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Classical - Released May 28, 2021 | La Dolce Volta

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Olivier Latry is organist titulaire at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, and he has responded creatively to the destruction of its organ by fire in 2019 with a series of imaginative releases. None is finer than Liszt: Inspirations, which applies the 6,055 pipes and 91 stops of the new Rieger organ at the Philharmonie de Paris Concert Hall to Liszt's rather neglected organ music. There are technical details here that will be of interest to organists and those who love them; for the general listener, this is a real thrill. The big works in the Bachian genres of Fantasia and Fugue and chorale variation are impressive enough, with the arcane realms the organ enters in the nearly 30-minute Fantasia and Fugue on the Chorale Ad nos, ad salutarem undam (try the Un poco più de moto section) having a spooky, futuristic feel. None of this music is terribly commonly heard, and Saint François d'Assise: La prédication aux oiseaux, an orchestral work transcribed by Saint-Saëns, is a real revelation; Latry indicates that his realization was influenced by the sounds of Messiaen's works about birds, but it also seems possible that this work itself influenced Messiaen. Liszt's excessive spirit seems perfectly matched to this powerful instrument and to the confident, even brash playing of Latry. A marvelous organ album that will reward all, even if audiophiles will have the most fun. © TiVo
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Classical - Released May 24, 2019 | naïve classique

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Founded in 2018 by the singer Emiliano Gonzalez Toro, a specialist in baroque music and Monteverdi in particular, the ensemble I Gemelli has set itself the task of protecting the great works of the Italian "Seicento" (meaning 17th century), not hesitating to unveil many scores that are as yet still unpublished, waiting deep in the libraries for the musicians who will bring them to life.This is the case for composer Chiara Margarita Cozzolani, to whom the conductor and her ensemble dedicate their first album, with several superb psalms and motets collected here to form an office of “Vêpres à la Vierge” (Vespers to the Virgin). It’s the extraordinary richness of the Italian convents’ archives that has enabled the unearthing of this sensual and delicate music published some thirty years ago after Montevardi’s Vêpres, which seems to have served as a model.A nun, then abbess of the convent of Saint Ragedonde in Milan, Chiara Margarita Cozzolani was born into an upper-class Milanese family. Emiliano Gonzalez Toro’s choice was the collection of the 1650 Salmi a otto voci ("Psalms for 8 voices") and the Concerti sacri, published in 1642. They are connected to each other by an older work, composed by Caterina Assandra, with the text of "Duo Seraphim" already set to music by Monteverdi in his own Vêpres from 1610.Looking to the future, with the use of dissonances reinforcing expression, these psalms and motets alternate between parts for choir and those for soloists, with a voice treatment designed to highlight the talent of the singers of Sainte-Radegonde. A double debut album: the first for the ensemble and the first dedicated to this composer whose talent demands our full attention, just like her contemporaries Cavalli, Strozzi or Benedetto Ferrari. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released May 3, 2019 | BIS

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There has been a vogue for the music of Saint-Saëns in the late 2010s, which is all to the good, and the piano concertos especially have come in for increased exposure. It turned out that all they needed was some flair and enthusiasm; they're marvelous. This release by pianist Alexandre Kantorow, with the Tapiola Sinfonietta conducted by Jean-Jacques Kantorow (his father), stands out even among strong competition and even considering that it does not include the most popular of the five, the Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22. Saint-Saëns was paradoxical: he was a classicist who admired Liszt and was in turn admired by him. The delightful effort to reconcile Classical concerto forms with splendid virtuoso effects (the composer was one of the great pianists of his day) can be heard in all these pieces, but sample the second movement of the increasingly popular Piano Concerto No. 5 in F major, Op. 103 ("Egyptian"), where a giant, sweeping Lisztian gesture on the piano fills the role of the first theme, while the second theme is a catchy melody Saint-Saëns supposedly heard from boatmen on the Nile. All the concertos require a pianist of both grace and power, and that is what they receive at the hands of the young Alexandre Kantorow, whose background is as a Lisztian. BIS contributes superior sound from the Tapiola Concert Hall. Highly recommended. © TiVo
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Classical - Released March 22, 2019 | harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released March 15, 2019 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released November 30, 2018 | Mirare

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Through his “brilliance and maturity” (as described by The Guardian) the Russian-Lithuanian pianist Lukas Geniušas has established himself on the international scene as one of the most interesting artists of his generation. He has appeared in London's Wigmore Hall, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, Milan's Salle Verdi, Moscow's Conservatory and Roque d'Anthéron, and with orchestras such as the Philharmonique de Radio France, the National de Lyon, the NHK of Tokyo, the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic, the Russian National Orchestra, the list goes on... He has chosen here a Prokofiev programme combining early works from his younger years (the Ten Pieces Op. 12 which is a junior work and yet so intimately prokofievian already!) with the work from his first stage of maturity (Second Sonata from 1912) and the work from his full maturity (the Fifth Sonata). Even better, this Fifth Sonata was written "for the first time" in 1923 after his time in Paris, then revised three decades later under the constraint, undoubtedly, of the infamous Jdanov decree which had accused the composer of all anti-Soviet evils, but also due to a very personal concern (he wanted to purify the piano gesture). In a way this work seems almost "Parisian" as it has so many similarities with Poulenc's style. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released October 19, 2018 | Warner Classics

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Staying true to himself, harpsichordist Jean Rondeau stirs up another musical storm. In his interpretation of around fifteen Sonatas by Scarlatti, he unleashes a kind of rawness, a poetic rawness, as if he had invented the sonatas on the spot. But no, no, they are indeed Scarlatti’s sonatas! On the other hand, Domenico's letter to Queen Marie-Barbara de Bragança, found in the accompanying booklet, is factually apocryphal. She was his pupil as early as 1720 and continued to be until her royal marriage to the Spanish court; it seems that it was for her that he wrote his approximately five hundred and fifty-five sonatas, that is to say that he had found a student worthy of his genius. The farce on the ninth track is also apocryphal, which Rondeau uses as an interlude between the two “parts” of his programme. It is a funny little improvisation of jumbled notes and clusters - enough to clean the ears between the two Scarlattis. The instrument used here is quite amazing; it is a harpsichord “based on German models”, built in 2006 by Jonte Knif & Arno Pelto. It offers an extremely rich sound with a rather unusual tone, showing that it takes more than just pressing the keys of a harpsichord to get the desired sound. With his very personal technique, Rondeau makes his harpsichord wonderfully unique, giving the baroque music an incredibly modern feel. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released October 12, 2018 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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The Philadelphia Orchestra has been named "Gramophone's Orchestra of the Year 2020".
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Violin Solos - Released September 8, 2017 | Ondine

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Of course, since years Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin have been recorded over and over again, including by world’s best and most prestigious solists. But when violinist Christian Tetzlaff releases a brand new recording, we can only say: “Friends, countrymen, lend Qobuz your ears”. Concerts with Christian Tetzlaff often become an existential experience for interpreter and audience alike; old familiar works suddenly appear in an entirely new light, also – of course – within the frame of a new studio recording such as this one. Essential to Tetzlaff’s approach are the courage to take risks, technical brilliance, openness and alertness to life. Such an interpretation becomes a real challenge for the aficionado and guarantees a brilliant musical adventure.
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released May 12, 2017 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Antonín Dvorák's Stabat Mater, Op. 58, truly merits the adjective "tragic"; it was written after the deaths of two of the composer's children in succession, and his grief rolled out in great, Verdian waves. There are several strong recordings on the market, including an earlier one by conductor Jiří Bělohlávek himself, but for the combination of deep feeling, technical mastery from musicians and singers who have spent their lives getting to know the score, and soloists who not only sound beautiful but are seamlessly integrated into the flow, this Decca release may be the king of them all. To what extent was the strength of the performance motivated by Bělohlávek's likely fatal illness (he died days after the album entered the top levels of classical charts in the spring of 2017)? It's hard to say, although he also delivered top-notch performances of Dvorák's Requiem in his last days. The members of the Prague Philharmonic Choir sing their hearts out in the gigantic, shattering opening chorus, which has rarely if ever had such a mixture of the impassioned and the perfectly controlled. Sample the chorus "Virgo virginium praeclara" to hear the magically suspended quality Bělohlávek brings out of the singers in lightly accompanied passages. The soloists, soprano Eri Nakamura, mezzo Elisabeth Kulman, tenor Michael Spyres, and bass Jongmin Park -- an international group in this otherwise almost all-Czech production -- are uniformly strong, but what stands out most is how inevitable their entrances sound. If this turns out to be Bělohlávek's swan song, it is an accomplishment for the ages. Highest possible recommendation. © TiVo
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Solo Piano - Released April 7, 2017 | Sony Classical

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Reviews of this release by Russian pianist Arcadi Volodos, as with some of his others, are split, with a large group of favorable responses and some dissenters. It's often like this with interpretations that are brilliantly executed but fall at one end of a spectrum. In this case, you can certainly find more atmospheric and passionate readings of Brahms piano music. But among those that make you understand why the 12-tone composers loved Brahms the most, not the outer chromatic reaches of Wagner or Strauss, this one is very hard to beat. Much of the music is from the end of Brahms' career, and these pieces are famous for drawing you in with their complexities and never letting you out again. Sample the Intermezzo in B flat minor, Op. 117, No. 2, where the tune is just one of the music's parameters: harmony, register, and dynamics are all tightly controlled, even as the music has a distinctive warm-hearted sadness. In Volodos' reading, there is an uncanny quality that every single note is in its place. At just over 54 minutes, the album is short, but you won't be missing the extra minutes after the feat of concentration that listening to this music entails. In places, Volodos makes Brahms sound a bit like Mompou, the composer whose music put the pianist on the map; it sounds unusual, even odd, but let it connect with you, and it's profound. Sony's production team, working at Berlin's Teldex Studio, creates a suitably inward environment. Very highly recommended. © TiVo
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released March 3, 2017 | Coro

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Trios - Released January 27, 2017 | harmonia mundi

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Duets - Released October 21, 2016 | Mirare

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Concertos - Released October 21, 2016 | Erato - Warner Classics

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Classical - Released October 1, 2016 | Passacaille

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Classical - Released September 2, 2016 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Soprano Anna Netrebko is a major box-office draw on both sides of the Atlantic, but her catalog has been short on the aria-selections albums that remain the way most buyers listen to recorded opera. This collection of verismo ("realism") Italian arias goes a long way toward filling the hole. It's actually a bit out in front of her repertoire, which has focused on Verdi, and before that Mozart, but as her voice has darkened she has announced plans to add some of the roles represented here to her repertoire. From what's heard on the album, the prospects seem very good for a career phase that will elevate Netrebko's star even higher than it already is. You can sample the aria "In questa reggia" from Turandot to assure yourself of Netrebko's confidence in hitting the high notes, and hear one of several fine duet passages with the singer's tenor husband, Yusif Eyvazov. But also take time to explore the big hits, like "Un bel dì vedremo," from Madama Butterfly, where Netrebko seems to approach the music as if for the first time, and also some of the arias by some of the one-hit wonders of the verismo genre. With capable accompaniment from the Coro e orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia under Antonio Pappano, this is a major Netrebko release and a definitive verismo collection. © TiVo
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Keyboard Concertos - Released August 26, 2016 | harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released August 26, 2016 | Ars Produktion

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Quintets - Released June 10, 2016 | Winter & Winter

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