Presto News - 9th October 2015

Simon Rattle conducts Schumann's Das Paradies und die Peri

“It's the great masterpiece you've never heard”, says Simon Rattle of Schumann's oratorio, Das Paradies und die Peri. I must admit I had certainly never heard it until now; despite Rattle's suggestion that it was Schumann's most popular piece during his lifetime, nowadays it seems to be a fairly rare visitor to the concert hall, and the number of available recordings is only in single digits. Hopefully this thrilling new recording with the London Symphony Orchestra will go a long way towards redressing that neglect.

Sally Matthews, Simon Rattle, and the LSO
Sally Matthews, Simon Rattle, and the LSO

The Peri of the title is a winged spirit from Persian mythology. In Thomas Moore's poem on which the text of Schumann's work is based, the Peri has been expelled from Paradise, but is told that she will be allowed to re-enter if she can bring back an example of something that is dearest to God. After two failed attempts, where she offers a drop of blood from a soldier killed in battle and the last sigh of a young girl who refused to leave the side of her plague-stricken lover, the Peri's third offering (the tear of a sinner who had repented at the sight of a child in prayer) is accepted, and she is allowed into heaven once more.

You can imagine how such a colourful story would enable Schumann to come up with some wonderfully evocative music. Stylistically it often sounded to me like a hybrid of Brahms's German Requiem and Mendelssohn's Elijah, combining the harmonic language and choral writing of the former with the dramatic gestures and narrative power of the latter.

One of the highlights for me comes in Part One, where the chorus sings of the mighty prince Gazna's exploits on the battlefield, during which he encounters a defiant young hero. With some hair-raising choral singing and some declamatory fanfares from the trumpets, it's an exhilarating passage, followed immediately by the stirringly plangent cries from the chorus of 'Weh, weh, weh' (Woe, woe, woe), as the young hero falls.

Having said that, as much as I enjoy all of the loud bits, I found myself coming back to the quiet, contemplative moments even more. After the triumphant ending of Part One, where the Peri (radiantly sung by Sally Matthews) presents the hero's drop of blood to heaven, Part Two begins somewhat more despondently: an Angel (sung movingly and magnificently by Bernarda Fink) explains that, alas, the blood is not sufficient to open the heavenly gates, and the Peri must continue in her search.

The whole piece is narrated by tenor Mark Padmore, and he is in quite extraordinary voice here: the hushed passage where he describes the Peri arriving in a plague-stricken land is nothing short of spine-tingling, with an amazingly mournful horn solo, so simple on the page and yet when brought to life by such expert players as the LSO it becomes an astonishingly poignant moment.

Having listened to this piece countless times over the last week or so, I can only agree with Rattle's assessment: this is a stunning work which deserves to be much better-known. This recording also happens to be his first release on LSO Live with the orchestra of which he will become Music Director in two years' time, and on the basis of these sensational first fruits, I look forward very much to many more fine recordings, and hopefully to further resurrected masterpieces!

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Schumann: Das Paradies und die Peri, Op. 50

Sally Matthews (Peri), Mark Padmore (tenor), Kate Royal (soprano), Bernarda Fink (alto), Andrew Staples (tenor), Florian Boesch (bass), London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, Simon Rattle

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In the Studio – Daniel Barenboim's La Scala Don Giovanni

Daniel Barenboim assembled a true all-star cast for his 2011-12 Don Giovanni at La Scala - Peter Mattei in the title role, Anna Netrebko as Donna Anna, Bryn Terfel as Leporello and Anna Prohaska as Zerlina. It's a contemporary production but perhaps less gritty than some performances of recent years, which have tended to play up the dark side to this most ambiguous work.

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Presto CD – Now over 2,000 titles!

Our Presto CD project passes a milestone this week, with the total number of discs now more than 2,000! The latest batch of 50 titles feature gems from the Decca archives, including Neville Marriner's iconic Four Seasons, a recital from Emma Kirkby and András Schiff's Goldberg Variations.

We’ve listed the latest batch here; you can also view all our Presto CDs here.

James Longstaffe - james@prestoclassical.co.uk

New Releases

9th October 2015

Schubert: Impromptus, Klavierstücke & Variations

Steven Osborne (piano)

Steven Osborne shines in lyrical new performances of seven of Schubert’s greatest late works for piano, including the Four Impromptus D935 and Three Klavierstücke D946, alongside the set of thirteen Variations on a theme by Anselm Hüttenbrenner of 1817.

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Beethoven: Coriolan Overture & Symphony No. 5

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Klaus Tennstedt

This recording of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 is a remastering of Klaus Tennstedt's 1990 BBC Proms concert performance, a reminder of the commitment and expressive intensity he extracted from the LPO. The Coriolan Overture was taken from a live concert performance at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall in February 1992.

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Yuja Wang plays Ravel

Yuja Wang (piano), Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Lionel Bringuier

Yuja Wang performs Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major and The Piano Concerto for the Left Hand. Both concertos are influenced by jazz, which Ravel had encountered on a concert tour of the United States in 1928. Wang is joined by Lionel Bringuier and the celebrated Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, a perfect match to inflame Ravel’s vibrant sound.

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Treasures of Bel Canto

Rolando Villazón (tenor), Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Marco Armiliato

Rolando Villazón returns to the roots of the Italian romantic vocal tradition, with a selection of exquisite melodies of simple beauty and passion by the greatest of Italian opera composers. These songs - miniature gems penned by Bellini, Donizetti, Rossini and Verdi - were originally scored for piano accompaniment and are presented here for the first time in new arrangements for orchestra.

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Mozart: Il re pastore, K208

Sarah Fox (Aminta), Ailish Tynan (Elisa), John Mark Ainsley (Alessandro), Anna Devin (Tamiri) & Benjamin Hulett (Agenore), Classical Opera, Ian Page

Classical Opera, under the direction of Ian Page, continue their recording cycle of the complete operas of Mozart with Il Re Pastore – a youthful work that shines with the richness of its orchestration, its inexhaustible melodic inspiration and its dazzlingly ingenious score.

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New Releases from Australian Eloquence

The latest batch of new releases from Australian Eloquence includes a 1957 Pirates of Penzance from the D'Oyly Carte Company, Pierre Monteux's recording of the complete Beethoven symphonies, Norman del Mar's highly-regarded recording of Elgar's Enigma Variations and the Pomp and Circumstance Marches, as well as operatic scenes and arias by Rossini, Donizetti, Verdi, Gounod, and Mozart.

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Simon Rattle - The CBSO Years

Between 1980 and 1998 Simon Rattle conducted no fewer than 934 concerts with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, also making 69 recordings for EMI with the orchestra. This box brings together that recorded legacy, which includes pieces by composers pivotal to his work, such as Mahler, Sibelius and Szymanowski, as well as some of the new composers he championed — Nicholas Maw, Mark Anthony Turnage, and Thomas Adès.

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Puccini: Manon Lescaut

Jonas Kaufmann (Des Grieux), Kristine Opolais (Manon Lescaut), Christopher Maltman (Lescaut), Maurizio Muraro (Gerontes), Benjamin Hulett (Edmondo), Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Antonio Pappano (conductor)

London’s Royal Opera House presented Jonathan Kent’s new production of Puccini's Manon Lescaut in June 2014, updating the setting to modern times. Antonio Pappano conducts a fabulous cast including Kristine Opolais, Jonas Kaufmann, and Christopher Maltman.

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12-Dec-2011 -Maurizio Pollini plays Chopin
05-Dec-2011 -Christmas roundup
28-Nov-2011 -Havergal Brian’s Gothic Symphony
21-Nov-2011 -Duetti da Camera: Philippe Jaroussky & Max Emanuel Cencic
14-Nov-2011 -Bruckner and Mahler from Haitink and Pappano
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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