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GRAMOPHONE 2018

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 92 artiklar
Image #2 DECEMBER 2018
January release in the Nordic territory

Debussy Orchestral Works 
Les Siècles / François-Xavier Roth 

"A superb addition to Harmonia Mundi’s fascinating Debussy survey, François-Xavier Roth and his period instrument players capturing the music’s beauty and mystery." (Gramophone)  

A century after his death on 25 March 1918, many harmonia mundi artists are eager to pay tribute to Claude Debussy, the magician of melody and timbre, the great ‘colourist’ and father of modern music.

With the musicians of Les Siècles, we have the opportunity to discover - on period instruments - the original colours of such key works as Jeux and the Nocturnes.

After his sumptuous recording of Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé, François-Xavier Roth adds a new and splendid achievement to his discography.

169 kr
Image #4 DECEMBER 2018
Dvorák Piano Trios Nos 3 & 4 
Christian Tetzlaff vn Tanja Tetzlaff vc Lars Vogt pf 

"An exquisite and entrancing chamber music disc, and an impressive example of the intimacy and interplay that the genre can embody at its most heightened." (Gramophone)  

This fruitful collaboration by three eminent chamber musicians, Christian Tetzlaff, Tanja Tetzlaff and Lars Vogt, brings together two Piano Trios by the Czech master, Antonín Dvorák (1841–1904). During the last eight years, artists forming this unique trio have recorded eight albums of chamber music for Ondine with great acclaim, including some of the Romantic standard works. These two chamber music masterpieces by Antonín Dvorák express great emotional depth and dark passion.

The two piano trios by Dvorák featured in this album have remarkable similarities as well as differences. Piano Trio No. 3, nearly symphonic in its character, hints to the world of Johannes Brahms, while the Piano Trio No. 4 (‘Dumky’) includes folkloric elements. The third piano trio might not only be considered as an homage to Brahms; it was written by the composer in 1883 shortly after the death of his mother which might well explain the sorrowful musical expression in the slow movement of the work. The ‘Dumky’ trio has a very unusual structure in its six movements. This intense and intimate work was written just prior to the composer’s departure to New York in 1891 and serves as a great climax for Dvorák’s series of piano trios.


159 kr
Image #5 DECEMBER 2018
Messiaen La Nativité du Seigneur 
Richard Gowers org 

"From the work’s quiet beginnings through to the magnificent and magisterial final part, this is deeply impressive organ-playing, with Kings College’s atmospheric sound expertly captured." (Gramophone)  

Nine extraordinary meditations by one of the twentieth century’s musical titans, performed on the magnificent King’s College Chapel organ by former organ scholar Richard Gowers.

129 kr
Image #8 DECEMBER 2018
Elgar The Music Makers. The Spirit of England 
BBC Symphony Orchestra / Sir Andrew Davis 

"With artists, and a record label in Chandos, all so steeped in repertoire such as this, it’s no surprise that this album should be so powerful and so moving." (Gramophone)

Distinguished British music interpreter Sir Andrew Davis joins forces with the BBCSO once again, this time with acclaimed soloists Dame Sarah Connolly and Andrew Staples, in this thoughtful presentation of the last two substantial choral works of Sir Edward Elgar.

169 kr
Image #9 DECEMBER 2018
‘Pater Peccavi’ 
The Marian Consort / Rory McCleery 
 
"Profiled by us earlier in the year, The Marian Consort under Rory McCleery bring the exquisite skill and elegance for which they’ve already become known to the music of late-Renaissance Portugal." (Gramophone)  

Biblical texts of lamentation were embraced by composers of the late Renaissance for their artistic and expressive potential. But in Portugal – a kingdom without a king, its people governed by a foreign power – such settings gave life, as well, to a rich expression of covert political commentary. Rory McCleery’s ongoing interest in this field of polyphony bears fruit for the first time in a groundbreaking programme. Many of these Portuguese composers are known, if at all, for a very few pieces. Once again, McCleery and his Consort make a clarion call for music that deserves, and with their advocacy should now receive, far wider recognition.

189 kr
Image DVD/BLU RAY: DECEMBER 2018
Puccini Madama Butterfly 
Sols; Royal Opera / Sir Antonio Pappano 

"Mark Pullinger was deeply moved by this production, both in the opera house and now on screen, featuring the excellent Ermonela Jaho in the title role and one of today’s leading Puccini conductors in the pit." (Gramophone)  

Puccini’s Japanese tragedy Madama Butterfly is given a ravishing production by The Royal Opera. Its alluring imagery of Japan from the 19th-century European Imagination heightens the intense clash of East and West. When the American naval officer Pinkerton seduces the young ‘Butterfly’ Cio-Cio-San, he seems to promise every happiness – but his cruel abandonment leads to her tragic self-sacrifice. Antonio Pappano, Music Director of The Royal Opera and renowned for his interpretations of Puccini, conducts an exceptionally fine cast with the Royal Opera Chorus and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. Powerful performances show why Madama Butterfly remains one of the all-time operatic favourites. ‘‘Always at his best in Puccini, Antonio Pappano conducts with passionate sincerity.’’ (The Guardian 5 Stars) ‘‘An opera that ranks among the very greatest of the 20th century.’’ (The Daily Telegraph 4 Stars) ‘‘Ermonela Jaho is the best Cio-Cio-San London has seen in years’’ (Independent 4 Stars)

299 kr
Image #2 NOVEMBER 2018
Langgaard Symphonies Nos 2 & 6 Gade Tango jalousie 
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra / Sakari Oramo

"Unfamiliar but deeply rewarding music played by a great orchestra clearly relishing the opportunity to engage with this composer’s fascinating sound world." (Gramophone) 

Rued Langgaard – Symphonies Nos. 2 & 6 including Jacob Gade's Tango Jalousie

Rued Langgaard (1893–1952) was the major Danish late-Romantic composer who did not
gain recognition in his mother country. His greatest successes took place in Germany and Austria, where his Symphonies Nos. 2 and 6 were met with considerable acclaim. Back
home, he never received that kind of backing. He died a careworn and despairing individual. On this recording with one of the world’s leading orchestras, the traditionconscious Vienna Philharmonic, one is therefore able to hear Langgaard's music 'return
home' to a central European musical culture. At the same time things were going swimmingly for his colleague Jacob Gade (1879–1963) whose Tango Jalousie has become the absolutely most frequently played piece of Danish music for almost a century

159 kr
Image #3 NOVEMBER 2018
Mahler Symphony No 5
Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra / Daniel Harding

"Proof that the Swedish RSO is on fine form under Daniel Harding who gives a superb performance of this popular and great symphony." (Gramophone)

For the second installment in his Mahler cycle for harmonia mundi, Daniel Harding revisits a symphony which clearly represents a turning point in the composer’s output. The years following Mahler’s early period (marked by Des Knaben Wunderhorn) saw the production of works of ever greater complexity and sardonicism, which show no trace of naïveté. Within a framework of utmost intricacy, the themes, musical gestures, and building blocks (for instance, the interval of a minor third which opens the Fifth Symphony’s famous Adagietto) trace a journey from darkness to light which culminates in the striking modernity of the finale.

169 kr
Image #4 NOVEMBER 2018
Tchaikovsky Swan Lake
State Academic SO of Russia ‘Evgeny Svetlanov’ / Vladimir Jurowski
 
"Familiar – and glorious – music given a fresh approach under Jurowski who explained his thoughts on the score in last month’s ‘Musician and the Score’." (Gramophone)

Swan Lake is the first of the three great ballets that Tchaikovsky wrote, and arguably the most famous. The piece is mainly known in the shape it obtained in 1895, when it became a classic in the choreography of Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov. That “imperial” version strayed from Tchaikovsky’s world premiere score, with several cuts, abridgments and displacements. This high definition recording presents the work as it was heard during the 1877 world premiere performance, highlighting the extraordinary symphonic qualities of Tchaikovksy’s original conception. Swan Lake is performed by the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia “Evgeny Svetlanov” led by its Artistic Director Vladimir Jurowski. Jurowski has recorded extensively for PENTATONE and has received enthusiastic critical acclaim. In July 2017, he signed a long-term, multi-album agreement with PENTATONE including a new complete cycle of the symphonies of Sergei Prokofiev with the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia “Evgeny Svetlanov”. Other releases by Jurowski for PENTATONE include violin concertos by Britten and Hindemith with Arabella Steinbacher, and tone poems by Mahler and Strauss, performed with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin where he is Chief Conductor and Artistic Director.

319 kr
Image #6 NOVEMBER 2018
Debussy Les Trois Sonates – The Late Works
Various artists

"Top-notch French players explore three sonatas from Debussy’s final years in a series – from our Label of the Year – that’s turning out to be impressive indeed." (Gramophone)

A century after his death on 25 March 1918, many harmonia mundi artists are eager to pay tribute to Claude Debussy, the magician of melody and timbre, the great ‘colourist’ and father of modern music. In the three chamber sonatas, here combined with the composer’s final pieces for solo piano, we attain the purity, the absolute concision, the distant and mysterious world that give these works a testamentary dimension.

169 kr
Image #7 NOVEMBER 2018
Schubert String Quartets Nos 9 & 14 ‘Death and the Maiden’
Chiaroscuro Quartet

"Two Schubert string quartets, early and ‘late’, played with enormous conviction and power by this very stylish ensemble." (Gramophone)   

One of the truly iconic works in the repertoire for string quartet, Franz Schubert’s Death and the Maiden is named after the song which has lent its theme to the second movement. At the end of Matthias Claudius’s poem, which Schubert had set as a 20-year-old in 1817, Death cradles the Maiden in his bony embrace. And her fear, in the first verse, of encountering his tomb-cold touch is mirrored by his desire for her in the second. In Schubert’s life time, death was a constant presence in everyday life and even a young person like himself would have encountered it at close quarters – in fact, his own mother had passed away when he was only 15. When Schubert returns to the song in 1824 and starts work on the string quartet, death has nevertheless grown even more real: in the meantime he has become acquainted with pain and disease during the bouts of the syphilis that he knows will kill him. He turns the song into a set of variations, preceding it with a ferocious Allegro, and following it with a Scherzo and a Finale that have been described as ‘the dance of the demon fiddler’ and ‘a dance with death’. The acclaimed Chiaroscuro Quartet performs the work on gut strings, which brings out the vulnerability and desperation even further. The players then let us down gently with the youthful String Quartet No. 9 in G minor, a work in which the minor key offers Schubert the opportunity to play with light and shadows, rather than full-scale drama.

169 kr
Image #10 NOVEMBER 2018
Duparc. Ravel ‘Aimer et mourir – danses et mélodies’
Magdalena Kožená mez DSO Berlin / Robin Ticciati

"A wonderfully heady programme of French music that shows Ticciati’s developing relationship with his Berlin orchestra. Lovely singing from KoOená." (Gramophone)

September 2018 marks the start of Robin Ticciati’s second season as Music Director of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and the release of his second recording with his new orchestra. The partnership’s critically acclaimed debut of Debussy and Faure led MusicWeb International to comment: '[this] certainly whets the appetite for future releases from Robin Ticciati with the DSO Berlin.' This second all-French programme sees Magdalena Kožena return to perform a selection of songs by Henri Duparc alongside orchestral music by his fellow countryman Maurice Ravel. The popular Suite No. 2 from Ravel’s epoch-making ballet Daphnis et Chloe showcases Ticciati’s flair for highlighting intricacies of detail and colour; listen as the beautifully descriptive sunrise ('Lever du jour') bursts into vivid, multi-hued life. In Ravel’s Valses nobles et sentimentales Ticciati creates a well-paced, yet graceful, Impressionist swirl with clearly defined textures and shimmering orchestral colours. Duparc’s melodies, which Ravel himself described as 'works of genius', sound particularly opulent in their orchestral scoring; the warm tones of Kožena’s ravishing voice provide a perfect match.

169 kr
Image DVD/BLU RAY: NOVEMBER 2018
‘Through the eyes of Yuja’ 
Yuja Wang pf Camerata Salzburg / Lionel Bringuier

"A disarmingly honest, and fascinating, glimpse into the life of one of today’s leading virtuosos, complete with performances of Gershwin and Ravel caught live in Salzburg." (Gramophone)

This film is a journey with the famous pianist Yuja Wang. With more than 120 performances a year, she lives a nomadic lifestyle. The exploration of Yuja’s wanderings is a travelogue of exciting venues, glitzy cities and encounters with extraordinary artists, such as Gustavo Dudamel, Gauthier Capucon and Leonidas Kavakos and personalities of other professional horizons but there is also a downside: fatigue, jet lag, pressure, doubts, hostilities, disorientation, and loneliness. With a bittersweet reference to the transience of life, the film reveals the invisible that complements the visible and shows us this artist in a very personal way. “Pianists have to be alone all the time, and it’s hard, it’s lonely. Being a musician is almost like a very isolated life, and the only time you actually get to communicate is on stage with music. It’s not a bad thing. I think being solitary, it really allows us to think about life and to think about why people write this music. [...] It makes you start to wonder about things that are beneath the surface.” Yuja Wang BONUS: Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue & Ravel: Piano Concerto in G Major

239 kr
Image REISSUE/ARCHIVE: NOVEMBER 2018
Wagner Die fliegende Holländer 
Sols; Bayreuth Festival / Wolfgang Sawallisch

"Forget the mono sound, this is a superb performance of the Dutchman from 1959." (Gramophone)

1959 was a special year in 'New Bayreuth': Wieland Wagner had now presented all ten works under his own direction, in the first 'Ring-free' year since the 1951 reopening – an abomination to hard-bitten old-school Wagnerians, for whom only the Ring and Parsifal genuinely belonged on the 'green hill' of Bayreuth. There was once again heated discussion over the guiding principles governing the presentation of the festival. But Wieland confounded and convinced his critics yet again with a 'rediscovery' of his directorial idiom, described by him as 'magic realism'. Musical success was achieved on the grand scale by the brilliant exponents of Senta (dubbed by Wagner 'the woman of the future') and the Dutchman – and by the musically modern slim-line conductor, who had made his successful Bayreuth debut not long before in the new production of Tristan (just released by Orfeo - C951183D). Leonie Rysanek, whose singing gave vivid meaning to all the drama’s emotional aspects, also had the figure for the part – in her own words, she was the 'slimmest Senta in the world'.

159 kr
Image RECORDING OF THE MONTH - OCTOBER 2018
Chopin Cello Sonata Schubert Arpeggione Sonata 
Steven Isserlis vc Dénes Várjon pf 

"From the infectious joy that opens the disc, to the more reflective and intense works and movements, this is music-making that just feels wonderfully instinctive and personal." (Gramophone)

Cellists have cause to be thankful for the impracticality and swift demise of the arpeggione, which allowed the appropriation of Schubert’s wonderful sonata for their own instrument. Dénes Várjon’s 1851 Érard lends characterful zest both here and in Chopin, while bonuses include Steven Isserlis’s own transcriptions of songs by both composers.

169 kr
Image #3 OCTOBER 2018
Haydn Cello Concertos Schoenberg Verklärte Nacht 
Alisa Weilerstein vc Trondheim Soloists 

"The inspired Alisa Weilerstein pulls off an unusual and illuminating pairing – but then as someone who has paired Elgar and Carter concertos, what do you expect?" (Gramophone)

Transfigured Night brings together two outstanding composers associated with Vienna: Joseph Haydn and Arnold Schoenberg. The former is often seen as the oldest representative of the “First Viennese School”, whereas the latter founded the “Second Viennese School”, using the classicism of his predecessors to explore new, atonal musical paths into the twentieth century. By combining Haydn’s two cello concertos (in C-major and D-major) and Schoenberg’s symphonic poem Verklärte Nacht – in the 1943 edition for string orchestra – this album sheds a new, fascinating light on both Viennese masters. The connection between the stylistically contrasting pieces on this album is further enhanced by the inspired playing of American cellist Alisa Weilerstein and the Trondheim Soloists. For Weilerstein, this album is not only a fascinating exploration of the rich Viennese musical heritage, but just as much a confrontation with the dark history of a city her grandparents had to flee in 1938. Transfigured Night is Weilerstein’s first album as an exclusive PENTATONE artist, as well as the first album recorded with the Trondheim Soloists since her appointment as Artistic Partner of the ensemble in 2017.

189 kr
Image #4 OCTOBER 2018  
Vaughan Williams A Sea Symphony 
Sols; BBC Symphony Chorus and Orchestra / Martyn Brabbins 

"Critic Andrew Achenbach couldn’t praise more highly the intelligence and control with which Martyn Brabbins approaches this work, caught in excellent sound." (Gramophone)

One of the mightiest of first symphonies, Vaughan Williams’s setting of Walt Whitman creates a very special sense of occasion. The coupling is more Whitman: RVW’s later, virtually unknown Darest thou now, O soul for chorus and strings.

169 kr
Image #6 OCTOBER 2018
Janson The Wind Blows – Choral Works 
Norwegian Soloists’ Choir / Grete Pedersen 

"A fascinating presentation of the music of the contemporary Norwegian composer Alfred Janson, given compelling advocacy by the Norwegian Soloists’ Choir." (Gramophone)

Born in 1937, Alfred Janson was a key figure among the young Norwegian composers who emerged in the beginning of the 1960s. With a background in jazz and popular music he seemed to represent a new era, and this was confirmed by works such as Construction and Hymn and Nocturne. And ever since then Janson has continued to write his own music, seemingly independently of the current ‘-isms’. One of the cornerstones of his production has been vocal music, and this disc from the Norwegian Soloists’ Choir and Grete Pedersen presents an opportunity to listen to his choral works from five decades. These reveal to the listener his free melodic gift and original approach to harmony, but also his keen instinct for good texts – the programme includes settings of poems by Shakespeare (Sonnet No. 76), Nietszche and Emily Dickinson, but also a lyrical hymn to Mother Earth and politically charged texts by contemporaries of the composer. The Norwegian Soloists’ Choir and Janson have collaborated on numerous occasions, and two of the works recorded here were commissioned by the choir: the wind blows … from 2016 and Sonnet No. 76 (2000). Janson often allows for the possibility of including instruments in his works, and joining the choir are musicians from Oslo Sinfonietta, as well as Alfred Janson himself, playing his beloved plastic melodica.

169 kr
Image #7 OCTOBER 2018
Kastalsky Memory Eternal 
The Clarion Choir / Steven Fox 

"‘The rehabilitation of a major work’ writes Ivan Moody; this is music powerfully rooted in the Russian sound world, sung with passion, and beautifully recorded." (Gramophone)

A pivotal figure in Russian musical life – he was a student of Tchaikovsky and acclaimed as the founder of a new, national church music – Kastalsky composed a choral-orchestral Requiem for the concert stage, working simultaneously on the a cappella version heard on this recording that could be sung in Russian Orthodox churches. This work and the short sacred pieces that end the programme reveal his masterful use of choral sonority and colour, his weaving of complex polyphonic textures, and his graceful use of ancient chant melodies. World premiere recording.

89 kr
Image #8 OCTOBER 2018
Monteverdi Vespro della Beata Vergine 
Collegium Vocale Gent / Philippe Herreweghe 

"A superb performance of Monteverdi’s Vespers – three decades after Herreweghe’s first – which feels fresh and bursting with delightfully collaborative musicianship." (Gramophone)

Philippe Herreweghe and Collegium Vocale Gent present a highly accomplished version of one of the masterpieces of seventeenth-century sacred music. Composed shortly after L’Orfeo and dedicated to Pope Paul V, Monteverdi’s Vespers constantly surprise us with their audacity and their great emotional power. Stile antico and stile moderno combine here to wonderful effect, with Renaissance-style polyphony, accompanied monody and concertato style coexisting harmoniously. The importance accorded to the text (a key feature in Monteverdi), the virtuosity of the vocal writing and the independence of the part-writing are among the characteristics of this astonishing work. Philippe Herreweghe and Collegium Vocale Gent prove themselves to be Monteverdi interpreters of the first rank. Their lively, refreshing reading, enhanced by the presence of eight internationally renowned soloists, will ensure the success of this release.

289 kr
Image #9 OCTOBER 2018
Stravinsky Perséphone 
Sols; Finnish National Opera Orchestra / Esa-Pekka Salonen 
 
"Esa-Pekka Salonen’s grasp of Stravinsky’s score and control of the musical forces lends this recording a gripping sense of drama and drive." (Gramophone)

Stravinsky’s Perséphone (1934) is a dynamic music-theatrical narration of the myth of Persephone’s abduction to the underworld and return to earth. The transparent, sober but evocative music epitomizes Stravinsky’s sensuous take on Neoclassicism, and the piece showcases Stravinsky’s eclectic, original and highly personal approach to music and musical drama through a playful mixture of several genres – melodrama, song, chorus, dance and pantomime. Ultimately, Perséphone offers Stravinsky’s second ode to spring, albeit without the brutal excesses of Le Sacre.

This album was recorded live during the Helsinki Festival 2017 with a star cast featuring English tenor Andrew Staples and French actress Pauline Cheviller. They join forces with the Finnish National Opera’s chorus, children’s chorus and orchestra, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, in a breath-taking performance that lifts out the piece’s transformative power.

189 kr
Image #10 OCTOBER 2018
‘Melancholia’ 
Les Cris de Paris / Geoffroy Jourdain 

"Les Cris de Paris offer a very exciting choral sound – individual voices balanced with moments of dramatic blend – as they delve into the darkness and introspection of a 16-/17th-century programme." (Gramophone)

A most unusual cabinet of curiosities: “Finding pleasure even in meditating on what causes one’s pain”: that neatly defines the theme of this album of music from the cusp of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth centuries. Here Italian and English madrigals rub shoulders with motets and Tenebrae responsories.

A melancholic poetry that provided endless nourishment for musical creativity in the late Renaissance and which Geoffroy Jourdain presents in his first recording for harmonia mundi.

169 kr
Image DVD/BLU RAY: OCTOBER 2018
Lehár Das Land des Lächelns 
Sols; Philharmonia Zurich / Fabio Luisi 

"The focus is very much on the music here in Fabio Luisi’s presentation of this Lehár operetta, one highly praised by reviewer Richard Bratby, who hopes this ‘genuinely moving masterpiece’ will find new friends." (Gramophone)

Franz Lehár Das Land des Lächelns Prince Sou-Chong_Piotr Beczala Lisa_Julia Kleiter Mi_Rebeca Olvera Count Gustav v. Pottenstein_Spencer Lang Tschang_Cheyne Davidson Chief Eunuch_Martin Zysset Fabio Luisi, musical direction Andreas Homoki, stage director Klaus Grünberg, set and lighting designer Silke Willrett, costume design Kathrin Brunner, dramaturgy Philharmonia Zürich Chor der Oper Zürich “Always smile and always be cheerful, always satisfied, no matter what happens, smile in spite of your sorrows and a thousand aches and pains,” sings Prince Sou-Chong, thus introducing the fundamentally melancholic tone of Das Land des Lächelns (The Land of Smiles), which even has a tragic ending in store. For the new production of this operetta, world class tenor Piotr Beczala returned to the Opernhaus Zürich as Sou-Chong. He has an equal partner in Julia Kleiter, who plays the role of Lisa. Fabio Luisi and Andreas Homoki also know that the genre of operetta requires particular care – which is why they have assumed personal responsibility for this production. Homoki lets the plot take place in a Paris Variété theater from the 1920s, complete with show staircase and heavy curtains. To emphasize the operatic elements, he condensed the piece, cutting several secondary roles and shortening dialogues. Recorded at the Opernhaus Zürich June 2017

299 kr
Image #4 SEPTEMBER 2018
JS Bach Suites for lute
Thomas Dunford archlute

"Performances rich in elegance and personality are wrapped in an acoustic of calming warmth, all of which makes for a wonderful journey through these Bach arrangements." (Gramophone)
 
Thomas Dunford continues to expand his discography on Alpha with a programme of solo lute works by J.S. Bach, recorded in the ideal surroundings of the Salle de Musique of La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland. He performs an original composition by Bach for lute, the Suite in G minor BWV 995, as well as his own arrangements of the Suite BWV 1007 and the famous Chaconne from the Partita BWV 1004 – the latter piece has a notorious reputation for being (virtually) unplayable, at least on the violin!

159 kr
Image #5 SEPTEMBER 2018
Haydn Piano Sonatas, Vol 7 
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet pf 

"What more to say that hasn’t been said about Volumes 1-6 of this hugely enjoyable Haydn sonata series? Playing of grace and playfulness, all bursting with affection for this music – a superb series continues." (Gramophone)

Alongside an internationally acclaimed celebration of Debussy’s centenary, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet continues his sumptuous journey through Haydn, the instalments consistently praised for their intelligent approach and clear and vivid interpretations. Recorded on a modern Yamaha CFX in the warm acoustic of Potton Hall in Suffolk, the series has now reached Volume 7, which showcases several rarely heard sonatas, some of which have been considered of dubious authenticity or outright apocryphal. With the exception of No. 13 (Hob. XVI: 6), absolutely and unarguably authentic, these sonatas survive only in the form of copies, and to establish a chronology is difficult, even impossible. But through Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s playing, all these pieces are revealed in their purest essence and diversity, from the energetic, witty, and ironic to the graceful, tender, and intimate.

169 kr
Image #6 SEPTEMBER 2018
Liszt Scherzo und March. Ballades. Légends
Leonardo Pierdomenico pf 

"A truly impressive debut from this Italian pianist: well-chosen works, to which he brings compelling colour and mood, as well as – of course – thrilling virtuosity." (Gramophone)
  
Leonardo Pierdomenico was a finalist at the Van Cliburn International Competition held in May 2017 in Fort Worth, Texas. Six months later he made this, his debut studio album, which is sure to be listened to eagerly by pianophiles across the world. Pierdomenico played the Second Concerto of Liszt in the Van Cliburn competition final, and his performance won him the Raymond E. Buck Jury Discretionary Award; his semifinal performance of Chopin’s First Ballade was included on the internationally released CD of highlights from the competition. At 24 years of age, Pierdomenico has also been a first-prize winner at the 2011 Premio Venezia Piano Competition held in La Fenice in Venice, and a semifinalist at the 2016 Queen Elisabeth International Piano Competition. Born in Pescara, he has performed across Italy having graduated from his local conservatoire, as well as giving recitals in major venues in Berlin and Brussels. Liszt is a natural choice for his debut recital. However, Pierdomenico has largely chosen the path less well trodden in his selection from Liszt’s vast oeuvre. He has concentrated on the brooding, melancholic and introverted sides of the composer’s multifaceted personality. The Csardas macabre is one of Liszt’s most radical conceptions, with sequences that push at the boundaries of tonality. The two are Legendes based on the miracles of two of the composer’s namesake Saints, St. Francis of Assisi, who allegedly preached a sermon to an attentive flock of birds, and St. Francisof Paola who, legend has it, crossed the Strait of Messina fashioning a vessel from his cloak and staff after a ferryman refused him passage. As well as the justly ubiquitous Second Ballade, Pierdomenico gives a rare outing to the ‘crusader’s song’ of the First; another rarity is the single-movement Scherzo und Marsch which finds the composer in heroic vein, replete with demanding fugato sections and rapier-like arpeggios. This new recording is further distinguished by booklet notes on the individual pieces by a slightly older Liszt pianist of distinction, Mark Viner, who has also made several critically acclaimed recordings for the Piano Classics label. Young Italian pianist Leonardo Pierdomenico drew the international spotlights on him winning the Jury Award at the recent Van Cliburn Competition. Having already won the prestigious Premio Venezia in Italy he steadily builds his career, playing recitals and with prominent orchestras. His debut CD on Piano Classics features an impressive selection of piano works by Franz Liszt: the demonic and fiendishly difficult Scherzo und Marsch (still rarely played), the two dramatic Ballades, the two famous Legendes with their religious references, and a late work, the Csardas Macabre, an astonishing and spine-tingling work featuring a remorseless sequence of parallel fifths. The booklet contains excellent liner notes written by the Chairman of the English Liszt Society: Mark Viner.

159 kr
Image #7 SEPTEMBER 2018
Rachmaninov Études-tableaux
Steven Osborne pf 

"This remarkable pianist talked Gramophone readers though the score last month, whetting our appetite for a performance of deeply reflective individuality: he doesn’t disappoint." (Gramophone)
    
Steven Osborne, whose Rachmaninov has already been praised for its synthesis of ‘modesty, inner fire and virtuosity’ (The Observer) here turns his attention to the wonderful Études-tableaux. This is a major addition to Osborne’s discography, and repertoire in which he has few peers.

169 kr
Image #8 SEPTEMBER 2018
Buxtehude ‘Abendmusiken’
Vox Luminis / Lionel Meunier 

"Another wonderful recording from our 2012 Recording of the Year winners, the blend, beauty of line and sense of atmosphere and drama making for a riveting listen." (Gramophone)

The Abendmusiken were a legendary concert series organised by Buxtehude in Lübeck. Even Johann Sebastian Bach travelled a long way to attend these concerts of sacred and instrumental music and met the master Dietrich Buxtehude, the most famous organist in Europe. To mark the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation, Vox Luminis and the Ensemble Masques have come together to perform a programme of cantatas (Gott hilf mir, denn das Wasser geht mir bis an die Seele, BuxWV 34 | Befiehl dem Engel, dass er komm, BuxWV 10 | Jesu, meine Freude, BuxWV 60 | Herzlich lieb hab ich dich, o Herr, BuxWV 41) and instrumental pieces (Sonatas BuxWV 255 and 261). The recording assembles leading specialists of this repertory, with the expert voices of Vox Luminis combining with the vitality of the instrumentalists of Ensemble Masques.

159 kr
Image #9 SEPTEMBER 2018
‘Come to me in my dreams’ 
‘120 years of song from the Royal College of Music’
Dame Sarah Connolly mez / Joseph Middleton pf  

"As communicative as always, Connolly celebrates, in this programme, song composers associated with the RCM." (Gramophone)

Dame Sarah Connolly’s exceptional nocturnally inspired recital spans over 120 years of British song from Stanford to Turnage, and includes world premieres of two songs by Benjamin Britten. Marking Sarah Connolly’s Proms recital debut, the centenary of Sir Hubert Parry’s death, and British composers in general, who studied or taught at the Royal College of Music, this album is an astonishing collection not to be missed.

169 kr
Image #10 SEPTEMBER 2018
Halévy La reine de Chypre
Sols; Flemist Radio Choir; Paris Chamber Orchestra / Hervé Niquet

"A less familiar opera – but what delightful advocacy it gets here! Characterful singing from a superb cast, all shaped perfectly by Niquet." (Gramophone)

Berlioz wrote of Halévy’s La Reine de Chypre (1841): ‘Its success will at least equal that of La Juive.’ And Wagner added: ‘It is in La Reine de Chypre that Halévy’s new style has appeared with the most brilliance and success.’ So several voices – and those by no means insignificant – have declared this work, written six years after La Juive, to be its composer’s masterpiece. Premiered on 22 December 1841, Halévy’s opera offered the limelight to Rosine Stoltz in the title role: she was the only woman in the cast, for it had been found preferable to isolate her, following her incessant disputes with the other female singers in the company. Alongside her, the tenor Gilbert Duprez shone in the role of Gérard. The story takes the spectator on a voyage from the palaces of Venice to those of Cyprus. But despite an initial success confirmed by several translations and adaptations that appeared shortly after the first run (notably Lachner’s Caterina Cornaro in 1841 and Donizetti’s in 1843), the work gradually vanished from European opera houses.

359 kr
Image RECORDING OF THE MONTH - AUGUST
Bizet Les pêcheurs de perles
Sols; Lille National Orchestra / Alexandre Bloch

"For all the fame of its renowned duet, Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers hasn’t been so well represented on record. This changes that, with a superb cast and brilliantly spirited playing throughout." (Gramophone)

Les Pêcheurs de perles is best known for its glorious duet, but Georges Bizet’s opera has much more to offer. This live recording more than ever brings out the brilliance of this oriental story about love, duty and friendship. In the last 150 years, Bizet’s piece has mainly been heard in editions that stray from the composer’s original composition. This album – on the contrary - offers the first recording in history of the 1863 premiere version, reconstructed and published by Bärenreiter in 2015. Les Pêcheurs de perles contains a quintessentially French blend of lyricism, exoticism and drama, and the four soloists (Julie Fuchs as Leïla, Cyrille Dubois as Nadir, Florian Sempey as Zurga and Luc Bertin-Hugault as Nourabad) belong to today’s best performers for this specialist repertoire. Their vocal excellence is matched by the choral contributions of Les Cris de Paris. The rich sound palette of Les Pêcheurs is fully brought to life by the inspired playing of the Orchestre National de Lille under the baton of its new Music Director Alexandre Bloch.

319 kr
Image #3 AUGUST 2018
Byrd ‘One Byrde in Hand’
Richard Egarr hpd

"An outstanding celebration of Byrd as one of the first keyboard greats’ from a harpsichord player who holds the greatest love and respect for the composer’s music in all its forms." (Gramophone)

Richard Egarr’s impressive career, both as a solo keyboardist and conductor (notably with the Academy of Ancient Music), has cemented his reputation as one of the UK’s most compelling musicians. In his debut solo recording for Linn, Egarr charts the extraordinary breadth of invention at play in works by William Byrd. One of English music’s most influential figures, Byrd’s innovative style is evident throughout this well-chosen program of preludes, grounds and fantasies. The Fantasia in A minor, MB13, demonstrates the unlimited scope of Byrd’s imagination; intricate rhythms, surprising modulations and changing textures precede a finale requiring a previously unequalled level of dexterous virtuosity. Egarr similarly relishes the technical demands of Byrd’s descriptive masterpiece, The bells. This incredible composition begins with a single toll before developing into an elaborate and thrillingly complex showpiece of pealing bells. Egarr’s elegant phrasing, infectious enthusiasm and rich embellishments result in insightful performances.

169 kr
Image #4 AUGUST 2018
Vivaldi String Concertos. Viola d’amore Concertos
Accademia Bizantina / Ottavio Dantone

"To see Naïve’s excellent Vivaldi Edition powering ahead once more is cause for celebration, and this disc is another hugely enjoyable addition." (Gramophone)

Certainly, there are the Four Seasons and all the violin concertos which are more famous and virtuosic than other works. But it is here, in his concertos for solo strings, that Antonio Vivaldi showcases his writing talent at its highest and purest level: concise, vivacious, deep and immediately emotional. A Vivaldi in the firmament, served here with passion and excellence by Accademia Bizantina.

The Concerti for strings take you on a journey of feelings, diverse landscapes, and histories. Here we have thirteenmusical miniatures in which emerge the influence of neighbouring and distant lands, and of the sea surrounding Venice. This is clear in concerto RV 163, entitled Conca, inspired by the sound of the conch shell (or Wettertrompete), which Vivaldi had the chance to hear in Bohemia, and to which sailors attributed the power to appease or unleash the storms.

The Concerti for viola d'amore are of a more mysterious character. Notably because this fascinating instrument has strings which vibrate independently when the melodic strings are rubbed. Vivaldi, like some of his students - and like Alessandro Tampieri! - was a great virtuoso of the instrument, which has incidentally only been used on and off since the 19th century. The soft, evocative sounds of the viola d'amore, reminiscent of Oriental worlds, here reach their climax in the poignant Largo of concerto RV 393, the lively finale of concerto RV 394 and the delicate Andante in D minor of concerto RV 395.

239 kr
Image #5 AUGUST 2018
Debussy Préludes, Book 2. La mer
Alexander Melnikov pf

"Once again, a superb release from Alexander Melnikov which encourages us to listen to the music afresh, in part thanks to his choice of instrument, but mostly due to his remarkable artistry." (Gramophone)

A century after his death - 25 March 1918 - many harmonia mundi artists are eager to pay tribute to Claude Debussy, the magician of melody and timbre, the great ‘colourist’ and father of modern music.

Alexander Melnikov is among those pianists increasingly committed to playing the works of the past on the instruments on which they came into being (or could have done so) and so it is on a ‘period’ piano (an Érard piano) that he breathes new life into Book II of the Préludes but also, with the help of Olga Pashchenko, the extraordinary transcription of La Mer by the composer himself.

169 kr
Image #6 AUGUST 2018
Prokofiev Violin Sonatas
Alexandra Conunova vn Michail Lifits pf

"From the bleak opening onwards, Alexandra Conunova and Michail Lifits convey complete immersion in this music’s range of force, colour and beauty." (Gramophone)

From shadow to light, this is the emotional curve of Sergei Prokofiev's Sonatas for violin and piano, published in the 1940s. this was an intense period of creation for the Russian musician who was also working on his ballet Cinderella and his Fifth Symphony.

The violinist Alexandra Conunova, winner of the prestigious Tchaikovsky competition in 2015, and the pianist Michael Lifits are engaged in reading these two Prokofiev scores. A true synthesis of his style, these sonatas are characterized by a formal classicism subverted by a flamboyant virtuosity. Their lyricism, gnawed by the tasty and biting irony of a modern language, fruit of a critical vision of the world, is all the more poignant.

169 kr
Image #7 AUGUST 2018
Suk Piano Works
Jonathan Plowright pf

"Jonathan Plowright once again reminds us what a brilliant pianist he is, communicating at every stage of this recital of early works by Suk his evident affection for this music. Another fine addition to Hyperion’s piano catalogue." (Gramophone)

The early works of Josef Suk channel something of the same life-affirming Czech spirit also characteristic of Dvorák, his teacher and father-in-law. Jonathan Plowright makes a persuasive case for a composer whose music is at last emerging from the shadows.

169 kr
Image #8 AUGUST 2018
Benevolo Missa Si Deus pro nobis
Le Concert Spirituel / Hervé Niquet

"The sheer scale of this richly textured 17th-century music, captured in a perfectly spacious acoustic, is compelling from the very beginning. A fascinating project." (Gramophone)

Hervé Niquet possesses two constant character traits: he is an indefatigable excavator of forgotten music, and he loves polyphony and ‘large forms’. A few years ago, he caused a sensation by exhuming the monumental music of Striggio. To mark the thirtieth anniversary of his ensemble, Le Concert Spirituel, he now tackles a new peak of polyphony: a mass by Orazio Benevolo (1605–72) performed by eight choirs of four singers, accompanied by fifteen continuo players. In concert, the choirs are spread out around the nave, with the audience in the middle. Benevolo was born to a Burgundian confectioner father who had emigrated to Rome. Educated at the choir school of San Luigi dei Francesi, he became one of the greatest geniuses of polychorality, a prolific composer who represented the splendours of French art in Rome. He ended his career as maestro di cappella at the Vatican. This music has been resurrected thanks to the work of the great musicologist Jean Lionnet, who spent many years copying out by hand the music of numerous Italian composers in the Vatican archives, from which it was impossible to borrow documents. As a result of his labours the Missa ‘Si Deus pro nobis’ has now been recorded, accompanied by vocal and instrumental pieces by Monteverdi, Frescobaldi and Palestrina.

159 kr
Image #10 AUGUST 2018
Handel ‘Finest Arias for Base Voice, Vol 2’
Christopher Purves bar Arcangelo / Jonathan Cohen

"Five years on since Vol 1, another well-deserved Editor’s Choice for a singer whose versatile and characterful voice is perfectly matched to this Handelian feast." (Gramophone)

Christopher Purves is renowned for both the powerful sense of dramatic conviction he brings to everything he undertakes, and for a vocal technique which must be heard to be believed. From Handel’s early cantata to selections from Italian opera and English oratorio, this is a recital from a very special singer indeed.

169 kr
Image DVD/BLU RAY: AUGUST
Mozart Lucio Silla
Sols; Teatro Real, Madrid / Ivor Bolton

"It’s primarily for the fascinating staging by director Claus Guth that Hugo Shirley recommends that all interested in Mozart’s early operas should seek out this release." (Gramophone)

Mozart was not yet seventeen when Lucio Silla was created in Milan one December evening of 1772, yet we can still distinguish in this youthful composition some of the elements that established the exceptionally-gifted child musician as the greatest composer of all times. Indeed, with Lucio Silla, although a neoclassical “opera seria” in every way, it seems that Mozart was already learning to deconstruct and to free the traditional forms of musical drama from archaic conventions. We can also identify in this work an aesthetic premise that Mozart didn’t formulate until ten years later : it falls to music only to express and to reveal the psychological depths of the characters; and the poetry in the libretto should only be its “obedient daughter”. The opera is centered around the love roman dictator Lucio Silla bears for his enemy’s daughter Giunia, who favours the exiled senator Cecilio as the object of her affection. After many twists and turns, the lovers are united in marriage and Silla renounces his crown. Tenor Kurt Streit is Lucio Silla, and soprano Patricia Petibon is Giunia for the last time, after having gained international recognition thanks to her numerous performances in this role, while mezzo-soprano Silvia Tro Santafe is the ardent Cecilio. In this monumental production, Claus Guth finds a way to respect both the classical setting and the formal innovations that make the opera so interesting. Ivor Bolton conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro Real.

209 kr (299 kr)
Image RECORDING OF THE MONTH - JULY
‘Mozart in London’ 
The Mozartists / Ian Page 
 
"A wonderful exploration of the musical life of London during Mozart’s visit as an eight year old, all beautifully and engagingly performed by Ian Page and his Mozartists. A true delight!" (Gramophone)

The Mozartists present an unprecedented survey of Mozart’s childhood stay in London from 1764-65. The wide-ranging programme includes Mozart’s remarkable first symphony (composed when he was eight years old), along with his two other London symphonies and his first concert aria. The repertoire also explores music that was being performed in London during Mozart’s stay, including works by J. C. Bach, Thomas Arne, Abel, Pescetti, Perez, George Rush and William Bates, many of which have not previously been recorded. The album features an outstanding line-up of soloists comprising sopranos Ana Maria Labin, Anna Devin, Rebecca Bottone, Martene Grimson and Eleanor Dennis, mezzo-soprano Helen Sherman, tenors Ben Johnson and Robert Murray and harpsichordist Steven Devine. The album was recorded live during a weekend of performances at London’s Milton Court in February 2015 as part of the opening season of MOZART 250, and includes over a dozen world premiere recordings (marked † below).

229 kr
Image #3 JULY 2018
Pettersson Symphonies Nos 5 & 7 
Norrköping Symphony Orchestra / Christian Lindberg 

"These two Allan Pettersson symphonies are given powerful advocacy, the urgency of the Seventh palpable, the music, as Guy Rickards puts it, in the musicians’ blood." (Gramophone)

A characteristic trait in Allan Pettersson’s music is the use of strong contrasts – shifts between an enormous intensity and calm relaxation, between complex and violently dissonant passages and peaceful, simple melodies and harmonies. This certainly applies to both works recorded here by the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra and Christian Lindberg – the composer’s Fifth and Seventh Symphonies. Premièred in 1963 and 1968 respectively, these two symphonies contributed substantially to Pettersson’s public standing during the 1960s. The Fifth earned him the music prize of the newspaper Expressen, while at the same time Pettersson’s extensive use of traditional harmony, particularly in the slow ending of the work, caused a number of commentators to criticize it as ‘outmoded’. In 1964, the symphony probably contributed to Pettersson being selected as one of the first recipients of a public remuneration scheme for composers which guaranteed them a lifelong minimum income. Four years later, the first performance of Symphony No. 7 was conducted by Antal Doráti, the dedicatee of the work. The event is often described as Pettersson’s ‘breakthrough’, and Doráti’s recording of the work in 1969 with the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra earned the performers and the composer a ‘Swedish Grammy’ Award each. Pettersson’s Seventh remains the most recorded and most frequently performed of all of his works. It is heard here in a performance from what are widely regarded as the leading Pettersson interpreters of our time.

169 kr
Image #4 JULY 2018
Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No 3. ‘Corelli’ Variations 
Boris Giltburg pf Royal Scottish National Orchestra / Carlos Miguel Prieto 

"A fiendish but fabulous piano concerto performed with a glorious blend of technical prowess and lyricism." (Gramophone)

The previous concerto disc in this series was the Second Concerto on 8.573629 of which Gramophone wrote: ‘The fusion of freshness with generous spirit and soul lends an enthralling dynamism to this familiar repertoire. Boris Giltburg faithfully observes Rachmaninov’s marks of expression in the concerto and the Op 33 Etudes, but there is a fluid imagination at work here tied to an enquiring musical intelligence.’

89 kr
Image #5 JULY 2018
Dohnányi Chamber Works 
The Nash Ensemble 
 
"A superb set of Dohnányi’s chamber music from The Nash Ensemble, which Andrew Farach-Colton rightly suggests should both win over discoverers, and please aficionados of his music." (Gramophone)

The music of Dohnányi (admired by figures as disparate as Brahms and Bartók) embodies virtues of taste, humour, impeccable control of form and beauty of style; all qualities relished by The Nash Ensemble in wonderful new recordings which can only assist with this composer’s continuing rehabilitation.

169 kr
Image #6 JULY 2018
‘Stephen Hough’s Dream Album’ 
Stephen Hough pf 

"A personal programme – both in terms of content, but also delivery – which charms, engages and fascinates, and highlights again just what a gifted and rounded musician Stephen Hough is." (Gramophone)

Few pianists today could devise such a recital—their own transcriptions and variations on well-known classics included as a matter of course—and seldom can these graceful, delightful pieces have had such consummate musicianship lavished on them. Such stuff as dreams are made on …

169 kr
Image #7 JULY 2018
‘The Dufay Spectacle’ 
Gothic Voices 
 
"Voices and instruments alike swiftly entice the listener with their excellence and evocative atmosphere, Gothic Voices magnificently transporting us to their 15th-century sound world." (Gramophone)

Following its Linn debut which saw the ‘revitalisation of an iconic group’ (Choir & Organ), Gothic Voices presents The Dufay Spectacle, featuring special guest Andrew Lawrence-King. In a pageant of versatility featuring France’s greatest pre-Renaissance composer we enter the world of a grand New Year’s Day wedding feast, full of optimism and vision, tempered by playful emotional hardship, the music teasingly exploring the relationship between both, solemnized with some of Guillaume Dufay’s greatest motets and a festive use of instruments to mark the splendour of the occasion. From this final flourish of the mediaeval era we hear in Dufay’s quintessential Burgundian virtuosity how its musical richness has reached the point when it is about to burst into the new artistry and ideas of the Renaissance. The Dufay Spectacle celebrates this artist’s genius with an eclectic show of frolicking and passionate robustness, plaintive devotional ardour, now with slow, dark rhythms, now upbeat cascades of melody, and thrilling complex rhythms. As the central chanson rings out its New Year’s promise ce jour de l’an is indeed a day to celebrate.

169 kr
Image #8 JULY 2018
‘Chimère’ 
Sandrine Piau sop Susan Manoff pf

"Brilliantly and compellingly communicative as ever, Sandrine Piau’s latest recital draws on an eclectic series of songs, and again benefits from a wonderful rapport with Susan Manoff." (Gramophone)

After a number of appearances in Alpha productions (notably as a sublime Alcina in the DVD conducted by Christophe Rousset and staged by Pierre Audi at La Monnaie), Sandrine Piau now joins the label for several recordings. With Chimère, she invites us on a voyage into the intimate and infinite territory of dreams. ‘Chimera: an illusory, unsatisfied quest, the graveyard of our illusions...’ She and her longstanding partner, the pianist Susan Manoff, have thought up a programme combining the German lied (Hugo Wolf, one of Schumann’s Mignon songs, a scene from Goethe’s Faust by Carl Loewe), Mélodies by Debussy and Poulenc (his Banalités), and Art Songs by Barber along with discoveries of more rarely heard composers like Ivor Gurney and the Dickinson Songs of André Previn – the celebrated American conductor is less well-known for his compositions, which include this magnificent cycle written for Renée Fleming. Equally at home in French, German and English, Sandrine Piau is at the peak of her artistry. Fantoches, Clair de Lune, Solitary Hotel, Will there really be a morning?: set out for the world of dreams following this unique poetic itinerary. ‘The land of chimeras is the only one in this world worth living in’ (Jean-Jacques Rousseau).

159 kr
Image #9 JULY 2018
‘A Rose Magnificat’ 
Gabrieli Consort / Paul McCreesh 

"This album contains some deeply moving singing, of music both ancient and modern – a well-crafted journey leading to the exquisitely performed contemporary title track from Matthew Martin." (Gramophone)

Paul McCreesh leads the Gabrieli Consort in a collection of works that explores the diverse and extensive body of works dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary over the centuries. Music by Tallis, MacMillan, Howells and Leighton frames the world premiere of a new work by the young British composer, Matthew Martin: a setting of the Magnificat, interpolated with verses from the atmospheric medieval poem ‘There is no rose’. Gabrieli are world-renowned interpreters of great vocal and instrumental repertoire from the Renaissance to the present day. Formed as an early music ensemble by Paul McCreesh in 1982, Gabrieli has both outgrown and remained true to its original identity through live performances and award-winning recordings for their Winged Lion label.

159 kr
Image DVD/BLU RAY: JULY
Donizetti Il borgomastro di Saardam 
Sols; Donizetti Opera Chorus and Orchestra / Roberto Rizzi Brignoli  

"‘Great fun,’ says Richard Lawrence, offering his nod of approval to this Donizetti rarity from Bergamo’s Festival devoted to the music of the composer." (Gramophone)

This opera, which had fallen into oblivion, was revived in 1973 in the Dutch city of Zaanstad (the Saardam of the libretto) and staged at Bergamo’s Teatro Sociale as part of the Donizetti Festival in a new critical edition made for the Donizetti Foundation by Alberto Sonzogni. In the plot, the Tsar Peter the Great works in incognito as a carpenter at the shipyard of Sardaam to acquire technical knowledge to carry back home. On the podium, the knowledgeable Roberto Rizzi Brignoli leads the orchestra of the Donizetti Opera, assisted by the internationally-renowned cinema director Davide Ferrario. In the cast, Andrea Concetti (a successful artist who has sung throughout the world) is joined by singers who are emerging in the belcanto repertoire, such as Giorgio Caoduro, Juan Francisco Gatell, Irina Dubrovskaya and Aya Wakizono. Available in CD, DVD and Bluray, with subtitles in Italian, English, German and French. A rare title in première video recording

299 kr
Image RECORDING OF THE MONTH - JUNE
Crusell Clarinet Concertos 
Swedish Chamber Orchestra / Michael Collins cl 

"These three early-19th-century concerto showpieces delightfully bring out the best of the clarinet as an instrument, and Michael Collins as a player of real virtuosity and character. Enjoy!" (Gramophone) 

Michael Collins OBE embraces the double role of conductor and soloist in this thrilling revelation of clarinet treasures by the Finnish composer Bernhard Henrik Crusell, masterly supported by the fresh and spontaneous Swedish Chamber Orchestra. A clarinettist and composer, Crusell wrote works that were altogether more ambitious than any by his contemporaries. He achieved fame for his melodic inflection, his highly nuanced technique, and his beautiful sound, for which the three concertos, featured here, interpreted by one of today’s most internationally respected clarinettists, are an ideal vehicle. The level of virtuosity indeed makes severe technical demands on the soloist, as in the Introduction et air suédois, featured in the revised version published in 1829. But in the roundness of tone and evenness in quality throughout the range of the instrument produced by Collins lies the lasting attraction of a compelling musical discourse that has ensured Crusell’s recent widespread revival way beyond the world of the clarinet and its devotees.

169 kr
Image #3 JUNE 2018
Beethoven Symphonies Nos 4 & 5 
Vienna Symphony Orchestra / Philippe Jordan 

"This is turning out to be a cycle well worth following; as with January’s Nos 1 and 3, this pairing reveals maestro and musicians in a perfectly shared vision." (Gramophone) 

The Road to Beethoven. For the first time in their history, the Wiener Symphoniker will release a complete Beethoven symphonies cycle on CD. 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.

159 kr
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