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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - To be released July 24, 2020 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Conductor Antonio Pappano gladly trades in his conductor’s baton for his piano keys in this recording during which he accompanies some of the greatest voices in music today. He plays in perfect complicity with English tenor Ian Bostridge in this exciting program devoted to a selection of Beethoven’s Lieder. The centrepiece of this album is, of course, An die ferne Geliebte (“To the distant beloved”), which is considered to be the first ever Lieder cycle in the history of music. The six poems depict an unknown woman that the composer had idealised from their very first encounter, quickly followed by their separation. His longing for her caused him so much torment that even the joyous awakening of spring could not take away his melancholy in this heart-rending lover’s lament. The other twenty or so Lieder on this album, including the famous Adelaide, which was also set to music by Schubert, are a testament to Beethoven’s mastery of the lied and popular songs, which he liked to harmonise. Ian Bostridge and Antonio Pappano interpret these rare gems with sensitivity and sophistication. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Solo Piano - Released May 22, 2020 | Idil Biret Archive

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« A supreme mastery of tempi, sonorities, polyphony and of course technique permits Biret to embrace all the moods of the great Beethoven and gives her playing a symphonic depth rarely heard until now.» Le Nouvel Observateur (France) / Henry-Louis de la Grange« Idil Biret grasps the size of Beethoven's style. The polyphony is laid out in a relaxed way with little indulgence in point making. She keeps her big line, and yet is thankfully sparing in her use of fortissimos... The piano tone is sumptuous. Biret's gentle and almost sensuous sonorities are really captivating. This is a remarkable achivement. One is reminded that her mentor has been Wilhelm Kempff. » Gramophone (UK) / J. Methuen-Campbell“Her superbly authentic performance of the 5th Symphony, heard at her Herkülessaal recital in Munich, received a thunderous reception.” Münchner Merkur
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Chamber Music - Released May 15, 2020 | Avie Records

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A recording that celebrates the 80th birthday of the great pianist and conductor Christoph Eschenbach who reunites with the Paris-based Thymos Quartet in Schubert’s triumphant chamber work, the “Trout” Quintet that the composer fashioned around one of his most enduring song melodies. From babbling brook and leaping fish, this present-day Schubertiade relocates to a 19th century Viennese salon, with a selection of the composer’s waltzes in unique chamber music arrangements by Olivier Dejours for Thymos, with, as in the Trout, the stately warmth of double bass. Pianist Jean-Frédéric Neuburger concludes with the poise and poetry of selected Ländler, drawn from the sparkling D.366 and deeply intimate D.790 sets. (Avie Records)

Symphonic Music - Released April 10, 2020 | LSO Live

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Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the London Symphony Orchestra bring their survey of Schumann's symphonic works to a close with the Overture, Scherzo & Finale. Dating from 1841, Schumann's Overture, Scherzo & Finale was originally conceived as a symphony, or 'symphonette' as he liked to call it, but having no slow movement he eventually republished it as this three-movement work. The work begins with a graceful and delicate Overture, which quickly transforms into a stormy Scherzo. The lyrical trio section that follows provides a welcome contrast before the fast, fugato style Finale brings the work to a rousing close. © LSO Live
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Mélodies (French) - Released April 3, 2020 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
As the symbiosis between the art of the poet and that of the composer, the French mélodie became the jewel of the salons of the ‘Belle Époque’. By placing a string quartet and a piano around the singer, Chausson’s Chanson perpétuelle, Lekeu’s Nocturne and Fauré’s La Bonne Chanson oscillate between chamber musical intimacy and orchestral ambition. Alongside these famous pioneering pieces, this programme devised by the Palazzetto Bru Zane champions a return to the art of transcription, so popular in the nineteenth century, with the aim of expanding the repertory for voice, strings and piano in order to unearth some forgotten treasures. Hence Hahn, Berlioz, Saint-Saëns, Massenet, La Tombelle, Ropartz, Louiguy and Messager all appear in a programme whose guiding thread is the emotions of nocturnal abandonment: the charms of twilight, the trajectory of dreams, the terror of nightmare or the exhilaration of festive occasions. Alexandre Dratwicki has made these arrangements in the style of the nineteenth century. Appropriately enough, the programme ends with La Vie en rose, for this music offers a kaleidoscope of all the colours of human feeling. The texture of solo strings and piano sets Véronique Gens’s incomparable storytelling artistry in a new ligh. © Alpha Classics
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Classical - Released April 2, 2020 | Aeolus

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BONUS VIDEOAeolus' first collaboration with the cathedral organist Daniel Beckmann from Mainz leads us to a Bernhard Dreymann organ, which has just been restored to its former glory, located in the St. Ignazkirche in Mainz. The instrument, built in 1837 at the beginning of the Romantic period, was praised by Christian Heinrich Rinck as exemplary for the then modern organ building and fits exactly into the time when Robert Schumann wrote his works for pedal piano or organ. At the time when Robert Schumann was composing his studies and fugues for pedal piano in Dresden in 1845, the organbuilding was in shadow in most European countries. Clara wrote in her diary about the purchase of a pedal board for the Schumanns: "On April 24th [...] we received a pedal board under our piano [...]. Robert found greater interest in the instrument and composed some sketches and studies for the pedal piano, which will certainly be very well received as something new." In one of the earliest reviews of the B-A-C-H fugues, Magdeburg cathedral organist August Gottfried Ritter wrote: "Those familiar with Robert Schumann will not be surprised by such a change. Such a profound and sensitive composer, so thoroughly hostile to all effects daubed on the outside, must be attracted to the instrument so closely related to his inner being, finding in it the most appropriate expression of his thoughts". As he wrote in a letter, Schumann was convinced that the fugues were "a task of which I believe they will perhaps outlive my other ones the longest".Due to its abundant foundation stops and the resulting diverse possibilities of dynamic gradations, the Dreymann organ is almost predestined for a recording of these three cycles. (Aeolus)
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Solo Piano - Released March 27, 2020 | La Dolce Volta

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de Classica
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Lieder (German) - Released March 20, 2020 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica
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Lieder (German) - Released March 13, 2020 | B Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Two centuries ago Die Schöne Mullerin founded the German romanticism. Since then, the great story of this young man and its tragic and poetic love keeps all its emotionnal strengh: this heart touching version recorded live in the Théâtre de l’Athénee in Paris renews the Schubert masterpiece thanks to Thomas Oliemans vibrating voice and the sensitive touch of Malcolm Martineau. © B Records
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Lieder (German) - Released March 6, 2020 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
The mystery of the ballad comes from the way it is told.’ (Goethe). Epic to the point of hallucination, this genre calls for skill in narrative, word-painting, evocation. And it is as a peerless storyteller that Stéphane Degout tackles this repertory which the German Romantics raised to unequalled heights. Who would have believed, before listening to this disc, that a French baritone could pay such eloquent tribute to the language of Goethe? © harmonia mundi
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Symphonies - Released March 6, 2020 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
The Orchester Wiener Akademie and its conductor Martin Haselböck continue the "Resound Beethoven" series, performed on period instruments and scrupulously respecting the orchestral layouts of 200 years ago. Volume 8, the last volume of the series, is devoted to two emblematic works, both of them dedicated jointly to Prince Franz Joseph Maximilian Lobkowitz and Count Andreas Kirillovich Razumovsky: Symphonies Nos. 5 and 6. Each of these symphonies has a name attached to it. While the Fifth Symphony is sometimes called the ‘Fate’ Symphony for more or less determined reasons, Beethoven himself named ‘Pastoral’ the Sixth, thus pursuing the venerable tradition of the musical pastorale while conferring a new dimension on it. The Orchester Wiener Akademie recorded these two works in the Landhaus Saal of the Niederösterreich Palais, Beethoven’s favourite concert venue. Between 1819 and 1827, all his nine symphonies were performed there at the ‘Concerts spirituels’ founded by Franz Gebauer, and it was in this same palace that the Austrian Revolution of 1848 began. © Alpha Classics
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Symphonic Music - Released March 6, 2020 | Decca

The music on this pair of CDs falls into one of two categories: ballet music from an opera, or ballet music that was not originally intended for dancing at all, but that was subsequently adapted for that purpose. (The exception is Don Quixote, a full-length ballet with an original score.) Many famous conductors had unusual lives, but the life of Anatole Fistoulari (1907-1995) was more unusual than most. When he was just seven, he conducted a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony in his native city of Kiev. At thirteen, he conducted Saint-Saëns’s Samson and Delilah in Bucharest. While a young man, he travelled throughout Europe and North America, accompanying bass Feodor Chaliapin and conducting the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Escaping the European mainland in World War II, he came to England, where he soon married Gustav Mahler’s sole surviving daughter, Anna, and was named principal conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He became a British citizen in 1948. Under a reciprocal arrangement between Decca and RCA, the Verdi, Mussorgsky, Saint-Saëns and Rossini items – all ‘opera-ballets’ – first appeared on RCA in 1960. Their first Decca release (under the title ‘The World of Ballet’) was not until 1972. Likewise, the Lecocq and Walton items were published in 1959 by RCA but in 1971 by Decca.
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Symphonic Music - Released March 6, 2020 | Decca

Erich Kleiber’s major Tchaikovsky recordings, newly remastered and coupled with Ruggero Ricci’s debut recording for Decca. Only a truncated version of the Capriccio Italien from 1933 predates these accounts of the Fourth and Sixth symphonies in the Kleiber discography. They were made in Paris – Decca apparently esteemed the playing of the Conservatoire Orchestra in Russian repertoire – and are precious testaments to the particular attack and vigour he inspired from orchestras in this music. Despite being recorded under 78rpm conditions, in four- or five-minute sections, the Fourth Symphony is marked by a palpable symphonic rigour as well as the edgy brass which lends such intensity to Decca’s Paris recordings of Russian music. This Fourth dates from 1949; four years later Kleiber returned to Paris for the ‘Pathétique’, recorded on tape, with an especially compelling sense of line drawn through the symphony’s tragic finale. After his early death in January 1956, at the age of 65, his friend Jacques Barzun recalled watching Kleiber rehearse and perform in Paris, presumably for these recordings: ‘He did not seem to conduct, that is, to earn his fee on the podium. All his histrionic ability went into rehearsal: there he gestured, danced, chattered, pantomimed his way into the subconscious of his players until the right musical utterance came out of their fingers and lungs.’ In January 1950, when Ruggiero Ricci first recorded the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, he was 31 years old and had been performing in public for over 20 years. The sessions marked his debut for Decca, at least in concertos, and he was most sympathetically partnered by Sir Malcolm Sargent – the preferred conductor of Jascha Heifetz on his appearances in London. Two further Decca recordings followed, in 1961 and 1974, both impressive in their ways and technologically advanced but hardly superseding the folksy bravura and legerdemain of his initial efforts. (© Decca / Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd.)
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Symphonies - Released March 6, 2020 | Decca

The Decca Sound in Hamburg and Paris: a trio of 1950s Tchaikovsky albums, including a pair of symphony recordings previously unpublished on CD. This supple and beautifully proportioned 1952 mono account of the Fifth Symphony marked the debut on disc of the NDR Sinfonieorchester under its founding conductor Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt, the focus of two other recent Eloquence releases (symphonies by Mozart, 484 0353, and Dvořák, 484 0366). ‘Like most of the great European conductors,’ wrote the critic Harold C Schonberg, ‘[Schmidt-Isserstedt] has been brought up in a tradition that insists on selflessness before great music. The aim of conducting, as he sees it, is to bring out the message of the composer and not the skill.’ The other performances on this compilation have a French accent which particularly suits the brilliance of Tchaikovsky’s orchestration. Albert Wolff (1884-1970) had begun recording for Decca in 1951 – Massenet’s Manon with the Opéra Comique – and he continued to make albums of French and Russian music throughout the 50s, with this combustible stereo account of Tchaikovsky’s Fourth being his envoi to the label. Carl Schuricht (1880-1967) was a no less welcome guest to the podium of the Paris Conservatoire Orchestra at that time. For EMI they made an admirably unfussy cycle of Beethoven symphonies, preserving the French Beethoven tradition at its most fleet and balletic, while their Decca recordings displayed the same virtues in the music of Schumann, Wagner and Tchaikovsky. These mono recordings of the Capriccio Italien and the Theme and Variations finale of the Third Orchestral Suite have only previously been available on CD as part of a larger box; their extrovert temperament makes them a fine complement to Wolff in the Fourth Symphony. (© Decca Music Group Limited / Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd.)
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Symphonic Music - Released March 6, 2020 | Decca

Sir Adrian Boult was a conductor of much more ‘temperament’ than is commonly supposed, with ever-frustrated ambitions to lead a complete Ring cycle, and whose consummate professionalism and Edwardian moustache concealed an interpreter of often fiery passions in Romantic repertoire. This new collection invaluably gathers up all the Tchaikovsky recordings he made for Decca between 1952 and 1956. The first of them was the fantasy overture based on Hamlet, a recording produced in Kingsway Hall by the young John Culshaw. Later the same month came the 1812 Overture, recorded without cannon or bells but possessed of a strength and dignity not always present in more bombastic accounts. Tchaikovsky played a formative role in Boult’s development. At the age of twelve he attended what he later called ‘the most important concert I have attended from my own point of view’. Arthur Nikisch was conducting Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony and the First Piano Concerto with Mark Hambourg as soloist. Boult was captivated by Nikisch’s ability to obtain playing of the utmost brilliance and a quality of sound he had not heard before. It was on that evening that he decided that he had to become a conductor. At the beginning of June 1954 Boult and the LPO were joined by the 63-year-old violinist Mischa Elman for the Violin Concerto, and Elman rekindled in the sessions something of the golden tone which had propelled him to youthful fame as a pupil of Leopold Auer, to whom Tchaikovsky had originally dedicated the concerto. These are all mono recordings, whereas the Third Suite and Third Symphony were recorded in both mono and stereo, made in Paris and London respectively. Boult was apparently perplexed by the invitation to conduct the Paris Conservatoire Orchestra, but he secures from them playing of rare affection in the once-popular Theme and Variations movement. This compilation issues the stereo version of the Suite for this first time on a Decca CD. (© Decca Music Group Limited / Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd.)
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Classical - Released February 28, 2020 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime
The most striking aspect of these Preludes by Chopin undertaken by Eric Lu is the absolutely lyrical tranquility that dominates the forty-minute-long journey which is so arduous to build fluidly and coherently. Eric Lu deserves admiration for the expressive and polyphonic unity that he brings to the cycle, which is usually more contrasted. The American’s playing resounds as his phrases transport you on a grand, noble journey of emotion. Behind this soft façade is a somewhat more tragic melancholy, which increases over the course of the album and reveals the sombre, or at the very least anxious nature of the 24 Preludes. Chopin is at his darkest romanticism, not too far removed from the Schumann of the Kreisleriana (April 1838). It comes as no surprise that Lu continues his second recital for Warner Classics with one of Schumann’s strangest works, the Theme and Variations in E-flat major, composed in 1854 as a sort of swan song by the German romantic composer. In this tribute to masters of the past including Bach and Beethoven, Schumann risks using particularly stripped back polyphonies in rarefied pianissimo nuances; in doing so, Eric Lu creates a direct link with Chopin’s cycle, firmly remaining on the gentle and meditative side (Variations 2 and 5), without searching for any particular contrast. Placing fourth in the 2015 International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, where he already impressed with his rendition of the 24 Preludes, the young American pianist Eric Lu (born in 1997) delivers a captivating recital on this album, sometimes bewildering, but definitely the most accomplished of the three already published − the first was released on German label Genuin. This is definitely a musician to be followed very closely. © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz
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Trios - Released February 28, 2020 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or / Arte - Le Choix de France Musique
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Solo Piano - Released February 21, 2020 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Maurizio Pollini revisits Beethoven’s final three sonatas (Op. 109 to 111), forty years after recording the very same score for the first time, a score which sees the composer elevate the genre to dizzying levels of expertise. The Italian pianist explains that ever since January 1977 (the first time he recorded No. 32, Nos. 30 and 31 dating even further back to June 1975), he has continuously discovered an infinite number of details within the material and the structure over the course of the multiple times he has performed the three sonatas. Beethoven strays away from the conventions of the traditional sonata with these, something he had been doing since his Opus 27 (Quasi una fantasia, Moonlight), inserting various astonishing shapes. Thus, variation (Op. 109, Arietta of the Op. 111) and fugue (Op. 110, after that of the Opus 101) assume an innovative importance here, much like other unrestricted episodes where Beethoven appears to be expressing very personal emotions, initiating the Romantic era, where subjectivity reigns over structure. Recorded in concert, Maurizio Pollini brings a surprising amount of urgency (Op. 109) and lyricism (Op. 110) to this release that ensures its place as one of the best Pollini recitals in recent years (Beethoven, Debussy, Chopin). A must-listen. © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz
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Keyboard Concertos - Released February 21, 2020 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica
The unconventional character that is Benjamin Grosvenor delivers us a very personal version of these two essential works of the piano repertoire. The first Brit to have signed an exclusive contract with Decca Classics in sixty years, he first made his name in 2004 when he won the Keyboard section of BBC Young Musician of the Year, thus throwing the doors open to an international career. Produced alongside the talented young conductor from Hong Kong Elim Chan, the musical director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, this new album dedicated to Chopin revisits the young British prodigy’s first musical loves. It was following a very successful concert with Elim Chan that they decided to record the Piano concertos by Chopin together. In this fifth album (for Decca), it’s Grosvenor’s virtuosity and ability to make the instrument sing that allow him to fully express his favourite music. “Chopin was the first composer to whom I felt a strong connection to as a child. I have always been drawn to his music, and his piano concertos are among some of the finest in the repertoire”, he says. Other than his already legendary sound and the expert way he strikes a balance between the different acoustic levels, his vision underlines the dreamy romanticism that delicately envelops the two concertos by the then-20-year-old Polish composer. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Full Operas - Released February 14, 2020 | Bru Zane

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - 5 étoiles de Classica
Faded into oblivion and absent from stages since 1879, the vivacious Maître Péronilla was lavishly put on at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in the Spring of 2019 to celebrate 200 years since the birth of Jacques Offenbach. This publication is the result of a collaboration between the Bru-Zane Foundation and Radio France for the recording. This piece of music was written in the last few years of Offenbach’s life, a Spanish language operetta that was part of the wave of Spanish fever that was crashing over France since Bizet and Chabrier and that would last until Debussy and Ravel. With its frenzied rhythm and signature Offenbach dialogue (aided by Nuitter and Ferrier, who hit the mark at every occasion), this work cheerfully borrows from a variety of styles while reprising a few of the composer’s older techniques but with a new sense of refinement that supersedes the previously light atmosphere. The rarity of this work is partly due to the convoluted nature of the libretto. The plotline revolves around an arranged marriage, presenting twenty different characters from three separate generations. The wonderful cast of singers has done a great job of reviving the opera buffa, with Antoinette Dennefeld playing young but tender scholar Frimouskino standing out. Eric Huchet and Véronique Gens are at the pinnacle of the joy and vivacity that seem to have taken hold of the whole cast of protagonists of this production directed by Markus Poschner who also conducts the National Orchestra of France and the Radio France choir. © François Hudry