Albums

£14.99
£9.99

Symphonic Music - Released January 18, 2019 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Le Choix de France Musique
Alpha begins a complete cycle of the symphonies by Sibelius alongside some of his symphonic poems with Gothenburg Symphony and its new chief conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali. In the great tradition of Finnish conductors, Santtu-Matias Rouvali is known for his extremely physical and organic interpretations: ‘Music unmistakeably flows from him’, commented The Sunday Times. This was evident when, at a very young age, he stepped in to conduct a concert with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra which began the journey to his first tenure as Chief Conductor with the Tampere Philharmonic; a meteoric rise to a career working at the highest musical level internationally; and a third post as Principal Guest Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. When Bachtrack asked him how he shapes the orchestral sound, he replied: ‘I sing it, I move my hands the way I want it (…) the conductor should be able to show tempo somewhere in the body (…) I was also a drum kit player, so my feet and hands can do different things at the same time. When you read the score, you sing it in your head (…) I think it’s the sense of inside groove that you get from playing percussion which is very important in Sibelius’s music.’ In the Gothenburg Symphony he finds a prestigious cohort of musicians with an impressive discography, and joins a line of their illustrious musical directors, notably Neeme Järvi, the orchestra’s principal conductor from 1982 to 2004, but also Gustavo Dudamel, who is honorary conductor. © Outhere Music
£14.99
£9.99

Opera Extracts - Released September 28, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Qobuzissime
The first solo album from the excellent youngster Julien Behr, who has already played at the Paris Opéra, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, the Bordeaux and Lyon Opera Houses and cities such as Salzburg, Vienna, London, Cologne and many other great venues as well as making recordings of various lyrical works including L’Enfant et les sortilèges with Bavarian Radio. As debut albums go, he has made a daring choice in selecting some of the more unknown areas of French opera rather than the more popular pieces from Don José, Romeo, Faust and other big names. Instead, he has taken some gems from the Romantic repertoire (if we extend it up to the First World War for the sake of argument) which are little-heard of. From Gounod, he has selected Cinq-Mars ; from Bizet, La Jolie fille de Perth (one of Bizet's most exquisite passages); from Thomas, Mignon; and then, better-known but still uncommon, Léhar The Merry Widow; Godard, Jocelyn; and Delibes Lakmé. His diction is utterly impeccable; his transparent and airy voice evokes Heddle Nach or Jussi Björling, which serves the repertoire perfectly. The album closes with a few hits from the Romantic repertoire such as Vous qui passez sans me voir by Charles Trenet – well, the lyrics are from the Fou chantant, while the music is by Johnny Hess and Paul Misraki, and the song was originally written for Jean Sablon – evidence of Behr's love of lighter genres, for sure. . © SM/Qobuz
£13.49
£8.99

Trios - Released July 20, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique - 5 étoiles de Classica
With this new series entitled ‘Salon de musique’, Alpha presents recordings made by artists who have enlivened the Festival of Salon de Provence for some years now: the pianist Eric le Sage, who has made many recordings for Alpha, the clarinettist Paul Meyer etc… with cellist Claudio Bohórquez, they have now put two Beethoven trios on disc. By 1798, the year Ludwig van Beethoven composed his Trio for piano, clarinet and cello op.11, he was already well-known in Vienna as a remarkable improviser and an ambitious young composer. the piece was clearly aimed at the enlightened aristocracy, as well as competent musical amateurs. This did not prevent the critics, though universally positive, from judging the score to be over-complex in places. Dedicated to the Empress Marie-Theresa of Austria, the Septet was published in 1802 by Hofmeister, and on being well-received it was then rearranged for various combinations. Beethoven himself made a version for clarinet, cello and piano, op.38 in E Flat major – the one recorded here. © Alpha Classics
£14.99
£9.99

Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released May 25, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice
In the 17th century, Roman churches were competing to put on the greatest show to celebrate their patron saints. On these occasions, extraordinary services were performed, where many different artists would be brought together, singers and instrumentalists alike, alongside ordinary musicians, for sumptuous pieces performed by several vocal and instrumental choirs. One contemporary description gives an idea of the scale: ten choirs and ensembles played together, two on fixed stages, and eight others distributed symmetrically right along the nave, on platforms built for the occasion. Every additional stage was provided with a positive organ, while many other instruments added to the sonic splendour. So that all the musicians could play well together in spite of the distance, "capi di coro” or time-keeping drummers, would play in unison. Orazio Benevolo (1605-1672) was one of the most remarkable architects of these extravagant, multi-choral monuments. Benevolo was a choirboy at the Church of St. Louis of the French in Rome before he entered the upper echelons by taking the job of Chapel Master in 1638. The composer has left behind him an abundant set of works, containing no fewer than 34 motets for a range of players, including Regna terrae, written for twelve soprano parts distributed across six vocal choirs, each with its own basso continuo. We are also indebted to him for twelve versions of the Magnificat, for between eight and 24 voices, including one for 16 voices, in quadruple choir, which appears here. Hervé Niquet and his Concert Spirituel have made use of the ample acoustics in the Notre-Dame-du-Liban church in Paris, perfectly structured to hold several choirs distributed across the building, to create the sensations of immersion and spatial plenitude that the composer aimed for. © SM/Qobuz
£14.99
£9.99

Secular Vocal Music - Released April 13, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice
The least that we can say here is that soprano Sandrine Piau refuses to be pigeonholed: she cheerfully steers a course from the German romanticism of Schumann, Wolf or Loewe; to Debussy, all the way to the near-Broadway work of André Prévin, by way of Poulenc, Gurney and Samuel Barber… Her crystal-clear voice rejects any vocal Italicisms (no glissandos, no cooing, no notes attacked from below, no parasitic diphthongs, and a carefully-controlled vibrato), so that we get nothing but the music – and the words of course, comprehensible regardless of the language. Her long experience of baroque song – and the world of Mozart, in which she excels – has given her magnificent rigour, but her broad repertoire, which she deploys here, is full of power, from the suavest pianissimo to the most imposing fortissimo. As for pianist Susan Manoff, she simply offers the best possible musical accompaniment to the repertoires of the Lied, of French mélodie, romance and art song: and she is especially unmissable here, alongside one of today's greatest French voices. © SM/Qobuz
£14.99
£9.99

Cantatas (secular) - Released January 26, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc de Classica
The son of one of the Twenty-four Violins of the King, Nicolas Clérambault was born in Paris in 1676. He was a precocious child: he is credited with a large choral motet, composed when he was just thirteen years old. His education was provided by excellent masters and he was a close friend of Guillaume-Gabriel Nivers, whom he eventually replaced in 1714 at the tribune of Saint-Sulpice and the Maison Royale de Saint-Louis in Saint-Cyr. In addition to a book for harpsichord, and another for the organ, Clérambault composed numerous motets, but during his lifetime already, his French Cantatas were the works that solidified his reputation: five books featuring twenty cantatas in addition to five single cantatas. They highlight his evolution, from a craft similar to his masters of the 17th century to the pure, classical style that soon became his. Apollon, Cantatte sur la paix, à voix seule, et simphonie écrite pour le Roy (Apollo, Cantata for Peace, single voice, and Symphony written for the King) dates back to the very end of Louis XIV’s rule, which was marked by war and famine; in it, Clérambault glorifies the King, often portrayed as Apollo, while echoing the overall feeling among the population: peace! His 1710 cantata Le Jaloux (The Jealous) departs from the standard framework: no action, no lauding or flattery, simply a delicious tableau of jealousy! The album’s centrepiece remains 1713 Pyrame et Thisbé (Pyramus and Thisbe), derived from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Pyramus and Thisbe love each other, but their parents are opposed to their union. A beautiful instrumental prelude precedes the first recitative, which introduces and frames this tragedy. The melody closing the cantata is in a way the moral of the story. Between these two ends, Clérambault strings together recitatives, melodies, symphonies, as if in a lyric tragedy. The A Nocte Temporis ensemble – flute, violin, viola de gamba, harpsichord – accompany tenor Reinoud van Mechelen who performs these intense moments of great French classicism with perfect conviction and diction – crucial for this kind of textual works – while respecting the pronunciation specific to that era. For instance, “l’espoir de se revoir” turns into “l’espouêr de se revouêr”! The son of one of the Twenty-four Violins of the King, Nicolas Clérambault was born in Paris in 1676. He was a precocious child: he is credited with a large choral motet, composed when he was just thirteen years old. His education was provided by excellent masters and he was a close friend of Guillaume-Gabriel Nivers, whom he eventually replaced in 1714 at the tribune of Saint-Sulpice and the Maison Royale de Saint-Louis in Saint-Cyr. In addition to a book for harpsichord, and another for the organ, Clérambault composed numerous motets, but during his lifetime already, his French Cantatas were the works that solidified his reputation: five books featuring twenty cantatas in addition to five single cantatas. They highlight his evolution, from a craft similar to his masters of the 17th century to the pure, classical style that soon became his. Apollon, Cantatte sur la paix, à voix seule, et simphonie écrite pour le Roy (Apollo, Cantata for Peace, single voice, and Symphony written for the King) dates back to the very end of Louis XIV’s rule, which was marked by war and famine; in it, Clérambault glorifies the King, often portrayed as Apollo, while echoing the overall feeling among the population: peace! His 1710 cantata Le Jaloux (The Jealous) departs from the standard framework: no action, no lauding or flattery, simply a delicious tableau of jealousy! The album’s centrepiece remains 1713 Pyrame et Thisbé (Pyramus and Thisbe), derived from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Pyramus and Thisbe love each other, but their parents are opposed to their union. A beautiful instrumental prelude precedes the first recitative, which introduces and frames this tragedy. The melody closing the cantata is in a way the moral of the story. Between these two ends, Clérambault strings together recitatives, melodies, symphonies, as if in a lyric tragedy. The A Nocte Temporis ensemble – flute, violin, viola de gamba, harpsichord – accompany tenor Reinoud van Mechelen who performs these intense moments of great French classicism with perfect conviction and diction – crucial for this kind of textual works – while respecting the pronunciation specific to that era. For instance, “l’espoir de se revoir” turns into “l’espouêr de se revouêr”! © SM/Qobuz
£14.99
£9.99

Chamber Music - Released October 27, 2017 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
A voice, a lute, a sigh. Nothing could be simpler and more immemorial. This expression of sentiments and emotions, of the intermittencies of the heart and the shadows of the soul, is of course as old as the world. Yet it was truly a reconquest of the Renaissance. With Caccini, the ‘new music’ at once found a miraculous melodist. He composed a Euridice, performed in 1602, two years after Jacopo Peri’s setting and five years before Monteverdi’s Orfeo. The Renaissance did not know opera, but long secreted that genre soon to be born. And it is brand-new opera that opens and closes this recording, through the voice of its first visionary, Claudio Monteverdi. His Lamento d’Arianna, the centrepiece of a lost work, expresses sorrow, regrets, revolt through the very music of the Italian language, here brought to white heat. The ‘new music’ spread throughout Italy: Merula in Cremona, Falconieri in Naples, and Barbara Strozzi, the most famous woman composer of the age, in Venice. The Italian soprano Roberta Mameli is a great lover of this music, which she performs with an outstanding feeling for words and drama. Luca Pianca offers her his artistry and his great experience. © Alpha Classics
£14.99
£9.99

Chamber Music - Released October 13, 2017 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
Following a first recording on Alpha devoted to Brahms which garnered much praise – ‘real duo playing’ said Gramophone, while Classica discerned ‘shared music making . . . a world full of nuances and subtlety, boundless sonic imagination (Marie-Elisabeth Hecker), playing of rare intelligence (Martin Helmchen)’ and awarded the disc a ‘Choc’ – the duo is reunited. Its new programme features two summits of chamber music: Schubert’s famous Arpeggione Sonata – named after a now obsolete instrument that was a cross between the guitar and the cello – and his no less celebrated Trio no.2 D929, which achieved even greater popularity thanks to Stanley Kubrick’s film Barry Lyndon. In the latter, the duo is joined by an eminent musician with whom they enjoy playing, Antje Weithaas, ‘one of the great violinists of our time’ (Fonoforum) and also one of the teachers most sought after by the young generation. For example, she taught Tobias Feldmann, the young violinist recently signed by Alpha. © Alpha Classics
£14.99
£9.99

Chamber Music - Released September 1, 2017 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique - Exceptional sound
£14.99
£9.99

Solo Piano - Released August 25, 2017 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique
Supporting new talents is in Alpha’s DNA. Here is the very first recording of the Italian pianist Filippo Gorini, who was recently awarded First Prize in the Telekom-Beethoven Competition in Bonn. He has also won the same competition’s Audience Prize twice over. At just twenty years of age, he has already played in such prestigious venues as the Berlin Konzerthaus, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Laeiszhalle in Hamburg, the Herkulessaal in Munich, the Liederhalle in Stuttgart, Die Glocke in Bremen, the Royal Academy of Music in London, and the Moscow Conservatory. Strongly supported by Alfred Brendel, with whom he studies, he has chosen to tackle a monument of the piano repertory, the Diabelli Variations, a work whose interpretation he has matured through frequent performance, notably at the Beethoven Competition where it was the key item in his winning programme. And, appropriately, it is at the Beethovenhaus in Bonn that he made this first disc, the start of a highly promising recording career. © Alpha
£14.99
£9.99

Mélodies (French) - Released February 24, 2017 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
£14.99
£9.99

Classical - Released January 27, 2017 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
Myth, Sallust tells us, is the relation of ‘things that never happened, but always are’. Ever since the fourteenth century, music has drunk deep from the source of myths. When composers were not dealing with sacred history, with the great morality tales of Christ, they turned to myth as to a great art and a matchless repertory of exemplary stories. Metamorfosi Trecento is a musical exploration of myths and of the polyphony of the late Middle Ages. The ancient myths, foremost among them Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and their medieval transpositions are extremely present in the repertory of the Ars Nova: Narcissus lost on a fatal voyage, the stories of Daphne’s dream, Philomela, the myth of Orpheus, Callisto. The lutenist Michele Pasotti and the singers and instrumentalists (fiddle, recorder, clavicymbalum, Gothic harp etc.) of the ensemble he founded in 2005, La Fonte Musica, bring these wondrous tales back to life with a beauty and artistry we wished to share with you.
£14.99
£9.99

Classical - Released November 10, 2016 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica
£17.99
£11.99

Chamber Music - Released September 2, 2016 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
More than twelve years after its initial incursion into the music of Brahms, the Belcea Quartet now presents an eagerly awaited complete recording of his string quartets. A powerful style and a sense of musical architecture are the two qualities most often attributed to the Belcea, which is now one of the top international quartets. And those characteristics blossom to the full in Brahms. For the Piano Quintet, its members are joined by Till Fellner. This Austrian former student of Alfred Brendel is one of today’s most respected pianists, combining grace, rigour and musical intelligence. In September 2016 the Belcea Quartet will embark on a tour that will take it to the United States and most countries in Europe.
£14.99
£9.99

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.
£14.99
£9.99

Duets - Released June 3, 2016 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Diapason d'or - Choc de Classica - Exceptional sound
The adventure began in 2012, when Gilles Ledure, director of Flagey (Brussels), suggested to Lorenzo Gatto and Julien Libeer they should perform the complete Beethoven violin sonatas there. For these two artists, Beethoven was ‘perhaps the first composer in our history to have embodied the values of the Enlightenment in both his music and his life’. Haunted by these monuments of architecture and expression, they decided to embark on a recording. Here are three sonatas recorded in the legendary Salle de Musique of La Chaux-de-Fonds, including the famous ‘Kreutzer’ Sonata. Since his version of the Beethoven Violin Concerto (ZZT 354), Lorenzo Gatto has taken his place among the violinists who matter on the international scene.
£17.99
£11.99

Classical - Released October 30, 2015 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica
£14.99
£9.99

Solo Piano - Released November 3, 2015 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc de Classica
£14.99
£9.99

Classical - Released October 20, 2015 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica
£5.99

Concertos - Released September 4, 2015 | Alpha

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4 étoiles de Classica

The Collections

Label

Alpha in the magazine