Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

April 2016

Disc of the Month

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Scarlatti: 18 Sonatas

Awards:

Gramophone Awards 2016

Finalist - Instrumental

Gramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - April 2016

Label:

BIS

Catalogue No:

BIS2138

Discs:

1

Release date:

1st April 2016

Barcode:

7318599921389

Length:

74 minutes

Medium:

SACD (download also available)

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel
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Scarlatti: 18 Sonatas


Scarlatti, D:

Keyboard Sonata K417 in D minor

Keyboard Sonata K208 in A major

Keyboard Sonata K159 in C major 'La caccia'

Keyboard Sonata K56 in C minor

Keyboard Sonata K213 in D minor

Keyboard Sonata K125 in G major

Keyboard Sonata K373 in G minor

Keyboard Sonata K119 in D major

Keyboard Sonata K69 in F minor

Keyboard Sonata K425 in G major

Keyboard Sonata K29 in D major

Keyboard Sonata K99 in C minor

Keyboard Sonata K12 in G minor

Keyboard Sonata K479 in D major

Keyboard Sonata K9 in D minor

Keyboard Sonata K318 in F sharp major

Keyboard Sonata K141 in D minor

Keyboard Sonata K32 in D minor


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With the 2005 release of his first recording for BIS Records, Yevgeny Sudbin catapulted into the pages of the international music press. The disc was a Scarlatti recital that prompted reviewers worldwide to compare the then 24-year old pianist in the most flattering terms to Scarlatti experts such as Horowitz and Pletnev. It went on to receive a long list of distinctions, including an Editor's Choice in Gramophone, where the accompanying review described it as 'among the finest, certainly most enjoyable of all Scarlatti recitals'. Since then, Sudbin and BIS have enjoyed a highly successful collaboration, resulting in numerous acclaimed recordings of both solo programmes and concertos. To celebrate the past 10 years, a new Scarlatti recording seemed the obvious choice for an anniversary present - to ourselves, and of course to all Sudbin fans and Scarlatti lovers. Said and done: Sudbin met up with Marion Schwebel, the recording producer with whom he has collaborated from the very beginning, for recording sessions in the silken acoustics of St George's in Bristol. The results can be heard on this new disc: 18 sonatas selected from the total of 555 - a collection of a striking, even bewildering, variety. Through it all, Sudbin guides us with authority but also obvious relish as he brings to life elements which his own liner notes describes as 'church bells and gunshots (K119), howls in the streets (K479), trumpets appearing on the horizon (K159), head-spinning dances (K425) but also a wonderful sense of humour (K125) - as well scenes as melancholic, lean and desiccated as a sun-baked Mediterranean landscape (K99).'

Domenico Scarlatti: Keyboard Sonata in D Minor, K.417/L.462/P.40

Keyboard Sonata in D Minor, K.417/L.462/P.40

Domenico Scarlatti: Keyboard Sonata in A Major, Kk. 208

Keyboard Sonata in A Major, K.208/L.238/P.315

Domenico Scarlatti: Keyboard Sonata in C Major, Kk. 159

Keyboard Sonata in C Major, K.159/L.104/P.418

Domenico Scarlatti: Keyboard Sonata in C Minor, Kk. 56 (L. 356)

Keyboard Sonata in C Minor, K.56/L.356/P.50

Domenico Scarlatti: Keyboard Sonata in D Minor, K.213/L.108/P.288

Keyboard Sonata in D Minor, K.213/L.108/P.288

Domenico Scarlatti: Keyboard Sonata in G Major, K.125/L.487/P.152

Keyboard Sonata in G Major, K.125/L.487/P.152

Domenico Scarlatti: Keyboard Sonata in G Minor, K.373/L.98/P.158

Keyboard Sonata in G Minor, K.373/L.98/P.158

Domenico Scarlatti: Keyboard Sonata in D Major, Kk. 119

Keyboard Sonata in D Major, K.119/L.415/P.217: Allegro

Domenico Scarlatti: Keyboard Sonata in F Minor, K.69/L.382/P.42

Keyboard Sonata in F Minor, K.69/L.382/P.42

Domenico Scarlatti: Keyboard Sonata in G Major, K.425/L.333/P.426

Keyboard Sonata in G Major, K.425/L.333/P.426

Domenico Scarlatti: Keyboard Sonata in D Major, K.29/L.461/P.85

Keyboard Sonata in D Major, K.29/L.461/P.85

Domenico Scarlatti: Keyboard Sonata in C Minor, K.99/L.317/P.135

Keyboard Sonata in C Minor, K.99/L.317/P.135

Domenico Scarlatti: Keyboard Sonata in G Minor, K.12/L.489/P.68

Keyboard Sonata in G Minor, K.12/L.489/P.68

Domenico Scarlatti: Keyboard Sonata in D Major, K.479/L.S16/P.380

Keyboard Sonata in D Major, K. 479/L.S16/P.380

Domenico Scarlatti: Keyboard Sonata in D Minor, K.9/L.413/P.65

Keyboard Sonata in D Minor, K.9/L.413/P.65

Domenico Scarlatti: Keyboard Sonata in F-Sharp Major, K.318/L.31/P.302

Keyboard Sonata in F-Sharp Major, K.318/L.31/P.302

Domenico Scarlatti: Keyboard Sonata in D Minor, Kk. 141

Keyboard Sonata in D Minor, K.141/L.422/P.271

Domenico Scarlatti: Keyboard Sonata in D Minor, Kk. 32

Keyboard Sonata in D Minor, K.32/L.423/P.14

The Guardian

30th March 2016

****

“Sudbin makes no apology for using the full tonal resources that a modern Steinway can offer in works composed for the harpsichord; playing the sonatas on a piano, he says, is effectively equivalent to making piano transcriptions of the originals, and the range of keyboard colour and pedal effects he conjures up for his selection is consistently dazzling.”

Gramophone Magazine

April 2016

“He shares with Horowitz an ability to conjure up landscapes and narratives within these sonatas, so vividly and intensely are they etched.”

BBC Music Magazine

May 2016

****

“Long immersed in Scarlatti’s music, Sudbin is an ardent advocate, his fearless Russian-school technique making light weather of even the most breakneck writing: rhythms are crisp and buoyant; virtuoso passagework is dashed off with devil-may-care abandon. This is impressive playing, by any standards”

Early Music Today

September 2016

*****

“He provides a masterclass in contemporary pianism and, more pertinently, he finds unexpected colours and depths in these sonatas”

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Editor's Choice

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Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 'Choral'

Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 'Choral'

transcribed for single piano/two hands by Liszt


Yury Martynov (piano)

After four previous discs devoted to Franz Liszt’s transcriptions of the Beethoven symphonies, the pianist Yury Martynov completes the cycle with the transcription of the Ninth Symphony. The reduction of this complex work for a single piano and two hands – he had already adapted it for two pianos – constituted a genuine challenge for Liszt, who was obliged to omit certain inner parts. Yet he succeeded in reproducing the symphony’s prodigious character and revealing its incredible power. The piano combines the orchestra,

the soloists and the chorus, unifying these disparate voices in a single instrument. The work’s energy and its textures are displayed to the full in Yury Martynov’s performance on a Blüthner piano dating from 1867 and belonging to the Edwin Beunk collection.

“the result, in Martynov’s exceptional hands, is thrilling and remarkable...The double fugue at the climax of the finale is especially dazzling, and Martynov’s handling of it equally remarkable, and in all four movements there are details usually obscured in orchestral performances which come to light, thanks to his meticulous phrasing and colouring of every bar.” The Guardian, 11th February 2016 *****

“Listening to No. 9 on the piano is a curious experience, but if the variety of tone-colour of the orchestral (and vocal) original is inevitably diminished, the music's harmonic boldness and astringency are thrown all the more vividly into relief…especially in the hands of a virtuoso like Yury Martynov. His performance is altogether a tour de force” BBC Music Magazine, April 2016 *****

“from the beginning, with Martynov's skilful evocation of the lightning-bolt open fifths piercing the ominous clouds that cloak the Ninth's first moments, the overwhelming impression is not of reduction but of an enlargement, an opening out, a sudden clarification of this familiar music…the metamorphosis from the storm unleashed at the opening of the finale to the imploring earnestness of the 'Ode to Joy' is stunningly affecting” Gramophone Magazine, April 2016

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - April 2016

A Musical Picture - up to 40% off

Alpha Yury Martynov Beethoven/Liszt cycle - ALPHA227

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Howells: Collegium Regale 'King's College Cambridge Service'

Howells: Collegium Regale 'King's College Cambridge Service'

& other choral works


Howells:

Collegium Regale 'King's College Cambridge Service'

Psalm 122

Psalm 121

Behold, O God our defender

Rhapsody for Organ No. 1 in D flat major, Op. 17 No. 1

Owain Park (organ)

I love all beauteous things


Howells’ ‘Coll Reg’ is one of the glories of the Anglican repertoire—a relative outsider to the church providing one of its greatest adornments of the twentieth century. Stephen Layton and his award-winning choir took the trip to Coventry Cathedral for this very special recording.

“This is a stunning recording in so many respects. Attention to dynamic detail, especially the hushed quality of the Magnificat, brings out the ethereal, not to say numinous character of this highly original miniature…the darker, modal hues of the Te Deum and Jubilate benefit from the lavish role of the Coventry Cathedral organ…while moments of more characteristic Anglican prayerfulness are shaped by Layton and the Trinity choir with true, intimate poetry” Gramophone Magazine, April 2016

“The excellent singing is full-bodied and lustrous throughout, with just the right sense of momentum. Particular mention for tenor Jamie Roberts for his plangent Nunc dimittis.” The Guardian, 3rd April 2016 ****

“The Evening Service boasts some beautifully controlled singing from the sopranos in particular, their deft tapering of quiet dynamics in the Magnificat heightening the introspective quality of Howells's setting…you could take dictation from the two Psalm settings, so clean is the diction, so revealing Layton's phrasing and punctuation…you'll go a long way to find performances that understand [this] music better, or wear their sensitivity so lightly” BBC Music Magazine, May 2016 *****

GGramophone Awards 2016

Finalist - Choral

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - April 2016

Hyperion & Helios - up to 50% off

Hyperion - CDA68105

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Weber: Complete Overtures

Weber: Complete Overtures


Weber:

Der Beherrscher der Geister, J122: Overture

Peter Schmoll, Overture J8 (Op. 8)

Abu Hassan Overture

Oberon Overture

Preciosa, Overture J279 (Op. 78)

Der Freischütz Overture

Silvana, Overture J87

Euryanthe Overture

Turandot: Overture

Jubel-Ouvertüre, J245 (Op. 59)


Although Weber is celebrated as the father of the German romantic opera, aside from Der Freischütz, most of his other stage works are very rarely performed. Their Overtures, however, with their colourful, lyrical, instrumentation, and combination of Viennese Classicism and new

romantic drama, have stood the test of time as individual orchestral works. This complete recording of Weber’s overtures with Howard Griffiths and the WDR Symphony Orchestra is distinguished by fresh verve and gripping dramatism in keeping with the dictates of historically informed performance practice.

“[Griffiths] brings thrillingly vibrant and lucid playing from Cologne's WDR Sinfonieorchester, which is captured in brilliantly clear and realistic sound…the wind-playing is characterful, with a twinkle in the eye of the oboe solos and a mixture of liveliness and mellifluousness from the principal clarinet. The brass-playing is also especially fine…you might already have a favourite disc of Weber overtures, but I'd say this one demands to be heard” Gramophone Magazine, April 2016

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - April 2016

CPO - 7778312

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Handel: Israel in Egypt, HWV54

Handel: Israel in Egypt, HWV54

arranged Mendelssohn


Lydia Teuscher, Julia Doyle (sopranos), Hilary Summers (alto), Benjamin Hulett (tenor), Roderick Williams (bass)

Choir of The King’s Consort & The King’s Consort, Robert King

Read David's exclusive interview with Robert King about the project here, and our complete review of the recording here.

Latest release on VIVAT brings Mendelssohn’s astonishing reconstruction of Handel’s great oratorio Israel in Egypt. Mendelssohn’s 1833 Düsseldorf performance has been painstakingly reconstructed from fragments and sources across Europe: the large and colourful orchestra, playing nineteenth-century instruments, produces vivid new sonorities, and the double choir sings magnificently. Listeners familiar with Handel’s 1739 version will also find new numbers, significant changes to the order of movements and very different orchestrations. The work starts with a thrilling, pure-Mendelssohn overture, mixing life and energy with moments of exquisitely shifting instrumental colours. There is fine solo singing from solo sopranos Lydia Teuscher and Julia Doyle, alto Hilary Summers, tenor Benjamin Hulett, and bass Roderick Williams: Robert King and The King’s Consort are on top form.

Recorded in the splendid acoustic of St Jude’s, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, where TKC have made more than 65 recordings.

Extensive presentation includes 60 page booklet with authoritative liner notes in three languages by renowned Mendelssohn expert Prof Larry Todd and by Robert King, full libretto and translation, session photographs and reproductions of Mendelssohn’s manuscripts.

Two CD set with second CD free.

“the results are fascinating – burbling clarinets supply continuo, added solo recitatives fill out the sequence of choral movements, and a totally Mendelssohnian overture now kicks off the story. Handel’s masterly depictions of frogs, plagues and other natural disasters in his choruses are enhanced (though with German texts) in this feisty performance.” The Guardian, 6th March 2016 ****

“with his vast Handelian experience, King ensures that Handel's mighty series of choral frescoes emerge in all their brilliance and incisiveness, aided by a carefully judged choral-orchestral balance…a vividly realised snapshot of a fascinating historical moment” Gramophone Magazine, April 2016

“the performance makes a strong case for the piece, even if Mendelssohn's version is unlikely to make a full-scale comeback. The choir is lively, making every word clear, though some of King's conducting feels on the staid side. All the soloists make their mark.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2016 ****

“The acid test of any project like this isn’t so much whether it’s “authentic” per se; it’s more important for it to be coherent and enjoyable, and Robert King’s performance really does work well as a musical whole. The synthesis of the Baroque and Romantic never feels unnatural – the singing and playing have such conviction and sensitivity that I found myself too busy enjoying the music to care about all the things Mendelssohn does “wrong” in his treatment of Handel.” David Smith, Presto Classical, 11th March 2016

“King’s players conjure up a vivid, lithe soundworld on authentic instruments which is a joy to the ear. Choral and solo contributions (Roderick Williams exceptional even by his own standards) are as impressive as the recorded sound” Classical Music, August 2016 *****

Presto Disc of the Week

11th March 2016

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - April 2016

Vivat - VIVAT111

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Arnold & Hugo de Lantins: Secular Works

Arnold & Hugo de Lantins: Secular Works


Lantins, A:

Amour servir et honnourer

Amour servir et honnourer (instrumental)

Ce jour de l'an, belle je vous supply (instrumental)

Helas emy! ma dame et ma mestresse

Las, pouray je mon martire celer

Ne me vueilles belle oblier

Puis que je voy, belle, que ne m'ames

Puisque je suy cyprianes

Tota pulchra es

Tota pulchra es amica mea (instrumental)

Lantins, H:

Plaindre m'estuet

Un seul confort pour mon cuer resjoir

Per amor de costey

Mirar non posso ni conzerner (instrumental)

Je suy exent entre aman pour amour

Io sum tuo servo (instrumental)

Helas amour, que ce qu'endure

Grant ennuy m'est, tres douce simple et coye (instrumental)

Chanter ne scay ce poyse moy (instrumental)

Celsa sublimatur victoria / Sabine, presul dignissime


Le Miroir De Musique, Baptiste Romain

The composers Arnold and Hugo de Lantins were natives of the diocese of Liège, but it was in Italy, principally in Pesaro and Venice that their presence is confirmed between the years of 1420 and 1430. As with the works of Johannes Ciconia, a fellow native of Liège whose time in Italy had preceded theirs, their secular and sacred compositions are preserved in manuscripts copied in Italy. Closely rubbing shoulders with their illustrious contemporary Guillaume Dufay, the Lantins brothers combined archaic traits with the earliest characteristics of the Renaissance. Le Miroir de Musique presents a large selection of French and Italian chansons which enriches our view of the cultural sophistication of the Italian courts at the start of the 15th century.

An introductory note by Jérôme Lejeune

"The De Lantin brothers were both born in Liège and were active as composers during the beginning of the 15th century; RICERCAR had already devoted a CD (RIC207) to the works of one of the brothers in 2002. The Capilla Flamenca under the late Dirk Snellings presented the Missa Verbum Incarnatum by Arnold De Lantins, an important milestone in the history of music as it was possibly the first cyclic mass.

We now feature the works not only of Arnold de Lantins but also of his brother Hugo in a programme of their French and Italian chansons and canzone. The brothers were active in Italy, principally in Venice and Pesaro, where they were part of the highly refined style predominant there at the beginning of the 15th century; this was a period of transition between the archaic mediaeval style and the humanist and expressive style of the Renaissance.

The path to Italy had been laid down by another Liège-born composer several years earlier, one Johannes Ciconia; musicologist now acknowledge that Ciconia played a leading role in the creation of what would become the new musical structures of the Renaissance. Ciconia’s complete works have been recorded by La Morra and Diabolus in Musica for Ricercar on RIC 316.

What, however, caused these men from Liège, soon followed by other Flemish and French composers, to travel to Italy? Although some of these were priests and would have had a practical reason for their journey, travelling to Rome to speed up their requests for the granting of ecclesiastical endowments or prebends, they would in general have been attracted by the artistic development and refinement of the Italian courts. It is interesting to note that the French language was associated with high culture at that time, possibly as a result of Petrarch’s time spent in Avignon; this explains the many works of his that are set to French texts. Hugo de Lantins, however, seems to have had a rascally side, as can be seen by the acrostic (words formed by the initial letter of each line) of the rondeau Plaindre m’estuet de ma damme jolye, as it reads « putain de merde » (FILTHY WHORE); we may well wonder who the damme jolye or fair lady was that caused Hugo to insult her so."

“The vocal pieces are performed equally well with some arresting imitative singing in Celsa sublimatur, calm beauty in Tota pulchra es…and extraordinary fluency in the complex cross-rhythms of Je suy extent” BBC Music Magazine, April 2016 ****

“Le Miroir de Musique is one of a number of young groups led by an instrumentalist but combining voices as well. These ensembles make the case for instrumental participation in this repertory as compellingly as Gothic Voices did for all-vocal performance…this is one of the most satisfying 15th-century recordings I've heard in a while: specialist repertory that doesn't deserve to be.” Gramophone Magazine, April 2016

GGramophone Awards 2016

Finalist - Early Music

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - April 2016

A Musical Picture - up to 40% off

Ricercar - RIC365

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Music - A Journey for Life - Riccardo Chailly

Music - A Journey for Life - Riccardo Chailly

A Portrait by Paul Smaczny


Bach, J S:

Partita for solo violin No. 1 in B minor, BWV1002: Sarabande

Nikolaj Znaider (violin)

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

Nikolaj Znaider (violin)

Beethoven:

Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61

Nikolaj Znaider (violin)

Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61

Nikolaj Znaider (violin)

Grieg:

Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16

Lars Vogt (piano)


“Without inner fire, without physical energy, this profession would be unthinkable,” according to Riccardo Chailly, in whose style of conducting accuracy and elegance are unforgettably united with an inexhaustible temperament. This is clear in Music – A Journey for Life, the first film portrait of the Italian maestro, which accompanies him working with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, at La Scala in Milan, and in rehearsals for La Bohème at the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía in Valencia. Chailly’s impressive physical and mental strength lend a uniquely personal dynamic to the musical processes and the collaboration between the conductor and musicians. Music – A Journey for Life also reveals the private person Riccardo Chailly, for whom the rigorous study of scores and time with his family are as important as a steady routine is not.

Also included on this DVD is a fiery performance of Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor with the amazing and inspired playing of Lars Vogt. With animated tempi, rhythmic precision, and pointed articulation, Vogt and Chailly let us hear the work as if for the first time.

Picture Format DVD: NTSC 16:9

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

Region Code: 0 (worldwide)

Running Time Film: 53:34 min

Running Time Concert: 39:33 min

Disc Format: DVD‐9

Subtitles: English, German, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean

“As a snapshot... it makes for fascinating, often charming viewing, and it gives a valuable insight into both Chailly’s approach to what he conducts – he loves rehearsing, but always keeps something in reserve for performance – and what makes a successful relationship between orchestra and conductor.” Gramophone Magazine, April 2016

GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - April 2016

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Accentus Music - ACC20254

(DVD Video)

$23.50

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Honegger & Ibert: L'Aiglon

Honegger & Ibert: L'Aiglon


 

L'Aiglon


Anne-Catherine Gillet, Hélène Guilmette, Tyler Duncan, Étienne Dupuis, Marc Barrard, Philippe Sly, Julie Boulianne, Isaiah Bell, Pascal Charbonneau, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Kimy McLaren

Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Kent Nagano

This first recording of the complete, uncut operetta L’Aiglon (the recording was made at the time of the North American premiere in March 2015) is given with an entirely French or French-speaking cast. L’Aiglon is a charming operetta in five acts with music composed by Arthur Honegger and Jacques Ibert. The libretto by Henri Cain was based on Edmond Rostand's 1900 play, L’Aiglon (“The Eaglet”), about the life of Napoleon II. It was first performed at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo on 11 March 1937. This release – the first in a new multi-album contract – revives the historic partnership between Decca and the Montreal Symphony with the orchestra’s new principal conductor Kent Nagano and in its new home, the Maison symphonique de Montréal.

“Conducted with care and palpable affection by Kent Nagano, [this release] boasts a fine, mostly francophone ensemble cast, with not a weak link anywhere. At its centre…is Anne-Catherine Gillet’s Duke, bright in tone and wonderfully subtle…Marc Barrard is the touchingly funny Flambeau, while Etienne Dupuis makes Metternich all the more sinister by singing his music so beautifully. The orchestral sound is gorgeous, as is the recording itself” Gramophone Magazine, April 2016

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - April 2016

Decca - 4789502

(CD - 2 discs)

$19.25

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Amuse-Bouche

Amuse-Bouche

French Choral Delicacies


Daniel-Lesur:

Le Cantique des Cantiques

I Fagiolini

Françaix:

Ode à la gastronomie

world premiere recording

I Fagiolini

Milhaud:

Deux poèmes d'amour, Op. 30

I Fagiolini

Poulenc:

Hotel

I Fagiolini

Sept Chansons

I Fagiolini

Un soir de neige

I Fagiolini

Ravel:

Piano Concerto in G major: Adagio assai

arr. Roderick Williams. World premiere recording

I Fagiolini

Satie:

Gnossienne No. 4

Anna Markland (piano)

Gnossienne No. 5

Anna Markland (piano)

Gnossienne No. 6

Anna Markland (piano)


Read David's exclusive interview with Robert Hollingworth about the project here.

Award-winning vocal group I Fagiolini celebrates its 30th anniversary with a new release, Amuse-Bouche, offering a rich concoction of 20th Century choral delicacies and marking a departure from their previous recordings of Renaissance music. This new Decca Classics recording includes three world premieres bursting with Gallic flavour.

Chief among them is the first recording of an 18-minute humorous homage to French cuisine by Jean Françaix. His Ode à la Gastronomie is an affectionate parody of sage advice from the great 19th century guide to French food and dining, La Physiologie du gout (1825), by Brillat-Savarin.

Composed in 1950 but never since recorded since, subjects covered range from causes of indigestion to the erotic properties of the black truffle, with the music recalling Poulenc and infused with the high octane intellectual aroma of 1950s Parisian café life.

According to the composer’s son, Jacques, this particularly rich parody involving onomatopoeic word-play (kitchen noises) and plenty of gastronomic puns, requires a ‘fondu exceptionnel’, the perfect blend of voices, which he says I Fagiolini delivers par excellence. Conductor Robert Hollingworth says: “it’s a joy to sing, and a meal in itself to learn.”

Alongside Françaix’s amuse-oreille is Jean-Yves Daniel-Lesur’s 12-voice masterpiece, Les Cantique Des Cantiques. Composed within two years of the Françaix, it portrays the erotically charged Biblical Song of Songs as a dialogue between Christ and the Church. In a ravishing and symphonic kaleidoscope of colours Daniel-Lesur’s constantly changing combination of voices transforms the Old Testament verses into a profound Christian meditation.

These two large-scale works are separated by a collection of smaller pieces designed as a series of palette-cleaning sorbets between the main courses. Francis Poulenc struggled for nearly 20 years to set poems by his friend, the surrealist, Paul Éluard, employing dramatic harmonic shifts to reflect emotions that veer violently between extremes to find sublime moments of exquisite tenderness.

There is also a nod to the 150th anniversary of the birth of Eric Satie as the pianist, Anna Markland, plays three of Satie’s six gentle Gnossiennes. Winner of the BBC’s Young Musician of the Year in 1982 at the age of 17, Anna Markland joined I Fagiolini four years later as a soprano and she takes centre stage as pianist in the second world premiere on the album, playing one of her favourite pieces in a specially commissioned vocalised version by a former member of I Fagiolini, Roderick Williams, now one of the UK’s leading baritones.

He has taken words by Baudelaire and Rimbaud and set them within the reflective and moving middle movement of Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G.

For the group’s Director, Robert Hollingworth (celebrating his 50th birthday this year), this recording is a long held ambition. Of all languages, he finds French the most beautiful to sing in and says there is a world of wonders in the 20th Century French choral repertoire. “I adore it. It feels as much a part of me as any Monteverdi madrigal. The sensuality of the language, the shifting sands of harmony; it feels very chaleureux and something I Fagiolini has long sung and adored.”

“As pianist and singer, Markland offers the most idiomatic performance. She plays Satie’s Gnossiennes 4, 5 and 6 beautifully and sings the top line of Milhaud’s Deux Poèmes and Poulenc’s Un soir de neige with elegance and integrity” BBC Music Magazine, June 2016 ***

“the collection is the very best kind of musical pleasure, and one rather more substantial and enduring than the title might suggest…I Fagiolini bring all the madrigalian clarity and responsive, soloistic singing of their early music performances to this contemporary repertoire…it's in keeping with Hollingworth and his agile, chameleon-like group that…we get something entirely fresh and unexpected, a recording that's a bit sexy, a bit silly and absolutely, unmissably superb” Gramophone Magazine, April 2016

“Hollingworth’s vocal group I Fagiolini is best known for Renaissance music, but on Amuse-Bouche they venture confidently into early and mid-20th-century French repertoire .” The Times, 1st April 2016 ****

Presto Discs of 2016

Finalist

GGramophone Awards 2016

Shortlisted - Choral

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - April 2016

Decca - 4789394

(CD)

$14.00

(also available to download from $10.00)

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

Boulez: Complete Music for Solo Piano

Boulez: Complete Music for Solo Piano


Boulez:

Incises

Notations (12) pour piano

Piano Sonata No. 1

Piano Sonata No. 2

Piano Sonata No. 3

Une page d'éphéméride


Marc Ponthus (piano)

Pierre Boulez's solo keyboard output remains heavily weighted in favor of the most radical, intransigent phase of his development — his twenties — although it is no coincidence that these were also his most productive, self-assured years as a composer. As Charles Rosen, one of Boulez’s important early interpreters, observed, the piano “is a traditional outlet for experimentation: it allows an immediate control over the musical idea,” one that “often indicates at once the nature of the revolution and suggests its limits.” Those limits would be reached in earnest with the unfinished Third Sonata, one of the essential termini of the postwar avant-garde project in its most “heroic” phase, and in many respects the decisive venture of Boulez’s creative life.

On these discs, Marc Ponthus plays all of Boulez's solo piano music, including the expanded 2001 version of Incises.

“By way of a prompt memorial to the unique composer, the last pillar of postwar music’s avant-garde to crumble, comes this convenient collection of his solo piano works. The three sonatas are the creative backbone, each not so very much less challenging to the listener than to the player (this one well in command!).” Sunday Times, 28th February 2016

“Ponthus doesn't just have quicksilver fingers. The phrasing, the harmonic evolution and the music's rhythmic inner engine spark into intelligent life; he voyages deep inside the music's journey, the desolate and sparse weave of the second movement's beginning feeling not only logical but musically necessary” Gramophone Magazine, April 2016

“Ranging from abstruse to relatively ear-tickling, the three sonatas are the main focus.” The Times, December 2016

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - April 2016

Bridge - BRIDGE9456A/B

(CD - 2 discs)

$16.00

(also available to download from $10.00)

This item is currently out of stock at the UK distributor. You may order it now but please be aware that it may be six weeks or more before it can be despatched. (Available now to download.)

Alexander Liebreich conducts Szymanowski & Lutosławski

Alexander Liebreich conducts Szymanowski & Lutosławski


Lutosławski:

Livre pour orchestre

Szymanowski:

Symphony No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 19


The Polish National Radio Orchestra is the country’s leading performing ensemble and one of Europe’s finest broadcasting orchestras. Building on a long tradition, the group performs throughout the world as a musical ambassador for Poland, often featuring works by Polish composers – as the pieces by Karol Szymanowski and Witold Lutosławski on this CD impressively demonstrate.

This is the orchestra’s second album with their Principal Conductor Alexander Liebreich. Their first CD together, also with compositions by Szymanowski and Lutosławski, is already cited as a reference recording, with “thrilling, technically brilliant performances.” (Der Tagesspiegel) In the work of these twentieth century masters, we encounter “exquisite compositional refinement of the highest order, born of an awareness of the European tradition,” according to Alexander Liebreich. Szymanowski’s powerful and imaginative Symphony No. 2, Lutosławski’s groundbreaking Musique funèbre à la mémoire de Béla Bartók and his masterpiece Livre pour Orchestre were recorded in Katowice’s new concert hall, which opened in 2014 and is already celebrated for its phenomenal acoustics.

“Altogether a superb programme” Gramophone Magazine, April 2016

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - April 2016

Accentus Music - ACC30349

(CD)

$16.00

(also available to download from $10.00)

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

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