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John Sheppard: Media vita

John Sheppard: Media vita

& other sacred music


Sheppard, J:

Cantate Mass

Gaude gaude gaude Maria

Media vita


Even by the standards of a time and place—Tudor England—in which masterpieces of choral polyphony appear to have been virtually an everyday occurrence, there is something uniquely and intensely compelling about the surviving works of John Sheppard. This is music designed to be sung by liturgical professionals, and none rise to its demands quite like Westminster Cathedral Choir.

“Westminster match the monumentality of [Media vita’s] own structure in a spacious, architectural performance whose physical heft is balanced by a blend so smudgy-soft that the impression is of hundreds of voices all sharing in this musical prayer….It’s quite possible that 2017 marks Sheppard’s 500th anniversary year. It’s hard to think of a better birthday-present than this outstanding recording of three of his finest works.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2017

“Westminster Cathedral Choir, under Martin Baker, invest this music, magnificently sung, with immense dignity as it slowly unfolds to reveal Sheppard’s unique sound world.” The Observer, 16th July 2017 ****

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA68187

(CD)

Normally: $14.25

Special: $13.00

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Feldman, M: For Bunita Marcus

Feldman, M: For Bunita Marcus


‘I have no problem with notes … none at all’, was Feldman’s cryptic comment on For Bunita Marcus. Throughout the seventy-two-minute duration of this extraordinary work, notes coalesce into wisps of melody which drift softly in and out of an immense silence. You are indeed, as Marc-André Hamelin writes, ‘about to enter a world unlike any other’.

“Hamelin, known for his extraordinary virtuosity, here presents not so much the exact opposite of this but a world that complements it: slow, minimalist, yet strangely evocative and expressive...Simple though the music sounds, Hamelin's touch of the keyboard plays its role, each note like a separate pebble gently dropped into a pool and sending out ripples.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2017 *****

“a perfect and, at around 80 minutes, a relatively concise introduction to the timeless, pared-down world of late Feldman...Hamelin presents that world of microscopic nuances with immaculate care...everything in Hamelin’s performance seems part of a natural, inevitable unfolding, and the Hyperion recording perfectly catches all its details.” The Guardian, 27th July 2017 ****

“What Hamelin has in his favour is an unwavering focus on the dense weave of Feldman’s rhythmic grid, and a studio recording as softly tangible as fine silk. Do not, as they say, adjust your set. Rather, sit back and let the music adjust your head.” Pianist Magazine, August 2017 ****

“It’s a far cry from the virtuoso repertoire one associates with Hamelin to the glacial evacuatedness of late Feldman pieces such as this 73-minute unfolding...He realises this transfigured ritual with technical prowess surplus to requirements.” Sunday Times, 6th August 2017

“Hamelin is scrupulous over every isolated note hanging against a sky of silence, 70 minutes of stillness, a technical challenge of a special kind.” Financial Times, 4th August 2017 ***

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA68048

(CD)

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Special: $13.00

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The Romantic Piano Concerto 72 - Cipriani Potter

The Romantic Piano Concerto 72 - Cipriani Potter


Potter, C:

Piano Concerto No. 2 in D minor

Piano Concerto No. 4 in E major

Variazioni di bravura on a theme by Rossini


Volume 72 of our Romantic Piano Concerto series comes to the rescue of yet another neglected figure with three first recordings courtesy of Howard Shelley and his Tasmanian forces. Composer, pianist, writer and educator (he was an early Principal of the Royal Academy of Music), London-born Cipriani Potter was encouraged by Beethoven and admired by Wagner.

“Shelley does [Potter] proud in this effervescent recording of two Potter concertos, one a semi-homage to Mozart, the other a much broader and more expansive corker...Another gem from Hyperion’s Romantic piano concerto series.” The Observer, 9th July 2017 ****

“[Potter's concertos] are conservative in style, but distinctively coloured through their prominent use of wind instruments, as well as occasional passages for solo violin and cello...The warmth and fluency of Howard Shelley's playing present the music in the strongest possible light...More distinctive than the concertos are the 'bravura' variations...which couple glittering virtuosity with wit and inventiveness.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2017 *****

“What impressed most immediately – and more than any other element – was Howard Shelley’s playing. Not for the first time, I was lost in admiration by his dazzling dispatch of the fantastically demanding writing in the outer movements of both concertos, the aural equivalent of someone mistakenly igniting a box of fireworks. Add to that his simultaneous and complete control of his fine Tasmanian players, I cannot think of another musician who is Shelley’s equal in this dual role” Gramophone Magazine, August 2017

BBC Music Magazine

Concerto Choice - August 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - The Romantic Piano Concerto - CDA68151

(CD)

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Richard Strauss: The Complete Songs 8

Richard Strauss: The Complete Songs 8


Strauss, R:

Cäcilie, Op. 27 No. 2

Nicky Spence (tenor)

Wenn ..., Op. 31 No. 2

Nicky Spence (tenor)

Bruder Liederlich, Op. 41 No. 4

Nicky Spence (tenor)

An Sie, Op. 43 No. 1

Nicky Spence (tenor)

Die Ulme zu Hirsau, Op. 43 No. 3

Nicky Spence (tenor)

Fünf Gedichte, Op. 46

Nicky Spence (tenor)

Junggesellenschwur, Op. 49 No. 6

Nicky Spence (tenor)

Wer wird von der Welt verlangen, Op. 67 No. 4

Nicky Spence (tenor)

Hab'ich euch denn je geraten, Op. 67 No. 5

Nicky Spence (tenor)

Wanderers Gemutsruhe, Op. 67 No. 6

Nicky Spence (tenor)

Der Pokal, Op. 69, No. 2

Nicky Spence (tenor)

Vier letzte Lieder

arr. Max Wolff (1885-1954)

Rebecca Evans (soprano)

Sie wissen's nicht, Op. 49 No. 5

Nicky Spence (tenor)


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

Roger Vignoles astutely notes that Strauss’s songs cannot be played ‘without a vivid sense of the orchestral colours and textures that they imply’, so how better to conclude our series of the complete songs than with the piano-accompanied versions of the Vier letzte Lieder? These wondrous valedictions are the summation of a great composer’s love affair with the voice, written at the very end of a long creative life.

“Nicky Spence is superb. The voice has recently grown to encompass more heroic roles and we hear that in this selection, in the bright, lively tone and ringing top…He deals heroically with Strauss’s more outrageous demands and, perhaps more importantly, he has just the right interpretative keenness and enthusiasm to put a persuasive case for everything he sings here.” Gramophone Magazine, Gramophone 2017

“Strauss’s piano writing is already rich with orchestral colours, explored, relished, and teased out wonderfully by Vignoles. In these four last songs, Rebecca Evans matches him in that particular ardent introspection Strauss demands. Nicky Spence is abundant (Cäcilie), soaring (Wenn) and tender (An Sie). Three great performers. Lucky Strauss.” The Observer, 23rd July 2017 *****

“Spence's voice is extremely attractive: lyrical and full of expression, yet also with a bright, ringing top register, ideal for the demands of Strauss's vocal writing...Vignoles is of course magnificent throughout, but especially in an impassioned account of Cäcilie which, even for Strauss, has a particularly fiendish accompaniment!” James Longstaffe, Presto Classical, 4th August 2017

“The young Scots tenor is a communicative lieder singer. He begins with an impassioned Cäcilie — the best-known “tenor” song here — but goes on to explore less familiar territory. Vignoles, the mastermind behind this series, revels in Strauss’s lush piano writing in the postlude to Die Ulme zu Hirsau.” Sunday Times, 13th August 2017

Presto Disc of the Week

4th August 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion Richard Strauss Complete Songs - CDA68185

(CD)

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Special: $13.00

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Donald Swann: Songs

Donald Swann: Songs


Swann, D:

A collection of songs

Roderick Williams (baritone)

Five colourisations of Emily Dickinson

Dame Felicity Lott (soprano)

Two sonnets by Edna St Vincent Millay

Roderick Williams (baritone)

Stopping by woods

Kathryn Rudge (mezzo)

Two poems by Thomas Hardy

John Mark Ainsley (tenor)

Four lyrics from In memoriam

John Mark Ainsley (tenor), Roderick Williams (baritone)

Two poems by Christina Rossetti

Dame Felicity Lott (soprano)

Dark rose of my heart

John Mark Ainsley (tenor)

An invite to eternity

Roderick Williams (baritone)

The harlot’s house

John Mark Ainsley (tenor)

Six songs to poems by William Blake

Roderick Williams (baritone)

Ya vas lyubil 'I loved you once'

John Mark Ainsley (tenor)

She is all harmony, all wonder

John Mark Ainsley (tenor)

Some people's dreams

Kathryn Rudge (mezzo)

Marguerite

Kathryn Rudge (mezzo)

A red, red rose

John Mark Ainsley (tenor)

It was a lover, and his lass

Kathryn Rudge (mezzo)

See, dearest, how the rose

Kathryn Rudge (mezzo)

Arcades

John Mark Ainsley (tenor)

We'll go no more a-roving

John Mark Ainsley (tenor)

Longing

Kathryn Rudge (mezzo)

Oh, why are the roses so pale?

Kathryn Rudge (mezzo)

Old songs of lost love

Kathryn Rudge (mezzo)

In the mist

Kathryn Rudge (mezzo)

Raiders' dawn

John Mark Ainsley (tenor)

The youth of the heart

Roderick Williams (baritone)

He wishes for the cloths of heaven

Dame Felicity Lott (soprano)

Bilbo's Last Song

Roderick Williams (baritone), Dame Felicity Lott (soprano)


Christopher Glynn (piano)

Read our exclusive interview with Christopher Glynn about the recording here.

Swann but no Flanders: this economically priced collection celebrates the unique talents of a gifted songwriter whose settings of poets from Burns to Betjeman are ripe for revival. The quartet of distinguished singers is luxury casting.

“this is a continually fascinating and diverse selection...The real star of the show is Christopher Glynn, for whom the project has evidently been a labour of love. The detail and colour of his playing (to say nothing of the way he meets the many technical challenges Swann presents with a knowing wink) in the more than two hours of accompaniments is a fine achievement.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2017

“There are some surprises: Ainsley delivers a passionate Russian number, I loved you once, a Pushkin setting that wouldn’t disgrace Tchaikovsky or Rachmaninov. The real revelation, however, is the talent shown by the newcomer of the singing quartet: Rudge, a rising mezzo-soprano with rich tone, who brings more ardour and less archness to the material than her more fêted colleagues.” Sunday Times, 6th August 2017

“the quality of Swann’s craft is clear and Glynn points up every careful detail of some colourful piano writing...If there’s a real revelation, however, it’s the talent shown by the newcomer of the singing quartet: Rudge, a rising mezzo-soprano with rich tone, who brings more ardour and less archness to the material than her more fêted colleagues.” The Times, 28th July 2017 ***

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA68172

(CD - 2 discs)

$14.25

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Machaut: Sovereign Beauty

Machaut: Sovereign Beauty


Machaut:

Tres bonne et belle

Foy porter, V22

Dame, ne regardes pas, B9

J'ay tant / Lasse! Je sui / Ego moriar pro te

Se quanque amours, B21

Dame, a qui m'otri de cuer, V12

De desconfort, B8

Quant j'ay l'espart

Comment qu'a moy

De Bon Espoir / Puis que la douce / Speravi

Un Lay de consolation


The latest instalment in a series which continues to garner the highest critical plaudits. The Orlando Consort bring their customary virtues of ‘supreme text-sensitivity and beauty of tone’ (Early Music Today) to another recital showcasing the breadth of Machaut’s musical and poetic inventiveness.

“Machaut at his most engaging and varied...this really is one bullseye after another...Rarely since the Gothic Voices has the vocalisation of the lower lines appeared so self-evidently the right approach...if I hear a finer recording of 14th-century music this year I’ll be very surprised.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2017

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA68134

(CD)

$14.25

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Walton: Violin Concerto, Partita & Hindemith Variations

Walton: Violin Concerto, Partita & Hindemith Variations


Walton:

Violin Concerto

Anthony Marwood (violin)

Partita for Orchestra

Variations on a Theme by Hindemith

Spitfire Prelude & Fugue


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra follow up their definitive account of the symphonies (on CDA67794) with another outstanding album of Walton. From the sunlit Mediterranean lyricism of the Violin Concerto to the rousing Spitfire Prelude and Fugue, this is the composer at the height of his power.

“Anthony Marwood’s un-flashy individualism seems to be operating at an opposite pole to the Heifetz way, and generates memorable results of its own. While Marwood has all the virtuosity that the music demands, nothing is rushed…[and] the design here hangs together quite naturally. He searches out remarkable colours, too…alert accompanying by the orchestra sets a benchmark for the musical riches that follow” BBC Music Magazine, July 2017 ****

“Proceedings are launched in fine style with a supremely affectionate and agreeably lithe account of the immensely personable concerto that Walton conceived for the great Jascha Heifetz. Anthony Marwood proves an enviably secure and articulate soloist...their consistently absorbing performance will unquestionably give lasting pleasure.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2017

“an engrossing sequence. Marwood is a thrilling, virtuosic soloist in the ever-seductive concerto, and the orchestra matches his power.” Sunday Times, 2nd July 2017

“Walton’s musical and scoring virtuosity is to the fore in this wide-ranging and substantial piece that is done handsome service to by the BBCSSO and Brabbins, whether intimately expressive, fleet and spectral (Walton often with a twinkle in the eye), or grandiose.” classicalsource.com, July 2017 *****

“Marwood gently entwines himself with the orchestral texture. He's never flashy for its own sake, and yet his virtuosity and absolute command come across at every moment. Both he and the orchestra respond wonderfully to the concerto's changing moods...A fascinating disc that's well worth investigating, especially if you're tempted to explore some of Walton's lesser-known works.” James Longstaffe, Presto Classical, 7th July 2017

“Marwood is the incisive, poetic soloist in Walton’s Violin Concerto...Brabbins and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra relish the showpiece Partita.” The Observer, 9th July 2017 *****

“Anthony Marwood has the technique to encompass the dazzling finger work designed with Heifetz in mind. An unqualified success.” The Strad, July 2017

“Hyperion becomes not only my overall choice for the coupling but a very strong contender in all the individual works.” MusicWeb International, July 2017

“[a highlight is] Anthony Marwood’s intelligent reading of the sultry Violin Concerto. The work usually leaves me cold, but this taut performance is a keeper, especially in the long closing movement where the reprise of music from the concerto's opening is devastatingly effective. The coda’s fireworks are sensational.” The Arts Desk, 29th July 2017

Presto Disc of the Week

7th July 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA67986

(CD)

$14.25

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Charles Villiers Stanford: Choral Music

Charles Villiers Stanford: Choral Music


Stanford:

For lo, I raise up, Op. 145

Te Deum (from Service in C major, Op 115)

Lighten our darkness

Benedictus (from Service in C major, Op 115)

O for a closer walk with God, Op. 113 No. 6

Jubilate (from Service in C major, Op 115)

Magnificat in B flat for double choir, Op. 164

Fantasia and Toccata in D minor, Op. 57

Eternal Father, Op. 135 No. 2

St Patrick's Breastplate

Three Latin Motets, Op. 38


A programme spanning the variety and sheer emotional range of Stanford’s Anglican choral music (with a notable contribution from Owain Park in the Fantasia and Toccata for organ). You are unlikely to hear quite so stirring a rendition of ‘St Patrick’s Breastplate’ for some time to come…

“If a disc of sacred Victoriana conjures images of kid gloves and more-tea-vicar, then this is the recording to banish them once and for all. Tea cups are shattered along with prim liturgical proprieties in a recording that reclaims this repertoire as the full-blooded Christian battle cry that it is.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2017

“the Choir of Trinity College under its director Stephen Layton gives a remarkable performance” Choir & Organ, July 2017 ****

“Stocked with female voices rather than boy trebles, the Trinity choir attack this repertoire with a brisk attack and mature aplomb under Stephen Layton’s sensitive direction. There is so much to cherish here, whether Stanford is punching the air or praying in quiet wonderment” BBC Music Magazine, September 2017 ****

“This is an extremely fine disc. The Trinity College choir has a well-deserved reputation as a top-rank ensemble and this new addition to their discography is absolutely up to the standards we have come to expect. These are performances which show why Stanford’s reputation as a composer of excellent liturgical music is so deservedly secure.” MusicWeb International, August 2017

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA68174

(CD)

$14.25

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Dimitar Nenov: Piano Concerto & Ballade No. 2

Dimitar Nenov: Piano Concerto & Ballade No. 2


Nenov:

Piano Concerto

Ballade No. 2


A refusal to toe the party line in communist Bulgaria led to polymath Dimitar Nenov being marginalized in life, and to posthumous neglect. But this is hugely enjoyable music, well worthy of revival in such fiercely committed performances as we find here.

“This excellent new recording by Ivo Varbanov with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by fellow Bulgarian Emil Tabakov – the orchestral playing in particular is impressive” BBC Music Magazine, July 2017 ****

“The monumental concerto is a highly-strung, emotional, single-movement journey, combining a late Romantic sensibility with a uniquely daring modernism, while the Ballade moves from pastoral idyll to climactic frenzy, with boisterous Bulgarian dance influences along the way.” The Observer, 18th June 2017 ****

“the emotion is so finely judged that one is led further into this notable music” classicalsource.com, June 2017 *****

“Unpublished and here receiving its first recording, [the concerto] seems to span the whole range of early 20th-century pianism. It manages to remain fresh and individual even if the very breadth of influences makes it sound more sprawling than it actually is.” Classical Music, August 2017 ****

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA68205

(CD)

$14.25

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Songs by Robert Franz

Songs by Robert Franz


Franz, R:

Mailied, Op. 33 No. 3

Gleich und gleich, Op. 22 No. 1

Wonne der Wehmut, Op. 33 No. 1

Im Sommer, Op. 16 No. 2

Rastlose Liebe, Op. 33 No. 6

Liebliche Maid!, Op. 4 No. 3

O säh’ ich auf der Haide dort, Op. 1 No. 5

Schlummerlied, Op. 1 No. 10

Romanze, Op. 35 No. 4

Jagdlied Op. 1 No. 9

Der vielschönen Fraue, Op. 10 No. 4

Im wunderschönen Monat Mai, Op. 25 No. 5

Die Rose, die Lilie, Op. 34 No. 5

Wenn ich in deine Augen seh’, Op. 44 No. 5

Ich will meine Seele tauchen, Op. 43 No. 4

Im Rhein, im heiligen Strome, Op. 18 No. 2

Hör’ ich das Liedchen klingen, Op. 5 No. 11

Am leuchtenden Sommermorgen, Op. 11 No. 2

Ich hab' im Traume geweinet, Op. 25 No. 3

Allnächtlich im Traume, Op. 9 No. 4

Die Lotosblume, Op. 25 No. 1

Lieb' Liebchen, Op. 17 No. 3

Es treibt mich hin

Ja, du bist elend, Op. 7 No. 6

Durch den Wald im Mondenscheine, Op. 8 No. 3

Wie des Mondes Abbild

Auf dem Meere

Ich lieb’ eine Blume, Op. 28 No. 1

Aus meinen grossen schmerzen

Es fällt ein Stern herunter, Op. 44 No. 4

Der Fichtenbaum, Op. 16 No. 3

Das ist ein Brausen und Heulen, Op. 8 No. 4

Auf dem Meere, Op. 5 No. 3

Sterne mit den goldnen Füßchen?

Traumbild, Op. 34 No. 3

Madchen mit dem roten Mundchen, Op. 5 No. 5

Frühlingsgedränge, Op. 7 No. 5

Um Mitternacht, Op. 28 No. 6

Ein Stündlein wohl vor Tag, Op. 28 No. 2

Verborgenheit, Op. 28 No. 5

Waldfahrt, Op. 14 No. 3

Die Lotosblume, Op. 1 No. 3

Voglein, wohin so schnell, Op. 11 No. 1

Für Musik

Ach, wenn ich doch ein Immchen wär, Op. 3 No. 6

Um Mitternacht, Op. 16 No. 6

Genesung


Robin Tritschler (tenor) & Graham Johnson (piano)

Highly regarded by such contemporaries as Mendelssohn, Schumann and Liszt, Robert Franz wrote 279 songs over the course of a long life. For this recital, Graham Johnson and Robin Tritschler have chosen forty-seven of their favourites.

“With Johnson’s discerning support, Tritschler confirms his credentials as a natural in Lieder. His is a voice of spring, fresh and easy on the ear, produced with a care both for clarity of diction and a true singing line. Tritschler is a lively, sensitive interpreter, too…Franz’s songs typically demand, and get, dulcet tone, perfect dynamic control, including a limpid mezza voce, and refined phrasing.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2017

“Plangent of tone and refreshingly unmannered in his delivery, the young Irish tenor is an inspired and committed advocate for these songs...I’m certain fellow lieder fans will relish the opportunity to compare and contrast Franz’s treatment of the poems which Schumann set in Dichterliebe with their better-known incarnation!” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, June 2017

“ This concise music perhaps lacks the contained intensity of his two compatriots, but it’s still hugely appealing. Tritschler and Johnson’s performances capture precisely the mood and scent of each song.” Sunday Times, 18th June 2017

“Tritschler’s gloriously sweet voice is perfect for these songs, if very occasionally under-energised. Johnson – that most sympathetic and imaginative of accompanists weaves magic with colour, balance and timing. The liner notes are characteristically excellent, with useful short discussion of each song.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2017 ****

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA68128

(CD)

$14.25

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

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