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Symphonic Music - Released February 22, 2019 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet

Masses, Passions, Requiems - To be released April 5, 2019 | BR-Klassik


Violin Concertos - Released October 28, 2016 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Record of the Year - Gramophone Award - Choc de Classica - Choc Classica de l'année
"Not another complete recording of Mozart's violin concertos!", some might complain, and in absolute terms they wouldn’t necessarily be wrong. Except that this complete edition is signed by star violinist Isabelle Faust, accompanied by Il Giardino Armonico (who plays on instruments from Mozart’s time, including natural horns, nine-key bassoons, six-key flutes, two-key oboes), and – last but not least – the cadenzas are signed by Andreas Staier, since Mozart has left us no cadenzas for his violin concertos (unlike several piano concertos, as well as his Sinfonia concertante for violin and viola). Far from playing the star, Isabelle Faust prefers to blend in with the whole orchestra, a kind of primus inter pares attitude quite refreshing in this repertoire which, in fact, does not require so much emphasis of the part of soloist – the sound engineering and balance itself favours an overall sound rather than an opposition between solo violin and orchestra. This is a new and very original interpretation, whatever the abundant discography of these works may already be. In addition to the five concertos, Faust plays the three single movements for violin and orchestra – two Rondos and one Adagio – which are actually "spare" movements for one or the other of the concertos written on request for soloists of that time. One wonders what Mozart would have written had he had Isabelle Faust by his side! © SM/Qobuz

Quartets - Released October 7, 2014 | Arcana

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason

Duets - Released November 9, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
At a time when Mozart was writing his first sonatas for violin and clavier, in 1778, it was the done thing to write piano sonatas with violin accompaniment in which the violin part is fairly unobtrusive. The purpose of this was not to put off the target audience for the scores: educated amateurs. But Mozart paid no heed to this convention and took off into a new world with real duets, in which the two instruments found themselves on an even footing. At the same time, he avoided the corrective exaggeration which would appear in some scores which resembled violin concertos with a little piano support. Here we have a perfect balance between the two players: Isabelle Faust on the violin and Alexander Melnikov at the clavier. The latter of the two plays on a copy of a Viennese fortepiano made in 1795 by Anton Walter. The sound balance is utterly perfect, which is a relief, as all too often these sonatas either favour the keyboard part when played on the piano or the violinist tries to force it. We have here two sonatas written in Paris shortly after the death of Mozart's mother (who accompanied him on the journey), and then another from 1787 written in the wake of Leopold Mozart's death. Despite this the composer seems to be putting on a brave face, flashing a smile tinged with a tender nostalgia on the Sonata in E Minor K. 304. © SM/Qobuz

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

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.

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

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

Keyboard Concertos - Released August 26, 2016 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Diapason d'or / Arte - Le Choix de France Musique - 4 étoiles de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik

Quintets - Released January 1, 2011 | Brilliant Classics

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason

Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released December 2, 2016 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Award - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Exceptional sound - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik

Classical - Released January 8, 2016 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica
Kristian Bezuidenhout's cycle of Mozart's complete keyboard music concludes with this double album, which contains some real rarities that are ideally suited to Bezuidenhout's tough, wiry style. As such, it may not be the item to pick if you want to sample the series, but it's often fascinating. Bezuidenhout's basic modus operandi is to give considerable weight even to works conventionally thought of as light, using his powerful fortepiano (a copy of an 1805 Walter instrument by builder Paul McNulty) and its unequal-temperament tuning to bring out dissonances and sinewy lines rarely heard elsewhere. Here he has some really radical experiments to work with, and even if you find Bezuidenhout's readings idiosyncratic at times, you'll likely appreciate the likes of the Modulating Prelude F-C, K. deest (it is indubitably by Mozart), or the Menuetto in D major, K. 355, with its daring harmonies barely matched elsewhere in Mozart's output. Several of the sonata-form movements were abandoned by Mozart for one reason or another and have been completed by Mozart scholar Robert Levin; the joints are hard to hear. Some pieces, such as the Modulating Prelude and the Four Preludes, K. 284a, are examples of Mozart's improvisational abilities, which were rarely captured in notation. In the larger and more usual works, Bezuidenhout applies a heavy touch to the Piano Sonatas K. 279 and 280, and to three large variations sets, which are generally given a touch of French elegance. But in the Nine Variations on a Minuet by Duport, K. 573, Bezuidenhout achieves utterly distinctive results in a work that has almost no harmonic content and is completely about register and space. Bezuidenhout's Mozart is, to be sure, a matter of taste, but this is a fine conclusion to his series.

Symphonic Music - Released November 10, 2017 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
Haydn2032, the ambitious project of recording the complete symphonies of Haydn, has been placed from the start under the artistic direction of Giovanni Antonini, with two ensembles, Il Giardino Armonico, which made the first four volumes, and the Kammerochester Basel, to which this fifth volume and the next two are assigned. Another characteristic of the edition is that each time Haydn is set in perspective with another composer; here it is Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-92): ‘Kraus was the first man of genius that I met. Why did he have to die? It is an irreparable loss for our art. The Symphony in C minor he wrote in Vienna specially for me is a work which will be considered a masterpiece in every century’, said Haydn in 1797. Though he long remained forgotten after his death, Kraus made an active contribution to the movement of poetic renewal called ‘Sturm und Drang’ or ‘Geniezeit’ (time of genius) because such artists as the young Goethe broke free of all tradition to follow their hearts alone. When Haydn called Kraus homme de génie, in French, he probably had this context in mind. The two composers had met in Vienna in 1783. © Alpha Classics

Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released September 29, 2014 | naïve classique

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 clés de sol d'Opéra

Classical - Released January 1, 2008 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio

Oratorios (secular) - Released July 31, 2007 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio

Full Operas - Released May 22, 2009 | harmonia mundi

Distinctions Choc de Classica - Exceptional sound

Solo Piano - Released July 6, 2018 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice - 5 étoiles de Classica

Chamber Music - Released September 21, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 étoiles de Classica