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World - Released January 19, 2015 | harmonia mundi

Distinctions Choc de l'année du Monde de la Musique
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Secular Vocal Music - Released March 24, 2014 | naïve classique

Distinctions Choc de l'année du Monde de la Musique - Cannes Classical Music Award
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Classical - Released August 28, 2008 | Zig-Zag Territoires

Hi-Res Booklets Distinctions Choc de l'année du Monde de la Musique - Choc du Monde de la Musique - 10 de Classica-Répertoire
Director and violinist Amandine Beyer acknowledges in her booklet notes for this disc that the world may not seem to need another recording of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, but then she tops the bar she has set up by delivering an entirely distinctive reading of the work. Her version, with the Italian historical-instrument group Gli Incogniti (who are not quite as unknown as all that), is as strikingly revisionist as the various turbo-powered, operatic Vivaldi recordings that began coming out of Italy in the 1990s, but it is different in flavor. In her own words, Beyer seeks "lightweight forces and freedom of phrasing." The group is small, with microphones put down right in the middle, and you hear lots of internal lines and interplay rather than contrast between orchestra and soloist. The overall feel is light and agile; Beyer doesn't so much push the tempo (although there's a little of that) as imbue the solo lines with maximum variety, creating a fantasy-like feel. That works quite well with the Four Seasons concertos, which are rendered in a colorful enough way that they evoke many of the images in Vivaldi's accompanying printed sonnets (which would have been a profitable inclusion in the booklet). There are, however, enough startling choices, like the heavily plucked and much-faster-than-Largo central movement of the "Winter" concerto (track 18), that the disc may be more to the tastes of the adventurous than otherwise; sample extensively and decide. The Four Seasons are balanced with other concertos that are quite rare, two of them world premieres. One and possibly more of these works were written for Vivaldi's orchestra of illegitimate girls at the Ospedale della Pietà, and indeed the entire disc is easy to imagine in performance by that presumably small group. The Violin Concerto in B flat major, RV 372, "Per Signora Chiara," and Violin Concerto in B minor, RV 390, are late works that contribute anew to the understanding of how much Vivaldi contributed to the forerunners of Classicism. It may be a bit far out, but this is a fresh Vivaldi disc in every way. © TiVo
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Classical - Released May 15, 2008 | Mirare

Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc de l'année du Monde de la Musique - Choc du Monde de la Musique - 10 de Classica-Répertoire - Exceptional Sound Recording
Viol player Philippe Pierlot, a veteran of Jordi Savall's Hesperion XX, has also built a rich catalog of recordings on his own, and this 2008 disc coupling François Couperin's Pièces de Violes is another outstanding addition. Performing with violist Emmanuel Balssa, guitarist Eduardo Egüez, and harpsichordist Pierre Hantaï, Pierlot turns in readings that are thoughtful and playful, sorrowful and joyful, depending on the needs of the music. As befits his pedigree, Pierlot has a warm tone, a virtuoso technique, and a flexible sense of rhythm. Though his leadership is subtle, it is no less palpable, and the group's ensemble is tight but relaxed with an emphasis on beauty of tone and depth of interpretation over flash playing and emotional display. This approach suits Couperin's Pièces, which range from the dour to the delighted, but without ever stepping over the line into bathos or pathos. Recorded in close but evocative sound that puts the listener in the same room with the players (rather than close but cool sound that puts the players in the same room as the listener), this disc should be heard by anyone who enjoys the repertoire, the period, the instrument, or the players. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2008 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc de l'année du Monde de la Musique - Choc du Monde de la Musique - Hi-Res Audio
Another winner in Jean-Efflam Bavouzet's survey of Debussy's complete piano music for Chandos, Vol. 3 brings together sentimental favorites and nearly unknown works. On the one hand, there are Clair de Lune, Réverie, and Children's Corner, on the other, the extremely early (the composer was 18) Danse bohémienne and the extremely late (the composer died three years afterwards) Élégie. Perhaps surprisingly to those who recall his brilliantly austere Images from Vol. 1 and his blazingly virtuosic Préludes from Vol. 2, Bavouzet's interpretations of the sentimental favorites are lush-toned and warmhearted, with wonderfully sustained legato and tastefully discrete use of the sustaining pedal. Unsurprisingly, however, Bavouzet is totally under the skin of Debussy's music. His Children's Corner balances wry wit with deep affection, and his La plus que lente waltz balances dry irony and profound emotion. Though there are certainly other great recordings of Debussy's piano music from Gieseking through Rogé, Bavouzet's recordings surely belong in that company. Chandos' piano sound is rich and ringing, with plenty of detail and amazing presence. © TiVo
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Classical - Released November 5, 2007 | Warner Classics

Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Choc de l'année du Monde de la Musique - Choc du Monde de la Musique - Diapason d'or / Arte
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Classical - Released May 1, 2007 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de l'année du Monde de la Musique - Choc du Monde de la Musique - Hi-Res Audio
Brilliantly played, charismatically interpreted, and superbly recorded, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet's disc coupling both Debussy's Books of Préludes has everything going for it. The last discovery of Georg Solti and protégé Pierre Boulez, Bavouzet has a huge technique, a variegated tone, and a commanding personality, and he plays these super virtuoso works without missing a note. Some might miss the poetry of Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir or the sensuality of La fille aux cheveux de lin, or the mystery of Canope or the whimsy of Hommage à S. Pickwick, Esq. P.P.M.P.C., but no one could complain that Ce qu'a vu le vent d'Ouest isn't breathtaking, La cathédrale engloutie isn't awe-inspiring, Les fées sont d'exquises danseuses isn't enchanting, and Feux d'artifice isn't intoxicating. With the encore of Les soirs illuminés par l'ardeur du charbon -- an ephemeral yet effecting work Debussy wrote for the charcoal dealer who kept him warm in frigid winter of 1916-1917 that came to light only in 2001 -- Bavouzet's disc becomes a necessary addition to any Debussy collection aspiring to completeness. Recorded in 2006 by Ralph Couzens in Potton Hall in Dunwich, Suffolk, using a Steinway Model D owned by S.E. Foster, these performances sound fresh and sonorous. © TiVo
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Concertos - Released January 10, 2006 | harmonia mundi

Distinctions Choc de l'année du Monde de la Musique
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Classical - Released January 1, 2006 | Alpha

Distinctions Choc de l'année du Monde de la Musique - Choc du Monde de la Musique
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Classical - Released January 1, 2004 | Alpha

Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc de l'année du Monde de la Musique - Choc du Monde de la Musique
Let's just admit it: Skip Sempé is one of the greatest harpsichordists in the world. His technique is staggering. His intelligence is stunning. His tone is commanding. His interpretations are compelling. His instincts are unerring. His intensity is unrelenting. In his many recordings for the Deutsche Harmonia Mundi and Astree labels, the New Orleans-born Sempé has demonstrated that he is the heir as well as the student of Gustav Leonhardt. In this 2004 Alpha recording, Sempé performs a program of six suites plus a Pavanne by Louis Couperin. The music is noble, playful, mournful, sometimes suggestive, sometimes savage, and always virtuosic. Sempé gets it, all of it, and plays it with everything he's got. Although there have been notable recordings of Louis Couperin's harpsichord music in the past -- notably Davitt Moroney's magnificent, complete Pieces de Clavecin -- one has to go back to Leonhardt's magisterial 1968 and 1980 recordings to hear Couperin played with this kind of conviction and inner compulsion. Alpha's sound is completely translucent and absolutely real. © TiVo
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Classical - Released November 28, 2003 | L'empreinte digitale

Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de l'année du Monde de la Musique - 9 de Répertoire
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Classical - Released January 1, 2003 | Alpha

Distinctions Choc de l'année du Monde de la Musique - Choc du Monde de la Musique - 10 de Répertoire - Recommandé par Classica - Joker de Crescendo
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Chamber Music - Released May 1, 2002 | Mirare

Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc de l'année du Monde de la Musique - Choc du Monde de la Musique - Recommandé par Classica - 4F de Télérama - Joker de Crescendo - The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Solo Piano - Released January 1, 2002 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Diapason d'or - Choc de l'année du Monde de la Musique - Choc du Monde de la Musique - 3F de Télérama - 10 de Classica-Répertoire - Grand Prix de l'Académie Charles Cros
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Classical - Released January 1, 2002 | Alia Vox

Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de l'année du Monde de la Musique - Choc du Monde de la Musique - 10 de Répertoire
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Classical - Released January 1, 2001 | Alpha

Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Diapason d'or - Choc de l'année du Monde de la Musique - Choc du Monde de la Musique
Here is a package that satisfies intellectual curiosity and is musically delightful. This two-disc set begins with a precise, but still musical, harpsichord performance of Bach's Goldberg Variations by Céline Frisch. Her Aria is clean, with both the melody and the bass line countermelody clear and phrased so that everything comes together well. Her ornaments fit naturally into the melodies throughout the variations, without drawing attention away from the tune, and she always has a sense of direction and forward momentum. The second disc contains the 14 canons on the first eight notes of the bass of the Aria from the Goldberg Variations and the two songs that are contained in the quodlibet near the end of the Variations. The canons are rich and warm performed by Café Zimmermann, a string sextet that includes a double bass, with excellent contrasts in the feel of each canon. The song Cabbages and Turnips Have Driven Me Away is the highlight of the two discs. Period instruments accompany Dominique Visse as he sings about a hunter bringing a girl home to meet his mother. Visse switches from a jolly, idiomatic tenor voice for the hunter to a smooth alto for the girl, and a slightly grating alto for the mother, often in mid-verse. The humor he and the musicians put into the song will produce a smile, and perhaps actual laughter from those who follow the lyrics included in the notes. The second song, Ich bin so lang nicht bei dir gewest, is a dance that begins with a slow, improvisatory violin solo over a hurdy-gurdy drone. The Baroque guitar, cittern, flute, and percussion join in as the dance goes on and accelerates, in lively spirits, stopping before reaching a dizzying speed. Altogether, as well as being a good listen, the programming and the performances of this package give a little more insight into Bach's talent and what inspired him. © TiVo
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World - Released February 22, 2000 | naïve

Distinctions Choc de l'année du Monde de la Musique - 10 de Répertoire - Sélection FIP
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Classical - Released January 1, 1999 | Alpha

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Diapason d'or - Choc de l'année du Monde de la Musique - Choc du Monde de la Musique - 10 de Répertoire - Recommandé par Classica - 4F de Télérama - Timbre de platine
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Classical - Released September 1, 1998 | INA Mémoire vive

Distinctions Choc de l'année du Monde de la Musique - Choc du Monde de la Musique - 10 de Répertoire