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Violin Concertos - Released November 16, 2018 | LSO Live

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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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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Chamber Music - Released October 26, 2018 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice - 5 étoiles de Classica
During the course of a full career, which justly earned him the name of "prince of baroque violinists", Giuliano Carmignola developed a remarkable vision of Bach's works for solo violin. Carmignola, a student of Szeryng and Milstein, knows this repertoire inside and out, creating a feeling of spontaneity and improvisation while remaining closely faithful to Bach's writing. He uses a discreet but present vibrato beautifully (a far cry from some other baroque musicians who step much further back from the material), and he favours a free approach to rhythm and an expressive style that highlights all the colours and subtleties of Bach's phrasing. His playing is influenced by the historical techniques unearthed by modern musicology, but it is also profoundly original, lyrical, and moving. The three Sonatas and three Partitas date back to the 1720s, the era of the great instrumental masterworks known as the Brandeburg Concertos, the First Book of the Well-Tempered Clavier and the Cello Suites. The sonatas take the form of church sonatas – four movements, slow-fast-slow-fast – and the partitas borrow from the old-style dance suites in five, six or even eight movements. © SM/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released September 21, 2018 | Ricercar

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 étoiles de Classica
The Russian violinist Evgeny Sviridov, winner of the MA Festival Bruges Competition in 2017, has chosen to devote his first recording to the sonatas of Giuseppe Tartini. As heir to the Baroque tradition of the early eighteenth century, Tartini developed technical concepts much bolder than those of his predecessors, thus preparing the violin for the language of the Classical period. His treatise served as a model for Leopold Mozart and his reputation was still very much alive in the Romantic era, which continued to propagate the famous anecdote of his dream during which the Devil suggested to him how to perform reputedly impossible trills... © Ricercar
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Duets - Released September 14, 2018 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
The violin sonatas of Johannes Brahms were the product of much self-critical reflection, and the three surviving works are from a composer mature in years. Composed around the same time as the Violin Concerto (No. 1), the Piano Trio in C Minor and the Cello Sonata No. 2 (Nos. 2 and 3), they also echo some of his songs, such as those written to poems by Klaus Groth. Into this Romantic atmosphere come new performances of the three works on Glossa, played by violinist Leila Schayegh (particularly awarded for her recordings of Bach, Caldara and Benda), teaming up here with pianist Jan Schultsz. Schayegh plays a copy of a period violin, whilst Schultsz uses an original 1879 Streicher instrument. The two players aim to recapture the performing tradition as the composer would have known it, and within which he would have intended his pieces to have been played. Schayegh and Schultsz worked with Clive Brown and Neal Peres Da Costa in their efforts to aim for “the spirit rather than the dead letter of the score” and they pay admirable notice of important interpretative questions for music of this time – and they provide an intuitive musical and emotional response to the lyricism of the first two sonatas and the darker-hued tones of the third, investing these late-nineteenth-century works. © Glossa
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Violin Solos - Released September 7, 2018 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet
In his turn the conductor and first violin of the Freiburger Barockorchester engraved these emblematic pages for violin. On his instrument by the Milanese lutenist Paolo Antonio Testore (1690-1767), Gottfried von der Goltz tackles without any display this corpus for solo violin. He plays them in an authentic, personal and sober (a little too reserved?) way with a constant concern to put forward their rich architecture and polyphony always in a deep understanding of the writing. © Qobuz 2018    
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Duets - Released August 10, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Two young Belgian soloists—including Lorenzo Gatto, despite the Italian consonance of the name—have been gathering for several years around Beethoven, and here is their interpretation of three Beethoven sonatas: the First written even before the end of the 18th Century—1798—, followed by the very last that is the Tenth Op. 96 from 1812—created by the infamous Pierre Rode on violin, and the archduke Rudolph of Austria who, incidentally, must have been an amazing pianist—, to finish with one of the most famous ones, the Fifth called “The Spring Sonata” (a name not chosen by the composer). Despite dating “only” from 1801, this sonata is incredibly different from the First regarding its architectural maturity, its intense lyricism and its audacities of all kinds. Gatto, who won the Queen Elisabeth Competition, plays on nothing less than the Stradivarius “Joachim”, while Libeer, a chamber music enthusiast, has a field day on a big concert piano with parallel strings and of an almost orchestral sound. Their first volume, released in 2016, was more than noticed by the critics and the audience—and was a great success on Qobuz. © SM/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released June 22, 2018 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik - 5 étoiles de Classica
François Francœur perfected his talents as a violinist and composer in the France of the 18th century, down the years of a very full and long life (1698-1787). He was admitted to the Académie Royale de Musique as a violinist at the age of just 15. After several years of playing concerts in the great towns of Europe, he rejoined the The King's 24 Violins in 1730, before becoming a member of the Concert Spirituel, a rare and much-coveted honour. He was also Master of Music at the Opéra de Paris and then musical director of the same institution with his good friend François Rebel. Francœur found himself increasingly in favour at the court of Louis XV who would name him His Majesty's Master of Music in 1760 and ennobled him into the bargain. This was the era of the great rivalry between French and Italian music: Francœur didn't take one side, but accepted the influence of both into his instrumental music. The ten first violin sonatas on this record make up the whole of his First Book published in 1720: ten sonatas, an unusual number at a time when they were normally published by the dozen or half dozen. The writing fuses courtly elegance and rather earthier, joyful Italian energy, and Francœur gives the work a unique voice of its own. In this fresh, melodious music, both refined and robust, we hear tender songs, feverish dances, pastorales, but also a stunning virtuosity. Violinist Mitzi Meyerson chose not to perform these sonatas in the order of their publication, on the grounds that they weren't written to be performed back to back. Meyerson instead arranges them by key as harmoniously possible, and also sorts them by major musical influence: French, Italian and German too. She plays each line with a gentle inflection of the rhythms and emphases that reflects the known historical style of each national body of music. © SM/Qobuz
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Violin Concertos - Released June 22, 2018 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
While Max Bruch's First Concerto was recorded, re-recorded and over-recorded to the nth degree, we can't say the same of Bruch's very elegant Scottish Fantasy Enter Joshua Bell, the new artistic director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, both playing the violin and heading up an ensemble to offer us both the Concerto – which he had recorded about thirty years ago with Marriner – and the Fantasy, a discographic first for him. This Fantasy, written in 1880 after the Second Concerto, was Sarasate but first performed by Joachim. The composer weaves it together from an infinitely elegant tissue of themes, and melodic impressions of Scotland, real or imagined. Joshua Bell, of Scottish descent himself, swims like a wild salmon through the clear waters of lochs and highland torrents, while the orchestra, clearly rapt, offers him a beautiful foil. © SM/Qobuz
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Violin Concertos - Released June 8, 2018 | Claves Records

Hi-Res Booklet
Swiss violinist Caroline Goulding offers us a singular pairing here: the brilliant, lyrical and very fin-de-siècle-Vienna Concerto by Korngold, written in 1945 and based on themes borrowed from some pieces of film music, followed by an ever-so-delicate Fifth Concerto by Mozart, one of those miracles of the composer's youth, from when he was just 19, but already in full command of staggering powers. Consider that the whole orchestral introduction, which could easily serve as a rich opening theme, is in fact merely the accompaniment to the real theme, which is richer still, and played by the solo violin. Caroline Goulding has been building an international career since she started with the Cleveland Orchestra in 2006. Sometimes she will sit out for a few weeks of contemplative silence, and it is just one such period of silence which produced this album. Since her début, she has performed as a soloist with the orchestras of Toronto, Detroit, Dallas, Houston, Denver, Milwaukee and Washington in North America, as well as with numerous European orchestras, in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Berlin, and Berne. Her style owes much to her teacher, Christian Tetzlaff. © SM/Qobuz
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Duets - Released June 1, 2018 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Duets - Released April 13, 2018 | Fuga Libera

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
"French" works (although Ysaÿe was Belgian…) from 1877 with Fauré's First Sonata through to 1908's Extase by Ysaÿe: that's what is on offer here from French violinist Saténik Khourdoïan, a regular at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Radio-France Philharmonic the Orchestre de Marseille, Roque-d’Anthéron, the Grange du Meslay, the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, France-Musique and France-Culture – and we should also mention that she is the first solo violin of the Monnaie de Bruxelles. Her selection shines a light on a whole range of French art which stands resolutely off to one side of the idiosyncratic route sketched out by Debussy: Saint-Saëns, Fauré and Ysaÿe will always remain in the ambit of rigorously-written French romanticism. The Caprice en forme de valse by Saint-Saëns, in its wild transcription by Ysaÿe, gives us a sense of the real value of Saténik Khourdoïan's undertaking. This is an excellent calling card for a violinist who has still got plenty to say. © SM/Qobuz
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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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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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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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Violin Solos - Released January 12, 2018 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice - 4 étoiles de Classica
There comes a moment in the career of any respected violinist (and even some who aren't), when they dream of playing, and perhaps recording, Paganini's 24 Caprices. And that is precisely what German star violinist Augustin Hadelich (b. 1984) has done. Hadelich has been a regular fixture in the orchestras of Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, London, Munich and Salzburg, for whom he has given some of the greatest concertos that exist, but he has also performed a repertoire of much rarer, contemporary works, which he has decided to champion. Hadelich tackles these 24 Caprices, which Paganini wrote over about 15 years, from 1802 to 1817, without intending to make them into a cycle in their own right - much less a programme to be played in a single concert; indeed, it seems that he never performed them in concert himself - like many small Italian operas (but French ones as well, in the tradition of grand opéra), each one is concentrated down into a few minutes. They run from grandiose tragedy in the style of Meyerbeer, to lighter shades of Rossini, with a real lyrical and vocal vision which is as far removed as can be from pure and demonstrative virtuosity. At 33 years old, Hadelich shows consistent maturity, but also humility, and a sense of experience which one would expect to see in a much older musician. © SM/Qobuz
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Duets - Released November 10, 2017 | Evidence

Hi-Res Booklet
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Classical - Released October 13, 2017 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica
For true fans of Christian Ferras (1933-1982), this box set of recordings (mono and stereo) made between 1957 and 1962 is an absolute treasure chest. In the company of his good friend Pierre Barbizet, Georges Prêtre, Malcolm Sargent, Menuhin for Bach's Double and several other big names of her era, this follower of George Enesco offers up a superb selection of great concertos and great sonatas, from before the famous recordings with Karajan that covered of the lion's share of the Ferras concert repertoire. Ferras had a searing career – these recordings were made by a man aged 24 to 29 years old! His glory years ran until the end of the 1960s, before meeting with an inexorable descent into the hell of alcoholism and depression (which would drive away the big labels, the orchestras and the public) – a descent which he would end with a ten-storey fall from his Parisian apartment on 14 September 1982. The world had lost one of the greatest violinists of his time, but his legend would never die. Naturally, all these recordings have been subject to a most careful remastering, based on the original matrices. © SM/Qobuz
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Duets - Released September 22, 2017 | Calliope

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Chamber Music - Released September 22, 2017 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or