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GRAMOPHONE 2017

Best new classical albums

Martin Cullingford's pick of the finest recordings from this month's reviews. Here are the titles available from Naxos Direct.

MARCH 2016
1) Recording of the month Tchaikovsky - Symphonies Nos 3, 4 and 6 
3) Beach. - Chaminade
4) Vaughan Williams -  Symphony No 9. Job
6) Liszt. Saint-Saëns - Works for Two Pianos 
10) Berg - Wozzeck 



Visar 19 artiklar
Image 1) MARCH 2017 - Recording of the month
Tchaikovsky Symphonies Nos 3, 4 and 6 
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra / Vasily Petrenko 

"Tchaikovsky symphonies in this slot, two months in a row? I make no apology (besides, they’re different symphonies) – Petrenko’s now complete cycle is an achievement well worthy of praise." (Gramophone)

Petrenko’s Tchaikovsky promises to be one of the most important orchestral releases of 2017. Universal praise from reviewers for the first volume of Symphonies 1, 2 and 5 bodes well for this eagerly-awaited release: Gramophone gave Volume One an Editor’s choice and it reigned as a top 10 UK Classical chart title for 7 weeks in 2016.

229 kr
Image 3) MARCH 2017 (release 10th of March)
Beach. - Chaminade.
Howell Piano Concertos 
Danny Driver pf BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra / Rebecca Miller 

"A nice parallel to this month’s Specialist’s Guide, three unfamiliar works, by women (a first in Hyperion’s Romantic Piano Concerto series), given strong advocacy." (Gramophone)

International Women’s Day falls on 8 March, celebrating the ‘social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women’. Volume 70 in our Romantic Piano Concerto series champions three female composers, and three works whose in-the-face-of-it-all joie de vivre makes them irresistibly worthy of our attention.

159 kr
Image 4) MARCH 2017
Vaughan Williams - Symphony No 9. Job
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra / Sir Andrew Davis 

"Two major works, conducted with an authoritative sense of journey; evidence of the wisdom of Chandos’s bond with both Davis and the Bergen Philharmonic." (Gramophone)

The projected complete cycle of Vaughan Williams’s symphonies started by the late Richard Hickox has left a precious heritage in the discography of the composer. Now, conducting the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, that other expert in British repertoire, Sir Andrew Davis, takes on the challenge of completing the series with idiomatic interpretations of two masterpieces: the final Symphony (No. 9) and the ballet Job.

189 kr
Image 6) MARCH 2017
Liszt. Saint-Saëns - Works for Two Pianos
Ludmila Berlinskaya, Arthur Ancelle pfs 

"A hugely enjoyable opportunity to hear one of the most familiar and formidable piano sonatas in an unfamiliar form – great virtuosity, with the added challenge of collaboration!" (Gramophone)

Firma Melodiya presents a recording of two-piano transcriptions by Franz Liszt and Camille Saint-Saëns performed by the piano duet of Ludmila Berlinskaya and Arthur Ancelle. Representatives of famous artistic dynasties and alumni of different music performing traditions, they began to jointly perform in 2011 and have won the listeners’ hearts in Russia, France and Switzerland. The programme of this album combines two, at first glance, completely different pianistic styles of the 19th century – Liszt and Saint-Saëns. However, the two great musicians took a genuine interest in each other’s works that was expressed in “mutual” transcriptions. Liszt unintentionally introduced the powerful current of his personality into his arrangements. The Dance of Death is an obvious example that makes the comparison between the two piano versions of this symphonic work, one transcribed by Liszt and the other transcribed by the author, even more interesting. On the other way around, a hint of Saint-Saëns is heard in his transcription of Liszt’s B minor Sonata he made for himself and his friend and outstanding French pianist Louis Diémer. The album also includes Liszt’s Après une Lecture de Dante: Fantasia quasi Sonata arranged for two pianos by Arthur Ancelle.

159 kr
Image 10) MARCH 2017
Berg - Wozzeck
Sols; Houston Symphony Orchestra / Hans Graf 

"Taken from concert performances, but ones which combine a powerful sense of drama and story-telling (so crucial in this work) with a quite intense focus on the music-making." (Gramophone)

Based on real events and playwright Georg Bu¨chner’s starkly vehement text, Alban Berg’s tragic opera Wozzeck is an epoch-making work, in stark contrast to the previous high romantic ideals of the genre, that led Schoenberg to exclaim “now that’s what I call an opera!” Immensely powerful and heartbreakingly moving as a drama, Wozzeck explores the victimisation, despair and madness of a central character who has no place in society, its deeply humane message and sublimely innovative score firmly establishing it as a 20th-century masterpiece.

159 kr
Image 1) FEBRUARY 2017
Recording of the month
Tchaikovsky Symphony No 1, ‘Winter Daydreams’. The Tempest 
Orchestra of St Luke’s / Pablo Heras-Casado 

"Pablo Heras-Casado has emerged as a conductor of perceptive insight and great talent: Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 1 is not a work usually associated with making a statement, but this is a fascinating listen." (Gramophone)

Pablo Heras-Casado enjoys an unusually varied conducting career—encompassing the great symphonic and operatic repertoire, historically informed performance and cutting-edge contemporary scores. He has served as Principal Conductor of Orchestra of St. Luke’s since 2011, now extended to September 2017. OSL began as a chamber ensemble based at The Church of St. Luke in the Fields in Greenwich Village. Today, St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble consists of 21 virtuoso artists who perform a diverse repertoire and make up OSL’s artistic core. harmonia mundi are proud to release OSL's debut album for the label featuring two of Tchaikovsky's earliest notable works, both of which are dramatic and vibrant: Symphony No. 1, 'Winter Dreams' and 'The Tempest', a sprawling and turbulent seascape.


159 kr
Image 2) FEBRUARY 2017
Schubert String Quartet No 15, D887. Quartettsatz, D703 
Doric Quartet 

"The Doric Quartet continue to build their impressive catalogue on Chandos with a Schubert disc that well demonstrates the rapport that is this ensemble’s hallmark." (Gramophone)

Alongside its highly praised Haydn series, the Doric String Quartet continues its Schubert journey with this second volume of quartets, which precipitates us into the fraught world of late Schubert. Both composers will be central in the Quartet’s recitals next year, to take place in the highest-profile international venues, from New York’s Carnegie Hall to Berlin’s Konzerthaus, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, and London’s Wigmore Hall.

Franz Schubert returned to composing string quartets in the 1820s, after four years of focusing on songs which were beginning to gain him wider recognition.

His late chamber compositions reveal probably his most characteristic music, full of deep intimacy and profound ambivalence. The ‘Quartettsatz’ (Quartet Movement) presents a turbulent, norm-breaking first movement. Only a fragment survives of a serene Andante in A flat, and nothing for any scherzo or finale. If the 'Rosamunde' and 'Death and the Maiden' (CHAN10737) are the most frequently heard of the quartets of Schubert, his last completed one – in G major – certainly remains his most uncompromising in its vastness, and perhaps his most prophetic of the musical future.

159 kr
Image 4) FEBRUARY 2017
Bloch. Ligeti. Dallapiccola Works for Solo Cello 
Natalie Clein

"A wonderful and compelling recording by Natalie Clein demonstrating the art of cello-playing at its most intimate – physical, lyrical and beautifully recorded. " (Gramophone)

Natalie Clein, whose previous recording of the music of Ernest Bloch was described as ‘inspired’ by The Sunday Times, turns to his three suites for solo cello as part of a recital of works written in the aftermath of the Second World War. The sombre voice of the cello seems especially apposite in music of such deep seriousness, Ligeti’s short sonata providing an energetic and life-affirming finale.

159 kr
Image 5) FEBRUARY 2017
Liszt Complete Hungarian Rhapsodies 
Vincenzo Maltempo pf 

"Already acclaimed in these pages for his performances of Alkan, the young pianist Vincenzo Maltempo offers exceptionally fine interpretations of these virtuoso masterpieces." (Gramophone)

Vincenzo Maltempo, piano

This 2 CD set contains a new recording of the complete 19 Hungarian Rhapsodies by Liszt, an immense achievement of Vincenzo Maltempo, who has established himself as one of the foremost pianists of his generation.

Liszt wrote his Rhapsodies at the peak of his powers as a travelling piano virtuoso. They form his homage to the country of his birth, Hungary, using (quasi) folk melodies in the Hungarian mode. Usually constructed in binary form, a slow melancholy introduction and a fast and furious folk dance finale, they are vehicles of true sentiment, deep passion and blazing virtuosity, a part of the standard concert repertoire of many pianists.

Vincenzo Maltempo has already made his name with his spectacular recordings of the piano music by Alkan for Piano Classics: “exhilarating, a revelation! “ (Guardian, selected among the 10 best CD’s of 2012), “his playing flashes with summer lightning” (Gramophone), “Maltempo puts his phenomenal technique at the service of his poetic vision”(Piano News), “with this passionate performance Maltempo confirms his place in the restricted circle of Alkan’s best performers” (5 star, Diapason) and many more.

159 kr
Image 7) FEBRUARY 2017
‘Encores after Beethoven’ 
András Schiff pf 

"Another recording – serious, engaging and thoughtful throughout – which firmly lays to rest the reputation of the ‘encore’ as a genre of lightweight and light-hearted lollipops." (Gramophone)

Between March 2004 and May 2006 András Schiff performed the complete cycle of Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas at the Tonhalle, Zürich, recorded and released by ECM New Series. This collection presents the encores from these concerts. What does one play after Beethoven sonatas? András Schiff: “For me it's essential not to seek entertainment but rather to look for pieces that are closely related to the previously heard sonatas.” The pianist explores links to Schubert, Mozart, Haydn and Bach. For all the interconnecting strands of musical history, András Schiff’s selection of encores also adds up to a thoroughly enjoyable ‘recital’ disc in its own right.

169 kr
Image 9) FEBRUARY 2017
‘All Who Wander’ 
Jamie Barton mez Brian Zeger pf 

"A significant debut recording from the winner of 2013’s Cardiff Singer of the World, and one which whets appetites for what may lie ahead from this wonderful voice and impressive talent." (Gramophone)

Mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton burst upon the global opera and concert scene in recent years after having won many of the world’s most prestigious prizes for vocal excellenceand accomplishments. Delos has scored a major coup in releasing her debut album.

Jamie’s well-chosen program of late-Romantic repertoire begins with eight of Gustav Mahler’s finest lieder – including his wonderful Five Rückert Songs – before treating us to the rare delights of Antonin Dvorák’s song cycle Gypsy Songs. Her album concludes with even more seldom-heard selections from the many lovely Swedish-language songs of Finnish master Jean Sibelius.

159 kr
Image 2) JANUARY 2017
Beethoven ‘The Solo Concertos’
Vienna Chamber Orchestra
Stefan Vladar pf

"A complete set of Beethoven concertos – given the catalogue – is always a bold offering, but Vladar excels here, with performances full of colour and charm." (Gramophone)

This album is a new studio production of the solo concertos by Ludwig van Beethoven, presented by the Austrian pianist and conductor Stefan Vladar and his own Viennese Chamber Orchestra. "As a pianist and conductor in one person, it is possible to convey a better overall impression of these concertos and I understand this more than expanded chamber music as pure solo concertos with orchestra." - Stefan Vladar "With Beethoven, you have to have stamina as well as perfection and great vision. Actually, you have to be able to perform almost superhuman things." - Isabelle van Keulen

359 kr
Image 3) JANUARY 2017
‘Music for my Love, Vol 1’ 
Kodály Philharmonic Orchestra / Paul Mann 

"A moving project by label founder Martin Anderson to create a series of works in memory of his partner has resulted in this impressive collection of new pieces, with many more to come. " (Gramophone)

When in late 2014 Yodit Tekle was diagnosed with stomach cancer, her partner, Martin Anderson, who runs Toccata Classics, asked a couple of composer friends to write some music to bring her comfort in her illness. As her life slipped away, he had the idea that she could be remembered in music and so he began to commission other pieces for string orchestra in her memory. To his surprise, almost everyone he asked generously accepted, and so the project snowballed: there are now over 100 composers who have written or agreed to write for it – an undertaking unique in the history of music. This first volume presents the first eleven pieces in an initiative which, in effect, transforms love into something you can hear.

159 kr
Image 4) JANUARY 2017
Schubert. Sibelius String Quartets 
Ehnes Quartet 

"An unexpected pairing that works really well, informing the context in which each is heard. The Ehnes Quartet’s Schubert is strong and searing, their Sibelius full of dramatic reflection." (Gramophone)

Death preyed heavily on the minds of both Schubert and Sibelius when they were composing the two string quartets on this new CD from the Ehnes Quartet. Sibelius had undergone several operations to remove a tumour in his throat. The bleak and highly personal 4th Symphony is the masterwork from this period, but the string quartet ‘Intimate Voices’ of 1908 should not be underestimated. Taut and highly concentrated, it has an almost Haydnesque construction, and the quartet’s first movement’s sheer perfection of form approaches that of the 3rd Symphony’s opening movement. "I am the most unhappy and wretched creature in the world…whose health will never be right again" wrote Schubert to a friend in 1824. With his emotions veering from happy memories of earlier years to shuddering terror at the prospect of death, he composed two string quartets and the Octet over a two- month period. The D minor quartet makes ingenious use of his earlier song ‘Death and the Maiden’ from 1817 in the slow movement’s variations. ‘Give me your hand, you fair and gentle creature; I am a friend and do not come to punish’ sings Death soothingly. The music captures Schubert’s fearful state of mind in a remarkable ‘freeze frame’ effect.

159 kr
Image 5) JANUARY 2017
‘Aspects’ 
Aquarelle Guitar Quartet 

"This is a real joy to listen to, which isn’t to say it’s not also reflective in places too. But the virtuosity and rapport demonstrated by this guitar quartet is a genuine delight throughout this wonderfully varied recital." (Gramophone)

With this new album, the Aquarelle Guitar Quartet draws a portrait of different aspects of the music they love and perform.

From the baroque to the contemporary, from bluegrass to jazz, from romantic to Latin, the album includes original works for four guitars, arrangements that have been made by members of the group, and even a new work written especially for this project. Aspects is both retrospective and prospective, including favourites which the Quartet has been performing for many years and also pieces which it has learnt specifically for this recording and which will form the basis of new concert programmes in the future.

159 kr
Image 6) JANUARY 2017
‘Encores’ 
Alban Gerhardt vc Markus Becker pf 

"A perfect tribute to Rostropovich, quite biographical in a way, with which to open in style a year which marks a decade since the great cellist’s death, and which would have seen his 90th birthday." (Gramophone)

For the young Alban Gerhardt, Rostropovich was ‘a reason to become passionate about the cello’: in the notes accompanying this release he recalls being ‘blown away’ on first hearing Slava play live in Berlin. This splendid follow-up to Casals Encores sees Gerhardt paying homage to his great predecessor with an eclectic programme of shorter works, including two by Rostropovich himself.

159 kr
Image 8) JANUARY 2017
JS Bach Cantatas 
Iestyn Davies counterten Arcangelo / Jonathan Cohen 

"One of today’s most acclaimed countertenors, Davies demonstrates the art and beauty of voice for which he’s become renowned, working once again with the superb Arcangelo." (Gramophone)

Ich habe genug is a timeless, transcendental masterpiece: a profound expression of Christian faith at the very end of life. It demands artistry of a special order, and Iestyn Davies now joins the likes of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Lorraine Hunt Lieberson in the work’s distinguished discography. The couplings are equally ravishing performances of two other great solo cantatas, while the two orchestral sinfonias which complete the album will prove refreshingly familiar.

159 kr
Image 9) JANUARY 2017
A Scarlatti Missa defunctorum 
Odhecaton / Paolo Da Col 

"Skilled singing from this fine ensemble underpin this fascinating premiere recording of an Alessandro Scarlatti work. The recording is atmospheric and engaging throughout. " (Gramophone)

This release is a discovery of Alessandro Scarlatti’s sacred music, which has been largely unknown until now, in which Renaissance tradition meets Baroque sensibility for a unique and compelling recording. At the core of Odhecaton’s latest offering is the Missa defunctorum for four voices and basso continuo. It is in this magnificent score- recorded for the first time using the critical edition of Luca Della Libera- that primarily contrapuntal writing gives way to Scarlatti’s stylistic choices of great expressivity and rhetorical force, such as in the case of the astonishing Lacrimosa. The Miserere is also recorded for the first time. Written for nine voices for the Sistine Chapel, the score follows Allegri’s model only outwardly; Scarlatti, in fact, moves steadily away from it through his harmonic originality, foral richness, and expressivity. The Magnificat displays a unique synthesis of the Palestrinian model and the expressive language of the eighteenth century. In this score, Scarlatti exploits the great wealth and variety of the Marian text, particularly in the relationship between words and the emotional and descriptive spheres.

159 kr
Image 10) JANUARY 2017
Hérold Le Pré aux Clercs
Sols; Gulbenkian Orchestra / Paul McCreesh 

"Another excellent revival by Palezzetto Bru Zane of a long-lost work – performed and packaged with equal devotion – earns a heartfelt ‘Chapeau!’ from critic Mark Pullinger." (Gramophone)

With Le Pre aux clercs, premiered at the Opera-Comique in 1832, Louis-Ferdinand Herold wrote at once his biggest success and his last opera (he died three weeks after the first performance). From the Overture to the Act III finale, the simplicity of the vocal lines, the impact of the dramatic effects and the effectiveness of the choral writing testify to the flowering of Romanticism and the compose’s assimilation of Rossini, then the paragon of modernity. Following the July Revolution of 1830, it was time to exorcise unfortunate memories: as was its habit, the Paris operatic world did not treat the topic of politics directly but through the fratricidal conflict that began on St. Bartholomew’s Day. The basis for the libretto was a novel by Prosper Merimee published in 1829, Chronique du regne de Charles IX. The immense success of the opera, virtually contemporary with Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots, shows that it was perfectly in tune with the preoccupations of the time- and with the new ambitions of a supposedly ‘light’ genre.

359 kr
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