Albums

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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - To be released April 19, 2019 | Alpha

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Chamber Music - To be released April 5, 2019 | Alpha

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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released January 25, 2019 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
Mezzo-soprano Eva Zaïcik, who has signed up with Alpha for several recordings, is one of the most prominent vocal artists of her generation. She was chosen as ‘Révélation lyrique’ at the Victoires de la Musique Classique 2018, and elected the same year a Laureate of the prestigious Queen Elizabeth of Belgium Competition. She has participated in the “Jardin des Voix” of les Arts Florissants under William Christie, also regularly collaborates with Le Poème Harmonique and Vincent Dumestre – but her constant accompanist is the harpsichordist Justin Taylor. Together with two other musician graduates, the violinists Théotime Langlois de Swarte, Sophie de Bardonnèche and the gamba player Louise Pierrard, they have founded Le Consort, to explore both sacred and secular works by composers such as Charpentier, Campra and Clérambault. For this recording they are joined by the flautist Anna Besson and gamba player Lucile Boulanger, both well-known to the Alpha label, and Thibault Roussel (theorbo). This recording is devoted to the Cantatas of Lefebvre, Montéclair, Clérambault and Courbois, more than half of which have never previously been recorded. The cantata inspired non-operatic composers to play out the fashionable narratives of the day on a reduced scale, and in the intimate surroundings of the salons. It is a subtle genre and a vivid depiction of the characters. © Outhere Music
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Opera - Released January 4, 2019 | Alpha

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With an offbeat cover that looks a little like a 1950s Hollywood movie poster, Hervé Niquet and his Concert Spirituel are offering up a dive into the world of French 17th and 18th century opera, with works by Mondonville, Rameau, Campra, Dauvergne, Francoeur, Leclair, Lully, Charpentier, Marais and rediscovered works by figures with some very Ancien Régime names such as François Colin de Blamont or Toussaint Bertin de la Doué. But behind this procession of names is Hervé Niquet's impish humour: he has cobbled together an imaginary opera to mark 30 years of the Concert Spirituel. He tells the story in his own, inimitable words: "Our story is very simple: a young lead, a courageous fop, loves a most beautiful princess. But an evil sorceress, jealous of this idyll, sets out to hurt our pair however she can. But my lord! Of course! That's exactly the story of an American show that I watched on Thursday afternoons when I was younger: Bewitched! I imagined a cover with a photo of our beloved trio and I showed it to our editor: everyone in the office burst out laughing. Katherine (Watson) alias Samantha, Karine (Deshayes) who plays Endora and Reinoud (van Mechelen) who becomes Darrin Stephens have all become used to my ways and they haven't taken umbrage at this comparison. See how simple the elements of opera are! And at the end of the day, this is the story of a thirty-year love affair with the Concert Spirituel. So: vive le pastiche, and vive Bewitched! Recorded in October 2017 at the Opéra Royal de Versailles in collaboration with the Versailles Baroque Music Centre and the Concert Spirituel, this imaginary opera is very much in keeping with the rules of an era when pasticci abounded and scores weren't set in stone but evolved to match opportunities and singers' personalities. Happy birthday, then, to the Concert Spirituel! © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released December 21, 2018 | Alpha

Booklet

Concertos - Released November 23, 2018 | Alpha

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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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Classical - Released November 16, 2018 | Alpha

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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released November 9, 2018 | Alpha

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Classical - Released October 12, 2018 | Alpha

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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
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Classical - Released September 28, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
‘Playing the demanding and constantly shifting string quartet repertory is enough to fill up four lives . . . Buoyed up by this heritage, we wanted to explore less well-known territories. In the early years of the twentieth century, Bartók and Kodály roamed the villages of Hungary and Romania, collecting, transcribing and recording hundreds of folk tunes and songs. ‘Building on a number of encounters with leading figures of jazz and world music, we asked five instrumentalist-composers to write us pieces inspired by musical worlds to which they feel close. In addition to these new compositions, we wanted to record Escalay by the Egyptian oud player Hamza el Din who died in 2006, a nod to the Kronos Quartet whose approach is an inspiration to us.’ (Voce Quartet). A recording made under the artistic direction of Vincent Segal. © Alpha Classics/Outhere
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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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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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Concertos - Released May 25, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
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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
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released February 23, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik - 5 étoiles de Classica
What a fascinating assembly work this is by Simon-Pierre Bestion, like creating a Grand Cru from already sublime sources. On the first hand he took The Resurrection of Jesus Christ, by Heinrich Schütz, performed as a whole – but “interspersed” with a dozen wonderful madrigals from Johann Hermann Schein’s Israelsbrünnlein. Knowing both works were made in 1623 and that Schütz and Schein were good friends, one born in 1585, the other in 86, the stars really did align perfectly. But the distinctive feature of this recording is that for Schütz’s Resurrection, the singer in the role of the evangelist is no less than Byzantine cantor Georges Abdallah, whose unique voice, elocution, magnificent art of ornamentation and micro-deviations confer this partition − deliberately designed in an archaic way – an unsuspected richness. As for Israelsbrünnlein, Bestion selected nine madrigals out of the twenty-six featured in the collection and interspersed them between each numbers of The Resurrection of Jesus Christ, thus creating a sort of new piece, co-authored by Schütz and Schein. Furthermore he redistributed Schütz’s instrumentation, initially designed for four viols, but which benefits greatly from the addition of cornets and sackbuts – creating a subtle play of sound exchanges, from one musical cell to the other. Regarding Schein, the partition was originally designed for voices, with no indication on instruments, but in line with the customs of the era, nothing prevented a line, part or cell to be assigned to an instrument or instrumental group and to exchange freely with the voices, according to the interpreters’ imagination. Some madrigals were exclusively given to the orchestral ensemble – which became a proper orchestra a-la-Gabrieli –, others were a blend of instruments and voices. As the listener may guess, here is a truly exciting album, granted very unusual and original, but extraordinarily well crafted. And of course let’s not forget the exceptional acoustics of the chapel of the Palace of Versailles, which further adds to the musical mystery of the recording. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released February 23, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
Vittorio Ghielmi, one of today’s most admired viola da gamba soloists, comes from a family of musicians (his brother founded Il Giardino Armonico with Giovanni Antonini). In parallel with his erudite and virtuoso readings of Marais or Graun, Vittorio Ghielmi is an artist who enjoys crossing borders. With his ensemble, Il Suonar Parlante, he seeks new musical languages and collaborates with leading figures of jazz (Uri Caine) and the masters of traditional music (Khaled Arman, Dhruba Ghosh). With "Gypsy Baroque", he and his gypsy friends present a dazzling album bubbling over with life. He has gone to Transylvania in search of the gypsy music of the eighteenth century that was played on the frontiers of the Ottoman and Austrian Empires – music that influenced composers like Mozart and Haydn for their famous ‘Janissary’ pieces. For this recording, he places these gypsy tunes (only the melody is written) in perspective with orchestrations of the period. The Baroque specialists of his ensemble are joined by longstanding guest artists (the soprano Graciela Gibelli and the recorder player Dorothee Oberlinger) and traditional musicians like the Slovak violinist Stanislav Palúch and Marcel Comendant, a virtuoso exponent of the cimbalom and of improvisation. Going beyond the ‘documentary’ aspect, already fascinating, here is a genuine musical recreation! © Alpha Classics
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Concertos - Released February 23, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
The piano duo formed by Arthur Gold (1917–90) and Robert Fizdale (1920–95) enjoyed immense fame in the post-war years. Poulenc wrote a piece for them, as did Darius Milhaud, Samuel Barber, Luciano Berio and John Cage. They recorded with Leonard Bernstein. Nicknamed "The Boys", they played all over the world and were praised for their ‘seamless perfection and an inimitable "joie de vivre" (New York Times). The Boys were also famed for their bestselling books and television programmes on cooking, their other passion! Duo Jatekok (játékok ="games" in Hungarian) was formed in 2007. Like The Boys and unlike most current piano duos, Adélaïde Panaget and Naïri Badal are not siblings, but childhood friends. "They have everything going for them: dynamic rigour and expressive energy, exuberant keyboard skills and multilingual touch, and more than anything else, a sort of jubilatory osmosis", wrote Le Monde. For this first recording on Alpha, they have decided to pay tribute to "The Boys" with a programme of works written for them, Poulenc’s Sonata for two pianos and Élégie and a composition by a legend of jazz, the American pianist Dave Brubeck, Points of Jazz. Duo Jatekok also wanted to include music by one of their contemporaries: Baptiste Trotignon’s Trois Pièces (including one dedicated to Poulenc!) complete the programme. © Alpha Classics
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Chamber Music - Released February 15, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
The least that one could say about the art of Moldavian violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja is that one cannot be left indifferent by it - so completely does she set herself apart from her "smoother", more mainstream peers. One only needs to hear her explosive reading of Ravel's Tzigane, where she is particularly daring: the result is extravagant, but in reality, it is wholly in keeping with the spirit of this score, which too many violinists play prissily: after listening to this, you'll not want to hear it played any other way. Kopatchinskaja murmurs, rages, dreams, swoons, surges, explodes, caresses, grips, undulates, chirrups and slaps through the ten minutes of this humorous, provocative, bravura performance. Doubtless the serious Bartók wouldn't have relished Ravel's pseudo-Hungarian allusions - not understanding that the French composer was simply lampooning the Viennese pseudo-Hungarian-Tzigane style - going by his Second Sonata for Violin and Piano, which is both dogmatically Magyar and Bartókian, a rather gruff piece all in all. Much less gruff is the sumptuous Sonata by Poulenc, written in 1943 in a tone which is sometimes tragic - even if the facetious Poulenc undertakes his own personal Resistance by working into each of his three movements a quotation from Tea for Two, a song forbidden under the Occupation. Pianist Polia Leschenko offers the violinist a breather with the short but efficient waltz  Coppelia by Dohnanyi, a little Franco-Hungarian wink, a prelude to the big wink Tzigane, which crowns the album. © SM/Qobuz

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