Albums

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Solo Piano - Released November 30, 2018 | Mirare

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique
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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Violin Concertos - Released October 26, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique
To say that the concerto was one of Haydn's favourite forms would be a bit much, daft even. The man wrote a good hundred symphonies, dozens of quartets, trios, piano sonatas, fifteen or so masses and as many operas, and oratorios... Currently we know of three violin concertos (others being lost or apocryphal), two cello concertos (others... see above), one horn concerto, one for trumpet (there are no others) and at most about ten concertos for piano. Musically, they are fascinating works, but the level of technical skill they demand runs from moderate to a bit tricky. But the First Cello Concerto is not without its moments of difficulty, such as the rapid high notes in the final movement, and it offers some real fireworks. It should also be noted that most of the concertos were written for Esterházy, specifically for the first soloists in the house orchestra of Konzertmeister Luigi Tomasini and first cellist Joseph Weigl. The orchestral accompaniments offered the soloists some fine backdrops: in particular in the second movement of the Concerto for violin in C Major , with the orchestra's string section accompanying the solo violin with a sort of lute-playing that becomes a kind of serenade à la Don Giovanni. Amandine Beyer takes up the violin for this recording, while Marco Ceccato deals with the cello solo – both members of the Gli Incogniti ensemble ("The Unknowns"), a fluid grouping that plays without a conductor. Their leaderless style means that the musicians all listen to one another: it's a lovely way of making music (and sadly rare in the world of orchestras). © SM/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released October 19, 2018 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique - 5 étoiles de Classica
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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Keyboard Concertos - Released October 12, 2018 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica
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Symphonic Music - Released October 5, 2018 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique
Sir Andrew Davis returns to his exploration of Holst’s orchestral works with the brilliant BBC Philharmonic, a series initiated almost ten years ago by the late Richard Hickox, then taken over by another expert in British repertoire. This selection of orchestral works by Holst provides a remarkable overview of his career, ranging from such early works as A Winder Idyll – composed in 1897 when he was still studying at the Royal College of Music – to the Scherzo of a symphony on which he was working towards the end of his life. None of the music recorded here was published in his lifetime, and the Scherzo – rarely heard though it is – is the only work to have entered the repertoire. A Moorside Suite, originally written for brass band, is featured here in the composer's rarely heard arrangement for strings. The young British cellist Guy Johnston is the soloist in Invocation, one of Holst’s most significant works, calling for a subtle balance of virtuosity and expressive qualities. © Chandos
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Chamber Music - Released September 21, 2018 | Arcana

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Following its highly acclaimed album featuring the three most richly scored Ouvertures (Gramophone Editor͛s Choice – shortlisted for the 2017 Gramophone Awards and included among the Top 10 recent Bach recordings), Zefiro comes full circle with the famous collection of Concerts avec plusieurs instruments, that kaleidoscope of colours that seems almost tailor-made to highlight the salient qualities of the ensemble founded by the three historical wind specialists Alfredo Bernardini, Paolo and Alberto Grazzi. Thanks to experience gained in countless performances and recordings with the leading conductors and ensembles, but also to thorough research into the most appropriate instruments and pitch (398 Hz, i.e. the ‘authentic' French pitch), this brand new recording exudes liveliness, flair and knowledge, and features some of the greatest names on the Baroque music scene, among them Cecilia Bernardini, Gabriele Cassone, Francesco Corti, Lorenz Duftschmid, Marcello Gatti, Gaetano Nasillo and Dorothee Oberlinger. Also included is the more intimate B minor Suite with flute (BWV 1067), thus filling the gap left by the earlier recording. © Arcana
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Trios - Released July 20, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique - 5 étoiles de Classica
With this new series entitled ‘Salon de musique’, Alpha presents recordings made by artists who have enlivened the Festival of Salon de Provence for some years now: the pianist Eric le Sage, who has made many recordings for Alpha, the clarinettist Paul Meyer etc… with cellist Claudio Bohórquez, they have now put two Beethoven trios on disc. By 1798, the year Ludwig van Beethoven composed his Trio for piano, clarinet and cello op.11, he was already well-known in Vienna as a remarkable improviser and an ambitious young composer. the piece was clearly aimed at the enlightened aristocracy, as well as competent musical amateurs. This did not prevent the critics, though universally positive, from judging the score to be over-complex in places. Dedicated to the Empress Marie-Theresa of Austria, the Septet was published in 1802 by Hofmeister, and on being well-received it was then rearranged for various combinations. Beethoven himself made a version for clarinet, cello and piano, op.38 in E Flat major – the one recorded here. © Alpha Classics
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Mélodies (French) - Released June 22, 2018 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique - 5 étoiles de Classica
Remembering Gounod as just a masterful composer of great French operas, it’s easy to forget that he also wrote, among many various pieces of work, close to one hundred and fifty melodies throughout is long and rich career. Surprisingly, almost one third of these pages were written in English (during his years in London, between 1870 and 1874), about fifteen of them are in Italian, as well as a few in Spanish and German. Most of them of course are in French, among which Tassis Christoyannis and Jeff Cohen selected twenty-four gems, a comprehensive array ranging from his very first published melody – his Où voulez-vous aller from 1839, the year of his Prix de Rome! – to his À une jeune Grecque of the utmost maturity, in 1884. The composer explored all of the styles he held dear, with all the eclecticism he’s famous for: French romanticism, German Lied, orientalism, old-fashioned archaic writing… Gounod was particularly sensitive to the words’ meaning as much as their sound, the back and forth of verses and the variety of periods, and excelled in finding a melodic movement to perfectly fit the inflexions of pronunciation, the expressive flow of speech and setting the perfect phrasing for an eloquent result. With him, unlike his illustrious elder Berlioz, music served the words, carried them and elevated them if possible. Let’s discover this beautiful pearl rosary, made of works we would love to hear in recital more often. © SM/Qobuz
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Full Operas - Released May 2, 2018 | PentaTone

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The story of the Pêcheurs de perles [Pearl Fishers] by Bizet is nothing short of torturous: after its first outing in 1863, the score – whose manuscript is now in private hands and no longer available, alas – fell into obscurity, and was only returned to its rightful place in the sun after the composer's death, once Carmen had made his name. Alas – a thousand times, alas – many different theatre directors took themselves for great geniuses and made little amendments to the work, cutting here, adding there, changing bits up to and including the end. Until the 1960s, this calamitously cack-handed version was the one that was performed – this libretto looks a little flat, why not add a few mistakes? – until musicologists stumbled across the original documents, in particular the cut-down version by Bizet himself, as well as the "conductor's score" of the time, which contained many notes about orchestration. This version, put together in 2014 by Hugh MacDonald, is sung by the flower of great French lyrical music – Julie Fuchs, Florian Sempey, Cyrille Dubois and Luc Bertin-Hugault – and returns as closely as possible to the original version of the work, so that the listener will encounter a number of big surprises, and good surprises too: additional numbers, several melodic and dramatic developments: almost a whole new score. © SM/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released April 6, 2018 | Chandos

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Quartets - Released March 2, 2018 | PentaTone

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Franz Schubert's songs sometimes found their way into his instrumental works, perhaps most famously in the fourth movement of the Piano Quintet in A major, D667, "Trout," which was based on Die Forelle, D550; the Wanderer Fantasy in C major, D760, which was inspired by Der Wanderer, D489; and the second movement of the String Quartet No. 14 in D minor, D810, which was based on Der Tod und das Mädchen, D531. Digging a little deeper into Schubert's oeuvre, the Signum Quartett explores less obvious relationships, though no less significant, because the mixing of songs and instrumental works was common at his private concerts for his friends, the Schubertiades. This 2018 release on PentaTone Classics, Aus der ferne, presents a handful of Lieder in arrangements for string quartet by the group's violist, Xandi van Dijk, and two lyrical chamber works, the String Quartet No. 8 in B flat major, D112, and the String Quartet No 13 in A minor, "Rosamunde." Listening to this hybrid SACD doesn't require any special research or careful bar-by-bar analysis, because Schubert's melodies are plainly evident and the Signum Quartett plays with great warmth and a light, lyrical spirit, so the program works exceptionally well as pure music, intriguing as the connections between the songs and the quartets are.
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Solo Piano - Released February 9, 2018 | JB Recordings

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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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Symphonic Music - Released February 2, 2018 | BR-Klassik

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Record of the Month - Le Choix de France Musique - 5 étoiles de Classica
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Chamber Music - Released January 19, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique
The Forqueray family, father and son: thereupon hangs a dark tale. The father, Antoine (1672-1745), famous composer and gamba player, a musicien ordinaire de la chambre du roy from 1689, developed such a furious jealousy of his son Jean-Baptiste (1699-1782) that he had him thrown in jail at the age of 20. Only the intervention of his friends won the young virtuoso his freedom, and finally he succeeded his father as a musicien ordinaire de la chambre du roy in 1742, when his father was no longer in a position to object. In 1747, Jean-Baptiste won the privilege of publishing 29 of his father's pieces for viol da gamba and three of his own pieces; he also published a transcription of these same pieces for harpsichord. It is these works that Michèle Dévérité is offering us on the harpsichord, joined by Kaori Uemuraon the viol da gamba and Ryo Terakado on the viola for the ensemble pieces. A magnificent undertaking, which, two and a half centuries after the break between the two Forquerays, brings them back together in the most striking manner. To complement the second volume, we are also treated to several works dedicated to the Forquerays, by Charles François Clément, Louis-Antoine Dornel, Claude François… uh, sorry: Claude-François Rameau, the son (another father-and-son pair), and two modern composers. © SM/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released January 5, 2018 | harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released January 5, 2018 | BIS

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Solo Piano - Released November 24, 2017 | Piano Classics

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Secular Vocal Music - Released November 10, 2017 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica - Choc Classica de l'année - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Jazz
This project originated, Sabine Devieilhe says, from her desire to tackle Lakmé. In fact, Delibes was able to compose for her heroine some of the most memorable pages for coloratura soprano, starting with the hugely famous "air des clochettes" [Bell Song]. And as Western ears at the time were eager for musical and poetic voyages, and sensations from far-off lands, we find these same Oriental fantasies with Maurice Delage, who himself went on a grand tour of India, where he found modal colours, but also in Madame Chrysanthème by Messager or Rossignol by Stravinsky, to say nothing of the Egypt of Thaïs as portrayed by Anatole France and Massenet. Sabine Devieilhe, who won the "Lyrical revelation" prize at Victoires de la musique classique in 2013 before winning "Lyrical artist of the year" at the same ceremony – certainly not an unfair judgement of this particular artist – started her recording career with recordings of Rameau, Bach and Mozart, before launching into the lyrical repertoire from more recent years… And with great success! © SM/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released October 13, 2017 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Bach (Johann Sebastian, that is) or not Bach? This is the question that the violinist Amandine Beyer and the ensemble Gli Incogniti asked themselves by seizing a handful of works long thought to be from the Kantor and that we now know to be from other composers—known, identified or not. Thus, the Sonata BWV 1024 may have “ended up” in Bach’s repertoire because a musicologist knew how to use the right scientific arguments (paper, copyists, geographical and historical contexts) to achieve his goal. The style of the composition, which admittedly is a bit reminiscent of Bach, cannot however quite fall in line with the musician’s writing style. Therefore, in order to avoid the sonata disappearing back into anonymity, it has now been attributed to Pisendel, rightly or wrongly. The Trio BWV 1036 is from Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach—we were always quite sure of that, even if some less scrupulous releases have omitted the first name… The Trio BWV 1037 seems to be from Goldberg (the one from the Variations). The Suite in A major BWV 1025 is of somewhat ambiguous paternity, but it’s actually an arrangement Bach created for violin and harpsichord using the Suite SC 47 for lute that his friend and colleague Silvius Leopold Weiss composed. These are a few works that, after long being in the paradise of being attributed to Bach, are now in the hell of the “fake”, even if it’s not the fault of the composers that wrote them! What a pity… © SM/Qobuz