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Azahar: La Tempête

Azahar: La Tempête


La Tempête, Simon-Pierre Bestion

After The Tempest (ALPHA208), its first recording on a Shakespearian theme, which was much admired (Diapason d’Or etc.), La Tempête presents ‘Azahar’ (orange blossom in Spanish), which contrasts and interweaves the polyphony of Machaut with the poetry of the Spanish cantigas and the century of Stravinsky and Ohana. Simon-Pierre Bestion, founder of the company La Tempête, tells us: ‘I like the idea of disorientating the listener between different historical periods. Stravinsky wrote his Mass after discovering Machaut’s setting, while Ohana’s Cantigas de Santa Maria allude to those of Alfonso the Wise and to folksong . . . One can take extraordinary liberties with Machaut’s famous Mass: its music calls for a fairly sonorous, straight style of singing – like Corsican or Basque polyphony. I chose singers familiar with early music, powerful, direct voices, using little vibrato, voices that could also sing Stravinsky and Ohana. The orchestra was arranged in consorts for the early repertory, and in mixed desks for Ohana and Stravinsky. The chorus was placed all around in a circle, in a single row. I like to share that experience of feeling the sound physically.’

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Alpha - ALPHA261

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Lettres Intimes

Lettres Intimes

Quartets by Bartók, Schulhoff & Janácek


Bartók:

String Quartet No. 1, Sz 40 (Op. 7)

Janacek:

String Quartet No. 2 'Intimate Letters'

Schulhoff:

Five Pieces for String Quartet


Quatuor Voce

The Quatuor Voce, which recently celebrated its tenth anniversary, follows up its two recordings of Mozart with Juliette Hurel (ALPHA204) and Brahms with Lise Berthaud (ALPHA214) by inviting us on a journey to central Europe. The three works recorded here were written over a period of twenty years. Two of them allude to their composer’s love lives. Bartók’s First Quartet might be seen as Beethoven’s Quartet no.17.

The intense opening Lento is a lyric-dramatic movement that transposes an unhappy experience of love. No previous quartet had come so close to the Beethovenian ideal. Janáček’s Second Quartet reflects his love for Kamila Stösslová, and is a faithful mirror of emotions in all their spontaneous and constantly shifting authenticity. Schulhoff was one of the first Jewish composers to fall victim to Nazi barbarity. Inventive, omnivorously curious, he was a virtuoso pianist who performed both jazz and serial music. His Five Pieces consist of a suite of dances in different styles, successively Alla Valse viennese, Alla Serenata, Alla Czeca, Alla Tango milonga and Alla Tarantella.

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Alpha - ALPHA268

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Dvorák: Symphony No. 9 & The Hero's Song

Dvorák: Symphony No. 9 & The Hero's Song


Dvorak:

The Hero's Song, Op. 111

Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95 'From the New World'


NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, Krzysztof Urbanski

Following on from his critically acclaimed Lutosławski programme, the conductor Krzysztof Urbański pursues his collaboration with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester et Alpha. The New World Symphony is a work that has always fascinated Krzysztof Urbański: ‘It was only when I studied Dvořák’s other symphonies that I came to understand the principal characteristic and strength of the Ninth: simplicity. I wanted to dig deeper, and so I examined the manuscript and parts used for the New York premiere. There I discovered things that changed my view of it, like the fact that the first four bars of the third movement shouldn’t be played on the repeat. That gives them a completely different meaning when they recur at the da capo . . . The coupling, the rare Hero’s Song, shows an entirely different side of Dvořák. The way he transforms the initial four-note motif to evoke so many varied feelings, from joy to tragedy, shows his immense compositional mastery.’

This new album will be released to coincide with the opening of the ElbPhilharmonie hall in Hamburg, where Urbański will be one of the leading figures. (from an interview with Julius Heile).

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Alpha - ALPHA269

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Saint-Saëns: Mélodies avec Orchestre

Saint-Saëns: Mélodies avec Orchestre


Saint-Saëns:

Angélus

L'attente (Hugo)

Reverie (Hugo)

La brise (No. 1 from Mélodies persanes, Op. 26)

Extase (Hugo)

La feuille de peuplier

L'Enlèvement (V. Hugo)

Les fees

Souvenances

Désir d'amour

Les cloches de la mer

La splendeur vide (No. 2 from Mélodies persanes, Op. 26)

Le Pas d'armes du Roi Jean (Hugo)

La cloche

Papillons

Plainte (A. Tastu)

Aimons-nous

Au cimetière (No. 5 from Mélodies persanes, Op. 26)

Danse macabre (song)


Yann Beuron (tenor), Tassis Christoyannis (baritone)

Orchestra Della Svizzera Italiana, Markus Poschner

Although the turn of the twentieth century marked the golden age of French song, the genre was generally accompanied on the piano and only rarely orchestrated by its composers.

But Camille Saint-Saëns, a great lover of poetry, was also a champion of the orchestrated mélodie and the French coloristic style. He also wanted to counterbalance the overwhelming popularity of operatic arias in concert programmes. An immense admirer of Victor Hugo, Saint-Saëns set many of his poems to music, including L’Enlèvement, Rêverie, and Le Pas d’armes du Roi Jean, regarded as one of his masterpieces.

Exoticism and a certain sense of the supernatural run through such songs as Danse macabre, one of the most popular pieces of classical music, but always heard nowadays either in its version for orchestra alone or performed by a singer with piano accompaniment. Of the twenty-five mélodies with orchestra listed in the catalogue of Saint-Saëns, nineteen are recorded here, all of them for the first time!

With interpreters of the calibre of Yann Beuron and Tassis Christoyannis, the words are perfectly served here and the composer’s coloristic talents heard from the very first bars.

This disc is a genuine event that enables us to rediscover a whole segment of the history of vocal music, a renaissance made possible by the Fondation Bru Zane.

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Alpha - ALPHA273

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JS Bach: Ouvertures

JS Bach: Ouvertures


Bach, J S:

Cantata BWV119 'Preise, Jerusalem, den Herrn'

arr. A. Bernardini for orchestra

Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C major, BWV1066

Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV1068

Cantata BWV194 'Höchsterwünschtes Freudenfest'

arr. A. Bernardini for orchestra

Orchestral Suite No. 4 in D major, BWV1069


Like many German composers of his time, Johann Sebastian Bach also devoted himself to the French style with its characteristic dances and rhythmic ouvertures. His regular contact from an early age with French musicians and dance masters living in Germany made him very familiar and competent with the typical features of French music. Among the results of this interest are his orchestral ouvertures, of which BWV 1066, 1068 and 1069 with large scoring are presented in this recording. German composers occasionally liked to experiment freely with both the French and Italian styles, with the aim to originate that “gemischter Stil” (mixed style) that was so praised by Quantz and others. As an example of a free adaptation of an overture, Bach’s first chorus from Cantata BWV 110 adopts the first movement of the Orchestral Suite BWV 1069 with the addition of a 4-parts choir. Other of his cantatas begin with a chorus in overture form, and it is very likely that they are also his own arrangements of previous instrumental versions which are lost, as happened with many of his Cöthen works.

On the basis of this conjecture, Zefiro has included in this recording the reconstruction of instrumental overtures based on the opening choruses of Bach Cantatas BWV 119 and 194.

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Arcana - A400

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JS Bach: Sei Suonate À Cembalo Certato E Violino Solo

JS Bach: Sei Suonate À Cembalo Certato E Violino Solo


Bach, J S:

Sonatas for Violin & Harpsichord Nos. 1-6, BWV1014-1019

Cantabile from Sonata No. 6 version 2 BWV1019a

bonus


Chiara Zanisi (violin) & Giulia Nuti (harpsichord)

The violinist Chiara Zanisi works with the finest early music ensembles, notably the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra under Ton Koopman, with whom she has just finished a long tour performing the Six Brandenburg Concertos. She now devotes her first solo recording to Johann Sebastian Bach’s Six Sonatas for Harpsichord and Violin. Alongside her is Giulia Nuti, among the most brilliant harpsichordists and scholars in Italy, whose solo CD Les Sauvages: Harpsichords in pre-Revolutionary Paris (DHM) won a Diapason d’Or, among other awards. The kernel from which this project grew is their strongly shared idea that, in addition to great stylistic richness and invention, Bach’s music possesses an aura of magic and an almost divine form. Thus, in this valuable and elegant reading, it is clearly their intention to underline in the simplest way the grandeur of the writing. Even the choice of sound aesthetic, beautifully realised under the supervision of Fabio Framba, opts for the ‘real’ with a ‘pure’, ‘speaking’ sound, warm and full of harmonics. The attractions of this precious version of the Six Sonatas, played on a G. Gagliano violin of 1761 and a harpsichord by K. Hill, are enhanced by a bonus track: the Cantabile, un poco Adagio from the early version of Sonata VI in G major.

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Arcana - A426

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The Italian Job

The Italian Job

Baroque Instrumental Music from the Italian States


Albinoni:

Concerto Op. 9 No. 3 for two oboes & strings in F major

Caldara:

Sinfonia for 2 oboes, 2 bassoons, 2 trumpets, timpani, violin, strings & continuo in C

Corelli:

Sinfonia, WoO 1, to the oratorio Santa Beatrice d'Este

Tartini:

Concerto in E major, D51

Torelli:

Sinfonia for 4 trumpets, timpani, 2 oboes, 2 bassoons, 2 violins, 2 cellos, strings & continuo in C, G 33

Vivaldi:

Concerto RV151 in G major for strings & basso continuo 'Alla rustica'

Bassoon Concerto, RV 467 in C major


Gail Hennessy, Rachel Chaplin (oboes) & Peter Whelan (bassoon)

La Serenissima, Adrian Chandler

Gramophone Award-winning Adrian Chandler and his period-instrument ensemble La Serenissima present The Italian Job, a feast of instrumental colour featuring oboes, bassoons, trumpets, trombone, timpani, strings and continuo, by some of the finest composers of the Italian baroque. The music on this recording comes from four cities, each with a rich musical heritage: Venice (Albinoni, Caldara, Vivaldi), Bologna (Torelli), Padua (Tartini) and Rome (Corelli).

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Avie - AV2371

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Leo Ornstein: Complete Violin Sonatas

Leo Ornstein: Complete Violin Sonatas


Ornstein:

Violin Sonata No. 1, Op. 26

Violin Sonata No. 2, Op. 31

Hebraic Fantasy for violin and piano

Violin Sonata, Op. Posth.

Three pieces for flute and piano


Francesco Parrino (violin), Stefano Parrino (flute) & Maud Renier (piano)

Leo Ornstein was born in 1895 in the Ukraine, and emigrated with his family in 1906 to the USA, where he became a famous pianist and leading figure in the American Avant‐Garde, writing highly experimental music in which tonal clusters played an important role. Halfway the 20ties he withdrew from public life and founded his own music School the Ornstein School of Music. He continued composing but was largely forgotten till the revival by his son in the 70ties.

Ornstein’s works show a wide variety, from Post‐Romantic works in the tradition of Grieg and Franck to pieces of shocking modernity and savagery. This 2CD set contains the complete music for violin and piano and for flute and piano, music of a highly original spirit, who died at the advanced age of 108 in the year 2002.

Played with great conviction and dedication by violinist Francesco Parrino, flutist Stefano Parrino and pianist Maud Renier.

The booklet contains excellent liner notes as well as a personal assessment by the son Severo Ornstein.

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Brilliant Classics - 95079BR

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R. Strauss & Thuille: Cello Sonatas

R. Strauss & Thuille: Cello Sonatas


Strauss, R:

Cello Sonata in F major, Op. 6

Romance for cello and piano in F Major, AV 75

Thuille:

Sonata for Cello and Piano in D Minor, Op. 22


Andrea Favalessa (cello) & Maria Semeraro (piano)

Between Richard Strauss and Ludwig Thuille (born in 1864 and 1861 respectively) existed a strong friendship and mutual respect. Their two youthful cello sonatas share the same idiom: passionate and lateromantic soaring themes, a profound lyricism and a virtuoso writing for both cello and piano.

Performed with an appropriate sense of exaltation and grandeur by cellist Andrea Favalessa and pianist Maria Semeraro, who form a duo for many years, having won several international chamber music competitions.

The duo Favalessa Semeraro already successfully recorded the complete music for cello and piano by Alfredo Casella for Brilliant Classics (BC94823).

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Brilliant Classics - 95238BR

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Biber: Mystery Sonatas

Biber: Mystery Sonatas

Complete Violin Sonatas


includes

Biber:

The Rosary Sonatas

Sonata violino solo representativa in A

plus

Sonatas for solo violin & b.c. (Salzburg, 1681)

Violin Sonatas (Minoritenkonvent, Vienna, Ms 726)


Igor Ruhadze (violin)

Ensemble Violini Capricciosi

The first recording of the complete violin sonatas by Biber.

The violin sonatas of Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber (1644‐1704) have come to represent the pinnacle of seventeenth‐century violin playing and composition due to their inventiveness and technical difficulty. Biber is especially known for his extensive use of scordatura, the practice of retuning the violin strings to different pitches than those normally used.

Played with full technical command and imagination by Igor Ruhadze and his Ensemble I Violini Capricciosi, consisting of cello, theorbo, organ and harpsichord. These artists gained international recognition for their staggering recording of the complete works by Pietro Antonio Locatelli (BC94358).

Contains biographies of the artists and liner notes written by the artist.

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Brilliant Classics - 95291BR

(CD - 5 discs)

$15.75

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