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Classical - Released July 15, 2007 | Challenge Classics

Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc du Monde de la Musique - 10 de Répertoire
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Classical - Released May 25, 2010 | Alia Vox

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc de Classica
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Classical - Released October 25, 2019 | Signum Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
As conductor of the Choir of St. John's College, Cambridge, Andrew Nethsingha has somewhat modernized the repertory of the venerable group. However, a straight traditional program is certainly within his arsenal, and with this set of 20th century (and very early 21st century) settings of the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis, that's exactly what you get here. The program is both roughly chronological and illustrative of changing interpretations of the canticle texts: from the grand Victorian self-assurance of Stanford's setting you proceed through the inward complexity of Kenneth Leighton, the calm pastoralism of Herbert Sumsion and the discursive Herbert Howells, the sunny contemporary sound of Gabriel Jackson, and the angular Michael Tippett. All the music (you can really sample anywhere here) gets readings of absolute clarity, and there are deeper specificities in the program explicated by St. John's Canon Mark Oakley in a detailed booklet note. For instance, the Tippett setting was inspired by an organ stop distinctive to St. John's. Best of all is the sound, with the singers apparently separated spatially. The result is that the space is fully encompassed, but the texts remain distinct. Signum engineers often do well with this choir, but here they have exceeded even high expectations. If you're choosing just one English collegiate choir recording this year, you may do well to make it this one. © TiVo
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Classical - Released October 12, 2007 | Avie Records

Distinctions 4 étoiles du Monde de la Musique
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Classical - Released January 1, 2006 | Avie Records

Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Listeners will likely finish this recording of the Elgar violin concerto and feel at least a little conflicted. There are moments of austere beauty and exquisite sound quality that are sadly juxtaposed by periods of poor intonation and curious articulation choices. The first movement opens with an extended orchestral tutti for which the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and conductor Vernon Handley deserve praise. The orchestra provides a powerful, rich, and extremely sensitive backdrop throughout the recording that simply cannot be faulted. Graffin's violin playing, by contrast, is sporadic. When in the lower registers of the instrument, particularly on the G string, he is capable of pulling a deep, guttural, satisfying tone from his instrument. The second movement is filled with suave legato playing. Problems arise in the upper registers, and intonation problems abound when playing double stops and chords. The legato playing from the second movement regrettably carries over to the introduction of the third movement resulting in less rhythmic vitality and edginess than the music demands. The Chausson is a stronger offering as it allows Graffin to showcase that at which he truly seems to be best. The intonation problems that occasionally marred the Elgar are no longer present. Still, the orchestra's performance seems to outshine Graffin. © TiVo
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Classical - Released February 12, 2021 | Passacaille

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During the height of its popularity, from the mid-16th century into the 18th, the cornetto was frequently depicted in art as an instrument of angels. Paintings, sculptures, and engravings abound in which the cornetto takes a prominent place among choirs of angelic musicians, usually paired with at least one voice and with other instruments such as the organ, viol, lute, harp, violin and trombone. For this project Bruce Dickey and Hana Blažíková take the image of angel musicians as a point of departure for an aural journey ranging from 1600 to the present day. From sacred monodies and motets of the early 1600s to opera arias from the end of the century, via a brief diversion to Erik Satie, we arrive at two specially commissioned contemporary works, all the while focussing on the angelic and radiant pairing of the cornetto with the human voice. © Passacaille
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Classical - Released November 27, 2020 | Signum Records

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Classical - Released April 2, 2021 | Coro

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Escapism is the idea behind this latest offering from Harry Christophers and The Sixteen, and while that's certainly an apt concept for 2021 thus far, you don't need to be craving escapism in order to appreciate its contents. Their interpretation of “escapism” is a satisfyingly broad one, too. Encompassing over 500 years of repertoire and themes, there's everything here from the robust jollity of William Cornysh's male-voice Hoyda, hoyda, jolly rutterkin (“hoyda” being a jovial greeting, and a “rutterkin” being a swaggering gallant or bully) to the peaceful legato and suspended harmonies of Will Todd's mixed-voice Whisper Him my name based on a prayer of Saint Joseph, commissioned for Christophers and The Sixteen. Indeed those two sit side by side. There's also a new commission from baritone and composer Roderick Williams in the form of an unabashedly romantic and rapturous arrangement of An Eriskay Love Lilt, set to rippling piano waves. In fact one of the pleasures of this album is even balance between 21st century composers (there's also Peter Maxwell Davies, Bob Chilcott, James MacMillan and Eric Whitacre) and names of the past such as Cornyth, Stanford and Bax; and always with the flow from one work (and often century) to the next feeling thoroughly organic. The singing is equally everything you would anticipate from The Sixteen, with all their usual warmth and purity of tone, smooth blending, and committed expression of their clearly articulated texts' meanings. In short, this is yet another recording from The Sixteen which both their fans and choral lovers in general will be reaching for regularly and indefinitely, far into the future. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz
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Classical - Released September 11, 2020 | Passacaille

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Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), the great mathematician and astronomer, was very much concerned all of his life with the connection between practical music and cosmology. He felt strongly that music mirrors the cosmos and used phrases such as “the Song of the Earth” and “Nature’s secret whispering”. He broke from his contemporaries who thought that the motions of the planets and other heavenly bodies actually made sound, but thought that those motions and all of the geometry of the heavens were reflected in the most perfect polyphonic pieces of his time. Concerto Palatino proposes a program centered on the ideas of Johannes Kepler and the music of his lifetime. Taking Tui sunt coeli by Orlando di Lasso as a point of departure the group explores other polyphonic and polychoral music of Lasso and his contemporaries (Andrea Gabrieli, Lambert de Sayve, Hans Leo Hassler, etc.). In addition, they commissioned a new work for the project by the renowned composer Calliope Tsoupaki. Her new piece is called Astron (To the stars) and is based on a Delphic Hymn. For this project, Concerto Palatino was joined by a truly “star-studded” lineup of singers: Hana Blažíková and Barbora Kabátková, sopranos; Alex Potter, countertenor; Benedict Hymans and Jan van Elsacker, tenor; Tomáš Kral, baritone; and Jaromir Nosek, bass. © Passacaille
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Classical - Released February 28, 2020 | Passacaille

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Classical - Released January 1, 2014 | Lifescapes

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Classical - Released April 10, 2020 | Prospero Classical

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For centuries, Venice has been a point of attraction for travelers from all over the world. Besides the palazzi, the squares and churches, the lagoon city is especially famous for its living landmarks: the singing Gondolieri. Baritone Holger Falk slips into this Venetian parade role and takes the audience on a ride through centuries-old musical repertoire. Joining him on board are the renowned early music group nuovo aspetto and Merzouga, who contribute soundscapes from today’s Venice: the music, moods, and atmospheres of one of the world’s most fascinating destinations.With “Il Gondoliere Veneziano” baritone Holger Falk presents a fascinating musical voyage through the historic and contemporary Venice. Music by many anonymous composers, but also by André Campra, Johann Simon Mayr, Giuseppe Tartini or Antonio Vivaldi.
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Classical - Released December 11, 2015 | Signum Records

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Chamber Music - Released June 7, 2019 | Avie Records

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You might not expect much from this release: albums by married partners are surely enjoyable for the players involved, but rarely top-notch. Even for composers as transcription friendly as Bach and Piazzolla, the combination of clarinet and marimba may seem a stretch. Given the partly jazz backgrounds of both Stoltzmans, you might be expecting a jazz album, an area in which new fusion efforts seem likely. Forget all your reservations: this is terrific. The talents of clarinetist Richard Stoltzman are well known, but even his followers may be unaware of the work of marimbist Mika Stoltzman. Her background is in jazz, but here she shows herself an entrancing classical player on an instrument with little tradition. The jazz aspect is well handled: there are hints of jazz throughout, especially in the Mostly Blues pieces by William Thomas McKinley, and in the title work, Palimpsest, by John Zorn, but these are not jazz arrangements as such. The playing of both principals is beautiful, and has the desired X factor of empathy. However, it is the arrangements that really excel. The Stoltzmans keep you guessing, from the striking solo clarinet reduction of the opening Chromatic Fantasia, to the two distinct concepts of Astor Piazzolla's music. Richard Stoltzman offers a heart-piercing rendition of the melody in Ravel's Pavane pour une infante défunte. The most spectacular aspect is perhaps Mika Stoltzman's imagination in realizing Bach's polyphonic thinking in shimmering textures in the transcription of the great Chaconne, from the Partita No. 2 for solo violin, BWV 1004. Absolutely superb, an unexpected masterpiece. © TiVo
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Film Soundtracks - Released December 6, 2013 | Legacy Recordings

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Classical - Released March 29, 2020 | NBELive

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Classical - Released April 9, 2002 | Analekta

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Classical - Released October 12, 2007 | Avie Records

New York Polyphony, a male quartet, in many senses calls to mind Anonymous 4, the women's ensemble that made an extraordinary career focusing on early music, but also branching out as far afield as folk song and contemporary repertoire. The collection here is primarily devoted to Medieval and Renaissance pieces, but includes works by modern British composers Peter Maxwell Davies, Kenneth Leighton, and Andrew Smith, and an unfamiliar setting of "Away in a Manger" based on a folk song from Normandy. The bulk of the music was written well before 1600, with a strong emphasis on plainchant. The integration of the diverse repertoire into a single CD is surprisingly effective; the juxtaposition of brief monophonic plainchant with English Renaissance polyphony and contemporary motets is so skillfully programmed that there is no sense of disjunction. Andrew Smith's two motets are especially striking in their simplicity and emotional punch. Like Anonymous 4, the size of the group allows for a wonderfully sensitive balance; the ensemble breathes as a single organism, and the blend, which can vary from perfect homogeneity to the subtle highlighting of a single voice, is marvelous. The group is joined by a women's trio in several works written for more than four parts. The sound is clean and present, with appropriate resonance for this material. For the listener looking for a collection of contemplative Christmas music that steers clear of the most obvious selections and introduces intriguing new repertoire, as well as for the fan of early music vocal ensembles, this album has much to offer. © TiVo
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Classical - Released November 22, 2019 | Onyx Classics

Vasily Petrenko has been among the most musically reliable of the wave of Russian performers who settled in Britain following the fall of the Soviet Union. He isn't a household name, nor, as conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, a fixture of the London classical music scene. Yet he has been a prolific leader who rarely delivers a clinker. Consider this recording of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, in the familiar Ravel orchestration, framed by other Soviet orchestral favorites. There are readings with greater grandeur and sweep, but Petrenko grasps that the Ravel version is, first of all, an orchestral showpiece, and there's something very satisfying about hearing the Liverpudlians nail their parts one by one. The energy doesn't flag even in the less familiar numbers like the "Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks," and the other Soviet pieces that frame the Mussorgsky are well-chosen in this regard. One is less familiar: the Concerto for Orchestra No. 1 ("Naughty Limericks") of Rodion Shchedrin is an early work of that composer that revives the long concerto for orchestra/sinfonia concertante tradition. Everything falls into place in the pieces by Kabalevsky, Khachaturian, and Rachmaninov. The same is true of the engineering, as the Onyx team knows the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall well. The result is a fine recording that shows there's life in the old warhorses yet. © TiVo
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Classical - Released December 3, 2018 | Signum Records

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