Penguin Guide Rosette Winners

Composers - A-B

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Bach, J S: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1

Bach, J S: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1


Here is Book 1 of Bach's immortal 'Forty-eight' played by Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt of whose recording of the Partitas Australia's Soundscapes magazine said: 'Only superlatives will do. My appreciation of this Canadian pianist is enormous; I classify her among the top performers of our time.' And Gramophone said of the same set: 'Hardline purists who baulk at the thought of Bach on the piano should put aside their convictions long enough to hear Angela Hewitt.' Angela Hewitt's '48' (Book 2 will be issued next year) is destined to join the small list of the very greatest recordings of Bach's incomparable masterpiece. The set is graced by her own absorbing and perceptive notes on each of the Preludes and Fugues, the subjects of which are all printed in the CD booklet.

'The first recorded performances by a pianist of Book I that have made me want to hear them many times over. Strongly recommended' (Gramophone)

“Admirers of Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt's lightly articulated and elegantly phrased Bach playing won't be disappointed by this recording.
These qualities characterise the playing of each and every one of these profoundly didactic yet sublimely poetic pieces. Her restrained use of the sustaining pedal, her consequently clearly spoken articulation, and the resultant lucidity of musical thought, bring to mind the recorded performances of Edwin Fischer. Hewitt certainly sounds more comfortable in a studio than Fischer ever did, and her technique is more consistently disciplined than his was under these circumstances. Her reflective view of the more inward-looking fugues, such as the lyrical one in E flat minor, is most attractive. Taut, but with a suppleness that's entirely devoid of stiffness, this is indeed cogent and gracefully beautiful playing of a high order. You may sense, from time to time, an overtly intense element of subjective thought in her understanding of the music, a quality which seems to be endorsed by occasional references in her lively, illuminating and detailed introduction, to Bach's 'sense of inner peace', and so on. However, to conclude on a thoroughly positive and enthusiastic note, these are performances of Book 1 that you'll want to hear many times over. The recording and instrument sound well, too.
Hewitt's Book 2 is a delight to both ear and mind. Everything is in the best taste and free of exhibitionism. There are subtle tonal nuances, natural rises and falls of dynamics, well-defined differentiation of contrapuntal lines and appreciation of the expressive implications of Bach's chromaticisms. Throughout her playing of these preludes and fugues – several longer, more mature and more demanding than those of Book 1 – there's a sense of unhurried poise, with flowing rhythm. The air of tranquillity is underlined by her frequent adoption of very quiet openings, many of which then take on a warmer tone towards the end – even the E major Fugue, which Landowska labelled 'combative', is handled quietly, yet she's able to sound contemplative (as in the E major Fugue) without lapsing into Tureckian reverentiality.
Just occasionally Bach's more intense movements tempt her into emotional rubatos which, though musically affecting, take Bach out of his century, and not everyone will care for the big allargandos she makes at the ends of some of the earlier movements. Otherwise these are musicianly and imaginative performances.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

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Early Music - up to 30% off

Hyperion - Angela Hewitt Bach - CDA67301/2

(CD - 2 discs)

Normally: $30.50

Special: $25.92

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Bach, J S: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2

Bach, J S: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2


This is the fifth release in Angela Hewitt's universally acclaimed series of Bach's keyboard music which is fast being seen as the definitive modern recording of this repertoire on the piano. Bach's Well-tempered Clavier ('The 48') consists of two books of 24 Preludes and Fugues in all the major and minor keys, and has been described as the pianist's 'Old Testament'. For over two hundred years these pieces have been the foundation of every pianist's repertoire.

'A delight to both ear and mind. I have nothing but enthusiasm for Angela Hewitt's musicianly and imaginative performances' (Gramophone)

“Admirers of Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt's lightly articulated and elegantly phrased Bach playing won't be disappointed by this recording.
These qualities characterise the playing of each and every one of these profoundly didactic yet sublimely poetic pieces. Her restrained use of the sustaining pedal, her consequently clearly spoken articulation, and the resultant lucidity of musical thought, bring to mind the recorded performances of Edwin Fischer. Hewitt certainly sounds more comfortable in a studio than Fischer ever did, and her technique is more consistently disciplined than his was under these circumstances. Her reflective view of the more inward-looking fugues, such as the lyrical one in E flat minor, is most attractive. Taut, but with a suppleness that's entirely devoid of stiffness, this is indeed cogent and gracefully beautiful playing of a high order. You may sense, from time to time, an overtly intense element of subjective thought in her understanding of the music, a quality which seems to be endorsed by occasional references in her lively, illuminating and detailed introduction, to Bach's 'sense of inner peace', and so on. However, to conclude on a thoroughly positive and enthusiastic note, these are performances of Book 1 that you'll want to hear many times over. The recording and instrument sound well, too.
Hewitt's Book 2 is a delight to both ear and mind. Everything is in the best taste and free of exhibitionism. There are subtle tonal nuances, natural rises and falls of dynamics, well-defined differentiation of contrapuntal lines and appreciation of the expressive implications of Bach's chromaticisms. Throughout her playing of these preludes and fugues – several longer, more mature and more demanding than those of Book 1 – there's a sense of unhurried poise, with flowing rhythm. The air of tranquillity is underlined by her frequent adoption of very quiet openings, many of which then take on a warmer tone towards the end – even the E major Fugue, which Landowska labelled 'combative', is handled quietly, yet she's able to sound contemplative (as in the E major Fugue) without lapsing into Tureckian reverentiality.
Just occasionally Bach's more intense movements tempt her into emotional rubatos which, though musically affecting, take Bach out of his century, and not everyone will care for the big allargandos she makes at the ends of some of the earlier movements. Otherwise these are musicianly and imaginative performances.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

Early Music - up to 30% off

Hyperion - Angela Hewitt Bach - CDA67303/4

(CD - 2 discs)

Normally: $30.50

Special: $25.92

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Bach, J S: Goldberg Variations, BWV988

Bach, J S: Goldberg Variations, BWV988


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Rosette Winner

VAI - VAIA1029

(CD)

$13.75

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Murray Perahia - Songs Without Words

Murray Perahia - Songs Without Words


Bach, J S:

Chorales, arranged by Busoni

Liszt:

Piano Transcriptions of Schubert Songs

Mendelssohn:

Song without Words, Op. 19b No. 3 in A major 'Hunting Song'

Song without Words, Op. 67 No. 2 in F sharp minor

Song without Words, Op. 30 No. 4 in B minor

Song without Words, Op. 19b No. 1 in E major 'Sweet Remembrance'

Song without Words, Op. 19b No. 5 in F sharp minor

Song without Words, Op. 30 No. 6 in F sharp minor 'Venezianisches Gondellied No. 2'

Song without Words, Op. 38 No. 3 in E major

Song without Words, Op. 102 No. 5 in A major 'Childrens Piece'

Song without Words, Op. 38 No. 2 in C minor

Song without Words, Op. 30 No. 2 in B flat minor

Song without Words, Op. 67 No. 1 in E flat major

Song without Words, Op. 38 No. 6 in A flat major 'Duetto'

Song without Words, Op. 67 No. 4 in C major 'Spinning Song' or 'Bee's Wedding'

Song without Words, Op. 53 No. 4 in F major

Song without Words, Op. 62 No. 2 in B flat major


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Sony - SK66511

(CD)

$13.00

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Barber: Orchestral Works Volume 1

Barber: Orchestral Works Volume 1


Barber, S:

Symphony No. 1, Op. 9

First Essay for Orchestra Op. 12

Overture to The School for Scandal, Op. 5

Symphony No. 2, Op. 19


“Under Marin Alsop's sensitive guidance, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra has found the heartbeat of this music.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2000

“That Marin Alsop is a musician of outstanding gifts is amply reinforced by this all-Barber anthology. In her red-blooded rendering of the wartime Second Symphony, she shows just what a powerfully inspired creation it is, extracting every ounce of sinewy logic from its fraught outer movements, while distilling wonder and atmosphere in the haunting central Andante, unpoco mosso. No less convincing is her reading of the magnificent First Symphony, always acutely responsive to the music's daring expressive scope and building climaxes of riveting cumulative intensity. In its unhurried authority, big heart and epic thrust, it's the kind of interpretation you could have imagined from Bernstein in his NYPO heyday. Elsewhere, she brings an aptly bardic quality to the outer portions of the First Essay, while few could fail to respond to the twinkling affection and gentle wit she lavishes on the irresistible School for Scandal Overture.
Were the orchestral contribution just a fraction more polished, this would be a world-beater.
Zinman's stylish 1991 anthology with the Baltimore SO tends to throw into sharper relief the relative shortcomings of Alsop's hard-working Scots (their fiddles especially lack something in silk-spun refinement and tone when playing above the stave). The expert engineering can't quite disguise the acoustical shortcomings of Glasgow's Henry Wood Hall, but the result is tonally truthful and conveys plenty of impact when required.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“the two Symphonies are played by the Scottish orchestra with passionate commitment and deep lyrical feeling.” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

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Rosette Winner

Building a Library

Budget Choice - June 2006

Naxos American Classics - 8559024

(CD)

$8.00

(also available to download from $7.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Amy Beach

Amy Beach


Beach, A:

Piano Quintet in F Sharp Minor Op. 67

Theme and Variations for flute & string quartet, Op. 80

Piano Trio in A minor, Op. 150


The Ambache

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Rosette Winner

Chandos - CHAN9752

(CD)

$15.25

(also available to download from $10.00)

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Biber: Missa Bruxellensis

Biber: Missa Bruxellensis


“The performance here, superlatively recorded in the echoing - but never blurring - acoustics of Salzburg Cathedral, re-creates the work's premiere and is truly inspired. This marvellous disc cannot be recommended too highly.” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

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Early Music - up to 30% off

Alia Vox - AV9808

(CD)

Normally: $16.50

Special: $12.37

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Harp Concertos

Harp Concertos


anon.:

Theme, Variations and Rondo pastorale

Beethoven:

Variations (6) in F major on a Swiss Song, WoO 64

Boieldieu:

Concerto for Harp and Orchestra in C

Dittersdorf:

Harp Concerto in A major

Handel:

Sixteen Concertos for Organ and Strings

Theme and Variations in G minor


“The ASMF accompaniment, so stylish and beautifully balanced, is a treat in itself, and the recording is well-nigh perfect.” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

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Rosette Winner

Decca - 4257232

(CD)

$11.00

(Sorry, download not available in your country)

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Bowen - Piano Music

Bowen - Piano Music


Bowen:

24 Preludes Op. 102

Thirteen Preludes

Ballade No 2, Op 87

Piano Sonata No. 5 in F minor, Op. 72

Berceuse Op. 83

Moto perpetuo from op 39

Toccata, Op. 155

Romance No. 1, Op 35, No 1

Romance No. 2, Op 45


“York Bowen could have no more ardent or pianistically adroit advocate” Gramophone Magazine

Penguin Guide

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Hyperion - CDA66838

(CD)

$15.25

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Britten - Songs

Britten - Songs


Britten:

The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Op. 35

A Poison Tree (Blake)

When you're feeling like expressing your affection (Auden)

Not even summer yet (Burra)

The Red Cockatoo (Waley)

Wild with passion (Beddoes)

Cradle Song for Eleanor (MacNeice)

Birthday Song for Erwin (Duncan)

Um Mitternacht

(Goethe)

Night covers up the rigid land (No. 2 from Fish in the Unruffled Lakes)

Fish in the Unruffled Lakes (No. 4 from Fish in the Unruffled Lakes)

To lie flat on the back with the knees flexed (No. 1 from Fish in the Unruffled Lakes)

Evening, Morning, Night from Ronald Duncan's 'This Way to the Tomb'

Three realizations from Harmonia Sacra


Ian Bostridge (tenor) & Graham Johnson (piano)

“Bostridge is in the royal line of Britten's tenor interpreters. Indeed his imaginative response to words and music may come closer than any to Pears himself. He's heard here in a veritable cornucopia of mostly unfamiliar and unknown songs (the Donne cycle apart), mainly from the earliest period of Britten's song-writing career when his inspiration was perhaps at its most free and spontaneous. The three settings from Ronald Duncan's This way to the Tomb nicely match that poet's florid, vocabulary-rich style as Britten was to do again two years later in Lucretia, with 'Night', based on a B-minor ground bass, a particularly arresting piece. The Auden settings, roughly contemporaneous with On this Island, all reflect Britten's empathy with the poet at that time. The third, To lie flat on the back, evinces Britten's gift for writing in racy mode, as does When you're feeling like expressing your affection, very much in the style of Cabaret Songs. Much deeper emotions are stirred by the two superb Beddoes settings (Wild with passion and If thouwilt ease thine heart), written when the composer and Pears were on a ship returning home in 1942. The red cockatoo itself is an early setting of Waley to whom Britten returned in Songs fromthe Chinese. All these revelatory songs are performed with full understanding and innate beauty by Bostridge and Johnson, who obviously have a close artistic rapport. The Donne Sonnets are as demanding on singer and pianist as anything Britten wrote, hence their previously small representation in the catalogue. Both artists pierce to the core of these electrifying songs, written after, and affected by, Britten's visit to Belsen with Menuhin in 1945. The recording catches the immediacy of these riveting performances. A richly satisfying issue.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

Hyperion - CDA66823

(CD)

$15.25

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

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