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Chamber Music - Released February 8, 2015 | MV Cremona

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Chamber Music - Released September 14, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
"The harpsichord is perfect as to it compass, and brilliant in itself, but as it is impossible to swell out or diminish the volume of its sound, I shall always feel grateful to any who, by the exercise of infinite art supported by fine taste, contrive to render this instrument capable of expression", writes Couperin himself in the foreword to his 1713 Premier livre de pièces de clavecin. If we discount the ornamentations which litter the world, Couperin's music is not a "virtuoso" music, as Scarlatti's can be, for example. Sometimes taking on a descriptive style, or going in for imitation or portrait, it requires a singular sense of expression: that very "expression" that the composer talks about here. In Art de toucher le clavecin, Couperin offers us precious information on how to interpret and play his music in particular, and French music of the period in general; an artist who aims to respect Couperin's intentions will find indispensable lessons here. That being said, a fear of stepping outside the bounds set by the author, and a too-minute attention to every detail could rob the works of their vitality and fluency. "As there is a great distance from grammar to declamation, so there is an infinitely greater one between the tablature and good playing style." Or, in other words, freedom within limits! That is the attitude that Olivier Fortin brings to this fine range of works from the great Couperin, drawn from various of his Livres de clavecin and L’Art de toucher le clavecin. As for the instrument being played, it is a "real fake", made in 1984 by the manufacturer Martin Skowroneck based on a Hemsch (that is, 18th century French), but signed with the name of the Rouen artistan Nicholas Lefebvre, none of whose instruments survive to the present day, and which was built in 1755. Skowroneck's aim was to prove to Gustav Leonhardt that it was still possible to build a harpsichord that was perfectly identical to one of the old style, and it seems that Leonhardt was taken with his attempt. Even the material's ageing was completely artificial! But it is no less of a splendid instrument for all that, and moreover, splendidly recorded, which is not all that common in the harpsichord repertoire. © SM/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released September 14, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
A miniature Theatre of the World This box set launches a new complete recording of François Couperin's works for harpsichord: an extensive selection of vocal pieces and chamber music and the organ masses will be gathered around this rich corpus, each in its own way shedding further light on the keyboard music. In this first volume, Bertrand Cuiller draws the portrait of a mysterious alchemist: the ordres chosen here play with the colour of sounds, alliterations, double meanings and parodies, freely inspired by the world of the theatre. An enigmatic world to which Bertrand Cuiller undoubtedly holds the key . . .© harmonia mundi
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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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Violin Concertos - Released September 10, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
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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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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

Hi-Res Booklet
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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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Violin Solos - Released September 7, 2018 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet
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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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released September 7, 2018 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released September 7, 2018 | Sony Classical

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Chamber Music - Released August 31, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
With these recordings which mark the launch of the Stradivari collection, discover the unique instruments lovingly preserved at the Philharmonie de Paris's Museum of Music: the finest examples of the art of instrument-making which, like the iconic harpsichord crafted in 1652 by Ioannes Couchet, are given a new life thanks to the skill and commitment of its keen conservators. When this 'national treasure' is entrusted into the hands of an expert like Christophe Rousset, the magic is evident. As the sumptuous sonority of Louis Couperin's music is revealed, poetry meets fantasy.
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Sacred Oratorios - Released August 31, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
There is no shortage of parallels to be drawn between Caldara and Vivaldi: both Venetians, both boasting an impressive body of work running to several hundred pieces of all genres, both died in Vienna (in the same street and in the same penury!), although Caldara had written more operas and oratorios than the Red Priest. And here is one of these very 32 known oratorios, Maddalena ai piedi di Christo written in Venice around 1698; it is "oratorio volgare", that is, recited in Italian, rather than Latin. Originally written as an accompaniment to spiritual exercises, the oratorio came to replace profane operas when the theatres were closed, especially from November to Lent. It took on the guise of opera, and used many of its techniques: naves and altars were (re)decorated and mechanisms and costumes were employed. In reality, it was nothing but an opera with a religious theme... The words and the plot of Maddalena ai piedi di Christo are perfectly suited to these months of penitence. It is a drama of the moral breakdown that tortures the sinner who has to choose between worldly and heavenly love, between living a life of luxury and truly promising herself to Christ. The Le Banquet Céleste ensemble, led by Damien Guillon (who also sings the alto part of Divine Love), takes to this rare piece with fervour. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released August 24, 2018 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Chamber Music - Released August 24, 2018 | Alia Vox

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
The twenty pieces which make up the musical collection the Codex Trujillo of Peru (compiled around 1780 by Baltasar Jaime Martínez Compañón, the cantor of Lima and later bishop of Trujillo), represent an exceptional case in the history of the indigenous music of the New World. This ensemble of Tonadas, Cachuas, Tonadillas, Bayles, Cachuytas and Lanchas, lets us to get to know the country's traditional music, or as one of the Cachua texts puts it, "al uso de nuestra tierra" ("according to the ways of our land") More specifically we get to know the songs and dances of the people of the "Viceroyalty of Peru" in the late 18th century. These songs were written to be sung whilst dancing, hence the title of the album Bailar Cantando. The majority of the words are in Castilian (the Peruvian dialect) but there are also some songs in Quechua. All these elements explain the very specific character of these songs, which are very different from Spanish songs but also different to the music of other parts of the New World from the same era. The subtitle, "Fiesta Mestiza en el Perú", "Mestizo fiesta in Peru" shows the interaction between "natives" and Hispanics. It was symbolic feast celebrated with the marvellous Codex, in which all the different tribes and castes that lived together in this rich and stratified society would participate. When the Spanish arrived in Peru, following in the wake of Francisco Pizarro in 1532, the indigenous population already had more than two millennia of rich culture. As a result, the musical practices in the second half of the 17th century were fusion of local traditions and foreign influence: Iberian but also African. Jordi Savall leads the Tembembe Ensamble Continuo with many different native instruments, alongside the Ensemble Hespèrion XXI and vocalists from the Capella Reial de Catalunya. © SM/Qobuz
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Cantatas (sacred) - Released June 22, 2018 | Ricercar

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Most of the works presented here by the Clematis Ensemble and countertenor Paulin Bündgen come from the rich Düben collection held by the Uppsala University. In the 17th century, Gustaf Düben was kapellmeister at the Swedish court; he had mostly gathered manuscript scores of compositions from numerous German, French, Italian and Baltic authors. It is one of the largest sources of Lutherian repertoire of the 17th century, particularly as it contains numerous in unicum scores. Among the composers featured in this piece, some were Schütz’ successors or disciples, but it’s worth mentioning that the German composers of that time – particularly Schein, Franz Tunder (who was Buxtehude’s master) and Johann Fischer – were considerably influenced by Italian baroque. You’ll notice the presence of two Bachs on this album: Johann Michael (1648-1694) and Johann Christoph (1642-1703), two second-degree cousins of Johann Sebastian. Johann Christoph Bach’s Lamento − whom his cousin described as a “deep composer” – is without a doubt one of the best-known compositions of the sacred German repertoire of the time. Like in the entire repertoire, the role of strings remains essential. This sacred piece relies on the text’s numerous descriptive effects, like a “painting in musical form”: the sharpest terms (crying, sighing, sinking…) are underlined by similar vocal and instrumental effects. This Lamento is without a doubt the perfect example of the aria à da capo form that Johann Sebastian Bach so frequently used in his sacred works. This vocal music programme is accompanied by a few instrumental pieces that can be assimilated to church music. © SM/Qobuz
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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