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Classical - Released March 19, 2021 | Phi

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New recordings. After a widely acclaimed St. John Passion in 2020, Philippe Herreweghe and his Collegium Vocale Gent continue their in-depth exploration of the works of the composer who has earned them worldwide fame. Of the two cantatas recorded here, Es ist dir gesagt, Mensch, was gut ist BWV 45, written in 1726, is built around a very virtuosic, almost operatic bass solo setting scriptural words of Christ. Laß, Fürstin, laß noch einen Strahl, BWV 198, which dates from the following year, was composed for the funeral of Christiane Eberhardine, Electress of Saxony and titular Queen of Poland, the daughter of the Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth and an ardent Lutheran, whose death had deeply affected the people of Leipzig. These works are accompanied by the soothing, luminous motet O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht (BWV118), also composed for a funeral service in 1736 or 1737. © Phi
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Classical - Released October 23, 2020 | Phi

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Composed in 1866 for the inauguration of a votive chapel in Linz Cathedral, Anton Bruckner’s Mass No. 2 is a fine example of modernity blended with a centuries-old religious tradition, in that wind instruments are set in dialogue with choral writing inspired by Gregorian chant. Shorter in duration but scored for chorus and large orchestra with four soloists, his Te Deum of 1881 was acclaimed by such illustrious contemporaries as Hans Richter and Mahler, while the composer, usually very self-critical, opined that the score of this work would make God ‘judge him kindly’. Like the eminent interpreter of the sacred repertory he is, Philippe Herreweghe here conveys with great fervour his vision of these two major religious works of the second half of the nineteenth century. © Phi
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Classical - Released February 7, 2020 | Phi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Bach’s St. John Passion, with its famous opening chorus traversed by shadows and light, is a powerful musical and spiritual reflection. Dramatic, grandiose, complex, resolutely theatrical: there has been no lack of superlatives to describe this supreme masterpiece of western music. Philippe Herreweghe and Collegium Vocale Gent present an accomplished reading that reflects their knowledge of the composer, based on extensive research and deepened by countless concerts. Soloists Krešimir Stražanac and Maximilian Schmitt demonstrate the breadth of their talents in the roles of Jesus and the Evangelist. © Phi
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Classical - Released November 1, 2019 | Phi

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Philippe Herreweghe and the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra explore the tormented world of Robert Schumann. Symphonies Nos. 2 and 4 plunge us into the psychological tangles of the composer’s mind, reflecting his relentless struggle with melancholy and depression. In these two seminal works, a slow and sombre introduction unveils the main motifs that will unfold throughout, before culminating in an emphatic and optimistic finale. The director from Ghent (and former psychiatrist) Philippe Herreweghe manages to grasp the full complexity of this cathartic process leading us from darkness into light. He delivers a lively and urgent interpretation of these romantic masterpieces, confirming his reputation as an unrivalled performer of the German repertoire. © Phi
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Cantatas (sacred) - Released September 21, 2018 | Phi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
For the fourth time on the Phi label, Philippe Herreweghe presents three cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach – Christ lag in Todesbanden, BWV 4, Gott der Herr ist Sonn und Schild, BWV 79, and Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott, BWV 80. Written at different moments in the composer’s life and based to a large extent on the works of Martin Luther, these cantatas reflect a marked taste for dramaturgy, vivid word painting and an invariably astonishing use of instruments and voices. Philippe Herreweghe and Collegium Vocale Gent give us an accomplished version of these masterpieces, confirming, if further proof were needed, their stature as ardent champions of Bach. © Outhere Music
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Classical - Released May 11, 2018 | Phi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
This is a long way from the richness of the gilt and mosaics of Venice's San Marco, in this new Vespro della Beata Vergine by Claudio Monteverdi, recorded by Philippe Herreweghe in the summer of 2017. Above all, the Flemish chief is interested in intimacy; and he knows this extraordinary score like the back of his hand, having conducted it very often, recording it for the first time in 1986 (for harmonia mundi) with the Collegium Vocale Gent, La Chapelle Royale and the Sacqueboutiers of Toulouse. Philippe Herreweghe is looking for the purest possible expression of piety, using a whole range of methods with sophistication, and a sparse but perfect unity between the vocal soloists and the solo instrumentalists. In this masterpiece, which represents an audacious alloy of the "stile antico" and the "stile moderno", it seems that Philippe Herreweghe wanted to highlight the former. With its famous Virgin, flanked by Della Robbia's saints and the mystery of its catacombs which lead who-knows-where, the beautiful church of San Francesco di Asciano, not far from Siena, is being used more and more for concerts and recordings: does its inspiring ambiance call out for music? © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Symphonies - Released December 1, 2017 | Phi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Cantatas (sacred) - Released September 8, 2017 | Phi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 étoiles de Classica
For the third time on the Phi label, Philippe Herreweghe gives us the opportunity to (re)discover three cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach – Nimm von uns, Herr, du treuer Gott, BWV 101, Ihr werdet weinen und heulen, BWV 103 and Mache dich, mein Geist, bereit, BWV 115. After two albums of cantatas written during the composer’s first year in Leipzig, the Belgian conductor and his Collegium Vocale Gent, orchestra and choir, will be performing three cantatas he composed during his second year as Kantor at St Thomas’s. The choir and vocal soloists are once again challenged to produce performances of subtlety and refined virtuosity, and the instrumentarium is as rich and colourful as those heard previously in this series. © Phi
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Classical - Released May 12, 2017 | Phi

Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - 4 étoiles Classica
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Classical - Released March 24, 2017 | Phi

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In this exemplary recording of six Bach motets Philippe Herreweghe leads Collegium Vocale Ghent (an ensemble that includes both singers and instrumentalists) and ten soloists in performances of exceptional finesse and elegance. That's no easy task given the dense contrapuntal textures that characterizes several of the motets written for double chorus and orchestra. It takes great skill to keep the music, in a movement like the opening to "Singet dem Herr ein neues Lied," from turning into a murky undifferentiated stew of busyness, but Herreweghe keeps the sound open and varied. One crucial element is the absolutely pristine intonation and pure tone of the singers, which makes the harmonies clear and distinct. Herreweghe's graceful shaping of the phrases creates the sense of overlapping waves rising and falling rather than a monolithic wall of sound. The choruses' discipline in their precise observance of producing matching vowels is another factor that allows the intricacies of the music to come across as clean and well-defined. Although it is scored it for the same forces, in Komm, Jesu, komm Bach works with gleaming, transparent textures, where the felicities of Herreweghe's leadership and the refinement of the soloists, choruses, and orchestra are even more clearly in evidence. His attention to the emotional content of the piece gives the music a powerfully yearning warmth that, in spite of the large number of performers, feels intensely intimate. The engineers deserve much credit for creating such a carefully balanced aural environment, where details pop with amazing clarity and the sound is at the same time warm and enveloping. This is a release best experienced on a sound system that provides optimal separation and definition. Highly recommended; these are performances that should delight and dazzle fans of Baroque choral music. © TiVo
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Symphonic Music - Released March 24, 2017 | Phi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica
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Classical - Released October 28, 2016 | Phi

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Chamber Music - Released September 23, 2016 | Phi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles Classica
The pairing of the two works on this album is unique in that one comes from the dawn, the other from the dusk of Ludwig van Beethoven’s career. Indeed, whereas the composer wrote the Quintet for winds and piano, Op. 16 when he was only 26 – the talented young man also excelled as a successful pianist –, he did not finish his String Quartet Op. 130 until a year before his death. The direct comparison of these two works on the same disc intelligently sheds light on the fantastic distance the composer covered between these two points in time. Two years after the success of their Schubert album, very warmly received by the press and public alike, the Edding Quartet and Northernlight felicitously join together once again on the same album to give new readings of these masterpieces of the chamber music repertoire. Having become major interpreters of the Classical and Romantic repertoires, the two ensembles offer expert performances, refined and precise, of two of the German composer’s finest scores.
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Classical - Released June 17, 2016 | Phi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released May 24, 2016 | Phi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de Classica - Choc Classica de l'année
All four of the works on this album come from the last part of Stravinsky's career, when he accepted the reigning serialist orthodoxy of the day. As with other music of the period, these have declined in performance frequency (and were never that popular to begin with) since then. Yet they respond well to the rather stark performances of which early music singers are capable, and that's what you get here from the superb Collegium Vocale Ghent and Royal Flemish Philharmonic. Three of the four are serialist; the last is a completion of a motet by Renaissance experimentalist Carlo Gesualdo. Of the two large chorus-and-orchestra pieces, the Requiem Canticles of 1966 probably enjoy more frequent performances as Stravinsky's last major composition. They are short, almost fragmentary settings of requiem texts that bring Webern to mind. The lesser-known work is Threni (1958), a setting of selections from the Lamentations of Jeremiah the Prophet. This work perhaps comes closer than any other to bringing Stravinsky's late style full circle to the Russian-influenced sound of his early work. Sample the tenor-flügelhorn duet on different versions of the tone row in the "Quomodo sedet," curiously evocative of Orthodox chant. The two small unaccompanied choral pieces are genuine rarities, and they're beautifully sung here. Recommended for lovers of Stravinsky's serialist period, or even just for those who want to sample it. Outhere's engineering work at the De Singel arts center in Antwerp is impressive. © TiVo
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Symphonies - Released November 17, 2015 | Phi

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Sacred Oratorios - Released October 2, 2015 | Phi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica
The entire creation of the world in an hour a quarter… it had to be through Haydn’s extraordinary powers of concentration that this insane wager could possibly succeed; others would not even dare attempt it. The Creation, dating from 1798, is one of the most ultimate and powerful of Haydn’s masterpieces. The great composer was always a master of surprise, and his invention of the Big Bang in musical form – including an introduction proclaiming ‘And then there was light’ – is chorally orchestrated to phenomenal effect. The work also retains a wonderful description of the various creations of the Lord; the extravagant evocation of whales remains an intense moment of orchestral invention, and the score is full of a genius which Beethoven had merely tapped into… Philippe Herreweghe has chosen to focus on a certain transparency of place, rather than perpetuating the traditional, bombastic dramatic gestures of orchestras within the German sphere. And, thus, the score gains greater clarity.
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Classical - Released September 4, 2015 | Phi

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The Cantigas de Santa Maria come from the imposing collection of the court of Alfonso X el Sabio, which offers us one of the most precious sources of mediaeval Spanish music. The Cantigas take us to the end of the Reconquista of the Iberian peninsula and to the very heart of the culture where Christian, Muslim and Jewish traditions mingle. These songs are interesting not only for their absolutely unique musical language but also for their Portuguese and Galician texts in which are combined poetry, popular stories and hymns, most of them praising miracles of the Virgin Mary. Starting from illuminated manuscripts that give us an idea of the instruments used at the king’s court, Hana Blažikova and her partners perform these works like a dialogue between two women’s voices, enriching it with two harps, a dulce melos and percussion. Whether using the whole consort or putting the instruments aside, this subtle interpretation has its source in plainchant and the music of the troubadours, with a touch of Arabizing ornaments and improvisation. © Qobuz
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Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released March 24, 2015 | Phi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released November 4, 2014 | Phi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason