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Symphonic Music - Released April 5, 2011 | PentaTone

Booklet
Pentatone present the final volume of Philippe Herreweghe’s Beethoven series. At the helm of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic, the conductor offers Beethoven’s Symphonies n° 4 and 7 with the same mastery that was present in the first volumes. Out of iron discipline and religious respect for the text arises a fresh sense of freedom and regeneration. © Qobuz
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Classical - Released March 30, 2010 | PentaTone

Booklet
In the 2000s, Philippe Herreweghe recorded for the label Pentatone the entirety of Beethoven’s symphonies with the Royal Flemish Philharmonic under the senior artistic direction of Andreas Neubronner at Tritonus studios. Recorded in Anvers, Belgium in October 2009, this last section calls on several vocal soloists for the finale (Christiane Oelze, Ingeborg Danz and David Wilson-Johnson) with whom the Flemish conductor had collaborated regularly for some years starting with Bach’s cantatas. What we are presented with here is a kind of intimate Beethoven, this Beethoven remains generally calm, despite the occasional unconventional streak (but less so than with Brüggen or Gardiner), particularly light textures (Adagio molto e cantabile), and lively phrases. With Philippe Herrewegh, Beethoven never leaves the 18th century and the dancing spirit he works into his interpretation (Finale, notably the introduction) weaves in the watermarks of close links to composers from previous generations. © Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released September 29, 2017 | Evidence

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Jazz
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Classical - Released October 16, 2015 | Evidence

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Record of the Month
This is the third instalment in François-Frédéric Guy’s traversal of Beethoven and the first to delve into the chamber music. He is well matched in intellect, musicianship and temperament by cellist Xavier Phillips as they journey from the ridiculous (the Variations on ‘See the Conqu’ring Hero Comes’, in which Guy dispatches the virtuoso piano part with complete aplomb, to delectable effect) to the sublime (the Op 102 Sonatas). The two sets of variations on themes from Mozart’s Magic Flute are a very different proposition from the ‘Conqu’ring Hero’ but just as persuasive, with the Op 66 set given a particularly sparkling reading. Competition is of course thick on the ground, not least from Isserlis and Levin (playing a tremendously characterful McNulty fortepiano), which was an obvious choice for Record of the Month in February 2014. But Phillips and Guy deserve that accolade just as richly and their utterly different sound world is equally riveting.
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Classical - Released September 13, 2019 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Pianist Igor Levit came on the scene with an album devoted to Beethoven's late piano sonatas, works normally not undertaken until a player has had some experience. As if that were not enough, he released a three-CD set featuring Bach's Goldberg Variations, BWV 988, Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, Op. 120, and Frederic Rzewski's The People United Will Never Be Defeated: three giant and challenging variation sets. Seemingly determined to outdo himself, he returned in 2019 with a complete set of Beethoven's sonatas. The four late ones, which made a critical splash, are included here (as played in 2013, not in new versions), and the rest follow somewhat in the pattern you might expect from the earlier album. Levit has said that he admires Artur Schnabel's Beethoven recordings from the 1930s, and indeed he has some of the same go-like-the-wind quality. His combination of fast tempi and graceful phrase shaping works well in many of the early sonatas, although in the Op. 10 set his tempos leave him little room for the marked Presto in the first movement of Op. 10, No. 3. His slow movements are a mixed bag, with the Adagio of the Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 2 ("Moonlight"), lacking the evocative moods of some of the others. The first movement of the Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57 ("Appassionata"), takes the forward sweep too far as the important short-short-short-long motif is reduced to decoration. Levit is never less than carefully considered in his phrasing, though, and many movements have a wonderful liveliness. Sample the joyous finale of the Piano Sonata No. 28 in A major, Op. 101, the first adumbration of the almost mystical quality of the late Beethoven. The late sonatas are worth revisiting, especially the masterfully clear Piano Sonata No. 29 in B flat major, Op. 106 ("Hammerklavier"), and the Piano Sonata No. 31 in A major, Op. 110. The collection may be brash in many ways, but it lives up to its ambitions and demands attention. © TiVo
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Symphonies - Released January 1, 2012 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
When talking about Carlos Kleiber's conducting style and recording catalogue, it is easy to over-use superlatives. Perhaps the secrets of his art are best expressed in the cover picture, with the mad elegance of his gestures, which seem to summon up the music through sheer energy, subtlety and a radiant smile: he seems absolutely possessed by inspiration. But listening to this album should do the trick too. Living as a recluse, cancelling three quarters of his concerts, hardly ever recording, it was like a miracle when Carlos Kleiber agreed to set down these two symphonies for Deutsche Grammphon. In 1975, he recorded the 5th Symphony in the generous surroundings of the Vienna Musikverein, with a Philharmonic that hung off his every word and followed his slightest gesture. Under his philosopher's baton, the "5th" became pure, distilled energy, an explosive Pandora's box that gave off sparks and followed the demands of the score precisely. The fateful four notes around which the entire symphony was built were at once the foundation and the capstone of this landmark work, magnificently structured here by Kleiber. Has there ever been such a tempestuous and light-footed Seventh Symphony? One thinks immediately of Nietzsche: "I would believe only in a God that knows how to dance". Recorded the following year, in the same place, this Seventh soars, pirouettes and exults in a pantheist, saving joy, with a lightness that seems to lift the musicians off the floor. "Now am I light, now do I fly; now do I see myself under myself. Now there danceth a God in me.". Thus directed Carlos Kleiber. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Symphonies - Released January 1, 2014 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Beethoven's nine symphonies were recorded by Herbert von Karajan in 1961-1962 with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra - of which he became permanent conductor in 1955 to replace Wilhelm Furtwängler - and released on the DG label in 1963. 1963 October 15, Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic played Beethoven's Ninth Symphony at the inaugural concert of the Berlin Philharmonie. The first complete recording by the Austrian conductor — next will be the versions recorded between 1975-1977 (released in 1977, also a high-flying interpretation) and between 1982 and 1984 (released in 1985) — this version of 1963 remains the most inhabited on the whole. Technically remarkable, she is one of the great peaks of her discography. © Qobuz
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Classical - Released April 3, 2020 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released May 27, 2016 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet
One could easily lose oneself in the meanderings of the many recordings by Wilhelm Kempff, which stretch out across the 55 years from 1920 to 1975, even though he never liked playing for the microphone. But nonetheless he has always been happy to record, and would constantly polish up his technique so as to render the most faithful possible service to his art, across both his own evolution and the technological innovations that he has seen through his many years of recording, from acoustics to stereophony. The great German pianist left behind him three complete recordings of Beethoven's sonatas. The first was in the 1930s, but it wasn't quite complete; the second in the 1950s; and a final collection, brought together in this recording, from the early 1960s, with stereo sound. Recorded quite quickly, considering the volume of material involved, between January 1964 and January 1965, in the studios of Hanover's Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft, it represents Wilhelm Kempff's final statement on Beethoven's work, having drawn closer to it over the course of several years. While the piano isn't without the odd harsh moment, this complete recording is of very even quality, and it brings out Kempff's free playing style which had brought Beethoven into the light, avoiding the heavy-handedness which German pianists had often inflicted on the composer. This search for clarity and simplicity came close to the improvisatory style that was Beethoven's hallmark, as he quickly "noted" whatever his imagination brought forth. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released April 3, 2020 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Duets - Released November 15, 2019 | Alpha

Hi-Res Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Qobuzissime
The final part of this intelligent and well-rounded triptych certainly deserves a Qobuzissime! It has been several years since we have been following this grandiose but relaxed duo, made up of violinist Lorenzo Gatto and pianist Julien Libeer. The Belgian pair have brought their complete collection of Beethoven’s sonatas for violin and piano to a close. There is a lot of spontaneity in this integral work, yet this freshness is not synonymous with offhandedness. On the contrary, the fruit of a well thought-out project, it unfolds as a thrilling story in three parts. The first volume opened like a stage curtain on this landmark of Beethoven with the iconic Kreutzer sonata, a strong score which trumps the expectations of the genre. The vehement drama of the first movement, slow and in a minor key, contrasts with the gentle nature of the second movement and confirms that the sonata is well and truly a format for two instruments on an equal footing and not just a support act to the piano, a Steinway in this instance.The second one delineated the milestones of an expanding genre. From the first to the last sonata, via the most popular nicknamed Spring, we bear witness to a general amplification of style. From Opus 12 to Opus 96, the form expands, the technical difficulty of playing increases and the light-hearted fun gives way to a more energetic rhetoric. For this second album, the duo chose the lustrous power of Chris Maene’s parallel-stringed piano. The instrument affords the necessary resonance to the interpretation of this sometimes outright zesty, sometimes tenderly subtle score.The third volume frames the Steinway’s radiance (Sonatas 6 and 7) with the more ample Maene piano (Sonatas 3 and 8) and is dedicated to the works conceived when the composer’s hearing began to falter. Paradoxically, this nightmare for Beethoven has brought about a gift for his listeners. Varied combinations of timbres, styles and character are constantly renewed in this cycle which Gatto and Libeer faithfully interpret throughout its entirety. Our award of recognition is also a retrospective on the first two milestones of this adventure which has valiantly held its promise. An important integral work to explore and encourage others to do so as well! © Elsa Siffert/Qobuz
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Solo Piano - Released August 23, 2019 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 3F de Télérama
We asked for this as much as we cautiously anticipated its arrival… Anxious to ensure the return of the pianist, Sony Classical – goodbye Deutsch Grammophon – rolled out the red carpet for Ivo Pogorelich. Recorded in Schloss Elmau and the Raiding Concert Hall (Beethoven in the former and Rachmaninoff in the latter) this new album delivers a wide sound of measured reverberation and embraces Pogorelich’s rough playing style as well as some of his more tender nuances. Like an iron hand in a velvet glove. Ivo Pogorelich is not playing around. For Rachmaninoff, he has chosen the second Sonata in B flat minor, op. 36 in its original, full-length version in which numerous sections disorientate the listener as they lose themselves on a hallucinogenic journey with the musician. Pogorelich progressively eases us in and wins us over by beginning with two, rarely recorded but known, Beethoven works: his sonatas no.22 in F major, op.54 and no.24 en F sharp major, op.78. The chosen listing is intelligent (with two major figures), ambitious (with its demanding score), and generous (for reasons mentioned above). It would seem we’re in familiar territory, yet nothing is less certain when Pogorelich seems to literally grab the scores by their reigns and breathe into them a sense of puissant heroism. Nevertheless, Pogorelich remains an expressive musician, scrutinising the texts with as much malice as severity despite some slower tempos. It’s as if the listing is backlit by his own personal vision for the works. © Elsa Siffert/Qobuz
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Duets - Released June 3, 2016 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Diapason d'or - Choc de Classica - Exceptional Sound Recording
The adventure began in 2012, when Gilles Ledure, director of Flagey (Brussels), suggested to Lorenzo Gatto and Julien Libeer they should perform the complete Beethoven violin sonatas there. For these two artists, Beethoven was ‘perhaps the first composer in our history to have embodied the values of the Enlightenment in both his music and his life’. Haunted by these monuments of architecture and expression, they decided to embark on a recording. Here are three sonatas recorded in the legendary Salle de Musique of La Chaux-de-Fonds, including the famous ‘Kreutzer’ Sonata. Since his version of the Beethoven Violin Concerto (ZZT 354), Lorenzo Gatto has taken his place among the violinists who matter on the international scene.
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Classical - Released January 1, 2006 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet
It would be difficult to rank these three complete collections of Beethoven's works for cello and piano, recorded by Pierre Fournier with three different partners, all distinguished Beethoven experts: Arthur Schnabel (1947-48), Friedrich Gulda (1959) and Wilhelm Kempff (1965). Fournier and Gulda are like fire and water. The French cellist provides guidance to the solitary and somewhat untameable Gulda, who himself admitted to having learned some discipline over the course of the recording, and kept a debt of gratitude for Fournier his whole life. The result is a tremendous show of mutual attention and a clarity of expression, without any pomposity or pretentiousness. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released October 4, 2019 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Duets - Released November 15, 2019 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
The final part of this intelligent and well-rounded triptych certainly deserves a Qobuzissime! It has been several years since we have been following this grandiose but relaxed duo, made up of violinist Lorenzo Gatto and pianist Julien Libeer. The Belgian pair have brought their complete collection of Beethoven’s sonatas for violin and piano to a close. There is a lot of spontaneity in this integral work, yet this freshness is not synonymous with offhandedness. On the contrary, the fruit of a well thought-out project, it unfolds as a thrilling story in three parts. The first volume opened like a stage curtain on this landmark of Beethoven with the iconic Kreutzer sonata, a strong score which trumps the expectations of the genre. The vehement drama of the first movement, slow and in a minor key, contrasts with the gentle nature of the second movement and confirms that the sonata is well and truly a format for two instruments on an equal footing and not just a support act to the piano, a Steinway in this instance.The second one delineated the milestones of an expanding genre. From the first to the last sonata, via the most popular nicknamed Spring, we bear witness to a general amplification of style. From Opus 12 to Opus 96, the form expands, the technical difficulty of playing increases and the light-hearted fun gives way to a more energetic rhetoric. For this second album, the duo chose the lustrous power of Chris Maene’s parallel-stringed piano. The instrument affords the necessary resonance to the interpretation of this sometimes outright zesty, sometimes tenderly subtle score.The third volume frames the Steinway’s radiance (Sonatas 6 and 7) with the more ample Maene piano (Sonatas 3 and 8) and is dedicated to the works conceived when the composer’s hearing began to falter. Paradoxically, this nightmare for Beethoven has brought about a gift for his listeners. Varied combinations of timbres, styles and character are constantly renewed in this cycle which Gatto and Libeer faithfully interpret throughout its entirety. Our award of recognition is also a retrospective on the first two milestones of this adventure which has valiantly held its promise. An important integral work to explore and encourage others to do so as well! © Elsa Siffert/Qobuz
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Keyboard Concertos - Released January 31, 2020 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Many of us may have set goals for the new year, but harmonia mundi set theirs particularly high. The independent record label intends on killing two birds with one stone by launching an extensive Beethoven edition that spans from 2020 (one hundred and fifty years since his birth) to 2027 (the bicentenary of his death), in a series of new recordings by new musicians under the label. For years to come, this non-exhaustive edition will be a reflection of the interpretative trends from the 21st century. This first volume of the Complete Piano Concertos on period instruments (there will be another on modern instruments) brings together the two extremes of Beethoven’s repertoire, namely Concertos No. 2 and No. 5, the former of which was composed first. Kristian Bezuidenhout’s exceptional musicality renders the dispute over instrument manufacturing seemingly artificial and fruitless, as he is at ease playing both early and modern pianos. After an inspired performance of Mozart’s complete Sonatas, we follow him as he journeys through the Beethoven Concertos, working closely with the Freiburg Barockorchester ensemble, for whom Bezuidenhout and Gottfried von der Goltz have been in charge of artistic direction since 2017-2018. This may not be a ground-breaking endeavour but what sets it apart is the meticulous attention to detail from Kristian Bezuidenhout and conductor Pablo Heras-Casado with regards to articulations and dynamics. The same can also be said for their choice of cadenzas, which the pianist often reinterprets using the same instrument for the complete work, resulting in a modern rendition played on a Viennese Conrad Graf piano dating from 1824. Confronted with musical practices from the end of the 18th century, the music of young Beethoven comes alive as never before. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released October 11, 2019 | Naxos

Hi-Res Booklet
Beethoven’s first two piano concertos share an abundance of lyric and virtuosic qualities. Concerto No. 1 in C major is expansive and richly orchestrated with a sublime slow movement that is tender and ardent, and a finale full of inventive humour. Concerto No. 2 in B flat major marries energy with elegance, reserving poetic breadth for its slow movement and quirky wit for the finale. Also included is the jovial Rondo, WoO 6, which Beethoven originally intended to be the finale of Concerto No. 2. © Naxos
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Keyboard Concertos - Released December 6, 2019 | Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

Hi-Res Booklet
Recorded over the course of four concerts in Berlin in 2010, Sir Simon Rattle and “his” Berlin Philharmoniker successfully punctuate their complete collection of symphonies with these five concertos. While these were recorded before the symphonies, you can identify a distinct chamber music-like tonality, with an orchestra whose dimensions have been clearly reduced compared to the traditional size of the renowned Berlin ensemble. This integral work is first and foremost an orchestral delight thanks to the lyricism of the wind section and the silky characteristics of the strings. Far from being simply a support act to the soloist, the Japanese pianist Mitsuko Uchida, the orchestra instead seems to lead the operation with a speedy rhythm and an inimitable sense of musical rhetoric. Mitsuko Uchida almost appears to play modestly, never wanting to hog the spotlight, in a constant dialogue with the conductor. From the bonhomie of the first two concertos through to the Fifth (wrongly named the Emperor) which paved the way for the more romantic concertos, via the Fourth with its sublime Andante con moto which raises some metaphysical questions, this intimate performance cements this Beethovenian collection in its rightful era, lest we forget that these concertos were written in the first decade of the nineteenth century, in the midst of a triumphant Viennese classicism at a time when Joseph Haydn was writing his final few masterpieces and Napoleon’s Grande Armée was bombarding Vienna. With such a sonic perspective and a sound recording which never lets the piano become intrusive, these concertos which are often performed like works written fifty years afterwards, strike an instrumental balance and recover their true musical essence, which had slowly been beginning to disappear. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released September 27, 2019 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or / Arte - Choc de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
To celebrate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birthday with the entire world in 2020, the Carnegie Hall chose the French ensemble the Ébène Quartet to perform Beethoven’s Quatuors in their entirety. Honoured by this prestigious invitation, the four musicians decided to prolong this exceptional moment by playing this globally recognised music around the world, on all five continents in seven concerts between April 2019 and January 2020. The intellectual and emotional strength of Beethoven’s opus remains a force to be reckoned with, a humanist vector carried by the spirit of the Enlightenment. Over the course of this fantastic journey, the Ébène Quartet will record the quatuors in concerts given in Vienna, Philadelphia, Tokyo, São Paulo, Melbourne, Nairobi and Paris, their home ground. A film crew will follow the musicians on their world tour and will thereafter produce a documentary. The first milestone of this Beethoven around the World journey makes up this album, and was recorded in June 2019 in the Mozartsaal of the Vienna Konzerthaus. It contains the first two Razumovsky Quatuors, performed in the very city where they were composed in 1806. © François Hudry/Qobuz