Presto News - 14th April 2008

Nigel Kennedy

Undoubtedly one of the greatest violinists ever to grace this planet, Nigel Kennedy has managed to divide the music loving world into two camps – for or against. It appears that his popular appeal (achieved largely by his carefully maintained loutish persona) has resulted in many so called ‘serious’ classical music lovers dismissing his very genuine natural ability.

Nigel Kennedy
Nigel Kennedy

He is probably best known for his recording of the Vivaldi Four Seasons which he first recorded in 1989. It went on to sell over 2 million copies and earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the then best-selling classical work of all time. The album remained top of the UK classical charts for over a year with sales equivalent to one copy sold every 30 seconds of every day.

After recording most of the major violin concerti he then took a controversial and highly publicised decision to withdraw completely from public performance. This lasted about five years but he made a triumphant return and since then has split his time between mainstream classical and jazz/world influenced performances and recordings.

His new recording of the Beethoven Violin Concerto coupled with the Mozart 4th Concerto shows that he is still one of the world’s leading exponents of the instrument. He first recorded the Beethoven Concerto 15 years ago under Klaus Tennstedt in a lush romantic interpretation. His new recoding is more rhythmically driven and playful but still beautiful and lyrical. And although the opening bars suggest a swifter and cleaner approach, he still slows down for the second subject and his Larghetto is similarly ravishing and soulful.

The Mozart on the other hand I have a major problem with – and that is mainly in the form of the cadenzas. I have no problem with instrumentalists improvising their own cadenzas (although they rarely do these days) providing they fit with the character of the piece. Here, Kennedy switches to electric violin and is accompanied by a double bass in some dreamy world/jazzy insertions. Kennedy claims this expresses what the concerto means to him and that he wants to ‘open listeners minds’. To me it simply doesn’t work. We’ve put a video up on the site though so you can see if he can convince you! Luckily the Beethoven is good enough to justify the disc price alone.

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2008

One other thing I should mention is that the BBC Music Magazine 2008 Awards were announced last week with Mitsuko Uchida's recording of the Beethoven Piano Sonatas Nos. 28 and 29 claiming the overall disc of the year. You can view full details of all the winners here.

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Kennedy plays Beethoven & Mozart Violin Concertos

Nigel Kennedy (violin & direction), Polish Chamber Orchestra

playWatch an 11 minute video of Nigel Kennedy on Beethoven and Mozart

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Chris O'Reilly - chris@prestoclassical.co.uk

New Releases

14th April 2008

This is just the pick of the recent releases. The New Releases and Future Releases pages are always available for browsing all the new and forthcoming releases.

Placido Domingo - Pasion Española

Plácido Domingo (tenor), Orquesta de la Comunidad de Madrid, Miguel Roa

One of Plácido Domingo’s most personal albums to date as he performs coplas, the traditional popular songs of Hispanic origin with which he grew up.

Coplas express melodramatic, amorous sentiments, relate humorous incidents, historical events or comment on everyday life. In Spain the genre had a boom in the 1930s when many composers of popular songs and light classical music contributed to the tradition with art songs.

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Chopin - Piano Works

Ingrid Fliter (piano)

"Fliter is very much her own person, with essential sparks of individual imagination that show a fertile mind as well as a phenomenal technique at work ... In the second half came a Chopin group that was simply spellbinding. The music seemed to flow from her with an utterly natural lyrical impulse, graced with power, luminous delicacy and a spectrum of tonal colouring that combined to mark her out as one of the most instinctive and eloquent Chopin interpreters playing today" - Daily Telegraph

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Boldmemann, Gefors & Hillborg - Songs

Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo soprano), Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Kent Nagano

Versatile Swedish mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter starts this year with a new album of Swedish songs. It is a collection of emotional and evocative orchestral songs, which have been composed by Gefors and Hillborg specifically for her. All songs on this album are world premiere recordings.

Always looking for new challenges, Anne Sofie von Otter herself conceived this album for the 20/21 series: “Sweden has a rich singing tradition. I wanted to do something for its contemporary vocal music, which is ripe for discovery.”

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Dreaming

Pavao Quartet

The CD includes arrangements of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Clair de Lune, When You Wish Upon a Star, Moonlight Sonata, Dream a Little Dream and even Fly me to the Moon! It makes for a wonderful CD, showcasing not only their virtuosic talents, but their ability to perform crowd pleasing arrangements which regularly bring the house down at their live performances.

Guastavino - The Complete Piano Music

Martin Jones (piano)

Carlos Guastavino was born in Santa Fe Province, Argentina. He studied music in Santa Fe with Esperanza Lothringer and Dominga Iaffei, and in Buenos Aires with Athos Palma. A talented pianist, he performed his piano works in London in 1947, 1948, and 1949, invited by the BBC, and as a recipient of a scholarship from the British Council. One of the foremost Argentine composers of the 20th century, his production amounted to over 200 works, most of them songs for piano and voice. His style was quite conservative, always tonal and lusciously romantic. His compositions were clearly influenced by Argentine folk music.

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Wagenaar - Orchestral Works

The Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra, Eri Klas

The leading Dutch composer of his generation, Johan Wagenaar (1862-1941) composed operas, cantatas and organ music as well as an impressive list of orchestral works. His most important musical influence came from the compositions of Richard Strauss and his own orchestral works show a great talent for orchestration and a predilection for dramatic subject matter.

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Dvorák - Serenades

Prague Philharmonia, Jakub Hruša

“In my opinion, as soon as Dvorák starts to be pompous, frilly, over-stylized, even rash or studiously virtuoso, the approach is wrong. My goal was to emphasize its simplicity and naturalness, because when this is lost, Dvorák isn’t Dvorák anymore.” These words of Jakub Hruša shine through the young conductor’s third CD, in which he again juxtaposes the works of teacher Antonín Dvorák and his student Josef Suk.

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Donizetti: La Fille du Régiment - DVD

Natalie Dessay, Juan Diego Flórez, Orchestra & Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Bruno Campanella

Last January 2007, Natalie Dessay, joined on stage by acclaimed tenor Juan Diego Florez - “operatic coupling made in heaven” (Financial Times) - dazzled British audiences in La Fille du régiment.

The rave reviews from the press and the audiences’ standing ovations clearly indicate how successfully Laurent Pelly (famous for his spectacular productions) staged this new production, and how the singers were perfectly cast. They gave Donizetti’s opera a new life at the Royal Opera House, after 40 years, when the opera was last staged there.

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3 New Lyrita Releases

Three important new Lyrita re-issues including the Cello Concerto of Moeran, Barry Tuckwell playing Horn Concertos of Hodinott and Maw, and Elisabeth Lutyens' work for soprano, baritone and orchestra - Quincunx.

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Radio 3

BBC Radio 3 CD Review

Saturday 12th April 2008

Building a Library - Schumann: Piano Quintet in E flat major, Op. 44

First Choice

Leif Ove Andsnes (piano), Artemis Quartet

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Budget Choice

Recorded 1951-52

Clifford Curzon (piano), Budapest String Quartet

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Period Instrument Choice

La Gaia Scienza

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CD of the Week

Beethoven - Bagatelles

Linda Nicholson (fortepiano)

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11-Jun-2012 -Shostakovich Symphonies from Petrenko and the RLPO
04-Jun-2012 -Bach's St Matthew Passion
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21-May-2012 -Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
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30-Apr-2012 -Hamilton Harty’s Chamber Music
23-Apr-2012 -Kathleen Ferrier
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05-Mar-2012 -Brahms choral discs from Gardiner and Herreweghe
27-Feb-2012 -Vivaldi: Sacred vocal works and concertos
20-Feb-2012 -Aleksandra Kurzak and Renée Fleming
13-Feb-2012 -Schoenberg and Berg
06-Feb-2012 -Alison Balsom
30-Jan-2012 -Britten Violin Concerto
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25-Jul-2011 -Bayreuther Festspiele
18-Jul-2011 -Benjamin Grosvenor
11-Jul-2011 -Rossini’s William Tell
04-Jul-2011 -Bach Motets from Herreweghe
27-Jun-2011 -Sublime Vivaldi from Nathalie Stutzmann
20-Jun-2011 -Beethoven’s Fidelio from Abbado and Kaufmann
13-Jun-2011 -Byrd’s Complete Consort Music
06-Jun-2011 -Vaughan Williams’s The Garden of Proserpine
30-May-2011 -Beethoven's Diabelli Variations from Paul Lewis
23-May-2011 -New DVDs from Glyndebourne
16-May-2011 -Martha Argerich
09-May-2011 -Handel's Ariodante
02-May-2011 -Daniel Barenboim plays Chopin and conducts Tchaikovsky
25-Apr-2011 -Fliter and Ibragimova excel in Beethoven
18-Apr-2011 -Julia Lezhneva sings Rossini
11-Apr-2011 -Lully’s Bellérophon
04-Apr-2011 -Mining the archives
28-Mar-2011 -Rachmaninov's Second Symphony
21-Mar-2011 -Suk's Asrael Symphony
14-Mar-2011 -Pergolesi's Stabat Mater
07-Mar-2011 -Striggio: Mass in 40 Parts
28-Feb-2011 -Tomás Luis de Victoria
21-Feb-2011 -Lisa Batiashvili - Echoes of Time
14-Feb-2011 -Kate Royal: A Lesson in Love
07-Feb-2011 -Simon Rattle's new Mahler 2
31-Jan-2011 -Percy Grainger
24-Jan-2011 -Arne: Artaxerxes
17-Jan-2011 -Handel and Strauss from Dessay and Damrau
10-Jan-2011 -Nielsen Symphonies from Colin Davis and the LSO
03-Jan-2011 -The Genius of Mozart
27-Dec-2010 -The year ahead
20-Dec-2010 -Sheet Music now online, and other recent developments
13-Dec-2010 -Robert Schumann
06-Dec-2010 -Vivaldi Operas - Ottone in Villa and Ercole
29-Nov-2010 -Christmas Releases
22-Nov-2010 -Bach Cantatas - the Gardiner pilgrimage
15-Nov-2010 -Henryk Mikolaj Górecki
08-Nov-2010 -Schubert: Piano Duets
01-Nov-2010 -Verdi's Otello from the LSO and Colin Davis
25-Oct-2010 -The Three Baroque Tenors
18-Oct-2010 -Dame Joan Sutherland
11-Oct-2010 -Bach's Violin Concertos from Rachel Podger and Brecon Baroque
04-Oct-2010 -Gramophone Awards announced last Friday
27-Sep-2010 -Jonas Kaufmann: Verismo Arias
20-Sep-2010 -Wagner's Parsifal from the Mariinsky and Gergiev
13-Sep-2010 -Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte from René Jacobs
06-Sep-2010 -Puccini's forgotten masterpiece - La Rondine
30-Aug-2010 -Santiago a cappella
23-Aug-2010 -Elīna Garanča goes Spanish
16-Aug-2010 -Rued Langgaard - Music of the Spheres
09-Aug-2010 -Gramophone Awards - The Finalists
02-Aug-2010 -50 Years of the Grosses Festspielhaus Salzburg
26-Jul-2010 -Gustav Mahler
19-Jul-2010 -Sir Charles Mackerras
12-Jul-2010 -Beethoven - Paul Lewis and the BBC Proms
05-Jul-2010 -A Russian Sibelius cycle
28-Jun-2010 -Ronald Brautigam's Beethoven
21-Jun-2010 -Carlos Kleiber
14-Jun-2010 -Handel's Berenice
07-Jun-2010 -Channel Classics
31-May-2010 -Alfredo Casella
24-May-2010 -Shostakovich Preludes & Fugues from Melnikov
17-May-2010 -The multi-talented Julia Fischer
10-May-2010 -Nimbus
03-May-2010 -Leonard Bernstein's Omnibus Broadcasts
26-Apr-2010 -Frédéric Chopin
19-Apr-2010 -Wagner Lohengrin - BBC Awards
12-Apr-2010 -Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique
05-Apr-2010 -Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia and Joyce DiDonato
29-Mar-2010 -Romantic Piano Concertos
22-Mar-2010 -Robin Ticciati and Brahms' Choral Works
15-Mar-2010 -Mozart Symphonies from Mackerras - Volume 2
08-Mar-2010 -Bernard Coutaz and Harmonia Mundi
01-Mar-2010 -Thomas Adès
22-Feb-2010 -Strauss: Alpine Symphony
15-Feb-2010 -Handel: Giulio Cesare and the Brockes Passion
08-Feb-2010 -Debussy and the Prix de Rome
01-Feb-2010 -Testament
25-Jan-2010 -BBC Music Magazine Awards Shortlist
18-Jan-2010 -Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet
11-Jan-2010 -Bach for Violin and Voice
04-Jan-2010 -A Ring cycle for the 21st Century
28-Dec-2009 -Anniversaries - 2009 and 2010
21-Dec-2009 -Richard Farrell
14-Dec-2009 -Thomas Tallis's Secret Garden
07-Dec-2009 -El Sistema
30-Nov-2009 -Christmas Releases
23-Nov-2009 -Kirsten Flagstad
16-Nov-2009 -Nikolaus Harnoncourt
09-Nov-2009 -Two important Elgar rarities
02-Nov-2009 -Felix Mendelssohn
26-Oct-2009 -Cecilia Bartoli and the world of Castratos
19-Oct-2009 -Winterreise from Padmore and Lewis
12-Oct-2009 -Tchaikovsky's Moscow Cantata
05-Oct-2009 -The Quatuor Ebène and the Gramophone Awards
28-Sep-2009 -Unknown Britten
21-Sep-2009 -Australian Eloquence
14-Sep-2009 -Julia Fischer plays Schubert
07-Sep-2009 -Bach Cantata bargain of the year
31-Aug-2009 -Rattle conducts Brahms
24-Aug-2009 -Bruckner from the Concertgebouw
17-Aug-2009 -Gramophone Awards 2009 - Finalists
10-Aug-2009 -Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle
03-Aug-2009 -The Vivaldi Edition
27-Jul-2009 -Diaghilev and The Ballets Russes
20-Jul-2009 -Sir Edward Downes
13-Jul-2009 -Brilliant Classics
06-Jul-2009 -Tomás Luis de Victoria
29-Jun-2009 -Britten's homage to Purcell
22-Jun-2009 -The Three Tenors
15-Jun-2009 -Penguin Rosettes and Building a Library
08-Jun-2009 -Masterclasses
01-Jun-2009 -Gergiev at the Mariinsky
25-May-2009 -Two recent re-discoveries light up Martinu year
18-May-2009 -Idomeneo from René Jacobs
11-May-2009 -A&R and Kate Royal's Midsummer Night
04-May-2009 -Chandos Records - 30 years young
27-Apr-2009 -Rachmaninov Preludes
20-Apr-2009 -20 Years of NMC
13-Apr-2009 -BBC Music Magazine Awards
06-Apr-2009 -Shostakovich 11 from the RLPO
30-Mar-2009 -BIS and the Sibelius Edition
23-Mar-2009 -Haydn - 'The Father of the Symphony'
16-Mar-2009 -George Frederic Handel
09-Mar-2009 -Bach's Brandenburg Concertos
02-Mar-2009 -Angela Gheorghiu in Puccini's Madama Butterfly
23-Feb-2009 -The world's most celebrated violins
16-Feb-2009 -Copyright to be extended
09-Feb-2009 -A feast of Early Music
02-Feb-2009 -Sarah Connolly gets Purcell year off to a flier
26-Jan-2009 -Monteverdi as you've never heard it before!
19-Jan-2009 -Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin put Platti firmly on the map
12-Jan-2009 -Hamelin proves his real class with Chopin
05-Jan-2009 -Lindsays lead the bargains
29-Dec-2008 -Jerusalem - in search of peace
22-Dec-2008 -Looking ahead - Handel, Haydn and more
15-Dec-2008 -2008 - A great year for DVDs
08-Dec-2008 -Top new Christmas recommendations
01-Dec-2008 -Richard Hickox
24-Nov-2008 -The World's Great Orchestras, and Euros and US Dollars now accepted
17-Nov-2008 -Lost manuscripts continue to be found
10-Nov-2008 -Haydn's String Quartets
03-Nov-2008 -Tchaikovsky's Manfred Symphony
27-Oct-2008 -Contemporary Music
20-Oct-2008 -Sir Peter Moores
13-Oct-2008 -Vivaldi in a new light
06-Oct-2008 -Americans in Pyongyang
29-Sep-2008 -Paul Lewis and the Gramophone Awards 2008
22-Sep-2008 -Songs her mother taught her
15-Sep-2008 -Vernon Handley
08-Sep-2008 -Zig Zag and the Atrium Quartet
01-Sep-2008 -Gramophone Awards nominations
25-Aug-2008 -Beautiful Messiah and Exquisite Morales
18-Aug-2008 -Great Pianists of the Past
11-Aug-2008 -Classical Television Broadcasts on the Internet
04-Aug-2008 -Chloë Hanslip and the unfamiliar
28-Jul-2008 -Leopold Godowsky and the virtuoso pianist
21-Jul-2008 -Linn Records
14-Jul-2008 -Vaughan Williams
07-Jul-2008 -Olivier Messiaen
30-Jun-2008 -Reginald Goodall's revelatory 'Mastersingers'
23-Jun-2008 -The French Baroque - 200 Years of Versailles
16-Jun-2008 -Bach Fugues from Onyx and the Emersons
09-Jun-2008 -New DVD page and Special Offer
02-Jun-2008 -Time to re-evaluate Miaskovsky
26-May-2008 -Superb Scholl sings Dowland and his circle
19-May-2008 -Fiesta! - Dudamel and the Venezuelans
12-May-2008 -The Guarneri Piano Trio and the label Praga
05-May-2008 -A La Bohème for all
28-Apr-2008 -Beethoven and Period Instruments
21-Apr-2008 -The Jerusalem Quartet
14-Apr-2008 -Nigel Kennedy
07-Apr-2008 -Paul Lewis's Beethoven
31-Mar-2008 -Ingrid Fliter
24-Mar-2008 -Mel Bonis
17-Mar-2008 -Stunning new Haydn Creation from Paul McCreesh
10-Mar-2008 -Hilary Hahn plays Schoenberg and Sibelius
03-Mar-2008 -Rattle and Gergiev on Mahler
25-Feb-2008 -Handel Organ Concertos
18-Feb-2008 -Late Mozart Symphonies
11-Feb-2008 -Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Project
04-Feb-2008 -Arvo Pärt's Spiegel im Spiegel
28-Jan-2008 -Undeservedly neglected music - John Marsh and Juan de Araujo
21-Jan-2008 -New Bach Cantatas page
14-Jan-2008 -Composers' Own Recordings
07-Jan-2008 -Francis Xavier and Jordi Savall
31-Dec-2007 -50 Years of Harmonia Mundi
24-Dec-2007 -Last thoughts on 2007, first on 2008
17-Dec-2007 -Discs of the Year
10-Dec-2007 -Stockhausen
03-Dec-2007 -25 Years of the Compact Disc
26-Nov-2007 -Pacini and the importance of first performances
19-Nov-2007 -Christmas music worth hearing
12-Nov-2007 -The forgotten Maria
05-Nov-2007 -Why composers marked repeats
29-Oct-2007 -Bach B minor Mass from Suzuki
22-Oct-2007 -New Mahler 8 from Pierre Boulez
15-Oct-2007 -Lucerne Festival Orchestra
08-Oct-2007 -Julia Fischer and the Gramophone Awards
01-Oct-2007 -Mozart - Don Giovanni from René Jacobs
24-Sep-2007 -Natalie Clein and the Elgar Cello Concerto
17-Sep-2007 -Joshua Bell
10-Sep-2007 -Luciano Pavarotti
03-Sep-2007 -Kate Royal
27-Aug-2007 -Gramophone Awards - finalists revealed
20-Aug-2007 -Exciting new baroque rediscovery - Conti's David
13-Aug-2007 -Venezuelan Youth Orchestra the envy of the world
06-Aug-2007 -Music's Best-kept Secrets
30-Jul-2007 -Haydn - the most underrated great composer
23-Jul-2007 -Beethoven Piano Sonatas
16-Jul-2007 -BBC Proms 2007
09-Jul-2007 -Elin Manahan Thomas
02-Jul-2007 -Open minds and superb Bernarda Fink
25-Jun-2007 -Excited by another batch of re-issues?
18-Jun-2007 -Composer Works lists now published
11-Jun-2007 -Padmore and Bostridge sing Handel
04-Jun-2007 -Elgar's Enigma Variations
28-May-2007 -Still suffering some seventy years on?
21-May-2007 -Buying Opera on CD or DVD
14-May-2007 -Debussy's new champion
07-May-2007 -Schütz's Legacy
30-Apr-2007 -Mstislav Rostropovich
23-Apr-2007 -Missed Opportunities
16-Apr-2007 -BBC Music Magazine Awards
09-Apr-2007 -The way we listen
02-Apr-2007 -Too much Mozart?
26-Mar-2007 -Harpsichord or Piano?
19-Mar-2007 -Strauss's Four Last Songs
12-Mar-2007 -The importance of government support
05-Mar-2007 -Do today's musicians all sound the same?

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