Albums

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

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Classical - Released February 15, 2019 | Alpha

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Composed in 1944 and first performed at the Salle Gaveau in Paris on 26 March 1945 by Yvonne Loriod, this is the second great pianistic cycle by Olivier Messiaen: a major work indeed, not only in the composer’s oeuvre but in the entire repertoire for solo piano. As we know, its origin is in the faith and spirituality of Olivier Messiaen, who described it as: ‘The Contemplation of the Child-God in the cradle, and the gazes fixed upon Him: from the inexpressible Gaze of God the Father to the multiple Gaze of the Church of love, also taking in the unheard Gaze of the Spirit of joy, the tender Gaze of the Virgin, of the Angels, of the Magi, and of those creatures that are immaterial or symbolic (Time, Extreme Height, Silence, the Star, the Cross).’ He continues: ‘It is a complex of sounds destined for perpetual variations, pre-existing in the abstract as a series, but very concrete and easy to recognize by their colours: a steely grey-blue traversed by bright red and orange, a mauve-tinted violet spotted with leather-brown and encircled in deep purple.’ The vision of this work transmitted by Martin Helmchen – a great piano virtuoso who is himself marked by a strong sense of spirituality – is another substantial contribution to the Messiaenic monument. © Alpha Classics
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released November 9, 2018 | Alpha

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Symphonies - Released August 10, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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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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Symphonic Music - Released February 9, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
One of the big events of 2017 was the opening of the Hamburg Philharmonie. Krzysztof Urbański and the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra gave inaugural concerts there that made a lasting impact on audiences and critics alike. On this occasion, the Polish conductor chose to record one of the works closest to his heart, The Rite of Spring: "Stravinsky invented a new language. For me, The Rite is not a score, but a painting: on each page, I see Matisse, Gauguin, the Fauve painters . . . It’s an explosion of colours, emotions, and surprises too: if you don’t know the piece, you never know what’s going to happen. It’s so suggestive that you don’t need to do all that much with the orchestra, the magic is written into the music. . . . When I conduct The Rite, I don’t think: the music penetrates your backbone, it’s inside you . . . It’s a ballet, and perhaps it’s because I was a dancer when I was younger that I can’t control my body when I hear and conduct this piece. It’s a mystical experience for me!". © Alpha Classics
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Opera - Released September 8, 2017 | Alpha

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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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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
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Concertos - Released August 25, 2017 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
Serge Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto might never have seen the light of day had it not been for hypnosis: before the twenty-seven-year-old composer began work on it, he was on his last legs – financially, artistically and psychologically. Dr Nikolay Dahl hypnotised his patient every day, whispering to him: ‘You will write your concerto. You will work with great fluency. The concerto will be of excellent quality.’ The creative block disappeared, and the concerto’s premiere in Moscow in 1901 was a triumph for Rachmaninov, who played the solo part himself. Anna Vinnitskaya says she feels ‘a spring-like atmosphere’ in this work: throughout there is a sense of movement, of awakening. The music passes through the most contrasting psychological landscapes, but moves towards clarity and light. Rachmaninov composed the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini in 1934, ten years before his death. Brahms, Liszt, Lutosławski and Andrew Lloyd Webber are among the remarkable roll call of composers inspired by Paganini’s theme. The Russian pianist and the Polish conductor Krzysztof Urbański have often played Rachmaninoff together, on every continent. The two artists, both of whom present here their third disc for Alpha, were reunited in the NDR studios in Hamburg to record this repertory that fits them like a glove. © Alpha
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Classical - Released March 10, 2017 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
After his first recording, devoted to Chopin (ZZT 347), and the award of First Prize at the Géza Anda Competition in 2015, which gave a substantial boost to his career, the young American pianist Andrew Tyson has devised a new programme to showcase his talents: two sonatas and a waltz by Scriabin coupled with Ravel’s Miroirs. Andrew Tyson has chosen to associate two composers whose language seems to divide them, but who nevertheless have many things in common, notably their use of tonality, of certain unusual harmonies and of dissonance. Alexander Scriabin and Maurice Ravel also lived in the same city, at the same period, without ever meeting: Debussy, Ravel and the French musical elite of the period regarded their Russian colleagues as crude and uneducated. Yet when one listens to their music, even if their approach to the piano and to composition could hardly be more different, it is apparent that they use tone colours in the same way. For Andrew Tyson, ‘Ravel is an elegant perfectionist, whose every detail is calculated and glitters like crystal; Scriabin is like a flickering flame – passionate, reckless, spontaneous and erotic.’ (Texte from Alpha Classics)
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Opera - Released February 10, 2017 | Alpha

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The Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and Alpha extend their series of recordings of the Mozart operas conducted by Jérémie Rhorer. After Die Entführung aus dem Serail, which received excellent international reviews (including FFFF in Télérama), here now is La clemenza di Tito. Gilles Macassar wrote in Télérama late in 2014 of ‘divinatory conducting, a cast close to the ideal . . . The last opera Mozart composed, long undervalued, closes the chapter of the Baroque and looks into the future, blazing a new trail that looks forward to the nineteenth century.’ That outstanding interpretation is now available in this two-CD set, featuring a high-powered cast – Kurt Streit (Tito), Karina Gauvin (Vitellia), Julie Fuchs (Servilia), Julie Boulianne (Annio), Robert Gleadow (Publio) and, in the role of Sextus, a singer who enjoyed triumphal acclaim from the audience at each performance: Kate Lindsey. The American mezzo-soprano has now joined Alpha, and her first album, devoted to Kurt Weill (see Alpha 272), will be released in May 2017.
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Symphonic Music - Released February 10, 2017 | Alpha

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Following on from his critically acclaimed Lutosławski programme, the conductor Krzysztof Urbański pursues his collaboration with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester et Alpha. The New World Symphony is a work that has always fascinated Krzysztof Urbański: ‘It was only when I studied Dvořák’s other symphonies that I came to understand the principal characteristic and strength of the Ninth: simplicity. I wanted to dig deeper, and so I examined the manuscript and parts used for the New York premiere. There I discovered things that changed my view of it, like the fact that the first four bars of the third movement shouldn’t be played on the repeat. That gives them a completely different meaning when they recur at the da capo… The coupling, the rare Hero’s Song, shows an entirely different side of Dvořák. The way he transforms the initial four-note motif to evoke so many varied feelings, from joy to tragedy, shows his immense compositional mastery.’ This new album will be released to coincide with the opening of the ElbPhilharmonie hall in Hamburg, where Urbański will be one of the leading figures.
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Gospel - Released January 13, 2017 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
In spite of the immense success he enjoyed in his lifetime, Sigismund Neukomm (born in Salzburg in 1778, died in Paris in 1858 at the age of eighty) is practically forgotten nowadays. Yet he left a catalogue of nearly two thousand works, including fifty masses and a number of oratorios and motets. Neukomm spent twenty years in the service of Prince Talleyrand, who commissioned him to write a Requiem Mass in memory of Louis XVI, guillotined in Paris on 21 January 1793. This was the second mass of the fifty he was eventually to compose, several of which were dedicated to monarchs. The Requiem was given at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna on 21 January 1815 by more than three hundred singers divided into two choirs. Neukomm conducted one of them, while the other was directed by his friend Salieri. As part of their joint series of recordings, the Château de Versailles and Alpha continue their rediscovery of repertory that has marked the history of France and of music. Here Jean-Claude Malgoire conducts this unpublished Requiem. This is the first appearance in the Alpha catalogue of this pioneering figure from the golden age of the exploration of Baroque performing practice.
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released October 14, 2016 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama
Since the dawn of Christianity, Christmas has been celebrated with festive singing. In the Baroque era numerous composers such as Charpentier, Delalande, Balbastre, Dandrieu and Daquin created masterpieces out of these simple tunes. When Sofi Jeannin told me of her wish to get her ‘Maîtrise’ choir to sing Christmas music, I was delighted. For a long time I had been gathering French sources of the 17th and 18th centuries with the intention of working on baroque carol arrangements with Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien. I wanted to create something quite different from what had been done before, by treating this repertoire with proper respect: being faithful to the old sources, yet re-working the musical material to make our own personal version. The different languages, regional dialects and accents illustrate the extraordinary diversity and cultural richness of France – as well as of ‘New France’ – at that historical period.
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Classical - Released September 16, 2016 | Alpha

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Le Balcon, founded in 2008, is an artistic collective that has made a name for itself with highly original creations (Eötvös, Boulez, Stockhausen, etc.) combining sonic and visual innovations. In this, the very first disc made by Le Balcon and its conductor Maxime Pascal, who recently won the Nestlé and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award, the masterpiece of Berlioz is recomposed – or decomposed – by the young composer Arthur Lavandier and recorded in 3D sound! Le Balcon takes a keen interest in technological issues related to sound reproduction, and here offers an original approach by superimposing three recording processes (transaural, binaural, 5.1), each dedicated to a specific medium: physical disc, web, video. The recording was made at the Conservatoire d’Art Dramatique in Paris, in the very hall where the Symphonie fantastique was premiered in 1830. For the ‘March to the Scaffold’, Le Balcon, which has a very open-minded attitude to amateur music making, collaborated with a street band from Carcassonne, ‘Tonton a faim’! A final point worth noting: the bronze bells used in the ‘Dream of a Witches’ Sabbath’ (300 and 600 kg) were cast specially for the recording by the Festival Berlioz at La Côte Saint-André. This is the first release in a series that inaugurates a new type of partnership initiated by Alpha, which presents highly creative musical ensembles like Le Balcon while leaving them in total control of their project from A to Z, from production through to communication.
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Classical - Released September 16, 2016 | Alpha

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This album of ‘solos’ for various different instruments constitutes the composer’s ‘personal diary’ over some twenty-five years. Eric Montalbetti, who was artistic director of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France from 1996 to 2014, long kept his music a secret, composing for himself, as if he were keeping a diary. Yet he had been composing since the age of eleven, while also learning the piano and the organ. He was taught by Paul Méfano and Michaël Levinas, and attended masterclasses with George Benjamin and Magnus Lindberg. In 1990 he received prizes from the Sacem and the Menuhin Foundation for his Violin Sonata. He seeks in music a language capable of expressing our most varied emotions: vital energy, interrogation, anxiety, mourning, rage, hope, prayer, love, gratitude. Trois études après Kandinsky for piano, Esprit tendre for oboe (a tribute to Helen and Elliott Carter), the Sonata for solo violin in four movements, a Suite for cello, five Formants for solo clarinet, and La Prière de l’Ange gardien for solo horn make up this program, which is performed by some of the finest soloists on the current French scene.
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Classical - Released July 15, 2016 | Alpha

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Full Operas - Released June 17, 2016 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
The conductor Jérémie Rhorer is today regarded as one of the finest interpreters of the music of Mozart in general and his operas in particular. After conducting Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence in 2015, he performed it again at a memorable concert at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris in September of that year with his orchestra, Le Cercle de l’Harmonie. It is this exceptional event, captured in a live recording conveying all the dramatic intensity of the opera, that we present today. ‘In Die Entfuhrung, Mozart presents a completely unprecedented vision of the singspiel, with highly developed ensembles and musical continuity at a time when contemporary spectators were expect-ing the standard alternation between spoken and sung sections’, says Jérémie Rhorer in the interview that accompanies the discs. That musical dramaturgy lies at the centre of this interpretation, which is served by an outstandingly homogeneous cast. This recording launches a series of recordings of concerts at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and a collaboration between Alpha Classics and Le Cercle de l’Harmonie, who will continue to place their excellence at the service of the great masterpieces of Mozart – and of other composers: watch this space!
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Secular Vocal Music - Released September 9, 2016 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Award - 4 étoiles de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik

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