Albums

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Full Operas - Released March 25, 2013 | Ambroisie - naïve

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Violin Concertos - Released May 6, 2014 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Hi-Res Audio
With several of her recordings of Romantic and modern violin concertos already issued on the PentaTone label, Arabella Steinbacher releases her first Classical-era album with this hybrid SACD of Mozart's Violin Concertos No. 3, No. 4, and No. 5. One may presume that she will eventually round out the series with the first two violin concertos and the Sinfonia concertante, but it's still a fine program for connoisseurs of Mozart and aficionados of Steinbacher's exquisite playing. Performing with Daniel Dodds and the Festival Strings Lucerne, she delivers all three works with bright sonorities and fluid grace, and plays with an elegance that is quite attractive. Even so, she reserves her virtuosity for the cadenzas (Wolfgang Schneiderhan's in the Violin Concerto No. 3, and Joseph Joachim's in the last two concertos), and the brilliance and warmth of her sound is well matched by the rounded tone of the orchestra, which in spite of its name includes woodwinds and horns. While the ensemble isn't a period orchestra, and Steinbacher makes no attempt to play in the historically informed manner, that's just as well, considering that the later vintage of the cadenzas would clash stylistically, and that this group of musicians obviously knew what they'd feel comfortable playing. In the end, it comes down to taste, and these are quite tasteful performances, so putting the historical debate aside, they are an enjoyable change of fare for this artist.
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Secular Vocal Music - Released April 8, 2014 | Phi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Choc de Classica - Hi-Res Audio
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Lieder (German) - Released April 7, 2014 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Hi-Res Audio
Late in life, Franz Joseph Haydn made about 125 arrangements of Scottish songs for the publisher George Thomson. Thomson's project was an ongoing one in the 1790s and early 1800s; after a volume with arrangements by Scots composers sold well, Thomson was apparently inspired to commission more of the same from "name" composers like Haydn and later Beethoven, Hummel, and Weber. The results were more than purely financially motivated. The aged Haydn proclaimed in one of his submissions to Thomson that he was proud of his work, and Beethoven seems to have gone on to set a variety of national popular songs (the term "folk songs" is anachronistic here, for the materials were contemporary) without any commission at all. Haydn's are pretty regular in structure, with a strophic setting for a trio of piano, violin, and cello, and an instrumental introduction that neatly sets the mood and the pitch world for the song. It's easy to see why Haydn became intrigued by the project: within the severe constraints of the form, he introduces quite a variety of expressive touches, and he was obviously well coached on the meaning of the texts (or absorbed a great deal of English in the course of his travels to London), even those in Scots dialect. There is little to tell the listener that German tenor Werner Güra is anything other than a native English speaker, and he even does well with the Scots pieces (everything is translated into German and French in the CD booklet, and the Scots texts are heavily footnoted for English speakers). The interpretations by Güra and his trio of instrumental collaborators (keyboardist Christoph Berner plays a fortepiano) are probably ideal for these little pieces. Güra keeps the music to its proper small scale, and he gives the instrumentalists room to move and avoids the mechanical quality of earlier readings. There's nothing revelatory here, but for those interested in the development of Scottish song, or in hearing some of the last notes Haydn set to paper, this is a strong pick.

Opera - Released February 14, 2014 | Sony Classical

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Sacred Vocal Music - Released January 28, 2014 | Novum

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Solo Piano - Released January 13, 2014 | harmonia mundi

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Symphonies - Released December 18, 2013 | Ars Produktion

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Classical - Released November 14, 2013 | Rondeau

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Classical - Released October 21, 2013 | Ricercar

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Symphonic Music - Released July 15, 2013 | naïve classique

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Symphonic Music - Released May 25, 2013 | Phi

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Classical - Released April 2, 2013 | Chandos

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Classical - Released January 1, 2013 | Chandos

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Symphonic Music - Released January 1, 2013 | Naxos

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Opera - Released November 26, 2012 | Zig-Zag Territoires

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica - Hi-Res Audio
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Full Operas - Released October 9, 2012 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Disque de la semaine France Musique - Choc de Classica - Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released September 10, 2012 | Alpha

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Classical - Released September 4, 2012 | Chandos

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Solo Piano - Released May 1, 2012 | Chandos

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