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Kamermuziek - Verschijnt op 2 juli 2021 | BIS

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Klassiek - Verschijnt op 2 juli 2021 | BIS

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Klassiek - Verschijnt op 2 juli 2021 | BIS

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Klassiek - Verschijnt op 2 juli 2021 | BIS

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Klassiek - Verschijnt op 2 juli 2021 | BIS

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Klassiek - Verschijnt op 2 juli 2021 | BIS

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Koormuziek - Verschenen op 4 juni 2021 | BIS

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As Alfred Schnittke and Arvo Pärt both adopted the Orthodox faith in the 1970s, Orthodox choral traditions became increasingly prominent in their work, but both composers also looked to the music of the Western church. Schnittke’s Three Sacred Hymns set three prayers, familiar in the West as "Ave Maria", the "Jesus Prayer" and the "Lord’s Prayer", and evoke Orthodox chant. His Choir Concerto, on the other hand, draws on Russian choral music of the 19th century and the tradition of large-scale concert works based on Orthodox choral music. The texts by the medieval Armenian poet Gregory of Narek are informed by a humanistic individualism, with the poet directly expressing his emotions and often writing in the first person. In the case of Pärt, his detailed study of Orthodox chant caused him to develop his so-called "tintinnabuli" system of composition as an extension of the harmonic practices of Orthodox choral music. He wrote his Seven Magnificat-Antiphons in 1988, applying the tintinnabuli technique to texts from the Catholic liturgy in the German language – a striking East-West hybrid. The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Kaspars Putninš have combined sacred works by Schnittke and Pärt before, their previous release on BIS earning them a prestigious Gramophone Award in the Choral Music category. © BIS Records
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 4 juni 2021 | BIS

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The c/o chamber orchestra is a collective of thirty young musicians from a dozen different countries. Playing without a conductor, the orchestra is dedicated to that particular collaborative process which is the essence of chamber music. For their first recording, the members have chosen to highlight a genre more difficult to pin-point than one might think. Its very name, divertimento, implies that it is simply a diversion, light music for entertainment – but many of the best-known examples of the form transcend that definition. And as many composers have learned, even light-hearted music should be taken seriously: humour requires a master’s touch. The four works recorded here offer different perspectives on the genre, starting with Ibert’s seven-movement suite in which the composer constantly plays with the listener’s expectations. Some forty years before Ibert, his compatriot Émile Bernard composed a very different Divertissement. It is scored for double wind quintet, reminiscent of Mozart’s divertimenti and serenades for winds. But even though the music is melodious and carefree, the debt owed by Bernard to the German romantic composers is never far from the surface. A very special case is Bartók’s Divertimento for Strings, composed just before the outbreak of World War II. The closing work on the album reunites the winds and strings of the c/o orchestra in a work written especially for this project by the American composer Michael Ippolito, who in his Divertimento pays full tribute to the contrast-rich nature of the genre. © BIS Records
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 4 juni 2021 | BIS

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For the fourth instalment in her acclaimed Satie cycle, Noriko Ogawa has gathered music written for the stage – from the pantomime Jack in the Box (1899) to the ballet Relâche (1924) – one of Satie’s last works. Several of the pieces exist in different scorings, but the piano versions heard here are all Satie’s own. Throughout the programme, what comes across strongly is the influence of music hall and cabaret; composed in 1900, Prélude de « La mort de Monsieur Mouche » even offers a hint of the ragtime, one of the first appearances of the genre in European music. Stage projects are as a rule collaborative efforts, and among Satie’s collaborators were some of the leading names of the art world at the time, including Jean Cocteau, Picasso, the Dadaist poet and painter Francis Picabia, and film director René Clair. Satie’s score Cinéma has been called one of the first synchronized film scores. © BIS Records
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 4 juni 2021 | BIS

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For her third recording, the young Korean violinist Sueye Park has explored the repertoire for solo violin, and chosen works spanning exactly 100 hundred years – from Max Reger’s Prelude and Fugue from 1909 to Penderecki’s Capriccio, composed in 2008. Framing the 20th century, the programme starts as a relay race of famous violinist-composers; Reger dedicating his piece to Kreisler, who dedicated his Recitativo and Scherzo-Caprice to Ysaÿe, who wrote his Sonata No. 6 for the Spanish virtuoso Manuel Quiroga. In this series of names, that of Richard Strauss may come as a surprise, but his little-known Daphne-Etüde from 1945 is also dedicated to a violinist – his young grandson. The journey now turns eastwards with two solo sonatas, by Prokofiev and Weinberg, that were both composed in Moscow, albeit 20 years apart. These are followed by Isang Yun’s Royal Theme. The Korean-born composer uses the theme from Bach’s Musical Offering, but takes it on "a walk through the Asian tradition" in the course of seven variations. In A Paganini, Alfred Schnittke revisits another colleague from the past – and one closely associated with the violin. Finally bringing us into the 21st century is Penderecki, whose early training as a violinist stood him in good stead when he composed his virtuosic Capriccio. © BIS Records
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 4 juni 2021 | BIS

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During the 2010s, Sebastian Fagerlund focused on a series of orchestral compositions and concertos, making one single excursion into vocal music: the opera Höstsonaten ("Autumn Sonata", 2017). One of his most important works, the opera has influenced his subsequent music, with an increase of long melodic lines alongside his signature rhythmic drive and energy. Dedicated to Nicolas Altstaedt, Fagerlund’s cello concerto Nomade consists of six movements played without a break – a journey by the cellist-wanderer through various landscapes, moods and events depicted by the orchestra. Fagerlund has enjoyed a close relationship with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and conductor Hannu Lintu, who has premiered several of his works, including Nomade. Among the fruits of this collaboration is Water Atlas, the third part of a trilogy for orchestra, also comprising Stonework and Drifts, which the same team recorded for BIS in 2017. As a whole, the trilogy deals with basic elements, albeit in an abstract manner: stone, wind (or currents) and water. In Water Atlas Fagerlund was interested in the ever-continuous water cycle: the evaporation of water into the atmosphere and its return to the earth as rain – a cycle that is currently under threat from pollution and climate change. © BIS Records
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 21 mei 2021 | BIS

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Prodigiously gifted, Camille Saint-Saëns entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1848, at the age of 13. There he discovered the symphonies of the great German and Austrian composers and soon began to try his own hand at the genre. The Symphony in A major stems from this period and although it was most likely never performed in his lifetime it demonstrates his exceptional talent to the full. Only a couple of years later, in 1853, Saint-Saëns submitted his second attempt at writing a symphony to one of the capital’s concert societies. Praised by Berlioz and Gounod, the Symphony No. 1 in E-flat major was accepted for performance and published shortly afterwards as the composer’s Opus 2. Classical in form, it is an example of Saint-Saëns’ typical clarity, with the lyricism that would later become a hallmark of his music coming to the fore in the two central movements. By the late 1850s, despite his youth, Saint-Saëns was already well-established: in addition to his activity as a virtuoso pianist, he had been named organist of La Madeleine in Paris. He composed his Symphony No. 2 in A minor quickly: from July to September 1859. The orchestration is transparent, and the first movement unusually features a fugue for three voices. Concise and constantly inventive, the work moves away from the Viennese models Saint-Saëns admired so much, with a finale reminiscent of the tarantella in Mendelssohn’s "Italian" Symphony. The present release is the first of two dedicated to the symphonies of Saint-Saëns and recorded by the Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège and Jean-Jacques Kantorow to commemorate the centenary of the composer’s death. © BIS Records
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 21 mei 2021 | BIS

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This recording features solo keyboard arrangements of works by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach originally scored for other instruments. In the second half of the eighteenth century the demand for keyboard music increased rapidly, as musical skills became a social requisite for young ladies of the upper classes. To provide compositions for these new keyboard players was financially profitable, but Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach also had another reason for welcoming arrangements: the keyboard instruments were his favourite medium, and he devoted himself to making them into solo instruments as important as the violin and other melody instruments. The eighteen short pieces of this well-filled programme all exist in versions for various small groups of instruments or, in some cases, for mechanical instruments such as the barrel organ. Miklós Spányi has grouped them around three larger-scaled works, of which two are arrangements of symphonies while the Concerto in F major for solo keyboard may in fact be an original composition: a version for keyboard and orchestra exists, but is possibly a later development. In the case of several of the arrangements it is uncertain who made them – some of them only survive in the hand of one of Bach’s admirers. In his liner notes, Spányi proposes that they could in fact be the original versions, however, as he sees a striking similarity to Bach’s other, indisputably genuine small keyboard pieces. © BIS Records
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Kamermuziek - Verschenen op 7 mei 2021 | BIS

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What we know as "Handel’s Opus 3" is most likely little more than a brazen attempt by the London publisher John Walsh to make some quick money. In 1715, Walsh had issued a pirated edition of Corelli’s 12 Concerti grossi, Op. 6 which proved an instant success and left him constantly looking for similar opportunities. Almost 20 years later, perhaps in the knowledge that the royal protection granted to Handel’s musical output was about to expire, Walsh assembled a set of six orchestral pieces for a wide range of instruments. He prefaced them with a wholly misleading title-page – based on Corelli’s style-defining collection – and advertised them as Handel’s "Opera Terza". It is likely that Handel never took part in the selection and organization of the individual movements, although he may have been involved in the revisions made when a reprint was necessary a few years later. Selected from various sources, the six concertos certainly don’t form an organic cycle – in complete contrast to the future Op. 6 concerti grossi, which Handel carefully conceived as a set. The fact remains that Opus 3 contains some of Handel’s best-loved music, in instrumental combinations that are colorful and often unexpected – aspects that Martin Gester and his musicians in the Tasmanian period band Van Diemen’s Band make the most of. © BIS Records
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 7 mei 2021 | BIS

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After acclaimed recordings of the great Romantic Violin Concertos by Brahms, Bruch and Tchaikovsky, Vadim Gluzman takes on the work that in the beginning of the 19th century mapped out a new course for the genre: Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61. With this work, Beethoven rejected the idea of a virtuoso display piece with a largely irrelevant orchestral accompaniment. Instead he presented a symphonic reinterpretation of the concerto principle, with soloist and orchestra becoming equal partners in a texture that is interwoven on many levels. Largely forgotten for several decades after the first performance in 1806, it is now considered one of the greatest violin concertos. However innovative Beethoven was in his Opus 61, he nevertheless remained true to the tradition of allowing the soloist several cadenzas. Over the years, a number of composers and great violin virtuosos have proposed their own cadenzas for the concerto, with Alfred Schnittke being one of the more unexpected names. For this recording, Gluzman has chosen to perform Schnittke’s cadenzas, as a link to the second work of the recording: the composer’s Concerto No. 3, for violin and chamber orchestra. To Schnittke, the relationship between soloist and orchestra is quite different from that demonstrated in Beethoven’s score: "It seems to me that this relationship is never harmonically equitable and balanced… The soloist and orchestra are in fact adversaries". However they may be labelled, James Gaffigan and the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester nevertheless provide unstinting support to Gluzman in both scores. © BIS Records
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Opera - Verschenen op 7 mei 2021 | BIS

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L’Orfeo by Claudio Monteverdi (1567–1643) is often described as the first opera. The composer himself used another term for his work, however: "favola in musica", a musical tale. Taking this as their point of departure, the performers on the present recording place the emphasis on the libretto’s direct narrative, and how the music alone is used to express emotions, a music which underpins the plot and the text word for word. To quote the liner notes: "To modern ears the musical heritage of L’Orfeo is more to be found in the Lieder tradition than in the grand opera of the nineteenth century". The tale told by Monteverdi and the members of the three ensembles which bring his score to life, is that of Orpheus, the poet and musician who travels to the Underworld in order to persuade Hades to let his beloved Eurydice return to the living. Under the direction of Fredrik Malmberg, and with Johan Linderoth as their Orfeo, the 38 singers and musicians that make up Ensemble Lundabarock, Höör Barock and Ensemble Altapunta perform a score which in 1607 was state-of-the-art contemporary. Four full centuries after the first performance in Mantua it remains almost shockingly modern, as in the sound of cornetts and trombones that summon up the spirits of the Underworld or the portrayal of undiluted, raw grief in Orfeo’s celebrated aria Possente spirto. © BIS Records
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Kamermuziek - Verschenen op 7 mei 2021 | BIS

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Up until around 1900 the clarinet repertoire was dominated by music from the German-speaking lands, largely due to the influence of three outstanding clarinettists. Inspired by Anton Stadler, Heinrich Bärmann and Richard Mühlfeld respectively, Mozart, Weber and Brahms composed some of the finest clarinet works ever written. But especially after the defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71, the French cultural establishment became increasingly concerned with cultivating a national voice of its own, and Michael Collins’s new release is a reminder of this. The works recorded here all date from the last years of the 19th century and afterwards, and it is striking that four of them (Debussy, Widor, Messager and Rabaud) were written as competition pieces for the Paris Conservatoire – the institution which played such a decisive role in shaping French musical life. But even though they were commissioned for educational purposes there is nothing academic about them: from Debussy’s seductive Rhapsodie to Messager’s light-heartedly brilliant Solo de concours there is instead a definite French – maybe even Parisian – quality to them. This also applies to the Clarinet Sonata by Saint-Saëns, composed in the last year of his life but full of charm and courtly irony. Closing the recording are two works from either end of Francis Poulenc’s life. While the brief Sonata for Two Clarinets from 1918 is pure and cheeky fun, the 1962 Sonata for Clarinet and Piano is more conflicted emotionally, as indicated by the first movement’s tempo marking Allegro tristamente. Throughout the greater part of the programme, Collins is partnered by Noriko Ogawa, whose pianism has won her particular acclaim in French repertoire, with Sérgio Pires making a guest appearance in Poulenc’s clarinet duo. © BIS Records
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Jazz - Verschenen op 7 mei 2021 | BIS

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The award-winning Dutch composer and bass clarinet player Joris Roelofs is also currently working on a PhD dissertation on Friedrich Nietzsche, improvisation and the notion of freedom. On the album "Rope Dance" he is able to combine all of this, in a suite of twelve pieces inspired by Nietzsche – "by far the most musical of philosophers" according to Roelofs. It is especially the parable of the tightrope walker in the opening section of Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None that has provided him with inspiration for his own Light-Footed Music for All and None. It is not surprising that Nietzsche’s thoughts about free spirits, liberated from conventional constraints and belief systems, resonate particularly well with musicians working with improvisation and across genres. Roelofs has therefore been able to gather a group of highly versatile colleagues from the Benelux jazz scene to perform his music: pianist Bram de Looze, bass player Clemens van der Feen and Martijn Vink on drums. The album also confirms the multi-faceted talents of bassoonist Bram van Sambeek, following previous recordings on BIS of classical, pre-Romantic and contemporary concertos, as well as hard rock covers with the group ORBI ("The Oscillating Revenge of the Background Instruments"). © BIS Records
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Kinderen - Verschenen op 23 april 2021 | BIS

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Kamermuziek - Verschenen op 9 april 2021 | BIS

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2020 saw the release of the first instalment in this three-album traversal of Beethoven’s Violin Sonatas – a recording that has garnered many distinctions. As Frank Peter Zimmermann and Martin Helmchen open the second step, they do so with the iconic "Spring" Sonata, Op. 24. Completed in 1801, the work proved immediately popular with a second edition appearing only months after the first publication. There were also numerous arrangements for a variety of forces – including a song based on motifs from the sonata’s slow movement. Soon after completing Op. 24, Beethoven began work on a set of three sonatas of which the first two are included here. Musically the Op. 30 sonatas continue the development that had begun with the "Spring" Sonata towards a contrast-rich, symphonic style. Beethoven originally planned to end the first and shortest of the three with the expansive movement that later became the finale of the great "'Kreutzer" Sonata. As this would clearly have ruined the proportions of the work, he eventually replaced it with a set of variations. Closing this recording is the Second Sonata of Op. 30, in C minor. It is the most important of the set; a genuine Grande Sonate in four movements, and an early example of Beethoven’s "heroic" style. © BIS Records