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Klassiek - Verschenen op 15 februari 2019 | Alpha Classics

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Composed in 1944 and first performed at the Salle Gaveau in Paris on 26 March 1945 by Yvonne Loriod, this is the second great pianistic cycle by Olivier Messiaen: a major work indeed, not only in the composer’s oeuvre but in the entire repertoire for solo piano. As we know, its origin is in the faith and spirituality of Olivier Messiaen, who described it as: ‘The Contemplation of the Child-God in the cradle, and the gazes fixed upon Him: from the inexpressible Gaze of God the Father to the multiple Gaze of the Church of love, also taking in the unheard Gaze of the Spirit of joy, the tender Gaze of the Virgin, of the Angels, of the Magi, and of those creatures that are immaterial or symbolic (Time, Extreme Height, Silence, the Star, the Cross).’ He continues: ‘It is a complex of sounds destined for perpetual variations, pre-existing in the abstract as a series, but very concrete and easy to recognize by their colours: a steely grey-blue traversed by bright red and orange, a mauve-tinted violet spotted with leather-brown and encircled in deep purple.’ The vision of this work transmitted by Martin Helmchen – a great piano virtuoso who is himself marked by a strong sense of spirituality – is another substantial contribution to the Messiaenic monument. © Alpha Classics
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 6 november 2020 | Alpha Classics

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This third and final part of the new complete works of Beethoven’s Piano Concertos on Alpha Classics is a real highlight coming at the end of the Year of Beethoven (2020 marks the composer’s 250th birthday). It reveals an unparalleled elegance and wonderfully radiant phrasing.The Concerto for Piano, Violin and Cello stands out immediately. The pianist Martin Helmchen is joined by two of his regular chamber music partners for the occasion - violinist Antje Weithaas and cellist Marie-Elisabeth Hecker. Helmchen engages in a fluid dialogue with his companions and the three musicians avoid battling with each other; something you often find in many historical recordings. What’s more, they infuse their playing with the score’s chamber music spirit – a style that was often that was often overlooked by the Bonn Master. Perhaps it would be better to view this setup as a trio with orchestral accompaniment. After all, the first sonatas with cello (Op. 5 for example) and violin (Op. 12) are actually more like Sonatas for keyboard with keyboard accompaniment. The three musicians seem to think so too, as does the great Andrew Manze. The sound recording, on the other hand, does not give the keyboard pride of place and instead gives the two string soloists the opportunity to express the work’s incredibly lyrical side (Largo).The Third Concerto, published in 1804, inaugurates the composer’s “middle period”. He moved away from the model of Mozart, although the second movement (the moving Largo, which was perhaps written in the wake of the Heiligenstadt Testament) is still a marvellous homage to his elder. That said, it’s clear that the concert piano has entered a new era with the opening of Allegro con brio.Following the outstanding first two concertos, Martin Helmchen never forces things in the Third Concerto. It’s never totally Mozart and never imperial either (with regards to the last concerto, The Emperor). As a stylistic idea that few pianists express today, this now-completed complete work is one of the most striking around. © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 13 oktober 2017 | Alpha Classics

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Following a first recording on Alpha devoted to Brahms which garnered much praise – ‘real duo playing’ said Gramophone, while Classica discerned ‘shared music making . . . a world full of nuances and subtlety, boundless sonic imagination (Marie-Elisabeth Hecker), playing of rare intelligence (Martin Helmchen)’ and awarded the disc a ‘Choc’ – the duo is reunited. Its new programme features two summits of chamber music: Schubert’s famous Arpeggione Sonata – named after a now obsolete instrument that was a cross between the guitar and the cello – and his no less celebrated Trio no.2 D929, which achieved even greater popularity thanks to Stanley Kubrick’s film Barry Lyndon. In the latter, the duo is joined by an eminent musician with whom they enjoy playing, Antje Weithaas, ‘one of the great violinists of our time’ (Fonoforum) and also one of the teachers most sought after by the young generation. For example, she taught Tobias Feldmann, the young violinist recently signed by Alpha. © Alpha Classics
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 18 oktober 2019 | Alpha Classics

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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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Piano solo - Verschenen op 12 januari 2018 | Alpha Classics

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The pianist Martin Helmchen has now joined Alpha for several recordings. Acknowledged as one of the leading pianists of his generation, an eminent interpreter of the German repertoire, Helmchen will explore various periods and composers (including Messiaen!), but Beethoven will have a preponderant place in his forthcoming recording projects. Before the complete Concertos, planned for 2020, he tackles the Diabelli Variations, ‘a climax in the life of a pianist’. He sees these variations as ‘a voyage to the very heart of the infinity of human feelings and moods, by turns profound, philosophical, satirical’. He regards the cycle as a visionary work that heralds future developments in music, containing the first stirrings of twentieth-century minimalism, atonality and abstraction. This recording is the end result of a long personal association and numerous concerts. © Alpha Classics
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 24 april 2020 | Alpha Classics

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Beethoven’s Piano Concertos are a precious source for understanding the history of the practice of this instrument, which, in the early nineteenth century, permanently replaced the harpsichord in the hearts of composers. Thus one can still hear the galant influence of Mozart in the First Concerto (1795-1800), whereas the Fourth (1805-06) reveals the introspective personality, at once vigorous and generous, of a Beethoven at the height of his artistic maturity. In the second instalment of his recording of the complete concertos, the German pianist Martin Helmchen performs these two contrasting works with Andrew Manze and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. © Alpha Classics
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 6 november 2012 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Choc de Classica
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 28 september 2010 | PentaTone

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Klassiek - Verschenen op 19 november 2013 | PentaTone

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Klassiek - Verschenen op 17 november 2009 | PentaTone

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Klassiek - Verschenen op 6 september 2011 | PentaTone

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Klassiek - Verschenen op 1 september 2008 | PentaTone

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Klassiek - Verschenen op 1 augustus 2007 | PentaTone

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Klassiek - Verschenen op 4 februari 2014 | PentaTone

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