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Mahler: Symphony No. 3

Mahler: Symphony No. 3


"Gustav Mahler’s Third Symphony, lasting one and a half hours or more, is not only his longest work but at the same time an exuberant and sunny ode to nature, mankind, the world and indeed life itself. And for this song of praise the composer requires both room and lavish means. No less than six movements, the richest of orchestral forces, and a contralto soloist and boys’ and women’s choirs whose sung texts help to bring across the symphony’s message, as in the Second Symphony and later in the Fourth and Eighth as well." (From liner notes by Clemens Romijn)

“[Fischer] is a challenge, inviting listeners to rethink and recalibrate their responses to the piece. Not everyone will be prepared to make the leap, but those who do will be handsomely rewarded. Without question, the finest instalment in Fischer’s Mahler cycle to date; and what breathtaking sound.” MusicWeb International, May 2017

“If you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have then you’ll need no encouraging to head for the second disc” Record Review, 20th May 2017

“Here for once is a Mahler symphony release that feels different from the outset...I doubt whether there has ever been a more precisely focused, more sheerly beautiful recording of any Mahler work...Reluctant to parade its roughest edges and disinclined to hurry, Fischer instead elicits a range of pristine, jewel-like colour that leaves its fabric refreshed...This Third is a must-have.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2017

“Fischer’s unique orchestra always presents music afresh. Never has the clarity of the orchestral textures shone more vividly. Maybe a fractionally slower tempo would have made the first movement’s climax more overwhelming — but along the way, what delights, what insights.” Sunday Times, 4th June 2017

“As vivid a performance as one would expect. That stylishly lazy trombone, a dying monster, is emblematic of the characteristic licence the conductor gives to his splendid Budapest players…the flowers of the field and the beasts of the forest have never been more vividly characterised, while Nietzsche's midnight ode is graced by the contralto of choice for Mahler symphonies, Gerhild Romberger…always alive, always interesting, vivid in sound” BBC Music Magazine, July 2017 ****

“What a finale: Fischer's flowing speeds avoiding any hint of bombast, the final cadence unforced and radiant. Everyone needs multiple recordings of this symphony. Add this new one to the pile.” The Arts Desk, June 2017

“Fischer isn’t afraid to let go in the music’s wilder episodes...Mostly importantly, [he] conducts with a plasticity of line, a natural rubato, that maximizes expressivity without excess sentimentality.” Classics Today, June 2017

““Like a sound of nature. That's the description that Mahler wrote above an oboe's cry in his epic Third Symphony from the 1890s. And it's a tag that Ivan Fischer has clearly taken to heart in this most eloquent and immersive performance…cuckoos, nightingales and birds galore; furry forest creatures; the anxiety call of the contrabassoon: they're spotted all over the bulk of this massive hymn to life in all forms. I've never heard a performance that captures nature's canvas so well” The Times, 16th June 2017 *****

“Every player seems to have thought about his part afresh and emotional power grows out of countless small moments, not the usual grandstanding. Some may find the performance too calculated. Others will admire its restraint, its eloquence, its distinctive voice.” Financial Times, 16th June 2017 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - June 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Super Audio CD

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Channel Iván Fischer Mahler Symphonies - CCSSA38817

(SACD - 2 discs)

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à la russe

à la russe


Balakirev:

Islamey - Oriental Fantasy

Rachmaninov:

Piano Sonata No. 1 in D minor, Op. 28

Stravinsky:

The Firebird: Danse infernale du roi Kastchei

Berceuse from The Firebird

Finale from The Firebird

Tchaikovsky:

Méditation (No. 5 from Morceaux, Op. 72)

Passé lontain (No. 17 from Morceaux, Op. 72)

Scherzo à la Russe, Op. 1 No. 1


Alexandre Kantorow (piano)

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

Alexandre Kantorow released his first disc for BIS in 2016, performing Liszt’s piano concertos to critical acclaim: ‘I’m here to tell you that Alexandre Kantorow is Liszt reincarnated’ wrote one impressed reviewer, in Fanfare Magazine. Not yet 20 years old, the French pianist and son of violinist and conductor Jean-Jacques Kantorow now explores his Russian roots, in a recital that opens with Rachmaninov’s weighty First Piano Sonata, inspired by Goethe’s play Faust, and its three main characters, the scholar Faust, his beloved Gretchen and Mephistopheles, the Devil’s emissary. The nostalgic intimacy of Méditation and Passé lointain, from Tchaikovsky’s Op. 72 collection, offers respite from the drama, but tension returns with Guido Agosti’s virtuosic piano arrangement of three extracts from Stravinsky’s Firebird.

Kantorow closes his Russian recital with Mily Balakirev’s ‘oriental fantasy’ Islamey, one of the iconic works of the piano literature. Fiendishly difficult, the piece famously inspired Ravel to write something that would be even harder to play (his Gaspard de la nuit). A committed Russian nationalist, Balakirev himself found the inspiration for Islamey during a journey to the Caucasus when he was introduced to the local music tradition.

“The speed-of-light excursions from one end of the keyboard to another, the density of the writing, and the sheer range of colours (you’ll barely miss the orchestration) which Kantorow conjures from the instrument in the Stravinsky initially had us wondering whether he'd enlisted an extra pair of hands to help out...A recording to treasure.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 8th June 2017

“an outstanding young artist at work...the early Tchaikovsky Scherzo brims over with panache and relish; and Islamey rivals even Berezovsky for the title of cleanest and most exhilarating account. If Kantarow's Stravinsky and Balakirev show that his fortissimo can shake the chandeliers from the ceiling when he chooses, his Rachmaninov is notably more classical.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2017

Presto Disc of the Week

9th June 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Super Audio CD

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BIS - BIS2150

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Vaughan Williams: Scott of the Antarctic – complete score

Vaughan Williams: Scott of the Antarctic – complete score


Scott of the Antarctic: the complete score (1947-48 ed 2016)

Including numbers excluded from the final cut of the film

Transcribed and edited from the original manuscripts by Martin Yates (2016)

1. Main Title [“Heroism”] (Andante maestoso)

2. Antarctic Prologue (Lento)

3. Oriana [Wilson’s wife] (Lento movimento – Andante)

4. Doom [Oriana’s first meeting with Scott] (Lento)

5. Sculpture Scene Part 1 [Kathleen Scott and her husband]

Kathleen 1 (Andante sostenuto – Lento – Adagio)

6. Sculpture Scene Part 2 [Kathleen 2] (Andante – Lento)

7. Nansen (Andante misterioso – Allegretto)

8. Scott and Oates in the Rain (Lento)

9. Office (Allegro)

10. Queen’s Birthday March (Tempo di marcia)

11. Ship’s Departure from Cardiff (Lento ma non troppo – Pochiss. meno mosso)

12. Amundsen (Lento)

13. Ice Floes (Allegretto – Moderato)

14. Iceberg (Lento)

15. Penguin Dance (Molto moderato)

16. Ross Island (Lento)

17. The Ship’s Departure from Ross Island (Allegro con marcia)

18. Base Camp (Moderato)

19. Aurora 1 (Molto lento)

20. Pony March [Baltic Fleet] (Allegretto alla marcia)

21. Pony March 2 (Andante con marcia – Allegro)

22. Pony March and Aphelion (Moderato alla marcia)

23. Blizzard (Andante con moto – Poco piu lento)

24. Distant Glacier (Andante misterioso)

25. Climbing the Glacier (Lento)

26. Scott on the Glacier 1 [Version 1] (Risoluto – Andante)

27. Scott on the Glacier 2 [Version 2] (Andante maestoso)

28. Snow Plain [Scott’s decision] (Lento)

29. Kathleen 3 (Andante sostenuto)

30. Polar Party Departs 1 (Moderato alla marcia e pesante)

31. Polar Party Departs 2 (Moderato alla marcia e pesante)

32. No. 101 March (Alla marcia)

33. Black Flag (Andante moderato)

34. The Return (Andante alla marcia – Allegro)

35. Descending the Glacier (Lento)

36. The Death of Evans [Extended Version] (Lento – Lamentoso)

37. The Death of Oates (Lento – Maestoso)

38. Aurora 2 (Maestoso)

39. Only Eleven Miles (Lento)

40. The Discovery of the Tent and the Bodies (Lento moderato)

41. End Music (Andante sostenuto – Maestoso)


Ilona Domnich (soprano), Christopher Nickol (organ), Women of the Scottish National Orchestra Chorus (chorus)

Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Martin Yates

It is a revelation to hear every note that Vaughan Williams wrote, late in 1947, for the then unmade film Scott of the Antarctic. There have been previous attempts to revisit some of the unused music he sketched for the film, but now conductor Martin Yates, with the support of the composer’s estate, has transcribed from the original manuscripts all the music, comprising some 41 beautifully rounded numbers. Vaughan Williams subsequently reworked some of this material in the Sinfonia Antartica, but on this recording we are able to hear for the first time his vivid reaction to the story, before the film was even shot. Standing independently beside the Sinfonia Antartica, this is a gripping symphonic experience in its own right.

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Dutton Epoch - CDLX7340

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Mahler: Song Cycles

Mahler: Song Cycles


Mahler:

Kindertotenlieder

Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (4 songs, complete)

Rückert-Lieder (5 songs, complete)


Marc Albrecht conducts the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra with the acclaimed mezzo-soprano Alice Coote in a persuasive new recording of Mahler’s incomparable orchestral song cycles Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, Kindertotenlieder and the Rückert-Lieder.

Richly lyrical, poignant and soul searching, Mahler’s orchestral songs deal with the familiar themes of love, life, resignation and loss, exquisitely realised on an orchestral canvas which combines haunting and compelling sonorities with strident, unsettling dissonances. While not as ambitious as his symphonies, they are as deeply-felt and often regarded as the key to the larger-scale works.

The eloquent sadness of the Kindertotenlieder is expressed though the rather bare orchestration and the entrancing use of solo instruments, culminating in a blissfully serene conclusion. With Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, the restless mood swings are matched with fluctuating, vividly textured orchestral colours. And for the most lyrical song cycle, the Rückert-Lieder, the delicately woven orchestral textures are ravishing in their effect, especially in the incomparable Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen, a song of which Mahler said “It is truly me”.

“What makes Albrecht’s Mahler so unique? His approach has integrity, is intelligent and sensitive … Albrecht leads the Mahler that makes you love Mahler.” (NRC Handelsblad).

Marc Albrecht is Music Director of the Netherlands Philharmonic, the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra and the Dutch National Opera. Acclaimed for his interpretations of Wagner, Strauss and Mahler, as well as for his commitment to contemporary music, Albrecht is a regular guest at Europe’s most prestigious opera houses and orchestras.

The world renowned mezzo-soprano Alice Coote is acclaimed for her performances of Strauss, Mahler, Berlioz, Mozart, Handel and Bach; she performs throughout the UK, Europe and the US and has a busy recital schedule.

The Guardian noted “Alice Coote's many admirers will be grateful to have her performance in Mahler’s great song-symphony documented in a carefully made studio recording [for PENTATONE], for she has emerged over the past few years as one of the finest mezzo interpreters of Das Lied von der Erde around … exquisitely coloured; every word matters, and the sadness that pervades the mezzo songs in particular is conveyed without it ever becoming self-conscious or sentimental.”

“Her mezzo is rich and multicoloured, imbued with an intrinsic intensity and emotional complexity...In some ways, then, this disc presents the sort of performances one would expect: deeply personal, vocally idiosyncratic...It's not always beautiful...but there's never any doubting the emotional truth.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2017

“With conductor Marc Albrecht drawing eloquent playing by the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, her performance has a focus that’s compelling, as well as all the individuality you’d expect. Higher up, she sounds full of light and warmth...but all her voice’s many facets are harnessed to convey meaning.” The Guardian, 13th July 2017 ****

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Pentatone - PTC5186576

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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 *****

“The finale’s dramatic profiling is relished with an exuberance and temporal flexibility such that one wonders afresh at the blazing ingenuity of Haydn’s creative imagination.” The Strad, July 2017

“The more I listened to the Chiaroscuros, the more I found myself tuning into their world. I very much hope that they will return to Haydn soon.” MusicWeb International, July 2017

“In this completion of the set the players again use gut strings, but it is less the period light touch of the performances that is captivating than the inexhaustible richness of their imagination. Every unexpected twist and turn is as fresh as the day it was written.” Financial Times, 4th August 2017 *****

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BIS - BIS2168

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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.

“Both the gentleness and ecstatic immediacy of Bach’s rich imagery become apparent at the outset and each movement is performed at a compellingly high level. The liquid and brilliantly projected bass-singing of Roderick Williams is simply majestic...After 22 years of intensive Bach recording, Suzuki and his forces just seem to get better.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2017

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2017

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Super Audio CD

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BIS - Suzuki Bach Cantatas - BIS2231

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Steinberg: Violin Concerto & Symphony No. 4 'Turkish'

Steinberg: Violin Concerto & Symphony No. 4 'Turkish'


Steinberg, M:

Violin Concerto

World Premiere Recording

Sergey Levitin (violin)

Symphony No. 4 'Turkish'

World Premiere Recording


Maximilian Steinberg was a pupil – and son-in-law – of Rimsky-Korsakov in pre-Revolutionary Russia, exhibiting all the orchestral and lyrical characteristics one might expect of such a heritage. (Steinberg himself would later be a teacher of Shostakovich.) The Turksib Symphony – his fourth – completed in 1933, celebrates the building and completion of the Turkestan-Siberia Railway. Using Kazakh folk melodies and in four richly scored movements, it is an inspiring discovery. Contrastingly, Steinberg’s final work, the post-war Violin Concerto, has a valedictory and autumnal feeling, and soloist Sergey Levitin encompasses the virtuosic writing with complete authority while finding the music’s passionate and romantic manner.

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Dutton Epoch - CDLX7341

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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)

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

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.

“Brantelid demonstrates his beautiful singing tone throughout this disc, and an excellent recorded balance between cello and piano means you hear all the detail at all times. The performers clearly have a great rapport as phrasing and character are always well matched.” Presto Classical, 30th June 2017

“Brantelid’s light, bright, satiny tone suits Fauré’s style down to the ground – more of a high tenor than a hefty baritone – and Forsberg brings the composer’s piano writing into shimmering technicolor, splendidly capturing its wealth of detail and constantly shifting, side-lit harmonic language” BBC Music Magazine, September 2017 *****

Presto Disc of the Week

30th June 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Super Audio CD

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BIS - BIS2220

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Sibelius: Symphonies Nos 3, 6 & 7

Sibelius: Symphonies Nos 3, 6 & 7


Sibelius:

Symphony No. 3 in C major, Op. 52

Symphony No. 6 in D minor, Op. 104

Symphony No. 7 in C major, Op. 105


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here

The long-awaited final disc in the Sibelius cycle from Minnesota Orchestra and Osmo Vänskä

The first disc in the Sibelius cycle from Osmo Vänskä and Minnesota Orchestra made the reviewer in Gramophone speculate about a 'benchmark cycle for the 21st century' whilst the second instalment received a Grammy for 'Best Orchestral Performance'. The long-awaited final disc in the cycle, with a playing time of 82 minutes, combines the Finnish master's third symphony, completed in 1907, with his two final works in the genre, composed more or less in tandem between 1922 and 1924. Symphony No. 3 in C major is Sibelius's most classical symphony, a radical change in direction after the opulence of its predecessor. It has been claimed that the mastery of form in its first movement is comparable only to the greatest Viennese masters – and at the same time the conductor Koussevitzky, one of the composer's strongest champions, spoke of it as ‘music far in advance of its time’. Fifteen years later, and after the heroic Fifth Symphony, Sibelius again presented a symphony which surprised those admirers who expected more of the same. Sibelius gave Symphony No. 6 a refined modal flavouring, avoiding both virtuoso orchestral writing and massive climaxes, and likened it to an offering of 'pure spring water'. This he followed up immediately with what would become his symphonic swan song – the stern and majestic Seventh Symphony. A one-movement work, it was at first billed as ‘Fantasia sinfonica’ but it is indeed a true symphony, its single movement portraying elements of all four movements of symphonic practice.

“With these recordings, Vanska confirms his status as our greatest living Sibelian. Irreplaceable.” Sunday Times, 10th July 2016

“The orchestra's sound under Vänskä has a kind of sharp-focus richness that's never cloying.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2016

“Despite wonderful brass moments...I think it’s the string playing that impressed me most. Their sound is always remarkable, not least in the Sixth Symphony, where the very opening allows them to show off their enormous dynamic range...Even if you already own Vänskä’s earlier cycle with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, I think that these new performances are simply unmissable. An outstanding achievement in every way.” James Longstaffe, Presto Classical, 29th July 2016

“Vänskä’s Sibelius is all about clarity – of rhythm, of texture, of intention. It is zealously unfussy and entirely without exaggeration. But it can stop you in your tracks...The Third and Sixth Symphonies feel even more closely related than usual...One just knows that the ear-pricking clarity throughout these performances is of Vänskä’s and not the balance engineer’s making.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2016

“The playing is polished and detailed, now springy and buoyant, now occluded and chilling. Tempi are slightly broad but convincingly so. From the plunging energy of the opening of the Third Symphony to the bleak, raw ending of the Seventh, this is a gripping listen.” The Guardian, 17th July 2016 *****

“Outstanding Sibelius performances, outstandingly recorded” MusicWeb International, October 2016

“Vänska crowns his second Sibelius cycle with gripping renditions of the third and last two symphonies.” The Times, December 2016

Presto Disc of the Week

29th July 2016

Presto Discs of 2016

Winner

GGramophone Awards 2017

Finalist - Orchestral

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2016

BBC Music Magazine

Orchestral Choice - August 2016

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

BIS Osmo Vänskä Sibelius Symphonies - BIS2006

(SACD)

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Carnevale 1729

Carnevale 1729


Albinoni:

Il tuo core in dono accetto (from Filandro)

Fior ch'a spuntar si vede (from Filandro)

Giacomelli:

Mi par sentir la bella (from Gianguir)

Vanne, si, di al, mio diletto (from Gianguir)

Leo:

Soffre talor del vento (from Catone in Utica)

Ombra cara, ombra adorata (from Catone in Utica)

Orlandini:

Non sempre invendicata (from Adelaide)

Quanto bello agl'occhi miei (from Adelaide)

Scherza in mar la navicella (from Adelaide)

Vedro piu liete e belle (from Adelaide)

Porpora:

Il pastor se torna aprile (from Semiramide riconosciuta)

In braccio a mille furie (from Semiramide riconosciuta)

Bel piacer saria d'un core (from Semiramide riconosciuta)

Vinci, Leonardo:

Nave altera che in mezzo all'onde (from L'abbandono di Armida)


Ann Hallenberg (mezzo-soprano)

Il Pomo d'Oro, Stefano Montanari

The Carnival of Venice in 1729 was quite unlike any other. Over a period of two months, opera houses went into a frenzy of competition to show off the most famous singers of the day, including the legendary castrato Farinelli who made his astonishing Venetian debut. Several of the most fashionable composers rose to the occasion, writing ravishing music for spectacular productions which often pitted the singers against each other in breathtaking displays of virtuosity. The results were sensational; one tour de force followed another in an atmosphere of fevered excitement and the adoring public lapped it up.

"The excellent musicians of the fantastic period-instrument ensemble ... get it all perfectly right: every tone, every phrase, coloratura and accompaniment" (SUddeutsche Zeitung).

The critically acclaimed II pomo d'oro is an Italian baroque ensemble founded in 2012 with a special focus on opera with authentic performances on period instruments. They have recorded 15 albums including the world premiere recording of Leonardo Leo's Cantone in Utica.

Ann Hallenberg is a much in-demand Swedish mezzo-soprano and has recorded over 40 CDs, her solo CD Agrippina winning the award for best operatic recital at the International Opera Awards in May 2016.

The baroque violinist and conductor Stefano Montanan' is a much sought after guest conductor with both modern and period orchestras. He is regarded as one of the finest baroque violin virtuosos of his generation. His recording of Corelli's Violin Sonatas op.5 won a Diapason d'Or and he was nominated for a Grammy Award for his recording of Purcell's O Solitude with Andreas Scholl for Decca.

“Her range, with astonishing evenness of tone and voluptuous colouring, extends from contralto to soprano, and her sublime artistry keeps the attention...Her technical bravura leaves one almost breathless...Hallenberg’s alchemy turns this accomplished music to 24-carat gold.” Sunday Times, 2nd July 2017

“Hallenberg dazzles with sensational virtuosity and warm tone that is straight as a die, and Il pomo d’oro supports brilliantly.” The Observer, 9th July 2017 *****

BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the month - September 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Super Audio CD

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Pentatone - PTC5186678

(SACD - 2 discs)

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