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Robert Schumann (1810-56)

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Schumann: Album for the Young, Op. 68

Schumann: Album for the Young, Op. 68


Luba Edlina (piano)

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Schumann: Der Rose Pilgerfahrt, Op. 112

Schumann: Der Rose Pilgerfahrt, Op. 112


Inga Nielsen, Helle Hinz (sopranos), Annemarie Moller, Elisabeth Halling (altos), Deon van der Walt (tenor), Guido Paevatalu (baritone), Christian Christiansen (bass)

Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir, Gustav Kuhn

“Amidst today's great upsurgence of interest in Schumann's later choral undertakings, the work's long neglect is no doubt due to its alltoo- naive tale of a rose who, after an eagerly sought transformation into a maiden to experience human love, chooses to sacrifice herself for her baby. Schumann's own ready response to Moritz Horn's poem can best be explained by its underlying moral message together with a strain of German rusticity then equally close to the composer's heart. Having said that, how grateful Schumann lovers should be to Chandos for at last introducing the work to the English catalogue in so sympathetic yet discreet a performance from this predominantly Danish cast. All credit to the conductor, Gustav Kuhn, for revealing so much fancy in fairyland, so much brio in peasant merriment, and so much charm in more tender lyricism without ever making heavy weather of this essentially gemütlich little score.
No praise can be too high for the Danish National Radio Choir: such immediacy of response leaves no doubt as to their professional status. Nor do the soloists or orchestra disappoint.
Tonal reproduction is agreeably natural.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

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Schumann: Märchenerzählungen, Mozart: Kegelstatt-Trio

Schumann: Märchenerzählungen, Mozart: Kegelstatt-Trio


Bruch:

Eight Pieces for clarinet, viola and piano, Op. 83

Mozart:

Clarinet Trio in E flat major, K498 "Kegelstatt-Trio"

Schumann:

Märchenerzählungen (4) for Clarinet, Viola & Piano, Op. 132


Janet Hilton (clarinet), Nobuko Imai (viola), Roger Vignoles (piano)

Building a Library

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Schumann: Piano Quintet in E flat major, Op. 44, etc.

Schumann:

Piano Quintet in E flat major, Op. 44

Antonio De Secondi (second violin)

Piano Quartet in E flat major, Op. 47


Michelangelo Piano Quartet

Premiere recordings played on period instruments

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Schumann: Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 63, etc.

Schumann:

Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 63

Piano Trio No. 2 in F major, Op. 80

Piano Trio No. 3 in G minor, Op. 110

Fantasiestücke in A minor for Piano Trio, Op. 88


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Schumann - Songs of Love and Loss

Schumann - Songs of Love and Loss


Schumann:

Mein Schöner Stern! Op. 101 No. 4

Gedichte der Königin Maria Stuart, Op. 135

Requiem, Op. 90 No. 7

Liederkreis, Op. 39

Frauenliebe und -leben, Op. 42


Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano) & Eugene Asti (piano)

The British mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly, twice nominated for a Grammy, here performs a collection of songs by Robert Schumann, which combines two song cycles from the extremely prolific song year 1840 with several songs from the composer’s last years. She is accompanied by Eugene Asti.

Sarah Connolly fell in love with Schumann’s songs in her youth. She has sung them since her early days as a performer and in the booklet she and Eugene Asti write, ‘at the heart of Schumann’s music on this recording lie a profound melancholy and a personal and completely honest, open-hearted empathy for the poetry, which is totally disarming. All the stories and situations depicted in these songs were so much a part of the composer’s own life experience that we just cannot help but be touched and moved by them. Perhaps it is for these reasons that our love for Schumann is especially great, and we feel privileged to be able to share this extraordinary music with you’.

It is often claimed that Schumann’s late songs, which include the first seven on this CD, show a composer in decline – a charge that is refuted by such wonderful Lieder as the Wilhelm Meister settings and ‘Nachtlied’ (Goethe), ‘Der Einsiedler’ (Eichendorff), ‘Aufträge’ (L’Egru), ‘Mein schöner Stern!’ (Rückert), ‘Requiem’ (Dreves), the Lenau settings of Op. 90 and the Gedichte der Königin Maria Stuart, all of which are as fine as anything Schumann wrote in 1840, his great ‘song’ year.

The album’s key work is the rarely recorded Gedichte der Königin Maria Stuart, songs on five poems attributed to Mary, Queen of Scots. They were his last Lieder and the most austere that Schumann ever wrote. He composed the set in 1852 during a period of deep depression and offered the work as a Christmas present to his wife, Clara. It is also matched here by ‘Requiem’, setting a translation by Leberecht Blücher Dreves of an old sacred Latin text. This requiem, from Op. 90, was one of four that Schumann composed in the last years of his creative life, and it seems likely that the proliferation of such settings around 1850 had symbolic import – ‘requiems, after all, are written for oneself’, as Schumann once confided to a friend.

“Sarah Connolly's beautifully sung Frauenliebe und-leben often called to mind Janet Baker's early recording with Martin Isepp… Connolly, like Baker, gives the cycle a more melancholy, introspective cast than most. Connolly is magnificently desolate and accusatory in the final song of bereavement, with a graphic sense of withdrawal from the world before the healing keyboard postlude.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2008

“By placing the poignant invocation of 'Mein schöner Stern', emblem-like, at the top of this artfully programmed Schumann recital, Sarah Connolly reveals much of the composer's fervent inwardness - something she and her accompanist, Eugene Asti, capture so well throughout.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2008 ****

“the intimate restraint of Connolly's singing frequently suggests the sad analysis of emotion from a retrospective or nostalgic viewpoint...[Liederkreis] is superbly done - an unnerving voyage through a soured Romantic landscape, awash with intimations of the horrors that lurk unsuspected in the corners of the psyche.” The Guardian, 14th November 2008 ****

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Schumann: String Quartets, Op. 41 Nos. 1-3

Schumann: String Quartets, Op. 41 Nos. 1-3


On this disc we present three masterpieces of the nineteenth-century chamber music repertoire: Schumann’s set of string quartets, Op. 41. The works are performed by the Doric String Quartet, exclusive Chandos artists and among the most impressive young quartets on the classical music scene today. They regularly perform at major festivals and venues throughout the UK as well as across continental Europe, Asia, and the US.

The three string quartets, Op. 41 make up Schumann’s only published contribution to the genre. They were completed during a period of intense creative activity in 1842. In February, Schumann noted in his diary that he was having ‘continual quartet thoughts’. In April and May, he devoted himself to studying the quartets by Beethoven, Haydn, and Mozart; in early June, the first two quartets were completed, and the third followed soon after in July that same year.

Brimming with the canons with which Schumann was so taken, as well as his characteristic turn of melody, these works all display in full the spirit that one would expect from this most romantic of romantic composers.

Schumann arranged for the first, private, performance of the quartets to take place on 13 September 1842, as a present for his wife, Clara, on her twenty-third birthday. Clara, always supportive of her husband’s efforts, praised them as ‘lucid, finely worked, and always in quartet idiom’. The esteemed theorist and composer Moritz Hauptmann said: ‘His [Schumann’s] first, which delighted me immensely, made me marvel at his talent… it is cleverly conceived and held together, and a great deal of it is very beautiful.’

“The Dorics play with warmth, finesse and exciting attack.” The Observer, 2nd October 2011

“Among numerous affecting details: the sinuous allegro opening of No 2; the driven upsurge of its scherzo; and the plangent sigh that is No 3’s andante espressivo introduction, rarely more espressivo than here.” Sunday Times, 9th October 2011

“Here's a disc that merits an especially big welcome...At last comes a strong challenger which brings together all three of these wonderful but so often misunderstood quartets. The play has all the fragile pathos, volatility, exuberance, and quirky humour one hopes to find in this music...The Doric Quartet also have a compelling sense of how Schumann's moods can turn on a musical sixpence...What more can one say?” BBC Music Magazine, December 2011 *****

“The starry young Doric Quartet delves into Schumann's fantastical worlds in a performance rich in both imagination and care. Applying a generally delicate approach, with thin vibrato expressively aided by the use of well-judged portamentaos, they draw out a wealth of nuances. The mood of intimacy, half-lights and many-shaded moods is enhanced by their efforts to find a 'period' style appropriate to Schumann and his whirlwind imagination.” Classic FM Magazine, December 2011 ****

GGramophone Awards 2012

Finalist - Chamber

GGramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - December 2011

BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the month - December 2011

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Brahms: Viola Sonatas Nos. 1 & 2 and Schumann: Märchenbilder

Brahms: Viola Sonatas Nos. 1 & 2 and Schumann: Märchenbilder


Brahms:

Viola Sonata No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 120 No. 2

Viola Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 120 No. 1

Schumann:

Märchenbilder (4), Op. 113


Nobuko Imai (viola), Roger Vignoles (piano)

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Brodsky Quartet: Petits Fours

Brodsky Quartet: Petits Fours

Favourite Encores


Debussy:

Beau Soir

arr. Paul Cassidy

Elgar:

Chanson de Nuit, Op. 15 No. 1

arr. Paul Cassidy

Chanson de Matin, Op. 15 No. 2

arr. Paul Cassidy

La Capricieuse, Op. 17

arr. Paul Cassidy

Falla:

Nana (No. 5 from Siete canciones populares españolas)

arr. Andrew Haveron

Polo (No. 7 from Siete canciones populares españolas )

arr. Andrew Haveron

Godowsky:

Triakontameron No. 11 'Alt Wien'

arr. Paul Cassidy

Khachaturian:

Sabre Dance from Gayane

arr. Andrew Haveron

Kreisler:

Caprice Viennois, Op. 2

arr. Paul Cassidy. For Quartet and Viola

Bob Smissen (viola)

Mendelssohn:

Auf Flügeln des Gesanges, Op. 34 No. 2

arr. Paul Cassidy

Prokofiev:

The Love for Three Oranges: March

arr. Andrew Haveron

Ravel:

Violin Sonata in G major: 2. Blues

arr. Andrew Haveron

Valses nobles et sentimentales No. 6 in C major

arr. Paul Cassidy

Sarasate:

Danza Española No. 5: Playera Op. 23 No. 1

arr. Paul Cassidy

Danza Española No. 6: Zapateado, Op. 23, No. 2

arr. Paul Cassidy

Shostakovich:

Duet for Two Violins and Piano

arr. for Quartet by Ian Belton

Waltz from Suite for Variety Orchestra

plus:

Schumann arr. Paul Cassidy: Sehr Langsam; Three Pieces from Kinderszenen arr. for Quartet and Piano

Dvořák arr. Paul Cassidy: Humoresque for Quartet and Piano

Philip Edward Fisher (piano)


Chandos Records signed an exclusive contract with the Brodsky Quartet in time for the celebrations of its fortieth anniversary in 2012.

Formed in 1972, the Brodsky Quartet quickly emerged at the forefront of the international chamber music scene. It has performed more than 2000 concerts and made more than fifty highly acclaimed recordings. This is the Quartet’s first release on Chandos, and includes many of the encores it has performed over the years, notable for their novelty and diverse range of styles and emotions. All the pieces have been arranged by past or current members of the Quartet, and together form an entertaining and original collection.

The Quartet has enjoyed many successful collaborations over the years, and regularly works with artists such as Elvis Costello, Sting, Anne Sofie von Otter, Martin Roscoe, Michael Collins, Tunde Jegede, Dawn Upshaw, and Björk. Its boundless energy and tremendous enthusiasm have led it in many artistic directions, from the classic quartet repertoire of Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, and Tchaikovsky, to the very cutting edge of contemporary music and styles. Its passion to embrace ‘all good music’ has been the driving force behind its success and has kept its approach fresh and its enthusiasm high since its formation.

One recurring characteristic of the performances of the Quartet is its inclusion of guest artists, who take the group away from the standard string quartet repertoire. This will be reflected in two further recordings to be released on Chandos in 2012: A CD of works by Debussy, with the multi-award-winning pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet in the Piano Trio and the harpist Sioned Williams and double-bass player Chris Laurence in the Deux Dances for harp and strings; and a disc of American songs with the bass-baritone Sir Willard White.

“the Brodsky Quartet blow the musical cobwebs off some of the most cherishable miniatures in the repertoire...so swaggeringly sensual is the Brodsky's Playera (Sarasate), so alluringly suave their Caprice viennois (Elgar), in which they are joined by gifted viola player Robert Smissen, that it becomes hard to imagine these pieces played any other way - or any better.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2012 *****

“What is so striking about the playing of the Brodsky Quartet throughout is their brimming love for the music, with some ravishing shading down to the most hushed pianissimos. All this is caught in wonderfully rich and transparent sound, a credit to the Chandos engineers.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2012

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Fantasies for Bassoon

Fantasies for Bassoon


Elgar:

Salut d'amour, Op. 12

arranged for bassoon & piano

Rachmaninov:

Vocalise, Op. 34 No. 14

arranged for bassoon & piano

Schreck:

Sonata in E flat major, Op. 9

Schubert:

Sonata in A minor 'Arpeggione', D821

arranged for bassoon & piano

Schumann:

Fantasiestücke, Op. 73

arranged for bassoon & piano

Spohr:

Adagio in F major for cello and piano, op. 151

arranged for bassoon & piano


Karen Geoghegan (bassoon) & Philip Edward Fisher (piano)

Chandos signed Karen Geoghegan as an exclusive artist in 2007 following her appearance on BBC TV’s Classical Star programme. This is her fifth recording with the label, and the expressive maturity and sensitivity of her playing have quickly cemented her status as a rising star, Gramophone writing: ‘Name five internationally famous bassoon soloists. Archie Camden, Gwydion Brooke and, er, that’s it. Except I think we shall soon be adding the name of Karen Geoghegan to the roll call.’

On this disc, she is accompanied by Philip Edward Fisher in works by some of the greatest composers of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: Schubert, Schumann, Spohr, Rachmaninoff, and Elgar. Yet, with a single exception, namely the Sonata in E flat by Gustav Schreck, none of the works recorded here were originally composed for the bassoon.

One of Rachmaninoff’s best-loved short pieces, the Vocalise was written for wordless voice and piano. Demonstrating the capacities of the voice as a pure instrument, this work is a prime example of the power of melody without the need for words. In this arrangement, the bassoon takes on the role of ‘wordless voice’, which shows off the instrument’s great lyrical qualities to perfection, as does Elgar’s Salut d’amour.

Schumann’s Fantasiestücke was originally composed for clarinet and piano, its three pieces played without a break, with each subsequent piece taking up and developing melodic ideas from the preceding one. The Sonata in A minor, D 821 by Schubert, which remained unpublished and unperformed for decades after his death, is an emotionally complex work, its moods moving from deep melancholy to excited ebullience.

“Geoghegan is probably the best advocate the instrument could have: even though parts of the 'Arpeggione' Sonata (usually heard on cello or viola) don't quite work on the bassoon, as the ear adjusts her exemplary musicianship comes through and triumphs...There's a wonderfully natural quality to Geoghegan's phrasing and expression - especially in the Schumann - and she is partnered adeptly at all times by Philip Edward Fisher.” Classic FM Magazine, December 2011 ****

“the most substantial music comes in the transcription of Schubert's Arpeggione Sonata...It would be foolish to expect the bassoon to offer the emotional depth and richness of tone that can be accommodated on a string instrument, but Karen Geoghegan certainly convinces with the melancholic hue of the first movement.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2012 ****

“There is no clowning here. If anything, the bassoon lends a pleasant dolefulness to the music played on this CD...Even the cello...is not as consistently mellow as a bassoon, when it is played by a musician on Geoghegan's level.” International Record Review, January 2012

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