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Missen, passies, requiems - Verschenen op 24 april 2020 | Passacaille

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason
In the German village of Rysum, in East Frisia, a precious instrument is preserved: an ancient organ, built in 1442/1513, which still has most of the original pipes. Lorenzo Ghielmi and the vocal ensemble Biscantores present a sort of “organ Mass”, where organ pieces and liturgical chant alternate according to the practice of the time. A journey between the late Middle Ages and the dawn of the Renaissance - this is how you could describe this musical programme, set up in collaboration with the musicologist Konrad Küster, which perfectly illustrates the unique sounds of this instrument. © Passacaille
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Concertmuziek - Verschenen op 28 februari 2020 | Claves Records

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason
The wealth of music composed for the viola in the 20th century almost lets one forget the dearth of it in the 19th, which brought forth only two solo works of note: Hector Berlioz’s Harold in Italy, a concerto commissioned by Paganini that sidelines the viola so much he refused to play it; and Richard Strauss’s Don Quixote, in which the solo viola is relegated to the part of the Don’s sidekick Sancho Panza. Sidelined and sidekicked – the viola’s fate seemed a fulfilment of the oft-quoted line from Quantz’s sometime flute treatise that “the viola is largely regarded among musicians as being of little significance”. It was only really in the 20th century that composers realised that the viola’s status of an in-between instrument could actually be to its advantage. It’s bigger than a violin, but tuned like a cello, and is both warmer in tone than the former, and much more agile than the latter. The viola then had the good fortune to become the preferred instrument of several important composers. Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) briefly toyed with going professional on it; Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) went the whole hog and made a living from it in the Amar Quartet and as a soloist; and Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) too was a violist, though he kept his public performing activities to the piano and the podium. The viola was also lucky in having several fine virtuosi in the 20th century, most notably Lionel Tertis (1876- 1975) and William Primrose (1904-1982). Primrose had commissioned Bartók’s (unfinished) Viola Concerto in 1945, and it was for him that Britten wrote his Lachrymae for viola and piano in 1950. This is a series of “reflections”, i.e. variations, on a song by the Elizabethan composer John Dowland entitled “If my complaints could passion move”. The song’s melody is heard in the bass line after a few bars in the first variation, but only becomes properly recognisable at the end of the tenth and last. Meanwhile, another Dowland song has also infiltrated the texture – variation No. 6 refers back to Dowland’s more famous song “Flow my tears”, which had originated in his “Lachrymae pavan” – hence Britten’s title. He composed it during a break in work on his opera Billy Budd, and gave the first performance with Primrose at the Aldeburgh Festival in 1950. Britten then scored the work for viola solo and string orchestra in the spring of 1976, just months before he died. © Chris Walton/Claves Records
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Liederen (Engeland) - Verschenen op 7 februari 2020 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason
From John Dowland’s 17th century lute music to more recent, refined and intellectual rethinking of the genre in the 20th century, Great Britain has had a long tradition of writing “songs”. For her new album, with pianist Joseph Middleton, English soprano singer Carolyn Sampson has chosen a series of pieces composed within the last 120 years. She has willingly decided to exclude from the repertoire well-known musicians, such as Britten and Tippett, whose compositions have often been recorded. This pleasant album begins and ends with Walton. The first track, a piece of occasional music, is full of Walton’s slightly mistimed nonchalance. It portrays different aspects of life in London. The record’s last tracks, however, were selected from Façade, an Erik Satie (and Les Six)-influenced composition which scandalized the city when it was first performed in 1923 and boosted the composer’s career. Also featured in the record is a myriad of musical skits from Ralph Vaughan Williams, Frank Bridge, Roger Quilter and Huw Watkins, whose Five Larkin Songs were commissioned by Carolyn Sampson. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Concerten voor klavier - Verschenen op 31 januari 2020 | Odradek Records

Hi-Res Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason
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Symfonieën - Verschenen op 17 januari 2020 | CSO Resound

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason
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Concerten voor klavier - Verschenen op 3 januari 2020 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason
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Wereldlijke vocale muziek - Verschenen op 3 januari 2020 | CPO

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 6 december 2019 | naïve classique

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason
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Duo´s - Verschenen op 6 december 2019 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason
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Concerten voor viool - Verschenen op 15 november 2019 | SDG

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 15 november 2019 | Château de Versailles Spectacles

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason
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Piano solo - Verschenen op 1 november 2019 | Orchid Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason
In my scores for each of the sonatas on this recording there are question marks. I write almost nothing in my music; I never have. Not when I was young, to the consternation of my teachers, and not now, to the amusement and occasional irritation of my colleagues. My scores contain few fingerings, hardly any phrasing indications, virtually no written instructions. Somehow, the clarity and even inspiration I get from looking at the unblemished score outweighs the potential benefit of anything I might choose to add to it. And anyway, I tell myself, if it really matters to me, I won’t forget it. This near absence of markings makes the presence of all those question marks all the more striking. It’s not just that these works are filled with questions; it’s that the questioning aspect is so central to their meaning. Playing these sonatas, I felt I could get by just fine without writing the words giocoso, or teneramente, or appassionato, even though they often apply, Lord knows; the question marks, on the other hand, felt indispensable. This recording is about culminations: each of the three works is the last of a set of three; the album comes at the end of nine years of recording these sonatas; Op.111 is Beethoven’s farewell to the genre. And so it is a beautiful irony that these pieces feature so many more questions than they do answers – that they offer so much more uncertainty than certainty. It is especially fascinating given that this is Beethoven, of all people: a composer of unmatched inner conviction and intensity. And yet, ultimately, this music is as much about his vulnerability as it is about his strength. Having said all of that, the work that opens this recording – the D major Sonata Op.10 No.3, one of the masterpieces of Beethoven’s early period – begins with a declarative statement; the questions will come later. This opening salvo, rising throughout and crackling with energy in the way that only Beethoven’s music can, acts as a launching pad for a movement that is altogether an irresistible force: unusually marked “Presto,” its momentum and almost reckless optimism are its dominant features. But even in this movement, brilliant and confident as it is, questioning will play a major role: there are passages where bar after bar, the upbeats are accented, rather than the downbeats. This goes on for such an uncomfortably long time, it eventually messes with our perception of the meter and, by extension, our perception of the passage of time. The slow movement which follows doesn’t merely alter our perception of time: by its end, time itself stops. Its marking of “Largo e mesto” is just as atypical of Beethoven as was the firstmovement’s “Presto” – Beethoven wrote plenty of tragic music, but it was rare for him to make the sadness explicit inthe tempo indication, which should give a sense of just how extreme and overt this movement’s grief is. This sonata was written shortly before the Quartet Op.18 No.1, whose slow movement allegedly is meant to evoke the tomb scene from Romeo and Juliet. The two slow movements occupy a similar emotional space: where so much of Beethoven’s music is deeply emotional without being demonstrative, these slow movements are theatrical. The pain is real, but it is also being performed, with sighing appoggiaturas and violent outbursts not just conveying the music’s character, but telegraphing it. This movement is – as is always the case with Beethoven – powerful and immaculately wrought, but its affects do not feel as devastatingly personal as is the case with so many of his other slow movements. Still, by the time the movement comes to an end, with its long lines having largely broken down, and silence having become more prominent than sound, the effect is overpowering. In the last movement of Op.10 No.3, the silences become even more frequent and more significant, and it is here that the music becomes a festival of questions. As thrilling and vibrant as the sonata has already been, it is this movement that is most totally original. Being a rondo, its main theme appears again and again, which only serves to underscore that it isn’t really a “theme” at all: it is a three note query, pointed upward, like all questions, ending in irresolution and followed by a silence that is much longer than it is. In this movement, Beethoven manages to be simultaneously good-natured and extremely mysterious, and the latter quality becomes more and more prominent as these questions accumulate. It is one of Beethoven’s most imaginative solutions to the problem of what sort of a movementshould end a sonata, and its final moments – with the left hand playing different versions of the three note figure again and again, as the right glides weightlessly up and down the keyboard – are as moving as they are witty. If Op.10 No.3’s questions took a while to appear, in the Sonata Op.31 No.3, they arrive instantly – in the first measure of the first movement. It is difficult to convey, from the vantage point of 2019, and after Schubert and Brahms and Stravinsky and Xenakis and all the rest, just what a bold move it was for Beethoven to do this in 1802: to begin a work not with an assertive announcement of its tonality, but with a falling – sighing – fifth, harmonically away from home. This opening conveys such a sense of vulnerability, it was co-opted by none other than Robert Schumann – the philosopher-king of musical vulnerability – for the opening of his A major String Quartet. Beethoven was often the most single-minded – some might say bloody-minded – of composers, sticking with one idea, one character, one mood, for minutes on end. But in this movement, the fragility of the opening is in constant dialogue with music that is spirited and playful. This slightly uncharacteristic meeting of unlike musics launches a sonata that finds Beethoven experimenting again and again: a scherzo that would not sound out of place in a Mozart opera, a courtly, nostalgic menuetto that stands in for a true slow movement, a finale that evokes a hunt. Op.31 No.3 comes near the start of Beethoven’s middle period, and the questions are not only in the music itself: after having mastered one version of the form in his early period, Beethoven is now questioning what a sonata can be. From that point on, Beethoven would provide a different, usually stunning answer to the question each time he wrote a piano sonata; Op.111, his final essay in the form and thus his final answer to that question, is as astonishing – as unfathomable – today as it was in 1822. The shy, halting query that opens Op.31 No.3 was already a significant departure from classical norms; the enraged one that launches Op.111 far from any harmonic home and sets it on its harrowing course is one of the most unsettling moments in all of music. Op.111 has just two movements – the idea of something following the second would be unthinkable – and the two are a clash of opposites. The first is dominated by rigour, concision, rage, harmonic tension, propulsion, and hopelessness; the second, by spaciousness, consolation, consonance, a freewheeling improvisatory quality, and, above all, wonder. This set of variations covers a massive amount of emotional and psychological territory – it ranges from absolute serenity to an overwhelming, questing intensity – but throughout, it regards the universe with the widest of eyes. Op.111 is the end – the end of Beethoven’s journey with the piano sonata, his last word on the genre he upended and in which he was most prolific – and therefore one of the strangest and most remarkable things about it is its inability to end. Its theme has an open-ended, inconclusive quality, which always makes the next variation, and the next, and the next – each more restless than the one before – seem inevitable. When this progression from the calm to the wild reaches an improbably jazz-inflected extreme, and yet still cannot resolve, Beethoven searches for closure in other ways, mining the nether regions of the piano, and the stratospheric end, in alternation. When this brings him no closer to a point of rest, he travels further still, to a distant E flat major oasis that chafes and bristles and struggles against the limitations of the piano, against its refusal to make a sound that sings and carries and lives forever… The desire to live forever, and the impossibility of living forever, is really the subtext of this movement, and of Beethoven’s enormous difficultyin ending it. And it is the only explanation for why this movement – the longest and in some ways most monumental of Beethoven’s sonata movements – ends not with certainty, not with an affirmation, but with an evaporation into thin air. Not a question, precisely, but one final expression of vulnerability and doubt. My feeling has always been (and always will be, I suspect) that this ending is a death – a heartbeat that simply stops. No one will ever know if this was Beethoven’s intention. But it is, beyond all argument, a commentary on the unknowability of the universe. It is somehow both humbling and reassuringto know that Beethoven was as uncertain of his place in it as the rest of us are. His ability to communicate that uncertainty is perhaps the greatest of all the gifts he left us. © 2019 Jonathan Biss
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Vocale muziek (wereldlijk en religieus) - Verschenen op 1 november 2019 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason - 5 étoiles de Classica
Bliss composed The Enchantress in 1951, the year of his sixtieth birthday, for Kathleen Ferrier. The text is a free adaptation of the Second Idyll of Theocritus, made by Henry Reed, and well suited to Bliss’s love of classical Greek authors. Meditations on a Theme by John Blow, from 1955, was written for the CBSO, the first in a number of commissions from the John Feeney Trust. Inspired by John Blow’s Coronation Anthems, the work is a set of variations on a Sinfonia from that collection, each variation reflecting the text of a verse from Psalm XXIII. Described as a sacred cantata, Mary of Magdala was Bliss’s second Feeney Trust commission, composed during 1962 and 1963. For a libretto, Bliss turned to Christopher Hassall, his collaborator on three previous works, including The Beatitudes. Bliss conducted the premiere at the Three Choirs Festival in 1963, and wrote in his programme note: ‘One of the loveliest stories in the New Testament is that in the 20th chapter of St John’s Gospel, telling of how Mary Magdalene, lingering at the sepulchre, was the first to see the risen Christ. She, supposing him to be the gardener.’ The BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus give of their best under their former chief conductor Sir Andrew Davis, and the contributions from the soloists, Dame Sarah Connolly and James Platt, are outstanding. © Chandos
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Symfonische muziek - Verschenen op 1 november 2019 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason
In this their third volume of orchestral works of Antheil, John Storgårds and the BBC Philharmonic present a collection of scores spanning the whole of Antheil’s compositional life. Written in the early 1920s, the First Symphony is full of Antheil’s enthusiasm for the mechanical, and takes strong leads from the prevailing sound of the jazz era as well as a nostalgic look back to its predecessor, ragtime. Antheil regarded this work as ‘a young symphony with the feeling of summertime in eastern America in it’. For it he drew heavily on his experiences of his home town of Trenton, and the nearby Delaware River. His ballet score Capital of the World dates from the mid-1950s, and was based on a short story by Hemmingway. The Golden Bird was originally conceived as a solo piano piece, and in his translation of the piece from piano to orchestra Antheil demonstrates an ability equal to Ravel’s to think simultaneously in two musical media. The concert overture McKonkey’s Ferry is based on a painting of George Washington and his continental army crossing the Delaware River at Christmas 1776 at McKonkey’s Ferry, near Trenton – an event that proved a turning point in the Revolutionary war. © Chandos
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 1 november 2019 | L'empreinte Digitale

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 25 oktober 2019 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason
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Religieuze vocale muziek - Verschenen op 25 oktober 2019 | Signum Records

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason
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Liederen - Verschenen op 18 oktober 2019 | Solo Musica

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason
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Piano solo - Verschenen op 18 oktober 2019 | Odradek Records

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 11 oktober 2019 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason
After a first album devoted to Mozart quartets (awarded a ‘Choc de Classica’ and a ‘Diapason Découverte’), a second to French music (Debussy, Ravel and Chausson) and a third to two quartets by Schubert, Nos. 10 and 14 (the mythical "Death and the Maiden"), the group founded by Nicolas Van Kuijk returns to its first love by recording more Mozart. This recording is the second part of an eventual triptych that will contain the six string quartets dedicated to Haydn: No. 14 in G major, K.387, the first of them, was composed in 1782, when Mozart had just arrived on the Viennese musical scene; No. 15 in D minor K421, the second, is the only one in the minor mode and was completed in 1783 while his wife Constanze was in labour – she related that the rising intervals of the second movement recalled her cries from the room next door as he composed. © Alpha Classics/Outhere