Albums

2855 albums sorted by Date: from newest to oldest
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Concertos - Released September 10, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc de Classica - Special Soundchecks - Hi-Res Audio
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Solo Piano - Released May 25, 2018 | Le Palais des Dégustateurs

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica
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Quartets - Released April 20, 2018 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica
On the occasion of the bicentenary of Charles Gounod’s birth, this first complete string quartet (including two unpublished ones) on period instruments reveals an unknown part of his production, dominated by vocal music. Composer of the very end of the 19th century, Gounod and his five quartets are the worthy heir of the Viennese classicism tradition. The lyrical accents of the Quartet in G minor or the airy lightness of the Scherzo of the Petit Quatuor evoke nothing less than the names of Schubert and Mendelssohn. The musicians of the Quatuor Cambini-Paris (Julien Chauvin, Karine Crocquenoy, Pierre-Éric Nimylowycz and Atsushi Sakaï) gracefully reproduce these pages, full of gravity and sweetness. © Aparté/Little Tribeca
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Duets - Released March 16, 2018 | Le Palais des Dégustateurs

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica
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Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released March 16, 2018 | Deutsche Grammophon Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de Classica
Mass by Bernstein, first performed in 1971, defies classification. It is not really a mass in the strict sense, but more of a kind of deconstruction of a traditional mass; after all, the full title is MASS: A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players, and Dancers and the theme resembles a divine service which turns sour before finally discovering universal peace. At the outset, the world seems to be at one, but then "street musicians" begin questioning the need for, or even the very existence of, a god. Cacophony reigns until the cataclysmic elevation of the host, when finally peace breaks out, when the Celebrant brings everyone together around the holy spirit, before intoning a final "go in peace". Bernstein's score brings together all the myriad elements of 20th century music: jazz, blues, rock, Broadway, expressionism, dodecaphonism, modernism with a hint of Britten, street music, fanfares, classical song mixed with rock and jazz voices and Gospel recitations: a veritable Tower of Babel which is hard even to list in a single breath. But Yannick Nézet-Séguin can be trusted to knit all these disparate elements together. Note also that this is a live concert recording, with a breathtaking spatial distribution. Putting history aside, the FBI – never one to miss out on a chance to look ridiculous – decided that Mass was pacifist, anti-establishment propaganda and begged Nixon to boycott its opening night. After all, the work had been commissioned by Jackie Kennedy for the inauguration of the Washington Kennedy Center for the Arts, when America was in the middle of its Vietnamese quagmire...© SM/Qobuz
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Symphonic Music - Released March 2, 2018 | Profil

Distinctions 5 étoiles de Classica
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Keyboard Concertos - Released February 23, 2018 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - 4 étoiles de Classica
For his first album with Sony Classical, Adam Laloum returns to one of his favourite composers. He distinguished himself with his first recording in 2011, for Mirare, which contained four of the composer's major works: Variations on an original theme Op. 21 No. 1, the wonderful and too-little-played Klavierstücke from Op. 76, the two Rhapsodies Op. 79 and the 3 Intermezzi Op. 117. And so it is hardly a surprise that today he is offering up his vision of Brahms's Concertos. Sony Classical has marshalled its formidable resources: one of the best orchestras in Germany, the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin; and one of the young wolves of orchestral conducting from Asia (but already well-known in Europe - witness his many collaborations with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande for Pentatone) join them twice, once in August, then in October 2016, in the Radio Berlin Großer Sendesaal, for sessions which must have been a childhood dream come true for the young Frenchman. An amazing experience! © 2018 Théodore Grantet/Qobuz
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Opera Extracts - Released February 23, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Diamant d'Opéra Magazine - Choc de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
With his ensemble Pygmalion, Raphaël Pichon has written the listing for this album in the form of a "pastiche" of a Mass for the Dead, a Requiem both sacred and profane. While it is a long way from having all the defining traits, it does possess all the outlines: Introit, Kyrie, Gradual, Sequence, Offertory, In Paradisum... The idea came about after a recent discovery, in the Bibliothèque Nationale of an anonymous requiem mass from the 18th century, in which the writer constructed a "parody" based on musical extracts from Castor and Pollux and the Fêtes de Paphos by Jean-Philippe Rameau. Note that the term "parody" doesn't necessarily imply satire or mockery: it refers to the practice of taking up older music and setting new words to it. This fusion of sacred music (the mass) and profane music (lyrical tragedy), a common practice during the Enlightenment, was a procedure that Pichon wanted to take up. In French society at the time, when Catholicism was the norm, where the political system was monarchical rule by divine right, the representation of ancient pagan Hell on theatrical stages seemed to betray a fascination in the beliefs of the ancients. And so this programme melds together pagan fable with a Christian imaginary, where Hell takes on different faces. It is the place of unjust and eternal torment, a place of privation where a couple is separated, one half kept in Hades. But, in the lyrical tragedy, Hell is also a place of perdition: obscure forces unleashed in Sabbath rites, a Satanic vision which unearths the darkest depths of the human soul... Stéphane Degout is the author of this tragedy, bringing together such varied characters as Phaedra, Pluto, and the Parcae. The composers whose music is put to use are Rameau and Gluck, with a single borrowing from Rebel: it would have been a shame not to mention his singular Chaos (taken from Éléments), which starts with a dissonant chord containing the seven notes of the scale of D minor. © SM/Qobuz
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Quartets - Released February 23, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice - 5 étoiles de Classica
The Elias Quartet has already recorded a complete cycle of Beethoven quartets at Wigmore Hall that was extremely well received by the critics. Now Sara Bitlloch, Donald Grant, Martin Saving and Marie Bitlloch present on Alpha an album devoted to Schumann: "We have always had a special affection for Robert Schumann’s Third Quartet. It’s one of the first works we played together. Since then we have often come back to it, as if to a splendid and familiar region that we think we know thoroughly, but which yields up new secrets with each visit. The Second Quartet, on the other hand, was a much later and more complicated discovery for us. The writing is so personal, so unidiomatic for the instruments, so full of nuances, that to begin with we found it hard to come up with a unanimous voice for this work. The enthusiasm of the first movement can easily turn into anxiety if you push it a bit too far. In the slow movement, the texture is sometimes so bare that to convey its tenderness you have to sustain it with great fervour. The capricious Scherzo is bristling with rhythmic pitfalls and requires a diabolical mastery of the instruments, while the Finale is an endless explosion of joy!". © Alpha Classics
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Duets - Released February 23, 2018 | Indésens

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 étoiles de Classica
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Quartets - Released February 16, 2018 | Calliope

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 étoiles de Classica
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Chamber Music - Released February 9, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 étoiles de Classica
It was for the occasion of the Covent Garden premiere of his oratorio Joshua in 1748, that Handel composed – or rather arranged – the first of his three Concerti a due cori (« Cori » does not mean here a vocal group, but two instrumental groups – two oboes, two horns, and one bassoon each, a total of ten soloists – answering to each other on the playing grounds provided by the strings), namely the HWV 332. At that time, it was customary to lighten up performances of the largest compositions, especially oratorios, with a sprinkling of instrumental pieces. But as Handel was a busy man and a businessman, and producing so much music so fast was no easy feat. This accounts for the fact that so many of his instrumental pieces are in fact recyclings – transcriptions, reorchestrations, transcriptions, according to what was available and requested – of earlier works, mostly his own, sometimes that of fellow composers – who would not necessarily be informed of the pillage. In the case of Concerto a due cori No. 1, Handel plundered a handful of his own operas and oratorios. The second of Handel's Concerti a due cori, HWV 333, written around the beginning of 1747, was premiered at Covent Garden in 1748 as part of a huge musical banquet, the main course of which was the brand new oratorio Alexander Balus. Here, the composer drew from some of his own English oratorios: Esther and Messiah, the latter still quite unknown. The wind groups take over melodic lines given to singers in the original choral versions of the adapted music. The third Concerto, HWV 334, contains mostly brand new music – yes! – even though the first movement is reworked in part from Handel's so-called Fitzwilliam Overture, for two clarinets and horn, while the concluding Allegro, with its brilliant and difficult horn writing, is a rewrite of a hunting aria from his own opera Partenope. For this recording, the Freiburger Barockorchester has added a twist: each soloist group is accompanied by its own string ensemble, thus creating a higly energetic stereo effect. One orchestra is conducted (from the violin) by Gottfried von der Goltz, the other – also from the Konzertmeister position – by Petra Müllejans. © SM/Qobuz
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Solo Piano - Released February 9, 2018 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Record of the Month - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica
Oh no, no, no: this is absolutely not a re-release of one of the many recordings which Murray Perahia made of Beethoven over the decades. This here is something completely new, made in 2016 and 2017, of two radically contrasting sonatas: the Fourteenth of 1801, which Rellstab nicknamed "Clair de lune" in 1832, while Beethoven merely dubbed it Quasi una fantasia, and the Twenty Ninth of 1819, Große Sonate für das Hammerklavier, written after several barren years. Perhaps, consciously or not, Perahia has coupled two works, one "before" and the other "after" - after all, he himself has known his fair share of fallow years, following a hand injury which removed him from the stage from 1990 to 2005. Whether or not it's true, it's certainly tempting to imagine. Either way, like Beethoven, Perahia made a storming return, as shown in this recent performance, in which vigour alternates with moments of intense introspection, always impeccably phrased and articulated, and deeply musical. Clearly all those years in which he concentrated almost exclusively on the works of Bach as a training regime while he waited for recovery seem to have in fact been immensely fruitful. © SM/Qobuz
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Full Operas - Released February 9, 2018 | Cypres

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica
Nineteen musicians in the pit, three on stage; resolutely tonal music in a straight line of succession running from Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Martinů, Weill; French lyrics more declaimed than sung - by, happily, Francophone singer-actors led by Stéphane Degout, Vincent Le Texier, Yann Beuron and Chloé Briot: this is the framework that Philippe Boesmans chose for his latest opera Pinocchio, recorded live at La Monnaie in Brussels. The script is the work of Joël Pommerat, and it aims for an hour and fifteen of the quasi-melodrama based on the style which was in vogue in the 19th century in which to showcase the baffling musical richness of Collodi's work: and with immense success, it must be said. Pommerat is not necessarily looking to write a purely lyrical Pinocchio, but rather to develop an opera within an opera, using Brecht's favoured method of defamiliarisation, a sort of play-within-a-play, where "real" events alternate with narrative description of what's happening or about to happen. This is, without a shadow of a doubt, a major work for the contemporary scene, a worthy 21st-century successor to the Magic Flute and its fantasy world, immersive, and full of illusions, prisms and invitations to new readings: in short, a masterpiece. And it can hardly come as a surprise that the subject hasn't drawn the attention of more composers since it first appeared in 1881, as only cinema and television have really taken it seriously (and Disneyesque animations, heaping on the sugar), with the exception of Jonathan Dove's unique 2007 work, The Adventures of Pinocchio © SM/Qobuz
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Solo Piano - Released February 2, 2018 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica
Like Stein’s fortepianos, the copy of a Walter and sons (a Viennese fortepiano once owned by Mozart) played here by Maxim Emelyanychev is equipped with a knee lever, the ancestor of the damper pedal. No doubt Mozart was inspired by the timbres, the dynamic and harmonic possibilities of this new instrument: the Fantasia in C minor that starts off this album highlights this orchestral − almost operatic − range, and in its profusion of themes, it express the most prominent contrasts, reaching great expressive density. The same accents can be found in Piano Sonata No. 14 in C minor, K. 457, while the Piano Sonata No. 16 in C major, K. 545 offers a dramatic respite. This “small sonata for beginners” was composed in 1788, preceding the “Jupiter” Symphony, also in C major: a beautiful gem, coming just before his monumental work. Its innocent melody revives childhood memories of the first piano lessons. Finally, the Piano Sonata No. 18 in D major, K. 576 was created as the first part in a cycle: “Six easy piano sonatas for Princess Friederike”. Composed in 1789, and in fact considered to be of great difficulty, it was Mozart’s last sonata. Anton Walter, the piano maker, started making a name for himself in Vienna in 1778. Like most inventors, he never stopped experimenting: while other workshops produced pianos at scale, Walter kept looking for “his ideal”; each instrument differed from the previous one in numerous details and ever-bolder additions. In total, he built around seven hundred instruments; here, Emelyanychev plays on a copy made by Paul McNulty, a great specialist of fortepianos and ancient pianos, with experience in manufacturing close to two hundred copies of instruments from Stein, Walter, Hofman, Graf and Pleyel. © SM/Qobuz