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Franz Peter Schubert (1797-1828)

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Schubert & Hummel: Piano Quintets

Schubert & Hummel: Piano Quintets


Hummel, J:

Piano Quintet in E flat Op. 87

Schubert:

Piano Quintet in A major, D667 'The Trout'


Schubert’s famous Quintet needs little introduction, and is certainly the most famous work named after a fish. The commission came from Sylvester Paumgartner, wealthy mine-owner by day, amateur cellist by night, who not only suggested Schubert use his song, ‘The Trout’, for a set of variations, but also requested the unusual line-up of violin, viola, cello, double bass and piano. Unusual, but not unique, since Hummel had set the trend with his effervescent E flat Quintet and Paumgartner intended to feature the two pieces together in one of his regular soirées.

Who better to reunite these two quintets than The Schubert Ensemble of London, long acclaimed in music of this era.

“Firmly recommended” Gramophone Magazine

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Schubert: Complete works for violin and piano

Schubert: Complete works for violin and piano


Schubert:

Sonata (Sonatina) for violin & piano in D major, D384 (Op. posth. 137 No. 1)

Sonata (Sonatina) for violin & piano in A minor, D385 (Op. posth. 137 No. 2)

Sonatina (Sonatina) in G minor, D408 (Op. posth. 137 No. 3)

Grand Duo for Violin and Piano in A Major, D574

Rondo brillant in B minor, D895 (Op. 70)

Fantasie in C major for violin and piano, D934

Sei mir gegrüsst! D741 (Rückert)


The luminous partnership of Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien returns to Hyperion for this double album containing Schubert’s complete music for violin and piano. Their intelligence and technical prowess, their seamless and intimate connection as performers and their profound understanding of the music combine in magical performances.

While still in his teens, Schubert wrote four works for violin and piano that could have been given the label ‘sonata’, yet none of the four was published with that title. The first three, completed in 1816, bear instead the designation of ‘Sonatina’, perhaps to appeal to the amateur market. But these are highly accomplished works by the teenage composer and there is little ‘domestic’ feeling in the extended, mysterious unravellings of D385 which hint at compositions yet to come.

The later Violin Sonata in A major, D574 (now described as a ‘Duo’), urges the violinist on to greater virtuosic feats, and the Rondo in B minor even more so, with the piano sometimes treated as a surrogate orchestra. The extensive Fantasy in C major, written in the last year of Schubert’s life, is a masterpiece: the composer’s greatest achievement in this genre, which combines poignancy with sheer joy in life itself.

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

“The wise judgment of scale and perspective is a conspicuous feature of their playing here...Ibragimova and Tiberghien adopt an intimate, gently expressive manner in the early sonatas, though it can still possess rhythmic gusto...Ibragimova and Tiberghien encompass the [later] music with exhilarating flair but, as in the earlier works, with a keen stylistic ear.” The Telegraph, 25th July 2013 ****

“Most bewitching of all, and performed with a lightness and poise by this established duo, is the Fantasy in C major, breaking convention at every turn, written in 1827.” The Observer, 4th August 2013

“Here we get all of Schubert's works written for violin and piano, in performances which it is hard to imagine ever being bettered...Alina Ibragimova and Cedric Tiberghien don't attempt to make them bigger or greater than they are.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2013 *****

“These performances exhibit that feeling of spontaneous enjoyment which animated Ibragimova and Tiberghien's live Beethoven set from the Wigmore Hall. Their playing is constantly graced by small touches of rubato, never very much but enough to give a sense of freedom and individuality” Gramophone Magazine, September 2013

“These are magical performances by two young artists who clearly enjoy the joint experience of music-making. Intelligence and integrity mark these interpretations out with distinction. I was very taken by the rich tone of the violin, which is an Anselmo Bellosio of 1775... This is one of the listening highlights of my year - all in all a consummate achievement.” MusicWeb International, 10th September 2013

“It is fantastically vibrant playing, technically brilliant and always stylish. As in their previous discs together, Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien play with a real rapport and affinity, and Tiberghien’s sensitive touch and ability to identify the most crucial harmonies and allow them just that fraction more time helps elevate this music making to the very highest level.” Chris O'Reilly, Presto Classical, 5th August 2014

Presto Disc of the Week

5th August 2013

GGramophone Awards 2014

Shortlisted

Building a Library

Also Recommended - January 2017

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Schubert: Death and the Maiden

Schubert: Death and the Maiden


Schubert:

String Quartet No. 14 in D minor, D810 'Death and the Maiden'

String Quartet No. 13 in A minor, D804 'Rosamunde'


Hyperion’s Record of the Month for October marks the debut on the label by the Takács Quartet. After seventeen years recording for Decca, including multi-awarding-winning cycles of quartets by Beethoven and Bartók, this thrilling ensemble is now embarking on a new relationship with Hyperion; future projects will include works by Brahms, Janácek and Schumann. Schubert’s famous String Quartet, D810, subtitled ‘Death and the Maiden’, is one of the pillars of the repertoire. This new performance is electrifying, and was recorded following a global concert series, enthusiastically welcomed in the press: ‘The Takács’ reading of the second movement was characterized by unremitting pain and mystery. While three of the musicians intoned the insistent theme of Death in pursuit of the Maiden, Edward Dusinberre’s violin expressed poignantly the Maiden’s tender fragility and rising panic. The final movement, in the form of a somewhat crazed tarantella, was taken at breakneck speed, as if the four musicians were driving wild horses—though they never lost control of the reins. Risk-taking, a Takács trademark, certainly didn’t fail here.’ We have every confidence that this recording, and the Hyperion/Takács collaboration in general, will prove to be one of the brightest jewels in the Hyperion catalogue.

“The recording quality is ideal - natural, never aggressive. This disc is a model for what chamber music should be” The Guardian

“The sharpness and subtlety of this Death and the Maiden takes it to the top of available versions. With this superb disc the collaboration couldn't have got off to a better start” The Times

“Schubert's two most accessible quartets receive interpretations on this disc which are as near ideal as one is ever likely to hear. In a time of great string quartet playing, the Takács Quartet stand out for the passion and the poise of their playing.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2006 ****

“With their Decca Beethoven cycle, the Takács Quartet set a modern-day benchmark. Now, with a new record company and a replacement viola-player, things look set for them to do the same for Schubert's two most popular string quartets. These works were written in 1824, a year of despondency for Schubert who was ill and clearly felt he was living under the shadow of death. Whereas in the Rosamunde, the underlying feeling is a tearful nostalgia, in Death and the Maiden, there's a black despair that at times gives way to anger.
The Takács have the ability to make you believe that there's no other possible way the music should go, and the strength to overturn preconceptions that comes only with the greatest performers. Tempi are invariably apt – the opening of the Rosamunde is wonderfully judged.
They also have a way of revealing detail that you'd never previously noticed – in the Allegro of6 D810, Schubert's sighing figure in the viola is here poignantly brought out.
But though there's plenty of humanity in these recordings, there's nothing sentimental about the playing; they make Schubert sound symphonic, and a sense of drama and tensile strength underlines everything, even a movement as luscious as the Andante of the Rosamunde Quartet, which is based on the theme that gives this quartet its name.
The recording captures the quartets vividly and realistically and Misha Donat's notes are erudite and stylish.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“The Takács have the ability to make you believe that there's no other possible way the music should go, and the strength to overturn preconceptions that comes only with the greatest performers. …though there's plenty of humanity in these recordings, there's nothing sentimental about the playing; they make Schubert sound symphonic, and a sense of drama and tensile strength underlines everything, even a movement as luscious as the Andante of the Rosamunde Quartet...” Gramophone Magazine, Awards 2006

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - Awards Issue 2006

Building a Library

First Choice - October 2009

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Schubert: Der Wanderer

Schubert: Der Wanderer

and other songs


Schubert:

Der Wanderer, D493

Der Wanderer, D489

Der Wanderer, D649 (Friedrich von Schlegel)

Der Wanderer an den Mond D870 (Seidl)

Aus 'Heliopolis' - I D753 (Mayrhofer)

Aus 'Heliopolis' - II D754 (Mayrhofer)

Auf der Donau, D553 (Mayrhofer)

Auf der Bruck, D853

Der Schiffer, D536 (Mayrhofer)

Das Heimweh, D456 (Winkler)

Der Kreuzzug D932 (Leitner)

Abschied D475 (Mayrhofer)

Wandrers Nachtlied I 'Der du von dem Himmel bist', D224

Wandrers Nachtlied II 'Über allen Gipfeln ist Ruh', D768

Herbst, D945

Meeres Stille, D216, Op. 3 No. 2 (Goethe)

Der Pilgrim, D794 (Schiller)

Die Gotter Griechenlands D677 (Schiller)

Im Walde D708

Die Mutter Erde, D788 (Stolberg)


Florian Boesch (baritone) & Roger Vignoles (piano)

Florian Boesch and Roger Vignoles were shortlisted for a BBC Music Magazine award for their first Hyperion album (Loewe Songs and Ballads). Boesch’s warm, sensuously attractive baritone voice, first-rate diction and remarkable acting ability were enthusiastically praised. Now the duo turn to a selection of Schubert’s Lieder from the dark heart of the repertoire.

“Boesch's singing is faultless: he's in fine voice and marvellously alert to every verbal nuance, without ever fracturing the line for the sake of the text. Vignoles, playing some of Schubert's most taxing accompaniments, tirelessly matches his every emotional shift. Very fine.” The Guardian, 13th February 2014 *****

“[Boesch] has an ideal voice, at once dark and dazzling, and his accompanist...is perfect...If a quest for expressiveness can lead Boesch to disturb the line of a phrase, The Gods of Greece, In the Forest, Autumn and the beautiful Mother Earth are splendid.” Sunday Times, 16th February 2014

“This is a most distinguished recital that confirms the stature of Florian Boesch as one of the leading Lieder singers currently before the public. His partnership with Roger Vignoles is clearly a fruitful one. Vignoles offers insightful and engaging playing throughout.” MusicWeb International, 26th February 2014

“there's plenty of artistry here. For all the conceptual orientation of the disc, Boesch isn't the sort of singer who tells you what to think or feel in this music. He lays it out with hugely attractive (and protracted) clarity and then lets you enter the music a fuller participant.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2014

“We are never far from the solitude of the forlorn wanderer, but there is much variety...This fine disc, pervaded with sadness though it is, has a great deal to offer those who love Schubert's songs.” International Record Review, March 2014

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Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin, D795

Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin, D795


“Bostridge’s peculiarly beseeching voice enshrines the vulnerability, tender feeling and obsessive love of the youthful miller … a soulsearching interpretation” Gramophone Magazine

“The performance by the young Bostridge is a miracle … he brings the naive, impetuous, jealous, ultimately despairing and suicidal boy vividly to life as no other tenor on record and his youthful vulnerability is heart-rending. This wonderful disc makes you listen to Schubert’s masterly cycle with refreshed ears” Sunday Times

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Hyperion 30th Anniversary Schubert Song Edition - CDA30020

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Schubert: Impromptus, Piano pieces & Variations

Schubert: Impromptus, Piano pieces & Variations


Schubert:

4 Impromptus, D935

Klavierstücke (3), D946

13 Variations on a theme by Anselm Hüttenbrenner in A minor, D576


Steven Osborne shines in lyrical new performances of seven of Schubert’s greatest late works for piano, plus the extended Hüttenbrenner Variations of 1817.

“Steven Osborne is perhaps the outstanding British pianist of his generation, certainly one of the most versatile and adventurous…where Osborne excels is in his grasp of structure - if anyone remains who thinks that Schubert just rambles delightfully on, these accounts should lead to a rapid change of mind; and in coping effortlessly with Schubert's unhelpfully awkward leaps” BBC Music Magazine, November 2015

“Osborne immediately presents himself as a Schubertian of the utmost seriousness and integrity, and throughout the disc [he] offers finely gauged and beautifully regulated playing. His is a patient, ostensibly non-interventionist approach, in which the poetry of Schubert's music is allowed to speak for itself.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2015

“Osborne takes a wonderfully clear-sighted, analytical approach which gives the seven late works, as well as the early, often playful variations, great radiance and lyricism.” The Guardian, 18th October 2015 ****

“His Schubert is clean and unfussy, much like that of Paul Lewis, but with a slightly softer grain. Those qualities pay dividends in a thoughtful, alluring account of the D. 935 Impromptus.” New York Times, 25th November 2015

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Schubert: Octet in F major, D803

Schubert: Octet in F major, D803


In 1824 it was suggested that Schubert should write a work similar to Beethoven’s Septet (also recorded by the Gaudiers for Hyperion). He subsequently approached the project with such enthusiasm and concentration that a friend wrote of him, ‘If you go and see him during the day he says “Hello. How are you?” and carries on working, whereupon you leave’. Schubert added a second violin to Beethoven’s scoring for clarinet, bassoon, horn, violin, viola, cello and double bass, but adhered to the Septet’s movement structure and key sequences almost entirely. However, the melody and beauty that infuse the Octet are quintessentially Schubert, and justify the work’s enduring popularity. Here are outstanding performances from an ensemble that draws together some of the most distinguished musicians in Europe.

“Consistently compelling … the poetry, refinement and superb sense of the long singing line are as impressive as ever in The Gaudier Ensemble’s new recording” BBC Music Magazine

“This is music that pulls us in myriad of emotional directions and includes some mightily challenging writing. All of this is welcome meat and drink to the excellent Gaudier Ensemble, who play the work with an obviously deep affection” Evening Standard

“Glowing interpretations—a fine recording … this is a superb performance” Gramophone Magazine

“This is an unusually thoughtful performance, tinged with a melancholy that certainly lies in the music but is also filled with delight” International Record Review

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Schubert: Opera Arias

Schubert: Opera Arias


Schubert:

Die Zwillingsbrüder, D647: Mag es stürmen, donnern, blitzen (Franz)

Die Zwillingsbrüder, D647: Liebe teure Muttererde (Friedrich)

Des Teufels Lustschloss, D84: Was kümmert mich ein sumpfig Land (Robert)

Sei mir gegrüßt, o Sonne (from Alfonso und Estrella, D732)

Der Jäger ruhte hingegossen (from Alfonso und Estrella, D732)

Die Freunde von Salamanka, D326: Man ist so glücklich und so frei (Fidelio)

O Himmel! Kannst du mir so freundlich lächeln? ... Mein Weib, o Gott, mein süßer Knabe (from Der Graf von Gleichen, D918)

Der Graf von Gleichen, D918: Burg meiner Väter ... O Vater der Güte ich stammle (Graf)

Adrast, D137: War einer je der Sterblichen beglückt ... O Zeus! Hab' ich recht geherrscht (Krösus)

Die Bürgschaft, D435: Muss ich fühlen (Möros)

Die Bürgschaft, D435: Diese Gnade dank' ich dir (Möros)

Die Bürgschaft, D435: Ob er wohl wiederkehrt? ... Nein, nein, der Träumer träumt (Dionysos)

Die Bürgschaft, D435: O Götter! O, Dank euch! (Möros)

Die Bürgschaft, D435: O göttliche Ruhe! ... Doch, wie brennt migh die Glut


Oliver Widmer (baritone)

Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra, Jan Schultsz

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Schubert: Piano Duets

Schubert: Piano Duets


Schubert:

Allegro in A minor 'Lebensstürme', D947

Divertissement über französische in B minor: Andantino Varié, D823/II

Fugue in E minor D 952

Rondo for piano duet in A major, D951

Variations in A flat major on a original theme, D813

Fantasie in F minor for piano duet, D940


Paul Lewis (piano) & Steven Osborne (piano)

Schubert is unusual and indeed unique among composers in that some of his greatest works are written for piano duet. He wrote as much music for duet as for solo piano, and reaches emotional depths which take this repertoire far away from its domestic origins. The most celebrated of these pieces, the Fantasie in F minor, with its austere yet heartbreaking opening melody and dramatic double fugue, is one of the great piano achievements of the early 19th century. The rest of the works on this disc are much less well-known but equally fascinating.

Who better to commit these works to disc than two of the brighest stars in the British piano scene, Paul Lewis and Steven Osborne? As well as their individual achievements, they also have a long-standing friendship and performing relationship which you will hear reflected in their magisterial performances on this marvellous disc.

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

“Osborne and Lewis predictably reserve their finest, most perceptive playing for the Fantasie, giving its infinitely regretful main theme a different shading on each of its appearances and colouring the work's harmonic shifts and modulations impeccably. None of their performances could be described as routine, though, even when the music is less than top drawer” The Guardian, 4th November 2010 ****

“The quality that shines through in these performances is the way in which Schubert so intuitively judged the special medium of the piano duet...Osborne and Lewis have full measure of its inventive scope on a disc of outstanding, enlivening musicianship.” The Telegraph, 29th October 2010 *****

“This brilliantly planned programme is executed with poetry, drama and verve by two complementary pianists who clearly think as one in this sublime chamber music.” Sunday Times, 7th November 2010 ****

“Though Paul Lewis and Steven Osborne may not immediately appear stylistically empathetic artists, let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments. In this repertoire they are as one, touch and tone indistinguishable from one another, playing with a delicious fluency and obvious affection...this is a Schubert disc to return to and live with.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2010

“The Lewis-Osborne duo establishes a slyly (or should that be shyly?) wistful mood in the Andante varie in B minor, revels in the bravura writing of the Variations in A flat...and transforms the severity of the Fugue in E minor into something ennobling. Such playing suggests that they have found the key to conveying Schubert's magical world of shadows and sunlight.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2011 ****

“Two of Britain's finest younger pianists work wonders with the marvels of Schubert's inner landscape...Here are two friends loving every moment of their joint effort. Schubert might have cheered.” Classic FM Magazine, February 2011 *****

“From the opening thunderclap of 'Lebensstürme' it is clear that great things are in store...No-one with a taste for superlative, passionately committed music-making, ensemble of the highest calibre or some of Schubert's most beautiful music can afford to miss this one.” International Record Review, December 2010

“Their achievement on this disc is really quite remarkable...They have the complete measure of Schubert’s writing - at times dramatic, at times reflective, and at others full of real charm and allure... Textures never sound cluttered and you can always hear the most important melodic line (or lines) clearly. These are two brilliant musicians at their absolute best and is without doubt one of my favourite discs this year.” Chris O'Reilly, Presto Classical, 8th November 2014

Presto Disc of the Week

8th November 2010

GGramophone Awards 2011

Shortlisted - Instrumental

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - December 2010

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Schubert: Piano Quintet in A major, D667 'The Trout', etc.

Schubert:

Piano Quintet in A major, D667 'The Trout'

String Trio in B flat major, D471

String Trio in B flat major, D581


Paul Lewis (piano) & Graham Mitchell (double bass)

Leopold String Trio

“Following their splendid collaboration in the Mozart quartets… Paul Lewis and the Leopold Trio (with Graham Mitchell) are equally impressive in the Trout. High spirits and poetry are given equal attention… Each 'Trout' variation is strongly characterised - if the theme seems a little lethargic, the first three variations, each more animated than the last, put this into perspective.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2006

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