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Chamber Music - To be released April 2, 2021 | Chandos

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Chamber Music - To be released April 2, 2021 | Chandos

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Classical - Released February 26, 2021 | Chandos

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For this album, Neeme Järvi and his Estonian National Symphony Orchestra present a delightful programme of lesser-known stage music from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Overtures by Thomas, Auber and Boieldieu were all composed for works staged at the Opéra-Comique in Paris, and are wonderful examples of the period. The Scène du bal and Vieille Chanson from Le Roi s’amuse were written by Delibes in 1882 as incidental music for Victor Hugo’s play, first performed in 1832 but banned after the first performance because it was deemed to be an attack on the reigning monarch, Louis Philippe. The play, which went on to form the basis of the libretto for Verdi’s Rigoletto, was eventually revived with some success, with Delibes’s score an important factor. Massenet’s one-act ballet Espada dates from 1908, and is the most recent – and most substantial – work on the album. Set in Spain, the work clearly owes more than one idea to Bizet’s Carmen (The Card Game and March of the Toreadors for example), but musically and orchestrally it is pure Massenet. © Chandos
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Classical - Released February 26, 2021 | Chandos

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Following his acclaimed recording of Beethoven’s Concertos with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet returns to his exploration of Haydn’s Sonatas, described by the magazine Gramophone as "a major modern recording landmark in the Haydn discography". As in previous instalments, Bavouzet has programmed sonatas from Haydn’s early, middle, and late periods, giving added interest to the recital. Sonatas No. 10 and No. 2, dating from the 1750s and ’60s respectively, share the key of C major, but differ in form. The short No. 2 was almost certainly written for pupils whilst Haydn was working as a teacher. No. 10 is more ambitious and extensive. Sonatas No. 41 and No. 44 date from the early 1770s and show some influence from C.P.E. Bach and the "Sturm und Drang" movement. More virtuosic than the earlier sonatas, in these the trademark humour of Haydn is also more evident. Sonatas No. 52 and No. 53 were composed a decade later and are conspicuously more demanding, technically and musically. As in the case of the previous volumes, this album was recorded at Potton Hall in Suffolk, on a Yamaha CFX Concert Grand Piano. © Chandos
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Chamber Music - Released February 26, 2021 | Chandos

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Paganini’s violin, the legendary "il Cannone", made by Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù in 1743, is one of the most important musical instruments in the history of Western music. Paganini was the greatest virtuoso of his time, acclaimed throughout Europe and an inspiration to performers and composers alike. On his death, he bequeathed "il Cannone" to his home city of Genoa, where it is permanently housed under high security in the Town Hall. It has been heard on record just a handful of times. Francesca Dego was given the honour of recording with it after the success of her first performance on the instrument, in October 2019, when she was invited to play Paganini’s First Violin Concerto at the Paganini Celebratory Concert at Teatro Carlo Felice, in Genoa. Francesca Dego comments: "Spending a few enchanted days recording with this priceless treasure was unforgettable. I was overwhelmed when I was first handed the instrument that had caressed the ears of Schumann, Schubert, Goethe, Rossini, Bellini, Berlioz, Chopin, Heine, and so many more. I remember standing in that very room as a young girl, hypnotised, staring at history behind glass, fingers tingling at the thought of touching it. And suddenly there I was, holding Paganini’s violin. I feel so privileged to be able to share the soul of "il Cannone" in a new recording. I remember thinking long and hard about the ideal programme and carefully selecting a series of works paying homage to Paganini. The "Cannon" has pretty much only ever been used to record music by Paganini, so the idea of its celebrated tone teaming up with composers who idolised the Italian virtuoso throughout history is really exciting to me!" © Chandos
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Classical - Released February 26, 2021 | Chandos

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"A Musical Zoo" with Ashley Riches and Joseph Middleton is a veritable tour de force, featuring compositions spanning nearly 160 years, from Schubert’s The Trout to Shostakovich’s Once there lived a cockroach, and four languages (German, French, Russian, and English). A strong representation of the German Lieder tradition (Schubert, Schumann, Wolf, Brahms, and Richard Strauss) is balanced by the French mélodie (Fauré, Ravel) and English lyricism (Ireland, Howells). The humans seem to have an endless fascination with the animal kingdom, and animals have proved an inspiration for artists, composers and writers alike. This recital demonstrates what a rich seam this has proved for a diverse range of composers. Ashley Riches comments: "The text [of a song] may outline to us what we see. But the flutterings of Schubert’s Birds, the flicking antennae of Shostakovich’s Cockroach, the rush of notes with which Ravel’s Peacock spreads its tail – these are movements and energies accessible to music alone". © Chandos
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Classical - Released January 29, 2021 | Chandos

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During the 1930s, Bliss, Britten, and Berkeley all contributed major works to the repertoire for string orchestra, following in the footsteps of Elgar and Vaughan Williams. They are joined on this album by Frank Bridge whose Lament was composed during the First World War. Bliss composed Music for Strings after he had completed the film score for Korda’s Things to Come, driven by his desire to compose a piece of ‘pure music’, expressing his own ideas rather than those of others. Commissioned in May 1937 by Boyd Neel for the Salzburg Festival that summer, Britten’s Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge was composed at great speed, and helped to establish the young composer’s international reputation. Dedicated to his teacher, Frank Bridge, the theme is taken from the second of Bridge’s Three Idylls for string quartet. Lennox Berkeley composed his Serenade for Strings at Snape Maltings, where he was living with Britten in 1938 and 1939. By the time of its completion the nation was at war and the music seems to reflect the composer’s anxious mood as the world faced an uncertain future. The front cover features a painting by Edward Wadsworth of Bliss’s house, Pen Pits, built for him in 1935. © Chandos
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Classical - Released January 29, 2021 | Chandos

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Since his highly praised Carnegie Hall début in New York City, the saxophonist Marco Albonetti has been engaged for performances and master-classes around the world. He has appeared at countless Italian theatres and numerous distinguished international venues. Albonetti first discovered the music of Piazzolla on the day he died – 4th July 1992 – when RAI reported the news and broadcast his music. Albonetti’s fascination for his music has persisted from that day forward. Traveling to Buenos Aires to research his doctoral dissertation, Albonetti had the privilege of examining the composer’s original manuscript scores and interviewing people who had worked closely with Piazzolla: his wife, Laura Escalada, his librettist Horacio Ferrer, and his fellow musicians Pablo Ziegler, Daniel Binelli, José Bragato, and Arturo Schneider. This album features his Albonetti’s own arrangements for saxophone and chamber orchestra, described by Piazzolla’s publisher as "a splendid piece of work, impeccably executed, and a demonstration of great respect for the music of Maestro Piazzolla". © Chandos
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Classical - Released January 29, 2021 | Chandos

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Like his friend and contemporary Rachmaninoff, Nikolai Medtner enjoyed a privileged and affluent upbringing, and was also exiled from Russia following the revolution in 1917. Unlike Rachmaninoff, Medtner could point to an ancestry that was part German, and his father’s passion for Germanic culture ensured that Goethe and Beethoven exerted as much influence on the young Medtner as Russian composers and writers, in particular Beethoven’s piano sonatas and string quartets. Medtner moved first to Germany, then France, before settling in London in 1935. The earlier songs in this programme, Op. 36 and Op. 37, were written against the backdrop of the revolution, shortly before he fled Russia. Op. 45 and Op. 46 (written to Russian and German texts, respectively) were composed in France. © Chandos
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Classical - Released January 29, 2021 | Chandos

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Roderick Williams and Iain Burnside complete their survey of Schubert’s song cycles with this recording of Winterreise. Composed in the late 1820s, towards the end of Schubert’s tragically short life, Winterreise ("Winter Journey") is a setting of twenty-four poems by Wilhelm Müller and describes a traveller leaving the town which was the home of the object of his unrequited love, to embark on a long journey, through a chill, wintry landscape, which ends in near-suicidal despair. This recording represents the culmination of a project that started back in 2015, when Williams accepted the challenge to prepare and perform all three song cycles in one season at the Wigmore Hall in London. Turning this challenge into a shared learning experience, Williams lead workshops and study days as well as numerous performances in a variety of venues. As in the case of the previous instalments (Schwanengesang and Die schöne Müllerin), also recorded at Potton Hall, Suffolk, Roderick Williams is accompanied by Iain Burnside, who plays a Steinway Model D. © Chandos
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Classical - Released January 8, 2021 | Chandos

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An extraordinary programme, of rare intelligence and curiosity. While the heart of the programme remains Arnold Schönberg's Verklärte Nacht (1899, here in his 1917 version for strings), it is not Edward Gardner's conducting, for all that it is very successful by dint of its transparence and assimilation of the composer's later course, which attracts the listener's attention here. The British conductor introduces Schönberg's work, with a musical setting of the same Dehmel poem, this time by Oskar Fried. Known for having made the first recording of a Mahler symphony in 1924, as well as a number of other essential milestones in the history of music, Oskar Fried was also a composer, but this side of him has probably been forgotten somewhat... His Verklärte Nacht (Op. 9) dates from 1901, and features two voices and a large orchestra. The treatment here may be surprising – one would at times think oneself to be dealing with England, or Northern Europe, rather than a post-Wagnerian environment. The splendid initial melodic curve, supported by a transparent orchestra, introduces a stage where the voices compete in lyricism ("Zwei Menschen gehn durch kahlen, kalten Hain"). Splendid work, even if the orchestra, in its later moments, may become a little heavier, making us almost long for the airy freshness of the beginning. Christine Rice and Stuart Skelton, sometimes recorded a little distantly, are magnificent, with sensitivity and a sense of heroism.This Chandos recording then features a magnificent cycle of four melodies by Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1920-1921), the Abschiedslieder. In the orchestral version, Korngold appears to be shouting out his love of Strauss's Rosenkavalier. The third, "Mond, so gehst du wieder auf" takes up short, recognisable motifs from the opera's finale (the part after the final trio), in an arrangement that accentuates its decadent spirit: but what beauty, what intelligence and what finesse in this orchestral treatment! The ever-so-slightly tired voice of Stuart Skelton undeniably contributes to the vivid emotion of this performance (far superior to the Capriccio version), even on the difficult Sterbelied. As for the Gefaßter Abschied, the fourth of the Lieder, it deploys a most engrossing orchestration, which perfectly maintains the dreamlike character of the previous Lied, along with a definitive sense of resignation.Despite all the beauties that dot this Chandos album, the jewel in the crown remains its beginning, Fieber by Léhar, a short and extraordinarily innovative piece for voice and orchestra, in fact taken from a broader cycle by Léhar, Aus eiserner Zeit. This is the most contrasting work in the orchestra, with timbres, textures, and constantly renewed patterns. And the thing that makes it so great? Edward Gardner does not remotely acknowledge the work’s Wagnerian influences, and Skelton's timbre is not that of a Heldentenor. In 1915, we really moved into another world, despite the memory of Berlioz remaining centre-stage... An album not to be missed under any circumstances. © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released January 8, 2021 | Chandos

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It's strange to think that, even as recently as five years ago, the overwhelming majority of even those working in classical music had had little or no contact with the music of Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-1996). Yet now, thanks especially to the work of Gidon Kremer (most recently partnering with Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra on DG for a magnificent recording of symphonies 2 and 21), Weinberg feels almost everywhere. Enjoyably so too, given the eloquence with which his Polish-accented, Jewish folk and Shostakovich-esque (but not) language speaks to us. So it was only a matter of time before quartet cycles emerged to give the Silesian Quartet's existing strong offering its first serious competition. Weinberg's seventeen string quartets span half a century, the first dating from 1937 when he was just eighteen and still self-taught, and the final one penned in 1986 at the end of his composing career. On to the Arcadia Quartet, and while they aren't presenting the quartets consecutively, this first volume does stick to the early end of his career: No. 2 in G major was written in 1939 and 1940 in Minsk, when he was a twenty-year-old composition student; then No. 5 in B-flat major dates from 1945 when he'd settled in Russia, and No. 8 from 1959. The quartet sound itself is a bright, polished one which brings a wonderful shine and luminosity to the lucid textures of No. 2, and a poised insistence to keening, elegiac moments such as the dark opening Adagio of No. 8, or the improvisatory opening violin solo of No. 5's fourth movement – to which the cloaked, flute-like tonal quality from the second violin solo then serves as an ear-pricking foil. Polish doesn't mean an unwillingness to get down and dirty though. For instance there's often an invigoratingly peasanty barb to their attack throughout No. 5's Scherzo, which overall is an edge-of-the-seat-exciting reading for the way, as things become increasingly whirlingly madcap, they hold onto technical precision alongside the fire. Essentially, these are readings that will throw up fresh qualities and colours to admire with each listen, and they bode very well indeed for the volumes to come. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz
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Classical - Released January 8, 2021 | Chandos

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For this his third volume of works by Antoine Reicha, the pianist Ivan Ilic turns to one of the composer’s most extraordinary works, L’Art de varier, Op. 57. ‘The Art of Variation’ consists of fifty-seven variations on a theme (that the number of variations match the opus number is not a coincidence) and was composed in 1802-03, at the beginning of the six-year period which Reicha spent in Vienna, where he studied with Haydn and re-kindled his previous friendship with Beethoven. The set is remarkable for its scale and invention. Ivan Ilic describes the work as the missing link between Bach’s Goldberg Variations and Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, which was certainly influenced by Reicha’s work. The recording was made at Potton Hall in Suffolk, on a Steinway Model D grand piano. © Chandos
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released January 8, 2021 | Chandos

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The British soprano Linda Richardson has performed extensively across the UK and continental Europe under conductors such as Bernard Haitink, Edo de Waart, Sir Mark Elder, Daniele Rustioni, Libor Pešek, and Carlo Rizzi. Her extensive repertoire includes roles ranging from Monteverdi and Mozart to Janácek, Britten, and Wagner. Linda Richardson writes: ‘I have had the privilege of performing many of the great leading soprano roles in the operatic repertoire, but as my career progressed, I found a special love and affinity for the roles that stood as pillars in Italian opera. The beautiful melodic lines, dramatic language, and the overall musical craftsmanship of these Italian composers make their characters especially thrilling. I chose these particular arias because they show the huge variety of heroines that can be found in the greatest Italian operas. Although most of the arias are expressions of love and loss it is the individual emotional journey of each character which I find so compelling’. © Chandos
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Classical - Released October 30, 2020 | Chandos

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Neeme Järvi returns to the Royal Scottish National Orchestra for a dazzling album of suites from the ballets Sylvia, La Source, and Coppélia by Delibes. Born into a musical family, Delibes enrolled at the Paris Conservatoire aged twelve, studying under several professors including Adolphe Adam. He spent the 1850s and early 1860s composing light operettas and working as a church organist, before achieving public recognition for his music for the ballet La Source in 1866. His later ballets Coppélia and Sylvia were key works in the development of modern ballet, giving the music much greater importance than was previously the case. Typical of the period, the plots for these ballets are obscure, convoluted, and complex, but it’s certainly Delibes’s talent for lyrical melody and musical expression of a mood or feeling that elevates all three of these scores above their contemporaries – indeed Coppélia went on to become the most frequently performed ballet at the Paris Opéra. Delibes was at the forefront of creating orchestral suites from his ballet music (much to the envy of Tchaikovsky, among others), and thus were indeed envisaged to be performed without staging or dancers. On this album Neeme Järvi adds several additional movements to expand upon the suites which appeared in Delibes’s lifetime. © Chandos
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Classical - Released October 30, 2020 | Chandos

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For the sixth volume of his Chopin project, the Canadian pianist and exclusive Chandos Artist Louis Lortie has built a programme that includes works from the earliest to the latest periods in the composer’s life, all of which have connection with or focus on Chopin’s Polish identity. The Hommage à Mozart, Op. 2 is a brilliant set of variations on "Là ci darem la mano" from Don Giovanni. Chopin composed it originally for piano and orchestra, in 1827, when he was just seventeen, and later made this arrangement for solo piano (a common practise at the time). The two Polonaises, Op. 40 date from the late 1830s, and contain some of his most openly nationalistic writing. The first – nicknamed "Military" – evokes sentiments of national identity and pride, whilst the second, more melancholy work portrays feelings evoked by Poland’s vanished statehood. Lortie concludes the album with Chopin’s Fantaisie, Op. 49, from 1841. This work exemplifies the brilliant improvisatory style of Chopin’s writing for piano. These works are interspersed with four sets of Mazurkas, Op. 6, Op. 24, Op. 41, and Op. 67. Chopin almost single-handedly introduced the Mazurka to Paris when he arrived there in the late 1820s, and continued to compose them throughout his life, transforming the Polish dance form into some of his most dazzling and memorable compositions. © Chandos
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Classical - Released October 30, 2020 | Chandos

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Paul Frankenburger (born in Munich on 5 July 1897) was a successful conductor and composer in Bavaria, until he lost his position at the Augsburg Opera owing to a financial crisis at the opera house. In 1933, he left Germany and immigrated to Mandatory Palestine. Immediately upon arriving in the new country, he changed his name to Paul Ben-Haim, and within a few years he had established himself as a cultural icon, a highly esteemed and influential composer, and the founder of a new musical tradition. Some consider Ben-Haim the national composer of the young state established in 1948, fifteen years after his immigration. The compositions on this album are closely linked to those dramatic years, during which he changed homelands, swapped identities, and, to a large degree, even replaced, or forged, his own unique personal style. Omer Meir Wellber, the new Chief Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic, makes his Chandos debut with this first album in a series devoted to exploring the music of Israel. © Chandos
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Miscellaneous - Released October 30, 2020 | Chandos

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Originating in the villages and ghettos of Eastern Europe, klezmer has been played from the early middle ages. The Jews who emigrated to America in the 1880s to early 1900s brought klezmer with them. In the New World, klezmer was heavily influenced by early jazz and swing, and the style continues to evolve. Klezmer’s distinctive sound blends artistic virtuosity with numerous tempo changes, irregular rhythms, dissonance, and an element of improvisation. Eclectic and diversified, klezmer is unique, easily recognisable, and widely appreciated. Kleztory is a rich mosaic of cultures (Russian, Canadian, Quebecois, and Moldavian), musical training (academic and self-taught), and musical tastes (classical, contemporary, jazz, blues, country, and folk). Combining their talents, these musicians perform with an emotion and a virtuosity that is the true spirit of klezmer. Momentum is Kleztory’s 6th album, and celebrates the band’s 20th anniversary. Combining traditional tunes and new compositions, the album juxtaposes music which the band has played since it started with completely new material. © Chandos
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Chamber Music - Released October 2, 2020 | Chandos

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Composed in the summer and autumn of 1781, Haydn’s Op. 33 Quartets were dedicated to the Grand Duke Paul of Russia and premiered on Christmas Day that year in the apartment of the Duke’s wife, the Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna. Nicknamed ‘the Russian quartets’, Op. 33 were some of Mozart’s favourites among Haydn’s works, and inspired Mozart to write his own set of six quartets, of 1785, dedicated to Haydn. Generally light in nature, the Op. 33 are extremely tuneful works, all set in major keys (apart from No. 1, in B minor), and all written in four movements. Founded in 1998, and exclusive Chandos recording artists since 2010, the Doric String Quartet has established itself as one of the leading quartets of its generation, receiving enthusiastic responses from audiences and critics alike. Previous releases in this series of Quartets by Haydn have been acclaimed by critics around the world. © Chandos
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Classical - Released October 2, 2020 | Chandos

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For his fifth volume of Schubert’s piano works, Barry Douglas turns to a contrasting pair of sonatas composed in the 1820s. The A minor, from 1823, was composed whilst he suffered an episode of depression following the onset (and harsh treatment for) syphilis. The D major sonata, however, was written in 1825 on a holiday to Gastein in the Austrian Alps, and is musically more confident and extravert, reminiscent of the ‘Great’ C major Symphony, begun during the same trip. Douglas completes his programme with a pair of Liszt transcriptions from Schwanengesang, Liebesbotschaft and Ständchen. As with the other volumes in this series, Barry Douglas plays a Steinway "Model D", and the recording was made in the Curtis Auditorium of the CIT Cork School of Music. © Chandos

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