Albums

786 albums sorted by Date: from newest to oldest
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Chamber Music - Released April 15, 2018 | Arion

Booklet
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Classical - Released March 2, 2018 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Duets - Released February 23, 2018 | Indésens

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 étoiles de Classica
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Symphonic Music - Released February 9, 2018 | Ondine

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Prises de son d'exception
‘Travel’ and ‘journey’ are often appropriate metaphors for the music of the Estonian composer Erkki-Sven Tüür (b. 1959). The composer himself describes his viola concerto Illuminatio as a “pilgrimage towards eternal light”, and with his Symphony No. 8 he stresses the importance of a “constant sense of ‘being on the road’”. This says something essential about the dynamics, growth and development of his music. To take a broader view, Tüür’s entire career may be described as a journey: in the course of his professional life beginning in the 1980s, he has thoroughly revised and reformed his idiom and compositional precepts. His ambitious journey began in rock music while at the same time he was studying flute, percussion and composition at the Conservatory. Since 1992 he has been a freelance composer. In his early career, Tüür developed a ‘polystylistic’ approach that combined minimalist and tonal elements on the one hand, modernist features on the other, into an idiom where he juxtaposed elements from different and seemingly incompatible styles, seeking both contrasts and syntheses. In the early 2000s, he went through a transition that resulted in his new composition technique. Here, “the entire composition is encapsulated in a source code – a gene which, as it mutates and grows, connects the dots in the fabric of the whole work”. All the works on the present album are from this period. The core of Tüür’s output consists of extensive orchestral works (including nine symphonies and several concertos), chamber music and vocal works. Whereas the viola concerto can be compared to a journey, Whistles and Whispers from Uluru (2007) for recorder and chamber orchestra was inspired by a landscape and a sonority. The piece was written to a commission from the Australian Chamber Orchestra for recorder virtuoso Genevieve Lacey, who also plays on this album – several different recorders, from sopranino to bass. Some sonorities are enhanced by electronic means. When a composer has written nine symphonies, the genre is obviosuly very important for him. In the case of Tüür, the term ‘symphonic’ must be understood in a broad sense – not as a strict formal scheme, but rather as a uniquely shaped and independently formed structure in each work. Tüür’s symphonies form the hard core of his output, spanning the length of his career, the first dating from 1984 and the latest from 2017. The symphonies vary greatly in terms of form, ensemble and idiom. Symphony No. 8 was commissioned by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and was completed in 2010. Considering the resources of the commissioning party, Tüür scored the work for a sinfonietta-type ensemble instead of a large symphony orchestra, and as a result the music has at times a chamber music feel. © SM/Qobuz
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Choral Music (Choirs) - Released January 5, 2018 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Prises de son d'exception
Alfred Schnittke and Arvo Pärt have both lived through the intense decades of upheavals that preceded the fall of the Soviet Union. From the 1970s, religion returned to public life as restrictions around it were relaxed. Schnittke turned towards Christianity, while remaining open towards Eastern religions. Arvo Pärt, from a family of Lutheran Estonians, embraced the Orthodox faith in the 1970s. The two composers both began to incorporate religious themes into their work, moving decisively away from the modernist abstraction of their early work. Schnittke wrote three religious works of great power: a Requiem in 1975 which could only be played in secret, disguised (what ignominy...) as stage music in a Muscovite production of Schiller's Don Carlos. His Choir Concerto, also with a religious theme, was performed in Moscow in 1986 after overcoming a daunting series of bureaucratic obstacles. On the other hand, the Penitential Psalms were performed out in the open in 1988 in as part of celebrations to mark a thousand years of Christianity in Russia. The style of this immense masterpiece is in line with Orthodox liturgical tradition, but Schnittke extends traditional principles to create modern sounds - in particular, rhythmical and harmonic modifications, which lend the work an intense richness.   Like Schnittke's Penitential Psalms, the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis by Pärt are composed in a semi-liturgical style. The Magnificat dates back to one year after Schnittke's score was composed, in 1989. Pärt had been living in Berlin since 1981, where he refined his "tintinnabuli" technique. The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir which plays here is one of Estonia's foremost chamber music ensembles. Founded in 1981, it has been directed by Kaspars Putniņš since 2014. Its choral repertoire stretches from Gregorian chant and baroque to more contemporary music, with a particular focus on the work of Estonian composers, which the Choir works hard to spread beyond the country's borders. © SM/Qobuz
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Solo Piano - Released November 24, 2017 | Piano Classics

Booklet
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Symphonic Music - Released December 8, 2017 | naïve classique

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Secular Vocal Music - Released November 10, 2017 | SWR Classic

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Quartets - Released November 3, 2017 | Stradivarius

Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Concertos for wind instruments - Released October 24, 2017 | Indésens

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica
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Chamber Music - Released October 27, 2017 | naïve classique

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Classical - Released October 27, 2017 | HORTUS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Chamber Music - Released October 6, 2017 | Kairos

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
£9.59

Symphonic Music - Released September 29, 2017 | Wergo

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Dialogue with Haydn is a characteristic stage along the way to the “composed interpretation” (Hans Zender’s most famous such work being Schuberts Winterreise) created in 1982 on Haydn’s 250th birthday, and was first performed at the Donaueschinger Music Days that same year. The object of musical changes taken from the G-major Symphony No. 94 “Surprise”. This theme, as simple as a nursery rhyme, is handled much more subtly than the usual variation style, by putting it into play for three differently tuned orchestra groups, each differing from the other by 11 cent (about one-tenth of the half-tone, or half a “comma”), a fundamental value in the complicated theme of the “tempered tuning”. The Haydn theme whose “fundamental elements appear interchanged, distorted, mixed up, superimposed, partly destroyed or beyond recognition” (Zender) enters this complex and fragile sound space. Tonalities, styles, epochs and emotions are layered, cross-faded and sent into surreal developments. As for Zender’s “Japanese” pieces, there are four compositions with “kyō” (singing, song) in their title, two of which are recorded here, Issei no kyō (2009) and Nanzen no kyō (1992). The listener should in no way expect any postcard-like mock-Japanese musical content, as Zender merely takes the original Zen Japanese poetry – in Issei, they are sung in German, then Japanese, then French, then English – to weave his very own style of music. Highly original contemporary music it is, and should be revered as such. © SM/Qobuz
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Trios - Released September 1, 2017 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik - Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik
There is a world of difference between Hindemith’s First Trio, composed in 1924 “on a train” as the composer stated in his own catalogue, and his 1933 Second Trio. While the first features some of these relentless, almost Prokofievian, rhythmic and thematic elements, the second rolls out its extremely sophisticated contrapuntal language along a soft lyrical canvas (with a touch of humour here and there) specific to later Hindemith. There is also a world of difference between Hindemith’s Trios and Schoenberg’s, written in 1946, soon after the composer almost died from a heart attack. Granted, the thematic structure is based on a dodecaphonic series, but after a brief adjustment period, it becomes impossible not to notice countless tiny tonal, harmonic waves skilfully hidden below the overall texture. The composer was quoted saying this particular work was “a description of his illness”, most probably with a fair share of dark humour. Thomas Mann claimed that Schoenberg told him he had secretly represented his medical treatment, the nurse and everything else in his music. Hanns Eisler, for his part, thought he had discovered which chords represented the injections… Ouch! Typically Schoenberg. Trio Zimmermann is made up of three great international soloists: violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann, violist Antoine Tamestit and cellist Christian Poltéra. And all three play on Stradivariuses, no less! © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released September 1, 2017 | Winter & Winter

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Exceptional Sound Recordings
Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen's four quartets are presented here by the famous Arditti String Quartet, in reverse order of composition: the  Fourth (2012), the Third, (2008), the Second (1981) - you may have noticed the huge gap, which will make more sense once you know that between 1990 and 2000 he put down his pen and stopped composing altogether - and then the First (1973), which was written as "Ten Preludes". From his earliest days as a composer, Abrahamsen has shunned the avant-garde doctrines of the "Darmstadt School", preferring to learn from his teacher Ligeti, in a language he took to calling the "New Simplicity". When listening to these four works, one is indeed struck by Abrahamsen's ability to create recognisable lines, at once modern and very old, sometimes bearing the traces (real or imagined) of folk airs, with a clear love for the most keening moments; and putting harmonics to mind-blowing use. The listener will realised that they are in the presence of a highly original piece of music, modern for sure: but it doesn't require a forced intellectual effort – rather, it demands that the listener abandon themselves to the rich and captivating discourse of the four musicians of the Arditti Quartet. © SM/Qobuz
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Quartets - Released August 25, 2017 | Stradivarius

Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Chamber Music - Released September 1, 2017 | Brilliant Classics

Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles de Classica
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Solo Piano - Released August 25, 2017 | Wergo

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released August 18, 2017 | Seattle Symphony Media

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Written in 1936 for his young wife Claire Delbos, Poèmes pour Mi (“Mi” being the nickname the composer gave her) is a kind of wedding gift, nine melodies for soprano and orchestra all directly or indirectly inspired by the Dauphiné landscapes Messiaen had fallen in love with. Even though he wasn’t yet 30, the composer had already found his style, which in its harmonic and rhythmic structure would scarcely change. In some of his poems you can even detect the accents he would go on to use 40 years later in Saint François d’Assise. It goes to show that good music remains good music and recycling − conscious or not − isn’t exclusive to composers of previous centuries! Here Jane Archibald, almost without a hint of accent, sings these small gems with great emotion. Trois petites liturgies de la présence divine, written in 1944 when he was liberated from a prisoner-of-war camp, was initially designed for a women’s choir, piano, ondes Martenot and string orchestra. The Seattle Orchestra and Ludovic Morlot decided to entrust the chorus part to a children’s choir, giving it a “purer” and more angelic sound – a charming idea. Upon creating his work in 1945 Messiaen could boast about a particularly prestigious panel of auditors: Arthur Honegger, Georges Auric, Francis Poulenc, Henri Sauguet, Alexis Roland-Manuel, André Jolivet, Claude Delvincourt, Lazare Lévy, Jean-Yves Daniel-Lesur, Jean Wiener, Georges Braque, Paul Éluard, Pierre Henry and even Pierre Boulez (not yet famous but probably already predisposed to being spiteful). His success was as dazzling as immediate and lasting. It has everything that makes up Messiaen, including a rather virtuous piano part (played by Yvonne Loriod upon the work’s creation), little birds, Jesus Christ as well as his ever so specific chords, both brilliant and iridescent. © SM/Qobuz