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Humperdinck: Hänsel und Gretel

Humperdinck: Hänsel und Gretel


Katrin Wundsam (Hansel), Alexandra Steiner (Gretel), Ricarda Merbeth (Gertrud), Albert Dohmen (Peter), Christian Elsner (Witch), Alexandra Hutton (Dew-Fairy), Annika Gerhards (Sandman)

Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Kinderchor Staatsoper Berlin, Marek Janowski

Is it possible to administer at too early an age the intoxicating and gloriously sweet poison of opera, especially in an era of constant muzak? The clear answer is “No!”. In a splendidly moving new recording of Engelbert Humperdinck’s one-hit wonder Hansel and Gretel, Maestro Marek Janowski now introduces the perfect “gateway drug” to opera.

The fairy-tale opera Hansel and Gretel is a perfect choice as the first joint trip to the opera for parents and children to enjoy. The story of the two children who lose their way in the forest and are ensnared by the evil witch is well-known. The plot reflects the age-old conflict between good and evil, and has a happy ending. Add to this Humperdinck’s magical music: poetically childlike and powerfully dramatic at the same time. In the score, Humperdinck’s close connection to Richard Wagner is always discernible. The composition oscillates between childlike simplicity and adult monumentality.

To this day, Hansel and Gretel remains one of the most popular pieces in the German opera repertoire. One of the main reasons for this is certainly the seriousness with which Humperdinck approached the simple story. All emotions are truly felt: and this is obvious not only to a child, but also to any adult who has retained a childlike view of the world.

Who better than Marek Janowski here as conductor? Not only does he clearly feel completely at home in this late-Romantic German repertoire, he has also already given benchmark-setting interpretations of these works in both the major concert halls and the most important opera-houses. At the head of “his” Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin – which he previously led for 14 years, raising it to an outstanding level of playing – he takes the listeners into the forest-bird sound-world of this fairy-tale opera, at all times accompanied by a well-coordinated ensemble of singers.

Manuel Brug wrote the following for Klassiker Welt-Blog: “Coming from the Wagner camp are Albert Dohmen (Peter) and Ricarda Merbeth (Gertrud) as the parents, who pulled out all vocal stops in a highly dramatic and parodic manner. Tenor Christian Elsner was terrific as the wicked witch. The lyrical ladies’ quartet (Katrin Wundsam as Hansel, Alexandra Steiner as Gretel, Annika Gerhards and Alexandra Hutton as the Sandman and, respectively, the Dew Fairy) sang in sweetly beautiful voice, in accordance with their roles.”

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

Pentatone - PTC5186605

(SACD - 2 discs)

Normally: $26.25

Special: $23.50

Scheduled for release on 6 October 2017. Order it now and we will deliver it as soon as it is available.

Britten & Hindemith: Violin Concertos

Britten & Hindemith: Violin Concertos


Britten:

Violin Concerto in D minor Op. 15

Hindemith:

Violin Concerto


Breathtaking virtuosity flows seamlessly with expansive lyrical passages and fiendish passagework in this commanding performance by Arabella Steinbacher of the restless and technically demanding violin concertos of Britten and Hindemith, with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin conducted by Vladimir Jurowski.

Britten’s haunting and mesmerising violin concerto is considered one of the century’s finest. The three contrasting movements are replete with grand theatrical gestures, unabashed lyricism, and show-stopping pyrotechnics, and the work closes with an austere passacaglia of other-wordly beauty and power. Following the work’s enthusiastic reception at its premiere in 1940 at Carnegie Hall, Britten declared “So far, it is without question my best piece”.

“Britten and Hindemith completed their concertos at about the same time,” writes Steinbacher, “both are absolutely bursting with emotional turmoil, persisting precariousness, and latent despair.” Steinbacher feels a particular affinity with the Hindemith concerto. “Every artist introduces his own life experiences and personal feelings into his interpretations ... with the Hindemith concerto, I have an extremely close, even private connection, as my father knew Hindemith rather well.”

Steinbacher’s previous recordings for PENTATONE have received widespread praise. For her playing in the Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky violin concertos, Gramophone commented “one could hardly wish for a more expressive account of both concertos”; for the Korngold and Bruch Violin Concertos, Gramophone noted Steinbacher’s “easy virtuosity with concern to find the right tone and nuance for every phrase”. And BBC Music Magazine said of her last album, Fantasies, Rhapsodies, Daydreams, that it was “recorded in glowing sound that feels astonishingly lifelike ... this recital is something of a triumph”.

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

Pentatone - PTC5186625

(SACD)

Normally: $15.00

Special: $13.50

Scheduled for release on 6 October 2017. Order it now and we will deliver it as soon as it is available.

Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Rachmaninov

Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Rachmaninov


includes

Prokofiev:

Lieutenant Kijé: Troika

Cello Sonata in C major, Op. 119

Rachmaninov:

Cello Sonata in G minor, Op. 19

Vocalise, Op. 34 No. 14

Shostakovich:

Cello Sonata in D minor, Op. 40


Matt Haimovitz (cello), Christopher O'Riley (piano)

Acclaimed for their adventurous and wide-ranging recording projects – from Beethoven Sonatas on period instruments to genre-bending arrangements of Radiohead and Arcade Fire – the endlessly inventive duo of cellist Matt Haimovitz and pianist Christopher O’Riley returns to explore music of the Slavic soul. Anchored by the cello sonatas of the iconic triumvirate of Russian composers –Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich – and inspired by the subversive irony of Shostakovich’s Sonata, TROIKA also delves into more recently written, unexpected, and popular works. Whether subtle or blatantly rebellious, each work potently reveals the strength of the artistic voice in the face of political repression in mother Russia.

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

Pentatone Oxingale Series - PTC5186608

(SACD - 2 discs)

$26.25

Scheduled for release on 6 October 2017. Order it now and we will deliver it as soon as it is available.

Mozart: Flute Quartets Nos. 1-4 (complete)

Mozart: Flute Quartets Nos. 1-4 (complete)


Ulf-Dieter Schaaff (flute), Philipp Beckert (violin), Andreas Willwohl (viola) & Georg Boge (violoncello)

Graceful, refined and irresistibly charming, the Flute Quartets occupy an exquisite place in Mozart's chamber music. This light, airy music with its vivid contrasts, delicious textures and irrepressible wit is brought to life by the soloists of the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin.

The Flute Quartet in D K285 is a breezy affair written in concertante style which brims with attractive melodies. Its sublimely affecting slow movement was described by the biographer Alfred Einstein as "perhaps the most beautiful accompanied flute solo that has even been written". The simple, unhurried Flute Quartet in G K285A contains a delightful interplay of instruments, while the Flute Quartet in C K285B has a charming theme and variations with a spirited finale. The playful Flute Quartet in A K298 is a later work perhaps written for a group of friends; it contains borrowings from other composers artfully woven into the engaging and witty score. The result is, of course, utterly winning.

Ulf-Dieter Schaaff, principal flautist with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin is joined by his colleagues Philipp Beckert (violin), Andreas Willwohl (viola) and Georg Boge (violoncello). In their first recording for PENTATONE, they chose an unconventional seating arrangement (with violin and flute on the outer flanks) in order to create a novel spatial effect in the music.

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

Pentatone - PTC5186567

(SACD)

$15.00

(also available to download from $10.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Russian Violin Concertos

Russian Violin Concertos


Glazunov:

Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 82

Khachaturian:

Violin Concerto in D minor

Prokofiev:

Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major, Op. 19


Re-issue: This remarkable album marks the recording debut of German violinist Julia Fischer as well as the beginning of her extraordinary partnership with Russian-born conductor Yakov Kreizberg.

Result in numerous PENTATONE releases before the conductor’s untimely death in 2011.

Together they tackle three Russian violin concertos which have been tragically overlooked, shedding new light on these masterpieces.

The best-known work on the album is Serge Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1, a tour de force which features Prokofiev’s satirical tendencies and lyrical talents in equal parts. Rounding out the selection is Alexander Glazunov’s Violin Concerto in A minor, a triumph of Russian Romanticism which Fischer clearly relishes in this performance, declaring that the work was “absolutely delightful and rewarding for the instrument.”

A truly stunning debut album. The violin concertos of Khachaturian, Prokofiev and Glazunov are preserved in timeless beauty.

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

Pentatone - PTC5186591

(SACD)

$15.00

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Heggie: It’s a Wonderful Life

Heggie: It’s a Wonderful Life


William Burden (George Bailey), Andrea Carroll (Mary Hatch)

Houston Grand Opera Orchestra, Patrick Summers

Composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer knew before they ever wrote a note or a line of It’s a Wonderful Life that there are challenges in adapting a treasured classic for the operatic stage. After all, Heggie and Scheer’s hit 2010 opera Moby-Dick raised the same challenges: how could they remain faithful to the source material and still create something new, which emphasized the story’s innate operatic qualities?

For It’s a Wonderful Life, Heggie and Scheer responded by keeping the basic plot and characters from the beloved Frank Capra film version but changing the perspective. But in a departure from the film, all the action takes place from Clara’s perspective and in her realm. Seventy mirrored doors represent portals in time and space, which Clara uses to piece together the events of George’s life in an effort to understand what has brought him to this moment of despair.

Critics said the “feel good” work (Opera Warhorses) “dispels any notion that you may have about expecting the opera to duplicate the film [and has a] crazy-quilt score that may be Heggie’s most delightful concoction” (Theater Jones). As the Houston Chronicle critic summed up, “George Bailey would be proud.”

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

Pentatone American Operas - PTC5186631

(SACD - 2 discs)

Normally: $22.75

Special: $20.75

(also available to download from $20.00)

Scheduled for release on 29 September 2017. Order it now and we will deliver it as soon as it is available. (Available now to download.)

Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra & Mahler: Totenfeier

Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra & Mahler: Totenfeier


Bruckner:

Symphonisches Präludium, WAB deest

Mahler:

Totenfeier

Strauss, R:

Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30


Vladimir Jurowski and the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin excel in these new recordings of Richard Strauss's electrifying Also Sprach Zarathustra and Mahler's Totenfeier.

Released to coincide with the Russian maestro taking up office as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the orchestra.

Strauss's bold and passionate tone poem Also Sprach Zarathustra is a riveting work, famous for its startlingly atmospheric opening. With a thrilling and florid orchestral score, it's a work which Jurowski observes "...launches the whole idea of 20th century music”

It is paired with Mahler's no less gripping Totenfeier which is an early version of the first movement of his Symphony No 2 "Resurrection".

Jurowski is one of today's most sought-after conductors and has made several critically acclaimed recordings for PENTATONE.

The Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin is one of the leading orchestras in Berlin. Under former artistic director and chief conductor Marek Janowski, it has made numerous classic recordings with PENTATONE, including a critically acclaimed cycle of 10 Wagner operas.

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

Pentatone - PTC5186597

(SACD)

Normally: $15.00

Special: $13.50

(also available to download from $10.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Serenade

Serenade


Bizet:

Pastorale

La Coccinelle

La chanson du fou

Chabrier:

Villanelle des petits canards

Chausson:

Le Chevalier Malheur

Cantique à l'épouse, Op. 36 No. 1 (Jounet)

Le temps des lilas

Gounod:

Sérénade

O ma belle rebelle

La chanson du pecheur

Magnard:

Les roses de l'amour

Massenet:

Les Yeux clos

Heure vécue

Meyerbeer:

Fleurs qu'adore la beauté (Sicilienne)

Saint-Saëns:

Le Pas d'armes du Roi Jean (Hugo)

Danse macabre (song)

Si Vous N'avez Rien A Me Dire


Thomas Hampson (baritone) & Maciej Pikulski (piano)

Thomas Hampson's "Serenade," his first album exclusively dedicated to French song.

Critically acclaimed and lauded, Hampson has starred in the title roles of Chausson's Le roi Arthus at Opera National de Paris; Massenet's Werther (baritone version) at The Metropolitan Opera and Theatre National du Chatelet; Massenet's Thais (Athanael) at Lyric Opera of Chicago and The Metropolitan Opera; Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann (Four Villains) at the Royal Opera House - Covent Garden; and Thomas' Hamlet at the Theatre National du Chatelet.

Mr. Hampson carries the title of Commandeur dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of the Republic of France.

Curated with the French Literature scholar Sylvain Fort and in a first collaboration with the Polish pianist Maciej Pikulski, the track listing includes romantic and introspective as well as humorous selections by Bizet, Chabrier, Chausson, Gounod, Magnard, Massenet, and Saint-Satins, featuring texts written by some of France's most revered writers including Victor Hugo, Paul Verlaine, Rosemonde Gerard, and others.

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

Pentatone - PTC5186681

(SACD)

Normally: $15.00

Special: $13.50

(also available to download from $10.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Bach, J S: Sonatas & Partitas for solo violin, BWV1001-1006

Bach, J S: Sonatas & Partitas for solo violin, BWV1001-1006


Julia Fischer (violin)

Bach's astonishing and unsurpassed works for solo violin are glowingly realised in award-winning performances by Julia Fisher in this re-issue from PENTATONE. Bach's remarkable Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin are revered for their boundless inventiveness, technical ingenuity and emotional depth. With their brilliant preludes, stately dances and complex four-part fugues, the demands on the performer are enormous - from rapid scale passages, double stopping and arpeggios, to the skill and concentration required to create the illusion of separately moving and interweaving voices.

The set is full of surprises. Sonata No. 3 contains a colossal fugue of increasing complexity and difficulty (and at over 350 bars, one of his longest). Partita No. 3 is one of Bach's sunniest works, with the virtuoso Prelude and the charming Gavotte being regularly performed as encore pieces. Most famous of all is the legendary Chaconne from Partita No. 2, a kaleidoscopic series of variations as deeply felt and cathartic as anything Bach wrote and an incontestable milestone in classical music. Julia Fischer's recording for PENTATONE was showered with praise upon its first release in 2005. "Classic accounts by Milstein and Grumiaux have been usurped by this extraordinarily gifted newcomer" enthused BBC Music Magazine.

"Her mastery is beyond question," affirmed Gramophone magazine "her ability to trace a smooth, even line a source of pleasure itself." It also achieved the rare distinction of garnering three of France's most prestigious awards: the Diapason d'Or from Diapason; the CHOC from Le Monde de la Musique; and the highest rating from Classica-Repertoire. Julia Fischer's extensive recordings for PENTATONE have earned major recognition and awards. This reissue is launched simultaneously with an exquisitely designed LP edition. Julia Fischer plays on an Italian violin made by Giovanni Battista Guadagnini, dating from 1742. www.pentatonemusic.com

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

Pentatone - PTC5186682

(SACD - 2 discs)

Normally: $22.75

Special: $20.75

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 4

Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 4


Beethoven:

Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21

London Symphony Orchestra

Symphony No. 4 in B flat major, Op. 60

Israel Philharmonic Orchestra


The latest release in the Remastered Classics series is Rafael Kubelik's sprited and acclaimed reading from the 1970s of Beethoven's first and fourth symphonies, performed with the London Symphony Orchestra and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

Delightful, infectious and witty, the opening Adagio which starts in the wrong key and the final movement which struggles to get started at all.

Beethoven's cheerful and optimistic fourth has been described as a "wolf in sheep's clothing" for its mix of engaging melodies, lurching rhythms, pungent dissonances and its vigorous orchestral writing.

Rafael Kubelik recorded his acclaimed cycle of Beethoven symphonies in the 1970s for Deutsche Grammophon, each with a different orchestra to dazzling effect. Using state of the art technology which avoids the need for re-mixing, PENTATONE's engineers have remastered the original studio tapes to bring the performances to life as originally intended: in compelling and pristine multi-channel sound.

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

Pentatone Remastered Classics - PTC5186248

(SACD)

$15.00

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

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