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Klassiek - Verschenen op 16 oktober 2020 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Qobuzism
"Vieux pays merveilleux des contes de nourrice" (‘Old marvellous land of nursery tales’): These few words describe the irresistible and striking interpretation of Ravel's Shéhérazade, now of a bygone era. The timbral lows and highs radiate from Egyptian soprano Fatma Said’s voice. Her exemplary diction shines. Each word is intelligible and each sound exists to colour the word, emphasising its meaning. Nobody would have thought that the singer’s extremely versatile musicality – reminiscent of Regine Crespin’s vibrant performances – would find an even greater versatility in the orchestral version, with Malcolm Martineau’s beautifully timbred and precise piano occasionally slowing things down.The program completely immerses itself in Spain, with Rafael Aguirre’s subtle guitar substituting itself for Martineau’s piano. Other facets of Fatma Said’s voice are her musical agility and ethereal spirit, which are revealed in the two Falla pieces. The Canción de Marinela by José Serrano, where her voice thickens, will remain an unforgettable moment of sweet sensuality. It's easy to start dreaming of Said exploring some other roles in zarzuelas, for which she would be divine! The three songs by Federico García Lorca, excerpts of the 13 Canciones españolas antiguas, are rather modest and of a noble elegance, even in the carnal arabesques of Nana de Sevilla. This is the perfect transition for the ‘Arabic’ songs that Fatma Said chooses next.She introduces, for example, a pretty melody from Egyptian composer Gamal Abdel-Rahim (1924-1988), before flying off into the gorgeous Adieux de l’hôtesse arabe by Bizet where Burcu Karadağ's nev (a sort of reed flute) improvises in counterpoint alongside the vocals. The last four pieces return to the Egyptian and Lebanese standards, in a jazzy and nostalgic atmosphere. This is a captivating album with overwhelming emotion! © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 6 november 2020 | Mirare

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 4F de Télérama
The musicians of Les Ombres pay tribute to Luigi Boccherini. The free and audacious composer was an insatiable traveler and the inventor of the string quartet whose belatedly acknowledged genius has now earned him a major place in the history of music. © Mirare
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Vocale muziek (wereldlijk en religieus) - Verschenen op 13 november 2020 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 4F de Télérama
Like the paintings of the Flemish Baroque painters, the ‘vanities’ presented here can be approached in two ways: on the one hand, as manifestations of doubts and anxieties at the fragility of human life; on the other, as delights to be savoured without moderation, celebrating earthly life through the senses and the pleasure that human beings can derive from them. After two critically acclaimed recordings each for Alpha, the baritone Georg Nigl and the pianist Olga Pashchenko explore the tortuous meanders of the human soul with vocal works by Schubert (an ‘existentialist’ composer if ever there was one), Beethoven (whose torments hardly need stressing) and the contemporary composer Wolfgang Rihm, whose highly expressionistic Jakob Lenz Nigl performed on stage in 2019. His piece Vermischter Traum, here given its world premiere, is dedicated to the Austrian singer. © Alpha Classics
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Trio´s - Verschenen op 16 oktober 2020 | La Dolce Volta

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 4F de Télérama
Philippe Cassard, Anne Gastinel and David Grimal present these two Beethovenian masterpieces. The chosen approach is one of colour and generosity. On this astonishing disc we meet a Beethoven come down from his pedestal, who is human and even jovial. Where so many others offer rigidity of discourse and fussy sonorities, the three musicians illuminate these metaphysical pages with the finesse, freshness and grace of the aquarellist. © La Dolce Volta
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 4 december 2020 | Klarthe

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 4F de Télérama
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 6 november 2020 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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After touring all over Europe with his album re:member (perhaps his best - or at least boldest - release of 2018), Ólafur Arnalds found himself alone in his studio in Reykjavik during lockdown and used the opportunity to record his most intimate record yet. “Like everyone else, it forced me to take stock of what I was doing. By the time the pandemic hit, I'd already written half the album, so the rest flowed freely. The result is my most personal album to date. It moves away from big concepts and big ideas. It’s just me” explained the Icelandic composer. He offers up moments of intense weightlessness, levitation even, on tracks like the super-chilled opener Loom and Zero. With dreamlike synths, relaxing violins and compassion-filled pianos, Ólafur Arnalds sends out therapeutic vibrations on pieces where you can almost feel his consciousness expanding. Some local guests appear on this record, including the Icelandic singer JFDR on Back to the Sky which drips with Roya Arab-like sensuality. The album ends with a philosophical touch; Undone samples from a spoken word passage by the singer Lhasa de Sela, who died in 2010, bringing the concept of death to the forefront of the record. An album that doubles as a much-needed healing remedy. © Smaël Bouaici/Qobuz
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 11 december 2020 | Sony Classical

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Opera - Verschenen op 20 november 2020 | Naïve, a label of Believe Group

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The impression of the ink still being wet on the page is not an unfamiliar one when listening to Fabio Biondi and Europa Galante, such is the freshness and elan they inject into everything they turn their musical attentions to. However in the case of their Vivaldi Edition Argippo the ink pretty much was still wet as they recorded it, because this is Bernardo Ticci's 2019 reconstruction of what is in fact a lost Vivaldi pasticcio (a cutting and pasting together of music from other operas), created in 1730 for the Venetian impresario Antonio Peruzzi to stage in Vienna and Prague. The reconstruction has been possible because the librettos from those two productions remain, plus a set of arias, and also the full score of a complete three-act, untitled and anonymous opera featuring arias from up to twelve other composers – and both the arias and the score appear to be derived, albeit with many changes, from the Prague libretto. The result is a reconstruction which on the one hand is decidedly scant on actual music by Vivaldi, given that even those arias believed to be from his pen can't be confirmed as such, and they appear alongside arias by Galeazzi, Pescetti, Hasse, Porpora, (possibly) Fiorè and Vinci. However, it's also a stylistically diverse and thus thoroughly entertaining offering that bears all the hallmarks of a Vivaldi pasticcio, and is undoubtedly in the spirit of one. Argippo's action takes place in the Bengali Kingdom – a tapping into the contemporary Venetian enthusiasm for tales of the East, although that influence didn't bleed into the musical style itself. A classic Baroque opera plot centred around lies and mistaken identities – King Argippo of Chittagong and his wife Osira almost lose their lives while visiting the court of the Gran Mogol Tisifaro, because the Tisifaro's cousin Silvero seduces his daughter Zanaida while disguised as Argippo – it's high on drama and strife before eventually reaching its happy conclusion. So, add the multi-composer score, and Biondi's five-strong cast have plenty to get their teeth into. Highlights include the opera's first fizzing showstopper, “Se lento ancora”, contralto Delphine Galou as the Gran Mogol Tisifaro's daughter Zanaida making light work of her leaping figures and embellishments as she anguishes over being betrayed by her lover. Also the soft and fruity-toned fluidity to the vocal acrobatics of ‘Un certo non so che’, sung by soprano Marie Lys as a fearful Osira. Equally fine voiced are soprano Emőke Baráth in the title role, contralto Marianna Pizzolato as Silvero, and bass Luigi de Donato as Tisifaro. Europa Galante themselves bring it all together with their characteristic blend of warmth, fizz and dramatic flair, having launched things with a cracker of an opening Sinfonia. In short, great fun. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 20 november 2020 | Mirare

Hi-Res Booklet
The new album from Pierre Hantaï, who is momentarily moving away from his dear Scarlatti, is a veritable gem! The French harpsichordist opens this masterful recital recorded in January 2020 in Haarlem (Netherlands) by Nicolas Bartholomée's team and dedicated to four suites by Georg Friedrich Haendel through one of the least known, HWV 426, the first issue of Book I of 1720. Immediately, his fingers immerse this eclectic, cosmopolitan world, where neighbouring Italy and France collide seamlessly, in a resplendent sunshine. Once again, the phrasing dazzles as much as the science that the worthy heir of Gustav Leonhardt displays in grasping the diversity of character as he does in painting landscapes in changing light.Here, the Suite in F major, HWV 427 is a miracle. It is a moving, opening Adagio, with an unheard-of melancholy fullness, in which the "art of touching the harpsichord", of singing, of making polyphony shine, is carried high. So much so that the perpetual movement of the Allegro that follows may initially startle you, Pierre Hantaï's metrical regularity is astonishing, even in the more ornate repeats. However, the lines never seem tight, which makes you look at the choreography, undoubtedly reproducing the outlines of an imaginary Gavotte: an unforgettable sensation! The second Adagio is a sort of prelude, before a bugle fugue, not so distant here from the most joyful fugues of J. S. Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier.The focus of the recital is the spacious and rather sombre Suite in D minor, HWV 428; at first the traditional Präludium, Allemande, Courante, then suddenly, a long Air whose theme is tenderly unfolded, morphing into a strange world of "harmonic" ramblings, as if improvised, launched like rockets by the harpsichordist - a work in its own right!On all levels, an enthralling recital, to be treasured, which will give many people the opportunity to enjoy Handel's Harpsichord Suites once again. © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 6 november 2020 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet
Here, Daniil Trifonov brings us an exciting itinerary that mixes solo piano and concert performances with a challenging programme. Now fully mature, Trifinov intends to demonstrate how the Russian composers at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries were truly modern. The period is known in Russia as the “Silver Age” and corresponds with modernism’s “fin de siècle”. The Silver Age covers the whole range of fine arts, as well as haute couture, design and - of course - music and ballet.However, most of the programme comes from two composers who developed their modern sound outside of Russia. Stravinsky, who had long been considered a dissident, is now being reclaimed by Russian performers. None of his works (except those written when he was extremely young) were performed at the time in his home country. Having lost the score of his Concerto No. 2 in the turmoil of the 1917 Revolution, Prokofiev later rewrote it in Paris in a completely new style.Scriabin’s signature mystical vision that Daniil Trifonov talks about in the cover notes was not yet present in his Piano Concerto. This composition is a very romantic and rather academic early work written in the wake of Chopin, who was the young Scriabin’s idol.In addition to its great historical interest, this program is noteworthy thanks to Trifonov’s expressive playing in the solo pieces recorded at Princeton University in New Jersey, as well as in the two concertos conducted here by the ardent Valery Gergiev at the head of his St. Petersburg Mariinsky Orchestra. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 27 november 2020 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet
One of the great voices of the last thirty years, Cecilia Bartoli’s discographic success is immeasurable. Since her first recitals at the end of the 80s, her decisive Vivaldi in 1999 with Il Giardino Armonico and her latest Farinelli, Bartoli presents here a small selection of her best Baroque interpretations. “Queen of Baroque” brings together some of the Roman singer’s musical pleasures as well as some major discoveries from the 17th and 18th centuries including some world firsts from Leonardo da Vinci and Agostino Steffani. A simple pleasure that we can by no means refuse. © Qobuz 
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 20 november 2020 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
Exalted melancholy. A violin and a lute: with this choice line-up, our pair of instrumentalists – and frequent partners on the current Baroque music scene – illuminates some aspects of an elusive amalgam that constitutes the 17th-century English notion of melancholy. The inconsolable ‘Mad Lover’ of the album title is reimagined by Théotime Langlois de Swarte and Thomas Dunford as a character from the reign of Charles II: a tale told through music from the pen of such violin virtuosos as the prodigiously gifted Nicola Matteis. Heightened by the exuberance and abandon common to those musicians transplanted from Italy, the beguiling nuances of this language of yearning and loss continue to echo in the popular music of our time. © harmonia mundi
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 13 november 2020 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet
After a recording career spanning almost twenty years, Philippe Jaroussky is looking forward. His new album, recorded in June 2020 just after France’s first Covid-19 lockdown, was conceived as a project that would complete the French countertenors previous recordings. After having already tried his hand at baroque and motet tunes, he has now decided to throw himself into Italian Oratorio. Of the 18 tracks on this record, more than one third are recording world firsts: songs by Pietro Torri, Fortunato Chelleri, Nicola Fago, Benedetto Marcello, an array of discoveries which bear witness to the 17th century’s intellectual and musical abundance as well as the first half of the century which followed it.At the head of the Artaserse ensemble, Philippe Jaroussky lifts one up with his emotive music. We are met with tragedy, pathos and dramatic force such as the sublime aria “Dormi, o fulmine di Guerra” from Alessandro Scarlatti’s Guidita, or the famous “Lascia la spina” used by Händel in Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disingano, Almira and Rinaldo. We are presented with an exemplary panorama of Italian Oratorio from a time when the peninsula was a patchwork of independent states centered in great cities like Rome, Naples, Venice or Milan. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 30 oktober 2020 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Klassiek - Verschenen op 11 december 2020 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet
First of all, what a line-up of Berlin's top musicians and regular collaborators Emmanuel Pahud has assembled here: Daniel Barenboim on piano; Pahud's fellow Berlin Philharmonic principals, concertmaster Daishin Kashimoto and violist Amihai Grosz; flautist Silvia Careddu, founder member of the Alban Berg Ensemble Wien; and Sophie Dervaux, former Berlin Philharmonic Principal Contrabassoon and now Principal Bassoon of the Vienna State Opera Orchestra and Vienna Philharmonic. Plus, they've recorded in Berlin's Pierre Boulez Saal, i.e. one of the best possible places to hear chamber music, with its stunning combination of warmth and clarity. Moving on to the musical contents, and Beethoven's slim body of chamber works for flute is all confined to his early career. In fact so early that two of the works here date from his Bonn period (during his late teens and early twenties) as a piano teacher and court musician: the posthumously published Trio in G for piano, flute and bassoon of 1786, and the Allegro and Minuet in G WoO 26 for two flutes of 1792, written for his law student friend, J.M. Degenharth, and featuring a dedication page playfully informing the reader that it was written “in the evening”. Also on the menu is the Serenade in D Op. 25 for flute, violin and viola, sketched in 1797 and completed in 1801. What this means in stylistic and mood terms is sunnily charming entertainment music cast firmly in Beethoven's earliest post-Haydn language, and far removed from the emotional turbulence of his later years; in other words, absolutely perfect music to be gifted with at the dog end of Covid-wrecked 2020, and especially when the playing from everyone is so joyously elegant, crisp, bright and responsive. Still, Pahud clearly thought that a little more meat was required for the curtain raiser. So all the above is preceded by his own flute transcription of the “Little G Major” Sonata in G for violin and piano of 1802: still a sunnily carefree world, but equally a sparkingly sharp-witted one, piling on fresh interest at every turn. It also sits very well on the flute, so perhaps further transcriptions might come our way in the future via Pahud's hand. In the meantime, from this one we can enjoy the dainty athletic pep and lucid textures Pahud and Barenboim bring to its outer movements, the lyric grace and sensitivity of their central Tempo di Menuetto, and overall Barenboim's deft shaping, and in partnership terms their mutual sensitivity and sense of equality. In short, a great addition to the Beethoven recordings catalogue. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 6 november 2020 | Warner Classics

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Klassiek - Verschenen op 23 oktober 2020 | Warner Classics

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Klassiek - Verschenen op 6 november 2020 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Klassiek - Verschenen op 13 november 2020 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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'Art of the Mandolin' is Avi Avital's first recording program consisting exclusively of pieces originally written for the mandolin. His personal take on the best existing repertoire for the instrument, and a showcase presentation of the fullest spectrum of its expressive potential. From Vivaldi's Concerto for Two Mandolins in G Major through Beethoven's seldom-performed Adagio in E-flat Major to contemporary pieces commissioned over the last few years by Avi himself - works by composers like Antonio Vivaldi, Domenico Scarlatti, Ludwig van Beethoven, Paul Ben-Haim, David Bruce, Giovanni Sollima, Hans Werner Henze. This project represents a return to the heart of the instrument from a very long journey, which had Avi and his mandolin travel to the terrain of the violin, the harpsichord, the flute. © Deutsche Grammophon
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 27 november 2020 | Warner Classics

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It's always a good thing when a new recording fills a hole in the catalogue, and this all-Saint-Saëns chamber programme from seasoned collaborators Renaud Capuçon, Bertrand Chamayou and Edgar Moreau is one of those. Firstly because, while there already exists a generous smattering of readings of the first violin and cello sonatas from a range of top names, they tend not to be paired with each other. Plus, they've never been paired with the magnificent Piano Trio No. 2, which itself has been much less recorded. Add the fact that here we have not just three of France's finest artists, but among them the pianist who carried off Gramophone's “2019 Recording of the Year” precisely for his Saint-Saëns (recording of Concertos Nos. 2 & 5), there's a whole host of reasons why this album deserves your full attention.The Violin Sonata No. 1 gets things off to a great start. Dubbed the “Hippogriff Sonata” by Saint-Saëns on account of the near-mythical powers it requires of the violinist, this work demands not just supreme technique, but also a wide palette of colours, and the ability to apply them sometimes with the kind of nuance that suggests there's more going on emotionally than is perhaps sitting on the surface. Capuçon is well endowed with mystical technical powers, and they're in full play over this warm-toned performance delivered with unfailing elegance. Crucially also, the closeness of the dialogue between him and multi-coloured Chamayou yields a constant succession of pleasures that reach their apotheosis in the moto perpetuo virtuosities of the final Allegro molto. Equally crucially, the bright engineering has honoured the piano's importance, both in the overall balance, and in the clarity with which every single perfectly articulated, iridescent note of Chamayou's has been captured.The same holds true for the capturing of his piano concerto-esque virtuosities in the Cello Sonata No. 1, classily delivered by Moreau, who himself employs a satisfyingly wide dynamic range, while maintaining finesse of tone and attack even through the stormiest moments.Where this recording deserves reference status, however, is with the Trio. Just listen to the journey these three have taken us on even before we've made it to bar 20: the dramatically taut, forwards-propulsion of the piano's dark, opening chords; tonal matching from Capuçon and Moreau that's so exact through their passings of the melodic line that you really have to strain to hear where one stops and the other picks up; the myriad of colouristic nuances and shapings and fluctuations of temperature being brought by one and all to the music's moody rise and fall; then the glorious parting of the clouds from them as the E major second theme drops. Or, for an example at the other end of the work, listen to the impeccably tight chamber partnering on display through their deftly wrought, filigree fugue in the final movement. Also the achingly lovely upper register singing from Capuçon in that movement's (and indeed the entire trio's) softer, longer-lined moments. The whole thing is leaping out of the stereo from first to final chord, glowing, glittering, exciting and charming on every front.Highly recommended. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz