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Mozart: Violin Sonatas

Mozart: Violin Sonatas


Violin Sonata No. 23 in D major, K306

Violin Sonata No. 29 in A major, K402

Violin Sonata No. 24 in F major, K376

Six Variations in G minor on 'Hélas, j'ai perdu mon amant', K360

Violin Sonata No. 26 in B flat major, K378

Ulf Schneider (violin) & Stephan Imorde (piano)

The works on this recording form the basis for a recital featuring readings of Constanze Mozart's letters. The album does not include the readings. ''Helas, j'ai perdu mon amant'' is the title of the project that gave rise to the recordings on this album. What lies behind the title you have chosen? Stephan Imorde: For quite some time we had already wanted to associate text and music on the concert podium in order to place music in a new context. Our idea was to view Mozart from the perspective of his wife Constanze: in our attempt to picture how she must have perceived Wolfgang's life, we embarked on an imaginary journey. Ulf Schneider: Very few letters written by Constanze have been preserved. Nevertheless, from the great number of letters her husband sent her, we can surmise that the two were emotionally very close. On the basis of those letters, music journalist Jurgen Otten has drawn up a fictitious diary. In our project we hold a musical dialogue with acress Fritzi Haberlandt: between the pieces, she reads from the diary.

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Avi Music - AVI8553372



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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

Presto Disc of the Week

26th May 2017

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BSO Classics - BSOCL1701


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Prokofiev: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 5

Prokofiev: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 5


Symphony No. 1 in D major, Op. 25 'Classical'

Symphony No. 5 in B flat major, Op. 100

Third (and last but one) instalment in James Gaffigan/Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra's ongoing series of Prokofiev's complete symphonies.

Nos. 1 and 5 are surely the most famous and beloved of Prokofiev's symphonies. They were written in a time-span of 27 years (the former in France, the latter in Soviet Union) they display two much different faces of the composer's musical personality.

The Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra (RFO), founded in 1945, is an essential link in the Dutch music life. The RFO performs symphonic concerts and operas in concert, as well as many world- and Netherlands premieres.

Markus Stenz was appointed chief conductor in 2012, after predecessor as Bernard Haitink, Jean Fournet, Willem van Otterloo, Hans Vonk, Edo de Waart and Jaap van Zweden. The RFO has worked with internationally highly regarded conductors such as Leopold Stokowski, Kirill Kondrashin, Antal Doráti, Charles Dutoit, Michael Tilson Thomas, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Mariss Jansons, Peter Eötvös, Vladimir Jurowski and Valery Gergiev. The American conductor James Gaffigan is principal guest conductor since the season 2011-2012. Bernard Haitink has connected his name to the RFO as patron.

The RFO has build an extensive CD catalogue, with works by contemporary composers such as Jonathan Harvey, Klas Torstensson, James MacMillan and Jan van Vlijmen, the registration of Wagner's Parsifal, Lohengrin, die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. Complete symphonies of Bruckner, Rachmaninow, Shostakovich and Hartmann have been released in recent years.

The Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and the Netherlands Radio Choir will be awarded the Concertgebouw prize of 2017.

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Super Audio CD


Hybrid Multi-channel

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Challenge Classics - CC72732


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Chopin: Piano Sonata No. 2 & other works

Chopin: Piano Sonata No. 2 & other works


Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 35 'Marche funèbre'

Mazurkas (3), Op. 50

Fantasia in F minor, Op. 49

Nocturne No. 5 in F sharp major, Op. 15 No. 2

Étude Op. 10 No. 5 in G flat major 'Black Key'

Prelude Op. 28 No. 9 in E major

Prelude Op. 28 No. 10 in C sharp minor

Prelude Op. 28 No. 11 in B major

Prelude Op. 28 No. 12 in G sharp minor

Polonaise No. 5 in F sharp minor, Op. 44

Étude Op. 25 No. 4 in A minor

Étude Op. 10 No. 7 in C major

Angela Hewitt numbers among the most distinguished pianists of our time. She specializes in the music of J. S. Bach, but few remember that already in 1980 at the Chopin Competition, she revealed her uncommon talent and, though she did not win a prize, she certainly did figure among the most interesting artistic personalities. Unfortunately, almost ‘[n]o one at the time, among the jury, the critics or the audience, stood up for this brilliant pianist. […] One thing, however, is certain: her competition performances of Chopin’s works, despite the technical glitches, are impressive for their maturity and their individual stamp. The 22-year-old Angela Hewitt has a perfect grasp of the sense of Chopin’s rubato, creates subtle phrasing and employs a refined, rounded sound, although perhaps of limited amplitude (one would like to say “womanly”).’*

Her competition recordings are being brought back by The Fryderyk Chopin Institute in its Blue Series, which reminds listeners of the most interesting performances of the Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition.

*From Marcin Gmys’ text in the CD booklet

“Many qualities of the mature pianist are readily recognisable in the 22-year-old contestant, among them careful attention to Chopin’s polyphony, with often surprising though natural voice-leading; a deftly calibrated sound palette; and a strong point of view in virtually every work. Hewitt devotees will find this release irresistible…and, no doubt, all lovers of Chopin will find interesting, even provocative interpretative insights” Gramophone Magazine, June 2017

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Frederick Chopin Institute - NIFCCD631


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Joanna MacGregor plays The Complete Chopin Mazurkas

Joanna MacGregor plays The Complete Chopin Mazurkas


Mazurkas Nos. 1-51

Schumann called Chopin's mazurkas "canons buried in flowers", a synthesis of Polish folk culture, nostalgia, poetry and political defiance. Performed chronologically they portray a subtle and confessional diary of a transcendent, innovative composer.

A lifetime's study for any pianist, Joanna MacGregor peels back the layers of one of the greatest collections of piano literature. For Joanna, this has been a very personal journey: "I've loved Chopin's mazurkas since childhood; I can think of no other collection that reveals a composer so intimately. Soulful, witty, and often dramatic, they can be experienced in a multiplicity of ways: as a diary of Chopin's life; as his laboratory for compositional ideas; as a testimony to Polish culture, and his elegant improvisation."

Recorded in the Britten Theatre at Snape Maltings, Joanna will also perform them in their entirety at the Wigmore Hall on 12 May 2017.

"I've taken the simple decision to record and perform all fifty-seven in order of composition, and to follow the intense unfolding of a composer returning to the same place again and again: from Chopin's first mazurka to his last."

As a student, Joanna clearly recalls hearing Horowitz perform in London in 1982: "I slept outside the Royal Festival Hall to be sure of getting a ticket. Of all the pieces he played at his recital, the miraculous Op.17 No.4 is the most vivid memory. Chopin's porous, unresolved fluidity in these works has inspired so pianists; his mazurkas a witness to human vulnerability and longing."

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Sound Circus - SCCD21705

(CD - 2 discs)


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Brahms: Violin Concerto & Symphony No. 3

Brahms: Violin Concerto & Symphony No. 3


Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77

Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90

Emilio Percan (violin & direction)

National Symphony Orchestra of the Republic of Bashkortosta

With his Violin Concerto Brahms was often accused of having embedded the solo violin too deeply within the orchestra. When looking at his two piano concertos, his intention seems to have been rather to write symphonic concerts as virtuoso solo pieces with orchestral accompaniment. “Because of the dialogues in the orchestra between violins and wind instruments and the accompanying figures of the solo violins, the concert seems to me rather like a piece of chamber music”, tells us Emilio Percan and decided to record the Violin Concerto without a conductor. The matter of instrumentation is crucial in this context. Example for Percan is the Meininger Hofkapelle, which premiered many of Brahms’ pieces and played with almost half of the violins than other orchestras of the time (and of today!). Brahms, however, had an exact idea of how the orchestral arrangement should look like for his pieces. For the performance of one of his symphonies in Boston, he was to sketch the desired setup and made a drawing which was the model for the present recording. The result is a completely new listening experience which brings both the Violin Concerto and the Third Symphony closer to chamber music, thereby allowing hitherto unknown aspects of the music to arise.

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Pan Classics - PC10356



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Lonati: Sonate da camera

Lonati: Sonate da camera


Sonata No. 1 from XII Sonate a violino solo e basso

Sonata No. 2 from XII Sonate a violino solo e basso

Sonata No. 3 from XII Sonate a violino solo e basso

Sonata No. 6 from XII Sonate a violino solo e basso 'Ciaccone'

Carlo Ambrogio Lonati, a flamboyant character in the Italian violin scene, was born in Milan and moved to Rome at age 25, where he became known as the 'hunchback of the Queen' Christina of Sweden. His stature predestined him as a singer for roles of gnomes and dwarves at the Rome Opera.

Corelli played for a few years in the orchestra directed by Lonati, as its concertmaster. One can only marvel at the fact that the virtuoso didn’t publish his collection of 12 sonatas before the year 1701, possibly motivated by the success of Corelli’s own violin sonatas (1701). At his point in time however, Lonati’s compositions were already a few years old and had been copied a number of times. Had he published his works at the time of their creation, his success would have been distinctly greater. These masterpieces were dedicated to the Emperor, Leopold I. Lonati’s virtuosity comes close to that of Biber whose works Ars Antiqua Austria have also championed. The power of expression in his music is surprising, although he cannot disavow the sunny origins of his Italian soul.

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Pan Classics - PC10363



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Schubert: Overtures, Romances & Arias

Schubert: Overtures, Romances & Arias


Die Zauberharfe (The Magic Harp), D 644 - Overture

Die Zauberharfe (The Magic Harp), D 644: Was belebt die schöne Welt?

Die Zauberharfe (The Magic Harp), D 644 - Sinfonia to Act Three

Es erhebt sich eine Stimme (from Claudine von Villa Bella)

Aus Blumen deuten die Damen gern (from Die Freunde von Salamanka)

Es murmeln die Quellen, es leuchtet der Stern (from Die Freunde von Salamanka)

Ein schlafend Kind... In diesem waldumschloss'nen und abgeleg'nen Raum (from Adrast)

Meine Seele, die dich liebt (from Adrast)

Wenn ich ihm nachgerungen habe (from Lazarus)

Alfonso und Estrella Overture

Schon, wenn es beginnt zu tragen….und mein Herze will ihm nach (from Alfonso und Estrella, D732)

Wenn ich dich, Holde, sehe (from Alfonso und Estrella, D732)

Der Abend sinkt auf stiller Flur (from Fierrabras)

Was quälst du mich… In tiefbewegter Brust from Fierrabras

Der Tag entflieht, der Abend glüht (from Das Zauberglöckchen)

Of all the great composers, Schubert left by far the largest number of uncompleted works: symphonies, piano and chamber music, songs, choral music and operas. Six of the latter are represented on this disc—the early 'Adrast' written around the age of twenty and 'Fierebras' written in 1823, five years before the sudden end of his short life. Schubert made many attempts to achieve success on the Viennese operatic stage but was singularly unlucky in doing so. Consequently none of his operatic music ever entered the repertoire and today it remains the most unknown aspect of his work. Therefore this disc is an assembly of some very rare music indeed, most of which has never before been recorded. Indeed, most of these operas and singspiels have never been professionally staged since they were written. For this recording, German tenor Daniel Behle travelled to Linz/Austria and worked together with the L’Orfeo Baroque Orchestra, conducted by Michi Gaigg. German tenor and composer Daniel Behle is without question one of the leading lyric German tenors of the moment. He made his Royal Opera debut in the 2016/17 Season as Ferrando (Così fan tutte) and was highly-celebrated. Behle is possibly best-known for his adaption of Schubert’s Winterreise for tenor and piano trio, performed in 2015 at the Wigmore Hall and recorded for Sony Classical with Behle and the Oliver Schnyder Trio.

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Deutsche HM - 88985407212


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R. Strauss: Ein Heldenleben - Vinyl Edition

R. Strauss: Ein Heldenleben - Vinyl Edition

1959 recording

Strauss, R:

Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40

Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben (“A Hero’s Life”) (1959) was Karajan’s very first recording as the Berlin Philharmonic's music director, and his first post-war recording for Deutsche Grammophon. It marked the beginning of a long-lasting partnership and remains a reference Strauss recording.

Original tapes remastered by EBS and pressed on 180g heavyweight vinyl.

All releases include a voucher with a unique code to download the digital audio files (MP3) of the full album for free.

“The burnished brilliance of the playing, the finely-spun lines and perfectly sculpted dramatic climaxes - and Michael Schwalbe's violin solos - altogether shows one of the greatest Straussian teams at its peak.” BBC Music Magazine

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DG - 4797219



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Beethoven: Fidelio, Op. 72

Beethoven: Fidelio, Op. 72

2CD + Blu-ray Audio

Gundula Janowitz (Leonore), René Kollo (Florestan), Manfred Jungwirth (Rocco), Lucia Popp (Marzelline), Adolf Dallapozza (Jaquino), Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Fernando), Hans Sotin (Pizarro), Karl Terkal (Erster Gefangene), Alfred Sramek (Zweiter Gefangene)

Wiener Staatsopernchor & Wiener Philharmoniker, Leonard Bernstein

Live recording from the 1978 Vienna State Opera.

Featuring Gundula Janowitz and Rene Kollo, both celebrating their 80th Birthdays this year, and conducted by the great Leonard Bernstein, whose centenary is in 2018.

2CD+ Blu-ray Audio presenting the complete opera in 24-bit Hi-Res Audio.

76pp booklet with libretto in original language plus English and French, with synopsis in English, French and German.

“A powerful production” BBC Music Magazine

“…Each singer gives everything he or she has … The expressive colourings of the orchestra are made vivid, not to say raucous, by the emphatic treatment that Bernstein lavishes on them … there is no doubting the passion which the conductor feels for the work … it’s a moving experience.” International Record Review

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DG - 4797283

(2 CDs + Blu-ray Audio - 3 discs)

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