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Sacred Oratorios - Released May 29, 2020 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique - 5 étoiles de Classica
Alessandro Scarlatti’s oratorio is an exciting drama of life, love and death, set in the fourth-century Roman Empire. Preferring to devote her life to God, Teodosia rejects the love of Arsenio, the son of the Roman governor, and welcomes death. St Theodosia of Tyre died at the age of eighteen, in the year 308. One cannot help but be struck by the dramatic strength and the vocal beauty of this work, performed here by a very talented casting, gathering Emmanuelle de Negri, Emiliano Gonzalez Toro, Anthea Pichanick, Renato Dolcini and the fiery orchestra Les Accents led by Thibault Noally. © Aparté
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Classical - Released March 6, 2020 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or / Arte - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica
After recording Rachmaninov's 24 Preludes and a recital dedicated to Claude Debussy for his new publisher harmonia mundi, pianist Nikolai Lugansky extends his repertoire even further with a monographic album dedicated solely to César Franck. The list of piano works by this organ-playing composer was not very extensive, so Lugansky chose to perform the Prelude, Fugue and Variation Op. 18, and theChorale No. 2 , on the piano, both in the same key. Written specifically for the piano, the two triptychs Prélude, Choral et Fugue and Prélude, Aria et Final are inspired by both Bach and Liszt and had an obvious influence on later French music, particularly with Albéric Magnard (Symphony No. 3) and all the way up to Francis Poulenc (Concerto for organ ). Nikolai Lugansky constructs these pieces like a builder, with unfailing solidity. He brings out the architecture and the projections with power and fullness, while looking for what he calls "a French sound, a beauty of sonority and refined sound without lourdeur". © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released February 28, 2020 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or / Arte - Le Choix de France Musique
Any group performing Beethoven's piano trios must contend with the example of the famous readings by the Beaux Arts Trio, made in the middle 1960s and still in the catalog. Brothers Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, violinist and cellist respectively, with pianist Frank Braley deal with this anxiety of influence by rejecting the Beaux Arts model completely and offering listeners something new: elegant, even breezy Beethoven trios. Their tempos are quick and their balances subtle, nicely revealing many small details. Braley deserves special credit here, holding Beethoven's very active piano parts in check so that the violin and cello are never obscured, but still bringing a graceful quality to them. Some may feel that the first movement of the Piano Trio in B flat major, Op. 97 ("Archduke"), is at the very least atypical Beethoven, with the warm cello melody presented more as a cradle for future developments than as an outpouring of emotion. The slow movement of the Piano Trio in D major, Op. 70, No. 1 ("Ghost"), which gave the trio its name (for Czerny, not for Beethoven), is unusually delicately done here, and Erato's studio sound is another strong point. Recommended especially for those enamored of fresh Beethoven interpretations. © TiVo
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Classical - Released February 21, 2020 | naïve classique

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique - 5 étoiles de Classica
This is the first time a French violinist has joined the line of prestigious solo virtuosi recording for the Vivaldi Edition. Violinist Julien Chauvin and his Concert de la Loge – founded in 2015, and modelled on one of the most celebrated orchestras of the late 18th century – here reveal all the discreet charms of an inventive concertante style rich in detail, featuring Vivaldi’s favoured instrument. This particular set of concerti highlight the consistently close links between Vivaldi’s instrumental and operatic works. ‘Transcending the difference of genre, the Venetian composer’s unitary conception of language and style allowed him to pass with the deft skill of a juggler from one domain to the other, making them happily converge on common ground,’ writes Cesare Fertonani. In these six concertos we can hear superbly phrased cantabile, with all the players seeming to breathe as one: and above all a sense of dramatic and narrative tension in Vivaldi’s finest vein. Musical quotations, borrowings, reworkings and affinities here bring his instrumental music and operas closer together – two genres of equal virtuosity, on which he lavished his genius in equal measure, and in every expressive register. © naive classique
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Keyboard Concertos - Released February 21, 2020 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica
The unconventional character that is Benjamin Grosvenor delivers us a very personal version of these two essential works of the piano repertoire. The first Brit to have signed an exclusive contract with Decca Classics in sixty years, he first made his name in 2004 when he won the Keyboard section of BBC Young Musician of the Year, thus throwing the doors open to an international career. Produced alongside the talented young conductor from Hong Kong Elim Chan, the musical director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, this new album dedicated to Chopin revisits the young British prodigy’s first musical loves. It was following a very successful concert with Elim Chan that they decided to record the Piano concertos by Chopin together. In this fifth album (for Decca), it’s Grosvenor’s virtuosity and ability to make the instrument sing that allow him to fully express his favourite music. “Chopin was the first composer to whom I felt a strong connection to as a child. I have always been drawn to his music, and his piano concertos are among some of the finest in the repertoire”, he says. Other than his already legendary sound and the expert way he strikes a balance between the different acoustic levels, his vision underlines the dreamy romanticism that delicately envelops the two concertos by the then-20-year-old Polish composer. © François Hudry/QobuzThis album was named "Gramophone Recording of the Year 2020" in the"Concerto" category. 
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Classical - Released February 7, 2020 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique
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Classical - Released January 17, 2020 | Mirare

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or / Arte - Le Choix de France Musique - 5 étoiles de Classica
A soloist and revelation at the French classical music award ceremony “Victoires de la musique classique 2018”, Sélim Mazari was one of the last pupils to study under Brigitte Engerer, before attending the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris with Claire Désert and then moving to London to start a second Master’s degree at the Royal College. For his first solo recording, the young French pianist has opted for an album which is entirely devoted to Beethoven, recording several cycles of variations, with or without opus numbers, including the difficult “Eroica” Variations, on a theme from the ballet The Creatures of Prometheus, which he takes up again in the form of a contra-dance and, of course, as the main theme of the Finale from the composer’s forthcoming Third Symphony. Beethoven’s works without opus numbers (WoO) are more numerous than those numbered by himself or his publishers. During his youth as a virtuoso-composer, he did not approach his works with the historical perspective he would gain later in life, perhaps aware of his growing reputation and genius. The Twelve Variations on a Theme by Paul Wranitzky from 1796 already heralded the maturity and complexity that Beethoven gave to the many variations that would punctuate his entire oeuvre. Though not exactly loved by the composer, the 32 Variations in C minor are nevertheless profoundly original and allowed the young Beethoven to impress his audiences in the salons.
The Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 34 from 1802 offered a “new” way for Beethoven to free himself from his predecessors. The “Eroica” Variations occupy a dominant position in the Beethovian catalogue thanks to their pleasant, dramatic, humorous and mysterious atmospheres. © François Hudry / Qobuz
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Classical - Released January 10, 2020 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique
20 years old and a brazen amount of talent: the Afro-British cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason has three idols. Cellists Jacqueline du Pré and Mstislav Rostropovitch and reggae legend Bob Marley, three passionate and extrovert forces. His career really took off after he performed at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding in 2018. His album Inspiration released the same year broke all sorts of sales records in the United Kingdom and his hometown of Nottingham even named a bus after him. As part of a partnership with the label Decca, he is back with a new recording, this time dedicated to the famous Cello Concerto in E Minor, Op. 85, accompanied by the London Symphony Orchestra headed by their new conductor, Sir Simon Rattle. A first class encounter which produces a poetic vision, almost like chamber music, of this renowned concerto. Made famous by Jacqueline du Pré’s versions (with Barbirolli then with her husband Daniel Barenboim), Elgar’s Concerto is accompanied on the track listing by other shorter pieces which were popular among soloists and music lovers alike a century ago, which the younger generation is bringing back in vogue. The album features arrangements of traditional music and works by Bloch, Elgar, Bridge, Fauré and Klengel. From the infinitely large to the infinitely small with the staggering virtuosity of this bright young talent. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released January 3, 2020 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique
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Classical - Released October 25, 2019 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Pianist Beatrice Rana made a sensation as a teen with some strikingly charismatic and virtuosic performances. Yet since then, she has taken a deliberate approach to her career, recording only periodically and not trying to be in the limelight at all times. Her approach has borne fruit in this release of works by Ravel and Stravinsky, all of them well-traveled except for the single-piano arrangement of La Valse, which is less often played due to its sheer difficulty. Rana dispatches the final swirls of notes confidently, but listen around elsewhere for the incredible variety of articulation, all of it well-considered and contributing to the greater musical whole, of which this pianist is capable. "Oiseaux tristes" (sample this) is not one of the more often excerpted movements from Ravel's Miroirs, yet Rana's sharp articulation of the distressed bird calls makes the scene come uncannily alive. The two Stravinsky ballet transcriptions have forward motion tempered by shading that suggests the original ballet music in numerous ways. To top it all off, Rana's penetrating insights in the notes, and the fine Teldex Studio sound from Parlophone/Warner Classics, and you have an album that announces Rana's progression from promising young player to one of the most important of major artists. Brava! © TiVo
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Classical - Released October 25, 2019 | Bru Zane

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica
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Classical - Released October 25, 2019 | naïve classique

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique
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Classical - Released October 18, 2019 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique
 
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Classical - Released October 11, 2019 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica - Qobuzissime
Six quartets: six works that are key to understanding what Joseph Haydn brought to western music. This effort by the Quatuor Hanson is particularly successful because they are past masters in constructing and expressing the soul of this subtle art. And what's more, they bring it off with a fascinating level of instrumental skill. Listening to this piece, we have to bow down once again before the genius of a composer who, along with Boccherini, invented a new genre and immediately studded it with masterpieces of staggering quality. Judiciously picked out from among Haydn's vast corpus, these six quartets are touching both in their expressiveness and in the perfection of their writing. Not a single note out of place, a perfect balance of four voices and inspired right from the first moment up to the incomplete closing Opus 77, which was a contemporary of Beethoven's first Quartets, Op. 18 – works that betray the lessons their writer learned from his master. More than two hundred years after his death, Haydn has only just found recognition as one of the greats, although he had been accorded that status during his life. But his works for keyboards, the symphonies, the oratorios, and to a lesser extent, the operas, speak in his favour. More than a forerunner, Haydn is a founder, a genius whose influence was felt by those who came after him, foremost amongst whom Beethoven and Schubert. This splendid album puts him (back) in his rightful place. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released October 4, 2019 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique
In Russia, the piano trio is the most prestigious format for the musical homage. It lends a work an elegiac character, which is often made clear in the movement's title or indications. The Trio in A Minor, Op. 50 pours itself out in a generous Pezzo elegiaco, a passionate meeting of cello and violin. There follow a succession of deliciously inventive variations on a folk theme, appearing one after another like so many matrioshkas. The performers (Vadim Gluzman on violin, Johannes Moser on cello and Yevgeny Sudbin on piano) are at home with this music, which they play with a hot intensity. In the fifth variation, the piano finds sounds which we love, with a sober accompaniment of sustained pedal notes on strings. The musicians dig a little further into this deliciously nostalgic mood with the Trio in F Sharp Minor by Arno Babadjanian. This latter moulds the sound with magnificent grandiloquence. Its lyricism, with folk accents, speaks in a Romantic language, in a taut harmonic environment. We're holding our breath up until Tango by Alfred Schnittke, arranged for the occasion of this recording for the label Bis by Yevgeny Sudbin. Here, the nostalgia reaches its zenith. But the performers can't weaken on this piece that demands musicians be at once supple – it is a dance, after all – and robust. And these are qualities shared by all these artists, including Vadim Gluzman, with a charm worthy of David Oïstrakh, the first performer of the Babadjanian's Trio. © Elsa Siffert/Qobuz
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Classical - Released September 20, 2019 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique
The discography of Manuel de Falla’s two most famous orchestral scores - El sombrero de tres picos (1916-1919) and El amor brujo (1919-1925) - reveals a certain proximity to French and (of course) Spanish orchestras. These two delicate ballets require fine balances and sharp attacks while showing a sensitivity to timbres and natural balances. Given the general scarcity of recordings of these ballets, fans of the composer must not miss this new Falla release, which presents two surprises: firstly, in El amor brujo, Pablo Heras-Casado uses a “cantaora”, in line with Josep Pons’ attempts more than twenty years ago, giving an exquisite touch of Iberian exoticism. The second surprise is that it is the Mahler Chamber Orchestra who are performing here (which could almost feel incongruous, were it not performed by musicians of such a high calibre). The orchestra is unfamiliar with this repertoire, yet the musicians undeniably virtuosic all the same. Though since Pablo Heras-Casado has been travelling all over the place, has he perhaps lost his sense of direction? El Sombrero de tres picos feels almost like Nielsen’s Aladdin here and the colours deployed in El amor brujo often evoke Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana or Nordic serenades. Doesn’t Falla’s Spain have more nerve and radiance? It calls for us to listen to Ataúlfo Argenta’s version with the Conservatory Concert Society (notably the recording of El amor brujo with Ana Maria Iriarte, 1953) again, just to make sure. © QobuzThe two splendid works on this album resulted from Manuel de Falla's encounter with the husband-and-wife team of dramatists Martínez Sierra-Lejárraga: El amor brujo, whose eminently ‘gypsy’ inspiration takes us to the very heart of the flamenco repertory, here magnificently embodied under the direction of maestro Pablo Heras-Casado; and the brilliant pantomime El sombrero de tres picos, for which Picasso designed the sets and costumes – exactly 100 years ago! © harmonia mundi
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Classical - Released September 13, 2019 | Mirare

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique
Since setting off in the early 2000s, Pierre Hantaï is still journeying into Domenico Scarlatti’s world. After a hiatus of more than ten years following the third volume, the harpsichordist finally recorded a fourth volume in 2016 and this autumn sees the sixth one come into bloom, once again superbly recorded in Haarlem in the Netherlands by Nicolas Bartholomée. Pierre Hantaï is taking his time to gradually construct a perfect anthology of Scarlatti’s keyboard work. Here, he explores some of his little-known sonatas. His keyboard intensifies the profound rhythmic force of Scarlatti’s world: the sharp lines burst forth, the harmonic tension constantly explodes, the new tones are revealed smoothly, and his playing – with an exhilarating left hand – is stunning throughout. The first five sonatas of this new release (all of which have a fairly fast tempo) form a representative ensemble of a rather uncompromising Scarlatti, followed by a moment of gravity and meditation with the exquisite Sonata in F minor, K. 69, while the surrounding Sonatas K. 502 and K. 43 (with a wonderfully volatile left hand) have clearly marked rhythms. The style and atmosphere changes with Sonata in C major, K. 384, whose tender “French” tone is emphasised by Pierre Hantaï, and at the same time there’s an almost modern feel which goes beyond even Soler’s most audacious scores. Fascinating! While the tender sonatas (K. 550, K. 544) distil an aftertaste that is slightly more spicy than the previous volumes, what continues to surprise us with Hantaï in this repertoire is his prolonged search for a “Hispanic” feel - a Spain in a majestic trance, with colliding rhythms and contrasting accents and registers. Let’s hope that Pierre Hantaï does not wait another ten years to deliver the seventh volume; there is no doubt that these Scarlatti recordings will remain one of the most exciting and necessary musical adventures of the 21st century. A perfectly captured sound, style and universe. © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz
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Classical - Released August 30, 2019 | Mirare

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique
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Classical - Released June 7, 2019 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique
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Classical - Released May 3, 2019 | Signum Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Le Choix de France Musique
Fans of the British crown’s splendour will certainly marvel at this double album that reproduces the coronation anthems of the four monarchs of the 20th century: Edward VII in 1902, George V in 1911, George VI in 1937, and current Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. Very few of today’s ceremonies can reach such levels of grandeur.At the crossroads of tradition and innovation, these coronation ceremonies are characterised by the evocation of past heritage works, and the addition of numerous pieces commissioned specifically for the occasion to the best composers in the kingdom. For such events, Westminster Abbey is closed for several months to allow an army of craftsmen to build monumental galleries capable of hosting up to eight thousand guests. Then come the rehearsals with 400-singer choirs, half of them children, an immense orchestra, and the indispensable great organ.This recording is a selection of the best moments of these ceremonies, presented as a single liturgical structure. This ample reconstitution led by Paul McCreesh follows for the most part the 1937 ceremony, dropping however the era’s typical style when interpreting Handel. The musical approach has changed so much that it is presented here in the “baroque” style characteristic of our early 21st century. Some difficult choices were made, particularly regarding the Te Deum, the centrepiece and climax of the ceremony. A Cornelian choice between the ones from Stanford (1902), Parry (1911), Vaughan Williams (1937) and William Walton (1953). The latter was finally chosen, for its radiance and theatrical impetus. © François Hudry/Qobuz