SACDs

RCO Live

Live recordings of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

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Glanert: Requiem for Hieronymus Bosch

Glanert: Requiem for Hieronymus Bosch

World premiere recording


David Wilson-Johnson (voice), Aga Mikolaj (soprano), Ursula Hesse von den Steinen (mezzo-soprano), Gerhard Siegel (tenor), Christof Fischesser (bass) & Leo van Doeselaar (organ)

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra & Netherlands Radio Choir, Markus Stenz

Recorded live at Concertgebouw Amsterdam, 5 November 2016.

The famed painter Hieronymus Bosch portrayed medieval life brimming with symbolism, fantasy and riddles. Commemorating the 500th anniversary of the artist’s passing, the RCO commissioned Detlev Glanert to write a requiem for soloists, choir, organ and orchestra. The composition translates the demonic nature of Bosch’s paintings with textual counterparts into music. Glanert combines traditional requiem texts with excerpts from the manuscript collection Carmina Burana – each movement of the Requiem is accompanied by a poem about the seven deadly sins.

“The performance under Stenz has tremendous dramatic intensity, with David Wilson-Johnson as the speaker setting the tone at the start with his terrifying summons to the artist. There is also immense choral singing, with soprano Aga Mikolaj steepling thrillingly over the top of it, and immaculate playing by the RCO.” The Guardian, 13th July 2017 ****

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Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1 & Violin Concerto & Schumann: Piano Quartet

Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1 & Violin Concerto & Schumann: Piano Quartet


Brahms:

Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77

Frank Peter Zimmermann (violin)

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bernard Haitink

Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15

Emanuel Ax (piano)

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bernard Haitink

Schumann:

Piano Quartet in E flat major, Op. 47

Emanuel Ax (piano)

RCO Chamber Soloists


Bernard Haitink was the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra's chief conductor from 1961-88, and was named honorary conductor in 1999.

This album features his 2010 live Johannes Brahms recordings with Emanuel Ax (Piano Concerto No. 1) and Frank Peter Zimmermann (Violin Concerto). A brand new studio recording of Robert Schumann's Piano Quartet with Emanuel Ax and RCO principals Vesko Eschkenazy, Henk Rubingh and Gregor Horsch is offered as a makeweight.

“[Zimmermann's] newer version [of the Brahms] has even more verve, the supple sweetness of his playing matching the burnished orchestral sound Haitink coaxes from his players. Ax too is hugely convincing in the dark storm of the D minor concerto, letting every note unfold naturally, pacing and colouring every phrase with warmth and authority” Classical Music, July 2017 *****

“[Zimmermann’s] Brahms is not only an example of technical and musical mastery, but above that demonstrates an intelligent stylistic organisation with, here and there, subtle portamentos, a marvellously nuanced sound production and a radiant vibrato…it is the same with Emanuel Ax…[whose] performance is perfect unity between high mastery and powerful emotion” Diapason, May 2017 *****

“Haitink’s enduring association with this music ensures that every gesture has a naturalness to it, drawing out an oboe line here, a clarinet phrase there. Temperamentally, Frank Peter Zimmermann is on exactly the same wavelength, finding a balance between heart and head…there’s so much colour from the orchestral players and so much variety of touch in Ax’s playing [in the Piano Concerto] that the result is constantly engaging” Gramophone Magazine, June 2017

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Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14

Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14


With the release of this live recording of Hector Berlioz's 'Symphonie fantastique', RCO Live celebrates the start of its collaboration with Daniele Gatti as the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra's seventh chief conductor on 9 September 2016.

His unconventional take on this spectacular score evokes the astonishment audiences must have experienced at the time of the 1830 premiere. It is exactly this sense of surprise and freshness – founded on a thorough knowledge of the score – and the sheer joy of making music together, that prompted the members of the RCO to choose Daniele Gatti as their new chief conductor.

“Gatti’s reading is poised and energetic, lucid and detailed. Its unconventional emphasis on scene-painting over sweeping gesture yields some fascinating results in the opening movements…the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra’s characteristic burnished sheen and the mellow restrained horns [is] spaciously captured by the SACD recording” BBC Music Magazine, January 2017 ***

“the string sound is silky, the brass glowing, the woodwind characterful” The Times, 16th September 2016

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Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27

Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27

Recorded Live at Concertgebouw Amsterdam on 28-29 and 31 January 2010


The RCO's performance history of Sergei Rachmaninoff's Second Symphony is strangely uneven. Already three years after its completion the symphony was performed by Willem Mengelberg in a programme that also boasted the composer as soloist in his own Piano Concerto No. 3. After that the symphony was performed again in 1921 and then there's a gap of 59 years. From 1980 on no less than 10 conductors (including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Kirill Kondrashin and Kurt Sanderling) put it on the RCO's music stands.

Its latest RCO incarnation proved to be an ideal performance.: with Mariss Jansons at the helm, heart and mind of this piece were totally balanced and the opulence of the RCO's sound at the Concertgebouw was perfectly suited to Rachmaninoff's most beloved symphony.

“Jansons shapes its sumptuous melodies with restraint and detail, making the climaxes more than usually explosive. There’s great clarity in the playing, especially in the long slow movement with its huge clarinet solo...There’s no indulgence and plenty of excitement in this live recording from 2010.” The Guardian, 10th July 2016 ****

“The Concertgebouw strings have rarely sounded lusher, though Jansons never wallows in sentiment, and the wind soloists, notably the yearning clarinet in the adagio, are outstanding...With Tchaikovsky, this is the music in which the young Jansons made his name. He surveys it now with Olympian scope.” Sunday Times, 17th July 2016

“very beautiful, very pleasant … good recorded sound as well.” CD Review, 9th July 2016

“This is a conductor who is fully in tune with Rachmaninov bringing a performance that is unsettled, stormy and full of restrained emotion.” The Classical Reviewer, 17th July 2016

“Jansons has always been more interventionist. While his speeds have slowed a little and the Concertgebouw acoustic imparts a softer grain, much is as it always has been: the rubato personal and touching, the sudden pianissimos positively breathtaking (unless you judge them to be overdone), the textures shimmery and iridescent, flecked with woodwind colour others miss.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2016

“A detailed account.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2016 ***

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Horizon 7

Horizon 7


Benjamin, G:

Dream of the Song

Bejun Mehta (countertenor)

Nederlands Kamerkoor, George Benjamin

Lindberg, M:

Era

David Robertson

Rijnvos:

fuoco e fumo

Daniel Harding

Tan Dun:

Double Bass Concerto 'The Wolf'

Dominic Seldis (double bass)


The seventh release in RCO Live's Horizon series features world premieres recorded during three concert seasons. Magnus Lindberg's sumptuous 'Era' – a birthday present from the Concertgebouw Hall to the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra - dates from the 2012-2013 season. Both Tan Dun's catchy double bass concerto 'The Wolf' and Richard Rijnvos's 'fuoco e fumo' about the 1996 destruction by fire of the Venetian opera house La Fenice, are from 2015. The programme opens with a beguiling 20-minute work for countertenor, women’s voices and orchestra, 'Dream of the Song', Benjamin’s first work since his ground-breaking opera 'Written on Skin', was premiered in September at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw by the countertenor Bejun Mehta, the ladies of the Netherlands Chamber Choir and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by its composer. The work sets verse by three major poets who spent formative years in Granada; two Hebrew poets of mid-11th century, Samuel HaNagid and Solomon Ibn Gabirol (sung by solo countertenor in English versions by Peter Cole), and Gabriel Garcia Lorca (sung by the female chorus in the original Spanish). Commissioned by the Royal Concertgebouw, BBC and Boston Symphony Orchestras and the Festival d’Automne, the work received its UK premiere on 18 March with Iestyn Davies, the BBC Singers and BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Oliver Knussen.

Recorded live at Concertgebouw Amsterdam on 17-18 January 2013 (Lindberg), 29-30 January 2015 (Tan Dun), 12 June 2015 (Rijnvos), 25-26 September 2015 (Benjamin)

“Benjamin’s song cycle … has a warm (and sometimes searing) sensuality which is eloquently projected by Bejun Mehta … Tan Dun’s Wolf… [is] a virtuoso vehicle for bass player Dominic Seldis, and like everything else on the CD, is immaculately recorded and expertly performed” BBC Music Magazine, November 2016 *****

“channelling the spirit of Sibelius, not only in that obvious homage to the 4th Symphony a century earlier, but also in the way Lindberg layers tempos; an apparently fast speed in the foreground while the foundations below move with a kind of glacial inevitability.” CD Review, 29th July 2016

“The true wonder of the RCO’s ‘Horizon’ series is in the sonic journey each record presents. And you’ll want to hear George Benjamin’s Dream of the Song, especially in this almost creepily perfect performance from Bejun Mehta…[the] breathtaking, chameleonic playing from Seldis that tells you why he’s this incredible orchestra’s principal” Gramophone Magazine, July 2016

“Mehta…is alive to the sense of every syllable. The whole performance projects Benjamin’s soundworld and its luxurious interplay between instruments and voices far more vividly than it came across at the Barbican; it’s easily the most striking score in this collection.” The Guardian, 26th May 2016

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Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5 in B flat major, Op. 100

Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5 in B flat major, Op. 100

Recorded Live at Concertgebouw Amsterdam on 17-19 and 21 September 2014


In this recording of Sergei Prokofiev's masterful Fifth Symphony, Mariss Jansons and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra find themselves on familiar ground. Already in 1948 (four years after the world premiere) Eduard van Beinum introduced it to the orchestra. A long line of famous conductors followed, including André Previn, George Szell, Vladimir Ashkenazy and Valery Gergiev. The fact that this music is part of Mariss Jansons' musical DNA, may explain the feeling of authenticity in this recording.

“Jansons treats the score with a deep, exalted sort of heroism that speaks beyond any immediate politics of the piece. We get beautiful playing from the great Dutch orchestra: lines unfolding graciously with that majestic Concertgebouw sound, which glowers and glows from the bottom up and in which Jansons takes plenty of time to wallow.” The Guardian, 21st April 2016 ****

“With a wonderful if rather too plush-sounding hall and a glorious orchestra, Jansons secures a soft-grained interpretation that should satisfy his admirers” Gramophone Magazine, June 2016

“This Jansons version is one of the finest I’ve encountered. His is a version that demonstrates the symphony’s stature. It’s a great shame that the playing time is so meagre but, for once, that’s a secondary issue: the quality of the performance, interpretation and recorded sound trump the issue of the playing time.” MusicWeb International, May 2016

“this is wonderful, sensuous, lush sound … Jansons has a great sensitivity to style.” CD Review, 9th July 2016

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Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 in D Minor

Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 in D Minor

Recorded Live at Concertgebouw Amsterdam on 19, 21 and 23 March 2014


Ever since the tenure of its chief conductor Eduard van Beinum (1945–59), the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra has cherished one of the greatest Bruckner symphonic traditions in the world. With this release of Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony, Mariss Jansons and the Concertgebouw Orchestra add a new chapter to the RCO’s impressive performance and recording history of Bruckner’s works.

“magnificent.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2016 ****

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Woodwinds

Woodwinds


Janacek:

Mládí (Youth), for wind sextet

Martinu:

Sextet for Piano and Wind Instruments, H. 174

Poulenc:

Sextet for piano and wind quintet, Op. 100

Veress:

Sonatina per oboe, clarinetto e Fagotto


After 'Brass' (RCO07002) and 'Brass Too' (RCO14010), recorded by the Brass of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Woodwinds of the RCO proudly present their own CD.

Traditionally most RCO members love to engage in chamber music as well and the woodwinds section of the orchestra is no exception. In the past woodwind ensembles like the Concertgebouw Sextet (1909-1937) and the Danzi Quintet (1958-1978) have even been very successful outside of the Netherlands. This SACD pays homage to this tradition.

“These are highly accomplished performances, the players blending beautifully” Gramophone Magazine, March 2016

“These Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra musicians bring a terrific style and panache to this irresistible new disc. They receive an excellent, well balanced SACD recording from the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam and there are useful booklet notes” The Classical Reviewer, 04/03/2016

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Mahler: Symphony No. 4

Mahler: Symphony No. 4


With Gustav Mahler, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra has a very special relationship. The composer conducted the orchestra no less than 12 times and found in Amsterdam an understanding audience. Mahler's Fourth Symphony was premiered in Amsterdam by the composer, who conducted it twice, once before and once after the interval, so that the audience could get to know the work better. With this release, Mariss Jansons and the Concertgebouw orchestra add an impressive new chapter to the RCO’s recorded history of Mahler Symphonies.

“it's the subtler aspects, the perfect matching of instrumental entries and the sensual seamlessness of it all, which remain in the memory” Gramophone Magazine, November 2015

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RCO Live Mariss Jansons Mahler Symphonies - RCO15004

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Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45

Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45


Following the requiem masses of Dvorák and Mozart in previous seasons, this performance of Brahms's German Requiem would have been the third in a long series of Requiems conducted by Mariss Jansons. Unfortunately the 'new tradition' was cut short by Jansons's departure as the RCO's chief conductor during the 2014/2015 season. The performance was dedicated to Kurt Sanderling, one of the orchestra's most beloved guest conductors. He passed away the year before and would have turned 100 that very month. It proved to be a very moving performance, a fitting salute to a great conductor.

“The performances of both soloists feel integral to the ensemble, and to the performance as a whole … A standout release, then, among Jansons’ many recent offerings, and a version that does full justice to the work. The German Requiem is hardly a rarity on disc, but this recording has a fair claim to being the finest since Klemperer, a version with which it shares many key qualities.” Classical CD Review, 13th November 2015

“Consolation, tonal and spiritual, arrives with the new recording from Mariss Jansons…in the unforced transparency of the Concertgebouw, hall and ensemble, every strand is audible, nothing is too much, but the antiseptic implications of such loving care are swept away by the pleasure taken in each phrase…the Netherlands Radio Choir have been superbly coached by Michael Gläser: massed enunciation so artlessly natural takes a lot of practice” Gramophone Magazine, November 2015

“Finley represents luxury casting...He articulates the words with evident care for the meaning and his vocal control is enviable. In a word, he’s marvellous … This is one of those performances that shows his [Mariss Jansons] partnership with the orchestra at its very best...The sound on this SACD is excellent. The balance between choir and orchestra has been well judged.” MusicWeb International, October 2015

“The reputation for dreariness once inflicted on the German Requiem has never been more decisively refuted than by this Amsterdam performance. In the light of the orchestra’s glorious playing under Jansons, it stands out as one of Brahms’s most inventively scored works...A joy.” Sunday Times, 4th October 2015

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