Albums

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Classical - To be released March 15, 2019 | Glossa

Booklet
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Classical - Released January 18, 2019 | Glossa

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Classical - Released January 18, 2019 | Glossa

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Classical - Released January 4, 2019 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet
With Vieni, dolce Imeneo, La Compagnia del Madrigale make another important halt on their compelling journey across the territory of Italian secular song with a disc devoted to one of the most significant, yet these days somewhat bypassed, composers: Cipriano de Rore. De Rore was a Fleming who enjoyed great success notably in the Italian courts of Ferrara and Parma – but with a prestige which extended up and across Europe. He composed in many genres, but it is the secular madrigal – recorded here – where his skill was most valued, for example in creating extended and expressive melodic lines coupled with innovatory pre-echoes of the “seconda pratica” so triumphantly expressed – albeit amidst great criticism – by Claudio Monteverdi. Recordings – all also on Glossa – of madrigals by Marenzio, Gesualdo and Monteverdi have already demonstrated musical pleasures such as an uncommon vocal blend and delicacy, and a meticulous dynamic control exhibited by the richly experienced members of La Compagnia del Madrigale, and those delights are to be experienced with these 19 madrigals by Cipriano de Rore, composed late in his career. With texts by Petrarch, Ariosto and assorted court poets for these madrigals, essay-writer Marco Bizzarini highlights one of the principal characteristic features of de Rore’s mastery when he points to the disc’s title track, Vieni, dolce Imeneo: the ideal union between poetry and music. © Glossa
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Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released January 4, 2019 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet
Johannes Brahms’ consolatory Ein deutsches Requiem receives a fresh and considered interpretation from Daniel Reuss and the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century. This renowned orchestra took the decision – following the death, some years back, of Frans Brüggen – to retain its founder’s dynamic process of alternating concert tours with recordings. And dispensing with the need for having a principal conductor, the orchestra now works with a range of musicians according to the repertoire being performed. Such a conductor is Daniel Reuss, who is also the artistic director of the Cappella Amsterdam, the choir which has frequently been appearing alongside the orchestra in recent times. A well-received reading of the Beethoven Missa Solemnis involving Reuss and the orchestra was issued by Glossa in 2017 and these musical forces have now turned their attention to Johannes Brahms’ pillar of religious music. Taped in the Rotterdam De Doelen concert hall this new recording involves Carolyn Sampson (soprano) and André Morsch (baritone) as its two soloists, in a version which attempts, as far as it is possible, to get close – in terms of tonal colours, interpretation and tempi – to Brahms’ original intentions. This extraordinary work, here maintaining a sweeping and moving spirit for some 70 minutes, contains texts from Martin Luther’s German translation of the Bible and, it is thought, was inspired by the loss of both the composer’s mother and also that of Robert Schumann. © Glossa
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Opera - Released November 16, 2018 | Glossa

Booklet
A vivid demonstration of how widely Fabio Biondi’s musical imagination runs comes with his new recording of Giuseppe Verdi’s work of genius, Macbeth. It is the original Florentine 1847 version of the work, shorn of the Paris revisions more typically found on record, which Fabio Biondi has opted to conduct, the director believing in its greater dramatic and stylistic coherence. Verdi was of the opinion that the Shakespearean tragedy was “one of the greatest creations of the human spirit” and set himself the task of rendering the fire of its drama into music during and following a period when his physical health had broken down. With its scenes of murder, battle and sleep-walking, brindisi and witches’ choruses all creating a sombre atmosphere drenched with paranoia and a lust for power, the dramatic flow of the opera places vast demands on the soloists, notably upon the unhappy title-role couple. Fabio Biondi’s version comes with baritone Giovanni Meoni, a leading Verdi specialist as Macbeth whilst the larger-than-life role of Lady Macbeth is taken by a noted present-day Salome, Médée (and Medea), the soprano Nadja Michael. Bass Fabrizio Beggi assumes the part of Banquo, both when alive and as a ghost. Important also in the work (and as described by Stefano Russomanno in his accompanying essay) is the chorus, a leading protagonist for the composer, and here the Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic Choir. Critical also is Verdi’s orchestral writing for Macbeth, introducing rare and radical tonal colourings and Fabio Biondi, directing his Europa Galante from the violin, is just the radical, challenging musical spirit to breathe new life into Verdi’s masterpiece and its search for dramatic truth. © Glossa
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Classical - Released October 19, 2018 | Glossa

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The modern-day appreciation of Francesco Bartolomeo Conti takes a decisive turn in the direction of his church music with this early eighteenth-century composer’s Missa Sancti Pauli given an ideal recording on Glossa by György Vashegyi, the Purcell Choir and Orfeo Orchestra. Conti was a Florentine who worked for much of his career in the Imperial Court in Vienna, generating much attention there – the ever-observant Johann Sebastian Bach and Zelenka were both known to have been attracted by his music. Curiously, it was liturgical works like this 1715 Missa Sancti Pauli which kept Conti’s name known until near to the end of the nineteenth century rather than the operas, oratorios and cantatas with which he delighted the Viennese Court and which have hitherto been receiving the attention of artists and record labels today. If Conti’s church music is less fledgling Classical than his dramatic fare, there is much in the way of melodic tunefulness and concertato style – for both voices and instruments – to combine with fugalimitative writing reminiscent of the “stile antico”. The work is a “Credo Mass” (both Mozart and Beethoven were to write examples of this genre, with its rondolike restatement of the word in the Credo section. The tone, control, presence and unity of the Purcell Choir have been amply demonstrated already on Glossa in music of the French Baroque – Rameau and Mondonville in particular – and the singers are given full opportunity to shine in Conti’s mass – as are the orchestra, comprised mainly of strings, and the vocal soloists, who include Adriána Kalafszky, Péter Bárány, Zoltán Megyesi and Thomas Dolié. Bárány and Megyesi are also soloists in two additional works: the motet, Fastos caeli audite and the aria Pie Jesu, ad te refugio. © Glossa
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Opera - Released October 19, 2018 | Glossa

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In Baroque opera the dramatic figure of Gaius Julius Caesar received a considerable amount of attention from librettists and composers alike, and not just from G.F. Handel working with Nicola Francesco Haym. With “Giulio Cesare, a Baroque hero”, Raffaele Pe creates a full recital devoted to the Ancient Roman warrior and Dictator of the Republic, drawn from operas spanning the length of the eighteenth century. With refined musicality and artistry the countertenor Pe (who has appeared on a number of recent recordings on Glossa, including the “A due alti” recital with La Venexiana) approaches roles demonstrating contrasting personality traits of the Caesar who was capable not only of heroic acts but also of compassion, of amorous exhilaration, of physical and emotional fragility. The sweep of the eighteenth century encompassed by these compositions also embraced the onstage heyday of the castratos: including Felice Salimbeni, Senesino, Cusanino, Sciroletto and Gasparo Pacchiarotti – demanding from Raffaele Pe great agility in covering both contralto and soprano castrato tessituras. Alongside excerpts from Handel’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto there are arias from works which Pe has been working on to provide modern performing scores together with scholar Valentina Anzani (who provides a historic survey of Caesar in Baroque opera in the accompanying essay), such as by Carlo Francesco Pollarolo, Niccolò Piccinni, Geminano Giacomelli and Francesco Bianchi. Pe is accompanied here by La Lira di Orfeo directed by Luca Giardini (a long-year member of Fabio Biondi’s Europa Galante) in this their debut recording. © Glossa
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Classical - Released October 19, 2018 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Editor's Choice
One of the great composing figures from the French Baroque, Michel-Richard de Lalande is starting to receive his just dues through modern recordings, and Glossa is happy to unveil a new release featuring Olivier Schneebeli directing Les Pages et Les Chantres du Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles in three of Lalande’s sumptuous “grands motets”. Very much a favoured composer during the reign of Louis XIV, Lalande progressively assumed – from the 1680s onwards – more and more of the principal court offices, and was called upon to provide sacred music for the Chapelle Royale within the Château de Versailles. Although the new (and ‘definitive’) chapel was not consecrated until 1710, the trio of “grands motets” (extended multi-movement choral and solo settings, typically of Psalms, with instrumental accompaniment) recorded here will have been conceived of according to the chapel’s architectural and acoustical characteristics. Thomas Leconte, from the CMBV, provides an illuminating historical backdrop in his booklet essay. Much detailed performing information from Lalande’s time is known today – including number of instrumental forces used and about the composer’s later revisions of his scores – and Venite, exultemus Domino, De profundis and Dominus regnavit all receive expressive and meticulously-prepared performances within the Chapelle Royale itself. To the quality of preparation of the CMBV “maîtrise” can be added the presence of a quartet of vocal soloists deeply experienced in the style of music from this time: Chantal Santon-Jeffery, Reinoud Van Mechelen, François Joron and Lisandro Abadie. Likewise, the contribution of Jana Semerádová’s Collegium Marianum provides exemplary instrumental support to Schneebeli’s direction in this new CMBV production. © Glossa
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Duets - Released September 14, 2018 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
The violin sonatas of Johannes Brahms were the product of much self-critical reflection, and the three surviving works are from a composer mature in years. Composed around the same time as the Violin Concerto (No. 1), the Piano Trio in C Minor and the Cello Sonata No. 2 (Nos. 2 and 3), they also echo some of his songs, such as those written to poems by Klaus Groth. Into this Romantic atmosphere come new performances of the three works on Glossa, played by violinist Leila Schayegh (particularly awarded for her recordings of Bach, Caldara and Benda), teaming up here with pianist Jan Schultsz. Schayegh plays a copy of a period violin, whilst Schultsz uses an original 1879 Streicher instrument. The two players aim to recapture the performing tradition as the composer would have known it, and within which he would have intended his pieces to have been played. Schayegh and Schultsz worked with Clive Brown and Neal Peres Da Costa in their efforts to aim for “the spirit rather than the dead letter of the score” and they pay admirable notice of important interpretative questions for music of this time – and they provide an intuitive musical and emotional response to the lyricism of the first two sonatas and the darker-hued tones of the third, investing these late-nineteenth-century works. © Glossa
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Classical - Released September 14, 2018 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet
With « The Liberation of the Gothic », Björn Schmelzer and Graindelavoix deliver an imaginative reading of music by two English composers active at the end of the fifteenth century, the towering figure of John Browne and the slightly later and much less wellknown Thomas Ashwell (or Ashewell). Björn Schmelzer draws a vivid connection between the florid polyphony of these two composers and the freedom of structure and ornament found in late Gothic architecture, notably that of the fourteenthcentury Lady Chapel built as part of the “Ship of the Fens”, Ely Cathedral. Performing Ashwell’s intricately-woven Missa Ave Maria – a landmark in polyphony – Schmelzer and his Antwerp-based ensemble echo, in the individual freedom accorded to these virtuoso singers, the rich ornamentation of foliage, seemingly in constant motion, decorating the walls of Ely’s Lady Chapel. The singers add their own “coloratura”, an approach which continues to be central to Björn Schmelzer’s interpretation of medieval and Renaissance works, as have been appearing on Glossa for a decade and a half now. In his booklet essay Schmelzer refers to the British writer and artist John Ruskin describing the “liberation of the Gothic” as also concerning “the workers, who were not submitted to repetitive, mechanical work but invested in continuous and infinite variation.” Acting as surrounding pillars to Ashwell’s Mass on this recording are two of the extended motets, much favoured by early Tudor English polyphonists – and encountered in the famous Eton Choirbook manuscript: John Browne’s Stabat mater and his first setting of the Salve regina. © Glossa
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Chamber Music - Released July 20, 2018 | Glossa

Booklet
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Chamber Music - Released June 22, 2018 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
If, usually, we associate Paganini to his twenty-four Caprices and the devilish virtuosity they demand of the violinist, you will see him here in a completely new light: the works for violin and guitar, much closer to Haydn and Mozart than to the devil’s hand that guided them for the Caprices. Written at the very beginning of the 19th century for some, and in the 1830s for the ones of the collections known as Centone di sonate, these works give prominence both to the violin and the guitar—we will remind you here that Paganini was also a phenomenal guitarist. As for the term “Centone”, it evokes a collection of pieces composed of elements reused from one or many other works; some kind of patchwork, in a way, and indeed the composer integrated there a bit of everything that was in fashion at the time, from the waltz to the polonaise, the pastoral to the march—we don’t necessarily know from whom or from where he took it, or if he just used the term to characterize the medley aspect of the thing. Fabio Biondi on violin and Giangiacomo Pinardi on Romantic guitar (an instrument from 1825) have a field day, and prove us that Paganini could be something other than a simple dispenser of virtuosity. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released June 22, 2018 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Imprisoned at the start of the 520s, Boethius (real name Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, born around 477) couldn't have imagined that his final work would become one of the most-read books of the Middle Ages. Born into a noble Roman family in the days of the abdication of the last Western Emperor, Boethius undertook a fine career as a statesman, as a translator of Greek works into Latin, and as a poet. But the West was govern by an Ostrogothic King, Theoderic the Great, and Boethius's loyalty to the Senate of Rome made him suspect: accused of treason, he was imprisoned and then condemned to death in 524. In his Consolation of Philosophy, written in prison, he describes his battle with himself, to accept his fate, concentrating on the great questions of good and evil. And we know that in the Middle Ages these texts were sung, as we have found musical notation in around thirty manuscripts dating from the 9th to early 12th centuries. The neumes used in this notation describe the overall contour of the melodies, a kind of aide-mémoire for singers who would know the precise notes already. As this oral tradition has since been lost, it long seemed impossible to reconstitute these melodies, but recent research has made it possible to identify the models of song hidden behind this notation: medieval musicians associated certain metric schemes used in the Consolation with particular styles of song. The singers and instrumentalists of Sequentia, veteran performers of songs from this period, have put these discoveries to good use, bringing us a collection of two dozen 11th-century songs; several of Boethius's poems are set to this notation, and in particular the most dramatic part of the text, where Boethius laments his fall. Some fifteen centuries separate us from these singular sounds which seem at once to surge from the depths of the ages, and at the same time to be so close to us, thanks to the clarity of their writing. © SM/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released June 22, 2018 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik - 5 étoiles de Classica
François Francœur perfected his talents as a violinist and composer in the France of the 18th century, down the years of a very full and long life (1698-1787). He was admitted to the Académie Royale de Musique as a violinist at the age of just 15. After several years of playing concerts in the great towns of Europe, he rejoined the The King's 24 Violins in 1730, before becoming a member of the Concert Spirituel, a rare and much-coveted honour. He was also Master of Music at the Opéra de Paris and then musical director of the same institution with his good friend François Rebel. Francœur found himself increasingly in favour at the court of Louis XV who would name him His Majesty's Master of Music in 1760 and ennobled him into the bargain. This was the era of the great rivalry between French and Italian music: Francœur didn't take one side, but accepted the influence of both into his instrumental music. The ten first violin sonatas on this record make up the whole of his First Book published in 1720: ten sonatas, an unusual number at a time when they were normally published by the dozen or half dozen. The writing fuses courtly elegance and rather earthier, joyful Italian energy, and Francœur gives the work a unique voice of its own. In this fresh, melodious music, both refined and robust, we hear tender songs, feverish dances, pastorales, but also a stunning virtuosity. Violinist Mitzi Meyerson chose not to perform these sonatas in the order of their publication, on the grounds that they weren't written to be performed back to back. Meyerson instead arranges them by key as harmoniously possible, and also sorts them by major musical influence: French, Italian and German too. She plays each line with a gentle inflection of the rhythms and emphases that reflects the known historical style of each national body of music. © SM/Qobuz
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Opera - Released May 18, 2018 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Chamber Music - Released May 4, 2018 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet
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Classical - Released May 4, 2018 | Glossa

Booklet
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Classical - Released April 20, 2018 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet
Of Bach's two known religious cantatas and 15 known profane cantatas, only two make use of bass in the vocal section: the famous 1727 BWV 82 Ich habe genug, which has been recycled for various different vocal soloists over the years, and Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen BWV 56 from 1726. In order to avoid putting out just another recording of these cantatas with the same programme as the dozens which have been recorded over nearly sixty years (by such artists as Hans Hotter, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Gérard Souzay, Gerhard Hüsch, Hermann Prey, John Shirley-Quirk, Bernard Kruysen, Philippe Huttenlocher, Max von Egmond, Siegfried Lorenz, Siegmund Nimsgern, Matthias Goerne, Thomas Quasthoff…), even though this new version is sung by Christian Senn, a little originality is needed. And that's what we have here. In addition to the two hits mentioned above, we have the rare cantata BWV 158 Der Friede sei mit dir – we don't know the exact date it was written, possibly Weimar around 1715, or perhaps only around 1730 in Leipzig. This piece is surely a re-working of an older, lost cantata. Some sources give it as the "cantata for bass and soprano" but in reality this is a serious error of observation: for sure, the aria which makes up the second movement is clearly marked Aria & Chorale, the chorale being restricted to the soprano register, but in reality it was to be sung by "one or several sopranos in the choir", and certainly not for a solo voice. So it's a cantata (unfinished or incomplete) for solo bass, and so this record is a kind of complete collection of Bach's three cantatas for this vocal line-up. © SM/Qobuz
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Opera - Released April 6, 2018 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Created in 1749 to commemorate the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle signed between George II and Louis XV of France to end the War of the Austrian Succession, Rameau’s pastorale héroïque Naïs consecrates the triumph of virtuosity on the stage of the Académie Royale de Musique, while in England, Handel wrote his famous Music for the Royal Fireworks for the same occasion. Weary of sombre tragedies and their dark and oppressive passions, audiences received lighter works more enthusiastically – ballets and pastorales – for which soprano Marie Fel and tenor Pierre Jélyotte were applauded for their prodigious vocal performances. With Naïs, Rameau produces some of his most impressive pages, among which the overture and descriptive prologue, tracing the epic fight between the Titans and the heavenly court for the rule of Olympus. Chivalrous exchanges, athlete evolutions, prophecies, pastoral celebrations, naval battles and underwater nuptials punctuate the work and support the blooming of tender feelings that unite Naïs and Neptune. This co-production between the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles (CMBV − Centre of Baroque Music Versailles) and the Müpa Budapest Early Music Festival confirms the position of György Vashegyi in the field of baroque music, and French music in particular. Following the success of Rameau’s Les Fêtes de Polymnie (The Festivals of Polyhymnia) in 2015, and the revelation that was Mondonville’s Isbé, the Hungarian conductor is at it again with excellent singers and his two ensembles, the Budapest Orfeo Orchestra and the Purcell Chorus, which he founded in Budapest at the end of his studies at The Franz Liszt Academy of Music, completed by master classes from the likes of Sir John Eliot Gardiner and Helmut Rilling. This French-Hungarian production focusing on Rameau will be extended with the upcoming release of Les Indes Galantes (The Amorous Indies). © François Hudry/Qobuz

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