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Solo Piano - Released March 12, 2021 | MUSO

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Chamber Music - Released February 19, 2021 | Mirare

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Chamber Music - Released January 22, 2021 | PentaTone

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"Violins of Hope" presents instruments that were owned by Jewish musicians before and during the Holocaust, representing strength and optimism for the future during mankind’s darkest hour. They have been refurbished by luthiers Amnon and Avshalom Weinstein, founders of the "Violins of Hope" project. On this album, recorded live at Kohl Mansion, the instruments are used to perform two string quartet masterpieces by Schubert and Mendelssohn, alongside a new composition by Jake Heggie, inspired by the violins’ histories. Schubert’s unfinished Quartettsatz is often considered Schubert’s first mature work, and displays a typically Schubertian mix of impetuous agitation and sublime lyricism. Mendelssohn wrote his Quartet in F Minor as a “Requiem” for his deceased sister Fanny, not knowing that – tragically enough – he would follow her fate only two months later, at the age of 38. These two captivating works are performed by Kay Stern, Dawn Harms, Patricia Heller and Emil Miland, who join forces with mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, violinist Daniel Hope and the young violin talent Sean Mori on Heggie’s Intonations. The recording took place in the context of Holocaust Memorial Day 2020. © Pentatone
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Chamber Music - Released January 15, 2021 | Gramola Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Has any violinist captured the imaginations of ensuing generations to the degree Romanian-American Jascha Heifetz has? Arguably not. So no wonder that there's always a steady trickle of recital releases centred around Heifetz's virtuosic transcriptions of popular tunes, which he used as recital encores (although, fascinatingly, these tend to pop less regularly as actual live recital encores). Still, when most often it's younger generation violinists who are recording this razzle-dazzle repertoire, this programme from Benjamin Schmidt and his pianist wife Ariane Haering – in honour of the 120th anniversary of Heifetz's birth – stands out for being the work of a violinist now in the fourth decade of his performance career. You can hear all the confidence and technical assurance of years, too, right from his first crisply biting notes and firm portamentos in the programme-opening Prokofiev March from The Love for Three Oranges – a piece which overall he delivers big, bold and broad-toned, with a fabulous sweep to its upwards-racing runs. Likewise the rapid pizzicato strumming of the following Banjo and Fiddle by William Kroll. Moving forwards, pieces such as It Ain't Necessarily So play perfectly to Schmid's well-exercised jazz muscles, while also opening up the field to a few equally entertaining modern pieces in the spirit of Heifetz – an arrangement of Mish Mash by Romanian Antoni Donchev, plus two pieces inspired by Duke Ellington by Schmid's fellow Austrian, Sabina Hank. Add the inevitable close musical partnership between Schmid and Haering, and a lively immediacy to the engineering, and all in all it's a thoroughly fun listen. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released July 3, 2020 | Accent

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles Classica
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Solo Piano - Released February 7, 2020 | Mirare

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
With this album, pianist Tanguy de Williencourt offers an original vision of Beethoven. The album includes various pieces, some with a “Webernian” length of 30 seconds to 2 minutes, consisting in skits into the musician’s imagination, like ripped off pages of the genius’ diary. In the time of Beethoven, French was in fashion. As their French inspired name indicates, the Bagatellen were sometimes light, sometimes erotic. Beethoven’s Bagatellen, as a name (more than a form) punctuated the composer’s entire career. Yet, he referred to them as his ‘Kleinigkeiten’, little things. A series of charming and dedication pieces (Für Elise), they, nevertheless, became almost prophetic in 1825, when Beethoven’s language resolutely began to foresee the future. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Duets - Released January 31, 2020 | Mirare

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Chamber Music - Released January 17, 2020 | Alpha

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Chamber Music - Released January 17, 2020 | Ricercar

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A short-lived instrument which has long since disappeared, the arpeggione is a weird and wonderful creation. Dreamt up with the wild imagination of the Austrian luthier Johann Georg Stauffer, who specialized in guitars, this instrument which was invented in 1823 is a kind of 6-string guitar that is played with a bow. It was rather awkward to play, the six strings and the shape of the bridge making the bowing particularly delicate. The arpeggione has long since joined the cohort of instrumental oddities forever populating dusty museum windows, testimony to the creativity of curious inventors. A guitarist himself, like many young romantic men, Schubert became so interested in this instrument that he dedicated a sonata to it. Mainly played today on the cello, it was made famous in the 20th century by the legendary recordings of Emmanuel Feuermann in 1937 and then of Rostropovitch with Benjamin Britten in the early 1960s. It is now commonly played by cellists. Guido Balestracci has crafted a programme around this famous sonata with transcriptions of works by Schubert for rare instruments: fortepiano, terz guitar, archlute and, of course, an arpeggione reconstructed by the Italian luthier Paolo Giuseppe Rabino in 2011 based on an instrument made in Prague in the 19th century. Although this rehabilitation is not the first on record, it nevertheless allows us to recover a strange sound that we thought had been lost. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released January 3, 2020 | Anima-Records

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Chamber Music - Released December 6, 2019 | BIS

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Chamber Music - Released November 22, 2019 | Printemps des Arts de Monte-Carlo

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Duets - Released October 25, 2019 | La Dolce Volta

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Chamber Music - Released October 18, 2019 | Solo Musica

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Chamber Music - Released October 4, 2019 | Alpha

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The winner of the very first Queen Elisabeth Competition for cellists in Brussels in 2017, Victor Julien-Laferrière also received the Victoire de la Musique Classique in 2018 in the category ‘Soloist of the Year’. His chamber recordings with the pianist Adam Laloum have won numerous awards, including a Diapason d’Or of the Year in 2016. Victor Julien-Laferrière now joins Alpha Classics for several recordings. The French cellist, who studied successively with Roland Pidoux, Heinrich Schiff and Clemens Hagen, has decided to record two peaks of his instrument’s repertory, the Sonatas of Rachmaninoff and Shostakovich, alongside the pianist Jonas Vitaud, with whom he enjoys a close rapport. They have given this programme in concert together on many occasions. A rare piece by Russian composer Edison Denisov completes the recording: the Variations on a Theme by Schubert, composed in 1986. © Alpha Classics
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Solo Piano - Released September 13, 2019 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Solo Piano - Released September 13, 2019 | Decca

Distinctions 5 de Diapason
The early recordings of a keyboard lioness, long unavailable and new to CDNot generally given to extravagant effusions, William Glock (Controller of Radio 3 and the BBC Proms in the 1970s) had no doubt: ‘There is no one who plays the piano better in the world than she does. There is no one with a more fantastic command of the piano … not over felt, not under-felt, nothing rushed just to show off and yet the greatest playing I’ve heard for years’. He was referring to the French pianist Cécile Ousset, whose career had belatedly sparked to life and international recognition with appearances across the UK and US and a new contract with EMI Records. Yet prior to this Ousset had made several recordings since her success in the late 1950s at several major European competitions. She accumulated a considerable catalogue on Eterna, the East German label, but then Ousset signed to make recordings with Sofrason, the Société Française du Son. These were licensed for wider release by the French arm of Decca, but Sofrason went out of business in 1981 and the recordings have never been reissued – until now. This new Eloquence set includes an appreciation of Ousset’s art by the French pianophile Jean-Charles Hoffélé. These ‘French Decca’ recordings all date from 1971–76, and they include much solo repertoire that Ousset never recorded again, though they share similar qualities with the much-acclaimed concerto recordings that she made in the 1980s: an unsentimental palette of rubato and tone-colour, a fearless and brilliant command of articulation, and a uniquely French mastery of jeu perlé. The first album made an imaginative and attractive compilation of fin-de-siècle Parisians from Saint-Saëns to Satie. The second displayed her particular affinity with the Russian post-Romantics, Rachmaninov and Prokofiev; and the third coupled two landmarks of German-Romantic piano literature, by Brahms and Schumann. These all received a later international LP issue on the ‘Ace of Diamonds’ imprint and to very warm reviews. However, Ousset’s last recordings from this period encompassed the complete variations of Beethoven, issued by French Decca in two volumes (a 3LP and a 2LP box). Its disappearance particularly dismayed Ousset herself: ‘I made a big effort on that one,’ she remarked in a 1984 interview, ‘and it came off beautifully’. (© Decca Music Group Limited / Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd.)
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Chamber Music - Released September 6, 2019 | CPO

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de Classica

Chamber Music - Released September 6, 2019 | Alpha

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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The Quatuor Voce is fifteen years old! To celebrate this anniversary, the four musicians present an album focusing on two composers, Mozart and Schubert, but only one number: 15! This milestone, an age imbued with both ardour and maturity, is therefore embodied in the respective fifteenth quartets of these two geniuses of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Mozart composed his Quartet No. 15 in 1783, as the second in the set of six "Quartets dedicated to Haydn". Schubert wrote his Quartet No. 15, his last work in the genre, in 1826. He composed it in only ten days but did not live to hear its first performance, which took place twenty-three years after his death. © Alpha Classics

Chamber Music - Released August 30, 2019 | Alpha

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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The Lockenhaus International Chamber Music Festival is regarded as one of Austria’s most prestigious festivals: it was created by the violinist Gidon Kremer to offer a new vision of chamber music and the opportunity to create musical exchanges in an intimate setting. The cellist Nicolas Altstaedt succeeded Gidon Kremer in 2012 and now continues the spirit of the festival. For this first recording in partnership with Lockenhaus, he is joined by experienced partners, including the Norwegian violinist Vilde Frang, the Hungarian violinist Barnabás Kelemen, the German pianist Alexander Lonquich – whose Schubert double album was recently released on Alpha – and the British violist Lawrence Power. Together they have selected two works, the Piano Quintet of Béla Bartók, a demanding composition, rarely performed even though it is considered an intensely personal work, and the String Trio of Sándor Veress, a former student of Bartók. Nicolas Altstaedt has joined Alpha for several recording projects that will illustrate the full range of his talents, in a highly eclectic range of music. © Alpha Classics

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