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What is a Qobuzissime? It’s an award presented by Qobuz for a first or second album.

Pop or Reggae, Metal or Classical, Jazz or Blues, no genre is excluded. More often than not the award is presented to a newly discovered artist.

Sometimes it might be a particularly quirky or a crossover album from a discography.

The important aspects are uniqueness, sincerity and quality. We look for these things in the recording, the project and the sound identity.





Albums

Classical - Released November 15, 2019 | Alpha

Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Qobuzissime
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The final part of this intelligent and well-rounded triptych certainly deserves a Qobuzissime! It has been several years since we have been following this grandiose but relaxed duo, made up of violinist Lorenzo Gatto and pianist Julien Libeer. The Belgian pair have brought their complete collection of Beethoven’s sonatas for violin and piano to a close. There is a lot of spontaneity in this integral work, yet this freshness is not synonymous with offhandedness. On the contrary, the fruit of a well thought-out project, it unfolds as a thrilling story in three parts. The first volume opened like a stage curtain on this landmark of Beethoven with the iconic Kreutzer sonata, a strong score which trumps the expectations of the genre. The vehement drama of the first movement, slow and in a minor key, contrasts with the gentle nature of the second movement and confirms that the sonata is well and truly a format for two instruments on an equal footing and not just a support act to the piano, a Steinway in this instance.The second one delineated the milestones of an expanding genre. From the first to the last sonata, via the most popular nicknamed Spring, we bear witness to a general amplification of style. From Opus 12 to Opus 96, the form expands, the technical difficulty of playing increases and the light-hearted fun gives way to a more energetic rhetoric. For this second album, the duo chose the lustrous power of Chris Maene’s parallel-stringed piano. The instrument affords the necessary resonance to the interpretation of this sometimes outright zesty, sometimes tenderly subtle score.The third volume frames the Steinway’s radiance (Sonatas 6 and 7) with the more ample Maene piano (Sonatas 3 and 8) and is dedicated to the works conceived when the composer’s hearing began to falter. Paradoxically, this nightmare for Beethoven has brought about a gift for his listeners. Varied combinations of timbres, styles and character are constantly renewed in this cycle which Gatto and Libeer faithfully interpret throughout its entirety. Our award of recognition is also a retrospective on the first two milestones of this adventure which has valiantly held its promise. An important integral work to explore and encourage others to do so as well! © Elsa Siffert/Qobuz

Opera Extracts - Released September 28, 2018 | Alpha

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Qobuzissime
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The first solo album from the excellent youngster Julien Behr, who has already played at the Paris Opéra, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, the Bordeaux and Lyon Opera Houses and cities such as Salzburg, Vienna, London, Cologne and many other great venues as well as making recordings of various lyrical works including L’Enfant et les sortilèges with Bavarian Radio. As debut albums go, he has made a daring choice in selecting some of the more unknown areas of French opera rather than the more popular pieces from Don José, Romeo, Faust and other big names. Instead, he has taken some gems from the Romantic repertoire (if we extend it up to the First World War for the sake of argument) which are little-heard of. From Gounod, he has selected Cinq-Mars ; from Bizet, La Jolie fille de Perth (one of Bizet's most exquisite passages); from Thomas, Mignon; and then, better-known but still uncommon, Léhar The Merry Widow; Godard, Jocelyn; and Delibes Lakmé. His diction is utterly impeccable; his transparent and airy voice evokes Heddle Nach or Jussi Björling, which serves the repertoire perfectly. The album closes with a few hits from the Romantic repertoire such as Vous qui passez sans me voir by Charles Trenet – well, the lyrics are from the Fou chantant, while the music is by Johnny Hess and Paul Misraki, and the song was originally written for Jean Sablon – evidence of Behr's love of lighter genres, for sure. . © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released August 24, 2016 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice - Choc de Classica - Qobuzissime
Justin Taylor, the winner of the 2015 edition of the celebrated harpsichord competition of the Musica Antiqua Festival in Bruges (which has honoured some of the world’s finest players, including Scott Ross, Christophe Rousset, Pierre Hantaï, Benjamin Alard, and more recently Jean Rondeau), has recorded for Alpha Classics a programme of music by the Forqueray family: Antoine, Michel, Jean-Baptiste, Nicolas-Gilles . . . Those are just some of the first names of a great dynasty of French composers, gambists and organists. Antoine Forqueray, born in 1672, obtained the highly coveted position of Musicien de la Chambre du Roi. He subsequently had, shall we say, a complicated relationship with his son Jean-Baptiste, born in 1699 . . . Envious of the boy’s talent for the viol, Antoine had him imprisoned when he was just sixteen years old! The recital, as well as painting a musical portrait of this unique family, also offers a chance to reflect on the issue of transcription. In fact, the suites performed here on the harpsichord were originally written for viola da gamba. The passage from one instrument to another, from one soundworld to another, sheds new light on the music and allows us to grasp its full originality. © Alpha

Duets - Released May 6, 2016 | Alpha

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de Classica - Qobuzissime
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Marie-Elisabeth Hecker made her entry into the ‘big leagues’ by winning first prize in the Rostropovich Competition in Paris back in 2005. Her international career was simultaneously launched on the back of this great success. Born in 1987 in Zwickau, the young cellist has studied with Steven Iserlis, Bernard Greenhouse and even Gary Hoffman. She has performed as a soloist with the Russian Symphony Orchestra, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the Kremerata Baltica, the Mariinsky Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Munich and Dresden Philharmonic Orchestras, the Staatskapelle Berlin, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris… the list goes on. Her experience has seen her work with conductors such as Yuri Temirkanov, Yuri Bashmet, Gidon Kremer, Valery Gergiev, Fabio Luisi, Marek Janowski, Emmanuel Krivine, Christian Thielemann or even Daniel Barenboim. Here, with her musical partner (and husband) pianist Martin Helmchen for their first duo album; the two musicians met at the Lockenhaus Festival at which time they performed another one of Brahms sonatas: Proust's Madeleine! More than twenty years separate the two sonatas for cello and piano, the first from 1862 – the composer had not yet turned 30 – and the second from 1886, by which time he had nothing left to prove to anyone. Hecker-Helmchen thoroughly master this repertoire. A coup for this first album as a duo. © SM / Qobuz

Classical - Released March 7, 2016 | Alpha

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles Classica - Qobuzissime - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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"Nevermind Conversations", that could easily be the title of a rap album, right? But no, dear qobuzian (qobuzzer?), this new recording by Baroque ensemble Nevermind (Anna Besson (flute), Louis Creac'h (violin), Robin Pharo (gamba) and Jean Rondeau (harpsichord)) certainly strike up a spirited conversation between two French Baroque composers, established between French and Italian styles that both deal with fantasy and invention. The two composers: Jean Baptiste Quentin (ca. 1690 - ca. 1742), violinist at the Royal Academy of Music; and Louis-Gabriel Guillemain (1705 - 1770), ordinary musician of the king.© SM/Qobuz