Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

August 2014

Editor's Choice

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Donizetti: Maria Stuarda

Donizetti: Maria Stuarda

Live at the Metropolitan Opera, 2013


Joyce DiDonato (Maria Stuarda), Elza van den Heever (Elisabetta), Matthew Rose (Talbot), Joshua Hopkins (Cecil), Matthew Polenzani (Leicester), Maria Zifchak (Anna Kennedy)

The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus, Maurizio Benini

Joyce DiDonato talks to Presto's Katherine Cooper about singing Maria Stuarda here.

On New Year’s Eve 2012 Joyce DiDonato became the first singer to take the title role in Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. With her at its heart, the production became, in the words of Opera magazine, “a high point of the season and of the company’s performance history of bel canto operas”.

New Year’s Eve 2012 brought the first-ever performance at New York’s Metropolitan Opera of Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda, famed for its incendiary – if fictional – confrontation between Mary Stuart (Mary, Queen of Scots) and Queen Elizabeth I of England.

As the New York Times wrote: “The production stars the great American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato in the title role ... [Her] performance will be pointed to as a model of singing in which all components of the art form – technique, sound, color, nuance, diction – come together in service to expression and eloquence.” The performance on this DVD took place on January 19th 2013 and was broadcast to cinemas around the world.

Based on a play by Friedrich Schiller, Maria Stuarda achieved new currency in the 1960s, and the title role has attracted such legendary singers as Joan Sutherland, Leyla Gencer, Beverley Sills and Janet Baker. “To have brought this character to life at the Metropolitan Opera for the first time in its history is an incredible privilege,” said Joyce DiDonato. “It is a role that has been inhabited by the best of the best – each star singer bringing a completely different set of strengths to her treacherous phrases and her dramatic journey. To have had the chance to put my stamp on her with such a supportive team will, I’m certain, always remain a career highlight for me.”

Opera magazine duly described DiDonato’s “glowingly-sung, fully-formed portrayal” as “a high point of the season and of the company’s performance history of bel canto operas”.

Directing the production, with its striking use of vivid colors and stark imagery, was David McVicar, and Maurizio Benini conducted a cast that also featured the imposing South African soprano Elza van den Heever, making her Met debut as – again in the words of the New York Times – “a vocally burnished and emotionally tempestuous Elizabeth ... Her voice has penetrating depth and character. She turns flights of coloratura passagework into bursts of jealousy and defiance as Elizabeth contends with the threat that Mary, a blood relative, poses to her reign in England.” As the Earl of Leicester, caught between the rival queens, American tenor Matthew Polenzani brought “melting sound and appealing vulnerability to the role”.

The magnificent final scene of the opera sees Mary preparing for her execution. “What can be said about the final 20 minutes of this opera?” asks Joyce DiDonato. “It is like being shot out of a cannon and there is no slowing down or adjusting along the way. Mary is certainly terrified and yet she manages to find a deep reservoir of determination and fortitude that enables her to climb to her death. She has finally found her peace.”

Production: David McVicar

Set & Costume Designer: John Macfarlane / Lighting Designed by Jennifer Tipton / Choreographer: Leah Hausman

A Metropolitan Opera High-Definition Production

Director: Gary Halvorson / Music Producer: Jay David Saks / Executive Producer: Peter Gelb

Supervising Producers: Mia Bongiovanni, Elena Park

Producers: Louisa Briccetti, Victoria Warivonchik

Host: Deborah Voigt

Stereo PCM 2.0 / Dolby Digital 5.1

Act 1: 73 min / Act 2: 69 min

+15 min interview (Backstage at the MET)

Menu: GB / Subtitles: GB, FR, DE, IT, ES / Sung in Italian

“handsomely designed...well acted and strongly sung. Elza van der Heever delivers a statuesque Elizabeth, if with tomboyish tendencies...DiDonato offers a physically plain, emotionally determined martyr-monarch, her singing closely and impressively aligned with the character's emotional journey...Benini rises above routine to bring flexibility to his conducting.” BBC Music Magazine ***

“One might have guessed that she could sing this demandingly florid and intensely lyrical music with crystalline Italian diction, impeccable technical security and dazzling stylistic finesse, but the fierce ardent passion she brings might surprise those who have only heard her in lighter histrionic fare. Even those with indelible memories of Janet Baker in this part will be blown away.” The Telegraph, 10th July 2014 *****

“Elza van der Heever is quite brilliant as she moves from skittish to jealous, contemptuous and baleful. The three men are all good...DiDonato is an absolute knock-out...spellbinding through a perfect combination of singing and acting. Maurizio Benini conducts impeccably.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2014

“The mezzo might not have the optimal luxury of tone for the role but she more than compensates with the most vocally adept and dramatically detailed performance. Her coloratura is always meaningful (as well as pinpoint accurate) and her sense of line immaculate...Benini conducts idiomatically and David McVicar’s large-scale but simple production is effective.” Opera Now *****

“Scotland really did fire the imagination of the great bel canto composers, and though it's about as historically accurate as The Tudors, Donizetti's treatment of the final days of Mary Queen of Scots is a masterpiece of the genre, seen in here a 2013 Met production with a fine sense of local colour by the Scottish director David McVicar. Joyce DiDonato is the doomed queen, with Elza ven der Heever as her rival Elizabeth I; Maurizio Benini conducts.” David Smith, Presto Classical

Presto Discs of 2014

Finalist

Presto Favourites

Recommended Recording

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2014

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Erato - 2564632035

(DVD Video - 2 discs)

$16.75

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Mozart: Violin Concertos 3, 4 & 5

Mozart: Violin Concertos 3, 4 & 5


Mozart:

Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major, K216

Violin Concerto No. 4 in D major, K218

Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major, K219 'Turkish'


Arabella Steinbacher (violin)

Festival Strings Lucerne, Daniel Dodds

Arabella Steinbacher is one of the fastest-rising stars in the world of music today. This young performer is already being hailed as one of the truly great violinists of our times, acclaimed by The New York Times for playing with ’balanced lyricism and fire’.

At the age of 8, Ms Steinbacher was already performing her first violin concerto by the composer. And since then, the work has reappeared throughout her successful career like a leitmotiv. Yet her performance has never appeared on a CD, Following repeated requests from concert audiences, it is now finally ‘Zeit Fur Mozart’ (= time for Mozart): the fulfilment of a long-cherished wish, not only for Arabella, but also for her many followers. For all those aficionados who want to enjoy Mozart’s most playful melodies, this is sure to be a case of ‘love at first listen’.

“Steinbacher plays these enchanting sores with a refined elegance, interpretative warmth and captivating, jewelled sonority reminiscent of the great Josef Suk...for playing that retains a strong sense of contact with the 20th century's golden age, Steinbacher has few serious contemporary rivals.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2014 ****

“Performances that exude sheer joy, from a soloist who sounds completely at ease in these works.” Gramophone Magazine, 22nd July 2014

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2014

Super Audio CD

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Pentatone - PTC5186479

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Handel: The Triumph of Time and Truth

Handel: The Triumph of Time and Truth


Sophie Bevan, Mary Bevan (sopranos), Tim Mead (countertenor), Ed Lyon (tenor), William Berger (bass)

Ludus Baroque, Richard Neville-Towle

In their third disc for Delphian, Ludus Baroque and five stellar soloists bring to life Handel’s rarely heard final oratorio, a remarkable Protestant re-casting of a work written 50 years earlier to a text by the young composer’s Roman patron Cardinal Pamphili. Compelled by Time and Truth to accept the divine order of change and decay, Beauty ultimately gives way – as with the aging composer himself – to an assertion of redemption by good works, reflected in the incorporation of choruses Handel had written for the Foundling Hospital.

The resulting work, neglected by centuries of scholarship on account of its hybrid origins, here proves an extraordinary feast of riches, and the ideal vehicle for Richard Neville-Towle’s carefully assembled cast of exceptional soloists, vigorous, intelligent chorus and an orchestra made up from some of the UK’s leading period instrumentalists. Formed in 1998 under the direction of Richard Neville-Towle, this ‘crack group of British early musickers’ (The New York Times) prides itself on the exuberance and energy of its performances, specialising in great works of the early music repertoire. With sisters Mary and Sophie Bevan (the latter having just been shortlisted for an RPS award) jousting with one another in the roles of Deceit and Beauty, these discs make for revelatory listening.

“finely shaped, unflamboyant conducting from Neville-Towle, gracious playing and some very fine singing. Sophie Bevan plays Beauty in what is arguably her finest recording to date. Her sister Mary as Deceit sounds at once seductive and cunning, while Ed Lyon is all elegant bravado and swagger as Pleasure.” The Guardian, 26th June 2014

“the music of The Triumph of Time and Truth, Handel’s last oratorio before he died in 1759, is of such strength, freshness and radiance – notably so in this buoyant, scrupulously characterised performance by the early-music group Ludus Baroque and a glorious line-up of soloists.” The Telegraph, 17th June 2014 ****

“The small orchestra playing is stylish and characterful...Excellent, spirited singing from both choir and soloists throughout – Ludus Baroque's most valuable Handel recording so far confirms that this unclassifiable, peculiar work is well worth revisiting.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2014

“Both Bevans sing with lustrous tone, natural agility and exquisite decorations, Lyon and William Berger (Time) with taut elegance and Tim Mead (Counsel) with immaculate poise. Though Neville-Towle's tempos sometimes waver, this is a performance of great warmth.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2014 ****

“Graceful singing from a fine British cast — Sophie Bevan outstanding...— reveal a work of profound beauty.” The Times, 16th August 2014 ****

“Keep an eye on this Ludus/Delphian partnership.” International Record Review, September 2014

“Ludus Baroque under Richard Neville-Towle gives a fine account of the Overture … The singers taking the solo parts are excellent and the balance superb...There is so much first class music to be heard in this rarely-performed oratorio.” MusicWeb International, 13th October 2014

“A delight from start to finish. Instrumental contributions are crisp and stylish, the young cast are excellent (especially scene-stealers Mary and Sophie Bevan), and the production comes across with energy and panache.” Classical Music *****

Presto Discs of 2014

Finalist

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2014

Delphian - DCD34135

(CD - 2 discs)

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Prokofiev: Violin Sonatas & Five Melodies

Prokofiev: Violin Sonatas & Five Melodies


Prokofiev:

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

Five Melodies for Violin and Piano, Op. 35b

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


‘One of the biggest joys of the London concert scene in recent years has been the opening up of the musical world of Alina Ibragimova, a world that seems to know no bounds … here she was partnered by Steven Osborne—a meeting of minds and talents that had that paradoxical effect, common to the best collaborations, of two strongly contrasted individuals speaking with one voice. The First Sonata really let fly … quiet but powerfully sustained in the slow music, a fount of uncorked energy in the more frequent fast sections, Ibragimova dug deep into Prokofiev’s aching heart, profiling the jagged motifs of the Allegro brusco second movement as vividly as she tore into the syncopated rhythms of the battling finale—every phrase stamped with conviction and gravitas’ (Financial Times)

Hyperion is delighted to present a collaboration—an extraordinary force on the concert platform—in its first appearance on record. Alina Ibragimova and Steven Osborne are musicians of searing, uncompromising intelligence and intense feeling.

In his works for the violin, Prokofiev produced some of his most personal and expressive music. Both of his Violin Sonatas were written for David Oistrakh. The First was begun against the backdrop of Stalin’s Great Terror, in 1938, and one senses that he drew his inspiration from the uncharacteristically dark wells of fear, despair and bereavement which were the lot of Prokofiev and his contemporaries. The Violin Sonata No 2 in D major is of a very different character—generally sunny and carefree, though still with occasional fleeting shadows from the dark world of the First Sonata. In its original form it was a Flute Sonata, Op 94, which Prokofiev had completed in 1943. At David Oistrakh’s suggestion and with his assistance, Prokofiev transcribed this Sonata to create the Second Violin Sonata, Op 94bis.

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

“From the austere opening bars...it's clear that this violin-and-piano duo is capable of the subtlest interplay. Steven Osborne is the lion, or the demon, that needs taming by Alina Ibragimova's fiddler, dancing - sometimes ever so frailly - on the volcano.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2014 *****

“These Hyperion stablemates, recording together for the first time, appear on paper a dream team. And so they turn out to be: the earlier sonata astonishing for their unanimity of almost psychotic attack when called for.” Classical Music *****

“they bring their interpretation to disc – with the same conviction, clairvoyance and charismatic force as their live rendition. Osborne’s weighty tone is a match for the Russian-born violinist’s no-holds-barred attack.” Financial Times, 19th June 2014 *****

“Two of today’s most impressive soloists unite in pieces both introspective and lyrical, and – particularly the First Sonata – deeply emotional. Musical collaboration at its most intense and thoughtful.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2014

“two enormously contrasting sonatas that could hardly be more different, but it's testament to the musicianship of Ibragimova and Osborne that both works, as well as the Melodies (which are certainly more than just filler material), succeed so well.” David Smith, Presto Classical, 14th July 2014

“They are played here with an intense-feeling virtuosity, Ibragimova equally magnificent in restraint...and when belting out, say, the second movement of [the F minor], as strongly contrasted with its predecessor as the whole sonata is with its successor.” Sunday Times, 6th July 2014

“there is always room for performances of the depth of perception and strength of character that Ibragimova and Osborne give...In tandem with the comparative calm of the Second Sonata there is also a vitalising impetus and an apt palette of colour that distinguishes the whole disc.” The Telegraph, 4th July 2014 *****

“The performances might lack the volcanic lustre found in Ibragimova’s Szymanowski album, but her febrile manner still finds a lively outlet in repertoire stamped with the skittish, the sardonic, the bittersweet and other Prokofiev hallmarks.” The Times, 27th June 2014 ****

Presto Disc of the Week

14th July 2014

Presto Discs of 2014

Finalist

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2014

BBC Music Magazine

Chamber Choice - August 2014

Hyperion & Helios - up to 50% off

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Arvo Pärt: Stabat Mater & Ivan Moody: Simeron

Arvo Pärt: Stabat Mater & Ivan Moody: Simeron


Moody, I:

Simeron

Pärt:

Stabat Mater


Goeyvaerts String Trio: Kristien Roels (violin), Kris Matthynssens (viola), Pieter Stas (cello), Zsuzsi Tóth (soprano), Barnabás Hegyi (countertenor), Olivier Berten (tenor)

The Goeyvaerts String Trio was founded in 1997 and focuses exclusively on 20th and 21st century repertoire. On this CD the group performs pieces by contemporary composers Arvo Pärt and Ivan Moody. Both works featured here, Pärt’s Stabat Mater and Moody’s Simeron are musical evocations of religious icons. The vocalists on this recording are the soprano Zsuzsi Tóth, the countertenor Barnabás Hegyi, and tenor Olivier Berten.

Arvo Pärt and Ivan Moody have both turned to Orthodox Christianity at some point in their lives and this has permeated the work of both of them in a particular way. Pärt’s relationship with the religious icon is well-known, however Moody’s piece Simeron also makes reference to an icon which, as with Pärt’s Stabat Mater, is meant to represent the transcendent truth. Although equal temperament is the most commonly known and used, for Arvo Pärt’s Stabat Mater the Goeyvaerts String Trio employs “Pure (Just) Intonation”, an early form of tuning where intervals are distributed unevenly but ‘purely’ across the octave. This lends the work a serene but deeply melancholy feel, while the composer creates tension by alternating simple triads with dissonances.

Ivan Moody was born in London in 1964, and studied composition with Brian Dennis at London University, with William Brooks at York University and privately with John Tavener.

He also studied Orthodox theology at the University of Joensuu, Finland. Moody's compositions show the influences of Eastern liturgical chant and the Orthodox Church, of which he is a member and priest (of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople). His Canticum Canticorum I, which was written for the Hilliard Ensemble and premiered in 1987, achieved enormous success and remains his most frequently-performed work.

Since 1987, when the The Goeyvaerts String Trio was formed, it has collaborated with several major contemporary composers including Giya Kancheli and Peter Swinnen. It has already released two recordings for Challenge Classics, a disc devoted to music of the Second Viennese School (CC72375), and ‘String Trios from the East’, which featured music by Gubaidalina, Kanchelli, Knaifel and Paiberdin (CC72503).

“The absolute control and pinpoint perfection required by pieces such as these is masterfully achieved: the result is incredibly, movingly, beautiful..There's nothing stark or white about this musical purity, which finds kaleidoscope depth in the narrowest of palettes.” Gramophone Magazine, 22nd July 2014

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2014

Challenge Classics - CC72616

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Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2 & Bruch: Violin Concerto No. 1

Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2 & Bruch: Violin Concerto No. 1


Bruch:

Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26

Prokofiev:

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


Guro Kleven Hagen (violin)

Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Bjarte Engeset

The debut recording of the hugely talented 19-year-old Norwegian violinist Guro Kleven Hagen. It features Max Bruch’s ever-popular First Concerto and Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2, opus 63. Guro made her critically acclaimed debut concert performance with the Oslo Philharmonic when she was only 17, and on this CD that same orchestra is conducted by Bjarte Engeset.

On 31 March 2011, when she was only 17, Guro Kleven Hagen made her highly successful debut playing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Jukka-Pekka Saraste. She so impressed, she was immediately re-engaged to go on tour with the orchestra the following season. She has already become a winner of numerous international competitions, including EMCY’s Prize for Music in the Menuhin Competition 2010 and 2nd Prize in the Eurovision Young Musician Competition in Vienna 2010. She has also been the recipient of the Statoil Award (2013), the Norwegian Soloist Award (2010), the Prinz-von-Hessen-Preis in Kronberg, Germany (2009), and in 2008 was chosen as Norway’s “Young Musician of the year”. On this recording Guro plays on a Bergonzi violin, known as the “Kreisler-Bergonzi”, which has been loaned to her by the Dextra Musica Foundation.

Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No 1 was completed in 1868 and remains to this day his most famous piece. More ‘classic’ in layout than his first concerto, Sergei Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No 2 reflects his mature style and actually was the last big scale work he wrote before returning to USSR in 1934. Prokofiev himself drew attention to the way this concerto reflected his “nomadic” existence - the first theme was written in Paris, the slow movement in Voronezh, and the Concerto was completed on 16 August 1935 at Baku, on the Caspian Sea.

“A delight to be acquainted with the name and performance of a very impressive young musician, her interpretations entirely confident and full of character.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2014

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2014

Simax - PSC1266

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Handel: Tamerlano

Handel: Tamerlano


Xavier Sabata (Tamerlano), Max Emanuel Cencic (Andronico), John Mark Ainsley (Bajazet), Karina Gauvin (Asteria), Ruxandra Donose (Irene), Pavel Kudinov (Leone)

Il Pomo d’Oro, Riccardo Minasi

Following the recording of several complete Baroque operas: Faramondo, Farnace, Artaserse, Alessandro, all received with unrestrained critical enthusiasm eg Gramophone Editor's Choice, BBC Music Magazine CD of the Month, Handel Recording Prize, Max Emanuel Cencic once again brings together a fine group of singers and orchestra for the rarely recorded Handel opera, 'Tamerlano'.

The title role is taken by the exceptional counter-tenor, Xavier Sabata. A remarkable boxed-set released simultaneously with an extensive concert tour in Europe.

“Sabata’s bad-boy manner captures the unstable mood swings of the Mongol ruler...If John Mark Ainsley’s commanding Bajazet is the great performance here, the entire set makes the strongest case yet for this masterpiece on disc, ideally paced by Riccardo Minasi and his splendid period band.” Sunday Times, 13th April 2014

“Sabata makes Tamerlano the most insidious and dangerous of psychopaths...Ainsley's noble, harrowing Bajazet has rarely been bettered...Minasi's conducting is second to none, too, and the work's severity and sensuousness are wonderfully captured by Il Pomo d'Oro. This is one of the great Handel recordings and very highly recommended.” The Guardian, 8th May 2014 *****

“Il pomo d’oro provide further evidence that the period movement’s centre of gravity has shifted emphatically in Italy’s direction.” Financial Times, 23rd May 2014 ****

“John Mark Ainsley is anguished as the volatile monarch. Instead of the contraltos of yesteryear we have two superbly agile countertenors, Xavier Sabata and Max Emanuel Cencic, sharing the honours with Riccardo Minasi's wiry, pungent period band” The Observer, 15th June 2014 ****

“It’s a treasure chest of music seldom heard.” The Independent, 1st April 2014

“The cast is of exceptional and even strength...[Sabata and Cencic] deliver brilliant tone and lively fioritura, while the scenes between Sabata and Ainsley crackle with fury...An all-round outstanding performance...The oorchestral performance is dynamic, the bowing expressive.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2014 *****

“Bursting with an energetic, dramatic drive and great characterisation from the soloists. An all-round excellent Handel release...newcomers should start with this throat-grabbing performance.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2014

“this recording from Il Pomo d'Oro and Riccardo Minasi boasts an exceptionally strong cast, not least John Mark Ainsley's nuanced Bajazet and Max Cencic's charismatic Andronico. In the title-role Xavier Sabata's surprisingly sweet tone is no barrier to his credibility as the volatile tyrant.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, August 2014

“Sabata’s Tamerlano has rich tone and a refulgent chest voice; Max Emanuel Cenčić has a higher vocal placement and more glittering colour...[Gauvin's] high-lying soprano both rich yet pure and technically undaunted by this virtuosic role...Minasi ensures that the recitatives have as much drama as the arias and ensembles.” Opera Now ***

Presto Discs of 2014

Finalist

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2014

BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the month - August 2014

Naive - V5373

(CD - 3 discs)

$30.50

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British Works for Cello and Piano, Vol. 3

British Works for Cello and Piano, Vol. 3


Moeran:

Cello Sonata in A minor

Rawsthorne:

Cello Sonata

Rubbra:

Sonata in G minor for Cello & Piano op.60


Paul Watkins (cello) & Huw Watkins (piano)

The Watkins brothers have reached volume three in their survey of British works for cello and piano. They have already shown a true affinity for this repertoire,

Gramophone remarking that ‘[they] have all this music in their very being.’ Vol. 3 concentrates on three works written in a short period immediately after the Second World War, by three composers of very different orientation and personality. Rubbra’s Sonata in G minor, Op. 60 is profoundly influenced by polyphonic music of the sixteenth century. In the first movement the cello’s arching melodic lines develop in a contrapuntal web with the piano, reaching an optimistic climax that subsides into serene tranquillity.

E.J. Moeran considered the Sonata in A minor to be one of his finest pieces. A dark intensity pervades the work, especially in the brooding opening movement. Emerging through this dark tone, however, we hear energetic dances, moments of beautiful lyricism, and the folk music of Norfolk and Ireland that was so important to Moeran.

In contrast to the wit and polish for which Alan Rawsthorne is often known, his Cello Sonata brings to the fore a more serious musical personality. As a composer who spent much of his time composing film and incidental music, Rawsthorne relished the chance to write this work of personal, intimate expression.

“The most stylistically striking piece is Rubbra's Sonata of 1946...The Watkins brothers, true to form, pay close attention to its rhythmic life, though they also know how to soar into beauty...[they] interact in a manner perhaps only possible with artists who shared a childhood together, cornflakes and all.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2014 ****

“Another superb chamber partnership (this time from two brothers), instinctively collaborative in passages of both poignancy and urgency.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2014

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2014

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Chandos British Works for Cello and Piano - CHAN10818

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America

America


Barber:

A Stopwatch and an Ordnance Map, Op. 15

Bernstein:

Missa Brevis

Cage:

Five

Women Choir

Copland:

Four Motets

Feldman, M:

Rothko Chapel

Reich:

Proverb


Kerstin Steube-Konig (soprano), Ulrike Koch (alto), Rüdiger Linn (tenor), Philip Niederberger (bass), Johanna Zimmer (soprano), Kirsten Drope (soprano), Julius Pfeifer (tenor), Johannes Kaleschke (tenor), Franz Bach (vibraphone), Boris Müller (vibraphone), Tomoko Hemmi (synthesizer), Jürgen Kruse (synthesizer), Angelika Lenter (soprano), Sophia Maeno (alto), Sabine Czinczel (alto), Ulrike Becker (alto), Andra Darzins (viola), Markus Stange (celesta), Franz Vitzthum (counter-tenor), Peer Kaliss (percussion), Alexander Yudenkov (tenor), Boris Müller (percussion), Franz Bach (timpani)

SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart, Marcus Creed

The SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart is one of the few choirs enjoying an international reputation. Their latest recording has “America” as its subject - and presents a tremendously wide range of forms and expressions, from music written under the influence of European masters to works that boldly explore experiments in aesthetic reorientation. The big names of the U.S. composers are of course represented, including Leonard Bernstein with his single a cappella work, the “Missa Brevis”, Steve Reich with his minimalist “Proverb” and John Cage with some of his late “Number Pieces”. Everything is presented at the highest artistic level, with ravishing sonics that cannot be beat.

“An attractive programme of 20th-century American music, moments of choral weight and exposed fragility alike approached with great individuality.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2014

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2014

Hänssler - HAEN93306

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Per Nørgård: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 8

Per Nørgård: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 8


Nørgård:

Symphony No. 1 'Sinfonia austera'

Symphony No. 8


With this world premiere recording, the Vienna Philharmonic offers new perspectives on the most visionary voice of Nordic music and one of the greatest symphonists of our time, Danish composer Per Nørgård (b. 1932). Conducted on this occasion by Finnish Sakari Oramo, these performances of Nørgård’s Symphonies 1 and 8 – two milestones composed with almost six decades between them are the legendary orchestra’s first recording of new Nordic music.

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

“The premiere recording of Nørgård’s latest symphony is a rewarding listen, the Vienna Philharmonic bringing their perfection to his fascinating and attractive sound world.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2014

Presto Disc of the Week

16th June 2014

Presto Discs of 2014

Finalist

GGramophone Awards 2015

Winner - Contemporary

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2014

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Dacapo - 6220574

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