Albums

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Chamber Music - Released November 23, 2018 | Alpha

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
In 16 CD Alpha traces the adventure of Café Zimmermann on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the instrumental ensemble. Among the iconic albums featured in this discographic portrait are Celine Frisch's Goldberg Variations, unanimously acclaimed at the time of their release in 2001.
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Chamber Music - Released September 21, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 étoiles de Classica
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released September 21, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
The tenor Julian Prégardien joins Alpha Classics for several recording projects that will showcase every facet of his talent, notably lieder and oratorio. His first album on the label is devoted to one of the greatest masterpieces in the history of music, Winterreise in a version with orchestra composed by Hans Zender in 1993. He scored the work for orchestral forces very different from the ensembles used in the nineteenth century (including, for example, a soprano saxophone, an accordion, a harmonica, a wind machine, a guitar and a very large percussion section). Hans Zender describes his work as a ‘creative transformation’: ‘My own reading of Winterreise does not seek a new expressive interpretation, but systematically takes advantage of the freedoms that performers normally allow themselves in an intuitive way: slowing down or accelerating the tempo, transposition into different keys, emphasising and nuancing colours.’ © Outhere Music
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Sacred Oratorios - Released August 31, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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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Violin Concertos - Released August 24, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Chouchane Siranossian is a rising star of the baroque and classical violin, Jakob Lehmann a virtuoso violinist and orchestral director who frequently conducts Anima Eterna. Together, they embody what the Bruges orchestra and its founder, Jos van Immerseel, have decided to call the ‘Next Generation Anima Eterna’... Today they are presenting Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in its original version. “We wanted to take a look into Mendelssohn’s workshop. He struggled with his self-diagnosed ‘revision disease’ and always strove to work hard on himself and his creations” says Jakob Lehmann. Chouchane Siranossian keeps on : “It was a fascinating experience for me to discover historical research and its implementation on period instruments in collaboration with Anima Eterna Brugge. In my interpretation, I used exclusively the fingerings, bowings and other performance markings of Ferdinand David and Joseph Joachim, both of whom rehearsed the work with the composer.” This recording is rounded off with the Octet, also in its original version, which is longer and has many alterations in instrumentation, harmony and articulation... © Alpha Classics
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Chamber Music - Released August 17, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
The lute, the archlute and the theorbo obviously belong to the world of Renaissance and to the first Baroque; but lutenist Bruno Helstroffer offers here to his theorbo, in addition to pieces from these periods, some strange incursions into the 20th Century: pieces that he composed himself (or almost from his written-down improvisation, probably), of which one or the other with a sung line or the recitation of a poem, as well as a Gnossienne from Satie which fantastically lends itself to the sound of the theorbo, conferring to this original program a kind of Oriental flavor that is quite spectacular. With Bach, Helstroffer indulges in a harmonic and rhythmic digression on the Menuet in Bach’s First Cello Suite, shifting the supports and the lines in order to only slightly evoke the original from the Cantor. Finally, you will notice some pieces from Helstroffer who is borrowing from India, or from West Africa with the kora, itself a traditional lute-harp, whose sounds are magically evoked by the theorbo. This is one of those unclassifiable and multicultural albums, blending all the eras and geographical landscapes, which will duly intrigue the lovers of rarities, and which has now inscribed the theorbo as an instrument of the modern repertoire. © SM/Qobuz
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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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Symphonies - Released August 10, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Chamber Music - Released May 25, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama - 5 étoiles de Classica
It was when he heard a harpsichordist playing for the students at the university in his home town of Angers that Justin Taylor first discovered this instrument and its intriguing sound. He split his time between the piano and a harpsichord apprenticeship that he took with Olivier Beaumont and Blandine Rannou, also following masterclasses from Skip Sempé and Pierre Hantaï. What followed was a modern fairytale. The young man made furious progress, swiftly becoming a poster boy for the French harpsichord, winning the Bruges Competition and being named the musical "Revelation" of 2017, at the age of 23. A first album, dedicated to the Family Forqueray (Alpha, Qobuzissime) was showered in plaudits and soon followed by a number of concerts at prestigious festivals, which seem not to have remotely changed this young Franco-American. For his second project with Alpha Classics, Justin Taylor deftly blends Scarlatti with Ligeti, a composer he knows well, having played his formidable Continuum at the admission competition for the Conservatoire de Paris (CNSMD). In this new album, Scarlatti's harmonic daring joins a György Ligeti fascinated by the work of his distant Neapolitan colleague. The result is a real firework, lit and aimed by ten fingers which are as intelligent as they are fiendish – this artist is absolutely one to watch. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released April 13, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Although Shostakovich's Third Quartet and his Piano Quintet have long been a part of the Belcea Quartet’s and Piotr Anderszewski’s repertoires, they had never recorded any of the composer's material. There is an interesting analogy between this point in the careers of the quartet and the pianist on the one hand and the composer's own life on the other: it was at the age of 32 that, although he was already onto his fifth symphony, Shostakovich wrote his first string quartet. For a long time his demanding attitude towards himself held him back from attempting what he saw as "one of the most difficult of all the musical genres". The impetus came – against the composer's will – from the dastardly Stalin, who had sparked the greatest crisis in Shostakovich's career: in 1936 the dictator had attended a performance of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, which later got an ominous review in Pravda, which growled about "chaos replacing music" and denounced "hysterical, degenerate music". The young composer ran the risk of arrest and execution: and so it should come as no surprise that after that experience he turned to the more private genre of the string quartet. Every listener can make their own between-the-lines reading of political protests or humanist messages in the work: at any rate it is very hard to see "just" pure music here, for all its fluency. That applies just as much to the Third Quartet of 1946, in which passages recalling Haydn rub shoulders with rather more violent material. The Quintet for Piano and Strings dates back to 1940, and it received the Stalin Prize – which was symptomatic of the unpredictable relations between Shostakovich and the regime, which saw him at once as traitor to the people and a model artist. The composer claimed that he added the piano part to his quintet so as to be able to play it himself, and to take advantage of whatever travel opportunities might come his way as a result...© SM/Qobuz
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Concertos - Released March 23, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama
What if this album turned out to be the new standard version of Edward Elgar's Cello Concerto in E Minor? Judging from what we get to see of the young cellist Marie-Elisabeth Hecker, it might well be, thanks to the sumptuous, smouldering sounds that fill this interpretation from beginning to end. It would be far too tempting to compare the young German to her distant colleague Jacqueline Du Pré, for whom this concerto was a signature piece. The publisher was on the right track when they took Marie-Elisabeth Hecker's picture striking exactly the same pose as the English cellist does in one of her most famous photographs, taken when she was the young wife of Daniel Barenboim: but Hecker's head is cocked the other way to throw the observer off. Born in Zwickau in 1987, she was one of the youngest participants ever to win the Rostropovich Competition in Paris. In 2010, she enjoyed a thrilling success in her hometown, playing Concerto in A minor to mark the bicentenary of Robert Schumann's birth (he was born in the same town), conducted by Daniel Barenboim, who would no doubt have felt very touched by a scene that recalled his own youth. The attentive and careful accompaniment by Edo de Waart shows off the sonic riches of the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, which he led from 2011 to 2016. Yet more proof of the high quality achieved by so many orchestras around the world today. This is an interesting pairing with a short, ultra-romantic piece by Elgar, Sospiri, transcribed here for cello and strings, whose secrets are laid bare by cellist Sol Gabetta. The Quintet for Piano in A Minor is the other major piece by Elgar to feature on this new recording. Composed in 1918, it is a very refined work, which often takes on orchestral tones, in a very Brahmsian language. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released January 12, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles de Classica
Alpha continues its collaboration with the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and its Academy, which will celebrate its twentieth anniversary in 2018. We invite you to discover artists of great talent who take us on a trip to Auvergne, Sicily, Armenia and Azerbaijan thanks to Luciano Berio’s Folk Songs, to Andalusia with Falla’s Psyché on a poem of Georges-Jean Aubry, and to the world of Jules Renard with Ravel’s Histoires naturelles. The last-named are recorded in a version for chamber ensemble: ‘Since Ravel gave Manuel Rosenthal to make an arrangement for large orchestra which we found rather overblown, we set out to find a “chasseur d’images” (to quote the title of one of Renard’s Histoires naturelles poems) who could transcribe the work without losing its intimate, delicate aspect. . . . We hope you will be as charmed as we are by Arthur Lavandier’s work, which beautifully conveys the immensely refined timbres and nuances of Ravel’, says the oboist Clément Noël, a member of the Swiss Ensemble Labyrinth. Anna Stéphany is a true revelation, performing this programme with the technique, the sensuality and the emotional impact that earned her a huge triumph in Mozart at last summer’s Glyndebourne Festival. © Alpha Classics
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Solo Piano - Released October 6, 2017 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama
‘Sophisticated colourist and cerebral virtuoso though he is, Nelson Goerner nevertheless brings out the moments of weakness, the hesitations, the lightning passions in the labyrinth of Chopin’, wrote Diapason on the release of the Preludes in 2015 (Diapason d’Or, Choc de Classica). ‘Serenity’, ‘balance’, ‘clarity’, ‘phrasing’ are the key words that recur in reviews of the discs and concerts of the Argentine pianist, whose fifth solo release on Alpha this is. His latest venture is a complete recording of the Nocturnes, a highpoint of Chopinesque poetry. These twenty-one miniatures accompanied Chopin over a good part of his life, for he composed them between 1827 and 1848. They are tributes to Italian bel canto, expressing reveries but also complexity of feeling and a profundity that far transcends their apparent simplicity. Nelson Goerner’s feeling for melody and tempo works wonders in these pieces, which he recorded in the ideal surroundings of the Salle de Musique of La Chaux de Fonds (Switzerland). © Alpha
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Classical - Released September 8, 2017 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Award - 4 étoiles de Classica
Delphine Galou is renowned and admired for her musicality and her appealing timbre. She has taken part in many productions of Baroque music and recordings of operas (notably by Vivaldi), but this is her first recital. It is a programme of sacred music, motets, cantatas and excerpts from oratorios, which in the course of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were influenced by the increasingly fashionable genre of opera. From the famous ‘Agitata infido flatu’ from Vivaldi’s oratorio Juditha triumphans, here counterpointed by an aria from another setting of the story of Judith composed by Jommelli, to Stradella’s Lamentations and Porpora’s magnificent motet ‘In procella sine stella’, Delphine Galou covers a wide range of spiritual emotions. She is accompanied by the excellent Accademia Bizantina under its director and harpsichordist Ottavio Dantone. A concerto by Gregori and a sinfonia by Caldara complete this release, which includes several world premiere recordings. © Alpha Classics
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Chamber Music - Released September 8, 2017 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 étoiles de Classica
The fruitful partnership between the Alpha label, the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel and the Palazzetto Bru Zane continues with this set of chamber music by Anton Reicha, performed by the musicians of the Chapel, young talents of an exceptionally high standard, ready and willing to take up the challenge of this music. A key figure of the early nineteenth century, this Czech composer who became a naturalised French citizen did not leave his contemporaries indifferent. Both his music and his theoretical writings set zealous partisans against fierce detractors. This threedisc set, assembling pieces from different genres and periods, gives an insight into the richness of the composer’s extremely prolific output of chamber music, whose originality can still fascinate us nearly two centuries after his death: it illustrates the diversity of the instrumental genres he tackled (sonatas, fugues, études and variations for piano; piano trio, string quartet, string quintet) and a compositional art characterised at once by perfect mastery – as one would expect from someone trained by Haydn in Vienna between 1802 and 1808 – and by the greatest originality. © Alpha Classics
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Classical - Released August 25, 2017 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Cardinals Benedetto Pamphili and Pietro Ottoboni played a prominent role in Rome at the turn of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries with their patronage of the three most important composers of the day, Corelli, Alessandro Scarlatti and Handel. At that time, numerous musicians converged on Rome, and the large orchestra directed by Arcangelo Corelli at the church of San Luigi dei Francesi included several famous cellists, among them G. L. Lular, N. F. Haym, F. Amadei and G. M. Perroni. As well as notable virtuosos, these men were often also composers of oratorios, vocal music, and pieces for their own favourite instrument, though very few of these have survived. It is to their music, often unpublished, that Marco Ceccato and his Accademia, winners of a Diapason d’Or of the year in 2015, introduce us here, along with works by the composers who subsequently formed the core of this group after Handel left for London: G. Bononcini, P. G. P. Boni, and G. B. Costanzi, who was later to teach Boccherini. © Alpha
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Solo Piano - Released July 7, 2017 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Olga Pashchenko is in the process of creating a unique place for herself in the world of the keyboard: she moves with astounding ease and skill from the harpsichord to the fortepiano, the organ and the modern piano. After a recording of Beethoven’s variations in 2015 (awarded ffff by Télérama), the young pianist has now gone to the legendary Beethoven-Haus in Bonn, a venue she knows well since she regularly gives concerts within its walls, to record three monuments of the pianistic literature – the Appassionata, Les Adieux and Waldstein sonatas – on the original Conrad Graf piano of 1824 conserved there. She utilises all the sonic possibilities and the full palette of colours of this instrument made around fifteen years after the composition of these sonatas, three of the finest in the corpus of thirty-two that Hans von Bülow called ‘the New Testament of every pianist’. © Outhere Music
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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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Chamber Music - Released May 26, 2017 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles de Classica
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Classical - Released April 21, 2017 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Henry Purcell died on 21 November 1695 at the age of thirty- six. The music he had written for the funeral of Queen Mary only eight months earlier was performed again for his burial service. Soon afterwards, several composers paid tribute to Purcell by writing odes in his memory. Jeremiah Clarke’s homage to ‘Orpheus Britannicus’ in his Ode on the Death of Henry Purcell is a deeply moving token of the younger composer’s admiration. Alas, Clarke too was destined to die in his prime, and we can only imagine what the destiny of British music might have been if their lives had been prolonged. After an acclaimed production of Dido and Aeneas, Vincent Dumestre and Le Poème Harmonique continue their exploration of the world of Purcell and seventeenth-century English music. Constantly keeping an ear out for multiple musical ramifications, from Dowland to Lully by way of the Elizabethan masques, this new programme spotlights the genius of Jeremiah Clarke, whose sadly premature death makes us regret all the marvels he might have produced. Here is a collection of masterpieces coupling two of Purcell’s most popular works with an exceptional discovery. (c) Alpha Classics

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