together with his chamber music partners Nicola Benedetti and Alexei Grynyuk. Together with Benedetti and Grynyuk he embarks on a major chamber music tour of Scotland in March. Rachmaninov’s cello sonata was composed at the same time as the Second Piano Concerto. Although as one would expect from such a great pianist-composer, the piano part is demanding, it never threatens to overwhelm the cello, and the result is a beautifully balanced and passionate work.

Shostakovich’s viola sonata was his last composition, finished on his deathbed. Sketches show that the composer was also considering a second cello sonata for his old friend Rostropovich – then living outside the USSR. The arrangement on this CD for cello was made by Daniil Shafran with the dying composer's blessing. In the Viola Sonata, as in his Fifteenth Symphony, Shostakovich alludes to several of his previous works, from the Suite for two pianos Op.6 to the opening movement (De Profundis) from his Fourteenth Symphony. He also quotes from other composers’ works, Berg’s Violin Concerto and, most obviously, throughout the final Adagio, from the first movement of Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight’ Sonata, which he uses as the basis for a kind of free meditation.

“a performance of tremendous assurance and power. You could argue that the cello's warmth adds a touch of lyricism that detracts from the sparseness of the original. But there's no mistaking the intensity and commitment that Elschenbroich and pianist Alexei Grynyuk bring to it...Exceptional.” The Guardian, 9th May 2013 *****

“His striking reading of Daniil Shafran’s adaptation announces [Leonard Elschenbroich] a major new talent… This is one of the most articulate and highly characterised accounts I’ve heard on the cello… The Shostakovich reveals Alexei Grynyuk to be a remarkable musician with a commanding sense of architecture” BBC Music Magazine, August 2013

“There is a romantic soul of warmth and virile energy to this interpretation [of the Rachmaninov] that makes it very special indeed...there is an intensely inward, deeply communicative quality to this performance [of the Shostakovich] that draws you right to its tragic, pensive core.” The Telegraph, 15th August 2013 *****

“This is a quite exceptional performance of Rachmaninov's Cello Sonata...you immediately sense that they are going to have something of uncommon interest to impart in their interpretation...In the entirely different realms of late Shostakovich, Elschenbroich and Grynyuk are no less persuasive.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“Very much a sonata for cello and piano, rather than merely a cello sonata with piano accompaniment, the Op. 19 has a formidably demanding piano part which at the same time must never be allowed to overwhelm the lyrical voice of the cello. Alexei Grynyuk and the young cellist Leonard Elschenbroich strike the perfect balance in this recording.” David Smith, Presto Classical

Presto Favourites

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GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - Awards Issue 2013

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Norrington conducts Stravinsky

Norrington conducts Stravinsky


Stravinsky:

L'Histoire du Soldat: Concert Suite

Concerto in E flat for chamber orchestra 'Dumbarton Oaks'

Danses Concertantes


“Norrington maintains good, clear textures, and an expressive melodic line...Norrington and his players, who are given careful individual attention by the recording, produce a nicely sly account of the Tango, an eerily edgy Waltz and a distinctly sarcastic Ragtime.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

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Schumann: Symphony No. 2 & Overtures

Schumann: Symphony No. 2 & Overtures


Schumann:

Symphony No. 2 in C major, Op. 61

Manfred Overture, Op. 115

Genoveva Overture


In the year of Abbado’s 80th birthday (26. June), this album celebrates a true legend of the world of classical music.

Claudio Abbado’s interpretation of the Second Symphony is his first recording of a Schumann symphony for DG. The noble “Genoveva” and stirring “Manfred” overtures are exalted additions to this album.

About his Second as performed at the Lucerne Easter Festival, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung extolled Abbado’s reading as of “the purest beauty”, while Berlin’s Der Tagesspiegel found Abbado’s way with the symphony “liberating”.

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

“Abbado’s metrical freedoms won’t please all, but this exhilarating and passionate music-making certainly doesn’t sound like a conductor’s swansong.” The Times, 22nd June 2013 ****

“As far as one can tell, they are not using period instruments, but the timbres are transparent and Abbado's scrupulous attention to detail bears fruit...He emphasises Schumann's lyricism at the expense of his weightier moments” The Observer, 8th July 2013

“Right from the slow introduction's mysterious opening bars, this is a compelling account of the C major Second Symphony, imbued with Abbado's characteristic attention to detail, and the sharply pointed rhythms he obtains from his augmented Orchestra Mozart.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2013 ***/*****

“The combination of the hall's acoustics and the Orchestra Mozart's burnished timbre ensures that the sound quality is of a supreme order, but allied to that is the living perspective that Abbado brings to the music...He achieves impeccable clarity of texture, unanimity of attack and precision of articulation.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“Abbado’s evident love for this symphony is delightfully infectious. Textures are really clear, and while the string section is larger than this orchestra usually wields, it still sounds and feels very much like a chamber ensemble, with all the transparency that such a group brings. The woodwind are remarkably light and airy.” James Longstaffe, Presto Classical, 1st July 2013

Presto Disc of the Week

1st July 2013

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - Awards Issue 2013

DG - 4791061

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Brahms: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2

Brahms: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2


Brahms:

Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15

Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks

Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 83

Wiener Philharmoniker


Intense, romantic music-making from the world’s most captivating pianist.

Thrilling, deeply personal interpretations of the dark, passionate sound-worlds of both Brahms piano concertos. A unique, multi-faceted artist who continues to push creative boundaries, Grimaud is one of few pianists to conquer the monumental dimensions of the epic Op.83.

Recorded under studio conditions in Vienna’s legendary Musikverein, the 2nd Piano Concerto marks Grimaud’s debut recording with the celebrated Wiener Philharmoniker; coupled with the equally coveted Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks for the 1st Concerto, Grimaud has discovered exemplary musical counterparts.

Conductor Andris Nelsons – dubbed “Der Wunderdirigent” by the Süddeutsche Zeitung – is one of today’s most exciting young interpreters of Romantic repertoire.

With over 850,000 sales for Deutsche Grammophon, Grimaud is set to recapture her position as a benchmark artist with broad popular appeal.

“Grimaud's second recording of the First sounds a tad less youthful, a tad more disciplined [than her first], but the balance between those two elements remains truly inspired...The Vienna Philharmonic...are a truly imposing force right from the opening...her results [in Op. 83] end up being no less monumental.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“Throughout the CD, both conductor and soloist love to crawl when Brahms gives them half a chance. But they also grab the coin’s opposite side and sprint with tremendous vim through the second concerto’s finale...Either way, Grimaud and Nelsons have made their mark.” The Times, 11th October 2013 ***

“judged on their own merits, [the performances] are outstanding: by turns, majestic, passionate, tender and dramatic... Grimaud’s slow movement is the highlight of the whole recording...The orchestral playing and direction, so crucial in these works, is exemplary as would be expected from two of the world’s great orchestras and one of the new generation of fine conductors.” MusicWeb International, 18th November 2013

“a superb pianist at the height of their powers [...] teamed to a conductor with whom they seem to have instinctive rapport...there's drama aplenty in the big first movement of the [Second] Concerto. Nelsons secures some delightfully pointed orchestral playing in No. 1's finale, and really creates the restorative calm of No. 2's slow movement.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2014 *****

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Bach, J S: Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1-6 BWV1046-1051 (complete)

Bach, J S: Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1-6 BWV1046-1051 (complete)


Dunedin Consort, the team that brought you ‘John Passion’, is back with its first instrumental release: ‘J.S. Bach: Six Brandenburg Concertos’.

Under the direction of Bach specialist John Butt, Dunedin Consort demonstrates its collective experience and historical knowledge in an exceptionally insightful and fresh performance.

Bach’s Six Brandenburg Concertos are essential and enduringly popular works in the baroque orchestral repertory, full of interesting instrumentation choices and dancing melodies.

Among the talented instrumentalists are Pamela Thorby (recorder), Jonathan Manson (cello) and John Butt (harpsichord).

The Dunedin Consort has established an enviable reputation as one of the leading exponents of historical performance in the UK.

Under the direction of prize-winning Bach specialist John Butt O.B.E., the ensemble has become particularly acclaimed for its inquisitive approach, shining new light into some of the best known pieces of the baroque repertoire.

The multi-award-winning Dunedin Consort has won praise for the extraordinary ability of its players: ‘The playing is outstanding’ (The Observer).

Since receiving a Gramophone Award for Messiah in 2007, Dunedin Consort has continued to receive accolades: John Passion was named ‘Recording of the Month’ by BBC Music and Gramophone magazines, Esther was voted one of the ‘Top 10 Classical Albums of 2012’ by The Times and its recordings of Matthew Passion and Acis & Galatea were both named Building A Library: First Choice by BBC Radio 3 - CD Review.

“Melodic ideas are beautifully punctuated and phrased, vibrato is used strictly ornamentally, and tempos strike my sensibilities as pretty well ideal. Perhaps what I like most of all, though, is an all-pervading atmosphere of intimate and convivial dialogue” BBC Music Magazine, October 2013 *****

“As always, the performances are underpinned by a wealth of research, though that learning is always worn very lightly...the performances of all six concertos are models of perfectly integrated baroque ensemble playing...As an example of what modern baroque practice and top-class musicianship can bring to these hugely familiar works, this set is exceptional.” The Guardian, 12th September 2013 *****

“Butt’s Bach has made the strongest possible case for the “one voice to a part” theory...Here, the Edinburgh harpsichordist/director applies the same approach to Bach’s most familiar “orchestral” works...He has enriched the sound by adopting a very low pitch (tief Cammerton), even by baroque standards. The results are most compelling in the concertos for virtuoso soloists” Sunday Times, 6th October 2013

“the Dunedin players forge their own identity and capture what Butt praises as 'carefree, joyous and spontaneous works'...Notwithstanding the distinguished Brandenburg discography, this set is nothing short of sensational.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“Shrill period performances can taste like the bitterest of espressos; Butt's impeccably prepared readings are more like a warming bowl of chocolate. There are so many moments to savour...This is a sensational recording – perhaps the best period Brandenburg set available.” The Arts Desk, 25th October 2013

“If you love these works, you'll be entranced by the excellent quality of the Dunedin Consort and the warm listening experience. The small forces and lower pitch give this a wonderful sound and feeling. This one is a keeper.” MusicWeb International, 11th December 2013

GGramophone Awards 2014

Finalist - Baroque Instrumental

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - Awards Issue 2013

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Jonas Kaufmann: The Verdi Album

Jonas Kaufmann: The Verdi Album


Verdi:

La donna è mobile (from Rigoletto)

Se quel guerrier io fossi!…Celeste Aida (from Aida)

Di' tu se fedele (from Un ballo in maschera)

Forse la soglia attinse (from Un ballo in maschera)

Ah sì ben mio (from Il trovatore)

Erika Grimaldi (Leonora), Giovanni Gregnanin (Ruiz)

Di quella pira (from Il trovatore)

Oh! fede negar potessi (from Luisa Miller)

Quando le sere al placido (from Luisa Miller)

O inferno!...Sento avvampar nell'anima (from Simon Boccanegra)

Dio, che nell'alma infondere (from Don Carlo)

Franco Vassallo (Rodrigo)

La vita è inferno … O tu che in seno (from La Forza del Destino)

Destatevi, o pietre... Giuri ognun questo canuto (from I Masnadieri)

Dio, mi potevi scagliar tutti i mali (from Otello)

Franco Vassallo (Jago)

Niun mi tema (from Otello)

O figli … Ah, la paterna mano (from Macbeth)


Jonas Kaufmann (tenor)

Orchestra dell'Opera di Parma, Coro del Teatro Municipale di Piacenza, Pier Giorgio Morandi

One of the finest singers of our time and the world’s leading tenor, Jonas Kaufmann presents his personal tribute to one of opera’s most beloved composers, Giuseppe Verdi.

To celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the great masters birth, this stunning new album features a fabulous collection of his most popular arias, including “La donna e mobile” (Rigoletto), “Celeste Aida” (Aida), “Di quella pira” (Il Trovatore) and “Niun me tema” (Otello).

Recorded in the composer’s home city of Parma, this outstanding new recording is sure to be one of the highlights of the composer’s Anniversary year.

“his musicianship melds with his keen interpretative intelligence to achieve real and extraordinary success...Otello on stage may still be ahead of him, but he explores the depths of 'Dio mi potevi' and 'Niun mi tema' with a purpose many distinguished Latin tenors would struggle to summon up.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2013 *****

“a huge achievement resulting in some thrilling singing...But his employment of volume of tone (to emphasise a heroic, or at least central, presence?) does not serve his chosen repertoire equally well. As Otello of course it works well, as it does for Manrico” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“he has clearly thought through the changes needed for an authentic Verdi style. The results are thrilling. Kaufmann’s singing is characterized by clarity of diction and a fine range of vocal colour, though it must be said that his plush, dark-toned voice is more suited to the heavier rather than the more lyrical roles...Nevertheless, there is some wonderful singing here.” Irish Times, 3rd January 2014

“there’s just the right amount of greasepaint – and ample opportunity for him to display his massive dynamic range...the real high point is that foretaste of Otello, the role which many consider him born to sing. This is where Kaufmann’s gift for nuanced psychological drama really comes home to roost.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 16th September 2013

“Unusually for a singer noted for interpretative subtlety, he's at his best in I Masnadieri and Il Trovatore where Verdi is at his most upfront. You get a sense of how good he might be one day as Otello and, above all, as Radames” The Guardian, 10th October 2013 ***

“Our spines tingle at Kaufmann’s force; but we shiver too at his sudden moments of quiet reverence or desolation. Kaufmann’s expert control of dynamics has never been so impressive, nor has the sheer weight of tone currently at his command. His theatrical flair is also impressive” The Times, 20th September 2013 *****

“He comes into his own as Don Carlo, Don Alvaro from La forza del destino and, above all, Otello — where his dark timbre and dramatic delivery of the text rank with the finest on disc.” Sunday Times, 27th October 2013

“these great Verdi moments, even ripped out of context, are believably dramatic...Kaufmann is served well by the Orchestra dell’Opera di Parma, the woodwind particularly lovely.” The Independent, 22nd September 2013 ****

BBC Music Magazine

Opera Choice - October 2013

Sony - 88765492042

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Bartók: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2

Bartók: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2


Bartók:

Violin Concerto No. 1, BB48a, Sz 36

Violin Concerto No. 2, Sz 112


Isabelle Faust's first recording for harmonia mundi, Bartok Sonatas, won her a Gramophone Young Artist of the Year.

Here she returns to Bartok, perfoming the two concertos, accompanied by Daniel Harding and the Swedish Radio SO.

Such is the fame of Bartók’s Second Violin Concerto (1937-38), that it has virtually eclipsed the First, written 30 years before. Yet, this earlier work, rediscovered long after the composer’s death, has a fascinating story all of its own. True to form, Isabelle Faust has gone back to the multiple musical sources of this First Concerto, a work that came ‘straight from the heart’, as Bartók’s romance with a young violinist lay at the core of its creative process.

"I owe my enthusiasm for the music of Béla Bartók to the wonderful Hungarian violinist Dénes Zsigmondy, who was privileged to know the composer personally. At the age of eleven, I was lucky enough to study the Sonata for solo violin with him and thus to discover Bartók’s world in a very emotional and instinctive way. In the years since then, Dénes Zsigmondy, his conception of music, and especially his interpretation of Bartók have formed an important component of my artistic career. It seemed only logical to choose the Bartók sonatas for my debut CD. I am now delighted to present the two violin concertos in this recording. It is intended as a musical expression of my admiration for the composer Béla Bartók and my gratitude for the continued inspiration and faithful friendship of Dénes Zsigmondy. My warm thanks go to László Somfai and László Vikárius of the Bartók Archives in Budapest and to Felix Meyer of the Paul Sacher Foundation in Basel for their generous support of this project. Finally, I would like to express my profound appreciation of and indebtedness to Daniel Harding and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra for their absolutely fantastic contribution to the recording sessions." Isabelle Faust

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

“Faust...relishes i[the First's] warmth and volatility while respecting its musical integrity. The second concerto exemplifies Bartók’s mature synthesis of traditional and modern styles. I do not share leading violinists’ faith in its greatness, but Faust puts her unshowy brilliance at its service.” Financial Times, 27th July 2013 ***

“Faust finds an ideal tonal pungency to voice the folk-like intonations, whether fiery or wistfully fragile, which she allies to a natural sweetness and flexibility of timbre and phrasing. The orchestra is a potent force, too, in underpinning the rhythms and radiating colour. A compelling disc.” The Telegraph, 1st August 2013 *****

“Faust plays with sweet ecstasy in the passionate first movement [of No. 1], lyrically opulent enough to suggest Richard Strauss. She’s equally impressive in the puckish second movement, kicked into life by gawky solo notes played without vibrato — one of her research discoveries...Music to cherish.” The Times, 8th August 2013 ****

“probably the most beautiful and subtly nuanced version [of No. 1] available. The same intelligence is very much at work in the second concerto...Harding, sometimes a variable Bartókian, is clean, committed and incisive here. Make sure you read Faust's own essay in the sleevenotes: she writes about Bartók as persuasively as she plays him.” The Guardian, 8th August 2013 *****

“[Harding and the orchestra] bring a glittering, sometimes gritty edge to Bartok’s scoring — and underscore her detailed readings of this deeply felt, violently passionate music. In Faust’s powerful performance, the long solo of the first concerto’s opening andante sostenuto sounds like a lament for lost love” Sunday Times, 11th August 2013

“Faust resists the kind of full-blown romantic ardour that might seem appropriate to music inspired by a protracted love affair. Instead she weaves her sinewy melodic line in a more introverted manner...The effect is totally magical...[in the Second Concerto] Fausts draws you into the ebb and flow of the musical narrative” BBC Music Magazine, September 2013 *****

“Faust negotiates the composer’s idealised fantasising with a poetic sensitivity that captures the almost cinematic cut-and-thrust of the music’s churning emotions… She finds the perfect match in Daniel Harding’s lucid accompaniments and sound of exceptional textural transparency.” The Strad, September 2013

“it’s to the credit of Faust and Harding that this compelling, elusive music never feels shapeless, and the livelier second movement is cheeky, gutsy and pungent. Beautifully recorded, and Faust’s self-penned sleeve notes make fascinating reading.” The Arts Desk, 31st August 2013

“everything registers in this richly conceived performance” International Record Review, September 2013

“solo playing of sensitivity and playfulness and an orchestral sound that fits it like a hand to a glove...This disc is a winner. The sensitivity of the playing and the empathy of the orchestral accompaniment put it in a very special class which is worthy of comparison with any other set in the catalogue.” MusicWeb International, 18th September 2013

“Faust combines technical brilliance with a performance full of bite and character. Wide-ranging dynamics are not just well defined by loud and soft, but by distinct textural variety...here seems to be a natural affinity with Daniel Harding and his orchestra, who offer vivid accompaniment throughout and no shortage of incisive rawness of their own where required.” Chris O'Reilly, Presto Classical, 15th July 2013

Presto Disc of the Week

15th July 2013

GGramophone Awards 2014

Finalist - Concerto

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - Awards Issue 2013

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2014

Concerto Finalist

Harmonia Mundi - HMC902146

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Sempre Libera

Sempre Libera


Charpentier, G:

Depuis le jour (from Louise)

Donizetti:

C'en est donc fait...Par le rang et par l'opulence...Salut à la France (from La fille du régiment)

Pour ce contrat fatal...Salut à la France (from La fille du régiment)

Regnava nel silenzio...Quando rapito in estasi (from Lucia di Lammermoor)

Massenet:

Je suis encore tout étourdie (from Manon)

Mozart:

Ruhe sanft, mein holdes Leben (from Zaïde)

Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen (from Die Zauberflöte)

Puccini:

Chi il bel sogno di Doretta (from La Rondine)

Manon Lescaut - Intermezzo

O mio babbino caro (from Gianni Schicchi)

Ravel:

Air du Feu: “Arrière…” from L'enfant et les sortilèges

Strauss, R:

Sento un certo non so che (from Die schweigsame Frau)

Verdi:

È strano! è strano!...Ah! fors è lui (from La traviata)

È strano! è strano!...Ah! fors è lui...Sempre libera (from La Traviata)


Eli Kristin Hanssveen (soprano)

Operaorkestret, John Fiore

Critics rightfully have called soprano Eli Kristin Hanssveen “the new opera diva”. Her spectacular voice has been the catalyst for a steadily rising career, and she is known for her unique charisma and acting talent. In 2002 she made her opera debut at the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, where she has been soloist since 2010.

“a short ride in a fast machine...Can she do all this? Well, yes, and often rather well” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“It is [in the Ravel] that the Operaorkesteret under the sensitive John Fiore show themselves to be quite superb and not merely a band knocked together for a recording...Hanssveen clearly loves the experience. This all demonstrates that her voice is marvellously flexible and...she is well able to delve into and indeed inhabit the romantic heart of these chosen pieces.” MusicWeb International, 21st March 2014

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Prokofiev: The Gambler, Op. 24

Prokofiev: The Gambler, Op. 24


Sergei Aleksashkin (The General), Tatiana Pavlovskaya (Pauline), Vladimir Galuzin (Alexei), Larissa Dyadkova (Babulenka), Nikolai Gassiev (Marquis), Alexander Gergalov (Mr Astley), Mlle Blanche (Nadezhda Serdyuk), Andrei Popov (Prince Nilsky), Oleg Sychev (Baron Wurmerhelm) & Andrei Spekhov (Potapych)

Mariinsky Orchestra, Valery Gergiev (conductor) & Laurent Gentot (director)

The Mariinsky label releases its second opera DVD & Blu-ray, Prokofiev’s 'The Gambler'. Filmed in the historic Mariinsky Theatre in 2010, it stars celebrated Russian tenor Vladimir Galuzin and bass Sergei Aleksashkin, and is conducted by Valery Gergiev. It is of fundamental significance that under Gergiev’s baton the Mariinsky Orchestra and opera company have performed all of Prokofiev’s symphonies, concerti and operas on numerous occasions.

Georgian director Temur Chkheidze, who also presented the Mariinsky’s last production in 1996 and directed the opera with critical success at the Metropolitan Opera in 2001, gives a fresh look to Prokofiev’s first opera.

Set in the fictional town of Roulettenburg in the mid-19th Century, 'The Gambler' is a four-act opera that displays the dramatic highs and lows involved in the game of chance. At the centre of the story is Alexei, who is in love with The General’s step-daughter, Pauline. All of the characters fall victim to the temptation of gambling, each one consumed by the obsession and greed that drives them.

Vladimir Galuzin, who plays the role of Alexei, is indisputably one of the world’s leading dramatic tenors, known for his unrivaled stentorious voice and extremely vivid characterisations of some of the most demanding roles. A Mariinsky soloist since 1990, he is much in demand internationally, performing regularly during the last two decades as a guest of most of the world’s most prominent opera houses, concert halls and festivals. The role of The General is played by Russian bass Sergei Aleksashkin. Three-time recipient of the Golden Sofit, St Petersburg’s most prestigious theatre prize, Sergei has been a Mariinsky Theatre soloist since 1989, singing title roles in Mussorgsky’s 'Boris Godunov' and Glinka’s 'Ruslan and Lyudmila'.

DURATION 2 hours 35'

Recorded at the Mariinsky Theatre, June 2010

Performed in Italian: subtitles in Russian, English, Japanese, German and French

“Musically, this performance is very strong. Gergiev is on his home territory here, and he has the orchestra and singers eating out of his hand...The finest vocal actor in the cast is the General of Sergei Aleksashkin who carefully treads the line between the buffoon and the victim.” MusicWeb International, 6th August 2013

“Gergiev conducts with exemplary clarity but not the requisite volatility” BBC Music Magazine, October 2013 ***

“The Mariinsky players are at their most impressive, and Valery Gergiev sustains Prokofiev’s driving energy from start to finish with theatrical force that I had not expected from this work. Both the sound and video direction cannot be seriously faulted.” International Record Review, September 2013

“The stage production by Temur Chkheidze is simple and straightforward...The cast is a decent one overall, with Tatiana Pavlovskaya making a glamorous Polina, Sergei Aleksashkin an old bumbler as the General, and Nikolai Gassiev and Alexander Gergalov both nicely suave as the Marquis and Mr Astley” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

DVD Video

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Mariinsky - MAR0536

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$20.25

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Lucia Aliberti: Early Verdi Arias

Lucia Aliberti: Early Verdi Arias

CD+BOOK


Verdi:

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

Tu del mio Carlo (from I masnadieri)

Carlo vive? (from I Masnadieri)

Da Gusman, su fragil barca (from Alzira)

Alta pietade ogn'anima...Nell'astro che più fulgido (from Alzira)

Allor che i forti (from Attila)

Da te questo or m'è concesso (from Attila)

Oh, cielo! Dove son'io!...Ah! dagli scanni eterei...Ah, dal sen di quella tomba (from Aroldo)

O madre, dal cielo …Se vano, se vano è il pregare (from I Lombardi)

I vinti sorgono (from I Lombardi)

Oh ben s'addice questo torbido cielo … Sempre all'alba ed alla sera (from Giovanna d'Arco)

Non san quant' io nel petto (from Un giorno di regno)

Non vo' quel vecchio (from Un giorno di regno)

Quante volte come un dono (from La Battaglia di Legnano)

A frenarti, o cor nel petto (from La Battaglia di Legnano)

Surta è la notte...Ernani! Ernani, involami (from Ernani)

Tutto sprezzo che d'Ernani (from Ernani)

Tu al cui sguardo onnipossente (from I due Foscari)

O patrizi, tremate (from I due Foscari)

Si colmi il calice di vino eletto (from Macbeth)


Lucia Aliberti (soprano)

Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, Milan, Oleg Caetani

The celebrated Italian soprano Lucia Aliberti presents arias by twelve Verdi heroines from some of the composer’s lesser-known early operas. The collection includes music from I Vespri Siciliani, I Masnadieri, Alzira, Attila, Aroldo, I Lombardi, Giovanna d’Arco, Un Giorno di Regno, La Battaglia di Legnano, Ernani, I Due Foscari and Macbeth.

Italian soprano Lucia Aliberti was born in September, 1961 in Sicily. She is especially renowned for her performances in the bel canto roles in operas by Verdi, Bellini, Rossini, Donizetti, and Puccini. As a young singer she studied with Luigi Ricci and the great Alfredo Krauss. After winning the Spoleto and Enal competitions she began her artistic career in Spoleto at the "Festival dei Due Mondi" under the direction of Giancarlo Menotti. Since then she has appeared at all of the world’s great opera houses and festivals. Lucia Aliberti is also a multi-instrumentalist and composer and has written several works for piano, clarinet, flute, and voice.

“[there is] such a strong sense of expressive integration that one can think Aliberti isn't taking some of the cadenzas - not true - because she delivers expressive elements and vocal fireworks as all of a piece...Aliberti suggests [Verdi] knew exactly what he was doing” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“Aliberti delivers lovely pianissimo singing and fluent coloratura...this is a fine recital with a lot of rare repertoire. The recording is first class, the orchestra good and Caetani an experienced Verdian.” MusicWeb International, 7th November 2013

Challenge Classics - CC72589

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Rossini: Semiramide

Rossini: Semiramide


Alex Penda (soprano), Marianna Pizzolato (contralto), Lorenzo Regazzo (bass), Andrea Mastroni (bass), John Osborn (tenor), Marija Jokovic (soprano), Raffaele Facciola (bass), Vassilis Kavayas (tenor)

Poznan Camerata Bach Choir, Virtuosi Brunensis, Antonino Fogliani

Following his triumphant visit to Vienna in 1822, when several of his operas were extremely well received, international success beckoned for Rossini. First performed at La Fenice, Venice in 1823, Semiramide was Rossini’s last Italian opera, written at the height of his creative powers. Its subject is Greek tragedy for which librettist Gaetano Rossi drew on an adaptation by Voltaire. Instrumentally sophisticated and classically structured, the opera remains one of the most remarkable examples of Rossini’s cultivation of bel canto.

“Osborn's Idreno sits well alongside the other principals in this powerfully cast set. In terms of technique and dramatic presence, Marianna Pizzolato yields nothing to Marilyn Horne...[Penda] is a formidable Semiramide, in general presence if not at all points of vocal technique...an indispensable addition to any representative collection of serious Rossini” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“[Penda] combines a blazing, wide-open top with the juicy lower-middle range that is particularly vital...Pizzolato's exceptional evenness of tone proves as great a joy to the ear as her sincerity and expressive directness...[Osborn] sails through the music with splendid coloratura...the four leading singers in Naxos's performance deserve the attention of anyone who loves Rossini.” International Record Review, September 2013

“Alex Penda is a very impressive Semiramide. Unusually for this role, her rich, lustrous vocal tone is more suited to the middle and bottom of the part... Lorenzo Ragazzo is excellent as Assur. He is always lyrical and inherently musical, but he keeps just the right amount of darkness to his voice to remind us of the character’s villainy.” MusicWeb International, 2nd September 2013

“this new Semiramide rivals Pesaro standards thanks to Fogliani’s ever-alert and lively conducting. His cast includes singers who challenge this long and wonderful opera’s most famous interpreters on disc...this is an unmissable bargain.” Sunday Times, 14th July 2013

“there is the Bulgarian soprano Alex Penda's staggering Semiramide – thrillingly sung, and the most complex characterisation of the role on disc. Lorenzo Regazzo is formidable as Assur, while John Osborn, in his finest performance on disc to date, is immensely touching as Arsace's love-rival Idreno. Imperfect yet wonderful and highly recommended.” The Guardian, 8th August 2013 ****

Naxos - 8660340-42

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Mozart: Don Giovanni, K527

Mozart: Don Giovanni, K527

Festival d’Aix-en-Provence - 07/2010


Bo Skovhus (Don Giovanni), Kyle Ketelsen (Leporello), David Bizic (Masetto), Colin Balzer (Don Ottavio), Kristine Opolais (Donna Elvira), Kerstin Avemo (Zerlina) & Anatoli Kotscherga (Il Commandatore)

English Voices & Freiburger Barockorchester, Louis Langrée

Stage direction: Dmitri Tcherniakov

Costumes: Dmitri Tcherniakov & Elena Zaitseva

Lighting Gleb Filshtinsky

A new 'Don Giovanni' in Aix from renowned Russian stage director Dmitri Tcherniakov, awarded best director at the International Opera Awards 2013, and conductor Louis Langrée.

More than two centuries after its creation, the emotional pull of this supreme opera remains absolutely intact. Dmitri Tcherniakov duly revisits the myth and makes the seducer of Seville a ‘man without qualities’, a cipher whose words have a hypnotic power over women. His words will disrupt the proprieties ruling the Commandatore’s family. His words are also what makes Don Juan such a subversive figure and the embodiment of one of the most powerful modern European myths.

Leading the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra is one of the best Mozart conductors, Louis Langrée. Bo Skovhus portrays a dispirited Don Giovanni, old playboy and anti-hero. Kyle Ketelsen is his servant Leporello, currently a shoe-in for this rôle.

The superb female trio is composed of Marlis Petersen (Donna Anna), Kristine Opolais (Elvira) and Kerstin Avemo (Zerlina).

“The recitative to ‘La ci darem la mano’ and the duet itself are played and sung introspectively, slowly, convincing once Giovanni is sincere. It is among the most effective passages in the show...Petersen is not a deliverer of tremendous volume but has the necessary flexibility with a brightness at her vocal core.” International Record Review, September 2013

“The singing is good, and the acting is so accomplished that you feel you are watching 'real life' rather than 'a performance'. The orchestra plays well. If Louis Langree's conducting lacks tenderness, it certainly accords with this very unjocular interpretation of da Ponte's dramma giocoso...Tcherniakov has more knowledge than understanding.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“Tcherniakov's reading gives depth to a drama too often tripped up by creaking period theatrical conceits...Skovhus is electrifying in the lead role as he pivots from roaring malevolence to whispered fragility...The Freiburg Baroque Orchestra under Louis Langree articulates extreme states of mind latent in Mozart's score...This DVD is a must-see.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2013 *****

“It's beautifully performed – Skovhus has done nothing finer – and there's an outstanding Ottavio, morally implacable rather than dithering, in Colin Balzer. But the narrative remains Tcherniakov's rather than Mozart's” The Guardian, 28th November 2013 ***

BBC Music Magazine

DVD Choice - November 2013

DVD Video

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Bel Air Classiques - BAC080

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$30.25

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Mozart: Don Giovanni, K527

Mozart: Don Giovanni, K527

Festival d’Aix-en-Provence - 07/2010


Bo Skovhus (Don Giovanni), Kyle Ketelsen (Leporello), David Bizic (Masetto), Colin Balzer (Don Ottavio), Kristine Opolais (Donna Elvira), Kerstin Avemo (Zerlina) & Anatoli Kotscherga (Il Commandatore)

English Voices & Freiburger Barockorchester, Louis Langrée

Stage direction: Dmitri Tcherniakov

Costumes: Dmitri Tcherniakov & Elena Zaitseva

Lighting Gleb Filshtinsky

A new 'Don Giovanni' in Aix from renowned Russian stage director Dmitri Tcherniakov, awarded best director at the International Opera Awards 2013, and conductor Louis Langrée.

More than two centuries after its creation, the emotional pull of this supreme opera remains absolutely intact. Dmitri Tcherniakov duly revisits the myth and makes the seducer of Seville a ‘man without qualities’, a cipher whose words have a hypnotic power over women. His words will disrupt the proprieties ruling the Commandatore’s family. His words are also what makes Don Juan such a subversive figure and the embodiment of one of the most powerful modern European myths.

Leading the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra is one of the best Mozart conductors, Louis Langrée. Bo Skovhus portrays a dispirited Don Giovanni, old playboy and anti-hero. Kyle Ketelsen is his servant Leporello, currently a shoe-in for this rôle.

The superb female trio is composed of Marlis Petersen (Donna Anna), Kristine Opolais (Elvira) and Kerstin Avemo (Zerlina).

Running time: 183 min.

Bonus: Don Giovanni in Aix-en-Provence (26 min.)

Booklet: (FR / ANGL / ALL)

Subtitles: (FR / ANGL / ALL / ESP / IT)

Image: 1080i, Colour, 16/9, NTSC

Sound: PCM Stereo, DTS HD Master Audio 5.1

“The recitative to ‘La ci darem la mano’ and the duet itself are played and sung introspectively, slowly, convincing once Giovanni is sincere. It is among the most effective passages in the show.” International Record Review, September 2013

“The singing is good, and the acting is so accomplished that you feel you are watching 'real life' rather than 'a performance'. The orchestra plays well. If Louis Langree's conducting lacks tenderness, it certainly accords with this very unjocular interpretation of da Ponte's dramma giocoso...Tcherniakov has more knowledge than understanding.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“Tcherniakov's reading gives depth to a drama too often tripped up by creaking period theatrical conceits...Skovhus is electrifying in the lead role as he pivots from roaring malevolence to whispered fragility...The Freiburg Baroque Orchestra under Louis Langree articulates extreme states of mind latent in Mozart's score...This DVD is a must-see.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2013 *****

“It's beautifully performed – Skovhus has done nothing finer – and there's an outstanding Ottavio, morally implacable rather than dithering, in Colin Balzer. But the narrative remains Tcherniakov's rather than Mozart's” The Guardian, 28th November 2013 ***

BBC Music Magazine

DVD/Blu-ray Choice - November 2013

Blu-ray Disc

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Bel Air Classiques - BAC480

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Prokofiev: The Gambler, Op. 24

Prokofiev: The Gambler, Op. 24


Sergei Aleksashkin (The General), Tatiana Pavlovskaya (Pauline), Vladimir Galuzin (Alexei), Larissa Dyadkova (Babulenka), Nikolai Gassiev (Marquis), Alexander Gergalov (Mr Astley), Mlle Blanche (Nadezhda Serdyuk), Andrei Popov (Prince Nilsky), Oleg Sychev (Baron Wurmerhelm) & Andrei Spekhov (Potapych)

Mariinsky Orchestra, Valery Gergiev (conductor) & Laurent Gentot (director)

The Mariinsky label releases its second opera DVD & Blu-ray, Prokofiev’s 'The Gambler'. Filmed in the historic Mariinsky Theatre in 2010, it stars celebrated Russian tenor Vladimir Galuzin and bass Sergei Aleksashkin, and is conducted by Valery Gergiev. It is of fundamental significance that under Gergiev’s baton the Mariinsky Orchestra and opera company have performed all of Prokofiev’s symphonies, concerti and operas on numerous occasions.

Georgian director Temur Chkheidze, who also presented the Mariinsky’s last production in 1996 and directed the opera with critical success at the Metropolitan Opera in 2001, gives a fresh look to Prokofiev’s first opera.

Set in the fictional town of Roulettenburg in the mid-19th Century, 'The Gambler' is a four-act opera that displays the dramatic highs and lows involved in the game of chance. At the centre of the story is Alexei, who is in love with The General’s step-daughter, Pauline. All of the characters fall victim to the temptation of gambling, each one consumed by the obsession and greed that drives them.

Vladimir Galuzin, who plays the role of Alexei, is indisputably one of the world’s leading dramatic tenors, known for his unrivaled stentorious voice and extremely vivid characterisations of some of the most demanding roles. A Mariinsky soloist since 1990, he is much in demand internationally, performing regularly during the last two decades as a guest of most of the world’s most prominent opera houses, concert halls and festivals. The role of The General is played by Russian bass Sergei Aleksashkin. Three-time recipient of the Golden Sofit, St Petersburg’s most prestigious theatre prize, Sergei has been a Mariinsky Theatre soloist since 1989, singing title roles in Mussorgsky’s 'Boris Godunov' and Glinka’s 'Ruslan and Lyudmila'.

DURATION 2 hours 35'

Recorded at the Mariinsky Theatre, June 2010

Performed in Italian: subtitles in Russian, English, Japanese, German and French

“Gergiev conducts with exemplary clarity but not the requisite volatility” BBC Music Magazine, October 2013 ***

“Musically, this performance is very strong. Gergiev is on his home territory here, and he has the orchestra and singers eating out of his hand...The finest vocal actor in the cast is the General of Sergei Aleksashkin who carefully treads the line between the buffoon and the victim.” MusicWeb International, October 2013

“The stage production by Temur Chkheidze is simple and straightforward...The cast is a decent one overall, with Tatiana Pavlovskaya making a glamorous Polina, Sergei Aleksashkin an old bumbler as the General, and Nikolai Gassiev and Alexander Gergalov both nicely suave as the Marquis and Mr Astley” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“The Mariinsky players are at their most impressive, and Valery Gergiev sustains Prokofiev’s driving energy from start to finish with theatrical force that I had not expected from this work. Both the sound and video direction cannot be seriously faulted.” International Record Review, September 2013

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Handel: Aci, Galatea e Polifemo

Handel: Aci, Galatea e Polifemo


Roberta Invernizzi (Aci), Blandine Staskiewicz (Galatea) & Lisandro Abadie (Polifemo)

La Risonanza, Fabio Bonizzoni

Fabio Bonizzoni returns with his long-awaited new recording of Handel’s 'Aci, Galatea e Polifemo'. Who better to team up with Bonizzoni, performing the role of the luckless shepherd Aci, than scintillating soprano Roberta Invernizzi. Her captivating contributions to Glossa's Handel series with La Risonanza as well as her 'I Viaggi di Faustina' have drawn powerful critical plaudits, including more than one disc of the Month.

Handel’s virtuosic and ebullient score, written for a 1708 wedding whilst he was in Naples (Carlo Vitali sets the scene in his enjoyably discursive booklet essay) also summons Argentinean bass, Lisandro Abadie, to demonstrate an awe-inspiring range that well becomes the monstrous nature of Polifemo. He is joined by French mezzo Blandine Staskiewicz, admirably suited to portray Galatea’s plaintive charms.

+ Bonus track from 'Clori, Tirsi e Fileno', HWV 96, Cantata a tre, Roma 1707: Duetto, Senza occhi e senza accenti

“The deftness of tempos, sweetness of variations, detailing of dynamics, and above all the musicians' total investment in the drama are irresistable...[Invernizzi and Abadie] ignite the other performers, spurring the ensemble to new affective heights...This is a benchmark recording of Aci” BBC Music Magazine, November 2013 *****

“Its range of musical delights included Aci’s poignant lament ‘Verso gia L’alma’ and Polifemo’s tenebrous ‘Fra l’ombre e gli orrori’, with its thrilling vocal plunge through two-and-a-half octaves. This disc serves as a coda to Fabio Bonizzoni’s excellent recordings of Handel’s Italian cantatas.” Early Music Today, December 2013

“Staskiewicz sings with clean, 'straight' tone but doesn't begin to suggest Galatea's sensuality...I'm glad to have heard Invernizzi in Aci's music; and the playing of La Risonanza is lively and supple.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“[Abadie is] a real discovery in this virtuoso role. He is matched by Invernizzi in the male lead role of Aci, her bright soprano lithe and agile...Staskiewicz sounds like a young Bernarda Fink as Galatea...Like Risonanza’s previous issues, this deserves to be garlanded with awards.” Sunday Times, 1st September 2013

“it has a succession of quite wonderful arias which Fabio Bonizzoni and his crack team...realise with edgy eloquence...[Lisandro Abadie's] passion is touching, as is the poise of Roberta Invernizzi's ice-cold grief in the show-stopping Verso già l'alma.” The Observer, 8th September 2013 ****

“Bonizzoni’s excellent ensemble plays it with terrific verve, and the fabulously free-wheeling arias - Handel before he donned the Hanoverian straitjacket – are dispatched with style and energy” The Times, 14th September 2013 ****

Glossa - GCD921515

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Sounds, Sweet Airs and the Art of Longing

Sounds, Sweet Airs and the Art of Longing


Corbetta:

Prelud

Dowland:

Mr Dowland's Midnight

Lanier:

No more shall meads be deck'd with flow'rs (Love's constancy)

Weep no more my wearied eyes

Lawes, H:

Bid me but live, and I will live

Slide soft, you silver floods

Wert thou yet fairer than thou art

Transcendent Beauty

Purcell:

An Evening Hymn 'Now that the sun hath veiled his light', Z193

Taylor, J:

Tell me not that I die or live by thee

Torget:

Divine

Oh, dream where art thou now?

Diving

Lullaby

Vaughan Williams:

Orpheus With His Lute

Let Beauty awake

Take, O Take Those Lips Away (No. 1 from Three Songs from Shakespeare)

The Sky above the Roof

A Clear Midnight


Elisabeth Holmertz (soprano), Frederik Bock (lute), Poul Hoxbro (low whistle)

Many composers have been reluctant to set Shakespeare’s words to text, but Vaughan Williams remained undaunted, using his words many times in his compositions. This disc includes RVW’s ‘Orpheus with his lute’ and many other songs of longing of the early baroque. Performed by Swedish soprano Elisabeth Holmertz, the duo of Holmertz and Bock accompany her, along with Poul Hoxbro on low whistle.

“Holmertz brings a rustic folk-sensibility to her devliery, which works best when echoed in the intricate ornaments and husky vibrato of Hoxbro's whistle.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

Contemporary Music - up to 25% off

LAWO - LWC1042

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The Dowland Project & John Potter: Night Sessions

The Dowland Project & John Potter: Night Sessions


1. First descent

2. Menino Jesus á Lappa

3. Recercar (Joan Ambrosio Dalza)

4. Can vei la lauzeta mover

5. First triage (Bernart de Ventadorn)

6. Man in the moon

7. Corpus Christi

8. Whistling in the dark

9. Swart mekerd smethes

10. Fumeux fume (Solage)

11. Hortus ignotus

12. Mystery play

13. I sing of a maiden

14. Theoleptus 22

15. Second descent

16. Second triage

17. Prelude (Pierre Attaignant)


John Potter (tenor), John Surman (saxophones, bass clarinet, percussion), Stephen Stubbs (lute), Maya Homburger (violin), Milos Valent (violin, viola) & Barry Guy (double bass)

English tenor John Potter’s Dowland Project returns with the album Night Sessions, following In Darkness Let Me Dwell (4652342), Care-Charming Sleep (4760522) and Romaria (4765780) in a highly successful series. From its inception, The Dowland Project has drawn upon different musical traditions including those of ‘early music’ and improvisation. These “Night Sessions” emphasize the group’s improvisational flexibility and resourcefulness, as the musicians create new music in the moment, sometimes with medieval poetry as inspirational reference and guide.

There are also a number of ‘daytime’ pieces worked up, Potter notes, from small amounts of notation: ‘Menino Jesus á Lappa’ is based on Portuguese pilgrim song fragments and ‘Theoleptus 22’ built around a Byzantine chant. Lute fantasias are taken from Dalza’s Intabolatura de Lauto (Venice, 1508) and Attaignant’s Tres breve et familiere introduction...a jouer toutes chansons (Paris, 1529). The oldest compositions are Can vei la lauzeta mover - a love song by the 12th century troubadour Bernart de Ventadorn, and Fumeux fume by the 14th century avant-gardist Solage.

Two incarnations of the Dowland Project are heard here, the original band with Potter, lutenist Stephen Stubbs and saxophonist John Surman joined by bassist Barry Guy and baroque violinist Maya Homburger, and the revised line-up with Milos Valent on violin and viola. The sessions were recorded in the wonderful acoustic of the church at the St Gerold monastery in the Austrian Alps.

“This album has all the virtues and delights of the previous ones. If anything, it's more challenging and experimental. These immaculate, lithe performances, replete with passion, adventurousness, exemplary phrasing and timing and tonal beauty, will make your scalp prickle.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2013 *****

“It seems pointless to try too hard to describe these tracks; like most jazz, folk and early music, all of which is draws from, people will surrender to its atmosphere and sound (beautiful, in my opinion, and beautifully recorded too) before its intellectual processes.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

ECM New Series - 4765968

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Ghirlanda Sacra Venezia, 1625

Ghirlanda Sacra Venezia, 1625

Complete Edition


Arigoni:

Tota pulchra es amica mea

Bone Jesu

Domine Jesu Christe

Barbarino:

Venite Ad Me

Audi, Dulcis Amica Mea

Berti, A:

Hodie apparuerunt delitiae

Bondioli:

Ave verum corpus

Caprioli, G:

In lectulo per noctes

Congratulamini mihi omnes

Castello, D:

Sonata Quarta

Exultate Deo

Cavalli:

Cantate Domino

Finetti:

Domine quis habitabit

Beata es virgo Maria

Freddi:

Cognoscam te Domine

Salve Regina

Gallerano:

Gaudeamus omnes

Grandi:

O quam tu pulchra es

Quam pulchra es spetiosa mea

Cantabo Domine

Exaudi Deus orationem meam

Martinengo:

Regnum mundi

Massiccio:

Accipe dilecte mi

Milanuzzi:

Anima miseranda

Monteverdi:

Ecce sacrum paratum

Currite populi

O quam pulchra es

Salve Regina

Obizzi:

Jubilate Deo omnis terra

Picchi:

Salve Christe

Pozzo:

Veni Sancte Spiritus

Priuli:

Inter natos mulierum

Ave dulcissima Maria

Rovetta:

O Maria quam pulchra es

Rovetto:

Gaudete omnes

Sabino, G M:

O Sacrum Convivium

Crux Fidelis

Ecce panis angelorum

Repleatur os meum laude

Scorzuto:

Domine Deus salutis meae

O bone Jesu

Stella, A:

Bonum est confiteri Domino

Confitebor tibi Domine

Usper:

Vulnerasti cor meum

Nativitas tua


Ensemble Primi Toni, Nicola Lamon

Text in: Italian - English by Jolando Scarpa

The collection of 44 motets for solo voice and basso continuo that was published in Venice in 1625 by Leonardo Simonetti appeared on the scene of early-16th-century Italian music as one of the most important works in the field of sacred solo-voice motets. The editor, a chorister in the Cappella Marciana, which was then conducted by the great Claudio Monteverdi, collected these pieces choosing them among the most important ones produced by composers chiefly from the area of Venice and Veneto. This anthology of motets, all of them magnificent, includes, besides Claudio Monteverdi, other composers who were active in Venice during the 16th century as choirmasters and organists in the churches of Frari, San Salvador and San Marco, and in the Venetian Hospitals: among them, there are Giovanni Rovetta, Alessandro Grandi, Giovanni Caprioli, Giacomo Finetti, Dario Castello, Francesco Usper, Carlo Milanuzzi and Bartolomeo Barbarino.

“There is something to be said for the straightforward warts-and-all honesty of the natural sound, and this is a useful reference tool for early-17th-century Venetian church music beyond Monteverdi.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

Tactus - TC620080

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Hugo Wolf: The Complete Songs Volume 6

Hugo Wolf: The Complete Songs Volume 6

Lenau & Spanisches Liederbuch (Geistliche Lieder)


Wolf, H:

Spanisches Liederbuch: selection

Lieder nach Lenau


Birgid Steinberger (soprano), Anna Huntley (mezzo), Benjamin Hulett (tenor), Marcus Farnsworth (baritone) & Sholto Kynoch (piano)

The sixth disc in the first-ever complete Hugo Wolf song series.

Includes the sacred part of his Spanish songbook and his rarely heard Lenau settings, including four world-première recordings.

Part of the Oxford Lieder Live series, a unique collaboration between the famous Oxford Lieder Festival and Stone Records.

Recorded live at the Oxford Lieder Festival in 2012.

Performed by four talented and prize-winning UK Lieder singers.

Accompanied by Oxford Lieder’s artistic director Sholto Kynoch.

Booklet includes translations and detailed notes by Richard Stokes.

“The use of a variety of voice-types rules out sameness, but the singers bring varying degrees of fantasy, so that quality is inconsistent. In the Lenau set, Huntley’s mezzo, noble in timbre and confidential in tone, does fulsome justice to “Traurige Wege” and “Herbstentschluss”” Financial Times, 27th July 2013 ***

“The quality of sound in these latest discs in Stone's Wolf series is wonderfully vivid and full of presence. As before, the formula is to present Wolf's songs in logical groups sung by talented young singers with fresh voices...Kynoch is an excellent accompanist throughout.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

Stone Records Hugo Wolf Complete Songs - ST8028

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Hugo Wolf: The Complete Songs Volume 5

Hugo Wolf: The Complete Songs Volume 5

Heine, Reinick, Shakespeare & Byron


Wolf, H:

Liederstrauss

Wo wird einst

Lied des transferierten Zettel

Sonne der Schlummerlosen

Keine gleicht von allen Schönen

Gesellenlied (No. 7 from Reinick-Lieder)

Morgenstimmung

Skolie

Liebchen, wo bist du? (No. 2 from Reinick-Lieder)

Wohin mit der Freud? (No. 1 from Reinick-Lieder)

Nachtgruss (No. 3 from Reinick-Lieder)

Frühlingsglocken (No. 4 from Reinick-Lieder)

Ständchen 'Komm in die stille Nacht!' (No. 5 from Reinick-Lieder)

Liebesbotschaft (No. 6 from Reinick-Lieder)

Frohe Botschaft (No. 9 from Reinick-Lieder)

Dem Vaterland

Wo ich bin, mich rings umdumkelt

Es war ein alter Konig

Ernst ist der Fruhling

Madchen mit dem roten Mundchen

Du bist wie eine Blume

Wenn ich in deine Augen she

Spatherbstnebel kalte Traume

Mit schwarzen Segeln

Sterne mit den gold’nen Füsschen

Wie des Mondes Abbild zittert


Sarah-Jane Brandon (soprano), Daniel Norman (tenor), William Dazeley (baritone) & Sholto Kynoch (piano)

The first complete recording of the songs of Hugo Wolf (1860-1903).

The fifth disc in the first-ever complete Hugo Wolf song series.

Features many rare songs, include one première recording.

Part of the Oxford Lieder Live series, a unique collaboration between the famous Oxford Lieder Festival and Stone Records.

Recorded live in Oxford in 2012.

Performed by three talented and prize-winning UK Lieder singers.

Accompanied by Oxford Lieder’s artistic director Sholto Kynoch.

Booklet includes translations and detailed notes by Richard Stokes.

“Programme comprises some of the composer’s liveliest – and coincidentally, least-known – songs” Financial Times, 30th March 2013

“The quality of sound in these latest discs in Stone's Wolf series is wonderfully vivid and full of presence. As before, the formula is to present Wolf's songs in logical groups sung by talented young singers with fresh voices...Kynoch is an excellent accompanist throughout.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

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Schubert: Winterreise D911

Schubert: Winterreise D911


Christoph Prégardien (tenor) & Michael Gees (piano)

World-famous tenor Christoph Prégardien continues his series of recordings for Challenge Classics of Schubert song-cycles, with what many consider to be the composer’s greatest work in the genre “Winterreise”. As with the previous critically acclaimed release of “Die Schone Mullerin” the pianist on this hybrid SACD is Michael Gees.

Christoph Prégardien has made almost 200 recordings for all the major labels, amongst which are several for Challenge Classics. These include recordings released in 2008 of Schubert’s “Die Schone Mullerin” with Michael Gees, (CC72292), which was a Gramophone Editor’s Choice, and the same composer’s “Schwanengesang” with Andreas Staier (CC72302). Prégardien and Gees also released the award winning ‘Between Life and Death’ in 2009, which featured songs and arias by composers including Mahler, Schubert, Schumann, Wolf, Brahms, and Mozart.

This recording of Winterreise is also available on DVD and Blu-ray, featuring a studio performance of the cycle, and a documentary with artist interviews and behind-the-scenes footage of the studio recording process.

“Prégardien, that most baritonal of tenors, has a beautiful nut-brown voice allied to a Fischer-Dieskau-like intensity of communication. Gees sees to it that the keyboard part for once makes full impact, bringing some remarkably potent gestures to his playing” Sunday Times, 2nd June 2013

“This is the voice of an older Pregardien: he has the grey hair for which Schubert's lonely wanderer longs. But the voice is in superb form, sensing out the underlying pulse and the minutest inflections of longing, delight, determination and soul-weariness...Gees has freshly reconsidered so much detail, too” BBC Music Magazine, September 2013 *****

“Diction and word-colouring are a delight: we get a detailed, precisely-inflected portrait of the poet’s descent into despair, thoughtfully supported by Gees and recorded in immaculate sound.” Financial Times, 17th August 2013 ****

“Prégardien and Gees strike the listener as thinking their way through the experience of the lover as he is himself understanding it. Throughout the cycle their performance is marked by this quality of immediacy...This is a beautiful, constantly attentive, never over-stated and deeply affecting performance of Winterreise, one for lovers of Schubert's songs to treasure.” International Record Review, September 2013

“Prégardien, finely abetted by Michael Gees's discerning, precisely coloured pianism...Crucially, he 'lives' the cycle as vividly as ever...Prégardien remains at once one of the most scrupulous and moving interpreters of Winterreise.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - Awards Issue 2013

BBC Music Magazine

Choral & Song Choice - September 2013

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Rautavaara: Sacred Choral Works

Rautavaara: Sacred Choral Works


Rautavaara:

Missa A Cappella

Psalm Of Invocation

Ehtoohymni (Evening hymn)

Missa Duodecanonica

Ave Maria

Canticum Mariae virginis

Our joyful'st feast 'When icicles hang by the wall'

Die erste Elegie


Latvian Radio Choir, Sigvards Kļava

Ondine continues its long-term collaboration with Einojuhani Rautavaara with the world première recording of his Missa a cappella.

Einojuhani Rautavaara – a self-described “mythstic” – has written a considerable amount of sacred music, including works in the Lutheran, Catholic and Orthodox traditions. His Missa a cappella is one of his most significant recent works, and is here recorded alongside extracts of the Vigilia – his most extensive sacred choral work – his Missa duodecanonica, and a number of smaller sacred choral works.

The Latvian Radio Choir is one of the top chamber choirs in Europe, praised by Gramophone as “an outstanding body of singers”. As a “sound laboratory”, the singers investigate alternative techniques to enhance their vocal skills – from traditional methods to the art of quartertone and overtone singing.

Under the direction of Sigvards Kļava, the Latvian Radio Choir has become an internationally acclaimed and vocally distinctive ensemble, constantly searching for new ideas. Under his guidance, the choir has recorded a several works by lesser-known composers, and have collaborated with a number of notable Latvian composers.

This is the Latvian Radio Choir’s follow-up disc to their highly acclaimed recording of Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil, which was Gramophone’s Recording of the Month in their February issue.

“The Latvian Radio Choir provide a polished account, catching the idiom nicely, although there are moments of discomfort in the Sanctus's solo passages...The most immediately appealing pieces are Psalm of Invocation and Evening Hymn” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“This is an excellent anthology of Rautavaara's choral music...The musical vocabulary here is in some ways austere and complex...but it is never dry and offers plenty of opportunity for the sheer beauty of the shining choral effects at which Rautavaara is a master.” International Record Review, September 2013

“The depth of tone is such that frequently one could believe that one is hearing a larger ensemble. The tonal quality of the choir is marvellous, whether they are singing softly or loudly...all admirers of this composer will surely want to have this splendid recording of his new Mass and anyone else who is interested in the choral music of our time should hear it also.” MusicWeb International, 29th October 2013

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Rossini: Petite Messe solennelle

Rossini: Petite Messe solennelle


Simon Bucher (piano), Andreas Grasle (harmonium)

Kirchheimer Vokal-Consort, Tonu Kaljuste

Next to the “Stabat Mater” the “Petite Messe Solonelle” of 1863 is Rossini’s second extensive sacred composition and without a doubt a highlight of his late works. On this recording one can hear the original version of the mass, in which the orchestra comprises of a piano and harmonium. This version produces an unmistakable timbre through which the typical Rossini rhythm obtains an additional flair.

“Kaljuste's forward-pressing tempi provide an element of urgency that acts both viscerally and spiritually. The Rossinian sense of joy is palpable yet the performance also etches in that undertow of anguish...The mezzo Ulrike Andersen is superb in the concluding 'Agnus Dei'.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

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Handel: Oratorio Arias

Handel: Oratorio Arias


Handel:

Alexander's Feast: Overture

Alexander's Feast: Revenge, revenge, Timotheus cries

Messiah: Thus saith the Lord

Messiah: But who may abide

Messiah: Behold, I tell you a mystery... The trumpet shall sound

Messiah: The trumpet shall sound

Acis and Galatea: Overture

I rage, I melt, I burn…O ruddier than the cherry (from Acis and Galatea)

O ruddier than the Cherry (from Acis and Galatea)

Whither Fairest Art Thou Running?...Cease to Beauty to be Suing (from Acis and Galatea)

Judas Maccabaeus: Overture

Judas Maccabaeus: O Father, whose Almighty power

Judas Maccabaeus: I feel the Deity within

Judas Maccabaeus: Arm, arm ye brave

Judas Maccabaeus: Be comforted

Judas Maccabaeus: The Lord worketh wonders

Judas Maccabaeus: Fallen is the foe

Judas Maccabaeus: Enough! to Heaven we leave

Judas Maccabaeus: With pious hearts

Judas Maccabaeus: Sing unto God

Judas Maccabaeus: Rejoice, O Judah

Judas Maccabaeus: Hallelujah, Amen


Adam Plachetka (baritone)

Czech Ensemble Baroque Orchestra & Choir, Roman Válek

“the Czech Ensemble Baroque Orchestra play solidly and Adam Plachetka's rich yet supple singing is up to the task most of the time.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

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Bruckner: Mass No. 3 in F minor

Bruckner: Mass No. 3 in F minor


Lenneke Ruiten (soprano), Iris Vermillion (mezzo), Shawn Mathey (tenor), Franz Josef Selig (bass-baritone)

Swiss Romande Orchestra, Rundfunkchor Berlin, Marek Janowski

In 2008 PentaTone started the recording of a complete Bruckner Symphonies cycle with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande conducted by Marek Janowski. All of them have now been recorded and most of them have been releases (with the exception of Symphonies Nrs. 2 and 4 which will be released later this year).

The cycle received a lot of critical acclaim. Gramophone reviewer Edward Seckerson mentioned “There’s more than a touch of the great Euchen Jochum in Janowski’s approach”. The current release is complementary to the Symphonies cycle and features the renowned Rundfunkchor Berlin and an excellent cast of soloists. Recorded in superior surround sound in the fine acoustics of Victoria Hall Geneva, makes this recording a must buy for Bruckner aficionados. There is currently no version on SA-CD available in the market.

“despite the heaviness of the scoring and big block textures of much of the choral writing, Janowski achieves a lightness and transparency throughout...The greatest plaudit here goes to the bass, Franz Josef Selig, who is warmly resonant. This flawless performance is of the highest quality.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“The choir does all he asks of it and is sufficiently strong in numbers to supply great strength in the louder passages...With Janowski demanding nothing excessive of the singers, the result is a suitable blend of the vigorous and the reverential.” International Record Review, September 2013

“In a judicious paced account Janowski confidently obtains both dramatic and deeply felt playing yet achieves a fresh and strong sense of spontaneity. The admirable team of soloists is well chosen...With a performance high on vitality and reverence Bruckner is well served by this impressive recording.” MusicWeb International, July 2013

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Monteverdi: Heaven and Earth

Monteverdi: Heaven and Earth


Monteverdi:

Toccata (L'Orfeo)

L'Orfeo: 'Dal mio Parnasso amato'

Zefiro torna

Ohimè, dov'è il mio ben (Book 7)

Chiome d'oro (Book 7)

Addio Roma! (from L'incoronazione di Poppea)

A Dio, Florida bella (Book 6)

Interrotte speranze

Lamento d'Arianna 'Lasciatemi morire'

Possente Spirto (from l'Orfeo)

O come sei gentile

Lamento della Ninfa (Book 8)

Cruda Amarilli (Book 5)

Hor che'l ciel e la terra (Book 8)


Fourth release on the new VIVAT label features an outstanding collection of vocal music by Claudio Monteverdi.

14 glorious tracks present an exquisitely varied programme on the theme of love in all its conflicting emotions, its joys and sweet pains affecting gods and mere mortals.

All-star cast including Carolyn Sampson, Sarah Connolly, Rebecca Outram, Charles Daniels and James Gilchrist joined by The King’s Consort’s highly colourful instrumental ensemble.

Includes the melancholy ‘Lamento della Ninfa’, the virtuoso ‘Zefiro torna’, exquisite love duets, Orfeo’s famous ‘Possente spirto’, a plangent lament from ‘Poppea’, and Monteverdi’s extraordinary ‘Hor che il ciel’.

Recorded in the unsurpassed acoustic of St Jude-on-the-Hill, London.

48 page booklet with authoritative liner note by renowned Monteverdi scholar Prof. John Whenham, plus full texts and translations.

“The star item in the opera selections is the aria 'Possente spirto'...[Charles Daniels] is vocally clear and magically acrobatic in the melodic cascades...Connolly's rendering of Poppea's farewell to Rome ('A Dio, Roma') is a revelation, powerful and moving...[the recordings'] consistent musicality provides an impressive introduction to Monteverdi's art.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2013 *****

“Recorded in 2002, but previously unreleased, this is a “greatest hits”, and none the worse for that...some of the choicest numbers from the last four books of madrigals, each work a distilled music drama.” Sunday Times

“Given the impressive cast involved, this anthology is in a sense self-recommending...This mix of opera and madrigal is a deft piece of programming, arguably worth the price of admission.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

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Bach - Cantatas for the Liturgical Year Volume 16

Bach - Cantatas for the Liturgical Year Volume 16


Bach, J S:

Cantata BWV34 'O ewiges Feuer, O Ursprung der Liebe'

Cantata BWV173 'Erhöhtes Fleisch und Blut'

Cantata BWV184 'Erwünschtes Freudenlicht

Cantata BWV129 'Gelobet sei der Herr, mein Gott'


In the beginning there was great scepticism towards the thesis that Bach’s sacred vocal works were originally written for solo voices. Now this interpretation is establishing itself more and more. With this edition of one cantata for each Sunday and the great feasts of the ecclesiastical year Sigiswald Kuijken and La Petite Bande want to strengthen this new approach and prove it right by their excellent performances.

This Vol. 16 of the edition offers four cantatas, one for the three days of Pentecost and one for the Sunday after Pentecost, Trinity Sunday.

“The first of the three consecutive arias has beautiful, lyrical playing… The singer are especially gracious in this cantata, with opportunities for each to display sensitive and lyrical singing… those who have fallen for chamber quality of these performances will find this one well up to scratch” Early Music Review, August 2013

“The music-making is graceful and stylishly alive to the spirit of the movements. All four singers (veterans of the series) consolidate Kuijken's supple immediacy in the solo arias and duets, but as a 'choir', the balance is sometimes skewed” BBC Music Magazine, October 2013 ****

“In the ensemble movements there is drama in abundance...In arias too Kuijken’s chosen tempi always feel right, while the relationship between solo voices and obbligato instruments is articulated to maximum effect...If a smaller ensemble is the option you prefer, these performances would be hard to better.” MusicWeb International, 25th September 2013

“As before in this series, the distilled nobility of the musicianship is heard to greatest effect in the beautifully turned instrumental contributions; the refined textures of joined strings and winds is often breathtakingly sympathetic.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“ The soprano Gerlinded Samann makes a delightful contribution to her sparkling successive duets with the bass Jan Van der Crabben… she also delivers a refined account of her gentle yet quite florid single aria… Van der Crabben, whose attractive and supple voice was already impressive from the start seems only to get better with each volume. His aria is a high point of the disc from his control and keenly intelligent phrasing.” International Record Review, November 2013

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Bartok, Prokofiev & Hindemith: Solo 2

Bartok, Prokofiev & Hindemith: Solo 2


Bartók:

Sonata for Solo Violin, BB 124, Sz. 117

Hindemith:

Sonata for Solo Violin, Op. 31 No. 1

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

Prokofiev:

Sonata in D major for solo violin, Op. 115


Ning Feng (violin)

BELA BARTOK composed his Sonata for violin solo (1944) after emigrating from Hungary to the USA on the outbreak of World War II. Political developments in Hungary and surrounding dictatorships became such an unbearable torment, that after long hesitation he said farewell to his fatherland. Before the October Revolution of 1918, SERGEY PROKOFIEV had been the enfant terrible of Russian music. His pointed, granite-like touch and - for that time - petrifying harmonies invariably caused violent controversies. In 1933, after a voluntary exile of fifteen years, homesickness brought him back to his fatherland.

PAUL HINDEMITH's name was established as a prominent contemporary composer, which led to his appointment in 1927 as composition teacher at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik. However, the rise to power of the Nazis brought an end to Hindemith's activities and performances of his music. His two 'crimes' were the composition of 'degenerate' music and his association with Jews. Via Switzerland he went into exile in the USA.

“His performances of all [the works] unveil his artistry and musical thought in a way more redolent of his live performance persona than the evidence we have hitherto had on disc, exposing him as the thoughtful - as well as astonishingly accurate and nimble - musician he is.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“In purely technical terms this is a CD of quite stunning violin playing. Every aspect of Ning Feng’s playing seems to be under extraordinary control...the level of musical insight does not match the technical brilliance. I feel almost ungrateful and churlish asking for more in the presence of such skill.” MusicWeb International, 1st November 2013

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Britten: Solo Cello Suites

Britten: Solo Cello Suites


Britten:

Suites for cello solo, Nos. 1-3

Temas 'Sacher'


Jamie Walton (cello)

Joining several discs from Signum celebrating Britten's Centenary Year in 2013 comes the three Suites for Solo Cello, performed by star UK cellist Jamie Walton. Recorded in the Britten Studio at Snape Maltings, Aldeburgh, the three suites were dedicated to Mstislav Rostropovich, with the passionate third in particular inspired by Rostropovich’s rich and romantic performances of Bach's unaccompanied suites.

“None of this music holds terrors for Walton, with his big, bold tone and formidable technique.” Sunday Times, 21st July 2013

“I greatly enjoy Walton’s at times almost teasing playfulness with Britten’s solo masterpieces, and in terms of technique and impressive expressive depth he ticks pretty much all the boxes.” MusicWeb International, 2nd October 2013

“Walton's musical thought continues to deepen, with each movement taking the listener further into the tangle of complexities that the music has to offer, his spirited performance...closely channelling Rostropovich himself.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“Walton’s second movement ‘Fuga’ is richly mellifluous, and actually sounds likes a fugue. An achievement in itself! More remarkable still are the three movements entitled ‘Canto’: Walton invests these with more significance than is usually heard, particularly the third, which is here dark and more foreboding.” International Record Review, December 2013

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Heino Eller: Complete Piano Music Volume 3

Heino Eller: Complete Piano Music Volume 3


Eller:

Ten Lyric Pieces

Study in A flat major

Study in G flat major (1919)

Study in G flat major (1917)

Preludes

Piano Sonata No. 4


Sten Lassmann (piano)

The third release (in a series of seven CDs) continues Toccata Classics’ pioneering releases of music by Baltic, and especially Estonian, composers.

Heino Eller (1887–1970) was one of the founding fathers of Estonian music – the best- known of his students is Arvo Pärt.

His huge output of piano music encompasses some 200 works, almost none of which have been recorded before – this CD includes nine first recordings and two first digital recordings. The music on this CD ranges from charming romantic miniatures and virtuoso showpieces to expressionist preludes and quirky folk-pieces. The main item is his 1939 Theme and Variations – one of his best works for piano, but not published or recorded before now.

“Never before recorded in its entirety, this is a major statement of intent in the face of adversity...A musicological expert on this music, Sten Lassmann is no less authoritative as an interpreter...Those who have yet to investigate Eller's piano output should certainly being here.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

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Akira Miyoshi: Piano Works

Akira Miyoshi: Piano Works


Miyoshi:

Sonate pour Piano

Chaînes: Préludes pour Piano

Pour le piano: Mouvement Circulaire et Croisé


Yukiko Kojima (piano)

Japanese pianist Yukiko Kojima brings together in a rare disc the major piano works of her compatriot Akira Miyoshi (born 1933). Drawing on Eastern traditions, physiological breath itself seems to dictate the rhythm of musical gestures and phrases. The emotions expressed vary continuously, as if the piano itself had its own language and told a story: one of fragile beauty and fleeting changes of delicate colours.

Akira Miyoshi was born in Tokyo, studied French literature at Tokyo University and spent a highly formative period in the 1950s studying composition in Paris. His connection with French music and literature is apparent in both his musical language and the titles of his works, and he has been particularly influenced by the music of Henri Dutilleux. His succession of award-winning works covers all the main genres of vocal and instrumental music, and if piano music is a relatively modest part of his wide-ranging output, the instrument has nevertheless been an important part of his creative life. In addition to these solo works he has written a piano concerto and a piano method, composed pedagogical works and founded a piano competition.

Yukiko Kojima received her Bachelor of Music in solo performance from McGill University in Montreal where she was a student of Prof. Kyoko Hashimoto. In 2007, she won 2nd prize (no 1st prize given) in the Masters Piano Competition in Tokyo, which led to her becoming a member of the All Nippon Players’ Association. She performs extensively in Japan, with a special dedication to the works of 20th and 21st century composers, always to the acclaim of press and public alike. Her major repertoire includes John Cage, Pierre Boulez, Nikolai Kapustin, Toru Takemitsu, Iannis Xenakis, György Ligeti, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Samuel Barber, Henri Dutilleux, Chick Corea and Akira Miyoshi. This is her debut disc.

The new Odradek Records is a democratic classical cooperative, non-profit and artist controlled label and concert association, promoting new artists and fresh repertoire. It has released five previous recordings, all by pianists: Domenico Codispoti, Duo Miho and Masumi Hio, Pina Napolitano, Javier Negrín, and Mei Yi Foo - whose ‘Musical Toys’ disc resulted in her being named ‘Newcomer of the Year’ at the BBC Music Magazine Awards.

“Unlike Takemitsu's, his music is often active and flamboyant rather than contemplative...I really enjoyed this disc. Miyoshi's is distringuished, inventive and continuously stimulating music, full of beauty and colour” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas Issue 2013 *****

“Kojima plays this music with a commanding technique and a true sense of how its component parts cohere...Kojima's feeling for nuance and intelligent voicings make a compelling case for a composer who deserves greater renown in the West.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“In pianist Yukiko Kojima’s hands, every phrase speaks with calm authority, each sonorous chord immaculately balanced.” The Arts Desk, 21st September 2013

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Miaskovsky: Piano Sonatas Nos. 2, 3 & 4

Miaskovsky: Piano Sonatas Nos. 2, 3 & 4


Miaskovsky:

Piano Sonata No. 2 in F sharp minor, Op. 13

Piano Sonata No. 3 in C minor, Op. 19

Piano Sonata No. 4 in C minor, Op. 27


Lydia Jardon (piano)

Pianist and label owner Lydia Jardin graduated from the Paris conservatoire and continues to pursue an international career. She is a passionate and committee musician, and is a regularly invited guest to French radio and TV stations.

She founded a festival celebrating female classical musicians and her label, Ar-Re-Se (meaning ‘those women there’ in the Breton language), features only female performers.

On this recording, Jardin presents the Piano Sonatas numbers 2, 3 & 4 written by Miaskowsky and comments that they are ‘huge, crucible-like works which measure up to the works written by his Western contemporaries like Prokofiev or Rachmaninov.’

“Jardon's performances...are of an exceptional power and musical fervour...She has taught Bosnian and Serbian students side by side...Not surprisingly, her playing reflects her human concerns and she has been finely recorded.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“there is much to admire and plenty of difficulties to challenge any pianist. Lydia Jardon rises to those challenges with an obvious reverence for the music which translates into beautifully sensitive and thoughtful playing making this a disc that will be of interest to all lovers of the Russian School of piano writing” MusicWeb International, 22nd July 2013

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JS Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1

JS Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1


Bach, J S:

Sonata for solo violin No. 1 in G minor, BWV1001

Partita for solo violin No. 1 in B minor, BWV1002

Sonata for solo violin No. 2 in A minor, BWV1003


Chris Thile (mandolin)

Nonesuch Records releases an album of three Bach works recorded by mandolin virtuoso and MacArthur Fellow Chris Thile on August 5, 2013. Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1 comprises three works written for solo violin: Sonata No. 1 in G minor, BWV 1001; Partita No. 1 in B minor, BWV 1002; and Sonata No. 2 in A minor, BWV 1003. The album was produced by Thile's friend, mentor, and frequent collaborator, the double bassist and composer Edgar Meyer. Thile will perform works by Bach in solo recitals this autumn.

Thile explains his connection to the composer: "Bach was my first meaningful experience with—for lack of a better word—classical music. It was the second recording of Glenn Gould playing the Goldberg Variations. Gould plays with the kind of rhythmic integrity that I had previously only associated with non-classical music: music with a groove, with a pocket, that made you move. Gould was playing that music like my heroes play fiddle tunes. It humanized the whole thing for me and the heavens opened up and Bach came down. I started devouring all the Bach I could get my hands on."

He continues, "This record to me is not about this iconic violin music played on the mandolin—like, ‘Oh boy, what fun, he's playing a weird instrument!' It's about Bach being one of the greatest musicians of all time, the solo violin music being some of his best work, and the mandolin having the potential to cast it in a new and hopefully interesting light."

Chris Thile is the founding member and lead vocalist of Punch Brothers. With broad influences including progressive bluegrass, classical, rock, and jazz, Thile transcends the borders of conventionally circumscribed genres, creating a distinctly American canon and a new musical aesthetic.

As a soloist, Thile has released five previous albums. In 2011, Nonesuch Records released the Grammy-nominated Sleep with One Eye Open, an album of duets with guitarist Michael Daves. Thile has also collaborated with a pantheon of musical innovators from multiple genres including Béla Fleck, Brad Mehldau, and Hilary Hahn. For more than 15 years, Thile played in the wildly popular band Nickel Creek, with which he released three albums, sold two million records, and was awarded a Grammy.

The New Yorker's Alec Wilkinson said of Punch Brothers: "each musician has a deep command of his instrument ... their technique and specific sensibilities have given Punch Brothers a sound that is strikingly coherent and singular, even if they haven't yet settled on a genre ... Each of the musicians ... plays with grace, thoughtfulness, and force to a degree that is not duplicated by any band I am aware of." Their latest album, the critically acclaimed Who's Feeling Young Now?, was released in 2012 on Nonesuch Records.

“This is extraordinary playing from an extraordinary musician who is willing to stretch stylistic technical boundaries to further his art while playing homage to one of the greatest composers of all time.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“Thile employs athletic, incisive, precision-picking...yet he never sacrifices musicality for technique. Thile's phrasing properly honours Bach's compositional design and logic, and his playing is full of feeling, with slow movements that are graceful and sensitive.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2013 *****

BBC Music Magazine

Instrumental Choice - November 2013

Nonesuch - 7559795864

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Beethoven: Woodwind Trios

Beethoven: Woodwind Trios


Beethoven:

Trio in G major WoO37 for Flute, Bassoon and Piano

Serenade in D major for Flute, Violin and Viola, Op. 25

Piano Trio No. 4 in B flat major, Op. 11 'Gassenhauer', for clarinet, cello & piano


Oslo Philharmonic Chamber Group

A stunning disc of Beethoven’s woodwind trios excellently performed by members of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, regrouping here as the Oslo Phil’s Chamber Group.

“What impresses is a mutual understanding to engage in an authoritative message, every detail carefully worked within a largeness of design; and exemplified in the emotional weight given the Adagio...a remarkably intelligent interpretation.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“There are no weak links among the performers here and the recording is ideal in its clarity and realism...Here is an excellent chance to enjoy three examples of rarely heard early Beethoven of real quality played and recorded with energy and sensitivity.” MusicWeb International, 6th September 2013

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Bach, J S: The Art of Fugue, BWV1080

Bach, J S: The Art of Fugue, BWV1080


Johann Sebastian Bach’s The Art of Fugue (Die Kunst der Fuge), one of the peaks of the Baroque contrapuntal style, also turns out to be one of the most enigmatic works in the history of music. Though composed as a series of fugues on the same subject, Bach did not specify the instruments that’ should play them.

Les Voix humaines viol consort has recorded its own version of Bach’s unfinished final work. Since 2001, some of Montreal’s finest gambists have regularly joined the viol duo Les Voix humaines to form the Voix Humaines Consort, which specializes in the vast 17th-century repertoire for viol consort.

“From the first track, they play with a distinctively French accent, incorporating enfles (swells) - something a harpsichord or piano could never achieve. Elegant, yes; Bachian, maybe not...The two-part Canons are especially well played and the final Contrapunctus 14 sublime.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

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Josef Špaček plays Smetana, Janáček & Prokofiev

Josef Špaček plays Smetana, Janáček & Prokofiev

Recorded at the Dvořák Hall of the Rudolfinum, Prague, December 2012.


Janacek:

Violin Sonata

with Miroslav Sekera (piano)

Prokofiev:

Sonata in D major for solo violin, Op. 115

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

with Miroslav Sekera (piano)

Smetana:

From the Homeland - two duos for violin and piano

with Miroslav Sekera (piano)


Josef Špaček (violin)

Janáček, Smetana, Prokofiev – Josef Špaček’s “Slavonic debut”.

Still only 26, the violinist Josef Špaček has already covered an enormous amount of ground. After completing his studies at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, he attended Itzhak Perlman’s class at the Juilliard School in New York, and he has given solo performances under the baton of outstanding conductors (Bělohlávek, Eschenbach, Honeck, Hrůša).

In 2009 he won the Michael Hill International Violin Competition (New Zealand), in May 2012 he became a laureate of the closely observed Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels and in the same year led the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra as concert master at the chief conductor Jiří Bělohlávek’s inauguration concerts. For his Supraphon debut, Josef Špaček has chosen works by Slavonic composers. The two duets from Smetana’s From My Homeland are considered the counterpart to his cycle My Country, while Janáček’s Sonata, which was introduced to the world by Paul Hindemith as a soloist, is evidently the most frequently performed Czech violin sonata. And when it comes to Prokofiev, the Russian master’s music is a truly heartfelt matter for Špaček (as a soloist, he has executed both of his concertos). The pianist Miroslav Sekera is a wonderful partner to Špaček on the recording, as are the superb and inspiring acoustics of the Dvořák Hall of Prague’s Rudolfinum.

“Špaček and Sekera are very much on home ground with Janacek's Sonata, taking it much less forcefully than some performers do and reaching into the music, past the typically abrupt gestures, to its lyrical centre...They relax with Smetana's two agreeable pieces” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

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Ligeti: String Quartets & Barber: Adagio

Ligeti: String Quartets & Barber: Adagio


Barber:

Adagio for Strings, Op. 11

Ligeti:

String Quartet No. 1 'Métamorphoses nocturnes'

String Quartet No. 2


Keller Quartett

The Keller Quartet’s association with ECM has yielded outstanding recordings, among them Bach’s Art of the Fugue, Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 15 and works by the ensemble’s mentor, György Kurtág. This release is another remarkable addition to the Budapest-based group’s discography, an album that bridges musical worlds. The Molto Adagio of Samuel Barber’s String Quartet No. 1 is offered as tonal terra firma between György Ligeti’s restlessly shifting First and Second Quartets, bracing creations of the 1950s and ’60s that - like the quartets of his great precursor, Bartók - are as mysterious as they are earthy.

Mid-20th century, Barber and Ligeti would have been considered aesthetic opposites.

“Ligeti was all about leaving what for Barber was solid home”, Paul Griffiths notes in the liner text. From a contemporary perspective both composers are voices from the past, their present-day relevance emphasised in these committed performances. “Physically actualized in the recording, the music is being all the time remade by the performers searching for what a motif can convey and finding an abundance of expressive contours in Ligeti’s quartets as much as in Barber’s. The gesture of lament is common to both.”

The first of the recordings heard on this album was made in 2007 on the first anniversary of Ligeti’s death, Hungary’s foremost string quartet paying tribute to the great innovator of modern Hungarian music. The 2011 recording of the second Ligeti quartet documents also a change in the line-up of András Keller’s ensemble, with Zsófia Környei, widely considered one of the outstanding violinists of her generation, replacing long-serving Keller Quartet member János Pilz.

“Tremendously abrasive, intense performances.” The Times, 13th July 2013 ****

“the Budapest-based Keller Quartet handle the individual demands of both composers thoughtfully. A cleaner, cooler, more controlled Barber I doubt you'll find: zero warbling vibrato, no emotive hard-sell.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“Ligeti’s quartets are brimming over with them, by turns dark, playful or grotesque — and the members of the Keller Quartett play every note like their sanity depends on it. You wouldn’t think Barber’s luscious “Adagio” needed an advocate but here it’s played with an intensity bordering on desperation that reveals a new, urgent, side.” New York Times, December 2013

Contemporary Music - up to 25% off

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Mendelssohn: String Quintets Nos. 1 & 2

Mendelssohn: String Quintets Nos. 1 & 2


Mendelssohn:

String Quintet No. 1 in A major, Op. 18

String Quintet No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 87


Barbara Buntrock (viola)

Leipzig String Quartet

Continuing their survey of Mendelssohn’s String Quartets, in Mendelssohn the Leipzig musicians are in their element: sovereign instrumental command, consummate sound design, and precision teamwork perfected in detail offer a dynamic listening experience in a special class of its own.

“The Intermezzo of the First is a good example of the Leipzig's approach, thoroughly involving, bringing out the quiet rhetoric of Mendelssohn's writing so it absolutely registers but never feels overdone...Time and again the Leipzig subtly demonstrate the emotional impact of this quintet.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“The Leipzig performances of both quintets are certainly not short on accuracy and panache, but in the earlier work especially they are a little light on grace and charm” The Guardian, 3rd May 2013 ***

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Parry: Early Chamber Works

Parry: Early Chamber Works

World Premiere Recording


Parry:

String Quartet No. 3

String Quintet in E flat major

with Robert Gibbs (viola)


The Bridge Quartet

EM Records are proud to present the World Premiere recordings of Parry’s wonderful String Quartet of 1878 and the String Quintet of 1884, performed by the Bridge Quartet, joined on the Quintet by Robert Gibbs. The Quartet and Quintet represents a watershed in Parry’s compositional development and his unique voice emerges these seminal works, both of which are bathed in celestial melodic radiance.

“It is not before time that both these substantial Parry chamber works are at last available on CD...The Bridge Quartet provide sympathetic interpretations of this unfamiliar repertoire which...deserves to be better known. Full marks to EM Records for making both these works available.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“The Bridge Quartet, admirably reinforced by Robert Gibbs in the Quintet, are splendid advocates of this music. The recording, by one of EM Records’ regular engineers, Richard Bland, is very clear and present. This is a highly desirable release.” MusicWeb International, 27th January 2014

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Ryuichi Sakamoto: Three (CD)

Ryuichi Sakamoto: Three (CD)


Sakamoto:

Happy End

The Last Emperor

Bibo No Aozora

High Heels

Seven Samurai

A Flower Is Not A Flower

Still Life

in A

Nostalgia

Tango

Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence

Ichimei (Harakiri - Death of a Samurai)

Tamago 2004

Parolibre


Ryuichi Sakamoto (piano), Jaques Morelenbaum (cello) & Judy Kang (violin)

Sakamoto Ryuichi’s new album together with his trio also featuring Jaques Morelenbaum (cello) and Judy Kang (violin) was recorded in Portugal following his European tour. It's his first album as a trio since 1996.

“The wide range of stylistic references...keeps you guessing what may be lurking around the next musical corner.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

Decca - 3736645

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Chaconne

Chaconne


Bach, J S:

Partita for solo violin No. 2 in D minor, BWV1004: Chaconne

Brahms:

Hungarian Dance No. 1 in G minor

Yukari Arai (piano)

Lalo:

Symphonie espagnole, Op. 21: Intermezzo

arr. Ida Haendel for solo violin

Mozart:

Violin Sonata No. 26 in B flat major, K378

Walter Delahunt (piano)

Saint-Saëns:

Introduction & Rondo capriccioso, Op. 28

Yukari Arai (piano)

Sarasate:

Zigeunerweisen, Op. 20

Walter Delahunt (piano)

Wieniawski:

Polonaise brilliante No. 1 in D major, Op. 4

Yukari Arai (piano)


Ida Haendel (violin)

“Haendel plays favourite virtuoso warhorses with the zest and sparkle of a note-hungry teenager.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2013 ***

“she's lost none of her powerful presence, nor her ability to transmit these pieces with style and with an element of showmanship that takes us back to the 19th-century heyday of virtuosity...Haendel still has much to offer.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“many of the attributes that distinguished her earlier playing are evident. There is the beautiful, rich tone, and the level of musicianship, especially in such a work as the Bach Chaconne. Also present is the myriad spectrum of colour, which has always been an outstanding feature of her playing. This is a superb achievement, and collectors and followers of Haendel’s career will want these recordings.” MusicWeb International, 30th August 2013

“I doubt a profounder realisation of the violin’s expressive capacity is available from a living performer than Haendel’s on this recital disc...Her luxuriant, large-toned, altogether large-minded phrasing, and its minutely meditated inflection, make the music seem constantly surprising, freshly composed” Sunday Times, 14th July 2013

“To play to this standard at such an age is little short of miraculous...Her account of Bach's Chaconne, old-fashioned to our ears perhaps, has the sense of an intense personal journey. The technique may no longer be flawless but a lifetime's immersion in music informs every bar.” The Observer, 8th July 2013

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The Philharmonics: Oblivion

The Philharmonics: Oblivion


 

Musette Pour Fritz

Jánoska

Bernstein:

Somewhere (from West Side Story)

Brahms:

Hungarian Dance No. 6 in D flat major

Dinicu:

Horo di Mars

Enescu:

Romanian Rhapsody in A major, Op. 11 No. 1

Godard, B:

Berceuse from Jocelyn

Kreisler:

Marche miniature viennoise

Caprice Viennois, Op. 2

Presto Fight

Medley

Schön Rosmarin

Piazzólla:

Oblivion

Saint-Saëns:

Danse macabre, Op. 40

Strauss, J, II:

Ritter Pázmán: Csárdás

Strauss, R:

K&K Rhapsody


The Philharmonics

The Philharmonics are one of the hottest young classical ensembles of our days - A unique and extraordinary cross-border musical marriage featuring the very best players from the Vienna Philharmonic and the Berlin Philharmonic and two exceptional Jazz Artists

Oblivion features music of nearly forgotten composers, newly arranged by The Philharmonics in their style of Gypsy, Klezmer and Jazz. With their virtuosic and rousing performances, which are inspired by folk music, fascinating dance music and the magic of improvisation, they are a real crowd puller!

The Philharmonics caused great sensation on January 1st 2012, when they accompanied the TV audience in the intermission film of the New Year’s Concert 2012, therefore reaching Gold Status with their debut CD Fascination Dance in Austria with more than 10,000 albums sold.

Charming soprano Patricia Petibon teams up with The Philharmonics and furnish this CD with extra musical magic. An album of broad consumer appeal with music of J. Brahms, A. Piazzolla, Fritz Kreisler, G. Dinicu, G. Enescu.

“A fun disc and nearly - but not quite - a terrific one...The acoustic is airy fin de siecle spa hotel.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

DG - 4810276

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Royal Recorder Concertos

Royal Recorder Concertos

Music from the Court of King Frederik IV


anon.:

The Princess’s Suite in D minor

arr. Prochaska

Graun, J G:

Double Concerto in C major

Graupner:

Ouverture in F major

Overture in F Major for Recorder and Strings

Scheibe:

Concerto in B flat major for Recorder, 2 Violins & B.c

Schickhardt:

Sonata in C minor: Più vivace


Bolette Roed (recorder)

Arte dei Suonatori

Many important Baroque composers and their music found their way to Denmark – thanks not least to the music-loving King Frederik IV.

This CD presents a unique musical panorama of the King's court music and combines concertos by Christoph Graupner, Johann Adolph Scheibe and Johann Gottlieb Graun with newly discovered dance music for the King’s daughter, Princess Charlotte Amalie, reconstructed for this world premiere recording by Danish recorder virtuoso Bolette Roed and the Polish Baroque ensemble Arte dei Suonatori.

The Danish recorder player Bolette Roed is known to European and American concert-goers as an adventurous soloist and as the enthusiast behind many striking musical projects in both early, contemporary and even traditional folk music.

This is her debut soloist recording, on which she has collaborated with the award-winning Polish Baroque ensemble Arte dei Suonatori, presenting her own discovery from the Danish Royal Treasury.

Video trailer on www.dacapo-records.dk/c/6.220630

“[Roed's] playing is cleanly articulated and stylish. This is not a particularly virtuoso programme for her, and the well-judged primus inter pares balance with the ever-excellent Polish string players of Arte dei Suonatori eloquently reflects the fact.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“[Roed's] style of playing is flexible and relaxed, and she produces a warm yet clear sound. The cooperation with Arte dei Suonatori, known for its engaging performances, is quite successful...an attractive proposition to all lovers of the recorder.” MusicWeb International, 11th November 2013

“The playing by both the Danish soloist and the Polish string band is excellent.” Early Music Today

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Salzburg Festival 2012 Opening Concert

Salzburg Festival 2012 Opening Concert


Mussorgsky:

Songs and Dances of Death

Sergei Semishkur (tenor)

Prokofiev:

Symphony No. 5 in B flat major, Op. 100

Stravinsky:

Symphony of Psalms

Konzertvereinigung Wiender Staatsopernchor


This Blu-ray Disc presents a wonderful recording of the opening concert of the Salzburger Festspiele from 2012 – an annual highlight on the Classical Music calendar traditionally performed by the vibrant heart of the festival: the Wiener Philharmoniker.

The program from 2012 was Russian themed with a focus on the most profound questions of human life with excellent interpretations of Igor Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms, Modest Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death and Sergei Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony.

The concert is conducted by Valery Gergiev, general and artistic director of the Mariinsky Theatre, winner of the Herbert-von-Karajan Award and the Polar Music Prize. Russian tenor Sergei Semishkur, soloist at the Mariinsky theatre, excels in his intense interpretation of Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death.

Picture format Blu-ray Disc: 1080i Full HD, 16:9

Sound formats Blu-ray Disc: PCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.0, DTS 5.0

Region code: All (worldwide)

Subtitles: English, German, French

Booklet notes: English, German, French

Runnning time: 90 mins

“the Philharmonic - and particularly the Vienna State Opera Chorus - render Stravinsky's Psalms with biting urgency, with rhythm and transparency of sound effectively replacing their usual lushness.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

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Region: all

EuroArts - 2072614

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Salzburg Festival 2012 Opening Concert

Salzburg Festival 2012 Opening Concert


Mussorgsky:

Songs and Dances of Death

Sergei Semishkur (tenor)

Prokofiev:

Symphony No. 5 in B flat major, Op. 100

Stravinsky:

Symphony of Psalms

Konzertvereinigung Wiender Staatsopernchor


This DVD presents a wonderful recording of the opening concert of the Salzburger Festspiele from 2012 – an annual highlight on the Classical Music calendar traditionally performed by the vibrant heart of the festival: the Wiener Philharmoniker.

The program from 2012 was Russian themed with a focus on the most profound questions of human life with excellent interpretations of Igor Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms, Modest Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death and Sergei Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony.

The concert is conducted by Valery Gergiev, general and artistic director of the Mariinsky Theatre, winner of the Herbert-von-Karajan Award and the Polar Music Prize. Russian tenor Sergei Semishkur, soloist at the Mariinsky theatre, excels in his intense interpretation of Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death.

Picture format DVD: NTSC 16:9

Sound formats DVD: PCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.0, DTS 5.0

Region code: All (worldwide)

Booklet notes: English, German, French

Running time: 90 mins

“the Philharmonic - and particularly the Vienna State Opera Chorus - render Stravinsky's Psalms with biting urgency, with rhythm and transparency of sound effectively replacing their usual lushness.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - Awards Issue 2013

DVD Video

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EuroArts - 2072618

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Marcel Tyberg: Symphony No. 2 & Piano Sonata No. 2

Marcel Tyberg: Symphony No. 2 & Piano Sonata No. 2


Tyberg:

Symphony No. 2 in F minor

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, JoAnn Falletta

Piano Sonata No. 2 in F sharp minor

Fabio Bidini (piano)


Marcel Tyberg was a victim of the World War II Holocaust, but his scores were preserved and have recently been revived through the efforts of JoAnn Falletta. The Second Symphony is filled with romantic enchantment and pastoral narrative, reflecting Tyberg’s reverence for 19th century styles. The Second Piano Sonata also develops earlier traditions, revealing the influence of Beethoven. Tyberg’s Third Symphony can be found on Naxos 8572236, the Washington Post stating that the Buffalo Philharmonic “has never sounded better… Tyberg’s music is well-crafted and earnest, tuneful and filled with seriousness of purpose and harmonic mastery.”

JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic’s release of Marcel Tyberg’s Symphony No. 3 and Piano Trio created quite a stir in 2011, and anyone who encountered this CD will have had their eyes open for further recordings of Tyberg’s remarkable work. ClassicsToday.com commented that “JoAnn Falletta and her Buffalo forces do [the Third Symphony] proud: this is a bold, confident performance, excellently paced…” This recording of the Second Symphony develops on these musicians’ experience and enthusiasm in further revelations from a forgotten composer. The Piano Sonata No. 2 is also in the eminently safe hands of internationally renowned pianist Fabio Bidini.

“The performance could hardly be bettered: JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic are completely at home in this music and they are very well recorded...Overall [the Sonata] is an impressive work. Fabio Bidini plays it impressively and is recorded truthfully.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“Unashamedly Romantic music by this hugely gifted Holocaust victim, with Bidini performing prodigies in the Brahmsian Second Sonata.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2013 ****

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Richard Strauss: Tone Poems, Vol. 1

Richard Strauss: Tone Poems, Vol. 1


Strauss, R:

Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40

Tod und Verklärung, Op. 24


South West German Radio Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden and Freiburg, Francois-Xavier Roth

This CD marks the beginning of a new recording cycle of the complete symphonic poems of Richard Strauss as performed by the SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg and their principal conductor, François-Xavier Roth.

Future volumes will be released during the coming years, at the rate of two CDs per year. Already in his first release with hänssler CLASSIC of Mahler's 1st Symphony, the French conductor has made it clear that he has both the strength as well as the sensitivity to build delicate orchestral colors – exactly what is necessary with Richard Strauss’ works. And with his orchestra, Roth has one of the best ensembles in Germany.

“the combination of his muscly, forward-moving approach, with not an ounce of fat on it, and perhaps most stunning engineering accorded to the master orchestrator yet, mean that both the mock-epic composer hero of Ein Heldenleben and the dying man of Tod und Verklärung make their momentous journeys without sag or stress...these performances pulse with ideal life.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2013 ****

“What I particularly like about this performance is its musical honesty...Roth draws extremely fine playing from his orchestra” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - Awards Issue 2013

Hänssler Richard Strauss Tone Poems - HAEN93299

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Respighi: Complete Orchestral Music Volume 3

Respighi: Complete Orchestral Music Volume 3


Respighi:

Concerto gregoriano

Vadim Brodsky (violin)

Toccata for Piano and Orchestra

Chiara Bertoglio (piano)

Adagio con variazioni for cello and orchestra

Andrea Noferini (cello)

Sinfonia drammatica, P. 102

Fantasia slava for Piano and Orchestra

Désirée Scuccuglia (piano)


Ottorino Respighi’s quest to create his own musical style led him to the conflict of wider European tradition and the roots of Italian music. Several of the works in this collection show the influence of the former: Fantasia slava contains Russian melodies and is written in the style of Rimsky‐Korsakov with whom Respighi studied, while the Adagio con variazioni includes elements of folk song, its mournful theme and variations for cello underpinned by orchestral colour.

The composer’s Sinfonia drammatica, a distinctly gloomy work of huge proportions, reflects the mood of Europe prior to the First World War. Respighi’s exploration of early Italian music is evident in the Concerto gregoriano, to which the influence of Gregorian chant adds a certain spirituality. The work, which combines the use of modal harmony and Respighi’s own creative idiom, showcases some of the composer’s most beautiful, and technically demanding, writing for solo violin (his own instrument).

Similarly, the masterpiece Toccata for pianoforte and orchestra owes much to early music, but is Neoclassical in structure. It includes the influence of organ repertoire – particularly that of Bach, as regards harmonic progression and direct quotations reminiscent of the Fantasia cromatica cadenza – and also Vivaldi and Frescobaldi. The works are played by the Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma, directed by Francesco La Vecchia, and feature astute readings by soloists Vadim Brodski, Andrea Noferini, Chiara Bertoglio and Désirée Scuccuglia.

Recordings made 2009 to 2011.

An engaging follow‐up to the other two orchestral volumes in the series.

Contains extensive liner notes on the works and artist biographies in English and Italian.

“I particularly enjoyed Andrea Noferini's impassioned, songful contribution in the 1921 Adagio con variazioni...this is a bold and colourful programme retailing at such an absurdly low price” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“[La Vecchia] conducts with energy and conviction throughout. The Rome orchestra responds enthusiastically, and the orchestral sound has plenty of colour and presence, with nice grip from the brass at the tuttis. A must for Respighi fans, and anyone wanting to explore this currently neglected composer.” MusicWeb International, 27th June 2013

Brilliant Classics Respighi Complete Orchestral Music - 94394

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Hakola & Hosokawa: Guitar Concertos

Hakola & Hosokawa: Guitar Concertos


Hakola:

Guitar Concerto

Timo Korhonen (guitar)

Hosokawa:

Voyage IX, Awakening for guitar and strings with percussion

Timo Korhonen (guitar)

Blossoming II for chamber orchestra


Oulu Symphony Orchestra, Santtu-Matias Rouvali

Ondine proudly presents world première recordings of two Guitar Concertos: one by Kimmo Hakola and the other by Toshio Hosokawa. These are performed by Timo Korhonen – the guitarist for whom the concertos were written – and the Oulu Symphony Orchestra conducted by Santtu-Matias Rouvali.

Kimmo Hakola’s Guitar Concerto is a colourful exploration of themes connected to both medieval and modern Southern Spain and Northern Africa

Toshio Hosokawa takes a more meditative approach as he searches for symbolic universal harmony in his music.

Timo Korhonen is one of the world’s most acclaimed guitarists. He has premiered over 40 new works during his career, and has made several critically acclaimed and award-winning recordings.

Santtu-Matias Rouvali has recently made a number of significant international debuts. He participated in the Dudamel Fellowship Programme in 2011/12, and will start his tenure as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra in September 2013. He is also the Principal Guest Conductor of the Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra. This CD is his debut disc.

The Oulu Symphony Orchestra has developed considerably over the last few years under Anna-Maria Helsing. Johannes Gustavsson will continue this development from this autumn when he takes over as Chief Conductor.

“The intensity of Hakola's response to the music compels attention through every bar of the [central] movement...The Oulu Symphony Orchestra are on fine form throughout and Santtu-Matias Rouvali directs with assurance.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“The Oulu Symphony Orchestra are based just outside the Arctic Circle and consequently not so well known further south, but it ought to be - their performances here are terrific.” MusicWeb International, 27th November 2013

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Mozart: Symphonies Nos. 39 & 41

Mozart: Symphonies Nos. 39 & 41


Mozart:

Symphony No. 39 in E flat major, K543

Symphony No. 41 in C major, K551 'Jupiter'

La clemenza di Tito, K621: Overture


Mannheim Mozart Orchestra, Thomas Fey

“Fey takes risks, laying bare Mozart's interpretative challenges. You'll soon know why this symphony is named Jupiter.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

Profil Medien - PH05047

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Mozart: The Last Symphonies

Mozart: The Last Symphonies


Mozart:

Symphony No. 39 in E flat major, K543

Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K550

Symphony No. 41 in C major, K551 'Jupiter'


Written one after the other in the space of just three months and with unprecedented energy, Mozart’s last three symphonies carry within them the aesthetic ideal of their composer, touched by a grace that is already pre-Romantic, and thus form an exemplary musical testament. The Orchestre des Champs-Élysées, a pioneering collective among period-instrument orchestras, reveals a richness, a modernity, a visionary complexity that prepares the way for the Beethovenian revolution.

The approach of the orchestra founded and conducted by Philippe Herreweghe is to explore in depth the sonority and the motor rhythms of the symphonic writing of a Mozart here at the height of his powers.

To record this Mozart trilogy is a bold undertaking for any musician, and always an extraordinary event for the public!

“These are generally no-nonsense accounts, with brisk tempos of a kind favoured these days in period-instrument performances...these are impressive, if somewhat unyielding performances, and they bring out the music's intricate textures with admirable clarity.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas Issue 2013 ****

“Herreweghe is literal, obedient to direction...[his] sharp intellect presents the score, positively so in the finale...[But] he shies away from the vital task of probing the innermost composer.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“these are fine, lively performances, and the G minor, No 40, played in the revised (clarinet) version, is outstanding.” Sunday Times, 11th August 2013

“The Orchestre des Champs-Elysées provides the perfect riposte to anyone who believes that period-instrument Mozart has to sound anaemic. Herreweghe's performances don't hold back, either. He drives the music hard, which works well in the G minor Symphony” The Guardian, 27th June 2013 ***

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Haydn - Complete Symphonies Volume 20

Haydn - Complete Symphonies Volume 20


Haydn:

Symphony No. 43 in E flat major 'Mercury'

Symphony No. 25 in C major

Symphony No. 36 in E flat major


The 20th installment in Thomas Fey and the Heidelberg Symphony Orchestra’s recordings of the complete symphonies of Haydn.

International critical acclaim ranks Fey’s interpretations among the best.

Performances that balance historical performance practice while using modern strings and historical brass instruments.

The symphonies presented here date from the years 1762 and 1771. While scored only for strings and pairs of two oboes and horns with a bassoon added, Haydn manages to delight us with numerous surprising ideas: Symphony No. 25 has no slow movement, while No. 36 suddenly becomes a concerto movement with solo violin and solo cello and No. 43 storms forward with relentlessly driving rhythms... You can clearly hear that Haydn was a great experimenter and a great entertainer. Thomas Fey’s interpretations make all this clearly heard.

“Fey is less concerned with driving it hard and accentuating Haydn's characteristic nervy energy, taking the first movement more gently than in many other recordings...[in No. 36] Haydn lays out a set of contrasting themes, and Fey and his Heidelbergers audibly revel in the symphonic argument” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

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Hindemith: Complete Viola Works Volume 1

Hindemith: Complete Viola Works Volume 1


Hindemith:

Der Schwanendreher

concerto after old folk songs for viola & small orchestra

Trauermusik

for string orchestra with solo viola

Kammermusik No. 5 Op. 36 No. 4 Bratschenkonzert

for solo viola & large chamber orchestra

Konzertmusik Op. 48a for solo viola & large chamber orchestra (early edition)

world premiere recording


Tabea Zimmermann commemorates the 50th anniversary of death of Paul Hindemith with the recording of his complete works for viola. Hindemith is regarded as a key composer for the instrument and was a famous violist, himself, and who premiered the viola concertos by Darius Milhaud and William Walton.

The works recorded here in Vol. 1 include the viola concerto 'Der Schwanendreher' that Hindemith composed at the time when he faced massive agitation by the Nazis, as well as the intimate and touching 'Trauermusik' (Music of Mourning), written for the funeral of King George V. Besides these celebrated works, the album also includes two lesser known concertos: the 'Kammermusik No. 5' and the early edition of the 'Konzertmusik' Op. 48a in its world premiere recording.

Tabea Zimmermann has teamed up with exceptional musical partners: the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester, Berlin, conducted by Hans Graf, who dedicate themselves to Hindemith’s legacy. A second volume will include the sonatas for solo viola and for viola and piano and will be released as a double album in Autumn 2013.

“Viola players have a lot to thank Hindemith for. Zimmermann marks the 50th anniversary of his death with this survey” Sunday Times, 30th June 2013

“Hindemith’s rarely heard Violin Concerto is dramatic, lyrical and accessible. ..The Sonata in C is the best of the lot – hearing Zimmermann and pianist Enrico Pace blast out the closing minutes of the final fugue is a profound, spiritually uplifting experience. Astonishingly vivid sound adds to the impact…” The Arts Desk, 20th July 2013

“Zimmermann's first volume of a complete survey immediately takes its place among the very best, not least for the warmer, woodier tone that she produces and puts to such musically penetrating use.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2013 *****

“Zimmerman’s playing in the later discarded slow movement is alone worth the price of admission: she spins a thread of golden tone in a beautiful cantilena, almost indistinguishable from the oboe that joins her halfway through… Myrios’s recording places the soloist in a believable balance that nevertheless allows every detail of Zimmermann’s playing to be clearly heard” The Strad, October 2013

“Zimmermann plays it wholly convincingly, with her usual blend of formidable technique, sweetness and delicacy of tone and inner steel, finely supported by Graf and the DSO Berlin.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“What immediately strikes the listener is how good the recording is...No praise is too high for the dedication perception and skills that Zimmermann, the Deutsches Symphonies-Orchester Berlin and Hans Graf have lavished on this marvellous music” International Record Review, November 2013

“a glorious surprise, near revelatory...There is a heartfelt passion and robust edge to Zimmermann’s playing which blows away the cobwebs and brings these works very much to life. Making a highly sympathetic partner the excellent DSO Berlin is warmly expressive and well detailed. Austrian conductor Hans Graf holds everything together with confidence.” MusicWeb International, 29th November 2013

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - Awards Issue 2013

BBC Music Magazine

Orchestral Choice - October 2013

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2014

Concerto Finalist

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Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 & Solo Piano Works

Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 & Solo Piano Works


Castelnuovo-Tedesco:

Piano Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 46

Neubrandenburger Philharmonie, Stefan Malzew

Piano Concerto No. 2 in F major, Op. 92

Neubrandenburger Philharmonie, Stefan Malzew

La Sirenetta e il pesce turchino

Vitalba e Biancospino

I naviganti

Alghe

Le danze del Re David

Passatempi (5 piccoli Walzer)

Onde - Due studi per pianoforte

Hommage à Paderewski

Film Studies (2) ' Charlie' & 'Mickey Mouse'

World Premiere Recording


Pietro Massa (piano)

After intensive archival research, Pietro Massa discovered a copy of Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s previously ‘lost’ second piano concerto. The first European performance was given in the Berlin Philharmonie.

This double disc set couples the piano concertos with other rare piano works, whereas other titles often couple these works with Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s symphonic repertoire.

“Patchily distinctive melody and lush, colourful orchestration are Castelnuovo-Tedesco's strongest cards, harnessed to some daunting challenges for the soloist. Pietro Massa rises to these superbly...while demonstrating a keenly sensitive touch in the two central Romanzas.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

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Bruckner: Symphony No. 6 in A major

Bruckner: Symphony No. 6 in A major


This Hybrid SACD is part of a series of recordings of the symphonies of Anton Bruckner from the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic and the celebrated conductor Jaap van Zweden. It features one of the composer’s lesser known works, the Symphony No 6 in A major. Previous releases in the cycle, which have included performances of Nos. 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9, have received a great deal of critical praise - for instance, a stunning version of the Third Symphony (CC72551), released in March 2013.

Amsterdam-born Jaap van Zweden has risen rapidly in little more than a decade to become one of today’s most sought-after conductors. He has been Music Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra since 2008, and is also Honorary Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Radio Chamber Philharmonic (having been Chief Conductor from 2005-2011). Appointed at 19 as the youngest concertmaster ever of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, he began his conducting career in 1995 and held the positions of Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra between 1996 and 2000, Chief Conductor of The Hague Philharmonic from 2000 to 2005, and Chief Conductor of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic Orchestra (2008-2011). His recent releases for Challenge Classics have included a live recording with the Netherlands RPO of Britten’s War Requiem (CC72388), and a concert performance of Wagner’s Parsifal (CC72519) which has just won the Edison Award.

Anton Bruckner wrote his Sixth Symphony between 1879 and 1891. Although considered by many to be one of his least successful works, it is still full of rich, individual expression and was a favourite of the great British composer and music critic Robert Simpson.

“Van Zweden’s Netherlands Radio Philharmonic play exceptionally well; the massive brass eruptions never overwhelm and bass lines are cleanly defined. Listen to this disc several times and you’ll fall in love with this symphony.” The Arts Desk, 29th June 2013

“This is a mature and powerful reading...lesser conductors than Jaap van Zweden see clearly only the glorious heights, and not all that leads to them. Not here. Van Zweden sensitively shapes the vast architecture” Sunday Times, 14th July 2013

“There is what can only be described as a rightness about [van Zweden's] tempi and the way he connects them through the tension and release of transition. The whole is as spontaneous as it is organic.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

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Bruckner: Complete Symphonies Volume 4

Bruckner: Complete Symphonies Volume 4


Bruckner:

Symphony No. 3 in D minor ‘Wagner Symphony'

Symphony No. 6 in A major


The fourth instalment of Mario Venzago’s survey of Bruckner’s Symphonies. There are many recordings on the market which make it difficult for strikingly different interpretations, but this series has received great acclaim for its originality and the way it challenges previous conceptions.

On the series previous release, Gramophone said ‘The principle virtue of the performance is in its agility, leanness and considerable subtlety of expression, the way it challenges the Bruckner cliché (weight, breadth, monumentality) with something utterly new’.

“Venzago demolishes - and clearly enjoys doing so - the idea that all conductors need to do is think big, think solemn, pour on lashings of string vibrato and, bingo, an authentic Bruckner is theirs for the taking...In contrast to the inexorable rightness of the Third, the first movement of the Sixth Symphony is hurried....Venzago's Third is state-of-the-art, though.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“Venzago is an experienced and committed Bruckner conductor, as previous issues in the series have proved...Each section of the Berne orchestra acquits itself admirably [in the Third]...Alas, [the Sixth] seems to me to be much less successful” MusicWeb International, 17th June 2013

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Bruckner: Symphony No. 0 in D minor 'Nullte'

Bruckner: Symphony No. 0 in D minor 'Nullte'


Simone Young has had a huge impact on the Hamburg Philharmonic and the Hamburg State Opera, since starting as their Chief Conductor in 2005.

This is the sixth release in her survey of Bruckner’s Symphonic works, a series which has been met with great critical acclaim.

“Young prevents the music from sitting down too much in the main...The sound of the orchestra is smooth and well balanced in the live recording: brass chorales are sonorous and wind solos eloquently projected...Not quite full Brucknerian coherence as yet, but here welded into a satisfying whole.” BBC Music Magazine, ChristmasIssue 2013 ****

“[Young] presides over a conscientious, deeply considered reading, beautifully played by her Hamburg orchestra” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

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Brahms Beloved

Brahms Beloved


Brahms:

Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98

Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73

Schumann, Clara:

Am Strande

Ich stand in dunkeln Träumen

Der Abendstern

Die stille Lotosblume

Er ist gekommen in Sturm und Regen, Op. 12 No. 2 (Text: Friedrich Rückert)

Liebst du um Schönheit, Op. 12 No. 4 (text: Friedrich Rückert)

Liebeszauber, Op. 13 No. 3

Der Mond kommt still gegangen

An einem lichten Morgen

O Lust, o Lust, Op. 23 No. 6 (Text: Hermann Rollett)


In an intriguing new concept for Telarc Classics, American conductor John Axelrod explores the music that surrounded the relationship between Johannes Brahms and the woman he loved, Clara Schumann. For this, the first release in the series, the Second and Fourth Symphonies are coupled with lieder by Clara sung by Nicole Cabell and Indra Thomas while Axelrod accompanies on the piano. The symphonies feature Axelrod conducting the Grammy Award-winning Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi.

Conductor John Axelrod believes that each of Brahms’ four symphonies inhabits a completely different, though connected, character. He has also come to the conclusion that the songs of Clara Schumann likewise fall clearly into four similar moods, and that they strongly reflect Clara’s own personality. That being the case, according to Axelrod it is possible to see the four Brahms symphonies as portraits of Clara and the same four different aspects of her character.

John Axelrod is Principal Conductor of the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, as well as Music Director of the Orchestre National des Pays et des Loire. A former pupil of Leonard Bernstein, he is one of today’s most in-demand conductors. Recent recordings have included a much-praised disc of music by Berlioz and Ravel with Veronique Gens and the ONPL for Ondine Classics, the album American Serenade also with the ONPL and violinist Rachel Kolly d’Alba for Warner Classics, and Gorecki’s Third Symphony with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra for Sony Classical.

“Symphony No. 2 exudes particular passion and vigour, with lively tempi that occasionally tax the ensemble cohesion...[No. 4] is less elegiac than usual, with a song-like lyricism, often at the expense of Brahms's counterpoint, though with extra awareness of how harmonies are voiced.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“The Fourth, with its “dark questing intensity” and orchestral playing that is more heavyweight than heavenly, is paired with songs performed by Indra Thomas.” The Independent, 11th October 2013

Telarc - TEL3465802

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Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14

Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14


Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich, Andrés Orozco-Estrada

This is the debut recording on Oehms of the Tonkünstler orchestra with their principle conductor since 2009, Orozco-Estrada.

They are the resident orchestra at the International Festival in Graffenegg and have since developed an ensemble with impressive sound and technical ability.

“the guillotining of the work's hero is presented here with elemental force, which Orozco-Estrada and his orchestra obvious[ly] relish...The music is built to a superbly thrilling final climax which leaves one breathless on that last brass chord.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

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Jac van Steen conducts Schoenberg & Berg

Jac van Steen conducts Schoenberg & Berg


Berg:

Drei Orchesterstücke, Op. 6

Schoenberg:

Pelleas und Melisande, Op. 5


Dortmunder Philharmoniker, Jac van Steen

Under its principal conductor Jac van Steen, the Dortmund Philharmonic long ago secured its place in the first ranks of German orchestras. Its intensive occupation with Richard Wagner’s oeuvre was excellent preparation for this highly welcome new recording.

“this is a distinguished and valuable issue. Van Steen has the measure of this demanding music, and draws magnificent playing from his orchestra.” MusicWeb International, 30th July 2013

“These two scores by master and pupil make an absorbing programme...Dabringhaus und Grimm's finely balanced recording captures a wealth of textural subtleties while not for a moment damping down the music's ferocity or skating over its moments of mysterious calm.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

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Sacred Verdi

Sacred Verdi


Verdi:

Quattro Pezzi Sacri

Donika Mataj (soprano)

Ave Maria, for voice & strings or piano

Maria Agresta (soprano)

Libera me, Domine from ‘Messa per Rossini’

Maria Agresta (soprano)


'Antonio Pappano... seems to have an almost mystical feel that always brings out the best in Verdi's music.' Daily Express

Antonio Pappano and his Orchestra e Coro dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of the great Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi with this programme of sacred choral music. The repertoire consists of the Four Sacred Pieces and, with soprano Maria Agresta as the soloist, the 1880 Ave Maria and the original version of Libera me from the Messa da Requiem. Pappano and his forces will perform this programme on 20 July at the Royal Albert Hall for the 2013 BBC Proms.

As Music Director of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden since 2002, and the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia since 2005, Pappano has led two outstanding orchestras and choruses - and a host of wonderful soloists - in both operatic and non-operatic repertoire. Their performances, in the concert hall and on disc, have won enthusiastic critical acclaim and resulted in numerous awards.

Pappano said recently, “2013 being 200th anniversary of Verdi’s birth, I think, with all the opera that I am conducting in the theatre, this disc is something especially important for me – to concentrate on his sacred music. This is music that is not really well known but shows in another light a composer that we think we know so well.”

Although published as a collection, the Four Sacred Pieces were never meant to be performed together. They were written at different times and for different reasons and, consequently, are very diverse. Verdi worked on one or another of the pieces intermittently for nearly ten years and was apparently not completely satisfied with them and tried to stop them from being published. Fortunately for us, his publisher, Ricordi, and his friend and librettist, Arrigo Boïto, went ahead and published them. Pappano describes them as displaying “an amazing development in Verdi’s mastery of harmony. … these are pieces that he wrote after Falstaff so they are his final testament, very, very important pieces.”

In Pappano’s words [about the Four Sacred Pieces], “The Ave Maria is a piece for a cappella chorus built on an enigmatic scale proposed by a journalist to challenge composers. And Verdi took it upon himself to meet this challenge to try to harmonise this enigmatic scale. What he does with it is quite magical, if austere, and very clever. I think it has a spirit of the history of Italian choral music that dates back to Palestrina. The Stabat Mater is a very grand piece for a large orchestra and chorus. The text – the suffering Madonna under the cross watching her son die - has been set by many Italian composers so Verdi is carrying on an important tradition. The Lauda is for female voices, so we get an amazing colour change, very subtle in its harmonic presentation and full of a youthful joy. The Te Deum starts with a cappella chorus and with, like a Gregorian chant, and then there is an explosion of Sanctus. Again, a huge orchestra, double chorus this time and full of contrapuntal writing, full of the highest extremes and challenges in the vocal writing that you can ever imagine but of course, it is always Verdi and there is an element of theatre there and an incredible power that is unleashed and is always somehow beneath the surface. You need a magnificent chorus for these works and I think I have just the thing here. This music is in their bones.”

“The rest of the album is made up of the Libera Me, a piece that Verdi wrote for a Mass written in memoriam to Rossini. Verdi and a host of other composers each had a movement to write. Now the Libera Me that we are doing is that original version. He would later include it in his Requiem in honour of Manzoni and, when he did that, he changed it quite a bit actually but there are similarities between the two pieces. To record the original version after we have already recorded the other version is very exciting for us, just because of those subtle, and yet noticeable changes: difference of key, difference of orchestration, difference of harmonies also. A wonderful soloist, Maria Agresta, will take part in the Libera Me and then will sing a piece that is not very well known. It is called the Ave Maria and it is similar in mood to the other Ave Maria in Verdi’s Otello, which Desdemona sings but, again, it is very sophisticated harmonically, just accompanied by strings, very muted in its expression and very personal. There is a real humanity in it and absolutely no pomposity whatsoever, very genuine, with magical harmonic changes and surprises everywhere.”

Maria Agresta has been described by The New York Times as a “full, iridescent soprano [who] dealt handily with the music’s demands for bel canto gracefulness as well as for Verdi-like fervor, offering some beautiful pianissimos along the way”

The Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia is a rare example of an Italian symphony orchestra unattached to an opera house, and it is unanimously recognised as the country’s finest symphonic orchestra. Since taking over as Music Director, Antonio Pappano has revitalised and galvanised the Orchestra with his enthusiastic spirit, positive energy and consummate musicianship. It has been voted one of the leading orchestras of the world by several publications.

In the summer of 2013, Pappano and the Santa Cecilia Orchestra and Chorus perform two Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. One programme consists of works by Mozart, Schumann and Rachmaninov, the second is their Viva Verdi! Prom. In August Pappano makes his Salzburg Festival debut in a keenly anticipated production of Don Carlo with the Vienna Philharmonic and with a performance of Britten’s War Requiem with the Santa Cecilia Orchestra and Chorus and soloists Anna Netrebko, Ian Bostridge and Thomas Hampson. In 2013/2014, Pappano conducts productions of Parsifal, Les Vêpres siciliennes and Manon at the Royal Opera House and, with the Santa Cecilia Orchestra and chorus, Peter Grimes, Bach’s Mass in B Minor and orchestral concerts with soloists including Leonidas Kavakos, Radu Lupu, Yuja Wang, Sol Gabetta and Lang Lang.

Antonio Pappano has recorded exclusively for EMI Classics since 1995 and renewed his contract with the label in October 2010. His substantial discography ranges from award-winning complete operas to orchestral works to lieder (as pianist). Previous recordings of works by Verdi include the Messa da Requiem with the Santa Cecilia Orchestra, which won the Critics’ Choice Award (2010 Classical Brit Awards), the Choral award (2010 BBC Music Magazine Awards) and the Choral award (2010 Gramophone Awards) and DVDs of Don Carlo (“Antonio Pappano, conducting with loving ferocity and spacious tempi, draws the classiest orchestral playing and choral work from the ROH musicians” -The Guardian) and Simon Boccanegra (“Antonio Pappano's conducting brims over with warmth, detail and dynamism, and the orchestra is on fire for him” -The Guardian) from the Royal Opera House.

Antonio Pappano received a Knighthood in the UK in the 2012 New Year’s Honours List, and has since been awarded the Knighthood of the Cavaliere di Gran Croce Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana by the President of the Italian Republic. He received the ISM (Incorporated Society of Musicians) Distinguished Musician Award for 2012 and was named Conductor of the Year at the inaugural International Opera Awards in April 2013.

“Agresta is able to display the warmth and tenderness of her soprano in music that suits it extremely well...Once again, Pappano's blend of deep understanding and infallible instinct helps him arrive at a performance of unusual conviction.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2013 *****

“Pappano's players provide a firmness of tone in a perfectly balanced sound stage...At full pelt [the chorus] is equally matched to the tutti of the orchestra...Pappano is such a compelling advocate for Verdi's music that there could be no finer 200th-birthday salute than this stunning disc. Do try to find room for it on your shelves.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“the performances are very good and the enterprising programme should be self-recommending to Verdi enthusiasts, especially since, to the best of my knowledge, the Ave Maria and the Libera me are not otherwise available at present. When you factor in also an excellent account of the Four Sacred Pieces then this disc is a notable contribution to the Verdi bi-centenary celebrations.” MusicWeb International, 18th November 2013

“Pappano's commitment and insight are never in doubt, but ultimately, it's the choral singing, wonderfully secure and deeply fervent, that commands attention. Maria Agresta is the heartfelt if occasionally tremulous soloist.” The Guardian, 10th October 2013 ****

BBC Music Magazine

Choral & Song Choice - October 2013

Warner Classics - 9845242

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Volkmar Andreae: Piano Concerto, Violin Concerto and other works

Volkmar Andreae: Piano Concerto, Violin Concerto and other works


Andreae:

Piano Concerto in D

Fali Pavri (piano)

Konzertstück in B minor, for Piano and Orchestra

Fali Pavri (piano)

Violin Concerto in F minor, Op. 40

Christian Altenburger (violin)

Rhapsodie for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 32

Christian Altenburger (violin)


“triumphantly vibrant examples of the late-romantic movement...Well worth the investment for those who are curious about Andreae the composer and for adherents of catchily romantic concertos.” MusicWeb International, February 2013

“These performances under Marc Andrae (the composer's grandson) are unfailingly sympathetic, with commendably shapely contributions from pianist Fali Pavri and violinist Christian Altenburger, and some nicely turned playing by the Bournemouth SO.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

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Peter Seabourne: Steps Volume 2

Peter Seabourne: Steps Volume 2

Studies of Invention


Seabourne:

Steps


Giovanni Santini (piano)

Peter Seaborne stands apart from much in new music, following his own path. His work is often overtly passionate, communicative and full of energy. This new release – Steps - has fifteen movements, divided into three books of five pieces. Beautifully performed by pianist Giovanni Santin, the work was intended to be cycle, played in a single unbroken span. The composers wish is that other players will take up the challenge presenting the cycle in live performance.

“these confirm no mean artistry within the solo piano domain...Giovanni Santini is equal to the music's formidable demands.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

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Schubert: Winterreise D911

Schubert: Winterreise D911


Christoph Prégardien (tenor) & Michael Gees (piano)

World famous tenor Christoph Prégardien continues his series of recordings for Challenge Classics of Schubert song-cycles, with what many consider to be the composer’s greatest work in the genre “Winterreise”. As with previous critically acclaimed releases in the series the pianist is Michael Gees. This Blu-ray release features video of a performance of the work as well as the documentary “Winterreise, Der dritte Weg” (Winterreise, the third way), which presents interviews with Prégardien and Gees and behind-the-scenes footage of the studio recording process. It also includes a bonus CD of Christoph Prégardien and Michael Gees performing “Winterreise”.

Blu-ray specifications:

Region code: A, B, C (region free)

Rating: E (exempt)

Picture format: 16:9, 1920x1080i

Sound format: Stereo PCM 192kS/s-24Bit, Surround 5.1 PCM 192kS/s-24Bit

“the intense focus and concentration of both performers is confirmed visually. And the four cameramen offer simple, unfussy shots...this is no recital with a live audience: it is suffused with the stark clarity and natural daylight of a recording studio in Belgium.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2013 *****

“Prégardien, that most baritonal of tenors, has a beautiful nut-brown voice allied to a Fischer-Dieskau-like intensity of communication. Gees sees to it that the keyboard part for once makes full impact, bringing some remarkably potent gestures to his playing” Sunday Times, 2nd June 2013

“Diction and word-colouring are a delight: we get a detailed, precisely-inflected portrait of the poet’s descent into despair, thoughtfully supported by Gees and recorded in immaculate sound.” Financial Times, 17th August 2013 ****

“Prégardien and Gees strike the listener as thinking their way through the experience of the lover as he is himself understanding it. Throughout the cycle their performance is marked by this quality of immediacy...This is a beautiful, constantly attentive, never over-stated and deeply affecting performance of Winterreise, one for lovers of Schubert's songs to treasure.” International Record Review, September 2013

“Prégardien, finely abetted by Michael Gees's discerning, precisely coloured pianism...Crucially, he 'lives' the cycle as vividly as ever...Prégardien remains at once one of the most scrupulous and moving interpreters of Winterreise.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

Challenge Classics - CC72588

(Blu-ray)

$31.75

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Schubert: Winterreise D911

Schubert: Winterreise D911


Christoph Prégardien (tenor) & Michael Gees (piano)

World famous tenor Christoph Prégardien continues his series of recordings for Challenge Classics of Schubert song-cycles, with what many consider to be the composer’s greatest work in the genre “Winterreise”. As with previous critically acclaimed releases in the series the pianist is Michael Gees. This DVD release features video of a performance of the work as well as the documentary “Winterreise, Der dritte Weg” (Winterreise, the third way), which presents interviews with Prégardien and Gees and behind-the-scenes footage of the studio recording process.

DVD specifications:

Region code: 0 (region free)

Rating: E (exempt)

Picture format: 16:9, NTSC (region free)

Sound format: Stereo Dolby Digital 2.0, Surround Dolby Digital 5.1

“the intense focus and concentration of both performers is confirmed visually. And the four cameramen offer simple, unfussy shots...this is no recital with a live audience: it is suffused with the stark clarity and natural daylight of a recording studio in Belgium.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2013 *****

“Diction and word-colouring are a delight: we get a detailed, precisely-inflected portrait of the poet’s descent into despair, thoughtfully supported by Gees and recorded in immaculate sound.” Financial Times, 17th August 2013 ****

“Prégardien, that most baritonal of tenors, has a beautiful nut-brown voice allied to a Fischer-Dieskau-like intensity of communication. Gees sees to it that the keyboard part for once makes full impact, bringing some remarkably potent gestures to his playing” Sunday Times, 2nd June 2013

“Prégardien and Gees strike the listener as thinking their way through the experience of the lover as he is himself understanding it. Throughout the cycle their performance is marked by this quality of immediacy...This is a beautiful, constantly attentive, never over-stated and deeply affecting performance of Winterreise, one for lovers of Schubert's songs to treasure.” International Record Review, September 2013

“Prégardien, finely abetted by Michael Gees's discerning, precisely coloured pianism...Crucially, he 'lives' the cycle as vividly as ever...Prégardien remains at once one of the most scrupulous and moving interpreters of Winterreise.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Challenge Classics - CC72595

(DVD Video)

$17.75

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Moura Lympany: The complete HMV recordings 1947 -1952

Moura Lympany: The complete HMV recordings 1947 -1952

The Matthay School Volume 5


Albéniz:

Tango (No. 2 from Espana, Op. 165)

Brahms:

Variations on a theme by Paganini in A minor, Op. 35: Book 2

Intermezzo in B flat minor, Op. 117 No. 2

Chopin:

Impromptu No. 4 in C sharp minor, Op. 66 'Fantaisie-Impromptu'

Debussy:

Clair de Lune (from Suite Bergamasque)

Franck, C:

Symphonic Variations for piano & orchestra, M46

Philharmonia Orchestra, Walter Susskind

Granados:

Laments or the Maiden and the Nightingale

Liszt:

Transcendental Study, S139 No. 5 'Feux Follets'

Les jeux d'eaux à la Villa d'Este (Années de pèlerinage III, S. 163 No. 4)

Polonaise No. 2 in E major, S223 No. 2

Mephisto Waltz No. 1

Litolff:

Concerto symphonique No. 4 in D minor, Op. 102: Scherzo

Philharmonia Orchestra, Walter Susskind

Mendelssohn:

Piano Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25

Philharmonia Orchestra, Rafael Kubelik

Rondo brillant in E flat major, Op. 29

London Symphony Orchestra, Herbert Menges

Prokofiev:

Toccata in D minor, Op. 11

Ravel:

Le Tombeau de Couperin: Toccata

Schumann:

Études symphoniques, Op. 13

Vogel als Prophet (No. 7 from Waldszenen, Op. 82)

Shostakovich:

Fantastic Dances (3), Op. 5

Turina:

Rapsodia sinfonica, Op. 66

Philharmonia Orchestra, Walter Susskind


MOURA LYMPANY (1916–2005) was the last of the major Matthay pupils and she started working with him in 1937 when he was already 79. In 1938 she shot to international fame when she came second to Emil Gilels in the Queen Elisabeth competition. A brilliant technician, she followed in the footsteps of Scharrer and Joyce, though was perhaps temperamentally cooler that either.

Initially, she specialised in major works of the romantic and Russian repertoire and made the first complete recording of the Rachmaninov preludes (for Decca) in the 1940’s. She also gave the western premiere of Khachaturian piano concerto and subsequently recorded it; along with the Rachmaninov 2nd and 3rd concertos it become one of her signature works. The HMV recordings presented here, made before she returned to recording for Decca again in the later 1950’s, emphasize her virtuoso credentials and feature many of the piano’s most fearsome warhorses. This is repertoire she excelled in and her performances of, for example, Feux follets, or the toccatas of Ravel and Prokofiev, have rarely been equalled.

“Dame Moura's virtuosity quietly stuns. Her Mendelssohn, Liszt and Litolff are fleet and joyful; Granados's The Maiden and the Nightingale and Debussy's Clair de lune sing from the heart.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2013 ****

“The highlight of this collection is the Schumann Symphonic Etudes...Each of the variations is well-characterised. There is drama and energy on the one hand, and lyricism and richness of expression on the other, with superb attention to detail...This is an impressive tribute to a fine British pianist.” MusicWeb International, 2nd October 2013

GGramophone Magazine

Re-issue of the Month - Awards Issue 2013

APR - The Matthay School - APR6011

(CD - 2 discs)

$17.00

(also available to download from $20.00)

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

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