Albums

1661 albums sorted by Date: from newest to oldest
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Symphonic Music - To be released October 12, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

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Cello Concertos - Released September 10, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
It is particularly fortunate to see Franco-German cellist Nicolas Altstaedt on a record label that will finally allow him to nurture his whimsical personality and insatiable curiosity on a long term basis, he who just a few years ago produced one of the most dazzling recordings of the Haydn Concertos for the Genuin label. For this first album on the Channel Classics label he takes us on a journey through the former Soviet bloc with three major figures of the twentieth century: Dmitri Shostakovich, Mieczyslaw Weinberg and Witold Lutoslawski. Do not expect an avalanche of virtuoso gimmicks from this team: it's all about the lyrical and surprisingly playful section of Shostakovich's Concerto No.1, as well as the infinitely secretive and mysterious Weinberg piece, as they were intended. An amazing album, and one which you should grab with both hands. Though this is not visible on the cover, in addition to Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No.1 and Mieczyslaw Weinberg's piece, the album also features Witold Lutoslawski's Little Suite. The three pieces were written roughly at the same time: 1959 for Shostakovich, 1951 for Lutoslawski, 1948 for Weinberg - who had to wait for Stalin's death to reveal his work, since both he and Shostakovitch were under the dictator's surveillance and their works could have earned them a stay in Siberia, or maybe even a wooden coffin. The two Concertos share some similarities: Rostropovich arranged both, and the two composers' mutual influences are clearly identifiable on many occasions - Weinberg saw Shostakovich as a mentor, but in fact they often influenced each other. This did not prevent the composers of writing immediately recognizable music! By way of a "breathing pause", the LutosÅ‚awski's Petite Suite consists of four delicious miniatures taken from popular tunes of the Rzeszów region in southern Poland. The work was initially considered "light music," but when Lutoslawski appropriates the genre we are immediately seized by this masterpiece. Jean Françaix or Alexandre Tansman might have written something similar. © SM/Qobuz
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Symphonic Music - Released September 10, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released August 24, 2018 | Les Indispensables de Diapason

Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Symphonies - Released July 26, 2018 | LSO Live

Hi-Res Booklet
This new LSO recording only available in digital format marks the start of a new recorded cycle by the London Symphony Orchestra with their current principal guest conductor, Gianandrea Noseda. Recorded at a public concert on 22 September 2016, this Fifth by Shostakovich fulfils the promise of the score. Under a venomous barrage from Pravda on the orders of the dread you-know-who, which brought down his 1936 opera Lady Macbeth, the luckless composer withdrew the work from the programme of the orchestra which was set to perform it, and the symphony was only brought back out in 1962. By way of response to accusations of bourgeois opacity, anti-Soviet deviation and all manner of other bullsh– er, communist epithets, Shostakovich threw himself into his Fifth, which he finished in July 1937. The creation of the work took place in the wake under the baton of Evgeni Mravinski and met with great success, not only in the USSR, but right across the music world, which lapped up the work. Yes, the language is clearer, and less esoteric than the Fourth, but anyone looking for optimism and good cheer is barking up the wrong tree. The Scherzo is a sinister flight forward by a tortured clown, and the Largo is what it is – anguished. As for the final movement, it alternates between Rossinian farce and Mahlerian snarling, ending with two minutes of the kind of joy that one feels after having been run over by a division of Soviet tanks. Conductor Gianandrea Noseda and the members of the London Symphony Orchestra knew how to project this dual atmosphere and really capture the enigmatic feel of the final two minutes. This symphony is the response of the composer to the Stalinist murderers, all the while declaring in Pravda that the piece was "a Soviet artist's practical response to well-deserved criticism". Comments that some musicologists recuse, considering that they would have been commissionned from the high places of politics. Whatever it is, what a mockery by the composer through his symphony! © SM/Qobuz   
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Symphonies - Released July 6, 2018 | Deutsche Grammophon Classics

Booklet
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Solo Piano - Released June 29, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice
Released as one of nine new albums dedicated to Debussy by harmonia mundi to mark the centenary of the French composer's birth, this volume offers the Second Book of the Preludes played by Alexander Melnikov on an Erard piano. The world of Debussyan piano relied so heavily on timbre that pianists and editors alike often prefer one or another make so as to get a grip on the specificities of the music. Alexander Melnikov is one of those rare Russian artists to take an interest in ancient instruments. This student of Sviatoslav Richter was quickly captivated by this kind of work, working with Andreas Staier and Alexey Lubimov and playing with specialised ensembles like the Concerto Köln or the Berlin Akademie für Alte Musik. His performance of the Preludes by Debussy at London's Wigmore Hall was particularly well received by critics who described the Russian pianist as a "sorcerer" who is highlighting "ravishing", "violent", "terrifying" music. An iridescent orchestral masterpiece, La Mer is difficult to boil down to a four-handed piano piece, and Debussy disowned his transcription, leaving it to André Caplet to prepare another one for two four-handed pianos. Alexandre Melnikov and Olga Pashchenko have taken up the challenge to prove that the auteur's transcription is not at all "unplayable". © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Solo Piano - Released June 22, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
It's on a big Fazioli piano, recorded in a public concert in 2017, that Vadym Kholodenko – gold medallist at the prestigious Van Cliburn Competiton – offers us a journey through the fascinating, sometimes unsettling, always vivid, world of Scriabin. The programme follows the compositions in chronological order: we start with some harmonically almost "well-behaved" works, which still bear the marks of Chopin and Rachmaninov, moving gradually towards total liberation from any audible tonality in the form of Vers la flamme from 1914 – one of Scriabin's last pieces – a hair-raising firework display on the piano in the form of an inexorable, almost orgasmic, crescendo. Between these two poles, Kholodenko offers several series of Preludes and Études, two Sonatas – the 4th from 1903 and the 5th from 1907, representing the transition in the composer's style – and isolated piece with evocative titles such as the Poème tragique and the Poème satanique. It's a fine journey, at the end of which the listener will feel both full and emptied-out! © SM/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released June 15, 2018 | CPO

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Poor Henri Marteau... Born in 1874 to a French father and a German mother, in a time when, after the war of 1870 and the loss of Alsace-Lorraine, the hatred between the two countries was still intense. He made an early start as a violinist early, and at the age of ten he stood in for his teacher at short notice, at a big concert in Reims, where he gave a perfect rendition of a Vieuxtemps concerto. Shortly after, he made his début in London and Vienna, conducted by Hans Richter, and crossed paths with Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Busoni, Dvořák, Nielsen, Grieg, Reger and many other great musicians of his day, with whom he would give many concerts. He received recognition in 1908 when he followed Joachim into the Berlin Conservatory. But 1914 came roaring in, and Marteau – an officer in the French reserves! – found himself sent to live in deepest Germany, forbidden from performing, and, worse still, taken by the French for a German spy. After the Great War, he took Swedish citizenship, continuing to perform in Germany in the Conservatories of Leipzig and Dresden, but his glory days as an instrumentalist were behind him and he passed away in 1934. His work itself suffered from the horrors of war, as the majority of his works only existed in manuscript form, and many were lost. But his quartets survived because they were often performed during his lifetime and therefore were widely published and circulated. The Second Quartet given here, probably written in 1905, highlights the musical link that joined Marteau to Reger: robust chromatism, constant counter-punctual charge, intensely rich polyphonies, even if the slightly excessive spirit in the French style proves that this could only be a work by Marteau. As for the Eight melodies for mezzo-soprano and string quartet, sung here by Karine Deshayes, accompanied by the Isasi Quartet, they date back to his internal exile in Germany, or his exile in Sweden, in the period 1915-17. For a long time they were thought to have been lost, but after a century they were finally published, in 2016! As a little raspberry blown by the composer, he chose to write his lyrics in... French. They also have a rather French melodic and harmonic charge, with a few accents that would have been very much at home in a piece by Debussy. Either way, these works are a pleasure to discover, especially given the quality of the performances on this record. © SM/Qobuz
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Symphonic Music - Released June 8, 2018 | Universal Music Australia Pty. Ltd.

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Classical - Released May 18, 2018 | Warner Classics

Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Classical - Released May 4, 2018 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
Albert Roussel is one of the composers that we are very much supposed to love and worship... but very few orchestras, in France or abroad, regularly play his music, and if, here or there, one hears a fleeting Festin de l’araignée [Spider's Feast] or a bit of Bacchus, or, even more rarely, a symphony, the rest of his output seems relegated to a deeper obscurity. So hats off to this new recording from the musicians of the BBC Philharmonic conducted – luckily for national pride – by a Frenchman (but one whose career was made in England…) Yan-Pascal Tortelier; which brings together three pieces which are very rarely played, i.e. the sumptuous and feisty Suite of 1926 – a work of his later maturity, a contemporary of the explosive Third Symphony – or indeed the no-less sumptuous, colourful Évocations of 1911: a kind of exotic lab test for Padmâvatî which would follow a few years later (?), the Évocations, pure feelgood music, evoke a fabulous India across their three movements. What's more, if you can call a twelve-minute piece a movement, Pour une fête de printemps from 1921 bears witness to how, at one time, Roussel explored the depths of dissonance in a world that was still tonal. © SM/Qobuz
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Violin Concertos - Released April 13, 2018 | Ondine

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Record of the Month - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Today, Finland is one of the richest musical countries on Earth. Thanks to the exceptional quality of its musical teaching it produces numerous composers, conductors and artists who perform all over the world. The very rich catalogue of the dynamic Finnish publisher Ondine contains several recordings of the German violinist Christian Tetzlaff (Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin) by Bach, Mozart's sonatas, Trios by Brahms, concertos by Mendelssohn, Schumann and Shostakovich); and the Finnish conductor Hannu Lintu (Sibelius, Mahler, Enescu, Berio, Messiaen, Lindberg, Melartin), but it is their first record together. Bartók's two Violin Concertos were written thirty years apart, for two virtuosos. While the Second Concerto in the form of variations on a theme that develop ingeniously across three movements, has been well-known for a long time, the first remained unheard for years. Written as a declaration of love for the Hungarian-Swiss violinist Stefi Geyer, for whom Bartók had fallen, it was a secret kept by the dedicatee: it was only long after the composer's death that the violinist let Bartók's patron and close friend, the conductor Paul Sacher, know about the work. He would see that it was performed, with Hansheinz Schneeberger, but only in 1958. Bartók's two concertos, essential parts of the repertoire for violin and orchestra would enjoy a well-deserved resurgence in interest among a younger generation of violinists – the recording of the same works by Renaud Capuçon for Warner came out a few weeks ago. This new version, magnificently recorded, carefully explores all the orchestral richness, in perfect dialogue with Christian Tetzlaff's outstanding violin. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Symphonic Music - Released April 13, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Recording Ravel's music on period instruments is the kind of thing that might raise a smile... until you realise just how much the production of instruments has changed in less than a hundred years: it's the return of catgut strings, skin drum heads, the French basson (and not the German system bassoon which is used across all the world's orchestras today), shaper tips, trumpets and trombones of French manufacture. At the head of his orchestra Les Siècles, François-Xavier Roth gives a new, orthodox, historically-informed version of Ma Mère l’oye (complete ballet), the Tombeau de Couperin and Shéhérazade, the long-neglected "ouverture de féérie" [Fairy Overture] which is pure Ravel. This return to the roots is clearly easier and more straightforwardly authentic for this period of music history, because, unlike earlier works, we possess recordings which date back to the 1920s, and even earlier, which can tell us about the style, the colours, the phrasing and the tempo. But it isn't enough just to have all this historical information to hand to make something interesting. What makes this record thrilling is that all the musicians in the Siècles are excellent, and François-Xavier Roth is a talented artist himself, who knows this music inside out. At which point, his complete recording of Stravinsky's Firebird has already struck us with its quality. This rediscovery of Ravel resounds with clarity and finesse; it is a feast of well-defined timbres which cuts against the "beautiful sound" which prevails in orchestras around the world today. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released April 13, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Although Shostakovich's Third Quartet and his Piano Quintet have long been a part of the Belcea Quartet’s and Piotr Anderszewski’s repertoires, they had never recorded any of the composer's material. There is an interesting analogy between this point in the careers of the quartet and the pianist on the one hand and the composer's own life on the other: it was at the age of 32 that, although he was already onto his fifth symphony, Shostakovich wrote his first string quartet. For a long time his demanding attitude towards himself held him back from attempting what he saw as "one of the most difficult of all the musical genres". The impetus came – against the composer's will – from the dastardly Stalin, who had sparked the greatest crisis in Shostakovich's career: in 1936 the dictator had attended a performance of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, which later got an ominous review in Pravda, which growled about "chaos replacing music" and denounced "hysterical, degenerate music". The young composer ran the risk of arrest and execution: and so it should come as no surprise that after that experience he turned to the more private genre of the string quartet. Every listener can make their own between-the-lines reading of political protests or humanist messages in the work: at any rate it is very hard to see "just" pure music here, for all its fluency. That applies just as much to the Third Quartet of 1946, in which passages recalling Haydn rub shoulders with rather more violent material. The Quintet for Piano and Strings dates back to 1940, and it received the Stalin Prize – which was symptomatic of the unpredictable relations between Shostakovich and the regime, which saw him at once as traitor to the people and a model artist. The composer claimed that he added the piano part to his quintet so as to be able to play it himself, and to take advantage of whatever travel opportunities might come his way as a result...© SM/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released April 6, 2018 | Chandos

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique
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Duets - Released March 30, 2018 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Solo Piano - Released March 29, 2018 | Les Indispensables de Diapason

Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Violin Concertos - Released March 9, 2018 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
The almost complete disappearance of Hjalmar Borgström’s music from the repertoire is fully explainable by reasons not related to the quality of the music, but rather concerning a mismatch between the composer and the dominating trends in Norwegian music. Like Grieg in the preceding generation, Borgström went to study in Leipzig as from 1887. However, in contrast to Grieg who returned from Germany firmly resolved to carve out an authentic, Norwegian idiom, Borgström remained in Germany for a long time, immersing himself in the aesthetics of contemporary music there. When he returned to Norway for good in 1903, he was a staunch proponent of new German symphonic music. This conviction – or rather, his lack of interest in developing a national idiom – hampered his career in Norway. Grieg himself reportedly expressed bafflement at the phenomenon of a younger Norwegian composer, so obviously gifted and well trained as a musical craftsman – but with nothing specifically ‘Norwegian’ about his music. Borgström’s Violin Concerto was first performed at the 1914 Jubilee exhibition, a celebration of the centenary of the Norwegian constitution. A cultivation of national identity in the 1800s had developed into a near frenzy around the time the union with Sweden was dissolved in 1905. The cultural climate was thus very much in favour of presenting new Norwegian music, and the concerto was well received. It did not establish itself in the repertoire, however, receiving only a few performances in the following decades. The concerto is in the conventional three movements and, in keeping with its neutral title, does not have any explicit programme. Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto was composed a few decades later than Borgström’s Concerto. This work too is marked by the uneasy fit between its composer and his environment. The difficulties Shostakovich experienced at the time were quite literally a matter of life and death. The post-war years saw the official denouncement of music containing ‘formalistic distortions and anti-democratic trends alien to the Soviet people’, in the words of the infamous decree by Zhdanov from 1948. Shostakovich, Prokofiev and others – that is, almost every composer of any significance in the Soviet Union – were accused of negating the basic principles of classical music. Shostakovich’s reaction to the Zhdanov doctrine was to follow two paths simultaneously. In public, he wrote ‘light’ music and film scores, works that paid the bills and would cause no problems with the authorities. In private, he composed the music that he wanted to write, music that met his own high artistic and intellectual standards but would have no chance of being performed in public. The First Violin Concerto falls decisively into the second category. A champion of Norway’s rich musical tradition, Eldbjørg Hemsing has been performing on some of the world’s most prestigious stages since the age of 11, when she made her solo début with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. Her star rose when she gave a globally televised performance at the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in Oslo. A regular guest soloist with some of the world’s top ensembles, she is honoured to count the MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony 8 Orchestra, NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra (Ireland), Netherlands Symphony Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Czech National Symphony Orchestra and Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra among her most active orchestral partners. © SM/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released March 9, 2018 | HORTUS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason