Albums

1521 albums sorted by Date: from newest to oldest
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Secular Vocal Music - Released May 3, 2019 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet
On her first album under the label PentaTone, Czech mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená returns to her first baroque loves, collaborating with her fellow countryman Václav Luks and his excellent Prague ensemble. Both a harpsichordist and a horn player, Václav Luks studied at Basel Schola Cantorum before founding the choir Collegium Vocale 1704 in 2005, made up of ninety Czech singers and musicians. Titled Giardino dei sospiri (garden of sighs), this new album is a collection of scenes from secular cantatas or oratorios that glorify tragic love. The tragic heroes highlighted here in various pages of George Frideric Handel, Leonardo Leo, Benedetto Marcello, Leonardo Vinci, Francesco Gasparini and Domenico Sarro find in Magdalena Kožená a staunch advocate, who perfectly lives up to the task! A multi-faceted musical drama unfolds in our ears, which was initially created as a staged project. “From manipulative Agrippina, who would stop at nothing to put her son Nero on the throne, to magician Armida bewitching Rinaldo, and the priestess Hero who couldn’t survive her lover Leander’s accidental death, Magdalena Kožená brings the legendary heroines to life, with all the depth and virtuosity of her singing”, reads the introduction of the show Magdalena Kožená and Václav Luks will perform on their European tour in spring 2019. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Violin Solos - Released April 19, 2019 | Channel Classics Records

Booklet
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Full Operas - Released April 5, 2019 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama
With Les Indes galantes by Jean-Philippe Rameau, György Vashegyi – along with his Orfeo Orchestra and Purcell Choir – makes a further dazzling addition to their Glossa series of French dramatic masterpieces from the Baroque, and in the company of a luxurious line-up of vocal soloists. The version of this “ballet heroïque” – supplied with an anti-colonial, anti-clerical manifesto by librettist Louis Fuzelier – selected by Vashegyi is the 1761 revision, a mere decade or so before the irruption onto the Parisian musical scene of the likes of Gluck and Grétry. Rameau’s score had undergone frequent adjustments and improvements since its première a quarter of a century earlier, and the performing edition for this recording, prepared for the Rameau Opera Omnia by Sylvie Bouissou (who also provides a booklet essay here), offers a vision of this work which is more theatrical, fluid and concise than hitherto. Just in themselves, the names of Chantal Santon-Jeffery, Katherine Watson, Véronique Gens, Reinoud Van Mechelen, Jean-Sébastien Bou and Thomas Dolié (sharing out the dozen solo roles) augur well for a glorious exploration of the prologue and three entrées ahead. Recently, they have also, in conjunction with the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles, been working on questions of tempo and how to perform Rameau’s sequences as the composer intended. Vashegyi brings a consummate understanding of Rameau’s galante style to the proceedings, following two previous Ramellian Glossa outings (Naïs and Les Fêtes de Polymnie). © Glossa
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Sacred Oratorios - Released April 5, 2019 | Philharmonia Baroque Productions

Hi-Res Booklet
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Duets - Released March 29, 2019 | Erato

Hi-Res Booklet
On this record, Renaud Capuçon and David Fray decided to turn their back on the musicology-inspired understanding of baroque music. Enough of “the dictatorship of the historically informed.” They chose instead to play this music from the heart, just as the masters did in the previous century. Their choice is sincere in a field of numerous conflicts between schools of thoughts. Six sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord was composed by Bach when he was at the court of Coethen. It was especially admired by Carl Philipp Emanuel, the Cantor’s second son. As often happens, however, the autographed manuscript has disappeared and it is through series of copies that we know it today.  It was published for the first time in 1804, fifty years after Bach’s death. The six sonatas are written according to Corelli’s rules. They imagine a new type of dialogue in the chamber orchestra where keys are not in the background. The writing is precise, expressive, and rhythmical. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released March 22, 2019 | La Dolce Volta

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Editor's Choice
Bach to the Future gained considerable publicity from being the last recording made on the 1868 Cavaillé-Coll organ at Notre-Dame cathedral before the devastating fire of 2019. It might just as well, however, have become renowned if there had been no fire: it is one of the most exciting organ releases of recent years. Organist Olivier Latry became titulaire des grands orgues at Notre-Dame in 1985, when he was just 23, but he has lost none of his youthful brashness, indicated perhaps by the album's punning title. Latry explains his ideas in an interesting an readable accompanying note. More than in any other genre of classical music, a performance of an organ work is an interpretation by the player, who shapes its basic textures. Latry takes this idea and develops it, using stops that did not exist in Bach's time. Furthermore, he has familiarized himself with arrangements of Bach's organ works made for other media, including Leopold Stokowski's crowd-pleasing orchestral version of the Toccata and fugue in D minor, BWV 565, and Liszt's version of the Fantasy and Fugue, BWV 542 (presented here as two separate tracks, for Latry is unconvinced that they were meant as a unit). Latry incorporates sonorities of these into his organ performances; sample the blazing Toccata and fugue, a real thrill that, like everything else on the album, is recorded to the hilt. The result is an organ album of almost unprecedented textural breadth and brilliance. Latry has other unusual ideas, such as the organ performance of the six-part ricercar from the Musical Offering, BWV 1079, at the beginning, plunging the listener into a murky world of complexity, and the narrative treatment of the Passacaglia and fugue in C minor, BWV 582. Yet more is there for the listener to discover, all of it part of the story of the great Notre-Dame organ that will, thankfully, be ongoing.
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Chamber Music - Released March 15, 2019 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Couperin’s four Concerts royaux were published in 1722 as in a supplement to his third anthology of harpsichord pieces. They sound like a twilight tribute to Sun King’s reign. The score doesn’t mention any instrument but we know the musician envisaged them as ensemble pieces for a mixed consort of instruments. And that was how they were performed at the Sunday concerts at Versailles organized by Mme de Maintenon for Louis XIV between 1714 and 1715. Chamber music concerts were in fashion at the time so the four Suites were to be played by a bass instrument and several dessus, and not only by the solo harpsichord. Christophe Rousset and his soloists recorded with sense and sensibility this concentrate of French elegance and virtuosity! With Violinist Stéphanie-Marie Degand, Flutist Georges Barthel, Oboist Patrick Beaugiraud and Violist Atsushi Sakaï, the 18th-century-music lover and baroque conductor features a majestic version of these well-named royal Concerts! © Aparté Music
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Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released March 15, 2019 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet
It is to the distinctive compositional voice of Jan Dismas Zelenka that Ruben Jais and laBarocca turn for their latest release from the Glossa label with a new recording of the Missa Omnium Sanctorum. For more than thirty years Zelenka worked as a composer and as a double-bass player at the Dresden Court, the musical establishment which – in the first half of the eighteenth century – was regarded as one of the glories of its age. Zelenka finished this mass, an expansive, dynamic multi-movement work (notably the Gloria) scored for soloists, chorus and orchestra, in 1741; by this time the composer was in his sixties, and the mass stands as one of the summations of his creative endeavours. The Milanese Ruben Jais – who has previously prepared programmes of Bach and Gluck for Glossa – provides exuberant conducting for music which takes in studied choraal sections, exhilarating fugues, High Baroque flourishes as well as the dance-like tendencies of the galant style. In this musical diversity Ruben Jais is accompanied by a solo team consisting of Carlotta Colombo, Filippo Mineccia, Cyril Auvity and Lukas Zeman, but with more than important contributions being required from the choral and instrumental forces of laBarocca. © Glossa
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Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released March 8, 2019 | Naxos

Hi-Res Booklet
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Classical - Released February 22, 2019 | Ramée

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
Although we know of at least five concertos J.S. Bach wrote for solo organ we have no surviving Bach organ concertos with orchestral accompaniment. Contrast this with the 200+ cantatas: of these, 18 feature organ obbligato, which Bach uses as a solo instrument in arias, choral sections and sinfonias. The most obviously conspicuous date to 1726. In May to November of that year, Bach composed six cantatas which assign a prominent solo role to the organ. Most of these are reworkings of movements of lost violin and oboe concertos written in Bach’s time at Weimar and Köthen. Why Bach wrote such a number of obbligato organ cantatas in such a short period remains unknown. One possible explanation may lie in Dresden, where Bach had given a concert on the new Silbermann organ in the Sophienkirche in 1725. Some scholars think that, in addition to other organ works, he also performed organ concertos, or at least a few earlier versions of the sinfonias, with obbligato organ and strings in order to show off the organ. From the cantatas mentioned above, along with the related violin and harpsichord concertos, it is perfectly possible to reconstruct a number of three-movement organ concertos of this type. By using this method, we hope to bring some of the music which Bach may have performed in Dresden in 1725 back to life. © Ramée/Outhere
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Mélodies (England) - Released February 22, 2019 | Warner Classics

Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released February 22, 2019 | Warner Classics

Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Sacred Oratorios - Released January 18, 2019 | Paraty

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Chamber Music - Released January 11, 2019 | Mirare

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama
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Mélodies (French) - Released January 11, 2019 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
As the first of a series of publications that aim to celebrate forty years of the "Arts Flo" founded by William Christie in 1979, this new album, recorded at the Philharmonie de Paris in 2016, is made up of "serious songs and “drinking songs" from France in the 17th century. Following the filming of Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea, performed at the Salzburg Festival 2018, and the ambitious complete recording of Carlo Gesualdo’s Madrigaux conducted by Paul Agnew, who is little by little taking over as the ensemble’s conductor, new editions are returning towards harmonia mundi, the "historic" publisher of the Arts Florissants and their founder. This recording is a perfect “Map of Tendre” of the loved-up 17th century, with its lovelorn shepherds, pretty shepherdesses (jolies bergères, in fact!) who aren't always too chaste, and helpful birds. Having only just moved on from Renaissance polyphony, French composers, very much influenced by their Italian colleagues, produced airs de cour (courtly airs) which would become the first constitutive elements of French opera. This album brings together the composers who best represent this musical trend. It gives us Marc-Antoine Charpentier as well as Michel Lambert, who wrote serious melodies, and Sébastien Le Camus, who would quickly become one of the musical favourites of the Parisian salon scene. These men dominated the musical productions which then circulated in either printed or manuscript form, or in periodicals such as Le Mercure galant. What a happy time it was for France, when love, sincere love, always won out over adversity and jealousy. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Solo Piano - Released January 4, 2019 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Classical - Released December 28, 2018 | Brilliant Classics

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Classical - Released December 28, 2018 | Brilliant Classics

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Classical - Released December 28, 2018 | Brilliant Classics

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Chamber Music - Released December 7, 2018 | Alia Vox

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
These were the days when France was considered a European beacon of art and culture. This symbol of refinement and sophistication is brilliantly embodied here by Le Concert des Nations conducted by Jordi Savall in a dream French-German arrangement that combines the music of Jean-Ferry Rebel and Georg Philipp Telemann, who express themselves in a supranational musical style to reach a sort of baroque dance climax. Savall gives leans heavily on the carefree splendour of Louis XV’s reign with these successive rococo ballets for which one can easily imagine the astounding dancing steps depicted by paintings from the likes of Watteau, Lancret and Hallé. Jordi Savall’s interpretation is simultaneously rich, skilful and extremely refined. The whole vocabulary for dance and decorum is used in these scores which rely on the very rhythms of that era: minuet, jig, rigadoon, passepied and gavotte, as well as, at times, a form of nostalgia inherited from the previous century in memory of the end of the Great King’s reign. This is a deep dive into the lavish world of the wealthy living in a perfect bubble that the French Revolution would brutally pop at the end of this Age of Enlightenment; an era of political and social reflection that saw the emergence of the idea of tolerance before ending in a bloodbath, a bloodbath from which the modern world was about to be born. © François Hudry/Qobuz