Albums

464 albums sorted by Date: from newest to oldest
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Concertos - Released June 15, 2018 | CPO

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Everyone knows Mendelssohn's violin concerto, at least the one in E Minor; and his piano concertos are reasonably well-known. But what about this concerto for piano and violin? Ha! To be sure, it's a work from his youth (to say the least): the work dates from 1823, when Mendelssohn was just 14 years old, but already displaying stupefying talents. This double concerto appears to have been written for private Sunday concerts in the family home; and yes, we can hear a few classical accents from Mozart and Beethoven (the latter was still alive!), and from Weber too in the sunnier moments, but the melodic development is already typically Mendelssohnian. Here we have the original version with string orchestra, because shortly after its first performance at the Sunday sessions it was re-written with wind and timpani. As for the Violin Concerto in D Minor, it is the work of a composer who is still young, just thirteen, although this version contains the revision that he made a few years later – more compact movements, and a complete third movement, as the first draft of 1822 only sketched the third movement in outline. Here, too, one is just gobsmacked by the maturity of the writer; were it by anyone other than Mendelssohn, there would be an uproar about this overlooked genius – even if the writer were an adult – whereas, as it's Mendelssohn, what people focus on is merely the youthfulness of the work. Just like we do, in this review… © 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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Violin Concertos - Released June 1, 2018 | DOREMI

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Violin Solos - Released May 25, 2018 | LSO Live

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Violin Concertos - Released May 4, 2018 | Accent

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Josef Mysliveček (1737-1781) also known as "Il Divino Boemo" (The Divine Bohemian) was one of the most celebrated opera composers in Italy in the 1770s. His instrumental works - symphonies, concertos, octets, quartets, and trios - were as popular as his vocal music. Certain features of his melodic style reflect his Bohemian origins, and Mysliveček's influence on contemporaries was significant. A close friend of the young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and a musical influence on him, Mozart described his character as "full of fire, spirit and life". All nine of the Mysliveček violin concertos that survive in complete form were probably written in a short period during the late 1760s and early 1770s when the composer maintained close contacts with the city of Padua and the composer and violinist Giuseppe Tartini. As a representative of Italian traditions that extended back to the early eighteenth century, Mysliveček’s violin concertos are all cast in three movements of the pattern ‘fast-slow-fast’. “From this music one can hear that the author was also a superb opera composer: the quickly alternating themes are well defined in character, whether sounding serious or boisterous, pleading or alluring, questioning or majestic, friendly or imperious. Figuratively, we find ourselves on the opera stage.” (Leila Schayegh) © Accent/Note-1
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Violin Concertos - Released April 27, 2018 | Berlin Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Undesired babies, in this case little girls, were dropped off in the famous convent, conservatory and orphanage of the Ospedale della Pietà in Venice, where Vivaldi was a violin teacher and main composer for a long time. Many of these girls, once adults, became musicians and quite a few of them reached the highest level of recognition. For one of these pupils, by the name of Anna-Maria dal Violin (the “dal Violin” wasn’t her last name, but rather a nickname highlighting her ability as a musician), Vivaldi wrote twenty-five concertos, a shining proof of her tremendous mastery; to the extent that, it seems, people came from afar to listen to her perform. Listen only in fact, not see her, as young ladies had to play behind a screen so that it was impossible to have the slightest glimpse at their appearance. But Rousseau did manage to catch one in 1743: "If you are so desirous," said an ambassador to him, "to see those little girls, it will be an easy matter to satisfy your wishes. I entering the saloon, which contained these beauties I so much sighed to see, I felt a trembling of love, which I had never before experienced. Mr le Blond presented to me, one after the other, these celebrated female singers, of whom the names and voices were all with which I was acquainted. Come, Sophia − she was horrid. Come, Cattina − she had but one eye. Come, Bettina − the smallpox had entirely disfigured her. Violinist Midori Seiler, accompanied by the Concerto Köln, selected a nice handful of concertos written for the aforementioned Anna-Maria. Granted we’ll never know how she played, but one can get an idea of a few of her tendencies, as the young lady kept a musical journal in which she wrote a few variants for the second movement of the Concerto RV270a that can be heard here. In parallel, this selection also features a concerto by Galuppi and another by Albinoni, that are both in a similar vein, although they weren’t written for Anna-Maria. In tune with the custom/etiquette of the Ospedale, the Concerto Köln didn’t hesitate to add in the partition a few moments of woodwinds doubling on the chords: flutes, oboes and even chalumeau, the ancestor of the clarinet that Vivaldi himself used a few times in his concertos. © SM/Qobuz
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Violin Concertos - Released April 13, 2018 | Ondine

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Award - Gramophone Record of the Month - Exceptional sound - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik - 5 étoiles de Classica
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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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 23, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Exceptional sound
After the volumes dedicated to Vivaldi's great instrumental cycles, La Stravaganza (2004), La Cetra (2012) and L’Estro armonico (2015), English violinist Rachel Podger continues her work with her Brecon Baroque ensemble to bring out this version of the Four Seasons, which is rounded off with three violin concertos. Brecon Baroque is an offshoot of the festival of the same name that takes place every year at the end of October, in Wales. A magical place at the confluence of two rivers, where the spectacular countryside draws visitors every year in their hundreds. A passionate fan of the music of Vivaldi and Biber, Rachel Podger, who studied in Germany, demonstrates through her performances just how much the Red Priest's music (and her herself, following Biber) can cloak itself in the mysterious and bizarre, to the point that Vivaldi appears here as a distant descendant of the mannerists from the late Renaissance and early Baroque period. This is a particularly interesting and successful take.
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Duets - Released March 23, 2018 | Arcana

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
As not indicated by its title, this album offers duos for two violins, a very wide repertoire that is however rarely recorded. “Suite Case” is simply the name of the first piece, penned by Giovanni Solima and precisely dedicated to our two soloists, Chiara Zanisi and Stefano Barneschi, followed by an impressive range of works written between the middle of the Baroque era and the present times with Bartók and Berio. It is worth noting that these pieces for two violins, a formation rather ill-suited for public concerts, had two distinct vocations: a pedagogic use, as is the case for Bartók’s 44 Duos (with a very pronounced insistence on Magyar folklore) and Haydn with his Three easy and progressive duos for two violins, whose name says it all; and a family use, like Telemann’s Canons mélodieux ou sonates en duo à flûtes traverses, ou violons, ou basses de viole (melodious canons or six duo-sonatas for traversos, or violins, or viola da gambas)—the composer, an excellent businessman, aimed at any and every possible buyer who wished to have small domestic concerts with any combination of two instruments. Only Vivaldi’s duo—at least for the repertoire of that era—seems to have been meant for a pair of virtuoso, a bit intrinsically: the language is neither for students nor for enlightened amateurs, given its difficulty. Curiously, the partition notes that the bass is optional… Even if it is not written, any harpsichordist could have improvised it in continuo. Solima’s piece acts as a guide for the album, opening and closing it. © SM/Qobuz
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Duets - Released March 16, 2018 | Le Palais des Dégustateurs

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica
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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 26, 2018 | MUSO

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Chamber Music - Released January 19, 2018 | NoMadMusic

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 étoiles de Classica
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Duets - Released January 19, 2018 | Bridge Records

Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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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 December 8, 2017 | Melodiya

Hi-Res Distinctions 5 de Diapason