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Kwartetten - Verschenen op 12 maart 2021 | NoMadMusic

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With this second album on NoMadMusic, the Ellipsos Quartet pays homage to the composer Fernande Decruck, curiously unknown in France, but renowned in the United States. Fernande Decruck wrote many pieces for saxophone and notably for quartet. Her music, very refined and tinged with rhythmic and harmonic audacity, is at the crossroads of the worlds of Ravel, Stravinsky, Gershwin and Debussy. A world of sound to be discovered, thanks to these unpublished pieces, most of which were published for the first time this year by Billaudot. © NoMadMusic
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Symfonieën - Verschenen op 8 februari 2021 | Brilliant Classics

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As Rudolf Barshai knew Shostakovich's music on a very intimate level, he rarely puts a foot wrong in the works of his teacher and compatriot. He studied with the great composer who became his mentor, and often performed Shostakovich's music with the composer himself at the piano. They became close personal friends. Barshai was asked by Shostakovich to premiere the 14th Symphony, and he came to fame as a master of orchestration when the composer trusted to arrange his quartets into "Chamber symphonies". From the start of this 7th symphony, the tone is set with a tight, taut opening to what will be a smoothly flowing rendition that’s high on feeling which is served by a truly excellent orchestra. There are some stage noises but if there is an audience present they are pretty quiet.Recorded September 1992, Philharmonie, Cologne, by Cologne Radio (Westdeutscher Rundfunk Köln)
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 15 januari 2021 | Accentus Music

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While Mieczyslaw Weinberg's instrument was the piano, he wrote extensively and wonderfully for the violin, which makes sense both on artistic and personal levels – the violin was both the perfect vehicle for the elegiac, Jewish folk-inspired melodies that flowed from his pen, and also the instrument played by his father, who along with Weinberg's mother and sister perished in a Nazi concentration camps in Polish soil during the Second World War (Weinberg was spared that fate, having fled to the Soviet Union upon the outbreak of war). What's more, it's arguably Weinberg's love for the violin we now have to thank for his music's recent rediscovery, given that this has been spearheaded by violinist and Kremerata Baltica director Kidon Kremer. So on to Kremer's latest Weinberg-shaped offering, and while the symphonic-proportioned, four-movement Violin Concerto of 1959 is actually a rare Weinberg work which isn't too badly underrepresented in the recording studio – its dedicatee Leonid Kogan recorded it in 1961 with Kirill Kondrashin and the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, and there's a handful of more recent efforts too – the fact that this one is from Kremer should make us sit up and take note. The concerto recording is a live one, made in February 2020 with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig under the baton of Daniele Gatti as part of a series of Leipzig Gewandhaus concerts in honour of Weinberg's birth centenary. Those who know the Kogan reading may initially be surprised at the much steadier speed taken by Kremer and Gatti for the opening Allegro molto, because it's a different world to Kogan and Kondrashin's supercharged gallop. However these readings aren't short on drama – angry orchestra fortissimos are suitably shattering, and Gatti also achieves tense, floating magic in the moments when suddenly Weinberg makes time stand momentarily still. Kremer himself meanwhile is as sweet-toned and lyrical as ever, his violin holding its singing quality through the spikiest of moments, and coming across most arrestingly of all in the keening laments, meaning the slow third movement is every bit as strong as you'd hope. Paired with the Concerto is another 1959 violin work of Weinberg's, the Sonata for Two Violins, for which Kremer has been joined by Kremerata Baltica concertmaster Madara Pētersone, and their combined folk flair, range of colours and technical finesse make this perhaps an even more compelling listen than the Concerto – although please read that as praise for the Sonata rather than as criticism of what Kremer and Gatti have given us! © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz---With 22 symphonies, 17 string quartets, 9 concertos, and 7 operas, the composer Mieczyslaw Weinberg left behind an extensive oeuvre. Musically, one can hear the composer's close friendship with Dmitri Shostakovich, although Weinberg's music is more lyrical and romantic in nature. Nevertheless, the composer was long forgotten and his music has only been rediscovered in the last ten years. Gidon Kremer has dedicated himself to the rediscovery and cultivation of Weinberg's music. In February 2020, he performed Weinberg's Violin Concerto, Op. 67 with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig under the musical direction of Daniele Gatti as part of a series of concerts in honor of the composer's 100th birthday at the Leipzig Gewandhaus. Weinberg completed the concerto in 1959, the culmination of one of his most creative and successful phases of the 1950s. The work captivates with its large symphonic structure and its four movements, which are rather atypical for a concerto. Also in 1959, Weinberg composed the Sonata for Two Violins, Op. 69, which Kremer recorded with the Latvian violinist Madara Petersone, concert master of the Kremerata Baltica. © Accentus Music
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Piano solo - Verschenen op 4 december 2020 | Claves Records

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Diapason d'or
« One hot summer day, I headed due south from London and crossed France and Spain on my road bike. Challenging it was, yet beautiful, emotional and colourful all at once — while pedalling thousands of kilometres, the journey brought me closer to my innermost core. Upon my return home, I wished to express all the intense feelings and sensations I experienced on the road in my own way — the language of music. The metamorphosis was already underway when I became aware of the duende and after digging a bit deeper, I immediately sensed that it was this feeling which touched me on my journey, giving me strength and letting me connect with people and their land more profoundly ». « There is a duality at play between the repetition of recording and the spontaneity and unpredictability of duende — and to summon duende, the process had to be as free and fluid as possible: all sessions built up to a final complete ‘recital’-take to capture the spirit of live creation. This was masterfully recorded by Jean-Martial Golaz — a magician of sound who effortlessly played the timeless acoustics of La Salle de Musique, La Chaux-de-Fonds to create a soundscape from another time. We intuitively found the golden balance to bring out the whispers of burning wind to the cries of flamenco from the old Steinway dating back to 1966 — the very same piano on which the great chilean pianist Claudio Arrau recorded Debussy’s Images in 1979. The soul of the piano was both conjured up and tamed by Corinne Wieland — a consummate piano technician. My gratitude goes out to both of them — this team gave me the wings to take off and be free.» Teo Gheorghiu / © Claves Records
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Volledige opera's - Verschenen op 25 november 2020 | La discothèque idéale de Diapason

Onderscheidingen Diapason d'or
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Kamermuziek - Verschenen op 13 november 2020 | Alkonost Classic

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 4F de Télérama
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Concerten voor viool - Verschenen op 6 november 2020 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Diapason d'or / Arte
When there is so much to love about Bohuslav Martinů's two Violin Concertos, it's surprising that we hear so little of them from the top artists of today. So the first thing to say here is simply that it's very good news indeed to have the pair now being championed on BIS by the likes of Frank Peter Zimmermann and acclaimed Martinů interpreter Jakub Hrůša. Then, the further good news is that what they've produced is every bit as good one would have hoped. Concerto No. 2 opens the programme. Written in 1943 for Mischa Elman, and premiered the same year, it was swiftly taken up by other violinists of the period, who were no doubt instantly beguiled by its romance and lyricism, and its by strong Czech folk echoes. Here, the Bamberger Symphoniker's opening orchestral tutti fabulously sets the tone: full, wide and trembling; glossily rich and rhythmically sharp, followed by Zimmermann himself displaying all his usual polish and precision (the silkiest of double-stops), while occasionally spicing his sweetly silvery and singing tone with just the right dose of folk edge. The central Andante doesn't hang around – it's a good 2'20” faster than Isabelle Faust's exquisite reading on harmonia mundi – but the overriding impression is simply one of airy movement, with an infectious sense of carefree pastoral joy from everyone. The third movement is then nothing short of a joyride, and indeed one over which it's often the high-octane orchestra that shines most brightly, for its technical pizazz, and chameleon-like reinventions over the score's constantly shifting shapes, colours and moods. Next comes Concerto No. 1, and if ever a concerto were a wronged Cinderella then it's this one. Penned in 1931 while Martinů was living in Paris, it's again alive with Czech folk inflections, but this time sitting within a neoclassical language no doubt inspired by his fellow Paris-based émigré, Stravinsky. It was also written for the dedicatee of Stravinsky's own Violin Concerto of 1931, Samuel Dushkin. However, unlike with Stravinsky, Dushkin refused to play ball with Martinů - demanding successive revisions, delaying performing it, and refusing other violinists to premiere it in his place, until eventually the work was put to one side. The manuscript was eventually rediscovered in 1968, nine years after Martinů's death, and premiered in 1973 by Josef Suk. It's hard to know for sure whether the violin part's virtuosities were more a result of Dushkin's penchant for display, or of Martinů flexing his own violinistic muscles (it was as a violinist that he first entered the Prague Conservatory). Either way, Zimmermann dispatches its fiendish acrobatics with vim-filled perfection, matched over every hop, skip and jump by the crisply fleet-footed and exuberant orchestra. Frankly, all the above would be enough to sell this recording. However Zimmermann then also gifts us with a compellingly impassioned reading of Bartók's Hungarian folk and Bach-influenced Sonata for Solo Violin of 1944. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz
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Symfonische muziek - Verschenen op 23 oktober 2020 | LSO Live

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François-Xavier Roth, Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, displays his deep affinity with the music of Debussy and Ravel on his latest LSO Live album. A fascination with his Spanish heritage would be a recurring theme in many of Ravel's creations. Mysterious melodies weave delicately throughout his early work Rapsodie espagnole, punctuated by bursts of Spanish-inspired fanfares and Habanera dance rhythms. The voluptuous flute opening of the Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune immediately conjures a world of luxurious fantasy, weaving through the music's changing scenes with effortless spontaneity. Every instrument adds something unique, and the whole work appears to float free of form and convention. In La mer, Debussy tells the story of the eternal odyssey of the ocean. He sails through storm and calm, wind and rain, in music that rises and falls with the rhythms of the sea. The score is so vivid that you can almost smell sea salt and see the crests of the waves. © LSO Live
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Kwartetten - Verschenen op 29 september 2020 | Donemus Musicians' Voice

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Klassiek - Verschenen op 11 september 2020 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 4F de Télérama
Sabine Devieilhe and Alexandre Tharaud bring their customary clarity, finesse and insight to the works of four composers who defined the path of French art song or "mélodie" from the late 19th to the mid-20th century. In an imaginatively balanced recital, the two French luminaries perform Fauré, Debussy, Ravel and Poulenc. Their programme, built around Ravel's Cinq Chansons populaires grecques and Debussy's Verlaine setting Ariettes oubliées, takes up the themes of love, war and death and offers both favourite songs like Fauré's Après un rêve and some rarer treasures. © Erato
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Volledige opera's - Verschenen op 4 september 2020 | Chandos

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‘The burly Aussie tenor is now even more identified with this ill-fated protagonist than Peter Pears, the first Grimes. And everywhere Skelton has sung the part, whether at English National Opera, the Proms, the Edinburgh festival or now on this international tour of a concert staging mounted by the Bergen Philharmonic, the conductor has been Edward Gardner. Theirs is one of the great musical partnerships, and they continue to find compelling new depths in this tragic masterpiece.’ – Richard Morrison (The Times) This studio recording was made following the acclaimed production at Grieghallen, in Bergen, in 2019 (repeated in Oslo and London and reviewed above). Luxuriant playing from the Bergen Philharmonic and a stellar cast under the assured direction of Edward Gardner make this a recording to treasure. © Chandos
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Piano solo - Verschenen op 24 juli 2020 | Mode Records

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Symfonische muziek - Verschenen op 3 juli 2020 | Halle Concerts Society

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Diapason d'or
A somewhat unusual interpretation of Debussy – more lyrical than rhythmic. Here, Sir Mark Elder presents a slightly melancholic version of Images pour orchestre, which stands out from his other well-known interpretations on disc, such as of those of Monteux (Philips), Martinon (EMI) and Tilson Thomas (Deutsche Grammaphon), in an extravaganza of rhythms and colours. The British conductor always pays close attention to the balance of textures, as evidenced by his excellent version of Sibelius’ complete symphonies (Hallé Concerts Society). Here, he conducts an orchestra that is small but still mindful of the combinations of timbres (Gigues). The Hallé Orchestra delights in the frequent harmonic friction of the music – one may even wonder whether Debussy was an elder cousin who led the way for the great English symphonists… Rondes de printemps remains one of the composer’s most advanced works, a miniature study of the later ballet Jeux – something which Sir Mark Elder’s tremendous expertise alludes to in this interpretation. It’s a shame that the recording technique for the albums by the Hallé Orchestra Concerts Society is always a little fuzzy and lacks clarity of timbre and depth as it could potentially sound rather dull to the listener rather than providing a true reflection of Elder’s live performances with this orchestra – which he has been doing since 1999! Nevertheless, this is a perfect and sublimely lascivious interpretation of Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, with two arrangements for piano, one of which is from Et la lune descend sur le temple qui fut, and one of which is from Book II of Images for piano, an undisputed masterpiece of the French master. © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 23 mei 2020 | iMD-Pablo F Bello

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Kamermuziek - Verschenen op 24 april 2020 | RUBICON

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Dutch cellist Lidy Blijdorp has long been in love with the music of Ravel, the magical sound world, the colours and imagery he conjures. Ravel wrote very little for the cello, so Blijdorp made her own arrangements for cello and piano of Lever du jour from Daphnis et Chloé and two movements from Rapsodie espagnole. Award winning pianist Julien Brocal is her partner in these skilful arrangements. The delightful Sonata for Cello and Volin and Kodaly’s great solo Cello Sonata round off a programme that spans music from France, French music with Spanish dance as its inspiration, and then ending the journey in Hungary with the folk infused masterwork that is Kodaly’s Op. 8. © Rubicon Classics
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 13 maart 2020 | EnPhases

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason - 5 étoiles de Classica
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 6 maart 2020 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Diapason d'or
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Symfonische muziek - Verschenen op 6 maart 2020 | Decca

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Concertmuziek - Verschenen op 28 februari 2020 | Claves Records

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason
The wealth of music composed for the viola in the 20th century almost lets one forget the dearth of it in the 19th, which brought forth only two solo works of note: Hector Berlioz’s Harold in Italy, a concerto commissioned by Paganini that sidelines the viola so much he refused to play it; and Richard Strauss’s Don Quixote, in which the solo viola is relegated to the part of the Don’s sidekick Sancho Panza. Sidelined and sidekicked – the viola’s fate seemed a fulfilment of the oft-quoted line from Quantz’s sometime flute treatise that “the viola is largely regarded among musicians as being of little significance”. It was only really in the 20th century that composers realised that the viola’s status of an in-between instrument could actually be to its advantage. It’s bigger than a violin, but tuned like a cello, and is both warmer in tone than the former, and much more agile than the latter. The viola then had the good fortune to become the preferred instrument of several important composers. Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) briefly toyed with going professional on it; Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) went the whole hog and made a living from it in the Amar Quartet and as a soloist; and Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) too was a violist, though he kept his public performing activities to the piano and the podium. The viola was also lucky in having several fine virtuosi in the 20th century, most notably Lionel Tertis (1876- 1975) and William Primrose (1904-1982). Primrose had commissioned Bartók’s (unfinished) Viola Concerto in 1945, and it was for him that Britten wrote his Lachrymae for viola and piano in 1950. This is a series of “reflections”, i.e. variations, on a song by the Elizabethan composer John Dowland entitled “If my complaints could passion move”. The song’s melody is heard in the bass line after a few bars in the first variation, but only becomes properly recognisable at the end of the tenth and last. Meanwhile, another Dowland song has also infiltrated the texture – variation No. 6 refers back to Dowland’s more famous song “Flow my tears”, which had originated in his “Lachrymae pavan” – hence Britten’s title. He composed it during a break in work on his opera Billy Budd, and gave the first performance with Primrose at the Aldeburgh Festival in 1950. Britten then scored the work for viola solo and string orchestra in the spring of 1976, just months before he died. © Chris Walton/Claves Records
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 28 februari 2020 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Diapason d'or / Arte - 5 étoiles de Classica
Almost forty years separate Verklärte Nacht from the Violin Concerto – the former still influenced by the idiom of Brahms and Wagner, the latter deriving from the richness of that later period when Schoenberg managed to combine a multiplicity of approaches within his twelve-note system. Between post-Romantic twilight and ‘classical’ rigour, Isabelle Faust and her most faithful partners offer us an extraordinarily lively interpretation of some of the most remarkable pages in twentieth-century musical literature. © harmonia mundi