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Classical - Released January 17, 2020 | harmonia mundi

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"Kitgut" is an old word for catgut (which is not made from cat intestines), and sure enough, the Kitgut Quartet plays on historical instruments with gut strings. That's just one of the measures taken by the group to make English, four-part music of the late 17th century cohere with the Classical-era string quartet, here represented by Haydn's String Quartet in D major, Op. 71, No. 2. The ancestors of the string quartet lie in the Italian trio sonata and transitional genres like the Telemann Quadro, not in English music that happened to have four viol parts, and the Kitgut Quartet here conflates two different genres, viol consort music and instrumental pieces from theatrical works by Purcell and John Blow. Not only the instrumental sound but also the engineering has to be manipulated to make the program, with Haydn in the middle, hang together. The good news is that the players pull it off. They concede that Haydn and Purcell are two different animals but claim that "on closer inspection of the spirit, the contrasts, the play on spatial effects, the asymmetries, the dance motifs that help to structure the freest and most experimental developments, the dramatic and theatrical lyricism, one wonders if the person playing that game is not still the same." The Haydn outer movements play off the humor of the Purcell theatrical pieces nicely, with the consort music of Purcell and Matthew Locke providing the main contrast. The result is a curiously attractive program, where another layer is added to the musical meanings of the original material. It can be heard for its sensuous surfaces, or as a kind of experiment, and one awaits future releases from this young group. © TiVo
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Classical - Released December 6, 2019 | BIS

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It seems as though a young European prodigy comes along each year and is proclaimed to be the next big thing, but Johan Dalene has the chops to make it last, or so it seems from the evidence here. Just 19 when this recording was released, at the end of 2019, Dalene is both daring and thoughtful in the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35. He could have played it safe, as many young players do with their debut releases. Instead, he takes the concerto's outer movements at a skittery quick tempo, pushing himself to the edge but not beyond. Then for the more melodic passages in the opening movement, he takes time and lets the music breathe. It's an impressive performance of a very familiar work, but the Violin Concerto, Op. 14, of Samuel Barber, is possibly even better. Some Barber works seem Romantic in style, but on closer examination, turn out to be quite modern in form, and this concerto is a complex example. It has the big tunes, but its use of the violin is atypical and constantly shifting; Barber said that the work was more a sonata than a concerto. Dalene's lively, alert performance is complemented by fine work from the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra under Daniel Blendulf in what is throughout a really impressive debut concerto recording. © TiVo
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Classical - Released November 8, 2019 | Arcana

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason découverte - Choc de Classica
After rediscovering the music of Giovanni Croce, maestro di cappella at St Mark’s cathedral in Venice, Ensembles Voces Suaves and Concerto Scirocco take us to Salzburg and put the spotlight on the Verona-born composer Stefano Bernardi, a contemporary of Monteverdi. Bernardi reached the peak of his career in Salzburg, when he was appointed the first Kapellmeister of its newly constructed cathedral, a position he held from 1628 to 1634. Bernardi contributed greatly to the integration of the Italian nuovo stile in Salzburg, especially of features such as polychorality and the stile concertato, and may therefore be seen as the musical forefather of later, more famous Salzburg musicians. The outstanding stature of his music is clearly evident from his majestic Requiem, the manuscript of which is still preserved in the Salzburg cathedral archives. Particularly impressive is the Sequentia, which forms the core of the work and opens with an elaborate Dies irae section, based on the famous chant melody. The Requiem, as well as a number of Motets by Bernardi, is recorded here for the very first time. © Arcana
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Classical - Released November 8, 2019 | Ambronay Éditions

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Recorded at the Royal Opera of Versailles, this "pastorale héroïque" is a co-production of the Festival d’Ambronay, which has released it on its own label. Inspired by Lully's Acis and Galatea of ten years earlier, André-Cardinal Destouches composed Issé to mark the prince's wedding celebrations at Trianon. The work met with great success right away and was performed several times at Versailles, right up to the wedding celebrations of the future king Charles X, before it went on to conquer the Paris Opéra. Issé's lighthearted plot is full of the obligatory amorous reversals and twists: Apollo, disguised as the shepherd Philémon, is assiduously pursuing the nymph Issé. The work delighted the King, who had it staged again, with Madame de Pompadour reprising the role of the nymph, in 1749. "The version upon which this record is based was published in 1724, by Jean- Baptiste Christophe Ballard. This revision truly perfected the work: it improved whole sections and added some remarkable pages. Houdar de La Motte re-wrote several lines, while Destouches undertook a wide-ranging re-working of the rhythm and the instrumental setting of the great arias, in such a way that the dramatic material remained recognisable", François Escande says. Closely linked to the needs of the French Court, this pastorale is probably Destouches's masterpiece, quite a feat if you consider that this was his first lyrical work. It links the charm and refined sensibilities of the 17th Century with the eloquent, brilliant and expressive spirit that the following century would love so passionately. Conducted by Louis-Noël Bestion de Camboulas, this version sparkles with intelligence thanks to a virtuoso orchestra (Les Surprises) and a team of larger- than-life singers who fit their roles perfectly. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released November 1, 2019 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released November 1, 2019 | Chandos

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In his homeland, Avet Terterian is regarded, alongside Aram Khachaturian, as the other giant of twentieth-century Armenian music, and as the founder of his nation’s progressive school of composers. Born in July 1929, Terterian began his musical education at the Baku Music College. Returning to his native country, he studied at the Komitas State Conservatory in Yerevan, latterly becoming a composition pupil of Edvard Mirzoian. His early works follow in the tradition of Khachaturian. From his opera The Ring of Fire (1967) onwards, he developed an advanced musical language embracing atonality, chance elements, and electronics. Another significant influence was the music of Giya Kancheli, and important, too, was the way in which he absorbed aspects of Armenian folk and ancient liturgical music into his personal voice. The backbone of Terterian’s achievement is enshrined in his eight symphonies. In summing them up he wrote: ‘We are all living on the threshold of a terrible apocalyptic judgement. It has always seemed to me that my symphonies are a cry of the soul for salvation and for the forgiveness of sins.’ © Chandos
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Classical - Released October 4, 2019 | Ondine

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This second volume in a series dedicated to the orchestral works of Heino Eller by the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra under conductor Olari Elts is a ground-breaking introduction to one of the founders of the Estonian school of music. The present volume consists of Eller’s symphonic poems and contains some of Eller’s earliest symphonic works, including one of his most well-known works, Dawn (Koit). © Ondine
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Classical - Released October 4, 2019 | Toccata Classics

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The Polish composer Moritz Moszkowski (1854–1925) is best remembered for a handful of virtuoso piano pieces, but he also produced a substantial body of orchestral music, most of it unperformed for decades. Astonishingly, he was only in his early twenties when he wrote his monumental ‘Symphonic Poem in Four Movements’ Johanna d’Arc – heard here in its first recording – a vast symphonic fresco depicting the life, death and transfiguration of the heroine of Friedrich Schiller’s 1801 play, Die Jungfrau von Orleans. Moszkowski admitted to the influence of Wagner and Raff on the work – but he also managed to prefigure the musical language of the Hollywood epics of sixty years later. © Toccata Classics
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Classical - Released September 20, 2019 | Alpha

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The young German baritone Konstantin Krimmel won the prestigious "Preis des Deutschen Musikwettbewerbs" in 2019, in addition to the Helmut Deutsch Prize. He joins Alpha Classics for a number of recordings, starting with this programme of Lieder conceived with his longstanding partner, the pianist Doriana Tchakarova. This lover of words, a particularly expressive performer in concert, wanted to ‘tell a story’ for his first album: he chose to record a selection of ballads, because ‘they are genuine operas in just a few minutes... mini-sagas that permit great interpretative freedom’. Among the great poets present here are Schiller, Goethe and Heinrich Heine. As to the composers, alongside the indispensable Schubert and Schumann, this programme presents a great master of the genre, Carl Loewe, who wrote several hundred ballads: the works recorded here, inspired by Scots poems or Danish legends, are especially eloquent. There is also a chance to discover the much more rarely recorded Adolf Jensen, a great admirer of Wagner, whom he met in 1861: ‘To translate Wagner’s ideas of Beauty and Truth to smaller forms has been my aim in all my later compositions’. © Alpha Classics
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Symphonic Music - Released January 18, 2019 | Alpha

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Alpha begins a complete cycle of the symphonies by Sibelius alongside some of his symphonic poems with Gothenburg Symphony and its new chief conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali. In the great tradition of Finnish conductors, Santtu-Matias Rouvali is known for his extremely physical and organic interpretations: ‘Music unmistakeably flows from him’, commented The Sunday Times. This was evident when, at a very young age, he stepped in to conduct a concert with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra which began the journey to his first tenure as Chief Conductor with the Tampere Philharmonic; a meteoric rise to a career working at the highest musical level internationally; and a third post as Principal Guest Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. When Bachtrack asked him how he shapes the orchestral sound, he replied: ‘I sing it, I move my hands the way I want it (…) the conductor should be able to show tempo somewhere in the body (…) I was also a drum kit player, so my feet and hands can do different things at the same time. When you read the score, you sing it in your head (…) I think it’s the sense of inside groove that you get from playing percussion which is very important in Sibelius’s music.’ In the Gothenburg Symphony he finds a prestigious cohort of musicians with an impressive discography, and joins a line of their illustrious musical directors, notably Neeme Järvi, the orchestra’s principal conductor from 1982 to 2004, but also Gustavo Dudamel, who is honorary conductor. © Outhere Music
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released March 9, 2018 | Arcana

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Why yes, even now, in the 21st century, there are still some works by Pergolesi which are yet to be recorded! It's hard to believe that these works have been neglected for three hundred years; it's almost as if his tremendously famous Stabat Mater had thrust the rest of this composer's ample output into the shade! But here they are: these two religious works date from the end of his tragically short life, from 1730 to his death six years later. Remarkably, his Mass in D Major from 1732 or 33 (the era of La Serva padrona) was written for two choirs and two orchestras, a deliberately stereophonic effect which is very well-executed in terms of the spatial distribution of the sound and the music. But that doesn't keep the composer from deploying all the dynamic options at his disposal, rather than taking the mass as an excuse to just blast away. As for the motet Dignas laudes resonemus, it is a great Neapolitan concert motet: a monumental form, which here also uses a double choir and two distinct orchestras. The score had been lost until some contemporary orchestral material resurfaced which made it possible to reconstruct the entire work. Here we discover a more lyrical side of Pergolesi, who, let us not forget, composed ten operas, and had he not died at 26, would have surely composed dozens more pieces of even greater quality. © SM/Qobuz
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Secular Vocal Music - Released December 1, 2017 | Ricercar

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Classical - Released September 22, 2017 | harmonia mundi

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Chamber Music - Released November 4, 2014 | Oehms Classics

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Classical - Released October 21, 2014 | Ramée

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Chamber Music - Released July 15, 2014 | Hungaroton

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Classical - Released March 4, 2014 | Glossa

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Classical - Released February 5, 2013 | Naxos

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Opera - Released January 1, 2013 | Bru Zane

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Classical - Released November 6, 2012 | Genuin

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