Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

July 2014

Disc of the Month

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Walton: Symphony No. 1 & Violin Concerto

Awards:

Presto Disc of the Week

21st April 2014

Gramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - July 2014

BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the month - June 2014

Label:

Chandos

Catalogue No:

CHSA5136

Discs:

1

Release date:

28th April 2014

Barcode:

0095115513620

Length:

76 minutes

Medium:

SACD (download also available)

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

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Walton: Symphony No. 1 & Violin Concerto


Walton:

Symphony No. 1 in B flat minor

Violin Concerto

Tasmin Little (violin)


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Edward Gardner, a Chandos exclusive artist, conducts the BBC Symphony Orchestra in two great masterpieces byWilliam Walton, his Violin Concerto and the Symphony No. 1.

Walton burst onto the British musical scene in his twenties, the success of works such as Façade, the Viola Concerto, and Belshazzar’s Feast establishing him in both the avant-garde and the mainstream of British composers. The obvious next step for Walton was to compose a symphony and he was duly commissioned to do so by Sir Hamilton Harty in 1932. The first complete performance of his Symphony No. 1, in 1935, was a triumph, immediately gaining the work an honoured place in British music which it has never lost. It is a highly virtuosic work with a remarkable expressive range, in turns powerful and broad, malicious, melancholic, and majestic.

The Violin Concerto was written in 1938 in response to a commission from Jascha Heifetz. The solo part reflects not only the legendary virtuosity for which Heifetz was famous, but also the sweetness and purity of his playing of long lyrical lines. In this recording the soloist is Tasmin Little whose acclaimed recordings of concertos by Britten, Elgar, Delius, and Moeran on Chandos have already established her as one of the foremost interpreters of British music for the violin.

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

William Walton: Symphony No. 1

I. Allegro assai

II. Presto con malizia

III. Andante con malinconia

IV. Maestoso: Allegro brioso ed ardentemente

William Walton: Violin Concerto (1943 version)

I. Andante tranquillo

II. Presto capriccioso alla napolitana

III. Vivace

MusicWeb International

16th May 2014

“Gardner brings out all the harmonic tension in the music...in a reading which never loses momentum, even when Gardner reins back the pace to capture the aching passion of the slower episodes. There’s explosive energy a-plenty and no lack of dynamism...This is a compelling coupling of exceptionally fine Walton performances...Both these performances now become the modern benchmark for the respective works.”

Financial Times

17th May 2014

*****

“Gardner and the BBC Symphony Orchestra profile the symphony’s turbulent syncopations, brassy dissonances and expressionist brilliance – a truly exhilarating performance. In the concerto, Little finds the nexus between sultry lyricism and rapturous virtuosity.”

BBC Music Magazine

June 2014

*****

“Little's way with the virtuoso passages is a notch less headlong than [on her earlier recording], allowing the ear to savour her phenomenal accuracy, yet with no loss of fire...Gardner and the BBC SO provide an accompaniment whose range of detail..is never driven too hard...a masterclass in how to generate formidable dramatic voltage while keeping the music's eruptive energy on a tight rein.”

Sunday Times

25th May 2014

“Gardner’s dynamic, pulsing rhythms and strong grip of the expansive structure of the first movement [of the Symphony] are particularly remarkable...Little offers a mature, deeply felt and brilliantly played account of a work she has championed more than any other contemporary violinist.”

The Telegraph

12th June 2014

****

“Springy rhythms, firm accents and astute observation of the typically Walton blend of rich but translucent textures and timbres contribute to the thoroughly fresh impetus in this performance of [Walton's] First Symphony...To the Violin Concerto...Little brings a mellifluous glow and a capricious spirit.”

Gramophone Magazine

July 2014

“Gardner presides over blisteringly eloquent and splendidly unbuttoned accounts of both these Walton masterworks...Heaps to savour and cherish, in sum; certainly, seasoned Waltonians will have a ball. With magnificent truthful sound and judicious balance throughout, this terrific coupling should be snapped up without delay.”

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Rossini: Otello

Rossini: Otello


John Osborn (Otello), Cecilia Bartoli (Desdemona), Peter Kálmán (Elmiro), Javier Camarena (Rodrigo/Lucio), Edgardo Rocha (Iago) & Liliana Nikiteanu (Emilia)

Chorus of the Opernhaus Zürich & Orchestra La Scintilla, Muhai Tang

Moshe Leiser & Patrice Caurier (Stage direction)

Cecilia Bartoli makes her long-anticipated debut in the role of Desdemona in Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s new production of Rossini’s Otello for the Zurich Opera House.

“Ms. Bartoli…displayed…the dazzling strengths that have characterized her work since the beginning. It is obvious that she has plotted out every musical and dramatic moment: every subtle diminuendo, every gesture. But her charm — those twinkling eyes, those powerful low notes — is such that the effect doesn’t feel overly calculated.” – The New York Times

“Zurich Opera stared down the mighty challenge posed by Rossini’s Otello ossia il moro di Venezia, and knocked it out of the ballpark.” – Operatoday.com

Rossini’s unusual scoring of the drama calls for three tenor supporting roles – here sung to universal acclaim by long-standing Bartoli collaborators John Osborn and Javier Camarena and newcomer Edgardo Rocha.

Bartoli’s dramatic command and vocal presence dominate the stage and reveal her artistry to be entering a rich new stage of development.

“Sophisticated and expressive performance deserves to bring the composer’s under-sung work to the widest possible audience.” Financial Times, 3rd May 2014

“Osborn sings with appreciable technical command and dramatic insight. So does Cecilia Bartoli, once again in shining form...That the piece stands up so well is due not only to the cast and production; credit is also due to Muhai Tang, who certainly knows how to make Rossini's score sound vital and dramatically engaged.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2014 ****

Presto Discs of 2014

Finalist

GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - July 2014

DVD Video

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Decca - 0743863

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JS Bach: Cello Suites Nos. 2, 3 and 6

JS Bach: Cello Suites Nos. 2, 3 and 6

arr. viola by Simon Rowland-Jones


Bach, J S:

Cello Suite No. 2 in D minor, BWV1008

arr. viola by Simon Rowland-Jones

Cello Suite No. 3 in C major, BWV1009

arr. viola by Simon Rowland-Jones

Cello Suite No. 6 in D major, BWV1012

arr. viola by Simon Rowland-Jones


It was with three of Bach’s cello suites, transcribed for the viola, that Maxim Rysanov made his début on BIS in 2010. The Sunday Times had one reservation: ‘Rysanov’s recording of Bach’s suites is near perfection; the only flaw being that he did not perform all six.’ With the present disc that flaw is now being rectified, and the set is complete.

These suites were originally written for a five-stringed instrument, but are heard here on Rysanov’s own four-stringed viola built by Giuseppe Guadagnini in 1780.

Please note: The music on this Hybrid Super Audio CD can be played back in Stereo (CD and SACD) as well as in 5.0 Surround sound (SACD).

“Rysanov’s playing has grown in depth of feeling, virtuosity and tone colour...Wit and springy rhythms mark his Courantes, Bourrées, Menuets and Gavottes; his Gigues are joyous apotheoses of the dance.” Sunday Times, 1st June 2014

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2014

Super Audio CD

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BIS - BIS2033

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Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 18 & 22

Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 18 & 22


Mozart:

Piano Concerto No. 18 in B flat major, K456

Piano Concerto No. 22 in E flat major, K482


The sixth disc in this highly acclaimed series combine two works in which Mozart's powers as an orchestrator come to the fore.

Concerto No. 22 is the first of only three piano concertos in which Mozart uses clarinets, to particular effect in the expressive Andantino cantabile episode of the otherwise ebullient Finale. The orchestra is on the whole unusually large, with trumpets and timpani, and horn parts which are uncommonly independent.

“Like most other period-instrument practitioners of Mozart's keyboard music, Brautigam plays a copy...of an instrument that post-dates the composer's death...Much more important than matters of strict authenticity, however, is Brautigam's stylish performance: nimble, fluent and subtle, with plenty of soloistic flair...The bubbly finale [of K482] is a delight.” International Record Review, May 2014

“While Brautigam and Willens have sometims tended to favour tempos distinctly on the fast side, that isn't the case here: these are finely-judged performances throughout, in which every detail counts. Brautigam contributes an impressive cadenza to K482.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2014 *****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2014

Super Audio CD

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BIS Brautigam Mozart Concertos - BIS2044

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Amorosi pensieri

Amorosi pensieri

Songs for the Habsburg Court by Philippe de Monte, Jean Guyot, Jacobus Vaet & Jacob Regnart


Guyot:

En lieux d’esbatz m’assault melancolie

Je suis amoureux d’une fille Je suis amoureux d’une fille

Vous estes si doulce et benigne

L’arbre d’amour ung fruict d’amaritude

Vous perdez temps de me dire mal d’elle

Tel en mesdict qui pour soy la desire

Monte, P:

Amorosi pensieri

Ombra son io

Con che soavità

Anima dolorosa

O dolci sguardi

Que me servent mes vers

Susanne un jour

Sortez regretz

Regnart:

Ach weh der Zeit, die ich verzert

Ein Lieb nit mehr hat

Venus du und dein Kind

Du hast mich sollen nemen

Chi mi consolerà

Amor, che debbo fare

Vola vola pensier

Alarm’, alarm’ o fidi miei pensieri

Vaet:

Amour leal

Sans vous ne puis

En l’ombre d’ung buissonet


A new departure for the wonderful all-male vocal ensemble Cinquecento. They turn to the secular music—generally much less well-known—of the Renaissance masters Philippe de Monte, Jacobus Vaet and Jacob Regnart whose sacred music they have explored so successfully in previous recordings for Hyperion. Also included are six chansons by Jean Guyot de Châtelet (his name is sometimes Latinized to ‘Castileti’).

This collection is both historically fascinating and stunningly performed. The music is beautiful and sensuous, with the polyphonic arts familiar from sacred works of this period now put to the service of earthly emotions. An expressively melancholic vein pervades many of these works, and one can see them as a precursor to Monteverdi’s madrigals.

“The immaculately written motet-like textures of Sortez Regretz bring out the best in the singers who give us clean textures and superb tuning...They give a beautiful performance of the little rustic ditty Ein Lieb, and they trip through Venus du und dein Kind delightfully.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2014 ****

“Such spirited and suave performances as these...could be considered a platter of amuses-bouches, to be sampled and enjoyed for their variety rather than for their profundity. Dig in, I say.” Early Music Today

“This is great...It's not just that their ensemble and tuning are flawless, nor that with six highly individual voices they can create an amazing range of colours, but that with their multicultural forces they can fit effortlessly into the style of the music, whether the texts are in Italian, French or German.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2014

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2014

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Brahms: Clarinet Quintet

Brahms: Clarinet Quintet


Brahms:

Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op. 115

with Janine Jansen ( violin), Boris Brovtsyn (violin), Maxim Rysanov (viola), Torleif Thedéen (cello)

Die Mainacht, Op. 43 No. 2

transcribed by Martin Fröst for clarinet and piano

with Roland Pöntinen (piano)

Clarinet Trio in A minor, Op. 114

with Torleif Thedéen (cello) & Roland Pöntinen (piano) Br

Mädchenlied, Op. 107 No. 5

transcribed by Martin Fröst for clarinet and piano

with Roland Pöntinen (piano)

Immer leiser wird mein Schlummer, Op. 105 No. 2

transcribed by Martin Fröst for clarinet and piano

with Roland Pöntinen (piano)

Vergebliches Ständchen, Op. 84 No. 4

transcribed by Martin Fröst for clarinet and piano

with Roland Pöntinen (piano)

Feldeinsamkeit, Op. 86 No. 2

transcribed by Martin Fröst for clarinet and piano

with Roland Pöntinen (piano)


Martin Fröst (clarinet)

Johannes Brahms’s Clarinet Quintet is core repertoire, not just for clarinettists but also in the entire chamber music genre. As such, it has been on Martin Fröst’s ‘to-be-recorded list’ for a long time, and when he gathered a dream-team of string players for a concert in Stockholm in February 2013, it was the perfect opportunity for BIS to organize a recording session. Brahms’s Quintet was written in 1891 by a composer who only a year previously had renounced composing, but whose creative urge had been reawakened by his encounter with the leading clarinettist of the time, Richard Mühlfeld. Some 120 years later, Fröst – one of today’s most highly regarded musicians and the recipient of the 2014 Sonning Prize – steps into Mühlfeld’s shoes, in the company of Janine Jansen, Boris Brovtsyn, Maxim Rysanov and Torleif Thedéen. As a complement to this substantial work – with a duration of almost 35 minutes – Martin Fröst has transcribed six much-loved songs by Brahms, performing them with his chamber music partner of long standing, the eminent pianist Roland Pöntinen. The songs, composed between 1866-1886, range from high lyricism (Die Mainacht) to bitter-sweet nostalgia (Wie Melodien…), via the humourous Vergebliches Ständchen. To these new recordings has been added a substantial ‘bonus’ – Martin Fröst’s performance with Pöntinen and Thedéen of the Trio for clarinet, cello and piano, which Brahms composed for Mühlfeld in the same year as the quintet. Originally released in 2005, the recording of the Trio received a warm welcome, including an Editor’s Choice in Gramophone, as well as a ‘Disc of the Month’ on website ClassicsToday.com.

Janine Jansen appears courtesy of Decca Classics.

“Sensuous beauty and taut sinew mingle for an interpretation whose fastidious attention to internal balance and every musical detail result in sovereign excellence, in a sovereign recording. Fröst's control instrumental colour is superfine, intensity of phrases shaped through swell and diminution of sound.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2014

“Fröst revels in the deep-plush velvet of his chalumeau regions - and, indeed, sustains this timbre throughout the instrument's register...the ensemble creates cutting-edge rhythmic urgency, and a sense of real momentum.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2014 ****

“the way the clarinet and strings listen to each other and tailor their phrasing accordingly is an object lesson in high-class ensemble playing, while the clarinet-and-piano arrangements of the songs, in which Fröst is partnered by Roland Pöntinen, complement the chamber works nicely.” The Guardian, 21st August 2014

Presto Discs of 2014

Finalist

GGramophone Awards 2015

Finalist - Chamber

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2014

Super Audio CD

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BIS - BIS2063

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A French Baroque Diva

A French Baroque Diva

Arias for Marie Fel


Fiocco, J H:

Laudate pueri (Part 1 of Laudate pueri)

A solis ortu (Part 3 of Laudate pueri)

Alleluia (Part 4 of Laudate pueri)

Lacoste:

Ah! quand reviendront nos beaux jours?

Lalande:

Regna terrae (Movement 5 of Exsurgat Deus, S71)

Sinfonie (Movement 1 of Te Deum laudamus, S32)

Tu rex gloriae (Movement 8 of Te Deum laudamus, S32)

Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem (Movement 9 of Te Deum laudamus, S32)

Viderunt omnes termini terrae (Movement 5 of Cantate Domino, S72)

Mondonville:

Gasouillats auzeléts (Act 1 Scene 2 from Daphnis et Alcimadure)

Venite, adoremus (Movement 4 of Venite, exsultemus)

Hodie si vocem (Movement 6 of Venite, exsultemus)

Rameau:

Tristes apprêts (from Castor et Pollux)

Amour, lance tes traits (from Les fêtes de l'Hymen et de l'Amour)

La Lyre Enchantée

Rousseau, J-J:

Salve regina


A welcome return of Carolyn Sampson and Ex Cathedra to Hyperion, performing the rich, fulsome music of the French Baroque. Their recording of love songs from Rameau’s operas (Hyperion CDA67447) was hugely acclaimed for Sampson’s stylish, fluid, seductive performances, and ten years later her artistry is even more dazzling.

This album is of particular interest as rather than concentrating on one composer it showcases the works written for the premiere soprano of the day, Marie Fel. Voltaire called her his ‘adorable nightingale’. For d’Aquin, she was an enchanted being. Marie Fel was the soprano who held an entire generation spellbound at the Paris Opéra and at Louis XV’s court during one of the most glorious periods of French music. With a voice described as ‘pure, charming, silvery’ (La Borde), ‘touching and sublime’ (Grimm) and ‘always lovely, always seductive’ (d’Aquin), she inspired some of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s finest music and introduced a whole new level of virtuosity and expression into the French singing tradition. Her long, triumphant career is traced through this fascinating recording.

Carolyn Sampson talks to Presto's Katherine Cooper about the disc here.

“don't be put off by the apparently recherche repertoire: this is a programme that leases as much today as it did in [Fel's]...the longer we listen to Sampson's voice, the more she seems to inhabit the aura of Fel...Sampson's performance is the more admirable for evoking the spirit of another singer. Start to finish, Jeffrey Skidmore devotedly shapes and paces the programme.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2014

“Sampson is quite remarkable. She has the capacity to soften the vocal line with carefully controlled vibrato, but also deploys tone of crystalline clarity...bright, vibrant, responsive and entirely in tune with the expressive language and virtuosic demands of the period.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2014 *****

“I’m sure Jeffrey Skidmore and Ex Cathedra won’t mind me saying this is a very English interpretation...Sampson sings it all beautifully: words, affect, heart and spirit in everything, plus the most natural-sounding control in the coloratura. A really lovely disc of rare and beautiful music, performed with love.” Opera Now

Presto Discs of 2014

Finalist

GGramophone Awards 2015

Winner - Recital

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2014

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Rossini: Otello

Rossini: Otello


John Osborn (Otello), Cecilia Bartoli (Desdemona), Peter Kálmán (Elmiro), Javier Camarena (Rodrigo/Lucio), Edgardo Rocha (Iago) & Liliana Nikiteanu (Emilia)

Chorus of the Opernhaus Zürich & Orchestra La Scintilla, Muhai Tang

Moshe Leiser & Patrice Caurier (Stage direction)

Cecilia Bartoli makes her long-anticipated debut in the role of Desdemona in Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s new production of Rossini’s Otello for the Zurich Opera House.

“Ms. Bartoli…displayed…the dazzling strengths that have characterized her work since the beginning. It is obvious that she has plotted out every musical and dramatic moment: every subtle diminuendo, every gesture. But her charm — those twinkling eyes, those powerful low notes — is such that the effect doesn’t feel overly calculated.” – The New York Times

“Zurich Opera stared down the mighty challenge posed by Rossini’s Otello ossia il moro di Venezia, and knocked it out of the ballpark.” – Operatoday.com

Rossini’s unusual scoring of the drama calls for three tenor supporting roles – here sung to universal acclaim by long-standing Bartoli collaborators John Osborn and Javier Camarena and newcomer Edgardo Rocha.

Bartoli’s dramatic command and vocal presence dominate the stage and reveal her artistry to be entering a rich new stage of development.

“Sophisticated and expressive performance deserves to bring the composer’s under-sung work to the widest possible audience.” Financial Times, 3rd May 2014

“Osborn sings with appreciable technical command and dramatic insight. So does Cecilia Bartoli, once again in shining form...That the piece stands up so well is due not only to the cast and production; credit is also due to Muhai Tang, who certainly knows how to make Rossini's score sound vital and dramatically engaged.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2014 ****

Presto Discs of 2014

Finalist

GGramophone Magazine

DVD/Blu-ray of the Month - July 2014

Blu-ray Disc

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Decca - 0743865

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Brahms: Violin Sonatas Nos. 1-3 (complete)

Brahms: Violin Sonatas Nos. 1-3 (complete)


Leonidas Kavakos (violin) & Yuja Wang (piano)

Leonidas Kavakos, the “exceptional violinist” (Daily Mail) follows his spectacular Brahms Violin Concerto recording by teaming up with star pianist Yuja Wang – “a prodigious talent, with an astonishing technique” (The Guardian) for the great Brahms Violin Sonatas

Leonidas Kavakos’s third release for Decca makes a perfect supplement to his acclaimed Brahms Violin Concerto disc with Chailly.

‘It’s a long time since there was a new version of this concerto as good as this.’ Andrew Clements, The Guardian (October 2013).

‘There is a rapier-like cut-and-thrust about this performance that recalls the surging adrenaline-charge of Isaac Stern in full flight, with Kavakos emerging as the swashbuckling hero of the hour, taking all technical obstacles in his stride with soaring abandonment.‘ Julian Haylock, Sinfini (October 2013).

For the three sonatas Kavakos – an exclusive Decca artist – teams up with Wang, a former Gramophone Young Artist of the Year.

Their partnership at the 2013 Verbier Festival was much talked about (and broadcast on Medici) and they will be touring these works in April to major European cities.

The F-A-E Scherzo which Brahms contributed to a composite sonata (along with his friends Schumann and Dietrich) will be added as a bonus.

The three violin sonatas were written for Brahms’s muse in all matters violin, Joseph Joachim, who also gave the premiere of the Violin Concerto and contributed its cadenzas.

“Kavakos opts for a subtle use of vibrato and a relatively limited dynamic range. His sweet tone is matched by Wang...these performances may seem restrained and almost Classical in outlook. Yet this reticence serves to give greater intensity to those few passages...where both players become more expansive in expression.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2014 ****

“Wang and Kavakos give consistently outstanding performances. Wang has a way of making even the most complex passages beautifully clear. Without over-emphasising turning points in the harmony, she's able to point the music's direction of travel...Kavakos similarly delights in finding an ideal expression for each phrase.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2014

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Editor's Choice - July 2014

Decca - 4786442

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Andris Nelsons conducts Richard Strauss

Andris Nelsons conducts Richard Strauss


Strauss, R:

Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30

Don Juan, Op. 20

Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Op. 28


Recorded Birmingham Symphony Hall Sept. 2011, Jan. 2012, Jan. 2013.

In this year of Richard Strauss’s 150th birthday, it seems natural that the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Andris Nelsons should add the ultimate candle to the birthday cake, as it were, given that their previous recordings of Strauss's works for Orfeo ['Ein Heldenleben' C803091A, 'Alpine Symphony' C833111A) have been amongst the label's most successful of recent years. Here, the CBSO and its music director offer us a selection of the early tone poems: 'Don Juan', 'Till Eulenspiegel' and 'Also sprach Zarathustra'. In 'Don Juan', Strauss combined big tunes and orchestral virtuosity with a dash of immorality and wacky humour. Nelsons and the CBSO delight in the Don’s life of adventure and conquest that comes to a sticky end. The macabre climax to 'Till Eulenspiegel', with the hanging of the protagonist, is preceded by a witty exploration of just about every possible orchestral timbre, with Strauss pulling out all the stops to depict Till’s merry pranks. The world-class CBSO, homogenous across all the sections of the orchestra, is just what’s needed for the great 'Also sprach Zarathustra'. “Freely based on Friedrich Nietzsche” (as Strauss himself wrote), Nelsons and the CBSO do equal justice to Zarathustra’s address to the sun and to the mysterious close in which the motives of Man and Nature alternate in their respective keys. This new recording undoubtedly counts as one of the most awaited highlights of #Strauss150.

“[Nelsons] knows he can ask anything of his players...Nelsons attacks when necessary with full-throttle precipitation...the shadowlands are even more sustained, highlighting the restless lover's death wish...but Nelson's charisma always shines through.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2014 *****

“The treacherous start of Don Juan is securely handled … the work benefits from Nelsons’s long-term perspective and conviction …The account of Also Sprach Zarathustra has comparible focus and cohesion.” International Record Review, June 2014

“This Don Juan fairly bursts out of the starting blocks. The opening pages are hugely vital, the music driven on with impulsive swagger and white-hot energy...[Till Eulenspiegel] should be a riot of colour and incident and that’s just what we get here. Once again the CBSO’s playing is razor-sharp, except where opulence is required and then they deliver that instead.” MusicWeb International, 3rd June 2014

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2014

Orfeo - C878141A

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Weinberg & Britten: Violin Concertos

Weinberg & Britten: Violin Concertos


Britten:

Violin Concerto in D minor Op. 15

Weinberg:

Violin Concerto in G minor, Op. 67


Since he won the Echo Klassik Award for his EMI debut album in 2006, Linus Roth has made a name for himself both as one of the most accomplished violinists of his generation and as a champion of forgotten music and composers. Here he couples Mieczyslaw Weinberg's Violin Concerto - his Challenge Classics recording of Weinberg's complete works for Violin and Piano has already brought him critical acclaim - with Benjamin Britten’s Violin Concerto.

Linus Roth’s talent was recognised early in his youth. When he was 12 years old he was accepted by Prof. Nicolas Chumachenco at the Music Academy Freiburg. In 1992 he won First Prize at the German national competition “Jugend musiziert”. One year later, he continued his studies with Prof. Zakhar Bron at the Music Academy Lübeck, from which he graduated in 1998. Linus Roth has been awarded several prizes, including 1st prize at the International Violin Competition Novosibirsk in 1995, 2nd prize at the International Music Competition “Joseph Szigeti” in 1997, and 1st prize at the German Music Competition, combined with the Special Prize of the Schumannhouse Bonn in 2003 for the best interpretation of a work by Schumann.

Mieczyslaw Weinberg (1919-1996) was a Soviet composer of Polish-Jewish origin. During his life Weinberg developed a strong personal and musical relationship with his compatriot Dmitri Shostakovich. Unfortunately, for much of the latter part of the last century and the early part of this one, Weinberg’s compositions have largely existed in the shadow of that of his friend. Shostakovich, however, was a great champion of his work and considered the Violin Concerto of 1959 to be a genuine masterpiece. Weinberg dedicated the piece to the great virtuoso Leonid Kogan. The concerto contains music full of affirmative power and irresistible drive from the first percussion crack of the Allegro molto to the last diminishing violin chord. Although sadly neglected in recent years this wonderful, highly virtuosic work is at last showing signs of finding the audience that it richly deserves. Benjamin Britten’s Violin Concerto, opus 15, was written in September 1939 and was the composer’s first work after he moved to America. Britten took much of the inspiration for his piece from the concerto of Alban Berg.

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2014

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Challenge Classics - CC72627

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Arthur de Greef: Solo and Concerto Studio Recordings

Arthur de Greef: Solo and Concerto Studio Recordings


Chopin:

Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 35 'Marche funèbre'

HMV electric recordings, 1925–1931

Nocturne No. 14 in F sharp minor, Op. 48 No. 2

HMV electric recordings, 1925–1931

Waltzes (selection)

HMV electric recordings, 1925–1931

Franck, C:

Symphonic Variations for piano & orchestra, M46

HMV acoustic recordings, 1917–1923

Royal Albert Hall Orchestra, Landon Ronald

Grieg:

Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16

HMV electric recordings, 1927–1931

New Symphony Orchestra, Landon Ronald

Liszt:

Piano Concerto No. 1 in E flat major, S124

HMV acoustic & electric recordings, 1922–1930

Royal Albert Hall Orchestra, Landon Ronald

Piano Concerto No. 2 in A major, S125

HMV acoustic & electric recordings, 1922–1930

London Symphony Orchestra, Landon Ronald

Fantasy on Hungarian Folk-tunes, S123

HMV acoustic & electric recordings, 1922–1930

Royal Albert Hall Orchestra, Landon Ronald

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

HMV acoustic & electric recordings, 1922–1930

Hungarian Rhapsody, S244 No. 12 in C sharp minor

HMV acoustic & electric recordings, 1922–1930

Saint-Saëns:

Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22

HMV electric recordings, 1927–1931

New Symphony Orchestra, Landon Ronald

plus:

solo works by Grétry/Greef, Grieg, Prokofiev

HMV electric recordings, 1927–1931

solo works by Moszkowski, Raff & Schubert/Liszt

HMV electric recordings, 1925–1931

solo works by Albéniz, Chopin, Grétry/Greef, Grieg, Liszt, Moszkowski, Ronald, Rubinstein, Schumann

HMV acoustic recordings, 1917–1923


Arthur de Greef (piano)

Belgian pianist Arthur de Greef studied with Franz Liszt and also became a close friend of Grieg, who strongly admired his playing. He was a main-stay of the HMV catalogue in the 1920s and this set brings together for the first time his complete recordings, save for acoustic versions of concertante works he subsequently recorded electrically (the Liszt Hungarian Fantasia and abridged versions of the Saint-Saëns and Grieg concertos) and two electric chamber recordings with violinist Isolde Menges.

Given his associations, his recordings of the Liszt concertos and Hungarian Fantasy must be considered important stylistic documents, but perhaps most important of all is his recording of the Grieg concerto. He initially studied this with his teacher Brassin at the time when the latter gave the Belgian premiere of the work. He subsequently worked on it, and gave performances with, Grieg, who said of him ‘De Greef is the best interpreter of my music I have met with. It is surprising how he understands my meaning… He is a real Master’.

This is the first time that the bulk of de Greef’s recordings have been released together and they show that a serious reappraisal of a pianist from the earliest generation to record substantially, is overdue.

GGramophone Magazine

Re-issue of the Month - July 2014

APR - APR7401

(CD - 4 discs)

$28.25

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