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 Hi-Res Highlights, Hi-Res Highlights - May 2018

This month’s Hi-Res highlights include the first volume of a promising live Bruckner series from Valery Gergiev and the Münchner Philharmoniker, the continuation of Ádám Fischer’s superb Mahler cycle from Düsseldorf, a Rameau rarity from Hungarian conductor György Vashegyi and a largely Francophone cast, and an auspicious debut on Chandos from the ebullient Italian pianist Federico Colli.

Mahler: Symphony No. 5

Düsseldorfer Symphoniker, Ádám Fischer

Now four instalments in, Fischer Senior’s Mahler series from Düsseldorf was recently described by Gramophone as ‘shaping up to be the most idiomatic and exciting cycle of Mahler symphonies since Kubelík and Bernstein’, and Team Presto are in complete agreement – Fischer's ‘lyrical, captivating’ account of the First Symphony was one of Katherine’s Editor’s Choices back in March.

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

Bruckner: Symphony No. 3

Münchner Philharmoniker, Valery Gergiev

This live recording of the Third Symphony was taken from the inaugural concert (in September 2017) of a projected cycle of the complete Bruckner symphonies at the St. Florian Monastery where Bruckner was a chorister and later organist, and is now buried; Nos. 2, 8 and 9 will be recorded in the same venue this autumn.

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

Bartók & Kodály: Concertos for Orchestra

Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Jakub Hrůša

For his first recording with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Czech conductor tackles two twentieth-century concertos for orchestra by Hungarian composers: Bartók’s folk-inspired masterpiece from 1943 and Kodály’s less familiar baroque-influenced work from four years earlier.

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

John Adams: Naive and Sentimental Music & Absolute Jest

Doric String Quartet, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Peter Oundjian

This is only the second recording of Adams’s Beethoven-inspired scherzo Absolute Jest, scored for large orchestra and amplified string quartet and commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra to mark their centenary in 2012; the RSNO celebrate their own 125th birthday with this album.

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

Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 21

Yeol Eum Son (piano), Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Sir Neville Marriner

This young South Korean pianist took Second Prize at both the 2011 Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition and the 2009 Van Cliburn Competition, and this interpretation of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 was recently described by The Times as ‘a model of clarity and fleetness’. Captured in 2016, the concerto is also notable for being the last recording made by Sir Neville Marriner, who died the following year.

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

C.P.E. Bach: Cello Concertos

Ensemble Resonanz, Riccardo Minasi

The French cellist joins the 18-strong string ensemble (currently artists-in-residence at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg) for CPE Bach’s Cello Concertos Nos. 1 and 3; both soloist and ensemble perform on modern instruments, and the G major Symphony Wq.173 is sandwiched between the two concertos.

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

Kennedy Meets Gershwin

Nigel Kennedy (violin), Howard Alden (guitar), Alicja Smietana (violin), Beata Urbanek-Kalinowska (cello) et al

The maverick violinist and friends riff on some of Gershwin’s best-loved melodies, including How Long Has This Been Going On, Our Love Is here To Stay, Summertime and They Can’t Take That Away From Me. Kennedy’s inspiration for the project was his friend and mentor, Stéphane Grappelli, with whom he regularly improvised whilst a student at the Menuhin School.

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

Domenico Scarlatti: Sonatas Vol. 1 - The Power of Illusion

Federico Colli (piano)

The first volume of the dynamic young Italian pianist’s Scarlatti series (one of our recent Recordings of the Week) is bursting at the seams with energy: Katherine enthused that ‘His empathy and infectious enthusiasm for this music are writ large in every phrase...through liberal use of rubato, ornamentation and dynamic contrasts, he’s keen to point up the staggering variety of Scarlatti’s invention’.

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

Vaughan Williams: Mass in G minor

Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge, Andrew Nethsingha

Released in anticipation of the centenary of the Armistice this November, this fifth album from Nethsingha and his Cambridge choir on Signum focuses on the sacred music which Vaughan Williams composed in the immediate aftermath of World War One: the great Mass for Double Choir is complemented by smaller-scale works including O Taste and See, Lord, thou has been our refuge, and the Te Deum.

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

Georgy Sviridov: Canticles and Prayers

Latvian Radio Choir, Sigvards Kļava

Kļava and his Latvian choir have won considerable acclaim for their recent recordings for Russian and Ukrainian music (their Rachmaninov Vespers was a Choral finalist at the 2013 Gramophone Awards, whilst their Valentin Silvestrov album in 2015 was shortlisted in the Contemporary Music category); now their turn their attention to Sviridov’s final work, left incomplete at his death.

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

Rameau: Naïs

Chantal Santon-Jeffery, Reinoud Van Mechelen, Florian Sempey; Orfeo Orchestra, Purcell Choir, György Vashegyi

Following their superb recordings of Les Fêtes de Polymnie (‘essential listening for all Ramistes’ - Opera Magazine) and the ‘Versailles entertainment’ Un opéra pour trois rois, the Hungarian conductor and his Budapest-based ensemble tackle Rameau’s ‘pastorale héroïque’ from 1749, which tells of the god Neptune’s attempts to win the love of the fortune-teller Tiresias’s daughter Naïs.

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

Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia

Hermann Prey, Teresa Berganza, Luigi Alva, Enzo Dara, Paolo Montarsolo; London Symphony Orchestra, Claudio Abbado

Abbado's studio Barber from 1971 also receives the deluxe treatment; reviewing the recording for our Presto Favourites series, my colleague Katherine observed that 'Abbado's pacing of the famous 'Rossini crescendos', particularly in the long Act One finale, is masterly...the wit and charm of the entire undertaking leap out of the speakers.'

Available Formats: 2 CDs + DVD Video + Blu-ray Audio, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Dvořák: Cello Concerto & Tchaikovsky: Rococo Variations

Leonard Rose (cello), The Philadelphia Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy

Originally issued on vinyl by Columbia Masterworks in 1965, Rose’s performance of the Dvorak was described by MusicWeb International as ‘ripe, noble, brilliant, edgy, resinous of tone and exciting’, whilst his Rococo Variations was praised as ‘characterful’ by Gramophone.

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

Mascagni: Cavalleria rusticana & Leoncavallo: Pagliacci

Fiorenza Cossotto, Carlo Bergonzi, Joan Carlyle, Giuseppe Taddei; Teatro alla Scala, Herbert von Karajan

Bergonzi does double-duty as Mascagni’s lothario and Leoncavallo’s cuckold on Karajan’s expansive 1965 studio recording of the verismo double-bill, presented here in a deluxe hardback edition on two CDs and a blu-ray audio.

Available Formats: 2 CDs + Blu-ray Audio, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC