Albums

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Symphonic Music - Released September 14, 2018 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - 5 étoiles de Classica
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Cello Concertos - Released May 18, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
After two albums which met with unanimous critical acclaim all over the world, the Resonanz Ensemble, based in Hamburg, is offering a recording dedicated to Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: the Cello Concertos wq. 170 and Wq. 172, respectively from 1750 and 1753, and the Symphonie Wq. 173 of 1741. The listener will immediately note the radical difference in language between the two concertos, written after the death of Bach Senior, and the Symphony, written while he was still alive: the concertos keep their eyes firmly fixed on the nascent classical era, including the "Sturm und Drang" which still lay ahead (in this regard, the Concerto in A Minor which opens the album, full of force and melodic power, is an excellent example), whereas the Symphony takes the final throes of baroque as its point of departure. Cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras and the Resonanz Ensemble offer a crystal-clear reading, conducted by their new musical director in residence, violinist Riccardo Minasi: and coolly resist the vogue – which can be quite intrusive, or even dictatorial or exclusive – for period instruments, which seems to hold that any music before Mozart (and even sometimes Mozart too) may not be played on modern instruments. Queyras, Resonanz and Minasi are all able to make use of stylistic elements gleaned from the fashion for baroque. This is a very fine album, superbly played, which really brings out all the originality of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. © SM/Qobuz
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Solo Piano - Released February 2, 2018 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica
Like Stein’s fortepianos, the copy of a Walter and sons (a Viennese fortepiano once owned by Mozart) played here by Maxim Emelyanychev is equipped with a knee lever, the ancestor of the damper pedal. No doubt Mozart was inspired by the timbres, the dynamic and harmonic possibilities of this new instrument: the Fantasia in C minor that starts off this album highlights this orchestral − almost operatic − range, and in its profusion of themes, it express the most prominent contrasts, reaching great expressive density. The same accents can be found in Piano Sonata No. 14 in C minor, K. 457, while the Piano Sonata No. 16 in C major, K. 545 offers a dramatic respite. This “small sonata for beginners” was composed in 1788, preceding the “Jupiter” Symphony, also in C major: a beautiful gem, coming just before his monumental work. Its innocent melody revives childhood memories of the first piano lessons. Finally, the Piano Sonata No. 18 in D major, K. 576 was created as the first part in a cycle: “Six easy piano sonatas for Princess Friederike”. Composed in 1789, and in fact considered to be of great difficulty, it was Mozart’s last sonata. Anton Walter, the piano maker, started making a name for himself in Vienna in 1778. Like most inventors, he never stopped experimenting: while other workshops produced pianos at scale, Walter kept looking for “his ideal”; each instrument differed from the previous one in numerous details and ever-bolder additions. In total, he built around seven hundred instruments; here, Emelyanychev plays on a copy made by Paul McNulty, a great specialist of fortepianos and ancient pianos, with experience in manufacturing close to two hundred copies of instruments from Stein, Walter, Hofman, Graf and Pleyel. © SM/Qobuz
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Concertos - Released September 7, 2009 | naïve classique

Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Classical - Released January 18, 2015 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
The cycle of Mozart's complete keyboard music by Kristian Bezuidenhout has gained plenty of notice for its sheer originality and energy, including some from U.S. Grammy nominators at the end of 2015 for this volume. It's one of the best of the Bezuidenhout cycle, using the fortepianist's copy of an 1805 Anton Walter instrument (by the great American-Czech builder Paul McNulty) to magnificent effect in the almost symphonic Piano Sonata in D major, K. 284. In that work, taking all the repeats in the finale and introducing substantial tempo rubato in the repeats, Bezuidenhout gives the work an epic quality. But he does this with all of Mozart's variation sets, including the small one recorded here at the beginning. The Piano Sonata in A minor, K. 310, with its slashing accents and tense atmosphere, takes on a Beethovenian quality. Bezuidenhout in general emphasizes the experimental, proto-Romantic side of Mozart's musical personality and greatly minimizes the graceful Classical (and French) side. Whether you accept this may be a matter of taste, but it works exceptionally well in the two sonatas here, masterpieces of Mozart's middle period in Bezuidenhout's hands. Highly recommended.
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Chamber Music - Released March 11, 2011 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - Hi-Res Audio
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Opera Extracts - Released December 15, 2010 | Cypres

Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama - Orphée d'Or de l'Académie du Disque Lyrique - 4 étoiles de Classica
£29.49

Full Operas - Released October 7, 2010 | harmonia mundi

Booklets Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica - Exceptional sound
With Die Zauberflöte, René Jacobs continues his exemplary traversal of Mozart operas, having already recorded the da Ponte operas, La Clemenza di Tito, and Idomeneo. Jacobs has not only a formidable knowledge of historically informed performance practice, but a bold inventiveness and originality, and in the comedies, a bubbling, earthy wit. He is a master of comic timing, and there are many moments in Die Zauberflöte when he gives a lift or a pause to a phrase that's generally treated as routine, and spotlights a significant gleam of mirth or insight that might easily have gone unnoticed. For any listener who has loved this opera but has become jaded from overexposure to run-of the-mill or cute performances, Jacobs' version is likely to re-kindle a passion for its many delights. In the program notes he writes that it is "an exciting challenge to make the dialogue so lively and varied that listeners are not tempted to skip from one musical number to the next," and his success easily outstrips expectations. He simply offers so many surprises (some that might be considered daring or insufficiently respectful of the score) that even listeners who know the opera forward and backward will be kept on their toes. In his notes, however, Jacobs makes a scrupulous and systematic account for each of the apparent eccentricities of his interpretation, citing the libretto itself or the performing practices of Mozart's day. An example of his non-traditional approach is his treatment of the very long spoken interaction with Tamino, Papageno, and the Three Ladies that follows "Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja," in which he interjects sound effects and musical snippets and underscores some dialogue with improvisations on the fortepiano, in the manner of a melodram. The Three Ladies are so giddy that they sometimes can't help bursting into song, using music Mozart wrote but discarded before the premiere. Jacobs has a cast with the dramatic chops to pull off these hijinks with panache and naturalness so that they are genuinely funny without seeming silly. And they can sing! Few are international superstars; most are early in their careers, but they are attuned to the subtleties of singing Mozart and for the most part deliver outstanding performances. Daniel Behle's Tamino is pure and robustly heroic, and as Pamina, Marlis Petersen has a lovely lyrical innocence and plenty of strength. Daniel Schmutzhard and Sunhae Im as the secondary couple are absolutely secure vocally, and they bring a gleeful whimsicality to their roles. Anna-Kristiina Kaappola doesn't have as large a voice as is usually associated with the Queen of the Night, but it is consistent from its bottom to its stratospheric top, and her coloratura has a shimmering majesty. One gets the impression that her Queen is a physically small woman with a huge personality, a terrifying virago who sounds like she is spitting nails when she is angry. The smaller roles -- with Inga Kalna, Anna Grevelius, and Isabelle Druet as the Three Ladies, Kurt Azesberger as Monastatos, and Konstantin Wolff as the Speaker -- are all sung and acted beautifully. Marcos Fink doesn't quite have adequate vocal heft for the role, but his voice is warmly enveloping, and he makes an exceptionally humane and fatherly Sarastro; it's easy to see why the young lovers come to trust him. Jacobs' ensembles, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin and RIAS Kammerchor, are entirely sensitive to the flexibility of his leadership and play and sing with spontaneous exuberance. The sound of Harmonia Mundi's beautifully produced album is wonderfully clean and lifelike, with excellent depth, clarity, and definition. Highly recommended.
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Symphonic Music - Released January 18, 2010 | naïve classique

Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
£13.59

Full Operas - Released April 24, 2008 | Mirare

Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles du Monde de la Musique - 4F de Télérama
£7.99

Sacred Vocal Music - Released January 1, 1986 | Accent

Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama