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Haydn: String Quartets Opp 54 & 55

Haydn: String Quartets Opp 54 & 55

performed from the 1789 London edition published by Longman and Broderip


Haydn:

String Quartet, Op. 54 No. 1 in G major

String Quartet, Op. 54 No. 2 in C major

String Quartet, Op. 54 No. 3 in E major

String Quartet, Op. 55 No. 1 in A major

String Quartet, Op. 55 No. 2 in F minor 'The Razor'

String Quartet, Op. 55 No. 3 in B major


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here

The London Haydn Quartet reaches the six great quartets published in 1788 as Opp 54 & 55 in another unmissable two-for-the-price-of-one set. Is it possible to have too much Haydn? The only sensible answer is ‘no’, especially when the music is performed with such intelligence and humanity as here.

“With their virtuoso first violin parts, the London Haydn Quartet perform with period ebullience” Financial Times, February 2017

“The London Haydn Quartet engage both head and heart from the very first bar…Catherine Manson wrings aching portamentos out of her swirling phrases. Yet it’s all, somehow, kept within a logical rhythmic framework…these performances offer more with each listening” Gramophone Magazine, February 2017

“It should come as no surprise that the London Haydn Quartet, who have after all made it their mission to perfect the period performance of Haydn’s quartets (with gut strings as well as a historically-informed mindset), handle all the twists and turns with aplomb.” David Smith, Presto Classical, 27th January 2017

“These period instrument players, whose very name declares their affinity for Haydn, excel in the latest in their Hyperion series. Ever spry in fast movements, faultless in dexterity and intonation, they find a special warmth of feeling in the slower moments…too many pleasures to enumerate. Try for yourself.” The Observer, 22nd January 2017 *****

Presto Disc of the Week

27th January 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA68160

(CD - 2 discs)

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Taneyev & Rimsky-Korsakov: Piano Trios

Taneyev & Rimsky-Korsakov: Piano Trios


Rimsky Korsakov:

Piano Trio in C minor

Taneyev, S:

Piano Trio in D major, Op. 22


Leonore Piano Trio

Rimsky-Korsakov described Taneyev’s best music as possessing ‘a wealth of beauty and expressiveness’, a verdict with which no one is likely to disagree after hearing the piano trio recorded here. Rimsky was (unjustly) disparaging towards his own, unfinished, trio, which emerges as a brooding, substantial work well worthy of revival.

“[The Leonore Piano Trio] are fine interpreters…[they] evoke the rainbow colours and myriad shapes [of the Rimsky-Korsakov], moving quickly from dark and expansive (first movement) to slithers of iridescence (second movement). Horton brings an uneasy sense of trepidation to the third movement, foreshadowing the bittersweet piano solo in the finale” BBC Music Magazine, February 2017 ****

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA68159

(CD)

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Finzi, Bax & Ireland: Choral Music

Finzi, Bax & Ireland: Choral Music


Bax:

I sing of a maiden that is makeless

This Worldes Joie

Finzi:

My lovely one, Op. 27 No. 1

Daniel Cook (organ)

God is gone up, Op. 27 No. 2

Daniel Cook (organ)

Welcome Sweet and Sacred Feast, Op. 27 No. 3

Daniel Cook (organ)

Lo, the Full, Final Sacrifice, Op. 26

Sebastian Braw-Smith (treble), Julian Stocker (tenor), Julian Empett (bass), Daniel Cook (organ)

Magnificat, Op. 36

Jeremy Suppey (treble), Simon Ponsford (countertenor), Daniel Cook (organ)

Ireland:

Greater Love Hath No Man

Daniel Livermore (treble), Jonathan Brown (bass), Daniel Cook (organ)

Ex ore innocentium (It is a Thing Most Wonderful)

Daniel Livermore (treble), Daniel Cook (organ)

Te Deum laudamus in F

Daniel Cook (organ)


A trio of English composers perhaps better known for their creative output in other fields, yet who played a crucial role in the development of the Anglican choral tradition in the twentieth century. James O’Donnell and Westminster Abbey Choir present a programme centred on Finzi’s Lo, the full, final sacrifice: the other works may be less familiar but are no less moving.

“The choir’s diffuse tone – breathier in the upper voices than rivals at New College or even King’s Cambridge – is very effective” Gramophone Magazine, February 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA68167

(CD)

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Special: $12.50

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Bloch, Ligeti & Dallapiccola: Suites for solo cello

Bloch, Ligeti & Dallapiccola: Suites for solo cello


Bloch, E:

Suite for solo cello No. 1

Suite for solo cello No. 2

Suite for solo cello No. 3

Dallapiccola:

Ciaccona, Intermezzo e Adagio

Ligeti:

Sonata for Cello solo


Read our exclusive interview with Natalie Clein about this disc here.

Natalie Clein, whose previous recording of the music of Ernest Bloch was described as ‘inspired’ by The Sunday Times, turns to his three suites for solo cello as part of a recital of works written in the aftermath of the Second World War. The sombre voice of the cello seems especially apposite in music of such deep seriousness, Ligeti’s short sonata providing an energetic and life-affirming finale.

“Clein plays intimately, as if for herself alone. But there is nothing hermetic about her approach. Gently, insistently, quietly, she draws the listener into Bloch’s music and the results are thoroughly absorbing...her performance of the Adagio theme in the Ligeti is four minutes of pure, concentrated beauty.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2017

“Clein is full of conviction in all of it, with fearless attack and haunting quiet passages.” The Guardian, 2nd February 2017 ***

“Outstandingly sensitive, raptly dedicated and burnished of tone, Clein penetrates to the very heart of this wholly personable, consistently absorbing music – by turns intimate, playful, songful and profound – in performances of enviable eloquence, concentration and authority.” Classical Ear, 13th February 2017

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - February 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA68155

(CD)

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The Romantic Violin Concerto 21 - Bruch

The Romantic Violin Concerto 21 - Bruch


Bruch:

Violin Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op. 44

Konzertstück, Op. 84

In Memoriam, Op. 65

Adagio appassionato Op. 57


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here

The ‘justly celebrated’ Jack Liebeck (as described by The Strad) follows in the footsteps of Heifetz and Perlman in championing Bruch’s now neglected Violin Concerto No 2, originally written for Sarasate. Three shorter concertante works for violin and orchestra complete the album (Bruch thought the Adagio appassionato one of his best works) which marks volume 21 in our highly regarded Romantic Violin Concerto series.

“as Jack Liebeck’s nicely restrained performance shows, [Bruch's Second Violin Concerto is] a piece that’s perfectly capable of standing on its own musical feet. His fine-grained playing gets exemplary support from Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, who never overdo the menace that underlies the first movement especially” The Guardian, 23rd December 2016 ****

“Liebeck is certainly equal to all the challenges, moving from impeccable double-stopping one moment to the sweetest, most ardent of tones in some of the more impassioned passages.” Presto Classical, 23rd December 2016

“There’s much to admire in Jack Liebeck’s patrician account of Bruch’s D Minor Violin Concerto. His playing is virtually flawless in its technical ease, scintillating articulateness and purity of tone.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2017

“Throughout the Second Concerto, with its unforgettable soaring opening, Liebeck combines a beguiling silvery sound with tantalising interpretative restraint, free of heart-on-the-sleeve rhetoric…rarely has Bruch’s melodic genius been sounded with such chaste sweetness as here, ideally complimented by Liebeck’s captivating narrow-fast vibrato” BBC Music Magazine, January 2017 ****

“Impressive performances of the Concerto and of the ‘lesser’ pieces.” MusicWeb International, 1st February 2017

Presto Disc of the Week

23rd December 2016

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - The Romantic Violin Concerto - CDA68055

(CD)

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JS Bach: Cantatas Nos 54, 82 & 170

JS Bach: Cantatas Nos 54, 82 & 170


Bach, J S:

Cantata BWV170 'Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust'

Cantata BWV54 'Widerstehe doch der Sünde'

Cantata BWV82 'Ich habe genug'

Sinfonia: Cantata BWV174

Cantata BWV52 'Falsche Welt, dir trau ich nicht': Sinfonia


Ich habe genug is a timeless, transcendental masterpiece: a profound expression of Christian faith at the very end of life. It demands artistry of a special order, and Iestyn Davies now joins the likes of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Lorraine Hunt Lieberson in the work’s distinguished discography. The couplings are equally ravishing performances of two other great solo cantatas, while the two orchestral sinfonias which complete the album will prove refreshingly familiar.

“Davies’s singular gifts of open-hearted expression, reined in to perfection and with no excess or indulgence, are expertly balanced by Arcangelo’s prominent solo musicians. Early in the year, a favourite disc already.” The Observer, 8th January 2017 *****

“The dominant virtue in this fine collaboration between the outstanding Davies and Arcangelo lies in an unsentimental perspicacity, reassuring in its intelligence and deep sensitivity.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2017

“The main pleasure in this album is the partnership between the eloquent soloist and the tangy playing of Arcangelo, wonderfully led by Jonathan Cohen, who doubles as a fizzing organist...Davies’s cool concentration heats up for a compelling Ich habe genug, finely weighted between religious ecstasy and resignation.” The Times, 13th January 2017 ****

“Iestyn Davies [gives a] poised, sober performance…Arcangelo’s strings have a beautifully firm sound, with plenty of bow and intelligent details from the lute, while oboist Katharina Spreckelsen plays elegantly” BBC Music Magazine, January 2017 ****

“If his German is not entirely idiomatic, his words are invariably clear and he relishes the interplay with the Arcangelo ensemble’s soloists...Best of all is the rapt singing of Schlummert ein (Go to sleep), in the well-known BWV82…Overall, a lovely disc.” Sunday Times, 15th January 2017

“Iestyn Davies is intently communicative with the words in the much-loved ‘Vergnügte Ruh’ and ‘Ich habe genug’” Financial Times

“A simply outstanding Bach disc.” MusicWeb International, 12th January 2017

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - January 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA68111

(CD)

Normally: $14.00

Special: $12.50

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

The Classical Piano Concerto 4: Kozeluch

The Classical Piano Concerto 4: Kozeluch


Kozeluch:

Piano Concerto No. 1

Piano Concerto No. 5

Piano Concerto No. 6 in C major


Leopold Kozeluch—another composer-pianist trying to make his way in 1780s Vienna—has not been treated kindly by posterity, suffering that posthumous obscurity shared by so many of Mozart’s contemporaries. But his brand of Rococo galanterie, much in evidence in these three piano concertos, is guaranteed to delight, especially in such affectionately attentive performances as these.

“It’s impossible to imagine more compelling performance of this music- Howard Shelley is truly a rescuer of lost musical souls.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2017

“Kozeluch’s mellifluous, sophisticated music is well served by this welcome recording.” MusicWeb International, 15th February 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion The Classical Piano Concerto - CDA68154

(CD)

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Rostropovich Encores

Rostropovich Encores


Chopin:

Étude Op. 25 No. 7 in C sharp minor

Debussy:

Nocturne et Scherzo

Préludes - Book 1: No. 12, Minstrels

Clair de Lune (from Suite Bergamasque)

Nocturne et Scherzo

Popper:

Dance of the Elves, Op. 39

Prokofiev:

Cinderella, Op. 87: Adagio of Cinderella and the Prince

Cinderella: Waltz-Coda (transc. M. Rostropovich)

The Love for Three Oranges: March

Rachmaninov:

Oriental Dance, Op. 2 No. 2

Ravel:

Vocalise-étude en forme de habanera

Rostropovich:

Humoresque, Op. 5

Moderato

Scriabin:

Étude Op. 8 No. 11 in B flat minor

Sinding:

Suite for Violin & Orchestra, Op. 10 'im alten Stil': Presto

Stravinsky:

Le Baiser de la Fée: Pas de Deux

Chanson Russe


Alban Gerhardt (cello) & Markus Becker (piano)

Read our exclusive interview with Alban Gerhardt about Rostropovich and the art of the encore here.

For the young Alban Gerhardt, Rostropovich was ‘a reason to become passionate about the cello’: in the notes accompanying this release he recalls being ‘blown away’ on first hearing Slava play live in Berlin. This splendid follow-up to Casals Encores sees Gerhardt paying homage to his great predecessor with an eclectic programme of shorter works, including two by Rostropovich himself.

“A genuinely thoughtful and engaging tribute recital, and a compelling partner to the Casals.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2017

“[Gerhardt] matches [Rostropovich] note-for-note, with a degree of eye-watering finesse that would have surely made his hero smile. The same can be said for the mercurial moto perpetuo of Christian Singing’s Presto and the student Rostropovich’s own hilarious, gravity-defying Humoresque (a killer encore)” BBC Music Magazine, February 2017 *****

“Gerhardt’s is an especially apt homage, showcasing the Russian master’s commitment to expanding his instrument’s repertoire and popularity, at the same time as celebrating his sense of fun. It’s not a bad vehicle for the sparky Gerhardt and pianist Markus Becker, either.” The Guardian, 16th February 2017 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - January 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA68136

(CD)

Normally: $14.00

Special: $12.50

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Tallis: Spem in alium

Tallis: Spem in alium

& other sacred music


Tallis:

In ieiunio et fletu

Blessed are those that be undefiled

Spem in alium for eight five-part choirs '40-part Motet'

God Grant we grace (Tallis Canon)

Robert Rice (baritone)

O Lord, open thou our lips

Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?

Robert Rice (baritone)

O do well unto thy servant

My soul cleaveth to the dust

Short Service (Dorian) for 4 voices

The Lord be with you

Robert Evans (bass)

O sacrum convivium

Remember not, O Lord God

Hear the voice and prayer

Verily, verily I say unto you

O Lord, in thee is all my trust

Hodie nobis caelorum

Sing and glorify heaven's high majesty


The Cardinall's Musick's thrilling exploration of Tallis' sacred music comes to a glorious close with both versions of the great forty-part motet: 'Spem in alium' itself and 'Sing and glorify', the less familiar English-texted contrafactum.

“Carwood moulds the structures to great effect, with wide ranging dynamics from hushed groupings of eight voices to the full force.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2016 *****

“The placing of the lovely miniature God grant with grace just after the monumental Spem is very moving, and this In ieiunio is as fine an account of it as I can recall…Carwood’s ensemble give the sense of an unfolding tapestry, and the sound recording holds detail and monumentality in fine balance” Gramophone Magazine, November 2016

“The end of a highly distinguished contribution to the discography of Thomas Tallis.” MusicWeb International, 9th January 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA68156

(CD)

$14.00

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Elgar: Enigma Variations

Elgar: Enigma Variations

& other orchestral works


Elgar:

In the South (Alassio), Op. 50

Enigma Variations, Op. 36

Carillon, Op. 75

Florence Daguerre de Hureaux (narrator)

Une Voix dans le Désert

Kate Royal (soprano)

Le Drapeau Belge

Florence Daguerre de Hureaux (narrator)

Pleading, Op. 48 No. 1

Yann Ghiro (clarinet)


Two much-loved orchestral favourites representing the summit of Elgar's maturity are coupled with three of the lesser-known wartime works, here receiving their rst recordings with the original French texts. Kate Royal is the soprano soloist in 'Une voix dans le désert', a hauntingly tender masterpiece which every Elgarian should know.

“Both [In the South and the Enigma Variations] are well known and given impressively emotional and dramatic performances by Brabbins...The entire disc is a collector’s item.” Sunday Times, 30th October 2016

“fine, firmly unsentimental, bracingly muscular performances.” The Guardian, 3rd November 2016 ****

“Exceptional Elgar. ‘Nimrod’ has the grandeur of a Bruckner slow movement.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2016 *****

“Brabbins masterminds an expansive, ideally flexible and notably unflustered reading of Elgar’s In the South, one which quarries this evocative score’s plentiful reserves of noble grandeur, pantheistic wonder and vulnerability…[he] proves a comparably unhurried, affectionate and cannily observant guide through Enigma, the friends pictured within springing to life with unforced naturalness…an enjoyable and stimulating anthology that Elgarians everywhere should try and hear” Gramophone Magazine, November 2016

“Splendidly performed and recorded versions of Enigma and In the South, plus some fascinating rarities.” MusicWeb International, 1st December 2016

“Every work is recreated with penetrating musicianship and skilled empowerment from the podium. Every performance is of superlative calibre” Classical Ear, January 2017 *****

“Brabbins’ Enigma is a delight: tempi and tone perfectly judged, a feeling of freshness throughout which is lacking from a number of high-profile recent accounts” Classical Music, January 2017 *****

BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the month - December 2016

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA68101

(CD)

$14.00

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

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