Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

November 2014

Disc of the Month

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Chopin: Preludes

Awards:

Gramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - November 2014

Label:

Linn

Catalogue No:

CKD475

Discs:

1

Release date:

20th Oct 2014

Barcode:

0691062047524

Length:

72 minutes

Medium:

SACD (download also available)

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

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Chopin: Preludes


Chopin:

Preludes (24), Op. 28

Mazurka No. 13 in A minor, Op. 17 No. 4

Mazurka No. 11 in E minor, Op. 17 No. 2

Mazurka No. 41 in C sharp minor, Op. 63 No. 3

Mazurka No. 32 in C sharp minor, Op. 50 No. 3

Mazurka No. 1 in F sharp minor, Op. 6 No. 1

Nocturne No. 3 in B major, Op. 9 No. 3

Nocturne No. 8 in D flat major, Op. 27 No. 2


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Award-winning pianist Ingrid Fliter performs Chopin’s Op.28, a poetic collection of great emotional power and unrivalled artistic quality which demands high virtuosity.

After the overwhelming success of her Linn debut Fliter has proven herself an outstanding Chopin interpreter; ‘Chopin: Piano Concertos’ was named ‘Disc of the Week’ by BBC Radio 3 ‘CD Review’, ‘Album of the Week’ by Classic FM, a ‘Choice’ recording by Gramophone and received many five star reviews.

In recognition of Fliter’s outstanding performance in this repertoire ‘Chopin: Preludes’ will also be released on 180g vinyl in November.

Chopin’s preludes achieve something close to perfection of form within the framework of the miniature, and each prelude has its own melodic, harmonic and rhythmic profile.

Fellow pianist and composer Franz Liszt perhaps summed up the appeal of Op.28 best: ‘…they are poetic preludes, analogous to those of a great contemporary poet, who cradles the soul in golden dreams…’

Completing the programme are two Nocturnes and five Mazurkas, both genres that Chopin defined.

Ingrid Fliter first sprang to international attention when she was awarded the 2006 Gilmore Artist Award, one of only a handful of pianists to have received this honour.

Since winning the silver medal at the 2000 Frederic Chopin Competition in Warsaw, Ingrid has built a reputation as a first-rate Chopin interpreter; The Daily Telegraph describes her as ‘one of the most instinctive and eloquent Chopin interpreters playing today.’

Ingrid Fliter was also selected as a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist from 2007-2009, working with several of the BBC orchestras under the auspices of this programme.

Ingrid Fliter works with orchestras such as Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony, Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

Fryderyk Chopin: 24 Preludes, Op. 28

No. 1 in C Major (Agitato)

No. 2 in A Minor (Lento)

No. 3 in G Major (Vivace)

No. 4 in E Minor (Largo)

No. 5 in D Major (Molto allegro)

No. 6 in B Minor (Lento assai)

No. 7 in A Major (Andantino)

No. 8 in F-Sharp Minor (Molto agitato)

No. 9 in E Major (Largo)

No. 10 in C-Sharp Minor (Molto allegro)

No. 11 in B Major (Vivace)

No. 12 in G-Sharp Minor (Presto)

No. 13 in F-Sharp Major (Lento)

No. 14 in E-Flat Minor (Allegro)

No. 15 in D-Flat Major, "Raindrop" (Sostenuto)

No. 16 in B-Flat Minor (Presto con fuoco)

No. 17 in A-Flat Major (Allegretto)

No. 18 in F Minor (Molto allegro)

No. 19 in E-Flat Major (Vivace)

No. 20 in C Minor (Largo)

No. 21 in B-Flat Major (Cantabile)

No. 22 in G Minor (Molto agitato)

No. 23 in F Major (Moderato)

No. 24 in D Minor (Allegro appassionato)

Fryderyk Chopin: Mazurkas, Op. 17

No. 4 in A Minor

No. 2 in E Minor

Fryderyk Chopin: Mazurkas, Op. 63

No. 3 in C-Sharp Minor

Fryderyk Chopin: Mazurkas, Op. 50

No. 3 in C-Sharp Minor

Fryderyk Chopin: Mazurkas, Op. 6

No. 1 in F-Sharp Minor

Fryderyk Chopin: Nocturnes, Op. 9

No. 3 in B Major

Fryderyk Chopin: Nocturnes, Op. 27

No. 2 in D-Flat Major

The Guardian

16th October 2014

***

“Fliter sets her stall out from the opening bars of the first, C major, prelude, where her generous pedalling gives the music real warmth and breadth that stays just on the right side of overindulgent. But in one or two later numbers she does stray over that line...Against that is a torrential account of the B flat minor prelude, as exciting as any I’ve ever heard.”

BBC Music Magazine

November 2014

****

“The Argentinian pianist...brings a powerful and individual voice to the Preludes. The first feature that stands out is her tone quality: forthright, with warm and singing legato. She puts an individual spin on tempos and character...The Mazurkas are excellently judged with supple and superb voicing.”

The Times

31st October 2014

***

“The 24 Preludes of Op. 28 roll by with the sensitivity that is always Fliter’s hallmark, though it’s left to the fill-up Mazurkas and Nocturnes for this gifted and level-headed pianist to seduce the listener fully with Chopin’s magic spell.”

The Telegraph

4th November 2014

*****

“Fliter understands these pieces from the inside. You can hear from her playing not only that she adores the music but also that she appreciates the characteristics, the sentiments, the ideas that Chopin was distilling in these jewel-like creations.”

Gramophone Magazine

November 2014

“Fliter seems to be able to achieve individuality seemingly effortlessly, with cherishable and memorable results...She is a virtuoso of the first order but she holds this in reserve, so when she does unleash her full technical armoury, it's extraordinarily potent...The recording captures well Fliter's innate beauty of sound, encompassing the dynamic range with ease. A gem of a disc.”

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Debussy: Images & Préludes II

Debussy: Images & Préludes II


Debussy:

Préludes - Book 2 (12, complete)

Images pour piano - Books 1 & 2


A new album from Marc-André Hamelin is always cause for celebration. Here in his first Debussy recording for Hyperion he presents the two books of Images: Debussy’s colouristic masterpiece, a bewitching compendium of ‘scents, colours and sounds’. Also recorded here is the second book of Préludes, in a poetic and evocative performance.

“The hallmarks of Hamelin's style are always in evidence, and the clarity with which the polyphonic aspects of Reflets dans l'eau come through gives a sense of momentum rarely perceived in this piece. Indeed, it is the lack of impressionism in Hamelin's playing which guarantees the effectiveness of Debussy's impressionistic whimsies.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2015 ****

“Hamelin's stature, extraordinary from the start, increases with every new issue. And here in his latest album he subdues his legendary, transcendent technique to convey Debussy's very essence with a surpassing ease and naturalness....Hamelin's glistening sonority is flawlessly captured by the Hyperion team. This is a disc to treasure.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2014

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - November 2014

Hyperion & Helios - up to 50% off

Hyperion - CDA67920

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Howells: Stabat Mater

Howells: Stabat Mater


Howells:

Te Deum

Benjamin Hulett (tenor)

Sine Nomine, Op. 37

Alison Hill (soprano)

Stabat Mater

Benjamin Hulett (tenor)


The three works on this recording mark staging posts in Herbert Howells’s compositional life. Sine nomine was commissioned at Elgar’s instigation when Howells was 30 and is predominantly orchestral, with wordless parts for the two vocal soloists. This arch-like ‘spiritual meditation’ was his first extended work for larger forces. Like the Hymnus paradisi (Naxos 8570352), the Stabat Mater is a direct musical reponse to the death of the composer’s nine year-old son, and further reveals his mastery of choral and orchestral polyphony. The Te Deum signalled a fresh and new approach to settings of Anglican canticles.

“Though there is much emotional turbulence in this music, Hill maintains a compelling life and forward momentum in Howells's immensely contrapuntal score...The Bach Choir has a palpable vibrancy in its range and layers of dynamics which are complemented by the extensive and highly sensitive palette of Howells's orchestra...and the incisive solo tenor role of Benjamin Hulett.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2014

“The choral singing is superb...Hulett is quite wonderful to hear: lyrical, natural, unforced, never strained as he rises affectingly above the orchestra...the whole team of singers and instrumentalists respond with the utmost fervour. to Hill's evidently inspiring leadership. This is a triumph for all concerned.” International Record Review, December 2014

“This is a mandatory purchase for all who love the music of Herbert Howells and even if you have the Rozhdestvensky recording of Stabat Mater you won’t regret the duplication.” MusicWeb International, November 2014

“He wrote [the Stabat Mater] for the Bach Choir, and their descendants respond thrillingly to every facet, its bleak anguish and its grave beauty. Hill paces superbly, and Hulett is utterly convincing in taxing solo passages.” Classical Music *****

Presto Discs of 2014

Finalist

GGramophone Awards 2015

Finalist - Choral

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - November 2014

Naxos - 8573176

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Joyce DiDonato: Stella di Napoli

Joyce DiDonato: Stella di Napoli

Bel Canto Arias


Bellini:

Dopo l'oscuro nembo (from Adelson e Salvini)

second version, 1828/29

Tu sola, o mia Giulietta... Deh! tu, bell’anima (from I Capuleti e I Montecchi)

Carafa:

L’amica ancor non torna...Oh, di sorte crudel (from Le nozze di Lammermoor)

Jean-Michel Bertelli (clarinet)

Donizetti:

Par che mi dica ancora… Fuggi l'immagine (from Elisabetta al castello di Kenilworth)

Morgane Fauchois (glockenspiel)

Io vi rivedo alfin...Deh! Tu di un’umile preghiera (from Maria Stuarda)

Mercadante:

Se fino al cielo ascendere (from La vestale)

Pacini:

Ove t’aggiri, o barbaro (from Stella di Napoli)

Héloise Mas (Marta)

Saffo Flutto che muggi…Teco dall’are pronube…L’ama ognor qual io l’amai (from Saffo)

Rémi Mathieu (Faone), Héloise Mas (Climene) & Nabil Suliman (Alcandro)

Rossini:

Riedi al soglio (from Zelmira)

Nabil Suliman (Polidoro), Rémi Mathieu (Ilo)

Valentini, C:

Lasciami... Se il mar sommesso mormora (from Il sonnambulo)

Héloise Mas (Sofia)


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

World premiere recordings and Italianate rarities from the queen of Bel Canto and coloratura. Following the success of her crowd-sourced ‘Best Of’ collection reJoyce and her electrifying Drama Queens album of Baroque arias, Joyce DiDonato returns to her heartland repertoire to celebrate the birth of Bel Canto opera in 19th-century Naples.

On Stella di Napoli (Star of Naples), the American mezzo-soprano’s creamy tone and dramatic prowess breathe new life into little-known arias by Mercadante, Michele Carafa (a student of Cherubini and close friend of Rossini), Carlo Valentini and the prolific opera composer Giovanni Pacini, whose Stella di Napoli (1845) gives the album its title. Joyce worked closely with Italian conductor Riccardo Minasi (whose previous projects include Bellini’s Norma with Cecilia Bartoli) to bring three unjustly neglected arias to light in new editions and world premiere recordings.

Alongside these little-known gems, Joyce presents a sumptuous Bel Canto banquet with music by the three greats — Bellini, Rossini and Donizetti — including the latter’s Maria Stuarda: a tour-de-force signature role for Joyce, recently screened in cinemas and released on DVD from the New York Metropolitan Opera.

Joyce DiDonato won a 2013 Grammy for her last Bel Canto album Diva, Divo, declared “an ideal vehicle for her glorious mezzo voice in which the most fiendish coloratura ornaments and trills sound effortless”. (The Observer)

“Ms DiDonato’s 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. Ms. DiDonato is simply magnificent, singing with plush richness and aching beauty.” The New York Times

“The sole Rossini aria, Zelmira’s imperious ‘Riedi al soglio’, also provides vocal thrills aplenty – but for the most part, this disc is more about long-breathed melodies and plangent laments than it is about pyrotechnics...A must for all fans of DiDonato, and well worth exploring for anyone who fancies an enthusiastic, committed guide to the highways and byways of bel canto.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 25th August 2014

“this luscious collection of Italian bel canto opera arias presents the incandescent DiDonato on top form, the creamy tones effortlessly whipped into endless, kaleidoscopic threads of melody...Riccardo Minasi and the Orchestra of the Opéra National de Lyon bring their own pleasures with flute, harp and clarinet solos beautifully enhancing diaphanous textures.” The Times, 29th August 2014 *****

“They allow this adored US mezzo to display her dizzying technical virtuosity, her acting skills and her extravagant sense of drama. The Opéra de Lyon orchestra give characterful support...You may think bel canto recital discs are not your thing. Let Joyce DiDonato convince you otherwise. She did me.” The Observer, 1st August 2014 ****

“DiDonato seems to have brought the performance and interpretation of the Italian bel canto repertoire to new heights, combining absolute technical security, intense but unmannered musicality, a beguiling range of colour and bell-like clarity of tone at a pitch of artistry that not even her nearest rival, Cecilia Bartoli, can match...This must surely rank as one of the greatest vocal recitals in recorded history.” Daily Telegraph, 18th October 2014

“everyone who cares about singing should promote it immediately to the top of their letters to Santa. Creamy, sumptuous, almost flawless - every adjective may be a cliché, but how else to describe singing of this quality?” BBC Music Magazine, December 2014 *****

“warm tone, perfect control, a deeply sympathetic portrayal [of Maria Stuarda]. The finale of Zelmira provides DiDonato with the opportunity of showing off her brilliantly executed coloratura, while her mezza voce at the start of Romeo's farewell to the supposedly dead Juliet in Bellini's opera is sustained to perfection.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2014

“The highlight, on many levels, is Mary’s prayer from Maria Stuarda – both in musical and performance terms, because here she is really inside the music in a role she knows backwards, and it shows in the freedom, character and control: she knows where she’s going.” Opera Now

Presto Disc of the Week

25th August 2014

Presto Discs of 2014

Finalist

GGramophone Awards 2015

Finalist - Recital

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - November 2014

BBC Music Magazine

Opera Choice - December 2014

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2015

Vocal Award Winner

Erato - 2564636562

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Cecilia Bartoli: St Petersburg

Cecilia Bartoli: St Petersburg


 

De’ miei figli: Prologue to La clemenza di tito (Hasse)

Domenico Dall'Oglio (1699-1764), Luigi Madonis (1690-1767)

Araia:

Pastore che a notte ombrosa (from Seleuco)

Vado a morir (from La forza del amore e dell’ odio)

Cimarosa:

Agitata in tante pene (from La vergine del sole)

Manfredini, V:

Fra lacci tu mi credi (from Carlo Magno)

Non turbar que' vaghi rai (from Carlo Magno)

A noi vivi, donna eccelsa (from Carlo Magno)

Raupach:

Razverzi pyos gortani, laja (from Altsesta)

Idu na smert (from Altsesta)

O placido il mare (from Siroe re di Persia)

Marcia (from Altsesta)


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

Limited edition 1CD Deluxe

Hard Cover Book

Cecilia Bartoli returns with a majestic new album of world premiere recordings, hidden treasures of the Mariinsky.

For the very first time Bartoli explores the Baroque musical treasures of Tsarist Russia with music from the court of three 18th century Tsaristas: Anna, Elizabeth and Catherine the Great.

Music written by Italian and German composers working for the Russian court, this album sheds new light on an incredible and momentous time for Russia, shaping its politics and culture towards the enlightened West.

Mostly sung in Italian, the album also offers the first opportunity to hear Bartoli sing in Russian.

The music has been intricately researched by Bartoli herself, unlocking the archives of St Petersburg’s Mariinsky Library to uncover music lost for over 200 years.

Reunites Bartoli with Baroque specialists Diego Fasolis & I Barocchisti.

St Petersburg lives up to all the expectations one might have for a new Cecilia Bartoli solo album.

It is a perfect showcase for the countless qualities of this fantastic and unique artist, and a world of hidden baroque discoveries from the Mariinsky Archive in St Petersburg, each track a world premiere recording.

“Bartoli hurls herself into these lost artefacts of the Russian baroque with every drop of her usual flair and a little more vibrato than before. There’s nothing pale-faced either about the musicians of Diego Fasolis’s group I Barocchisti; when her coloratura flights fuse with their racing strings it’s as if you’re spinning helplessly into a vortex.” The Times, 9th October 2014 ****

“The music includes some cherishable finds and I Barocchisti under Diego Fasolis make ebullient companions. Bartoli herself is starting to sound stretched (the high register is almost semi-detached these days), but she remains agile, passionate, 100% committed.” Financial Times, 11th October 2014 ****

“Anyone expecting...a diet of thin, phoned-in Neapolitan fare will be in for a surprise. There is rich music here, and dramatic too...Bartoli, as ever, is in complete technical command of this music, which in places is as challenging as you'll find at this period...The playing of I Barocchisti...is brilliant, surging, ardent.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2014

“Bartoli's voice is wearing well, and she been recorded with sensitivity. Some of her faster passagework sounds a little rough around the edges, even fierce, but her technical skills are still remarkable, and in the best items her bel canto skills and refinements continue to impress.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2014 ****

“Cecilia does it again! This is a really fascinating and delightful disc...played with brilliance and fire by Diego Fasolis and I Barocchisti and sung with undiminished style and (mostly) beauty.” Opera Now

Presto Disc of the Week

13th October 2014

Presto Discs of 2014

Finalist

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - November 2014

Decca - 4786767

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A Royal Trio: Bononcini, Ariosti, Handel

A Royal Trio: Bononcini, Ariosti, Handel

Arias & Scenes


Ariosti:

Spirate, o iniqui marmi...Voi d'un figlio tanto misero (from Coriolano)

Freme l'onda (from Il naufragio vicino)

Vespasiano: Overture

Bononcini, G B:

Così stanco Pellegrino (from Crispo)

Per la gloria d'adorarvi (from Griselda)

Tigre piagata (from Muzio Scevola)

Handel:

Admeto: Ballo di Larve

Orride larve ... Chiudetevi, miei lumi (from Admeto)

Admeto: Sinfonia I

Admeto: Sinfonia II

Rompo i lacci (from Flavio)

Va tacito e nascosto (from Giulio Cesare)

Tanti affanni (from Ottone)

Vivi, tiranno, io t'ho scampato (from Rodelinda)


Lawrence Zazzo (countertenor)

La Nuova Musica, David Bates

Lawrence Zazzo talks to Presto's Katherine Cooper about A Royal Trio here.

A dazzling Royal trio. Founded in 1719 as the first opera company in the English-speaking world, the Royal Academy of Music commissioned and premièred some of the finest 18th-century operas, including Handel’s 'Giulio Cesare'. Here are a dozen arias from operas written in the 10 year period from 1719-29 for their star castrati, particularly Senesino: some well known [Va tacito] and some less well known. Renowned American countertenor Lawrence Zazzo is joined by La Nuova Musica and David Bates for a snapshot of the Academy’s hits circa 1725 featuring arias by Handel, Ariosti and Bononcini.

“Is there no end to the making of countertenor baroque opera recital discs? The genre can too easily turn into showy virtuosity, but this one from Lawrence Zazzo is exceptionally well thought out... the exuberant Vivi, tiranno rounds things off in style, with Zazzo in glorious voice throughout.” The Observer, 19th October 2014 ****

“This is an accomplished recital from both singer and orchestra, the latter playing freshly under Bates’s direction in a programme which contains some rarely heard music.” International Record Review, November 2014

“I enjoyed this snapshot of London's operatic life almost without reservation. Zazzo and the players - not least the fabulous horns - have all the boldness and virtuoso panache one could wish for in the extrovert arias, culminating in a show-stopping 'Vivi, tiranno'.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2014

“[Zazzo gives] committed and dramatically excellent renditions of these roles. The surround sound is outstanding, and the production values rank with harmonia mundi’s best, which is always considerable.” Audiophile Audition, 11th November 2014

“This is an exceptionally interesting and well researched release…The playing is superb throughout.” Early Music Review, December 2014

“In a world awash with fine countertenors Lawrence Zazzo is one of its aristocrats. The possessor of a voice of natural beauty and an enviable ease of production, he is on excellent form, singing with noble tone and dramatic conviction…Zazzo is given fine support by Bates and the excellent La Nuova Musica.” Early Music Today, June/August 2015

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - November 2014

Super Audio CD

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Harmonia Mundi - HMU807590

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Bach, J S: Mass in B minor, BWV232

Bach, J S: Mass in B minor, BWV232


Lydia Teuscher (soprano), Ida Falk Winland (soprano), Tim Mead (countertenor), Samuel Boden (tenor), Neal Davies (bass)

Arcangelo, Jonathan Cohen

Jonathan Cohen talks to Presto's David Smith about the recording here.

Arcangelo and their inspirational director Jonathan Cohen, one of the brightest stars in the Early Music galaxy, present Bach’s great masterpiece in a glorious new recording made following a thrilling performance at the Tetbury festival.

Arcangelo are still a relatively new ensemble, but have already won one Gramophone Award and been nominated for another. The members of the choir and orchestra are performers of dazzling technical ability with a passion for faithful interpretation that goes far beyond historical understanding. Their previous recordings for Hyperion have been praised for their liveliness, colour and full string sound. In this new recording these aspects of their performance are alchemically combined with a feeling of the great solemnity of Bach’s monumental achievement.

“Cohen's rejection of the generic, within a grand and ravishing overview, is what propels an overwhelming sense here that this reading deserves to be taken very seriously...The work infrequently speaks with such gracefulness, freedom or conviction.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2014

“One might expect Cohen’s Arcangelo to opt for minimal personnel — although the trumpety movements suggest spectacular forces — but his choir of 20 can convey the inward spirituality of Et incarnatus est and the laudatory éclat of the Gloria and Et resurrexit with equal efficacy.” Sunday Times, 23rd November 2014

“Cohen's take side-steps Joshua Rifkin's premise that it should be sung one-to-a-part and fields a choir of 20...Cohen announces the Credo at an invigoratingly purposeful lick...Tim Mead's eloquently restrained Agnus Dei is crowned by a Dona nobis pacem whose blazing grandiloquence grips.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2014 ****

“Gradually the ear responds to Jonathan Cohen’s musically intelligent mix of period and mainstream traditions, delivered by top musicians...This account will please, especially, anyone trapped between the extremes of Bach performance practice, unsure how to choose a B minor mass from the numerous options on offer.” The Observer, 30th November 2014 ****

“A performance that couldn’t be bettered.” MusicWeb International, April 2015

“[the] lines are finely shaped and their textures sound rich rather than heavy. This is a superbly conceived and executed set, absolutely joyous and gloriously colourful” Early Music Today, May 2015 *****

Presto Discs of 2014

Finalist

GGramophone Awards 2015

Finalist - Baroque Vocal

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - November 2014

Hyperion & Helios - up to 50% off

Hyperion - CDA68051/2

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Mahler: Symphony No. 5

Mahler: Symphony No. 5


As Riccardo Chailly points out, “The Fifth begins with a dark, gloomy, and tragic tone, but then is enlivened in the Scherzo and Adagietto, and eventually ends with a more positive character in the Finale – perhaps for the last time in Mahler’s life. The Adagietto is a revelation, a spiritual oasis. It is not an expression of pain, but rather Mahler’s declaration of love to Alma – a song without words.“ With the Gewandhaus Orchestra, Chailly gives the piece an unsurpassed intensity of sound and emotional expression. He achieves a compelling arc of tension in which the symphony’s unique fascination unfolds. The Wiener Zeitung characterized Chailly’s interpretation as „impressive with powerful and unreserved intensity.“

BONUS: Riccardo Chailly on his interpretation of Mahler’s 5th Symphony

Picture Format Blu-ray: NTSC 16:9, Full HD

Sound Formats Blu-ray: DTS HD Master Audio, PCM Stereo

Region Code: 0 (worldwide)

Running Time: 73:37 min Running Time Bonus: 18:59 min

Languages Bonus: Deutsch, English, Japanese (tbc), Korean (tbc)

Disc Format: BD 25

“Chailly takes us on a journey from darkness to light...He's a pleasure to watch, being neither over-demonstrative nor affectedly matter-of-fact. He looks like what he's conducting and one sense that the orchestra agrees. If the rest of this projected second Chailly Mahler cycle is as good as this, then I suspect we have treats aplenty in store.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2014

GGramophone Magazine

DVD/Blu-ray of the Month - November 2014

Blu-ray Disc

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Accentus Music - Riccardo Chailly Mahler Symphony cycle - ACC10284

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Mahler: Symphony No. 5

Mahler: Symphony No. 5


As Riccardo Chailly points out, “The Fifth begins with a dark, gloomy, and tragic tone, but then is enlivened in the Scherzo and Adagietto, and eventually ends with a more positive character in the Finale – perhaps for the last time in Mahler’s life. The Adagietto is a revelation, a spiritual oasis. It is not an expression of pain, but rather Mahler’s declaration of love to Alma – a song without words.“ With the Gewandhaus Orchestra, Chailly gives the piece an unsurpassed intensity of sound and emotional expression. He achieves a compelling arc of tension in which the symphony’s unique fascination unfolds. The Wiener Zeitung characterized Chailly’s interpretation as „impressive with powerful and unreserved intensity.“

BONUS: Riccardo Chailly on his interpretation of Mahler’s 5th Symphony

Picture Format DVD: NTSC 16:9

Sound Formats DVD: PCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1

Region Code: 0 (worldwide)

Running Time: 73:37 min Running Time Bonus: 18:59 min

Languages Bonus: Deutsch, English, Japanese (tbc), Korean (tbc)

Disc Format DVD: DVD-9

“Clarity with power, clear balances and ferocity combined: Riccardo Chailly's latest Mahler Five surely has the best of all possible worlds for this comprehensive darkness-to-light epic. It's rewarding to see the Leipzig Gewandhaus strings articulating with such mobile engagement.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2014 *****

“Chailly takes us on a journey from darkness to light...He's a pleasure to watch, being neither over-demonstrative nor affectedly matter-of-fact. He looks like what he's conducting and one sense that the orchestra agrees. If the rest of this projected second Chailly Mahler cycle is as good as this, then I suspect we have treats aplenty in store.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2014

GGramophone Magazine

DVD/Blu-ray of the Month - November 2014

DVD Video

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Format: NTSC

Accentus Music - Riccardo Chailly Mahler Symphony cycle - ACC20284

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Joshua Bell: Bach

Joshua Bell: Bach


Bach, J S:

Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor, BWV1041

Violin Concerto No. 2 in E major, BWV1042

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

arr. Mendelssohn/Milone

Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV1068: Air ('Air on a G String')

Gavotte (Rondeau) from Partita No. 3 in E major BWV1006

arr. Schumann/Milone


As follow up to the 2013 acclaimed and chart-topping Beethoven album, Grammy® Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell continues as Music Director and Conductor of the world-renowned ensemble, Academy of St Martin in the Fields.

On their new collaboration, this time with Bell also as a soloist, he conducts ASMF from the leader’s chair in an all-Bach program.

Joshua Bell is the first American and first person to hold the title of Music Director since Sir Neville Marriner formed the orchestra in 1958.

“The Gavotte makes a perfectly sweet, well-mannered miniature but the Chaconne, such a towering solo piece in itself, doesn’t gain a great deal from this treatment...There’s redemption, however, in crisp and exciting readings of the Violin Concertos Nos 1 and 2 (BWV 1041 and 1042), with Bell and the players in perfect accord.” The Observer, 5th October 2014 ****

“such is Bell's particular brand of ease with which he mixes traditional sensibility with the lighter articulations and gestures of recent tastes that one is instantly spellbound...Locating small shapes within a larger architecture is one of Bell's crowning virtues, alongside a depth of sound of almost Henryk Szeryng-like dimensions... the conception is original and exceptionally executed with searing and soaring artistic intent.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2014

“Bell describes his approach to Bach as 'a melding of the old and the new'. The former is evidenced in his suave, silky tone and extrovert virtuosity, in his expressive liberties with tempo and in the full-bodied orchestral sound; but Bell also pays tribute to more recent trends inspired by period performance practice.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2015 ****

“In both concertos, Bell's ornamental flourishes are a welcome surprise and both [concertos] offer enjoyable perspectives on these familiar staples…the blistering heat of the Chaconne is rather dimmed by Mendelssohn's polite backing-track [but] Schumann's accompaniment offers gentility to music which can and often does sound startlingly new…the Air from the D major Orchestral Suite is an attractive addition to the album, which in all offers 50 minutes of engagingly turned and finely polished Bach” International Record Review, March 2015

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - November 2014

Sony - 88843087792

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The Bells of Dawn

The Bells of Dawn

Russian Sacred and Folk Songs


1.Praise the name of the Lord (Khvalite imya Gospodne)

2. Blessed is the man (Blazhen muzh)

3. Pre-eternal counsel (Sovet prevechnïy)

4. Hear my prayer (Da ispravitsya molitva moya)

5. From my youth (Ot yunosti moyeya)

6. The wise thief (Razboynika blagorazumnago)

7. Symbol of faith (Simvol verï)

8. A snowstorm sweeps the street (Vdol' po ulitse metelitsa metyot)

9. The do not let Masha... (Ne velyat Mashe za rechen 'ku khodit')

10. There is not one path through the fild (Ne odna vo pole dorozhka)

11. The lonely coach bell (Odnozvuchno gremit kolokol' chik)

12. Farewell, my joy (Proshchay, radost')

13. The fog has fallen onto the field (Uzh kak pal tuman)

14. I walk my path alone (Vïkhozhu odin ya na dorogu)

15. Oh, night (Akh tï, nochen'ka)

16. The bells of dawn (Zoryu b'yut)


Dmitri Hvorostovsky (baritone)

The Grand Choir ‘Masters of Choral Singing’, Lev Kontorovich

This is Ondine’s third release with the Russian star baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky, and is devoted to sacred works by Russian composers and Russian folk songs. Hvorostovsky is recognized as one of the leading baritones of today and is an international presence in famous opera houses throughout the world.

The title song of the album, Georgy Sviridov’s Bells of Dawn, is an atmospheric work creating an otherworldly and remote landscape. The music for this disc has been especially chosen to entice the listener into the beauty of traditional Russian music as well as the skill and craft of contemporary composers in maintaining this tradition for the future.

Hvorostovsky is accompanied by the prestigious Russian Grand Choir ‘Masters of Choral Singing’, a choir which showcases the best traditions of Russian choral singing, under the direction of Lev Kontorovich.

“The singing here...is more sophisticated than you might expect to hear in your average Russian church on a Sunday morning but Hvorostovsky does not over-egg it. In the characteristically lush harmonies of Pavel Chesnokov's anthems, Hvorostovsky strikes a note of artless sincerity...[in the Varlamov song] he is equally in his element” Gramophone Magazine, November 2014

“His entirely unaccompanied renditions of There Is Not One Path Through The Field and Farewell My Joy are extraordinarily moving, and worth the price of the disc by themselves, but the set as a whole is beautifully performed...The excellent recording was made at the Tchaikovsky Conservatoire in Moscow. Where better?” International Record Review, December 2014

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - November 2014

BBC Music Magazine

Choral & Song Choice - November 2014

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Alessio Bax plays Beethoven

Alessio Bax plays Beethoven


Beethoven:

Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27 No. 2 ‘Moonlight'

Piano Sonata No. 29 in B-flat major, Op. 106 'Hammerklavier'

The Ruins of Athens: Turkish March

arr Bax

The Ruins of Athens: Chorus of Dervishes

arr Bax


Alessio Bax (piano)

Alessio Bax talks to Presto's David Smith about Beethoven here.

Alessio Bax returns to disc on Signum with two masterworks of Beethoven’s piano repertoire, as well as a new arrangement from 'Die Ruinen von Athen'.

Pianist Alessio Bax creates “a ravishing listening experience” (Gramophone) with his lyrical playing, insightful interpretations, and dazzling facility. First Prize winner at the Leeds and Hamamatsu international piano competitions – and a 2009 Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient – he has appeared as soloist with over 100 orchestras.

“a reading of a formidable pace and impetus yet leaving ample time for expressive resource...this performance stands its ground in music to test the technique and intellect of even the greatest pianists...Finely recorded, Alessio Bax is clearly among the most remarkable young pianists now before the public.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2014

“Most of Bax's Hammerklavier is bracing and visionary, but the finale is hopelessly scrambled. Bax's Moonlight works well, and his arrangement of the Ruins is fun.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2014 ***

“Youthful Italian piano virtuoso Alessio Bax…brings a palpable enthusiasm to these Beethoven opera…Bax’s rendition favors poetry and clarity in all parts, and the combination of imagination and technical prowess remains the performer’s hallmark.” Audiophile Audition, 24th December 2014

“I find this performance [of the Hammerklavier] hugely stimulating both technically and emotionally. It is quite a switch to the Moonlight Sonata, but again Bax excels here, too, by playing the work simply and beautifully...This is certainly a refreshing take on one of the piano’s warhorses.” MusicWeb International, 26th December 2014

“No technical demand scares him … A Beethoven CD in a class of its own.” Pianist Magazine, March 2015

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - November 2014

Signum - SIGCD397

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Murray Perahia plays Chopin

Murray Perahia plays Chopin


Chopin:

Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11

Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Zubin Mehta

Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21

Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Zubin Mehta

Ballades Nos. 1-4

Impromptus Nos. 1-4

Preludes (24), Op. 28

Barcarolle in F sharp major, Op. 60

Berceuse in D flat major, Op. 57

Fantasia in F minor, Op. 49

Prelude Op. posth. in A flat major (No. 26)

Études (12), Op. 10

Études (12), Op. 25

Waltz No. 1 in E flat major 'Grande Valse Brillante', Op. 18

Waltz No. 2 in A flat major 'Grande Valse Brillante', Op. 34 No. 1

Waltz No. 3 in A minor 'Grande Valse Brillante', Op. 34 No. 2

Waltz No. 4 in F major 'Grande Valse Brillante', Op. 34 No. 3

Nocturne No. 4 in F major, Op. 15 No. 1

Mazurka No. 6 in A minor, Op. 7 No. 2

Mazurka No. 13 in A minor, Op. 17 No. 4

Mazurka No. 23 in D major, Op. 33 No. 2

Étude Op. 10 No. 3 in E major 'Tristesse'

Étude Op. 10 No. 4 in C sharp minor

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

Piano Sonata No. 3 in B minor, Op. 58


Murray Perahia, winner of the 2010 BBC Music Magazine Instrumental Category Award, is one of the most highly praised pianists in the world today. His poetic phrasing, command of sonorities and supreme virtuosity are perfect for the technical finesse and romantic musicality required by Chopin's compositions. These albums give ample opportunity for the listener to experience Perahia's considered and superb interpretations of Chopin's much loved masterpieces.

“A self-recommending six-disc set...which includes the Gramophone Award-winning disc of the Etudes. As Bryce Morrison said of that disc: 'From Perahia there is order and lucidity at the heart of even Chopin's most audacious fire-storms and...you are made more aware than ever of an incomparable mix of poetry and precision'. And that could stand for this entire set.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2014

GGramophone Magazine

Re-issue of the Month - November 2014

Sony Classical Masters - 88843062432

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