Albums

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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released December 21, 2018 | Alpha

Booklet
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Classical - Released November 23, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Editor's Choice

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

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 November 16, 2018 | Alpha

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

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Classical - Released November 2, 2018 | Alpha

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Classical - Released October 19, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
Alexander Lonquich has his own special place in the world of the piano: this German pianist, who made his home in Italy, has enjoyed an untypical career. A disciple of Paul Badura-Skoda, he is highly respected by many conductors and instrumental artists, such as Philippe Herreweghe, Nicolas Altstaedt and Christian Tetzlaff, with all of whom he collaborates on a regular basis. Navigating his way between the modern and the early piano, he takes the time needed to allow programmes to properly mature, working on them and thinking them over for several years. Such was also the case for this recording, carefully made on a modern Steinway piano, and we have genuinely fallen in love with it. As Alexander Lonquich’s accompanying notes to this album testify, the artist has intensively reflected on and lived with the music of Schubert before recording it. The year of Schubert’s death, which took place on 19th November 1828, was marked - particularly from its springtime - by an extraordinary burst of artistic creativity, produced at a frenetic working pace. It was during this period that he composed the three last piano sonatas and the threeKlavierstücke that make up this programme. © Alpha Classics
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Classical - Released October 12, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
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Classical - Released October 12, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
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Classical - Released October 12, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
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Classical - Released October 5, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
In Rome between the late seventeenth century and the early eighteenth, academies and ‘conversazioni’ (artistic gatherings) organised by aristocrats and cardinals attracted the leading writers and musicians. The names of Arcangelo Corelli, Alessandro Scarlatti and the young G. F. Handel stand out among many others. Giovanni Lorenzo Lulier (Rome, c.1660-1700), a cellist and composer known as ‘Giovanni del Violone’, participated in this intensive musical activity. [...] When he entered the entourage of Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni, in 1690, Lulier already had a decade of compositional activity behind him in the genres of oratorio, opera and above all the chamber cantata. Originally consisting of a succession of strophic arias, the cantata gradually established itself as a poetic and musical genre characterised by alternating recitatives and arias. [...] As is well known, the conversazioni of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries also included the performance of instrumental music. © Alpha Classics
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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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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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Chamber Music - Released September 14, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
"The harpsichord is perfect as to it compass, and brilliant in itself, but as it is impossible to swell out or diminish the volume of its sound, I shall always feel grateful to any who, by the exercise of infinite art supported by fine taste, contrive to render this instrument capable of expression", writes Couperin himself in the foreword to his 1713 Premier livre de pièces de clavecin. If we discount the ornamentations which litter the world, Couperin's music is not a "virtuoso" music, as Scarlatti's can be, for example. Sometimes taking on a descriptive style, or going in for imitation or portrait, it requires a singular sense of expression: that very "expression" that the composer talks about here. In Art de toucher le clavecin, Couperin offers us precious information on how to interpret and play his music in particular, and French music of the period in general; an artist who aims to respect Couperin's intentions will find indispensable lessons here. That being said, a fear of stepping outside the bounds set by the author, and a too-minute attention to every detail could rob the works of their vitality and fluency. "As there is a great distance from grammar to declamation, so there is an infinitely greater one between the tablature and good playing style." Or, in other words, freedom within limits! That is the attitude that Olivier Fortin brings to this fine range of works from the great Couperin, drawn from various of his Livres de clavecin and L’Art de toucher le clavecin. As for the instrument being played, it is a "real fake", made in 1984 by the manufacturer Martin Skowroneck based on a Hemsch (that is, 18th century French), but signed with the name of the Rouen artistan Nicholas Lefebvre, none of whose instruments survive to the present day, and which was built in 1755. Skowroneck's aim was to prove to Gustav Leonhardt that it was still possible to build a harpsichord that was perfectly identical to one of the old style, and it seems that Leonhardt was taken with his attempt. Even the material's ageing was completely artificial! But it is no less of a splendid instrument for all that, and moreover, splendidly recorded, which is not all that common in the harpsichord repertoire. © 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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Quartets - Released September 7, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 étoiles de Classica
‘When we approach a composer, we like to immerse ourselves in his or her early works, in order to understand the evolution of the person behind the score. ‘It was quite naturally that the idea emerged of coupling a youthful quartet, no.10, composed at the age of sixteen, with a masterpiece by the mature Schubert, the “Death and the Maiden” Quartet no.14. As in the case of Mozart on our first recording, we wanted to present two different atmospheres with two quartets by the same composer. ‘This journey through time sheds a new light on the later works, because the process of getting to know the young Franz Schubert naturally means deepening our knowledge of his language, but also allows us to refine our appropriation of the style, sound and articulation specific to him. ‘In Quartet no.10, we tried to achieve purity in our playing, a crystalline sound that allows the music to unfold in the most fluid and natural way, keeping in mind the intimacy of the family living room for which these pages were written. ‘In no.14, more tormented, brusquer, more intense, we attempt to pay homage to the work’s symphonic dimension, and to its most sombre, most violent asperities. ‘Two sides to one man: the bright and dark faces of Schubert.’ Quatuor Van Kuijk © Outhere Music

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