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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released July 24, 2020 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Conductor Antonio Pappano gladly trades in his conductor’s baton for his piano keys in this recording during which he accompanies some of the greatest voices in music today. He plays in perfect complicity with English tenor Ian Bostridge in this exciting program devoted to a selection of Beethoven’s Lieder. The centrepiece of this album is, of course, An die ferne Geliebte (“To the distant beloved”), which is considered to be the first ever Lieder cycle in the history of music. The six poems depict an unknown woman that the composer had idealised from their very first encounter, quickly followed by their separation. His longing for her caused him so much torment that even the joyous awakening of spring could not take away his melancholy in this heart-rending lover’s lament. The other twenty or so Lieder on this album, including the famous Adelaide, which was also set to music by Schubert, are a testament to Beethoven’s mastery of the lied and popular songs, which he liked to harmonise. Ian Bostridge and Antonio Pappano interpret these rare gems with sensitivity and sophistication. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released July 3, 2020 | Accent

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles Classica
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Classical - Released May 15, 2020 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
After "Inventions", Apotheosis is the third and last volume in a complete set of the Beethoven quartets that breaks new ground: it aims to regroup the works according to their position within the three broad creative divisions of the composer’s life – the formative years, the ‘heroic’ period and the ‘late’ period. This programme assembles the ‘late’ quartets in a new sense, in other words those works in which the stylistic innovations of each of these creative periods reach their full flowering. © harmonia mundi
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Classical - Released April 24, 2020 | Passacaille

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
In the German village of Rysum, in East Frisia, a precious instrument is preserved: an ancient organ, built in 1442/1513, which still has most of the original pipes. Lorenzo Ghielmi and the vocal ensemble Biscantores present a sort of “organ Mass”, where organ pieces and liturgical chant alternate according to the practice of the time. A journey between the late Middle Ages and the dawn of the Renaissance - this is how you could describe this musical programme, set up in collaboration with the musicologist Konrad Küster, which perfectly illustrates the unique sounds of this instrument. © Passacaille
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Symphonic Music - Released April 10, 2020 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Some music lovers are familiar with Ce qu’on entend sur la montagne, Liszt’s symphonic poem based on Victor Hugo. But who knows that, ten years earlier, César Franck was inspired by the same poem? This early piece is recorded here by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France conducted by Mikko Franck. They couple it with the famous Symphony in D minor, dedicated to Henri Duparc and premiered, without much success, in 1889. Even if the score is quite well-known today, in the end it is performed quite rarely, which is a pity, because it really has all the characteristics of a masterpiece: melodic and harmonic inspiration, refined orchestration, variety of mood, an ingenious structure. Two works by Franck ... by Franck! This album marks the beginning of a collaboration between Alpha and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, which will focus on very varied repertories. © Alpha Classics
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Classical - Released April 3, 2020 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Classical - Released March 27, 2020 | La Dolce Volta

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de Classica
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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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Classical - Released March 20, 2020 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama
After a double album dedicated to Boccherini and acclaimed by critics, Ophélie Gaillard and the Pulcinella Orchestra reveal the incredible sound palette of Vivaldi, one of the most brilliant venetian musicians. Drawing on the finest cello works of the composer, Ophélie Gaillard’s selection places great emphasis on the concerto, for one, two or even four performers. It also includes an exclusive reconstruction of the Concerto RV 788. The vocal interventions of Lucile Richardot and Delphine Galou light up the program like rays of sun through the clouds. The album alternates between moments of great emotion, sometimes even dolorous as in the Largo of the Concerto RV 416, and moments of passion and frenzy (in the Concertos RV 419 or RV 409) that evoke "The Summer" from The Four Seasons. This music thus unveils all its mysteries in the interplay of lights and shadows, giving its name to this recording. © Aparté
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Classical - Released March 20, 2020 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
The latest album from the Les Basses Réunies ensemble takes us deep into the phantasmagorical world of the Trattado De Glosas (literally "Treatise Of The Glosses") published by Diego Ortiz, a unique testament of the instrumental music of the Spanish Renaissance mixing poetry, profundity, innovation and virtuosity. Published in Rome in 1553 in both Spanish and Italian, this treatise offers a series of variations for several instruments. In the second volume, recorded here in its entirety, we find a succession of Ricercares (a typical 16th century musical form based on a process of imitation) of rare melodic and rhythmic richness, whose roots lie in then-popular dance pieces such as passamezzo antico and passamezzo moderno, the Ruggiero, the folia and the romanesca. The performance of this second book alternates the two main musicians, Bruno Cocset and Guido Balestracci, who are joined by bass viols, organs, harpsichord and vihuela (Spanish baroque guitar). The Basses Réunies’ work of re-reading this repertoire is closely linked to organology, through the rediscovery of instruments which were lost and then recreated for the occasion. These restorations relied on the use of period paintings (in particular the works of Greco) and a collection of engravings representing musicians and rare instruments, which have often unfortunately survived to the present day in a rather pitiful state. The pioneering and visionary work of the instrumentalist, composer and theorist Diego Ortiz contains a foreshadowing of the art of "diminution" (ornamentation of a melody) that would go on to reign supreme over all Italian music of the Renaissance. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released March 20, 2020 | HORTUS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Classical - Released March 13, 2020 | B Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Two centuries ago Die Schöne Mullerin founded the German romanticism. Since then, the great story of this young man and its tragic and poetic love keeps all its emotionnal strengh: this heart touching version recorded live in the Théâtre de l’Athénee in Paris renews the Schubert masterpiece thanks to Thomas Oliemans vibrating voice and the sensitive touch of Malcolm Martineau. © B Records
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Classical - Released March 13, 2020 | EnPhases

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 étoiles de Classica
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Classical - Released March 6, 2020 | BR-Klassik

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 étoiles de Classica
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Opera - Released March 6, 2020 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
The multitude of incomplete manuscripts of so many baroque operas and oratorios offers a very tempting playground for today's performers and musicologists. However, it is quite rare for a 21st century artist to compose an entire act from scratch. This was what has happened with El Prometeo by Italian composer Antonio Draghi, who was active at the Habsburg court in Vienna. Composed in 1669, it is one of the few operas from that time written in Castilian, which gives this discovery a vital historical importance. Draghi is a direct heir to Monteverdi and Cavalli, whose works he sang in his youth and whose style he carried forward. As was the style in his day, his music is made up of a deft mixture of comic scenes. This was a tradition that would stretch all the way down to Mozart, via the Jommelli operas that the young composer so admired. Convinced that what he had discovered was the complete manuscript, Leonardo García Alarcón had found himself trapped when he realised his mistake just as the work was due to open at the Dijon Opera. So he was obliged to either cancel the production, or to assemble other works into a "pasticcio" of the style of the 18th century. The conductor wasn't paralysed by the fear of a blank page: he put himself into Draghi's shoes to compose a whole third act: the densest, most dramatic part of the artwork, the original of which was irretrievably lost. Going beyond mere plagiarism, García Alarcón had some fun, paying tribute to Austrian opera, borrowing from Draghi of course, but also from Cesti, Caldara, and all the way up to Mozart. The result of this tour de force is a perfect illusion: his assimilation of different styles allows him to create music that's inspired by and in perfect harmony with the rest of the score. The Namur Chamber Choir, the many soloists and the bewitching colours of the Cappella Mediterranea all contribute greatly to a production whose success you can feel on this new album. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released March 6, 2020 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
The mystery of the ballad comes from the way it is told.’ (Goethe). Epic to the point of hallucination, this genre calls for skill in narrative, word-painting, evocation. And it is as a peerless storyteller that Stéphane Degout tackles this repertory which the German Romantics raised to unequalled heights. Who would have believed, before listening to this disc, that a French baritone could pay such eloquent tribute to the language of Goethe? © harmonia mundi
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Symphonic Music - Released March 6, 2020 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
The Orchester Wiener Akademie and its conductor Martin Haselböck continue the "Resound Beethoven" series, performed on period instruments and scrupulously respecting the orchestral layouts of 200 years ago. Volume 8, the last volume of the series, is devoted to two emblematic works, both of them dedicated jointly to Prince Franz Joseph Maximilian Lobkowitz and Count Andreas Kirillovich Razumovsky: Symphonies Nos. 5 and 6. Each of these symphonies has a name attached to it. While the Fifth Symphony is sometimes called the ‘Fate’ Symphony for more or less determined reasons, Beethoven himself named ‘Pastoral’ the Sixth, thus pursuing the venerable tradition of the musical pastorale while conferring a new dimension on it. The Orchester Wiener Akademie recorded these two works in the Landhaus Saal of the Niederösterreich Palais, Beethoven’s favourite concert venue. Between 1819 and 1827, all his nine symphonies were performed there at the ‘Concerts spirituels’ founded by Franz Gebauer, and it was in this same palace that the Austrian Revolution of 1848 began. © Alpha Classics
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Concertos - Released February 28, 2020 | Claves Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 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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Classical - Released February 28, 2020 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s acclaimed series of piano concertos by Mozart reaches its fifth instalment. Concertos Nos. 5, 6, 8, and 9 are complemented by the overtures to Il sogno di Scipione, Lucio Silla, La finta giardiniera, Il re pastore, and Zaide. That all of these works were composed by Mozart between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five serves as a vivid reminder of his unique talents as a child prodigy: these are not childhood efforts but mature works. The Fifth Concerto was actually Mozart’s first, as Nos 1 – 4 are arrangements of works by other composers. As in the previous volumes, Bavouzet is partnered by Manchester Camerata and Gábor Takács-Nagy, all recorded in The Stoller Hall in Manchester. © Chandos
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Classical - Released February 21, 2020 | National Symphony Orchestra

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
It will be interesting to compare the Billy The Kid from this new recording – captured live in June 2019 – by Gianandrea Noseda, whose insatiable curiosity for international music (this is after all a seminal piece of American repertoire written by Copland in 1938) was evidenced by his magnificent collection of Italian music for Chandos, with the older version by Morton Gould for RCA in 1958. Less concerned with the narrative and evocative aspects of ballet, the Italian maestro conducts Billy The Kid like a grand symphonic suite, nonetheless relishing the marvellous originality the American composer employs in his orchestration. Familiar with the music of Central Europe, Gianandrea Noseda also presents a sleek and light (initial Allegro molto) version of Dvořák’s Ninth Symphony with beautiful polyphonic counterpoints at the head of his new orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington. Some might say that the sound recording lacks definition, but you can only admire Noseda’s constantly fluid and flexible rhythm, vivacious and singing. This first release on the American orchestra’s label leaves you impatient and wanting more! © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz