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Debussy: Images & Préludes II

Debussy: Images & Préludes II


Debussy:

Préludes - Book 2 (12, complete)

Images pour piano - Books 1 & 2


A new album from Marc-André Hamelin is always cause for celebration. Here in his first Debussy recording for Hyperion he presents the two books of Images: Debussy’s colouristic masterpiece, a bewitching compendium of ‘scents, colours and sounds’. Also recorded here is the second book of Préludes, in a poetic and evocative performance.

“Hamelin's stature, extraordinary from the start, increases with every new issue. And here in his latest album he subdues his legendary, transcendent technique to convey Debussy's very essence with a surpassing ease and naturalness....Hamelin's glistening sonority is flawlessly captured by the Hyperion team. This is a disc to treasure.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2014

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - November 2014

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA67920

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Brumel: Missa de beata virgine & motets

Brumel: Missa de beata virgine & motets


Brumel, A:

Nato canunt omnia

Beata es, Maria

Lauda Sion salvatorem

Ave caelorum domina

Missa de beata virgine


The Brabant Ensemble, Stephen Rice

The Brabant Ensemble continues its exploration of hidden gems of the Renaissance with an album of music by Antoine Brumel, famous for his ‘Earthquake’ Mass but otherwise barely known today. Conductor Stephen Rice has assembled an intriguing collection of works including the Missa de beata virgine, a work suffused with plainsong but in which the voices are used almost percussively, making rhythm the driving force of the piece. The Christmas motet Nato canunt omnia is one of the most remarkable musical works of the period.

The Brabant Ensemble’s performance is polished yet light, flexible expressive and spontaneous, parading the polyphony in all its glory.

“The programme showcases [Brumel's] heterogenous style...and the group's radiant sound - superbly captured in the open, silvery recording - illuminates the multiple texts of this glittering musical mosaic...a fine balance of insightful musicological research and seraphic singing.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2014 *****

“Its centrepiece is his Mass for the Blessed Virgin...one of Brumel's finest works, in which his tendency to note-spinning is kept in check (as it is in the rest of the music chosen for this recording)...The Brabants have never ventured this early before but on this showing I hope very much that they will do so again.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2014

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA68065

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Bach, J S: Mass in B minor, BWV232

Bach, J S: Mass in B minor, BWV232


Lydia Teuscher (soprano), Ida Falk Winland (soprano), Tim Mead (countertenor), Samuel Boden (tenor), Neal Davies (bass)

Arcangelo, Jonathan Cohen

Jonathan Cohen talks to Presto's David Smith about the recording here.

Arcangelo and their inspirational director Jonathan Cohen, one of the brightest stars in the Early Music galaxy, present Bach’s great masterpiece in a glorious new recording made following a thrilling performance at the Tetbury festival.

Arcangelo are still a relatively new ensemble, but have already won one Gramophone Award and been nominated for another. The members of the choir and orchestra are performers of dazzling technical ability with a passion for faithful interpretation that goes far beyond historical understanding. Their previous recordings for Hyperion have been praised for their liveliness, colour and full string sound. In this new recording these aspects of their performance are alchemically combined with a feeling of the great solemnity of Bach’s monumental achievement.

“Cohen's rejection of the generic, within a grand and ravishing overview, is what propels an overwhelming sense here that this reading deserves to be taken very seriously...The work infrequently speaks with such gracefulness, freedom or conviction.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2014

“One might expect Cohen’s Arcangelo to opt for minimal personnel — although the trumpety movements suggest spectacular forces — but his choir of 20 can convey the inward spirituality of Et incarnatus est and the laudatory éclat of the Gloria and Et resurrexit with equal efficacy.” Sunday Times, 23rd November 2014

“Cohen's take side-steps Joshua Rifkin's premise that it should be sung one-to-a-part and fields a choir of 20...Cohen announces the Credo at an invigoratingly purposeful lick...Tim Mead's eloquently restrained Agnus Dei is crowned by a Dona nobis pacem whose blazing grandiloquence grips.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2014 ****

“Gradually the ear responds to Jonathan Cohen’s musically intelligent mix of period and mainstream traditions, delivered by top musicians...This account will please, especially, anyone trapped between the extremes of Bach performance practice, unsure how to choose a B minor mass from the numerous options on offer.” The Observer, 30th November 2014 ****

Presto Discs of 2014Presto Discs of 2014

Finalist

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - November 2014

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Discs of the Year 2014 - up to 25% off

Hyperion - CDA68051/2

(CD - 2 discs)

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Rameau: Pièces de clavecin

Rameau: Pièces de clavecin


Rameau:

Suite in A minor from Nouvelles suites de pièces de clavecin (c1729–30)

Suite in E minor from Pièces de clavecin (1724, revised 1731)

Suite in D Major

Menuet en rondeau in C major

Suite in A minor from Nouvelles suites de pièces de clavecin (c1729–30)

Suite in G minor from Nouvelles suites de pièces de clavecin (c1729–30)

La Dauphine

Les petits marteaux


Mahan Esfahani (harpsichord)

Mahan Esfahani talks to Presto's David Smith about Rameau and his career to date here.

Gramophone-Award-winning harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani has recorded Rameau’s Pièces de clavecin in the historic setting of the Music Room at Hatchlands Park in Surrey. This is a masterclass for the instrument, confirming this young artist as a truly great player: in the words of International Record Review ‘his technique is beyond criticism and his inherent musicianship goes far deeper than mere surface understanding … it is difficult not to warm to such a musician’.

This double album comprises the whole of Rameau’s output of keyboard suites, and Esfahani rejoices in its wealth of genius, its excitement and drama. Rameau is a composer whose revival is ongoing, and his unique combination of the witty and the cerebral, the light and the curmudgeonly, abounds throughout his harpsichord music.

“[CPE Bach's] blend of tradition...and audacity...all captured with unfailing insight by Mahan Esfahani - is contintually beguiling...Esfahani's playing is always considered and often brilliant. At times, the articulation could have been more delicately nuanced, but as a whole this is a splendid guide to Rameau's harpsichord music.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2014 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - December 2014

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA68071/2

(CD - 2 discs)

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Hymns to Saint Cecilia

Hymns to Saint Cecilia


Bennett, R R:

Verses

on Saint Cecilia’s Day

Bliss:

Sing, mortals!

Britten:

Hymn to St Cecilia, Op. 27

Dyson:

Live For Ever, Glorious Lord

Elgar:

There is sweet music, Op. 53 No. 1

Gardner, John:

A Song for St Cecilia’s Day, Op. 119

Howells:

A Hymn for St Cecilia

Jackson, Gabriel:

La musique

with Dame Felicity Lott (soprano)

MacMillan:

Cecilia Virgo

Rose, B:

Feast Song for St Cecilia

Vaughan Williams:

Silence and Music


Royal Holloway Choir, Rupert Gough

A new choral compendium from the highly regarded Choir of Royal Holloway, comprising twentieth- and twenty-first century works inspired by the adulation of Saint Cecilia, the patron saint of music.

In many ways it was Britten’s Hymn to Saint Cecilia—first performed on the radio in 1942—that rekindled musicians’ interest in celebrating their patron saint. The Musicians Benevolent Fund revived the tradition of an annual service of celebration for St Cecilia in 1947, and has marked the occasion with a new commission almost every year. Many of the pieces on this recording are the result of those commissions. Also included is a new work by Gabriel Jackson, one of the most popular choral composers of today, featuring Dame Felicity Lott.

“If the handful of soprano solos spread across the disc are anything to go by, Gough has an exceptional group of singers here. They are impressively responsive” Gramophone Magazine, December 2014

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA68047

(CD)

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The Romantic Violin Concerto 17 - Bruch

The Romantic Violin Concerto 17 - Bruch


Bruch:

Violin Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 58

Scottish Fantasy, Op. 46


Award-winning violinist Jack Liebeck brings his impassioned tones, fulsome emotional display and formidable technique to the first of three albums of music by Max Bruch.

This programme presents one of Bruch’s most popular pieces for violin and orchestra, the Scottish Fantasy, alongside one of his least known, the Violin Concerto No 3 in D minor, Op 58. Anyone hearing Jack Liebeck’s performance may well wonder why this concerto has languished in the lumber room for so long—it has never been heard at the BBC Proms, for example. It was written for Joseph Joachim who gave the premiere in Düsseldorf and subsequently played the concerto in Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt, Strasbourg, Breslau, Leipzig, Cologne and London (for the Philharmonic Society).

The Scottish Fantasy in E flat major, Op 46 (or more correctly ‘Fantasia for the violin with orchestra and harp, freely using Scottish folk melodies’), was written in Berlin during the winter of 1879–80 for Sarasate and reflected the Spaniard’s more colourful personality. Although Bruch never visited Scotland, he was typical of German Romantics in having a fascination with the picture of the country painted by such writers as Walter Scott. For the Scottish Fantasy he drew on James Johnson’s voluminous folk-song collection The Scots Musical Museum.

“Jack Liebeck and conductor Martyn Brabbins work hard to make the music come alive. Liebeck’s playing is consistently fresh and his phrasing always imaginative” The Guardian, 23rd October 2014 ***

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - The Romantic Violin Concerto - CDA68050

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$16.00

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The Romantic Piano Concerto 64 - Oswald & Napoleão dos Santos

The Romantic Piano Concerto 64 - Oswald & Napoleão dos Santos


Oswald, H:

Piano Concerto in G minor, Op. 10

Santos, A:

Piano Concerto No. 2 in E flat minor, Op. 31


Portuguese virtuoso Artur Pizarro makes a welcome return to the Romantic Piano Concerto series with the outpourings of two brilliant pianist-composers. Their names may not be familiar to listeners today. The Brazilian Henrique Oswald and the Portuguese Alfredo Napoleão were born in the same year, less than three months apart, when Schumann, Brahms and Liszt were alive and Chopin recently deceased. Both were of mixed European heritage: Oswald with a Swiss-German father and Italian mother, Napoleão with an Italian father and Portuguese mother. Both were child prodigies who became widely travelled concert pianists, pedagogues and composers. In 1868 Oswald gave his ‘farewell recital’ and left Rio de Janeiro to study in Europe; Napoleão went to Brazil.

Oswald’s Piano Concerto in G minor, Op 10, dates from about 1886, the year he met Liszt. Although influences of Fauré can be detected in the second theme, the overall character of the first movement owes more to the late Romantic German style. The orchestration is rich and full, but the Tchaikovskian athleticism and virtuosity of the piano-writing keep the soloist to the fore.

Napoleão’s Piano Concerto No 2 in E flat minor, Op 31, is undated but was probably composed around the same time as Oswald’s Piano Concerto. Although Napoleão performed the concerto in a solo piano version, the first performance with orchestra had to wait until 12 February 1941. This was given by Evaristo de Campos Coelho (1903–1988)—with whom Artur Pizarro, the pianist on the present recording, studied as a young child. He played the work numerous times, and performed it for Portuguese radio. Dinorah Leitão (who was Ivo Cruz’s daughter in law, and also a student of Campos Coelho) then played it, and Artur Pizarro is only the third pianist to champion this work.

“One cannot imagine them more convincingly executed. What verve and flair [Pizarro] brings to the stamina-sapping solos, and with what graceful lyricism he invests the cantabile writing. He is only the third pianist to champion the Napoleão concerto.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2014

“Napoleão’s concerto No 2 in E flat minor grips with a first movement worthy of Chopin, and delights with a sparkling central scherzo but the wandering, occasionally twee third movement is disappointing, despite the dedicated playing of Artur Pizarro.” The Observer, 26th October 2014 ***

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - The Romantic Piano Concerto - CDA67984

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Schumann: Novelletten & Nachtstücke

Schumann: Novelletten & Nachtstücke


Schumann:

Novelletten (8), Op. 21

Nachtstücke, Op. 23

Romance in F sharp major, Op. 28 No. 2


Danny Driver (piano)

In this new album Danny Driver brings his impeccable pianism, consummate style and imagination to Schumann’s Novelletten and Nachtstücke, less well-known sets from his extraordinary output for the piano.

Schumann wrote Nachtstücke, a set of four character pieces, upon the death of his brother, and would have entitled it ‘Corpse Fantasia’ were it not for Clara’s intervention. The eight pieces of the Novelletten form what is at once the largest and the least known among Schumann’s major piano cycles. The music itself is of consistently high quality (years later, Schumann himself still regarded this among his most successful works), and clearly written in an exultant mood.

“Driver proves at once with the first Novellette that he is alive to the composer's robust, macho side and its inverse, those luminescent and melting atmospheres...This is, in short, engaging and sophisticated playing with a fine mix of care and spontaneity.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2014 ****

“Driver is commanding and personable. He never fails to establish character and to provide the understanding and flair of a virtuoso in leading us on, in getting from one thing to another. The only qualities I miss are a measure of ease with the continuity and greater differentiation in the sound and movement.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2014

“[Driver], who is going from strength to strength at the moment, turns in a powerhouse performance on his new Schumann album, playing with great technical prowess, and admirably alert to the fluctuations of mood and feeling within the prevailing intensity of the whole.” The Guardian, 13th November 2014 ****

“there is an unbroken thread of thought running through Driver’s interpretation, with the fluxes of harmony and nuances of dynamics artlessly etched in and a natural flow and impetus to the music from the very start to its hushed finish...This is playing of a most perceptive order.” The Telegraph, 24th November 2014

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA67983

(CD)

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JS Bach: The Art of Fugue

JS Bach: The Art of Fugue


Bach, J S:

The Art of Fugue, BWV1080

Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein, BWV668a


‘Angela Hewitt’s performance on the piano over two recitals brought this apogee of musical thought to vivid life through sound … Hewitt’s achievement is to bring its abstract purity to memorable tonal embodiment by providing an emotional context that audiences connect with’ (Sydney Morning Herald)

‘Hewitt’s eloquent exposition of each fugue’s “formula”, the result of a lifetime’s immersion in Bach’s music, could hardly be bettered’ (Financial Times)

Angela’s much-awaited recording of Bach’s ultimate masterpiece, The Art of Fugue, is destined to be the crowning achievement of her Bach cycle for Hyperion—a revelatory recording and performing project which has taken her all over the world and won her international acclaim and millions of dedicated fans. With decades of experience behind her, she breathes fresh air into the most complex keyboard-writing of Bach, bringing it to life with crystalline clarity and thoughtful sincerity.

“The instrument is radiantly captured by Hyperion's engineers; indeed, for sheer beauty of sound, this version is unparalleled...Hewitt spins a lyrical cantabile throughout, every line eloquently voiced and articulated. Admirable, too, is her ability to make the music dance with balletic grace.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2014 *****

“how does one sustain interest and concentration without compromising the music's structure and character? Contrapunctus I alone reveals not only Angela Hewitt's solution to these challenges but also the extent of her evolution as a Bach player...Hewitt's expressive and dynamic range is both expanded and strategically deployed.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2014

“Hewitt's account, characteristically, is clean and precise but always pianistic - she never seems, like some pianists, to be imitating a harpsichord, whereas her delicate touch means that the music is not burdened with undue heaviness.” International Record Review, December 2014

“Hewitt admits she was daunted by this music...She only took The Art of Fugue into her repertoire in 2012, but it crowns — magnificently — her acclaimed Hyperion recordings of the complete keyboard works, reaffirming her position as the outstanding Bach pianist of her generation.” Sunday Times, 26th October 2014

“I won’t mince words. This Art of Fugue is marvellous. The variety and beauty of tone alone make compelling listening, bringing contrasts, clarity and warmth to Bach’s intellectual marvels...Yet her fingers never make the results dry triumphs of engineering.” The Times, 3rd October 2014 *****

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA67980

(CD - 2 discs)

$16.00

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Debussy Songs Volume 3

Debussy Songs Volume 3


Debussy:

Musique

Romance

La romance d'Ariel

Regret

L'Archet

Chanson triste L24

Jonathan McGovern (baritone)

Les baisers d'amour L23

Jonathan McGovern (baritone)

Les Elfes

Aimons-nous et dormons L7

Souhait

Sérénade L29

Rêverie

La Belle au bois dormant

Jonathan McGovern (baritone)

Il dort encore (Hymnis)

Les Roses

Pierrot

Les baisers L9

Dans le jardin

Jonathan McGovern (baritone)

Le Lilas

Caprice

Zéphyr (Triolet a Philis)

Fête galante

Le promenoir des deux amants

Jonathan McGovern (baritone)

Paysage sentimental


Jennifer France (soprano), Malcolm Martineau (piano)

Hyperion presents a third volume in its acclaimed Debussy songs series, accompanied and curated by Malcolm Martineau, with booklet notes by French music expert par excellence Roger Nichols. Young soprano Jennifer France, winner of the Song Prize at the 2014 Kathleen Ferrier Awards and making her debut on the label, has a thrillingly expressive voice of diamantine beauty and is an ideal performer of these songs. Baritone Jonathan McGovern performs Le promenoir des deux amants and other songs with warm tone and great musical sensitivity.

“France negotiates the upper-altitude territory both with accuracy and with sensitivity to the songs' moods, with smoothness of line matching her subtlety of vocal inflection...McGovern shows himself to be thoroughly at home within the normal baritone register...Martineau, whose pianism is a constant delight, has devised a proper recital programme rather than a completist survey.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2014

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion Debussy Song Series - CDA68016

(CD)

$16.00

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