Albums

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Classical - Released December 1, 2017 | PentaTone

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Classical - Released November 17, 2017 | PentaTone

Booklet
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Opera - Released November 17, 2017 | PentaTone

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Opera - Released November 17, 2017 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet
This new recording of Verdi’s Otello possesses numerous attributes: Melody Moore’s Desdemona, Nikolai Schukoff’s Otello, and the very inspired Gulbenkian Orchestra coupled with the Gulbenkian Choir, admirably set and extremely precise, including in the highly virtuoso passages. It’s worth mentioning that Verdi’s last drama – the composer ended his career with the comic opera Falstaff – completed in 1887 after sixteen years of lyrical silence (his previous work was Aida in 1871) is spectacularly at odds with his previous language; there are few isolated motifs and recitatives, in favour of a much more modern fluidity of speech, closer to the Shakespeare drama, and a tight plot focusing on the characters and immediate actions of each of them. Lawrence Foster's interpretation highlights this continuity. Interestingly Arturo Toscanini was one of the cellists for the world premiere on February 5th, 1887 at La Scala in Milan. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released November 3, 2017 | PentaTone

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Classical - Released October 20, 2017 | PentaTone

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£23.96

Opera - Released October 20, 2017 | PentaTone

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Chamber Music - Released September 29, 2017 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet
It is not clear just what the "troika" of the title refers to, but one can imagine two possibilities: the album is taking up the title of the "Troika" section from the Suite from Lieutenant Kijé by Prokofiev, the troika in question being a Russian sledge pulled by three horses, hence the name. But it could also refer to a triumvirate made up of the great Russian composers: Rachmaninov, Prokofiev and Shostakovich, each of whom is represented her by one sonata for cello and piano. But then: why not both? In any case, cellist Matt Haimovitz and his pianist companion Christopher O’Riley offer up a superb range of major works, supplemented with a few gems, some of which quite dark: the explosive version (by both artists) of a cello and piano transcription of Virgin Prayer: Put Putin Away, which won three members of the group Pussy Riot some time in labour camp for this punk blasphemy; as well as a version of the Beatles' Back in the USSR, and another number from the Russian rock star Viktor Tsoi. Haimovitz, known for his forays into less-classical territory, follows his own rule - which in no way detracts from the extraordinary musical quality of this album. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released September 15, 2017 | PentaTone

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Strauss’s bold and passionate tone poem Also Sprach Zarathustra is a riveting work, famous for its startlingly atmospheric opening. With a thrilling and florid orchestral score, it’s a work which Jurowski observes “…launches the whole idea of 20th century music. Written in the 19th century, this is one of those pieces which announces the new century to come.” It is paired with Mahler’s no less gripping Totenfeier which is an early version of the first movement of his Symphony No 2 “Resurrection”. “I find very interesting to compare [the two versions] …”, writes Jurowski, “In many ways, the Totenfeier is less accomplished , but far more honest and genuine.” Juxtaposing the Strauss and Mahler works in this way, Jurowski notes “Zarathustra is all about technical brilliance and accomplishment … in the Mahler the surfaces are much less polished, so there is much more aspiration to go into the depth of things.” © Pentatone
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Classical - Released September 15, 2017 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet
Conceived for the intimate environment of the Parisian salon, these composers honed their skills to produce songs which are sophisticated, superbly crafted and laced with drama, irony and surprise. Always a delight, these songs palpably caress the listener with their beautifully contrived melodies and exquisitely refined harmonies, particularly evident in the plaintive, haunting songs of Ernest Chausson and Jules Massenet. Gallic wit and verbal dexterity is provided in the famous Danse Macabre of Camille Saint-Saëns, Emmanuel Chabrier’s Villanelle des petits canards, and the charming Sérénade and Ô ma belle rebelle by Charles Gounod. It’s a fascinating survey brought vividly to life in these compelling performances in pristine multi-channel sound. © Pentatone
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Opera - Released September 1, 2017 | PentaTone

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Composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer knew before they ever wrote a note or a line of It’s a Wonderful Life that there are challenges in adapting a treasured classic for the operatic stage. After all, Heggie and Scheer’s hit 2010 opera Moby-Dick raised the same challenges: how could they remain faithful to the source material and still create something new, which emphasized the story’s innate operatic qualities? For It’s a Wonderful Life, Heggie and Scheer responded by keeping the basic plot and characters from the beloved Frank Capra film version but changing the perspective. As in the film, an angel—changed in the opera from Clarence to Clara—is assigned to help a man named George Bailey, who is despondent and contemplating taking his own life on Christmas Eve; if Clara succeeds, she will earn her wings. But in a departure from the film, all the action takes place from Clara’s perspective and in her realm. Seventy mirrored doors represent portals in time and space, which Clara uses to piece together the events of George’s life in an effort to understand what has brought him to this moment of despair. How well did Heggie and Scheer succeed? Critics said the “feel good” work (Opera Warhorses) “dispels any notion that you may have about expecting the opera to duplicate the film [and has a] crazy-quilt score that may be Heggie’s most delightful concoction” (Theater Jones). As the Houston Chronicle critic summed up, “George Bailey would be proud.” “What a great joy, privilege, and immense challenge it was to take the beloved story of It’s a Wonderful Life and compose the music for the people of Bedford Falls. The emotional journey of George Bailey and Clara allowed me to call on musical styles of the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s, contrasted with music from the heavens. The project of a lifetime.” —Jake Heggie “From the moment I began work on the libretto, I believed that George Bailey’s journey from despair to redemption was something that music could thrillingly illuminate. I also believed, with all my heart, that this story’s message of the value of every life was essential for our own time. Working on this project has been a profound privilege.” —Gene Scheer © Pentatone
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Opera - Released September 1, 2017 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet
Andrea Marcon and La Cetra Barockorchester & Vokalensemble Basel sparkle in this new release of Handel’s forgotten masterpiece Parnasso in festa, recorded shortly before their hugely successful Netherlands premiere of the opera in November 2016. Handel wrote this sumptuous work in 1734 to celebrate the marriage in London of Princess Anne and Prince William of Orange. Cast in the form of a serenata, Parnasso in festa recounts the joyful wedding feast of Thetis and Peleus at which the Muses are present. It’s packed with breathtaking arias, duets and choruses, all written with the verve, drama and sense of occasion to be expected from Handel. The soloists that he had on hand for the premiere were among the greatest Italian singers of the day – Giovanni Carestini, Margherita Durastanti, Anna Maria Strada del Po and Maria Caterina Negri. The care he lavished on the richly instrumented score is striking, from the masterly reworking of material from his oratorio Athalia to the ravishing original material, making this work unique among Handel’s output. Parnasso in festa proved to be very popular in its day it and was revived several times, yet after 1741 was largely forgotten. Now after years of neglect, this superbly crafted work has been recognised for the glorious entertainment that it is. © Pentatone
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Classical - Released August 4, 2017 | PentaTone

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Classical - Released August 4, 2017 | PentaTone

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Sensuous, lushly evocative and intricately constructed, Maurice Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé is widely regarded as his greatest orchestral masterpiece and one of the 20th century’s finest ballet scores. This vast musical fresco with its shimmering harmonies, magical diaphanous textures and spectacular conclusion is compellingly realised by Gustavo Gimeno and the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg in this eagerly awaited release. The album also contains the haunting and exquisite Pavane pour une infante défunte and the vividly scored Une barque sur l'océan. Stravinsky regarded Daphnis et Chloé as “not only Ravel’s best work, but also one of the most beautiful products of French music” and it’s easy to see why. Written with consummate finesse for Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes, this “choreographic symphony” is an intoxicating blend of warm, seductive harmonies and passionate intensity, realised on a large orchestral canvas. Three movements have become perennially popular: the luxuriant Lever du jour, the enchanting Pantomine and the raucous Danse générale (Bacchanale) which Ravel incorporated in the later Daphnis and Chloé Suite No. 2. Elsewhere, Ravel displays the same deftness of touch with the much-loved Pavane pour une infante défunte and Une barque sur l'océan, both masterly orchestrations of his charming piano miniatures. “Gimeno cultivates … a bright, transparent orchestral sound free of dull pathos and also rediscovers colours in this score,” wrote the Trierischer Volksfreund in 2014. “[...] Wonderful! This conductor is a discovery!”. This is Gustavo Gimeno’s third recording with the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg (OPL) for PENTATONE following two releases in May 2017 of orchestral works by Bruckner and Shostakovich. A further six projects are planned in the coming years. © Pentatone
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Chamber Music - Released August 4, 2017 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet

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