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Minimal Music - Released June 4, 2021 | La Dolce Volta

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc de Classica
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Classical - Released May 28, 2021 | La Dolce Volta

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
Olivier Latry is organist titulaire at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, and he has responded creatively to the destruction of its organ by fire in 2019 with a series of imaginative releases. None is finer than Liszt: Inspirations, which applies the 6,055 pipes and 91 stops of the new Rieger organ at the Philharmonie de Paris Concert Hall to Liszt's rather neglected organ music. There are technical details here that will be of interest to organists and those who love them; for the general listener, this is a real thrill. The big works in the Bachian genres of Fantasia and Fugue and chorale variation are impressive enough, with the arcane realms the organ enters in the nearly 30-minute Fantasia and Fugue on the Chorale Ad nos, ad salutarem undam (try the Un poco più de moto section) having a spooky, futuristic feel. None of this music is terribly commonly heard, and Saint François d'Assise: La prédication aux oiseaux, an orchestral work transcribed by Saint-Saëns, is a real revelation; Latry indicates that his realization was influenced by the sounds of Messiaen's works about birds, but it also seems possible that this work itself influenced Messiaen. Liszt's excessive spirit seems perfectly matched to this powerful instrument and to the confident, even brash playing of Latry. A marvelous organ album that will reward all, even if audiophiles will have the most fun. © TiVo
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Chamber Music - Released April 30, 2021 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Diapason d'or / Arte
Constantly shifting from the most impulsive exuberance to the most restrained meditation, from the most intense passion to the most innocent tenderness, this programme forms a representative panorama of Schumann’s chamber music. Going beyond the Piano Trios, which already give us a fully rounded account of Schumann, the Trio Wanderer have invited their favourite partners to join them for their interpretation of two supreme masterpieces, the Piano Quartet and Piano Quintet. © harmonia mundi
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Classical - Released April 23, 2021 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
«Clearly Bruckner’s music is like the wind that bloweth where it listeth in a world far removed from capitals and concert halls. The music that Bruckner wrote was not chic and sophisticated but elemental, radical and uncompromising. In spite of all its art, there is a powerful affinity with nature, with the mysticism of nature and with a sense of autochthonous earthiness, notably in Bruckner’s dance movements: as Thielemann says, Bruckner is no poseur; his music is never pretentious. There is a closeness, finally, with the open countryside, with an endless expanse, with extended journeys and with slowness.» (© Wolfgang Stähr / Sony Classical)
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Classical - Released April 16, 2021 | Mirare

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
"Mantra is a sweeping epic of a work in which Stockhausen’s chief characteristics are apparent: stylistic rigour, the elaboration of a generative system of composition, the conception of a large-scale form, experimentation with electronics, and highly individual links with the divine and the cosmos. Stockhausen always believed that music was born of a single principle, deployed in a macroscopic universe. In Indian mysticism, a ‘mantra’ is a prayer that must be repeated many times; Stockhausen chose this term to designate a two-part melodic formula that is repeated throughout the work. But unlike the identical repetitions of India’s sacred utterances, Stockhausen puts his basic formula through many transformations. There will be nothing more than this ‘mantra’; nothing will be added or removed." (© Mirare / Philippe Manoury)
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Classical - Released April 9, 2021 | Ricercar

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
Alessandro Scarlatti’s Sonate a quattro were published in 1725, the year of his death. With their specific marking "senza cembalo" (without harpsichord), these compositions for two violins, viola and cello appear to be, in a sense, the first string quartets in the modern sense of the term. The programme is completed by a few sonatas by his brother Francesco, the "London Scarlatti", and Alessandro’s son Domenico, who had so thoroughly absorbed the contrapuntal tradition instilled in him by his father that some of his sonatas can also be played in quartet formation. (© Ricercar)
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Classical - Released April 2, 2021 | Arcana

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Chamber Music - Released April 2, 2021 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
«The five sonatas featured on this recording have never been ignored in a little more than 80 years of an incredibly rich musical history. They played a not inconsiderable role in the emancipation of wind instruments starting in the early 1950s. At a time when great virtuosos, notably in France, were embarking on prestigious solo careers and programming instrumental recitals, the sonatas of Hindemith assumed a prime position straight away, both in the concert hall and the recording studio. A place they have always maintained!» (© 2021 Parlophone Records / Denis Verroust)
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Classical - Released March 12, 2021 | ECM New Series

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
The third volume of the Danish String Quartet's ongoing "Prism" series, which shows how the radiance of Bach's Fugues is refracted through Beethoven's Quartets to illuminate the work of later composers. "Beethoven had taken a fundamentally linear development from Bach", the Danes note, "and exploded everything into myriads of different colours, directions and opportunities, much in the same way as a prism splits a beam of light". Here the quartet follow the beam from Johann Sebastian Bach's Fugue in C-sharp minor through Ludwig van Beethoven's String Quartet No. 14 to Bela Bartok's String Quartet No. 1. "A revelatory connected soundscape in which Beethoven's introspection feels more unsettling than usual" (BBC Music Magazine, on Prism II) © ECM New Series
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Chamber Music - Released February 26, 2021 | Mirare

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Classical - Released February 26, 2021 | Flora

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
Buxtehude’s Opus 1 and Opus 2 Sonatas for violin, viola da gamba and harpsichord belie the composer’s common image as austere and sober. They instead delight the listener with what Johann Mattheson, writing in 1739, called their « unfamilar progressions, hidden ornamentation, and ingenious colourations ». It comes as no surprise to learn that the Sonatas were a great success when they were first published in Germany in the 1690s, in the midst of the fashion for the "stylus fantasticus" (described by Athanasius Kircher in 1650 as “…especially suited to instruments. It is the most free and unrestrained method of composing, it is bound to nothing, neither to any words nor to a melodic subject. It was instituted to display genius, and to teach the hidden design of harmony and the ingenious composition of harmonic phrases and fugues"). These Sonatas are undoubtedly challenging, which is no doubt why there have been so few complete recordings. For their fourth album, the founding trio of Les Timbres – Yoko Kawakubo, Myriam Rignol, and Julien Wolfs – take up the challenge with brio, joyously returning to their roots in Baroque chamber music to uncover all the intricacies of these very special works. © Flora
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Classical - Released February 19, 2021 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Distinctions Diapason d'or
For his new recital published on the Decca label, Benjamin Grosvenor has chosen Franz Liszt, whose music has followed him since his childhood thanks to his grandfather's initiation. Dedicated to the pianistic monument that is the Sonata in B minor, the English pianist's programme aims to bear witness to the various aspects underlying the Hungarian composer's creation with emblematic compositions (Petrarch's Three Sonnets), original ones (Lullaby), as well as the extraordinary power of re-creation that Liszt distilled in his paraphrases; here we find the Reminiscences of Norma after Bellini and his arrangement of Schubert's Ave Maria.Every concert and every recording of Grosvenor's music is long awaited and desired, so rich is his personality and his extraordinary pianistic mastery. His recent album devoted to the Frédéric Chopin Concertos confirmed the pre-eminence of this pianist within a well-to-do brotherhood.His vision of the famous Liszt Sonata is immediately among the most inspired. Like a bird of prey, Grosvenor knows how to wait for the right moment to pounce on the chords with diabolical precision and contained rage, in a dramatic Mephistophelian tension. At the same time, the fluidity of his piano opens the door to the twentieth century and particularly to Ravel's world so dependent on the Liszt lesson. It is known that Brahms had fallen asleep when Liszt played his Sonata to him after a probably drunken dinner. Nothing probable here with this powerful evocation of life and death. Magisterial! © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released February 12, 2021 | Audax Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
Johann Sebastian Bach excelled as a player on several instruments, but the lute was not one of them. Even today, this renders his works for solo lute unique in the instrument’s vast repertoire where playing the lute has otherwise been a prerequistite to composing for it. As such, they pose unique challenges and dilemmas for players who want to present this music in the best light. Inspired by his teacher, Rolf Lislevand, Jadran Duncumb eschews the well-thumbed pages of Bach’s own manuscripts and sets out on a different path. Instead, following manuscripts by lutenists contemporary with Bach that take advantage of the instrument’s inherent strengths, he arrives at startling new conclusions. © Audax Records
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Classical - Released February 5, 2021 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
The facts of Carlo Gesualdo's life are perhaps as well known as his music: he caught his wife and her lover in the act, brutally murdered them both, fled her enraged family, and entered a life of seclusion where he pursued increasingly arcane and extreme musical experiments. A source of controversy with the present release may be that Les Arts Florissants director Paul Agnew argues in the booklet that the wildly experimental qualities of the last books of Gesualdo's madrigals, even found in the Book IV pieces included here, actually shouldn't be connected to the murder but were rather in the cards at the end of the long Italian madrigal tradition. Agnew has a certain amount of evidence on his side; other composers such as Luca Marenzio and the melodiously named Luzzasco Luzzaschi pursued the same kinds of innovations as Gesualdo did. Whatever one's position, these are unusually strong Gesualdo performances. What Agnew and his singers do that often eludes others is to pay attention to the texts, avoiding the agonized mannerisms common in the repertory and deploying just a hint of inflection toward speech instead of sung pitch where it's appropriate. The range of dynamics and phrasing is large -- listen to the deliciously quiet "Dolcissimo sospiro" -- and the listener's interest never flags over the substantial program. Les Arts Florissants have performed Gesualdo frequently, and they are well attuned to the tremendous tension in his music, the feeling of having no idea where the music will go next, no matter where that tension may actually have been coming from. If your Gesualdo collection is in need of a refresh from the classic recordings of Stravinsky's day, this is a fine choice; it is also a good place to start with Gesualdo for anybody. © TiVo
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Classical - Released February 5, 2021 | Mirare

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
Revered since the height of the Classical era up to the simmering years of the 20th century, the string quartet represented an ideal genre to which composers entrusted their most innovative ideas. The Modigliani Quartet illuminates these brillant masterpieces, each bearing witness to a turning point in the lives of their authors. Brimming with poetry, audacity and a thirst for life, the singular narratives of these quartets herald the advent of new horizons. © Mirare
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Classical - Released February 1, 2021 | Cobra Records

Hi-Res Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Classical - Released January 29, 2021 | Les Indispensables de Diapason

Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Classical - Released January 15, 2021 | Pan Classics

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
Philippe Verdelot played a very important role in the development of the madrigal during the Italian Renaissance. Born in France, he probably moved to Italy at a young age. From 1522 onwards, he held the most important positions in church music in Florence – first he was maestro di capella at the Baptistery of Florence Cathedral, and a year later also at the Cathedral itself. After 1530, with the riots surrounding the expulsion of the Medici family and the siege of the city, all biographical traces are lost, and no works created after these events seem to have survived. In the years before, however, Verdelot had initiated important musical developments with his madrigals, which at that time were the most published in Italy. The Ensemble Profeti della Quinta presents a selection of four-part madrigals from an anthology published posthumously (1540, 1565). A special feature of their performance is that each singer reads from the originally notated single voice – unlike in a modern score with parts notated one above the other. The musicians must therefore listen to each other much more closely and be able to react spontaneously. This spontaneity can be felt throughout the recording, and takes the listener to the beginnings of the Italian madrigal in a very intense way. © Pan Classics
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Classical - Released January 8, 2021 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
Published in 1733, Pietro Locatelli’s L'Arte del violino for solo violin, strings, and basso continuo took both violin technique and the solo concerto as a genre into a whole new realm. The twelve concertos included in the collection also played a part in forming the image of the violin virtuoso, reaching its full bloom with Paganini towards the end of the century. While the unusually high technical demands of the solo part are obvious to the listener from the start, the great surprise comes at the end of the first and third movements of each of the concertos. Here Locatelli inserts Capriccios for the soloist alone of a difficulty previously unheard of, with a left hand technique making use of extensions, octaves, unprepared tenths, double and triple stopping, arpeggios and double trills. The writing also favours playing in extremely high positions: in Capriccio No. 22 (from the third movement of Concerto No. 11) rising broken thirds go as high as 17th position. Ilya Gringolts, whose discography includes the better-known caprices by Paganini, has accepted Locatelli’s challenge, and here performs three of the L’Arte concertos. He does so with the support of the Finnish Baroque Orchestra, which he conducts from his gut-stringed violin by Ferdinando Gagliano, c. 1770. © BIS Records
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Classical - Released December 9, 2020 | Alborada

Distinctions Diapason d'or
« These transcriptions take full advantage of the characteristics of the theorbo, the fourteen-string baroque guitar with its deep and full sound which becomes absolutely fascinating and rich with Zapico. While his playing is highly sensitive, he also dares to make the music edgier, sharper and more expressive. So, Zapico delivers 50 minutes of music of gripping intensity and inner power. The always songful pieces, for all their inviting friendliness, are also complex, and are presented in a light that one neither can nor wants to escape. The sound of the recording is equally splendid.» (Pizzicato, January 2021 / Remy Franck)