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Chamber Music - Released June 18, 2021 | Brian Wendel

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Chamber Music - Released June 18, 2021 | Farao Classics

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As historian Will Durant once said, "nothing is new except arrangement." And while Durant was speaking about the moral ideas of Jesus, he might as well have been speaking of this highly unusual arrangement of Bach's Goldberg Variations for three, sometimes four, saxophones by the trio, sometimes quartet, ensemble Sax Allemande. Sure, it takes some getting used to -- after all, a blown brass saxophone ensemble is an entirely different musical beast than a plucked-string, two-manual harpsichord -- but once you make the adjustment, the effect is amazing. It's amazing because it's so beautiful, amazing because it's so musical, and most of all amazing because it's so impossibly but wonderfully appropriate. Part of the reason it's amazing is that the Sax Allemande is a subtle, sensitive, soulful ensemble with absolutely unbelievable individual and collective technique. No matter what Bach or the arrangement throws at them, the players knock it out of the park. And part of the reason it's amazing is that the music itself is seemingly indestructible. In a very real sense, it doesn't seem to matter what instrument or combination of instruments play the Goldberg -- harpsichord, piano, string trio, sax trio, whatever -- as long as it's played well, the piece holds up as one of the great monuments of Western music. While clearly not for everyone, anyone with an open mind and an open heart will surely enjoy this disc. From another room, Farao Classics' digital sound could easily be mistaken for the real thing. © TiVo
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Chamber Music - Released May 28, 2021 | Chandos

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The set of 6 Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin is widely regarded as one of the summits of Bach’s output as a composer, and of the entire repertoire for the violin. With this new album the Brodsky Quartet give us the opportunity to hear some of this legendary music in an entirely new way, in these world-première recordings of Paul Cassidy’s arrangements for string quartet of the three solo sonatas. Writing about this project, Paul notes: "My daily practice invariably involves spending some time with Bach’s Sei Solo a Violino senza Basso accompagnato. I am a devout being and these are my bible. As in the case of all "holy" books, the six Solos open themselves to an infinite variety of interpretations, but whatever your approach, these miraculous pieces are endlessly cleansing and enriching for the body and soul, a balm for the spirit. Their challenging pages abound with multi-faceted characters whose succinct purity is a wonder to behold. They can move imperceptibly from being uplifting and euphoric one minute to heart-breaking and tragic the next". © Chandos
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Chamber Music - Released May 21, 2021 | Zefir Records

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Internationally respected musicians Daniel Palmizio (viola) and Nicolas van Poucke (piano) join forces in a double-album featuring Bach’s complete gamba sonatas and Brahms two clarinet sonatas. Palmizio (recently described as a player of "instrumental mastery" characterized by "unselfconscious refinement" and Van Poucke ("a truly poetic musician") met at a festival in Zeeland, The Netherlands and have since worked together for several years. This album is the fruit of a deep friendship and shared love for music. Their approach to the music of both Bach and Brahms is equally steeped in tradition of the virtuosos of the golden era as it is forward looking and original. On a 17th century Testore (equipped with open gut strings) and a modern Steinway, Palmizio and Van Poucke, uncompromising in expressive intensity and counter-punctual clarity, shine a new bright light on sonatas by Bach and Brahms. © Zefir Records
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Chamber Music - Released May 10, 2021 | Housemaster Records

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Chamber Music - Released May 7, 2021 | Gramola Records

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This "Triple Completion" of Johann Sebastian Bach's Art of Fugue, performed by the Salzburg Chamber Soloists under Christoph Schlüren for Aldilà Records, is a pioneering enterprise: For the first time the final fugue is presented both in its unfinished original form and in three completions, each of which hypothetically completes the composer's architectonic plan. The first CD presents the eleven consecutive main fugues and the unfinished final fugue with the concluding chorale. The second CD of this double album opens with the two four-part mirror fugues, and continues with five later composers joining Bach: with the three "completers" of the final fugues: Donald Francis Tovey (1931), Karl Hermann Pillney (1937) and Kalevi Aho (2011); and with two fugues on the B-A-C-H theme by Robert Schumann (1845) and Reinhard Schwarz-Schiling (1985) that are used as connective interludes. The range of music that emerged directly from Bach's late work thus extends in this project from Romanticism via Expressionism to the present time. In the interest of a cantabile performance of the fugue style as an instrumental continuation of the classical vocal polyphony of the Renaissance and the early Baroque (i.e. in the developmental line Ockeghem-Josquin-Palestrina-Frescobaldi-Bach), the execution is entrusted exclusively to the color of the string instruments, in tempos derived from the tradition of the Musica sacra, predominantly solemn, and performed as choral-like as possible, for Bach, as Marpurg wrote in his fugue treatise in 1753, wished to observe "a noble and melodious simplicity" and "a cantabile manner of playing" in his Art of Fugue. The Art of Fugue is a meditation on the basic theme and the themes combining with it in various forms, to which the theme B-A-C-H is added at the end. The myth of the Art of Fugue was stemmed from the fact that the final fugue was the first printed work to feature an unfinished, aborting piece of music in 1751 - this was such a daring step that it had to be domesticated by the concluding chorale Vor deinen Thron tret ich hiermit'. The quality of the completion of the final fugue by three later masters can be experienced in whether the listener notices, even without knowing about it, where Bach's original ends, or whether he does not hear it, and whether the arrangement is satisfactory as a whole. For "Triple Completion", the most successful completions were selected from a large number of attempts. © Adilà Records
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Chamber Music - Released May 7, 2021 | Christophorus

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Chamber Music - Released April 23, 2021 | OperaPrima-Carillon

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Chamber Music - Released April 16, 2021 | Solo Musica

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What a title? What can the two numbers 60-90 mean? The reference to numbers plays a fundamental role in Bach's work. Johann Sebastian Bach built an incredible structure and communication into his works on the foundation of numbers, in the spirit of Soli Deo Gloria – Glory to God alone. All the works on this album are by Johann Sebastian Bach, or have a direct link to him. For example, he arranged the Oboe Concerto by Alessandro Marcello for solo keyboard, and we use Bach’s ornaments in our performance of it. Piazzolla and Shostakovich make reference to The Well-Tempered Clavier. The main work presented here is Bach’s Concerto in D minor, BWV 1052, which he transcribed for his own use as a harpsichord concerto. The original version no longer exists, but was for a string instrument: violin or violoncello piccolo, an instrument Bach used in his cantatas. Julius Berger and Andrei Pushkarev have made an arrangement of this piece for violoncello piccolo, a cello tuned a fifth higher. The orchestral part is played by vibraphone and marimba. The transfer to other instruments corresponds to the practice of Bach himself. A special feature of our recording is the continuous peaceful pulsation of about 60 beats per minute, a rhythm that calms and brings introspection. The instrumentation used here reflects our deeper objective: vibraphone and marimba giving the heartbeat, to which the cello crafts a life-melody – keeping the spirit of the works performed but in a modern interpretation. The close relationship between rhythm in the music and human pulse creates an atmosphere in this recording that we believe and hope corresponds to what Bach noted in his Lutheran Bible: "Where there is devotional music, God with his grace is always present". © Solo Musica
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Chamber Music - Released April 1, 2021 | Michal Hodan

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Chamber Music - Released March 26, 2021 | CAvi-music

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Chamber Music - Released March 26, 2021 | 7 Mountain Records

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Steuart Pincombe is an artist one safely can argue he’s fearless. The combination of elements is self explanatory why we make this bold statement: 1) gut strings on his anonymous, roaring 18th Century German or French cello, 2) that’s also tuned a fair bit lower than modern tradition, 3) stunningly daring and refined repertoire by Helmut Lachenmann, Iannis Xenakis, Morton Feldman, Domenico Galli and J.S. Bach’s famous (but by no means easygoing) 5th Suite, 4) recorded in a very fine but very cold little church at the Dutch countryside. The result is a mysterious kind of enchantment and Steuart’s narrative skills don’t leave any questions why this young cellist from Missouri (US) is so cherished by colleagues and music lovers. "The cello in my life" : the title probably appears to be simple, but listening to Steuart transfers you to his personal life in a way not many musicians dare to do. © 7 Mountain Records
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Chamber Music - Released March 16, 2021 | Rivendell

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Chamber Music - Released March 5, 2021 | Naxos Japan

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Chamber Music - Released March 5, 2021 | Genuin

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Chamber Music - Released January 29, 2021 | Naxos

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Guitarist Jens-Uwe Popp and mandolinist Jochen Roß began their musical collaboration in 1997. Since then, they have taken a musical journey from Scottish folklore to works of the 20th century, and they remain fascinated by the new soundscapes these styles offer their instruments. For this album, they have put together a selection of pieces that capture the essence and spirit of their work together - their shared curiosity and open-minded approach to music from different styles and time periods. Only three takes of each piece were recorded in order to capture the most spontaneous and unique moments of their musical dialogue. © Naxos

Chamber Music - Released January 25, 2021 | Cambridge Recordings

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Chamber Music - Released January 22, 2021 | MClassics

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Chamber Music - Released January 22, 2021 | Navona

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Chamber Music - Released January 15, 2021 | Accent

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Sigiswald Kuijken's Bach cantata recordings, and in particular his complete series for Accent which culminated almost a decade ago now, haven't enjoyed quite the degree of international attention garnered by those of John Eliot Gardiner and Masaaki Suzuki with their own respective series, and this perhaps isn't completely surprising when Kuijken has consistently championed the one-voice-to-a-part approach. After all, even if one can get on board with one-to-a-part from a historical accuracy perspective, many find it a little harder to get on board with from a pleasure-listening angle, when the casualty of all that authenticity is textural variety – and indeed there's evidence that Bach himself was often frustrated by the slim vocal forces at his disposal. As ever, therefore, this three-strong, January-shaped return to the cantatas – for the third Sunday after Epiphany and the Sunday Septuagesima (the third Sunday before the start of Lent) - features one voice to a part, with La Petite Bande correspondingly chamber-forced. Also worth flagging up is that Kuijken has opted for a female rather than a male alto soloist. Inevitably therefore, the choruses lack the punch you'll hear from multi-voice offerings. However what you lose in weight, you gain in nimbleness, and the vocal performances here are all both enjoyable and text-aware. Likewise, the sound from La Petite Bande is sprightly, mostly attractive of tone, and with perhaps slightly less bite than heard from The English Baroque Soloists. The church acoustic meanwhile comes across with naturalness and a gentle bloom, and on the whole a good balance between parts, although the busy cello lines of BWV 92's Das Brausen von den rauhen Winden do rather cry out for a little more engineering love. If intimate, one-to-a-part Bach is of interest, this is certainly worth a listen. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz

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Chamber Music in the magazine