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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.
Visar 27 artiklar
Rachmaninov The Bells. Symphonic Dances 
Sols; Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra / Mariss Jansons 
"When the author of a Collection article elevates a new recording above his longstanding benchmark version – as reviewer Geoffrey Norris does here – you know it’s something very special indeed." (Gramophone)

SERGEI RACHMANINOV. THE BELLS - SYMPHONIC DANCES. Two large symphonic tone poems by the Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninov can be experienced on the new CD from BR-KLASSIK. The four-movement symphonic poem "The Bells" ("Kolokola") op 35, based on a poem by Edgar Allan Poe, for solo voices, choir and orchestra, composed in 1913, and the three "Symphonic Dances" op 45 from 1940 – the last completed work by the composer, who died in 1943. Konstantin Balmont's free adaptation of Poe's poem "The Bells" impressed Rachmaninov greatly. Bells have a special importance for every Russian: their cathedrals are distinctive for the sound of pealing bells. Hearing them also left a lasting impression on Rachmaninov. The four stanzas of the poem vividly present the sounds of sleigh-bells, wedding bells, alarm bells and funeral bells, and these very different moods are masterfully conveyed in the four movements of the most monumental symphonic poem Rachmaninov ever wrote. The "Symphonic Dances" for large orchestra were written in 1940 on Long Island. The first movement contains a quotation from Rachmaninov's (unsuccessful) First Symphony; the second deals with the years between the turn of the century and the Russian Revolution; and the third connects the "Dies Irae" (representing death) with the "Hallelujah" of the Orthodox Liturgy (symbolising the Resurrection). In the last few bars that Rachmaninov ever wrote, a hopeful hymn of praise triumphs over The Last Judgment - possibly a premonition of the composer's imminent death. The two masterpieces, which Rachmaninov considered to be his best compositions, were recorded at concerts in Munich's Herkulessaal on January 6, 2016 (The Bells) and January 2017 (Symphonic Dances). These outstanding performances of significant compositions of the early 20th-century symphonic repertoire are conducted by Mariss Jansons. • The two most important symphonic poems of Rachmaninov on one CD • Exciting live recordings of Munich concerts of January 2016 and January 2017 • Sung by three authentic Russian soloists • Performed by the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks under Mariss Jansons

159 kr
Image #4: APRIL 2018
Marais Pièces de viole 
La Rêveuse 

"This is a truly delightful recording of early 18th-century French viol music, in which beauty of line and collegiality between players make for many exquisite moments, both delicate and joyfully lively." (Gramophone)

Marin Marais possesses the grace, elegance and wit so appealing in the goût français of the eighteenth century. The character pieces of his last two books depict portraits, landscapes and little genre scenes in painterly fashion, and are an unsurpassed highpoint of the viol repertory.

159 kr
Image #5: APRIL 2018
Mozart Violin Sonatas, Vol 5 
Alina Ibragimova vn Cédric Tiberghien pf 
"A superb series, destined to become a benchmark in the repertoire, here closes with a disc that keeps up the exploratory approach and impeccable playing right to the very end." (Gramophone)
The fifth and final instalment of this landmark series cements both artists’ reputations as two of the leading Mozartians performing today.

159 kr
Image #7: APRIL 2018
Beethoven Diabelli Variations 
Martin Helmchen pf 

"The second Diabelli release from the same label in less than a year – but with a performance as virtuoso and imaginative as this from Martin Helmchen, it’s more than justified!" (Gramophone)

The pianist Martin Helmchen has now joined Alpha for several recordings. Acknowledged as one of the leading pianists of his generation, an eminent interpreter of the German repertoire, Helmchen will explore various periods and composers (including Messiaen!), but Beethoven will have a preponderant place in his forthcoming recording projects. Before the complete concertos, planned for 2020, he tackles the Diabelli Variations, ‘a climax in the life of a pianist’. He sees these variations as ‘a voyage to the very heart of the infinity of human feelings and moods, by turns profound, philosophical, satirical’. He regards the cycle as a visionary work that heralds future developments in music, containing the first stirrings of twentieth-century minimalism, atonality and abstraction. This recording is the end result of a long personal association and numerous concerts; a powerful version in which each variation emerges as a masterpiece in its own right.

159 kr
Image #8: APRIL 2018
Messiaen Catalogue d’oiseaux 
Pierre-Laurent Aimard pf 

"A fascinating work, the demands it makes on performer and listener both great but rewarding, is brilliantly explored by a pianist, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, with a deep knowledge of the music of Messiaen." (Gramophone)

Renowned French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard kicks off his exclusive engagement to PENTATONE with a recording of Olivier Messiaen’s Catalogue d’Oiseaux (1956-1958). The pianist had intimate ties to the composer himself and his wife, Yvonne Loriod, for whom Messiaen wrote the Catalogue. Praised by The Guardian as “one of the best Messiaen interpreters around,“ this is Aimard’s first recording of Messiaen’s most extensive, demanding and colourful piano composition. The luxurious CD box set contains an accompanying bonus DVD, on which Aimard shares his vast knowledge of and love for Messiaen’s work from behind the piano. Due to its radical naturalism, the Catalogue d’Oiseaux is exceptional within the repertoire for solo piano. It is the grand hymn to nature from a man who never ceased to marvel at the stupefying beauty of landscapes or the magic of bird song. With his Catalogue, Messiaen tried – in his own words – “to render exactly the typical birdsong of a region, surrounded by its neighbours from the same habitat, as well as the form of song at different hours of the day and night,” suggesting an almost scientific approach to his subjects. The idea of ‘reproduction’ may have been central to Messiaen’s conception of the Catalogue d’Oiseaux, but in the finished work we hear a great composer at work, a master of innovative structures who finds an astonishing range of piano sonorities. In a world that is increasingly being destructed by man, Aimard views this cycle as “a musical refuge that resonates with an audience ever more concerned, expanded and affected.”

429 kr
Image #9: APRIL 2018
‘Four Pieces, Four Pianos’ 
Alexander Melnikov pf 
"Alexander Melnikov talked readers through his choice of piano for the Liszt piece in February; for Chopin, Schubert and Stravinsky he hand-picked three others. The results are hugely enjoyable." (Gramophone)

Alexander Melnikov imagined this programme where four monuments from the piano repertoire are interpreted in their original instrumental environment, Graff, Erard, Bösendorfer and Steinway. The four pianos chosen have characteristics corresponding to those of the instruments on which these virtuoso pieces were first performed. A journey where the horizons of sounds expand to dizzying new heights.

159 kr
Image #10: APRIL 2018
‘Venezia Millenaria’ 
Hespèrion XXI; Le Concert des Nations / Jordi Savall 
"Another compelling and ear-opening historical journey by Jordi Savall, this time a portrait of that most beguiling of cities, Venice, wonderfully portrayed in diverse music from across a millennium." (Gramophone)
Over 1,000 years, from the Byzantine Empire to the Napoleonic Wars, Venice played a key role in shaping the Western music.

Jordi Savall and his ensembles pay a tribute to a place that fully profited from its priviliged links with the Orient while

hosting geniuses like Monteverdi, Gabrieli and Vivaldi. As you have come to expect from Alia Vox, this CD-book is

lavishly illustrated and documented.

429 kr
‘Les funérailes royales de Louis XIV’ 
Sols; Pygmalion / Raphaël Pichon

"A commemorative re-creation of the funeral service for the Sun King, filmed in (appropriately enough) Versailles: ‘fantastic music-making in action’, writes our reviewer David Vickers." (Gramophone)

The funeral of Louis XIV mirrored his reign: grandiose and filled with pathos. Raphaël Pichon has chosen the setting of the Chapelle Royale in Versailles, built ‘for the use’ of the Sun King, to present a musical reconstruction of the event, with chiaroscuro lighting designs by Bertrand Couderc. Solemn grands motets like the De profundis and Dies irae of Michel-Richard de Lalande and the poignant Marche funèbre pour le Convoy du Roy by André Danican Philidor are juxtaposed with rarely heard music by Jean Colin, Louis Chein and Charles d’Helfer. An outstanding performance by Pygmalion, filmed on the occasion of the tercentenary of the event, in November 2015.

189 kr
Image #2: MARCH 2018
Kirill Gerstein pf St Louis Symphony Orchestra / David Robertson

"Kirill Gerstein’s famed virtuosity meets his jazz background to produce a thrilling, hugely enjoyable and well thought-out celebration of Gershwin’s music." (Gramophone)

A Gershwin Moment is upon us: Rhapsody in Blue and the Concerto in F — not so long ago marginalized repertoire in limbo between classical and popular genres — are now, unapologetically, concert staples. George Gershwin is finally recognized as an early harbinger of musical synergies that we now take for granted. No longer viewed as an "inspired dilettante,” betwixt and between, the new Gershwin is a confident master, versatile and visionary. In this album recorded live, pianist Kirill Gerstein explores the music of George Gershwin. Together with conductor David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony he plays the Concerto in F as well as the original jazz band version of the Rhapsody in Blue. Program also includes a selection of Gershwin songs in solo piano arrangements by the American pianist Earl Wild. The album features Gerstein’s collaboration with two special guests: vocalist Storm Large sings Gershwin’s “Summertime”. Together with the legendary jazz vibraphonist, Gary Burton, Gerstein plays a jazz standard “Blame It on My Youth” written by Gershwin’s close friend, Oscar Levant.

159 kr
Image #5: MARCH 2018
JS BACH Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord, BWV1014-1019
Isabelle Faust vn Kristian Bezuidenhout hpd

"Isabelle Faust and Kristian Bezuidenhout’s experience in performing these works together pays dividends once in front of the mics on this wonderful set." (Gramophone)

"Isabelle Faust has never cultivated the whale-boned red-carpet glamour that many female soloists feel obliged to pursue. On stage and off, the German violinist's manner is relaxed, her style understated. She sports a gamine, Jeanne d'Arc crop and, save for the tell-tale violinist's love-bite just below her jaw, you might guess her to be an architect or an academic. In a way, she is both, for an appreciation of musical structure and an interest in historical research are integral to her work.

The stillness of focus and purity of sound that has distinguished her playing can be heard in a repertoire stretching from Beethoven and Schubert through to Hartmann and Ligeti, on modern and period strings. Where other violinists dazzle, Faust is a thinker. On the subject of her own individual sound, she is hesitant: "Of course, I'm trying to be me in whatever repertoire I'm playing, and I do think that my work is different from that of other violinists – but actually I'm never really trying to keep to this idea of an individual sound. It's always my goal to get a different interpretation and also a different kind of voice particular to the voice of the composer." Anna Picard - The Guardian

199 kr
Image #6: MARCH 2018
BERSA ‘Complete Piano Music, Vol 1’
Goran Filipec pf

"New music to me, but what a delight to discover! This is the opening volume of a series devoted to the Croatian composer Blagoje Bersa’s, and one couldn’t ask for a better champion than Goran Filipec." (Gramophone)

Blagoje Bersa was a major figure in Croatian musical life, his compositions a compound of Mediterranean, Central European and Balkan elements. His piano music, of which this recording is Volume 1, reveals a rich diversity drawn from Classical and Romantic models, encompassing charming Chopinesque barcarolles, a melancholic Notturno, a stirring Liszt-inspired Fantaisie-Impromptu, beautiful balletic miniatures and the Brahmsian grandeur of the powerfully conceived Sonata in F minor.

149 kr
Image #7: MARCH 2018
SCHNITTKE Psalms of Repentance
Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir / Kaspars Putninš

"Possibly the best recording yet of one of the choral repertoire’s most technically challenging works, says critic Ivan Moody of this powerful Schnittke recording." (Gramophone)

Alfred Schnittke and Arvo Pärt lived through times of remarkable change in the last decades of the Soviet Union. From the 1970s, state restrictions on religion were gradually relaxed and this was reflected in the arts and especially in music. Schnittke’s adoption of Christianity was triggered by the death of his mother in 1972, and culminated in his later conversion to Catholicism. Pärt was from a nominally Lutheran background in Estonia, but embraced the Orthodox faith in the 1970s, following intensive study of liturgical music. Both composers began to incorporate religious themes into their work, moving away from the modernist abstraction that had characterized their early careers. Schnittke’s large-scale Psalms of Repentance were composed in 1988 for the celebrations for the millennium of Christianity in Russia. The texts come from an anonymous collection of poems for Lent, written in the 16th century, and in his settings Schnittke engages with the traditions of chant-based Orthodox liturgical music. The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Kaspars Putninš have chosen to combine Schnittke’s Psalms with two shorter works by Arvo Pärt, whose music they are well-known exponents of. Like the Psalms, Pärt’s pieces are composed in a quasi-liturgical style, and with its serene atmosphere, his Nunc dimittis forms a natural counterpart to the Magnificat even though the two were written more than a decade apart.

159 kr
Image #9: MARCH 2018
DEBUSSY ‘Songs, Vol 4’
Lucy Crowe sop Malcolm Martineau pf

"Debussy features heavily in this issue, and if you’re inspired to explore his music further then this, the latest volume in Hyperion’s series of his songs, is an exquisite place to turn." (Gramophone)

A recital of songs spanning Debussy’s entire compositional career, from Tragédie written in early 1881, to his very last song, Noël des enfants qui n’ont plus de maisons from the end of 1915. We bid adieu to this series in company of Lucy Crowe and, of course, Malcolm Martineau.

159 kr
TCHAIKOVSKY The Queen of Spades
Sols; Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra / Mariss Jansons

"Tchaikovsky himself becomes a central character in his own opera in this staging from Amsterdam, a ‘terrific memento of a provocative but enthralling production’, writes reviewer Mark Pullinger." (Gramophone)

Former Music Director Mariss Jansons returns to Amsterdam to conduct Pique Dame at the Dutch National Opera with “his” Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. He encounters a noteworthy cast and under his baton the orchestra sounds “brilliant and splendid“ (Der Tagesspiegel). Renowned director Stefan Herheim staged Tchaikovsky’s much-loved opera about a young man who, for the prospect of earthly wealth, gambles away his chance for love and happiness. Herheim, whose stagings are famous for their multi layered levels of interpretation, attempts to reflect on the composer’s hidden love for men. “The Latvian maestro, the intriguingly performing orchestra, the smartly-chosen soloists, and director Stefan Herheim have succeeded in staging an extraordinary production” (Die Presse). “Stefan Herheim makes a great picture show out of Tchaikovsky’s ‘Pique Dame’” (NMZ). “A masterpiece” (Der Standard).

439 kr
Image DVD/BLU RAY: FEBRUARY 2018 (Blu-ray)
419 kr
STRAVINSKY Works for Two Pianos
Marc-André Hamelin, Leif Ove Andsnes pfs

"Even on paper – Hamelin, Andsnes, Stravinsky’s Rite – this sounded thrilling. In the hearing it surpasses even those expectations; characterful, virtuoso, collaborative – and hugely impressive." (Gramophone)

Shortly before its notorious Paris ballet premiere in 1913, this was essentially how The Rite of Spring first saw the light of day: Leif Ove Andsnes and Marc-André Hamelin recapture the heady, visceral thrill which must have been in the air when Stravinsky sat down at the piano with Debussy to create this landmark of modernism.

159 kr
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Patricia Kopatchinskaja vn Polina Leschenko pf

"Patricia Kopatchinskaja never fails to engage both the listener’s ears and mind with performances of personality that make scores live as if freshly discovered. Leschenko is the perfect partner." (Gramophone)

For her third album on Alpha, Patricia Kopatchinskaja is joined by a highly talented pianist whose approach to music is as extremist as hers, Polina Leschenko. Together they explore pieces that have many points in common. The Hungarian violinist Jelly d’Arányi, grandniece of Joseph Joachim, was a ‘muse’ to both Bartók and Ravel. In 1922 and 1923, she premiered the two Bartók sonatas for violin and piano and Ravel dedicated Tzigane to her. He wrote to Bartók: ‘You have convinced me to compose for our friend, who plays so fluently, a little piece whose diabolical difficulty will bring to life the Hungary of my dreams; and since it will be for violin, why don’t we call it Tzigane?’ Of course, Tzigane by Patricia Kopatchinskaja, who has been playing and dancing this music since her childhood in Moldova, does not sound like salon music . . . After a much-fêted recital at Wigmore Hall in 2017, the Financial Times wrote: ‘In another life, Patricia Kopatchinskaja might have been a rock star. This is a violinist who loves taking risks . . . But the final reward was worth waiting for: a denouement of astonishing force.’ Debussy’s Sonata, with its Arab and Javanese influences, completes this voyage, along with a piece for piano solo by Dohnányi, the Valse Coppélia after Léo Delibes, another symbol of the relations between France and Hungary.

159 kr
Image #7: FEBRUARY 2018
Sols; Arcangelo / Jonathan Cohen

"This family affair makes for some interesting comparisons – but most of all for some predictably superb music-making from the ever-impressive Arcangelo and Jonathan Cohen." (Gramophone)

No fewer than three Bachs—father and two sons—and three wonderful versions of the Magnificat written over the course of the eighteenth century: one setting very familiar, the other two much less so.

159 kr
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LULLY Alceste
Sols; Les Talens Lyriques / Christophe Rousset

"Rousset in Rameau was our Recording of the Month in November; if anything he’s even more attuned the to rhythmic and dramatic impulse of Lully’s music. A very fine recording." (Gramophone)

299 kr
RIMSKY-KORSAKOV The Tale of Tsar Saltan
Sols; Mariinsky Orchestra / Valery Gergiev

"A traditional staging, fine cast and excellent playing – Valery Gergiev adds another impressive recording to his growing Rimsky-Korsakov catalogue, and this time on film." (Gramophone)

As a companion to The Golden Cockerel, Valery Gergiev presents another Rimsky-Korsakov opera on the Mariinsky Label, The Tale of Tsar Saltan. Rarely staged and the only complete performance available on Blu-ray or DVD, this release is part of Valery Gergiev’s mission to showcase the breadth and depth that Russian music has to over, caputuring Rimsky-Korsakov’s exciting, adventurous and magical work for posterity. This production features a cast of the Mariinsky’s finest singers, including soprano Irina Churilova as Tsaritsa Militrisa, contralto soprano Albina Shagimuratova as The Swan-Princess, and bass-baritone Edward Tsanga, who sadly passed away in early 2017, in the lead role. Originally composed to celebrate Pushkin’s centenary, the full title of the work - The Tale of Tsar Saltan, of His Son the Renowned and Mighty Bogatyr Prince Gvidon Saltanovich, and of the Beautiful Princess-Swan - is indicative of the fantastical content of the opera. It is an old-fashioned Russian treat for the eyes and the ears from the country’s most long-standing musical institution. Filled with colourful music that is typical of Rimsky-Korsakov’s style, it is the origin of the instantly recognisable Flight of the Bumblebee, which arrives when the magic Swan-Princess changes Prince Gvidon Saltanovich into an insect.

299 kr
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Beethoven Symphonies Nos 1 & 3 
Vienna Symphony Orchestra / Philippe Jordan 
Wiener Symphoniker 

"An impressive statement of intent from Philippe Jordan as he begins a Beethoven cycle with his Vienna Symphony, on its own label." (Gramophone) 

The Wiener Symphoniker wrote music history with the first performances of works by Bruckner, Ravel and Schoenberg. And under the baton of such illustrious music directors as Wilhelm Furtwängler, Herbert von Karajan, Carlo Maria Giulini or Georges Prêtre they acquired worldwide fame for their unique Viennese sound. Considering its rich, more than a century long history, it comes as a surprise that the orchestra has never before recorded a full cycle of the nine symphonies by Ludwig van Beethoven which are widely considered to constitute the apex of the symphonic repertoire. This shortcoming is about to be remedied: Starting in autumn 2017, the Wiener Symphoniker will release the full cycle on 5 CDs. With a new CD of the series to be released every 6 months, the full cycle will be completed just in time for the 250th anniversary of the birth of Beethoven in 2020. The symphonies were recorded live during a critically acclaimed concert cycle in Spring/Summer 2017 in the Great Hall of the Musikverein Wien. At these concerts, the international press specifically praised Jordan’s approach to combining a traditional Viennese sound with a more contemporary, slimmed down interpretation of the material, original tempi and insights from the historically informed performance practice. Through a close reading of the score and by focusing on the content of the works, Jordan aimed to create – in his words – a “more natural, direct, humanised“ image of the famous composer. A key work for this approach constitutes, in Jordan’s mind, the Third Symphony E-flat major op.55 „Eroica“ – which will be included on the first CD of the series along side the First Symphony C Major op. 21. According to Jordan, both works are unified in their portrayal of Beethoven‘s immense, innovative, revolutionary creative will. In its perusal of the Prometheus-myth the “Eroica” has additional meaning for Jordan’s depiction of Beethoven as an essentially modern and human composer: “In the way Beethoven uses the Prometheus theme, the composer reveals his fascination for the eventual failing of mankind not his heroic deeds.”

159 kr
Image #3: JANUARY 2018
Elgar Falstaff. Songs 
Roderick Williams bar BBC Philharmonic Orchestra / Sir Andrew Davis 

"A Falstaff full of personality and perceptiveness, Roderick Williams eloquent in orchestral songs … just the highlights from a wonderful Elgar anthology from Sir Andrew Davis." (Gramophone) 

Sir Andrew Davis takes his multi-award-winning Elgar discography to the next level with breathtaking interpretations of Falstaff, Elgar’s most accomplished and characteristic work, and several orchestral songs, with exemplary support from the BBC Philharmonic, all recorded in surround-sound. Owing to its technical challenges and more complex harmonic language, the composer always had a high opinion of Falstaff, saying that he had enjoyed writing it ‘more than any other music I have ever composed and perhaps for that reason it may prove to be among my best efforts’. His earlier music for Grania and Diarmid pays tribute to the Irish legend of Diarmuid and Grainne; the Funeral March is probably Elgar’s noblest creation, and echoes the popular Pomp and Circumstance Marches. The various less well-known songs, given heroic interpretations by the baritone Roderick Williams OBE, span the multiple facets of Elgar’s style, from the stern and dramatic impressions of Op. 60 to the satirical and impish jollity of ‘Kindly do not SMOKE’.

159 kr
Image #4: JANUARY 2018
Haydn. Kraus ‘Symphonies, Vol 5’ 
Basel Chamber Orchestra / Giovanni Antonini 

"Giovanni Antonini’s Gramophone Award for his previous Haydn volume set the bar high – and it’s met here, on a worthy addition to his compelling exploration of the composer." (Gramophone) 

Haydn2032, the ambitious project of recording the complete symphonies of Haydn, has been placed from the start under the artistic direction of Giovanni Antonini, with two ensembles, Il Giardino Armonico, which made the first four volumes, and the Kammerochester Basel, to which this fifth volume and the next two are assigned. Another characteristic of the edition is that each time Haydn is set in perspective with another composer; here it is Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-92): ‘Kraus was the first man of genius that I met. Why did he have to die? It is an irreparable loss for our art. The Symphony in C minor he wrote in Vienna specially for me is a work which will be considered a masterpiece in every century’, said Haydn in 1797. Though he long remained forgotten after his death, Kraus made an active contribution to the movement of poetic renewal called ‘Sturm und Drang’ or ‘Geniezeit’ (time of genius) because such artists as the young Goethe broke free of all tradition to follow their hearts alone. When Haydn called Kraus homme de genie, in French, he probably had this context in mind. The two composers had met in Vienna in 1783.

159 kr
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Saint-Saëns Works for Cello and Orchestra
Gabriel Schwabe vc Malmö Symphony Orchestra / Marc Soustrot 

"Gabriel Schwabe brings a delightful tone to these concertos: as critic Jeremy Nicholas makes clear, a bargain at Naxos prices, but a brilliant buy regardless." (Gramophone) 

Andrew Everard, Gramophone's Audio Editor, writes: 'This is a wonderfully focused recording, with a beautiful rendition of the tone and textures of the solo instrument, and a natural balance between cello and orchestra without "spotlighting". The sound is made all the more vibrant and three-dimensional by the added information of the 96kHz/24bit high-resolution download.’

This recording of the complete Saint-Saens works for cello, featuring the acclaimed young German cellist Gabriel Schwabe includes both Cello Concertos and the ever popular Le Cygne. This is the sixth recording to date with the Malmo Symphony Orchestra conducted by Marc Soustrot of the symphonies and concertos of Saint-Saens.

89 kr
Image #8: JANUARY 2018
‘A Lute by Sixtus Rauwolf’ 
Jakob Lindberg lute 

"A beautiful Baroque programme, specially compiled to showcase Jakob Lindberg’s rather unique instrument – possibly the oldest lute in playing condition." (Gramophone) 

The lute by Sixtus Rauwolf heard on this recording was probably built in the last decade of the sixteenth century. Some hundred years later, in 1715, it was converted to suit the musical tastes and demands of the baroque period. For this disc, Jakob Lindberg has chosen works that could have formed part of the repertory of the presumably German owner of the instrument at around the time of its final conversion. For German lutenists from about the middle of the seventeenth century, it was France that provided the aesthetic and musical model, and towards the end of the century, when the lute rather suddenly and inexplicably dropped out of fashion in Paris certain French luthistes travelled abroad and met with great success in Germanspeaking lands. With them, they took their music and special traditions of lute-playing, evidence of which can be seen in the music of several of the German composers included here. The disc closes with a suite of pieces by Silvius Leopold Weiss, the most famous lutenist of the baroque era. Weiss, Lindberg and the Rauwolf lute first crossed paths in 2006 on a highly acclaimed all-Weiss disc (BIS-1524): ‘Too good to be true’ was the verdict in International Record Review while the reviewer in Goldberg Magazine wrote ‘As an evocation of the lute's magical qualities, this deserves to achieve cult status.’

159 kr
Image #10: JANUARY 2018
R Strauss Salome 
Sols; Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra / Andrés Orozco-Estrada 

"‘A deeply musical account of the score’, writes critic Hugo Shirley of this dramatic telling of Strauss’s opera; Emily Magee is a ‘compellingly real’ Salome, and all in excellent sound." (Gramophone) 

Desire. Brutality. Lust. Slyness. Anxiety. What a fascinatingly menacing thematic melange is seething in this Salome. Richard Strauss, the “nervous contrapuntalist,” had immediately recognized the potential of Oscar Wilde’s play, and had proceeded to add to it a musical meta-plane, which resulted in Salome becoming the scandalous new point of departure for opera in the 20th century. In its vivid psychological depiction of a corrupt world, Salome is, at the same time, both child of and witness to the dawning of the 20th century – a reflection of a moribund late-bourgeois era, captivated by its own putrefaction. The opera hit the nerve of the times. Strauss poured the Salome catastrophe into a one-act opera lasting a mere 100 minutes. However, these are 100 highly condensed minutes, which demand the listener’s full and uninterrupted attention without any break; first torturing him emotionally and then trickling the venom of sweet, seductive music into his ears and mind; laying his nerves bare, then making him tremble in aroused expectation. The new Pentatone CD featuring the young, up-and-coming conductor Andres Orozco-Estrada leading the hr Symphony Orchestra (= formerly Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra) is a live recording of a concert given on September 10, 2016 in Frankfurt. The critics were enthusiastic: “The title role was wonderfully relaxed, all the essential components were in general harmonious, and Andres Orozco-Estrada emphasized the power of the orchestra.” Indeed, Orozco-Estrada surrounded his Salome with outstanding soloists of the German opera repertoire: Wolfgang Koch (Jochanaan), Peter Bronder (Herod), and Michaela Schuster (Herodias). The American soprano Emily Magee made her debut as Salome in Berlin in 2011. Since then, she has developed into a true Strauss specialist – and not only in this role. The Frankfurter Rundschau praised her “readily appealing, powerful and untiring soprano voice, which never gets drowned, not even in the orchestral tutti. Her face was a fascinating reflection of the slyness, the caprices, the bitchiness of a pampered princess.”

229 kr
JS Bach St Matthew Passion
Sols; Gächinger Cantorey / Hans-Christoph Rademann

"An imaginative, inspiring and choreographed approach to Bach’s St Matthew Passion, movingly performed by players, soloists and 100 children from schools around Stuttgart." (Gramophone)

In its choreographed version of the St. Matthew Passion, the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart offers new dimensions to Bach‘s musical drama.

And, for the one hundred schoolchildren who delved into Bach‘s monumental work and learned to dance as an artistic form of self-expression, it was an opportunity to experience the power of his music first hand. The interplay of professional musicians and young amateurs turned into a creative bridge for all involved.

299 kr
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