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Classique - Paru le 30 juillet 2021 | Chandos

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Pianiste exceptionnel, enfant prodige, promoteur de la musique de son temps, Ferruccio Busoni est connu pour ses nombreuses transcriptions de haute voltige et pour un improbable Concerto pour piano, orchestre et chœur d’hommes d’une durée de plus d’une heure, et qui présente des défis vertigineux pour le pianiste. C’est après avoir joué en 1988 cette œuvre titanesque lors d’un concert Proms à Londres sous la direction de Sir Mark Elder que le pianiste anglais Peter Donohoe continua à explorer les œuvres du compositeur italien, suivant le conseil du musicologue John C. G. Waterhouse. Il découvrit alors les sept Elégies, composées à Vienne au début de 1907. La variété du style et de l’expression présente un condensé fascinant de l’écriture de Busoni, entre une virtuosité lisztienne et la découverte de son véritable visage personnel, selon son propre aveu. À côté de ces pièces si personnelles, les amateurs de prouesses digitales se régaleront avec l’habile Kammer-Fantasie über Carmen, écrite pour son collègue Tauber dans le souvenir des plus spectaculaires paraphrases de Liszt. L’ébouriffante Toccata de Busoni composée en 1921 ouvre cet album qui se referme par la transcription de la Toccata, Adagio et Fugue BWV 564 de Bach, dédiée à un élève hongrois de Liszt. Composée en 1899, elle sera un des piliers de son répertoire de concertiste. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Musique chorale (pour chœur) - Paru le 30 juillet 2021 | Chandos

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The Patriarch Tikhon Russian-American Music Institute strives to present Russian Orthodox choral music in its highest possible form, uniting deep spirituality, a profound love for the rich traditions of Orthodox Christian singing, and an uncompromising standard of musical professionalism rooted in the great traditions of Russian choral composers. The 725-year-old Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God of the Sign is one of the most ancient icons of the Russian Orthodox Church. This holy relic is linked with many important events in Russian history: repelling the invasions of the Tatars, the liberation of the Russian nation from the Polish-Lithuanian incursion in 1612, and the victory over Napoleon during the Patriotic War of 1812. The 2019 PaTRAM Institute Recording Project was to record the sacred works of Alexander Gretchaninoff, but as the project was in development, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral), First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia, had granted his special permission and blessing to allow the 725-year-old wonderworking Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God of the Sign to travel with the PaTRAM Choir to the recording location in Saratov, Russia. The timing of the recording also coincided with the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God. In honour of this event, the repertoire was changed to a compendium of sacred masterpieces by various composers, glorifying the Most Holy Lady Theotokos. The album brings together singers from five countries, including an unprecedented nine octavists, to form the fifty-six-member international PaTRAM Institute Male Choir. © Chandos
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Classique - Paru le 30 juillet 2021 | Chandos

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Considered by some to be the "Cinderella" of his symphonies, the Sixth Symphony of Anton Bruckner was composed in 1879-1881. It may well demonstrate a reaction to the severe criticism of the first Viennese performance, in 1877, of his Third Symphony, which Eduard Hanslick described as "a vision of how Beethoven’s Ninth befriends Wagner’s Walküre and ends up being trampled under her horses’ hoofs". Much the shortest of his mature symphonies, the Sixth also reverts to a more classical form than its predecessors. This recording was made in 2012, during the first season of Juanjo Mena as Chief Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic, and just a month before their acclaimed performance of the work at the BBC Proms. Classical Source commented: "Mena didn’t miss a trick and the result for the whole symphony was a revelation, and you don’t get many of those. This was a thrilling, delightful performance". © Chandos

Classique - Paru le 2 juillet 2021 | Chandos

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Il y a quatre années paraissait chez Chandos un extraordinaire album de mélodies d’orchestre de Sibelius (« In the Stream of Life »), au sein duquel Edward Gardner accompagnait un très inspiré Gerald Finley, notamment dans l’habillage orchestral si poétique qu’Einojuhani Rautavaara (1928-2016) fit de sept mélodies avec piano du maître d’Ainola. Une révélation, qui laissait espérer d’autres voyages sibéliens sous la direction du prochain chef principal du London Philharmonic Orchestra. Voici un second volet. Le chef britannique entre rapidement dans le vif, et s’entoure d’une des jeunes cantatrices les plus suivies du moment, la Norvégienne Lise Davidsen. Les deux premières partitions du programme, Luonnotar (1913) et Tapiola (1926), demeurent deux des partitions les plus redoutables du compositeur. De l’ultime poème pour orchestre de Sibelius, Edward Gardner donne une version élancée, particulièrement soucieuse des équilibres orchestraux. L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Bergen y déploie volontiers aussi ses teintes sombres. Autre monde, Luonnotar est un poème symphonique en même temps qu’une mélodie avec orchestre : Sibelius y reprend la grande veine dramatique et panthéiste qu’il avait déployée auparavant dans Kullervo, mais avec une économie de moyens stupéfiante, des procédés d’écriture que l’on retrouvera encore dans l’évocation de la forêt finlandaise douze années plus tard (« Tapio-la », étymologiquement, veut dire « Lieu du Dieu de la forêt », ou plus simplement « la forêt », Tapio étant le Dieu de la forêt dans la mythologie finnoise) et surtout une écriture vocale très singulière, autre manière d’envisager le parlé-chanté. Luonnotar serait-il la réponse de Sibelius au « sprechgesang » de Schönberg ? Peut-être bien, et Edward Gardner, ici, n’hésite pas à accentuer le modernisme condensé, épuré, presque froid, sans affects de Sibelius. Un rien déstabilisée sans doute par cette partition dans laquelle elle ne peut se rattacher à aucun de ses réflexes wagnériens, Lise Davidsen peine un peu à faire rayonner la langue finnoise et les intervalles typiques de la ligne vocale. En revanche, la Norvégienne enchante absolument dans le trop bref morceau avec voix (V, De trenne blinda systra) de la musique de scène pour Pelléas et Mélisande, naturellement chanté en suédois. Tout au long de la suite, Edward Gardner déploie de fort belles teintes pastorales, comme toujours obscurcies par la perspective de la mort ultime (Prélude, Pastorale avant même La mort de Mélisande), impression qu’adoucira peu le merveilleux Rakastava, et davantage le plus romantique Chant de printemps (Op. 16). © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz
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Musique de chambre - Paru le 2 juillet 2021 | Chandos

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Classique - Paru le 2 juillet 2021 | Chandos

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For the third volume of his musical tribute to Russia, Barry Douglas has selected a range of love songs and dances by Tchaikovsky that span much of his composing life. From the early Romance, Op. 5 through to the two pieces from Op. 72, his last works for the piano, there is a uniform singing quality, each piece redolent with Tchaikovsky’s gift for melody. Although many of these are relatively short pieces, they are certainly more than "miniatures", conveying both breadth and depth of emotional substance. This volume’s "plus one" comes in the guise of Prokofiev and his virtuosic transcription of ten pieces from his best-known ballet, Romeo and Juliet. Vividly capturing the colour of scenes and characters with the relatively limited palette of the solo piano (compared to the full orchestra) is in itself an outstanding achievement, and Barry Douglas’s fearless interpretation dazzles from start to finish. © Chandos
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Musique de chambre - Paru le 4 juin 2021 | Chandos

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The set of 6 Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin is widely regarded as one of the summits of Bach’s output as a composer, and of the entire repertoire for the violin. With this new album the Brodsky Quartet give us the opportunity to hear some of this legendary music in an entirely new way, in these world-première recordings of Paul Cassidy’s arrangements for string quartet of the three solo sonatas. Writing about this project, Paul notes: "My daily practice invariably involves spending some time with Bach’s Sei Solo a Violino senza Basso accompagnato. I am a devout being and these are my bible. As in the case of all "holy" books, the six Solos open themselves to an infinite variety of interpretations, but whatever your approach, these miraculous pieces are endlessly cleansing and enriching for the body and soul, a balm for the spirit. Their challenging pages abound with multi-faceted characters whose succinct purity is a wonder to behold. They can move imperceptibly from being uplifting and euphoric one minute to heart-breaking and tragic the next". © Chandos
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Classique - Paru le 4 juin 2021 | Chandos

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Avec son visuel vulgaire représentant une méchante caricature d’un Dutilleux ébouriffé et méconnaissable, voilà un album qui aurait sans doute fortement déplu à Henri Dutilleux dont on connaissait la discrétion et la pudeur. Le contenu de cet album l’aurait également interloqué par le voisinage d’une de ses premières partitions pour orchestre, son ballet Le Loup, avec les orchestrations par le compositeur britannique Kenneth Hesketh de trois œuvres de jeunesse dont il répugnait à parler. Écrit en 1953 peu de temps après la création de sa Première Symphonie, Le Loup repose sur un argument de Jean Anouilh et Georges Neveux, dans une chorégraphie de Roland Petit. C’est une sorte de conte cruel mimé et dansé pour lequel Dutilleux compose une musique tonale avec l’emploi fugitif du triton (utilisant le fameux intervalle maléfique de quarte augmentée heurtant l’oreille et affublé de ce fait du surnom de « Diabolus in musica » depuis les temps les plus reculés) et de quelques dissonances voulues qui suivent le cours du récit. Dutilleux, dont le travail était généralement très lent, devait respecter un délai très court pour l’écriture de ce ballet composé en à peine trois semaines. Méprisé par son auteur qui en a toujours interdit l’exécution en concert, la partition joue le jeu d’un certain classicisme ne se privant pas des influences de Ravel, ni, surtout, de celle d’Albert Roussel. N’en déplaise à son auteur, ce ballet au demeurant fort bien troussé et remarquablement joué ici, constitue pourtant un des jalons essentiels des recherches d’un compositeur à la recherche de son propre langage. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Musique de chambre - Paru le 28 mai 2021 | Chandos

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Hailed by "The Times" for its "exhilarating performances", the Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective was dreamed up in 2017 by Tom Poster and Elena Urioste. The Collective operates with a flexible roster which features many of today’s most inspirational musicians, both instrumentalists and singers, and its creative programming is marked by an ardent commitment to celebrating diversity of all forms and a desire to unearth lesser-known gems of the repertoire. This ethos is clear in their repertoire selection for this their début recording. The Piano Quintet is one of Amy Beach’s better-known works, which the KCC collectively fell in love with during a residency at the Cheltenham festival. Composed in 1907, the work reflects the strong influence of the music of Brahms. Florence Price famously claimied to face "two handicaps – those of sex and race", and much of her music remained unpublished at the time of her death. Additionally, a significant quantity of her manuscripts had disappeared without trace. It was not until 2009 that a cache of them (including two lost symphonies) was discovered by property developers in the attic of an abandoned house in Illinois – including the score for the Piano Quintet in A minor that receives its world première recording here. Although characteristically conservative in its late-romantic idiom, the piece celebrates Price’s African-American heritage with echoes of spirituals and hymns, and the popular juba stomping dance rooted in the slave plantations of the Deep South. Between these two Piano Quintets sits Samuel Barber’s early Dover Beach, a setting of Matthew Arnold’s famous poem that has remained one of the best-known works in the voice-and-quartet repertoire. © Chandos
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Classique - Paru le 30 avril 2021 | Chandos

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Described by BBC Music Magazine as "A worthy successor to Julian Bream", the Australian-born guitarist Craig Ogden is one of the most exciting artists of his generation. He studied guitar from the age of seven and in 2004 became the youngest instrumentalist to receive a Fellowship Award from the Royal Northern College of Music. He has performed concertos with many of the world’s leading orchestras and numerous composers have written works specially for him. Despite a diverse and extensive discography, Craig Ogden had never made an album based on his regular recital repertoire. This latest album consists of pieces he regularly plays in concert and includes a wide variety of music, spanning three centuries. Offering both transcriptions and original works, it is all music that he loves to play, and a programme that reflects the wonderful diversity within the repertoire of the modern classical guitar. © Chandos
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Classique - Paru le 7 mai 2021 | Chandos

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Described as "easily the classiest brass ensemble in Britain" by BBC Music Magazine, Onyx Brass continues to be the leading light in establishing the brass quintet as a medium for serious chamber music, presenting it in the entertaining and articulate style that has become the group’s trademark. For this, its third recording for Chandos, Onyx Brass presents a programme steeped in the German romantic tradition. Arrangements for small ensemble of works by Schumann, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Rubinstein, and Franz demonstrate the musicality and virtuosity of the group, as well as a wide expressive and textural range. The programme opens and closes with three large-scale works by Richard Strauss, in which the Quintet is joined by a host of brass players and the conductor John Wilson. Festmusik der Stadt Wien for brass and timpani, written for the city of Vienna, is the only original composition: all the others are arrangements made by members of the group. This is an exciting album for brass music enthusiasts and fans of chamber music alike. © Chandos
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Classique - Paru le 30 avril 2021 | Chandos

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Classique - Paru le 2 avril 2021 | Chandos

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On avait littéralement adoré son premier récital Chandos, merveille de lyrisme et de sensibilité ("Lines Written During a Sleeplesss Night"), où elle s’immergeait avec délice dans des mélodies de Rachmaninov, Sibelius, Tchaikovski et Medtner notamment : sa voix presque élastique, son ambitus large, son timbre ambré exprimaient naturellement les teintes crépusculaires des harmonies russes et scandinaves. Dans ce second récital, Louise Alder voyage en France, toujours aux côtés de l’excellent Joseph Middleton, et propose un programme varié, centré principalement sur le XXe siècle, avec une petite incursion en plein XIXe siècle romantique, avec trois mélodies de Pauline Viardot – un monde dont l’ambiguïté esthétique, entre romantisme exubérant et intimité du salon, convient parfaitement à son soprano généreux (Haï luli!, VWV 1106). Son timbre naturellement charnu et aéré lui permet aussi d’ouvrir naturellement en grand les espaces du triptyque Shéhérazade de Maurice Ravel, dont on se demande quelle est cette manie contemporaine de jouer la version avec piano : heureusement, l’élégance coloriste de Joseph Middleton et l’art de dire le texte de la chanteuse (intelligibilité presque parfaite), et simplement de phraser, combleront la frustration de ne pas entendre la version originale. Louise Alder rappelle presque ici son illustre aînée Heather Harper, mémorable dans ce cycle. Trois somptueuses mélodies de jeunesse, un rien décadentes, d’Olivier Messiaen feront le lien plus délicat avec l’univers de Debussy. Plus tard, quelques (re)découvertes, avec trois mélodies de Cécile Chaminade et Chère Nuit, d’Alfred Bachelet, compositeur rarement défendu ! Louise Alder ne se déboutonnera pas assez dans les Poulenc et les Satie, elle se heurte même à la beauté naturelle de sa voix (La Diva de l’Empire), qui l’empêche de varier les actions, et les intentions expressives. Mais enfin, une telle voix doit être chérie, et la musicienne remerciée. À quand un album italien ou espagnol ? © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz
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Musique de chambre - Paru le 2 avril 2021 | Chandos

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The Orsino Ensemble was formed with the intention of exploring lesser-known wind repertory, and that's exactly what the group does here. With the exception of the three small pieces by Debussy and perhaps the Flute Concertino in D major, Op. 107, of Cécile Chaminade, a virtuoso work that still bedevils conservatory students, the pieces here are all but unknown, and many are charming. The music exists at the juncture of expanding instrument technology and a Conservatoire in Paris that was ready to exploit it; some of it was connected to a society for modern wind instruments in Paris, where one might easily imagine this varied program having been played. The pieces range from a flute solo, Debussy's Syrinx (which makes an arresting ending), to the full winds-and-piano sextet, with pianist Pavel Kolesnikov, in Albert Roussel's opening Divertissement, Op. 6. Along the way are pieces ranging from conservative (Saint-Saëns) to the radical (Debussy) but what strikes one in this context is how much the pieces fit together as part of a single tradition. There are some real finds, such as the languorous second of Charles Koechlin's Deux Nocturnes, Op. 32bis ("Dans le forêt"), and the slow movement of André Caplet's Quintet, Op. 8, whose finale also sounds like Ravel must have heard it. The church acoustic of Henry Wood Hall is a bit too roomy for this chamber music, but everything's clear. A superior chamber music release filled with music that listeners will be very happy to know better. © TiVo
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Musique de chambre - Paru le 2 avril 2021 | Chandos

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French Works for Flute is the Chandos début of Adam Walker, ably accompanied by James Baillieu. The pair is joined by the violist Timothy Ridout in Duruflé’s Prélude, récitatif et variations. At the forefront of a new generation of wind soloists, Adam Walker was appointed principal flute of the London Symphony Orchestra in 2009 at the age of twenty-one. Built around three major works (Widor’s Suite, Jean-Pierre Rampal’s edition of Franck’s Violin Sonata, and Duruflé’s flute trio), the programme proves an excellent showcase for Walker’s prodigious talent – effortless virtuosity, ethereal sound, and above all outstanding musical expression. © Chandos
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Classique - Paru le 5 mars 2021 | Chandos

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Well into his eighties when these recordings were made in 2018 and 2019, Neeme Järvi has been recording exactly what he wants to, and hearers are the richer for it. They can hardly go wrong with any of his recordings of 19th century French music, a repertory he may know better than anyone else alive. Consider the theater music -- overtures, incidental music, and operatic interludes -- on the present collection, released in 2021; few of them have been heard anywhere for decades, and the music sparkles from beginning to end. Try the overture to Boieldieu's Le calife de Bagdad (1800), with its "Eastern" percussion and melodies that amply justify the composer's "French Mozart" nickname. The highlight may be the tremendously elegant dances from Léo Delibes' Le roi s'amuse, neoclassic pieces before there was such a thing. The program is rounded out by instrumental pieces from Massenet's 1908 ballet Espada, which has a Spanish setting complete with a Boléro and a Toreadors' March. Here, one might wish for a bit more zip, but one can hardly help admiring the delicate pitch of refinement Järvi maintains throughout the program. Chandos' engineering work in the Estonia Concert Hall in Tallinn has crystalline transparency and is entirely in sync with Järvi's aims on this delightful release. © TiVo
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Classique - Paru le 5 mars 2021 | Chandos

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Even a quarter-century ago, Haydn's piano sonatas were, except for a few of the large, Beethovenian works from the end of his life, rarely played. That's changed in a big way, but even among the crowd of recent recordings, those of Jean-Efflam Bavouzet have stood out. With this release, he reaches volume nine, and the virtues of his set are especially clear. The program this time around does not include any of those big late sonatas. The latest works included date from the early 1780s, but that's the great virtue of Bavouzet's set: he finds the humor and ingenuity in almost every Haydn sonata. Consider the central movement of the Piano Sonata in A major, Hob. 16/26, marked "Minuetto al rovesico," or minuet in reverse, where the theme is treated palindromically; Bavouzet pitches this unexpected development with just the right level of humor. In general, his approach is light, with even the more melancholy slow movement seeming to have a wink and a nod when things threaten to get too dark. He brings his trademark cleanness to even the Sturm und Drang sonatas of the 1770s, Hob. 16/26 and Hob. 16/29. He also finds just as much cleverness in the Keyboard Sonata No. 2 in C major, Hob. 16/7, probably one of the first mature pieces Haydn composed, as in later works; indeed, it has probably never sounded quite so characteristic of its composer. Bavouzet fools with the musical text a bit, adorning repeats and holding some of the codas for the second repeat, but he makes a strong case for these moves. His Yamaha piano in the acoustically perfect space of Suffolk's Potton Hall is an engineering work of art in itself and contributes greatly to the success of this major Haydn release. © TiVo
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Musique de chambre - Paru le 5 mars 2021 | Chandos

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"Il Cannone" ("The Cannon") was Paganini's favorite violin, willed by him to the city of Genoa, where, after some initial machinations, it has resided ever since. It has its own conservator, who contributes an interesting booklet note to the present release, but the main attraction is the instrument itself, which combines a warm lower register, purring in quieter passages, with a slashing top. Few violinists have been allowed to perform or record on the instrument, and those that have are not necessarily big names but those that have engaged with Paganini in some way, such as Francesca Dego, heard here. She offers a program that is mostly not Paganini but rather Paganiniana, as violinist Salvatore Accardo put in on a similar release some years ago. This is desirable, for it is difficult from the perspective of today to appreciate the stature Paganini had across Europe for decades after his death and even into the 20th century. Dego's selections range as far forward as John Corigliano's The Red Violin, which stands in a very long tradition. She had little time to familiarize herself with the considerable peculiarities of "Il Cannone," but you'd hardly know it from her performances, which bring tightly focused tones at the very top and effusive lyricism in melodic passages. The flair she brings to the contemporary pieces by Corigliano, Alfred Schnittke, and Carlo Boccadoro results in a varied program that does not hit one over the head with sheer virtuosity -- less necessary since plenty of violinists can handle Paganini these days -- but rather explores Paganini's legacy in a broader way. A must for violin buffs, this release is enjoyable for anyone intrigued by the Genoese master. © TiVo
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Classique - Paru le 5 mars 2021 | Chandos

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Musical representations of animals may be as old as music itself, but there are not many song recitals in the genre. This one by bass-baritone Ashley Riches and the reliably good accompanist Joseph Middleton is delightful on many levels and certainly sets a new standard. The album would be ideal for afternoon lectures introducing audiences to art song repertory, and such vivid tunes as Strauss' Die Drossel (The Thrush) will be accessible even to children. However, that song is an example of Riches' tendency to choose songs with some kind of deeper meaning. Strauss's thrush is "caged" musically, just like the one in the poem he sets, and there are a few grimly serious songs like John Ireland's reworking of the folk song The Three Ravens. Things shake back out to fun in the end, though, with a large set of tiny settings of Ogden Nash poems about animals by composer and pop songwriter Vernon Duke, none more than a minute long and many much shorter. These may be the highlight simply because they're not well known, and they demonstrate Riches' considerable versatility: not only does he sing in four different languages, he delivers a competent American accent in these songs, which need it. The whole production keeps you wanting to hear the next song, and superb Potton Hall sound is another plus. A rare example of a song recital that will appeal to virtually everyone. © TiVo
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Classique - Paru le 5 février 2021 | Chandos

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The pieces on this release by the Sinfonia of London and conductor John Wilson all date from the 1930s, except for the Lament of Frank Bridge, and even that fits with the other works to a remarkable degree. Partly this is because Britten and Bridge were student and teacher, and Britten's Variations on a Theme by Frank Bridge, Op. 10, were explicitly meant as a tribute. That work has a detailed program, but even without knowing that, the listener will respond strongly to a fine performance, and this is one of the finest on record. The work is a virtuoso essay in neoclassicism, with the links of the variations to the main theme often subtle or allusive rather than direct. The Variations have a brash sequence of brilliant instrumental effects from the young Britten, and it is this edge that Wilson captures that sets this performance apart from others. The three subsequent works on the program are less well known, but they all have beauty and power. The unease of war hangs over them, not only Bridge's World War I lament but also the Serenade for string orchestra of Lennox Berkeley, which seems to lose confidence as it proceeds, as it were, in an uncanny way. The Music for Strings of Arthur Bliss, from 1935, contains a gorgeous slow movement that fully justifies the composer's description of the music as romantic. Wilson's readings are extraordinary throughout, heated but controlled magnificently, and one is left with the impression that to participate in this session in January of 2020 would have been an absolute joy. About the only complaint is that Chandos overdoes it with the church sound; it doesn't match the venues for which this music was intended, and the detail in Wilson's readings doesn't need the boost, but this is a truly absorbing album of 20th century British music. © TiVo

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