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Elgar & Tchaikovsky: Cello Works

Elgar & Tchaikovsky: Cello Works


Elgar:

Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85

Tchaikovsky:

Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33


The profoundly moving, elegiac lyricism of Elgar and the wistful charm and brilliance of Tchaikovsky are on full display in this irresistible new release from PENTATONE played with consummate virtuosity by the German-Canadian cellist Johannes Moser with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande under Andrew Manze.

Composed at the end of the FirstWorldWar, Elgar’s powerful Cello Concerto in E minor is one of his best-loved and most deeply-felt works. The soloist’s wrenching chords which open the work announce a mood of profound resignation and loss; gone is the youthful swagger of his earlier works, replaced instead with lonely introspection and longing, especially in the sublimely beautiful Adagio. The cello is given free rein in the vigorous final movement but the opening mood prevails as an anguished outburst from the cello brings the work to a close.

No such dejection hangs over Tchaikovsky’s delightful Variations on a Rococo Theme which ooze elegance, ineffable charm and daring displays of technical brilliance. While the Pezzo capriccioso finds Tchaikovsky in a more restrained mood, with the Nocturne and Andante Cantabile he wears his romantic heart full on his sleeve.

The cellist Johannes Moser is no stranger to these works. Winner of the top prize at the 2002 Tchaikovsky Competition, he was also awarded the Special Prize for his interpretation of the Variations on a Rococo Theme.

Described by Gramophone as “one of the finest among the astonishing gallery of young virtuoso cellists” and by the LA Times as a musician who “…connects with the audience in a way that only great artists do”, this is Moser’s third outing for PENTATONE.

His first album of concertos by Dvořák and Lalo was widely praised for his “performance of enormous flair and effervescence” (BBC Music Magazine) and “his dazzling virtuosity, free, passionate phrasing and immense energy … that recalls Pablo Casals’ iconic 1937 recording” (Strings)

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Pentatone - PTC5186570

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Scheduled for release on 24 March 2017. Order it now and we will deliver it as soon as it is available. (Available now to download.)

Mendelssohn: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3

Mendelssohn: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3


Mendelssohn:

Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 11

Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 56 'Scottish'


Mendelssohn's warmly lyrical and evocative Scottish symphony is paired with his confident and precocious first symphony for the first in a series of recordings in multi-channel surround sound for PENTATONE by the conductor Andrew Manze and the NDR Radiophilharmonie.

Inspired by his visits to Scotland and the Hebrides and the romantic novels of Sir Walter Scott, his outstanding Symphony No. 3 in A minor ("Scottish") is a colourful reminiscence of its rugged landscapes steeped in history,

and an affectionate homage to the proud Highlanders he met there. It was an instant success on its first performance and rivals the popularity of the overture The Hebrides, also inspired by the splendour of Scotland.

No less impressive is his masterly Symphony No. 1 in C minor, composed when he was just 15 years old. From its noisy and impetuous opening to its triumphant conclusion, this confident and adventurous work shows the influence of Mozart, Haydn and Weber but the effect is unmistakeably Mendelssohnian with fugal passages, unforgettable melodies and busy, inventive scoring.

"Whatever the exceptional Andrew Manze asked for," wrote the Leipziger Volkszeitung, "was delivered in real time: wonderfully delicate strings, spotless, yet warm-sounding woodwind ... the result was detailed and rich in contrast." Renowned for his boundless energy and scholarly knowledge and with many critically acclaimed recordings in a broad repertoire, Manze is celebrated as one of the most stimulating and inspirational conductors of his generation.

"Manze's take is wholly individual," wrote the Guardian. " [Brahms' symphonies] burst with life, by turns wistful, yearning, sharp-edged and blisteringly incisive ... this is the composer reinvented for the 21st century." In September 2014 Andrew Manze became the Principal Conductor of the NDR Radiophilharmonie in Hannover and immediately made headlines.

"If it continues like this," wrote the Neue Presse in November 2014, "the NDR Radiophilharmonie will soon be looked at with envy by the rest of the musical world, as what new Principal Conductor Andrew Manze is brewing up ... can be deemed sensational."

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Pentatone - PTC5186595

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Scheduled for release on 24 March 2017. Order it now and we will deliver it as soon as it is available.

Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 'New World'

Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 'New World'


Dvorak:

Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95 'From the New World'

Slavonic Dance No. 3 in A flat major, Op. 46 No. 3

Slavonic Dance No. 5 in A major, Op. 46 No. 5


Dvorak’s New World Symphony is counted among the most successful and distinctive symphonies ever written and it loses none of its drama or appeal on repeated playing. Inspired by American spirituals and Henry Longfellow’s epic poem The Song of Hiawatha, this infectiously tuneful work with its brilliantly colourful orchestration and rhythmic verve has its creative wellspring in Dvorak’s own homesickness. It was condescendingly described by his critics as a “Czech composer’s impression of the country” but its qualities were never in doubt and its inventiveness and warmth radiate from every page. From beautiful, wistful melodies, to unfettered exuberance and glorious, sustained climaxes, this extraordinary symphony has it all.

Dvorak’s evergreen Slavonic Dances Op. 46 (of which two are heard in this recording) are equally popular with audiences. Responsible for establishing Dvorak’s international reputation, these utterly charming pieces overflow with appealing melodies and catchy rhythms, their freshness and simplicity concealing their artful construction.

Andrés Orozco-Estrada is one of the most sought after conductors of his generation. Music Director of the Houston Symphony and Chief Conductor of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, he is also Principal Guest Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He has been widely praised for his style and command, Die Presse remarking “The orchestra was on top form, displaying precision and clarity in equal measure … packed with drama and finely balanced under Andrés Orozco-Estrada’s direction.” (August 2016)

This is Orozco-Estrada’s fifth recording for PENTATONE. His earlier discs of Dvořák symphonies were described as “Vivid and colourful, overall well balanced” (Pizzicato) “an interpretation full of theatricality, with a sure sense of the monumental” (Gramophone).

Future releases from PENTATONE with Orozco-Estrada in 2017 include Haydn’s Die Schöpfung with the Houston Symphony, and Richard Strauss’s opera Salome with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra.

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Pentatone - PTC5186574

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Scheduled for release on 24 March 2017. Order it now and we will deliver it as soon as it is available.

Mendelssohn: Piano Trios Nos. 1 & 2

Mendelssohn: Piano Trios Nos. 1 & 2


Mendelssohn:

Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 49

Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor, Op. 66


Julia Fischer (violin), Daniel Muller-Schott (cello) & Jonathan Gilad (piano)

Reissue of the 2006 release.

There are few composers who simultaneously exemplify both restraint and innovation as well as Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. Mendelssohn's two piano trios provide some of the finest examples of the balance he was able to achieve between deference to the great masters, in this case Ludwig van Beethoven, and a more Romantic sensibility for chromaticism, harmony and orchestration. A noted pianist in his own right, Mendelssohn performed the piano part on the premieres of both trios, along with Ferdinand David on violin and Carl Wittmann on cello. In this PENTATONE release these roles are filled by violinist Julia Fischer, cellist Daniel Muller-Schott and pianist Jonathan Gilad.

The contrast between the two piano works is striking. The Piano Trio in D minor was written in 1839, during the artistic and personal zenith of Mendelssohn's career. After years of remarkable success all over Europe, his appointment as director of the Leipzig Gewandhaus concerts in 1835 ensured that he could finally began to settle down in Germany, secure in his financial prospects. Two years later, Mendelssohn married and appeared to relish his new life as a husband and father of five. The first piano trio clearly reflects this elated mood, with lively dance movements and joyful, lyrical themes that this release manages to capture perfectly.

In contrast the Piano Trio in C minor, written only five years later, reflects a much more tumultuous period in Mendelssohn's life. His mother had died in 1843 and his health was beginning to turn for the worse, culminating in a fatal stroke on November 4th, 1847. Musically, this contributed to a period of dark timbres, tense tempos and increased chromaticism. Even during this gloomy time the tone is more understated than melodramatic, tending towards a more subtle form of subversion which is even more difficult to pull off, and all the more enjoyable when performed as convincingly as it is by Fischer, Muller-Schott and Gilad.

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Pentatone - PTC5186609

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Brahms: Violin Concerto & Double Concerto

Brahms: Violin Concerto & Double Concerto


Brahms:

Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77

Double Concerto for Violin & Cello in A minor, Op. 102

Daniel Muller-Schott (cello)


It is impossible to perform either Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D or his Double Concerto in A minor without inviting comparison to Joseph Joachim, the great Hungarian virtuoso for whom Brahms composed nearly all of his violin works. For many years, Joachim and Brahms were inseparable companions and mutual sources of inspiration. It was on Joachim’s urging that Brahms composed his Violin Concerto in D, a masterpiece which quickly entered the standard violin repertoire.

Violin Concerto in D was notable at the time for its return to a style of symphonic concerto which could be traced directly to Ludwig van Beethoven. This gives both conductor and orchestra a great deal of leeway for interpretation, especially during the long periods in which the solo violin doesn’t play at all, such as the orchestral introduction and the beginning of the Adagio movement. Russian-born American conductor Yakov Kreizberg is more than up to the task of bringing these moments to life, as is the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, for whom Kreizberg had served as chief conductor since 2003.

The titular role of violin soloist is filled masterfully by German violinist Julia Fischer, who throughout her numerous PENTATONE releases consistently brings a maturity and poise well beyond her years. Her interpretation captures both the lightheartedness and joy with which Brahms composed these works and the seriousness of the tradition from which they come. Fischer’s ability to graciously cede the spotlight to the orchestra and emerge in the foreground at just the right moments lends this particular release a level of interaction which truly sets it apart.

For the Double Concerto in A minor, Fischer is joined by fellow Munich native Daniel Müller-Schott on cello. Brahms composed this work as an olive branch to Joachim after a period in which they refused to speak for several years following Joachim’s contentious divorce. The Double Concerto is rife with musical cues and other references to their friendship, particularly in the interplay between cello and violin, and this spirit is perfectly captured by an exceptionally dynamic performance by Fischer and Müller-Schott.

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Pentatone - PTC5186592

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Brahms: Ballades and Fantasies

Brahms: Ballades and Fantasies


Brahms:

Theme and Variations in D minor (arr. from String Sextet, Op. 18)

Ballades (4), Op. 10

Fantasies (7 piano pieces), Op. 116


Bold, turbulent defiance sit alongside pained introspection and bittersweet reverie in this penetrating recital of Brahms piano works by the acclaimed young Russian pianist Denis Kozhukhin in his eagerly awaited second recording for PENTATONE.

By turns placid, sparse, restive and impassioned, the highly personal and contemplative late piano pieces of Brahms have been described as "the mirrors of his soul". The seven pieces comprising the Fantasias, Op. 116 are quite different in mood but are nevertheless intricately constructed to produce poetic miniatures of great depth and sonority, requiring sensitive artistry to convey their sense of unity and poignancy.

Brahms is in a more full-bloodied and demonstrative mood with the four character pieces in the much earlier Ballades, Op 10. But these too show moments of transcendent beauty as in the closing ballade where the tenor melody is woven into the mellifluously undulating pianissimo accompaniment. And in the rarely heard Theme and Variations, Op. 18b, Brahms makes a sumptuous and instantly seductive arrangement of the second movement of his own String Sextet, producing an arresting and magisterial work with exquisite tone colorations and a hushed, sublime ending.

Kozuhukin's first recording with PENTATONE of the Grieg and Tchaikovsky's Piano concertos was widely praised. Radio Bremen hailed him as "...already one of the greats of the black and white keys". Gramophone magazine named the release 'Editor's Choice' for May 2016, noting "Above all, [Kozhukhin] is natural ... His inerrant rhythmic sense is pliant yet taut; his sound unalloyed silver. Listening to Kozhukhin, you're left with one thing: the music - incontestable, complete." And The Herald Scotland was unequivocal. "If you want to add these old warhorses to your music library, however, there are few better places to start than here... [PENTATONE] uses the slogan 'Sit back and enjoy', and that is the way to appreciate a recording that could hardly be better for its balanced capturing of the performances."

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Pentatone - PTC5186568

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Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days. (Available now to download.)

On My Journey Now

On My Journey Now

Spirituals and Hymns


1) Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen 4.36

2) Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child 3.25

3) Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel 1.56

4) On My Journey Now 2.12

5) Give Me Jesus 3.24

6) Kumbaya 2.19

7) Go Down Moses 3.02

8) Deep River 2.55

9) Ain’t-a That Good News 2.28

10) Amazing Grace 4.43

11) Joshua Fought the Battle Of Jericho 2.59

12) De Blin’ Man Stood On De Road An’ Cried 3.23

13) Stand Still Jordan 3.28

14)Wade in theWater 1.30

15) By An’ By 2.11

16) My Lord, What a Morning 4.46

17)Were You There 2.57

18) Every Time I Feel the Spirit 2.31

19) Don’t YouWeepWhen I Am Gone 3.02

20) Battle Hymn of the Republic 4.06

21) Let Us Break Bread Together 2.55

22) My Tribute (To God Be The Glory) 5.08

23) He’s Got theWholeWorld in His Hands 2.37

24) Ride on, King Jesus! 2.10

25) Dream Big Speak Loud 5.16


Lester Lynch (baritone)

Life affirming, defiant and uplifting, there is nothing quite like the extraordinary power and simplicity of American Spirituals to move and inspire, abundantly demonstrated here by the acclaimed American operatic baritone Lester Lynch in this new release from PENTATONE of familiar and well-loved spirituals and hymns.

Conceived under conditions of tremendous hardship, these emotionally charged songs speak of the indomitable human will to live and to triumph over despair against the odds. Defiant and jubilant, they communicate the unquenchable longing for freedom and salvation.

“I have dreamed of recording this album from the inception of my career,” writes Lester Lynch in the accompanying album notes. “To realize that dream at this particular moment in time, to record these songs of freedom … echoes the spiritual tradition and revolutionary act of those who raised their voices in song against brutality and inequality.”Lester Lynch personally chose and arranged the songs in this release, each with a particular accompaniment—piano, organ, acoustic guitar, violin, trumpet, harmonica, drum, and djembe (a West African goblet drum). From the rhythmic By An’ By and Ev’ry Time I Feel De Spirit, to the richly melodic Amazing Grace and Deep River, the 24 songs constantly astonish and delight for their range and depth and their unfailing power to move.

“Music speaks to and heals the human spirit,” writes Lynch. “These songs have had a profound effect on American history. I sing them to honor those who struggled (and died) for freedom, and it is my hope that they will spark the light of freedom anew for every listener.”

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Pentatone - PTC5186571

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Rachmaninov & Prokofiev: Works for Cello and Piano

Rachmaninov & Prokofiev: Works for Cello and Piano


Prokofiev:

Cello Sonata in C major, Op. 119

Rachmaninov:

Cello Sonata in G minor, Op. 19


Johannes Moser (cello) & Andrei Korobeinikov (piano)

The achingly beautiful, haunting lyricism of early Rachmaninov and the soaring effusiveness of late Prokofiev are glowingly brought to life by the German-Canadian cellist Johannes Moser and the Russian pianist Andrei Korobeinikov in this new release from PENTATONE of richly expressive 20th century cello sonatas and other works.

Composed during troubled periods in the composers’ lives, the cello sonatas are life-affirming works. Rachmaninov’s arresting sonata which he wrote following a nervous breakdown is not unlike his perennially popular Second Piano Concerto: a journey from brooding melancholy to untrammelled joy, with a transcendentally beautiful slow movement. Prokofiev wrote his outstanding sonata while labouring under considerable hardship. It is by turns restrained and movingly lyrical, but the hairraising final movement with its bravura passagework ends the work in a blaze of defiance.

“Both Rachmaninov and Prokofiev are genius musical storytellers,” Moser said in a recent interview. “Both have their own very personal and individual language, but they are at the same time deeply rooted in the epic Russian tradition…When we recorded the album, we were very inspired by images of wide open nature, Russian folklore, as well as the longing and humour that both composers share.” “The Rachmaninov sonata is a piece that I’ve been avoiding for many years,” he added, “because I was waiting for the right partnership. And so to have a champion of Rachmaninov’s music like Andrei … it’s been very exciting for me to go on that journey with him.”

“Johannes Moser and Andrei Korobeinikov bring both muscle and imagination to these two epic Russian sonatas” BBC Music Magazine, March 2017 ****

“[there is] much to applaud. The mock-martial demeanour of the second movement [of the Prokofiev], with its sonorous pizzicatos, is vividly wrought by Moser and Korobeinikov…and they relish the contrast between this and the languorous bowed theme…[their] Rachmaninov Sonata has a keen sense of drama and line that never gets obscured despite the piece’s manifold technical challenges” Gramophone Magazine, February 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

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Pentatone - PTC5186594

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Richard Strauss: Ein Heldenleben & Macbeth

Richard Strauss: Ein Heldenleben & Macbeth


Strauss, R:

Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40

Macbeth, Op. 23


The celebrated young Colombian maestro Andrés Orozco-Estrada continues his critically acclaimed series of recordings for PENTATONE with this release of the evocative tone poems Macbeth and Ein Heldenleben by Richard Strauss, performed here with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony.

These gripping works, with their intricate scoring and compelling narratives, are orchestral tours de force, demonstrating Strauss’s gift for filling a huge orchestral canvas with vivid and exquisite details while maintaining a sense of drama. And they are stunningly brought to life in this recording with PENTATONE’s state of the art multi-channel surround sound.

Strauss’s brooding tone poem Macbeth is a psychological portrait of the main protagonists in the play, the insecure and vacillating Macbeth and his wife, the ambitious but deranged Lady Macbeth. Strauss’s often highly charged score suggests the mounting horror and dread of the ill-fated couple and their domestic unease, the work ending on a sombre note following their deaths and the triumphal march of Macduff.

In Strauss’s striking and florid masterpiece Ein Heldenleben, there’s little doubt who the real hero is but Strauss himself.While he was roundly mocked at the time for his audacity, there’s also little doubt that this bold and dramatic tone poem is no mere cornucopia of orchestral effects; it’s a life-affirming work which ends not in a triumphal blaze, but in a mood of quiet resignation.

This is Orozco-Estrada’s fourth recording for PENTATONE. His first recording, the Stravinsky ballets The Firebird and The Rite of Spring, was praised by Gramophone for his ability to “unearth an astonishing amount of detail at relatively spacious tempi” and for “PENTATONE’s awesomely precise recording”. His two discs of Dvořák symphonies received similar acclaim: “Vivid and colourful, overall well balanced” (Pizzicato) “an interpretation full of theatricality, with a sure sense of the monumental” (Gramophone).

“[The FRSO] offer a rich, well-upholstered sound…everything’s where it should be, and the playing has an easy virtuosity. Heldenleben sets off with terrific swagger, while the love music swells and swoons magnificently…fine, rousing and full-bodied” Gramophone Magazine, November 2016

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Pentatone - PTC5186582

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Marcel Tyberg: Masses

Marcel Tyberg: Masses


Tyberg:

Mass No. 1 in G Major for Mixed Chorus and Organ

Mass No. 2 in F Major for Mixed Chorus and Organ


Christopher Jacobson (organ)

South Dakota Chorale, Brian A. Schmidt

Marcel Tyberg was an accomplished Viennese composer, conductor and pianist. Unfortunately, due to the conditions of World War II, Tyberg, only 1/16th Jewish, was sent to his death and his musical career was prematurely extinguished. When Marcel Tyberg was murdered at Auschwitz, his music was lost with him. Until now.

Anticipating the Nazi movement in his region in 1943, Marcel gathered his friends in secret to share his music one last time. One friend recalled, “There was a childlike joy and tenderness in him that is only seen in great souls shortly before their return home. The tears ran down my cheeks. We all had the feeling that he will not be with us much longer.” That night Marcel entrusted his compositions to a friend— including the two Masses, his only sacred manuscripts that exist today.

Only a few days later, Marcel was captured in a night raid by the Nazi Gestapo and later counted among the millions murdered at Auschwitz. His music was kept by friends and eventually ended up in Buffalo, NY where the Buffalo Philharmonic began uncovering his symphonies in 2008. Tyberg’s Masses reverberate the joy of a devout man and brilliant musician. Their late-Romantic structure and harmonic composition resemble other masters like Mahler and Brucker, and their symphonic breadth encompass a vast range of human emotion. From the intimate iterations of “Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus” (Holy, holy, holy) in both Mass settings, to the roaring organ solo in the “Sanctus” of the Messe di fascile in F major, to the painfully beautiful soprano solo in the “Agnus Dei” of the Mass in G major.

“Directed by Brian A Schmidt, the South Dakota Chorale give exemplary performances – full-toned, carefully balanced and with just enough spin on the sound to keep the unisons interesting” Gramophone Magazine, February 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

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Pentatone - PTC5186584

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