Presto News - 17th December 2012

Wispelwey and Schiff re-visit Bach

Two recent Bach releases to tell you about this week – and both of them examples of musicians coming back to re-record repertoire which they’ve recorded before.

Pieter Wispelwey
Pieter Wispelwey

Firstly Dutch cellist Pieter Wispelwey celebrating his fiftieth birthday by re-recording for the third time one of the great cornerstones of the cello repertoire – Bach’s six Suites for unaccompanied cello. These suites are full of mysteries, ranging from why Bach wrote them in the first place, what instrument(s) and tuning to use, to all sorts of stylistic and interpretative questions. The fact that there is no manuscript in Bach’s own hand just adds to the uncertainties, and that there is nothing else like them in the repertoire, perhaps all helps explain why Wispelwey feels his ideas and interpretations have changed sufficiently to justify re-visiting these works again on disc.

The most unusual aspect of the new recording is the pitch, where Wispelwey uses what is believed to have been common in Cöthen, Germany – where Bach was working when he wrote the Suites. To do this Wispelwey tunes his cello down a whole tone from what is common today and the result is much more grainy, rustic sound, which at times resembles more a viol or even a double bass than a cello. But combined with Wispelwey’s dancing, light articulation it produces a thoroughly persuasive account.

This release comes complete with an intriguing bonus DVD featuring discussion and debate between Wispelwey and pre-eminent Bach scholars Laurence Dreyfus and John Butt about the mysteries of the Suites and the decisions to be made when performing them. It is a fascinating set and essential listening for all lovers of the cello and Bach in general.

András Schiff
András Schiff

The other musician going back into the studio this year to re-record Bach was Hungarian-born British pianist András Schiff, who earned wide esteem for his 1980s recordings of the composers’ major keyboard works on Decca. Over the last few years his second recordings of the Goldberg Variations and the six Partitas have drawn a whole new wave of appreciation, and his latest release – a four disc set of the complete 48 preludes and fugues of ‘The Well-Tempered Clavier’ – has been one of the highlights of the autumn.

Using virtually no sustaining pedal, Schiff brings great rhythmic and melodic clarity that reveals much of the wonders of this music. Less sentimental than his earlier recording there is a directness and intelligence which combined with careful tempo considerations between preludes and fugues sound on the whole somehow ‘right’. Just occasionally I longed for an extra tenderness or special something, but that may be more due to growing up with other recordings rather than because the music actually demands it.

In summary it is ultimately a credit to Bach that performers go back and re-record his music perhaps more than any other composer. As Schiff stated in the booklet note to his second Partitas recording, “Great music is far greater than its performers”. Musicians spend their whole lives striving for greater insights into things like the structure and the magic of this great music, and it is therefore not surprising that as they get older (and wiser) they feel they have something new to say and want the focus and discipline of a recording to make that new statement.

Sound samples as usual via the links below, plus a short video trailer for the Wispelwey. Enjoy!

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Pieter Wispelwey 392: 50th Anniversary Recording

Pieter Wispelwey (cello)

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Bach, J S: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Books 1 & 2

Andras Schiff (piano)

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

New Releases

17th December 2012

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.

Schubert: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 6

Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, David Zinman

"There is, within the symphonies, so much music I wouldn’t want to be without; a wonderful melodic and harmonic treasure trove that is memorable and irreplaceable, and which influenced generations of composers who came after him. - David Zinman on Schubert

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Schumann: Symphonische Etuden, Arabesque & Waldszenen

Martin Helmchen (piano)

Martin Helmchen continues his successful series of recordings for Pentatone with his first disc of Schumann's solo piano music, including the Waldszenen, Op. 82 and the Études symphoniques, Op. 13. With freshness and Helmchen's now trademark beauty of tone this is very fine playing indeed.

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Dowland: Tunes of Sad Despaire

Dominique Visse (countertenor), Fretwork, Renaud Delaigue & Eric Bellocq

This disc is a wonderful collection of his melancholic works (difficult to achieve as the composer himself never made a ‘collection’ as such), performed here by the fantastic Fretwork ensemble with countertenor Dominque Visse singing.

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Martinu: Complete Piano Trios

Arbor Piano Trio: Dmitri Vorobiev (piano), Stephen Shipps (violin) & Richard Aaron (cello)

Czech composer Bohuslav Martinů excelled in chamber music and made a substantial contribution to the piano trio repertoire of the twentieth century, his keen ear for balance and sonority finding here a perfect medium for his music.

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Bizet: Carmen

Anne Sofie von Otter (Carmen), Marcus Haddock (Don José), Laurent Naouri (Escamillo), Lisa Milne (Micaëla), London Philharmonic Orchestra & The Glyndebourne Chorus, Philippe Jordan

This 2002 production provides Anne-Sofie von Otter with her, to date, only Carmen, and young Swiss conductor Phillippe Jordan, currently music director of the Opéra national de Paris, with his UK debut. Anne-Sofie von Otter’s gypsy femme fatale is immediate from the moment she first appears onstage to deliver her character-defining Habanera.

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Carl Vine: String Quartets

Goldner String Quartet

Carl Vine has emerged as one of Australia’s foremost and popular composers, his music performed and heard regularly in concert halls. His 5 string quartets – 3 of them recorded here for the first time – are alive with beauty, wit and humour. Vine’s first string quartet – Knips Suite, was written in London for choreographer Ian Spink to accompany a dance for the Basic Space Dance Group for performances in Edinburgh in 1979.

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Glass: Einstein on the Beach & The Changing Image of Opera

Bruckner Orchester Linz, Dennis Russell Davies

In celebration of the 2012 revival of Einstein on the Beach by Philip Glass and Robert Wilson at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Orange Mountain Music and BAM present Einstein on the Beach.

It is a one CD highlight collection of the entire opera, with a companion DVD of the film The Changing Image of Opera affordably priced and available for the first time.

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Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker, Op. 71 - DVD

Mariinsky Ballet & Orchestra, Valery Gergiev

Mariinsky Theatre Musical Director, Valery Gergiev, conducts Tchaikovsky’s glorious score in this enchanting, traditional, Russian production of The Nutcracker. Vainonen’s stunning choreography is complemented by Simon Virsaladze’s wonderfully colourful designs, and the roles of Masha and her Nutcracker Prince are danced by two of the Mariinsky’s award-winning, international soloists, all of which make this as magical and memorable a Christmas treat as ever.

Blu-ray version also available here

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Radio 3

BBC Radio 3 CD Review

Saturday 15th December 2012

Building a Library - Prokofiev: Piano Sonata No. 8 in B flat major, Op. 84

First Choice

(as part of a 9-disc set 'Sviatoslav Richter - Complete Solo Piano Recordings')

Sviatoslav Richter (piano)

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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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