Albums

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Chamber Music - To be released October 5, 2018 | BIS

Booklet
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Opera - To be released October 5, 2018 | BIS

Booklet
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Classical - To be released September 28, 2018 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
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Classical - To be released September 21, 2018 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
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Classical - Released September 7, 2018 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
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Classical - Released September 7, 2018 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
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Choral Music (Choirs) - Released September 7, 2018 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
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Classical - Released August 24, 2018 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
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Classical - Released August 3, 2018 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
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Classical - Released August 3, 2018 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
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Chamber Music - Released August 3, 2018 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
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Classical - Released August 3, 2018 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
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Classical - Released August 3, 2018 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
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Classical - Released July 6, 2018 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
The US stage has boasted many symphonists since the days of the founding fathers Ives, Copland and Barber: Morton Gould of course, Howard Hanson without a doubt, Roger Sessions, Virgil Thomson… But Walter Piston whose Sixth Symphony presented here was performed by none other than Charles Munch and the Boston Orchestra in 1955. There's no avant-garde here, but jubilation at every turn – just listen to the utterly brilliant and witty Scherzo, worthy of a cowboy Mendelssohn – in a "classical" writing style and orchestral in form, but with a completely modern content. Piston, like so many of his contemporaries, didn't go in for “absolute serialism”, and nor did his most famous student, Bernstein. The second symphony on the album is the phenomenal Third "Palo Duro Canyon" by Samuel Jones, a disciple of Howard Hanson. First performed in 1992, it carries on the tonal tradition of Copland, Barber and Hanson, in a celebratory writing style and, above all, a kind of orchestration which is simply stupefying. The album closes on the Second (and alas the final) Symphony by Stephen Albert – the First had won him the prestigious Pulitzer Prize – a composer who tragically passed away at the age of 51 in a 1992 car crash. The Second had been commissioned by the New York Philharmonic; it was finished by Sebastian Currier, based on manuscripts which were complete but for a definitive orchestration. This is a powerful work, very compact in its conception, which shows that the American stage is alive and well. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released July 6, 2018 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
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Chamber Music - Released July 6, 2018 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
What a difference between the the First Wind Quintet by Finnish composer Kalevi Aho, written in 2006 for the soloists of the Turku orchestra in Finland, and the Second of 2014, written for the soloists of the Berlin Philharmonic! Apart from the fact that the Second calls at various points for a piccolo in place of the flute, and a cor anglais in place of the oboe, this latter work seems broad, lyrical, and melodic, and in fact more classical than the First, which is a much more agitated, hammering work, full of violent contrasts and stabs of humour. Remember that Aho (born in 1949) studied with the famous Finnish master Einojuhani Rautavaara and then in Berlin with Boris Blacher. He is mainly known for works of great daring: seventeen symphonies to date, five operas, a number of quintets, quartets and several others – his catalogue is very impressive. As for his language, it rests on neoclassical touches, a solid counter-punctual base, a touch of irony here and there, such that he could be placed in the same vein as Schnittke, Mahler – and, of course Rautavaara. The Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet does the honours. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released July 6, 2018 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
This is a bouquet of works for lute by Elizabethan and Jacobean composers, in the expert hands of Jakob Lindberg; the more famous are by Dowland, Byrd and Holborne, and the rarer works are by John Johnson, Daniel Bacheler and Edward Collard, without forgetting the most prolific writer of all time, "Anonymous". And so the track-list is already original enough; but Lindberg's big idea is to perform, as the central pivot of the album Nocturnal by Benjamin Britten, written in 1963 for the guitarist Julian Bream, but on the lute. With the authorisation of the Britten Foundation, of course, and making use of the composer's preparatory manuscripts; and given how much Britten loved the lute, we can easily imagine how much he would have applauded this translation from guitar to lute. And it is true that the more velvety, less brilliant, sound of the lute offers a new reading of the work, underlining both its modern and deliberately archaic sides. And so it is an excellent idea to juxtapose the 16th and 17th centuries with the 20th, given that Britten has already provided us such a beautiful bridge between them. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released June 1, 2018 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
There exist concertos for more or less all instruments, although those for solo timpani are among the rarest, and almost all of them were written in the 20th and 21st centuries. So the Timpani Concerto by Finnish composer Kalevi Aho (born 1949), a follower of Rautavaara and Boris Blacher, adds a welcome stone to the repertoire. Note that the work is performed here by the solo timpanist of the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, Ari-Pekka Mäenpää. He uses five different timpanies, giving himself a range of around two octaves;as each timpani can – thanks to the pedal – cover a chromatic sixth interval. Far from limiting himself to the timpani's rhythmical aspect, Aho gives full rein to its many melodic possibilities, and the many different shades and tones that the timpani offers. In the second part of the album, we can discover the First Piano Concerto by the same Aho, written in 1988 – let the listener be the judge of the evolution or revolution in the composer's language. It is true that at points the concerto evokes Messiaen's influence, and also the influence of Bartók – all in an energetic, modern and very lively language, which is based (according to the notes) on a complex numerology, which it isn't necessary to understand – let's say that it's a personal specification of the writer's – to enjoy the beauty and the joy in the work. Moreover, Aho doesn't reject consonant harmonic minglings, or tonalities; his discourse is anything but serialist or inflexible. Might the final movement be an ornithological homage to Messiaen? © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released June 1, 2018 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
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Chamber Music - Released June 1, 2018 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
The harp is, for sure, not the best-represented instrument in the baroque repertoire. It took a love affair for Louis Spohr to come to write his sonatas for violin and harp: the violin was his instrument, and the harp was the instrument of the young woman he loved, who would become Madame Spohr. The Sonatas Opp. 113, 114 and 115 date, respectively, from the year 1806 – their wedding year – 1811 and 1809 (the opus numbers run in chronological order of publication, not composition). At the time, the harp was changing: from single to double action; and schools were embroiled in something of a fight, in which, the double-action harp developed by Erard in the 1810s prevailed, being more solid and more flexible in terms of tonalities and modulations. Note that the single-action harp, through the use of seven pedals, can sharpen the strings of the same note (so, all the Cs at once, all the Ds at once, etc.) so as to raise all the notes by one semitone. With the double-action harp, the use of the same seven pedals allows one to either move up a semitone, or down a semitone. Here the harpist Masumi Nagasawa plays a single-action harp made in Paris in 1815 by Naderman, and Cecilia Bernardini plays a Mantuan violin by Camillo Camilli from 1743, following a number of techniques written by Spohr himself in his École du violon, with all the specificities of the era, not all of which have survived: and so the resulting sound is nothing less than stunning. © SM/Qobuz

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