Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

February 2015

Disc of the Month

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JS Bach: English Suites Nos. 1, 3 & 5

Awards:

Gramophone Awards 2015

Winner - Instrumental

Gramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - February 2015

Label:

Erato

Catalogue No:

2564621939

Discs:

1

Release date:

3rd Nov 2014

Barcode:

0825646219391

Length:

66 minutes

Medium:

CD (download also available)
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JS Bach: English Suites Nos. 1, 3 & 5


Bach, J S:

English Suite No. 1 in A major, BWV806

English Suite No. 3 in G minor, BWV808

English Suite No. 5 in E minor, BWV 810


CD

$10.75

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“The wonderful thing is that the modern piano can suggest so many instruments…Playing Bach on the piano, it’s really all about suggestion,” says Piotr Anderszewski. More than 10 years since the release of his first recording of Bach’s English Suites, these interpretations of Suites 1, 3 and 5 join the Warner Classics catalogue. Anderszewski’s concert performances of Bach in 2013 prompted the New York Times to write: “He revels in the full range of timbres afforded by the modern piano”, while The Guardian cited “some of the most sublime piano playing London has witnessed all season”.

With this recording, Piotr Anderszewski returns to Bach’s English Suites after more than 10 years. In 2002, when Virgin Classics (now Warner Classics/Erato) released his interpretations of Suites 1, 3 and 6, The Sunday Times spoke of “Bach playing of the highest order,” enthusing that: “His playing throughout is wonderful, laying out Bach’s contrapuntal writing with a clarity and subtlety of touch that removes these works far from the realms of technical exercises. His fingers dance in the Courantes and Allemandes, and positively sing the melodies of the sublime Sarabandes.”

Anderszewski himself has said that: “I always keep in mind that the harpsichord was the most popular keyboard instrument [in Bach’s time]. But I would really not like to try and imitate the harpsichord—in that case, I would rather play the harpsichord! So, bearing in mind the limitations of the harpsichord, but still using the really full expression of the modern concert piano—this is the paradox. The wonderful thing is that the modern piano can suggest so many instruments. It can suggest the voice, the orchestra, even percussion instruments. It can also suggest the harpsichord. Playing Bach on the piano, it’s really all about suggestion.”

The English Suites featured prominently in Anderszewski’s concert schedule for 2012/13. His performance at Carnegie Hall prompted the New York Times to observe that “his Bach recital was characterized by unabashedly personal interpretations that he delivered with persuasive intensity ... He revels in the full range of timbres afforded by the modern piano and often uses the sustaining pedal to allow notes to pool together like watercolors...Mr. Anderszewski’s interest seems to lie less in the structure of Bach’s counterpoint than in the individual moments of drama it affords. That the results are never indulgent is due above all to his deep musicality and psychologically astute instinct ... Any pianist can bring out the playfulness of the second Gavotte in the English Suite No. 3, but Mr. Anderszewski added a layer of hushed melancholy that suggested the playfulness of one accustomed to being alone. Each movement was vividly drawn. There was a shy Courante, a bustling Sarabande, a haltingly curious Gavotte, a sociable and chatty Prelude. The Sarabande of the English Suite No. 3 began with a succession of chords that evoked proud Spanish guitars but then gradually darkened, ending on a note of bitter loneliness.”

After his Spring 2013 concert at London’s Southbank Centre, The Guardian spoke of “some of the most sublime piano playing London has witnessed all season. Anderszewski's manner reflects the intensity of his relationship with each note and phrase. He appears less to perform existing repertoire than rebuild each piece from scratch, holding everything spontaneously in balance ... His physical relationship with the piano...yields a control over tone and structure, touch and phrasing, which few pianists can equal.”

La Tribune de Genève, meanwhile, waxed lyrical: “Piotr Anderszewski is in contact with other worlds, because he searches for each note in the depth of his own world. The voices that traverse it and that he evokes cannot be ignored. They are not there to charm, but to perturb...they surprise and shake us. They make us marvel, overwhelm us...Bach’s voice sings everywhere, in every finger. It is an outpouring of song, an endless discussion between voices that call to each other, answer each other and contradict each other, each with its own timbre, character, articulation and rhythm...The whole vibrates with a supernatural light and resonates like a choir or an orchestra.”

Johann Sebastian Bach: English Suite No. 3 in G Minor, BWV 808

I. Prélude

II. Allemande

III. Courante

IV. Sarabande

V. Les agrements de la même Sarabande

VI. Gavotte alternativement

VII. Gavotte II ou la Musette

VIII. Gigue

Johann Sebastian Bach: English Suite No. 1 in A Major, BWV 806

I. Prélude

II. Allemande

III. Courante I

IV. Courante II

V. Courante precedent avec basse simple

VI. Sarabande

VII. Bourrée I

VIII. Bourrée II

IX. Gigue

Johann Sebastian Bach: English Suite No. 5 in E Minor, BWV 810

I. Prélude

II. Allemande

III. Courante

IV. Sarabande

V. Passepied I en Rondeau

VI. Passepied II

VII. Gigue

The Guardian

20th November 2014

****

“There’s both carefully focused energy and reflective poise here...Anderszewski manages to be punctiliously stylish without ever becoming precious, refreshingly matter-of-fact without being routine.”

The Telegraph

1st December 2014

*****

“Anderszewski’s Bach has long been in a class of its own – stylish, imaginative, virile and invigorating...Here again in his three English Suites he knows exactly how to make the music speak...and he shares with Bach a jubilant spirit in crafting music of infinite fascination, refinement and sublime inspiration.”

Gramophone Magazine

February 2015

“This is a glorious disc. Simply glorious...To start with, there's the sense of sharing the sheer physical thrill of Bach's keyboard-writing....And at every turn, he harnesses the possibilities of the piano in the service of Bach; the result is a clear labour of love...Anderszewski's CDs are all too infrequent, so let's cherish this one.”

BBC Music Magazine

March 2015

*****

“He dispenses tantalising apercus with a touch that delights in nuanced voicing of the most rarefied expressiveness...He oxygenates everything he touches...For anyone who loves Bach (or the piano), with even the more contentious moments proving dangerously seductive, this life-enhancing disc is required listening.”

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Vaughan Williams: Orchestral Works

Vaughan Williams: Orchestral Works


Vaughan Williams:

Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis

Symphony No. 3 'A Pastoral Symphony'

Sarah Fox (soprano)

Five Variants of ‘Dives and Lazarus'

The Wasps Overture


Following highly acclaimed previous Vaughan Williams releases, Hallé announces a new volume of British orchestral jewels including his Pastoral Symphony which movingly depicts the horrors of the First World War.

Two of Vaughan Williams’ most popular works, Wasps Overture and Tallis Fantasia, are coupled with arguably his greatest and most original Symphony and a delightful multiple setting of a folk-song which enchanted the composer throughout his life.

Hallé’s recording of Symphonies No 5 & 8 (CDHLL7533) was awarded Sunday Times Album of the Week and Music Web Recording of the Month (April 2013)

The Wasps Overture has become one of the composer’s most popular works. From the opening orchestral buzzing of a swarm of wasps, it emerges as one of English music’s great tunes, this work is a showcase for the vivid orchestral colours of Vaughan Williams’ writing, presented here to the height of effect by the acclaimed musicians of the Hallé.

Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis is one of Vaughan Williams’s most frequently played works and is acknowledged as one of the greatest examples of writing for strings. Although the treatment of Tallis’s theme is mainly contemplative, there are dramatic and passionate moments in the Fantasia, which is scored for two string orchestras (the second orchestra comprising only nine players) with solo quartet.

The ‘Pastoral’ Symphony is characterized with a mood which is gently elegiac and dark, and which reflects the work’s true genesis. Although the title mistakenly led audiences and critics to associate the work entirely with rural landscapes and English folksong, it is in fact directly related to the First World War of 1914‑18. Vaughan Williams, although forty‑one when war was declared, enlisted as a private in the Royal Army Medical Corps and served as a wagon orderly in France.

Five Variants of ‘Dives and Lazarus’, for strings and harps was written for the New York World Fair in 1939, when Sir Adrian Boult conducted the first performance in Carnegie Hall. Vaughan Williams first encountered the folksong Dives and Lazarus in 1893, when he was 21, later collecting several versions, and in this mature work he displays his affection for the melody in variants which are not exact replicas but reminiscences of various versions in several folksong collections, including his own.

“The troubled, sullied world that the music explores is recreated by Elder and the Hallé without ever becoming overwrought or maudlin, and bringing out unexpected resonances along the way.” The Guardian, 5th November 2014 ****

“Elder and the Hallé Orchestra play the symphony from the heart and the music soars...A glowing performance of the much-loved “Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis” also raises the spirits.” Financial Times, 29th November 2014 ****

“Performances that rival even the classic Boult recordings...Elder’s interpretation vividly highlights the troubled undercurrents of the Pastoral Symphony.” MusicWeb International, January 2015

“Elder and his inspirational Mancunians continue their own-label RVW cycle with a rapt account of the third symphony, its sombre reflection of a world torn apart by war here winning in its eloquent simplicity.” Classical Music ****

“[the Tallis Fantasia] is tight-reined, yet also singing and surging with no trace of anti-Romantic tendentiousness...But what makes this release so special is Elder and the Hallé's interpretation of the Pastoral Symphony...Elder's telling way with the music's pacing...articulates the whole design with a vividness that allows an element of genuine dramatic sweep to come through.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2015 *****

“the finest volume yet in Sir Mark Elder's unfolding Vaughan Williams cycle...Abetted by uncommonly articulate orchestral playing, the performance of the Pastoral Symphony evinces a glowing dedication, remarkable luminosity of texture, songful rapture and emotional clout that mark it out as a front-runner...A marvellous disc.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2015

“It is still a revelation to find how much Sir Mark Elder draws from well-loved and oft-performed scores…[the Pastoral Symphony is a] wonderfully perceptive performance.” International Record Review, March 2015

GGramophone Awards 2015

Finalist - Orchestral

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - February 2015

BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the month - January 2015

Hallé Elder Vaughan Williams Series - CDHLL7540

(CD)

$14.75

(also available to download from $10.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Mozart: Divertimenti

Mozart: Divertimenti


Mozart:

Serenade No. 11 in E flat major, K375

Divertimento in F, K253

Divertimento in B flat, K270

Divertimento in E flat, K252

Divertimento in B flat, K240


Following the success of performances and recordings of Weber’s Wind Concertos with SCO principals as soloists, the SCO Wind Soloists that feature on this album have since 2012 started to explore Harmoniemusik repertoire.

Inspired by the legacy of the great Mozartian conductors of the SCO including Sir Charles Mackerras, the Wind Soloists make a fine contribution to the SCO’s distinguished Mozart discography.

This new recording includes four of the five Tafelmusik sextets for pairs of clarinets, horns and bassoons, together with the Serenade in E flat major, the first of Mozart’s three great wind serenades.

The Serenade in E flat major has many unusual features. Its opening fanfare - a series of repeated chords on the tonic in E flat - immediately catches the ear.

The fact that Mozart avoids fatiguing the listener with a surfeit of the same sonorities, in music with a necessarily limited dynamic and instrumental range, bears eloquent testimony to his genius.

This recording captures the wealth of detail in Mozart’s Divertimenti; there is something in each of them for every music lover.

Comprising pairs of clarinet, bassoons and natural horns, the players are dedicated to performing each work in a stylish and informed way, from the masterpieces of Mozart, Beethoven and Weber to twentieth-century works and contemporary commissions.

The SCO Wind Soloists are: Maximiliano Martín clarinet, William Stafford clarinet, Peter Whelan bassoon, Alison Green bassoon, Alec Frank-Gemmill horn, Harry Johnstone horn.

The SCO Wind Soloists have appeared in chamber concerts throughout Scotland. They have also performed at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in the presence of HRH The Prince Charles.

“Like all the best ensembles in this music, they strike a nice balance between chamber-musical refinement and rustic earthiness...The rare example of Mozart polonaise in K252 goes with a jaunty swagger...while the lusty contredanse finales exude an impish glee. I fancy Mozart would have smiled in approval.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2015

“These performances pick up on every morsel of wit and ingenuity in the wind writing, and never forget that the purpose of this music was to entertain.” The Guardian, 5th February 2015 ****

“Martín's clarinet...is particularly winning, charming in the slow movements, full of sparkle and wit in the faster ones…the whole air of the disc is exceptionally genial and I enjoyed it immensely.” MusicWeb International, 27th March 2015

“by skilfully modulating their tone between the smooth and the raucous, the two clarinettists here contrive to minimise the absence of oboe timbre in what proves a lively and nicely nuanced reading...these are exuberant performances, recorded with real presence.” BBC Music Magazine, Awards Issue 2015 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - February 2015

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

Up to 25% off Linn

Linn - CKD479

(SACD)

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Special: $12.20

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Mozart: Keyboard Music Volume 7

Mozart: Keyboard Music Volume 7


Mozart:

Piano Sonata No. 6 in D, K284 "Dürnitz"

Piano Sonata No. 8 in A minor, K310

Sechs Variationen in G-Dur, K180 ("Mio caro Adone")

Variations (9) in C major on a theme by Nicolas Dezede ‘Lison dormait' K264


Kristian Bezuidenhout (fortepiano) Paul McNulty, Divisov, Czech Republic, 2009, after Anton Walter & Sohn, Vienna, 1805. From the collection of Alexander Skeaping Unequal temperament, A = 430

In Volume 7 of his internationally praised Mozart cycle, Kristian Bezuidenhout includes two works influenced by Wolfgang's 1778 stay in Paris: the grandly proportioned Sonata in A minor, K310 and the dazzling Variations in C on 'Lison dormait', K264.

Kristian Bezuidenhout was born in South Africa in 1979. He studied at the Eastman School of Music, where he explored early keyboards, studying harpsichord with Arthur Haas, fortepiano with Malcolm Bilson, and continuo playing and performance practice with Paul O’Dette. He now lives in London. Bezuidenhout is a frequent guest artist with all of the principal period ensembles and orchestras of Europe, often assuming the role of guest director, and he collaborates regularly with many of today’s most celebrated artists.

He is a guest professor at the Schola Cantorum (Basel) and the Eastman School of Music (Rochester, New York) and he is Artistic Advisor for the Constellation Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

His recordings for harmonia mundi have garnered consistently brilliant reviews. Volume 1 of his ongoing cycle of Mozart’s keyboard works was awarded a Caecilia Prize and Gramophone 'Recommends'; Volume 2: Classic FM Magazine Editor’s Choice *****, IRR Outstanding and CD Review Disc of the Week; Volume 3 a BBC Music Magazine Instrumental Choice and Volume 4 and IRR Outstanding.

“Hearing the discs themselves, one can hardly take one's ears off the performances because they go so far inside the music and reverse much of what you thought you knew...Bezuidenhout's elastic tempi give him room to probe for meaning but also allow panache that's so much a part of Mozart's buoyant temperament.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2015

“Bezuidenhout displays a consummate ease and naturalness at the instrument that seems second nature: he and the fortepiano are one...his interpretations continue to shed new light on these rich and varied works, even for listeners long familiar with them...if luck is on our side, the future may hold in store more of the robust, virtuosic and multi-faceted pleasures of Bezuidenhout’s Mozart.” International Record Review, February 2015

“in every bar Bezuidenhout establishes his complete mastery over the instrument by means of an extraordinary delicacy and refinement of touch and shading. He's a remarkable virtuoso, and a dazzlingly imaginative, multi-skilled Mozartian. He decorates repeats with style and wit.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2015 ****

“Bezuidenhout’s latest Mozart piano album has a peacock flourish about it. That’s partly due to the instrument, a modern reproduction of an 1805 fortepiano. The crisp attack and variety of tone are exceptional. Then there’s Bezuidenhout’s ornate artistry...Put instrument and artist together, though, and you have a perfect example of “going at it hammer and tongs”.” The Times, 20th February 2015 ***

“enchanting…Bezuidenhout doesn’t stint on the sonata’s [K310] depth of feeling; he conveys he Allegro maestro’s pounding intensity and the desolate Andante cantabile with total conviction. He’s also adept at teasing out the delights to be found in less challenging works…his sensitive touch and perfect timing confirm him as a true poet of the fortepiano.” International Piano, May/June 2015

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - February 2015

Harmonia Mundi Bezuidenhout Mozart Series - HMU907531

(CD)

$14.00

(also available to download from $11.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Grigory Sokolov: The Salzburg Recital 2008

Grigory Sokolov: The Salzburg Recital 2008


Bach, J S:

Chorale Prelude BWV639 'Ich ruf' zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ'

arr. Sokolov. Encore

Chopin:

Preludes (24), Op. 28

Mazurka No. 47 in A minor, Op. 68 No. 2

encore

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

encore

Mozart:

Piano Sonata No. 2 in F, K280

Piano Sonata No. 12 in F major, K332

Rameau:

Les Sauvages

encore

Scriabin:

Poèmes, Op. 69 Nos. 1 & 2

encore


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

This is Grigory Sokolov’s “debut” recital on Deutsche Grammophon, an outstanding live recording from the Salzburg Festival 2008 of central repertoire: W.A. Mozart, F. Chopin & 6 encores.

At last - after 20 years - the maestro has agreed to allow his recordings to be released on CD - now as an exclusive DG artist. Regarded as one of the world’s leading pianists, and adored by his public in sold-out concerts, Grigory Sokolov is the real thing – an artist dedicated to his art, and nothing else.

“From the beginning of Mozart’s F major sonata, K. 280, the first of two included, the Sokolov spell is cast. The graceful, crisp articulation; the little hesitations, so carefully wrought: here is poetic and intimate playing of the highest order.” The Times, 16th January 2015 *****

“listening to Sokolov, you know unequivocally that you are in the presence of someone extraordinary, someone possessing special insights and a thoroughly individual way of articulating, clarifying and communing with music so that his interpretations seem to find its very heart.” The Telegraph, 24th January 2015 *****

“Some of the playing is breathtaking in its clarity, articulation and colour...The Mozart playing may seem old-fashioned, but it overflows with vitality, each movement conceived as a single, sweeping entity, while each of the Chopin Preludes manages to conjure up a complete expressive world in a miniature frame...It’s all to treasure.” The Guardian, 29th January 2015 *****

“For me, the Mozart sonatas exemplify the essence of Sokolov's playing: he can do things with a melody that are just amazing. The way he phrases Mozart's slow movements is a joy to hear: thoughtful and individual without being fussy, he makes those melodies sing in a way that is incomparable...This gift for lyricism is equally present in the Chopin...I simply cannot wait to hear more from this stunning artist.” James Longstaffe, Presto Classical, 19th January 2015

“he plays [the Mozart] with restraint, albeit micromanaging the music so that no phrase sounds the same twice...[in the Chopin] Sokolov ranges from introspective musing to his native Russian virtuosity.” Financial Times, 31st January 2015 ***

“It's an overused word, but he is inimitable. His Chopin Preludes, for example, have no time for the notion of a freely Romantic melodic line being kept in check by a Classical accompaniment...The Mozart is treasurable too, though - of course - you have to take it on its own terms.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2015

“Best of all are the six encores: exquisite Scriabin, wistful Chopin and a valedictory Bach chorale.” Classical Music, May 2015 ****

Presto Disc of the Week

19th January 2015

Presto Discs of 2015

Finalist

GGramophone Awards 2015

Finalist - Instrumental

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - February 2015

DG - 4794342

(CD - 2 discs)

$22.50

(also available to download from $10.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

English Song: John Shirley-Quirk

English Song: John Shirley-Quirk


Butterworth, G:

A Shropshire Lad - six songs

Humfrey:

A Hymne to God the Father

arr. Tippett & Bergmann

Ireland:

Sea Fever

Songs Sacred And Profane

Keel:

Trade Winds (No. 2 from Three Salt-Water Ballads)

Moeran:

Ludlow Town: three songs

Purcell:

Man is for the woman made (from The Mock Marriage, Z605)

Music for a while, Z583

Twas within a furlong of Edinburgh Town (from The Mock Marriage, Z605)

When night her purple veil, Z201

Stanford:

Drake's Drum

The Old Superb

Vaughan Williams:

Songs of Travel

Warlock:

Captain Stratton's Fancy


John Shirley-Quirk (bass-baritone), Martin Isepp (harpsichord and piano), Ambrose Gauntlett (viola da gamba), Nona Liddell, Ivor McMahon (violins) & Eric Parkin (piano)

As a tribute to the late John Shirley-Quirk, Heritage is proud to re-issue the recordings he made of English song for the SAGA label in the 1960s. Three LPs were originally laid down: 'Songs of Travel', 'A Recital of English Song' and 'The Songs of John Ireland' and they appear here as a double CD. The performances are considered by many to be definitive and the present collection, re-mastered from the original tapes, appears by kind permission of the SAGA Continuation Trust.

The recordings have not been available in CD format for 20 years which makes this Heritage release highly anticipated. John Stanton Shirley-Quirk CBE (28 August 1931-7 April 2014) was an English bass-baritone who started his working life as a chemistry lecturer before becoming a member of the English Opera Group from 1964 to 1976. His early singing career began as a member of the Purcell Singers and as a lay clerk at St. Paul’s Cathedral. He went on to give premiere performances of several operatic and vocal works by Benjamin Britten, recording these and other works under the composer's direction. He sang and recorded a wide range of repertoire by other composers and consequently his discography is huge. His vocal style is characterised by a rich and smooth timbre coupled with a level of musicality which enabled him to interpret the music he was singing with great profundity.

“Heritage Records has gathered together a collection of English songs from three Saga LPs, sensitively remastered, which show this wonderful singer on top form...Shirley-Quirk gives us a lovely cross-section of native song...and [his] immaculate diction makes texts unnecessary.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2015

“Shirley-Quirke is sensitive, both as regards the vocalism per se, his use of voice and the responses to the words, treated intelligently.” International Record Review, February 2015

GGramophone Magazine

Re-issue of the Month - February 2015

Heritage - HTGCD283-4

(CD - 2 discs)

$16.00

(also available to download from $10.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Mahler: Symphony No. 9

Mahler: Symphony No. 9


Theodor W. Adorno regarded Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 as “the first work of modern music”. Adorno’s teacher, Alban Berg, saw in it “the expression of a tremendous love for this world, a longing to live in peace and to savor Nature to its depths – before the arrival of Death. For it will inevitably come.” This live recording of the composer’s last completed symphony is part of an ongoing Leipzig cycle of Mahler’s symphonies. It confirms once more the Gewandhaus Orchestra’s reputation as an exemplary ensemble for the performance of Mahler’s music. The highest level of performance culture combined with a sharply contoured, transparent, polished, and detailed manner of playing, plus infectious verve and an unmistakable sound characterized by a darkly golden color – these are qualities responsible for the Gewandhaus Orchestra’s international reputation. Since the time of Bruno Walter, the orchestra has developed over the years a deep understanding of the works of Gustav Mahler, which in their collaboration with Riccardo Chailly has been continued.

BONUS: Riccardo Chailly on Mahler 9 and in conversation with Henry‐Louis de La Grange.

“The keynote here is momentum, never forced except when it needs to feel that way...Right from the way Chailly flecks the short note of the cellos' opening arrhythmia, there's a superhuman level of detail and textures, much of which sounds new to me...an interpretation as impressive, in terms of articulation and colour, as any in an ever-growing catalogue of greats.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2014 ****

“Here we have something very special, and a good deal more than 'just another Mahler Ninth'...This Leipzig Ninth is Chailly off the leash, liberating the music in a way that is impassioned, positive, fitfully fractured and often ethereal. He flicks the Symphony's heartbeat opening into action with the most economical of gestures.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2015

GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - February 2015

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Accentus Music - Riccardo Chailly Mahler Symphony cycle - ACC20299

(DVD Video)

$23.75

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Mahler: Symphony No. 9

Mahler: Symphony No. 9


Theodor W. Adorno regarded Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 as “the first work of modern music”. Adorno’s teacher, Alban Berg, saw in it “the expression of a tremendous love for this world, a longing to live in peace and to savor Nature to its depths – before the arrival of Death. For it will inevitably come.” This live recording of the composer’s last completed symphony is part of an ongoing Leipzig cycle of Mahler’s symphonies. It confirms once more the Gewandhaus Orchestra’s reputation as an exemplary ensemble for the performance of Mahler’s music. The highest level of performance culture combined with a sharply contoured, transparent, polished, and detailed manner of playing, plus infectious verve and an unmistakable sound characterized by a darkly golden color – these are qualities responsible for the Gewandhaus Orchestra’s international reputation. Since the time of Bruno Walter, the orchestra has developed over the years a deep understanding of the works of Gustav Mahler, which in their collaboration with Riccardo Chailly has been continued.

BONUS: Riccardo Chailly on Mahler 9 and in conversation with Henry‐Louis de La Grange.

“The keynote here is momentum, never forced except when it needs to feel that way...Right from the way Chailly flecks the short note of the cellos' opening arrhythmia, there's a superhuman level of detail and textures, much of which sounds new to me...an interpretation as impressive, in terms of articulation and colour, as any in an ever-growing catalogue of greats.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2014 ****

“Here we have something very special, and a good deal more than 'just another Mahler Ninth'...This Leipzig Ninth is Chailly off the leash, liberating the music in a way that is impassioned, positive, fitfully fractured and often ethereal. He flicks the Symphony's heartbeat opening into action with the most economical of gestures” Gramophone Magazine, February 2015

GGramophone Magazine

DVD/Blu-ray of the Month - February 2015

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

Accentus Music - Riccardo Chailly Mahler Symphony cycle - ACC10299

(Blu-ray)

$35.75

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Bach, J S: Orchestral Suites Nos. 1-4, BWV1066-1069

Bach, J S: Orchestral Suites Nos. 1-4, BWV1066-1069


Richard Egarr (director & harpsichord)

Academy of Ancient Music

Towards the end of its 40th anniversary year the Academy of Ancient Music, with its musical director Richard Egarr, releases a significant new recording of JS Bach’s four Orchestral Suites BWV1066-69.

This new recording was made at low pitch (A=392) along with a reduced orchestra.

Using one player per part creates a wonderful chamber music feel and allows the flexibility that is essential in Bach’s music.” (Richard Egarr).

Further content available online includes an introductory film about the recording as well as session photographs.

This release – the third on AAM Records – follows ‘Birth of the symphony: Handel to Haydn’, which was named BBC Radio 3's Disc of the Week and widely acclaimed, and JS Bach’s ‘St John Passion’, which received a 2014 Gramophone Award nomination in the vocal category.

“he presents the Bach Suites as elevated chamber music...What I like about Egarr is the way middle voices are liberated and integrated into the overall texture, while the fugal ouvertures breeze along without the dubious benefit of rocket fuel...All in all, a feast of meaningfully understated musicianship. I loved it.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2015

“[Egarr] has given careful thought to articulation and phrasing. Menuets and Gavottes are poised and unhurried while the Overtures themselves, with their resplendent opening measures and lively fugal discourses, sparkle with amiability...This is an engaging release, in which currently fashionable sound-barrier-breaking tempos are mercifully absent.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2015 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - February 2015

AAM Records - AAM003

(CD - 2 discs)

$31.75

(also available to download from $20.00)

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

Chopin: Études

Chopin: Études


Chopin:

Études (12), Op. 10

Études (12), Op. 25

Trois Nouvelles Études


Zlata Chochieva (piano)

Even in this age where pyrotechnics seem commonplace, the recording of Chopin’s complete Études presents a huge challenge for any pianist. Zlata Chochieva’s interpretation is a special one: not only she conquers the daunting technical difficulties with apparent ease and supreme mastery, but she brings out the poetry, the colours, the joy and the sorrow of each individual study, thus creating a string of 24 miniature masterpieces, rather than a marathon of technical display.

Zlata’s previous recording for Piano Classics (Rachmaninoff Piano Sonata 1 and Chopin Variations PCL0047) received high praise in the international press: “the possessor of a comprehensive technique she brings an inner glow to every bar. Her playing is indelibly Russian in its fullness and warmth, backed by dauntless and easy command…poetic and pianistic demand could hardly go further” (Bryce Morrison in Gramophone),

“Glowing, perfectly modelled, full of fantasy, 5 STAR” (Fono Forum), “Zlata Chochieva is a pianist’s pianist”(Musicweb).

“all I can say is that in each of the 27 studies Chochieva comes as close as anyone to how I hear the ideal performance in my head...No details are overlooked yet without drawing undue attention to them...The greatest on disc? I don't know; but it is certainly one of the most consistently executed and beautiful-sounding versions I can recall.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2015

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - February 2015

Piano Classics - PCL0068

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$9.75

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Penderecki: Chamber Works, Vol. 1

Penderecki: Chamber Works, Vol. 1


Penderecki:

Three Miniatures for Clarinet & Piano

Roman Widaszek (clarinet), Marek Szlezer (piano)

Cadenza for solo violin

Maria Machowska (violin)

A Polish Requiem - Chaconne (2005)

Maria Machowska (violin), Artur Rozmysłowicz (viola)

Per Slava

Jan Kalinowski (cello)

Capriccio per Radovan na waltornię solo for horn solo

Tadeusz Tomaszewski (horn)

Prelude for Solo Clarinet

Roman Widaszek (clarinet)

Sextet for Clarinet, Horn, Violin, Viola, Cello & Piano

Roman Widaszek (clarinet), Tadeusz Tomaszewski (horn), Maria Machowska (violin), Artur Rozmysłowicz (viola), Jan Kalinowski (cello), Marek Szlezer (piano)


“These fine performances have been excellently recorded at the European Music Centre in Lusławice, and heard together in this way cast an unusual and fascinating light on Penderecki's work. Highly recommended.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2015

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - February 2015

Contemporary Music - up to 25% off

Dux - DUX0780

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Grigory Sokolov: The Salzburg Recital 2008 - Vinyl Edition

Grigory Sokolov: The Salzburg Recital 2008 - Vinyl Edition


Bach, J S:

Chorale Prelude BWV639 'Ich ruf' zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ'

arr. Sokolov. Encore

Chopin:

Preludes (24), Op. 28

Mazurka No. 47 in A minor, Op. 68 No. 2

encore

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

encore

Mozart:

Piano Sonata No. 2 in F, K280

Piano Sonata No. 12 in F major, K332

Rameau:

Les Sauvages

encore

Scriabin:

Poèmes, Op. 69 Nos. 1 & 2

encore


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

This is Grigory Sokolov’s “debut” recital on Deutsche Grammophon, an outstanding live recording from the Salzburg Festival 2008 of central repertoire: W.A. Mozart, F. Chopin & 6 encores.

At last - after 20 years - the maestro has agreed to allow his recordings to be released on CD - now as an exclusive DG artist. Regarded as one of the world’s leading pianists, and adored by his public in sold-out concerts, Grigory Sokolov is the real thing – an artist dedicated to his art, and nothing else.

“From the beginning of Mozart’s F major sonata, K. 280, the first of two included, the Sokolov spell is cast. The graceful, crisp articulation; the little hesitations, so carefully wrought: here is poetic and intimate playing of the highest order.” The Times, 16th January 2015 *****

“listening to Sokolov, you know unequivocally that you are in the presence of someone extraordinary, someone possessing special insights and a thoroughly individual way of articulating, clarifying and communing with music so that his interpretations seem to find its very heart.” The Telegraph, 24th January 2015 *****

“Some of the playing is breathtaking in its clarity, articulation and colour...The Mozart playing may seem old-fashioned, but it overflows with vitality, each movement conceived as a single, sweeping entity, while each of the Chopin Preludes manages to conjure up a complete expressive world in a miniature frame...It’s all to treasure.” The Guardian, 29th January 2015 *****

“For me, the Mozart sonatas exemplify the essence of Sokolov's playing: he can do things with a melody that are just amazing. The way he phrases Mozart's slow movements is a joy to hear: thoughtful and individual without being fussy, he makes those melodies sing in a way that is incomparable...This gift for lyricism is equally present in the Chopin...I simply cannot wait to hear more from this stunning artist.” James Longstaffe, Presto Classical, 19th January 2015

“he plays [the Mozart] with restraint, albeit micromanaging the music so that no phrase sounds the same twice...[in the Chopin] Sokolov ranges from introspective musing to his native Russian virtuosity.” Financial Times, 30th January 2015 ***

“It's an overused word, but he is inimitable. His Chopin Preludes, for example, have no time for the notion of a freely Romantic melodic line being kept in check by a Classical accompaniment...The Mozart is treasurable too, though - of course - you have to take it on its own terms.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2015

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Editor's Choice - February 2015

DG - 4794390

(Vinyl - 2 discs)

$30.50

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Veracini: Adriano en Siria

Veracini: Adriano en Siria

recorded live at the Wiener Konzerthaus


Sonia Prina (Adriano), Ann Hallenberg (Farnaspe), Roberta Invernizzi (Emirena), Romina Basso (Sabina), Lucia Cirillo (Idalma), Ugo Guagliardo (Osroa)

Europa Galante, Fabio Biondi

Francesco Maria Veracini (1690-1768) is today best known as an eccentric violin virtuoso and composer of instrumental music, but he has also successfully operated as an opera composer during his time in London. His first opera Adriano in Siria was created in 1735 for the London Opera of Nobility, the rival company to Handel's opera troupe.

The company had only a few years earlier (including the soprano castrato Senesino and Francesca Cuzzoni) poached all Farinelli. Veracini's Adriano in Siria is, in every respect, a spectacular and fascinating opera. The recording of Fabio Biondi and an appropriate illustrious singers ensemble is based on a highly successful concert performance series of the work at the Vienna Konzerthaus in 2013, which brought alive again the spectacular opera event of 1735.

“Biondi reveals the score's potential with perfect pacing, breathless silences and towering affective climaxes, leaving you wanting more even after three hours...Hallenberg delivers peak-career bravura...Cuzzoni-style pathos is ravishingly executed by Roberta Invernizzi with richness of timbre and grace of extemporisation...[Prina] personifies dignity, commanding outrageous passagi with almost scornful ease.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2015 *****

“This live Vienna Konzerthaus recording crackles along with theatrical conviction; Europa Galante obviously relish strongly contrasted sequences of arias that are rich in virtuoso detail and pack plenty of theatrical punch...whether flashy or tender, Hallenberg's magnificent singing takes no prisoners.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2015

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - February 2015

Fra Bernardo - FB1409491

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Au Sainct Nau

Au Sainct Nau


01 Conditor alme syderum

02 Conditor le jour de Noel

03 Fantaisie n°4 sur Conditor alme syderum

04 Noe noe psallite noe

05 Missa Noe noe, Kyrie

06 Il estoyt une fillette

07 Plaisir n’ay plus que vivre en desconfort

08 Dison Nau à pleine teste

09 Au bois de deuil

10 Fantaisie n°31 sur Une jeune fillette

11 O beata infantia

12 Fantaisie n°30 sur Une jeune fillette

13 Une jeune pucelle

14 Allons gay bergiere

15 L’on sonne une cloche

16 O gras tondus

17 Vous perdez temps heretiques infames

18 Esprit divins, chantons dans la nuit sainte

19 Missa Noe noe, Agnus Dei


With all the delicacy bestowed on them by their humour and their talent, Dominique Visse and his Ensemble Clément Janequin juxtapose various aspects of the feast of Christmas, from sacred vocal pieces to parodies with bawdy texts, alongside the young Trio Musica Humana.

“The ensemble continues to do what it does best but retains a freshness and questing spirit that sometimes eludes groups of comparable vintage, a sense of joyous music-making that marked them out from the start and which they've never lost. It was utterly infectious then, and it still is.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2015

GGramophone Awards 2015

Finalist - Early Music

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - February 2015

A Musical Picture - up to 40% off

Alpha - ALPHA198

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