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

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Diapason d'or - Special Soundchecks - Hi-Res Audio
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Concertos - Released September 10, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc de Classica - Special Soundchecks - Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released September 10, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Special Soundchecks - Hi-Res Audio
Given that the aim of this recording, announced in the booklet notes, is to "[demonstrate] how composers in Germany, Italy, Austria, and England responded to the challenges of writing for the violin senza basso, it's a bit odd to begin the proceedings with a work that's not for violin at all. However, the transcription for solo violin of Bach's underplayed Partita for flute in A minor, BWV 1013, by violinist Rachel Podger herself, is quite idiomatic to the violin, and Podger's performance is lively and attractive. From Bach, Podger looks outward to other solo violin works rather than back to the tradition immediately preceding Bach's unaccompanied sonatas and partitas. The works don't have anything directly to do with one another, but they are united in part by being Podger's favorites, and there are some fascinating offbeat pieces that do indeed seem to have counterparts in Bach's magisterial compendia. Consider the very nice pair of solo sonatas by Giuseppe Tartini. In the Giga movement of the first one, the violin takes its solo and is answered by itself in the role not only of harmonic accompaniment but of orchestral figure. The pieces by Nicola Matteis, who inaugurated the entire migration of Italian musicians to Britain, have a fantastic spirit, while the sonata by Pisendel, which may have preceded or followed Bach's pieces, is at least similar to them in language, although less deep. A selection from Biber's Rosary Sonatas works well as a finale. One minor flaw is that notes describe a sonata by Antonio Montanari that is not actually included; a more serious problem is overresonant church sound inconsistent with the chamber purposes of the music.
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Violin Concertos - Released March 23, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Special Soundchecks
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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Chamber Music - Released September 22, 2017 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice
Rachel Podger, “the queen of the baroque violin” (Sunday Times), has established herself as a leading interpreter of the Baroque and Classical music periods. A creative programmer, she is the founder and Artistic Director of Brecon Baroque Festival and her ensemble Brecon Baroque. This new album brings together the compositions by four violinist-composers, three Italians and one German, all born during the last quarter of the 17th Century and who all died (except Vivaldi, who died younger) around the 1760s. These works explore the imagination of the then revolutionary form that was the Sonata for violin and continuo. Weaving together stylised ancient dances and the more Germanic preludic tradition, these Sonatas transport us to a world of musical amazement. Rachel Podger says: “The four composers’ connections read like a popular comedy! Violin virtuosos Verachini and Pisendel had an argument which resulted in Veracini flying into a rage and throwing himself from first floor a balcony, damaging his foot and limping forever after. Verachini amazed Tartini with his astonishingly smooth bowing technique, whereupon Tartini locked himself away to practice. Pisendel studied with Tartini and Vivaldi...” Let us add that one of Vivaldi’s Sonatas here recorded is dedicated to Pisendel. Podger gives great unity to those works, composed all around Europe at a time when powerful musical influences were continuously changing styles and fashions.
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Concertos - Released March 10, 2015 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Record of the Month
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Chamber Music - Released September 27, 2015 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
The Rosary Sonatas of Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber (1644-1704), a cycle formed of fifteen sonatas for violin with basso continuo and a passacaglia for solo violin, are part of a creative movement that took place during the seventeenth century which forged daring, experimentation, exploration, and a deepening of difficult instrumental technique. This current was made possible by the proliferation of advanced instruments being exported from Italy, and it found fertile ground in central Europe with Schmelzer, amongst others, and a next generation that included Westhoff and, of course, Biber. The Rosary Sonatas require a soloist with a serious capacity for abstraction: indeed, most of them are written according to the principle of the scordat[t]ura, meaning that one or more strings of the violin are tuned differently from the usual sol-la-re-mi. The tuning, then, does not accord with what is usually intended in violin scores, since the detuned strings become transposed. In other words, certain notes sound like what is written, whilst others resonate differently, depending on the particular chord imposed by the composer. The instrumentalist should, therefore, do the same thing that you do when keys on your computer keyboard provide different letters than those signalled, that is, act as if nothing has happened! And, in the piece, in order to change the tone of the instrument, and to permit the creation of some different chords, open strings are used. What Biber offers us here is an infinitely confusing piece of music, manipulating unheard-of sounds and incongruous harmonies – both melodic and harmonic – in an amazing musical journey that puts him quite apart from the rest of the Baroque world. In the late 1670s the work was not fully understood, so much so that the score was almost forgotten, before experiencing a brilliant resurrection in the early twentieth century. This version was recorded by the English violinist Rachel Podger, a true star of the baroque instrument. Here, after her excursions in Mozart, Bach, Vivaldi, and some other important composers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, which were all heralded by awards and other successes, she reveals the buried treasures of this true masterpiece. Accompanied by some fantastic instrumental friends (including Marcin Świątkiewicz on the keyboards, distinguished by his brilliant Müthel opus which was published by BIS a few months back, the violist Jonathan Manson, who regularly collaborates with the violonist and Trevor Pinnock), Rachel Podger expertly exploits this narrative poetry collection, distilling phrases of great elegance, and deploying a haunting sound. A truly mystical experience! © Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released September 22, 2014 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Concertos - Released December 17, 2004 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
A long time ago, back in the 1970s, period instrument performances mostly sounded sweet and low down. Part of the reason for this was the catgut strings and the lower tuning, and part of the reason was that players seemed to prefer a mellower and rounder tone. But time passed and period instrument performances became more and more strident until they became nearly painful to listen to by the late '80s. Violinist Rachel Podger has recaptured the mellow sounds of yesterday by producing a warm and almost human sound with her 1739 Persarinius instrument. And with these performances of Vivaldi's La Stravaganza, Op. 4, with the superb eastern European period instrument group Arte dei Suonatori, Podger has made one of the easiest to listen to period instrument recordings since the early '70s. But Podger has done more than that: she has produced one of the most thrillingly virtuosic recordings of La Stravaganza ever recorded. As she demonstrated in her recordings of Bach's solo violin works, Podger's technique is prodigious; but while her technique was a means to an end there, here it is an end in itself, which is entirely appropriate. Vivaldi was nothing if not a show off and Podger wails on his pieces with the soul of a virtuoso, slashing and burning her way through the 12 concertos with the spirit of Paganini. Channel's sound is wonderfully clear but still reverberant.
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Violin Concertos - Released September 10, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

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Classical - Released September 10, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released September 10, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
You know you're in audiophile territory when an album's credits list the provider of audio cable, and even the specific model involved. Heard on an ordinary CD player, the level of detail captured in this recording is startling (but never overbearing). And one can only guess at the sonic riches available to anyone with a Super Audio CD player. This is the third volume in a series of Mozart's sonatas for keyboard and violin by the fortuitously named British fortepianist Gary Cooper and Baroque violinist Rachel Podger. They make a fine pair. Podger, mostly known for performances of Baroque works, has a flashier, edgier sound than Cooper, with lots of quick little crescendos played off against Cooper's more suave phrasing. They come together in moments of intense expressivity, such as the passages of neo-Romantic harmonies in the Sonata in B flat major, K. 454, and then Cooper draws back and Podger resumes making her sharp comments. The CD is framed by two major sonatas, K. 454 and the Sonata in E flat major, K. 380 -- works in which Mozart virtually created the modern violin and piano sonata by equalizing the balance between violin and piano. In between are two short works of Mozart's extreme youth and two obscure two-movement works written perhaps in the early 1780s. There are a few possible complaints here. Although Paris was one of the first cities conquered by the new fortepiano, the works from Mozart's childhood seem to call for a harpsichord and for a lighter touch in general than they are given here. And the editorial presentation is sloppy. The word "français" is given as "françois"; a strange-looking small capital B is used for the musical flat symbol; there are grammatical errors in the English translation from the Dutch liner notes. Worse, there is no discussion at all in the notes of the two-movement works (tracks 7-10) at the center of the program. They are small pieces of questionable origin and authenticity, and in a complete-recordings set they needed some kind of justification or at least information. The two major sonatas of Mozart's maturity presented here, however, are given exciting performances that make the listener appreciate their breakthrough status within Mozart's output.
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Classical - Released September 10, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released September 10, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
In this fourth volume of the Mozart Complete Sonatas for Keyboard and Violin, Baroque violinist Rachel Podger and fortepianist Gary Cooper continue to live up to the exceptional reputation their previous three volumes have earned. Both artists represent the pinnacle of musicianship and technique on their own instruments. Together they perform as if on a single instrument; neither voice is subverted to a mere accompanimental role. The interplay between the two instruments is seamless, and both Cooper and Podger clearly share a singular artistic vision for these works. Podger's sound is crystalline and refined; she plays with an immense amount of power and authority without ever pushing her instrument too far. Even figures as simple as repeated quarter notes are treated with individual character and variation, one note always leading inexorably to the next. Her exceptional treatment of dynamics only adds to her impeccable sense of phrasing and pacing. Cooper's fortepiano playing is equally as elegant and energetic, never sounding underpowered as fortepianos sometimes do. Their musical union is the freshest and most captivating offering these works have seen in recent memory. If you haven't already started collecting this series, now's a good a time as any to start.
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Classical - Released September 10, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
Violinist Rachel Podger and fortepianist Gary Cooper collaborate again on their fifth volume of Mozart's complete sonatas for keyboard and violin. As in previous volumes, these were conceived of as keyboard sonatas with violin accompaniment. This concept is abundantly clear in the very early Sonata, K. 31, where the violin serves a very meager role, but one that Podger makes as interesting and exciting as anyone could hope for. Tremendous contrast and growth can be seen when comparing K. 31 to K. 305/306 where Mozart's development of the medium leans more and more on the violin as an equal collaborator if not dominant instrument. Podger's playing is electric throughout and not a single note goes by without getting some sort of special attention. Cooper's performance is equally elegant and refined -- save for some boxy-sounding octaves in his instrument's lower range -- and the two musicians play off each other quite well. The only real complaints to be found in this volume (or others, for that matter) reside in the liner notes and packaging. Channel Classics continues its peculiar notation of flats (with a small, upper case "B") and the English translation of the liner notes is still quite poor. Earlier sonatas, in this case K. 31, receive very little mention or historical background compared to their older siblings. Still, from a listening point of view, this series remains one of the finest available.
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Classical - Released September 16, 2016 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet
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Classical - Released September 10, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

Booklet
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Classical - Released September 10, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

Booklet