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Schoenberg: Gurrelieder

Schoenberg: Gurrelieder

Barbara Haveman (soprano), Claudia Mahnke (mezzo), Brandon Jovanovich (tenor), Gerhard Siegel (tenor), Thomas Bauer (baritone), Johannes Martin Kränzle (speaker)

Gürzenich-Orchester Köln, Domkantorei Köln, Männerstimmen des Kölner Domchores, Vokalensemble Kölner Dom, Chor des Bach-Vereins Köln, Kartäuserkantorei Köln, Markus Stenz

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

The Gürzenich-Orchester of Cologne has a pedigree second to none—counting Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss among those who have entrusted it with premieres of their works—and when you hear this new recording the reasons for this are clear. Devastating brass combines with mellifluous winds and strings in a performance of Schoenberg’s late Romantic masterpiece.

Markus Stenz conducts a fine line-up of soloists and marshalls the massed choirs in this most epic of works.

“a good resumé of Stenz’s qualities, his confidence in handling massive forces and his affinity with music composed on the cusp of modernism; he’s at his best in passages such as the orchestral interlude that precedes the Song of the Wood Dove...and the Wild Hunt of the Summer Wind.” The Guardian, 25th June 2015 ***

“This superb performance crowns Stenz’s tenure as Cologne’s general music director, with opulent playing from the Gürzenichers and six Cologne and Dutch choirs. Brandon Jovanovich’s thrilling Waldemar and Claudia Mahnke’s plangent Wood Dove are the pick of a fine team of soloists.” Sunday Times, 28th June 2015

“Live recording’s cast is swept along with élan by conductor Markus Stenz.” Financial Times, 26th June 2015

“The star of the set is undoubtedly tenor Brandon Jovanovich as Waldemar; his baritonal timbre suits the piece well, particularly the relatively low writing given to him for his first entry, but his top notes ring when necessary...the Cologne woodwind are on top form, as indeed is everyone in this fine new recording of a wonderfully colourful and dramatic piece.” James Longstaffe, Presto Classical, 29th June 2015

“Excellent performances throughout from orchestra, soloists and choruses – rarely have the lush textures of Schoenberg’s late-Romantic cantata sounded this fresh.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2015

Presto Disc of the Week

29th June 2015

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2015

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA68081/2

(CD - 2 discs)

Normally: $31.75

Special: $28.50

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Lassus: Missa super Dixit Joseph & motets

Lassus: Missa super Dixit Joseph & motets


Confitemini Domino

Missa super Dixit Joseph

Dixit Joseph undecim fratribus suis

In me transierunt irae tuae

O Mors, quam amara

Deus, Qui Sedes

Si bona suscepimus

Deus, canticum novum

Veni dilecte mi

Fallax gratia

Timor et Tremor

The six sublime singers of Cinquecento have for seven years now been championing the lesser-known masters of the Austrian court. Now they turn to one of the greats: Lassus. The Missa super Dixit Joseph is based on one of Lassus’ own motets and combines the composer’s characteristic flair for vibrant text-setting with the nascent polychoral style of which he would become an early master.

Glorious performances of the Mass and a diverse range of motets comprise a most satisfying album which culminates with the famous Timor et tremor.

“[Cinquecento's reading is] finely detailed and vocally sure-footed [with a] secure sense of architecture…close attention is rewarded with deepening appreciation.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2015

“Cinquecento, pure-toned but never over-polished, are willing to take risks, which gives this ethereal music energy and life.” The Observer, 26th July 2015 ****

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA68064


Normally: $16.00

Special: $14.25

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American Polyphony

American Polyphony

Barber, S:

Agnus Dei

Reincarnations, Op. 16

Twelfth Night

To Be Sung on the Water, Op. 42

Heaven-Haven: A Nun Takes the Veil Op. 13, No. 1

The Virgin Martyrs Op. 8 No. 1

Let Down the Bars, O Death Op. 8 No. 2


Missa Brevis

David Allsopp (countertenor), Christopher Lowrey (countertenor) & Robert Millett (percussion)


Four Motets

Thompson, R:


Fare Well 'When I lie where shades of darkness'

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

An all-too-rare new recording from Polyphony and Stephen Layton presents highlights from the choral repertoire by four twentieth-century American giants: Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland and Randall Thompson. Framed by Thompson’s understated favourites Alleluia and Fare Well, the programme includes Bernstein’s Missa brevis, Copland’s early set of four motets, and—of course—Barber’s inimitable Agnus Dei.

Stephen Layton talks to Presto's David Smith about American Polyphony here.

“Stephen Layton’s Polyphony are an always impressive choir of startling purity and clarity.” The Observer, 21st June 2015 ****

“The peerless choir offer meticulously blended and shaped performances of 20th-century a cappella American choral works.” Sunday Times, 28th June 2015

“This is the finest performance of Barber's Agnus Dei I've heard by any choir, live or on record…a wonderful recital, not to be missed.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2015

“If ever anyone was under the misapprehension that American choral music begins and ends with the Agnus Dei, this disc is the perfect riposte. A delightful selection, beautifully performed.” David Smith, Presto Classical, 6th July 2015

“This is an atmospheric anthology, fastidiously chosen and delivered by this fine choir.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2015

Presto Disc of the Week

6th July 2015

BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the month - August 2015

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA67929


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Special: $14.25

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Debussy, Bartók & Prokofiev: Études

Debussy, Bartók & Prokofiev: Études


3 Studies, BB 81, Sz. 72, Op. 18


Études pour piano (12) (complete)


Four Etudes, Op. 2

Garrick Ohlsson has an unbeaten reputation as the master of the miniature. In this new recital he presents three sets of Études: the twelve by Claude Debussy (so ferocious in their demands they were shunned even by elite pianists for decades), as well as Prokofiev’s revolutionary opus 2 and a set of three lesser-known works by Bartók. In all Ohlsson excels.

“His powerful technique motors through Prokofiev’s four miniatures with tremendous confidence, relishing their naughty-boy dissonances, and he treats the Lisztian flourishes that occasionally surface in the modernist currents of Bartók’s three pieces with suitable flamboyance. There are some fine moments in the Debussy set, too.” The Guardian, 23rd July 2015 ****

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA68080


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Special: $14.25

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Mendelssohn, Grieg & Hough: Cello Sonatas

Mendelssohn, Grieg & Hough: Cello Sonatas


Cello Sonata in A minor, Op. 36


Sonata for cello and piano left hand 'Les adieux'


Cello Sonata No. 2 in D major, Op. 58

Steven Isserlis (cello) & Stephen Hough (piano)

Grieg’s sole Cello Sonata has long been a favourite of performers and audiences, if not of musical theorists, and here receives an impassioned vote of confidence from Steven Isserlis and Stephen Hough at the head of a programme which takes the listener forwards in time to Hough’s own Sonata for cello and piano left hand and back to Mendelssohn’s ever-popular Cello Sonata No 2. A spirit of passionate romanticism unifies the whole.

“everywhere their reading [of the Grieg] glints with conviction...Isserlis is matchless in the way he tugs at the simple melody to heart-rending effect...[The Hough is] unafraid to breathe an air of nostalgia...but the results are refreshingly personal...The performance couldn't be more persuasive and the two players are beautifully recorded.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2015

“If any reminder were needed that Steven Isserlis is at the top of his game, this is it...Their opening Allegro agitato is a thrilling tour de force, Isserlis sinewy and febrile, Hough's sound lucid and full-bodied with an ideal recorded balance.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2015 *****

“Isserlis supplies the rush of emotion to Stephen Hough’s accompaniment.” Financial Times, 17th July 2015

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2015

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA68079



In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Mozart: Concertos & Haydn: Sinfonia concertante

Mozart: Concertos & Haydn: Sinfonia concertante


Sinfonia Concertante in B flat major, Op. 84, Hob. I/105

Ilya Gringolts (violin), Nicolas Altstaedt (cello), Alfredo Bernardini (oboe), Peter Whelan (bassoon)


Oboe Concerto In C major, K314

Alfredo Bernardini (oboe)

Bassoon Concerto in B flat major, K191

Peter Whelan (bassoon)

Mozart’s sublime Oboe Concerto and Bassoon Concerto (he wrote only one of each) are conjured into thrilling life by Arcangelo under the direction of Jonathan Cohen. In the Haydn Sinfonia concertante—written at the very zenith of the composer’s artistic popularity—four soloists combine with the orchestra in a spiral of theatrical competition.

“Soloists get to enjoy the music, their quirky charisma shining through.” Financial Times, 30th May 2015

“there's nothing dutiful here...Not only is there fine focus to the oboe and bassoon...but every solo line is thoughtfully inflected, as if this were really four solo concertos being played at the same time. You sense the fun they have with the music while never playing fast and loose with the basic pulse. A joy from start to finish.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2015

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA68090



In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Ysaÿe: Six Sonatas for solo violin Op. 27

Ysaÿe: Six Sonatas for solo violin Op. 27

Presto's David Smith talks to Alina Ibragimova about Ysaÿe's writing for solo violin here.

Ysaÿe’s Sonatas for solo violin were sketched out in a fevered twenty-four hours during the summer of 1923, a response to the question of why—in over two hundred years—no one had attempted to follow the path forged by Johann Sebastian Bach. Each of these six new Sonatas is dedicated to and customized around the playing style of a contemporary violinist, and as such they present formidable challenges. Russian virtuoso Alina Ibragimova, whose earlier recording of the Bach Sonatas was revelatory, turns out performances fully worthy of this distinguished ancestry.

“Together, the sonatas form a freewheeling ride to the limits of violin technique, often recalling Bach but more often not. Alina Ibragimova is a superb advocate; nothing here sounds like a mere showpiece, and her performances brim with lyricism and wit.” The Guardian, 28th May 2015 *****

“Ibragimova has made many fine recordings in recent years, but this solo Ysaye disc must count as one of her most memorable achievements...If we think of Ibragimova as a thoughtful, even scholarly player, here she proves herself adept at all the frequent showy tricks...she takes her place now as one of the most distinguished exponents of these fascinating works.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2015

“Nothing in the violin canon is quite like this: the ghost of Bach lurks behind each sonata, but their character is distinct: there is wry humour, grave beauty and daring impetuosity. Ibragimova transfixes throughout.” The Times, 19th June 2015 *****

“she's up there with the best...there's much of the tonal and dynamic palette that this music needs, characterising the forceful and passionate, as well as the shadowy and understated. She has a good feel for organic rubato,which never loses the underlying pulse, and can change mood and colour almost instantaneously.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2015 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - July 2015

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA67993



In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Power of Life

Power of Life


Versets on ’Ave Maris Stella’ (from Vespers of the Virgin, Op. 18)


Toccata No. 2


Andante and Variations in G for Piano Duet, K501

arr. David Nield


Messa Solenne in F for organ solo: Allegro festoso


Rhapsody on Breton Themes, Op. 7 No. 3


Amazing Grace (No. 1 of Sacred Sounds)


Rapsodia alla latina


Power of Life (No. 1 of Festivity)


Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5: Aria (Cantilena)

arr. Camil Van Hulse

Wagner, F:

Trionfo della vita 'Phantasiestück', Op. 76


Orb and Sceptre

arr. Sir William McKiie & Christopher Herrick


Capriol Suite: Pieds-en-l'air

arr. Christopher Herrick

Christopher Herrick (Metzler Organ of Poblet Monastery, Tarragona, Spain)

Christopher Herrick makes no quasi-intellectual claims for this album: its intention is to entertain. And with twelve tracks of (largely) ridiculous organ fare, and the beast of an instrument that is the new Metzler organ of Poblet Monastery in Catalonia, the requisites quickly fall into place. If you like your organs meaty, but with a good sense of humour, this one is for you.

“There is more than enough here to excite anyone with a taste for spectacular organ pyrotechnics.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2015

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA68129



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The Romantic Piano Concerto 65 - Albéniz & Granados

The Romantic Piano Concerto 65 - Albéniz & Granados


Piano Concerto No. 1 (Concerto fantastico), Op. 78

orchestrated with Tomás Bretón

Spanish Rhapsody, Op. 70


Piano Concerto in C minor 'Patético'

adapted & reconstructed for piano and orchestra by Melani Mestre

Volume 65 (have you got them all?) of Hyperion’s Romantic Piano Concerto series journeys to Spain and the heart-on-sleeve world there to be found. The Albéniz Concierto fantástico owes much to Schumann and Chopin, albeit with an added drizzle of the Iberian peninsula; the perennially popular Rapsodia española, on the other hand, throws all such classical models to the wind.

Granados never actually got round to writing his piano concerto, so our pianist here—Hyperion debutant Melani Mestre—has done it for him. And it’s a romp. The first movement is pretty much ‘echt’, from Granados’ sketches for a putative piano concerto, but thereafter it’s a hugely enjoyable what-if …

“The ebullience of [the Rapsodia española] is infectious in the playing of Melani Mestre, who has also done the speculative reconstruction of Granados’s C minor Concerto...A sombre start, underlining Granados’s adjective patético, has the stamp of originality and its romantic sweep breathes Spanish air.” The Telegraph, 10th May 2015 *****

“The chief interest lies in the Granados, solemn and declamatory in the first movement before leaving its C minor sense of elegy to recall two earlier 'Spanish Dances' and the composer's one unabashed showpiece, the 'Allegro de concierto'. Musical adventure could hardly go further. Impeccably recorded, all the performances by Melani Mestre and the BBC Scottish Orchestra [sic] under Martyn Brabbins are of an unfaltering fluency and stylistic command.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2015

“Mestre plays [the Granados] with flair and the conviction of an evangelist, and is beguiling in the central allegretto. If neither of these works is a “great” piano concerto, both fall attractively within the rubric of Hyperion’s successful Romantic Piano Concertos series, of which this is a remarkable 65th volume.” Sunday Times, 19th July 2015

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - The Romantic Piano Concerto - CDA67918



Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Jacquet of Mantua: Missa Surge Petre & motets

Jacquet of Mantua: Missa Surge Petre & motets


Surge Petre

Missa Surge Petre

Ave Maria a 3

O vos omnes

In illo tempore

O pulcherrima inter mulieres

Domine, non secundum peccata nostra

The Brabant Ensemble, Stephen Rice

Jacquet of Mantua is not a household name. Even in the sixteenth century he was routinely mixed up with other composers of similar (or even not-that-similar) names. But his music is quite apart, as this new recording makes abundantly clear: melodic lines of audacious scope and a textural variety rarely equalled make this music a treasurable discovery, and one which The Brabant Ensemble’s performances greatly enrich.

“Specially edited for this performance, the Missa Surge Petre is lusciously scored for six parts, each of them lucidly etched in this beautifully shaped account…with its striking opposition of resonant, low voices and soaring sopranos, the concluding work, Domine, non secundum peccata nostra, creates a truly ethereal effect, enhanced by the effortless singing of this matchless vocal ensemble” BBC Music Magazine, June 2015

“This is a real discovery...The performances are all that we have come to expect of The Brabant Ensemble and Stephen Rice...lovers of sixteenth-century polyphony need have no hesitation.” MusicWeb International, 19th May 2015

“Rice presents a cogent analysis of the reasons for the neglect [of Jacquet of Mantua's music], and the Brabant Ensemble back him up with a very impressive programme, whose centrepiece is a six-voice mass...just as impressive are the motets, ambitious pieces displaying considerable variety.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2015

BBC Music Magazine

Choral & Song Choice - June 2015

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA68088



In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.


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