Albums

711 albums sorted by Date: from newest to oldest
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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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Concertos for wind instruments - Released July 6, 2018 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Full Operas - Released June 29, 2018 | Nonesuch

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice - Choc de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Classical - Released June 15, 2018 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica
Of the three composers on this album, the Estonian Jaan Rääts is surely less well-known to Western European audiences than Arvo Pärt or Henryk Górecki – even though the latter is mainly famous for a single work, the monumental Third Symphony which is far from representing the majority of his output. That said, this, Lerchenmusik – a pun, as "Lerche" is not only the German for skylark, but also the name of the dedicatee – has plenty in common with the famous symphony: a consistently slow tempo, in fact very, very slow; long, breathtaking, sombre chords; and a very substantial theme. The work for clarinet, cello and piano was written in 1985 in a similar vein: perhaps Górecki had grasped what his audiences liked about his language, at least in terms of symphonies: that is, the incantatory, quasi-religious quality. So why disappoint his public? Pärt, for his part, contributes the Mozart-Adagio in memory of Oleg Kagan, in a first version for violin, cello and piano: the revision was made specifically for the musicians on this recording. The composer took a slow movement from the Mozart and put it through several harmonic and thematic metamorphoses. Finally, the Kaleidoskoopilised etüüdid by Jaan Rääts are presented here as a discographic world-first. Their "kaleidoscopic" aspect is created by juxtaposing short thematic, rhythmic, or instrumental cells, like so many minimalist fragments, all jumbled together: just like the effect of looking through a kaleidoscope. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released May 4, 2018 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Special Soundchecks
Absolute Jest, written in 2011 and revised a little later, is one of John Adams's most irresistible works. The composer borrows liberally from Beethoven, from the quartets but also the Ninth Symphony, to distil a furious, sumptuously-orchestrated score – alongside a solo string quartet, which could render the work a sort of concerto, Adams has added a harp and a piano, both tuned according to the meantone temperament, a way of blending tones and sounds together – which is rich in allusions ("tattoos", in Adams's phrase) to Ludwig van. The final movement, however, makes no bones about its debt to Stravinsky's Symphony in Three Movements. Highly original, Absolute Jest was written for Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Orchestra (a Qobuzissime of summer 2015), but the evidence is that every new performance uncovers new facets of the work. The same applies to Naïve and Sentimental Music, written for the Los Angeles Philharmonic (and there exists a superb recording of it, by Salonen with Nonesuch); note though that the score is neither naïve nor sentimental, but ferocious and original; the title is surely a borrowing from Schiller (Über naive und sentimentalische Dichtung), which classified Shakespeare and Homer as "naïve" poets. Among some slightly unusual sounds, the listener will note an electric guitar and a piano linked to a sampler… © SM/Qobuz
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Violin Concertos - Released April 27, 2018 | Nonesuch

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice
In 1994 John Adams composed his Violin Concerto, a work of breath-taking virtuosity written in an exhilarating and strongly rhythmic tone, sign that it was partly conceived for the New York City Ballet; even if the first movement is somewhat reminiscent − with its dreamlike atmosphere as well as fluid and elusive harmonies – of Berg’s Violin Concerto. It’s worth noting that the orchestra, in addition to its traditional elements, features a strong percussion section as well as two synthesisers that further add to the piece’s dreamlike and uncharted hue. That same year, violinist Leila Josefowicz (born in 1977) made her debut at Carnegie Hall in a concerto by Tchaikovsky conducted by Marriner: a big leap into what was to become an established international career. And it’s precisely for Josefowicz, small world indeed, that Adams wrote his dramatic symphony Scheherazade.2 for violin and orchestra: the bond between the soloist and the master is undeniably strong, and her interpretation couldn’t be more faithful to Adam’s original idea. © SM/Qobuz
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Symphonies - Released April 20, 2018 | ECM New Series

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Pärt's four symphonies stretch across a period of 45 years, from 1964 and 1966 respectively for the first two, 1971 for the third, and 2008 for the fourth. His first steps into the works of the symphony were still marked by dodecaphonism, although Pärt would not resist the gradual appearance of tonal poles in his work and "accidental" encounters between consonant notes and the harmonies that resulted; but the discourse remains very much linked to modernist principles, while exploring older forms of prelude and fugue, or indeed polyphony. With the Second, Pärt's avant-gardist period came to an end. From the 1970s, Pärt would completely revise his language, and come to concentrate on religious and medieval music, in such a way that his Third Symphony throws out dodecaphonism and all its theories, developing in their place a tonal, melodic, modal idiom (the old ecclesiastical styles, in fact). And within this personal revolution, Pärt would take a step into "tintinnabulum", which formed the basis of the Fourth Symphony, written for strings, harp and percussion: a wide world of meditation, stunning, unreal, intangible, and fundamentally tonal, in which the movements from one phenomenon to another move immensely slowly, allowing the listener to savour every moment. © SM/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released April 15, 2018 | Arion

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Chamber Music - Released April 13, 2018 | NoMadMusic

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
It goes without saying (but let's say it anyway) that an album of the complete recordings of Hindemith's sonatas for solo viola doesn’t have massive mainstream appeal. And yet there is so much joy in this rigorous and yet free-spirited music, made in the image of a composer whose Addams Family appearance hid a puckish spirit, not to mention a love of model railways and good eating. The four sonatas on offer here are given in reverse chronological order of composition: 1937, 1923, 1922 and 1919. It was in this last year, 1919, when the publisher Schott decided to sign the young composer of 24 on the spot: a remarkable idea, even though his editors could never keep pace with Hindemith's galloping successes. In this first sonata, we find all the components of the master's art: formal and counter-punctual rigour, irresistible rhythms, always a dash of irony and self-mockery, and an utterly splendid sense of theme. Bach was his model, of course, at least in the structure and pattern of the discourse, although this music remained completely modern, and indeed often far ahead of its own time. A note on the final sonata of 1937: Hindemith recorded it himself, taking a few liberties with the printed score. Viola player Ruth Killius has taken it upon herself to "restore" the original, taking some liberties of her own, following Hindemith, who loved to experiment in the spur of the moment… Killius, a disciple of Ulrich Koch and Kim Kashkashian, is a regular at – in no particular order – the Salzburg Festival, Frans Brüggen's Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, the Diapasons d’Or and the Gramophone Awards, and a regular performer of Beethoven, Elliott Carter, Isang Yun, Bruckner and Bartók; and with husband Thomas Zehetmair she founded the Zehetmair Quartet, which travels the world and plays all sorts of repertoires. © SM/Qobuz
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Concertos - Released April 6, 2018 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Symphonic Music - Released April 6, 2018 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Symphonies - Released April 6, 2018 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Special Soundchecks
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Symphonic Music - Released March 16, 2018 | Printemps des Arts de Monte-Carlo

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Solo Piano - Released March 16, 2018 | Printemps des Arts de Monte-Carlo

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Duets - Released February 23, 2018 | Indésens

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 étoiles de Classica
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Symphonic Music - Released February 9, 2018 | Ondine

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Special Soundchecks
‘Travel’ and ‘journey’ are often appropriate metaphors for the music of the Estonian composer Erkki-Sven Tüür (b. 1959). The composer himself describes his viola concerto Illuminatio as a “pilgrimage towards eternal light”, and with his Symphony No. 8 he stresses the importance of a “constant sense of ‘being on the road’”. This says something essential about the dynamics, growth and development of his music. To take a broader view, Tüür’s entire career may be described as a journey: in the course of his professional life beginning in the 1980s, he has thoroughly revised and reformed his idiom and compositional precepts. His ambitious journey began in rock music while at the same time he was studying flute, percussion and composition at the Conservatory. Since 1992 he has been a freelance composer. In his early career, Tüür developed a ‘polystylistic’ approach that combined minimalist and tonal elements on the one hand, modernist features on the other, into an idiom where he juxtaposed elements from different and seemingly incompatible styles, seeking both contrasts and syntheses. In the early 2000s, he went through a transition that resulted in his new composition technique. Here, “the entire composition is encapsulated in a source code – a gene which, as it mutates and grows, connects the dots in the fabric of the whole work”. All the works on the present album are from this period. The core of Tüür’s output consists of extensive orchestral works (including nine symphonies and several concertos), chamber music and vocal works. Whereas the viola concerto can be compared to a journey, Whistles and Whispers from Uluru (2007) for recorder and chamber orchestra was inspired by a landscape and a sonority. The piece was written to a commission from the Australian Chamber Orchestra for recorder virtuoso Genevieve Lacey, who also plays on this album – several different recorders, from sopranino to bass. Some sonorities are enhanced by electronic means. When a composer has written nine symphonies, the genre is obviosuly very important for him. In the case of Tüür, the term ‘symphonic’ must be understood in a broad sense – not as a strict formal scheme, but rather as a uniquely shaped and independently formed structure in each work. Tüür’s symphonies form the hard core of his output, spanning the length of his career, the first dating from 1984 and the latest from 2017. The symphonies vary greatly in terms of form, ensemble and idiom. Symphony No. 8 was commissioned by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and was completed in 2010. Considering the resources of the commissioning party, Tüür scored the work for a sinfonietta-type ensemble instead of a large symphony orchestra, and as a result the music has at times a chamber music feel. © SM/Qobuz
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Full Operas - Released February 9, 2018 | Cypres

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica
Nineteen musicians in the pit, three on stage; resolutely tonal music in a straight line of succession running from Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Martinů, Weill; French lyrics more declaimed than sung - by, happily, Francophone singer-actors led by Stéphane Degout, Vincent Le Texier, Yann Beuron and Chloé Briot: this is the framework that Philippe Boesmans chose for his latest opera Pinocchio, recorded live at La Monnaie in Brussels. The script is the work of Joël Pommerat, and it aims for an hour and fifteen of the quasi-melodrama based on the style which was in vogue in the 19th century in which to showcase the baffling musical richness of Collodi's work: and with immense success, it must be said. Pommerat is not necessarily looking to write a purely lyrical Pinocchio, but rather to develop an opera within an opera, using Brecht's favoured method of defamiliarisation, a sort of play-within-a-play, where "real" events alternate with narrative description of what's happening or about to happen. This is, without a shadow of a doubt, a major work for the contemporary scene, a worthy 21st-century successor to the Magic Flute and its fantasy world, immersive, and full of illusions, prisms and invitations to new readings: in short, a masterpiece. And it can hardly come as a surprise that the subject hasn't drawn the attention of more composers since it first appeared in 1881, as only cinema and television have really taken it seriously (and Disneyesque animations, heaping on the sugar), with the exception of Jonathan Dove's unique 2007 work, The Adventures of Pinocchio © SM/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released January 26, 2018 | Aeon

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles de Classica
Lucid music. Vivacity, wit, intensity, foldings and unfoldings of the pointillist material, embracing the thing itself and its contradiction – sensuality, drollery, dances, abysses like sudden draughts of air. Movement and standstill . . . Music that slaps, pinches, bites, muffles, growls. Here Pesson reinvigorates what might (already) be his own classicism (Carmagnole); draws a pencil moustache on Mozart, who is more than willing to wear it (Transformations du Menuet K. 355); hounds his language so far into the corner that it seems different, and probably becomes so, in the intransigent light of Opałka (Blanc mérité); a language that ramifies and scintillates in Proust (Ne pas oublier coq rouge dans jour craquelé); grows geometric in Pérec (Neige bagatelle); and denudes itself in ‘enfantines’ (Musica ficta). The Ensemble Cairn, a faithful partner of the label, under its director Guillaume Bourgogne, leads us into territories that could hardly be droller. © Aeon/Outhere
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Duets - Released January 19, 2018 | Bridge Records

Distinctions 5 de Diapason