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à la russe

à la russe


Balakirev:

Islamey - Oriental Fantasy

Rachmaninov:

Piano Sonata No. 1 in D minor, Op. 28

Stravinsky:

The Firebird: Danse infernale du roi Kastchei

Berceuse from The Firebird

Finale from The Firebird

Tchaikovsky:

Méditation (No. 5 from Morceaux, Op. 72)

Passé lontain (No. 17 from Morceaux, Op. 72)

Scherzo à la Russe, Op. 1 No. 1


Alexandre Kantorow (piano)

Alexandre Kantorow released his first disc for BIS in 2016, performing Liszt’s piano concertos to critical acclaim: ‘I’m here to tell you that Alexandre Kantorow is Liszt reincarnated’ wrote one impressed reviewer, in Fanfare Magazine. Not yet 20 years old, the French pianist and son of violinist and conductor Jean-Jacques Kantorow now explores his Russian roots, in a recital that opens with Rachmaninov’s weighty First Piano Sonata, inspired by Goethe’s play Faust, and its three main characters, the scholar Faust, his beloved Gretchen and Mephistopheles, the Devil’s emissary. The nostalgic intimacy of Méditation and Passé lointain, from Tchaikovsky’s Op. 72 collection, offers respite from the drama, but tension returns with Guido Agosti’s virtuosic piano arrangement of three extracts from Stravinsky’s Firebird.

Kantorow closes his Russian recital with Mily Balakirev’s ‘oriental fantasy’ Islamey, one of the iconic works of the piano literature. Fiendishly difficult, the piece famously inspired Ravel to write something that would be even harder to play (his Gaspard de la nuit). A committed Russian nationalist, Balakirev himself found the inspiration for Islamey during a journey to the Caucasus when he was introduced to the local music tradition.

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Super Audio CD

Format:

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BIS - BIS2150

(SACD)

Normally: $14.25

Special: $13.00

Scheduled for release on 2 June 2017. Order it now and we will deliver it as soon as it is available.

Brahms: Violin Concerto & Violin Sonata No. 1

Brahms: Violin Concerto & Violin Sonata No. 1


Brahms:

Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77

Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, James Gaffigan

Violin Sonata No. 1 in G major, Op. 78

Angela Yoffe (piano)


Vadim Gluzman (violin)

One of Johannes Brahms’s sunniest works, the Violin Concerto in D major was conceived during the summer of 1878, which Brahms spent by the idyllic Wörthersee in Kärnten, Austria. By the end of the summer he was able to send the violin part of the first movement, and the beginning of the Finale to his friend Joseph Joachim. Brahms asked Joachim for advice regarding the writing for violin, and also told him that he was planning a work in four movements. By the time Joachim gave the first performance of the work, on New Year’s Day 1879, the two had discussed the work in depth, Brahms had replaced the two projected inner movements with the glowing Adagio, and Joachim had composed a first version of his own cadenza, which still is the one most often performed.

Vadim Gluzman, who on BIS has previously released Romantic war-horses such as the concertos by Tchaikovsky and Bruch to critical acclaim, now takes on Brahms with the support of the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester under James Gaffigan. He combines it with the composer’s Violin Sonata No. 1, written more or less in tandem with the concerto, performing it with his wife and recital partner Angela Yoffe.

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BIS - BIS2172

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Scheduled for release on 2 June 2017. Order it now and we will deliver it as soon as it is available.

Das Wohltemperierte Akkordeon

Das Wohltemperierte Akkordeon


Bach, J S:

Prelude & Fugue Book 1 No. 1 in C major, BWV846

Prelude & Fugue in C major, BWV547

Prelude & Fugue Book 2 No. 22 B flat Minor, BWV891

Prelude & Fugue Book 1 No. 5 in D major, BWV850

Prelude & Fugue Book 2 No. 11 in F major, BWV880

Prelude & Fugue Book 1 No. 22 in B flat minor, BWV867

Prelude & Fugue Book 1 No. 13 in F sharp major, BWV858

Prelude & Fugue Book 2 No. 14 in F sharp major, BWV883

Prelude & Fugue Book 2 No. 15 in G major, BWV884

Prelude & Fugue Book 1 No. 16 in G minor, BWV861

Prelude & Fugue Book 2 No. 5 in D major, BWV 874

Prelude & Fugue Book 1 No. 24, BWV869


Mie Miki (accordian)

Bach’s Das Wohltemperierte Klavier has been called ‘The Old Testament’ of the piano literature and presents, in more ways than one, a pinnacle to be climbed by pianists and harpsichordists alike. As a leading accordion player with an astonishingly wide-ranging repertoire, Mie Miki has now accepted the challenge, selecting twelve of the 48 pairs of preludes and fugues.

For BIS Mie Miki has previously recorded Bach’s Italian Concerto, and as she did then, she performs the music from the original keyboard score without making any alterations to facilitate the transition to the accordion. The result is ear-opening – the accordion’s capacity for sustained notes brings out Bach’s fugal counterpoint, while the fast and light action of the instrument lends a particular fleetness to the preludes.

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BIS - BIS2217

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Scheduled for release on 2 June 2017. Order it now and we will deliver it as soon as it is available.

Tales of Sound and Fury

Tales of Sound and Fury


 

Drum solos on Wedding Tune from Halandsdalen, Drum roll from Melhus, Spissrot (Running the gauntlet)

anon.:

New Mad Tom of Bedlam

Biber:

Sonata jucunda a 6 in D

Battalia

Sonata violino solo representativa in A

Eccles, J:

Restless in thought

Purcell:

From silent shades ('Bess of Bedlam') Z370

Telemann:

Overture (Suite) TWV 55:G10 in G major for strings & b.c. 'Burlesque de Don Quixotte'


Karin Dahlberg (soprano)

Camerata Nordica, Terje Tønnesen

In the course of this highly original programme, Terje Tønnesen and his Camerata Nordica tell us tales of madness and love, of battles and delusions. Building on imaginative scores by Biber, Telemann and Purcell, Tønnesen himself and Mikhel Keremhas fashioned even more colourful arrangements that bring human follies and passions to the fore.

In the course of the disc we are treated to rousing drum solos, a trio of Hungarian folk musicians makes a guest appearance in Biber’s ‘joking sonata’ and a Swedish nyckelharpa adds colour to the plaintive Aria in Battalia, before the listener is telescoped into the famous battle scene itself.

Featured soloist soprano Karin Dahlberg gives us memorable portraits of madness in three English ‘Mad Songs’, and throughout the programme the members of the ensemble with equal conviction play their instruments, bay as a pack of hounds and groan as wounded musketeers. The result is a pageant fit for a street performance during a carnival – at turns absurd, burlesque, frightening and moving.

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Super Audio CD

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BIS - BIS2256

(SACD)

Normally: $14.25

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Scheduled for release on 2 June 2017. Order it now and we will deliver it as soon as it is available.

Guitarra mia - Tango

Guitarra mia - Tango

Original compositions and transcriptions for guitar of music by Carlos Gardel and Astor Piazzólla


Gardel:

Por Una Cabeza

Cuando tú no estás

El dia que me quieras

Sus Ojos Se Cerraron

Mi Buenos Aires Querido

Volver

Criollita de mis amores

Piazzólla:

La Muerte del Angel

Primavera Porteña

Triunfal

Cinco Piezas para Guitarra


Franz Halasz (guitar)

The origins of the tango are debatable, but few would disagree in naming Carlos Gardel the first great figure of the genre. Beginning his career as a folk singer, Gardel is also generally regarded as the creator of sung tango, tango canción. In the course of some 25 years, he wrote a large number of songs, recorded numerous discs and acted in several films, achieving international stardom. All the Gardel songs heard here featured in films produced between 1932 and 1935. Lending its title to the present disc, Guitarra, guitarra mía was the last song Gardel recorded, shortly before he died in a plane crash in June 1935. Only months earlier, he had encountered a young boy who had a walk-on part in his last film – a striking coincidence, as the boy was Astor Piazzolla, alongside Gardel the most influential figure in the history of the tango. In contrast to Gardel, however, Piazzolla was for a long time the black sheep of traditional tango, eager to explore art music and jazz and to incorporate elements of both in his own music, which became known as nuevo tango. Written for the ensembles that he played and toured worldwide with, pieces such as La muerte del ángel and Vuelvo al sur became immortal. Himself a bandoneon player, Piazzolla often included guitar in his ensembles, but did not compose for solo guitar until in the 1980s, when he wrote the Cinco Piezas that close the disc. Along with numerous arrangements, these have entered the guitar repertoire and are here performed by the German guitarist Franz Halász, who on recent discs for BIS has impressed the critics to the point of winning a Latin Grammy Award in 2015 with a disc of chamber music by Radamés Gnattali.

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Super Audio CD

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BIS - BIS2165

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Emil Jonason plays Lindberg & Golijov

Emil Jonason plays Lindberg & Golijov


Golijov:

The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind

Lindberg, C:

The Erratic Dreams of Mr Grönstedt


Emil Jonason (clarinet)

Vamlingbo Quartet and Norrköping SO, Christian Lindberg

Selected by ECHO (the European Concert Hall Organisation) as one of its ‘Rising Stars’ of the 2009/10 season, the Swedish clarinettist Emil Jonason has become increasingly visible on the international music scene. For his first disc on the BIS label he has chosen to record a concerto written for him by his compatriot Christian Lindberg, composer, conductor and legendary trombonist. As Lindberg remarks in his own note on the work, the soloist was involved at all stages of the compositional process. But the Erratic Dreams are the composer’s own – as is the figure of Mr Grönstedt, the main character of those dreams, and of the six movements that make up the colourful score.

In his teens, Emil Jonason was attracted by klezmer music, and played in various klezmer bands. It was therefore a natural choice to combine Lindberg’s concerto with the Argentinian composer Osvaldo Golijov’s work The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind. In contrast to Lindberg, Golijov found inspiration in a historic figure, the medieval rabbi Isaac the Blind, and his lifelong dedication to the ideas of the Kabbalah. Golijov describes the movements of his work being written in three of the different languages spoken by the Jewish people throughout its history: Aramaic, Yiddish (‘the rich and fragile language of a long exile’) and Hebrew. The work includes references to Jewish prayers as well as to klezmer tunes and the clarinettist is specifically requested by the composer to acquaint himself with the idiom of klezmer music.

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BIS - BIS2188

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A noble and melancholy instrument

A noble and melancholy instrument


Beethoven:

Horn Sonata in F major, Op. 17

Dukas:

Villanelle

Glazunov:

Reverie, Op. 24 for French horn

Rossini:

Prelude, Theme & Variations

Saint-Saëns:

Romance, Op. 67

Schumann:

Adagio and Allegro in A flat major, Op. 70

Strauss, F:

Nocturno, Op. 7


Alec Frank-Gemill (horn) & Alasdair Beatson (piano)

The 19th century saw huge developments in the design of many musical instruments. In some cases changes were adopted more or less universally: the fortepiano that Mozart knew, a five-octave instrument constructed entirely of wood, had by around 1900 grown into the modern grand piano with over seven octaves and a cast-iron frame. With other instruments, progress was less streamlined. As late as 1865, the natural, valveless horn of Beethoven's time remained the instrument of choice for Brahms when he wrote his famous Horn Trio, and when valves began to be introduced, makers and musicians in Germany, France and Vienna favoured different solutions, offering different results in terms of sound and requiring different playing techniques. The present disc is a unique combination of recital and history lesson, with a young British team performing music from between 1800 and 1942 on no less than eight different historic instruments: four horns and four pianos. This gives us the opportunity to hear the works on instruments that the different composers would have recognized, whether Beethoven's Sonata in F major (a natural horn from 1800 and a fortepiano from 1815) or the Villanelle by Paul Dukas from 1906 (an early 20th-century cor à pistons and a Bechstein from 1898). Both notable performers on modern instruments, Alec Frank-Gemmill and Alasdair Beatson here revel in the sonic possibilities offered by the historic instruments with results that are as delighting as they are enlightening.

“[the playing and musicians are of] a high calibre, virtuosic and technically flawless, but with real emotional depth. And such is the variety here, there is bound to be at least one piece that steals your melancholy heart.” The Herald (Glasgow), March 2017

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Super Audio CD

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BIS - BIS2228

(SACD)

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4 X Anders Eliasson

4 X Anders Eliasson


Eliasson:

Notturno (1981) for bass clarinet, cello and piano

Senza risposte (1983) for flute, violin, cello and piano

Fogliame

Trio (2010) for violin, vibraphone and piano


Norrbotten NEO

Born in a provincial Swedish town in 1947, Anders Eliasson started playing the trumpet at the age of 9 and soon after formed his own jazz band. In his teens he began to study classical music, however, and aged 19 he was accepted into the composition class at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm. Here modernism reigned supreme, and Eliasson felt out of touch with a style that he later described as petrified and intellectualized. His own idea of music was completely different, and he went so far as to say that he did not, in point of fact, compose music but merely assisted in its birth. Eliasson first came to wider notice during the second half of the 1970s, with his Disegno per quartetto d’archi and Canto del vagabondo for boy soprano, choir and orchestra. But as he himself acknowledged, it was in the early 80s that he truly began to find his own voice, for instance with chamber works such as Notturno and Senza risposte. During the rest of Eliasson’s career, it would be compositions for large forces that attracted the greatest attention, in Sweden and abroad: from Symphony No. 1 (1986), which received the Nordic Council Music Prize, to the great oratorio Dante Anarca and Symphony No. 4, premièred by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in 2007. He continued writing chamber music throughout his life, however, and the Trio from 2010 was to become one of his last works. Specializing in contemporary music, the seven members of Norrbotten NEO have devised a programme that includes the first recordings on CD of Notturno and the Trio for violin, vibraphone and piano, and at the same time offers the possibility of following a unique voice in contemporary music over the course of four decades.

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BIS - BIS2270

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Scheduled for release on 28 April 2017. Order it now and we will deliver it as soon as it is available. (Available now to download.)

Haochen Zhang plays Schumann, Liszt, Brahms & Janacek

Haochen Zhang plays Schumann, Liszt, Brahms & Janacek


Brahms:

Intermezzi (3), Op. 117

Janacek:

Piano Sonata 1.X.1905 in E flat minor, JW VIII/19 'From the Street'

Liszt:

Ballade No. 2 in B minor, S171/R16

Schumann:

Kinderszenen, Op. 15


Haochen Zhang (piano)

In 2009, at the age of 19, Haochen Zhang became one of the youngest musicians ever to win the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Since then he has had a busy concert schedule, primarily in his native China and in the U.S.A. but also in Europe where he made his début at the BBC Proms in 2014. Recording has been less of a priority for Zhang, and it is only now that he releases his first studio album, recorded at the Reitstadel, the well-known audiophile venue in Neumarkt in Germany. For this recital, Haochen Zhang has devised a programme made up of works that he feels particularly close to. As he writes in his own liner notes, they ’not only speak to me in a very intimate way, but also connect with one another at a corresponding level of intimacy: as a whole they form a unique musical narrative.’ The pieces all share a reflective and introspective quality, albeit reflective in different ways. Opening the disc Schumann’s Kinderszenen were described by the composer as ‘reflections of an adult for adults’ and in the closing Op. 117 Intermezzi, Brahms also seems to be looking backwards – but with resignation rather than intimate tenderness. Framed by these two, the works by Liszt and Janá?ek contain overtly dramatic episodes, but contemplative interludes form a recurrent feature of the Ballade, and in Presentiment, the first movement of Janá?ek’s Sonata, the dark forebodings seem to rise up from the composer’s own soul.

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Super Audio CD

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BIS - BIS2238

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$14.25

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Mozart: Serenades Volume 1

Mozart: Serenades Volume 1


Mozart:

Serenade No. 9 in D major, K320 'Posthorn'

Serenade No. 13 in G major, K525 'Eine kleine Nachtmusik'

Marches (2) in D major, K335

String Quartet No. 1 in G major, K80: Minuet


Die Kölner Akademie, Michael Willens

Die Kölner Akademie and Michael Willens have previously recorded Mozart’s complete piano concertos with Ronald Brautigam, earning praise for their fresh and colourful contributions to the series. The team now releases the first of four projected discs with further Mozart scores, beginning with two of the composer’s best-loved serenades. Serenades were a characteristic feature of Salzburg musical life: opening with a march and continuing with as many as eight or nine separate movements on an orchestral scale, such works will have been ringing in Mozart’s ears from childhood. Thirteen serenades of varying scope and scorings are included in Mozart’s catalogue of works, and of these the well-known ‘Posthorn Serenade’ is the ninth. It is also the last serenade that Mozart composed before leaving Salzburg for Vienna. The nickname stems from Mozart’s inclusion of a solo for post horn (‘cornodi posta’) in one of the movements, but the wind instruments play an important role throughout the serenade, with extended solos for flute and oboe.

In comparison, Eine kleine Nachtmusik – the last serenade Mozart wrote – is for strings only. It is also shorter than many of the other serenades, and was probably intended for a more intimate occasion. Mozart’s own thematic catalogue lists it as having five movements, but as the first minuet and trio (preceding the slow movement) have been lost, only four are typically performed today. In this recording a minuet from Mozart’s very first string quartet in G major, K. 80, is incorporated by way of completion of the five-movement arch.

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Super Audio CD

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BIS - BIS2244

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