Albums

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Classical - Released November 16, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
”Is it Schubert? Chopin? Or Brahms?” boldly asks the accompanying booklet for this recording of Dussek’s works. One may wonder whether there aren’t some Beethoven influences – and there are! – and even some Weber, but in fact, history runs backwards as the Concerto for 2 Pianos, Op.63 presented here dates back to 1806, the Rondo Concertant is from 1809 and the Quintet from 1799, prior (or at best at the same time) to the time when Weber conceived his great works. Indeed, many tendancies are evocative of a young Chopin and his Concertos. In many regards, Dussek was a visionary: his orchestration is particularly audacious – this is in fact more of a concert symphony than a traditional concerto – and his harmonic mood swings are especially bold and delightful … The Quintet itself is also unique: it was put together for the same unusual orchestra as Schubert’s Trout Quintet, meaning a violin, alto, cello, double bass, and piano. With its exquisitely free flowing writing, the work contains many surprises for the listener to discover on their own. The album ends with Notturno concertant for horn, violin, and piano. The two fortepianos are played by Alexei Lubimov and Olga Pashchenko, one is a copy of a Walter instrument and the other is a Longman/Clementi. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released September 7, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Sacred Oratorios - Released August 31, 2018 | Alpha

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There is no shortage of parallels to be drawn between Caldara and Vivaldi: both Venetians, both boasting an impressive body of work running to several hundred pieces of all genres, both died in Vienna (in the same street and in the same penury!), although Caldara had written more operas and oratorios than the Red Priest. And here is one of these very 32 known oratorios, Maddalena ai piedi di Christo written in Venice around 1698; it is "oratorio volgare", that is, recited in Italian, rather than Latin. Originally written as an accompaniment to spiritual exercises, the oratorio came to replace profane operas when the theatres were closed, especially from November to Lent. It took on the guise of opera, and used many of its techniques: naves and altars were (re)decorated and mechanisms and costumes were employed. In reality, it was nothing but an opera with a religious theme... The words and the plot of Maddalena ai piedi di Christo are perfectly suited to these months of penitence. It is a drama of the moral breakdown that tortures the sinner who has to choose between worldly and heavenly love, between living a life of luxury and truly promising herself to Christ. The Le Banquet Céleste ensemble, led by Damien Guillon (who also sings the alto part of Divine Love), takes to this rare piece with fervour. © SM/Qobuz
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Lieder (German) - Released August 24, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik - 5 étoiles de Classica
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Classical - Released June 8, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Glenn Gould, whose talents as an agitator and showman are well known, didn't hesitate to declare himself "firmly convinced that Das Marienleben, in its original form [because there exists a revised version made around twenty years after the first - SM], was the greatest song cycle ever composed." That should be taken with a pinch of salt, of course, but one can't ignore a statement like that. Taking words by Rilke, Hindemith set to work putting them to music between June 1922 and July 1923. The dates are significant because they marked a fundamental turning point for the composer: the move from expressionism to "New Objectivity", a very Germanic movement which sought to erase the slightest trace of postromanticism by developing a pared-down and less emotive language. That said, in musical terms, it is all rather more fluid than in painting. However, throughout the seventy-odd minutes of this cycle, Hindemith moves constantly from one to the other, as its fifteen pieces were written in no particular order: the oldest are the eleventh and the fifteenth; the last ones to be written are the thirteenth and fourteenth. Knowing Hindemith, of course, one might think that he could never resist an emotional charge, even when set firmly in his rigorous counter-punctual language. Note that Juliane Banse and Martin Helmchen have chosen to record the 1922-23 version, and not the revision of 1936-48 – and so we're listening to Gould's favourite version. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released January 12, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
The Järvi family is a pillar of Estonian musical life. Paavo is now director of the Pärnu Festival, held in August each year, which brings together the finest Estonian musicians, joined by the cream of European orchestras: members of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Orchestre de Paris etc. Paavo Järvi (recently appointed music director of one of the world’s leading formations, the Tonhalle Orchester Zürich) frequents all these instrumentalists regularly, and now works alongside them, ‘unpretentiously, in a warm, collegial manner’ for a series of highly convivial concerts on the shores of the Baltic: ‘magical and incredibly appealing’, says Die Welt. Paavo Järvi has now decided to record with this outstanding orchestra. For this first release, he has chosen Shostakovich, a key figure of the twentieth century, for both the region and the Järvi family: Paavo used to meet him as a child when the composer came to visit his father Neeme! The programme consists of Symphony no.6 and the Sinfonietta op.110b, a rare arrangement of the String Quartet no.8 by Abram Stasevich for string orchestra and timpani. This first release in 2018 will also coincide with the centenary of the independence of the Estonian Republic and a tour that will take the orchestra to several major European cities.© Alpha Classics
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Classical - Released September 22, 2017 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Jazz
The life of Stradella, murdered on a Genoese piazza at the age of forty-two on the orders of a jealous rival in love, has achieved mythical status and inspired several novels and operas featuring Stradella the adventurer, the rebel and above all Stradella the Don Juan, whose amorous escapades, from abducting a novice from a convent in Florence to a flight across Italy with the high-born fiancée of a senator, were never a hindrance to his flourishing musical career. It is easy to imagine that Stradella’s hectic life provided the inspiration for the captivating female figures who abound in his output, exalted by technically redoubtable vocal writing, as exuberant and virtuosic as it can sometimes be sober and ethereal, and supported by remarkably skilled recitatives, a genuine verbal theatre that offers the singer infinite scope for expression. From the demonic Salome to Ariadne, the model wife turned into a Fury by despair; from Pelagia, the repentant sinner who ends her days living in a cave disguised as a man, to Susanna, the very image of innocence and purity, this programme presents a series of portraits of women whom Chantal Santon embodies in their turn with all her artistry, her intimate knowledge of this repertory and her sense of theatre. © Alpha Classics
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released May 31, 2017 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Choc de Classica - Choc Classica de l'année - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
After an album of French songs (Néère) that earned her a "Gramophone Award" in 2016, Véronique Gens presents her new recital, this time with orchestra, which gives her an opportunity to display the maturity of her ‘Falcon’ soprano, the central tessitura typical of French Romantic opera, which takes its name from Cornélie Falcon, who created the works of Meyerbeer and Halévy staged in the 1830s. She pays tribute here to a number of composers whose unknown operas she was the first to reveal in projects mounted by the Palazzetto Bru Zane, including David, Godard, Saint-Saëns and Halévy. The programme selects arias from all the genres in vogue in the Romantic era: opera (Saint-Saëns, Halévy, Godard, Février), opéra-comique (David), oratorio (Franck, Massenet) and the cantata for the Prix de Rome (Bizet, Bruneau). A nod to Wagner and his Tannhäuser – in its French translation of the 1860s – completes this programme conducted by a longstanding colleague of the soprano, one of the leading specialists in French music, Hervé Niquet. © Alpha Classics
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Classical - Released May 12, 2017 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Mélodies (French) - Released February 24, 2017 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Chamber Music - Released February 24, 2017 | Alpha

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Classical - Released August 19, 2016 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Quartets - Released July 1, 2016 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Shortly after he arrived in Vienna in 1782, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart began composing his six "Haydn" Quartets, inspired by recent contact with his new friend, Franz Joseph Haydn. Not only had Haydn composed an important set of string quartets in 1781, which Mozart studied closely, he also played violin in a quartet with Mozart as violist. These influences led Mozart to compose his String Quartet No. 16 in E flat major, K. 428, and his String Quartet No. 19 in C major, K. 465, "Dissonant," which bookend the Divertimento in D major, K. 136, on this 2016 release from Alpha Classics. The Quatuor Van Kuijk, a French string quartet in spite of its Dutch name, deliver exciting and engaging performances of the string quartets, finding the right blend of flashiness and warmth that characterize Mozart's newfound maturity. Yet the youthful Divertimento is treated with comparable brilliance, if slightly less ardor, and all three works make a delightful program, showing important aspects of the development of the Classical style. The recordings are focused and detailed, though the acoustics of Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Waterloo create an aural halo that at times softens the Quatuor Van Kuijk's edge.
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Trios - Released June 7, 2016 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
This young trio that takes its name from the legendary violinist Adolf Busch (1891-1952) has already made its name on the international scene as one of the most talented of the new generation, picking up on its travels enthusiastic reactions from public and press – as well as several prizes at the major competitions.‘ What impressed most was the group’s effortless musicianship and unity of thought and attack. The threesome even seemed to be breathing in synch’, wrote The Times after one of their concerts at the Wigmore Hall. Under the auspices of Alpha Classics and the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel, the ensemble has set itself a challenge: to record the complete chamber music with piano of Antonín Dvořák. With the monumental Trios no.3 op.65 and no.4 op.90, these Londonbased musicians get the saga off to a flying start, in deeply felt interpretations that penetrate to the heart of the great Czech composer’s poetic universe.
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Classical - Released March 7, 2016 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles de Classica - Qobuzissime - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
"Nevermind Conversations", that could easily be the title of a rap album, right? But no, dear qobuzian (qobuzzer?), this new recording by Baroque ensemble Nevermind (Anna Besson (flute), Louis Creac'h (violin), Robin Pharo (gamba) and Jean Rondeau (harpsichord)) certainly strike up a spirited conversation between two French Baroque composers, established between French and Italian styles that both deal with fantasy and invention. The two composers: Jean Baptiste Quentin (ca. 1690 - ca. 1742), violinist at the Royal Academy of Music; and Louis-Gabriel Guillemain (1705 - 1770), ordinary musician of the king.© SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released October 7, 2014 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik

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