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	The Romantic Piano Concerto 63 - Godard

The Romantic Piano Concerto 63 - Godard


Godard, B:

Piano Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op. 31

Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 148

Introduction et Allegro pour piano et orchestre, Op. 49


Howard Shelley directs the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra from the piano in this latest volume of The Romantic Piano Concerto series. As ever, they perform unknown music with consummate style and deep understanding, making the best possible case for the works. We have reached Volume 63 and the works of French composer Benjamin Godard, a figure who is almost totally forgotten today. He is described by Jeremy Nicholas in his booklet note as ‘a composer who combines the sentimental melodic appeal of Massenet with the fecundity and technical facility of Saint-Saëns’.

Among Godard’s oeuvre, well over seventy opus numbers are devoted to works for solo piano, ranging from Les contes de Perrault, Op 6, to Valse No 15, Op 153. His Hommage à Chopin can be found on Hyperion CDA67803, performed by Jonathan Plowright. Much of the enormous amount of music he produced followed in the tradition of Mendelssohn and Schumann (his admiration for the latter inspired a string quartet arrangement of Kinderszenen in 1876). With the emergence of more innovative composers, Godard’s conservative idiom meant his reputation faded before his early death in Cannes on 10 January 1895. However, in the three works presented here his writing for the piano exceeds the technical range of his two idols, and is often reminiscent of the bravura demands found in the concertos of Liszt and Rubinstein.

“Godard distrusted Wagnerism, and his two piano concertos constrain Romantic sensibilities within the classical form...The disc is a tour de force for Howard Shelley, who, in addition to coping with Godard's often vertiginous piano writing, directs all three performances from the keyboard, which is no mean feat.” The Guardian, 10th July 2014 ****

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - The Romantic Piano Concerto - CDA68043

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Mendelssohn: The Complete Solo Piano Music, Vol. 2

Mendelssohn: The Complete Solo Piano Music, Vol. 2


Mendelssohn:

Rondo capriccioso in E major, Op. 14

Fantasia on "The Last Rose of Summer", Op. 15

3 Fantasies (or Caprices) Op. 16

Fantasia in F sharp minor, Op. 28

Songs without Words, Book 2 (6), Op. 30

Individual ‘Lieder ohne Worte’: E flat major, Espressivo & Allegro, MWV U 68

Individual ‘Lieder ohne Worte’: A major [Allegretto], MWV U 138

Songs without Words, Book 3 (6), Op. 38


Howard Shelley is acclaimed as the living master of early Romantic piano music. So much of this music was ignored throughout the twentieth century that there is still a sense of discovery at each new recording. Shelley here presents the second instalment of a six-volume set of Mendelssohn’s complete solo piano music—perhaps the least well-known part of the composer’s repertoire. The first volume was praised for Shelley’s ‘immaculate, lightly-pedalled brilliance, unfailing stylistic assurance, warmth and flexibility’ (Gramophone).

This second volume includes the Rondo capriccioso, a favourite virtuoso concert piece of the nineteenth century; the three-movement Fantasia in F sharp minor, which was originally described as a ‘Sonate écossaise’, with its characteristic Scottish folk-song elements in the first movement, and two books of the Songs without Words.

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Hyperion - CDA68059

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Amorosi pensieri

Amorosi pensieri

Songs for the Habsburg Court by Philippe de Monte, Jean Guyot, Jacobus Vaet & Jacob Regnart


Guyot:

En lieux d’esbatz m’assault melancolie

Je suis amoureux d’une fille Je suis amoureux d’une fille

Vous estes si doulce et benigne

L’arbre d’amour ung fruict d’amaritude

Vous perdez temps de me dire mal d’elle

Tel en mesdict qui pour soy la desire

Monte, P:

Amorosi pensieri

Ombra son io

Con che soavità

Anima dolorosa

O dolci sguardi

Que me servent mes vers

Susanne un jour

Sortez regretz

Regnart:

Ach weh der Zeit, die ich verzert

Ein Lieb nit mehr hat

Venus du und dein Kind

Du hast mich sollen nemen

Chi mi consolerà

Amor, che debbo fare

Vola vola pensier

Alarm’, alarm’ o fidi miei pensieri

Vaet:

Amour leal

Sans vous ne puis

En l’ombre d’ung buissonet


Cinquecento

A new departure for the wonderful all-male vocal ensemble Cinquecento. They turn to the secular music—generally much less well-known—of the Renaissance masters Philippe de Monte, Jacobus Vaet and Jacob Regnart whose sacred music they have explored so successfully in previous recordings for Hyperion. Also included are six chansons by Jean Guyot de Châtelet (his name is sometimes Latinized to ‘Castileti’).

This collection is both historically fascinating and stunningly performed. The music is beautiful and sensuous, with the polyphonic arts familiar from sacred works of this period now put to the service of earthly emotions. An expressively melancholic vein pervades many of these works, and one can see them as a precursor to Monteverdi’s madrigals.

“This is great...It's not just that their ensemble and tuning are flawless, nor that with six highly individual voices they can create an amazing range of colours, but that with their multicultural forces they can fit effortlessly into the style of the music, whether the texts are in Italian, French or German.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2014

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2014

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA68053

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Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 22 & 24

Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 22 & 24


Mozart:

Piano Concerto No. 22 in E flat major, K482

Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K491


Angela Hewitt (piano)

National Arts Centre Orchestra, Hannu Lintu

Hyperion is delighted to present Angela Hewitt’s third volume of Mozart piano concertos. Writing in The Observer, Stephen Pritchard wrote of the first volume that ‘Judging from this first example, it’s going to be a journey as revelatory as her exploration of all the major keyboard works of Bach’.

Here Angela Hewitt is joined by her compatriot National Arts Centre Orchestra of Canada and frequent collaborator Hannu Lintu for sparklingly stylish renditions of Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos 22 and 24.

Both of these works were written between December 1785 and March 1786. For the first time in a piano concerto orchestration, in No 22 he uses clarinets—an instrument that became a regular member of orchestras only in the 1780s. No 24 is a dark and passionate work, made more striking by its classical restraint, and the final movement, a set of variations, is commonly called ‘sublime’.

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Hyperion Angela Hewitt Complete Mozart Piano Concertos - CDA68049

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Schumann: Kinderszenen & Waldszenen & Janáček: On the overgrown path I

Schumann: Kinderszenen & Waldszenen & Janáček: On the overgrown path I


Janacek:

Along an Overgrown Path, JW VIII/17, Book 1

Schumann:

Waldszenen, Op. 82

Kinderszenen, Op. 15


Marc-André presents a fascinating juxtaposition of two composers who are not obviously musically related, but who are proved on this album to be a felicitous combination.

Schumann’s well-loved Kinderszenen (‘Scenes from childhood’) cycle is a masterpiece: each piece is as deftly and exquisitely crafted as anything in his more outwardly sophisticated mode. From the haunting beauty of the opening ‘From foreign lands and people’ (‘Von fremden Ländern und Menschen’), via the spare eloquence of the central ‘Dreaming’ (‘Träumerei’), to the quiet rhetoric of ‘The poet speaks’ (‘Der Dichter spricht’), the listener is taken through nuances of emotion whose effects are heartrendingly poignant.

Waldszenen (‘Forest scenes’) is another collection of miniatures, and Schumann’s last major cycle for solo piano. This deeply ‘Romantic’ work in the most psychological sense of the word is no objective foray into the woods, but a very personal reaction to an imagined landscape; and equally striking is the sense that each piece represents just a shard of a larger experience. On the whole it is the more bucolic aspect that Schumann explores, though these pieces are not without darker shadows. And while they may be technically fairly straightforward, their changeability calls for the quickest of reactions and a wealth of subtle nuance.

Over half a century separates Schumann’s nature-inspired Waldszenen from the first book of Janáček’s On the overgrown path. The subject matter is darker and more oblique and the piano writing is deceptively treacherous, many of the difficulties far from overt. The title of the overall cycle refers to a Moravian wedding song, the bride lamenting that ‘The path to my mother’s has become overgrown with clover’. The sequence of ten pieces that comprises Book 1 constitutes, as the scholar John Tyrrell has written, some of the ‘profoundest, most disturbing music that Janáček had written, their impact quite out of proportion to their modest means and ambition’.

“Time and again he makes you think vocally, of the range and flexibility of a great singer...the knife-edge between composer and interpreter, between creator and recreator is held in the finest balance.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2014

“Hamelin has already made several fine recordings of Schumann's piano music, focusing on big virtuoso pieces. He proves to be equally adept at exploring the more intimate side of the composer's character and the two Schumann cycles here are absolutely magical.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2014 *****

GGramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - June 2014

BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the month - July 2014

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA68030

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Tchaikovsky: The Seasons

Tchaikovsky: The Seasons


Tchaikovsky:

The Seasons, Op. 37b

Morceaux (6), Op. 19


Pavel Kolesnikov (piano)

Pavel Kolesnikov became Laureate of the Honens Prize for Piano in 2012 and gave his Wigmore Hall debut at the beginning of 2013. In his five-star review for The Daily Telegraph, John Allison praised the Russian-born, London-based artist for his recital’s ‘intelligent programming and outstanding pianism … one of the most memorable of such occasions London has witnessed’.

Hyperion is delighted to present this brilliant young artist in an album of Tchaikovsky’s Les saisons and Six morceaux.

Tchaikovsky’s symphonies and ballets are perhaps the most popular and frequently performed in the entire canon—compared to them his piano music is little-known. It is generally of a much more intimate nature than that of his compatriots, and has more in common with the emotional subtleties—and melodic beauties—of Schumann’s music.

The seasons is a cycle of twelve pieces, taking the listener through the months of the year. Each piece also has an atmospheric epigraph. The Six morceaux, Op 19, conclude with the ‘Thème original et variations’, which is often performed alone as a concert piece, but is particularly satisfying in context, as recorded here.

“In 2012, Kolesnikov took first prize in the Honens piano competition in Canada, and on the evidence of his effortlessly refined playing here, he was a worthy winner. His performances never overstretch the boundaries of what are, essentially, salon pieces...But Kolesnikov invests them with their own quietly distinctive character.” The Guardian, 5th June 2014 ****

“it is wonderful to hear a young Russian avoiding the barnstorming style of so many contemporaries. He plays the Six Pieces with affection and élan.” Sunday Times, 22nd June 2014

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Hyperion - CDA68028

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Handel: The Eight Great Suites

Handel: The Eight Great Suites


Handel:

Harpsichord Suites Nos. 1-5 HV 426-430

Harpsichord Suites Nos. 6-8 HV 431-433

Suite in C minor, HWV 444

Keyboard Suite, HWV 438 in E minor

Keyboard Suite, HWV 435 (Chaconne) in G major


Danny Driver (piano)

Danny Driver’s recordings of CPE Bach’s keyboard works have been much admired: praised by critics as deeply stylish and revelatory accounts of eighteenth-century works on a modern piano, with Driver’s impeccable pianism constantly present. Now he turns to Handel’s ‘Eight Great Suites’, largely written when the composer was resident in Cannons, near London.

The ‘Great Suites’ are an inspired, idiosyncratic amalgam of Gallic courtly dances, Italian vocal lyricism, Teutonic counterpoint and robust English tunefulness. Whereas Bach’s keyboard suites follow broadly similar patterns, centred on the traditional French dance sequence of Allemande, Courante, Sarabande and Gigue, Handel’s are unpredictable, with no two suites alike in the number and ordering of their movements. There are fugues, arias with variations, Italian-style sonata movements, even (in No 7) a Passacaglia. Compared with the elaborate finish of Bach’s suites, Handel’s often give the impression of written-down improvisations. In the fantasia-like Preludes, especially, Handel hints at his own genius as extemporiser, while leaving plenty to the performer’s own imagination.

“If you want to hear these pieces played on a sleek grand piano using an engagingly post-historical approach, with flawlessly stylish ornamentation...and a variety of dynamic nuances...then look no further.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2014

“Driver uses a modern piano, and he does so with a potent mix of discretion and vitality. The suites are full of surprises...Driver brings to it all a winning sense of style, crisply ornamented, sensitively drawing on the piano’s tonal potential for shadings of colour and alert to the rhythmic energy that Handel can generate.” The Telegraph, 15th May 2014 *****

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Hyperion - CDA68041/2

(CD - 2 discs)

$34.75

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Stephen Hough: In the Night

Stephen Hough: In the Night


Beethoven:

Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27 No. 2 ‘Moonlight'

Chopin:

Nocturne No. 7 in C sharp minor, Op. 27 No. 1

Nocturne No. 8 in D flat major, Op. 27 No. 2

Hough:

Piano Sonata No. 2 'notturno luminoso'

Schumann:

In der Nacht, Op. 12 No. 5

Carnaval, Op. 9


This latest recital album by ‘the thinking person’s virtuoso: an extraordinary pianist’ (The New York Times) takes the listener on a journey through that most intense and absorbing of nineteenth-century obsessions, the night. The Romantic night was one without sleep; where experiences are mutated through darkness. Stephen Hough’s thoughtful programming creates a new aural sphere for some of the most celebrated piano works in the repertoire.

Hough begins with Schumann’s troubled, reeling ‘In der Nacht’ from Fantasiestücke, and continues with Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight’ Sonata and Chopin’s two Op 27 Nocturnes.

With Schumann’s Carnaval we eavesdrop on one of the most vibrant parties in the nineteenth-century piano literature, with its panoply of brilliantly etched character sketches depicting both real people—such as Chopin and Paganini—and imaginary ones. Each movement is vividly contrasted; there are moments of unbridled ecstasy, elegant poise and elusive subtlety.

Also included is Stephen Hough’s own Piano Sonata No 2 ‘notturno luminoso’, which he describes as ‘about a different kind of night … the brightness of a brash city in the hours of darkness; the loneliness of pre-morning; sleeplessness and the dull glow of the alarm clock’s unmoving hours; the irrational fears which are only darkened by the harsh glare of a suspended, dusty light bulb'.

“Hough's album takes wing in an atmosphere of tension and sombreness...Hough's own Sonata prove the high point...rich in its textural variety and harmonic colours...Hearing a masterful pianist performing his own work is a special experience in itself.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2014 *****

“A new disc from Stephen Hough is always welcome. How will he surprise us this time and where will he take us? The answer is into the night - but not gentle or with a mug of cocoa.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2014

“As one would expect from a pianist of Hough's gifts, textures are imaginative, with plenty of excitement and variety...Hough's musical thinking has the same warmth and communicativeness as his performing persona...His Carnaval has great warmth and gentleness, along with appropriate doses of high spirits...I don't think I've sat through another Carnaval that was quite this much fun.” International Record Review, May 2014

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Hyperion - CDA67996

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$17.25

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Pizzetti & Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Violin Sonatas

Pizzetti & Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Violin Sonatas


Castelnuovo-Tedesco:

Sonata quasi una fantasia, Op. 56

Tre vocalizzi, Op. 55

arr. Mario Corti

Pizzetti:

Sonata No. 1 in A major for violin and piano

Tre Canti for Violin and Piano


Hagai Shaham (violin) & Arnon Erez (piano)

Hagai Shaham and Arnon Erez continue their exploration of the early twentieth-century violin repertoire, turning this time to Italy. These musicians are noted for their full-blooded performances: here they revel exuberantly in the music’s operatic passion.

Other recordings by Hagai Shaham

Pizzetti was at the height of his fame at a time when Italian music was all the rage; his pupil Castelnuovo-Tedesco eventually fled Italian anti-semitism to embark on a successful career in Hollywood.

Pizzetti’s Violin Sonata in A major was described by the late John C G Waterhouse, Britain’s leading authority on twentieth-century Italian music, as ‘much the most impressive sonata for violin and piano that has ever been written by an Italian’. His Tre canti were written in 1924, originally for cello and piano, then transcribed by the composer for violin.

Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Sonata quasi una fantasia, Op 56, was composed in 1929, with a dedication to the Hungarian violinist Adila Fachiri (also the dedicatee of Bartók’s two violin sonatas). The Tre vocalizzi were originally written in 1928 as vocalises for wordless voice and piano. They were subsequently arranged for violin and piano by Mario Corti, who saw the potential in these pieces for transcriptions that used violin techniques to imaginative effect, with extensive use of double-stopping and harmonics, as well as a greatly expanded compass, using octave transpositions to exploit the instrument’s entire range.

“The Pizzetti demands something other than beauty in performance, and Shaham and Erez are uncompromising and abrasive with it. The Castelnuovo-Tedesco sounds gorgeous from start to finish.” The Guardian, 8th May 2014 ****

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA67869

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$17.25

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Arthur Benjamin: Violin Sonatina & Viola Sonata

Arthur Benjamin: Violin Sonatina & Viola Sonata


Benjamin, A:

Sonata for Viola & Piano (1942)

Three Violin Pieces (1921-25)

A Tune & Variations. For Little People (1939)

Le Tombeau de Ravel: Valse-Caprices

From San Domingo

Jamaican Rumba

arr. William Primrose

Sonatina for Violin & Piano (1925)


Lawrence Power (viola & violin), Simon Crawford-Phillips (piano)

Lawrence Power is Britain’s greatest living viola player, the true successor to Lionel Tertis and William Primrose. Part of his mission is to perform and record music premiered by those masters of the previous century, including works by York Bowen, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Benjamin Dale, William Walton and, here, Arthur Benjamin.

Benjamin was one of the first Australian musicians to forge an international reputation. His creative output, which encompasses about eighty works altogether, manifests a great variety of idioms and genres. It includes a good number of light-music miniatures, many of them infused with a jazz or Afro-Caribbean flavour: the most famous of these is the Jamaican Rumba which concludes this album.

This album represents something of a departure for Lawrence Power’s recording career: he performs Benjamin’s Violin Sonatina on the violin. This ambitious, virtuosic and formidably accomplished work is not at all diminutive—perhaps the lack of a slow movement was felt to debar it from full sonata status.

Benjamin’s Viola Sonata is a wartime piece, with a first movement of dark foreboding. It manifests a spiritual affinity with the large-scale and often elegiac Symphony that Benjamin was about to begin composing, and it contains the bleakest and perhaps the most deeply felt music on the present album. It is an impressive, powerful and virtuosic work, with many technical challenges, all of which Lawrence scales with his usual astonishing prowess.

“Power’s viola sound has a notable seductiveness, a sort of electric sweetness, but his genius for phrasing is as effective in Benjamin’s 1924 Violin Sonatina (more substantial than the title suggests) as in his searching 1942 Viola Sonata, the focus here.” Sunday Times, 25th May 2014

“Whether playing his viola or violin, Lawrence Power is in total sympathy with Benjamin's shifting moods, and Simon Crawford-Phillips proves a lithe and responsive piano partner.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2014 ****

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Hyperion - CDA67969

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