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Wagner: Das Rheingold

Wagner: Das Rheingold


Michael Volle (Wotan), Tomasz Konieczny (Alberich), Burkhard Ulrich (Loge), Elisabeth Kulman (Fricka), Herwig Pecoraro (Mime), Peter Rose (Fasolt), Eric Halfvarson (Fafner), Annette Dasch (Freia), Janina Baechle (Erda), Christian van Horn (Donner), Benjamin Bruns (Froh), Mirella Hagen (Woglinde), Stefanie Irányi (Wellgunde), Eva Vogel (Flosshilde)

Symphonie-Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Simon Rattle

The general consensus over the past few years among music critics and the public at large is that everything the conductor Sir Simon Rattle touches "turns to gold". Everything with the exception of the music dramas of Richard Wagner, that is! The oft-repeated assertion here is that Rattle and Wagner do not go together, even though no good reasons have been furnished to support this. The third collaboration between Rattle and the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, together with a team of the very best Wagner singers, now conclusively proves the opposite. This concert performance of "Das Rheingold", the first opera in Wagner's mighty tetralogy "The Ring of the Nibelung", was performed live in the Herkulessaal of the Munich Residenz on April 24 and 25, 2015, and has now been brought out by BR KLASSIK on two CDs only a few months after the event.

No question about it: Rattle is a master of the Rheingold score, which is certainly a tricky one due to its closely interwoven ensemble of soloists and to the fact that the orchestra does not accompany events and flow round them in a lofty manner, as in other Wagnerian music dramas, but is also sometimes quite openly rebellious! Rattle has already impressively proven his expertise at handling the music of Wagner on two occasions: in 2004 in London, together with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and in 2006 in Berlin with the Berlin Philharmonic. The fact that he is more inclined to conduct this "evil conversation piece, almost a black comedy" (as Robert Braunmüller described "Das Rheingold" in the Munich "Abendzeitung") with light and sometimes even dance-like inflections, and that he has the orchestra play with a great deal of colour and detail, shakes a little of the supercilious Wagnerian dust from this work, without in any way compromising the glittering brilliance of the musical sound. The soloists – all of them very good without exception - blend in completely with Rattle's fine interpretation, which is very much in the spirit of the drama.

Audiences and critics alike were unanimously delighted by the Munich concert performances. Even more than in the small Herkulessaal, which already enabled more intimate insights into the structures of the score and of the aesthetic created by Rattle, this listening experience on CD makes it clear "just how radically the avant-garde artist Richard Wagner composed in every single bar" (Reinhard J. Brembeck, "Sueddeutsche Zeitung").

“His conducting is fast, as Wagner preferred and intensely dynamic but he avoids Boulez's glibness, illuminating the drama of the moment in a mercurial, almost Solti-like fashion...he seems to have encouraged his singers to act - with a vengeance...for sheer dramatic dash and glowing orchestral sound this is remarkable, promising an exciting Ring to come.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2016 *****

GGramophone Awards 2016

Shortlisted - Opera

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2015

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BR Klassik - 900133

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Beethoven: Missa Solemnis in D major, Op. 123

Beethoven: Missa Solemnis in D major, Op. 123

Live-Recording, Munich, Herkulessaal, 25./26.09.2014


Genia Kühmeier (soprano), Elisabeth Kulman (mezzo-soprano), Mark Padmore (tenor), Hanno Müller-Brachmann (bass-baritone) & Anton Barachovsky (solo violin)

Chor and Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bernard Haitink

The BR-KLASSIK label has already released several recordings with Bernard Haitink, who has now been connected with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks for over 55 years. Following Bruckner's Fifth Symphony, Mahler's Ninth and Haydn's "Creation," BR-KLASSIK now presents a live recording of Ludwig van Beethoven's "Missa solemnis" – a work performed for the recording market for the first time under the baton of Bernard Haitink. The musical partners of this grand seigneur among world-class conductors are the Choir and Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks as well as a finely coordinated ensemble of soloists, consisting of Genia Kühmeier, Elisabeth Kulman, Mark Padmore and Hanno Müller-Brachmann.

“it is deeply felt, has a superbly disciplined and committed chorus, and grows powerfully towards an Agnus Dei whose darkness and terror are beautifully realised.” Sunday Times, 10th May 2015

“Haitink at 85 makes his first recording of one of music’s choral masterpieces – and what a wonderful performance his wisdom and experience offers.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2015

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2015

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BR Klassik - 900130

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Pärt: Te Deum

Pärt: Te Deum


Pärt:

Te Deum

Live-Recording, Munich, Prinzregententheater, 2014

Pilgrims' Song

Live-Recording, Munich, Prinzregententheater, 2014

Berliner Messe

Live-Recording, Munich, Herkulessaal, 2012

Dopo la vittoria

Live-Recording, Munich, Herkulessaal, 2012


CDs from BR-KLASSIK and the Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks conducted by Peter Dijkstra are regular winners of prestigious awards – two such being the Strauss-Wagner-Mahler recording, which won the Diapason d'or, and the Concerto for Choir by Alfred Schnittke, which won the ECHO Klassik. In this latest recording of sacred music by Arvo Pärt, the Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks is joined by the Münchner Rundfunkorchester. The two ensembles frequently perform together in their concert series, which regularly include sacred music from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. The present CD production focuses on four compositions by the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt (born 1935). They were written in 1984, 1990 und 1997 in the composer's own tintinnabulation style of composition (from the Latin word for the 'ringing of bells'). In his Te Deum, Pärt makes a conscious departure from the traditionally powerful and festive sound of such precursors as Charpentier, Bruckner and Verdi. The restraint of the Wallfahrtslied (Pilgrims' Song), a setting of Psalm 121, evokes the ancient Judeo-Christian tradition of psalm recitation. Dopo la vittoria was commissioned by the City of Milan for the 1600 year celebration of the death of St. Ambrose (1997). The Berliner Messe (Berlin Mass) is so named because it was first performed in the city's St. Hedwig's Cathedral (1990) to mark the German Katholikentag (Catholics Day).

“this spacious music is full of alluring contrasts...The Kyrie's timeless quality sets the scene beautifully. Singers and players are perfectly balanced...Simplicity is the keyword here.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2015

“The Bavarian Radio Choir gives authoritative accounts of these subtly complex works, skilfully marshalled by conductor Peter Dijkstra and smartly captured in this impressive live recording.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2015

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2015

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Schumann: Scenes from Goethe's Faust, WoO 3

Schumann: Scenes from Goethe's Faust, WoO 3

Live-Recording, Herkulessaal Munich, 18./19.01.2013


Christiane Karg (soprano), Mari Eriksmoen (soprano), Bernarda Fink (mezzo), Andrew Staples (tenor), Christian Gerhaher (baritone), Alastair Miles (bass), Tareq Nazmi (bass), Kurt Rydl (bass)

Chor & Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Daniel Harding

Ever since his debut in 2005 with Berg's "Wozzeck" (concertante) with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Daniel Harding has regularly attracted public attention with spectacular concerts. With the "Faust Scenes" by Robert Schumann – Daniel Harding's first recording on the BR-KLASSIK label – the conductor presents us with a work that until now had long been on the fringes of the repertoire, Schumann having primarily attracted attention as a composer of lieder, piano works and chamber music. The exceptional baritone Christian Gerhaher succeeds, perhaps more than any others, in credibly and forcefully conveying the sheer diversity of expression in Goethe's literature here, and makes full use of his expertise as a profound lieder performer. He is joined by Christiane Karg as Gretchen, together with further internationally renowned soloists, the Chamber Choir of Augsburg Cathedral Boys' Choir, and the Bavarian Radio Choir.

“[Gerhaher brings] his matchless sensitivity to verbal meaning and colour to vocal writing, while Christiane Karg is the touching Marguerite...Harding’s handling of the whole span of the score is also deeply impressive. The detail is telling but never overdone, the build up to the glorious peroration paced very expertly.” The Guardian, 15th October 2014 ****

“Some great baritones have recorded this little-performed work, but Christian Gerhaher is the equal of any, an inspiration in his fusion of poetry and music.” Financial Times, 18th October 2014 ***

“Harding scores with his casting: Christian Gerhaher’s Faust is incomparable, while Christiane Karg’s radiant Gretchen is the finest on disc. Alastair Miles is a formidable Mephisto and the smaller parts are excellently taken by Andrew Staples and Bernarda Fink. A record of the year, no doubt.” Sunday Times, 9th November 2014

“[Harding] shapes some elegant playing and clear choral textures, and there's some fine solo singing, notably from Christiane Karg, Bernarda Fink and Andrew Staples.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2014 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - December 2014

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Bruckner: Symphony No. 5 in B flat major

Bruckner: Symphony No. 5 in B flat major

Live-Recording, Munich, Philharmonie, 12.02.2010


When people speak of Brucknerian “cathedral edifices”, then this description best applies to his 5th Symphony in B-flat major. This work ranks as a paradigm of the most complicated polyphony in symphonic writing and concurrently as a stirring confession of faith.

The yearning for divine light, for hope and faith – these ideas are communicated in the music and directly touch the listener.

This recorded concert document was made in January of 2010 during a guest appearance by Bernard Haitink, one of the most renowned conductors world-wide, with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks. The concert recording was made at the highest level of technology as a hybrid SACD with multi-channel and stereo sound.

Bernard Haitink, one of the most celebrated podium personalities of the present day.

Recent live recording from January of 2010 in the highest possible sound quality as an SACD.

Document of an enthusiastically received performance in Munich, the city with the special Bruckner tradition.

“Haitink's well-nigh perfect grip on the work, and the magnificent playing of the orchestra, make this a memorable experience. The Bavarian brass are quite especially rich and deep in sound, while the strings, compared say with the Berlin or Vienna Philharmonics, are rather lean. This mixture is ideal in this work” BBC Music Magazine, February 2011 *****

“He brings his usual peerless virtues to the performance – a wonderful sense of spaciousness and an impeccable grasp of the work’s architecture. And what a sound the orchestra makes for him, with its glowing strings and warm woodwind. The brass deserve a special mention for the magnificent slabs of sound they throw out with utter confidence.” The Telegraph, 3rd February 2011 ****

“the works if magnificently played by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and it's worth noting that the sound on this BR Klassik release is magnificent too. What impresses most is Haitink's conception of the piece. His view of the finale is not as heaven-storming as that of some of his predecessors, but instead there's a slightly gentler kind of exultation that I find extremely effective.” International Record Review, March 2011

Building a Library

Featured - February 2011

Super Audio CD

Format:

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BR Klassik - 900109

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Rafael Kubelík conducts Bruckner

Rafael Kubelík conducts Bruckner

Single release of the 60th anniversary-box


Bruckner:

Symphony No. 8 in C minor


Rafael Kubelík enriched the repertoire of the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks primarily with works by Czech composers and 20th century music. However, during his period as chief conductor of the orchestra, he also fostered the traditional German romantic repertoire with which the ensemble had made a name for itself as far back as its founding years under Eugen Jochum. In May of 1977 Kubelík conducted Bruckner’s Symphony No. 8 in C minor at a concert in Munich’s Herkulessaal, the recording of which is now being released. In a review in Munich’s Süddeutsche Zeitung, the orchestra was rated as equal in rank to such famous Bruckner orchestras as the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras.

A document of the Bruckner tradition that linked Rafael Kubelík with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks

A new remastering brings out the best possible sound quality from the master tape from 1977.

Live recording, Munich, Herkulessaal 12th May 1977

Building a Library

First choice (single disc) - October 2011

Building a Library

Featured - February 2011

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BR Klassik Archive - 900703

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Tchaikovsky: Pique Dame

Tchaikovsky: Pique Dame

Live-Recording, Munich, Philharmonie, October 2014


Misha Didyk (Herman), Tatiana Serjan (Lisa), Larissa Diadkova (Countess), Alexey Shishlyaev (Tomskij and Plutus), Alexey Markov (Yeletzki)

Kinderchor der Bayerischen Staatsoper & Chor and Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Mariss Jansons

In its history as a concert orchestra, the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks has also devoted itself on numerous occasions to opera, under such eminent conductors as Rafael Kubelik and Leonard Bernstein. Chief conductor Mariss Jansons also maintains the tradition, for example with concert performances of Russian operas such as "Eugene Onegin". BR-KLASSIK now presents the 2014 live recording in Munich's Philharmonie im Gasteig of the semi-staged performance of Tchaikovsky's late masterpiece "The Queen of Spades". With great connoisseurship, Mariss Jansons has brought together a group of singers for this performance in original Russian who are all native speakers of the language, and very familiar with the work. They include Misha Didyk as Hermann, Tatiana Serjan as Lisa, and Alexey Markov as Prince Yeletsky.

Booklet: in German & English

Libretto: in German, Russian & English

“Didyk’s voice is not intrinsically beautiful, but its throaty, bottled-up sound suits this dark, brooding role well...His encounter with Diadkova’s Countess in her boudoir...chills the blood. Tatiana Serjan has a big, vibrant soprano and offers a Lisa in the grand Russian style. The supporting parts, including Alexey Shishlyaev’s bluff Tomsky, are all brilliantly taken, but this is Jansons’s set: his conducting is edge-of-the-seat stuff.” Sunday Times, 13th September 2015

“Hearing as refined and lustrous an orchestra as the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra play Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score is a treat in itself...[Didyk's] confrontation with Larissa Diadkova’s terrific Countess (beautifully paced and detailed by Jansons), is impressive and never topples over into hysteria.” The Guardian, 10th September 2015 ****

“Serjan is a vibrant, fearless Lisa...Hers is a voice with plenty of ‘blade’ when required, yet she can shade it beautifully...[Didyk] surprises with his baritonal depths here as Herman, as well as a ringing top...Diadkova’s Countess happily relies more on secure vocal technique than scary histrionics and Oksana Volkova is a rich-voiced Polina.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2015

GGramophone Awards 2016

Finalist - Opera

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - Awards Issue 2015

BBC Music Magazine

Christmas Choice

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2016

Opera Finalist

BR Klassik - up to 25% off

BR Klassik - 900129

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Beethoven: The Symphonies

Beethoven: The Symphonies

and reflections


Beethoven:

Symphonies Nos. 1-9 (complete)

Kancheli:

Dixi

Šerkšnytė:

Fires

Shchedrin:

Beethovens Heiligenstädter Testament

Staud:

Manai

Widmann, J:

Con brio


“This is an exceptional realisation of Beethoven's nine symphonies, one of those rare occasions when one is left with a feeling of having been in the presence of the thing itself. The key to the cycle's success is the quality of the musicianship...the dramatic and expressive elements are derived from within” Gramophone Magazine, December 2013

“Jansons adopts...an approach which takes into consideration the historically informed approach of the last 30 years, but is still aware of what performances were like in the great German tradition...If you want vigorous conducting, immaculate but lean playing, and unfailingly sprightly tempos in the Beethoven, this set is for you.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2014 ***

“This set would be eminently recommendable if only for the nine Beethoven symphonies, performed with muscularity and flair.” New York Times, December 2013

GGramophone Awards 2014

Shortlisted - Orchestral

GGramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - December 2013

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BR Klassik - 900119

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Bruckner: Symphonies 0-9 (complete)

Bruckner: Symphonies 0-9 (complete)

Live-Recording: Philharmonie im Gasteig, January-March 1999, Munich


Booklet: English, German

In a spectacular concert cycle from January to March 1999, the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks under the direction of Lorin Maazel played the complete symphonies of Bruckner in Munich’s Philharmonie in the Gasteig. Maazel had at his disposal an ensemble with a long, impressive Bruckner tradition dating back to Eugen Jochum. The founding father and first Chief Conductor of the orchestra ranks as one of the most significant Bruckner conductors in the interpretive history of these works.

The chronological compactness of the recording process, which guaranteed a unified artistic signature is the outstanding feature of this compete recording vis-à-vis many of the versions from the competition.

An occupation with Bruckner’s complete works is an overwhelming experience for today’s listeners. With an enthralling effect the series develops from the stylistic variety of the early symphonies all the way to the ultimate clarity of the musical language in the unfinished Ninth Symphony.

Complete Bruckner recording made by an orchestra with an outstanding Bruckner tradition.

The chronological compactness of two months guarantees a unified artistic signature.

The only complete Bruckner recording with Lorin Maazel.

CD Review

Critics' Disc of the Year - December 2010

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BR Klassik - 900711

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