20% off Andrew Davis

To coincide with the release of Andrew Davis's new recording of Vaughan Willams's Job and Symphony No. 9 (the penultimate release in Chandos's Complete Vaughan Williams Symphony Cycle, started by the late Richard Hickox), we're pleased to be able to offer discounts of 20% off Andrew Davis's back catalogue on Chandos.

CDs, SACDs and download albums are all discounted until 27th March 2017.

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Berlioz: Harold en Italie

Berlioz: Harold en Italie


Berlioz:

Harold en Italie, Op. 16

James Ehnes (viola)

Reverie et Caprice, Op. 8

James Ehnes (violin)

Rob Roy Overture


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

The virtuosic and nine-times Juno-winning Canadian James Ehnes is centre stage in a new recording of orchestral works by Berlioz, with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. This recording follows an extraordinarily rare concert in November 2014 with the same forces, in which James Ehnes played two Stradivarius, respectively a viola in the solo part of Harold en Italie – ‘symphony with a principal viola part’ in Berlioz’s words – and a violin for the solo in Rêverie et Caprice, both of which feature here.

Berlioz was never ashamed to recycle his music from one work to another, especially when the earlier work had been rejected by the public or by the composer himself. In 1834, Paganini asked Berlioz for a work in which he could display his power on a fine Stradivarius viola. Berlioz then composed the four-movement symphony Harold en Italie, incorporating passages from the Rob-Roy ouverture which he had recently rejected.

Similarly, Rêverie et Caprice was the form eventually given to an aria from the opera Benvenuto Cellini, unceremoniously booed in Paris in 1838. Berlioz transformed it into a violin solo piece three years later. It is the only piece Berlioz ever wrote for solo violin.

“[Ehnes] is the protagonist in this all-Berlioz programme, but the disc is equally distinguished by the lucid, exhilarating, smoothly contoured playing of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra under that experienced Berliozian Sir Andrew Davis.” The Telegraph, 3rd May 2015 ****

“Ehnes’s viola-playing is warm and expansive, but it is in the relatively compact Rêverie et Caprice that he is at his graceful best, gliding through mercurial moodswings and maintaining a notably lyrical line.” The Guardian, 13th May 2015 ***

“Davis and his production team have worked hard to keep James Ehnes's quite ravishingly beautiful playing in focus..It sounds as if Davis sees the work as more lyrical and Romantic...than as a sequel to the experimentation of the Fantastique...he sets his soloist off well and gives worthwhile accounts of the shorter pieces.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2015

Presto Discs of 2015

Finalist

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Bliss: Morning Heroes & Hymn to Apollo

Bliss: Morning Heroes & Hymn to Apollo


Bliss:

Morning Heroes

Samuel West (orator)

BBC Symphony Chorus

Hymn to Apollo

original version


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

Sir Andrew Davis here conducts the BBC Symphony Chorus and Orchestra in works by Sir Arthur Bliss, with Samuel West as orator.

The disc was recorded after a remarkable performance of Morning Heroes at the Barbican in May 2015, The Guardian praising the 'excellent' Samuel West, and Davis who 'got [the] mood exactly right, and both the orchestra and chorus did everything that he asked of them… [producing] a convincingly symphonic shape'. 'One of the finest British choral works of its time,' it concluded, this work is 'now not heard as often as it deserves.'

The piece is coupled with the Hymn to Apollo, recorded here for the first time in its original 1926 version. Bliss said that this work of wistful sadness, anguish, and anger 'moves like a procession of supplicants'. Like many of his works, Morning Heroes and Hymn to Apollo were composed as a tribute to his brother Kennard who had died on the front during WWI. Both works were premiered in the 30's to immediate success but have been rather neglected since then.

“This is a highly significant musical response to the First World War, and Davis and his musicians give it their all. If there’s any justice, this new recording will help to restore the work to its rightful place in the repertoire.” David Smith, Presto Classical, 18th September 2015

“this new recording is a revelation for its clarity (notably of the composer's vivid orchestral palette and imaginative choral writing), coherence and sheer emotional intensity” Gramophone Magazine, November 2015

“Sir Andrew Davis's performance with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus surpasses Sir Charles Groves's fine 1974 EMI Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra account with urgent tempos, choral singing of full tone and incisive attack, eloquent orchestral playing, and an excellent, open recording” BBC Music Magazine, December 2015 *****

Presto Disc of the Week

25th September 2015

Presto Discs of 2015

Finalist

GGramophone Awards 2016

Finalist - Choral

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Elgar: King Olaf

Elgar: King Olaf


Elgar:

Scenes from the Saga of King Olaf

Emily Birsan (soprano), Barry Banks (tenor), Alan Opie (baritone)

The Banner of St George


Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic Choir, Collegium Musicum Choir, Edvard Grieg Kor, Sir Andrew Davis

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

After having recorded Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius (‘Recording of the Month’ in BBC Music), Sir Andrew Davis now turns to two of the composer’s most popular early choral works: Scenes from the Saga of King Olaf and The Banner of Saint George. The recording was made soon after a successful performance, featuring the same ‘excellent Bergen Philharmonic’ and ‘outstanding’ vocal forces: the ‘imposing’ baritone Alan Opie, the ‘high, incisive tenor’ Barry Banks, singing ‘fearlessly in some quite challenging passages’, and the American soprano Emily Birsan, who sang ‘with radiant delicacy’ (The Daily Telegraph).

Dating from his years of ‘apprenticeship’, the two works shaped Elgar’s reputation as a leading orchestrator and most popular British composer of his time. The secular cantata Scenes from the Saga of King Olaf derives from Longfellow’s epic poem about Olaf Tryggvason, who became King of Norway in 995. While the text was heavily adapted and augmented, the use of sophisticated compositional techniques, such as extensive motivic work, resulted in music of great power and solemnity.

The ballad The Banner of Saint George is based on the story of Saint George of Cappadocia, as related by the Bristol poet Shapcott Wensley. It was commissioned by Britain’s leading publisher, Novello, and composed in only one month in 1896. Elgar overcame the prescriptive nature of the words and produced a work of lasting charm, the music rising above the material to create atmosphere, momentum, and colour.

“The Bergen orchestra plays with a keen ear for colour and dramatic flux, and the chorus...makes the narrative live and breathe in suppleness, expressive sensitivity and lusty power...three fine soloists...carry the story with great distinction, subtlety and immediacy of impact.” The Telegraph, 8th February 2015 ****

“King Olaf has been recorded in full once before, in the 1980s...Fine though that version is, Davis’s is better: it has a dramatic sweep and concern for detail that you don’t get from Handley. The Bergen orchestra and choir play and sing Elgar as though it were part of their regular repertoire, while the soloists...all cope well with what is sometimes strenuous vocal writing.” The Guardian, 5th February 2015 ****

“King Olaf is a folk-tale narrative about the Norwegian Olaf Tryggvason, in the tradition of Mahler’s Das Klagende Lied or Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder, and it is splendidly performed by Davis’s Bergen forces. The soloists, Emily Birsan, Barry Banks and Alan Opie, all make positive contributions.” Sunday Times, 15th February 2015

“What a nice idea it was to have a Norwegian choir and orchestra performing English music about a Norse hero...The combined Norwegian choirs sing very well indeed in both works…[and] the Bergen Philharmonic plays with verve and distinction. Sir Andrew Davis…is just the man for these assignments.” MusicWeb International, February 2015

“I suppose it's appropriate that this Norse legend should be recorded by the Bergen Philharmonic, and under the expert guidance of ardent Elgarian Andrew Davis, they and the combined Norwegian choirs seem effortlessly at home with Elgar's music...if you're a fan of Elgar but haven't yet explored some of the choral works that are somewhat off the beaten track, then this is an ideal disc, with enthusiastically engaging performances from everyone.” James Longstaffe, Presto Classical, 26th January 2015

“there's nothing stilted about Elgar's music: it crackles with confident vitality...the Norwegian choruses respond with crisp vigour and superb English diction, only faintly (and appropriately) Scandinavian-tinged. Davis's expansive conducting and the excellent Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra bring out Elgar's vivid orchestral textures” BBC Music Magazine, April 2015 *****

“It is good to have such a fine and experienced Elgarian as Andrew Davis to conduct this performance with the benefit of hindsight, as it were, recognising Elgar's emergent greatness from long experience of where it was to lead him. Davis can fasten upon the glimpses of genius and relish them, while also understanding what there is of value when Elgar is still resting upon the more conventional manner out of which he was formed.” International Record Review, May 2015

“the combined Norwegian choirs sing in faultless English, while Davis leads the Bergen Symphony Orchestra with unerring sensitivity and nuanced conducting” Choir & Organ, May 2015 *****

Presto Disc of the Week

26th January 2015

Presto Discs of 2015

Finalist

BBC Music Magazine

Choral & Song Choice - April 2015

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Berlioz: Roméo et Juliette

Berlioz: Roméo et Juliette


Berlioz:

Roméo et Juliette, Op. 17

Michèle Losier (mezzo-soprano), Samuel Boden (tenor) & David Soar (bass)

BBC Symphony Chorus

Marche troyenne (from Les Troyens)

Chasse royale et Orage (from Les Troyens)

BBC Symphony Chorus


After two volumes with other top international Chandos orchestras in this Berlioz series, Sir Andrew Davis joins the BBC Symphony – where he is Conductor Laureate – for a new recording.

The highlight in this double SACD album is Roméo et Juliette, Berlioz’s third symphony, which draws once again on his greatest literary passion, Shakespeare, and on his own most fervent experiences. It is coupled with two excerpts from the largest work Berlioz ever attempted, the opera Les Troyens, based on Virgil, another literary passion. Both show Berlioz’s orchestral wizardry, using offstage brass and drums to represent the hunters’ calls and the storm in ‘Royal Hunt and Storm’ and the glory of Rome in the ‘Trojan March’.

The recording follows a historic performance with the same forces at the Barbican in January: a ‘magical revelation... that wrought shivers’ (Bachtrack), in which ‘one could feel the instant rightness of the sonorous imagery Berlioz devises’ (The Sunday Times). The concert and recording project marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

“A top-class performance and recording of a wonderful masterpiece.” MusicWeb International, 19th October 2016

BBC Music Magazine

Choral & Song Choice - November 2016

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York Bowen: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2

York Bowen: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2


Bowen:

Symphony No. 1

Symphony No. 2


York Bowen has a distinguished reputation as a composer and was considered to be one of Britain’s finest pianists.

In his day he was known as ‘The English Rachmaninoff’, and Saint-Saëns described him as ‘the most remarkable of the young British composers’. The works of York Bowen tend to display a blend of romanticism and strong individuality, and although his influences include the likes of Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Grieg, and Tchaikovsky, his music is also strongly defined by textures and harmonies that are uniquely ‘Bowen’. This recording presents the only two surviving symphonies by Bowen: Symphony No. 1 and Symphony No. 2, which are performed here by the BBC Philharmonic under the exclusive Chandos artist Sir Andrew Davis.

Symphony No. 1 was written in 1902 when Bowen was an eighteen-year-old composition student at the Royal Academy of Music. The work is laid out in only three movements (unusual for the time), and requires a relatively modest orchestra. It is a deeply impressive achievement – the beauty and lyricism of the second movement and its myriad of orchestral colourations, together with a unique and often surprising sense of well-being in the finale, demonstrate that here is a genuinely symphonic composer who was not content just to copy established models and appease his professors. At least one movement of this symphony was performed during Bowen’s time at the academy, but this recording may well be the first time that the work has been performed in its entirety.

When Bowen composed his Symphony No. 2 just seven years after completing his first, much had happened in the world of modern music, not least in instrumental terms with the acceptance of large orchestras as standard. As a result this work is much larger in scale than his first symphony, and performed with significantly larger instrumental forces too. The finale in particular is spectacular in the way it develops from the tiniest semi-tonal seed into a fiery and almost unstoppable flood of ‘Bowen-esque’ inventiveness. This symphony is the work of an assured composer who was completely certain in his music’s sense of direction and in the positive and life-affirming nature of his compositions.

“Davis and the BBC Philharmonic give both symphonies finely groomed performances” The Guardian, 28th April 2011 **

“Sir Andrew Davis's recording spearheads a belated revival of Bowen's orchestral work, revealing a remarkable melodic felicity in the sun-dappled First Symphony (1902) and an almost Straussian appetite for colour in the more heroic Second (1909). The playing is relaxed and refined, particularly in the extended solos for violin and clarinet” The Independent on Sunday, 5th June 2011

“Bowen handles his sizeable forces with consummate assurance...Bowen's red-blooded Second Symphony makes for a thoroughly enjoyable, late-Romantic splurge, and is certainly delivered here with unflagging conviction and energy. Production values are all one could desire, with Stephen Rinker's glowingly realistic, richly upholstered sound complementing the consistently polished and affectionate music-making. Recommended, especially if you have a sweet tooth” Gramophone Magazine, July 2011

“The present release is essential listening: first, because it substantially expands our knowledge of a musician who was clearly neither an anachronism nor merely an Interesting Historical Figure; second, because it is hugely enjoyable on its own terms; and third, because it is so stunningly well played and executed” International Record Review, July 2011

“they're deftly written and inventive, and realised here in spirited, thoroughly sympathetic performances” BBC Music Magazine, September 2011 ****

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Delius: Violin Concerto, Double Concerto & Cello Concerto

Delius: Violin Concerto, Double Concerto & Cello Concerto


Delius:

Violin Concerto

Tasmin Little (violin)

Double Concerto for Violin, Viola & Orchestra

Tasmin Little (violin) & Paul Watkins (cello)

Cello Concerto

Paul Watkins (cello)


These three major concertos by Frederick Delius involving solos string instruments are here brought together on the same disc for the first time. The Violin Concerto, Double Concerto, and Cello Concerto are performed by exclusive Chandos artists strongly associated with British repertoire.

Sir Andrew Davis and the BBC Symphony Orchestra have already released one Delius disc this year (CHSA5088 – Appalachia and The Song of the High Hills), of which International Record Review (IRR) said: ‘I am absolutely certain that this is the greatest performance and recording of Delius’ Appalachia which has ever been put on disc... it would be hard if not impossible to imagine a more magnificent performance of this masterpiece... the playing is unfailingly beautiful and infused with sensitivity, brilliance of technique and vividness of colour’.

Tasmin Little, who won the Critics’ Choice Award at this year’s Classic BRIT Awards, is the soloist in the Violin Concerto. This is not a virtuosic showpiece in the ordinary sense; instead the solo part stays harmonically connected with the orchestra throughout; in fact, it seems to grow out of its textures. The work is composed in a single long span, divided into three clear sections in which different moods succeed one another, sometimes passionately spontaneous, sometimes dreamlike, sometimes fiery.

Paul Watkins is the soloist in the Cello Concerto, which Delius regarded as his personal favourite among his concertos. It was the last work that he was able to complete in his own hand before experiencing the onset of the devastating effects of syphilis: paralysis and blindness.

Tasmin Little and Paul Watkins join forces in the rarely performed and recorded Double Concerto, which represents Delius at his most inspired: the work is warmly evocative as well as strong and memorable. The soloists get to showcase their abilities in music that is both passionate and tranquil.

“a magical, sensuous flow is the presiding quality of this superior performance by Little. Watkins is no less captivating in the Cello Concerto, and they are superb together in the Double Concerto, with its heart-easing slow second section.” Sunday Times, 2nd October 2011

“These studio performances, with two committed soloists accompanied by the BBC Symphony under Andrew Davis, do not put a foot wrong. Paul Watkins invigorates the ‘Cello Concerto’; Tasmin Little captures a strain of lyrical introspection in the ‘Violin Concerto’. But the music meanders – the ‘Double Concerto’ especially.” Financial Times, 8th October 2011 ***

“if ever a disc was going to make a case for any of these pieces, it's this one. There is wonderfully idiomatic support from Andrew Davis and the BBC Symphony, as both Tasmin Little's account of the Violin Concerto and Paul Watkins's of the cello work seize every opportunity to inject incisiveness and dramatic shape into the music.” The Guardian, 27th October 2011 ***

“Little is every bit as persuasively expressive as on her earlier recordings with Charles Mackerras. Paul Watkins provides the partnership you'd expect from such a fine chamber musician in the Double, and copes effortlessly with the problems of the original version of the Cello Concerto. Andrew Davis paces everything magisterially, always allowing enough space at moments of hushed stillness.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2011 *****

“Not only does she surmount every technical hurdle with ease, her tone remains wonderfully pure and heart-warmingly expressive. Little's partnership wioth Paul Watkins strikes me as an especial success; indeed, theirs is the most tenderly lyrical and raptly spontaneous performance of the Double Concerto to have yet my way...No self-respecting Delian can afford to be without this indispensable issue.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2011

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Elgar: Cello Concerto

Elgar: Cello Concerto


Elgar:

Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85

Paul Watkins (cello)

Introduction & Allegro for strings, Op. 47

Elegy for strings, Op. 58

Pomp and Circumstance Marches Nos. 1-5, Op. 39


Paul Watkins is the cello soloist in a recording that showcases some of Elgar’s most popular works. He is accompanied by the BBC Philharmonic and Sir Andrew Davis, a conductor steeped in the English music tradition.

Elgar studied the violin from a young age, and had some early hopes of making a career as a soloist. Consequently, he wrote for the strings of the orchestra with a special understanding and flair, not least in a handful of works for strings alone. The showpiece among these is the Introduction and Allegro, written in 1904, for the newly formed London Symphony Orchestra to be included in an all-Elgar concert. The premiere performance was conducted by the composer.

Elgar started writing his Pomp and Circumstance Marches in 1901 in the wake of his national successes with the Enigma Variations and The Dream of Gerontius. The Marches vary considerably in mood. The First March gained worldwide fame largely due to the trio melody, which Elgar considered ‘a tune that comes once in a lifetime’, and the Second displays a certain air of urgency with its brazen horn calls and jaunty trio. Also on this disc is Elgar’s intimate and restrained Elegy for Strings.

The Cello Concerto in E minor, written in 1918 – 19, was the last major work Elgar completed. Its mood is often described as ‘autumnal’, and highly reflective of the ageing composer’s own state of mind. At the time of writing it, Elgar was concerned about the failing health of his wife and about his own waning popularity; he was deeply disturbed, too, by the horrors of the First World War. Paul Watkins writes of his experience of recording this work: ‘It is a privilege to have the opportunity to add my voice to the many different interpretations of this iconic work. I prepared for this recording by using my experience as a conductor: in other words, to study Elgar’s masterful score as deeply as possible, and to realise how intimately the solo cello is linked to the orchestra throughout. In this respect I feel fortunate to have been working with Sir Andrew Davis. He is the most natural and intelligent interpreter of Elgar I know.’

“Poetic pianissimos, abrupt explosions, finely tapered phrases: each of Watkins’s expressive details immediately reach the listener...There’s also perfect rapport between soloist, conductor and orchestra. Watkins’s ten years of conducting experience comes into play here...time and again the ear is moved and beguiled by Watkins’s quiet ache or varied colours or the orchestra’s sheen and fleet panache.” The Times, 6th April 2012 ****

“Watkins' account seems the best to have appeared on disc for years. It has intensity, presence and warmth, which never topples over into sentimentality, and Davis and the BBC Philharmonic accompany with panache; the exchanges in the scherzo are wonderfully deft. The rest of disc is equally fine.” The Guardian, 5th April 2012 *****

“Watkins writes in the booklet that he found it “daunting” to record Elgar’s Cello Concerto...but he rises superbly to the challenge. His playing — of exceptional beauty, refinement and technical address — is all the more remarkable given that he is no longer a full-time soloist.... With Davis, one of the most experienced of all Elgarians, as his conductor, this is a valedictory account of the composer’s last important orchestral work” Sunday Times, 22nd April 2012

“Watkins plays with consummate artistry, his golden-toned and technically flawless contribution striking a judicious balance between classical poise and unexaggerated depth of feeling...Durable rewards guaranteed, then, and the same certainly holds true for Davis's dashingly articulate, meticulously observant and superbly musical handling [of the Marches]...for the two main offerings alone every Elgarian should investigate this release” Gramophone Magazine, July 2012

“there are times when a recording of a popular classic comes along that's so fresh, understanding and heartfelt that it demands to be approached solely on its own terms. Paul Watkins's Elgar Cello Concerto is firmly in that class. Watkins's emotional shading is individual, without it ever sounding as though he's trying to be individual.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2012 ****

“Paul Watkins is a sensitive soloist, and he and Davis clearly have a special rapport...The BBC Philharmonic strings are richly full-blooded and rhythmically taught in the Introduction and Allegro. There is a wonderful ebb and flow to the lighter passages, which radiate warmth and geniality” Graham Rogers, bbc.co.uk, 25th July 2012

“Davis, an Elgarian of perception, understands the smallest implications in the light but beautiful orchestration, ideal accompaniment to the cello. Watkins is watchful of the detail in the heartfelt opening statement...Watkins and Davis give [the finale]...a distinct dryness of utterance. Much falls into place with this approach” International Record Review, May 2012

“Watkins does so much more than just play the tunes. His range of colour and expression is tremendous, and the instrument he uses he describes in the booklet as having a “combination of burnished woody timbres and a plangent expressivity, reminiscent perhaps of an English tenor voice.”..With stunning recorded sound, what more could one ask.” MusicWeb International, June 2012

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2012

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Berlioz: Overtures

Berlioz: Overtures


Berlioz:

King Lear Overture, Op. 4

Le carnaval romain Overture, Op. 9

Béatrice et Bénédict, Op. 27: Overture

Le Corsaire Overture, Op. 21

Waverley Overture Op. 1

Les Francs-juges Overture, Op. 3

Benvenuto Cellini Overture


The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir Andrew Davis here perform seven dazzling orchestral overtures by Hector Berlioz, a composer who excelled in blending literary and musical elements into highly energetic and personal creations.

The overtures are widely varied in mood, as are the operas from which they were drawn. Berlioz wrote his first large-scale instrumental composition, the Overture to Les Francs-juges, in 1826, the year in which he enrolled at the Paris Conservatoire. Even though the opera itself was never performed, Berlioz remained proudly affectionate of the overture, which was played all over Germany and Holland in its early days. His second opera, Benvenuto Cellini, followed in 1838; its music gave rise both to the opera’s overture and to the concert overture Le Carnaval romain which depicts its subject in brilliant colour through breathtakingly vibrant orchestration.

The comic opera Béatrice et Bénédict took its inspiration from Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing. The overture draws on an intense solo scene for Béatrice and adds elements of the cheerful banter that make up the story of the title characters’ playful courtship.

When Berlioz visited the Hungarian capital Pest in 1846, it was suggested to him that one way of winning the hearts of the audiences there would be to make an arrangement of the beloved Rákóczy March, which up until that point had been known only as a piano piece. Berlioz agreed, and on the very night before he left for Pest, he put together his own orchestral version of the piece. It was a resounding success when performed at his first concert, to the extent that Berlioz promptly included it in the large work on which he was working at the time: La Damnation de Faust.

Le Roi Lear, Le Corsaire, and Waverley have one thing in common: all are independent concert pieces that have been given the title overture as in many respects they do resemble opera overtures – but none is in actual fact connected to an opera. The composer here took his inspiration from literary works. Le Roi Lear, for instance, is a remarkable tone portrait of Shakespeare’s deranged king, full of energy and anger, while Le Corsaire may be loosely based on Byron’s The Corsair. Berlioz based Waverley on a novel of the same name by Sir Walter Scott, and the score bears a quotation in English: ‘Dreams of love and Lady’s charms, give place to honour and to arms.’ The contrast expressed so well in this simple quotation is equally evident in the music itself. Here the ‘dreams of love’ unfold in a long cello melody, which is repeated with richer orchestrations, before leading into the vigorous musical depiction of ‘honour and arms’.

“Sir Andrew’s account of Le Carnaval romain is excellent. The memorable cor anglais solo near the start is nicely paced...the Bergen reading catches the colourful brilliance of the carnival itself in a dashing display...Benvenuto Cellini is another conspicuous success...the lyrical music is very winningly done in Bergen while there’s all the sweep and brilliance you could wish for later on in the overture” MusicWeb International, March 2013

“the playing here is satisfyingly mellow and vibrant, with warm strings and sturdy woodwind, yet also refreshing and translucent. This is aided by Andrew Davis's tempos fairly spacious and unforced but never slack, and now and then sizzling...there's no shortage of swashbuckle in Le corsaire and Benvenuto Cellini” BBC Music Magazine, April 2013 ****

“Until now the collection to have of these remarkable works was by the Staatskapelle Dresden under Colin Davis...these thrilling new performances by Sir Andrew Davis and the excellent Bergen Philharmonic tend to trump the earlier issue, not least for the superb SACD quality.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2013

“warm, mellow string-tone and some superb woodwind solo work make this one stand out from the crowd.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, March 2014

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Tasmin Little: The Lark Ascending

Tasmin Little: The Lark Ascending


Delius:

Legende

Elgar:

Chanson de Nuit, Op. 15 No. 1

Salut d'amour, Op. 12

Chanson de Matin, Op. 15 No. 2

Holst:

A Song of the Night, Op. 19 No. 1

Moeran:

Violin Concerto

Vaughan Williams:

The Lark Ascending


In this release, playing works by Vaughan Williams, Moeran, Delius, and Holst, Tasmin Little once again demonstrates her unique affinity with some of the best loved British composers of the twentieth century. She is joined by Sir Andrew Davis and the BBC Philharmonic. Little’s previous recordings of British music on Chandos have been acclaimed, Gramophone writing of her performance of Elgar’s Violin Concerto: ‘For sheer beauty of tone and expressive nostalgia, Tasmin Little and Sir Andrew Davis out-Elgar their rivals.’ E.J. Moeran composed his Violin Concerto during visits to Ireland, and it strongly reflects his love of the landscape in County Kerry. The Lark Ascending, Ralph Vaughan Williams’s much-loved romance for violin and orchestra, has long been considered a pièce de resistance for Tasmin Little, one that she is often called on to perform in concert. This disc also features three works by Elgar, all heard in arrangements by Roger Turner: Chanson de matin of 1899, its companion piece, Chanson de nuit, which features a dark-coloured main melody appropriate to its title, and Salut d’amour, one of the early works that made the composer’s name.

“Little plays [Song of the Night] with verve and panache but her most wide-ranging interpretation is reserved for the most substantial work on this disc, Moeran's magnificent and entirely personal Violin Concerto...evoked with conviction by Little's flair and clarity...A sumptuous offering all round!” Gramophone Magazine, January 2014

“Little's stellar playing [is] brimming with gorgeous and glitz-free tone, plus a lovely range of light and shade...Little's spacious and serene way with The Lark Ascending is both beautiful, and beautifully unfussy. State-of-the-art sensitivity and support come from Andrew Davis and the BBC Philharmonic” BBC Music Magazine, February 2014 *****

“This is an exceptionally fine disc, recorded in excellent sound by the Chandos engineers. Tasmin Little here gives us, surely, the finest available recording of the Moeran concerto. There are so many recordings of The Lark Ascending that it’s a brave man who would say this version is the best in the catalogue: I’m going to be brave.” MusicWeb International, 30th January 2014

“Little brings her customary charm and delicacy to these Elgarian bonbons, here arranged for violin and orchestra and accompanied by Sir Andrew Davis and the BBC Philharmonic.” James Longstaffe, Presto Classical, May 2014

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - January 2014

BBC Music Magazine

Orchestral Choice - February 2014

20% off Andrew Davis

Chandos - CHAN10796

(CD)

Normally: $13.75

Special: $11.00

(also available to download from $8.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Sibelius: Violin Concerto

Sibelius: Violin Concerto


Sibelius:

Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47

Jennifer Pike (violin)

Finlandia, Op. 26

Karelia Suite, Op. 11

Lemminkäinen Suite, Op. 22: The Swan of Tuonela (No. 2)

Valse lyrique, Op. 96a

Valse Triste, Op. 44 No. 1

Andante festivo, JS34b


Jean Sibelius is perhaps best known for his seven great symphonies but there is also a large body of music for the concert hall, the theatre, and the salon, some of which is explored on this release. The Violin Concerto in D minor, Sibelius’s only full-length concerto, marries brilliantly idiomatic writing for the solo instrument with the seriousness characteristic of the symphonies. Intensely virtuosic, it is both a dramatic and a deeply romantic work. The Swan of Tuonela comes from the suite of four Lemminkäinen Legends, inspired by traditional Finnish myths. In it the majestic motion of the swan is evoked by the arching phrases of the cor anglais. Also featured are two well-known shorter works indelibly linked with Finnish identity.

Finlandia became a national emblem of the Finnish struggle for independence from Russia while Andante festivo is a staple of Finnish public occasions. The Karelia Suite is another patriotic work, the rough-hewn character of its three movements intended to evoke a folk-like authenticity.

Sir Andrew Davis continues his relationship with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in this their third recording together on Chandos. They are joined in the Violin Concerto by Jennifer Pike, one of the brightest young violinists performing today.

“This is an exceptionally fine reading of a testing concerto...She catches the sinuous ethereality of Sibelius’s vision, and the loneliness as well, but there’s plenty of passion where it matters and tremendous technical skill.” The Times, 12th April 2014 ****

“this enjoys one of the finest ever actual recordings...giving Jennifer Pike's violin a tremendous sense of presence. And she plays it with impressive mastery. She inclines to the bittersweet Tchaikovskian view...This is a marvellously warm, flowing and passionate performance...Davis matches her with a rich-textured, powerful reading.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2014 *****

“I’d place [Pike] at the cooler end of the spectrum. The strong points of her reading are attention to dynamic variance and to rhythmic imperatives. She also takes the music at a sensible pace, her rubati flexible but never distended, supporting an interpretation that is refined, fluent, and structurally confident.” MusicWeb International, 2nd May 2014

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

20% off Andrew Davis

Chandos - CHSA5134

(SACD)

Normally: $13.75

Special: $11.00

(also available to download from $8.00)

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