Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

August 2015

Disc of the Month

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Shostakovich Under Stalin's Shadow: Symphony No. 10

Awards:

Presto Disc of the Week

31st July 2015

Gramophone Awards 2016

Winner - Orchestral

Gramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - August 2015

BBC Music Magazine

Orchestral Choice - November 2015

Label:

DG

Catalogue No:

4795059

Discs:

1

Release date:

31st July 2015

Barcode:

0028947950592

Length:

64 minutes

Medium:

CD (download also available)
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Shostakovich Under Stalin's Shadow: Symphony No. 10


Shostakovich:

Symphony No. 10 in E minor, Op. 93

Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk: Passacaglia


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Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

This recording marks the first instalment of a long-term collaboration with one of the most exciting young conductors of our time: Andris Nelsons the newly appointed Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

The goal of this massive undertaking is a complete Shostakovich cycle on Deutsche Grammophon with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The core of which - Symphonies Nos. 5-10 - is scheduled for recording and release over the next two years.

Andris Nelsons has had a long journey with Shostakovich. He is one of the last conductors of his generation who still grew up in the Russian and, more especially, the Soviet musical tradition ever since he started his training as a conductor. He studied in St Petersburg with Alexander Titov and also with Mariss Jansons. His new orchestra has had a great tradition in performing many of Shostakovich’s works in America for the first time.

The theme of the first album with Shostakovich´s 10th Symphony and Passacaglia from Lady Macbeth is a reflection on Shostakovich and Stalin. Lady Macbeth was the piece which brought criticism of his work and the radical change of style, whereas Symphony 10 is from the year Stalin died: the long arc of censorship of Shostakovich until Stalin's death, and the composer's response to this.

Dmitri Shostakovich: Lady Macbeth Of The Mtsensk District, Op.29

Passacaglia

Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No.10 In E Minor, Op.93

1. Moderato

2. Allegro

3. Allegretto

4. Andante - Allegro

Gramophone Magazine

August 2015

“Powerful and beautifully crafted, this recording – the first from the relationship between DG and the Boston Symphony under Nelsons – is a hugely impressive sign of just what this ensemble/maestro partnership may go on to achieve.”

The Times

31st July 2015

****

“Nelsons excels at building momentum and paces [the first movement] masterfully...If that level of dramatic engagement isn’t quite sustained, it’s partly because the glamorous sound of the orchestra, caught live in Boston, sometimes contradicts Nelsons’s own assertions about the piece...Put that to one side and this is thrilling music-making, already whetting the appetite for the next instalment”

Presto Classical

Katherine Cooper

31st July 2015

“I’ve heard scratchier strings, raspier brass and screechier woodwind in this music, but what intrigued me was the impact of Nelsons’s relatively restrained energy and his resistance to caricature...It may sound perverse to praise an interpretation of this particular work for its introspectiveness, but bear with me: the nightmarish scherzo somehow speaks of internalised, psychological terror rather than Terror With A Capital T here.”

Sunday Times

16th August 2015

“We shall never know whether the second movement is, indeed, a “portrait” of Stalin, but it undoubtedly is a depiction of tyranny in music, electrifyingly played here. The 10th is the main work of the BSO’s first programme, and the recording certainly whets the appetite for the rest of the series.”

The Guardian

20th August 2015

*****

“Don’t press play without checking the volume levels first: Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony Orchestra begin their new Shostakovich series with the Passacaglia from the opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, and its first chord is genuinely cataclysmic...It at once recalibrates your ears and sets the tone for the ensuing performance of the 10th Symphony.”

The Telegraph

26/10/2015

*****

“Nelsons triumphs overwhelmingly, crafting the long first movement with a mix of probing strength and disquiet, and elsewhere combining whiplash rhythmic incisiveness with breadth of phrasing and a telling spectrum of dynamics. With the apocalyptic tragedy of the Lady Macbeth passacaglia, the cumulative effect of this disc is both profoundly moving and electrifying”

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Scriabin: Symphony No. 1 & The Poem of Ecstasy

Scriabin: Symphony No. 1 & The Poem of Ecstasy


Scriabin:

Symphony No. 1 in E major, Op. 26

Symphony No. 4 - 'Le Poème de l'extase', Op. 54


Russian National Orchestra & Chamber Choir of the Moscow Conservatory, Mikhail Pletnev

In 1899, Scriabin began writing his most ambitious composition to date: the First Symphony. The work still reflects the influence of the traditional fourmovement formal scheme. The first movement, in sonata form (Allegro dramatico), is followed by a slow movement (Lento), a scherzo (Vivace) and an Allegro, again in sonata form. But Scriabin also framed the symphony with an introductory movement in a slow tempo and a monumental choral finale with a text of his own composition, and it is this movement that can be said to occupy the work’s interpretational centre of gravity. The First Symphony documents a search for salvation and unification, both of which can only be found in art: “May your mighty and free spirit reign all-powerfully on earth; and humanity, lifted up by you, perform a noble deed. Come all nations of the world and let us sing praises to art!”

Le Poème de l’extase debuted in New York on 10 December 1908, after a performance in Russia had to be cancelled due to the difficulty of the score. However, when the Russian première finally did take place, on 1 February 1909, it wound up being a true spectacle. The then young composition student, Sergei Prokofiev wrote, “Myaskovsky and I sat next to each other and consumed the Poème de l’extase with the greatest of interest, although, at different moments during the performance, we were entirely confused by the newness of the music. We had expected something surpassing the divine Poème, which we both knew well and loved. But both the harmonic and thematic material of the work, as well as its contrapuntal voice-leading, resembled nothing we had ever heard before.” Conductor Mikhail Pletnev surpasses the extreme with his Scriabin interpretation and draws what he needs from the Russian National Orchestra ⎯ the Moscow-based ensemble he founded in 1990. This results in a near-perfect performance of both works. Blessed by the orchestra’s warm, vibrant playing, this CD is a real pleasure for everyone who adores the esoteric and unorthodox work of Scriabin. It is definitely THE Symphony No. 1 and Poem of Ecstasy to own: an ideal performance with sonic audio quality to match.

“there is a good deal which is captivating in Mikhail Pletnev's excellent performance: in the thistledown Scherzo, the Russian National Orchestra demonstates polished and tight ensemble playing for the lively main tempo…[in Poem of Ecstasy] Pletnev's relatively unhurried performance makes the two climaxes all the more powerful, Vladislav Lavrik's trumpet adding a certain masochistic edge with its cries of ecstatic pain.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2015

“[Pletnev] has an innate feel for the symphony's and The Poem of Ecstasy's shape and colour, by no means afraid to let rip when full instrumental forces are in play but also well aware that Scriabin could use his palette of timbres with telling discretion…these are performances in which you sense that the RNO and all the artists involved have this music coursing through their very veins.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2015

“There’s a sense that Scriabin’s Symphony No 1 picks up where Wagner left off, and Mikhail Pletnev approaches this sprawling work with both an ear for a yearning phrase and an eye for huge musical architecture...Pletnev’s is a very persuasive take on a repertoire most conductors seem shy of.” The Guardian, 6th August 2015 ****

“in musical phrasing, orchestration and in all manner of melodic and harmonic detail [the First] is a work that clearly points to the Skryabin of the future. Pletnev recognises this factor here in his malleable control of tempo: the music flows and surges with spontaneity and with clear definition of climax and repose...an outstanding tribute to Skryabin in his centenary year.” The Telegraph, 11th July 2015 *****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2015

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Schoenberg: Gurrelieder

Schoenberg: Gurrelieder


Barbara Haveman (soprano), Claudia Mahnke (mezzo), Brandon Jovanovich (tenor), Gerhard Siegel (tenor), Thomas Bauer (baritone), Johannes Martin Kränzle (speaker)

Gürzenich-Orchester Köln, Domkantorei Köln, Männerstimmen des Kölner Domchores, Vokalensemble Kölner Dom, Chor des Bach-Vereins Köln, Kartäuserkantorei Köln, Markus Stenz

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

The Gürzenich-Orchester of Cologne has a pedigree second to none—counting Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss among those who have entrusted it with premieres of their works—and when you hear this new recording the reasons for this are clear. Devastating brass combines with mellifluous winds and strings in a performance of Schoenberg’s late Romantic masterpiece.

Markus Stenz conducts a fine line-up of soloists and marshalls the massed choirs in this most epic of works.

“a good resumé of Stenz’s qualities, his confidence in handling massive forces and his affinity with music composed on the cusp of modernism; he’s at his best in passages such as the orchestral interlude that precedes the Song of the Wood Dove...and the Wild Hunt of the Summer Wind.” The Guardian, 25th June 2015 ***

“This superb performance crowns Stenz’s tenure as Cologne’s general music director, with opulent playing from the Gürzenichers and six Cologne and Dutch choirs. Brandon Jovanovich’s thrilling Waldemar and Claudia Mahnke’s plangent Wood Dove are the pick of a fine team of soloists.” Sunday Times, 28th June 2015

“Live recording’s cast is swept along with élan by conductor Markus Stenz.” Financial Times, 26th June 2015

“The star of the set is undoubtedly tenor Brandon Jovanovich as Waldemar; his baritonal timbre suits the piece well, particularly the relatively low writing given to him for his first entry, but his top notes ring when necessary...the Cologne woodwind are on top form, as indeed is everyone in this fine new recording of a wonderfully colourful and dramatic piece.” James Longstaffe, Presto Classical, 29th June 2015

“Excellent performances throughout from orchestra, soloists and choruses – rarely have the lush textures of Schoenberg’s late-Romantic cantata sounded this fresh.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2015

“makes a vivid and spacious overall impression thanks to the alternately measured and passionate sway of Markus Stenz and the golden tones of the Gurzenich Orchestra. It is also strongly cast with the heroic Brandon Jovanovich and the full-voiced Barbara Haveman as the illicit lovers.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2015 ****

“Not only does Markus Stenz secure a marvellously eloquent and superbly coordinated response from his massed choral and orchestral forces, his supple, authoritative conception harnesses impressive long-term rigour to a keen poetic and dramatic instinct...Hearty plaudits to all involved.” Classical Ear, 15th October 2015

Presto Disc of the Week

29th June 2015

GGramophone Awards 2016

Winner - Choral

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2015

Hyperion & Helios - up to 50% off

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Eddie McGuire: Entangled Fortunes

Eddie McGuire: Entangled Fortunes


McGuire, E:

Elegy

Euphoria

String Trio

Entangled Fortunes

Quintet 2


Red Note Ensemble

Eddie McGuire is one of Scotland’s greatest living composers.

A renaissance man, his compositional voice is informed by a broad wealth of cultural experience and by an unlimited melodic creativity. In this intensely beautiful and unpretentious music, folk-like tunes appear naturally, taking their place in a world of invention large enough to contain minimalist gestures, intense romanticism, meditative silence and sudden drama.

In the second of two discs programmed to initiate their new recording partnership with Delphian, Red Note Ensemble bring passion and care to this music: a token of the regard in which McGuire is held by Scottish musicians of all generations.

Red Note Ensemble is Scotland’s contemporary music ensemble, commissioning and performing new music from Scotland and around the world. The Ensemble was founded in 2008 and draws its members from the deep talent pool of Scottish new music expertise. Red Note is Associate Contemporary Ensemble at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow, an Associate Company of the Traverse Theatre Edinburgh and Associate Ensemble of the Sound Festival Aberdeen. In 2013 the ensemble made its Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival debut with an acclaimed three-concert series including the UK premiere of James Dillon’s 'New York Triptych'.

“[Eddie McGuire is] a composer of immense sincerity, supreme craftsmanship and creative integrity. Red Note’s warm and sensitive performances are an equal match.” The Scotsman, 27th June 2015

“Heartfelt and unambiguous, often straight-up tuneful, the music of Glaswegian composer, folk scholar and socialist Eddie McGuire hasn’t always had the attention it deserves – which makes this survey of chamber works doubly lovely. McGuire’s language takes in minimalism and Romanticism, tango and Gaelic psalms, fiddle tunes and modernism, but the final mix is unfussy and organic.” The Guardian, 2nd July 2015 ****

“Refreshingly and compellingly, the Scottish composer’s music disdains allegiance or aversion to any -ism.” Sunday Times, 5th July 2015

“A beguiling, lyrical grace weaves through much of this Scottish composer’s chamber music, and these performances well capture its questing expressiveness.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2015

“the disc offers a lively collection of McGuire's chamber music. Much of the disc is highly affirming, notably Euphoria (1980), a delicious, efferescent work composed at the height of Cold War frost and the Thatcherite government” BBC Music Magazine, October 2015

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2015

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Bruckner: Symphony No. 1 in C minor

Bruckner: Symphony No. 1 in C minor


Listening to the First Symphony is a trip of discovery through Bruckner’s countryside, within the triangle formed by Ansfelden (birthplace), St. Florian (with its famous Stift, where Bruckner, first as a choirboy and later as a mature musician, found the much-needed distance from the workaday world to play the extremely beautiful organ) and lastly Linz.

In this First Symphony we already find the characteristics at the heart of Bruckner’s symphonic work: the outer movements exhibit three strongly profiled, truly symphonic themes that cry out for further development, while the polyphony – sometimes quite tightly woven – is an unmistakable part of the structure. No less convincing are the sometimes almost stormy Steigerungen (intensification passages), the elementary rhythmic energy and the extremely rapid modulations. What is still absent are the major chorales and the General-Pausen, the breaks that we already encounter in the Second Symphony (1872), the chief purpose of which was to separate the various thematic constructs. In the Adagio too, Bruckner goes all out in a lengthy quest for the gripping sound of A flat major, which does not let itself be found until the twentieth measure. The brilliant Scherzo is characterised by a highly contagious rhythmic energy that manifests itself in all layers of the orchestra, and only submits to being tamed in the rustic Trio. In the finale, drama and improvisation compete for the main role, but it is so soundly constructed that the entire piece remains in balance. There can be no doubt that Bruckner’s First Symphony is a masterpiece, one that portends the symphonic work yet to come in all its various manifestations.

Bruckner started the first notations for his First Symphony in January 1865 and completed the work on 14 April 1866. He himself conducted the first performance on 9 May 1868 in the Redoutensaal in Linz. In 1877 and again in 1884, the composer gave the score a thorough going-over and made a few modest alterations. But this was not the end of it: between 12 March 1890 and 18 April 1891 he created the Wiener Fassung for Hans Richter, who wanted to conduct the first performance of the First Symphony in Vienna. On this CD you can hear the Linz version. Both on the performance side and in the recording studio, over the years a strong preference has arisen for the Linz version. And the preference is not entirely without reason: the Linz version generally sounds more adventuresome or, if you prefer, somewhat less polished than the Vienna version.

“It’s less urgent than a lot of interpretations and Van Zweden almost always prioritises warm sound over brusque energy...Textures are luminous throughout: those who like their Bruckner laid on thick will want darker colours, but for me the classical lightness and clarity is a breath of fresh air.” The Guardian, 16th July 2015 ****

“Van Zweden completes his journey through Bruckner’s symphonies with a richly detailed, passionately played First.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2015

“Like all cycles, it has had ups and downs, but overall it has been as fine as anyone conducting Bruckner at present would be.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2015 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2015

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Bach in Montecassino

Bach in Montecassino


Bach, J S:

Chromatic Fantasia in D minor, BWV903a

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

Duets Nos. 1-4, BWV802-805

Fantasia & Fugue in C minor, BWV537

Chorale Prelude BWV753 'Jesu, meine Freude' (unfinished)

Fantasia super 'Jesu, meine Freude', BWV713

Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein, BWV668a

Prelude & Fugue Book 2 No. 1 in C major, BWV870: Prelude

Kyrie Drei Sätze BWV 672-674

Chorale Prelude BWV675 'Allein Gott in der Hoh sei Ehr'

Fughetta super 'Wir glauben all an einen Gott', BWV681

Chorale Prelude BWV683 'Vater unser im Himmelreich'

Chorale Prelude BWV687 'Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir'

Prelude & Fugue Book 1 No. 1 in C major, BWV846: Fugue

Fantasia & Fugue in A minor, BWV904


Luca Guglielmi (organ in the Chiesa di San Nicolao, Alice Castello)

In a church in a quiet northern Italian town, Alice Castello, survives a hidden jewel: an organ dating from 1749, perfect for Bach’s organ music.

The latest release on the acclaimed VIVAT label, performed by renowned Italian organist Luca Guglielmi, presents a remarkable programme of some of Bach’s finest keyboard works, performed on the organ in the Chiesa di San Nicolao, Alice Castello.

Guglielmi’s striking Bach programme is compiled from works collected by two eighteenth century scholars, Padre Martini and Friedrich Wilhelm Rust, that would surely have been heard in the famous Abbey of Montecassino, a magnet for musical travellers on ‘The Grand Tour’. Martini and Rust played a major role in the creation of the first collected edition of Bach’s works.

The vivid sound of the unique surviving eighteenth century Italian organ in San Nicolao, Alice Castello, and the equally stunning acoustic of the church, is brilliantly captured in this new VIVAT release.

Extensive presentation includes 44 page booklet with authoritative liner note in four languages (English, Italian, French & German), together with illustrations and session photographs, as well as comprehensive details of this unique eighteenth century organ.

“This is no ordinary greatest hits disc of Bach’s organ music. The organ used here is a fascinatingly sweet-toned baroque instrument by Michele Ramasco of 1749 (added to by Bruna in 1802 and in remarkable condition).” The Observer, 17th May 2015 ***

“Acoustically and tonally the San Nicolao organ possesses a lovely bloom and a dynamic spectrum that suits this music ideally. Moreover, Guglielmi is a dexterous and sensitive exponent, as compelling in the quieter, more reflective realms of the repertoire as he is in those of dramatic flourish.” The Telegraph, 31st May 2015 ****

“A true recognition of Bach’s genius took some time, but these works were circulating shortly after his death and are here wonderfully played on an organ of the era.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2015

“Gugliemi's disc gives a lively snapshot of what at least might have been heard; and, thanks to an instrument built in the year before Bach's death…how it must have sounded too…thoughtfully programmed, Gugliemi's Italian perspective intrigues.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2015

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2015

Vivat - VIVAT108

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Beethoven: Missa Solemnis in D major, Op. 123

Beethoven: Missa Solemnis in D major, Op. 123

Live-Recording, Munich, Herkulessaal, 25./26.09.2014


Genia Kühmeier (soprano), Elisabeth Kulman (mezzo-soprano), Mark Padmore (tenor), Hanno Müller-Brachmann (bass-baritone) & Anton Barachovsky (solo violin)

Chor and Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bernard Haitink

The BR-KLASSIK label has already released several recordings with Bernard Haitink, who has now been connected with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks for over 55 years. Following Bruckner's Fifth Symphony, Mahler's Ninth and Haydn's "Creation," BR-KLASSIK now presents a live recording of Ludwig van Beethoven's "Missa solemnis" – a work performed for the recording market for the first time under the baton of Bernard Haitink. The musical partners of this grand seigneur among world-class conductors are the Choir and Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks as well as a finely coordinated ensemble of soloists, consisting of Genia Kühmeier, Elisabeth Kulman, Mark Padmore and Hanno Müller-Brachmann.

“it is deeply felt, has a superbly disciplined and committed chorus, and grows powerfully towards an Agnus Dei whose darkness and terror are beautifully realised.” Sunday Times, 10th May 2015

“Haitink at 85 makes his first recording of one of music’s choral masterpieces – and what a wonderful performance his wisdom and experience offers.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2015

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2015

BR Klassik - up to 25% off

BR Klassik - 900130

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Transcriptions for Two Pianists

Transcriptions for Two Pianists


Bartók:

Two Pictures, (Op.10) Sz. 46

Transcription for two pianos by Zoltán Kocsis

Debussy:

Jeux - Poème dansé

Transcription for two pianos by Jean-Efflam Bavouzet

Stravinsky:

The Rite of Spring

Transcription for piano four hands by Igor Stravinsky


These two-piano transcriptions played by Jean-Efflam Bavouzet and François-Frédéric Guy renew our experience of three great orchestral works, each of which was premiered in 1913.

Bavouzet’s version of Jeux is, like any fine transcription, far more than a memento of the original. Not only the trills and tremolandos needed on the piano to maintain sustained notes and chords, but also the interplay between the pianists, lines and motifs bouncing between them, become active participants in an intimate music of undulant ambiguity, dream, and darkness.

‘In Full Flower’, the first of the Two Pictures by Bartók, is often taken as his most Debussian composition thanks to his exploration of new scales and harmonic worlds. However, in bringing out its luxuriant and blossoming Hungarian aspects, Zoltán Kocsis emphasises rather its fully Bartókian character, which Bavouzet has conveyed to wide critical praise. The two ‘pictures’ here provide a route from Debussy’s world of erotic reverie to Stravinsky’s of ancient ritual. The thundering and the bells of the two pianos in full and accurate fury make this version of Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps hardly less forceful in the hands of these two dazzling and virtuosic pianists.

“Bavouzet and his well-matched partner, François-Fréderic Guy, play with nimble grace, capturing the works wit and mystery. This gripping album is dedicated to Pierre Boulez, guru and enabler, for his 90th birthday.” The Observer, 14th June 2015 ****

“The programme works brilliantly, allowing us to hear the music as the composers did when they worked on these masterpieces and, in the case of the Rite, in the form in which it was most often played in the years after the premiere. Any losses in orchestral palette are compensated for by the clarity and wide range of colours at the pianists’ disposal.” Sunday Times, 7th June 2015

“Jean-Efflam Bavouzet and François-Frédéric Guy get every subtle detail in place.” Financial Times, 20th June 2015

“Fabulous playing from a pair of completely on-form pianists, which lends The Rite of Spring’s rhythmic themes a quite thrilling intensity.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2015

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2015

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Nielsen: Maskarade

Nielsen: Maskarade


Johan Reuter, Stephen Milling, Niels-Jørgen Riis, Dénise Beck, Anne Margrethe Dahl, Ditte Højgaard Andersen, Guido Paevatalu

Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Choir, Michael Schønwandt

Carl Nielsen's vivid comedy opera Maskarade has enjoyed a natural status as Denmark's national opera ever since its first performance at the Royal Danish Opera in 1906.

On this recording, Nielsen expert Michael Schønwandt leads a sparkling cast of today’s finest Nielsen singers and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra through the delightful yet stirring comedy plot.

Recorded in the ideal acoustic of DR Koncerthuset, this is the 21st century’s first studio recording of Nielsen’s much-loved opera, appropriately released to celebrate the Danish composer’s 150th anniversary.

“here’s a cast (led by Johan Reuter and Niels Jorgen Riis) whose singing brings the comedy to life under the expert baton of Michael Schonwandt. Enjoy two hours of top-notch light music and brush up your Danish in the process.” The Times, 17th July 2015 ****

“Nielsen’s anniversary invites us to reassess the composer with new recordings, in this case a fourth – and successful – outing on disc for Maskarade...The new performance, like all previous rivals, builds on the strength of home casting at the work's alma mater, the Royal Danish Opera...there's a suitably towering comic monster performance from Stephen Milling.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2015

“The mighty bass Stephen Milling catches the ageing paterfamilias Jeronimus's comically fallible humanity likeable…Denise Beck and Ditte Højgaard Andersen as love interests Leonora and her maid Pernille are excellent, as are the many character roles. Michael Schønwandt conducts with great detail and sweep.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2015

“When played and sung like this, by a cast, conductor and orchestra who clearly relish every bar, it is hard not to be swept along by the warmth and generosity of spirit of the music...All squeeze the maximum dramatic juice out of what the score gives them; they may be stock comic characters, but the feelings with which Nielsen invests them are real enough.” The Guardian, 16th September 2015 ***

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2015

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Anatole Kitain: The Complete Columbia Recordings 1936-80

Anatole Kitain: The Complete Columbia Recordings 1936-80


Brahms:

Ballade, Op. 10 No. 1 ‘Edward'

Waltzes (16), Op. 39

Chopin:

Rondo in E flat major, Op. 16

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

Ballade No. 2 in F major, Op. 38

Ballade No. 3 in A flat major, Op. 47

Scherzo No. 1 in B minor, Op. 20

Étude Op. 10 No. 5 in G flat major 'Black Key'

Étude Op. 10 No. 6 in E flat minor 'Lacrimosa'

Étude Op. 10 No. 7 in C major

Étude Op. 10 No. 8 in F major

Étude Op. 10 No. 12 in C minor ‘Revolutionary'

Godowsky:

Symphonic Metamorphoses on Themes by Johann Strauss: No. 2, Die Fledermaus

Liszt:

Waldesrauschen, S145 No. 1

Vallée d'Obermann (Années de pèlerinage I, S. 160 No. 6)

Sonetto 47 del Petrarca (Années de pèlerinage II, S. 161 No. 4)

Transcendental Study, S139 No. 5 'Feux Follets'

Sonetto 123 del Petrarca (Années de pèlerinage II, S. 161 No. 6)

Rachmaninov:

Elegie, Op. 3 No. 1

Étude-Tableau, Op. 33 No. 1 in F minor

Prelude Op. 32 No. 12 in G sharp minor

Rimsky Korsakov:

Flight of the Bumble Bee

arr. Strimer

Schumann:

Toccata in C major, Op. 7

Scriabin:

Étude Op. 2 No. 1 in C sharp minor

Prelude, Op. 11 No. 2 in A minor

Mazurka in E minor, Op. 25 No. 3


Anatole Kitain (piano)

Anatole Kitain (1903–1980) was an exact contemporary and fellow pupil of Vladimir Horowitz in Kiev, where he studied, as did the slightly older Simon Barere, with Felix Blumenfeld. All three developed fabulous techniques and were romantic pianists in the grand manner, and each fled Russia after the Revolution to make their way in the West.

That Kitain is the least known can only be put down to misfortune, as these pre-War European recordings attest to a pianist of fabulous talent. Sadly he failed to ‘make it’ after his Wartime emigration to the USA and slowly faded from view, giving his last New York concert in 1963.

“A chance to discover the elegant playing of this largely forgotten pianist.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2015

GGramophone Magazine

Re-issue of the Month - August 2015

APR - APR6017

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