Albums

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Concertos - To be released March 22, 2019 | Alpha

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Symphonic Music - Released February 22, 2019 | Alpha

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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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Classical - Released January 4, 2019 | Alpha

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Alpha and the Festival of Aix-en-Provence continue their Young Talents series, in which Laureates of the Académie of the Aix Festival are each accorded an album. The American baritone John Chest enjoys a brilliant career that has already led him to Glyndebourne Festival and the BBC Proms. In partnership with the Brazilian pianist Marcelo Amaral, he presents Die schöne Magelone by Johannes Brahms. Among all the wealth of Lieder that Brahms composed, this is his only real song cycle. Brahms had known these popular tales since his childhood, but it was thanks to Schumann that he discovered the novel published in 1797 by Ludwig Tieck, entitled "The Love Story of the Fair Magelone and Count Peter of Provence". The work is representative of the poetic, idealised reinvention of the Middle Ages so characteristic of German romanticism: stories of star-crossed love, that usually end happily… ‘What strikes the listener most of all is the song cycle’s epic scale – it is a veritable pocket opera, supported by pianistic writing of great complexity,’ writes Timothée Picard in the libretto accompanying this disc – which is illustrated by an original design by Maia Flore, a laurate photographer of the HSBC Foundation: her poetic universe has already featured in the preceding number of the series, "Black is the colour" (debut album of Anna Stéphany). © Alpha Classics/Outhere
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Classical - Released October 12, 2018 | Alpha

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Violin Concertos - Released August 24, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Chouchane Siranossian is a rising star of the baroque and classical violin, Jakob Lehmann a virtuoso violinist and orchestral director who frequently conducts Anima Eterna. Together, they embody what the Bruges orchestra and its founder, Jos van Immerseel, have decided to call the ‘Next Generation Anima Eterna’... Today they are presenting Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in its original version. “We wanted to take a look into Mendelssohn’s workshop. He struggled with his self-diagnosed ‘revision disease’ and always strove to work hard on himself and his creations” says Jakob Lehmann. Chouchane Siranossian keeps on : “It was a fascinating experience for me to discover historical research and its implementation on period instruments in collaboration with Anima Eterna Brugge. In my interpretation, I used exclusively the fingerings, bowings and other performance markings of Ferdinand David and Joseph Joachim, both of whom rehearsed the work with the composer.” This recording is rounded off with the Octet, also in its original version, which is longer and has many alterations in instrumentation, harmony and articulation... © Alpha Classics
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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
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Symphonic Music - Released June 8, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik
Since the 2015-2016 season, Giovanni Antonini has been the "principal guest conductor" of the Basel Chamber Orchestra (the Kammerorchester Basel, refounded in 1984 in the spirit of the original Basler Kammerorchester, founded by Swiss patron and conductor Paul Sacher), with whom he has worked on major discographic projects, like the ongoing complete recordings of Beethoven's Symphonies (Sony Classical), which has already seen lively success with press and public alike; and the "Haydn 2032" project, which aims to record all 700 of Joseph Haydn's symphonies in time to mark three hundred years since his birth (in 2032). Started in 2014, this audacious project has been entirely organised, produced and financed by the Basel Joseph Haydn Foundation, and it aims to take in both records and 19 concert seasons across all of Europe. It is being undertaken in cooperation with Il Giardino Armonico, a well-known ensemble of which Giovanni Antonini is a founder member.. The two orchestras are sharing out the recordings which will appear on Alpha Classics, in thematic, rather than chronological order, with other symphonies by composers in Haydn's orbit, like Gluck, Porpora, C.P.E. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Michael Haydn, Stamitz, Pleyel and Salieri. The next few years look to be absolutely thrilling in terms of releases. This sixth volume offers three symphonies which are full of a dense and almost spiritual expressiveness dating back to Haydn's Sturm und Drang era, coupled with a work by Joseph Martin Kraus, an exact contemporary of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, whose genius absolutely stands up alongside both Haydn and Mozart. But history was not kind to this visionary composer, who moved to Sweden, where he failed to make a mark, despite the protection of King Gustav III. His music, strongly expressive, is also influenced by the Sturm und Drang movement which brought drama to musical discourse and heralded the birth of Romanticism © François Hudry/Qobuz
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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
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Concertos - Released February 23, 2018 | Alpha

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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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Classical - Released October 13, 2017 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
Why record yet another of Handel’s Messiah, asks Hervé Niquet, when the market is already flooded by over a hundred different references? And he answers that he went through the different scores that exist and decided on the very interesting 1754 version which features five soloists instead of the usual four, devised for the annual Messiah production at London’s Foundling Hospital. It must be remembered that, when Handel arrived somewhere to perform his oratorio, he had soloists of varying standards available to him. So he would quickly revise his score accordingly to produce a new version form of his Messiah. When examining the various rewritings that resulted, one may observe that soprano arias have been transposed for alto, that a bass aria has been reduced to half its length – the singer for that particular production must have been rather weak. All this is directly related to the reality of Handel’s situation as a concert promoter. In those days, to earn a living from his music, a composer – royalties did not exist yet, and publishers would recklessly pillage scores without bothering to refer to the composer – had to get his works performed and make a profit on the box office. The idea of not retouching a work to avoid ‘spoiling’ or ‘distorting’ it is a much more modern one. There must be around a dozen versions of Messiah, most by Handel himself, others rewritten later – by Mozart for one of them. The 1754 version is rarely performed because it calls for five soloists: two sopranos, alto, tenor and bass. The listener of this new recording will thus be sent back over 250 years ago in London’s Foundling Hospital. © SM/Qobuz
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Solo Piano - Released October 6, 2017 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama
‘Sophisticated colourist and cerebral virtuoso though he is, Nelson Goerner nevertheless brings out the moments of weakness, the hesitations, the lightning passions in the labyrinth of Chopin’, wrote Diapason on the release of the Preludes in 2015 (Diapason d’Or, Choc de Classica). ‘Serenity’, ‘balance’, ‘clarity’, ‘phrasing’ are the key words that recur in reviews of the discs and concerts of the Argentine pianist, whose fifth solo release on Alpha this is. His latest venture is a complete recording of the Nocturnes, a highpoint of Chopinesque poetry. These twenty-one miniatures accompanied Chopin over a good part of his life, for he composed them between 1827 and 1848. They are tributes to Italian bel canto, expressing reveries but also complexity of feeling and a profundity that far transcends their apparent simplicity. Nelson Goerner’s feeling for melody and tempo works wonders in these pieces, which he recorded in the ideal surroundings of the Salle de Musique of La Chaux de Fonds (Switzerland). © Alpha
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Solo Piano - Released July 7, 2017 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Olga Pashchenko is in the process of creating a unique place for herself in the world of the keyboard: she moves with astounding ease and skill from the harpsichord to the fortepiano, the organ and the modern piano. After a recording of Beethoven’s variations in 2015 (awarded ffff by Télérama), the young pianist has now gone to the legendary Beethoven-Haus in Bonn, a venue she knows well since she regularly gives concerts within its walls, to record three monuments of the pianistic literature – the Appassionata, Les Adieux and Waldstein sonatas – on the original Conrad Graf piano of 1824 conserved there. She utilises all the sonic possibilities and the full palette of colours of this instrument made around fifteen years after the composition of these sonatas, three of the finest in the corpus of thirty-two that Hans von Bülow called ‘the New Testament of every pianist’. © Outhere Music
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Chamber Music - Released May 26, 2017 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles de Classica
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Opera - Released March 10, 2017 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
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Classical - Released March 10, 2017 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released February 10, 2017 | Alpha

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Gospel - Released October 14, 2016 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Award - 4 étoiles de Classica
In 1817, two years after the restoration of the monarchy by Louis XVIII, the French court attended a performance of Cherubini’s Requiem in memory of Louis XVI; a few years later, in 1823, the thirtieth anniversary of the death of Marie-Antoinette provided the occasion for giving Charles-Henri Plantade’s Messe des morts in her memory. Berlioz had just arrived in Paris, and Napoleon had recently died in exile on the island of Saint Helena. In 2015, the two works were presented in a single concert at Versailles Palace. While Cherubini’s Requiem, scored for mixed choir and orchestra, but without soloists, is well known, Charles-Henri Plantade’s setting, which shares the same formal characteristics, is a complete discovery. It provides a striking transitional stage between the models of the Ancien Régime and early Romanticism, and displays a wealth of invention reminiscent of Méhul, Cherubini and even Rossini. This is the first recording of the work, which was revived on the initiative of the Palazzetto Bru Zane. A noted specialist in French music and large-scale sacred forms, Hervé Niquet brings out the full strength of these two works, recorded in the Chapelle Royale at Versailles, which further enrich the Alpha/Château de Versailles collection.
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Classical - Released October 14, 2016 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Classical - Released August 26, 2016 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de Classica

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