Albums

1401 albums sorted by Date: from newest to oldest
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Classical - To be released September 22, 2017 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
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Classical - To be released September 22, 2017 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
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Classical - To be released September 22, 2017 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
£13.19
£9.19

Classical - To be released September 22, 2017 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet

Classical - To be released September 22, 2017 | harmonia mundi

Booklet
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Classical - To be released September 22, 2017 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet

Classical - Released September 8, 2017 | harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released August 25, 2017 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
Here’s a repertoire that everybody knows about yet is completely neglected: the Bach cantatas. Granted a few have gained some importance, mostly thanks to the vocal qualities of singers who have seized it for a few decades – Fischer-Dieskau and Elly Ameling to name a few – while some complete works adorn aficionados’ collections. There is however enough content in these cantatas to “make up” about a dozen Passions or Oratorios on par with some of those we already know. Bach himself didn’t refrain from drawing from them to recycle arias, ensembles, choirs and sinfonias. Among some of the most famous, honoured in the 1950s by Fischer-Dieskau, are two cantatas for baritone: Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen (1726) and Ich habe genug (1727), both written with oboe and string accompaniment. It’s precisely with this roster in mind that the Freiburger Barockorchester serves Matthias Goerne, a disciple of Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and… Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, him again! The German baritone, a regular on the world’s most prestigious scenes, doesn’t refrain from lending his immense voice to this almost-chamber music by giving it a character far removed from the lyrical style required by Berg, Wagner or Strauss. In addition, still with the oboe in mind, the recording includes the Concerto in A Major for Oboe d'amore BWV1055R, a modern reconstruction from a keyboard concerto in A major, which there is every reason to believe was itself recycled by Bach from an older concerto for oboe d'amore. The remarkable Katharina Arfken plays the oboe for the cantatas and the oboe d’amore for the concerto. © SM/Qobuz
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Violin Concertos - Released August 25, 2017 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
After the mystical Hebrides Overture and the masterly ‘Reformation’ Symphony, Mendelssohn embarked on his second violin concerto. After a long gestation in which he polished the orchestration and meticulously revised the solo part, the work was finally premiered in Leipzig in 1845. From David to Joachim, several virtuosos honed the violin part with the composer over successive revivals, leaving posterity traces of their playing style: fingerings, bowings, performance marks. This precious heritage has been scrutinised here for previously unexploited expressive resources. Isabelle Faust, accompanied by the Freiburger Barockorchester in top form under the direction of Pablo Heras-Casado, offers us a miracle of purity and lyricism in this freshly minted interpretation that fulfills Mendelssohn’s promise of ‘a concerto to make the angels rejoice in heaven’! © harmonia mundi
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Classical - Released August 25, 2017 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
Marc-Antoine Charpentier always had an ambiguous relationship with opera. While living in Rome in the late 1660s he had a chance to familiarise himself with this fast-expanding vocal genre. When he returned to Paris, some time around 1670, he was able to witness the creation of the Académie Royale de Musique, followed by the birth of the tragédie en musique, that typically French genre elaborated by Jean-Baptiste Lully over a lengthy period. Although his functions with his new patrons, particularly the Jesuits and the Grand Dauphin, tended to push him in the direction of sacred music, Charpentier was often tempted to write operatic works. Unfortunately, like all his contemporaries, he came up against the hegemony of the jealous Lully, who ensured the doors of the Opéra remained closed to him. It was not until 1693, six years after the Lully’s death, that he finally gained access to that institution; his only tragédie en musique, Médée, was a failure - deemed too dense, too learned. Yet Charpentier’s attraction for musical theatre may be observed throughout his career, in the numerous scores of incidental music, his two biblical tragedies intended for the Jesuit colleges, and above all the divertissements. Charpentier’s divertissements are on a small scale (a few scenes or else short one-act pieces) and conceived for relatively modest forces. Their inspiration is mythological, allegorical or heroic; they mingle light-hearted and dramatic elements. In all these respects, they owe a great deal to the genre of the pastorale en musique, the earliest specimens of which contributed to the rise of French opera. Alongside his motets and histoires sacrées in Latin intended for the devotions of the princess, Charpentier invented for her more secular recreations, small vocal forms sung in French, genuine miniature operas tailor-made for the little company of musicians she maintained at her Parisian town house.   These chamber operas, marginal in comparison to the large-scale tragédie en musique cultivated by Lully, occupy a highly individual place in the late seventeenth-century musical landscape. The last short opera Charpentier wrote for the princess, La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers (late 1686-early 1687), constitutes in its breadth and dramatic density a little gem of seventeenth-century French vocal art. References to the myth of the shepherd musician are rare in French literature at that time. Only two eponymous tragedies had appeared before Charpentier’s little opera. In the domain of music, the French usually depicted Orpheus merely in his persona as a player of the lyre, in which he appears in several ballets de cour. Charpentier was therefore one of the first French composers to take up the myth in its full dimensions. He had already produced a version of it in 1683, in a short divertissement called Orphée descendant aux Enfers, which may be regarded as the earliest example of the French cantata, another miniature vocal genre that was to flourish in the aristocratic gatherings of the early eighteenth century. Conceived on a larger scale, La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers unfolds over two acts. The first installs the listener in the bucolic universe typical of the pastorale, peopled by nymphs who have come to celebrate with carefree joy the wedding of Eurydice with the shepherd Orpheus. But Eurydice is mortally wounded by a serpent, and soon sees her strength ebbing away. Her sudden death leaves her companions and Orpheus distraught and tearful. Then Apollo convinces his son to go to beseech Pluto, and try to make him yield to the power of his songs. The more extended Act Two retraces Orpheus’ difficult quest through the Underworld, where he charms first of all the damned souls, in the hope of bringing Eurydice back with him. Charpentier’s manuscript stops at the point when Orpheus commences his journey back to the light, leaving the denizens of the Underworld in despair at his departure. One may therefore surmise that the work, which thus sets only part of the myth, has come down to us incomplete, or that the composer left it unfinished. It is true that the autograph manuscript exhibits none of the conclusive gestures he often uses. But why not, on the contrary, envisage the hypothesis that Charpentier consciously crafted this conclusion, which leaves the myth in suspense, without the edifying moral resolution which the litterati of the time were generally so fond of. For the work does possess a genuine musical conclusion, in the yearning Sarabande légère danced by the Shades deploring the departure of Orpheus, who leaves them only “so sweet a memory” of his songs. If this ending is indeed deliberate, the work assumes a particular emphasis and may be read as an optimistic interpretation of the myth, which is considered more as an allegory of the union of body and soul. A symbol of the fragility of humanity, but also of its ability to surpass itself in defiance of the ineluctable laws of nature, Charpentier’s Orpheus thus embodies the full creative force that the power of love can elicit, and, finally, in a humanistic ideal, also represents the perfection that the human soul can attain through art.
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Classical - Released August 25, 2017 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
In 1517, indignant at the mercenary abuses of the Church and convinced that a public debate was needed to restore faith in the founding texts of the Bible, Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg Castle. This marked the beginning of the Reformation, which was to spread all over Europe. Five hundred years later, Graham Ross here gives an insight into the emotional and dramatic strength of its theological and cultural legacy in a programme featuring Bach’s two great Reformation cantatas and other chorale-based works from the German and English traditions down to the 20th century.

Classical - Released July 7, 2017 | harmonia mundi

Classical - Released July 7, 2017 | harmonia mundi

Classical - Released July 7, 2017 | harmonia mundi

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