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Classical - To be released June 5, 2020 | Chandos

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Opera - Released May 29, 2020 | Chandos

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Classical - Released May 29, 2020 | Chandos

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In the 250th Beethoven anniversary year, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet has chosen this programme of works by contemporary composers to illuminate and contextualise Beethoven’s extraordinary output for piano. In his explanatory note for the album, the pianist writes: ‘Just as a mountain peak is always surrounded by other perhaps less lofty but no less fascinating summits, the major works of Beethoven are not isolated rock formations rising from the desert, but, as it were, “Himalayas”, forming part of a range in which other mountains might be the best pieces by contemporaries such as Clementi, Hummel, Dussek, and Wölfl. These composers all knew Beethoven well and were in contact with one another. It is essential to know and to make known their music in order better to understand and more thoroughly appreciate the lingua franca of the music of the time, which in turn is part and parcel of the “spirit of the age”, and to be aware of that which unites them, as well as to recognise that which differentiates them and renders each unique. In this year of plentiful Beethovenian commemorations, it appears to me natural, indeed essential, to pay admiring and enthusiastic homage to these composers, each of whom, in his own way, followed his route to the summit.’ © Chandos
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Classical - Released May 29, 2020 | Chandos

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This second Chandos album of orchestral works by Airat Ichmouratov features three works united by an ear for bold orchestral colour, a dramatic sense of form, and a firm dedication to tonality. The ‘Youth’ Overture was dedicated to the recording’s performers, the Orchestre de la Francophonie and its founder, Jean-Phillippe Tremblay, on the occasion of their fifteenth anniversary, and was premiered in July 2016. The ‘Maslenitsa’ Overture, premiered in 2013, portrays the week prior to Lent and represents an array of carnival-like festivities, including folk dances, disguises, troika rides, ice sculptures, and blini. First performed in 2017, the Symphony in A minor seeks to recreate the vitality of Longueuil, a city on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, from its beginnings as an outpost of New France (only the foundations of Fort Longueuil remain) to the present day. The symphony features Ichmouratov’s trademark descriptive eclecticism – especially in the second movement in which we hear children playing in parks, adults on the street engaged in boisterous debate, traffic noises, and the sound of a trumpet from a nightclub. All three works are world premiere recordings. © Chandos
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Classical - Released May 29, 2020 | Chandos

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Classical - Released May 1, 2020 | Chandos

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Written only six years apart, these two works share a common narrative of frustrated love, and the concept of the forest as a metaphor for the subconscious mind. Musically they are wildly different, however; Pelleas, which Schoenberg wrote in his late twenties, is the epitome of his late romantic style, indebted to Richard Strauss. Erwartung (his first work for the stage) was written after his conversion to atonality. Maurice Maeterlinck’s play Pelléas et Mélisande fired the imaginations of several of the greatest composers of the time. Debussy began writing his opera almost immediately after its publication in 1892, and within a decade or so Fauré and Sibelius had created elaborate incidental scores for different stage productions of the play. Schoenberg composed his tone poem in 1902-1903, for a large-scale (Straussian) orchestra. Schoenberg seems to have put himself into a state of free association to write Erwartung, which he completed in just seventeen days in August 1909. ‘In "Erwartung", the aim is to represent in slow motion everything that occurs during a single second of maximum spiritual excitement, stretching it out to half an hour’, he wrote. Not only the first solo opera, this is perhaps also the first cinematic one. © Chandos
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Classical - Released May 1, 2020 | Chandos

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Although only twelve years separate the composition of Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte and Schubert’s Schwanengesang, the ethos and sound world of the two works are markedly different. Pairing them on the concert platform seemed an obvious choice on one hand, but I was reminded not to try to perform Beethoven in the way I perform Schubert. For one thing, the former still has the ring of the late classical, while the latter explores the darkness of the early romantic. For this reason, we decided to record the two works in slightly different soundscapes. In An die ferne Geliebte, the inventiveness of Beethoven is best expressed in the piano writing, while the vocal part is deliberately simple, strophic (the music is repeated for each stanza), and folk-like. ...the sixth song states that these songs are offered ‘ohne Kunstgepräng’. And so we have set the voice slightly more distantly in the balance, giving the piano due prominence; the effect is almost as if I were singing over Iain’s shoulder. Schwanengesang is recorded more traditionally: in these most extraordinary and progressive songs the vocal line is supported by the piano, in equal partnership. © Roderick Williams/Chandos
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Classical - Released May 1, 2020 | Chandos

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In this fourth volume in their Richard Rodney Bennett series, John Wilson and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra turn to his Piano Concerto, commissioned by the John Feeney Trust for the CBSO and written in 1968. A chance meeting with Stephen Kovacevich provided Bennett with a willing soloist, and the work was premiered in Birmingham in September that year. The fellow composer Anthony Payne’s judgement was unequivocal: ‘It’s a bloody good work.’ The soloist here, Michael McHale, gives a virtuosic performance which certainly lives up to that judgement. Commissioned in 1982 for the sixtieth anniversary of the BBC, Anniversaries is the other major work on this recording. A brilliantly virtuosic concerto for orchestra, the eleven-section work loosely follows the form of a theme and variations, although it also shows glimpses of a symphonic structure. Dedicated to his close friend Irwin Bazelon who was also sixty that year, the score is a playful and joyous celebration, as well as an orchestral tour de force. In the 1990s, his decision to quit smoking led Bennett to experience a serious creative block. He found a route out of this by immersing himself in English baroque and mediaeval music. The Country Dances (Book 1) are based on folk dances from John Playford’s anthology The English Dancing Master. Troubadour Music was written for John Mauceri’s final season at the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, and is based on the thirteenth-century minstrel song ‘Volez Vous Que Je Vous Chant’. © Chandos
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Chamber Music - Released May 1, 2020 | Chandos

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Tasmin Little and Piers Lane complete their three album overview of British violin sonatas with works by York Bowen, John Ireland, William Alwyn, Eric Coates, and the world premiere recording of James Francis Brown’s The Hart’s Grace. Composed for the inaugural Hertfordshire Festival of Music, the work was premiered by Tasmin in Hertford in June 2016. The central premise of The Hart’s Grace is the emotional transformation experienced by a restless observer when encountering the almost magical, elusive freedom of the deer. John Ireland composed his Second Sonata between 1915 and 1917, dedicating it to Albert Sammons who gave the premiere. Alwyn’s Sonatina dates from 1933, whilst the Coates and Bowen pieces were both composed during the Second World War (1943 and 1945 respectively). Coates’s First Meeting was commissioned by Lionel Tertis and originally conceived for viola, but it was revised for violin for its publication (in 1943). © Chandos
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Classical - Released March 27, 2020 | Chandos

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Korngold began work on his Violin Concerto in 1937, following his father’s suggestion that the main theme from his score for the Errol Flynn epic Another Dawn would make a good basis for a concerto. The work remained dormant while Korngold was exiled to Hollywood after the Anschluss. He resumed work on it in 1945, and fully revised it. Premiered by Jascha Heifetz in 1947, the Concerto is widely performed and recorded, and is certainly Korngold’s best-known concert work. Widely considered the greatest composer-prodigy since Mozart, Korngold composed the String Sextet in 1914, when he was only seventeen years old. It shows his fully developed style and assured idiomatic writing for the ensemble. Andrew Haveron leads the Sinfonia of London Chamber Ensemble in the Sextet, and is joined by John Wilson and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra in the Violin Concerto. © Chandos Records
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Classical - Released March 27, 2020 | Chandos

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The Canadian pianist Louis Lortie returns with the second volume of his overview of the solo piano works of Gabriel Fauré. The two major works in this recital are the Ballade, Op. 19 and the Thème et variations, Op. 73. The earlier Ballade shows Fauré’s debt to Liszt, whilst the Thème et variations was modelled on Schumann’s Études symphoniques. The rest of the programme consists of shorter Nocturnes and Barcarolles, and is book-ended by the Pie Jesu and In paradisum from the Requiem – Fauré’s bestknown work – in transcriptions by Louis Lortie himself. © Chandos Records
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Classical - Released March 27, 2020 | Chandos

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1905 was a year of revolutionary upheaval in pre-Soviet Russia. Shostakovich based this work on the events of one episode of that year, when thousands of workers and their families converged on the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg to petition the Tsar over their working and living conditions. The Tsar had been advised to leave, no-one was there to accept the petition, and the authorities resorted to cavalry charges to disperse the crowd. With 200 dead and 500 wounded, this incident damaged the Tsar’s reputation and flamed the fire of revolution in the masses. Whether the work was intended as a politically correct commemoration to please his Soviet paymasters, or actually as a commentary on the 1956 Hungarian uprising, remains under debate. There is no doubt, however, that this majestic score, almost filmic in its conception, remains a milestone in Shostakovich’s output. The BBC Philharmonic under John Storgårds captures here the tremendous intensity of the work. For perhaps the first time for sixty years, this recording uses four church bells, on loan from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, rather than the standard orchestral tubular bells. Church bells may be heard on the earliest recording of the Eleventh Symphony, by the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra under Yevgeny Mravinsky in 1959, and may therefore be presumed to have the composer’s approval. John Storgårds has chosen to let them ring on after the end of the work, an option also favoured in performance by Mstislav Rostropovich. © Chandos
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Classical - Released March 27, 2020 | Chandos

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Edward Gregson began composing from a very early age, and his extensive output covers a wide range of musical sound-worlds. Music for film, television, and theatre sits alongside choral pieces and works for full orchestra. Having played in a brass band as a teenager, he has shown a special affinity in his compositions for brass throughout his career – both for brass band and for symphonic brass, which we celebrate with this new album. His seminal Quintet for Brass, Three Dance Episodes, and Aria for Philip mark his connection to the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble. The album includes Fanfare for PL and Fanfare for a New Era, complementing his two largest-scale works for brass: the Symphony in two movements, and Music of the Angels. Virtuosic playing from London Brass under the direction of Rumon Gamba makes this an essential tribute to Gregson in his seventy-fifth year. © Chandos
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Classical - Released February 28, 2020 | Chandos

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Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s acclaimed series of piano concertos by Mozart reaches its fifth instalment. Concertos Nos. 5, 6, 8, and 9 are complemented by the overtures to Il sogno di Scipione, Lucio Silla, La finta giardiniera, Il re pastore, and Zaide. That all of these works were composed by Mozart between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five serves as a vivid reminder of his unique talents as a child prodigy: these are not childhood efforts but mature works. The Fifth Concerto was actually Mozart’s first, as Nos 1 – 4 are arrangements of works by other composers. As in the previous volumes, Bavouzet is partnered by Manchester Camerata and Gábor Takács-Nagy, all recorded in The Stoller Hall in Manchester. © Chandos
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Classical - Released February 28, 2020 | Chandos

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For this his second volume of Scarlatti Sonatas, Federico Colli takes as his starting point the double sonata Kk 63 and Kk 64. They are two dances, the first (G major) full of vivacity and happiness, the second (D minor) full of indignation and peremptoriness. Working from this concept that opposition is needed to truly experience beauty, Colli has created his own personal double sonatas by pairing works with contrasting tempi, dynamics, character, or feeling. Like the first volume, the album was recorded on a Steinway Model D at Potton Hall in Suffolk. © Chandos
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Classical - Released February 28, 2020 | Chandos

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For the second volume in his Birmingham Schubert symphony cycle, Edward Gardner turns to the Second and Sixth Symphonies. Composed between December 1814 and March 1815, the Second Symphony is not only a response by Schubert to the works of Beethoven, and especially the Prometheus Overture, but also strives to push the conventional symphonic boundaries, most notably in the extended exposition of the first movement. Completed in February 1818, the Sixth Symphony was the first to be titled "Große Sinfonie" (grand symphony) by Schubert, a mark of his growing confidence in his work in the symphonic idiom. The two Overtures were composed at the same time as the Sixth Symphony, and are clearly modelled on the overtures of Rossini, whose music was all the rage in Vienna at that time. © Chandos
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Opera - Released February 28, 2020 | Chandos

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Recorded after the first London performance for over 130 years, Parry’s neglected oratorio here appears for the very first time. Having been commissioned by the Birmingham Festival, Parry decided to combine the Old Testament stories of Manasseh and Judith. A good deal of the libretto was provided by Parry himself, who took other texts from the biblical books of Isaiah, Psalms, and Judith. Having originally conceived the work in four acts, Parry condensed it into two. Judith was premiered by Richter in Birmingham in August 1888, and it consolidated Parry’s reputation as a choral composer, numerous performances following in Edinburgh and in London. Although popular in his lifetime, Judith fell into obscurity after Parry’s death. © Chandos
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Classical - Released January 31, 2020 | Chandos

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John Wilson and Sinfonia of London release their second album, following widespread and universal critical acclaim for their first recording, of Korngold’s Symphony in F-sharp. This new recording explores the unique sound world of French orchestral music of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The programme juxtaposes well-known favourites, such as Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, Massenet’s Méditation from Thaïs, with pieces far more rarely heard, for example Duruflé’s Trois Danses and Saint-Saëns’s Le Rouet d’Omphale. Many of these works evoke the ‘exoticism’ of Spain or North Africa (as was the fashion in French music of this era), and all share the intricate, detailed orchestration that defines the ‘Impressionist’ style. John Wilson and Sinfonia of London capture the mood and spirit of these pieces with consummate skill and outstanding musicianship. Originally formed in 1955, Sinfonia of London was reestablished in 2018 by the British conductor John Wilson to devote itself, at least initially, to recording projects, of which this is the second album. © Chandos
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Opera - Released January 31, 2020 | Chandos

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With more than twenty-five roles from Italian and Russian repertoires to her name, Ukrainian soprano Olga Mykytenko has been setting opera house stages alight from St Petersburg all the way to New York. Her high level of musicality is admirable, her technique is infallible and the expression of her characters is particularly successful. Here she is on a journey across the feminine world of great Verdian sopranos; a recital which touches on ten different works, from Verdi’s difficult years to the triumph of La Traviata. Ten different roles and so ten different women: betrayed, abandoned, vengeful, beaten, sickly, assassinated… Although none of them resemble each other in their personalities, expressions or vocal classifications, all these heroines are similar in the way their art of singing relies on Verdi’s inimitable melodic talent. It is therefore understandable how such a recital is a veritable tour de force for a lone singer, transitioning from the fury of Lady Macbeth to the fragility of Violetta. A feat easily accomplished by Olga Mykytenko with the help of her compatriot Kirill Karabits heading up the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. © François Hudry/Qobuz The Ukrainian soprano Olga Mykytenko has won numerous international awards, including the Grand Prix at the Maria Callas International Singing Contest in Athens. Her extraordinary musicality, solid vocal technique, easy coloraturas, and strong expression allow her to sing major roles, from Iolanta, Mimì, and Nedda to Gilda, Violetta, and Lucia. Engaged for many years as a soloist at the National Opera of Ukraine in Kiev, where she made her debut, Olga has performed in opera houses and concert halls around the world. For this debut album for Chandos, she brings her interpretations of many of Verdi’s greatest soprano roles from the stage into the studio. Her programme also spans the majority of Verdi’s operatic output, from Ernani (Elvira) via Macbeth (Lady Macbeth) through to I vespri siciliani (Elena) and of course taking in Violetta (La Traviata), among many others, along the way. Accompanied by her compatriot Kirill Karabits and the thrillingly sympathetic Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, this recital is a vocal and musical "tour de force". © Chandos
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Chamber Music - Released January 31, 2020 | Chandos

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Michael Collins MBE is one of the most complete musicians of his generation. Continuing his distinguished career as a soloist, he has in recent years also become highly regarded as a conductor and in 2010 took up the position as Principal Conductor of City of London Sinfonia; he works with leading orchestras around the world both as a soloist and as a conductor. Committed for many years to expanding the repertoire of the clarinet, he has premiered works by some of today’s most highly regarded composers, including John Adams, Elliott Carter, Brett Dean, and Mark-Anthony Turnage. In addition to commissioning and supporting new compositions, he is also a champion of well-crafted arrangements for the clarinet of works originally for other instruments. It is this area of his work that is so vividly demonstrated in the Chandos series "The Lyrical Clarinet", of which this is the third volume. Most of the arrangements on this album were made by the pianist Michael McHale, who accompanies Michael Collins on the recording. © Chandos

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