Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

September 2017

Editor's Choice

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Elbphilharmonie Hamburg: Grand Opening Concert

Elbphilharmonie Hamburg: Grand Opening Concert

Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, 11.01.2017


Beethoven:

Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 'Choral': Ode to joy

Britten:

Six Metamorphoses after Ovid for solo oboe, Op. 49: Pan

Caccini, G:

Amarilli mia bella

Cavalieri:

La Pellegrina: Dalle piu alte sfere

Dutilleux:

Mystère de l'instant: Appels, Échos et Prismes

Liebermann, R:

Furioso for Orchestra

Messiaen:

Turangalîla Symphony: Finale

Praetorius, Jacob:

Quam Pulchra es a 5

Rihm:

Reminiszenz - Triptychon und Spruch in memoriam Hans Henny Jahnn

Wagner:

Parsifal: Prelude to Act 1

Zimmermann, B A:

Photoptosis - Prelude for large orchestra


Philippe Jaroussky, Sir Bryn Terfel, Wiebke Lehmkuhl, Pavol Breslik, Hanna-Elisabeth Müller

NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, Ensemble Praetorius, NDR Choir, Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Thomas Hengelbrock

The Elbphilharmonie, the 'hall of wonders' (The Guardian), is undoubtedly the new landmark of Hamburg, a monumental synthesis of breath-taking architecture, a unique location and a world-class concert hall. In varying instrumentations the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, under the baton of Principal Conductor Thomas Hengelbrock, and several top-class soloists explore the possibilities of the Elbphilharmonie’s Grand Hall and its acoustics with an exciting programme that spans across all musical eras, from the Renaissance to the present. It culminates in a brand-new commissioned work, created especially for this occasion by the most important living German composer, Wolfgang Rihm. 'A striking building, a scintillating concert!' (The New York Times).

BONUS: This documentary accompanies the formation process of this grand building, from the first sketch plans to the rehearsals before it´s festive inauguration and includes statements by the architects Pierre de Meuron and Jacques Herzog, the acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota, Christoph Lieben-Seutter, Thomas Hengelbrock and more.

Running Time: Total: 165 mins (112’ concert + 53’ bonus)

Picture: 16:9, HD

Sound: BD: PCM Stereo, DTS-HD MA 5.1

Booklet: English, German, French

Subtitles: Concert: German, English, French, Korean, Japanese // Bonus: German, English, Korean, Japanese

Bonus: Documentary: The Elbphilharmonie - Hamburg´s New Landmark

“An unequivocal success is the way the drama of the leaps between the centuries remains absolutely undiluted...[the techincolour light displays] look phenomenal, and are well worth stretching to the Blu-ray for...As a concert recording this may not represent absolute as-it-was perfection but as a package with the documentary, and as a record of an extraordinary musical event, it comes highly recommended.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2017

GGramophone Magazine

DVD/Blu-ray of the Month - September 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

C Major - 741504

(Blu-ray)

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Handel: Ottone

Handel: Ottone


Handel:

Ottone, Re di Germania

Un disprezzato affetto (from Arianna in Creta)

bonus aria

Io sperai trovar riposo

bonus aria

Cervo altier

bonus aria


Max Emanuel Cenčić (Ottone), Lauren Snouffer (Teofane), Pavel Kudinov (Emireno), Ann Hallenberg (Gismonda), Xavier Sabata (Adalberto), Anna Starushkevych (Matilda)

Il Pomo d’Oro, George Petrou

Handel’s Ottone, re di Germania is presented here in a new recording by Max Emanuel Cencic and a superb cast, under the baton of George Petrou with Il Pomo d’Oro.

Premiered in London in 1723, Ottone was one of Handel’s most successful operas during his lifetime. This rare recording breathes new life into one of the master’s greatest works.

Also featuring three “bonus” arias performed in the 1726 revival.

“Cenčić lends his ripe countertenor to the title role of a relatively neglected Handel opera and leads a performance to relish...Hallenberg all but upstages everyone around her...George Petrou’s orchestra offers eloquent and elegant support throughout.” The Guardian, 26th May 2017 ****

“The leading man is Max Emanuel Cenčić (Ottone), his tone keen, flexible and brilliant…[Xavier Sabata] brings emotionality and intelligence to the role of Adalberto…Ann Hallenberg as Gismonda, menacing, imperious and agile; Anna Starushkevych as Matilda, tender and magnanimous; Pavel Kudinov as Emireno, darkly handsome of tone…you’ll wonder why Ottone remains relatively obscure” BBC Music Magazine, September 2017 ****

“Petrou draws rhythmically animated, sensitively coloured playing from the crack Italian band...The cast is uniformly strong...Cenčić, with his unusually powerful, sensuous countertenor, rescues [Ottone] from self-regarding wimpishess. ..this new recording is emphatically the version to have of an opera whose dramatic flaws are redeemed by magnificent individual scenes and any number of good tunes.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2017

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Decca - 4831814

(CD - 3 discs)

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Richard Strauss: Through Life and Love

Richard Strauss: Through Life and Love


Strauss, R:

Nichts, Op. 10 No. 2

Leises Lied, Op. 39 No. 1

Ständchen, Op. 17 No. 2

Schlagende Herzen Op. 29 No. 2

Heimliche Aufforderung, Op. 27 No. 3

Sehnsucht Op. 32 No. 2

Waldseligkeit, Op. 49 No. 1

Ach, was Kummer, Qual und Schmerzen, Op. 49 No. 8

Breit' über mein Haupt Op. 19 No. 2

Wie sollten wir geheim sie halten, Op. 19 No. 4

Das Rosenband, Op. 36 No. 1

Ich Schwebe, Op. 48 No. 2

Nachtgang Op. 29 No. 3

Einerlei, Op. 69 No. 3

Rote Rosen, AV76

Muttertändelei, Op. 43 No. 2

Meinem Kinde, Op. 37 No. 3

Die Nacht, Op. 10 No. 3

Befreit, Op. 39 No. 4

Ruhe, meine Seele!, Op. 27 No. 1

Zueignung, Op. 10 No. 1

Weihnachtsgefühl, WoO. 94

Allerseelen, Op. 10 No. 8


Louise Alder (soprano), Joseph Middleton (piano)

Read our exclusive interview with Louise Alder about the recording here.

Hailed as ‘one of the brightest lyric-sopranos of the younger generation’, ‘a radiant performer’ and ‘a born actress’, Louise has been held in high critical acclaim during her early career, and has recently been declared Young Singer of the Year at the 2017 International Opera Awards. She is also no stranger to Lieder, and has worked with pianist Joseph Middleton previously at the Leeds Lieder Festival. Joseph is considered a specialist in the art of song accompaniment, and has be en described as ‘one of the brightest stars in the world of song and Lieder’ by BBC Music Magazine, ‘the cream of the new generation’ by The Times and ‘a perfect accompanist’ by Opera Now. Through Life and Love sees Louise and Joseph perform some of the most beautiful Lieder in the repertoire, including Strauss’ Die Nacht, Standchen and Rote Rosen. Louise represented England at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition this year (reaching the finals of the Main and Song Competition, and winning the Audience Prize); this is her debut recital recording.

“she sings [Zueignung] with unusual and touching introversion and contemplation. All are sung with vivid narrative skill, rich in colour and detail, and with a stunning purity of tone on long notes (as in the “Ruhe” of Ruhe, meine Seele!). Alder is beautifully partnered by pianist Joseph Middleton.” The Observer, 25th June 2017 *****

“In an astute selection of lieder, Alder combines youthful sparkle with artless and affecting sincerity...she finds wonderfully expressive range here, tease and wit in the more carefree numbers, melancholic poise when Strauss sets more anxiously existential verses.” The Times, 30th Jun 2017 ****

“That Alder is a Strauss (and Mozart) soprano of rare gifts has been obvious for quite a while. Her radiant, silver-flecked-with-gold tone, long-breathed phrases and exquisitely floated high notes are a prerequisite for this repertoire, but she also has excellent German diction...she brings vivid interpretative qualities, aided by her superb pianist, who relishes the rippling arpeggios of Ständchen.” Sunday Times, 16th July 2017

“Each song sounds utterly fresh, with the bright, flinty beauty of Alder’s soprano constantly conveying lively intelligence as well as strong characterisation. The interpretations are natural and confident, her German vividly pointed...Middleton’s piano-playing is superb throughout as well, offering perceptive, lively and sensitive accompaniment entirely on Alder’s wavelength.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2017

“Louise Alder’s exemplary German diction is pure, long-breathed line and clear identification with the emotional import of the poetry all serve her very well here. She is by no means the first singer to present these songs. Joseph Middleton’s pianism is exemplary, as is the recorded sound.” MusicWeb International, August 2017

“Alder can do it all, and there are already plenty of colours in the voice.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2017 *****

“This imaginatively conceived and beautifully recorded recital makes a perfect calling card for this fresh- voiced young singer. Grouping Strauss songs in groups- youth, longing motherhood and so on – Alder is acutely responsive to text and texture with winningly unshowy technique and seamlessly pure tone. Middleton, on equally fine form, again demonstrates he’s one of the most talented, intuitive collaborative pianists of his generation.” Classical Music, September 2017 *****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Orchid Classics - ORC100072

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Rachmaninov: Vespers, Op. 37

Rachmaninov: Vespers, Op. 37


Klaudia Zeiner (alto) & Falk Hoffmann (tenor)

MDR Rundfunkchor Leipzig, Risto Joost

Sergei Rachmaninoff was a gifted composer not only for his own instrument, the piano, as is abundantly clear in this new GENUIN release featuring Leipzig’s MDR Chorus. The elite choir is already presenting its second recording of Rachmaninoff’s “Great Evening and Morning Praise” to replace their award-winning 2002 version. Choir director Risto Joost himself engaged several Latvian basses for the project, whose exceptionally dark timbre wonderfully enhances the warm and breathtakingly beautiful sound of the choir. A magnificent recording of a magnificent work!

“Joost paces the work very well indeed, understanding that there is a dramatic arc which it is imperative to transmit, so that the work is not merely a sequence of isolated events...the tension never lets up, the line is never lost...[The performance] can join the ranks of the very best available.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2017

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Genuin - GEN17476

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William Youn Plays Mozart Sonatas, Vol. 5

William Youn Plays Mozart Sonatas, Vol. 5


Mozart:

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

Piano Sonata No. 7 in C, K309

Fantasia in C minor, K475

Piano Sonata No. 14 in C minor, K457


William Youn (piano)

At the beginning of his Mozart cycle with Oehms Classics and the Bavarian Broadcasting Company, William Youn stated in an interview: 'I would like to play a Mozart that can be sensed and felt. After all, many say that Mozart always sounds the same, but I don’t feel that way. I would like to show how differentiated and exciting Mozart can describe the most varied emotions and colours of people –through music'. When one has heard all 5 CDs, there is actually nothing more to add to that. His plan has been wonderfully realised.

“Here we have playing that is absolutely at the service of the composer yet also full of personality...Youn’s reading of the Fantasy is one of the highlights here: he is fully alive to the importance of the silences within it, while also letting the music build and billow without ever lapsing into melodrama...This is beguiling Mozart-playing – innate, intelligent, honest and fiercely musical.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2017

“This last issue in Youn’s survey of the complete Mozart sonatas puts the seal on a highly desirable set in exemplary sound.” MusicWeb International, August 2017

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2017

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Oehms - up to 25% off

Oehms William Youn plays Mozart Sonatas - OC1857

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Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 25 & 26

Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 25 & 26


Mozart:

Piano Concerto No. 25 in C major, K503

Piano Concerto No. 26 in D major, K537 'Coronation'


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

Described as a ‘stellar Mozartian’ Francesco Piemontesi finds a perfect partner in the Scottish Chamber Orchestra whose impeccable credentials are widely acknowledged. Conductor Andrew Manze, well known as a HIP pioneer, shares Piemontesi’s approach to creating an authentic performance, making this somewhat of a Mozart dream team.

Francesco Piemontesi is a pianist of exceptional refinement of expression, which is allied to a consummate technical skill. He has performed Mozart extensively recently, including a critically acclaimed 2015 BBC Prom, a Mozart cycle at London’s Wigmore Hall which commenced in January 2016 and continues in 2017 and Mozart concertos with the SCO. The Swiss pianist enjoys particular insight into Mozart gaining a useful ‘love of detail’ from his teacher Alfred Brendel, who was himself renowned for his masterly interpretations of Mozart. This recording couples consecutive yet contrasting works from Mozart’s Vienna period: K. 503 represents the longest and most substantial of his concert masterpieces and K. 537 provides the soloist with an audience-pleasing cadenza.

Andrew Manze has rapidly emerged as one of the most stimulating and inspirational conductors of his generation. Manze’s extensive and scholarly knowledge of the repertoire, together with his rare skill as a communicator and his boundless energy, mark him out. The SCO is a world-renowned orchestra with an outstanding reputation for Mozart; its extensive discography features Robin Ticciati, Charles Mackerras, Elizabeth Watts and Ingrid Fliter.

“a Mozartian to cherish. It’s hard to fault his sense of line, structure and deft approach to detail...Yet Piemontesi’s polished playing is alert with exactly the kind of spontaneity essential to great Mozart performance. Lithe and without fuss, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra makes clear from the opening bars that this is historically informed Mozart with an updated feel.” The Observer, 6th August 2017 ****

“Everything that I admired about Piemontesi's previous recording - intelligent, articulate phrasing, tidy passagework and absolute precision in the faster sections - is brought across to these performances...I constantly marvelled at the flexibility of his left hand, with every semiquaver perfectly in place, performed with crystal clarity. It's such a graceful, clean sound, and never smudgy.” James Longstaffe, Presto Classical, 11th August 2017

“His sympathy with the style and ethos of the Salzburger’s music simply sings from the speakers. There is intimacy rather than inwardness to these chamber-scale performances; Piemontesi knows he’s the star but is sensitive enough to realise that he shares a firmament with the orchestral soloists, despite being ever so slightly spotlit in the miking..,More Mozart from these quarters is eagerly awaited.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2017

“Piemontesi’s playing is mostly magnificent, with crystalline clarity, radiant tone and eloquent phrasing. In the fine and intriguing cadenzas, he shines with surety of purpose” BBC Music Magazine, October 2017 ***

Presto Disc of the Week

11th August 2017

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Up to 25% off Linn

Linn - CKD544

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Elliott Carter: Late Works

Elliott Carter: Late Works


Carter, E:

Interventions

Pierre-Laurent Aimard (piano)

BBC Symphony Orchestra

Dialogues

Pierre-Laurent Aimard (piano)

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group

Dialogues II

Pierre-Laurent Aimard (piano)

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group

Soundings

Pierre-Laurent Aimard (piano)

BBC Symphony Orchestra

Two Controversies and a Conversation

Pierre-Laurent Aimard (piano), Colin Currie (percussion)

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group

Instances

BBC Symphony Orchestra

Epigrams

Pierre-Laurent Aimard (piano), Isabelle Faust (violin), Jean-Guihen Queyras (cello)


An impressive cast of artists are joining together in this Ondine recording dedicated to the late works by iconic American composer Elliott Carter (1908–2012). The album includes five premiere recordings, including Carter’s final work Epigrams (2012) for piano trio, featuring Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Isabelle Faust and Jean-Guihen Queyras. The album also features percussionist Colin Currie joined together with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Oliver Knussen.

“brimming with youthful energy and Haydnesque, impish wit...Aimard brings fluent delicacy to the concertos and the orchestral soundings. He is matched in filigree precision by co-protagonists, percussionist Colin Currie, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group under conductor Oliver Knussen. Carter’s very last, centenarian works...prove concise, poetic and delightfully mischievous as ever.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2017 *****

“Elliott Carter’s music retained its intellectual grip right to the end and an all-star line-up of performers — pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard, violinist Isabelle Faust, percussionist Colin Currie, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Oliver Knussen — does it proud.” Financial Times, 11th August 2017 ****

“No one hearing the pieces on this disc is likely to doubt their technical finesse or expressive refinement: qualities that go a long way towards the defining of ‘lateness’ in artistic terms...[Aimard] tackles this always demanding pianism with alacrity and perception...There are unlikely to be any better discs of contemporary music this year.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2017

“The pieces here provide a perfect introduction to the spare, regularly surprising world that Carter’s last works inhabit...No one has been a more committed champion than Oliver Knussen, and he conducts all the orchestral pieces here with his familiar feisty clarity. Pierre-Laurent Aimard is the equally quick-witted soloist in the piano works.” The Guardian, 2nd August 2017 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2017

BBC Music Magazine

Concerto Choice - October 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Ondine - ODE12962

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Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1-4 (Complete)

Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1-4 (Complete)


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra and Andris Nelsons are pleased to announce the release of their latest recordings on BSO Classics-a three-disc set of the four Brahms symphonies, recorded live during concert performances at Symphony Hall this past November, engineered by the same in-house team that produced the BSO's recent Grammy-winning Shostakovich recordings under Maestro Nelsons on Deutsche Grammophon. This new Brahms symphony cycle follows two others recorded previously by the BSO, under Erich Leinsdorf in the mid-1960s and Bernard Haitink in the early 1990s. "It makes me so proud and happy," observes Andris Nelsons, "that the Boston Symphony Orchestra of today, filled with so many great musicians, will now have its own place in recorded history with this amazing music."

“There’s not a single bar that feels heavy or stodgy, and yet amongst the lightness there is real weight when required...Aside from that, what impressed me most was the absolute clarity achieved, with every facet of Brahms’s orchestration there to be heard...This set is quite exceptional, and surely one of the finest to have come along in recent years.” James Longstaffe, Presto Classical, 26th May 2017

“His Brahms is as vital, impulsive and rhythmic as all his work strives to be – though not as sheerly dynamic as one might have imagined – but there is blend and bloom, too...he truly listens to the music, feeling its pulse and allowing the phrasing to evolve with as little intervention or ‘shaping’ as possible. He is generous without indulgence, muscular without vulgarity.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2017

Presto Disc of the Week

26th May 2017

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2017

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BSO Classics - BSOCL1701

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$36.75

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Dreams & Fancies: English Music for Solo Guitar

Dreams & Fancies: English Music for Solo Guitar


Arnold:

Fantasy for Guitar, Op. 107

Berkeley, L:

Sonatina for Guitar, Op. 52, No. 1

Britten:

Nocturnal after John Dowland, Op. 70

Dowland:

Preludium

Forlorn Hope Fancy (Fantasie No. 2)

Fantasia

Walton:

Five Bagatelles for solo guitar


Sean Shibe (guitar)

Read our exclusive interview with Sean Shibe about the recording here.

Barely half a century ago, the guitar was such a rarity in the concert hall that even an outstanding player like Julian Bream was remarkable as a pioneer as much as for his exceptional technique and musicality. Today, by contrast, the field is richly populated – thanks not only to Bream’s own inspiring example to younger players but also to the vastly increased repertoire, so much of which he also instigated.

Yet even in this new heyday for the instrument, Sean Shibe – whose full album debut here nests among four of those Bream-commissioned works a clutch of Dowland pieces from a previous Elizabethan Golden Age – stands out as a truly uncommon talent. ‘I want to hear his interpretation of Britten’s Nocturnal over and over,’ wrote David Nice in an awed recent concert review. ‘This, for me, is the definitive performance.’ Born in Edinburgh, in 2012 Shibe became the first guitarist to be selected for the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists scheme, and the only solo guitarist to be awarded a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship. He was selected by Young Classical Artists Trust (London) in 2015.

“Shibe is another Bream, or something close. His playing unites finesse and poetry, and beautifully suggests a continuity of idiom.” Sunday Times, 23rd July 2017

“Everything here is rich in melody and Shibe is as articulate a virtuoso as Bream, communicating the precision of these intimate chamber pieces with real passion ... unmissable.” The Herald (Glasgow), July 2017

“Shibe has already secured a formidable reputation in both concert and on record. This latest disc plays very much to his strengths: the technical challenges thrown at him (by non-player composers) are easily surmounted, and his sound is beautifully captured.” Classical Music, August 2017 *****

“the association with [Bream is] wholly flattering to the 25-year-old Shibe, who reveals himself here as a musician of considerable intelligence possessed of impressive technical resources. He proves himself nimble and well-proportioned in William Walton’s Five Bagatelles.” Classical Ear, 11th August 2017 *****

“Shibe performs with superb artistry some of the now classics that Bream inspired...Prime in any such catalogue is Britten's 1963 Nocturnal after John Dowland, and Shibe gathers the listener into its unsettling, fantastical soundworld with an intensity that combines gracefulness and threat with rapier skill...[Shibe] movingly navigates that peculiarly English fine line between whimsy and melancholic vision.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2017 *****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2017

BBC Music Magazine

Instrumental Choice - October 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Delphian - DCD34193

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Mendelssohn: Symphonies Nos. 1-5

Mendelssohn: Symphonies Nos. 1-5


2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the European Reformation, started by Martin Luther in 1517. To honor this occasion, Deutsche Grammophon is releasing a new interpretation of the complete Mendelssohn symphonies, crowned by a recording of the Reformation Symphony No. 5.

The symphonies were recorded in February 2016 during a celebrated Mendelssohn festival over the course of two days at the Philharmonie de Paris - all under the baton of young, exciting conductor, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the Music Director of the Philadelphia Orchestra and Music Director Designate of the Metropolitan Opera New York.

This release is the first complete symphonic cycle to be recorded at the new Philharmonie de Paris, which opened in January 2015!

For this recording, Christopher Hogwood's editions of the symphonies were chosen because of their particular importance for the Reformation symphony:

Mendelssohn, the often self-critical (and self-revising!) composer, who "in the process of trying to reduce the work to a length suitable for its celebratory function, [he] cut out one entire movement preceding the Finale, a passage that expands on the flute cadenza and prepares the arrival of the chorale theme with more engaging musical drama". (Christopher Hogwood)

The original version of the work may now be listened to in its entirety!

This release underlines a strong ongoing collaboration with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe that already culminated in a successful release of the complete Schumann symphonies (March 2014) and the continuing Mozart Opera Cycle. Two instalments of the latter have been nominated for a Grammy: Le Nozze di Figaro and Die Entführung aus dem Serail.

“Nézet-Séguin and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe (COE) evoke the effervescent, restless, driven essence of Mendelssohn, often almost to perfection. The scherzo of the Scottish Symphony with its irrepressible clarinet and rustling-leaves background, emerges with gorgeous humour, springiness and clarity…This recording is at its very best when the music is allowed to fly.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2017 ****

“Nézet-Séguin approaches the symphonies of Mendelssohn with an exploratory mind and deep care for colour, the COE responding with brilliance throughout this impressive set...For anyone wanting a complete set of the symphonies in the lean, lithe modern mould...Nézet-Séguin’s imaginative, fabulously executed performances guarantee abiding pleasure.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2017

GGramophone Magazine

Recording of the Month - September 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

DG - 4797337

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$34.25

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Elbphilharmonie Hamburg: Grand Opening Concert

Elbphilharmonie Hamburg: Grand Opening Concert

Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, 11.01.2017


Beethoven:

Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 'Choral': Ode to joy

Britten:

Six Metamorphoses after Ovid for solo oboe, Op. 49: Pan

Caccini, G:

Amarilli mia bella

Cavalieri:

La Pellegrina: Dalle piu alte sfere

Dutilleux:

Mystère de l'instant: Appels, Échos et Prismes

Liebermann, R:

Furioso for Orchestra

Messiaen:

Turangalîla Symphony: Finale

Praetorius, Jacob:

Quam Pulchra es a 5

Rihm:

Reminiszenz - Triptychon und Spruch in memoriam Hans Henny Jahnn

Wagner:

Parsifal: Prelude to Act 1

Zimmermann, B A:

Photoptosis - Prelude for large orchestra


Philippe Jaroussky, Sir Bryn Terfel, Wiebke Lehmkuhl, Pavol Breslik, Hanna-Elisabeth Müller

NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, Ensemble Praetorius, NDR Choir, Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Thomas Hengelbrock

The Elbphilharmonie, the 'hall of wonders' (The Guardian), is undoubtedly the new landmark of Hamburg, a monumental synthesis of breath-taking architecture, a unique location and a world-class concert hall. In varying instrumentations the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, under the baton of Principal Conductor Thomas Hengelbrock, and several top-class soloists explore the possibilities of the Elbphilharmonie’s Grand Hall and its acoustics with an exciting programme that spans across all musical eras, from the Renaissance to the present. It culminates in a brand-new commissioned work, created especially for this occasion by the most important living German composer, Wolfgang Rihm. 'A striking building, a scintillating concert!' (The New York Times).

BONUS: This documentary accompanies the formation process of this grand building, from the first sketch plans to the rehearsals before it´s festive inauguration and includes statements by the architects Pierre de Meuron and Jacques Herzog, the acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota, Christoph Lieben-Seutter, Thomas Hengelbrock and more.

Running Time: Total: 165 mins (112’ concert + 53’ bonus)

Picture: 16:9, HD

Sound: DVD: PCM 2.0, DTS 5.1

Booklet: English, German, French

Subtitles: Concert: German, English, French, Korean, Japanese // Bonus: German, English, Korean, Japanese

Bonus: Documentary: The Elbphilharmonie - Hamburg´s New Landmark

“An unequivocal success is the way the drama of the leaps between the centuries remains absolutely undiluted...As a concert recording this may not represent absolute as-it-was perfection but as a package with the documentary, and as a record of an extraordinary musical event, it comes highly recommended.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2017

GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - September 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

C Major - 741408

(DVD Video - 2 discs)

$29.75

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Bartók: String Quartets Nos. 1-6 (complete)

Bartók: String Quartets Nos. 1-6 (complete)


A monument of chamber music.

The string quartet was of central importance to Bartók throughout his career. His six quartets were written (between 1907 and 1939) at crucial turning points in the composer’s creative development. From the elegiac tone of Quartet no.1 (reflecting an unhappy love affair) to the sadness and wry parody of no.6, composed on the eve of World War II, by way of the mirror forms and atmospheric ‘night music’ of nos.4 and 5, they represent perhaps the biggest interpretative challenge in the genre alongside the Beethoven quartets. A challenge triumphantly met here by the Heath Quartet.

“The Heath Quartet play each with an electrifying intensity, maintaining an irresistible impetus and negotiating abrupt character changes with aplomb.” Sunday Times, 4th June 2017

“their performances deserve to be considered alongside the best … they are fine accounts … The careful balancing of textures and clarity of the part writing are regularly impressive” The Guardian, 7th June 2017 ****

“I’d call this a radical re-think of the Bartók quartet cycle … Where the Heath Quartet scores is in its flexible approach, and the ease with which tempos relate to each other, especially in the largely romantic First Quartet, a work that in the wrong hands can seem episodic” Classical Ear, 9th June 2017 ****

“Taut, incisive accounts of all six works from the intrepid young British quartet, who positively crackle with energy in the allegros and endow the slow movements (particularly the sequence of ‘mesto’ sections in the Sixth Quartet) with an almost orchestral depth of tone. The folk-inspired movements are especially effective, with just the right sort of rough edge to the timbre.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, June 2017

“everything the critics enthused about at the time [of the Wigmore Hall concerts] is present and correct: the sense of music on the edge, performances impeccably prepared but surfing a wave of adrenaline. The combination of Beethovenian intensity of No. 1 to the rustic folk rhythms and thrusting propulsion of No. 2, all the way to the eerie sadness and desolation of No. 6 … a fine achievement … the performance of the 6th and last quartet is quietly devastating.” Record Review, 11th June 2017

“The true joy of this survey by the Heath Quartet, taken from live recordings at the Wigmore Hall, is the pungency of performances that capture the essence of Bartók, from the desperation of youthful, unrequited love in the First Quartet, to the anguish of the last, written as war loomed. There is a freshness and immediacy running through every performance … This is a substantial achievement by the Heath Quartet, which offers new insights into one composer’s fascinating body of work” The Scotsman, 12th June 2017 *****

“This complete cycle of the six Bartok string quartets finds the Heath Quartet at the top of its game … the players exhibit almost superhuman concentration and stamina … The string tone throughout…is flawless, and ensemble work is exemplary … if there were any argument for yet another recorded cycle of the Bartok quartets entering a crowded market, this is it” The Strad, August 2017

“This is another winner from the Heath Quartet. While each piece is impeccably prepared, balanced and executed, theirs is no one-size-fits-all approach...this is an utterly convincing and very welcome cycle.” Classical Music, August 2017

“Their playing isn’t as glossy, perhaps, as other recent entrants into this field, such as the Jerusalem Quartet, but they have a powerful understanding of the music’s structure, coupled to superlative technical skill. Sensibly, they don’t try to fake a Hungarian accent: instead, their awareness of the music’s roots is incorporated into a wider expressive language.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2017

“Two of the strengths of the Heath Quartet are their ability to hold together Bartók’s more sectional structures, such as the first movements of the Fourth and Fifth quartets in convincing single spans, and their acute characterisation of some of his more extreme inventions…this fine release should not disappoint” BBC Music Magazine, September 2017 ****

GGramophone Magazine

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Harmonia Mundi - HMM90766162

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Gundula Janowitz - The Last Recital (In Memoriam Maria Callas)

Gundula Janowitz - The Last Recital (In Memoriam Maria Callas)

Recorded Live at the Herodes Atticus Odeon, Athens, Greece, 16 September, 1999


Schubert:

Die Gotter Griechenlands D677 (Schiller)

Iphigenia, D573 (Mayrhofer)

An die Leier, D737 (Bruchmann)

Raste Krieger, Krieg ist aus (Ellens Gesang I), D837

Fischerweise, D881 (Schlechta)

Der Fluss, D693

Im Abendrot, D799

Der Lindenbaum (No. 5 from Winterreise, D911)

Das Lied im Grünen, D917

Die Forelle, D550

Schumann:

Lied der Suleika, Op. 25 No. 9

Schneeglöckchen, Op. 79 No. 26

Die Lotosblume, Op. 25 No. 7

Meine Rose, Op. 90 No. 2

Der Nussbaum, Op. 25 No. 3

Strauss, R:

Lob des Leidens, Op. 15 No. 3

Allerseelen, Op. 10 No. 8

Morgen, Op. 27 No. 4

Nachtgang Op. 29 No. 3

Befreit, Op. 39 No. 4


Gundula Janowitz (soprano), Charles Spencer (piano)

Released in UK on Gundula Janowitz’s 80th birthday. 2017 is also the 40th anniversary of Maria Callas’ death. Brigitte Fassbaender said: ‘Gundula Janowitz possesses one of those voices where you have only to hear a couple of notes and you immediately know who it is. Her elegant timbre and unmistakably instrumental way of forming the phrases is unique.’ Few singers have voices that approach the purity of Janowitz’s: with its very fast vibrato and ‘white’ production, the focused sound can soar, swoop and dip with astonishing ease and control, the vocal line becoming almost liquefied into a seemingly endless melisma. Janowitz’s recorded catalogue, tends to misrepresent the focus of her career because it downplays her work as a recitalist. Of course, she did tape all of Schubert’s songs for high voice but apart from a couple of late song recitals and a disc of Hindemith’s Das Marienleben, that is all we have to remember her by as a performer of song. So this album will be a welcome addition to her discography. For her Athens recital, Janowitz chose two composers absolutely at the centre of her song repertoire, Franz Schubert and Richard Strauss, with a third, Robert Schumann, forming a bridge between the two.

“[Janowitz] is in remarkably fresh voice throughout. There’s a certain loss of bloom, inevitably, and an occasional brittleness of intonation, but the unique sound is unmistakable, the delivery still clear and confident...here are songs with a certain valedictory potential that is brought out by the occasion as well as by an interpretative approach from Janowitz that is non-interventionist and leisurely.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2017

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