Albums

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Solo Piano - Released February 9, 2018 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Record of the Month - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica
Oh no, no, no: this is absolutely not a re-release of one of the many recordings which Murray Perahia made of Beethoven over the decades. This here is something completely new, made in 2016 and 2017, of two radically contrasting sonatas: the Fourteenth of 1801, which Rellstab nicknamed "Clair de lune" in 1832, while Beethoven merely dubbed it Quasi una fantasia, and the Twenty Ninth of 1819, Große Sonate für das Hammerklavier, written after several barren years. Perhaps, consciously or not, Perahia has coupled two works, one "before" and the other "after" - after all, he himself has known his fair share of fallow years, following a hand injury which removed him from the stage from 1990 to 2005. Whether or not it's true, it's certainly tempting to imagine. Either way, like Beethoven, Perahia made a storming return, as shown in this recent performance, in which vigour alternates with moments of intense introspection, always impeccably phrased and articulated, and deeply musical. Clearly all those years in which he concentrated almost exclusively on the works of Bach as a training regime while he waited for recovery seem to have in fact been immensely fruitful. © SM/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released February 2, 2018 | Timpani

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Solo Piano - Released February 2, 2018 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica
Like Stein’s fortepianos, the copy of a Walter and sons (a Viennese fortepiano once owned by Mozart) played here by Maxim Emelyanychev is equipped with a knee lever, the ancestor of the damper pedal. No doubt Mozart was inspired by the timbres, the dynamic and harmonic possibilities of this new instrument: the Fantasia in C minor that starts off this album highlights this orchestral − almost operatic − range, and in its profusion of themes, it express the most prominent contrasts, reaching great expressive density. The same accents can be found in Piano Sonata No. 14 in C minor, K. 457, while the Piano Sonata No. 16 in C major, K. 545 offers a dramatic respite. This “small sonata for beginners” was composed in 1788, preceding the “Jupiter” Symphony, also in C major: a beautiful gem, coming just before his monumental work. Its innocent melody revives childhood memories of the first piano lessons. Finally, the Piano Sonata No. 18 in D major, K. 576 was created as the first part in a cycle: “Six easy piano sonatas for Princess Friederike”. Composed in 1789, and in fact considered to be of great difficulty, it was Mozart’s last sonata. Anton Walter, the piano maker, started making a name for himself in Vienna in 1778. Like most inventors, he never stopped experimenting: while other workshops produced pianos at scale, Walter kept looking for “his ideal”; each instrument differed from the previous one in numerous details and ever-bolder additions. In total, he built around seven hundred instruments; here, Emelyanychev plays on a copy made by Paul McNulty, a great specialist of fortepianos and ancient pianos, with experience in manufacturing close to two hundred copies of instruments from Stein, Walter, Hofman, Graf and Pleyel. © SM/Qobuz
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Quartets - Released January 26, 2018 | La Dolce Volta

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Two years after its very well received recording of three Schumann quartets, Quatuor Hermès – created about ten years ago – is turning its attention to three staple French masterpieces: Ravel and Debussy’s quartets (two iconic figures of their − relatively young − generation who have been coupled on disc again and again, but who would complain?) surrounding Dutilleux’s quartet Ainsi la nuit (Thus the Night). Three very unique quartets, as each of their composers only wrote a single one. For the record, Debussy’s quartet still belongs to the 19th century as it was composed in 1893 in a language formally borrowing from Franck (even if the chord progressions already feel like classic Debussy), while Ravel’s inaugurates the 20th century in 1903 with Faurean notes in abundance… On the other hand, Dutilleux waited to achieve maturity (1976) to write his. An inescapable monument of 20th French chamber repertoire, played with finesse and transparency by Quatuor Hermès, cementing their place among the elite quartets of our time. © SM/Qobuz
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Symphonic Music - Released January 12, 2018 | Decca

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The rediscovery of Stravinsky's Funeral Song, from a recording made in St Petersburg in Spring 2015, was a major event. Composed over the summer of 1908 in honour of his late teacher Rimsky-Korsakov, who died in June that year, it marked a moment where Stravinsky was working at many different types of writing, looking for a personal language. The work was first performed at a memorial concert in St Petersburg in January 1909 but thereafter it disappeared without a trace: the only evidence of its existence was in accounts of the concert and the composer's own nostalgic memories of the work he saw as "the best of my works before Firebird, and the most advanced in terms of chromatic harmonies." And here at last is the world's first ever recording of it! A stunning little treasure in which we can still hear Rimsky, and also the Stravinsky of Firebird, but perhaps also still the Stravinsky of the Rite of Spring, which was still very recent, a testimony to the composer's breakneck evolution. It was in the same year, 1908, that Stravinsky interrupted his writing of Fireworks when he heard the news of Rismsky's death in order to compose his Funeral Song; the Scherzo Fantastique was the last score by the young composer that the old master would ever get to read, although he never heard it performed. With this recording, Riccardo Chilly offers us a judicious selection of four works from the composer's youth (we also find The Faun and the Shepherdess of 1906, a little cycle of three melodies with orchestra, sung in French, here with Sophie Koch) followed by the big turning point that is the Rite of Spring, with a reading which is both clear and fiery. © SM/Qobuz
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Trios - Released December 1, 2017 | Mirare

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Symphonic Music - Released November 17, 2017 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Solo Piano - Released November 10, 2017 | Mirare

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Secular Vocal Music - Released November 10, 2017 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica - Choc Classica de l'année - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Jazz
This project originated, Sabine Devieilhe says, from her desire to tackle Lakmé. In fact, Delibes was able to compose for her heroine some of the most memorable pages for coloratura soprano, starting with the hugely famous "air des clochettes" [Bell Song]. And as Western ears at the time were eager for musical and poetic voyages, and sensations from far-off lands, we find these same Oriental fantasies with Maurice Delage, who himself went on a grand tour of India, where he found modal colours, but also in Madame Chrysanthème by Messager or Rossignol by Stravinsky, to say nothing of the Egypt of Thaïs as portrayed by Anatole France and Massenet. Sabine Devieilhe, who won the "Lyrical revelation" prize at Victoires de la musique classique in 2013 before winning "Lyrical artist of the year" at the same ceremony – certainly not an unfair judgement of this particular artist – started her recording career with recordings of Rameau, Bach and Mozart, before launching into the lyrical repertoire from more recent years… And with great success! © SM/Qobuz
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Symphonies - Released November 3, 2017 | BR-Klassik

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Concertos for wind instruments - Released October 24, 2017 | Indésens

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Sacred Vocal Music - Released November 3, 2017 | Choir of King's College, Cambridge

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Classical - Released November 3, 2017 | CPO

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Solo Piano - Released October 27, 2017 | Sony Classical

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The third album from Lucas Debargue with Sony Classical, this is a very original programme - the previous album offered a mixture of Bach, Beethoven and Medtner - which combines two Schubert sonatas (D.874, 1823, and D.664, 1819, respectively) and the ambitious Piano Sonata No. 2 (1910-11) from Szymanowksi, with post-Regerian momentum. Lucas Debargue, who sent shockwaves at the last Tchaikovsky competition, opens his new work with Sonata in A Minor, and gives it some truly tragic, wintry tones,  in the style of certain Russian pianists (Richter, Sofronitzky, etc.): a black and white keyboard, lit up by a recording effort that in no way dulls the harmonics. The cheeriest Sonata in A Major - which was a favourite of Wilhelm Kempff - has a similarly staid character, rather reserved. To be honest, this album seems to owe more than a little to Sviatoslav Richter. If Schubert was one of Richter's "obsessions", the Piano Sonata No. 2 from Szymanowksi was also at the heart of the Russian pianist's repertoire, who performed it several times in concert (e.g. at Parnassus, the concert for the centenary of Szymanowksi's birth on 26 November 1982 in Warsaw). A convulsive, tortured work, it is made up of two amply developed movements, which are very dark, dense and complex, including a theme and variations, crowned by a tremendous fugue. © TG/Qobuz
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Opera Extracts - Released October 27, 2017 | Sony Classical

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Full Operas - Released October 20, 2017 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica
« This magnificent 1956 recording, conducted with genius by Karajan and with a cast such as dreams are made of, has an unparalleled status and is unlikely to be challenged for many a year. » Gramophone « This remastering comes from the original analogue tapes and has been transferred at high resolution digital quality to capture the very best sound from the tapes. In consultation with the original engineer Chris Parker, we have slightly adjusted the balance of the Trio (in Act 3) to reflect the quality of sound that was desired but not achieved at the time of recording. This recording was originally made as a mono recording by Douglas Larter, with a stereo test version engineered by Chris Parker. It is this stereo test version which has been used for this remastering. Despite the early experimental nature of this new ‘stereo’ technology, this recording is captured in astonishingly vivid sound and is a testament to the experience, understanding and skill of both the musicians and engineers of the time.» Simon Gibson, Remastering Engineer at Abbey Road Studios  
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Full Operas - Released October 20, 2017 | Warner Classics

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This 1968 recording of The Flying Dutchman was made in the studio under the baton of the venerable Ottom Klemperer who, incidentally, was approaching his 83rd birthday - he had just five years left to live. This record is simply a dream come true, with Theo Adam, Martti Talvela, Anja Silja and Annneliese Burmeister supported by the New Philharmonia and the BBC choir. Klemperer is known for his fairly rapid tempos, even if the singers themselves lend longer durations to the music, as the work is not short on quasi-recitatives. In this vein, this "almost" short work (short by Wagner's standards at least) offers a measured reading, very much oriented towards comprehension of the text and clarity of the orchestra. It goes without saying that it has been the subject of a meticulous remastering, so that it really doesn't feel like you are listening to a recording from half a century ago. Orchestral colours, balance between stage and orchestra, precise vocal presence: these all make for an unmissable, historic recording. © SM/Qobuz « This performance is as perfect as we have any right to demand. Klemperer’s magisterial interpretation of the opera has a blazing intensity, the orchestra plays superbly and the cast give of their considerable best.» Gramophone ‘ With this remaster of Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer, the listener is plunged into a stormy world of wind and water. The sound effects introduced for the first time by EMI on this recording are very effective, and the dramatic impact of the performance of Anja Silja as Senta is indisputable. This recording, made in the winter of 1968 at Abbey Road’s Studio One, utilises the Ambiophonic system whereby numerous speakers were added to the walls of the studio to increase reverberation and improve the overall acoustic of the studio. The LP master tapes used for this remaster derive directly from the original four-track masters therefore preserving sound and balance as approved by Klemperer at the time the recording was made, including the spectacular sound effects.’  Ian Jones, Remastering Engineer at Abbey Road Studios
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Mélodies (French) - Released October 20, 2017 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice - Choc de Classica
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Classical - Released October 10, 2017 | NoMadMusic

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica
At a time when the Parisian audience was rather looking for the thrills of the great opera, and that the string quartet genre seemed a thing confined to Germany (and the 1870 war certainly didn’t help relationships with France, including the musical ones), César Franck’s Quartet (1890) acts as a free spirit. “I wanted a very long, expressive phrase, with a single origin, without repetition, without turning back on itself,” wrote the composer to a friend. This treasure of romantic music thus requires multiple listening sessions in order to perceive all the details from this “fleeting” line, which reflects in the veiled memory of the first measures—it’s the very essence of the cyclic principle, which was so dear to Franck. With his quartet, he opens the door to Debussyan forms (hey, Debussy himself also wrote for one quartet only, same for Ravel) and a French-style modernism—even if it’s sometimes tinged with some Brahms, curiously. For the second piece of the album, the excellent Quatuor Zaïde (founded in 2009, awarded with many international prizes, an ensemble that you may have heard at the Berliner Philharmonie, at the Barbican and at Wigmore Hall in London, at the Concertgebouw of Amsterdam, no less…) enlists the pianist Jonas Vitaud and the mezzo Karine Deshayes for Chausson’s Chanson perpétuelle, a masterwork from 1899—a dark, ample and desperate piece of music, which is even more singular when you know that the composer didn’t have anything to complain about at the time. He incidentally wrote: “I am writing a lugubrious song. [...] It’s about a violent despair of love. I am not at all in this frame of mind. So what, sincerity? A joke? Or I am preparing myself a trick… Not at all. I’ve found it. I feel the pain I would have if I found myself in that position and I feel it even more because I find myself happier.” © SM/Qobuz
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Keyboard Concertos - Released October 13, 2017 | La Dolce Volta

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