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Klassiek - Verschenen op 19 mei 2017 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Choc de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik - Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik
What was the context in which so great a masterpiece such as Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo could be born back in 1607, invested with such beauty, endowed with such profundity of expression and so perfect a structure, at a time when the operatic form was still in its infancy? These are precisely the questions that lie at the origin of this recording project, giving Pichon and his musicians the opportunity to discover the astonishing musico-dramatic productions that preceded L’Orfeo, notably those performed at the Medici court in Florence, in which one may discern the seeds of numerous elements to be found in L’Orfeo. At the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries, it was ovbviously the city of the Medici that was the main focus of one of the most fascinating moments in the history of music: the birth of opera. Concentrating on the years from 1589 to 1611, i.e. the premiere of the intermedi for theatre piece called La pellegrina at one end and the performance in Florence of Marco da Gagliano’s Dafne at the other, Pichon has devised four imaginary “interludes” – inspired by the form of the intermedio so popular at this period – in which he assembled some of the finest examples of the first stirrings of opera, the music pieces of which are signed Lorenzo Allegri, Antonio Brunelli, Giovanni Battista Buonamente, Giulio Caccini, Emilio de’ Cavalieri, Girolamo Fantini, Marco da Gagliano, Cristofano Malvezzi, Luca Marenzio, Alessandro Orologio, Jacopo Peri and Alessandro Striggio. In imitation of the ancient theatre, intermedi were entertainments inserted between the acts of plays, with sumptuous visual effects, which provided a pretext for allegories to the glory of the reigning dynasty. The place of music and the fantastic element in theatrical performances acquired an ever grander and more spectacular character, thanks notably to the genius of set designers and the progress made in the domain of stage machinery. Seeing the artistic and political potential of the genre, the powerful princely families of the northern half of Italy (Gonzagas, Este and Medici, as well as the papal court), encouraged its development. Intermedi ended up occupying so important a place that they became a show within the show, with the aim of dazzling the audience. It was in 1589 that the Florentine tradition of intermedi attained its zenith, with the six sumptuous entertainments devised by Count Bardi to accompany the comedy La pellegrina, performed on the occasion of the wedding of Grand Duke Ferdinando I and Princess Christina of Lorraine, grand-daughter of Catarina de’ Medici. In their variety and novelty, with a balanced combination of polyphony and the nascent monody, not forgetting instrumental and dance music, the intermedi of 1589 opened the way for an integrally sung form of theatre. And indeed it was once again Florence that witnessed the first examples of the Gesamtkunstwerk, the perfect model of the alliance between poetry and music. At the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries, a veritable laboratory was set up in Florence, prompting poets and composers to bring together several forms of musical expression in a single place? Building on the models established by earlier generations, composers continued their experiments with sound-space and the spatialisation of music, what with the proliferation of echo effects in the early monodies, or madrigals featuring dialogues between as many as seven independent choirs. But how can one tell this story nowadays, revive this rich adventure? The solution chosen for this recording was to create from scratch a large-scale imaginary work, resembling an initiatory journey, that would weld these multiple works into a single whole.
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Volledige opera's - Verschenen op 29 juni 2018 | Nonesuch

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Gramophone Editor's Choice - Choc de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik - Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 9 juni 2017 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik
One should not think that at the time when Handel was around, an opera was a finished product, etched in stone, the score of which was some kind of Holy Grail that would not suffer any tampering with, be it so benign. From that point of view, Handel’s Ottone is a case in point. Some extensive adjustments probably arose from Handel’s collaboration with the famous prima donna Francesca Cuzzoni, who had arrived in London in December 1722, but a fortnight before the first performance, and immediately threw a tantrum. Several of her arias she rejected and had had Handel substitute with entirely different new music. According to Mainwaring’s Memoirs of the Life of the Late George Frederic Handel (1760), having one day some words with Cuzzoni on her refusing to sing the aria Falsa imagine, the composer had shouted, in French: “I know very well that you are a veritable she-devil: but I will show you that I am Beelzebub the Chief of the Devils ” and with this he took her up by the waist, and, if she uttered another word, swore that he would fling her out of the window. This being said, many of the modifications he made during the rehearsal period had nothing to do with Cuzzoni. All in all, eleven arias and one duet were finished but then discarded and replaced before the first performance, and several other arias were considerably revised . It is impossible to determine which changes were instigated by Handel himself on artistic grounds and which were compromises in order to satisfy his singers’ whims and overblown egos. In addition to rejections, redrafts of scenes and wholesale substitutions by Handel during the opera’s composition and preparation, further amendments were also made during its first run . Moreover, he replaced and also added several extra arias for the twelfth performance, which took place on 26 March 1723 after a break of several weeks because of Lent. So: what does “the real” Ottone look like? This recording presents a reconstruction of the complete first performance version, but it also incorporates Handel’s expansions to two scenes reworked especially for Cuzzoni. As an appendix, there are three bonus tracks of new arias composed for the title-role in Handel’s 1726 revival, making it an Ottone as complete as possible. All this extra music will allow the listener to enjoy even more the great voices of the recording, to begin with the countertenor Max Cencic, but also the soprano Lauren Snouffer – who sings the part initially held by the infamous Cuzzoni –, accompanied by the ensemble Il pomo d’oro playing on period instruments and conducted by George Petrou. © SM/Qobuz
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 1 januari 2014 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice - 4 étoiles de Classica
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Volledige opera's - Verschenen op 2 november 2018 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Gramophone Editor's Choice - 5 étoiles de Classica
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Volledige opera's - Verschenen op 7 juni 2019 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice
While Mozart was largely overlooked in the French capital, Antonio Salieri took on the reigns of the Académie Royale de Musique (Paris Opera), a fruitful collaboration that was completely broken up by the French Revolution. After the success of his work Les Danaïdes, composed for Paris in 1784, Salieri worked tirelessly with Beaumarchais, spurred on by the success and scandal of his Figaro, on a new project which would become Tarare. Beaumarchais moved himself shamelessly toward stardom, skillfully self-promoting and attending rehearsals so as to assure that the orchestra played pianissimo to emphasize the primacy of his verse during performances. Beaumarchais found that the music was too overwhelming to “embellish the lyrics”.Created one year after Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro (which was relatively well-received in Vienna before triumphing in Prague), Tarare was an immense success in Paris maintaining the status of the composer’s repertoire despite the political turmoil of the time before disappearing from view around 1826, thereon ceasing to be played. Beaumarchais’ words were immediately adapted into Italian by Lorenzo Da Ponte to be performed and met with equal success in Vienna. Tarare is half lyrical tragedy, half comic opera with a hint of orientalism.After resuscitating Les Danaïdes and Les Horaces, Christophe Rousset finished off his series of recordings dedicated to Salieri’s French operas for the Parisian public. Tarare is very much of its time, that of the Lumières, and used the power of art to challenge despotism in all its forms. Thanks to Christophe Rousset’s excellent delivery and lively direction, this recording enables one to judge the merits of the composition and the chasm that separates an honest and talented musician from a solitary and impassioned one like Mozart. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Piano solo - Verschenen op 26 oktober 2018 | APR

Booklet Onderscheidingen Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice
When thinking of the great German pianist Wilhelm Backhaus, the image of an old master with a large pale forehead often comes to mind, frozen in his somewhat wise and austere performances. With his fierce young Beethoven-like appearance, Backhaus gave his first recital in 1899 while his last concert, by which time he was a respectable old man, took place on July 5 1969, a week before his death. The miraculous advances in recording preserved this brilliant seventy-year-long career, because, unlike his colleagues Rubinstein and Schnabel who shied away from vinyl, Backhaus was one of the pioneers of the medium, having made his first records in 1908. Created for His Master’s Voice (HMV) between 1925 and 1935 and carefully restored here, these recordings are mainly devoted to Chopin (with the first complete recording of the Études), Liszt and Schumann. In addition, the second part is reserved for the transcriptions that were popular in those distant times. While the young Backhaus’ technique is breathtaking, it also teaches us something about musical history. Styles of playing change over the years and no one today would dare to play at such a dizzying speed. It was after the Second World War that pianists became a little more relaxed and began to abandon the sacred "short pieces" to play Beethoven's or Schubert's great sonatas, finding more gravity in keeping with the spirit of the times. The tempos slowed down significantly while the invention of the microgroove made it possible to capture long pieces of music, more favourable to the outpouring of expression than the 78-rpm sides allowed. It is truly touching to return to these recordings that symbolise a world that was lost forever. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 31 maart 2014 | naïve classique

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Gramophone Editor's Choice - Hi-Res Audio
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 11 april 2011 | Warner Classics

Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 30 maart 2018 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice
Can the title of a work influence the way that performers approach it? At any rate, Messiaen's two great piano masterpieces have titles which suggest very different musical experiences. Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus (1944) is steeped in religious fervour and contemplation, while Catalogue d’oiseaux (1956–1958) is a work with rather more of an ornithological bent. Indeed, the composer himself said to Claude Samuel: "I tried to render exactly the song of a bird typical of a given region, surrounded by its neighbours in that habitat, as well as expressions of its song at different times of day and night." But then he goes on to describe a more expressive and poetic side of the work. Birdsong, effectively, "bears in its harmonic and rhythmic material the scents and colours of the country in which the bird lives", and it is hardly possible to "exactly" transcribe the improbable rapidity of birdsong for any human instrument. One might have thought that "sonic reproduction" was the key idea behind the Catalogue d'oiseaux, but in the finished work, what we are listening to is a great composer, a master of innovative structures, finding a stunning range of piano sounds. In other words, in spite of its name, the Catalogue d’oiseaux is not a musical documentary, but rather a series of musical poems exploring birds and other wonders of nature – in France, as that is where all these delightful flying things happened to be found. Pierre-Laurent Aimard gives a reading of the (diabolical) score which is both super-precise and rigorous, and yet so poetic and inspired that one has the impression that he is taking dictation directly from the birds themselves. © SM/Qobuz
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Piano solo - Verschenen op 17 november 2017 | APR

Booklet Onderscheidingen Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 1 januari 1978 | Universal Music Australia Pty. Ltd.

Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 14 oktober 2016 | CapriccioNR

Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 23 oktober 2015 | Universal Music Australia Pty. Ltd.

Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 19 oktober 2018 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 11 januari 2019 | audite Musikproduktion

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Gramophone Editor's Choice
Invaluable sound documents from one of the greatest pianists of the twentieth century. The third and final volume of the Berlin radio recordings by Cuban-born American pianist Jorge Bolet on audite presents repertoire novelties. With the exception of the Fledermaus paraphrase, all recordings are released for the first time. Once again, Bolet's performances document his universality and unceasing inquisitiveness, as well as his phenomenal musicianship and ability to adapt his virtuosity to diverse works. These recordings are therefore invaluable documents of a musician who today is justly considered one of the greatest pianists of the twentieth century. This selection comprises works of Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy, Dello Joio, Franck, Godowsky, Grieg, Liszt and Schumann. Beethoven's Fifth Piano Concerto did not form part of Bolet's regular repertoire: it is the only live recording on this edition. Further highlights include Schumann's Third Piano Sonata as well as major works by Chopin, such as the complete Op. 25 Études, in Bolet's masterful, lyrical interpretations. As an "encore", Bolet plays Godowsky's Concert Paraphrase of Strauss' Die Fledermaus. © Audite
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 16 oktober 2000 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Onderscheidingen Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 28 oktober 2016 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Onderscheidingen Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Opera - Verschenen op 7 juni 2019 | Halle Concerts Society

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 16 juni 2017 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Gramophone Editor's Choice