Monday, November 30, 2015

BACH Complete Chamber Music for Flute

Another collection of Bach’s chamber music from the ensemble led by Jed Wentz and Michael Borgstede, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung’s Middle East correspondent. As on its earlier release on Brilliant Classics, the ensemble has researched the scores, performance techniques and the types of instrument used at the time of composition. That is not to say that the approach they take is a dry academic one. On the contrary, having assimilated all the information available to them, they then take an open-minded view of the score – freely admitting that if they were to play these works tomorrow, they’d more than likely give them a totally different interpretation.

This new recording includes the flute sonatas and solos, and the Ricercar from the Musical Offering BWV1079. As no one actually knows what Bach’s intentions were when it came to performance and interpretation, the listener can be assured of fresh and invigorating readings of this fascinating and timeless music.

VIVALDI Concerti per violino Volume 4

“Riccardo Minasi is a player with lively feeling for theatrical gesture and a technique that comfortably accommodates Vivaldi's virtuosity. He breathes life into these wonderfully expressive concertos with a musical rapport that perhaps responds more readily to bravura passages than to lyrical ones...committed Vivaldians should be delighted.” --BBC Music Magazine, September 2012

“His virtuosity cannot be doubted and his tone courses like a young stream but a restless imagination looks beyond straightforward niceness and elegance for something deeper, more sharply moulded, in places even darker...This is not really Vivaldi as easy listening...But for anyone wanting a touch of Dionysian poetry, it is a disc worth returning to.” --Gramophone Magazine, September 2012

“Minasi is certainly an impressive virtuoso and his playing is rhythmically exciting and expressively affecting in equal measure. His account of the Largo of the G minor Concerto, RV327 is beautifully sustained and tenderly spoken. Yet too often, elsewhere, I feel cheated of the music's 'gentillesse' and its lyricism. Notwithstanding such misgivings, though, this is impressive playing by all concerned.” --International Record Review, June 2012

JOHN WILLIAMS Greatest Hits 1969 - 1999

For better or worse, John Williams has completely reshaped the art of the soundtrack. His scores for Star Wars, E.T., and Jaws are simply unforgettable, and his knack for tugging at our heartstrings is uncanny. John Williams: Greatest Hits 1969-1999 collects 30 years of the composer's best-loved themes into one double-CD package. You'll find all the soundtrack moments you'd expect from Indiana Jones, Close Encounters, and Schindler's List, along with a few surprises (The Reivers Americana-filled main theme and Williams's 1984 Olympic theme, for starters).

↷ Star Wars Main Title

Most of the earlier works have been digitally rerecorded by Williams, so while you may not get the original recording of these works here, nothing shows its age. And although we really do get only his "greatest hits" (the longest track is the nearly 10-minute-long Close Encounters theme), most of these soundtracks can be purchased in their entirety for the true aficionado. John Williams may be an acquired taste, but this set proves why--year after year--he scores some of the most successful films Hollywood can produce. --Jason Verlinde

BERTALI Tausend Gülden

The sonatas are real gems from the mid-17th century Habsburg Court, one of the most exciting times in music history.

Antonio Bertali’s courtly compositions reflect the enormous diversity of instrumental music from the 17th century: sonatas with highly virtuosic violin parts alternate with dance-like sonatelles and a ciacona with boisterous rhythms. The most famous work, perhaps the only one you may have heard before by Bertali, is his ciaconna in C. Among the other works on this album are sonatas for multiple strings (sonatas a2, a8, a6, etc.)

The playing is superb, the intonation impeccable, the interpretation brilliantly original. 

Technically, these sonatas are well-done, with a live acoustic, but plenty of recorded detail to capture the clean playing by the FBO Consort.

SIMPLY Baroque

It was only a matter of time before the remarkable Yo-Yo Ma went along with the tide and dipped his talent into the so-called authentic instrument movement. On this recital, abetted by Ton Koopman--one of the most respected names in early-music practice--Ma plays Bach and Boccherini. The Bach are all transcriptions and very fine ones, indeed--the alto aria "Erbarme Dich" from the St. Matthew Passion; the equally famous "Air on a G String" from the Third Orchestral Suite; Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring; and six others, most less well-known.

These are followed by two fascinating cello concertos by Boccherini, made all the more interesting by Koopman's cadenzas, which are pretty outrageous. Throughout, Ma's stunning virtuosity is matched by his taste and musicality. The Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra plays handsomely, and the recorded sound is warm and full. "Authentic" or not, this is mighty fine playing, and wait till you hear those cadenzas. --Robert Levine

Sunday, November 29, 2015

SHOSTAKOVICH The Cello Concertos

“Gautier Capucon is too consummate a musician to opt for pale imitations. Working hand in glove with Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra, he delivers passionate and rhythmically incisive accounts…[there is] much to admire here, particularly in the way both soloist and orchestra ratchet up the emotional temperature throughout the course of the second movement [of the Second Concerto]” --BBC Music Magazine, December 2015

Gautier Capucon (cello) - Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, Valery Gergiev

“Capuçon and Gergiev deliver some grand and glorious moments” wrote Gramophone when the French cellist Gautier Capuçon and the Russian conductor Valery Gergiev last collaborated on a disc of Russian music for Erato – works by Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky, released in 2010. The Daily Telegraph found that: “Capuçon [plays] with a blend of impeccable taste, Romantic ardour and technical aplomb ... Whether quizzical, rapturous, pensive or demonstrative, Capuçon has full measure of [the music] here in a performance of impressive stature.”

Now, the two musicians -- whose collaboration, again in Gramophone’s words, “was bound to strike sparks” – have come together for two live recordings, made in December 2013 at Paris’s Salle Pleyel and June 2014 at St. Petersbourg’s Mariinsky Thetre with the Mariinsky Orchestra. The works in question are Dmitri Shostakovich’s cello concertos Nos 1 and 2, both of which were written for Mstislav Rostropovich. The first was composed in 1959 (a year after the Central Committee of the Communist Party admitted that in 1948 there had been unjust condemnation of Shostakovich and other composers as ‘Formalist’), the second in 1966. The two concertos are different in spirit and shape: the first is often assertive and energetic, and features a huge cadenza for the cello that is almost a movement in its own right, while the second is introspective and enigmatic.

When Capuçon played the Concerto No.1 in New York in early 2014, the New York Times said: “Mr Capuçon played the work beautifully, negotiating its difficulties with seeming ease ... his elegance paid dividends ..., especially in the meditative Moderato and the brooding opening of the cadenza.” When he took the piece to Montreal, also in early 2014, the news website reported that “[his] sensitive, virtuosic interpretation was rewarded with a long ovation.”

“Gautier Capucon immediately shows that his are interpretations to be reckoned with. His account of the first movement of the First Concerto brings to bear an exceptional variety of articulation where lesser players storm through regardless.” --Gramophone Magazine, November 2015


François-Xavier Poizat “A magician at the piano”

Trained within the Russian school by Alexeï Golovine in Geneva and Evgenij Koroliov in Hamburg, and now with Nelson Goerner, the pianist is described by Martha Argerich as “a very talented young pianist with a remarkable virtuosity and deep lyricism” and by Boris Berezovsky as “an excellent musician with high virtuosity”. Born in 1989, the French-Swiss pianist began his career at the age of 12 when the great Argentinian pianist invited him to Japan to play for the “Pacific Music Festival”.


“Komitas’s glory lay in his choral arrangements of folk songs, but is represented here by the two arrangements for violin and piano and seven for piano solo: each has a truthful simplicity and charm, suggesting voice and rudimentary accompaniment with bare octaves and skipping rhythms...The other pieces do at least reflect the excellence of Armenia’s conservatoire culture, as do Sergey and Lusine Khachatryan…The pleasure of their musicianship is this CD’s real selling point.” --BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2015

Dedicated to the 100th Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, My Armenia offers a very personal, touching and brilliant tribute to Armenian music by Sergey and Lusine Khachatryan. Sergey and Lusine are regular duo partners. Together, they have given recitals at London's Wigmore Hall, Konzerthaus Dortmund, Paris Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Madrid Auditori Nacional, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Brussels Bozar, Luxemburg Philharmonie and New York Carnegie Hall.

'My Armenia' offers a large and heartstretching overview of the finest Armenian composers, especially those who have successfully mixed Western Europe and folk influences, such as Komitas or Khachaturian.

Saturday, November 28, 2015


Rachel Roberts is one of Europe’s leading violists and performs internationally as soloist and chamber musician.

Prizes for her chamber music recordings include the Diapason D’or, the ‘Supersonic Award’ of Pizzicato magazine, Luxembourg, CD of the month in Fonoforum Magazine, Germany, and BBC Chamber Choice in Gramophone Magazine. Rachel Roberts has recorded chamber music for labels Hyperion, Champs Hill Artists, Signum Classics, cAVI in Germany and Deutsche Rundfunk.
Release date: November 27, 2015


“soothing, intimate and reflective. Buntiashvili roduces the most ravishing, velvet-toned pianissimo, beautifully captured in Berlin's Jesus-Christus-Kirche. The trouble is that, after 20 minutes or so of ravishing, velvet-toned pianissimo, one begins to wonder if that is all this pianist is going to reveal of herself” --Gramophone Magazine, September 2014

“Behind the flowers, butterflies and soulful photos there lies some very classy piano-playing...Buntiashvili's playing is eloquent indeed: her voicing is expertly balanced in the opening Bach transcription and the Ravel Pavane, the phrasing sings wonderfully in the Tchaikovsky, Chopin and Scriabin...on the whole these are performances that get under your skin.” --BBC Music Magazine, October 2014 ****

Khatia Buniatishvili (piano)

Following the success of her Chopin album on Sony Classical, Khatia Buniatishvili now reveals a new, highly personal side on her album ‘Motherland’.

The CD is an intimate quest encompassing solo piano works from Bach to Pärt and from Brahms to Kancheli, in which the themes of longing for home, the merriment of a folk dance and the eternal cycle of growth and decay are apparent.

Spanning a broad stylistic and historical range, the album celebrates the works that have accompanied Khatia Buniatschvili’s personal path in life, including pieces from her Georgian homeland.

Motherland juxtaposes the happy lightness of a ‘Slavonic Dance’ by Dvorak and the melancholy of Grieg’s lyrical ‘Homesickness’, and contrasts the elegant gaiety of Mendelssohn’s ‘Song without Words’ (op. 67/2) with the graceful introspection of Liszt’s ‘Lullaby’. Classics of the Romantic piano repertoire such as Chopin’s Étude in C-sharp minor (op. 25/7) and Brahms ‘Intermezzo’ (op. 117/2) are embedded between Bach’s cantata ‘Sheep May Safely Graze’ and Arvo Pärt’s musical dedication ‘For Alina’.

Khatia Buniatishvili has been described by The Independent as “the young Georgian firebrand”. At the age of only 26 years, this Tblisi-born pianist has already achieved an exceptional maturity of interpretation and a distinctive artistic approach that make her playing unmistakable.

Khatia’s warm, sometimes sorrowful playing may reflect a close proximity to Georgian folk-music, which, she attests, has greatly influenced her musicality. Critics emphasize that her playing has an aura of elegant solitude and even melancholy, which she does not feel to be a negative attribute. “The piano is the blackest instrument,” she says, a “symbol of musical solitude… I have to be psychologically strong and forget the hall if I want to share it with the audience.” Khatia Buniatishvili speaks five languages and lives in Paris.

LECLAIR Violin Concertos, Op. 7

“The qualities of Leclair are convincingly conveyed in these performances. The Brazilian-born Luis Otavio Santos, also leader of the baroque orchestra La Petite Bande, is a brilliant player who meets all the technical requirements with impressive ease. He never indulges in the virtuosity of Leclair's solo parts for its own sake...The orchestra gives excellent support, producing a warm and full sound, and displaying great agility in the fast movements.” --MusicWeb International, April 2013

Luis Otavio Santos (violin)

Les Muffatti, Peter Van Heyghen

Few French musicians of the 18th century were as appreciated, admired and hailed during their lifetime as was the virtuoso violinist from Lyons Jean-Marie Leclair. In 1753, he was described in Mercure de France as 'the most famous artist that France has had for purely instrumental music'. Three years after his tragic death – he was murdered in 1764 by a jealous nephew –, Charles Henry de Blainville remembered him as 'the Corelli of France', where he was thus celebrated up until the early 19th century. In 1754, Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg placed Leclair on the level of Telemann, Handel and members of the Bach family in terms of harmony and counterpoint; and for Francesco Galeazzi, he was, in 1790, the sole Frenchman on the list of principal masters of the violin in 18th century Europe, alongside such major names as Corelli, Vivaldi, Somis, Locatelli, Geminiani, Tartini and Stamitz.

The Opus 7 concertos can thus be considered the crowning achievement and a sublime summary of Leclair's talents as a virtuoso and composer, one of the greatest of his era. Fireworks of wit and virtuosity, with the brilliant violinist Luis Otavio Santos (Diapason d'Or for his album of Leclair Sonatas released by Ramée) and Les Muffatti (5th album for Ramée), under the magic wand of Peter Van Heyghen.

CAVALLI Heroines of the Venetian Baroque

“Flores's softer languid singing aptly conveys a nymph's erotic longing for the return of her lover Jupiter…[Isifile's lament] is sequenced next to a vividly dramatic account of her rival Medea's incantation scene - the latter sung ardently by mezzo-soprano Anna Reinhold” --Gramophone Magazine, November 2015

The opening of Venice’s first opera house, the Teatro di San Cassiano, in 1637, was one of the major events in the history of opera. The protagonists of these new operas henceforth represented all the social categories making up this public and who, in fact, had to be able to find themselves onstage.

The gods were no longer the only ones to lay down the law, challenged by the Vices and Virtues who preached in the Prologues. The new heroes are kings, emperors, dictators, courtesans, as well as nurses, valets, soldiers, philosopher, and, above all, lovers. Whoever they might be, we find them sympathetic or antipathetic; all are glorified, all are ridiculed.

With his 27 existing operas, Francesco Cavalli gives us a fascinating version of this theatre of life. A single main thread runs through the excerpts drawn from each of them by Leonardo García Alarcón: the expression of human passions. They are all there, from ingenuousness to ecstasy, joy to anger, passionate love (and its erotic, sensual expression) to despair. This fascinating programme represents a new contribution to the knowledge of Cavalli’s operas and allows for unveiling part of the mystery still surrounding his works.

VIVALDI Violin Concertos Volume 3

“This dazzling recital of violin concertos highlights the vast expressive range of which Vivaldi was capable, especially when writing for his own instrument. Duilio Galfetti and I Barocchisti under Diego Fasolis give ardent, full-blooded performances which I find irrepressible and full of theatrical gesture.” --BBC Music Magazine, November 2009 *****

“each concerto is given a radiant account by Duilio Galfetti and the wonderfully incisive I Barocchisti” --The Observer, 16th August 2009 
Vol.1 - Vol.2

Duilio M. Galfetti (violin) - I Barocchisti, Diego Fasolis

Naïve releases the third volume dedicated to Vivaldi’s violin concertos in its ground breaking project, the Vivaldi Edition. Multi award-winning violinist Duilio Galfetti is accompanied by acclaimed early music ensemble I Barocchisti under the direction of Diego Fasolis.

Vivaldi violin scholar Olivier Fouré continues to assist Naïve in giving coherence to the awesome task of recording some 90 violin concertos written by Vivaldi. Armed with a wealth of historical knowledge of the background to these concertos, he has cleverly divided them by theme. The violin concertos in this volume have been chosen specifically to reflect the strong influence of dance on the music of the composer. The recording features two of Vivaldi’s favourite violin concertos, RV210 and RV333, several sequences from RV333 are used in other compositions, notably the slow movement which recurs in RV556. They perfectly display Vivaldi’s inimitable genius for fashioning strong musical identities in next to no time.

After obtaining his diploma in violin from the Dreilinden Conservatory of Lucerne in the class of Gunars Larsens in 1989, Duilio M. Galfetti started a long collaboration with the Milanese Baroque ensemble Il Giardino Armonico. Over this period, as an accomplished lutenist as well as violinist, he made a number of major recordings for Teldec, including Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, and Vivaldi’s complete mandolin and lute concertos, which were enthusiastically received by the critics and won numerous awards (Diapason d’Or, Choc du Monde de la Musique, and a Gramophone Award). In 1997 Duilio Galfetti became a member of the Swiss-Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra and founded the acclaimed early music ensemble I Barocchisti with Diego Fasolis.

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Virtuoso CLARINET, Volume 2

"... This warmly recorded recital continues the good work established by Collins in the earlier volume.", June 2014

“Michael Collins and his pianist Michael McHale present us with a programme of pieces all expertly written for the clarinet, and very entertaining too… This CD has been planned with great care, taking the listener from one enticing piece to the next in sheer delight.” --Gramophone magazine, April 2014 

Michael Collins (clarinet) & Michael McHale (piano)

Chandos exclusive artist Michael Collins here presents the second volume in his series designed to display the extraordinarily wide range of music written for the clarinet. Volume 1 was BBC Music Magazine Editor’s Choice and received IRR Outstanding from International Record Review, which stated: ‘It is difficult to imagine a finer performance than is given here.’

Debussy’s Première Rhapsodie was written as a test piece for the Paris Conservatoire and contrasts long lyrical lines with capricious acrobatics for the clarinet, being described by the composer as ‘hovering between reverie and scherzo’.

Pieces by Rabaud and Widor, also written for the Paris Conservatoire, test the abilities of the player with their exuberant displays of virtuosity. A jazz influence is present in other works on the release. The Clarinet Sonata which Bernstein wrote at the start of his career is a vivid testimony to his early promise and his fascination with jazz. Milhaud’s Duo concertant and Martinů’s Sonatina were composed in 1956 and demonstrate a diversity of influence, both combining folk and jazz elements. Each of the four Time Pieces by Muczynski highlights some specific characteristic of the clarinet in terms of range, technical prowess, tone colour, and expressiveness.

"... it is impossible not to admire his dextrous skill, musicality and joie de vivre. In all, this is a very well-constructed and pleasurable album." --International Record Review, April 2014

GRAUPNER Himmlische Stunden, selige Zeiten

“Excellently recorded - this is quite simply a life-enhancing disc.” --BBC Music Magazine, May 2014 *****

“Miriam Feuersinger’s effortlessly enunciated singing (not to mention the breathing clarity of her high notes) is perfectly partnered here by a one-to-a-part ensemble.” --Early Music Review, April 2014

“Angst und Jammer, Qual und Trubsal is a major discovery … The disc’s first half sets the bar very high … well worth investigating.” --International Record Review, May 2014

Miriam Feuersinger (soprano) & Peter Barczi (violin, direction) with guest Xenia Löffler (Baroque oboe)

Capricornus Consort Basel

The young Austrian soprano Miriam Feuersinger presents her debut CD accompanied by the Capricornus Consort Basel with a selection of several cantatas by the Kapellmeister at the Darmstadt court. With the agreeable timbre of her easily appealing voice, she succeeds wonderfully in recreating the appropriate tone of Graupner's sensuous cantata style. As with those of Bach, the cantatas of Graupner aim to stir the listener, but without sacrificing intellectual elegance or even the composure fitting for a predominantly courtly community. Unlike the confidently catchy Telemann, Graupner prefers a refined and subtle elaboration that audibly reckons with skilful interpreters and always seeks to move the listener. Despite all these advantages, the discographical exploration of Graupner's over 1400 cantatas has only just begun.

French and English LUTE Music

Though variant tunings having already appeared during the first years of the sixteenth century, the first part of the seventeenth century saw a great number of tunings emerge, the most successful being those occurring in Pierre Ballard’s 1631 and 1638 publications of Tablatures de Luth de Differents Autheurs sur les Accords Nouveaux. Three out of these four accords nouveaux produce a superb resonance, but all share the disadvantage of being restricted to certain keys, modulation being often accompanied by a distinct deterioration in tone quality. 

It was no doubt this factor which contributed to their decline in popularity and the subsequent acceptance of the fourth one, the d minor tuning, which was less susceptible to this problem and remained the standard lute tuning until the instrument’s demise in the late eighteenth century.

The accords nouveaux gained widespread acceptance and inspired players to produce some of the most sublime music ever created for the lute – some of which can be heard on this recording, played by the great English lutenist Anthony Bailes.

ANTHONY BAILES first studied guitar, through which he developed a love of lute music. A chance meeting with Diana Poulton resulted in buying a lute and studying with her. In 1971 he was awarded a grant by the Arts Council of Great Britain to further his studies with Eugen Dombois at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Switzerland.
Since completing his studies he has toured Europe playing at most major festivals. Of his various recordings, several are considered »milestones« and his interpretations of seventeenth century French and German music are particularly esteemed and have been awarded several prizes. Besides performing and teaching, Anthony Bailes has published music editions and monographs on the lute and its music.

BACH & BEETHOVEN Quasi una Fantasia

"This French pianist has a very individual sound. Her touch is light and expressive, and her Bach has great charm; the dynamics and tempos in her Beethoven sonatas are perectly judged, as is the tone." --BBC Music Magazine, July 2015

Pianist Audrey Vigoureux, a native of Aix-en-Provence in southern France, started playing at the age of eight. She studied with Sébastien Risler and Jacques Rouvier at the Conservatoire Supérieur of Geneva and the CNSM de Paris, graduating with honours from both. 

Her awards include the De Agostini Foundation prize and a first prize from the Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe. This recording features 'Fantasias' by Bach and Beethoven. Beethoven subtitled two Piano Sonatas 'Quasi una Fantasia' – Op.27 No.1 and Op.110. These works are paired with two Fantaisies and Fugues by Bach, in performances that focus on the music's lyrical properties.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

BACH Concertos for Two Harpsichords

“This is a very fine release, the BIS engineering to be relished in stereo as well as in the added space and sense of detail you have from the 5.0 SACD set-up. This is one case in which feeling as if you are amongst the musicians is nothing but pleasurable.” --MusicWeb International, 3rd June 2014

“Masaaki imagines these works very much as chamber creations but presented with a warm resonance which will suit almost all constituencies...both Masaaki and Masato rejoice in the simple elegance and devotional belonging which these pieces afford.” --Gramophone Magazine, August 2014

Masaaki Suzuki (harpsichord) & Masato Suzuki (harpsichord)

Bach Collegium Japan

Three double concertos for harpsichord by Bach survive, all dating from around 1736, and all arrangements of earlier compositions. BWV 1060 is thought to have originated as a now lost double concerto for oboe and violin, while BWV 1062 is a reworking of the well-loved concerto for two violins. Unlike these two works, BWV 1061 was composed for two harpsichords from the outset, but probably started out as a concerto without orchestral accompaniment – this will have been added later. Performing these works, with a quintet of string players from the Bach Collegium Japan, Masaaki Suzuki is joined by his son Masato. For the present disc Masato Suzuki has also taken a page from Bach’s own book, in arranging the composer’s Orchestral Suite No.1 for two unaccompanied harpsichords.

SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 7 in C major, Op. 60 'Leningrad'

“Paavo Järvi's Leningrad is the opposite of his father's 1988 epic with the Scottish National Orchestra - light, laconic and sonically lean where Neeme's recording was spectacularly big in every way.” --BBC Music Magazine, August 2015

“Järvi and his engineers offer ruthless clarity and precision, exposing a rogue E flat clarinet with a flash of the theme at one point (never heard that before) and lacerating flutter-tongued trumpets as the shock and awe peaks…there is no denying the excellence of the playing.” --Gramophone Magazine, May 2015

Russian National Orchestra, Paavo Järvi

It is hard to escape the incredible pull of Symphony No. 7, knowing the background to its composition and its general significance. Shostakovich began to work on the actual composition in July 1941 in Leningrad, where he wrote the first three movements under constant attack from the enemy; and after his evacuation from the city besieged by German troops, he completed the Finale and the instrumentation in Kuibyschev in December 1941.

This outstanding work achieves its true dimensions thanks to the sophisticated and polished conductor Paavo Järvi conducting the Russian National Orchestra in this recording. Needless to say he elevates the composition to an even higher level.

The round and open sound of PENTATONE’s multichannel recording on SACD assures an honest yet captivating listening experience.

“Even before the war, hardly a family could be found in Leningrad that had not suffered a loss: the father, the son; and if not a family member, then a close friend. Everyone had someone to mourn. But you had to cry softly, under your blanket. You could not let anyone see you: everyone was afraid of everyone else. We were crushed, suffocated by grief. It choked us all, including me. I had to turn it into music, I felt it was my duty and obligation. I had to write a requiem for all those who had died, for all those who had been tortured.” (Extract from Shostakovich’s posthumously published memoirs: The Memoirs of Dmitri Shostakovich).

BORN To Be Mild

Hille Perl transforms the viola da gamba into a truly timeless instruments: for the first time on record Hille Perl, her daughter Marthe Perl and Lutenist Lee Santana (playing electric guitar) are using electro-acoustic instruments to explore an excitingly divergent repertoire ranging across some seven centuries in stunning new sound and instrumental colours.
Release date: 5th May 2015

Hille Perl es una de las artistas más exitosas de la viola da gamba y una músico brillante y original que no teme descubrir nuevos mundos de sonidos y territorios musicales. Después de experimentar como parte de la banda de rock de Lee Santanas, “Dead Poets”, Hille Perl y su hija Martha Perl ahora tocan la viola da gamba electro-acústica por primera vez en un disco junto al laudista Lee Santana (que toca la guitarra eléctrica).

Los artistas exploran un repertorio original que incluye composiciones e improvisaciones de piezas de los periodos renacentista y barroco de Diego Ortiz, Marin Marais, Tobias Hume, Antoine Forqueray al igual que del propio Lee Santana y legendas del jazz como Charlie Haden, entre otros.

Un repertorio que abarca siete siglos, aportando nuevos y espectaculares sonidos y colores instrumentales, Hille Perl transforma la viola da gamba en un instrumento auténticamente atemporal.

MOZART Piano Concertos Nos. 24 & 25

“Characterised by lively tempos, crisp articulation, taut rhythms and the ability to convey to the listener the joy of music-making, Brautigam's playing strips away the varnish to let you hear, as near as dammit, what Mozart's audiences woudl have heard...Even if you prefer, as I do, your Mozart on a modern concert grand, it's hard to resist Brautigam's period advocacy.” --Classic FM Magazine, February 2012 ****

“Playing on a fine, un-jangly modern copy of an Anton Walter instrument, with its silvery, singing treble and clear, percussive bass, Ronald Brautigam gives bold, invigorating performances of these contrasting concertos...this is exhilarating, often thought-provoking Mozart-playing” --Gramophone Magazine, January 2012

Ronald Brautigam (fortepiano)

Die Kölner Akademie, Michael Alexander Willens

Ronald Brautigam, with the congenial support of Die Kölner Akademie, under Michael Alexander Willens, here performs Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos. 24 and 25, both composed in 1786.

The C major concerto is in fact one of the most expansive of all classical piano concertos, rivalling Beethoven’s fifth concerto. Their grandeur immediately made them popular fare in the concert hall – Mendelssohn, for instance, had No.24 in his repertoire through the 1820s and 1830s.

On his copy of a fortepiano from 1795, and with orchestral forces corresponding to what Mozart would have been familiar, Brautigam creates a sound of which Mozart would have been familiar.

On the first release in the team’s traversal of Mozart’s concertos (BIS-SACD-1794), Brautigam was described by International Record Review as ‘an absolutely instinctive Mozartian, with… melodic playing of consummate beauty’, going on to congratulate him on finding the ‘ideal partners’ for the project.’

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

MENDELSSOHN & HENSEL Lieder ohne Worte

"Felix has given me three things: a piece in my family album, a 'Song without Words' such as he has written a number of so beautifully in recent times, another piano piece (...) and a large work for four choirs." Mendelssohn's elder sister Fanny wrote that in late 1828 to Carl Klingemann, a London diplomat friend of the Mendelssohn family. The "Song without Words" she refers to is the one marked Espressivo & Allegro which Felix dedicated to her for her twenty-third birthday on November 14, 1828, and which is not included in any of the eight published volumes. It now opens the "ninth volume", six unpublished pieces Matthias Kirschnereit has compiled for this complete edition of all the Songs without Words composed by Felix and Fanny.
Release date: 18th Sept 2015

The piece that gives its name to this new solo piano genre was later published as op. 19 no. 4 and was initially just called "A Song". It was written on September 14, 1829, during Mendelssohn's first visit to England (from April to December) and is dedicated to Sophia Louise Dance, the youngest daughter of the English musician William Dance.

Bearing in mind that Mendelssohn was ten when he wrote his first surviving composition in late 1819, his production of over fifty Songs without Words accompanied him for the two decades between 1828 and his death in 1847, which is more than half of his creative period.

Fanny Hensel and Felix Mendelssohn developed a new piano genre - the opposite of speechlessness in music.

SIBELIUS Belshazzar’s Feast

“Segerstam directs all this material with unfailing perception and secures some commendably watchful playing from his excellent Turku band. Sound, too, is undistractingly truthful, full-bodied and atmospheric, and there are useful notes by Dominic Wells. Roll on the next instalment!” --Gramophone Magazine, September 2015

“The lesser pieces here are all attractive...Segerstam has become one of the very finest Sibelius conductors, and his Turku orchestra rightly plays as if these were all major works, making this highly recommendable.” --BBC Music Magazine, October 2015 *****

Pia Pajala (soprano) - Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, Leif Segerstam

Alongside the great symphonies and tone poems, music for the theatre played an important rolê in Sibelius’s development. From exquisite nocturnal tranquility to the macabre ‘Dance of Life’, Belshazzar’s Feast is an exotic tale of seduction and tragedy to which Sibelius responded with some of his most hauntingly beautiful writing for the stage. The early Menuetto and lively Cortège were considered good enough by the composer to be recycled for further stage productions, while the Overture in E and Scène de Ballet started life as Sibelius’s first attempt at composing a symphony.

This is the second of a six-volume set of orchestral works by Jean Sibelius which explores his prolific but infrequently-heard work beyond the core oeuvre of the symphonies, violin concerto and tone poems. Conductor Leif Segerstam has been acclaimed for his many recordings with numerous orchestras, and was awarded the annual Finnish State Prize for Music in 2004 and in 2005 the highly esteemed Sibelius Medal. His recordings for Naxos include a “skillfully and sweepingly paced” Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde (Classic FM on 8660152-54), his conducting of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck regarded as “a giant-killer” (Gramophone on 8660076-77). The Turku Philharmonic is a platinum record-making and award winning orchestra, and we are confident that the sheer quality of this new series will guarantee wide interest in the relatively neglected works of Finland’s greatest and most influential composer.

Album Reviews

GALUPPI Keyboard Sonatas, Vol. 2

"Galuppi’s keyboard sonatas may seem to be composed squarely in the cliches and conventions of the Galant style. Under that surface lies Galuppi’s highly distilled personal rhetoric, full of drama and imagination. Napoli employs a great deal of variety of touch and articulation to penetrate the inner workings of these sonatas. His melodic right-hand playing is relaxed, simple, and elegant." --American Record Guide, March 2012

"these works show that Galuppi was cognizant of the evolution of style during his life and used it to best advantage...[Pianist Matteo Napoli’s] playing is always finely nuanced, with expressive details emerging even during the most mechanical sequential passages. The works…seem to fit quite well on the modern piano…"--Fanfare, March 2012

Venetian composer Baldassare Galuppi’s reputation rests principally on his pioneering series of comic operas. But, trained by Antonio Lotti, Galuppi was also a keyboard player of distinction who served at the court of Catherine the Great in St Petersburg. Twelve keyboard sonatas were published during his lifetime, but Hedda Illy’s catalogue lists over 100 and reveals that Galuppi not only inherited the brilliance and panache of Domenico Scarlatti but anticipated the expressive writing of Mozart. The first volume in Matteo Napoli’s series (8.572263) was commended as “a good choice for connoisseurs of 18th century keyboard music.” (MusicWeb International)

Album Reviews