Your basket is empty

Categories :

Albums

From
HI-RES€14.99
CD€9.99

Classical - Released May 21, 2021 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
By modifying the balance of the dialogue between the two protagonists, whom he turns into genuine alter egos, Mozart leads the genre of the sonata for fortepiano and violin onto the road to modernity. Isabelle Faust and Alexander Melnikov present here the third volume of an exciting complete set on period instruments. Their playing, showing "great elegance and utter rigour", is distinguished by "a tender and delicate expressiveness served by exceptionally subtle nuances" (Classica). © harmonia mundi

Classical - Released May 7, 2021 | harmonia mundi

Booklet
Download not available
When Mozart took up the popular genre of the serenade, it was to transcend it and lend it new lustre. A festive masterpiece of simplicity and emotion, his Gran Partita quickly became a genuine "hit"! Thanks to the distinctive, spellbinding timbres of their period instruments, the members of the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin give a unique flavour to these two extraordinary serenades, over which there blows – as it were – a tremendous wind of freedom. © harmonia mundi

Chamber Music - Released April 30, 2021 | harmonia mundi

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Diapason d'or / Arte
Download not available
Constantly shifting from the most impulsive exuberance to the most restrained meditation, from the most intense passion to the most innocent tenderness, this programme forms a representative panorama of Schumann’s chamber music. Going beyond the Piano Trios, which already give us a fully rounded account of Schumann, the Trio Wanderer have invited their favourite partners to join them for their interpretation of two supreme masterpieces, the Piano Quartet and Piano Quintet. © harmonia mundi

Classical - Released April 30, 2021 | harmonia mundi

Booklet
Download not available
With this third volume of "Airs sérieux et à boire", the ensemble Les Arts Florissants return to this genre whose refinement had marked the French musical landscape for over a hundred years. By turns gallant, earthy, or spiritual, these vocal miniatures, prized at the French court, ushered in a ground-breaking style which opened the door to an endless variety of interpretations. "One can hardly find enough praise for the individuality of these inspired performers, for their skill to make the music animate the words ( . . . ) as they display a joyful unity of purpose. A unique event!" (Opéra Magazine). © harmonia mundi

Classical - Released April 23, 2021 | harmonia mundi

Booklet
Download not available
Continuing their exploration of Beethoven's Symphonies, François-Xavier Roth and Les Siècles give us an opportunity to rediscover the Eroica in all its modernity and power. Thanks to the magic of period timbres, Beethoven’s intended instrumental balances and effects are restored in revelatory fashion. The Overture to Méhul’s opera Les Amazones, written eight years later, will be a discovery for many listeners. This time it was a French composer who established a further milestone in the new aesthetic of Romanticism. © harmonia mundi

Classical - Released April 9, 2021 | harmonia mundi

Booklet
Download not available
More than a century after the historic scandal of its premiere at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, The Rite of Spring has established itself as one of the "musts" of the modern orchestral repertory. And if the source of the telluric forces generated by Stravinsky lay in pagan Russia, it is beneath the arabesques of the palaces of Andalusia that Péter Eötvös found the inspiration for his third violin concerto, entitled Alhambra. The work’s dedicatees, Isabelle Faust and Pablo Heras-Casado, here present its very first recording. © harmonia mundi
From
HI-RES€31.29
CD€22.29

Classical - Released April 2, 2021 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
Few twentieth-century creators have been as inventive as Berio in their relationship with the history of music, with popular and ancestral traditions, drawing material, as he did, from both Beatles hits and the soundscapes of street and market. Here Geoffroy Jourdain paints the portrait of an explorer with a passion for the human voice. Truculent and volcanic in Sequenza III (performed with panache by Lucile Richardot), lyrical and caressing in E si fussi pisci, solemn and spellbinding in Cries of London. "Berio To Sing" throws open the doors to a colourful universe, extravagantly playful and, in a word, exhilarating! © harmonia mundi
From
HI-RES€31.29
CD€22.29

Classical - Released March 26, 2021 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
“An artistic manifesto for the sovereign imagination of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach” is how Gli Incogniti's inspirational violinist-director Amandine Beyer and violone player Baldomero Barciela describe C. P. E. Bach's six Hamburg symphonies in their forward to this programme recorded in the clean, softly supportive acoustic of Arras theatre; and that summation is spot on. This was a set commissioned in 1773 by Baron van Swieten, an Austrian nobleman of Dutch decent who also financially supported Haydn and Beethoven. An unusually enlightened and musically curious character, Van Swieten accompanied this particular commission with the explicit specification that “no consideration of the difficulties that the performers might experience” should limit Bach's imagination. In other words, in an era during which a composer mostly had to write to the tastes and technical skills of either their wealthy employer or the sheet-music-buying public, C. P. E. Bach was instead given artistic carte blanche to compose exactly the music in his head. The result was a startlingly, fiercely individual and stormy language over which both players and listeners are being thrown a fresh musical curveball every five seconds, whether that's a new succession of extraordinary harmonic modulations, sudden pauses or changes of melodic direction, lightening-fast ensemble passagework, or close juxtaposition of strongly contrasting dynamics or styles. Who knows how the first performances sounded, because all of this would have stretched the ensemble technique and overall musical accomplishment of the day to its limits, and even today still constitutes a finger and brain-twisting challenge. Not that it sounds as though Gli incogniti are being unduly stretched here. Au contraire, they're tossing off even the most virtuosic moments of ensemble writing with cleanly articulated lightness, bounce and precision, with the sharp dynamic contrasts leaping out at you while never feeling uncomfortably exaggerated, and all with an infectiously joyous energy. It's not just in the quicksilver passagework where they shine either. Listen in No. 4 in B minor to the way their central Larghetto ed innocentemente breathes, and its cleverly balanced tension between tender legato courtliness and sudden sombre, angular explosions. Or, if you want to admire both their tone and its capturing, head to the weighted silence of No. 2 in B-flat's central slow movement, to hear the soft, plump roundness of the bass pizzicato sitting against the luminous violins. Further musicological interest comes from Beyer and her team having also thrown in the earlier Symphony in E minor, Wq. 177, which certainly sounds less adventurous than the Hamburg six, but also like an entirely different and wilder beast to Haydn's “Sturm and Drang” symphonies which were being written at the same time – definitive proof that C. P. E. Bach was off on his own path right from the get-go. One further point to make is that, while it's probably fair to say that these intense works are generally best enjoyed just one or two at a time, the delicacy and vim of these readings make them stand up unusually well to listening from start to finish. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz

Classical - Released March 19, 2021 | harmonia mundi

Booklet
Download not available
Here is the work of a genius who died at the age of twenty-six: Pergolesi's Stabat Mater is one of the miracles of eighteenth-century sacred music. Nourished by their experience of ‘setting in resonance’ early and contemporary repertories, Riccardo Minasi and the Hamburg musicians shed an astonishingly modern light on these moving pieces, in which the voices of Giulia Semenzato and Lucile Richardot intertwine in the most sublime of communions. The Stabat is echoed by Joan Rossell’s poignant Salve Regina, long attributed to Pergolesi himself. © harmonia mundi

Classical - Released March 19, 2021 | harmonia mundi

Booklet
Download not available
Formed in 2008, Sebastien Daucé's Ensemble Correspondances is now firmly established as a byword for quality and creativity in the performance of early music, with their acclaimed revivals of both the known and the long-neglected sacred and secular music of seventeenth century France, and with a rich discography to match. This latest recorded offering now sees them step out beyond France's borders for a foray into the Germanic repertoire, the headline pieces being a major work each from Dietrich Buxtehude and Heinrich Schütz. Buxtehude's Membra Jesu Nostri (“The limbs of our Jesus”) opens the programme. An ambitious seven-part cycle of Passion cantatas over which an unnamed observer slowly raises their gaze from the feet of the scourged “Man of Sorrows” to his face, this was composed in 1680 for Buxtehude's friend Gustav Düben. Düben was music director to the Swedish court, and the work was probably commissioned for a court occasion, most likely premiered in the galleries of the German Church in Stockholm, which the court church at the time. Buxtahude's own official role was as organist at Lübeck's Marienkirche – a title which, in contrast to the kantor role which would have obliged him to be churning out new liturgical music every week, allowed him to compose when and how he wished, thus cutting no corners on quality. That's very apparent in this cycle, which book-ends poetic texts set as strophic arias with biblical words set for full instrumental and vocal forces, all couched within an imaginative tonal progression which opens with the feet in the darkest tonalities using flats, before gradually moving through to the brighter, sharp tonalities as the eyes move up towards the face (although it's eventually a C minor close, for architecture's sake). Daucé's personal contribution to the mix has then been to prepare a new edition from the original performing parts which has further enrichened the colouristic and textural palette: adding a viola part for three of the cantatas; changing the allocation of stringed bass instruments so that the viol and violone aren't systematically playing with the continuo or violins; having two voices to a part for the chorus numbers, thus clearly distinguishing between soli and ripieni. Add Ensemble Correspondances's expressive, crisply articulated and suavely blended vocal performances, and the lucid delicacy of the instrumental support, and the results are very fine. Schütz's major offering meanwhile is his late-career masterpiece, Die sieben Worte (“The Seven Words”), which inventively combines motet-like settings with expressive recitative. However the programme's joys aren't limited to its headline events. For instance there's also Schütz's Erbarm dich mein, o Herre Gott, a vocal concerto with densely contrapuntal instrumental textures which here grabs from the off with the beautiful puritan sobriety of the ensemble string tone, and the gently impassioned soprano entry. Then, for a real rarity, complementing mourning music from Buxtehude is the state music-redolent Lamentum by Swedish organist Ludert Dijkman (c1645-1717), written at the passing of two Swedish princes. It'll be fascinating to see where Daucé turns next. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz
From
HI-RES€31.29
CD€22.29

Duets - Released March 19, 2021 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
On July 1st, 1907, Marcel Proust invited a few of his friends to a private concert he was hosting at the Ritz Hotel. In a letter he wrote two days later to Reynaldo Hahn, the host described the eclectic nature of the programme. Composers of his day were featured side by side with the masters of the past and of more recent date: Fauré, Wagner, Schumann, Chopin, and Couperin. In recreating the recital’s wide range of periods and styles, Théotime Langlois de Swarte and Tanguy de Williencourt also revive the intimacy of the Parisian fin-de-siècle salons and transport us into the fertile musical universe evoked in the pages of In Search of Lost Time. © harmonia mundi
From
HI-RES€31.29
CD€22.29

Classical - Released February 26, 2021 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
After a successful trilogy devoted to the concertos and trios of Schumann, the team assembled alongside the Freiburger Barockorchester and Pablo Heras-Casado could not ignore one of Beethoven’s most unusual works: the Triple Concerto. They bring this score to life as only true chamber musicians can, revealing its subtlest colours and balances. The trio transcription of the Second Symphony, which was supervised by the composer himself, judiciously completes this exploration of lesser-known Beethoven, in which intimacy mingles with grandeur. © harmonia mundi
From
HI-RES€31.29
CD€22.29

Chamber Music - Released February 19, 2021 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
It's hard to imagine how anything could have been improved upon with this Brahms recital from three of Harmonia Mundi's most sensitive and interesting artists. The programming alone is a work of art: the idea of pairing the viola versions of Brahms's two autumnal Op. 120 Clarinet Sonatas inspired by Meiningen Orchestra clarinettist Richard Mühlfeld, with three further softly intimate works of his showcasing the viola's similarities with the human voice – viola and piano arrangements of Nachtigall from the six Op. 97 Songs (extra resonant, when Brahms described Mühlfeld as the nightingale of the orchestra) and the famous Op. 49 Wiegenlied, followed by the Op. 91 Zwei Gesänge for Voice, Viola and Piano. Then there's the instruments, because for Tamestit and Tiberghien these are just as important to the music's alchemy as the abilities of the performers, and their quest to find the perfect match for the penetrating, multi-shaded tones of Tamestit's Stradivarius viola eventually led them to an 1899 Bechstein piano. The result was two instruments capable of a range of colours and roundness of sound across all registers and through even the most virtuosic of passages; and that's precisely what you hear across the resultant lyrically tender, natural-feeling readings, because beyond the hand in glove chamber partnering you're hearing, their respective tones are both alive with colouristic complexities and verily glowing. Then, beyond being simply delicious, the vocal quality Tamestit draws out from the famous Wiegenlied melody serves as the perfect overture to the programme's Zwei Gesänge – shaped icing on the cake – yet another perfect combination, Tamestit's lines lovingly encircling and dovetailing with Goerne's own richly warm, gentle baritone, the polished Teldex Studio engineering casting them on satisfyingly equal footings with each other, with the piano just slightly behind. In short, absolutely gorgeous. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz

Classical - Released February 19, 2021 | harmonia mundi

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or / Arte
Download not available
A true ‘apotheosis of the dance’ in the words of Richard Wagner, Beethoven’s Seventh has enjoyed perennial popularity ever since its premiere - unlike his sole ballet, The Creatures of Prometheus, of which only the overture has remained (more or less) familiar to us. To offer a new version of a key work in Beethoven’s corpus while reviving the complete version of one of his most unjustly forgotten masterpieces: such is the challenge brilliantly taken up by the musicians of the Freiburger Barockorchester, under the direction of their Konzertmeister Gottfried von der Goltz. © harmonia mundi

Classical - Released February 5, 2021 | harmonia mundi

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
Download not available
The facts of Carlo Gesualdo's life are perhaps as well known as his music: he caught his wife and her lover in the act, brutally murdered them both, fled her enraged family, and entered a life of seclusion where he pursued increasingly arcane and extreme musical experiments. A source of controversy with the present release may be that Les Arts Florissants director Paul Agnew argues in the booklet that the wildly experimental qualities of the last books of Gesualdo's madrigals, even found in the Book IV pieces included here, actually shouldn't be connected to the murder but were rather in the cards at the end of the long Italian madrigal tradition. Agnew has a certain amount of evidence on his side; other composers such as Luca Marenzio and the melodiously named Luzzasco Luzzaschi pursued the same kinds of innovations as Gesualdo did. Whatever one's position, these are unusually strong Gesualdo performances. What Agnew and his singers do that often eludes others is to pay attention to the texts, avoiding the agonized mannerisms common in the repertory and deploying just a hint of inflection toward speech instead of sung pitch where it's appropriate. The range of dynamics and phrasing is large -- listen to the deliciously quiet "Dolcissimo sospiro" -- and the listener's interest never flags over the substantial program. Les Arts Florissants have performed Gesualdo frequently, and they are well attuned to the tremendous tension in his music, the feeling of having no idea where the music will go next, no matter where that tension may actually have been coming from. If your Gesualdo collection is in need of a refresh from the classic recordings of Stravinsky's day, this is a fine choice; it is also a good place to start with Gesualdo for anybody. © TiVo
From
HI-RES€31.29
CD€22.29

Classical - Released February 5, 2021 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
Faced with the plethora of Beethoven recordings released in 2020, we expect more from some than from others, and this applies to this Missa Solemnis. An absolute masterpiece of Western music, it is conducted by René Jacobs, whose recent recording of Leonore (the first version of the opera Fidelio by the same Beethoven) conquered the musical world. Composed in 1824, the Missa, "a rough and uncomfortable work that leaves no room for narcissism in the singers" according to René Jacobs (and he would know what he is talking about!) is an older sister to the Ninth Symphony which shares the same faith in man over divinity. Recorded in Berlin in May 2019, this version packs as intense a gut-punch as a live concert.The understated and profound Kyrie brings shadow and meditation. Then, a surging explosive Gloria, a stirring call for peace and brotherhood, from the heart of all humanity presses this splendid performance onward. Without doubt, the RIAS Kammerchor has added one more stone to an edifice of recordings of the highest quality. In addition we are treated to an instrumental finale rarely heard and four soloists who contribute to the expressive power of the whole. All of Beethoven is here, with his idealism, his tenderness, and also his way of hammering out peace with mighty blows. As Goethe would have said “He would squash a fly with a rock”. © François Hudry/Qobuz

Classical - Released January 15, 2021 | harmonia mundi

Booklet
Download not available
With Volume 4 of Benjamin Alard's immense project to record all of Bach's music for keyboard, we remain in Weimar. However, while Volume 3 focussed on Bach's French influences, this one looks instead at Venetian influences, and in particular Bach's transcriptions of Vivaldi concertos, whose orchestral sonorities he transferred into the keyboard medium with astonishing success. This series has been especially striking for Alard's decision to group works according to chronology rather than genre, and for the range of stunning instruments he's on, meaning each programme represents an absolute cornucopia of different styles, textures and timbres. This latest addition is no exception to that rule. On the second disc, for instance, we have the exuberant Concerto in C major, BWV 976 transcribed from Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in E major, RV 265, followed by the dark polyphonic sobriety of Bach's own Prelude and Fugue in G minor, BWV 535, both performed on a gloriously big-toned, bell-like, silver on high and fruity down below, pedal harpsichord copy after a 1720 Hamburg model. Then he brings into play the flute-like tones of the original 1710 Silbermann organ in the Abbaye Saint-Étienne, Marmoutier, for a programme that prefaces various chorale preludes with his Organ Concerto in C major, BWV 594 based on Vivaldi's “Grosso Mogul” Violin Concerto in D major, RV 208, and precedes them with his own Italian-influenced Toccata in C major, BWV 564. As for the first disc, this features the highly distinctive-sounding original 1702 Mattia de Gand harpsichord found in Treviso's Museo Santa Caterina in Treviso, whose gently percussive-sounding upper registers sound especially ear-grabbing in the Largo of the Concerto in G major, BWV 980 transcribed from Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in B-flat major, RV 381. Alard hasn't just picked up the Bach transcriptions and played them, either. Instead, he's compared them with the orchestral originals, then come up with his own ideas on how best to voice parts and create effects, and this has reaped further riches. Just listen to the magnificent, sparkling sound world he's created for the Organ Concerto in A minor, BWV 593 – transcribed from Vivaldi's Concerto for Two Violins in A minor, Op. 3 No.8, RV 522 – thanks to the genius decision to play it not on organ at all, but on that aforementioned pedal harpsichord. Then to all the above you can add Alard's clear, bright touch, and a properly Vivaldian energy (indeed, a bit like Vivaldi, it's probably actually best enjoyed one disc at a time, so as not to end up feeling exhausted!). Never did a review feel so much like an inadequate scratching of an album's surface. To say there's enough here to keep the inquisitive listener joyously entertained for a long time is something of an understatement. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz
From
HI-RES€31.29
CD€22.29

Classical - Released January 8, 2021 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
With each new album, the Stradivari collection invites you to discover another unique instrument lovingly preserved and housed at the Museum of Music in Paris, such as the magnificent 1734 Guarneri cello and the 1855 Gebauhr grand piano, both of them exceptionally well suited to the music of Beethoven and his contemporaries. When these remarkable examples of European instrument-making are entrusted to performers as adept as Raphaël Pidoux and Tanguy de Williencourt, the composer’s celebrated Sonatas of Opus 5 stand revealed as never before! © harmonia mundi

Classical - Released December 4, 2020 | harmonia mundi

Download not available

Classical - Released December 4, 2020 | harmonia mundi

Download not available

Label

harmonia mundi in the magazine