Albums

2618 albums sorted by Date: from newest to oldest
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Solo Piano - Released October 5, 2018 | Mirare

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Cello Concertos - Released September 10, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
It is particularly fortunate to see Franco-German cellist Nicolas Altstaedt on a record label that will finally allow him to nurture his whimsical personality and insatiable curiosity on a long term basis, he who just a few years ago produced one of the most dazzling recordings of the Haydn Concertos for the Genuin label. For this first album on the Channel Classics label he takes us on a journey through the former Soviet bloc with three major figures of the twentieth century: Dmitri Shostakovich, Mieczyslaw Weinberg and Witold Lutoslawski. Do not expect an avalanche of virtuoso gimmicks from this team: it's all about the lyrical and surprisingly playful section of Shostakovich's Concerto No.1, as well as the infinitely secretive and mysterious Weinberg piece, as they were intended. An amazing album, and one which you should grab with both hands. Though this is not visible on the cover, in addition to Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No.1 and Mieczyslaw Weinberg's piece, the album also features Witold Lutoslawski's Little Suite. The three pieces were written roughly at the same time: 1959 for Shostakovich, 1951 for Lutoslawski, 1948 for Weinberg - who had to wait for Stalin's death to reveal his work, since both he and Shostakovitch were under the dictator's surveillance and their works could have earned them a stay in Siberia, or maybe even a wooden coffin. The two Concertos share some similarities: Rostropovich arranged both, and the two composers' mutual influences are clearly identifiable on many occasions - Weinberg saw Shostakovich as a mentor, but in fact they often influenced each other. This did not prevent the composers of writing immediately recognizable music! By way of a "breathing pause", the LutosÅ‚awski's Petite Suite consists of four delicious miniatures taken from popular tunes of the Rzeszów region in southern Poland. The work was initially considered "light music," but when Lutoslawski appropriates the genre we are immediately seized by this masterpiece. Jean Françaix or Alexandre Tansman might have written something similar. © SM/Qobuz
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Symphonic Music - Released September 10, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Concertos - Released September 10, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Special Soundchecks
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Symphonic Music - Released September 10, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released September 10, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Record of the Month - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Hi-Res Audio
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Duets - Released August 10, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Two young Belgian soloists—including Lorenzo Gatto, despite the Italian consonance of the name—have been gathering for several years around Beethoven, and here is their interpretation of three Beethoven sonatas: the First written even before the end of the 18th Century—1798—, followed by the very last that is the Tenth Op. 96 from 1812—created by the infamous Pierre Rode on violin, and the archduke Rudolph of Austria who, incidentally, must have been an amazing pianist—, to finish with one of the most famous ones, the Fifth called “The Spring Sonata” (a name not chosen by the composer). Despite dating “only” from 1801, this sonata is incredibly different from the First regarding its architectural maturity, its intense lyricism and its audacities of all kinds. Gatto, who won the Queen Elisabeth Competition, plays on nothing less than the Stradivarius “Joachim”, while Libeer, a chamber music enthusiast, has a field day on a big concert piano with parallel strings and of an almost orchestral sound. Their first volume, released in 2016, was more than noticed by the critics and the audience—and was a great success on Qobuz. © SM/Qobuz
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Symphonic Music - Released August 10, 2018 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Record of the Month
If Leonard Bernstein was one of the greatest conductors from the second half of the 20th Century, his interpretation job never outshone his composer one. But the durable and worldwide success of West Side Story has often irritated him, as it left in the shadowed the rest of his abundant and varied catalog. Antonio Pappano has had the good idea to gather the three symphonies from Bernstein in a single album recorded in several concerts in Rome with his Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, which reaches under his baton an international dimension. Bernstein had a special relation with this institution that he has frequently conducted. Jeremiah, Bernstein’s first symphony, dates from 1944. Bernstein was 26 and wrote it the same year as his first ballet for Broadway, Fancy Free.He blends genres in a way that is now typical of him, disturbing many timorous music lovers who don’t understand that this dichotomy is the result of his genius. This first symphony sung in Hebrew denounces the horror of the Holocaust in Europe. 1949 is the year of The Age of Anxiety, his strange second symphony inspired by a long and difficult poem by W. H. Auden. Rarely played because of his difficult solo piano section that few interprets possess in their repertoire, this symphony is a succession of “themes and variations”. If the beginning flirts with the European Art music, notably from Prokofiev, it ends in a syncopated sentimentalism in the style of the great Hollywood movies. The excellent pianist Beatrice Rana (who has recorded for Warner Classics a very exciting Second Concerto by Prokofiev with the same conductor, as well as, more recently, the most talked-about Goldberg Variations by J. S. Bach) is here a brilliant and convinced performer of the work. Written in 1963 and dedicated to President Kennedy, Kaddish, his third symphony, is probably the most personal work of this trilogy. Heterogeneous as is all Bernstein music, it goes together with a text written by him that caused a scandal because of his iconoclastic arrogance, as Bernstein is giving advice to God to better rule mankind… Unsatisfied with his text, the composer did several revisions of his work to give it the form that is mostly used today. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Concertos for wind instruments - Released July 6, 2018 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Quintets - Released July 6, 2018 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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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Solo Piano - Released June 29, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice
Released as one of nine new albums dedicated to Debussy by harmonia mundi to mark the centenary of the French composer's birth, this volume offers the Second Book of the Preludes played by Alexander Melnikov on an Erard piano. The world of Debussyan piano relied so heavily on timbre that pianists and editors alike often prefer one or another make so as to get a grip on the specificities of the music. Alexander Melnikov is one of those rare Russian artists to take an interest in ancient instruments. This student of Sviatoslav Richter was quickly captivated by this kind of work, working with Andreas Staier and Alexey Lubimov and playing with specialised ensembles like the Concerto Köln or the Berlin Akademie für Alte Musik. His performance of the Preludes by Debussy at London's Wigmore Hall was particularly well received by critics who described the Russian pianist as a "sorcerer" who is highlighting "ravishing", "violent", "terrifying" music. An iridescent orchestral masterpiece, La Mer is difficult to boil down to a four-handed piano piece, and Debussy disowned his transcription, leaving it to André Caplet to prepare another one for two four-handed pianos. Alexandre Melnikov and Olga Pashchenko have taken up the challenge to prove that the auteur's transcription is not at all "unplayable". © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released June 29, 2018 | NoMadMusic

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Solo Piano - Released June 29, 2018 | Mirare

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
The programme might be most eclectic; but its architecture is flawless: Lux, "Light", from dawn to night, an arc bending from Gregorian chant – the misa in aurora – all the way to the Moonlight of Beethoven's famous sonata, via the furious meridian heat of Scriabin's Fourth Sonata followed by the Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun (rewritten for solo piano by Matan Porat himself), and many other pieces from Dowland to Thomas Adès to evoke this or that time of day. Matan Porat has put together a most original line-up – which is absolutely his hallmark – which some might find a little too challenging, but others will applaud: take your pick. We wonder where his next record will take us! © SM/Qobuz
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Full Operas - Released June 22, 2018 | Warner Classics

Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Full Operas - Released June 22, 2018 | Warner Classics

Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Violin Concertos - Released June 22, 2018 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
While Max Bruch's First Concerto was recorded, re-recorded and over-recorded to the nth degree, we can't say the same of Bruch's very elegant Scottish Fantasy Enter Joshua Bell, the new artistic director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, both playing the violin and heading up an ensemble to offer us both the Concerto – which he had recorded about thirty years ago with Marriner – and the Fantasy, a discographic first for him. This Fantasy, written in 1880 after the Second Concerto, was Sarasate but first performed by Joachim. The composer weaves it together from an infinitely elegant tissue of themes, and melodic impressions of Scotland, real or imagined. Joshua Bell, of Scottish descent himself, swims like a wild salmon through the clear waters of lochs and highland torrents, while the orchestra, clearly rapt, offers him a beautiful foil. © SM/Qobuz
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Full Operas - Released June 22, 2018 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de Classica - Qobuzissime
Why yes, it is still possible to discover Bernstein scores, or in this case the chamber version of A Quiet Place, adapted by Garth Edwin Sunderland, conducted and recorded for the first time by Kent Nagano, at the Montreal Symphony House. The final stage score by the American composer, first performed at the Houston Grand Opera in 1983, it was revisited by the librettist Stephen Wadsworth, and the composer who added several fragments from the one-act piece Trouble in Tahiti, from 1951; this addition would see two new performances (the Scala in Milan, and Washington). Another draft – this one definitive – was performed at the Vienna Opera House, conducted by the composer, in 1986. Fascinating in more ways than one, rather like a modern-day Intermezzo by Strauss, the work depicts American society by way of an existential crisis faced, first by one couple, (Trouble in Tahiti) and then by one family. Bernstein borrowed from Mahler for the structure, with a final movement whose "grave nobility" recalled the final movements of the Third and NinthSymphonies by his much-admired forebear. As is often the case with this composer, Bernstein's mix of styles (jazz, chorale, Broadway, Mahler, Berg, Britten, Copland…) provides an explosive cocktail, which has about it more of a musical conversation than grand opera – and, paradoxically, that's what makes this work so unique... And so charming. This is well worth a re-discovery, this time under the baton of Bernstein's faithful former pupil, Kent Nagano, at the head of top-flight solo singers, who point the way to that "quiet place", where "love will teach us harmony and grace". © Franck Mallet/Qobuz
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Concertos - Released June 15, 2018 | CPO

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Everyone knows Mendelssohn's violin concerto, at least the one in E Minor; and his piano concertos are reasonably well-known. But what about this concerto for piano and violin? Ha! To be sure, it's a work from his youth (to say the least): the work dates from 1823, when Mendelssohn was just 14 years old, but already displaying stupefying talents. This double concerto appears to have been written for private Sunday concerts in the family home; and yes, we can hear a few classical accents from Mozart and Beethoven (the latter was still alive!), and from Weber too in the sunnier moments, but the melodic development is already typically Mendelssohnian. Here we have the original version with string orchestra, because shortly after its first performance at the Sunday sessions it was re-written with wind and timpani. As for the Violin Concerto in D Minor, it is the work of a composer who is still young, just thirteen, although this version contains the revision that he made a few years later – more compact movements, and a complete third movement, as the first draft of 1822 only sketched the third movement in outline. Here, too, one is just gobsmacked by the maturity of the writer; were it by anyone other than Mendelssohn, there would be an uproar about this overlooked genius – even if the writer were an adult – whereas, as it's Mendelssohn, what people focus on is merely the youthfulness of the work. Just like we do, in this review… © SM/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released June 15, 2018 | CPO

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Poor Henri Marteau... Born in 1874 to a French father and a German mother, in a time when, after the war of 1870 and the loss of Alsace-Lorraine, the hatred between the two countries was still intense. He made an early start as a violinist early, and at the age of ten he stood in for his teacher at short notice, at a big concert in Reims, where he gave a perfect rendition of a Vieuxtemps concerto. Shortly after, he made his début in London and Vienna, conducted by Hans Richter, and crossed paths with Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Busoni, Dvořák, Nielsen, Grieg, Reger and many other great musicians of his day, with whom he would give many concerts. He received recognition in 1908 when he followed Joachim into the Berlin Conservatory. But 1914 came roaring in, and Marteau – an officer in the French reserves! – found himself sent to live in deepest Germany, forbidden from performing, and, worse still, taken by the French for a German spy. After the Great War, he took Swedish citizenship, continuing to perform in Germany in the Conservatories of Leipzig and Dresden, but his glory days as an instrumentalist were behind him and he passed away in 1934. His work itself suffered from the horrors of war, as the majority of his works only existed in manuscript form, and many were lost. But his quartets survived because they were often performed during his lifetime and therefore were widely published and circulated. The Second Quartet given here, probably written in 1905, highlights the musical link that joined Marteau to Reger: robust chromatism, constant counter-punctual charge, intensely rich polyphonies, even if the slightly excessive spirit in the French style proves that this could only be a work by Marteau. As for the Eight melodies for mezzo-soprano and string quartet, sung here by Karine Deshayes, accompanied by the Isasi Quartet, they date back to his internal exile in Germany, or his exile in Sweden, in the period 1915-17. For a long time they were thought to have been lost, but after a century they were finally published, in 2016! As a little raspberry blown by the composer, he chose to write his lyrics in... French. They also have a rather French melodic and harmonic charge, with a few accents that would have been very much at home in a piece by Debussy. Either way, these works are a pleasure to discover, especially given the quality of the performances on this record. © SM/Qobuz
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Violin Concertos - Released June 8, 2018 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
The press is already in a spin about it: "The new Menuhin"; "a star is born"; "the enchanted bow"... Daniel Lozakovich, 17 years old, might have his head in the stars, but he has his feet firmling on the ground. He is shaping a dazzling career with stunning maturity. Born in Sweden to a family from the former USSR, he learned violin in 2007, at the age of 6. Two years later, he would play his first concerto, conducted by Vladimir Spivakov. There then followed the difficult quest to find a teacher who would "not change my musicality, but make me stronger." Daniel Lozakovich currently lives in Geneva, where he works with Eduard Wulfson, a private tutor that he met at the Verbier Festival. It was also at this festival, which showcases young talents, that the teenager met Valery Gergiev, who immediately took him under his protective and liberating wing. Signed to Deutsche Grammophon (DG), Daniel Lozakovich would soon record Beethoven's Concerto in D Major with his mentor, "a work whose structure is so clear", he said, "but whose music is so difficult". Daniel Lozakovich listened to a lot of records to perfect his playing and his musical knowledge. He learned a lot from listening to the great masters of the past, in particular Bruno Walter, who charmed him with his sense of detail, and the sound he gets from his orchestra, as well as his poetic phrasing. This preference says a lot about this very young musician, who we discover here on his first record, dedicated to Bach. Listening to the Second Partita (with its brilliantly-structured Chaconne) and the Concertos in E Major and A Minor, we are won over straight away by the solidity of his concept, the great beauty of the sonority with its long phrases and a discourse which is constantly expressive. His parents, who are not remotely musicians, would have preferred for him to be a great tennis player, but fate had other plans for this strong-willed teenager with a dazzling smile. © François Hudry/Qobuz