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GRAMOPHONE 2017

Best new classical albums

2) Antheil Orchestral Works, Vol 1
4) Ravel Daphnis et Chloé
6) Haydn Piano Sonatas, Vol 6
7) Liszt/Tausig Eine Faust-Symphonie
8) JS Bach Cantatas Nos 54 & 170 Pergolesi Stabat mater

Martin Cullingford's pick of the finest recordings from this month's reviews.
Here are the titles available from Naxos Direct.
Visar 40 artiklar
Image 2) JUNE 2017
Antheil Orchestral Works, Vol 1
BBC Philharmonic Orchestra / John Storgårds 

"This was new music to me, but performed with such expression and advocacy that I’m delighted to have heard it, and am left eagerly awaiting Volume 2!" (Gramophone)

Alongside its ongoing much-lauded Copland series, the BBC Philharmonic embarks on a new American journey, this time with its chief guest conductor, John Storgårds. Known as the ‘bad boy of music’, George Antheil began his career with a reputation as an enfant terrible, composing shockingly avant-garde works such as his ever-popular Ballet mécanique, inspired by the dynamism and dissonances of Stravinsky’s early ballets. Although he is well-established on the film music scene, too, it is his symphonic output – sampled here – that today survives in the concert hall.

159 kr
Image 4) JUNE 2017
Ravel Daphnis et Chloé 
Les Siècles / François-Xavier Roth 

"Reviews of François-Xavier Roth’s regularly praised recordings in our pages all hint at one thing: there’s never anything routine about his approach, the sound or the vision." (Gramophone)

'Daphnis and Chloé' is conceived as a ballet in one act and three parts, and tells the story of the love between the shepherd Daphnis and the shepherdess Chloé. A warlike tableau is framed by two pastoral ones: in the first, Daphnis and Chloé acknowledge their mutual love following a dance contest that provokes the jealousy of each of them in turn.

The interruption of a group of pirates, who abduct Chloé, puts an end to the rejoicing. The second tableau depicts the pirate camp; the captive girl is commanded to dance for her abductors. In the final tableau, Chloé is restored to Daphnis through a miracle of the god Pan, whom the nymphs have called on for help. After miming the tale of Pan and Syrinx, the young lovers let their joy burst forth in a General Dance of dazzling orgiastic virtuosity.

The orchestral forces are the largest Ravel ever employed and he adds a mixed chorus that sometimes hums and sometimes sings. As we have come to expect, François-Xavier Roth, in his début for harmonia mundi, has gone through Ravel's much-amended score with a fine-tooth comb and subsequently showed himself capable, in a ‘historically informed’ performance, of reproducing with the musicians of Les Siècles all the transparency and stylistic precision one could wish for in Ravel’s masterpiece.

"Daphnis et Chloé is part of the large-scale project we embarked on with Les Siècles in 2009: the odyssey of the Ballets Russes. To celebrate the centenary of that incredible artistic adventure, we wanted to reconstruct the Parisian orchestra that premiered these works in order to restore their original colours...As with each work of the Ballets Russes that we’ve played so far, we noticed just how remarkably the instruments of Ravel’s time, those French-built instruments typical of the early twentieth century, do justice to this music and make it meaningful!" FXR [from the booklet essay]

159 kr
Image 6) JUNE 2017
Haydn Piano Sonatas, Vol 6
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet pf 

"Jean-Efflam Bavouzet continues his Haydn survey as wonderfully as any follower of the series might hope and expect: probing curiosity, technical finesse and love of music-making shine forth throughout." (Gramophone)  

The highly acclaimed series of Haydn’s complete piano sonatas with multi-award winning pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet has now reached Volume 6. This set opens with the most imposing of Haydn’s early sonatas, No. 11, and follows it with two lesser-known ones, both from the late 1770s, that were published without the composer’s approval: Nos 34 and 35. Each of Nos 36 and 43, the last two featured here, opens a new group of six sonatas, and a new world in Haydn’s compositional style. Future volumes will continue to explore the huge variety of style and expression found in Haydn’s sonatas.

159 kr
Image 7) JUNE 2017
Liszt/Tausig Eine Faust-Symphonie 
István Lajkó pf 

"My second new discovery this month, and for this I can be forgiven: a remarkable transcription of Liszt’s mighty Faust Symphony, played with astonishing confidence and skill by István Lajkó." (Gramophone)

Liszt was obsessed with the legend of Faust, he also composed several pieces based on literary works by Goethe and Lenau on the same subject. Among these compositions, Liszt’s main symphonic work, the Faust Symphony, which he continued elaborating over several decades, is the most outstanding. In this recording the Symphony is performed on the piano (like the Piano Sonata in B minor, which is related in its poetic programme to the Symphony) in the transcription of Carl Tausig, one of Liszt’s favourite students.

159 kr
Image 8) JUNE 2017
JS Bach Cantatas Nos 54 & 170 Pergolesi Stabat mater
Lucy Crowe sop Tim Mead counterten La Nuova Musica / David Bates

"The first of two Stabat maters this month (following, indeed, James MacMillan’s new setting last issue), and very moving it is too." (Gramophone)

Two of Bach’s finest cantatas, both for solo alto, composed in Weimar (1714) and Leipzig (1726) respectively, are here coupled with the delicious agony of grief that is Pergolesi’s 'Stabat mater', an acknowledged masterpiece by one of the 18th century’s most influential composers. Bach so admired the composition of his Neapolitan colleague that he made his own ‘parody’ of it to a German text. On this recording, La Nuova Musica, in its 10th anniversary year, and its two eminent soloists display equal mastery of both idioms.

Counter-tenor Tim Mead is praised for his “alluring...consistently excellent” interpretations (The New York Times). With his “rich, mellifluous sound” (Guardian), he is recognised as one of the finest across the generations of counter-tenors. Described as having a voice of bell-like clarity with an impeccable vocal technique and powerful stage presence, Lucy Crowe has established herself as one of the leading lyric sopranos of her generation.

159 kr
Image 1) MAY 2017 - Recording of the month
MacMillan Stabat mater 
The Sixteen; Britten Sinfonia / Harry Christophers
 
"A highly moving setting of this ancient text – James MacMillan’s score embodies Mary’s grief and pain with extraordinary power. The Sixteen respond with singing of searing intensity." (Gramophone)

Few living composers communicate with the emotional directness of Sir James MacMillan, and performances of his new Stabat mater are eagerly anticipated. The Sixteen gave the world premiere of this work at a series of concerts in October 2016 as well as recording the work for their own record label, CORO. For MacMillan, 'beauty is at the heart of our Christian faith' and the Stabat mater is sure to be profoundly shaped by his beliefs. But this is a work with deep roots and a universal message, a celebration of both tradition and radical renewal.

159 kr
Image 3) MAY 2017
Elgar Cello Concerto. Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations
Johannes Moser vc Suisse Romande Orchestra / Andrew Manze

"We’ve had a number of very fine Elgar Cello Concerto discs of late, and Johannes Moser’s is right up there with them." (Gramophone)

The profoundly moving, elegiac lyricism of Elgar and the wistful charm and brilliance of Tchaikovsky are on full display in this irresistible new release from Pentatone played with consummate virtuosity by the German-Canadian cellist Johannes Moser with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande under Andrew Manze. Composed at the end of the First World War, Elgar's powerful Cello Concerto in E minor is one of his best-loved and most deeply-felt works. The soloist's wrenching chords which open the work announce a mood of profound resignation and loss - gone is the youthful swagger of his earlier works, replaced instead with lonely introspection and longing, especially in the sublimely beautiful Adagio. The cello is given free rein in the vigorous final movement but the opening mood prevails as an anguished outburst from the cello brings the work to a close. No such dejection hangs over Tchaikovsky's delightful Variations on a Rococo Theme which ooze elegance, ineffable charm and daring displays of technical brilliance. While teh Pezzo capriccioso finds Tchaikovsky in a more restrained mood, with the Nocturne and Andante Cantabile he wears his romantic heart full on his sleeve. The great Russian writer Leon Tolstoy is said to have wept when he heard the Andante Cantabile and its sumptuous theme shows Tchaikovsky's unerring gift for haunting melodies. It remains a special gem in the repertoire. The cellist Johannes Moser is no stranger to these works. Winner of the top prize at the 2002 Tchaikovsky Competition, he was also awarded the Special Prize for his interpretation of the Variations on a Rococo Theme. Described by Gramophone as "one of the finest among the astonishing gallery of young virtuoso cellists" and by the LA Times as a musician who "...connects with the audience in a way that only great artists do", this is Moser's third recording for Pentatone.

159 kr
Image 5) MAY 2017
Beethoven Violin Sonatas 
James Ehnes vn Andrew Armstrong pf 

"James Ehnes, one of today’s most thoughtful and consistently superb solo violinists, and pianist Andrew Armstrong on equally brilliant form, offer their first disc of Beethoven violin sonatas." (Gramophone)

The duo of old friends James Ehnes and Andrew Armstrong has established itself as one of the most exciting of our times. Their albums of violin sonatas by Franck & Strauss, and Debussy, Elgar & Respighi have been praised by critics worldwide. For their new album, they turn to Beethoven, and two A major sonatas with very different moods. The 9th ‘Kreutzer’ is a huge work, heroic and turbulent in character – a kind of concerto for violin and piano. It is middle period Beethoven at its most dramatic. In contrast, the 6th sonata is a serene, introspective work of great beauty which has tended to be overlooked by its more outward looking siblings. The intimacy of this sonata – especially the slow movement is all the more surprising when the original finale was removed by the composer and became the finale of the ‘Kreutzer’. Beethoven wrote the gentle variations to conclude the 6th sonata.

159 kr
Image 6) MAY 2017
Bruch Two String Quintets. String Octet 
The Nash Ensemble

"Compelling immediacy – both in terms of the performance and the vivid recorded sound – allows this disc to make a strong case for Bruch’s chamber music." (Gramophone)

Music which belies the date and circumstances of its composition. All three works were written in the immediate aftermath of World War I, yet inhabit a sound world of Brahmsian richness and warmth—very much the product of the composer of the famous Violin Concerto. The Nash Ensemble are ideal interpreters.

159 kr
Image 7) MAY 2017
‘Bach Reimagines Bach’ 
William Carter lute

"William Carter brings a remarkable depth of artistry to whichever member of the early plucked string family – and whichever composer – he’s playing: here it’s the lute, and Bach, and it’s a beautiful listen." (Gramophone)

Product info William Carter’s exemplary musicianship is showcased to its fullest on this new recording of Bach’s own transcriptions for the lute. Almost unplayable in parts many musicians take certain liberties with the music so that it flows more naturally, but Carter’s determined approach to authenticity sees the lutenist achieve the near impossible: playing the music as it was originally written. Carter very subtly enhances BWV 1001, originally for unaccompanied violin, in keeping with Bach’s own perceived style, namely to only add ‘as much harmony as he found necessary’. Bach’s own mild refashioning of BWV 1006, originally a Partita for solo violin, allows Carter to highlight the relaxed and intimate nature of the music. The final piece undergoes the most extensive reimagining as Bach expertly transforms the Fifth Cello Suite into a ‘new’ lute work; so successful is it that Carter considers it to be, in terms of understanding the essential nature and expressive qualities of the lute, ‘the most perfect piece of lute music in existence’. Artist info A founding-member of the Palladian Ensemble, Carter has a deserved reputation as one of the finest exponents of classical guitar and lute. He is well known as a regular performer at Early Music Festivals with critically acclaimed performances as an orchestral player, chamber musician and soloist. Carter is principal lutenist of The Academy of Ancient Music and The English Concert with whom he has appeared on numerous recordings. Carter’s Linn discography has been widely praised: La Guitarre Royalle was named in Gramophone’s ‘Critics’ Choice’ end of year list, he has been awarded Gramophone’s ‘Editor’s Choice’ accolade twice: for La Guitarra Española and Sor: Early Works, whilst his most recent recording for Linn, Le Calme, was awarded an Opus d’Or.

159 kr
Image 8) MAY 2017
Beethoven Piano Sonatas 
Sunwook Kim pf 

"The familiar is rendered striking in these performances of some of the best-known works in the solo piano repertoire; a disc that confirms Sunwook Kim as a very fine artist indeed." (Gramophone)

After his first CD with Beethoven's Piano Sonatas No. 21 and No. 29, "Waldstein" and "Hammerklavier", Sunwook Kim’s third solo CD with Accentus Music presents an impressive interpretation of Ludwig van Beethoven’s three most well-known piano sonatas: "Pathétique" (No. 8), "Moonlight Sonata" (No. 14), and "Appassionata" (No. 23). Sunwook Kim, who won the first prize at the Leeds International Piano Competition in 2006, has matured to become a subtle and accomplished Beethoven specialist, not least thanks to his partnership with the Beethoven House in Bonn, whose unique collection he often consults in his preparation of Beethoven's works. Sunwook Kim stays close to the original score, yet nevertheless provides a very personal interpretation, which reveals a new and exceptional reading that stands out from the abundance of existing recordings of these three piano sonatas.

159 kr
Image 9) MAY 2017
Haydn The Seasons
Gabrieli Consort & Players / Paul McCreesh 

"Paul McCreesh takes the substantial music forces here gathered, adds energy and a sure sense of the work’s grandeur and moments of beauty, and offers us something really rather special." (Gramophone)

The Gabrieli Consort continue their series of award-winning collaborations with the National Forum of Music, Wroclaw, Poland with a new version of Haydn’s great oratorio The Seasons. Using a new performing edition by Paul McCreesh, this recording is the first to feature the large orchestral forces that Haydn called for, including a string section of 60, 8 horns and a choir of 70. As well as the combined forces of the Gabrieli Consort & Players, Wroclaw Baroque Orchestra and National Forum of Music Choir, the recording features solo performances from British singers Carolyn Sampson, Jeremy Ovenden and Andrew Foster-Williams. All booklet texts are printed in both English and Polish translations.

259 kr
Image 10) MAY 2017
‘Heroines of Love and Loss’
Ruby Hughes sop Mime Yamahiro Brinkmann vc Jonas Nordberg theorbo

"The young British soprano Ruby Hughes brings interpretations of aching beauty to these 17th-century pieces, every song so personal and communicative." (Gramophone)

The women appearing before our ears throughout this programme range from the Virgin Mary and Dido, queen of Carthage, to Shakespeare’s Desdemona and the unfortunate Anne Boleyn, waiting for her execution in the Tower of London in 1536. But the disc also features four other heroines – the Italian composers Claudia Sessa, Francesca Caccini, Lucrezia Vizzana and Barbara Strozzi. All active between 1590 – 1675, they will have required great courage to rise above the social conventions of the time, but this surprisingly productive period for female composers also offered an opportunity that would disappear in later centuries: the all-female environment provided by the convent. More than half of the women who published music before 1700 were nuns, including Sessa and Vizzana, who are here represented by brief meditations on the suffering and death of Christ. Caccini and Strozzi, on the other hand, lived very much in the secular world – Caccini at the Florentine court and Strozzi as a free-lance musician and composer in Venice. Unhindered by the restrictions imposed by the church on sacred music they both adhered to the new stile moderno championed by Claudio Monteverdi. Celebrated for their singing, they composed vocal music which makes ‘the words the mistress of the harmony and not the servant’, to quote Monteverdi’s brother Giulio Cesare. The soprano Ruby Hughes has already made her name for herself in a wide-ranging repertoire, but has a special love for the constellation of lute, cello and voice. With Jonas Nordberg and Mime Yamahiro Brinkmann – who also contribute instrumental solos – she here revels in the dramatic and expressive potential offered by this trio combination, and by the music by these female composers and their English colleagues Henry Purcell and John Bennet.

159 kr
Image 1) APRIL 2017 - Recording of the month
JS Bach St Matthew Passion 
Monteverdi Choir
English Baroque Soloists /
Sir John Eliot Gardiner 

"Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s leadership and vision – from his use of primarily choir soloists to his conveying of the work’s overall journey – make for an immensely moving St Matthew Passion. " (Gramophone)

A new live recording of Bach’s St Matthew Passion (Matthäuspassion BWV 244), recorded in Pisa Cathedral during the Anima Mundi Festival as part of the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra’s 2016 tour. As well as the full sung texts, the booklet includes both a programme note by Sir John Eliot Gardiner as well as his tour notes: Written both before and during their 6-month international tour – which began in Valencia in March and concluded with this performance in Pisa on 22 September – these include diary entries and notes given during rehearsals or sent in the aftermath of concerts to the performers (who were performing from memory). All notes and texts are included in English, German and French translations.

299 kr
Image 2) APRIL 2017
JS Bach Orchestral Suites 
Zefiro / Alfredo Bernardini ob 

"These Bach overtures grab the listener’s attention with a thrilling theatricality and sense of joyful drama, all wonderfully directed by Alfredo Bernardini." (Gramophone)

Like many German composers of his time, Johann Sebastian Bach also devoted himself to the French style with its characteristic dances and rhythmic ouvertures. His regular contact from an early age with French musicians and dance masters living in Germany made him very familiar and competent with the typical features of French music. Among the results of this interest are his orchestral ouvertures, of which BWV 1066, 1068 and 1069 with large scoring are presented in this recording. German composers occasionally liked to experiment freely with both the French and Italian styles, with the aim to originate that “gemischter Stil” (mixed style) that was so praised by Quantz and others. As an example of a free adaptation of an overture, Bach’s first chorus from Cantata BWV 110 adopts the first movement of the Orchestral Suite BWV 1069 with the addition of a 4-parts choir. Other of his cantatas begin with a chorus in overture form, and it is very likely that they are also his own arrangements of previous instrumental versions which are lost, as happened with many of his Cöthen works. On the basis of this conjecture, Zefiro has included in this recording the reconstruction of instrumental overtures based on the opening choruses of Bach Cantatas BWV 119 and 194.

159 kr
Image 3) APRIL 2017
R Strauss Tone Poems, Vol 5 
SWR Symphony Orchestra, Baden-Baden and Freiburg / François-Xavier Roth 

"Dramatic detail, effervescent energy and excellent sound make this a super addition to François-Xavier Roth’s SWR Symphony Orchestra Strauss series." (Gramophone)

This is the fifth and final installment of the Strauss Complete Tone Poems Cycle performed by the Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden and Freiburg under their chief conductor Francois-Xavier Roth. The other volumes in this cycle have been positively reviewed all over the world. The orchestra and conductor are a perfect match for Richard Strauss’ lively and ecstatic music. Completed on New Year’s Eve, 1903, Strauss’ Symphonia domestica, like his ensuing final tone poem, Eine Alpensinfonie, are paradoxically termed ‘symphonies.’ Symphonic poems are usually based on an extra-musical programme, while the genre of the symphony embodies the concept of absolute music, intended as a counter-world to reality. Strauss disregarded this separation and designed the Symphonia domestica as a symphony, but with a programme, namely “a symphonic self-and family-portrait.” The composer depicts both himself, his wife, and his son in various musical tableaux. Revolving around the banalities of everyday life, the music has a twinkle in its eye.

159 kr
Image 4) APRIL 2017
D Matthews Complete Piano Trios 
Leonore Piano Trio 

"These are imaginative and captivating contemporary chamber works. Lyrical lines are played with a poignancy and delicacy by an ensemble who thoroughly believe in the music." (Gramophone)

David Matthews (b. 1943) has become one of the UK’s leading composers, both of symphonic and chamber music. One US reviewer described his string quartets as ‘musical thinking of the highest order and quartet writing in the great tradition of Beethoven, Bartók, Britten, and Tippett’ – influences that Matthews readily acknowledges.

These three piano trios evoke two other masters, since they have something of the drama of Shostakovich and the lyrical intensity of Vaughan Williams.

All these elements are drawn together in Matthews’ own voice to make these works some of the most moving chamber music of recent years, in performances that the composer considers exemplary.

159 kr
Image 5) APRIL 2017
Mozart Violin Sonatas, Vol 3 
Alina Ibragimova vn Cédric Tiberghien pf 

"This is developing into a delightful series – Vol 3 sees Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien find immense charm and character in these sonatas from across Mozart’s life." (Gramophone)

The third of the ongoing series from the ‘nigh-on ideal’ partnership (Gramophone) of Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien. As before, the programme mixes the early—two works by the precocious ten-year-old—with the mature, and includes Mozart’s final violin sonata.

159 kr
Image 7) APRIL 2017
Brahms ‘The Complete Piano Music, Vol 4’ 
Jonathan Plowright pf 

"Jonathan Plowright continues his Brahms series in impressive style – virtuosity and thoughtfulness both to the fore." (Gramophone) 

The theme of Paganini’s 24th Caprice for solo violin has tempted a number of composers to elaborate on it – from Liszt to Lutoslawski and Andrew Lloyd Webber. In 1863, Johannes Brahms was one of the first to take on the challenge, with his virtuosic Paganini Variations. Playing the set has famously been described as requiring ‘fingers of steel, a heart of burning lava and the courage of a lion’ and possibly the demands that they place on the performer is the main reason why Brahms organized his 28 variations into two books of 14 each. For the fourth instalment in his series of Brahms’s piano music, Jonathan Plowright has chosen to place the two books at either end of the programme. Between them we are presented with works spanning almost 40 years of Brahms’s life. Of the four Ballades from 1854, it is only for the first, the so-called ‘Edward’ Ballade, that a model in literature is known – a Scottish ballad about the murder of a father. The set has nevertheless been compared to the slow movements in Brahms’s three piano sonatas, composed around the same time, and all with literary references. 25 years later, Brahms had entered a phase where his works for piano were growing ever shorter and more concise, but with his Op. 79 Rhapsodies he made something of a return to the grandeur and passion of his early piano writing. This development was short-lived, however, and the following works for solo piano, of which the four piano pieces of Op. 119 from 1893 would be the last, have been compared to ‘the golden lustre of parks in autumn and the austere black and white of winter walks’. Previous discs in Jonathan Plowright’s survey have received critical acclaim worldwide, and the series has already been dubbed ‘the benchmark Brahms survey for some time to come’ in Gramophone.

159 kr
Image 9) APRIL 2017
‘Music for the 100 Years’ War’ 
The Binchois Consort / Andrew Kirkman 

"The excellent presentation – both in terms of the Binchois Consort’s very fine performance and the album’s thoughtful packaging – vividly conjure a historical period." (Gramophone) 

Music of predominantly royal association spanning the reign of Henry V, the Battle of Agincourt and its aftermath, and the coronations in England and France of the boy king Henry VI. The Binchois Consort under Andrew Kirkman bring this music vividly to life, while the copiously illustrated booklet is a pleasure in itself.

159 kr
Image 10) APRIL 2017
Mozart Arias 
Anett Fritsch sop Munich Radio Orchestra / Alessandro De Marchi 

"Fully formed characters seems to leap straight out of this delightful recital of Mozart arias, all convincingly portrayed by the German soprano Anett Fritsch." (Gramophone)

It is not often that a young vocal artist releases a debut album that is so "complete" or so convincingly conceived and finished to such a high polish as is the ase with Anett Fritsch. What makes it all the more astounding is that she achieves this by singing arias from the Mozart/Da Ponte trilogy of Figaro / Don Giovanni / Cosi, masterworks by a composer regarded and feared in equal measure for the complexity of his writing. Yet the repertoire focus she has chosen is entirely in keeping with the soprano's career to date. She began in her teens and has progressed in recent years through a series of acclaimed performances on international opera stages.

189 kr
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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