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Flaminis aura

Flaminis aura

Works by Tommie Haglund


Haglund:

Flaminis aura for cello and orchestra

Il regno degli spiriti for string quartet

Sollievo (dopo la tempesta) for string trio

Serenata per Diotima for strings


Ernst Simon Glaser, Julia Kretz-Larsson & Håkan Rudner

Gothenburg Symphony, Malmö Symphony Orchestra, Trio ZilliacusPerssonRaitinen, David Afkham & Joachim Gustafsson

This composer portrait opens with Tommie Haglund’s first score for full orchestra – the cello concerto Flaminis aura. Composed in 2001 and rewarded 13 years later with Sweden’s most important composition prize, the work is in a single movement with a slow basic pulse, and thus conforms to a recurring pattern within Haglund’s production. Its Latin title describes a state immediately prior to a religious revelation, and the music forms an exploration of both the human interior and the cosmos – towards the end of the work a tape with space sounds recorded by NASA is heard: a ‘Song of Earth’.

Performed by Ernst Simon Glaser and the Gothenburg Symphony, the concerto is followed by another composition from 2001, the string quartet Il regno degli spiriti, and the string trio Sollievo (dopo la tempesta). Both these works are here performed by the highly regarded string trio ZilliacusPerssonRaitinen (ZPR), joined by Julia Kretz-Larsson on second violin in the quartet. Sollievo… was composed for ZPR in 2013, and its title – ‘relief after the storm’ – refers to the end of a period of painful treatment following a back operation. With a generous playing time of close to 84 minutes, the disc closes with Serenata per Diotima from 2014, interpreted by the strings of Malmö Symphony Orchestra with substantial violin solos from Håkan Rudner. Celebrating the female philosopher of Greek antiquity, the piece was also inspired by the birth of the composer’s first grandchild.

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BIS - BIS2025

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Richard Strauss: Oboe Concerto

Richard Strauss: Oboe Concerto


Strauss, R:

Oboe Concerto in D

Alexei Ogrintchouk (oboe)

Serenade in E flat major for Winds, Op. 7

Sonatina No. 2 (Symphony) in E flat major for 16 wind instruments, AV 143 'Fröhliche Werkstatt'


Despite his advanced age and the chaos surrounding him, Richard Strauss remained highly productive well into the 1940s. As the Second World War was coming to an end in 1944-45, the eighty-year-old composer was working on his Oboe Concerto and Sonatina No. 2 for winds, as well as the Metamorphosen for strings. While the latter work was an explicit response to the destruction Strauss was witnessing, in the Concerto and the Sonatina the composer seemed to be turning his mind away from the events surrounding him. There is a pastoral quality to the oboe concerto, with a highly tuneful solo part and more than occasional touches of nostalgia for the 18th century. Similarly, Strauss headed the score of the sonatina with a dedication ‘to the spirit of the immortal Mozart at the end of a life full of thankfulness’.

To an extent, one might say that Strauss at the end of his life returned to the musical models of his youth. It is therefore fitting that these two works frame the Serenade in E flat major for wind ensemble, composed more than sixty years earlier in the tradition of entertainment music by Schubert and Mendelssohn. Alexei Ogrintchouk, one of today’s leading oboists, has proven himself in previous recordings for BIS ranging from Bach to Nikos Skalkottas and Antal Doráti. With sterling support from the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Andris Nelsons, he here makes light of the considerable difficulties of the solo part of the oboe concerto, and also directs his colleagues from the orchestra’s wind section in the works for wind ensemble.

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BIS - BIS2163

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Stravinsky: Music for Violin, Vol. 1

Stravinsky: Music for Violin, Vol. 1


Rouget de Lisle:

La Marseillaise

for violin solo

Stravinsky:

Pastorale

Prélude et Ronde des princesses

Berceuse from The Firebird

Scherzo from The Firebird

Chanson Russe

Danse Russe (from Pétrouchka)

Suite for Violin and Piano

Duo concertant

Airs du rossignol et Marche chinoise


Ilya Gringolts (violin) & Peter Laul (piano)

In his autobiography, Igor Stravinsky wrote of his not having had any ‘great liking’ for the combination of strings and piano. That there nevertheless are a number of chamber works by him featuring the violin is to a large extent due to the violinist Samuel Dushkin. The two were introduced to each other by Stravinsky’s German music publisher who wanted to persuade him to compose a violin concerto. They obviously hit it off: their collaboration continued after the concerto had come into being in 1931, and they devised a recital programme to perform together on tours.

The centrepiece was Duo concertant which Stravinsky completed in 1932 as his only original composition for violin and piano. Rather than looking for common ground between the two instruments, Stravinsky aimed to emphasize their individuality in a work that he himself claimed was ‘determined by my love of the pastoral poets of antiquity and their scholarly art and technique’. The other pieces on this disc are, with one exception, arrangements of Stravinsky’s own works including The Firebird, Petrushka and Le rossignol. The majority were made for and in collaboration with Dushkin, but a few come from the 1920s and were intended for the violinist Paul Kochanski.

One of these is the Suite for violin and piano, arranged from the ballet Pulcinella – material that Stravinsky revisited in the 1930s in order to make a new version for Dushkin. (The resulting Suite italienne will appear on the second and last volume of Stravinsky’s music for violin, together with the violin concerto and other works.) With this programme, and in the company of the eminent Russian pianist Peter Laul, the highly virtuosic and temperamental violinist Ilya Gringolts makes his return to BIS, the label for which he made his début recording in 1999.

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BIS - BIS2245

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John Pickard: 16 Sunrises & Symphony No. 5

John Pickard: 16 Sunrises & Symphony No. 5


Pickard:

Symphony No. 5

Sixteen Sunrises

Concertante Variations

Toccata (after Monteverdi)


Born in 1963, John Pickard is best known for a series of powerful orchestral and instrumental works and previous recordings on BIS of his music have received critical acclaim in reviews such as Gramophone (‘simply stunning’), American Record Guide (‘superb works in wonderful readings’) and BBC Music Magazine (‘an absolute triumph).

The present disc brings together some of Pickard’s most recent orchestral compositions, in performances by two of his long-time collaborators: the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and conductor Martyn Brabbins. The opening work is Symphony No. 5, which was composed in 2014 with these performers in mind. Lasting some thirty minutes, the symphony is in a single continuous movement. It requires no less than three timpanists who are placed at the back of the orchestra to the right, left and centre, leading to some dramatic antiphonal exchanges. The symphony is followed by Sixteen Sunrises, the result of the composer’s wish to compose a piece ‘filled with light’. The title of the piece refers to the number of sunrises that can be observed during a twenty-four-hour period from the International Space Station (ISS), as it orbits the earth. Musical depictions of sunrises are normally gradual processes, but viewed from the ISS, a sunrise occurs in a matter of seconds, and it is the idea of suddenly shifting from darkness to light (and back again) that formed the basis of the shape of Pickard’s piece.

In contrast to these two works, the Concertante Variations have been described by the composer as ‘a light-hearted divertimento that poses no profound questions’. It is a concise concerto for wind quintet, strings and timpani, cast in the form of a theme and variations. The disc closes with Pickard’s transcription of the well-known Toccata that Monteverdi used first in his opera Orfeo and later in the Vespers.

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BIS - BIS2261

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Håkan Hardenberger plays Dean and Francesconi

Håkan Hardenberger plays Dean and Francesconi


Dean, B:

Dramatis personae for trumpet and orchestra

Francesconi:

Hard Pace - Concerto for trumpet and orchestra


Håkan Hardenberger (trumpet)

Gothenburg Symphony, John Storgårds

Ever since his very first disc, released by BIS some thirty years ago, Hakan Hardenberger has earned recognition for his performances of the classical repertory, but also as a pioneer of significant and vituosic new music for the trumpet. Collaborations with composers such as Takemitsu, Part, Henze, and H.K. Gruber have resulted in numerous works, of which the two recorded here are among the more recent. Brett Dean's concerto Dramatis personae is named after the term used for the list of characters in a stage work, and casts the soloist in the role of the ''Hero''. Dean's protagonist is a complex one, however, with traits inspired by comic book super heros as well as the classical flawed heros of literature and legend: ''Soliloquy'', the second movement, is a reference to Hamlet, while Charlie Chaplin's character in Modern Times has inspired the work's finale, ''The Accidental Revolutionary''. If there is a hero in the concerto by Luca Francesconi, it is Miles Davis. In his comment sto the work, Francesconi talks of Davis as ''a musician who transcends all labels'' with ''a delicate, cracked sound'' and a voice which speaks directly to the listener. Hard Pace, the title of Francesconi's work, is an allusion to a difficult journey, but it is also a conflation of the names of the performers for whom it was written: Hardenberger, Antonio Pappano and the Santa Cecilia Orchestra. On the present recording it is the Gothenburg Symphony and conductor John Storgards who provide Hakan Hardenberger with expert support in these demanding and rewarding scores.

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BIS - BIS2067

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Fauré: The Complete music for cello & piano

Fauré: The Complete music for cello & piano


Fauré:

Romance in A major for cello & piano, Op. 69

Papillon, Op. 77

Sérénade, Op. 98

Berceuse, Op. 16

Cello Sonata No. 1 in D minor, Op. 109

Morceau de lecture

Berceuse from Dolly Suite, Op. 56

Sicilienne, Op. 78

Élégie in C minor, Op. 24

Cello Sonata No. 2 in G minor, Op. 117

Andante

for cello and harmonium


Andreas Brantelid (cello) & Bengt Forsberg (piano)

In French music, Gabriel Fauré (1845 – 1924) forms a link between Romanticism and modernism: in Paris in the year of his birth, Chopin was still composing, and by the time of his death, jazz was all the rage, while Stravinsky was championing neoclassicism. This present recording contains all of Fauré’s music for cello and piano, including the much-loved Élégie and Sicilienne – pieces that are sometimes described as ‘salon music’, with qualities that caused Debussy to dub the composer ‘the master of charms’. But interspersed with this lighter fare are also the two sonatas from Fauré’s later period when, suffering from increasing deafness, he developed a more pared-down style. Even though the sonatas came into being only a few years apart they are nevertheless quite different – appearing in 1917 Sonata No. 1 in D minor is very much a wartime work, at times almost violent and rough. The G minor Sonata is altogether more accessible, with a vivacious finale that caused the composer Vincent d’Indy to remark to the 78-year old Fauré: ‘How lucky you are to stay young like that!’ Andreas Brantelid’s previous release for BIS – a disc with music by Grieg and Percy Grainger – received critical acclaim including a Gramophone Editor’s Choice. For this all-Fauré programme he has chosen to collaborate with pianist and highly respected chamber musician Bengt Forsberg.

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BIS - BIS2220

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Satie: Piano Music, Vol. 2

Satie: Piano Music, Vol. 2


Satie:

Prélude de la porte héroique du ciel

Sports et Divertissements

Trois Sarabandes

Préludes flasques (4), pour un chien

Véritables préludes flasques (pour un chien)

Sonneries de la Rose et Croix

Menus propos enfantins

Enfantillages pittoresques

Le Fils des Étoiles: trois préludes

Peccadilles importunes

Trois Nouvelles Enfantines


Noriko Ogawa (piano: Érard 1890)

Released in 2016 – the 150th anniversary of the birth of Erik Satie – the first volume of this series was warmly greeted by reviewers worldwide, who praised the clarity of Noriko Ogawa’s interpretations as well as the crystalline sound of her chosen instrument, an Érard grand piano from 1890. Like its predecessor, this second instalment takes in music from different phases of the composer’s career, including the very early Three Sarabandes from 1887. A few years later Satie became involved with an esoteric society called ‘The Catholic Rosy Cross of the Temple and the Grail’ for which he composed works such as the Sonneries de la Rose+Croix.

Throughout his life, Satie identified strongly with children and famously said of himself that he ‘came into the world very young, in an age that was very old’. In 1913, during what is often termed his ‘humorous’ period he composed the four sets of children’s pieces (‘Enfantines’) included on the disc. Hailing from the same period are the two sets of ‘Flabby preludes for a dog’ as well as the suite Sports et divertissements. Often regarded as one of the finest examples of Satie’s art, this consists of a prelude and 20 musical snapshots depicting different sports and leisure activities, including golf, fishing and dancing. The suite was first published as a collector's album, accompanied by illustrations by Charles Martin and Satie’s own prose poetry and calligraphy.

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Bach - Secular Cantatas VIII

Bach - Secular Cantatas VIII

Celebratory Cantatas


Bach, J S:

Cantata BWV206 'Schleigt,spielende Wellen, und murmelt gelinde'

Cantata BWV215 'Preise dein Glücke, gesegnetes Sachsen'


Besides the fact that they both celebrate Augustus III, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, there is a close connection between the two works included on the eighth volume of Bach's secular cantatas. On October 2nd, 1734, the King and his family made a surprise visit to Leipzig, and in all haste a festive event was planned for three days later, in celebration of the anniversary of Augustus's ascension to the Polish throne. Bach was asked to provide the musical entertainment, and consequently had to put aside the work he was busy composing...namly BWV 206 ''Schleicht, spielende Wellen'', intended for a celebration of the King's birthday on October 7th! The new cantata, Preise dein Glucke, gesegnetes Sachsen, BWV 215, is a substantial work, and it is not surprising that Bach, with only a few days to produce it, had recourse to earlier compositions: the only parts that were written completely from scratch were the recitatives, the soprano aria and the final chorus. In the meantime, BWV 206 - the birthday cantata that Bach had to put on hold - came to good use two years later, when the King's birthday was celebrated with a concert at Zimmermann's coffee house in Leipzig. Both works are richly scored with trumpets and timpani, and here receive suitably festive performances form Bach Collegium Japan and Masaaki Suzuki.

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BIS - Suzuki Bach Cantatas - BIS2231

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Shostakovich & Martinu: Cello Concertos

Shostakovich & Martinu: Cello Concertos


Martinu:

Cello Concerto No. 2

Shostakovich:

Cello Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 126


The two cello concertos by Dmitri Shsotakovich were both written for his friend Mstislav Rostropovich but whereas the first is rhythmic and virtuosic, teh second is subdued and introverted. Composed in 1966, it is often regarded as a watershed work, heralding Shostakovich's final stylistic period marked by a certain sombreness and a trend towards more transparent scoring. The op. 126 concerto has become somewhat overshadowed by its older, more accessible sibling, something which also applies to the second work on this disc, for completely different reasons. Having compmleted his Cello Cocnerto No. 2 in 1945, Bohuslav Martinu was unsuccessful in his attempts to interest a leading cellist in promoting it. When the composer furthermore reworked his first cello concerto in 1955, the new version effectively obliterated all traces of the 1945 concerto, which didn't receive its first performance until 1965, six years after Martinu's death. The work is melodious with lyrical qualities, and many have interpreted it as an expression of the nostalgia the composer experienced as an exile in the U.S.A. during the last winter of the World War II.

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BIS - BIS2257

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Haydn: ‘Sun’ Quartets Op.20, Nos. 4-6 (Vol. 2)

Haydn: ‘Sun’ Quartets Op.20, Nos. 4-6 (Vol. 2)


Haydn:

String Quartet, Op. 20 No. 4 in D major 'Sun'

String Quartet, Op. 20 No. 5 in F minor

String Quartet, Op. 20 No. 6 in A Major


Chiaroscuro Quartet

The so-called ‘Sun’ quartets of Joseph Haydn’s Op. 20 are often said to represent an unprecedented flowering of his string quartet writing, establishing a high watermark to which every other subsequent composer of quartets has paid homage. The six quartets are not a monument of compositional rectitude or propriety, rather, it is their flexibility, variety and unpredictability that make them so compelling. Every bar is full of a sense of musical adventure, a palpable feeling that Haydn is creating bridges between styles and ideas and forging a composite vision of four-part string writing that draws on every historical source that he knew as well as the furthest reaches of his musical imagination.

On this second instalment, the last three quartets of the set are performed by the Chiaroscuro Quartet, an international ensemble formed in 2005 by the violinists Alina Ibragimova (Russia) and Pablo Hernán Benedí (Spain), the Swedish violist Emilie Hörnlund and cellist Claire Thirion from France. Dubbed ‘a trailblazer for the authentic performance of High Classical chamber music’ in Gramophone, the quartet plays on gut strings, and the previous instalment was singled out as a recommended disc by The Strad, whose reviewer described its contents as ‘period-instrument performances of the utmost subtlety and refinement’.

“done with exquisite taste. The playing is intense and refined, exploratory and poised. The sound is featherweight, but there is grit and substance when needed. Alina Ibragimova leads with typical grace and ferocity, but this is real chamber music: the attack is immaculate and spirited from all four musicians.” The Guardian, 22nd June 2017 *****

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BIS - BIS2168

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