Gramophone Awards 2005

Record of the Year

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Bach Cantatas Volume 1

Bach Cantatas Volume 1

Cantatas for the Feast of St. John the Baptist & Cantatas for the First Sunday after Trinity


Bach, J S:

Cantata BWV167 'Ihr Menschen, rühmet Gottes Liebe'

Cantata BWV7 'Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam'

Cantata BWV30 'Freue dich, erlöste Schar'

Cantata BWV75 'Die Elenden sollen essen'

Cantata BWV39 'Brich dem Hungrigen dein Brot'

Cantata BWV20 'O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort'


The first issue in the long-awaited series of live recordings, made on the artists’ Bach Cantata Pilgrimage of 2000. The cantatas were performed on the feast days for which they were written and this series will be the first to reflect those couplings. The 2CD set is sumptuously packaged in a beautiful case-bound book, with stunning cover photos by Steve McCurry, detailed programme notes adapted from John Eliot Gardiner’s Pilgrimage Journal, and full sung texts and translations.

“The first release in Gardiner's 2000 Bach Cantata Pilgrimage, an extraordinary undertaking - a deeply moving experience that swept up the Record of the Year Award in 2005.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2008

“In 2000 John Eliot Gardiner commemorated the 250th anniversary of Bach's death with theBach Cantata Pilgrimage, a year-long European tour by the English Baroque Soloists and Monteverdi Choir that presented all of Bach's extant cantatas on the appropriate liturgical feast days. Here are the first two instalments of the complete cycle.
Soli Deo Gloria's presentation is first class. The CDs are cased in a handsomely designed hardbound book, complete with texts, translations and Gardiner's extensive, informative notes based on a journal he kept during the pilgrimage.
The interpretations are consistently fine – often superb, in fact – with surprisingly few wrong steps or disappointments, especially given the unusually gruelling performance schedule that produced them. Among the many mind-blowing, beautiful moments is the deliciously syncopated contralto aria from No 30, sung with poise by Wilke te Brummelstroete and graced by playing of magical delicacy from the EBS. And there's the extraordinary opening chorus of No 8, with its seemingly endless melodic tendrils, chiming flute part and plucked strings, sounding like a celestial dance. Special mention must be made of the artistry of tenor Mark Padmore, who maintains his sweet, ringingly clear tone even in the demanding leaps and roulades of his aria in No 95.
It's in delicate or intimate music that Gardiner shines most luminously, and some may find that he unduly emphasises the contemplative.
His thoughtful, refined approach is strikingly similar to Suzuki's cycle on BIS, though Gardiner's versions sound just a bit warmer.
Although his interpretations offer the finest attributes of period practice – transparency and litheness – there's a long-breathed musicality here that can be lacking in other accounts.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

GGramophone Awards 2005

Record of the Year

GGramophone Awards 2005

Winner - Baroque Vocal

GGramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - March 2005

40 Years of the Gramophone Awards

SDG Gardiner Bach Cantatas - SDG101

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 Other Best of Category Winners

An die ferne Geliebte & Schwanengesang

An die ferne Geliebte & Schwanengesang


Beethoven:

An die ferne Geliebte (To the distant beloved), Op. 98

Schubert:

Schwanengesang, D957


(Live from Wigmore Hall)

“A souvenir-document that all Schubert and Goerne/Brendel fanciers will itch to acquire.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2008

GGramophone Awards 2005

Best of Category - Vocal

GGramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - July 2005

Decca - 4756011

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Britten: Death in Venice

Britten: Death in Venice

An opera in two acts


Philip Langridge (Aschenbach), Alan Opie (Traveller/Elderly Fop/Old Gondolier/Hotel Manager/Hotel Barber/Leader of the Players/Voice of Dionysus), Michael Chance (Voice of Apollo)

BBC Singers, City of London Sinfonia, Richard Hickox

“This recording in Richard Hickox's Britten series is beautifully played and recorded, and in its all-important central role reunites Hickox with Philip Langridge, so compelling in their earlier set of Peter Grimes. Britten tailored the role of Aschenbach so perfectly for Peter Pears's inimitable tenor that it's unlikely any other singer will find it an easy fit. A few years ago Langridge might have been more adept than he is now at handling some of the high-lying lyrical lines, but the compromises in this department are worth making for a singer who's so penetrating in dramatic insight. Hardly a page of the score passes without his vivid delivery opening up some new dimension of the role. As the drama deepens he progressively strips the soul of Aschenbach bare.
His two main colleagues perform to an equally high level. Alan Opie is still in his vocal prime and all seven of his multifarious Dionysiac characters are sharply delineated. The excellent Michael Chance is more ethereal as the Voice of Apollo than James Bowman, and for that reason is preferable by a whisker.
As always, Hickox takes his time over the score, but there's less sense of self-indulgence than in some of his earlier Britten recordings.
He raws playing of high quality and generosity of feeling from the City of London Sinfonia.
Add an exemplary choral contribution from the BBC Singers and a typically atmospheric Chandos recording, and there's no reason to resist.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“...matches and in many ways even outshines the fine model of the original recording...Langridge proves an inspired interpreter of the role of Ashenbach [sic], more passionate than Pears, and in his death scene he is even more poignant...Add to that Hickox's powerful, finely-timed pacing of a work which is largely meditative, and the result is totally magnetic.” Penguin Guide, 2010 ***

“The Pears/Bedford version tends to emphasise the opera's elegiac side… The Chandos… is certainly not lacking in depth. But it also has an incisive clarity matching Richard Hickox's generally more urgent approach to expression and tempo, and the more anguished Aschenbach of Philip Langridge... His riveting intensity is finely supported by Alan Opie's increasingly sinister evocation of the succession of characters who convey Aschenbach to his doom; easily a match for John Shirley-Quirk on the Decca set, as is the new Apollo of Michael Chance for that of James Bowman.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2005 *****

“Langridge is an inspired interpreter of the role of Aschenbach; his performance here is matched by Alan Opie’s sinister portrayal of the six characters who convey him to his doom. Michael Chance contributes an ethereally unsettling Voice of Apollo, and Richard Hickox coaxes out every bit of the score's morbid beauty.” Maurice Millward, Presto Classical, March 2014

GGramophone Awards 2005

Best of Category - Opera

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2005

BBC Music Magazine

Opera Choice - May 2005

Chandos - up to 40% off

Chandos - CHAN10280

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Ysaÿe: Six Sonatas for solo violin Op. 27

Ysaÿe: Six Sonatas for solo violin Op. 27


“By tailoring his solo sonatas to fit the styles of six very different violinists Eugène Ysaÿe may have been acting as the ultimate critic, describing his subjects with musical illustrations rather than mere words. For example, there are the winking appoggiaturas in the finale of No 4, dedicated to Kreisler, which Thomas Zehetmair throws off with a mere flick of the wrist, or the rich chord structures of No 1, whose dedicatee, Joseph Szigeti, was a great Bach player. Bach is a particularly strong presence there, the key (G minor) and language so reminiscent of his first solo sonata. Again, the Jacques Thibaud piece, No 2 in A minor, has obsessive repetitions of the Prelude from Bach's E major Partita, played initially by Zehetmair with the lightest touch, though later repetitions gain in intensity. The sinister melding of Bach with the 'Dies irae' chant has to be one of the canniest masterstrokes of the period. There are stylistic parallels between No 2 and No 4, just as there were similarities between the players themselves.
The spicy Sixth Sonata recalls the Spanish fiddler Manuel Quiroga and takes on Latin influences, initially suggesting Ravel's Tzigane (composed at around the same time, though the similarity is probably coincidental) before shifting, a little later, to habañera mode.
As the ultimate thinking virtuoso, Zehetmair is an ideal interpreter of these pieces, delving between the notes, coaxing a wealth of colour, inflection and dynamic shading from each score, always with acute imagination. He is both explorer and demonstrator, his modes of attack as varied as his tone colouring. This is the best possible showcase for some marvellous if still undervalued music.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

GGramophone Awards 2005

Best of Category - Instrumental

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - January 2005

ECM New Series - 4726872

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