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Debussy: Images, Jeux & La Plus Que Lente

Debussy: Images, Jeux & La Plus Que Lente


Debussy:

Images for orchestra

Jeux - Poème dansé

La plus que lente


The latest release in Michael Tilson Thomas' and the San Francisco Symphony's award-winning discography features Debussy's vivid Images and playful Jeux, alongside the exquisite miniature La Plus Que Lente.

"Right from the start of my musical life, Debussy's music captivated me," states Michael Tilson Thomas. With the San Francisco Symphony he shares his fascination in an all-Debussy collection that exquisitely illustrates the composer's mastery with orchestration - the vivid landscapes of Images, impassioned playfulness of Jeux, and the sensuality of La plus que lente. Presented by SFS Media in premium audio hybrid SACD.

“This is a delicious triptych of Debussy’s mature orchestral works…Tilson Thomas has a long and illustrious pedigree in Debussy, and it shows in the control and care taken over nuances of texture while keeping sight of the whole…each interlocking phrase and brush of colour can be heard emerging from the San Francisco Symphony, aided by the detailed, yet natural surround sound” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2016 ****

“Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco players are compelling in Images, which comes across with brilliance, swagger, suppleness and, in ‘Les parfums de la nuit’, suggestive exoticism. La plus que lente, with its tangy cimbalom and its tinges of nostalgia and ebullience, makes for a beguiling envoi” Gramophone Magazine, November 2016

“Together they produce Debussy playing of intense colour, using a palette that never seems remotely wishy-washy or lazily “impressionistic”, but is founded on rhythmic precision and exact textural balance...A gorgeous disc.” The Guardian, 8th December 2016 *****

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

SFS Media - SFS0069

(SACD)

$19.00

(also available to download from $10.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

John Adams: Absolute Jest

John Adams: Absolute Jest


Adams, J:

Grand Pianola Music

Absolute Jest

world premiere recording


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony offer the world-premiere recording of John Adams’ Absolute Jest, commissioned by the orchestra, alongside the composer’s Grand Pianola Music, another SFS commission from 30 years earlier, conducted here by the composer. Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony join forces with America’s most-performed living composer, John Adams, in a colossal album featuring Adams’s Absolute Jest and Grand Pianola Music. Hear Adams’s inspired and witty take on Beethoven’s spirited scherzos in this first-ever recording of his SFS- commissioned Absolute Jest. Also featured is Grand Pianola Music, with its tongue-in-cheek allusions to Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto, written for and premiered by the SFS. Both works speak to the deeply personal and vital relationship of some of the top musicians of our time: John Adams, MTT, and the SFS.

“Adams’s Grand Pianola Music succeeds in its referencing of Beethoven’s cascading arpeggios, but the Absolute Jest is limited by the shards of scherzos...As this new, superb live recording, with Orli Shaham and Marc-André Hamelin as the two swashbuckling pianists shows, Grand Pianola Music...was a manifesto, a statement of intent.” The Guardian, 29th July 2015 ****

“a fantastic performance by all concerned, not least the wordless female vocal trio that Adams employs, and a terrifingly high but immaculately performed tuba solo in the slow movement. A great disc, then, for all Adams fans!” Presto Classical, 14th August 2015

“there’s no disputing its brilliance and audacity. Absolute Jest (2012) is an energetic concerto for string quartet (the St Lawrence) and orchestra, a hyper-scherzo whose ingeniously developed themes are lifted from Beethoven and performed here with glittering swagger.” Sunday Times, 16th August 2015

“[Grand Pianola Music] is an exuberant, larger-than-life freefall through musical history, the off-the-leash arpeggios typical of Beethoven's late piano sonatas bumping into Liszt then, controversially, ending up glittering like Liberace's candelabra…Absolute Jest is…an entertaining diversion and the San Francisco SO respond winningly to Adams's tailor-made if, at times, disappointingly generic orchestration.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2015

“Here is wit, rough passion, gravity and playfulness...the dialogue between the St Lawrence String Quartet and the San Francisco Orchestra is brilliantly cogent and clear. Absolute Jest is a bravura experiment that will delight Adams's champions and appall his detractors.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2015 ****

Presto Disc of the Week

14th August 2015

Presto Discs of 2015

Finalist

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

SFS Media - SFS0063

(SACD)

$19.00

(also available to download from $10.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47


Following the success of the enlightening first series of Keeping Score, MTT and SFS return with three further programmes that combine one-hour documentaries with live concert performances. The new programmes explore the music and stories behind the music.

Each of the three DVDs in Keeping Score Series 2 features a documentary episode - with MTT guiding us through the composers’ perspectives and influences - coupled with a live concert performance of each work. The programmes are designed to engage and entertain viewers of all levels of musical background. With outstanding production values, they are released on DVD and Blu-Ray HD formats, making SFS the first orchestra to distribute its product on Blu-Ray disc.

In 1937 Russia, at the height of Stalin’s purges, the Communist Party strongly denounced Dmitri Shostakovich’s most recent works. Fearing for his life, the young composer wrote a symphony ending with a rousing march. But to many, the triumph rang hollow. Even today, people wonder just what Shostakovich was trying to say. Was the symphony meant to celebrate Stalin’s regime? Or did it contain hidden messages protesting the very system it seemed to support?

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

SFS Media Keeping Score - SFS0027

(Blu-ray)

$30.75

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Berg: Drei Orchesterstücke, Op. 6

Berg: Drei Orchesterstücke, Op. 6


Released or re-released in last 6 months

SFS Media - SFS0070

Download only from $10.00

Available now to download.

Mason Bates: Works for Orchestra

Mason Bates: Works for Orchestra


Bates, Mason:

The B-Sides

Liquid Interface

Alternative Energy


Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony release an exhilarating album of young, American composer Mason Bates' large-scale works for orchestra and electronica.

Hear the first-ever recordings of his colossal 'Liquid Interface' and the SFS-commissioned The B-Sides alongside Bates' supercharged work, 'Alternative Energy'. One of the most creative and ingenuous synthesists of our time, these works show Bates reimagining the dimensions of symphonic music by integrating jazz, techno, drum-n-bass, field recordings of a FermiLab particle collider-and more.

“Bates (b1977) clearly possesses a keen ear, adventurous mind and sly sense of humour. Each suite of short sound pictures beguiles the listener, the orchestra deployed like an organic synthesiser…this superbly-recorded disc will make him many new friends.” Classical Music, August 2016 *****

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

SFS Media - SFS0065

(SACD)

$19.00

(also available to download from $10.00)

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

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3 & Mass in C Major

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3 & Mass in C Major


Beethoven:

Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37

Emanuel Ax (piano)

Mass in C major, Op. 86

Joélle Harvey (soprano), Kelley O'Connor (mezzo-soprano), William Burden (tenor), Shenyang (bass-baritone)

San Francisco Symphony Chorus


Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony serve up a sumptuous live recording of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3, with acclaimed pianist Emanuel Ax, and the rarely performed Mass in C Major, with the Grammy Award-winning San Francisco Symphony Chorus.

Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3 and Mass in C Major are two of the works that helped cement the composer's reputation as a creative genius like none other. Internationally acclaimed pianist Emanuel Ax joins Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony in a dynamic rendition of Beethoven's robust Third Piano Concerto. Then, MTT leads the Grammy Award-winning SF Symphony Chorus and soloists in the rarely performed Mass in C Major.

“[Emanuel Ax] is on masterful form for the Third Concerto…his fulsome tone matches the rich, robust orchestral sound, and the tempos invariably feel right…there's pure poetry in the Largo, and plentiful variety of articulation in a characterful Rondo finale” BBC Music Magazine, April 2016 ****

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

SFS Media - SFS0064

(SACD)

$19.00

(also available to download from $10.00)

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

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 & Romeo and Juliet Overture

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 & Romeo and Juliet Overture


Tchaikovsky:

Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64

Romeo & Juliet - Fantasy Overture


Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony unleash the passion and triumph of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and Romeo and Juliet, Fantasy-Overture, in a live, 192/24 bit recording released as a Hybrid SACD.

Passion, love and triumph, as imagined by Tchaikovsky, are captured in sweeping glory by the award-winning, chart-topping team of Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony. Tchaikovsky’s heroic Fifth Symphony and the passionate Romeo and Juliet, Fantasy-Overture, which features one of the best-known love themes ever written - receive rapturous performances under a conductor whose Russian roots reveal the very esssence of the composer’s emotional output.

Tilson Thomas says, “It has been possible in my life to not only perform [Tchaikovsky’s Fifth] a lot, but to harken back to the sense of elegance that Piatigorsky, Heifetz and Rubinstein imparted to me about this kind of music.” Captured live in the orchestra’s home, Davies Symphony Hall, the audiophile release was recorded in 192/24 bit and is released as a Hybrid SACD.

“The Fifth Symphony proves uncommonly thoughtful, urbane and dignified. Not only is the orchestral response scrupulously prepared and free of meretricious flashiness, the performance displays an enviable sweep and long-term control that pay handsome dividends…both sound and balance throughout are beyond reproach.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2015

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

SFS Media - SFS0062

(SACD)

$19.00

(also available to download from $10.00)

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

Masterpieces in Miniature

Masterpieces in Miniature


Debussy:

La plus que lente

Delibes:

Cortege de Bacchus from Act III, Sylvia

Delius:

On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring

Dvorak:

Legends, Op. 59: No. 6 in C sharp minor

Fauré:

Pavane, Op. 50

Grieg:

Våren, elegiac melody for strings, Op. 34 No. 2

Ives, C:

The Alcotts

arr. Brant

Litolff:

Concerto symphonique No. 4 in D minor, Op. 102: Scherzo

Yuja Wang (piano)

Mahler:

Blumine (original 2nd movement of Symphony No. 1)

Rachmaninov:

Vocalise, Op. 34 No. 14

Schubert:

Rosamunde, D797: Entr'acte No. 3

Sibelius:

Valse Triste, Op. 44 No. 1


On ‘Masterpieces in Miniature’, Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony offer an exquisite recording of miniature masterpieces, brief but brilliant pieces by some of the world’s favourite composers, including Litolff’s Scherzo electrifyingly performed by pianist Yuja Wang.

This exquisite recording from the Grammy award-winning partnership of Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony is proof that great things come in small packages. Featuring a thrilling performance of the Scherzo from Litolff’s Concerto symphonique No. 4 by virtuoso pianist Yuja Wang, alongside pieces by Debussy, Dvorák, Fauré, Grieg, Mahler, Rachmaninoff and others, ‘Masterpieces in Miniature’ is a must-have collection of short pieces by some of the world’s favourite composers that will delight casual listeners and aficionados alike. “These pieces were haunting, unforgettable”, explains MTT. “They seemed to explore the realms of vanished emotions, like wistfulness. They seemed like elusive and charming recollections of long ago.”

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

SFS Media - SFS0060

(SACD)

$19.00

(also available to download from $10.00)

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

Bernstein: West Side Story

Bernstein: West Side Story


Alexandra Silber (Maria), Cheyenne Jackson (Tony), Jessica Vosk, (Anita), Kevin Vortmann (Riff), Kelly Markgraf (Bernardo), David Michael Laffey (Big Deal/Snowboy), Juliana Hansen (Rosalia), Louise Marie Cornillez (Consuelo), Zacharay Ford (Diesel), Cassie Simone (Francisca), Justin Keyes (Action), Chris Meissner (Baby John), Louis Pardo (A-rab), Michael Taylor (Officer Krupke), Julia Bullock (A Girl)

San Francisco Symphony, Members of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, Michael Tilson Thomas

Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony release Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story as you’ve never heard it before: a live recording of the first-ever concert performances of the complete Broadway score, starring Cheyenne Jackson as Tony and Alexandra Silber as Maria. The 2-hybrid SACD set is sumptuously packaged in a 100-page, hard-bound full colour book.

Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony serve up the most sizzling release of the summer: Leonard Bernstein’s legendary musical score to West Side Story. The live recording from San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall captures the first-ever concert performances of the complete Broadway score, including spoken dialogue. The talented cast is led by two young stars of the stage and screen: gay icon Cheyenne Jackson (30 Rock, Glee, Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida) as Tony, and Alexandra Silber (Carousel, The Woman in White, Master Class) as Maria. There can be no better conductor at the helm of this greatest of theatrical scores than MTT, who is indelibly associated with Leonard Bernstein and his legacy.

The appeal of this West Side Story will be broad, to collectors of classical, musical theatre and audiophile recordings. The sumptuous package features two premium audio hybrid SACDs in a 100-page, hard-bound full colour book featuring a major essay, notes by Jaime Bernstein and Rita Moreno, interviews, a historical timeline, archival photographs, complete lyrics, and extensive rehearsal and performance photos.

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

“As Maria, Silber accounts for several highlights on this recording. Her gleaming, peach-pure soprano lends sweetness and sexiness to the romantic duets...Tilson Thomas and the orchestra bring a wonderful clarity and pulsing sense of lushness to these songs and scenes...The percussion section covers itself in glory, punching up rhythms and deftly spicing things up throughout.” MusicWeb International, 2nd June 2014

“So much of what Michael Tilson Thomas and his San Francisco Symphony Orchestra achieve here hits the spot; nowhere is casting wrong-headed...[Jackson] is idiomatic and engaged...Silber is lovely, too, with more vocal colour than the average show (soubrette) soprano...pretty damn good, and the first serious challenger to the...Broadway original.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2014

“Listen as the fingers snap and the saxophone smoulders in the Act I prologue. You definitely feel the adrenaline of a live occasion: the vitality of the playing is enthralling. At the same time there’s a bloom and finesse about the sounds that lift us some distance from the show’s Broadway origins.” The Times, 6th June 2014 ***

“Tilson Thomas's version scores heavily with its casting of the appealingly youthful-sounding Cheyenne Jackson as Tony and Alexandra Silber as Maria...The orchestra swings like the biggest of big bands, with a driving kit drummer and some spectacular trumpet playing...The performance deserves, and demands, tumultuous applause.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2014 *****

“This San Francisco take on Manhattan is far slicker and more urbane than Bernstein’s own...I love the organised chaos which Tilson Thomas’s exaggerated cross-rhythms...The young lovers here are a far more believable pair than Bernstein’s operatic veterans.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 9th June 2014

“Probably the most complete version of Bernstein’s masterpiece ever recorded...It’s beautiful, but some of the edginess and energy has gone.” The Times, 29th June 2014 ***

“Even with the dialogue cut to a bare minimum they make the drama genuinely involving – there's no hint of parody in the Puerto Rican accents...while Cheyenne Jackson's Tony is a nicely conflicted mix of sentiment and swagger. Both the choral singing and the orchestral playing are immaculate, too, but the performance doesn't always fizz as it ought to.” The Guardian, 3rd July 2014 ****

“Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony spin over the jazzy Latin syncopations of the dance music...[Silber and Jackson] embody all the ardour of Maria and Tony’s young love without grandstanding pomposity...The SF Symphony Chorus kicks up a storm. This is a recording that will blow your socks off.” The Telegraph, 22nd July 2014 *****

Presto Disc of the Week

9th June 2014

Presto Discs of 2014

Finalist

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

SFS Media - SFS0059

(SACD - 2 discs)

$34.25

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Beethoven: Symphony No. 2 & Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II

Beethoven: Symphony No. 2 & Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II


Beethoven:

Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II, WoO 87

Sally Matthews (soprano), Tamara Mumford (mezzo-soprano), Barry Banks (tenor), Andrew Foster-Williams (bass-baritone)

with San Francisco Symphony Chorus

Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36


Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony pair Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 and the Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II, expertly abetted by the superb San Francisco Symphony Chorus and an international quartet of soloists.

Beethoven’s colossal Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II for chorus, soloists, and orchestra, and his playful, upbeat Second Symphony combine on this powerful live recording by 15-time Grammy Award-winning San Francisco Symphony and Chorus. Rarely performed and recorded, the gripping and profoundly moving funeral cantata, composed by a teenage Beethoven, proved a revelation during MTT’s and the Symphony’s May 2013 Beethoven Project. Presented as a premium audio hybrid SACD, this release joins the growing critically acclaimed discography of Beethoven recordings by MTT and SFS.

“Tilson Thomas and what sounds like a large body of San Franciscans, both choral and orchestral, manage the dynamic contrasts very well. Andrew Foster-Williams gives a vivid account...Sally Matthews sustains the long phrases with warm, consolatory tone.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2014

“Tilson Thomas’s San Francisco musicians give it a heartfelt and graceful performance, with Andrew Foster-Williams particularly good evoking the ogre of “Fanaticism” that Joseph II allegedly banished. Plus, a lithe account of Beethoven’s Second Symphony.” The Times, 9th November 2013 ****

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

SFS Media - SFS0058

(SACD)

$19.00

(also available to download from $10.00)

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

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