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Mansurian: Requiem, for soprano, baritone, mixed chorus and string orchestra

Mansurian: Requiem, for soprano, baritone, mixed chorus and string orchestra


Anja Petersen (soprano), Andrew Redmond (bass)

RIAS Chamber Choir Berlin, Munich Chamber Orchestra, Alexander Liebreich

Tigran Mansurian has created a Requiem dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide that occurred in Turkey from 1915 to 1917 – which affected members of the composer's own family in the most direct way.

It reconciles the sound and sensibility of his country’s traditions with the Latin Requiem text in a profoundly moving contemporary composition, illuminated by the “glow of Armenian modality”, as Paul Griffiths puts it in his booklet essay. The work is a milestone for Mansurian, widely acknowledged as Armenia's greatest composer. The Los Angeles Times has described his music as that “in which deep cultural pain is quieted through an eerily calm, heart-wrenching beauty”.

The Requiem was co-commissioned by the Munich Chamber Orchestra and RIAS Chamber Choir Berlin and first performed by them in Berlin and Munich in 2011 and receives its premiere recording here.

This album is the sixth to appear in ECM’s documentation of Mansurian’s work, a series that began with the scene-setting ‘Hayren: Music of Komitas And Tigran Mansurian’ in 2003 and includes recordings by violinists Leonidas Kavakos and Patricia Kopatchinskaja, cellist Anja Lechner and the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Jan Garbarek and The Hilliard Ensemble, and the Armenian Chamber Choir.

“Mansurian’s sound-world is notably clean: time and again he juxtaposes orchestral unisons and stark instrumental effects with plainchant, yet burnished splendour is the result. Throughout the work there is a sense of musical worlds colliding and – in the Agnus Dei, where all emotion is washed pure – finally coalescing, in a symbolic meeting between heaven and earth. The performance has singular grace and power” BBC Music Magazine, October 2017 *****

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Point And Line: Debussy & Hosokawa Etudes

Point And Line: Debussy & Hosokawa Etudes


Debussy:

Études pour piano No. 11 - Pour les arpeges composes

Études pour piano: No. 3 'Pour les quartes'

Études pour piano: No. 4 'Pour les sixtes'

Études pour piano: No. 10 'Pour les sonorités opposées'

Études pour piano: No. 2 'Pour les tierces'

Études pour piano: No. 6 'Pour les 8 doigts'

Études pour piano: No. 1 'Pour les "cinq doigts" d'après M. Czerny'

Pour les accords

Pour les agrements

Études pour piano: No. 7 'Pour les degrés chromatiques'

Études pour piano: No. 9 'Pour les notes répétées'

Études pour piano: No. 5 'Pour les octaves'

Hosokawa:

Etude I-VI: Point and Line (No. 2)

Etude I-VI: Calligraphy, Haiku, 1 Line (No. 3)

Etude I-VI - 2 Lines (No. 1)

Etude I-VI: Lied, Melody (No. 6)

Etude I-VI: Ayatori, Magic by 2 hands, 3 Lines (No. 4)

Etude I-VI: Anger (No. 5)


Momo Kodama (piano)

Born in Osaka, educated at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris, Momo Kodama is well-placed to approach music from both Eastern and Western vantage points, as she does in this album which interweaves etudes of Claude Debussy (1862-1918) and

Toshio Hosokawa (born 1955).

Both composers have similarly been border-crossers. Debussy, pointing to music of the future, looked to the Orient for inspiration. Hosokawa has combined aspects of Japanese and European tradition in his contemporary compositions. Momo Kodama: “In the music of Toshio Hosokawa I find elements close to Debussy: the freedom of form and tone colour, the sense of poetic design, with a wide range of lyricism and dynamics, between meditation and virtuoso development, between light and shade, between large gestures and minimalist refinement.”

‘Point and Line’ is the pianist’s second ECM album and follows the widely-praised ‘La vallée des cloches’, with music of Ravel, Takemitsu and Messiaen, of which American Record Guide noted: “Kodama’s impeccable technique and facility for crystalline sounds makes for a mesmerizing program.”

“Forget other recordings of Debussy's Etudes. Not that this is better than Gieseking, Pollini, Uchida, Bavouzet and the rest - it's merely that such comparisons are redundant...Kodama brings a wonderful capacity for stillness to Hosokawa's often ascetic language...but this is an inventive exploration of both composers.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2017 ****

BBC Music Magazine

Instrumental Choice - June 2017

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Karaindrou: David

Karaindrou: David


Kim Kashkashian (viola), Irini Karagianni (mezzo-soprano), Tassis Christoyannopoulos (baritone), Vangelis Christopoulos (oboe), Stella Gadedi (flute), Marie-Cécile Boulard (clarinet), Sonia Pisk (bassoon), Vangelis Skouras (french horn), Sokratis Anthis (trumpet), Maria Bildea (harp), Katerina Ktona (harpsichord)

ERT choir & Camerata Orchestra, Alexandros Myrat

The stage cantata David features Eleni Karaindrou’s music for a unique piece of Aegean drama, a verse play with words by an unknown 18th century poet from the island of Chios. Its text (first published only in 1979), invites a musical response and Greek composer Karaindrou rises splendidly to the challenge, imaginatively moving between past and present in her settings for mezzo-soprano and baritone singers, instrumental soloists, choir and orchestra. Kim Kashkashian’s evocative viola against strings may trigger associations with Karaindrou’s acclaimed writing for Ulysses’ Gaze. The music also draws inspiration from the world of baroque opera as singers Irini Karagianni and Tassis Christoyannopoulos are brought to the foreground. Karaindrou’s David is a work of changing music colours . Recorded live at the Athens Megaron, it was edited and mixed by Manfred Eicher and Nikos Espialdis for CD release.

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Monk, M: On Behalf Of Nature

Monk, M: On Behalf Of Nature


Dark/Light 1

High Realm

Fractal Activity

Environs 1

Eon

Duet with Shifting Ground

Environs 2

Pavement Steps

Evolution

Ritual Zone

Water/Sky Rant

Memory Zone

Environs 3

Harvest

Dark/Light 2

High Realm Reprise

Fractal Mirror

Ringing

Spider Web Anthem


Sidney Chen, Ellen Fisher, Katie Geissinger, Meredith Monk, Bruce Rameker, Allison Sniffin (voices); Bohdan Hilash (woodwinds); John Hollenbeck (percussion); Allison Sniffin (piano, keyboard, violin, French horn); Laura Sherman (harp)

Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble

For five decades, vocalist-composer Meredith Monk has explored what she calls “primordial utterance,” or non-verbal vocal sound that lay beneath and beyond language, expressing “that for which we have no words.”

This exploration has led her to create music that The New Yorker describes as simultaneously “visceral and ethereal, raw and rapt,” an art that “sings, dances and meditates on timeless forces.”

With her latest, multivalent ECM New Series album, Monk aimed to address ecology and climate change, she says: “Believing that music speaks more directly than words, I worked to make a piece with a fluid, perceptual field that could expand awareness of what we are in danger of losing.

‘On Behalf of Nature’ is a meditation on our intimate connection to nature, its inner structures, the fragility of its ecology and our interdependence.” Voices and instruments have equal weight: sometimes each is heard alone; sometimes they are blended to form a new, mysterious sound; sometimes they are combined to create intricate, layered, yet transparent sonic landscapes.

“This magical disc is both rite and protest, inspired by poet and environmental activist Gary Snyder who calls for the artist to stand as ‘spokesperson for non-human entities…to speak on behalf of nature’. Monk’s response is a meditation on our fragile ecosystem, though avoiding the polemical through her characteristic sense of wonder and play…the recording is crisp and all performances strong.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2017 ****

“though Monk’s incredible technical range is going, the softer stuff is still enthrallingly playful and ritualistic. Sometimes it feels weird being a bystander to her music: this kind of elemental rite should involve us all.” The Guardian, 20th October 2016 ****

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Zsófia Boros: Local Objects

Zsófia Boros: Local Objects


Ali-Zadeh:

Fantasie

Cardoso:

Milonga

Domeniconi:

Koyunbaba

Duplessy:

Nocturne

Gismonti:

Celebração de Núpcias

Meola:

Vertigo Shadow

Pinter, A:

Gothenburg

Sardinha:

Inspiração


Zsófia Boros (guitar)

The second album from the Hungarian-born Vienna-based guitarist Zsófia Boros finds her embracing a broad scope of music, broader even than on her outstanding debut ‘En Otra Parte’.

This time the range extends from contemporary composition to jazz ballad via music from Brazil, Argentina, Italy and Azerbaijan – all embraced with imagination and creative flair. Pieces played here by Zsófia Boros include Egberto Gismonti’s challenging ‘Celebração de Núpcias’ (made famous on Dança das cabeças), Franghiz Ali-Zadeh’s ‘Fantasie’, Al Di Meola’s ‘Vertigo Shadow’, and Carlo Domeniconi’s Turkish-influenced ‘Koyunbaba’ suite while other composers include the Azerbaijani, Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, and the Argentinian classical guitarist Jorge Cardoso.

These Local Objects – the title comes from a poem by Wallace Stevens – are rendered universal by Boros’s subtle and sensitive playing in an album recorded at Lugano’s Auditorio Stelio Molo in November 2015 and produced by Manfred Eicher.

“A very likeable CD, perfect to accompany a ruminative late night” BBC Music Magazine, February 2017 ****

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Arcanum: Auerbach & Shostakovich

Arcanum: Auerbach & Shostakovich


Auerbach:

Arcanum

Shostakovich:

Preludes for piano (24), Op. 34 (complete)

arr. Auerbach


Kim Kashkashian (viola), Lera Auerbach (piano)

Their first recording together features Auerbach’s arrangement for viola and piano of Dmitri Shostakovich’s often playful 24 Preludes Op. 34, (which the pair introduced to concert audiences in 2013) and Auerbach’s own, darker, Sonata for viola and piano, ‘Arcanum’.

Lera Auerbach says: “‘Arcanum’ means ‘mysterious knowledge’, and I was fascinated by the inner voice within each of us, some may call it perhaps intuition, some may call it may be guided meditation, but there is some knowledge that we have, which we may not necessarily verbalize or rationalize, but that allows us to see the truth, to be guided, to seek answers.” Auerbach wrote her sonata for Kashkashian: “There is a quality of life-or-death-intensity to her performing, which is rare and wonderful.”

“The main attraction is Auerbach’s Sonata, the partnership between viola and piano more equal and richer in potential. Hauntingly beautiful.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2017 ****

“In seamless collaborations, viola player and pianist contribute nuanced and vital artistry that heightens the varied atmospheres in the Shostakovich and conveys the quiet anguish pervading the Auerbach” Gramophone Magazine, February 2017

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Arvo Pärt: The Deer’s Cry

Arvo Pärt: The Deer’s Cry


Pärt:

The Deer's Cry

Von Angesicht zu Angesicht

Alleluja Tropus for choir and string orchestra

Virgencita

Veni creator

Drei Hirtenkinderaus Fátima

And one of the Pharisees

Da pacem Domine

Most Holy Mother of God

Sei gelobt, du Baum (for baritone, gittern, violin & double bass)

Habitare fratres in unum

Summa

Gebet nach dem Kanon / Prayer after the Canon / Prière après le Canon


Mari Poll (violin), Johanna Vahermägi (viola), Heikko Remmel, Taavo Remmel (double basses), Robert Staak (lute), Toomas Vavilov (clarinet), Susanne Doll (organ)

Vox Clamantis, Jaan-Eik Tulve

The second ECM New Series album to fully showcase Estonian vocal group Vox Clamantis is devoted to compositions by their great countryman, Arvo Pärt – whose music has been the most performed globally of any living composer over the past five years from his 75th birthday leading up to his 80th last September.

This album – titled ‘The Deer’s Cry’ after its opening track, an incantatory work for a cappella mixed choir – is also the latest in a long, illustrious line of ECM New Series releases to feature Pärt’s compositions, the very music that inspired Manfred Eicher to establish the New Series imprint in 1984. Along with such classic works as Da Pacem Domine, the new album includes first-time recordings of the a cappella pieces Drei Hirtenkinder aus Fátima and Habitare Fratres. There is also an a cappella version of Alleluia-Tropus, which Vox Clamantis previously recorded alongside instruments for the Grammy Award-winning ECM New Series album ‘Adam’s Lament’.

Rarely recorded material makes up nearly half of this release, which includes three pieces with subtle instrumental accompaniment: Von Angesicht zu Angesicht, Sei gelobt, du Baum and Veni Creator.

“This is an important and highly rewarding release. It clearly has the approval of the composer, who is pictured at the recording sessions” Gramophone Magazine, November 2016

“The level of artistry necessary to achieve the kind of living, breathing performance given here by the Estonian choir Vox Clamantis is a rarity…conductor Jaan-Eik Tulve [is able] to infuse the apparently simplest of settings with vibrancy…this grippingly authentic and superbly sung collection may now be the finest single-disc introduction to Pärt’s music” BBC Music Magazine, February 2017 *****

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Bent Sørensen & Hans Abrahamsen: Air

Bent Sørensen & Hans Abrahamsen: Air


Abrahamsen:

Air, for solo accordion

Three Little Nocturnes, for string quartet & accordion

Arditti Quartet

Sørensen, B:

It is Pain Flowing Down Slowly on a White Wall, for accordion & string orchestra

Trondheim Soloists

Sigrids Wiegenlied (Sigrid’s Lullaby) (version for accordion solo)


Frode Haltli (accordion)

The innovative Norwegian accordionist Frode Haltli is heard here with chamber orchestra, with string quartet and solo, performing music written for him by the Danish composers Bent Sørensen and Hans Abrahamsen.

Sørensen, he notes, has been an influence on his development as a player, challenging perceptions of what can be achieved on the accordion through tone control and nuances in soft dynamics, a subject explored in detail on ‘It is Pain Flowing Down Softly on a White Wall’, where Haltli is heard with the Trondheim Soloists.

Hans Abrahamsen’s Three Little Nocturnes find the accordionist in the company of the redoubtable Arditti Quartet. For the title composition Air, Hans Abrahamsen returned, at Frode Haltli’s suggestion, to the early solo work Canzona, reworking until it became a new piece “characterized by a great sense of peace and a cohesive form”.

“Sørensen’s elaborate It Is Pain Flowing Down Slowly on a White Wall, given with the Trondheim Soloists, sets a contemplative tone for the accordionist Frode Haltli’s recital.” Sunday Times, 30th October 2016

“Haltli’s playing proves that true sensitivity and restraint are as important on an accordion as they are on a concert grand” Gramophone Magazine, November 2016

“This arresting disc presents works by contemporary Danish composers, and showcases the exceptional talent of Norwegian accordionist, Frode Haltli. The pairing of strings and accordion proves a glorious combination and the disc’s two ensemble works are much the most affecting. While the accordion can hold its own as a solo voice, it can also creep almost imperceptibly among string textures, subtly shifting the ensemble’s timbre to mesmeric effect” BBC Music Magazine, January 2017 ****

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Thomas Adès, Per Nørgård & Hans Abrahamsen

Thomas Adès, Per Nørgård & Hans Abrahamsen


Abrahamsen:

Preludes (10) (String Quartet No. 1)

Adès:

Arcadiana

Nørgård:

Quartetto Breve (String Quartet No. 1)


The Danish String Quartet, one of the most widely-acclaimed chamber groups of the present moment, makes its ECM debut playing a programme of British and Danish music: Thomas Adès’s Arcadiana (composed 1994), Per Nørgård’s Quartetto Breve (1952), and Hans Abrahamsen’s 10 Preludes (1973).

The pieces were all written when the respective composers were each barely into their 20s, and have a freshness and intensity vividly conveyed in the DSQ’s interpretations. “Arcadia has no national boundaries”, writes Paul Griffiths in the liner notes. “We may feel that the precision of nuance, the warm and intelligent closeness of voices and the command of form these Danish musicians bring to Abrahamsen as to Nørgård comes from some common heritage or sympathy, and yet the same fine qualities shine through their performance of the Adès piece.”

The album was recorded in May 2015 at Reitstadel Neumarkt and produced by Manfred Eicher.

In 2009 the Danish String Quartet won First Prize in the 11th London International String Quartet Competition (now ‘Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition’), and for two years from 2013 were members of the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist scheme. In early 2016 they were named winners of a Borletti-Buitoni Trust award.

“It’s an exacting programme requiring grace, grit and clarity and the Danish players sound terrific – lithe and glassy in the Abrahamsen, richer in the Nørgard, able to capture the picturesque watery shimmer of the Adès but also the slime and murk below the surface. It’s a sophisticated performance.” The Guardian, 21st April 2016 *****

“An excellent band here offer three engaging works written at the beginnings of these composers’ illustrious careers.” Sunday Times, 8th May 2016

“The Danish are remarkable, as ever – capable of intense blend, extreme dynamic variation (in which they seem glued together), perfect intonation even on harmonics, and constant vitality and flow” Gramophone Magazine, June 2016

Presto Discs of 2016

Finalist

GGramophone Awards 2017

Finalist - Chamber

BBC Music Magazine

Chamber Choice - August 2016

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Bartók, Schnittke & Lutoslawski: Music For Violin And Piano

Bartók, Schnittke & Lutoslawski: Music For Violin And Piano


Bartók:

Violin Sonata No. 2, BB 85, Sz. 76

Lutosławski:

Partita for violin & piano

Schnittke:

Sonata No. 2 (Quasi una Sonata) for violin and piano


Miranda Cuckson (violin) & Blair McMillen (piano)

After appearing on Vijay Iyer’s first album on ECM (‘Mutations’ ), the New York-based violinist Miranda Cuckson now makes her own debut on ECM New Series – alongside pianist Blair McMillen – with pieces by Lutoslawski, Bartók, and Schnittke.

The New York Times has praised Miranda Cuckson’s “undeniable musicality,” while Gramophone has declared her “an artist to be reckoned with”. Born in Australia and educated in America, she been one of the most sought-after performers of contemporary music in recent years. Her repertoire here consists of three 20th-century milestones: the Hungarian Béla Bartók’s Violin Sonata No. 2 (1922), the Russian Alfred Schnittke’s Violin Sonata No. 2 ‘Quasi una Sonata’ (1968) and the Pole Witold Lutoslawski’s Partita for Violin and Piano (1984).

“Bringing these great Slavic composers together enables us to hear each dealing with the dichotomies of form and spontaneity, playfulness and seriousness, folk expression and abstraction,” Cuckson explains. “The colours and traits of Slavic ethnic music are vibrantly in the foreground in Bartók’s music, more subsumed into abstraction and flavour in the Schnittke and Lutoslawski. Humour is a tool of provocation and survival in Schnittke and to some extent Lutoslawski, a cheeky attitude anchored by deep purpose. In Bartók, the boisterousness and teasing charm of folk dances gives way to moods of profound melancholy.”

Miranda Cuckson has released nine lauded solo/duo CDs, including music by Hersch, Shapey, Xenakis, Haas, Martino and concertos by Korngold and Ponce. Her recording of Luigi Nono’s “La lontananza nostalgica utopica futura” for violin and electronics was named a Best Classical Recording of 2012 by the New York Times.

“all composers who loved the jostle between wit and weight, spirit and logic, raw emotion and modernism. Cuckson and pianist Blair McMillen end up delivering less cheeky attitude and more of the deep purpose: their playing is frank and urgent” The Guardian, 5th May 2016 ***

“Cuckson and her stage-fellow Blair McMillen sound almost as though they had this music in their blood…they manage to sound assertive but not unkempt, ponderous but not lugubrious, bringing plenty of dignity, in particular to the creepy opening…[this] is a propulsive, urgent, dizzyingly virtuoso performance” Gramophone Magazine, September 2016

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