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Classical - To be released November 8, 2019 | Alpha

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Sacred Vocal Music - To be released November 1, 2019 | Alpha

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Classical - To be released October 25, 2019 | Alpha

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Classical - To be released October 25, 2019 | Alpha

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Classical - Released October 11, 2019 | Alpha

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Classical - Released October 4, 2019 | Alpha

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Reinoud van Mechelen excels in the baroque repertoire, to which he has dedicated several records from his ensemble A Nocte Temporis, also with Alpha. In this new album, the first of a trilogy which will cover Lully, Rameau and Gluck, he doesn't play the role of a fictional character, but rather of a real-life tragedian and singer who was very famous in his day: Dumesny. The latter was working in the kitchens when Lully heard his fine counter-tenor voice. As he couldn't read music, he had to learn his arias by ear. His frequently-imperfect intonation was – happily – compensated by a great talent for acting. His rare tessitura – a high tenor's voice – opened him the door into the world of French musical tragedy in the Grand Siècle. In the first segment of this three-part project, undertaken with the support of the Centre de musique baroque de Versailles, Reinoud van Mechelen sings Lully and his contemporaries (Marais, Charpentier, Desmarest, Collasse, Gervais and Destouches) with impeccable accuracy, articulation and feeling. Conceived as a tragedy for a singer, the programme contains a rich collection of arias: "cruels tourments" and "amoureuse inquiétude" form a "charmant concert" and the musicians of A Nocte Temporis lend the soloist a dramatic backing that befits the dramas weaved by his voice. This will thrill fans of the music of the Grand Siècle and baroque-lovers alike. © Elsa Siffert/Qobuz
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Classical - Released October 4, 2019 | Alpha

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Do not adjust your set, there is no mistake: you're not listening to a Marcel Perez record. This is indeed the Vespers of the Blessed Virgin by Monteverdi for the label Alpha. Simon- Pierre Bestion, faithful fixture of the Cris de Paris and Insula Orchestra, conducts his own ensemble, La Tempête. With its wild vocal polyphonics, it is rooted in the folk traditions of Sardinia and Corsica. These Vespers are simply stunning, and enriched by Gregorian faux-bourdons. As the instrumentation wasn't always set down precisely, the orchestra is able to make use of uncommon timbres, while still respecting the Italian cosmopolitanism of the Venice of the day (a shofar, harps, trombones, chitarrones). Published (in part) just after Orfeo (1607) and Arianna (1608), also by Monteverdi, this collection of Vespers (1610) remains mysterious in spite of the best efforts of musicologists. Its different portions were most likely written at different moments in the musician's career. Some pieces will have been written prior to its publication, and others added rather later. The response Domine ad adjuvandum, which uses the same material as the toccata from the overture to Orfeo, corroborates this picture. Simon-Pierre de Bestion's interpretation of this text is unique, and based on a conception of the rites that is full of solemnity and trance. The grandiose score bursts the normal bounds of the form and invites such a re-reading: its daring stretches out time, and the varied succession of the pieces within it dazzle us time and time again, thanks to the musical audacity of these thrilling artists. © Elsa Siffert/Qobuz
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Classical - Released October 4, 2019 | Alpha

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Following two stunning projects with his spouse, the cellist Marie-Elisabeth Hecker, Martin Helmchen started a solo collaboration with the label Alpha Classics, publishing a remarkable version of the Variations Diabelli, one of the best in recent years, and certainly better than the one by Gorini on the same label. As part of the year of Beethoven, he has teamed up with conductor Andrew Manze for a complete recording of the Concertos by the Master of Bonn. This first volume sets the tone. From the first movement of the Second Concerto, we are gripped by the speed of the ensemble, the resurgence of a revitalised musical spirit, a supreme musicality: in sum, a celebration of the feverish creativity of the Master of Bonn. After this Allegro which is truly "con brio", a major contrast is achieved with the Adagio where Martin Helmchen's singing is reserved, with a lyrical tenderness that recalls Mozart's later Concertos. But there is also something profoundly modern here, in that accumulated sense of waiting, of "suspense" and suspension, which are the hallmarks of the young Beethoven. In the Emperor, recorded at the Berliner Philharmoniker, Helmchen's piano continues to bring opposites together – this mix of impetuosity and tender lyricism – without ever feeling forced. The lively, sensitive orchestra, conducted by Manze, provides a sweeping breadth that Martin Helmchen must have long dreamt of. Amidst the whole swelling ocean of Beethoven, this new release is not to be missed. © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz
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Classical - Released October 4, 2019 | Alpha

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A grasshopper, a milkmaid’s pail, a shepherd, a fox, a country mouse, a cobbler... These are just some of the diverse and varied characters from the famous Fables that Jacques Offenbach decided to set to music in 1842, some 150 years after they were written by Jean de La Fontaine. With their vivid texts featuring talking animals and stock characters, the Fables offered an allegorical and didactic way of alluding to the court and the mores of the time. Offenbach chose six of the 240 Fables of La Fontaine to set as mélodies. Here the conductor Jean-Pierre Haeck presents them in his own orchestration performed by the Orchestre de l’Opéra de Rouen and the mezzo-soprano Karine Deshayes, who excels in this repertory. To complete the programme, the singer performs numbers from Offenbach’s opéra-bouffe Boule-de-neige and the orchestra plays movements from the ballet Le Papillon, offering listeners a recording as refined as it is witty. © Alpha Classics
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Chamber Music - Released October 4, 2019 | Alpha

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Classical - Released September 27, 2019 | Alpha

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Classical - Released September 27, 2019 | Alpha

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For more than a century, from the last Valois kings to the early years of the reign of Louis XIV, the air de cour was truly the emblematic genre of French secular music. The term bears witness to the influence on and transformation by worldly and literate circles of vocal genres of popular origin such as the vaudeville, combined with Italian influences (the villanella), based on the principles of a simple strophic musical setting that facilitated understanding of the poetic text. Three composers dominated the production of airs de cour in the reigns of Henry IV and Louis XIII, bringing the genre to its peak: Pierre Guédron (1565-1620), Antoine Boesset (1587-1643) and Étienne Moulinié (1599-1676). To mark the twentieth anniversary of his ensemble, Vincent Dumestre has chosen to celebrate the air de cour by bringing together excerpts from his five recordings devoted to the genre. A book accompanies this double album, including an article written by Thomas Leconte of the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles, a rich array of illustrations and an article on the historical context by Alexandre Maral, Curator General at the Musée National du Château de Versailles. © Alpha Classics
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Classical - Released September 27, 2019 | Alpha

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Paavo Järvi inaugurates his new contract as conductor of the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zurich with a programme devoted to Messiaen. Alpha Classics will accompany this extremely promising combination: ‘I’ve always admired French music very much. (...) I think Messiaen is the most original voice, someone absolutely unique. You need only listen for three seconds to a work by Messiaen to be sure that it is by him. His style is so clear, so unmistakable. In his two early works Les Offrandes oubliées and Le Tombeau resplendissant, religion and mysticism play an important role. If you listen carefully, you will notice how a harmony is continually transformed, so that you can never predict what sound will come next. But Messiaen’s harmonic language is not experimental: it produces an inevitable meaning, and you get the feeling that the chord sequence can be that way and no other. Music is a language of its own; music begins where words leave off.’ (Excerpt from an interview with Paavo Järvi) © Alpha Classics
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Classical - Released September 20, 2019 | Alpha

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The history of coffee is fascinating! From the opening of the first establishments in Constantinople in the middle of the sixteenth century to the appearance and diffusion of the drink in Europe in the following century, coffee and coffee houses were highly fashionable. Two composers devoted a cantata to the topic. Gottfried Zimmermann opened his famous coffee house in Leipzig in 1715 and organised concerts there. Around 1735, Bach composed his famous cantata Schweigt still, plaudert nicht, which was probably performed there. It depicts the humorous dispute between a father and his daughter over her consumption of coffee. In Paris, Nicolas Bernier’s cantata Le Caffé (1664-1734) praised the beverage and its many virtues. The ‘Coffee Road’ Olivier Fortin has mapped out here makes a detour to London around 1660, where the composer Matthew Locke frequented the Turk’s Head Coffee House and promoted a string fantasia. Fortin has chosen to organise this album like a fasil, a ‘suite of pieces’ in traditional Ottoman music, with taqsims (improvisations) interspersed among the compositions and played on such instruments as the ney flute, the Arab violin and the yayli tanbur. © Alpha Classics
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Classical - Released September 20, 2019 | Alpha

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The young German baritone Konstantin Krimmel won the prestigious "Preis des Deutschen Musikwettbewerbs" in 2019, in addition to the Helmut Deutsch Prize. He joins Alpha Classics for a number of recordings, starting with this programme of Lieder conceived with his longstanding partner, the pianist Doriana Tchakarova. This lover of words, a particularly expressive performer in concert, wanted to ‘tell a story’ for his first album: he chose to record a selection of ballads, because ‘they are genuine operas in just a few minutes... mini-sagas that permit great interpretative freedom’. Among the great poets present here are Schiller, Goethe and Heinrich Heine. As to the composers, alongside the indispensable Schubert and Schumann, this programme presents a great master of the genre, Carl Loewe, who wrote several hundred ballads: the works recorded here, inspired by Scots poems or Danish legends, are especially eloquent. There is also a chance to discover the much more rarely recorded Adolf Jensen, a great admirer of Wagner, whom he met in 1861: ‘To translate Wagner’s ideas of Beauty and Truth to smaller forms has been my aim in all my later compositions’. © Alpha Classics
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Concertos - Released September 13, 2019 | Alpha

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Patricia Kopatchinskaja has constructed a programme entitled Time and Eternity around the masterpiece which is Concerto funebre by Karl-Amadeus Hartmann, written in 1939 as an act of resistance against the Nazi regime. With the Bern Camerata – of which she is the artistic director – she blazes a bright trail of memory with her violin. The works follow a pattern, like a syncretistic rosary, where traditional songs (Kol Nidre, Elijahu Hanawi, one Polish prayer, one Orthodox) are prolonged by scores from the repertoire: John Zorn and his Kol Nidre where notes held at a drone across several octaves envelop the melodic fragments of the original melody in a liturgical echo chamber; Frank Martin and his Polyptyque for Violin and Orchestra, written in 1973 for Yehudi Menuhin, with an aching lyricism inspired by the painting of the Passion of the Christ by Buoninsegna; Machaut and the Kyrie of his Messe de Notre-Dame, almost contemporary in this arrangement for strings played in a great variety of ways; Bach and a choice of chorales, in particular the Ach großer König from the St John Passion. This dialogue between pieces from distant eras and cultures – six hundred years of music to raise the voices of the victims, as Patricia Kopatchinskaja sums it up – is an expression of a collective pardon. Consoling breaths are worked in between pieces which make great demands on the listener. The violinist, who has recorded Poulenc, Bartók and Ravel for the same label not long ago, never ceases to amaze us. This album proves once more that she is a formidably intelligent musician, gifted with a powerful imagination! © Elsa Siffert/Qobuz
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Concertos - Released September 13, 2019 | Alpha

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After releasing two recordings – the first devoted to Chopin and the second to Ravel and Scriabin – and winning First Prize at the Géza Anda Competition in 2015, which gave his career a powerful momentum, the young American pianist Andrew Tyson has conceived a new tailor-made programme of music by Domenico Scarlatti, Schubert, Mompou and Albéniz. His programme focuses on landscapes, starting out from Federico Mompou’s piece of that name (Paisajes) and taking us on a journey elsewhere in Spain (Sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti, Book I of Iberia by Isaac Albéniz) and the Austrian countryside (where Franz Schubert composed the Sonata in A Major D. 664). © Alpha Classics
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Chamber Music - Released September 6, 2019 | Alpha

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The Quatuor Voce is fifteen years old! To celebrate this anniversary, the four musicians present an album focusing on two composers, Mozart and Schubert, but only one number: 15! This milestone, an age imbued with both ardour and maturity, is therefore embodied in the respective fifteenth quartets of these two geniuses of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Mozart composed his Quartet No. 15 in 1783, as the second in the set of six "Quartets dedicated to Haydn". Schubert wrote his Quartet No. 15, his last work in the genre, in 1826. He composed it in only ten days but did not live to hear its first performance, which took place twenty-three years after his death. © Alpha Classics
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Symphonic Music - Released September 6, 2019 | Alpha

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This live recording of Strauss’s Metamorphosen and Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony marks the birth on record of the ‘Sinfonia Grange au Lac’, an orchestra created in July 2018 on the occasion of the Rencontres Musicales d’Évian, the prestigious festival created by Mstislav Rostropovich in 1985 and revived since 2014. A musical ambassador intended to promote the excellence of its parent festival worldwide, the Sinfonia Grange au Lac consists of musicians from leading European orchestras (in Amsterdam, Berlin, Frankfurt, Leipzig, London, Lucerne, Munich, Paris, Salzburg, Valencia and Vienna) as well as existing groups such as the Trio Karénine and the Quatuor Ébène. And it was a stroke of genius to manage to secure the services of Esa-Pekka Salonen. The brilliant Finn became a passionate supporter of the project, checking the list of members one by one. He told Diapason magazine: ‘Our work together made me understand what guided Claudio Abbado when he created the Lucerne Festival Orchestra: the pleasure of working with handpicked musicians and making music with great freshness.’ © Alpha Classics
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Chamber Music - Released August 30, 2019 | Alpha

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The Lockenhaus International Chamber Music Festival is regarded as one of Austria’s most prestigious festivals: it was created by the violinist Gidon Kremer to offer a new vision of chamber music and the opportunity to create musical exchanges in an intimate setting. The cellist Nicolas Altstaedt succeeded Gidon Kremer in 2012 and now continues the spirit of the festival. For this first recording in partnership with Lockenhaus, he is joined by experienced partners, including the Norwegian violinist Vilde Frang, the Hungarian violinist Barnabás Kelemen, the German pianist Alexander Lonquich – whose Schubert double album was recently released on Alpha – and the British violist Lawrence Power. Together they have selected two works, the Piano Quintet of Béla Bartók, a demanding composition, rarely performed even though it is considered an intensely personal work, and the String Trio of Sándor Veress, a former student of Bartók. Nicolas Altstaedt has joined Alpha for several recording projects that will illustrate the full range of his talents, in a highly eclectic range of music. © Alpha Classics

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