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Piano solo - Verschenen op 17 september 2021 | HORTUS

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Kamermuziek - Verschenen op 3 september 2021 | BIS

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Previous instalments of the Beethoven sonata cycle from Frank Peter Zimmermann and Martin Helmchen have met with wide acclaim. Described as "conversations by a perfect instrumental pairing" in BBC Music Magazine. This the third and final volume brings together Beethoven's last three works in the genre, composed between 1801 and 1812. The centre-piece is the Ninth Sonata, the famed "Kreutzer"-Sonata. The title page of the first edition described the sonata as "written in a highly concertante style" and it does indeed surpass everything that had previously been written in the genre, in terms of scale as well as technical and compositional complexity. It is preceded by the more lightweight Sonata No. 8 in G major, in which ideas and motifs chase each other until the end of the whirlwind finale. Also in G major, Beethoven’s Tenth and final Violin Sonata closes the volume. It was composed almost ten years after the "Kreutzer", and is certainly less spectacular. In no way is it a step backwards in artistic terms, however: exchanging drama and heroics with songful intimacy, it is rather one of the works through which Beethoven freed himself from the depression into which he had fallen after renouncing his "Immortal Beloved". © BIS Records
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 6 augustus 2021 | CPO

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The compositions on this album, broadly considered, are connected with Beethoven’s efforts on behalf of the theater, and they also attest to his desire to compose for the larger public without having to lower his standards. The center here is formed by his music for Goethe’s Egmont. The Dutch Count Egmont failed in his resistance against the tyrannous rule of the Duke of Alba and was executed. The decisive factor in Beethoven’s choice of this subject must have been that Goethe himself assigned a dramaturgically important role to music above all at the end of his play, and in his composition Beethoven followed these pretextual givens to the letter. When Egmont, in prison prior to his execution, sees the vision of his beloved Klärchen as the personification of liberty, then Egmont’s words and the musically designed vision join together in a melodrama. The album also includes three overtures and Wellington’s Victory, in which Beethoven combines the older tradition of the “battaglia,” the musical depiction of a battle, with victory pathos. Its effect lies not so much in the masterful treatment of the musical material itself as in the development of a spatial dimension for a realistic battle scene and in the big sound overpowering the listener, in short: in its theatrical character. During Beethoven’s lifetime it was his most successful composition. © CPO
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Kamermuziek - Verschenen op 23 juli 2021 | harmonia mundi

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Emmanuelle Bertrand and Pascal Amoyel celebrate their twenty years together as a cello and piano duet. It is hardly surprising that they chose to mark this anniversary with the music of Brahms, a composer who has been a constant on their beautiful journey together: beyond his two ultra-romantic sonatas, they take the listeners to an even deeper emotional realm, that of his lieder, splendidly “sung” here by the cello! © harmonia mundi
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Symfonieën - Verschenen op 9 juli 2021 | Warner Classics

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The time has come at last to rescue the history of music from the male condescension that has relegated female composers to the status of a handful of oddities. Heir to Beethoven, revered in Paris through the teaching of her foreign teachers Hummel and Reicha, Louise Farrenc left behind her a collection of strong and dramatic symphonic works. Unlike Clara Schumann or Alma Mahler, Louise Farrenc was not hindered by a husband who set her to cooking, cleaning or bearing many children. Coming from an artistic background and strongly encouraged by her husband, she had every opportunity to develop as a composer, but also as a pianist, teacher, editor and musicologist.This album is the first volume of Louise Farrenc's complete set of three Symphonies conducted by Laurence Equilbey at the head of the Insula Orchestra, which she assembled in order to explore little-known repertoire, in particular to bring to the forth works by the great forgotten composers such as Fanny Hensel-Mendelssohn or Clara Schumann.Despite the success she was beginning to enjoy in Paris, Louise Farrenc found it very difficult to stage her symphonic works in the French capital. It was in Brussels that her Symphony No. 1 in C minor was first performed. Its writing follows brilliantly in the wake of the best of the 1840s, in a style where craftsmanship competes with the influences of the great masters of the time: Beethoven, Schubert and Mendelssohn.Premiered this time around in Paris under the direction of François-Antoine Habeneck, whose interpretations of Beethoven's symphonies are known throughout Europe, the more personally written Symphony No. 3 in G minor begins with a cantilena for solo oboe preceding an Allegro full of dramatic energy, syncopations and harmonic surprises.In her symphonies, Louise Farrenc has managed to combine contemporary Viennese style with great intensity and originality. Far from being mere curiosities, Farrenc's symphonies deserve to be included in the repertoire of French orchestras, like those of Albéric Magnard, which are also forgotten in his own country, but that's another story... © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 25 juni 2021 | harmonia mundi

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His Debussy and Chopin recordings for harmonia mundi already offer ample evidence that Alain Planès is highly adept at selecting a period instrument best suited for the repertoire. For this complete recording of the Chopin Nocturnes, he has chosen a superb 1836 Pleyel – dating from the same decade during which many of these masterpieces saw the light of day. With this instrument’s unique colour palette at his fingertips, our poet of the keyboard deftly recreates the delicate magic of these immortal pages in which the composer, fascinated by the art of bel canto, developed a new approach to making the piano sing. © harmonia mundi
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 25 juni 2021 | Delphian Records

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Clara Wieck, who in 1840 was to become Clara Schumann, was a significant figure in the lives both of her husband Robert and of Johannes Brahms, to whom the Schumanns became mentors. The double inspirations of Clara and of the writer E.T.A. Hoffmann’s fictional Kapellmeister Johannes Kreisler are the connecting threads on this debut recording by pianist Elena Fischer-Dieskau, in which Robert’s capricious, moody Kreisleriana is joined by two sets of piano pieces by Brahms. These three works – all of which Clara read in manuscript directly after their composition – reflect youth, maturity and old age. Fischer-Dieskau, member of a musical family which from her grandfather onwards has been deeply associated with the music of the Romantics, captures their wide spectrum of expression, from impulsiveness to autumnal mastery. © Delphian Records
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 11 juni 2021 | Bru Zane

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André Messager's deliciously French art offers the perfect combination of refined music and frivolous – but never facile – operetta. This recording was a product of the constraints of the 2020 pandemic. Musicians and producers were forced to downgrade many projects in order to comply with the health guidance which was then in force. With its modest instrumental requirements, its smattering of soloists and its lack of a choir, the operetta Passionnément, which enjoyed a triumphal opening in a cheery inter-war Paris in 1926, was perfect for these challenging conditions.In France, operetta has often suffered from mediocre vocal talent. All the more reason, then, to enjoy this high-quality production, with excellent vocalists, starting with Australian soprano Nicole Car as Julia, a crafty chambermaid who is dreaming of a bourgeois life with an American millionaire, and who ends up hitting the bottle at the height of Prohibition. The libretto by Hervé Hennequin and Albert Willemetz is full of salacious allusions only scantily concealed by candid lyrics.This is the first time ever that Passionnément has been committed to disc. This release was a co-production between the Munich Radio and Palazzetto Bru Zane. This full, uncut version was directed by Stefan Blunier, who offers a wonderful rendering of André Messager's melodic talents, bringing a sense of joy and subtlety to every moment. The flawless cast brings together Véronique Gens as Ketty, the wife abandoned by her wealthy American husband, played by Eric Huchet. Etienne Dupuis, Chantal Santon Jeffery and Armando Noguera round out an excellently-put-together cast, which does full justice to this piece of classic workmanship. A superb document of the atmosphere of the 1920s. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 4 juni 2021 | Sony Classical

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Fourty years on from his first release of this complete collection, cellist Yo-Yo Ma has become a venerable, white-haired gent, as has the pianist Emanuel Ax. "Hope Amid Tears" is the title of their new album, which they recorded at Seiji Ozawa Hall in Lenox, Massachusetts. And hope certainly was in high demand in August 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic was ravaging the world, and the USA in particular. And what could be more hopeful than Beethoven's humanist message? The Five Sonatas for Cello and Piano (for piano with cello accompaniment for the first two, in fact) are drawn from three different periods of Beethoven's artistic evolution. The first two are still rooted in the eighteenth century, and represent the first important works of the classical period. The Sonata No. 3 in A major, Op. 69, then sees the cello's horizon broaden. The instrument sets itself free, and really speaks in the first person. It is presently joined by the piano, in a style that mirrors great contemporary works such as the Fifth Symphony, the "Pastorale" Symphony, the Coriolan Overture and the "Razumovsky" Quartets.  The musical discourse is syncopated; the dialogue resembles a conversation between two people who are taking it in turns to get worked up into a passion.The last two Sonatas, Op. 102 date from a difficult time in the composer's life, when he was unwell and increasingly isolated by his deafness. These were fallow years where his productivity and creative energies seemed to be flagging. The more involved and inaccessible fugal writing style rendered many works from this period difficult to understand. The firm friendship and longstanding musical partnership between Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax have shaped this new recording. The musicians speak the same language, with the same intentions and the same phrasing, and their performance is enriched by their experience and maturity. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 28 mei 2021 | Channel Classics Records

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Kamermuziek - Verschenen op 7 mei 2021 | Signum Records

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Julian Bliss and James Baillieu present a recording Johannes Brahms’ Clarinet Sonatas, Op. 120 and an arrangement of his 4 Ernste Gesänge, Op. 121 arranged by Bliss. These late works were inspired by the great clarinetist Richard Muhlfeld, principal clarinet of the Meiningen Court Orchestra, without whom we would not have had this clarinet repertoire. Julian Bliss is one of the world’s finest clarinetists, excelling as a concerto soloist, chamber musician, jazz artist, masterclass leader and tireless musical explorer. He has inspired a generation of young players as creator of his Conn-Selmer range of affordable clarinets, and introduced a substantial new audience to his instrument. Julian started playing the clarinet aged four, going on to study at the University of Indiana and in Germany under Sabine Meyer, turning professional aged twelve. Described by "The Daily Telegraph" as "in a class of his own", James Baillieu is one of the leading song and chamber music pianists of his generation. He has given solo and chamber recitals throughout the world and collaborates with a wide range of world-class singers and instrumentalists. As a soloist, he has appeared with the Ulster Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, and the Wiener Kammersymphonie. copy; Signum Classics
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Kamermuziek - Verschenen op 9 april 2021 | BIS

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For the first four years of their marriage, Robert and Clara Schumann kept a joint diary, a project which Robert described as "a record of our wishes and our hopes, and the means whereby we may convey to one another any requests we may have to make, for which words may not suffice...". In the imaginative recital "Album für die Frau", Carolyn Sampson and Joseph Middleton combine songs by both composers into something similar – the depiction of a relationship seen through the eyes of both parties. Using the eight songs from Robert’s song cycle Frauenliebe und –leben to poems by Adalbert von Chamisso as the framework, they add songs as well as some piano solos in order to create a fuller and more complex picture. The result seems to suggest that the experiences of our "Frau" are richer than Chamisso and Robert Schumann imagined: while love, marriage and motherhood dominated much of Clara Schumann’s life, Robert’s death in 1856 signaled the start of a four-decade widowhood during which she resumed her stellar career as a pianist. As a team, Carolyn Sampson and Joseph Middleton have released a number of acclaimed discs, including "Fleurs", featuring flower-themed songs by composers from Purcell to Richard Strauss and Britten, "A Verlaine Songbook", exploring settings of the poetry of Paul Verlaine, and "A Soprano’s Schubertiade", a Schubert anthology. © BIS Records
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 5 maart 2021 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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If the global pandemic allows it, the young baritone Andrès Schuen is expected in Papageno (The Magic Flute) at the Vienna Opera in spring 2021. He will be Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) at the Aix-en-Provence Festival in the summer of the same year, and then Guglielmo (Cosi fan tutte) at the Salzburg festival.Hailing from the Italian Tyrol, close by Austria, Andrès Schuen has a solid CV. He studied song under Wolfgang Holzmair and Brigitte Fassbaender, and lieder under Daniel Heide. It is the latter that he has chosen again as a partner for this new album dedicated to the Schöne Müllerin (The Beautiful Miller) by Franz Schubert after the great success of their album Wanderer released in 2018.His fine, youthful and manly timbre works wonders throughout this cycle. It is a voyage through the joy and hope of youth, a joy soon tarnished by the cruel disillusionments of life. In the manner of an actor, and above all, a storyteller, Schuen gradually goes from laughter to tears and resignation. His style is unaffected, with a probity and simplicity that pleases. Accustomed to the Schubertiades of his neighbouring Schwarzenberg which he often visits, Andrès Schuen is supported by the attentive but somewhat matte piano playing of Daniel Heide, specialist in lieder and accompanist to the greatest voices of the day. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 19 februari 2021 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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For his new recital published on the Decca label, Benjamin Grosvenor has chosen Franz Liszt, whose music has followed him since his childhood thanks to his grandfather's initiation. Dedicated to the pianistic monument that is the Sonata in B minor, the English pianist's programme aims to bear witness to the various aspects underlying the Hungarian composer's creation with emblematic compositions (Petrarch's Three Sonnets), original ones (Lullaby), as well as the extraordinary power of re-creation that Liszt distilled in his paraphrases; here we find the Reminiscences of Norma after Bellini and his arrangement of Schubert's Ave Maria.Every concert and every recording of Grosvenor's music is long awaited and desired, so rich is his personality and his extraordinary pianistic mastery. His recent album devoted to the Frédéric Chopin Concertos confirmed the pre-eminence of this pianist within a well-to-do brotherhood.His vision of the famous Liszt Sonata is immediately among the most inspired. Like a bird of prey, Grosvenor knows how to wait for the right moment to pounce on the chords with diabolical precision and contained rage, in a dramatic Mephistophelian tension. At the same time, the fluidity of his piano opens the door to the twentieth century and particularly to Ravel's world so dependent on the Liszt lesson. It is known that Brahms had fallen asleep when Liszt played his Sonata to him after a probably drunken dinner. Nothing probable here with this powerful evocation of life and death. Magisterial! © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 5 februari 2021 | La Grange à Sons

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Recorded 2020 Salle Molière, Palais de Bondy, Lyon (France)
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 29 januari 2021 | Passacaille

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Johannes Brahms composed only a small number of original works for piano four hands, but arranged almost all of his chamber music and orchestral works for this instrumentation. He played most of them immediately after their completion with Clara Schumann and greatly appreciated her opinion. In his Hungarian Dances Brahms brilliantly transformed original Hungarian melodies and rhythms into multi-coloured orchestral works. The Blüthner grand piano from 1867 shows how Brahms made perfect use of the entire keyboard in his writing for four hands. The various registers appear completely transparent and clear. It is not generally known that Brahms was a great admirer and friend of Johann Strauss. And he loved waltzes! Thus Brahms also created an instrumental version of his Liebeslieder-Walzer for piano four hands. Robert Schumann’s last theme, which he wrote for his so-called "Ghost Variations" immediately before being admitted to a mental hospital, is used by Brahms in his homage to Schumann, which was written immediately after his death in 1856: the Variations on a Theme by Robert Schumann, Op. 23 for piano four hands, which ends with an impressive funeral march. For the piano duo Wyneke Jordans & Leo van Doeselaar it was an obvious choice to conclude their series with recordings of four-handed piano works by great German composers on period instruments with Brahms. © Passacaille
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Symfonische muziek - Verschenen op 22 januari 2021 | Mangora Classical

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Kamermuziek - Verschenen op 15 januari 2021 | Arion

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Klassiek - Verschenen op 20 november 2020 | Avie Records

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Both on the concert platform and in the recording studio, pianist Daniel-Ben Pienaar is a completist. Following complete cycles of piano sonatas by Beethoven and Mozart, he presents here 12 great piano sonatas by Franz Schubert – the composer’s 11 finished sonatas and the seminal fragment D. 840. Pienaar relishes in these revelatory works, their extraordinarily detailed possibilities of characterisation, their call for immense energy and abandon, and navigating the vast dreamscapes that unfold in the course of this six-hour musical journey. © AVIE Records
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 13 november 2020 | LSO Live

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Few recordings exist of Beethoven’s unique oratorio which drew influence from Händel’s work Haydn’s The Creation and the Seasons. A revelation came in 1966 Philadelphia when Eugene Ormandy made a beautiful recording of the oratorio. Ormandy’s lead was then followed by several more recordings. But, the composition remains a rarity within repertoires, even the monumental Beethoven edition published by Deutsche Grammophone for the 200th anniversary of the composers birth omitted this deserving oratorio.Christ on the Mount of Olives’ writing and theatricality varies in an experimental fashion that would give birth to Leonore the following year and then Fidelio ten years later. Beethoven seems to oscillate between several genres with a writing style that mixes academia, operatic vocal virtuosity and innovation (stemming from his own language). The bad reception of his 1803 work seems to shadow this oratorio like a malediction.This new recording by Sir Simon Rattle, captured during a concert performed at the Barbican Centre in London in February 2020, turns a salutary spotlight onto an all too often neglected work. Elsa Dreisig plays the seraph with great virtuosity and Pavol Breslik as a determined Christ.It was the first time that a composer had had Christ sang by a tenor and not by a bass singer, as was tradition. David Soar accurately plays the role of Peter, who is somewhat treated as secondary on the score. The choirs are omnipresent in their representation of the crowds (the “turba”) and their cries and murmurs. The one hundred and twenty-five singers in the London Symphony Choir are the true heroes of this vigorous interpretation which is brought to life with energy and dramatism by a particularly inspired and elated Sir Simon. © François Hudry/Qobuz