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 Coming Soon, Brett Dean's Hamlet and other forthcoming highlights

Allan ClaytonIt’s shaping up to be a great summer for fans of contemporary and twentieth-century opera, with the DVD and Blu-ray release of Brett Dean’s enthralling new Hamlet (filmed during its opening run at Glyndebourne last July), a compelling film noirish Poulenc/Bartók double-bill from the Paris Opera, the first studio recording of John Adams's Doctor Atomic (under the baton of the composer), and the world premiere recording of Bernstein’s final opera in a new chamber version by Garth Edwin Sutherland.

There’s also the first instalment of a new Beethoven cycle from Cuarteto Casals, a welcome return to Rachmaninov from pianist Steven Osborne, and Bruch from Joshua Bell and The Academy of St Martin in the Fields – thirty years on from their first recording together.

Brett Dean: Hamlet (DVD)

Allan Clayton, Sarah Connolly, Barbara Hannigan, Rod Gilfry, John Tomlinson; London Philharmonic Orchestra, The Glyndebourne Chorus Vladimir Jurowski

Premiered at Glyndebourne last summer, this new Hamlet looks set to become one of the most of significant operas of the early twenty-first century, thanks to Dean’s hugely sympathetic voice-writing and mesmerising, often eerie orchestration. Astonishing central performances from Allan Clayton (a ‘sweet prince’ to rival the finest Shakespearians) and Barbara Hannigan, who delivers a shockingly visceral but exquisitely sung mad scene as Ophelia. Released 29th June.

Available Format: DVD Video

Brett Dean: Hamlet (Blu-ray)

Allan Clayton, Sarah Connolly, Barbara Hannigan, Rod Gilfry, John Tomlinson; London Philharmonic Orchestra, The Glyndebourne Chorus Vladimir Jurowski

LPCM 2.0 DTS-HD 5.1

Available Format: Blu-ray

Poulenc: La Voix Humaine & Bartók: Duke Bluebeard's Castle (DVD)

Barbara Hannigan, Ekaterina Gubanova, John Relyea; Paris Opera Orchestra, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Krzysztof Warlikowski

Hannigan is equally enthralling and disturbing as another abandoned woman going to pieces in Krzysztof Warlikowski’s cinematic staging of Poulenc’s bleak monodrama (‘an Elle for the new century' - Classical Source); the work is convincingly presented as a sequel of sorts to Bartók’s claustrophobic Gothic two-hander (sung in Hungarian despite the title on the cover!). Released 15th June.

Available Format: DVD Video

Poulenc: La Voix Humaine & Bartók: Duke Bluebeard's Castle (Blu-ray)

Barbara Hannigan, Ekaterina Gubanova, John Relyea; Paris Opera Orchestra, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Krzysztof Warlikowski

Sound format: PCM Stereo, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Picture format: 16:9

1x Blu-Ray Disc 25GB (Single Layer)

Available Format: Blu-ray

Rachmaninov: Études-tableaux

Steven Osborne (piano)

The Scottish pianist has serious form with this composer: his recording of the Preludes (also on Hyperion) was described as 'outstanding Rachmaninov playing of acute perception, discretion and poetic sensibility' (BBC Music Magazine) and 'the best on disc since Vladimir Ashkenazy' (The Guardian). This new album includes both Op. 33 and Op. 39 in their entirety. Released 27th July.

Available Format: CD

Beethoven: The Complete String Quartets Vol. 1

Cuarteto Casals

The Spanish string quartet mark their twentieth birthday by embarking on a complete Beethoven cycle (the final instalment will be released in 2020, to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth); reviewing a recent Beethoven recital at Wigmore Hall, The Independent remarked that ‘one couldn’t ask for better: no other quartet can match this group’s four-voiced marriage’. Released 15th June.

Available Format: 3 CDs

Bruch: Scottish Fantasy

Joshua Bell (violin/conductor), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields

Bell’s first recording of Bruch’s evergreen Violin Concerto No. 1 (coupled with the Mendelssohn) with the ASMF under Sir Neville Marriner in 1988 announced the then 21-year-old American violinist as a major talent; three decades on, he directs the ensemble (of which he became Music Direcotr in 2011) from the violin in the same work, paired with the Scottish Fantasy. Released 22nd June.

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Stravinsky: Music for Violin Volume 2

Ilya Gringolts (violin), Peter Laul (piano), Sinfónica de Galicia, Dima Slobodeniouk

Following an inaugural volume that was described as ‘extremely enjoyable and extremely valuable’ (BBC Music Magazine), the second instalment of Gringolts’s blistering survey of Stravinsky’s violin works includes the Suite italienne, the Violin Concerto, the Divertimento, the Variation d’Apollon from Apollon musagète, and the Pastorale in a version for violin and chamber ensemble. Released 29th June.

Available Formats: SACD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

James MacMillan: String Quartets

Royal String Quartet

The Royals present MacMillan’s complete numbered output (so far!) for string quartet: No. 1 ’Visions of a November Spring’ (from 1988), No. 2 Why is this night different? (1998), and the untitled No. 3, composed for the Takács Quartet and premiered in 2008. The Polish quartet have championed MacMillan’s music since their days as BBC New Generation Artists. Released 27th July.

Available Format: CD

Bernstein: A Quiet Place

Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Kent Nagano

Nagano (who studied with Bernstein towards the end of his life) conducts the first-ever recording of the chamber version of his last work for the stage (a postscript to his better-known 1951 opera Trouble in Tahiti), adapted by Garth Edwin Sunderland and premiered by Nagano in 2013. Sutherland works closely with the Bernstein estate and has also prepared new editions of works including Peter Pan, Trouble in Tahiti and On the Waterfront. Released 22nd June.

Available Formats: 2 CDs, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

John Adams: Doctor Atomic

Gerald Finley, Julia Bullock, Brindley Sherratt, Samuel Sakker; BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Singers, John Adams

The first studio recording of Adams’s brilliant, disturbing 2005 opera depicting the psychological struggles of American physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer and others involved in the Manhattan Project in the lead-up to the testing of the first atomic bomb; Gerald Finley returns to the title-role, which he created and has sung to great acclaim at both the Metropolitan Opera and English National Opera. Released 29th June.

Available Format: 2 CDs

The Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon

Claudio Abbado, Berlin Philharmoniker

60 CDs documenting Abbado’s four-decade relationship with the orchestra, which he revolutionised over the course of his twelve years as principal conductor (a position which he assumed in the immediate aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall); includes the complete Beethoven and Brahms symphonies, the Brahms Piano Concertos with both Alfred Brendel and Maurizio Pollini, and the legendary Ravel and Prokofiev concertos with Martha Argerich from 1967. Released 17th August.

Available Format: 60 CDs