Albums

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Classical - Released February 8, 2019 | audite Musikproduktion

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
Contrary heroes: Mazeppa and Sardanapalo performed by Karabits and the Weimar Staatskapelle. Sardanapalo, who prefers wine and concubines to politics and warfare, and Mazeppa, who dies with glory, having endured pain and humiliation: dramatic literary models, impressively set to music by Franz Liszt. Written at the same time, these works represent Liszt's ideas striving to unite literature and music, on the one hand modernising Italian opera and on the other advancing towards the symphonic poem in his orchestral writing. The Sardanapalo manuscript comprises the first act. For 170 years the material lay dormant in the Goethe and Schiller archive in Weimar: it was only in 2017 that David Trippett deciphered, edited and orchestrated the manuscript at the University of Cambridge. © Audite
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Classical - Released January 4, 2019 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Symphonic Music - Released December 7, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
The originality of this recording (which presents works that are, in fact, rather common) comes from the orchestra Les Siècles playing on periodic instruments, in this case from the period in which Debussy wrote these masterpieces. This is particularly relevant for woodwinds and brass, whose mechanisms and sounds around 1900 were very different - more incisive perhaps, and undoubtedly more differentiated - which for music like Debussy's offers a real plus in the orchestral balance. Moreover, the number of strings remains reasonable, this way the woodwind is never swallowed up as it often is with large international orchestras. The listener will be able to hear this music as Debussy heard it, or at least how he would have liked to have heard it because in his time orchestras and conductors did not always have a clear understanding of his style or the infinite colours on his palette. © SM/Qobuz
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Solo Piano - Released November 23, 2018 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik - 5 étoiles de Classica
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Classical - Released November 23, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Classical - Released November 9, 2018 | Naxos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
Górecki wrote his Third Symphony in 1976, but it only came onto the market in 1992. It made its entrance with so much fanfare that it has overshadowed all of his other work. And this other work, by and large, belongs in a rather different category, one of much more avant-garde and revolutionary material: a category of music that many fans of the Symphony would not be so quick to dive into. The First Quartet, written in 1988, and the Second from 1991 both belong to the same modernist movement. However, the composer, who had matured over the years, also clearly softened his style. We only need to compare these quartets with Elementi Op. 19 No. 1 from 1966, which also appears on this album, to see how far he came: it is a piece of the purest contemporary avant-gardism. It is very possible that the minimalists, the "tintinnabulists" and even Shostakovitch – or indeed Bartók! – all left a mark on his writing from his later peiods. The Tippett Quartet are every bit as comfortable with this material as they are with Beethoven and perform the work with considerable skill. © SM/Qobuz
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Symphonic Music - Released November 2, 2018 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice - 5 étoiles de Classica
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Solo Piano - Released November 2, 2018 | ECM New Series

Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice - Choc de Classica
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Classical - Released November 2, 2018 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Chamber Music - Released November 2, 2018 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Founded in 2005, the Chiaroscuro Quartet brings together musicians from all the corners of Europe: the Russian Alina Ibragimova and the Spaniard Pablo Hernán Benedi on violins, the Swede Emilie Hörlund on the viola and France's Claire Thirion on the cello. From their very first performances Chiaroscuro have been hailed as "a trailblazer for the authentic performance of High Classical chamber music" by the very highbrow UK music magazine Gramophone, and "a shock to the ears of the best kind" by The Observer. Indeed, their performance of Schubert is compelling in its rhythmic freedom and its limitless palette of contrasts. It goes from the gentlest pianissimo to the most resounding full-bowed fortissimos by way of a thousand and one shades which are hardly ever heard in the performances of "classical" quartets. In their hands, the discourse of Death and the Maiden takes on a bitterness, a pure romanticism and even a level of modernity as they strip out the rather sepia-Vienna aspect which some traditional interpretations feature. As for the Ninth Quartet in G minor, it's one of the those Schubertian miracles written in his adolescence: coming to light in 1815 its discourse is indeed tragic, but lacking in the inconsolable depth of Death and the Maiden. However, this doesn’t make it any less of a masterpiece. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released November 2, 2018 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Lutosławski's Cello Concerto and Dutilleux’s Tout un monde lointain (also a cello concerto) are linked by their unique destinies. Both were led by Rostropovitch; both were started in 1967 and both were created by the patron in 1970. Both were performed "in the West": one in London, the other in Aix-en-Provence; and that's when things started to unravel for Rostropovich, who fell out of favour with Brezhnev's regime in the USSR. When the soloist left the USSR for good in 1974, Lutosławski's Concerto suffered the same fate in the East and was hardly played there for a long time. While the two works are perfectly contemporary, and the two composers as well, the difference between them couldn't be greater. Whilst Lutosławski's Concerto seems to describe chaos, with a soloist part that resembles a Don Quixote battling against an orchestra, Tout un monde lointain bathes in a fantastical light, where the cello is primus inter pares with the orchestra. Two visions, both so different, defended here with the same ardour by cellist Johannes Moser, who has worked on them and played them many times over, and his experience has produced a recording where every inflection is carefully chosen. © SM/Qobuz
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Duets - Released October 26, 2018 | Colin Currie Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Symphonic Music - Released October 26, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Classical - Released October 26, 2018 | Piano Classics

Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Chamber Music - Released October 26, 2018 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice - 5 étoiles de Classica
During the course of a full career, which justly earned him the name of "prince of baroque violinists", Giuliano Carmignola developed a remarkable vision of Bach's works for solo violin. Carmignola, a student of Szeryng and Milstein, knows this repertoire inside and out, creating a feeling of spontaneity and improvisation while remaining closely faithful to Bach's writing. He uses a discreet but present vibrato beautifully (a far cry from some other baroque musicians who step much further back from the material), and he favours a free approach to rhythm and an expressive style that highlights all the colours and subtleties of Bach's phrasing. His playing is influenced by the historical techniques unearthed by modern musicology, but it is also profoundly original, lyrical, and moving. The three Sonatas and three Partitas date back to the 1720s, the era of the great instrumental masterworks known as the Brandeburg Concertos, the First Book of the Well-Tempered Clavier and the Cello Suites. The sonatas take the form of church sonatas – four movements, slow-fast-slow-fast – and the partitas borrow from the old-style dance suites in five, six or even eight movements. © SM/Qobuz
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Solo Piano - Released October 26, 2018 | APR

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice
When thinking of the great German pianist Wilhelm Backhaus, the image of an old master with a large pale forehead often comes to mind, frozen in his somewhat wise and austere performances. With his fierce young Beethoven-like appearance, Backhaus gave his first recital in 1899 while his last concert, by which time he was a respectable old man, took place on July 5 1969, a week before his death. The miraculous advances in recording preserved this brilliant seventy-year-long career, because, unlike his colleagues Rubinstein and Schnabel who shied away from vinyl, Backhaus was one of the pioneers of the medium, having made his first records in 1908. Created for His Master’s Voice (HMV) between 1925 and 1935 and carefully restored here, these recordings are mainly devoted to Chopin (with the first complete recording of the Études), Liszt and Schumann. In addition, the second part is reserved for the transcriptions that were popular in those distant times. While the young Backhaus’ technique is breathtaking, it also teaches us something about musical history. Styles of playing change over the years and no one today would dare to play at such a dizzying speed. It was after the Second World War that pianists became a little more relaxed and began to abandon the sacred "short pieces" to play Beethoven's or Schubert's great sonatas, finding more gravity in keeping with the spirit of the times. The tempos slowed down significantly while the invention of the microgroove made it possible to capture long pieces of music, more favourable to the outpouring of expression than the 78-rpm sides allowed. It is truly touching to return to these recordings that symbolise a world that was lost forever. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released October 26, 2018 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
Not just restricted to the baroque repertoire, Japanese violinist and violist Shunsuke Sato (also written as Shunske Sato) does not hesitate to play some of the most contemporary works, many of which he wrote for himself. This means that his own way of playing Bach benefits from both teachings - the art of playing baroque on instruments and with ancient bows, and the art of playing in a contemporary style. This is, no doubt, what makes his reading of Bach so wonderful as he searches for pure beauty, making the instrument sing and linking the phrases with such coherence. Accompanying him, we find the wonderful Swiss ensemble il pomo d’oro (all lowercase) who embrace these musicologically indisputable teachings with a tone that sometimes even sounds romantic. In truth, Bach’s music often flirts with more tender accentuation, for example in the slow movement of Concerto for two violins, which Sato plays here with Zefira Valova, a violinist from the ensemble. It should be noted that the ensemble also seeks to rediscover the most intimate sounds that Bach could have conceived in these concertos, some of which were undoubtedly written to be performed at Café Zimmermann: one musician per desk! The resulting sounds are hugely different from other recordings which are sometimes performed by orchestras that are far too large for this work. © SM/Qobuz
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Symphonies - Released October 26, 2018 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice
With Symphony No.6 in A Minor "Tragic" written in 1904 (the title, for once, is not a publisher's gimmick, but was indeed given by Mahler in the programme for the first performance in Vienna in 1906), Mahler almost returns to the classical symphony format; we find more voices in the score (a technique that he had already used in No. 5) and a four-movement structure (whereas No. 5 was articulated in five movements thrown into three "parts", with the absence of a programme or philosophical content). Admittedly, the orchestra remains huge, with four woodwinds, eight horns, and six trumpets, not to mention an impressive arsenal of percussion instruments including alpine bells, hammer and xylophone, which he never used elsewhere; in this respect, Mahler contributed to putting an end to the late romantic trend of gigantic works for titanic orchestras. It must be said that the last movement, which lasts at least half an hour, is of a truly tragic expression with its indelible darkness. This frightened the critics, who found the work somewhat bloated. It is therefore up to the conductor to make the score as transparent as possible, the contrapuntal lines readable and the orchestral colours perceptible through the orchestral immensity. Equipped with his MusicAeterna, Teorod Currentzis embarks on the adventure. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released October 19, 2018 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Classical - Released October 19, 2018 | Delphian

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice