Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

August 2016

Disc of the Month

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Bacewicz: String Quartets

Awards:

Gramophone Awards 2017

Winner - Chamber

Gramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - August 2016

Label:

Chandos

Catalogue No:

CHAN10904(2)

Discs:

2

Release date:

1st July 2016

Barcode:

0095115190425

Length:

2 hours 12 minutes

Medium:

CD (download also available)

Gramophone Award Winners

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Bacewicz: String Quartets


Bacewicz:

String Quartet No. 1

String Quartet No. 2

String Quartet No. 3

String Quartet No. 4

String Quartet No. 5

String Quartet No. 6

String Quartet No. 7


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For their very first recording on Chandos, the multiaward winning Silesian Quartet presents the complete string quartets by Grażyna Bacewicz. These lesser known chamber music treasures by the Polish composer are neatly packaged in a slimline jewel case: two discs here offered for the price of one.

The life of Bacewicz, like that of better-known colleagues such as Witold Lutosławski and Andrzej Panufnik, was conditioned by the political and military events of her time. Her works reflected not only these traumas but also the shifting stylistic currents of twentieth-century music.

Her seven string quartets, written between 1938 and 1965, are a telling barometer of these changes. They also stand as a timeline of her resolute compositional outlook and as a testament to her profound understanding of string instruments. String Quartet No. 1 comes after her studies in Paris in 1932 – 35 with Nadia Boulanger (composition), André Touret, and Carl Flesch (both violin), No. 2 was written in Warsaw during World War II, Nos 3, 4, and 5 date from the post-war decade, a time of socialist-realist cultural upheavals, while Nos 6 and 7 were composed during the avant-garde musical explosion that thrust Polish music onto the world stage in the late 1950s.

Grażyna Bacewicz: String Quartet No. 1

I. Moderato - Più mosso

II. Tema con variazioni

III. Vivo

Grażyna Bacewicz: String Quartet No. 2

I. Allegro ma non troppo

II. Andante

III. Allegro

Grażyna Bacewicz: String Quartet No. 3

I. Allegro ma non troppo

II. Andante

III. Vivo

Grażyna Bacewicz: String Quartet No. 4

I. Andante - Allegro

II. Andante

III. Allegro giocoso

Grażyna Bacewicz: String Quartet No. 5

I. Moderato

II. Scherzo (Fuga): Giocoso

III. Corale: Largo

IV. Variazioni: Allegro

Grażyna Bacewicz: String Quartet No. 6

I. Andante - Allegro - Andante

II. Vivace

III. Grave

IV. Allegro

Grażyna Bacewicz: String Quartet No. 7

I. Allegro

II. Grave

III. Con vivezza

Gramophone Magazine

August 2016

“These seven works, composed between 1938 and 1965, add up to a compelling portrait of a powerfully original creative spirit...the whole group seem to understand this life-affirming music from the inside.”

The Guardian

21st July 2016

****

“their default playing style is springy and fleet-footed, bringing out the idiomatic nature of Bacewicz’s string writing.”

BBC Music Magazine

September 2016

*****

“The Silesian lend vibrant warmth to [the First Quartet]…[and] handle [the later quartets] with precision and élan: a tremendous achievement”

Classical Music

August 2016

****

“This remarkable canon of works here receives advocacy of the highest order: equally at home in the instantly approachable early quartets as the more challenging sixth and seventh, the Silesian Quartet brings admirable focus, determination and concentration to every bar”

Music Week

October 2016

“Excellent performances, sound and booklet notes make this a real winner. A clear first choice for the string quartets of Grażyna Bacewicz.”

MusicWeb International

20th October 2016

“This is now the favoured option in this repertoire.”

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Hugo Wolf: Kennst du das Land

Hugo Wolf: Kennst du das Land

lieder by Goethe, Eichendorff, Mörike


Wolf, H:

Mignon I 'Heiß mich nicht reden' (No. 5 from Goethe-Lieder)

Mignon II 'Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt' (No. 6 from Goethe-Lieder)

Mignon III 'So lasst mich scheinen' (No. 7 from Goethe-Lieder)

Mausfallen-Sprüchlein (from Lieder für eine Frauenstimme)

Das verlassene Mägdlein (No. 7 from Mörike-Lieder)

Nixe Binsefuss (No. 45 from Mörike-Lieder)

Blumengruss (No. 24 from Goethe-Lieder)

Frühling übers Jahr (No. 28 from Goethe-Lieder)

Anakreons Grab (No. 29 from Goethe-Lieder)

Mignon IV 'Kennst du das Land' (No. 9 from Goethe-Lieder)

Im Frühling (No. 13 from Mörike-Lieder)

Bei einer Trauung (No. 51 from Mörike-Lieder)

Agnes (No. 14 from Mörike-Lieder)

Elfenlied (No. 16 from Mörike-Lieder)

Die Spröde (No. 26 from Goethe-Lieder)

Die Bekehrte (No. 27 from Goethe-Lieder)

Verschwiegene Liebe (No. 3 from Eichendorff-Lieder)

Der Knabe und das Immlein (No. 2 from Mörike-Lieder)

Ein Stündlein wohl vor Tag (No. 3 from Mörike-Lieder)

Er ist's (No. 6 from Mörike-Lieder)

An eine Æolsharfe (No. 11 from Mörike-Lieder)

Erstes Liebeslied eines Mädchens (No. 42 from Mörike-Lieder)

Wiegenlied im Sommer (from Sechs Lieder für eine Frauenstimme)


Sophie Karthäuser (soprano) & Eugene Asti (piano)

The brief period between 1888 and 1897, between the great cycles devoted to single poets and the songs on sonnets of Michelangelo, saw Wolf at the zenith of his creativity. That period saw the genesis of the songs later published in anthologies after Mörike, Eichendorff and Goethe. Although even the early songs before 1888 reveal no arbitrariness in the choice of texts, it is this concentration on individual literary figures that characterises the highpoint of Wolf’s output. Their names resound in the ears of all who love German Romantic literature and are familiar with its transposition into the world of the lied. While Schubert often mined an unexpected vein of poetry in lesser authors, his distant successor Hugo Wolf drank at the source of these giants. Wolf was undoubtedly a virtuoso in the art of making audible the huge dimension of what remains unsaid, though implied. Perhaps he had only one true peer: his former Viennese fellow student Gustav Mahler.

Belgian soprano Sophie Karthäuser studied with Noelle Barker at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. She is now in great demand, especially as a Mozart singer. She sang her first Pamina (Die Zauberflöte) under René Jacobs and her first Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro) under William Christie. Since winning the Audience Prize at the Wigmore Hall Song Contest she has developed an acclaimed career as a recitalist, enjoying a particularly close artistic partnership with the distinguished American pianist Eugene Asti.

“Karthauser…is sensitive to Wolf’s sour-sweet, ever-shifting harmonies, and the raw nerves of the melodic line as it responds to the verse. And she is warmly supported by every nuance of accompaniment delineated in Eugene Asti’s piano playing … This anthology of uneasy springs, lovers’ twilights, innocence threatened and experience mourned would make a good introduction for a newcomer to Hugo Wolf.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2016 ***

“It’s so lovely to hear the piano sound given the prominence that it deserves, and there’s a lovely bloom on the recording that gives it an almost live quality which I really appreciated. It’s a great selection of songs … it just works really well.” CD Review, 14th May 2016

“Karthäuser here proves herself a natural in Lieder...With her fresh, limpid soprano and sharp feeling for character and nuance, she gives unfailing delight in the these settings...[Asti] is a model partner, commentator and animator.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2016

“[Karthäuser] has developed into a tremendously accomplished artist. Wolf’s songs are not the easiest to get under the skin of, but her readings are utterly convincing … I could name every track as a model of insightful Wolf singing … It should be heard by every Lieder enthusiast.” MusicWeb International, September 2016

“This selection of settings...is well chosen and cannily arranged. It includes the wryly witty, the tragic and the crudely euphemistic, and Karthäuser’s voice is bright-toned yet weighty enough to carry darker emotions.” Sunday Times, 29th May 2016

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2016

Harmonia Mundi - HMC902245

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Ēriks Ešenvalds: St Luke Passion & Sacred Works

Ēriks Ešenvalds: St Luke Passion & Sacred Works


Ešenvalds:

Passion according to St Luke

Ieva Parša (mezzo-soprano), Janis Kurševs (tenor) & Daumants Kalninš (baritone)

A Drop in the Ocean

Ieva Ezeriete (soprano) & Liga Paegle (alto)

The First Tears

Aleksandrs Maijers (recorder & jaw harp)

Litany of the Heavens


Ēriks Ešenvalds (b. 1977) is one the leading Latvian composers of vocal music and one of the leading Latvian composers of his generation. This recording features new works by the composer with the prestigious Latvian Radio Choir conducted by Sigvards Kļava.

The title piece of the recording is a 30-minute Passion according to St Luke, a work in eight movements completed by the composer in 2014. The work holds a special place in the composer’s repertoire as the first Passion by the celebrated composer of several choral works. The music is sumptuous, rich, and powerful, with heroic, picturesque, passionate, and ethereal elements.

A Drop in The Ocean (2006) is an impressive vocal work dedicated to Mother Teresa while The First Tears (2014) is based on an Inuit legend. Litany of the Heavens (2011) is a mysterious and magical work based on a religious poem by Fricis Bārda.

Latvian Radio Choir’s previous releases on Ondine have been highly successful. For instance, the recording of Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil (ODE12065) was chosen as the Record of the Month, Editor’s Choice and received a nomination in the Gramophone Awards in 2013. Also their most recent release of choral works by Valentin Silvestrov (ODE12665) received Gramophone Editor’s Choice.

“It’s an unusual and highly effective beginning, and I can say that it is unlike any other setting of the Passion with which I am familiar...One could hardly ask for better performers in this repertoire...A superb release.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2016

“Highly imaginative music by Ēriks Ešenvalds in superb performances” MusicWeb International, 19th September 2016

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2016

Contemporary Music - up to 25% off

Ondine - ODE12472

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Shostakovich Under Stalin's Shadow: Symphonies Nos. 5, 8 & 9

Shostakovich Under Stalin's Shadow: Symphonies Nos. 5, 8 & 9


Shostakovich:

Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47

Symphony No. 8 in C minor, Op. 65

Symphony No. 9 in E flat major, Op. 70

Hamlet - Concert Suite from incidental music, Op. 32a: Introduction And Night Patrol

Hamlet - Concert Suite from incidental music, Op. 32a: Funeral March

Hamlet - Concert Suite from incidental music, Op. 32a: Flourish And Dance Music

Hamlet - Concert Suite from incidental music, Op. 32a: The Hunt

Ophelia's Song (from Hamlet, Op. 32)

Hamlet - Concert Suite from incidental music, Op. 32a: Cradle Song

Hamlet - Concert Suite from incidental music, Op. 32a: Requiem


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

Andris Nelsons is the Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and in fall 2015 he was announced as Gewandhauskapellmeister of the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, commencing in the 2017/18 season. With both appointments, and in leading a pioneering alliance between these two esteemed institutions, Andris Nelsons is firmly underlined as one of the most renowned and innovative conductors on the international scene today.

Andris Nelsons even though he is only in his mid 30ies 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.

This recording provides a kaleidoscope of Shostakovich’s struggle with historical events and political pressures. The pre-war eclectic but accessible and popular 5th, in which he would seem to bow to political pressure, ensured his temporary rehabilitation. The beautiful but dark and gloomy mid-war 8th provoked yet again his fall from favour and instead of providing the political authorities with a triumphant post-war 9th Symphony, Shostakovich wrote a light Haydnesque work which would not be performed until after Stalin’s death. Selections from the Hamlet Suite, possibly Shostakovich’s best film score, rounds out this 2 CD set.

“what for me makes this performance [of No. 9] interesting is how Nelsons takes care to temper any potential frivolity by bringing out the shade as well as the light...Having said that, there's no shortage of blithesome gusto in the third movement...[in the Fifth] Nelsons removes any crudeness to make them smoother and more rounded. It's fascinating to hear how this changes the mood from the usual one of open terror to something more quietly unsettling.” Presto Classical, 27th May 2016

“The young Latvian conductor is as effective in projecting Shostakovich’s sardonic black humour — the antimilitaristic episodes of the Eighth come across with terrifying irony — as he is in evoking his dark emotional inner world...Great performances from a conductor and orchestra at the top of their game.” Sunday Times, 29th May 2016

“Nelsons is spry and precisioned and his insistence on super-keen rhythm pays off big-time...The Fifth Symphony is quite marvellous...and like the Tenth should dominate the catalogue for a long time to come...To say that it brings the house down is something of an understatement.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2016

Presto Disc of the Week

27th May 2016

Presto Discs of 2016

Finalist

GGramophone Awards 2017

Shortlisted - Orchestral

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2016

DG Shostakovich Under Stalin's Shadow - 4795201

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Dowland: Lachrimae, or Seaven Teares

Dowland: Lachrimae, or Seaven Teares


John Dowland’s gifts as an exceptional melodist are evident throughout Lachrimae or Seven Tears, an artistic achievement which has cast a remarkable spell on early music.

Summing up the Renaissance preoccupation with melancholy, this extraordinary collection of dance music for viols and lute includes Dowland’s ‘signature’ piece, Semper Dowland semper Dolens.

Dowland reveals a personal world of sublime sadness, grief, anger and melancholy mollified by moments of joy and gladness.

A skilled lutenist, Dowland’s intricately-worked parts demand perfect synchronicity between Phantasm and Elizabeth Kenny, who rise to the technical and tempi challenges of marrying their instruments.

The popularity of Dowland’s music in his own lifetime continued through the centuries with Lawes, Jenkins and Gibbons all paying homage to Dowland’s ‘Tears’.

Although freed from lyric constraints poetic images linger prompting Phantasm’s Laurence Dreyfus to describe this as ‘the most sensuously tuneful hour of music ever written’.

“At the heart of this disc are the seven variants of the utterly memorable Lachrimae theme, played by Phantasm with their expressive warmth and exquisite subtlety.” The Guardian, 10th July 2016 *****

“The performances are elegant, rich-textured and beautifully phrased. Affecting.” Sunday Times, 17th July 2016

“Phantasm’s performances are totally convincing and absorbing. Drawing richly on their depth, intensity and homogeneity of tone, their acuity to the music’s ever-active emotional flux leaves them unafraid to use forceful gestures of articulation and dynamics to make a point.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2016

“Phantasm here offers the same flawless playing that has earned its members consistent, well-deserved accolades. Despite the brooding nature of the music, their sound is luminous and tempos are fluid, highlighting Dowland’s lyricism” BBC Music Magazine, September 2016 *****

GGramophone Awards 2017

Winner - Early Music

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2016

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Four Four Three

Four Four Three

Music of Terry Riley


Riley:

In C

Sunrise of the Planetary Dream Collector


Ragazze Quartet, Slagwerk Den Haag & Kapok

The Ragazze Quartet with its classical roots, Slagwerk Den Haag with the sounds of today, and the idiosyncratic jazz trio Kapok...

Contrasting contours, but a common denominator: none of our three ensembles belong to a specific category. All three push the boundaries of our genres in our quest for new forms and adventurous joint projects. It is through this inquisitive musicianship that the unusual combination feels so wonderfully natural.

The choice for Riley’s repertoire gave another stir to our boundary reconnoitre. For Riley’s music allows considerable space for creativity and improvisation. The tension that arises through freedom within strict frames means that every performance is different. And it brings with it that the music has a strong sense of spontaneity and joie de vivre.

In In C, performed by the Ragazze Quartet and Slagwerk Den Haag, the dynamic range is enormous. Long, melodic lines as well as short, rhythmic motifs may be employed, producing an effect of both tranquil contemplation and pulsating explosiveness.

Sunrise of the Planetary Dream Collector was originally written for string quartet. But the Ragazze Quartet invited jazz trio Kapok to make a new arrangement together.The mix of string quartet and horn, electric guitar and percussion, all expanded with electronic effects, offers a rich pallet of timbres. All this goes to bring the groovy rhythm and whimsical, improvisatory character of the music further to the fore.

In this way the combination of different ensembles forms the basis for our own unique version of Terry Riley’s In C and Sunrise. A version you have probably never heard before and will not hear anywhere else.

“This latest, Dutch version [of In C], clocks in at 40 minutes and combines a chipper-sounding string quartet with percussion ensemble, taking the music into a cheesy kind of party groove after a polite start.” The Guardian, 30th June 2016 ***

“The pulse is discreetly shunted towards the background, utterly charming the senses with an often delicate mechanism of light pizzicato strings and mallet percussion...This performance deals up moments of sheer magic.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2016

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2016

Channel - CCS37816

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Beethoven: Missa Solemnis in D major, Op. 123

Beethoven: Missa Solemnis in D major, Op. 123


Laura Aikin (soprano), Elisabeth Kulman (alto), Johannes Chum (tenor) & Ruben Drole (bass)

Concentus Musicus Wien & Arnold Schoenberg Chor, Nikolaus Harnoncourt

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

When Nikolaus Harnoncourt retired from the stage in December last year, it was his express wish to release the broadcast recording of his last project, Beethoven’s monumental “Missa solemnis” as his personal legacy.

The "Missa solemnis" concerts at the Styriarte Festival Graz and the Salzburg Festival in summer 2015 were his last public performances. This recording of Beethoven's late masterpiece was made from material captured at the Graz concerts and rehearsals.

As a result of his life-long research on Beethoven, he conducted the work for the first time with the Concentus Musicus Wien on period instruments, the Concentus is joined by the Vienna based Arnold Schoenberg Choir and a handpicked solo quartet.

“it soon becomes apparent that to read his last account of this unsettled and unsettling work as a definitive Last Will and Testament would run counter to Harnoncourt’s restless, continually probing musical spirit...it strikes me as an uncommonly apposite farewell from a musician whose life’s work centred on questioning rather than affirming, and encouraging his performers and audiences to do the same.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 3rd June 2016

“It’s not perfect — the violin solo in the Benedictus sounds scrawny — but no performance of this daunting masterpiece can be. The soloists, Laura Aikin, Bernarda Fink, Johannes Chum and Ruben Drole, blend wonderfully.” Sunday Times, 26th June 2016

“This is a remarkable account of Beethoven’s Missa solemnis and, in one important respect, an unusual one. For though it is in no sense lacking in drama, it is in essence a deeply devotional reading...Harnoncourt’s performance has an atmosphere you might more normally expect to encounter when listening to a piece such as the Fauré Requiem.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2016

“unsurprisingly for Harnoncourt, there is a sense of searching throughout the performance...it’s a gentle performance overall. But Harnoncourt’s masterly control of the larger structure means that within those parameters, the moments of jubilation make all their impact.” The Guardian, 21st July 2016 ****

Presto Disc of the Week

3rd June 2016

Presto Discs of 2016

Finalist

GGramophone Awards 2016

Shortlisted - Choral

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2016

Sony - 88985313592

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Martha Argerich: Early Recordings

Martha Argerich: Early Recordings


Beethoven:

Piano Sonata No. 7 in D major, Op. 10 No. 3

WDR Cologne, 8 September 1960

Mozart:

Piano Sonata No. 18 in D major, K576 'Hunt'

WDR, Cologne, 23 January 1960

Prokofiev:

Toccata in D minor, Op. 11

NDR Hamburg, 16 March 1960

Piano Sonata No. 3 in A minor, Op. 28

NDR Hamburg, 16 March 1960

Piano Sonata No. 7 in B flat major, Op. 83

WDR Cologne, 31 October 1967

Ravel:

Gaspard de la Nuit

NDR Hamburg, 16 March 1960

Sonatine

WDR Cologne, 8 September 1960


Martha Argerich’s exhilarating early recordings, released here for the first time, include sonatas by Mozart and Beethoven that appear nowhere else in her discography; Prokofiev’s Third Sonata is also a recording première. This set displaying the young virtuoso includes her first recordings of Ravel’s Gaspard and his Sonatine, as well as Prokofiev Seventh Sonata, full of mystery and verve. They show her to be an eloquent and imaginative artist at the age of 18, already at the peak of her abilities. This release documents some of the radio recordings she made for North German (NDR) and West German Radio (WDR) in 1960 and 1967 and is released in time for her 75th birthday celebration on 5th June 2016.

“The interpretations of that, the Sonatine and Prokofiev’s Seventh Sonata, may be those of a young pianist without any technical fears, but they are also very clearly those of a supreme musician in the making.” The Observer, 1st June 2016 *****

“The difficulty in writing about the piano playing of Martha Argerich is that it is now, and always has been, so relentlessly good...Her Mozart bubbles with the freshness and effervescence of a Bernini fountain in the midday sun...Argerich’s command of Prokofiev is quite unlike anyone else’s, his compatriots included.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2016

“This 1960 Gaspard is fleeter, more mercurial than her subsequent DG studio version and is a must-hear, as are Prokofiev’s third (blistering) and seventh sonatas. Much of this material has been available unofficially before, but never with (mono) mastertape quality sound or such fine documentation” Classical Music, August 2016 *****

Presto Discs of 2016

Finalist

GGramophone Magazine

Re-issue of the Month - August 2016

DG - 4795978

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MacMillan: Since it was the day of preparation…

MacMillan: Since it was the day of preparation…


Brindley Sherratt (bass)

Hebrides Ensemble, Synergy Vocals

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here, and David's exclusive interview with James MacMillan about the work here.

The first disc in a new recording partnership between Hebrides Ensemble and Delphian Records presents Sir James MacMillan's extraordinary setting - by turns intimate and dramatic - of the Resurrection story as told in St John's Gospel. As at the work's premiere at the 2012 Edinburgh International Festival, the Ensemble and its director William Conway (the work's dedicatee) are joined by bass Brindley Sherratt in the role of Christ, and by a quartet of

singers from Synergy Vocals. A significant landmark in MacMillan's career, Since it was the day of Preparation … now inaugurates a series of recordings set to document Hebrides Ensemble's outstanding contribution to Scottish cultural life.

“Sherratt is very fine as Christ. The music he has to sing is dignified and eloquent and Sherratt puts it across with great conviction...No less impressive are the four members of Synergy Vocals, whether singing as a consort or individually. All four voices are clear, both in terms of tone and diction; they are ideally suited to the music.” MusicWeb International, June 2016

“Since it was the day of preparation is on the face of it a chamber piece, with just ten performers needed. Yet in an extraordinarily perceptive and affecting manner it broaches enduring universal issues and, in this wonderfully committed recording, already feels like a modern masterpiece.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2016 *****

“the writing is always idiomatic and shows the players’ abilities off well...[The vocalists] sing in a style that seems natural and eternal when one hears it, despite being completely new – a fusion of Gregorian chant and MacMillan’s Scottish-inflected, ornamented idiom...This is an incredible piece, and I firmly believe it’s destined to become one of MacMillan’s most-performed works.” David Smith, Presto Classical, 24th June 2016

“Macmillan's work is a musically entertaining, dramatically satisfying piece of theatre, not a dull slab of dutiful contemplation... this is as authoritative a reading as we're ever likely to hear.” The Arts Desk, July 2016

“Here we have the latest in a stream of major works which express [MacMillan’s] deeply held Catholicism, and for my money it is by far and away the most effective...The Hebrides Ensemble provide eloquent testimony to the sustained impact of MacMillan’s writing.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2016

“extraordinary and surprisingly intimate...Macmillan somehow manages to blend the feel of plainchant with his own kind of Celtic ornamentation. It's lean, spare, intimate, startingly beautiful, and with an atmosphere that stays with you after the final quintet froom Hebrides Ensemble has drifted out of reach.” Record Review, July 2016

“MacMillan’s boldly intimate setting of the post-crucifixion narrative of St John’s Gospel veers from Schütz-like austerity to lush piety. Some of the finest music comes in the instrumental interludes...Excellent performances throughout.” Sunday Times, 28th August 2016

“a spellbinding experience.” Choir & Organ

“One is left wondering how such modest musical resources have achieved such significant impact on the listener. It's as though MacMillan captured the essence of sanctity in his conception where the apparently unassuming has a significant impact... thoroughly recommended.” Classical Net

Presto Disc of the Week

24th June 2016

Presto Discs of 2016

Finalist

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2016

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Tchaikovsky: Symphonies Nos. 1, 2 & 5

Tchaikovsky: Symphonies Nos. 1, 2 & 5


Tchaikovsky:

Symphony No. 1 in G minor, Op. 13 'Winter Daydreams'

Symphony No. 2 in C minor, Op. 17 'Little Russian'

Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

The eagerly awaited Tchaikovsky Symphony cycle from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Vasily Petrenko gets underway with Symphonies 1, 2 & 5. In 2015 The Tchaikovsky Album with Petrenko and the RLPO, released to coincide with the orchestra’s 175 anniversary, became one of the best-selling classical CDs in the UK and met with fulsome praise from reviewers. Volume I of the Symphonies looks set to replicate that success and indeed critical acclaim.

“in some ways Petrenko's approach is a straightforward one: just do what it says in the score! He takes such care to observe every accent and dynamic marking...The Liverpool strings are fantastic...maintaining clarity and precision even when presented with a seemingly endless flurry of quavers whizzing by at a hundred miles an hour. As well as technical proficiency, Petrenko and his orchestra bring tremendous amounts of character.” Presto Classical, 10th June 2016

“Petrenko’s Tchaikovsky is authentically Russian in its bright, sharp-edged colours and rhythms...these are splendidly vivid performances.” Sunday Times, 12th June 2016

“bursting with promise...Symphony No 5, full of light, shade, intensity, yearning accentuation, is a fine addition to a busy field. Petrenko and the RLPO continue to make an exciting partnership.” The Guardian, 19th June 2016 ****

“the orchestra sounds amazing … it has a wonderful warmth and reserve and depth; it’s very fresh, I don’t think it imitates any other recordings.” CD Review, 9th July 2016

“It was worth the wait: this release of Symphonies Nos 1, 2 and 5 makes the best possible start to the projected cycle...If future releases match these impetuous, glorious performances, Petrenko’s should be a cycle to be reckoned with.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2016

“Petrenko’s approach has bite and urgency, and there’s plenty of both in the more typically Tchaikovskian and more heavily emotional Fifth Symphony, where the cut and thrust of the Liverpool orchestra’s playing is impressive, too.” Irish Times, 1th August 2016

“Alive and articulate, these three performances remind us that it’s just as possible to be stunned by an original interpretation of a familiar symphony (the Fifth) as it is to be refreshed by a bright-eyed approach to less familiar works (the First and Second).” BBC Music Magazine, October 2016 *****

Presto Disc of the Week

10th June 2016

Presto Discs of 2016

Finalist

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2016

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2017

Recording of the Year/Orchestral Winner

Onyx - ONYX4150

(CD - 2 discs)

$22.50

(also available to download from $20.00)

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