Albums

433 albums sorted by Date: from newest to oldest
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Symphonic Music - To be released November 10, 2017 | Alpha

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Classical - To be released October 27, 2017 | Alpha

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Chamber Music - To be released October 27, 2017 | Alpha

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Contemporary Jazz - Released October 13, 2017 | Alpha

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Édouard Ferlet has already explored intriguing byways for the Alpha label: in 2015 he and Violaine Cochard recorded ‘Plucked Unplucked’, an album associating piano and harpsichord – a successful venture that will soon see a follow-up. The bassist Stéphane Kerecki has already made several recordings for Outhere, including ‘Nouvelle Vague’, a prizewinner at the Victoires de la Musique. The career of the trumpet player Airelle Besson has been on a high since 2015, when she won both the Prix Django Reinhardt of the Académie du Jazz and the ‘Révélation’ Award at the Victoires du Jazz. These three jazz musicians met and decided to form a trio in order to combine their universes and their ambitions. Here is the fruit of their first year of companionship, a programme presenting compositions by each of them, an album wearing the colours of jazz but featuring several tracks directly inspired by great standards of the classical repertoire, including ‘Es ist vollbracht’ from Bach’s St John Passion, the Pavanes of Ravel and Fauré, the Valse sentimentale of Tchaikovsky, and Khachaturian’s Sabre Dance, which can be recognised behind the ‘Stances du sabre’. The refinement of the compositions and the playing and the musicians’ capacity for listening to each other are a source of endless pleasure and fulfilment. © Alpha Classics
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Classical - Released October 13, 2017 | Alpha

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Why record yet another of Handel’s Messiah, asks Hervé Niquet, when the market is already flooded by over a hundred different references? And he answers that he went through the different scores that exist and decided on the very interesting 1754 version which features five soloists instead of the usual four, devised for the annual Messiah production at London’s Foundling Hospital. It must be remembered that, when Handel arrived somewhere to perform his oratorio, he had soloists of varying standards available to him. So he would quickly revise his score accordingly to produce a new version form of his Messiah. When examining the various rewritings that resulted, one may observe that soprano arias have been transposed for alto, that a bass aria has been reduced to half its length – the singer for that particular production must have been rather weak. All this is directly related to the reality of Handel’s situation as a concert promoter. In those days, to earn a living from his music, a composer – royalties did not exist yet, and publishers would recklessly pillage scores without bothering to refer to the composer – had to get his works performed and make a profit on the box office. The idea of not retouching a work to avoid ‘spoiling’ or ‘distorting’ it is a much more modern one. There must be around a dozen versions of Messiah, most by Handel himself, others rewritten later – by Mozart for one of them. The 1754 version is rarely performed because it calls for five soloists: two sopranos, alto, tenor and bass. The listener of this new recording will thus be sent back over 250 years ago in London’s Foundling Hospital. © SM/Qobuz
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released October 13, 2017 | Alpha

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It’s not rare for jazz musicians to venture into the world of baroque, often with great success: so, asks Jos van Immerseel - why not the other way around? And so he decided to record... Gershwin. With the original instrumentation and arrangements, on period instruments! Gershwin's period, that is: not the period of sackbuts and cromornes. The piano used on Rhapsody in Blue was a 1906 Steinway; the piece was first orchestrated by Ferde Grofré in 1906 for a jazz band (Gershwin had dragged his feet and dawdled and the work was finally performed before the ink was dry: and even then, the piano part appears to have been almost completely improvised). Also present are the tranquil vision of an American in Paris as distilled by Immerseel; several songs by Claron McFarren, who is certainly not of that era, but whose voice cleaves closely to a recognisable North American inter-war style; while Gershwin's Magnum Opus, Porgy and Bess, is presented as an orchestral suite. There is no accounting for taste, and everyone will form their own view of this baroque-jazz interpretation of the tradition. But whatever your own personal preferences, this is an experience not to be missed.
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Chamber Music - Released October 13, 2017 | Alpha

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Following a first recording on Alpha devoted to Brahms which garnered much praise – ‘real duo playing’ said Gramophone, while Classica discerned ‘shared music making . . . a world full of nuances and subtlety, boundless sonic imagination (Marie-Elisabeth Hecker), playing of rare intelligence (Martin Helmchen)’ and awarded the disc a ‘Choc’ – the duo is reunited. Its new programme features two summits of chamber music: Schubert’s famous Arpeggione Sonata – named after a now obsolete instrument that was a cross between the guitar and the cello – and his no less celebrated Trio no.2 D929, which achieved even greater popularity thanks to Stanley Kubrick’s film Barry Lyndon. In the latter, the duo is joined by an eminent musician with whom they enjoy playing, Antje Weithaas, ‘one of the great violinists of our time’ (Fonoforum) and also one of the teachers most sought after by the young generation. For example, she taught Tobias Feldmann, the young violinist recently signed by Alpha. © Alpha Classics
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Classical - Released October 13, 2017 | Alpha

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This set brings together the five separate discs containing Franz Liszt’s transcriptions of Beethoven’s nine symphonies performed by the pianist Yury Martynov. Reducing these complex works for piano solo was an enormous challenge for Liszt, who nevertheless succeeded in recreating their prodigious character and their incredible power. ‘An event on a period piano, thanks to which we rediscover the colours... of the orchestra’ (Pianiste): the piano combines the whole orchestra, sometimes even with vocal soloists and chorus, bringing their voices together in a single instrument. The energy and the textures of the symphonies are laid bare and magnified in the interpretation of Yury Martynov on a Blüthner piano dating from 1867 and an Érard piano of 1837, both from the collection of Edwin Beunk: the Russian pianist reveals ‘details usually obscured in orchestral performances, which come to light thanks to his meticulous phrasing and colouring of every bar’ (The Guardian). © Alpha Classics
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Classical - Released October 6, 2017 | Alpha

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‘Sophisticated colourist and cerebral virtuoso though he is, Nelson Goerner nevertheless brings out the moments of weakness, the hesitations, the lightning passions in the labyrinth of Chopin’, wrote Diapason on the release of the Preludes in 2015 (Diapason d’Or, Choc de Classica). ‘Serenity’, ‘balance’, ‘clarity’, ‘phrasing’ are the key words that recur in reviews of the discs and concerts of the Argentine pianist, whose fifth solo release on Alpha this is. His latest venture is a complete recording of the Nocturnes, a highpoint of Chopinesque poetry. These twenty-one miniatures accompanied Chopin over a good part of his life, for he composed them between 1827 and 1848. They are tributes to Italian bel canto, expressing reveries but also complexity of feeling and a profundity that far transcends their apparent simplicity. Nelson Goerner’s feeling for melody and tempo works wonders in these pieces, which he recorded in the ideal surroundings of the Salle de Musique of La Chaux de Fonds (Switzerland). © Alpha
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Chamber Music - Released September 22, 2017 | Alpha

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The first album of the quartet founded by Nicolas Van Kuijk, a programme of Mozart, was awarded a ‘Choc de Classica’ and ‘Diapason Découverte’. Now they return to their roots with key works from the French repertory: the single quartets of Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy and the Chanson perpétuelle of Ernest Chausson, in which they are accompanied by the mezzosoprano Kate Lindsey, who recently joined Alpha, and the pianist Alphonse Cemin, also well-known on the label. © Alpha Classics
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Classical - Released September 22, 2017 | Alpha

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The life of Stradella, murdered on a Genoese piazza at the age of forty-two on the orders of a jealous rival in love, has achieved mythical status and inspired several novels and operas featuring Stradella the adventurer, the rebel and above all Stradella the Don Juan, whose amorous escapades, from abducting a novice from a convent in Florence to a flight across Italy with the high-born fiancée of a senator, were never a hindrance to his flourishing musical career. It is easy to imagine that Stradella’s hectic life provided the inspiration for the captivating female figures who abound in his output, exalted by technically redoubtable vocal writing, as exuberant and virtuosic as it can sometimes be sober and ethereal, and supported by remarkably skilled recitatives, a genuine verbal theatre that offers the singer infinite scope for expression. From the demonic Salome to Ariadne, the model wife turned into a Fury by despair; from Pelagia, the repentant sinner who ends her days living in a cave disguised as a man, to Susanna, the very image of innocence and purity, this programme presents a series of portraits of women whom Chantal Santon embodies in their turn with all her artistry, her intimate knowledge of this repertory and her sense of theatre. © Alpha Classics
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Classical - Released September 22, 2017 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
Whether singing, conducting, dancing or acting, the Canadian soprano Barbara Hannigan is a source of fascination. Alpha Classics is proud to enter her world today and to present in 2017 her very first album as singer and conductor: with the Amsterdambased orchestra Ludwig, of which she is associate artist, Barbara Hannigan has devised a programme including Berg’s Lulu Suite and Gershwin’s Girl Crazy in a Suite newly arranged by the multiaward-winning American composer Bill Elliott. To complement these two pieces, she has recorded Berio’s spectacular Sequenza III for solo voice. An outstanding soprano, a distinguished interpreter of the music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, an all-round artist who creates a sensation on concert platforms and in opera houses throughout the world, Barbara Hannigan has enriched her palette over the past few years by devoting a portion of her activities to conducting. © Alpha Classics
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Chamber Music - Released September 22, 2017 | Alpha

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Following a first recording devoted to Dvořák’s Dumky Trio and Trio no.3, Omri Epstein, Mathieu van Bellen and Ori Epstein are joined by one of their former teachers at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel, the violist Miguel da Silva, a founder member of the famous Quatuor Ysaÿe. Together they pursue this series of the Czech composer’s complete chamber music with piano: there is an obvious close rapport between the musicians, who share with us their passion for this repertory and their pleasure in playing together. The Piano Quartet no.1 in D major op.23 of 1875 was one of the first works in which the young Dvořák, inspired by Schubert, laid the foundations of the compositional style which he would conserve for the rest of his life. Fourteen years later, he composed the Piano Quartet no.2 in E flat major op.87, completed under pressure from his publisher. This work, influenced by Brahms, is one of the masterpieces of his maturity. Two further recordings will complete this quadriptych of the Czech composer’s keyboard trios, quartets and quintets. © Alpha Classics
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Chamber Music - Released September 8, 2017 | Alpha

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The fruitful partnership between the Alpha label, the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel and the Palazzetto Bru Zane continues with this set of chamber music by Anton Reicha, performed by the musicians of the Chapel, young talents of an exceptionally high standard, ready and willing to take up the challenge of this music. A key figure of the early nineteenth century, this Czech composer who became a naturalised French citizen did not leave his contemporaries indifferent. Both his music and his theoretical writings set zealous partisans against fierce detractors. This threedisc set, assembling pieces from different genres and periods, gives an insight into the richness of the composer’s extremely prolific output of chamber music, whose originality can still fascinate us nearly two centuries after his death: it illustrates the diversity of the instrumental genres he tackled (sonatas, fugues, études and variations for piano; piano trio, string quartet, string quintet) and a compositional art characterised at once by perfect mastery – as one would expect from someone trained by Haydn in Vienna between 1802 and 1808 – and by the greatest originality. © Alpha Classics
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Opera - Released September 8, 2017 | Alpha

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