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A. Scarlatti : Il Martirio di Santa Teodosia

Les Accents

Classical - Released May 29, 2020 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique - 5 étoiles de Classica
Alessandro Scarlatti’s oratorio is an exciting drama of life, love and death, set in the fourth-century Roman Empire. Preferring to devote her life to God, Teodosia rejects the love of Arsenio, the son of the Roman governor, and welcomes death. St Theodosia of Tyre died at the age of eighteen, in the year 308. One cannot help but be struck by the dramatic strength and the vocal beauty of this work, performed here by a very talented casting, gathering Emmanuelle de Negri, Emiliano Gonzalez Toro, Anthea Pichanick, Renato Dolcini and the fiery orchestra Les Accents led by Thibault Noally. © Aparté
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Bach: Complete Keyboard Edition 3 "À la française"

Benjamin Alard

Classical - Released April 10, 2020 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 étoiles de Classica
Having already attracted attention for his exceptional gifts, Bach entered the service of the Weimar court at the age of twenty-three. This was the start of the period known as his ‘early maturity’, in which his formal and expressive experiments reflect a significant interest in French music and ‘la belle danse’. The close intertwining of French and German styles is the dominant feature of this third volume in Benjamin Alard’s recording of the complete organ and harpsichord works. ‘A remarkable complete set of Bach’s keyboard music is gradually being built up.’ – ResMusica. © harmonia mundi
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Debussy – Rameau

Víkingur Ólafsson

Classical - Released March 27, 2020 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Distinctions Diapason d'or - 5 étoiles de Classica
This program brings together two great French composers, separated by almost two centuries, that we would not think of bringing together spontaneously. But the freedom of mind of the Icelandic pianist looks at it otherwise, who, for his third album with Deutsche Grammophon, wanted to highlight their affinities as their contrasts in the light of their innovative contribution to the musical thought of their time. "I scratch my head wondering why Rameau's music is not played more. Between quality, inventiveness and unpredictability, there is never any element of formula in these pieces”, says Víkingur Ólafsson. By instinctively associating these style characteristics with those specific to Debussy, he decided to make an album of them: "I want to show Rameau as a futurist and underline the deep roots of Debussy in French baroque — and in Rameau's music in particular. The idea is that the listener almost forgets who is who by listening to the album." Debussy, who never stopped defending the French tradition by opposing it to German music, liked the decorative and complex lines of this Baroque composer with a French spirit like his own.An initial idea in the development of this skillfully constructed program, the transcription for piano of Debussy from Prélude to his Cantata La Damoiselle introduces it. Like the album's visual, Víkingur Ólafsson aims to be suggestive even in the accent he gives in Rameau to polyphonic voices supported by a flawless rhythmic impulse, which contrasts with Debussy, whose among other things the beautiful tumultuous Jardins sous la pluie which is played with a large breath in the image of wind load until the light returns. © Qobuz / GG
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Bach : Matthäus-Passion, BWV 244

Stephan MacLeod

Classical - Released March 27, 2020 | Claves Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 étoiles de Classica
This recording was made in April 2019 at the Ernest-Ansermet Studio in Geneva, after five concerts in Switzerland during the preceding days. The desire to be as faithful as possible to the rhythm of the drama of the Passion and to the evidence of the musical sequences, which is easier to feel during a live performance than in front of the relative abstraction of the microphones, as well as a non-negligible time constraint (three and a half days in the studio for a work of 160 minutes), pushed the members of Gli Angeli Genève to record long takes, sometimes including up to 10 or 12 minutes of music, thus getting as close as possible to the feeling of a concert. In concert, with small vocal groups, Gli Angeli Genève systematically places the singers in front of the instruments regardless of repertoire, so as to give speech in music the most prominent place possible. When recording, since the audience’s crucial role cannot be replaced by the microphones, the musicians place ourselves in a large circle, all facing each other. They can see each other playing, singing, vibrating, breathing and reacting. The idea of reaction is central to this work where, when the action of the story is suspended, it is immediately replaced by emotion and poetic as well as musical beauty that Matthew’s story inspired in Bach and Picander. Airs as well as chorales. And within this circle they can react together, engage in dialogue, and see themselves feel the drama and powerful affects that mark the work relentlessly. And then they can share the pleasure and sometimes the awe - so beautiful is the music – of being able to live all this together. Forming a circle to make this music and observing the extraordinary musicians of Gli Angeli Genève at work led Stephan MacLeod (the conductor) to realise the extent to which The Saint Matthew Passion has structured the career and relationship to music of many of his colleagues. © Claves Records
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Jardin féérique

Les Métaboles

Classical - Released March 27, 2020 | NoMadMusic

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 3F de Télérama - 5 étoiles de Classica
“Jardin féérique”, the Métaboles’ second album with NoMadMusic, is a true ode to nature. Infinite source of inspiration, it becomes an enchanted forest with Ravel, is the symbolical reflection of the soul’s tremors with Saint-Saëns, while Britten, in his Hymn to Saint Cecilia – patron of musicians – pays homage to the muse walking through a shady garden. Britten’s Flower Songs create a unique cycle like a musical herbarium… The figurative music of Murray Schafer (Miniwanka) – engaged composer and ecology-lover – develops the concept of a musical landscape: a fascinating conjunction of vocal gestures, percussion, onomatopeia, evocation of rituals which reveal the metaphysical dimension of the link between Nature and Mankind. © Nomadmusic
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Saint-Saëns:Symphony No.3 Poulenc:Organ Concerto-Live

Iveta Apkalna

Classical - Released March 6, 2020 | BR-Klassik

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 étoiles de Classica
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Adès conducts Adès (World Premiere Recordings)

Thomas Adès

Classical - Released February 28, 2020 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Distinctions Diapason d'or - 5 étoiles de Classica
Written in 2018 for his favorite pianist Kirill Gerstein, Thomas Adès’s Concerto for Piano has been a worldwide success. Commissioned by the Boston Symphony, where the piece premiered on March 7, 2019, and where it was recorded, it is already part of the program of fifty soon-to-be concerts in Europe and in the US, all to be performed by its exclusive dedicatee. A twenty-minute-long piece with a classical three-movement structure, the concerto mixes every genre and influence with kaleidoscopic and skillful talent. The new piece includes many influences, mainly hinting at Twentieth-century piano concertos, such as works by Ravel, Prokofiev, Bartók, Poulenc, and Rachmaninov, as well as Gershwin’s jazzy style, peppering the whole composition. This new piece takes the past into account and will be recognizable to traditionalist audiences of classical music concerts. The second part of the album, that Thomas Adès, one of the most well-known and performed contemporary composers, also dedicates to himself, includes his Totentanz (“Dance of Death”) for mezzo-soprano, baritone, and orchestra. The piece was composed in 2013 for the famous London Proms’ series to celebrate Britten and Lutosławski’s hundred-year anniversary, two essential composers of the twentieth century. Recorded during a concert that took place in Boston in 2016, Totentanz is inspired by a famous mural in Lübeck’s Saint Mary’s Church, bombed by the allied forces in 1942. Adès’ Totentanz is part of a rich tradition where the fragility of the human condition is explored in relation to contemporary tragedies. Written on anonymous texts from the 15th century, the Totentanz consists of drinking songs on the theme of death embodied by the baritone. Throughout the work, we witness the reactions of different individuals of humanity faced with death - preacher, pope, emperor, cardinal, king, monk, knight, doctor, usurer, businessman, sacristan, craftsman, farmer, daughter, child - who are embodied by the mezzo-soprano. When the Pope and Emperor appear jaded, the King is panicked while the peasant, fatalist, accepts his fate... © François Hudry / Qobuz
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Schoenberg : Violin Concerto - Verklärte Nacht

Isabelle Faust

Classical - Released February 28, 2020 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 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
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Once Upon a Time... At the Walt Disney Concert Hall

Jean-Baptiste Robin

Classical - Released February 28, 2020 | Brilliant Classics

Distinctions 5 étoiles de Classica
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Vivaldi : Concerti per violino VIII "Il teatro"

Julien Chauvin

Classical - Released February 21, 2020 | naïve classique

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique - 5 étoiles de Classica
This is the first time a French violinist has joined the line of prestigious solo virtuosi recording for the Vivaldi Edition. Violinist Julien Chauvin and his Concert de la Loge – founded in 2015, and modelled on one of the most celebrated orchestras of the late 18th century – here reveal all the discreet charms of an inventive concertante style rich in detail, featuring Vivaldi’s favoured instrument. This particular set of concerti highlight the consistently close links between Vivaldi’s instrumental and operatic works. ‘Transcending the difference of genre, the Venetian composer’s unitary conception of language and style allowed him to pass with the deft skill of a juggler from one domain to the other, making them happily converge on common ground,’ writes Cesare Fertonani. In these six concertos we can hear superbly phrased cantabile, with all the players seeming to breathe as one: and above all a sense of dramatic and narrative tension in Vivaldi’s finest vein. Musical quotations, borrowings, reworkings and affinities here bring his instrumental music and operas closer together – two genres of equal virtuosity, on which he lavished his genius in equal measure, and in every expressive register. © naive classique
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The Last Concert at La Scala (Live, Feb. 22, 2016)

Georges Prêtre

Classical - Released February 21, 2020 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

Hi-Res Distinctions 5 étoiles de Classica
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Boulanger (Lili et Nadia) : Mélodies

Cyrille Dubois

Classical - Released February 21, 2020 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 étoiles de Classica
After the very recent publication by tenor Nicolas Phan and pianist Myra Huang, this is another album dedicated to sisters Lili and Nadia Boulanger that sheds more light on their talent. If Lili Boulanger’s work has been starting to emerge from obscurity in recent years, that of her sister Nadia’s has remained largely unknown, partly her own fault as she stopped writing after the premature passing of her sister, whose talent for writing she thought was superior. Nadia Boulanger instead forged a name for herself through education and the discovery of new works. This new recording produced in 2018 by the Cyrille Dubois and Tristan Raës duo in the enchanting Palazzetto Bru Zane in Venice presents an altogether different programme and is opposite to the previous publication: with an emphasis on Nadia. There are nine of her melodies on offer here, as well as the Heures claires cycle that she wrote for four hands with pianist-composer Raoul Pugno to whom she was very close. The Quatre chants by Lili Boulanger reflect the infinite sadness which permeates the entire catalogue, small though it may be but intensely expressive nonetheless. Two new figures of French music in the wake of Gabriel Fauré that are rising in prominence. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Buxtehude: Cantates pour voix seule (Ms. d'Uppsala)

La Rêveuse

Classical - Released February 14, 2020 | Mirare

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama - 5 étoiles de Classica
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Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, Strauss: Piano Concertos (Live)

Friedrich Gulda

Classical - Released February 14, 2020 | SWR Classic

Booklet Distinctions 5 étoiles de Classica
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Bach : St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244

Masaaki Suzuki

Classical - Released February 7, 2020 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 étoiles de Classica
“A great joy”: this is how Masaaki Suzuki considers this, his second recording of the St. Matthew’s Passion, made twenty years after the first one, in the Saitama Arts Theatre in Japan in April 2019 for the BIS label. A great opportunity to revisit the work, as in the elapsed time, the conductor and his orchestra have nearly completely recorded Bach’s choral music, including the complete masses and secular and sacred cantatas. As is his custom, Suzuki works with European soloists for this new recording, like the splendid young German tenor Benjamin Bruns, playing the stupendous part of the Evangelist. There are other familiar soloists that feature here, such as Carolyn Sampson, Damien Guillon, Makoto Sakurada and Christian Immler. There is nothing monumental about this new intimate and refined version, which follows the fateful narrative with great sobriety. There is nevertheless a fervent level of impulse, as well as a certain innocence within this resolutely pared back Lutheran perspective - there is never any real search for theatricality. The exceptional instrumental quality of the soloists of the Bach Collegium Japan and the soft touches of the two choral ensembles is also worth highlighting. © François Hudry / Qobuz
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Schumann : Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3

John Eliot Gardiner

Classical - Released February 7, 2020 | LSO Live

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - 5 étoiles de Classica
The second album in Sir John Eliot Gardiner's Schumann series with the London Symphony Orchestra travels from glorious fanfare to dream-like passages with the lively 'Spring' and 'Rhenish' symphonies. From the dramatic first trumpet-call which awakens the frozen landscape, the First Symphony is a celebration of spring. It moves through the season and a gruff folk-song Scherzo until finally a jubilant conclusion dances into summer. Desperate, heartfelt and elegant, the "Manfred" Overture opens with an urgent impetus that only increases through the work, displaying the intense strife which lies ahead for its protagonist. Schumann’s Third is one of the composer’s most impressive, painting a euphoric picture of the German Rhineland in broad Beethovenian style and closing with an exhilarating finale. © LSO Live
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D'ombres

Elodie Vignon

Classical - Released February 1, 2020 | Cypres

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 étoiles de Classica
"D'ombres..." This program is a continuation of the first album dedicated to Debussy's Études, which revealed pianist Elodie Vignon to the public. Dutilleux has a close relationship with Debussy in his sensory approach to music. Composed just after the Second World War, his Piano Sonata reminds us, in some aspects, of Claude Debussy's Pour le piano, also composed after another Great War. The composition of the Three Preludes, spread over a period of fifteen years, testifies to the composer's desire to change his style and syntax, making it less linear and traditional. Claude Ledoux emerges from the shadows and delivers a work that seeks to translate the world in which we live, a world of silence and sound in perpetual transformation. © Cyprès
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Beethoven : Variations

Sélim Mazari

Classical - Released January 17, 2020 | Mirare

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or / Arte - Le Choix de France Musique - 5 étoiles de Classica
A soloist and revelation at the French classical music award ceremony “Victoires de la musique classique 2018”, Sélim Mazari was one of the last pupils to study under Brigitte Engerer, before attending the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris with Claire Désert and then moving to London to start a second Master’s degree at the Royal College. For his first solo recording, the young French pianist has opted for an album which is entirely devoted to Beethoven, recording several cycles of variations, with or without opus numbers, including the difficult “Eroica” Variations, on a theme from the ballet The Creatures of Prometheus, which he takes up again in the form of a contra-dance and, of course, as the main theme of the Finale from the composer’s forthcoming Third Symphony. Beethoven’s works without opus numbers (WoO) are more numerous than those numbered by himself or his publishers. During his youth as a virtuoso-composer, he did not approach his works with the historical perspective he would gain later in life, perhaps aware of his growing reputation and genius. The Twelve Variations on a Theme by Paul Wranitzky from 1796 already heralded the maturity and complexity that Beethoven gave to the many variations that would punctuate his entire oeuvre. Though not exactly loved by the composer, the 32 Variations in C minor are nevertheless profoundly original and allowed the young Beethoven to impress his audiences in the salons.
The Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 34 from 1802 offered a “new” way for Beethoven to free himself from his predecessors. The “Eroica” Variations occupy a dominant position in the Beethovian catalogue thanks to their pleasant, dramatic, humorous and mysterious atmospheres. © François Hudry / Qobuz
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Liszt: Dante Symphony, Tasso... (Bonus Track Edition)

Kirill Karabits

Symphonic Music - Released January 10, 2020 | audite Musikproduktion

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 5 étoiles de Classica
The series of recordings with Kirill Karabits conducting the Staatskapelle Weimar, continuing a tradition dating back to Liszt's years as Kapellmeister there, have been strongly acclaimed. With this release, listeners can sample a fine performance of one of the major Liszt tone poems, Tasso: Lamento e Trionfo, and hear some lesser-known works. The latter includes a pair of world premieres (for online listeners, at least), which will be motivation enough for perfect Lisztians. The first is the Künstlerfestzug zur Schillerfeier, S. 114, a sort of festive overture composed for a celebration of Schiller's work. This is thoroughly enjoyable, and it's a rare mood for Liszt. That work served as an overture to the melodrama Vor Hundert Jahren, S. 347, a little play with background music showing two characters, Germania and Poesie, being guided by the spirit of Schiller; the music quotes the finale theme of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, Op. 125, several times along the way. This work was performed previously by Karabits in English with the Bournemouth Symphony, but this reading, available online or as a download only, is apparently the first recording of the original German (the German text does not appear to be available anywhere online). To see what Karabits can really do, sample Tasso, and especially the Dante Symphony, with its gloomy evocation of the Inferno in its opening movement. Karabits's performance of this large work is several minutes longer than average, without dragging in the least: he gets the moody quality that is lost in splashier readings. A very strong Liszt release, with fine sound from the Congress Centrum Neue Weimarhalle. © TiVo
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Vladigerov : Orchestral Works

Nayden Todorov

Classical - Released December 13, 2019 | Naxos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 étoiles de Classica
Pancho Vladigerov is considered by many to be the most influential composer that Bulgaria has yet produced, gaining fame between the World Wars and earning the admiration of Shostakovich. The three works recorded here are a testament to Vladigerov’s mission to bring Bulgarian music to international attention, successfully combining elements of folk music with European classical tradition. The Vardar-Rhapsody has been called ‘the Bulgarian equivalent of Chopin’s Polonaise in A-flat’, and the lively and exotic Seven Symphonic Bulgarian Dances is among the most notable of a series of works that fuse joyous regional melodies with sophisticated Western orchestration. © Naxos