Presto News - 1st June 2009

Gergiev at the Mariinsky

With all the doom and gloom still dominating the headlines, the news of a new record label launching comes as something of a surprise but that is exactly what the Mariinsky Theatre have just done – launching their own label (simply called ‘Mariinsky’) with the release last week of Shostakovich’s satirical opera The Nose.

The Mariinsky theatre has a long and illustrious history, primarily under the name of the Kirov Opera and Ballet by which it was known until recently. But in the last twenty years, under the guidance of Artistic Director Valery Gergiev it has entered a new era of artistic excellence and creativity, and is now considered one of the very finest in world. Gergiev rules with an autocracy pretty much unparalleled today, where he has complete control over all decisions, whether they be artistic, financial or strategic. You probably have to go back to Karajan and his relationship with the Berlin Philharmonic to find a conductor with such personality and influence.

Valery Gergiev
Valery Gergiev

Gergiev was elected artistic director in 1988 and signed an exclusive contract with Philips the year after. The next three years were very difficult in Russia with the country basically breaking up and, with little or no money to pay musicians, many of the biggest stars like Gidon Kremer, Evgeny Kissin, Vadim Repin and Maxim Vengerov emigrated. The fact that Gergiev stayed and fought through all this is I suspect one of the reasons why he is so highly respected and esteemed by his fellow countrymen now.

The collaboration with Philips lasted many years and produced both fantastic and award winning recordings. The projects they undertook were often huge and included a large number of Russian operas such as Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov and Prokofiev’s War and Peace. However, in recent years Philips (now part of Decca) have like all the majors considerably cut back on the number of new recordings they make. In an interview with the New York Times earlier this year Gergiev said that he felt they had abandoned making serious recordings altogether:

“Did they want to do a Mahler cycle?” he asked, rhetorically. “No. Beethoven, no. They didn’t even want all of Tchaikovsky.”

Either way Philip’s loss has been LSO Live’s and now Mariinsky’s gain. The Mahler cycle is ongoing under the former while Mariinsky already have several recordings in the can and I’ve seen some mouth-watering projects (including a number of Wagner operas) in the advance schedule. If you’d like to find out more about what Gergiev has achieved at the Mariinsky then you can read the entire facilitating New York Times article here.

But finally, I want to return briefly to the new release of Shostakovich’s opera The Nose. It was recorded in Mariinsky’s new concert hall which by all accounts is acoustically one of the finest ever built. And the sound of the orchestra and soloists on this new recording is quite superb. The Nose is one of Shostakovich’s earliest works and was written when he was in his early twenties. In many ways I’d say it sounds like it, and while there isn’t really enough material to justify the three acts, it is really quite exciting to hear the way the unrefined and raw Shostakovich thought. Either way the performance is superb and it is a thoroughly worthwhile and enjoyable addition to the catalogue.

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Shostakovich: The Nose

Vladislav Sulimsky, Alexei Tanovitski,Tatiana Kravtsova, Andrei Popov, Sergei Semishkur, Gennady Bezzubenkov, Vadim Kravets, Sergei Skorokhodov,Yevgeny Strashko, Elena Vitman & Zhanna Dombrovskaya

Mariinsky Orchestra & Chorus, Valery Gergiev

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

New Releases

1st June 2009

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.

Ravel - Songs

Gerald Finley (baritone) & Julius Drake (piano)

The award-winning partnership of Gerald Finley and Julius Drake continue their musical explorations with this beautiful and thought-provoking disc. Gerald Finley’s lustrous tones, extraordinary gift for characterisation, and direct, unaffected utterance make him an ideal and revelatory performer of Ravel’s songs.

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Bach - Cantatas Volume 43

Hana Blažíková (soprano), Robin Blaze (counter-tenor), Gerd Türk (tenor) & Peter Kooij (bass), Bach Collegium Japan, Masaaki Suzuki

Three Christmas cantatas from 1725 make up the programme of the 43rd volume in Masaaki Suzuki’s and Bach Collegium Japan’s highly praised cycle of Bach’s cantatas.

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Monteverdi - Sweet Torment

I Fagiolini, Robert Hollingworth (director)

In this third survey of their Monteverdi madrigals, I Fagiolini once again demonstrate the astonishing range of the composer’s secular art, leading us from the works of his early Mantuan maturity to the Baroque glories of his Venetian years, before returning us to the seconda pratica in Il Ballo dell’ Ingrate.

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Jackson - Not no faceless Angel and other choral works

Polyphony, Stephen Layton

Polyphony’s recordings of contemporary choral music are among Hyperion’s perennial best-sellers and have introduced thousands of listeners to magical new worlds of sound. On this new disc for Hyperion under their inspirational director, Stephen Layton, the composer Gabriel Jackson gets the Polyphony treatment. The result is a dazzling collection which will inspire and enchant the listener.

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Haydn: String Quartets, Op. 17 Nos. 1-6 (complete)

The London Haydn Quartet

Haydn’s String Quartets Op 17 were written during his most effusively productive period, during his tenure in the service of the Esterházy family. He had a magnificent group of musicians at his disposal, including the young virtuoso violinist Luigi Tomasini, whose genius can be traced throughout these works, particularly in the achingly beautiful melodies of the adagio movements. These string quartets mark Haydn’s emergence as an indisputably great composer. They have a seriousness of intent and an increasing mastery of rhetoric and thematic development that are a world away from the lightweight divertimento-quartets that he was formerly producing.

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Songs of Lennox Berkeley

James Gilchrist (tenor), Anna Tilbrook (piano) & Alison Nicholls (harp)

Acclaimed as a concert soloist, recitalist and a recording artist, James Gilchrist is one of the finest British tenors of today. In his first solo disc for Chandos, he performs a representative survey of the songs of Lennox Berkeley which demonstrates the distinctly Gallic flavour inspired by his time in France along with a spiritual intensity from his devotion to Roman Catholicism. James is accompanied by Anna Tilbrook on piano and Alison Nicholls on harp.

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Beethoven - Piano Quartet & String Quintet

The Nash Ensemble

The Nash Ensemble continues its critically acclaimed survey of Beethoven’s rarer chamber music in an intriguing new disc. The String Quintet Op 104 is an arrangement of Beethoven’s revolutionary Piano Trio No 3, a work which shocked contemporary listeners. Beethoven’s brilliance as an arranger is not perhaps his most well-known musical characteristic, but it is vividly apparent here; the transformation from piano to string writing ushering in an explosion of colour. The music is profoundly Beethovenian in its abrupt, extreme contrasts, violent rhetoric alternating with intense pathos and yearning lyricism.

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The Sibelius Edition - Volume 8 - Orchestral Music

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra & Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Neeme Järvi & Jaakko Kuusisto

This instalment returns to the field in which the Finnish master has earned the greatest acclaim. Sibelius himself is reported to have said: ‘I am a man of the orchestra. You must judge me from my orchestral works.’ This disc includes some of Sibelius’s best-known works (the Violin Concerto in Leonidas Kavakos’ award-winning recording and the Karelia Suite newly recorded by Osmo Vänskä to name but two) to rarities such as an early version of Rakastava never previously on disc.

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Radio 3

BBC Radio 3 CD Review

Saturday 30th May 2009

Building a Library - Monterverdi - Eighth Book of Madrigals

First Choice

La Venexiana

“In their Monteverdi Editions, La Venexiana bring a dramatic delivery of the words and a uniquely Italian blend of solo voices to this glorious music, unrivalled on disc.” Sunday Times

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Disc of the Week

Schumann/Heine Lieder

Florian Boesch (baritone) & Malcolm Martineau (piano)

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12-Sep-2011 -Schubert's Schwanengesang from Padmore and Lewis
05-Sep-2011 -Gergiev and the LSO conclude their Mahler cycle
29-Aug-2011 -BIS - Maxim Rysanov, Sibelius and a special offer
22-Aug-2011 -Sublime Ravel from Ibragimova and Tiberghien
15-Aug-2011 -Gustavo Dudamel
08-Aug-2011 -Brahms/Schoenberg from Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker
01-Aug-2011 -Lucia from the Mariinsky
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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