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GRAMOPHONE 2021

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 58 artiklar
Image RECORDING OF THE MONTH - JULY 2021
Brahms Piano Concertos
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment / András Schiff pf

"These beautiful period-instrument performances, directed by András Schiff from a restored 1859 Blüthner, bring a compelling freshness to Brahms’s much-loved piano concertos." (Gramophone) 

“My enthusiasm for Brahms goes back to my youth, and the piano concertos are largely responsible for it,” writes Sir András Schiff in a liner note for this remarkable new recording. It finds the great pianist reassessing interpretive approaches to Brahms in the inspired company of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. To fully bring out the characteristics of Brahms’s music Schiff’s choice of instrument is a Blüthner piano built in Leipzig around 1859, the year in which the D minor concerto was premiered. The historically informed Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment plays with the flexibility, attitude, and responsiveness of a chamber music ensemble, as they work without a conductor, listening attentively to each other. András Schiff’s collaboration with the orchestra in a series of concerts was widely acclaimed: “Brahms’s First Piano Concerto was reborn thanks to the OAE’s incisive playing and András Schiff’s characterful phrasing”, The Guardian exclaimed. The musicians’ mutual wish to recapture the experience led to the present double album, recorded in London in December 2019. An extensive CD booklet includes liner notes by András Schiff and Peter Gülke in English and German.

299 kr
Image #3 JULY 2021
Schreker Der Geburtstag der Infantin Zemlinsky Die Seejungfrau
RLPO / Vasily Petrenko

"Vasily Petrenko and his superb Merseyside musicians reveal their rich rapport once again in two orchestral works of lush late Romanticism." (Gramophone) 

Following on from their critically acclaimed albums of Stravinsky, Elgar and Tchaikovsky, the award winning team of Vasily Petrenko and the RLPO turn to Zemlinsky and Schreker.
Premiered in the same concert as his brother-in-law Schoenberg’s ‘Pelleas und Melisande’ in 1905, Zemlinsky’s Die Seejungfrau (after Hans Christian Andersen) was almost ignored by the reviewers. Considered too conservative for the progressives, and too progressive for the conservatives, Zemlinsky struggled to overcome the negative reviews of this masterpiece and withdrew it in the immediate aftermath of the premiere. Vasily Petrenko for this recording uses the original version of the score which restores the ‘bei der Meerhexe’ episode to the 2nd movement. Schreker’s Dance Pantomime
‘Der Guburtstag der Infantine’ (story by Oscar Wilde) was given its premiere in 1908 and was his first big success. One of the most progressive of the Viennese composers of this period, Schreker’s star would sadly wane, aided by the rise of anti - Semitism and the Nazis. Stripped of his official posts, he died in 1934 of a stroke.

159 kr
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Barber. Beach. Price ‘American Quintets’
Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective

"A splendid debut from the Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective of a fascinating programme, including the premiere recording of Florence Price’s Quintet." (Gramophone) 

Hailed by The Times for its ‘exhilarating performances’, the Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective was dreamed up in 2017 by Tom Poster and Elena Urioste, who met through the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists scheme. The Collective operates with a flexible roster which features many of today’s most inspirational musicians, both instrumentalists and singers, and its creative programming is marked by an ardent commitment to celebrating diversity of all forms and a desire to unearth lesser-known gems of the repertoire. This ethos is clear in their repertoire selection for this their début recording. The Piano Quintet is one of Amy Beach’s better-known works, which the KCC collectively fell in love with during a residency at the Cheltenham festival. Composed in 1907, the work reflects the strong influence of the music of Brahms. Florence Price famously claimed to face ‘two handicaps – those of sex and race’, and much of her music remained unpublished at the time of her death. Additionally, a significant quantity of her manuscripts had disappeared without trace. It was not until 2009 that a cache of them (including two lost symphonies) was discovered by property developers in the attic of an abandoned house in Illinois – including the score for the Piano Quintet in A minor that receives its world première recording here. Although characteristically conservative in its late-romantic idiom, the piece celebrates Price’s African American heritage with echoes of spirituals and hymns, and the popular juba stomping dance rooted in the slave plantations of the Deep South. Between these two piano quintets sits Samuel Barber’s early Dover Beach, a setting of Matthew Arnold’s famous poem that has remained one of the best-known works in the voice-and-quartet repertoire.

135 kr (169 kr)
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Duruflé Complete Organ Works
Thomas Trotter org

"A riveting journey through Duruflé’s complete organ music from the ever-brilliant Thomas Trotter, who draws the most beautiful colours from the recently restored King’s College, Cambridge organ." (Gramophone) 

Thomas Trotter is a prize-winning concert organist and one of the UK’s most admired performing musicians, reflected in Her Majesty The Queen awarding him The Queen’s Medal for Music on St Cecilia’s Day 2020.
For this recording of Duruflé’s complete organ works he returns to the chapel in which his extraordinary performing career began.

159 kr
Image #7 JULY 2021
Vladigerov Piano Works
Nadejda Vlaeva pf

"The richly Romantic sound-world of 20th-century Bulgarian composer Pancho Vladigerov is brought to entrancing life by Nadejda Vlaeva on this splendid new addition to Hyperion’s catalogue." (Gramophone) 

The rich profusion of musical idioms employed by Pancho Vladigerov, filtered through the prism of his dazzlingly virtuoso piano writing, makes for some exciting listening. Nadejda Vlaeva responds thrillingly to the extreme pianistic challenges.

169 kr
Image #9 JULY 2021
‘Tiranno’
Kate Lindsey mez Arcangelo / Jonathan Cohen

"Power, its corruption and corrosiveness, is the subject of this exquisite album from mezzo Kate Lindsey, joined by the brilliantly attentive artistry of Jonathan Cohen and Arcangelo." (Gramophone) 

Corruption? Betrayal? Persecution? Tyranny? These subjects resonate with the current events of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. They also provide the subject matter of many seventeenth-century musical works. Kate Lindsey has chosen to devote this second Baroque recital with the English ensemble Arcangelo directed by Jonathan Cohen (following Arianna in 2020, ALPHA576) to the figure of Nero. Scarlatti, Handel and Monteverdi wrote works focusing on this tragic protagonist and his entourage, including his mother Agrippina and his wives (Poppaea and Octavia). Interpreted with incredible intensity by the American mezzo-soprano, the programme features world premiere recordings of two cantatas: Alessandro Scarlatti’s La morte di Nerone (c.1690) and Bartolomeo Monari’s La Poppea (1685). Tenor Andrew Staples and soprano Nardus Williams join Kate Lindsey for duets from L’incoronazione di Poppea, including the sensual ‘Pur ti miro’.

169 kr
Image #10 JULY 2021
Handel Rodelinda
Sols; The English Concert / Harry Bicket

"A superb soloist line-up and perfect shaping of the drama by the conductor Harry Bicket makes for a new top recommendation of Handel’s Rodelinda for reviewer Richard Wigmore." (Gramophone) 

Handel’s 1725 hit opera Rodelinda was written for the greatest voices of its day and is performed here by some of today’s finest, as The English Concert and artistic director Harry Bicket’s acclaimed concert cycle of Handel operas appears for the first time on Linn. Lucy Crowe and Iestyn Davies are the devoted partners Rodelinda and Bertarido, heading a cast packed with exactly the sort of vocal star-power Handel would have expected, including Joshua Ellicott, Tim Mead, Brandon Cedel and Jess Dandy. Both Davies and Crowe have won acclaim for their performances in these roles: BBC Music Magazine wrote, ‘Iestyn Davies stole the show with aria after aria of heavenly purity and ardour’, whilst BachTrack commented, ‘Lucy Crowe gave a brilliant performance … Her singing, firmly centred, agile and sparking with temperament, was a triumph.’ The English Concert’s reputation for combining urgency, passion and fire with precision, delicacy and beauty will ensure their forthcoming series of Handel operas will become an essential part of Linn’s catalogue. The English Concert will be recording Handel’s Tamerlano in 2021.

259 kr
Image DVD: JULY 2021
Handel Ariodante
Sols incl Cecilia Bartoli; Les Musiciens du Prince – Monaco / Gianluca Capuano

"The music-making couldn’t be more highly praised by Richard Lawrence in this ‘compulsively watchable’ Salzburg staging." (Gramophone) 

At Salzburg Festival, Cecilia Bartoli shines as Ariodante with her dazzling coloratura in a highly acclaimed new production by the German director Christoph Loy, who is known for his clever psychological stagings. Loy turns Handel's splendid baroque opera into an exciting and differentiated reflection on gender roles. A high-class ensemble, first and foremost a brilliant Cecilia Bartoli in the trouser role of the knight Ariodante who effortlessly switches between cheerful and lamenting virtuoso singing makes the production a true triumph. At her side perform audience favorite Rolando Villazón as Lurcano and young American soprano Kathryn Lewek, praised by critics as a “true discovery“ (Neue Zürcher Zeitung). Gianluca Capuano at the podium of the Musiciens du Prince – Monaco “provides for elegance, richness of color and a sensitive, stirring realization of the ingenious score.“ (Kurier). “Cecilia Bartoli is a league of her own!" (Der Standard). "The singing was sensational" (LA Times)

349 kr
Image BLU RAY: JULY 2021
359 kr
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Franck Organ Works
Pétur Sakari org

Pétur Sakari’s album of Franck organ music on the fabulous sounding Cavaillé-Coll instrument of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Orléans (excellently recorded by BIS), is a wonderful sonic spectacular." (Gramophone) 

Still in his twenties, Pétur Sakari studied in his native Finland and in Paris and made his recording début at the age of 18. On his previous disc for BIS, he performed works by five French composers, receiving international acclaim with top marks in Diapason as well as on the Klassik-Heute website. For the present disc, Pétur has chosen to focus on César Franck, performing the composer’s Three Pieces and Three Chorales ‘pour grand orgue’ on an instrument perfectly suited to the repertoire. Completed in 1880, the great organ in the Sainte-Croix cathedral of Orléans is a major – and well-preserved – example of the art of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, the same maker who had previously built Franck’s beloved organ in Sainte-Clotilde in Paris. (‘My new organ? It’s an orchestra!’ was Franck’s verdict.) Together the two gave the French organ tradition a new impetus with Franck laying the groundwork for a French symphonic organ style while Cavaillé-Coll constructed hundreds of organs capable of producing a sound that was full, homogeneous and modern.

The Trois Pièces, which closes with the famous Pièce héroïque, were written for a Cavaillé-Coll instrument built for the 1878 World Fair in Paris. Twelve years later, and only weeks before his untimely death, Franck completed the Trois Chorals. The idea of writing organ chorales was inspired by Bach, but Franck composed them ‘with quite a different plan’: instead of traditional hymns they use an original, freely composed melody which is gradually revealed ‘with great imagination’, as Franck himself put it in a letter to his publisher. Both the Pieces and especially the Chorales have become central works in the repertoire of concert organists.

169 kr
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Ysaÿe Six Solo Violin Sonatas
James Ehnes vn

A recording that owes much to our times, emotionally and practically – it was home-recorded during lockdown – this is a very fine survey of Ysaÿe’s solo violin sonatas from James Ehnes." (Gramophone) 

Multi award-winning violinist James Ehnes recorded this album during lockdown at his home. Recording commenced in the early hours of the morning when all was quiet in the house. The solo violin, recorded in the small hours during these troubled times makes for a powerful and intimate listening experience.
Ysaÿe’s six sonatas for solo violin are, together with J.S Bach’s Sonatas & Partitas and the most important extended works for the solo violin. Ysaye composed each one of them with a particular violinist in mind, capturing their personality and characteristics of their playing. These sonatas represent the stylistic bridge between the old and the new, between tradition and improvisation, offering a glimpse into a “golden” era of fast evolving traditions of playing, of which Ysaÿe was one of the leading voices.

159 kr
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JS Bach ‘Meins Lebens licht’
Collegium Vocale Gent / Philippe Herreweghe

An exquisite addition, rich in texture and colour, to the impressive Bach catalogue being created by Philippe Herreweghe and his superb Collegium Vocale Gent." (Gramophone) 

After a widely acclaimed St John Passion in 2020 (Gramophone Editor’s Choice, BBC Music Magazine Choice, Trophée Radio Classique), Philippe Herreweghe and his Collegium Vocale Gent continue their in-depth exploration of the works of the composer who has earned them worldwide fame. Of the two cantatas recorded here, Es ist dir gesagt, Mensch, was gut ist BWV 45, written in 1726, is built around a very virtuosic, almost operatic bass solo setting scriptural words of Christ. Laß, Fürstin, laß noch einen Strahl, BWV 198, which dates from the following year, was composed for the funeral of Christiane Eberhardine, Electress of Saxony and titular Queen of Poland, the daughter of the Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth and an ardent Lutheran, whose death had deeply affected the people of Leipzig. These works are accompanied by the soothing, luminous motet O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht (BWV118), also composed for a funeral service in 1736 or 1737.

159 kr
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‘Chère nuit’
Louise Alder sop Joseph Middleton pf

Evocative and splendid singing from Louise Alder, a soprano who embodies all the atmosphere and mystery of this gorgeous programme, just as does pianist Joseph Middleton in his playing." (Gramophone) 

The acclaimed British soprano Louise Alder returns for her second recital on Chandos, joined once again by star pianist Joseph Middleton. Enthusiastic praise was widespread for her Chandos début, Lines Written during a Sleepless Night: The Russian Connection, which earned significant accolades in the USA and continental Europe in addition to the UK. For this recording the pair explore a rich and varied selection of French songs from the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Louse Alder writes: ‘I have always held French song very dear to my heart and when we settled on this wildly varied program, I quickly grew excited at the prospect of exploring the art form in virtually all its styles. From Ravel to Yvain, I hope we paint pictures of a French evening, of mystery, intrigue, discovery, seduction, love, and blissful night.’

135 kr (169 kr)
Image #9 JUNE 2021
‘Magnificat 2’
The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge / Andrew Nethsingha

The contribution of Andrew Nethsingha and St John’s College, Cambridge to the Evensong tradition – both in the chapel and on record – deserves great praise; another fascinating album." (Gramophone) 



159 kr
Image #10 JUNE 2021
Bartók Duke Bluebeard’s Castle
Sols; Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra / Susanna Mälkki

Exceptional soloists and a conductor who shapes the score brilliantly create a fine recording of Bartók’s dark opera, warmly welcomed by Edward Seckerson." (Gramophone) 

”Susanna Malkki är en erkänd mästare på nittonhundratalsmusik och hon frilägger linjer med underbar skärpa, och lockar de mest sinnliga klangschatteringar ur sina Helsingforsfilharmoniker. Rekommenderas varmt.” (Lennart Bromander, Tidskriften Opera)


Composed in 1911, Bluebeard’s Castle is Béla Bartók’s only opera – a radical masterpiece which has secured a place alongside the other innovative music dramas of the same period, from Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande to Berg’s Wozzeck. Planning to write a one-act opera, Bartók settled on a libretto by Béla Balázs with the kind of surreal and/or macabre themes that would soon feature in his two ballets, The Wooden Prince and The Miraculous Mandarin. The main source for the libretto text was a play by Maeterlinck, a retelling of Perrault’s gruesome tale of Barbe-Bleue, the sinister yet strangely seductive wife-killer.

Balázs turned the drama into what he called a ‘mystery play’, however, and his stylisation of the story throws the weight of the drama onto stage-setting and music. The single act centres on the successive opening of the castle’s seven doors, and Bartók’s music brings across the horrors of the blood-drenched torture chamber, the steely power of the armoury and the glitter of jewels in the treasury as well as the interplay of increasingly feverish questionings from Judit and defiant responses from Bluebeard. Susanna Mälkki and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra have already proved their Bartók credentials with a disc of his ballet scores which was chosen as Record of the Week in BBC Radio 3 Record Review and earned top marks in Diapason and on the website Klassik-Heute. Joined by Mika Kares as Duke Bluebeard and his Judit, the Hungarian mezzo-soprano Szilvia Vörös, the team here performs Bartók’s darkly glittering, shimmering and threatening score in a live recording from 2020.

169 kr
Image REISSUE/ARCHIVE: JUNE 2021
‘The Forgotten Recordings’
Cleveland Orchestra / George Szell

A set from Somm which shows off Szell’s music-making at its best, including excellent performances of Smetana’s Vltava and Stravinsky’s 1919 Firebird Suite, plus music from Schumann, Strauss and Mozart." (Gramophone) 

The first release of never before available performances by one of the defining partnerships of modern American music in the specially priced two-album set George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra: The Forgotten Recordings. Long considered one of America’s “Big Five” orchestras, the Cleveland Orchestra entered its second century in 2018 and earlier this year was hailed by The New York Times as “America’s finest [orchestra] still”. The Forgotten Recordings features eight historic performances made for the Book-of-the-Month Club in 1954 and 1955 – seven of which are first releases – that have been restored and remastered by the multi-award-winning audio restoration engineer Lani Spahr, who also provides extensive and informative booklet notes. Three works – Bach’s Third Orchestral Suite (BWV 1068), a revealing engagement by Szell with a composer he is not usually associated with, Smetana’s The Moldau and Strauss’s Till Eulenspiegel (with an early spotlight on legendary horn player Myron Bloom) were recorded in mono in a remarkably productive session on Christmas Eve, 1954.From October 1955 in stereo recordings are two works by Brahms – his Haydn Variations and the Academic Festival Overture, two symphonies – Mozart’s No.39 and Schumann’s Fourth – and a Stravinsky Firebird Suite that “crackles with energy”. “Here”, says Spahr, “we can appreciate that the orchestra was well on its way to becoming, in Szell’s words, ‘this glorious instrument... that perfectly reflects my musical ideals’.”

259 kr
Image #3 MAY 2021
JS Bach ‘The Well-Tempered Consort, Vol 2’
Phantasm

"This is an album of completely compelling collaboration from the Gramophone Award-winning viol consort, a richly rewarding immersion into the complexity and beauty of Bach’s world." (Gramophone) 
 
This is the second installment in Phantasm’s series of recordings dedicated to the keyboard music of J. S. Bach. The first was named a Chamber Choice by BBC Music Magazine and Prise de son d’exception by Diapason. This new recording explores further riches from both volumes of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier arranged by director Laurence Dreyfus for viol consort. Reimaging Bach’s keyboard polyphony as consort music has the dual benefits of expanding Bach’s chamber oeuvre whilst also presenting these highly-cherished works as seemingly new, never before heard gems, ripe for discovery. Despite its pedagogical inception Bach’s musical imagination imbues the Well-Tempered Clavier with intellectually complex fugues and preludes bursting with dancing melodies. Phantasm offers a wealth of insights into these highly artistic works revealing sonorities and colors that are both dynamically expressive and revelatory.

169 kr
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‘Nordic Rhapsody’
Johan Dalene vn Christian Ihle Hadland pf

"Violinist Johan Dalene – winner of the prestigious Carl Nielsen Competition in 2019 – and pianist Christian Ihle Hadland mesmerise in Nordic music old and new." (Gramophone) 

Only 20 years old, Johan Dalene has already been hailed as ‘a musician of special sensibilities’ (Gramophone) in possession of ‘a rare fire’ (Diapason), and his début disc, with the concertos of Tchaikovsky and Barber, was described as ‘one of the finest violin débuts of the last decade’ in the BBC Music Magazine. For his second album, the Swedish violinist has chosen repertoire closer to home, with works by six Nordic composers. This is music that lies equally well under the hands of his partner, the Norwegian pianist Christian Ihle Hadland, and together the two offer a program full of contrasts, and yet with a certain consistent sensibility. Nordic Rhapsody is bookended by two Norwegian composers, Christian Sinding and Edvard Grieg. What is interesting is that even though Sinding’s Suite ‘in the old style’ was composed some 25 years after Grieg’s Sonata No. 1, it is the latter work that is most forward-looking. Here the composer introd­uces elements of his national style, which in turn would contribute to the development of ‘a Nordic style’. Following on the heels of Sinding is a Swedish-Finnish-Danish trio with personal ties – Wilhelm Stenhammar was a close friend of both Sibelius and Nielsen, whose music inspired him to free himself from Central European influences. His Romances and the three miniatures by Sibelius were composed during the 1910s, while Nielsen’s Romance in D major is a youthful work offering Dalene – winner of the 2019 Nielsen Competition – the opportunity to send a greeting to the composer. Last but not least among these composers, Einojuhani Rautavaara represents a great leap in time. His music is often described as synonymous with a contemporary ‘Nordic style’, however, and the transition from Notturno e danza (1993) to Grieg’s Sonata is as smooth as the ice on a Finnish lake in winter.

169 kr
Image #5 MAY 2021
Stanchinsky Piano Works
Peter Jablonski pf

"Early 20th-century composer Alexey Stanchinsky’s music will be a discovery for many if not most, and it can ask for no better advocacy than that of Peter Jablonski in this wonderful recording." (Gramophone) 

Toppbetyg i Musikrevyn i P2 och högt betyg 4 (av 5) i Dagens Nyheter!

"Jablonski gör ömsinta och nyanserade tolkningar."
(Nicholas Ringskog Ferrada-Noli, DN)


Pianist Peter Jablonski’s second album on Ondine features a large selection of piano works by Alexey Stanchinsky (1888–1914), one of the most talented Russian composers of the early 20th Century. Stanchinsky was not only a talent but a genuine innovator who despite of his early death had a profound influence on the generation of composers to follow. Peter Jablonski is the perfect interpreter to these magnificent gems. Peter Jablonskiis an internationally acclaimed Swedish pianist. Discovered by Claudio Abbado and Vladimir Ashkenazy and signed by Decca at the age of 17, he went on to perform, collaborate, and record with over 150 of the world’s leading orchestras and conductors, including the Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Mariinsky, La Scala Philharmonic, Tonhalle Zurich, Orchestre Nationale de France, NHK Tokyo, DSO Berlin, Warsaw Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia and Cleveland Orchestras, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Valery Gergiev, Kurt Sanderling, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Riccardo Chailly, Daniele Gatti, and Myung-Whun Chung, to name a few. He has performed and recorded the complete piano concertos by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and Bartók, and all piano sonatas by Prokofiev. Hailed as an ‘unconventional virtuoso’, during his three-decade-long career he developed a diverse and worked with composers Witold Lutoslawski and Arvo Pärt. Jablonski’s extensive discography includes several award-winning recordings.

159 kr
Image #6 MAY 2021
Berg. R Strauss. Zemlinsky ‘Clair-obscur’
Sandrine Piau sop Orchestre ‘Victor Hugo’ Franche-Comté / Jean-François Verdier

"Soprano Sandrine Piau offers a beautifully crafted and movingly sung recital." (Gramophone) 

‘The dreamer! That double of our existence, that chiaroscuro of the thinking being’, wrote Gaston Bachelard in 1961. ‘The old is dying, the new cannot be born, and in that chiaroscuro, monsters appear’, adds Antonio Gramsci. Sandrine Piau has chosen to use these two quotations as an epigraph to her new recording: ‘My family and friends know about this obsession that never leaves me completely. The antagonism between light and darkness. The chiaroscuro, the space in between . . .’ This program, recorded with the Orchestre Victor Hugo under its conductor Jean-François Verdier, who is also principal clarinettist of the Paris Opéra, travels between the chilly Rhenish forest of Waldgespräch, a ballad by Zemlinsky composed for soprano and small ensemble in 1895, the night of the first of Berg’s Seven Early Songs (1905-08), and the sunlight of Richard Strauss’s Morgen, which are followed by the Four Last Songs, composed in 1948, the first two of which, Frühling and September (evoking spring and autumn respectively) are also, as Sandrine Piau concludes, ‘the seasons of life’.

169 kr
Image #7 MAY 2021
Monteverdi ‘Il delirio della passione’
Anna Lucia Richter sop Ensemble Claudiana / Luca Pianca

"Anna Lucia Richter embodies all the drama and tragedy of these Monteverdi heroines with gripping immediacy, backed by equally expressive instrumental colleagues." (Gramophone) 

Anna Lucia Richter returns to PENTATONE after her acclaimed Schubert album Heimweh with Il delirio della passione; a recording full of Monteverdi treasures, from heart-wrenching opera scenes (Lamento d’Arianna, ‘Pur ti miro’ from Poppea and the Prologue of L’orfeo) and religious music (Confitebor) to bucolic songs (Si dolce è il tormento). Richter works together with Ensemble Claudiana and Luca Pianca, one of the most eminent Monteverdi interpreters of our age. They offer a fresh perspective on Monteverdi’s music by penetrating deeply into the original sources. Their interpretation of the famous Lamento d’Arianna, salvaged fragment of the lost score of the opera L’Arianna, is exemplary in that regard. Richter’s passionate delivery is inspired by what precedes in the libretto, while Pianca has composed short, “madrigalistic” instrumental interludes between the solo sections, replacing the choral commentaries, of which only the original texts have survived. Altogether, the pieces on Il delirio della passione demonstrate Monteverdi’s exceptional skill to express the most complex emotions, in music of timeless beauty. Anna Lucia Richter belongs to the most exciting young singers of her generation. Il delirio della passione is the second fruit of her exclusive collaboration with PENTATONE, after Heimweh (2018), and her last soprano recording, as she will continue her career as a mezzo-soprano. Luca Pianca and Ensemble Claudiana both make their PENTATONE debut.

159 kr
Image #9 MAY 2021
‘The Sweetest Songs’ Music from the Baldwin Partbooks, Vol 3
Contrapunctus / Owen Rees

"An exquisite album of early music from Contrapunctus, concluding a superb survey of works from the Baldwin Partbooks, a major collection of Tudor church music." (Gramophone) 

The richest single source of Tudor polyphony, preserving almost 170 works many of which survive nowhere else, is a set of manuscript partbooks copied between about 1575 and 1581 by John Baldwin, a lay clerk at St George’s Chapel, Windsor. This album is the third and final installment in a series of recordings by Contrapunctus exploring contrasting aspects of this remarkable treasure house of sacred music covering much of the sixteenth century. Owen Rees is both performer and scholar, his scholarship consistently informing his performances. Through his extensive work as a choral director, he has brought to the concert hall and recording studio substantial repertories of magnificent Renaissance and Baroque music, including many previously unknown or little-known works from Portugal and Spain. His interpretations of these repertories have been acclaimed as ‘rare examples of scholarship and musicianship combining to result in performances that are both impressive and immediately attractive to the listener’, and he has been described as ‘one of the most energetic and persuasive voices’ in this field.

159 kr
Image RECORDING OF THE MONTH - APRIL 2021
‘French Duets’
Steven Osborne, Paul Lewis pf

"Two of today’s most compelling soloists unite for this beautiful recital – from radiancy in Ravel to playfulness in Poulenc, via some sublime Debussy, this album is sheer joy from beginning to end." (Gramophone) 

A bewitching programme of music often associated with childhood, including favourites by Fauré, Ravel and Debussy; works which amply reward the care lavished on them by Paul Lewis and Steven Osborne in these exquisite accounts

169 kr
Image #4 APRIL 2021
Mahler Symphony No 4
Anna Lucia Richter sop Bamberg Symphony Orchestra / Jakub Hruša

"Moving and beautifully crafted Mahler, the symphony’s sweep superbly presented by an ever-impressive conductor and players deeply immersed in its idiom." (Gramophone) 

When the Bamberg Symphony and their principal conductor Jakub Hruša went on tour in Germany with Mahler's Fourth Symphony in January 2020, no one would have thought that this symphony in particular would become a kind of "symphony of fate" of the year, for only two months later, the performance of major symphonic works was impossible for a long time after the "corona lockdown" in Germany, which hit cultural institutions particularly hard. The Bamberg Symphony were involved at an early stage in investigating the effects of making music together on the spread of the virus and helped to develop concepts for safe concert performances. This enabled their renowned Mahler Competition to take place in early July 2020, with Mahler's Fourth Symphony at its center. Even though it is the smallest Mahler symphony, these were the first symphonic performances after months, which then led to one of the first symphonic album recordings in times of the pandemic - seated apart, but musically closer than ever.

159 kr
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