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Martin Cullingford's pick of the finest recordings from this month's reviews.
Here are the titles available from Naxos Direct.
Visar 114 artiklar
Hammerschmidt ‘Ach Jesus stirbt’
Vox Luminis; Clematis / Lionel Meunier

"From Passion through to festivities, this is a truly compelling choral album: Vox Luminis’s contributions both as individuals and an ensemble feel exquisite and heartfelt." (Gramophone) 

Andreas Hammerschmidt is undoubtedly the most unjustly neglected composer of seventeenth-century Lutheran Germany. Very few recordings have been devoted to him, even though his music was widely published during his lifetime. The fifteen or so published collections offer a great variety of works, which, like those of his famous contemporary Heinrich Schutz, illustrate the fusion between the Lutheran polyphonic tradition and the various stylistic influences of the Italian Baroque. For this musical portrait of Hammerschmidt, Vox Luminis has drawn on several of these collections in order to offer as rounded a picture as possible of the variety of the composer’s styles. The entire programme is structured around texts for Passiontide and Easter, introduced by an intensely moving madrigalian motet on the death of Christ, Ach Jesus stirbt.

159 kr
Image #2 DECEMBER 2020
Beethoven. Ferré. Sollima ‘Searching for Ludwig’
Kremerata Baltica / Gidon Kremer vn Mario Brunello vc

"An intriguing and stirring Beethoven album to conclude the anniversary year – two quartets performed by string orchestra." (Gramophone) 

Gidon Kremer and Mario Brunello pay tribute to Beethoven by presenting two of his most famous quartets in a version for string orchestra played by Kremerata Baltica. The ensemble’s founder Gidon Kremer directs op.131 from the violin, while Mario Brunello conducts op. 135 and adds two contemporary pieces, one by Leo Ferre, ‘the revolutionary, anarchic, inspired singer-songwriter and great lover of Beethoven’: Muss es sein? Es muss sein! ‘We perform this hymn to ‘free music’ in a version arranged by Valter Sivilotti for cello, strings and percussion with Ferre’s original voice… Note sconte means ‘hidden notes’ in Venetian dialect. Franco Rossi, the legendary cellist of the Quartetto italiano, always invited his students, including me, to look for and give importance to the note sconte in the scores of string quartets. I asked Giovanni Sollima to write a piece in memory of Franco Rossi, of his great passion for Beethoven and his note sconte,’ comments Mario Brunello. ‘These two works form a bridge between Beethoven and our times, giving the expression “Searching for Ludwig” a concrete reality in sound,’ concludes Gidon Kremer.

169 kr
Image #4 DECEMBER 2020
Vaughan Williams Symphony No 5
BBC Symphony Orchestra / Martyn Brabbins

"A performance of RVW’s Fifth of glowing orchestral richness and elegance, and a fascinating Bunyan-based coupling." (Gramophone) 

Vaughan Williams’s incidental music for ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’ has seldom been heard in its original guise since the 1906 premiere; yet further reason to acquire an outstanding interpretation of the composer’s Symphony No 5.

169 kr
Image #6 DECEMBER 2020
JS Bach. Kurtág ‘Solo II’
Tabea Zimmermann va

"Beautiful Bach playing from Tabea Zimmermann, an effortless fluidity of line wrapping around the listener, paired with the expressive soundworld of Kurtág’s miniatures." (Gramophone) 

“We need Bach’s music, regardless of the instrument” (Tabea Zimmermann) Ten years after her acclaimed album “Solo” with the first two cello suites of Johann Sebastian Bach, violist Tabea Zimmermann now sets her sights on Suites Nos. 3 and 4. She pairs them with excerpts from György Kurtág’s cycle “Games, Signs & Messages”, selecting six numbers to form her own personal homage to Bach. For what kind of instruments did Bach write his solo suites BWV 1007-1012? How did they sound, what did they look like? This subject still gives rise to much speculation. Johann Peter Kellner’s manuscript copy from the early 1700s is one of the two main sources for the six solo suites, and it indicates a viola basso. The violoncello had not yet become standardized in terms of size, construction, and playing technique; Bach probably had instruments in mind such as the violoncello piccolo or the viola da spalla. The latter was a viola attached in front of the body by a strap: Bach performed the viola da spalla in public himself – possibly these suites. Tabea Zimmermann has not switched her musical hardware for this recording: here she plays her 1980 Vatelot viola with a classical bow. In 2009, the album “Solo” (MYR003) launched Tabea Zimmermann’s collaboration with the myrios classics label. The release was crowned with a multitude of international awards: Gramophone Editor’s Choice, “Stern des Monats” in Fono Forum, 4f in Télérama and 5 Stars in the Italian magazine Musica; moreover, in response to that groundbreaking recording, the jury of the coveted German ECHO Klassik Prize selected Tabea Zimmermann as “2010 Instrumentalist of the Year”.

159 kr
Image #7 DECEMBER 2020
Sheppard Media vita
Choir of New College Oxford / Robert Quinney

"Beautiful singing – impassioned, radiant and gloriously sculpted – from New College Oxford, in this wonderful programme of Sheppard’s music." (Gramophone) 

The Choir of New College Oxford, one of the most acclaimed British choral ensembles, makes its Linn debut with a recording of works by the English Renaissance composer John Sheppard. New College Choir was already 150 years old when Sheppard arrived in Oxford intent on contributing to the wealth of choral polyphony that defined the era. Media vita is his most celebrated work, almost symphonic in its proportions, in which he combines and elevates conventional Tudor musical devices to striking effect. Sheppard’s boundary-pushing polyphony requires the skill and precision of liturgical professionals, and in the hands of director Robert Quinney it is compelling. The programme is completed by several motets in which Sheppard sets text from the Old Testament; we are delighted that four of these motets are premiere recordings: A solis ortus cardine, Inclina Domine, Iudica me Deus and Confitebor tibi. This is another distinctive and stylish performance from this acclaimed choir, which marks the first in a new series of recordings for Linn Records.

189 kr
Image #10 DECEMBER 2020
Rameau Les Boréades
Sols; Collegium 1704 / Václav Luks

"Rameau’s last opera receives a sparkling performance, soloists singing with drama, and Václav Luks driving proceedings along with a lovely sense of pace." (Gramophone) 

Rameau's career was coming to an end when in 1763 rehearsals began for his last work, Les Boréades, intended for the Fêtes Royales de Choisy in June, celebrating the end of the Seven Years' War. On 27 April the rehearsals took place in Versailles, then… nothing more. Les Boreades was not part of the royal festivities, and the composer’s death in 1764 plunged his last tragedie-lyrique into oblivion, and it was not to see the light of day for another two centuries! Yet, what a splendid opera it is, Rameau’s most accomplished, for he was in full possession of his creative means at eighty years of age. The writing for orchestra and choir is wildly virtuosic, the melodic invention is exceptional, the drama is powerful: it is a veritable musical testament, a succession of violent elements, passionate duets and heartrending lamentations. Taking on this monument of French music, Vaclav Luks brings together magnificent soloists and his choral and orchestral forces, which regularly resound in the Royal Opera: their determination is admirable and Versailles really does owe it to Rameau, since the unfinished rehearsals of 1763, to make a second recording of his masterpiece!

239 kr
Image DVD: DECEMBER 2020
Messager Fortunio
Sols; Champs-Élysées Orchestra / Louis Langrée

"Another operatic rarity this month – this time from Paris’s Opéra Comique – which offers us a welcome dose of, as critic Mark Pullinger suggests, ‘gentle, escapist charm’." (Gramophone) 

André Messager’s Fortunio premiered in 1907 at the Opéra Comique, where it received acclaim that was to last decades. One of the last composers to devote his entire career to opera and operetta, Messager exemplified in his music a feeling for dramatic pacing and the spirit of the Belle Époque, qualities that permeate Fortunio, a comédie lyrique in which the dialogue in the libretto is given a continuous musical setting. Taking Alfred de Musset’s play Le Chandelier as his source, Messager explores upper-class society at the turn of the 19th century with subtlety of characterization and a thoroughly French orchestral transparency. This production directed by Denis Podalydes features Cyrille Dubois in the title role, alongside soprano Anne-Catherine Gillet, and baritone Franck Leguerinel, among others.

239 kr
239 kr
Nielsen Symphonies Nos 1 & 2, ‘The Four Temperaments’
Seattle Symphony Orchestra / Thomas Dausgaard

"Two brilliant traversals of Nielsen’s early symphonies, featuring some truly thrilling and perceptive playing from the Seattle Symphony Orchestra under conductor Thomas Dausgaard." (Gramophone) 

Thomas Dausgaard and the Seattle Symphony bring electric and superbly played performances of Nielsen’s early symphonies. Dausgaard has championed the music of his countryman throughout his career, and this album features the Danish composer’s ecstatic First Symphony and the strong-willed Second Symphony. The live concert recordings capture the vitality and energy shared by the orchestra and their new Music Director, all in the spectacular acoustics of Benaroya Hall. Led by Music Director Thomas Dausgaard and recognized as one of the “most vital American orchestras” (NPR), the Seattle Symphony is internationally acclaimed for its inventive programming, community-minded initiatives and superb recordings on the Seattle Symphony Media label. With a strong commitment to new music and a legacy of over 150 recordings, the orchestra has garnered five Grammy Awards, 26 Grammy nominations, two Emmy Awards and was named Gramophone’s 2018 Orchestra of the Year. In recent years, recordings made by the orchestra with Thomas Dausgaard have earned critical acclaim and international honors, including a 2017 Gramophone Award nomination for Mahler’s Symphony No. 10, and a 2019 Best Orchestral Performance Grammy Award nomination for Nielsen’s Symphonies Nos. 3 and 4 — the first installment in the orchestra’s cycle of Carl Nielsen’s symphonies. The Symphony performs in Benaroya Hall in the heart of downtown Seattle from September through July, reaching over 500,000 people annually through live performances and radio broadcasts.

159 kr
Image #2 NOVEMBER 2020
Sibelius Symphonies Nos 1 & 3
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra / Owain Arwel Hughes

"Sibelius’s beguiling sound world is brought out with full force and beauty by Owain Arwel Hughes and the RPO on this splendid album from the Rubicon label." (Gramophone) 

The first in a cycle of all seven of Sibelius’s symphonies sees the first dating from 1899 coupled with the third from 1907.

No.1, although bound by classical conventions and the influence of Tchaikovsky, displays a remarkable and striking independence of thought.

No.3 shows the composer making the transition from the large-scale symphonic structures of the first two symphonies to the more compact, tightly argued symphonies to follow.

Like the 5th, the C major work is in three movements and the clean, highly individual instrumentation marks it as the first of the symphonies in his mature style.

The sunny brisk nature of the Third belies its importance among the seven symphonies.

159 kr
Image #3 NOVEMBER 2020
Tavener No Longer Mourn For Me
Steven Isserlis vc Philharmonia Orchestra / Omer Meir Wellber

"A deeply personal project from Steven Isserlis of music by his great friend Sir John Tavener – learn more about the moving story behind it in this month’s feature." (Gramophone) 

An important release which again demonstrates Steven Isserlis’s deep commitment to the music of John Tavener. The realization of the album is movingly detailed in a booklet note which provides an eloquent counterpoint and commentary to the performances.

169 kr
Image #4 NOVEMBER 2020
‘London Circa 1720’
La Rêveuse

"Elegant music-making throughout from these wonderfully collaborative musicians, sprightly and serene by turns, which vividly evokes a musical and historical period in time." (Gramophone) 

Who could have imagined that London would become the capital of Italian opera in the early eighteenth century? The 1720s witnessed a feverish demand for music that led many foreign virtuosos to move to the city. Concert-loving Londoners relished the last sonatas in the style of the old master Corelli, the first recorder and flute concertos, and the works of the youthful newcomer Handel . . . Let us admire this lively scene with the musicians of La Rêveuse, in their first recording for harmonia mundi!

159 kr
Image #5 NOVEMBER 2020
Bartók. Brahms. Liszt Piano Works
Alexandre Kantorow pf

"Pianist Alexandre Kantorow continues his extraordinary progress with a further remarkable example of his virtuosity and artistry, showing both skill and sensitivity throughout this captivating programme." (Gramophone) 

In 2019, at the age of 22, Alexandre Kantorow became the first French pianist to win the prestigious Tchaikovsky Competition. Before then he had released three acclaimed albums, awarded distinctions such as Diapason d'or de l'Année and Gramophone's Editor's Choice and earning Kantorow descriptions ranging from 'Liszt reincarnated' to 'a firebreathing virtuoso with a poetic charm and innate stylistic mastery'. The present recital, his first release since the Tchaikovsky Competition, offers plenty of scope for virtuosity, poetry and charm, always filtered through an acute stylistic consciousness. The programme is constructed around three rhapsodies, a genre whose improvisatory character corresponds perfectly with the spirit of Romanticism but here interpreted by three highly distinct artistic temperaments: Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms and Béla Bartók.

169 kr
Image #7 NOVEMBER 2020
Josquin Masses
The Tallis Scholars / Peter Phillips

"Journey’s end: and what a journey. From the Gramophone Award-winning opening album back in 1986, The Tallis Scholars’ survey of Josquin’s Masses finishes with an appropriately superb addition to the series." (Gramophone) 

‘With this ninth and final release in our Josquin Mass cycle we come to three of his greatest works. Although all three Masses come roughly from his early middle age, together they form a perfect showcase for a genius who felt challenged to make each setting different.’ Peter Phillips
The Tallis Scholars’ Josquin Mass cycle may have spanned the longest period of any project in the history of recorded music, with over 33 years having elapsed between the first album in the series which won the Gramophone Record of the Year Award in 1987 and this final instalment.

169 kr
Image #8 NOVEMBER 2020
Mahler ‘Erinnerung’
Christiane Karg sop Malcolm Martineau pf

"An album of very beautiful Mahler-singing from soprano Christiane Karg, joined throughout by stylish piano playing from Malcolm Martineau (and, intriguingly, the composer himself …)." (Gramophone) 

159 kr
Image #9 NOVEMBER 2020
‘Sturm und Drang, Vol 2’
The Mozartists / Ian Page

"Ian Page and The Mozartists once again shine in Volume Two of their study of music associated with Sturm und Drang – thoughtful programming and excellent performances." (Gramophone) 

This series of ‘Sturm und Drang’ recordings incorporates iconic compositions by Mozart, Gluck and, above all, Joseph Haydn, but it also includes largely forgotten or neglected works by less familiar names. All of the music featured on this second recording in the series was composed between 1765 and 1770, with three turbulent minor-key symphonies alternating with sacred and operatic arias. This is the second of a seven-volume series by the Mozartists and Ian Page exploring the ‘Sturm und Drang’ movement, which swept through all art forms in the between the early 1760s and 1780s. Its general objectives were to frighten and perturb through the use of a wildly subjective and emotional means of expression, invoking ground-breaking extremes of passion and sentimentality.

159 kr
Image DVD: NOVEMBER 2020
Henze Der Prinz von Homburg
Sols; Stuttgart Opera / Cornelius Meister

"Henze’s 1960 take on Heinrich von Kleist’s early 19th-century play Der Prinz von Homburg is here given a thought-provoking and strong staging and performance." (Gramophone) 

Resonating powerfully with Hans Werner Henze’s pacifist perspective, Der Prinz von Homburg is based on a play by Heinrich von Kleist that opposes authority, celebrating a dreamer rather than a classical hero, and individualist freedom rather than militarist nationalism. Ingeborg Bachmann’s libretto heightens this message, and Henze’s chamber-music setting is at once powerful and unpredictable. This visually stunning production stretches from intimate transparency to dramatic heights, in a critically acclaimed staging by the award-winning director Stephan Kimmig.

239 kr
239 kr
Image #3 AWARDS ISSUE 2020
Mozart String Quintets, K515 & 516
Van Kuijk Quartet with Adrien La Marca va

"Captivating chamber playing from the Van Kuijk Quartet, joined by viola-player Adrien La Marca, in a reading of intelligence, colour and engaging freshness." (Gramophone) 

169 kr
Image #6 AWARDS ISSUE 2020
JS Bach St John Passion
Sols; Bach Collegium Japan / Masaaki Suzuki

"Masaaki Suzuki’s St Matthew Passion has won this year’s Choral Award – this performance of the St John is every bit as moving, heartfelt, dramatic and spiritual." (Gramophone) 

169 kr
Image #7 AWARDS ISSUE 2020
Heggie Unexpected Shadows
Jamie Barton mez Jake Heggie pf

"Jamie Barton’s gloriously communicative voice and Jake Heggie’s music feel an inspired and inspiring pairing, on this compelling contemporary album." (Gramophone) 

159 kr
Image #9 AWARDS ISSUE 2020
Damien Guillon counterten Café Zimmermann

"Personal and profound, this emotional programme of 17th-century music is sung with moving emotional engagement and great beauty by countertenor Damien Guillon." (Gramophone) 

169 kr
Massenet Don Quichotte
Sols; Vienna Symphony Orchestra / Daniel Cohen

"This DVD of a contemporary take on Massenet’s setting of the Cervantes character finds an engaging stage performance transferring successfully to screen." (Gramophone) 

299 kr
359 kr
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