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Bacewicz: String Quartets

Bacewicz: String Quartets


Bacewicz:

String Quartet No. 1

String Quartet No. 2

String Quartet No. 3

String Quartet No. 4

String Quartet No. 5

String Quartet No. 6

String Quartet No. 7


For their very first recording on Chandos, the multiaward winning Silesian Quartet presents the complete string quartets by Grażyna Bacewicz. These lesser known chamber music treasures by the Polish composer are neatly packaged in a slimline jewel case: two discs here offered for the price of one.

The life of Bacewicz, like that of better-known colleagues such as Witold Lutosławski and Andrzej Panufnik, was conditioned by the political and military events of her time. Her works reflected not only these traumas but also the shifting stylistic currents of twentieth-century music.

Her seven string quartets, written between 1938 and 1965, are a telling barometer of these changes. They also stand as a timeline of her resolute compositional outlook and as a testament to her profound understanding of string instruments. String Quartet No. 1 comes after her studies in Paris in 1932 – 35 with Nadia Boulanger (composition), André Touret, and Carl Flesch (both violin), No. 2 was written in Warsaw during World War II, Nos 3, 4, and 5 date from the post-war decade, a time of socialist-realist cultural upheavals, while Nos 6 and 7 were composed during the avant-garde musical explosion that thrust Polish music onto the world stage in the late 1950s.

“These seven works, composed between 1938 and 1965, add up to a compelling portrait of a powerfully original creative spirit...the whole group seem to understand this life-affirming music from the inside.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2016

“their default playing style is springy and fleet-footed, bringing out the idiomatic nature of Bacewicz’s string writing.” The Guardian, 21st July 2016 ****

“The Silesian lend vibrant warmth to [the First Quartet]…[and] handle [the later quartets] with precision and élan: a tremendous achievement” BBC Music Magazine, September 2016 *****

“This remarkable canon of works here receives advocacy of the highest order: equally at home in the instantly approachable early quartets as the more challenging sixth and seventh, the Silesian Quartet brings admirable focus, determination and concentration to every bar” Classical Music, August 2016 ****

“Excellent performances, sound and booklet notes make this a real winner. A clear first choice for the string quartets of Grażyna Bacewicz.” Music Week, October 2016

“This is now the favoured option in this repertoire.” MusicWeb International, 20th October 2016

Presto Discs of 2016

Finalist

GGramophone Awards 2017

Winner - Chamber

GGramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - August 2016

Gramophone Award Winners

Chandos - CHAN10904(2)

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Haydn: Piano Sonatas Volume 6

Haydn: Piano Sonatas Volume 6


Haydn:

Piano Sonata No. 11 in B flat major, Hob.XVI:2

Piano Sonata No. 34 in D major, Hob.XVI:33

Piano Sonata No. 35 in A flat major, Hob.XVI:43

Piano Sonata No. 36 in C major, Hob.XVI:21

Piano Sonata No. 43 in E flat major, Hob.XVI:28


The highly acclaimed series of Haydn’s complete piano sonatas with multi-award winning pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet has now reached Volume 6.

This set opens with the most imposing of Haydn’s early sonatas, No. 11, and follows it with two lesser-known ones, both from the late 1770s, that were published without the composer’s approval: Nos 34 and 35. Each of Nos 36 and 43, the last two featured here, opens a new group of six sonatas, and a new world in Haydn’s compositional style. Future volumes will continue to explore the huge variety of style and expression found in Haydn’s sonatas. As usual, the pianist conveys his personal views in the booklet notes, praising ‘the generally very short phrases typical of Haydn, the abundant touches of humour, the surprises, the embellishments’, and adding: ‘The five sonatas in this programme are not among the most well known. But what treasures they conceal!... I am delighted to dedicate this disc to Professor Ernő Nemecz with whom I have shared a love for Haydn’s music for thirty-five years.’

“He has [promoted Haydn] at a level of technical perfection allied to insight, rigorous intellectual curiosity and the probing instincts of a distinguished performer that have never been brought to bear so acutely and consistently on this part of Haydn’s activity...wonderfully clean as his playing is, there is always warmth and a host of qualities that make his fingers sing and speak and entertain the way they do.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2017

“Under Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s supple fingers, [Sonata No. 11] proves a delight. By subtle shading of dynamics, minutely varying the rhythmic pacing and adding spritely touches of decoration to repeat sections, he reveals the piece to be packed with bright invention, with a touch of gravity in its slow movement” BBC Music Magazine, July 2017 *****

“His is a personal approach to Haydn yet it never stands in the way of the composer’s intention.” classicalsource.com, June 2017 ****

“The magnificently offbeat, eccentric opening movement of No. 11 sets the tone for 83 minutes of untrammelled delight. Reliably but ingeniously, Bavouzet finds something new to say in the repeats: no mere vocal- imitation trills but ornamentation and mini- cadenzas which honour Haydn’s own spirit of invention of the evolving keyboard instruments of his time.” Pianist Magazine, August 2017 *****

“The disc highlight is the magical Adagio of No 34, almost experimental in its use of register and silence, Bavouzet interpolates an effective mini-cadenza into the chirpy finale of No 36. Throughout, he adds effective ornaments in the repeats. Superb in all respects.” International Piano, September 2017 *****

“The disc highlight is the magical Adagio of No 34, experimental in its use of register and silence. Bavouzet interpolates an effective mini- cadenza into the chirpy finale of No 36. Throughout, he adds effective ornaments in the repeats. Superb in all respects.” Classical Music, September 2017 *****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - June 2017

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Chandos Bavouzet Haydn Piano Sonatas - CHAN10942

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Antheil: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1

Antheil: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1


Antheil:

Symphony No. 4

Symphony No. 5 'Joyous'

Over the Plains

Premiere Recording


Alongside its ongoing much-lauded Copland series, the BBC Philharmonic embarks on a new American journey, this time with its chief guest conductor, John Storgårds.

Known as the ‘bad boy of music’, George Antheil began his career with a reputation as an enfant terrible, composing shockingly avant-garde works such as his ever-popular Ballet mécanique, inspired by the dynamism and dissonances of Stravinsky’s early ballets. Although he is well-established on the film music scene, too, it is his symphonic output – sampled here – that today survives in the concert hall.

This new series documents the evolution of his musical style, which moved towards a fundamentally tonal and melody-based idiom, Antheil joining the growing ranks of famous US symphonists. The war-inspired Fourth Symphony and ‘joyous’ Fifth clearly represent this compositional shift, breaking with what the composer called the ‘now passé’ modernism.

Also here is the premiere recording of the Texas-inspired Over the Plains, memorable for its allusions to cowboy music and offering some unexpectedly dramatic and atmospheric twists along the way.

“Rather than placing these symphonies squarely in the mid-century mainstream...John Storgårds revels in their idiosyncrasies, revealing a wealth of expressive detail I’d never heard before...A brilliant recording all around, and an important one. Bring on the next instalment.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2017

“This Chandos release is so intelligently planned, so well performed, and so superlatively well-recorded that it deserves a recommendation in very enthusiastic terms” classicalsource.com, June 2017

“this Chandos release is so intelligently planned, so well performed, and so superlatively well-recorded that it deserves a recommendation in very enthusiastic terms.” MusicWeb International, June 2017

“Storgårds treats this music with painstaking care, restoring deliberate ‘wrong notes’ expunged by earlier conductors in the Fourth, respecting all Antheil’s nuances of tempo variations, and – with the help of an excellent recording – balancing all the textures clearly.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2017 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - June 2017

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Chandos - CHAN10941

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Szymanowski & Karlowicz: Violin Concertos

Szymanowski & Karlowicz: Violin Concertos


Karlowicz:

Violin Concerto in A major, Op. 8

Szymanowski:

Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 35

Violin Concerto No. 2, Op. 61


This SACD recording brings together some of Chandos’ greatest artists in a spellbinding programme.

It follows performances that The Guardian described as ‘a thrilling show of ferocity and feistiness’, given by the same forces in January at the Barbican. After widely acclaimed recordings of Walton’s and Lutosławski’s violin concertos, Tasmin Little again joins the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Edward Gardner, in intensely expressive interpretations of the concertos by the Polish composers Karłowicz and Szymanowski.

All were written within the space of a generation (1902, 1916, and 1933), and yet they belong to quite different worlds. One was composed at a time of national occupation, another in the throes of wartime, and yet another at a time of national renewal. The first inhabits the lyrical tradition developed by Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky, the second escapes towards Debussy and the exoticism of Mediterranean influences, while the third is imbued with the folk culture of the Tatra Mountains.

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Nimrod Borenstein: Violin Concerto

Nimrod Borenstein: Violin Concerto


Borenstein:

Violin Concerto

Irmina Trynkos (violin)

If you will it, it is no dream

The Big Bang and Creation of the Universe


Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra, Vladimir Ashkenazy

To celebrate his 80th birthday the legendary conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy, with the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra and the promising young violinist Irmina Trynkos, presents for the first time on record works by Nimrod Borenstein, a composer whom Ashkenazy has admired and supported for many years.

The past few years have seen his compositions premiered and performed at prestigious venues including the Royal Opera House and the Royal Festival Hall in London, the Tonhalle in Zurich, the Salle Gaveau in Paris, and Carnegie Hall in New York. Written especially for the occasion, If you will it, it is no dream was premiered by Ashkenazy to great acclaim in 2013 at the Royal Festival Hall.

While Borenstein is a supremely melodic composer, he draws attention in his work to his special use of counterpoint, which he says could be described as ‘multimelodic’, suggesting the eternal but ever-changing flow of time, in which events constantly overlap with one another. This technique is characteristic of both If you will it, it is no dream and The Big Bang and Creation of the Universe.

“These are no compromise premiere recordings of joyous and seductively perfumed works which never lose touch with the need for movement rather than stasis.” MusicWeb International, September 2017

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Vaughan Williams: Job & Symphony No. 9

Vaughan Williams: Job & Symphony No. 9


Vaughan Williams:

Job - A Masque for Dancing

Symphony No. 9 in E minor


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here

The projected complete cycle of Vaughan Williams’s symphonies started by the late Richard Hickox has left a precious heritage in the discography of the composer.

Now, conducting the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, that other expert in British repertoire, Sir Andrew Davis, takes on the challenge of completing the series with idiomatic interpretations of two masterpieces: the final Symphony (No. 9) and the ballet Job.

The score of Job places an emphasis on tableau-like scenes, dances, and mime, linking it to a tradition of English ballet with dances from the seventeenth century, including the saraband, pavane, and galliard. In this masterly score, Vaughan Williams captures the conflict between good and evil, between the spiritual and the material. Job shows a strength, beauty, nobility, and visionary power which unite the many different facets of Vaughan Williams’s musical style. The poignant and musically enigmatic Symphony No. 9 marks ‘the end of Ralph’s life and [is] a turning point. It is leading out into another place. It is extraordinary’, as the composer’s wife stated after one of the early performances.

The subtle direction of Sir Andrew Davis combined with the pure sound quality of this SACD does full justice to Hickox’s great enterprise and promises a powerful conclusion of this already acclaimed recorded cycle.

“a performance of striking composure, lustre and palpable dedication. Not only do the Bergen Philharmonic respond with notable poise and eagerness (solo contributions are of the highest quality throughout), Davis conducts with unobtrusive authority as well as a sure hand on the structural tiller, uncovering a wealth of telling harmonic and textural detail along the way.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2017

“Davis, vastly experienced as a conductor of this composer, is every bit as idiomatic as the score’s dedicatee and finds the Bergen Philharmonic in virtuoso and sensitive form.” classicalsource.com

“While the loss of Hickox was, and remains, a huge loss to fans of this music, there could be no finer conductor to receive the baton than Andrew Davis...Davis seems to avoid some of Handley’s showmanship – giving less of a punch to some of the more impassioned outbursts – but conversely there’s a clarity here in some of the more intricate contrapuntal passages that Handley sometimes fails to match.” David Smith, Presto Classical, 10th February 2017

“A mandatory purchase for all Vaughan Williams enthusiasts.” MusicWeb International, 1st March 2017

“The versatile Bergen band clearly revel in the expansive, unmistakably “English” tunes and the sometimes exotic orchestration...Davis today has no peers in this repertoire, which, added to Chandos’s brilliantly “present” sound engineering, makes this a self-recommending issue.” Sunday Times, 19th March 2017

“a searing performance of the enigmatic ninth symphony…Even better, though, is Job: a tremendous, Blake-inspired score whose challenges are triumphantly met here. It is one of Vaughan Williams’ most dramatic works and the sheer power of the Bergen forces (that organ!) contrast perfectly with sections of great textual beauty. Superb SACD sound” Classical Music, April 2017 *****

Presto Disc of the Week

10th February 2017

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - March 2017

BBC Music Magazine

Recording of the month - April 2017

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Copland: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1 - Ballets

Copland: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1 - Ballets


Copland:

Fanfare for the Common Man

El Salón México

Billy the Kid - Suite

Appalachian Spring - Suite

Rodeo (Four Dance Episodes)


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

For this new series, the conductor, arranger, and light music specialist John Wilson, a BBC Proms favourite, for the first time joins the BBC Philharmonic on Chandos, in orchestral works by Aaron Copland. This first volume features the suites from the American composer’s most famous ballets. Written in 1938, the hugely successful Billy the Kid is a fine illustration of the limpid orchestration and clarity that Copland achieved in works made famous thanks to their popular accessibility. Similarly, four years later, in Appalachian Spring, he created a lastingly influential American soundworld, firmly rooted in the diatonicism of simple folk melodies. A third ‘nationalist’ ballet, Rodeo, and Fanfare for the Common Man were composed in the same year, 1942, the latter being possibly the most instantly recognizable piece in the history of American orchestral music. The energetic dances and national melodies of El Salón México reveals Copland’s other use of folk material, as a musical souvenir of foreign lands that had made an impression of him.

This album was recorded two months after a highly successful concert broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.

“Wilson is in his element here, coaxing razzmatazzy playing from the BBC Philharmonic in the rhythmically charged Mexican Dance and battle scene from Billy the Kid, and the Buckaroo Holiday and Hoe-Down from Rodeo. There is tenderness, too, even a touch of Leonard Bernsteinesque wallowing in the unforgettable folksy melodies of Appalachian Spring” Sunday Times, 17th January 2016

“Wilson's performances are…impressive, and he secures superb playing from the BBC Philharmonic…the three ballets receive strongly characterised interpretations, as piquant and affecting in the slower passages as they are punchy and ebullient in the faster ones…I enjoyed listening to this disc enormously.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2016

“John Wilson shows an instinctive flair for Copland's syncopated and changing rhythms, and brings out all the music's broad humour and intimate poetry” BBC Music Magazine, March 2016

“His lifelong immersion in the sound-world of 30s and 40s American music is evident from the off, with the distant trumpets in Fanfare for the Common Man glowing with that vibrato-warmed vintage brass sound that’s so distinctive in his recordings of the great musicals...every single phrase of all the works presented here feels truly balletic, and the music never stops dancing.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 29th January 2016

“The conductor is a natural in Copland’s most celebrated ballet scores: Billy the Kid, Rodeo and Appalachian Spring.” The Times, December 2016

Presto Disc of the Week

29th January 2016

Presto Discs of 2016

Winner

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - March 2016

BBC Music Magazine

Orchestral Choice - March 2016

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Enescu: The Three Symphonies

Enescu: The Three Symphonies


Enescu:

Symphonies 1-3

Suite No. 3 in D major, Op. 27 'Villageoise'

Romanian Rhapsody in D major, Op. 11 No. 2

Romanian Rhapsody in A major, Op. 11 No. 1


From the Bolshoi to La Scala, from the Stockholm Philharmonic to the Vienna Symphony, the forty-five-year carrier and notably famous supple stick technique of Gennady Rozhdestvensky have made him one of hte most respected twentieth-century conductors in Europe. This release celebrates his superb Enescu series with the BBC Philharmonic. The Romanian composer was one of the most prodigiously gifted musicians of the twentieth century: a great violinist and composer, a distinguished conductor, an accomplished pianist, able cellist, and a famous violin teacher. Although relatively modest, his published output contained some substantial works, such as the folk-inspired Romanian Rhapsodies and romantically influenced symphonies, all featured here.

“The superior sound secured by the classic Chandos team does justice to these ambitiously passionate and self-indulgent scores and performances.” MusicWeb International, August 2017

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Neeme Järvi conducts Ibert

Neeme Järvi conducts Ibert


Ibert:

Ouverture de fete

Escales

Bacchanale

Divertissement

Hommage a Mozart

Feerique

Sarabande pour Dulcinée

Paris, Suite Symphonique pour orchestre


Neeme Järvi and the OSR continue their exploration of French orchestral music with this fourth album: a merry collection from the best of the vigorously ebullient music of Jacques Ibert. Among the numerous winners of the famous Prix de Rome between its institution by Napoleon in 1803 and its abandonment in 1968, the twentieth century provides us with repertoire works from only one composer: Jacques Ibert, whose characteristically clear orchestration is emphasised by strong melodic lines and supported by lively ostinato patterns in the bass. At the same time, the album reveals what an eclectic composer Ibert was. The contrast between his two best-known pieces is a perfect example: Divertissement, for small orchestra, is light-hearted, even frivolous; Escales..., on the other hand, is a ripely romantic work for large orchestra. Like the previous recordings in this series, the unique acoustic of Geneva’s Victoria Hall is perfectly captured in surround sound on this SACD.

“Ibert emerges from it all as a fine composer, whose unity lies in his almost impudent diversity, and who is often far from frivolous as some have maintained. And the disc allows Järvi to show off his Swiss orchestra to perfection. Very fine.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2016

“This disc reveals much of interest to explore beyond the familiar items. Feérique sparkles, and the symphonic suite Paris finds Ibert at his most inventive, mixing jazzy playfulness with suave exoticisms…the highlight, though, is Escales, which finds Järvi and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande on top form and benefiting from recorded sound that is wonderful on CD and outstanding on SACD.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2016 ****

“An attractive introduction to Ibert’s exquisitely crafted orchestral music” MusicWeb International, 9th June 2016

“Neeme Järvi conducts the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in sumptuous performances” Financial Times, 22nd July 2016

“Generously-filled, splendidly played and magnificently recorded” classicalsource.com, December 2016

Presto Discs of 2016

Finalist

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2016

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Busoni: Orchestral Works

Busoni: Orchestral Works


Busoni:

Orchestral Suite No. 2 'Geharnischte Suite', Op. 34a

Berceuse élégiaque, Op. 42

Concertino for Clarinet and Small Orchestra, Op. 48

John Bradbury (clarinet)

Sarabande and Cortège, Op. 51

Tanzwalzer, Op. 53

Lustspiel Overture, Op. 38

Indianische Fantasie, Op. 44

Nelson Goerner (piano)

Gesang vom Reigen der Geister, Op. 47

Orchestral Suite from Die Brautwahl


This special re-issue gathers the two albums in Neeme Järvi’s exploration, with the BBC Philharmonic, of the unjustly neglected works of the Italian composer Ferruccio Busoni.

Those two volumes, sold here for the price of one, were released to critical acclaim in 2002 and 2005, respectively. The Gramophone reviewer stated:

‘Järvi’s performances on his two Busoni collections are the most consistently sympathetic I’ve heard in some years and they’re sure – not least because of the series’ comprehensiveness – to enhance Busoni’s reputation as an orchestral composer.’

The set spans the varied musical life of an iconic twentieth-century composer, who around WWI shifted from a late romantic style (heard in the Orchestral Suite and Lustspiel-Ouvertüre) to a more personal, loosely tonal style which culminated in the final masterpiece, Doktor Faust, two movements from which, Sarabande and Cortège, are featured here.

“Greater exuberance and amorous sentiment is to be found in the Die Brautwahl suite (drawing on his opera of the same name). The Suite was premiered in Berlin in 1913 by Oskar Fried. The finale has much of the fluttering eagerness of the Lustspiel-Ouvertüre but a degree more polish.” MusicWeb International, August 2017

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