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Ives: Orchestral Works, Vol. 3

Ives: Orchestral Works, Vol. 3


Ives, C:

Orchestral Set No. 2

Symphony No. 3 'The Camp Meeting'

Symphony No. 4

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano)


For this third volume in an Ives series that Sir Andrew Davis and his Melbourne Orchestra have already made globally popular, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet takes on the challenge of the solo piano part in Symphony No. 4. The work is famous for its ubiquitous difficulties, not least the apparent impossibility of realising many of the composer’s creative intentions in a live performance, as evidenced by the forty pages of background discussion and practical advice to conductors that introduce the published score.

It is complemented by the less-often-performed triptych Orchestral Set No. 2 and the Pulitzer Prize winning Symphony No. 3. Recorded in Surround Sound in Melbourne just after a ‘remarkable, very welcome’ (Sydney Morning Herald) performance in concert of the same programme by the same forces, this album is a must-have for anyone who wants to experience this monumental music under optimal conditions.

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Chandos Sir Andrew Davis conducts Charles Ives - CHSA5174

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Scheduled for release on 3 March 2017. Order it now and we will deliver it as soon as it is available.

Edward Gardner conducts Holst & Richard Strauss

Edward Gardner conducts Holst & Richard Strauss


Holst:

The Planets, Op. 32

Strauss, R:

Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30


For its very first album on Chandos, the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain devotes its characteristic energy and musical mastery to an explosive programme that transcends daily life and earthly experience. It is helped by the enthusiastic, encouraging, and experienced baton of Edward Gardner as well as by the sumptuous yet detailed acoustic of Symphony Hall, Birmingham, all fully revealed in this surround-sound recording.

Their performance of Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra and Holst’s The Planets is already a point of reference in the UK after the immensely successful Prom concert that preceded the recording. The concert’s five-star review in The Daily Telegraph praised in particular the orchestra’s ‘great attack and complete absence of anything routine’, while The Guardian emphasised the great performance of the orchestra in this ‘graceful and evocative programme’, especially the ‘depth and richness of sound that belied their youth’.

This unique album is a first milestone in what promises to be a superb discography for the NYO.

Special notice: this album will also be released on Vinyl.

“occasionally one misses the refinement of a professional outfit, but rarely: more often one is struck by the warmth and intensity of the string sound and the quality of the wind solos. Edward Gardner’s driven, finely balanced conducting ensures this is one for collectors as well as supporters.” The Guardian, 10th February 2017 ****

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Chandos - CHSA5179

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Vaughan Williams: Job & Symphony No. 9

Vaughan Williams: Job & Symphony No. 9


Vaughan Williams:

Job - A Masque for Dancing

Symphony No. 9 in E minor


The projected complete cycle of Vaughan Williams’s symphonies started by the late Richard Hickox has left a precious heritage in the discography of the composer.

Now, conducting the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, that other expert in British repertoire, Sir Andrew Davis, takes on the challenge of completing the series with idiomatic interpretations of two masterpieces: the final Symphony (No. 9) and the ballet Job.

The score of Job places an emphasis on tableau-like scenes, dances, and mime, linking it to a tradition of English ballet with dances from the seventeenth century, including the saraband, pavane, and galliard. In this masterly score, Vaughan Williams captures the conflict between good and evil, between the spiritual and the material. Job shows a strength, beauty, nobility, and visionary power which unite the many different facets of Vaughan Williams’s musical style. The poignant and musically enigmatic Symphony No. 9 marks ‘the end of Ralph’s life and [is] a turning point. It is leading out into another place. It is extraordinary’, as the composer’s wife stated after one of the early performances.

The subtle direction of Sir Andrew Davis combined with the pure sound quality of this SACD does full justice to Hickox’s great enterprise and promises a powerful conclusion of this already acclaimed recorded cycle.

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Chandos - CHSA5180

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Sibelius: In the Stream of Life

Sibelius: In the Stream of Life

Songs by Sibelius


Sibelius:

Pohjola's Daughter, Op. 49

In the Stream of Life

Seven Songs orch. E. Rautavaara. Premiere recording

Koskenlaskijan morsiamet (The Rapids-Rider’s Brides), Op. 33

Romance in C major for strings, Op. 42

Hymn to Thaïs (Text: Arthur H. Borgström)

Demanten på marssnön, Op. 36 No. 6 (Wecksell)

Hertig Magnus, Op. 57 No. 6

The Oceanides, Op. 73

På verandan på vid havet, Op. 38 No. 2 (Viktor Runeberg)

I natten, Op. 38 No. 3

Kom nu hit, Död, Op. 60 No. 1 (Bertel Gripenberg after Shakespeare)


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here

The exceptional collaboration and friendship between the late Einojuhani Rautavaara and the internationally acclaimed bass-baritone Gerald Finley culminates in this unique album of orchestral songs by Sibelius, on which the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra is conducted by Edward Gardner.

The album offers orchestrations, by Sibelius and others, of songs which Sibelius originally wrote for voice and piano, and includes the premiere recording of In the Stream of Life, seven songs orchestrated by Rautavaara for his friend. Throughout, the poetry perfectly reflects the instinctively felt relation between Finnish nature and Sibelius’s music.

As Finley reveals: ‘the recording of [In the Stream of Life] became a very personal project when the sessions took place only a few weeks after [Rautavaara’s] death, in the same week as his funeral... and I am so thankful that a final addition was made possible when in the last months of his life [Rautavaara] agreed to orchestrate “Hjärtats morgon” and include it in the group.’

“these new versions perfectly capture and amplify the spirit of Sibelius’s songs. Gerald Finley, a close friend of Rautavaara, makes an ideal case for the new settings, and his approach to the Swedish language of the texts is flowing and lyrical.” Classical Ear, 16th February 2017

“The measured beauty of Gerald Finley’s singing in subdued songs conjures impressive wintry vistas” Financial Times, January 2017

“An impressive if idiosyncratic programme” Gramophone Magazine, February 2017

“Rautavaara's orchestrations are so convincingly Sibelian that on first hearing I completely forgot I wasn't listening to the The Real Thing...Finley is in magnificent voice throughout: though it's relatively uncommon to find non-Finnish singers tackling this repertoire, he seems completely at home with both the sound-world and the texts.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 30th December 2016

“This haunting disc is as much a tribute to the Canadian singer’s close friendship with the late Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara as it is a declaration of love for Sibelius’s songs...Dark and brooding, they are a fitting memorial.” Sunday Times, 19th February 2017

“Finley sings them all with his usual finesse and careful shading, reserving his full power for the few genuinely climactic moments...The subtle, respectful orchestrations wrap around his voice like a glove...Gardner and his orchestra include very fine performances of three orchestral works.” The Guardian, 4th January 2017 ****

Presto Disc of the Week

30th December 2016

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Chandos - CHSA5178

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Handel: Messiah

Handel: Messiah

New Concert Edition by Sir Andrew Davis


Erin Wall (soprano), Elizabeth DeShong (mezzo-soprano), Andrew Staples (tenor), John Relyea (bass-baritone)

Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Sir Andrew Davis

Experience the transcendent glory of Messiah in Sir Andrew Davis’s new, majestic, must-hear edition of Handel’s beloved classic.

Recorded live for SACD release in surround sound, this unique version makes use of all the colours available from the modern symphony orchestra to underline the mood and meaning of the individual movements. Without detracting from the innate power of the original, the conductor’s score calls for moments of drama, pathos, and even, sometimes, whimsicality. It is supported by substantial brass and woodwind forces, and several percussion instruments (including marimba!). As he explains in a very personal booklet note, this leading British conductor brings immense dedication to what is probably the most famous piece of British sacred music ever composed, this version being one which he has conducted live only a few times, including on this recording. He confesses: ‘Everything I have done instrumentally stems from the enormous respect, even awe, which I feel towards this supreme masterpiece’.

“Davis has thrown every resource of the modern symphony orchestra at the task. The result is rather as if the Disney Corporation had bought the rights to the show...The Toronto Symphony Orchestra plays with terrific spirit, especially the brass, and there are four excellent soloists.” The Times, 2nd December 2016 ****

“A performance I will return to often and with great pleasure.” MusicWeb International, 13th December 2016

“Davis’s new orchestration of Messiah is either, depending on your point of view, an act of unpardonable musical blasphemy or a gloriously tongue-in-cheek tribute to a well-loved masterpiece...the overall effect is just of a lush, Romantic orchestration rather than of forced aural gimmickry.” David Smith, Presto Classical, 2nd December 2016

“This is obviously not a basic ‘Library ‘ Messiah but can be cautiously recommended as a curiosity for those enjoy arrangements and transcriptions.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2017

“Astonishingly well controlled…the solo voices are rich and weighty…[the] flute provides a charming obbligato to ‘How beautiful are the feet’, while the tenor’s ‘Thy rebuke…’ is intensely moving…a remarkable choral achievement” BBC Music Magazine, January 2017 ****

Presto Disc of the Week

2nd December 2016

Presto Discs of 2016

Finalist

BBC Music Magazine

Choral & Song Choice - January 2017

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Chandos - CHSA5176

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A Violin for All Seasons

A Violin for All Seasons


Panufnik, R:

Four World Seasons

premiere recording

Vivaldi:

The Four Seasons


Encapsulating the voluptuous sound of the BBC SO’s strings, Tasmin Little is both the soloist and conductor in this unique coupling: Vivaldi’s ever-popular ‘Four Seasons’ meets Roxanna Panufnik’s Four World Seasons, the premiere recording of a set of highly inspirational pieces.

As a complete cycle, ‘The Four Seasons’ offers a set of vivid tableaux, imaginative, enticing, and wonderfully contrasted, with ample chance for the violin soloist to display technique, sensitivity, and colour. These are qualities that the British composer Roxanna Panufnik also sought for her own Seasons tribute, Four World Seasons, written for the violinist. Three of the pieces are dedicated to her, while the fourth, ‘Autumn in Albania’, is dedicated to the memory of Panufnik’s father, the Polish composer Sir Andrzej Panufnik, who, his daughter says, was born, loved, and died in autumn.

“The addition of Roxanna Panufnik’s ‘World Seasons’ adds to the attraction of this modern-instrument recording of Vivaldi.” MusicWeb International, 1st November 2016

“Although Tamsin Little isn’t a Baroque specialist there is some influence from historically informed performance: rubato is used discreetly, and vibrato, although more present than might be expected from an ‘authentic’ performance, is subtly varied…these are engaging performances, captured in warm but detailed sound” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2016 ****

“These are modern-instrument performances of Vivaldi with a big symphonic string section. And if you haven’t already run screaming for your Fabio Biondi or La Serenissima sets, you’re going to enjoy this disc a lot...No Kennedy-like deconstruction here: Little simply responds to the music with an open-eyed freshness and fantasy…she is lively and conversational, and conveys a vivid sense of character to her colleagues” Gramophone Magazine, December 2016

“The two Seasons form a most attractive contrast and reflect well on all concerned.” MusicWeb International, 16th January 2017

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - December 2016

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Chandos - CHSA5175

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Schoenberg: Gurrelieder

Schoenberg: Gurrelieder


Alwyn Mellor (soprano), Anna Larsson (mezzo-soprano), Stuart Skelton (tenor), Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke (tenor), James Creswell (bass) & Sir Thomas Allen (speaker)

Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic Choir, Choir of Collegiûm Mûsicûm, Edvard Grieg Kor, Orphei Drängar, Students from the Royal Northern College of Music, Edward Gardner

Recorded live on SACD in the sumptuous acoustic of Grieghallen in Bergen, this mind-blowing interpretation of Schoenberg’s Gurre-Lieder involves 350 performers: large choral forces, six exceptional soloists, and the legendary Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra – extended for the occasion – all conducted by Edward Gardner.

Marking the pinnacle of the Orchestra’s 250th anniversary celebrations, the same forces offered two evening concerts that met with unanimous acclaim in the press, including a five-star review from The Daily Telegraph praising the ‘sweep of Gardner's conducting, by turns luminous and incisive’. It added, ‘He unleashed the piece’s volcanic passions while never becoming mired in its high-calorific density, and somehow avoided drowning the singers’, and also congratulated the ‘heroic’ Stuart Skelton, ‘warm’ Alwyn Mellor, ‘ethereal’ Anna Larsson, and ‘powerful’ Thomas Allen.

“Gardner’s grasp of scale and momentum is as strong as Stenz’s, and his cast is more balanced...Gardner has the thrillingly heroic Stuart Skelton in the work’s most prominent solo part, pouring out his love for Tove in ringing tones...The playing and singing of Gardner’s Bergen forces are as intoxicating as any I know on disc.” Sunday Times, 23rd October 2016

“The playing of the Bergen Philharmonic is rich, seductive and sensuous...Gardner’s operatic experience means he’s alive to the lyricism and drama of the piece in equal measure: there’s ardent longing aplenty and a real willingness to explore the sheer gorgeousness of the score.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2016

“although this account was recorded over four days, it rolls onwards with the dynamism of a single live performance...for luminous atmosphere and edge-of-the-seat excitement, Gardner’s Bergen forces offer something special.” The Times, 30th September 2016 ****

“The hero is Edward Gardner, under whose wonderfully flexible beat this hyper-Romantic music positively breathes in long lyrical phrases and paragraphs. Nor are the excitements lacking: the coda to the Klaus episodes fizzes with crazy virtuosity and the final sunrise is as grandly summatory as any” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2016 *****

“There is an amplitude of tonal richness, against which Alwyn Mellor and Stuart Skelton sing on a heroic scale” Financial Times, 2nd December 2016

“A top class performance and magnificent recording of this vast piece.” MusicWeb International, 20th January 2017

Presto Discs of 2016

Finalist

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2016

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Super Audio CD

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Chandos - CHSA5172(2)

(SACD - 2 discs)

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Berlioz: Roméo et Juliette

Berlioz: Roméo et Juliette


Berlioz:

Roméo et Juliette, Op. 17

Michèle Losier (mezzo-soprano), Samuel Boden (tenor) & David Soar (bass)

BBC Symphony Chorus

Marche troyenne (from Les Troyens)

Chasse royale et Orage (from Les Troyens)

BBC Symphony Chorus


After two volumes with other top international Chandos orchestras in this Berlioz series, Sir Andrew Davis joins the BBC Symphony – where he is Conductor Laureate – for a new recording.

The highlight in this double SACD album is Roméo et Juliette, Berlioz’s third symphony, which draws once again on his greatest literary passion, Shakespeare, and on his own most fervent experiences. It is coupled with two excerpts from the largest work Berlioz ever attempted, the opera Les Troyens, based on Virgil, another literary passion. Both show Berlioz’s orchestral wizardry, using offstage brass and drums to represent the hunters’ calls and the storm in ‘Royal Hunt and Storm’ and the glory of Rome in the ‘Trojan March’.

The recording follows a historic performance with the same forces at the Barbican in January: a ‘magical revelation... that wrought shivers’ (Bachtrack), in which ‘one could feel the instant rightness of the sonorous imagery Berlioz devises’ (The Sunday Times). The concert and recording project marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

“A top-class performance and recording of a wonderful masterpiece.” MusicWeb International, 19th October 2016

BBC Music Magazine

Choral & Song Choice - November 2016

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Chandos - CHSA5169(2)

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Copland: Orchestral Works, Vol. 2 - Symphonies

Copland: Orchestral Works, Vol. 2 - Symphonies


Copland:

Symphony for organ and orchestra

Jonathan Scott (organ)

Symphonic Ode

Symphony No. 2 'Short Symphony'

Variations for orchestra


Following a highly successful recording of Copland’s ballet music, John Wilson, a specialist in American music, and the BBC Philharmonic present the first volume of the composer’s complete symphonic output. This unique collection of vivid and energetic pieces highlights Copland’s personal, unorthodox compositional language. The mixture of works of austerity and tense excitement ranges widely, from the twenty Orchestral Variations on an original theme (originally written for piano) to the single-movement controversial Symphonic Ode, a rhythmically complex piece written in its original incarnation for a huge orchestra including eight horns and five trumpets.

The album features also the lesser-known Short Symphony (No. 2) and early Symphony for Organ and Orchestra, in which the solo instrument throughout is closely integrated with the music of the orchestra. The organ soloist is the young Jonathan Scott. Since a highly successful Gershwin concert at the Royal Albert Hall in 2014, he is increasingly acclaimed around the world for his performances of American music.

This album was recorded on SACD in the mythic Birmingham Symphony Hall.

“This disc offers gripping accounts of four works...Every note tells.” Sunday Times, 18th September 2016

“Wilson obtains [a] superbly drilled and articulate response from the BBC Philharmonic…an outstanding release” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2016

“Everything about the performances signals a conductor and an orchestra who really believe in the quality of the music they are performing. The BBC Philharmonic seems to relish Copland’s springy rhythms, long-limbed melodies and irrepressible invention, while Wilson manages to bring transparency and buoyancy to even the most massive climaxes.” The Guardian, 5th October 2016 *****

“This performance is technically superb, John Wilson’s BBC Philharmonic sounding…energised…Wilson’s brass are heroic in the closing stages, and the music’s lighter moments aren’t undersold. But the best work on this disc is the deceptively lightweight Short Symphony…transparently orchestrated, rhythmically fiendish and harmonically approachable, it gets a sharp, witty reading, Copland’s Stravinskian metre changes effortlessly handled.” The Arts Desk, 26th September 2016

“This darkly ravishing second volume in John Wilson’s welcome Copland survey for Chandos delves into the nooks and crannies of his orchestral work to find riches aplenty…the high standard is maintained by the BBC Philharmonic throughout, evidenced in the richly textured and concentrated Orchestral Variations…the single-movement Symphonic Ode (1929, revised in 1955) is a thing of bold, bracing beauty played with spirited brio.” Classical Ear, October 2016 *****

“Spiky, hard-edged music for a dynamic American society, driven with vivacity and excitement yet I doubt if it will make many appearances in my CD player.” MusicWeb International, 18th October 2016

BBC Music Magazine

Orchestral Choice - November 2016

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Chandos - CHSA5171

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Atterberg: Orchestral Works, Vol. 5

Atterberg: Orchestral Works, Vol. 5


Atterberg:

Symphony No. 7, Op. 45 'Sinfonia romantica'

Symphony No. 9, Op. 54 'Sinfonia Visionaria'

Anna Larsson (soprano) & Olle Persson (baritone)

Gothenburg Symphony Chorus


The final volume in our Atterberg series with Neeme Järvi and his Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra is finally out. Recorded on SACD like most of the previous ones, it features two late, again rarely performed symphonies.

The seventh, featured here in its final, threemovement form, was written in 1942, fourteen years after its famous predecessor, the Dollar Symphony.

Originally in four movements, the work was received dismissively by the critics, and only acquired its final shape in 1969, when Atterberg decided to tear out the last movement from the original score (it became Vittorioso, see Vol. 4). In response to what he regarded as a critical insult, he also decided to baptise the work Sinfonia romantica, just to infuriate the modernistically inclined critics even further.

The composer himself referred to his Ninth and last Symphony as ‘evil’. Setting parts of the Old Icelandic poem Völuspá, it recounts indeed how evil came into the world and how it in the end will lead to total destruction. By this time he had become a very conservative composer, rejecting atonality and dodecaphony. Composed in 1955 and 1956, during a period of much administrative travel in Europe, it is one of his longest works, yet structured as a single movement in large-scale rondo form.

“Järvi and his Gothenburg forces produce exemplary performances, strong in interpretative outline…[and] vividly recorded” Gramophone Magazine, August 2016

“[Järvi] is well inside the composer’s language.” MusicWeb International, October 2016

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Chandos Neeme Järvi Atterberg Orchestral Works - CHSA5166

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