Albums

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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
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Violin Concertos - Released October 26, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique
To say that the concerto was one of Haydn's favourite forms would be a bit much, daft even. The man wrote a good hundred symphonies, dozens of quartets, trios, piano sonatas, fifteen or so masses and as many operas, and oratorios... Currently we know of three violin concertos (others being lost or apocryphal), two cello concertos (others... see above), one horn concerto, one for trumpet (there are no others) and at most about ten concertos for piano. Musically, they are fascinating works, but the level of technical skill they demand runs from moderate to a bit tricky. But the First Cello Concerto is not without its moments of difficulty, such as the rapid high notes in the final movement, and it offers some real fireworks. It should also be noted that most of the concertos were written for Esterházy, specifically for the first soloists in the house orchestra of Konzertmeister Luigi Tomasini and first cellist Joseph Weigl. The orchestral accompaniments offered the soloists some fine backdrops: in particular in the second movement of the Concerto for violin in C Major , with the orchestra's string section accompanying the solo violin with a sort of lute-playing that becomes a kind of serenade à la Don Giovanni. Amandine Beyer takes up the violin for this recording, while Marco Ceccato deals with the cello solo – both members of the Gli Incogniti ensemble ("The Unknowns"), a fluid grouping that plays without a conductor. Their leaderless style means that the musicians all listen to one another: it's a lovely way of making music (and sadly rare in the world of orchestras). © SM/Qobuz
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Duets - Released January 12, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik - 5 étoiles de Classica
The six Sonatas for Violin and Obbligato Harpsichord BWV 1014-1019 (“obbligato” – compulsory – means the keyboard is fully scored, as opposed to basso continuo for which only the bass is scored, the rest being left to the discretion of the performer, who improvises) are some of these works that Bach kept revisiting and reworking. The oldest remaining source – from around 1725, through one of his nephews – already highlights the will to make these compositions evolve by refining them with successive adjustments. The work underwent another overhaul in Agricola’s manuscript, around 1741, while a copy made around 1750 by Altnickol reveals a third cycle status. An observation made by the musician’s second youngest son, Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach – “He wrote these trios just before his end” – seems to have been interpreted as proof that Bach was still working on these sonatas in the last years of his life. This new recording by Isabelle Faust, a great specialist of baroque interpretation, and Christian Bezuidenhout on the harpsichord, discretely reveals the extraordinary richness of these works’ three-voice writing, that resembles the format of a trio sonata. © SM/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released September 22, 2017 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Violin Concertos - Released August 25, 2017 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
After the mystical Hebrides Overture and the masterly ‘Reformation’ Symphony, Mendelssohn embarked on his second violin concerto. After a long gestation in which he polished the orchestration and meticulously revised the solo part, the work was finally premiered in Leipzig in 1845. From David to Joachim, several virtuosos honed the violin part with the composer over successive revivals, leaving posterity traces of their playing style: fingerings, bowings, performance marks. This precious heritage has been scrutinised here for previously unexploited expressive resources. Isabelle Faust, accompanied by the Freiburger Barockorchester in top form under the direction of Pablo Heras-Casado, offers us a miracle of purity and lyricism in this freshly minted interpretation that fulfills Mendelssohn’s promise of ‘a concerto to make the angels rejoice in heaven’! © harmonia mundi
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Chamber Music - Released May 26, 2017 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik - Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik
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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
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Violin Concertos - Released September 23, 2016 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Award - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Le Choix de France Musique
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Classical - Released April 15, 2016 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
A minimalist palette for maximum effect. This recital of music especially written or arranged for duo violinists Angela and Jennifer Chun highlights the personal and professional connections between Philip Glass (represented here as a miniaturist) and Nico Muhly, a longtime colleague and admirer of Glass's work. (Editor's note)
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Violin Concertos - Released October 15, 2015 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - 4 étoiles de Classica
1720: in his famous pamphlet entitled ‘Fashionable Theatre’, the composer Marcello ironized the excesses of the new Venetian opera. This landmark pamphlet was published anonymously as Benedetto Marcello, under the fictional editorship of ‘Aldaviva Licante’ - undoubtedly an anagram of A. Vivaldi – ridiculing the operatic world of the time. It took on singers puffed up with pride, uneducated librettists, composers seeking dramatic effects, in short, everything that the musical world then thought about as original, unusual, new, experimental, shocking, weird, baroque, and, in a word, Italian! Vivaldi was one of Marcello’s favourite targets, continually lampooning the Red Priest and his virtuoso violin escapades. It is precisely these escapades that the violinist Amandine Beyer and the Gli Incogniti ensemble have chosen for their rich repertoire: detuned violin concertos (in the manner of Scordatura), violin ‘in tromba’, that is to say violin in a tone that betrays a scraped sound, not to mention more singular works in which Vivaldi leaves the soloist a freedom that gives real heart to the joy of improvisation. This is what really marks out Amandine Beyer, who performs in accordance with the habits of the composer, giving a clear, historical picture of her treatment of the ornaments. So, for the almost implausible Circus Maximus track, it is as if you were actually there, attending the Carnival of the year 1720! © SM/Qobuz
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Duets - Released September 17, 2015 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de Classica
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Concertos - Released March 22, 2015 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - 4 étoiles de Classica
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Chamber Music - Released September 8, 2014 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc de Classica
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Symphonic Music - Released March 4, 2011 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
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Violin Concertos - Released March 1, 2011 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklets Distinctions Diapason d'or - Hi-Res Audio