Presto News - 8th November 2010

Schubert: Piano Duets

Schubert wrote almost as much music for piano duet as he did for piano solo. He wrote his first piano duet when he was thirteen and spent much of his final year (while dying of syphilis) writing a series of four-hand masterpieces. It is perhaps surprising therefore that they are not more frequently performed than they are. Earlier this year Paul Lewis and Steven Osborne did their bit to try and redress that with a series of concerts around the UK, and luckily for us they took their programme into the recording studio as well – the result of which has just been released by Hyperion.

Steven Osborne and Paul Lewis
Steven Osborne and Paul Lewis

The programme features two of his most famous duets from his final year (1828) - the Allegro in A minor (Lebensstürme), D947 and the F minor Fantasie, D940 - along with two sets of variations, a rondo and a fugue. They are brilliant works full of drama, charm and subtlety, but are in many ways much more difficult to perform than the solo works. Apart from the obvious physically awkward bits of clashing elbows and jostling fingers there are other issues when playing piano duets which are all too easy for non-pianists (like me) to forget. For example as Steven Osborne pointed out in his blog earlier this year:

”Only one person can pedal at a time, so someone has to cede control of this crucial tool to their partner who inevitably has different pedalling instincts. Even if they didn't, the instinct is initially to pedal in accordance with one's own part which can ruin the sound of the other part. On the other hand, pedalling in a way which supports a melody you're not yourself playing can be surprisingly tricky.

Then there is the problem of timing. Piano notes have a very percussive start, which means that it is exceptionally hard for two players to make chords sound together - any discrepancy of more than one or two hundredths of a second is audible. This can be a serious headache for music which needs rhythmic flexibility.”

Their achievement on this disc is really quite remarkable as, apart from successfully conquering the issues mentioned above, they do so with a degree of uniformity in approach and musicianship that makes it very hard to tell them apart. They have the complete measure of Schubert’s writing - at times dramatic, at times reflective, and at others full of real charm and allure. And in the Fantasie in particular they achieve a really special stillness which is both striking and captivating. Textures never sound cluttered and you can always hear the most important melodic line (or lines) clearly.

These are two brilliant musicians at their absolute best and is without doubt one of my favourite discs this year.

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Schubert: Piano Duets

Paul Lewis (piano) & Steven Osborne (piano)

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

New Releases

8th November 2010

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.

Rossini: Stabat Mater

Anna Netrebko (soprano), Joyce DiDonato (mezzo), Lawrence Brownlee (tenor), Ildebrando D'Arcangelo (bass), Orchestra e Coro dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Antonio Pappano

Antonio Pappano and Italy’s leading symphony orchestra, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, continue their highly successful collaboration with EMI Classics with a studio recording of Rossini’s work for chorus, orchestra and soloists, Stabat Mater. They are joined by four international star soloists: Anna Netrebko, Joyce DiDonato, Lawrence Brownlee and Ildebrando D’Archangelo.

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Schumann: Dichterliebe & Liederkreis

Mark Padmore (tenor) & Kristian Bezuidenhout (fortepiano)

Tenor Mark Padmore is deftly supported by fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout in this lieder recital of Heine settings by Robert Schumann and Franz Lachner (5 songs from Sängerfahrt).

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The Romantic Piano Concerto 52 - Goetz & Wieniawski

Hamish Milne (piano), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Michal Dworzynski

Hamish Milne makes a welcome return to the Romantic Piano Concerto series with two recherché delights from the nineteenth century.

Józef, ‘the other Wieniawski’ is the brother of the more famous violinist, Henryk. His highly attractive Piano Concerto in G minor is in the mould of those by Chopin and Liszt, with the piano very much in the foreground. Goetz’s music, although full of melodic gift and mastery of form, was rarely performed after the end of his short life. His piano concerto proved to be the most successful of his orchestral works played during his lifetime.

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Caldara in Vienna (Deluxe Edition) - Forgotten Castrato Arias

Philippe Jaroussky, Concerto Köln, Emmanuelle Haïm

Philippe Jaroussky continues his rediscovery of long-forgotten arias for high male voice with this collection of music by Antonio Caldara, a contemporary of Bach, Handel and Vivaldi, who was the first composer to set many librettos by the great Metastasio and Zeno.

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 & Romeo & Juliet Fantasy Overture

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Andris Nelsons

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and its music director Andris Nelsons here present their second Tchaikovsky CD, in an ongoing cycle, for Orfeo. Besides the Fantasy Overture Romeo and Juliet, we offer his Symphony No. 6 in B minor, the so-called ‘Pathétique’. If one takes the first version of Romeo as a starting point, then a full 25 years lie between these two works (the Symphony reached its first performance only nine days before the sudden, mysterious death of its composer). But both works bear the marks of Tchaikovsky’s emotion-laden compositional style.

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Beethoven: Violin Sonatas Volume 2

Alina Ibragimova (violin) & Cédric Tiberghien (piano)

“Ferociously gifted young musicians” [The Times, May 2010] Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien return with the second in their series of the complete Beethoven violin sonatas, recorded live at Wigmore Hall in February 2010. Volume One in the cycle, released in March 2010, was received to resounding critical acclaim, with the FT stating “the partnership with Tiberghien sounds fresh and spontaneous - outstandingly so in the opening movement of the eighth sonata.” Now the second concert in the trilogy is being made available as a live recording, featuring the sonatas in F (Spring Op.24), A (Op.12 No.2) and G major (Op.96).

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Dinastia Borgia: The Borgia Dynasty

Montserrat Figueras, Pascal Bertin, Lluis Vilamajó & Marc Mauillon, La Capella Reial de Catalunya & Hesperion XXI, Jordi Savall

Coinciding with the 500th anniversary of the birth of Saint Francis Borgia, Fourth Duke of Gandia, Jordi Savall and Alia Vox offer a visually lavish and artistically comprehensive new release entitled Dinastia Borgia.

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Dutton Epoch - 7 New releases

A whole host of world premieres amongst this month's Dutton Epoch release. Of particular note are the second volume of John Foulds Orchestral Works, and two discs of Rutland Boughton who died fifty years ago in 1960, but to be honest they are all worth exploring.

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Australian Eloquence

16 new re-issues

Another superb batch of re-issues from the popular Australian Eloquence series. Included this month is a great Percy Grainger album featuring amongst others Peter Pears and Benjamin Britten, Sir Charles Mackerras's 1982 Pineapple Poll, Stravinsky's Soldiers Tale narrated by Sir John Gielgud, Walton's Façade narrated by Dame Edith Sitwell and Sir Peter Pears, and Ashkenazy conducting Mahler's 3rd Symphony.

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Radio 3

BBC Radio 3 CD Review

Saturday 6th November 2010

Building a Library - Mahler: Rückert-Lieder

First Choice

Janet Baker, New Philharmonia Orchestra, John Barbirolli

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Disc of the Week

Debussy - Orchestral Works Volume 4

(including Le Martyre de Saint Sébastien and Khamma)

Orchestre National de Lyon, Jun Märkl

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07-Nov-2011 -Haydn from the Takács Quartet
31-Oct-2011 -Sublime Schubert from Paul Lewis
24-Oct-2011 -Franz Liszt
17-Oct-2011 -The Decca Sound
10-Oct-2011 -Pavel Haas Quartet the big winners at the Gramophone Awards
03-Oct-2011 -Berlioz's Grande Messe des Morts from Paul McCreesh
26-Sep-2011 -Handel – Agrippina & Germanico
19-Sep-2011 -Wagner’s Flying Dutchman starts PentaTone’s 10th anniversary celebrations
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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