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Violin Concertos - Released September 10, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Diapason d'or - Special Soundchecks - Hi-Res Audio
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Concertos - Released September 10, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc de Classica - Special Soundchecks - Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released September 10, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Special Soundchecks - Hi-Res Audio
Given that the aim of this recording, announced in the booklet notes, is to "[demonstrate] how composers in Germany, Italy, Austria, and England responded to the challenges of writing for the violin senza basso, it's a bit odd to begin the proceedings with a work that's not for violin at all. However, the transcription for solo violin of Bach's underplayed Partita for flute in A minor, BWV 1013, by violinist Rachel Podger herself, is quite idiomatic to the violin, and Podger's performance is lively and attractive. From Bach, Podger looks outward to other solo violin works rather than back to the tradition immediately preceding Bach's unaccompanied sonatas and partitas. The works don't have anything directly to do with one another, but they are united in part by being Podger's favorites, and there are some fascinating offbeat pieces that do indeed seem to have counterparts in Bach's magisterial compendia. Consider the very nice pair of solo sonatas by Giuseppe Tartini. In the Giga movement of the first one, the violin takes its solo and is answered by itself in the role not only of harmonic accompaniment but of orchestral figure. The pieces by Nicola Matteis, who inaugurated the entire migration of Italian musicians to Britain, have a fantastic spirit, while the sonata by Pisendel, which may have preceded or followed Bach's pieces, is at least similar to them in language, although less deep. A selection from Biber's Rosary Sonatas works well as a finale. One minor flaw is that notes describe a sonata by Antonio Montanari that is not actually included; a more serious problem is overresonant church sound inconsistent with the chamber purposes of the music.
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Concertos - Released September 10, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet
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Concertos - Released September 10, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet
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Violin Concertos - Released September 10, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released September 10, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet
The rediscovery of Dietrich Buxtehude, whom Bach walked across Germany to hear, continues to yield fascinating new masterpieces. Membra Jesu nostri (The Body Parts of Jesus), known only to a handful of specialists a decade ago, has attracted no fewer than three strong recordings from major early music ensembles: the Sixteen under Harry Christophers performs its framing ensemble sections with a small choir, while Konrad Jünghänel's Cantus Cölln and the present performance, by the Netherlands Bach Society under Jos van Veldhoven, simply join the four soloists together to form the chorus. Normally that's a questionable decision, but in this case it seems to work: this was experimental music, written for a small group of initiates and set down in a very odd tablature notation, a specimen of which is reproduced in the booklet for this disc. The Latin texts of these seven thematically linked cantatas, drawn from a medieval mystical poem, are devotions addressed to body parts of the crucified Christ: feet, knees, hands, side, breast, heart, and face. These texts are sung by soloists, with a different soloist taking each verse in music that changes but remains harmonically consistent with the other verses. Buxtehude frames each text with a choral setting of a line from the Bible that refers to the same body part. He alters the mode of expression in these little framing choruses; some are direct and passionate, others coolly contrapuntal. And he finds other ways of varying what could be a tedious sequence of seven similar cantatas; the work reaches a climax in the sixth cantata, on the theme of the heart, where the alto, tenor, violins, and cellos drop out and throw the remaining forces -- soprano, bass, and a group of gambas -- into sharp relief. This extraordinary cantata suggests the confluence of sacred and secular love found in both the Latin poem and in the Song of Songs text Buxtehude chooses from the Bible to frame it, and the suggestion is made without the recourse to Italian operatic language found in Bach. The music as a whole is intimate, personal, and intensely devotional; it may well appeal strongly to those whose religious impulses are stimulated by close consideration of individual biblical passages. There is a dramatic quality that lurks in Buxtehude's vocal music, and the soloists here choose to bring it out even as they keep to a generally quiet level -- in this performance the music is a quietly impassioned, private prayer. The other available performances are a bit warmer. Preferences among the three may be individual, but the acoustics of this recording bring out its subtleties and its general hushed, intense mood. This disc is strongly recommended for anyone who loves the passionate yet concrete quality of Bach's smaller sacred pieces.
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Classical - Released September 10, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

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Violin Solos - Released September 7, 2018 | Aparté

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In his turn the conductor and first violin of the Freiburger Barockorchester engraved these emblematic pages for violin. On his instrument by the Milanese lutenist Paolo Antonio Testore (1690-1767), Gottfried von der Goltz tackles without any display this corpus for solo violin. He plays them in an authentic, personal and sober (a little too reserved?) way with a constant concern to put forward their rich architecture and polyphony always in a deep understanding of the writing. © Qobuz 2018    
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Violin Concertos - Released June 8, 2018 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
The press is already in a spin about it: "The new Menuhin"; "a star is born"; "the enchanted bow"... Daniel Lozakovich, 17 years old, might have his head in the stars, but he has his feet firmling on the ground. He is shaping a dazzling career with stunning maturity. Born in Sweden to a family from the former USSR, he learned violin in 2007, at the age of 6. Two years later, he would play his first concerto, conducted by Vladimir Spivakov. There then followed the difficult quest to find a teacher who would "not change my musicality, but make me stronger." Daniel Lozakovich currently lives in Geneva, where he works with Eduard Wulfson, a private tutor that he met at the Verbier Festival. It was also at this festival, which showcases young talents, that the teenager met Valery Gergiev, who immediately took him under his protective and liberating wing. Signed to Deutsche Grammophon (DG), Daniel Lozakovich would soon record Beethoven's Concerto in D Major with his mentor, "a work whose structure is so clear", he said, "but whose music is so difficult". Daniel Lozakovich listened to a lot of records to perfect his playing and his musical knowledge. He learned a lot from listening to the great masters of the past, in particular Bruno Walter, who charmed him with his sense of detail, and the sound he gets from his orchestra, as well as his poetic phrasing. This preference says a lot about this very young musician, who we discover here on his first record, dedicated to Bach. Listening to the Second Partita (with its brilliantly-structured Chaconne) and the Concertos in E Major and A Minor, we are won over straight away by the solidity of his concept, the great beauty of the sonority with its long phrases and a discourse which is constantly expressive. His parents, who are not remotely musicians, would have preferred for him to be a great tennis player, but fate had other plans for this strong-willed teenager with a dazzling smile. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released June 8, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
In 1668, Dietrich Buxtehude, then thirty one years old, took up the very sought-after tenure of organist at the Marienkirche in Lübeck, then a Hanseatic metropolis of considerable relevance; the organist had at that time one of the most desirable social statuses. He soon caused a sensation with the church concerts he held outside of religious services and that happened every year, in the early evening, on the five Sundays preceding Christmas. During these “Abendmusiken” (vespertine music), as they were called, were sometimes performed great works falling withing the oratorio genre, but more often was performed a mix of instrumental pieces, church tunes, psalm arrangements and cantata-like works. From the 1700s, these series of concerts had become a major cultural event of the city. Released from the daily handling of religious music handled by the Marienkirche’s Cantor—as was often the case at the time in North Germany—, Buxtehude only composed works on his own initiative, which allowed him to give them a quality level noticeably higher than that of the Cantor, for example, forced to compose non-stop, from one Sunday to another. The cantatas recorded here demonstrate the high artistic ambitions of these vocal works: they often digress from stylistic and generic conventions of their time and answer the tasks imposed by the texts with bold musical solutions, daring and absolutely splendid. The sonatas from Buxtehude completing the vocal program of this disc are also characterized by their markedly experimental character. Olivier Fortin’s Masques Ensemble—recorder, strings, positive organ—and Lionel Meunier’s Vox Luminis join forces to offer us these gems from the turn of the North German 18th century, such gems that the young Bach didn’t hesitate, in 1705, to travel on foot from Arnstadt—a 100-league trip—to come listen to Buxtehude, his organ play and probably his famous Abendmusiken. © SM/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released June 6, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Careful, you don’t want to miss this! For ten years, there have been so many Goldberg Variations invading the market, both on piano and on harpsichord, that we didn’t expect to be so surprised, to feel such amazement. After several absolutely fascinating projects, first with Pan Classics (Scarlatti, Soler), then a first album with Harmonia Mundi devoted to Padre Soler rare Sonatas (awarded with a Qobuzism), here again comes Spanish harpsichordist Diego Ares—born in Vigo in 1983—playing Johann Sebastian Bach, with probably one of the Cantor’s most complex works; Diego Ares astonishes with his rigor, his imagination and his freedom, both in the phrasing, the registrations, the ornamentation, the sense of surprise (Variation 25). The harmonies sound implacable, often harsh, yet still radiate in a supreme way (Variation 28); this is the left hand, full and musical, but above all incredibly flexible, that is also able to rear up, to create sometimes surprising suspensions in time, always fluid and coherent, which opens real places of communication and distinguish the amazing narrative sense deployed by Diego Ares throughout this interpretation. © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz
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Cantatas (sacred) - Released May 25, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Bach's "Dialogue Cantatas" generally portrayed Jesus in dialogue with the human soul, first tormented and then at peace. The three cantatas selected here by Berlin's Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, which has, over the years since 1982 (with over a million records sold!) brought together musicians from the city's different orchestras – first those under Soviet rule and then all orchestras following the fall of the Wall – are a part of this genre; all date from the great Leipzig period, specifically the third cycle written by Bach for Leipzig in 1726. It will come as no surprise, hearing these cantatas, that the essence of the first arias is desperate, heart-rending: and as they go on, they move towards relief and joy. It is in these first moments that we see Bach at his most intense, most pained, most chromatic, terribly modern as well as at his most romantic, profoundly lyrical and yet rigorous in the musical discourse. The most superbly original piece is surely the Cantata BWV 49, which begins with a Sinfonia with obbligato organ – in which the listener will recognise the final movement of the Harpsichord Concerto in E Major, when Bach recycled it a dozen years later – and continues with an aria with cello and oboe, both soloists immersed in the soprano's joyous voice; and we finish on a magnificent chorale with an aria – the aria being for the bass of the solo organ, while the soprano part sings the chorale's theme from on high: a staggering display of modernity. © SM/Qobuz
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Solo Piano - Released May 25, 2018 | Le Palais des Dégustateurs

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Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released May 25, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice
In the 17th century, Roman churches were competing to put on the greatest show to celebrate their patron saints. On these occasions, extraordinary services were performed, where many different artists would be brought together, singers and instrumentalists alike, alongside ordinary musicians, for sumptuous pieces performed by several vocal and instrumental choirs. One contemporary description gives an idea of the scale: ten choirs and ensembles played together, two on fixed stages, and eight others distributed symmetrically right along the nave, on platforms built for the occasion. Every additional stage was provided with a positive organ, while many other instruments added to the sonic splendour. So that all the musicians could play well together in spite of the distance, "capi di coro” or time-keeping drummers, would play in unison. Orazio Benevolo (1605-1672) was one of the most remarkable architects of these extravagant, multi-choral monuments. Benevolo was a choirboy at the Church of St. Louis of the French in Rome before he entered the upper echelons by taking the job of Chapel Master in 1638. The composer has left behind him an abundant set of works, containing no fewer than 34 motets for a range of players, including Regna terrae, written for twelve soprano parts distributed across six vocal choirs, each with its own basso continuo. We are also indebted to him for twelve versions of the Magnificat, for between eight and 24 voices, including one for 16 voices, in quadruple choir, which appears here. Hervé Niquet and his Concert Spirituel have made use of the ample acoustics in the Notre-Dame-du-Liban church in Paris, perfectly structured to hold several choirs distributed across the building, to create the sensations of immersion and spatial plenitude that the composer aimed for. © SM/Qobuz
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Sacred Oratorios - Released April 27, 2018 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Booklet
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Classical - Released April 27, 2018 | Resonus Classics

Hi-Res Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Chamber Music - Released April 20, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
This is album number 27, no less, from the UK ensemble Florilegium for the Channel Classics label. The figure points to their enormous success, and this recording of the Essercizii Musici only confirms their status. The full title of this collection by Telemann is "Musical diversions consisting of 12 solos and 12 sonatas in trio for various instruments". Although in reality the twelve "solos" (which are played by two instruments, flute or oboe and basso continuo) there are two pieces for truly-solo harpsichord, making for a total of 22 pieces of chamber music. These are pieces for practical and domestic use, which the composer had published at his own expense around 1740, apparently, as a means of clearing the debts of his sweetheart, a compulsive gambler with whom he no longer lived but still paid all the same... Apart from these debts, the release of the Essercizii was also motivated by a desire to corner the lucrative market for big bourgeois consumers and music lovers in Hamburg, who spent the long winter nights playing contemporary music. Telemann's work was particularly favoured, because it was so well-written, not too technically demanding but always sweet-sounding. Florilegium give us eleven of the collection's twenty-four sonatas, mixing solo and trio sonatas (and the trios are actually played by trios: flute, gamba and basso continuo) – a rich music which proves once again that Telemann was able to continually reinvent himself, however big his catalogue became. © SM/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released April 13, 2018 | naïve classique

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice
A player of the harpsichord, organ and pianoforte; a choirmaster and conductor; Rinaldo Alessandrini is a teacher too, who loves to use his records and concerts to draw his audience into thrilling themes. This Roman is well-placed to know just how much history – and musical history is no exception here – is made up of strata which build up over each other, creating a jumble which can be anarchic, but which always drives invention. After an album that retells the story of 150 Years of Italian Music (Naïve 1994), and then another dedicated to the beginnings of Italian baroque in 1600 (Naïve 2012), we were treated to an enchanting black pearl, as incongruous as it was strange: Monteverdi - Night. Stories of lovers and Warriors (Naïve 2017) offers a collection of works that celebrate the night. Here is a recording dedicated to the flourishing of instrumental music in the later baroque period around 1700. The new composers who appear in this new work, Locatelli, Mascitti, Vivaldi, Caldara, Durante, Galuppi, Pugnani, were all very famous in their own times, and all went off to bring the good news about this new musical style to the four corners of Europe; they built up a kind of international musical language which would entrance the courts, and music-lovers in their first public concerts. The record bears that joyful playing style characteristic of Rinaldo Alessandrini and his Concerto Italiano, and a virtuosity which is as much a pleasure to behold as the rococo architecture and painting of that flamboyant epoch. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Violin Concertos - Released March 23, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Special Soundchecks
After the volumes dedicated to Vivaldi's great instrumental cycles, La Stravaganza (2004), La Cetra (2012) and L’Estro armonico (2015), English violinist Rachel Podger continues her work with her Brecon Baroque ensemble to bring out this version of the Four Seasons, which is rounded off with three violin concertos. Brecon Baroque is an offshoot of the festival of the same name that takes place every year at the end of October, in Wales. A magical place at the confluence of two rivers, where the spectacular countryside draws visitors every year in their hundreds. A passionate fan of the music of Vivaldi and Biber, Rachel Podger, who studied in Germany, demonstrates through her performances just how much the Red Priest's music (and her herself, following Biber) can cloak itself in the mysterious and bizarre, to the point that Vivaldi appears here as a distant descendant of the mannerists from the late Renaissance and early Baroque period. This is a particularly interesting and successful take.