Albums

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Concertos - Released March 22, 2019 | Alpha

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With their poetry, their passionate and intimate lyricism, their refined style that gradually reveals hidden depths, the thirteen Nocturnes of Gabriel Fauré are the most significant group of works in his oeuvre for solo piano. Composed over a period of forty-six years (between 1875 and 1821), they bear witness to the composer’s remarkable stylistic evolution. From a form of expression rooted in romanticism, to an aesthetic fully aligned with 20th-century modernity, Fauré can be said to have shaped his musical personality like a sculptor. His Nocturnes are not all of equal importance, but as a whole their diversity and development offer a perfect panorama of his art. Éric Le Sage, one of the French piano school’s main representatives, whose many recordings for Alpha include the complete chamber music of Fauré, here interprets the repertoire closest to his heart. © Alpha Classics
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Classical - Released March 15, 2019 | Alpha

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Two years after releasing her CD dedicated to Book I of J.S. Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, Céline Frisch now presents the second volume of this musical landmark. Bach compiled Book II in 1744, twenty-two years after Book I. It took until 1801 for both volumes to be printed: from then until the present day they have inspired countless composers. After a series of recordings with the Ensemble Zimmermann she helped to found, Céline Frisch returns to the harpsichord recital, for a programme of this, her very favourite music. Through these preludes and fugues, she reminds us that far from being technical exercises, the Well- Tempered Clavier is a work of pure pleasure and constant renewed discovery. As Robert Schumann declared: ‘You should frequently play the fugues of the great masters, particularly those of J.S. Bach. Make the Well-Tempered Clavier your daily bread.’ © Alpha Classics
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Classical - Released March 8, 2019 | Alpha

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Following his recording of J. S. Bach’s solo cantatas for alto BWV 35 and 170 (issued in 2009), countertenor Damien Guillon has continued his work of research and interpretation, devoting a second album to the Cantata BWV 169 for alto solo and to the famous BWV 82 Ich habe genug ; though better known in its 1727 version for bass, from 1735 onwards it was also performed by an alto voice. To complement this cantata programme, organist Maude Gratton performs Bach’s Prelude and Fugue BWV 543, as well as the chorales Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr, BWV 662, BWV 663 & BWV 664. © Alpha Classics
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released March 1, 2019 | Alpha

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Franz Liszt was 67 when he composed his Via Crucis, yet it did not receive its first performance until 1929, 43 years after the composer’s death. This work of his mature years is in 15 sections, retracing the Stations of the Cross that mark the stages of Christ’s Passion, from being condemned to death to being laid in the tomb. Combining Gregorian chant, the Lutheran liturgy and the Latin, German and Aramaic languages, the Via Crucis shows real formal originality. A devout believer, Liszt gives us here his most important sacred work. He composed several versions: for mixed choir, soloists and organ (with the organ part optionally transcribed for piano), for piano solo, organ solo, and two pianos. After a first programme devoted to Janáček, the Collegium Vocale founded by Philippe Herreweghe is once again conducted by Reinbert de Leeuw in this Alpha recording. © Outhere
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Classical - Released March 1, 2019 | Alpha

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Ernest Chausson is a most unusual figure in French music, positioned at the crossroads where the romanticism of Berlioz and Franck meet the language of Wagner and the symbolism of the young Debussy. His Poème de l’amour et de la mer is a unique score for the period and certainly his greatest work; simultaneously a profane, naturistic cantata, a monologue, and a song cycle, it was composed between 1882 and 1892. Véronique Gens is recording this cycle for the first time, although she has already issued Le temps des lilas with Susan Manoff at the piano ("Néère"), about which Ernst Van Bek wrote in Classiquenews: « it mesmerises with the nuancing of its colours, the allusive precision of every sung word ». Véronique Gens’ talent is equally on display in this recording too, with the Orchestre National de Lille – an orchestra she already knows well – under Alexandre Bloch, its new chief conductor, whose appointment and first concerts and recordings have already caused a sensation… The Symphony in B-flat major completes this programme: a summit of French symphonic writing, for some a milestone as important as the Symphony in D of Chausson’s teacher César Franck! © Outhere Music

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