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Concertos - Released April 3, 2020 | Alpha

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As the symbiosis between the art of the poet and that of the composer, the French mélodie became the jewel of the salons of the ‘Belle Époque’. By placing a string quartet and a piano around the singer, Chausson’s Chanson perpétuelle, Lekeu’s Nocturne and Fauré’s La Bonne Chanson oscillate between chamber musical intimacy and orchestral ambition. Alongside these famous pioneering pieces, this programme devised by the Palazzetto Bru Zane champions a return to the art of transcription, so popular in the nineteenth century, with the aim of expanding the repertory for voice, strings and piano in order to unearth some forgotten treasures. Hence Hahn, Berlioz, Saint-Saëns, Massenet, La Tombelle, Ropartz, Louiguy and Messager all appear in a programme whose guiding thread is the emotions of nocturnal abandonment: the charms of twilight, the trajectory of dreams, the terror of nightmare or the exhilaration of festive occasions. Alexandre Dratwicki has made these arrangements in the style of the nineteenth century. Appropriately enough, the programme ends with La Vie en rose, for this music offers a kaleidoscope of all the colours of human feeling. The texture of solo strings and piano sets Véronique Gens’s incomparable storytelling artistry in a new ligh. © Alpha Classics
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Solo Piano - 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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Classical - Released March 27, 2020 | Alpha

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Giovanni Antonini, virtuoso flautist and orchestral conductor, is the founder of the Italian ensemble Il Giardino Armonico, which burst on the baroque musical scene in 1985; together they have amassed an impressive discography. Partnered by Alpha Classics, they have launched a complete recording of the 107 symphonies by Joseph Haydn, in anticipation of the 300th anniversary of his birth in 2032. Il Giardino Armonico is celebrating a composer with whose music he made his name: Antonio Vivaldi. With Antonini as soloist in a programme of his own devising recorded between 2011 and 2017, a generous bouquet of concertos "per flauto" : RV 433 (‘La Tempesta di Mare’), plus the Concertos RV 441, 442, 443, 444, and 445, and an amazing version of Cum dederit, a solo from Nisi Dominus RV 608, for the chalumeau, the predecessor to the modern-day clarinet. © Alpha Classics
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Secular Vocal Music - Released March 27, 2020 | MUSO

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama
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Classical - Released March 27, 2020 | Ambronay Éditions

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Anna Danilevskaia and her acolytes plunge us into the heart of Florence in 1350. It is said that on a hot morning of the year 1389, in a Florentine garden, Francesco degli Organi, famous organetto virtuoso, accepted a bet: he had to silence the birds by the beauty of his organ playing. Also a composer, this multi-instrumentalist was acclaimed throughout the city of Florence not only for his musical prowess but also for his rhetoric skils and philosophical views. A perfect representative of incipient humanism, better known today as Francesco Landini, together with fellow composers such as Lorenzo da Firenze, Andrea Stefani and Giovanni da Firenze, was to bring the music of their time to its apogee. A bewitching vocal and instrumental journey during which you can discover or rediscover the music of these great Florentine masters of he Middle Ages. © Ambronay Editions
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Classical - Released March 13, 2020 | L'Encelade

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The programme for Pierre Gallon’s new record enjoys the high patronage of a gentleman who was famous in Parisian musical circles in the first half of the 17th century, a certain Charles Fleury Sieur de Blancrocher (or Blanrocher, Blancheroche, 1605-1652). Although he was much admired as a lutenist in his own time, he never took the instrument up professionally. We know relatively little about his life - merely that he became friends with the harpsichordist Johann Jakob Froberger (1616-1667)… and then that he died in rather comical circumstances, falling down his own stairs in the aforesaid Mr Froberger’s presence. Finally, he has left us a single piece, for the lute - L’Offrande (The Offering), which is to be found in two major sources from the period. When Blancrocher died no fewer than four composers each wrote a “tombeau” - a tribute piece - in memory of the lutenist. Froberger and Louis Couperin’s pieces were written for the harpsichord, whereas Dufaut and Denis Gaultier’s were for the lute. Although fairly different, all four are wonderful; indeed each of them is a major piece in its composer’s body of work, so the idea is to bring these four tombeaux together on record for the first time. They are the four cornerstones upon which the programme as a whole rests, and then laid out around them there will be various other pieces which are formally more conventional (preludes, dance suites, fantasias, etc.) composed by the same four composers in Paris in the 1650s. Although Couperin and Froberger both composed for the harpsichord, Gaultier and Dufaut were both lutenists, and so Pierre Gallon has transcribed their pieces on the record for the harpsichord, as people might have done at the time. Finally, the programme comes full circle by - quite literally - inviting Mr de Blancrocher to attend his own tribute, as the lutenist Diego Salamanca performs Blancrocher’s Allemande. © L'Encelade
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Classical - Released March 13, 2020 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 5 étoiles de Classica
Erkki-Sven Tüür, born in Estonia in 1959, writes music that is characterised by intense energetic transformation. The intuitive and rational approach is synthesised into a complete organic system. He is the composer of nine symphonies, ten concertos, numerous chamber works and an opera. Dedicated to his compatriot Paavo Järvi and composed to mark the centenary of the Estonian Republic in 2018, Tüür’s Ninth Symphony is entitled "Mythos". According to the composer, this refers to the myths that arise about nations and how they have acquired their independence, and also deals with the long history of the Finno-Ugric peoples. Paavo Järvi and his Estonian Festival Orchestra have made the world premiere recording of this work, along with The Incantation of Tempest (2004), dedicated to the Estonian composer Veljo Tormis, and Sow the Wind, composed in 2015, inspired by climatic ‘gusts of wind’ and ‘whirlwinds’. © Alpha Classics
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Classical - Released March 6, 2020 | Ricercar

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Johann Paul von Westhoff (1656-1705) was one of the most brilliant members of the significant school of violinists that flourished in seventeenth-century Dresden. This impressive virtuoso, who was even applauded by Louis XIV at Versailles, wrote the very first compositions for unaccompanied violin, which of course foreshadow the later masterpieces of Johann Sebastian Bach. The programme recorded here includes some suites from his collection published in Dresden in 1696, as well as the suite that was printed in the Mercure galant of Paris in 1683, following his visit to Versailles. © Ricercar
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Full Operas - Released March 6, 2020 | Glossa

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In Jephté by Michel Pignolet de Montéclair, György Vashegyi directs – with style and energy – another riveting account of a neglected French Baroque opera. The work, based on the Biblical tale of a conquering general obliged, by a sacred vow, to sacrifice his own kin, became an immediate success in 1732, indeed a fixture in opera life in France, receiving over a hundred performances at the Opéra alone in the three decades following its première. Montéclair and his librettist Pellegrin were open to preparing revised versions of the opera and it is the third and conclusive edition which has been worked on by the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles and recorded by Vashegyi and his musicians. The central and demanding role of Iphise here is taken by Chantal Santon Jeffery, who is joined by Tassis Christoyannis as the unfortunate but successful-in-war title character, Judith van Wanroij as the bewildered but resolute mother and Thomas Dolié as the relayer of divine messages, Phinée. There is an imaginative and individual flair to Montéclair’s music, nurtured by his extensive orchestral pit experience at the Paris Opéra – and Jephté is a work of his maturity. As well as the tautness of the third edition, the fruits of all this experience are to be heard here with the Orfeo Orchestra showing its paces in zesty airs, minuets, marches and a chaconne, but also with a musettetinged pastoral celebration – this last also allows the Purcell Choir opportunities to excel; elsewhere, the choir is called on variously to represent warriors, Israelites, and companions of Iphise. © Glossa
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Classical - Released March 6, 2020 | Warner Classics

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Following directly upon Shostakovich's triumphal and triumphant Symphony No. 7 in C major, Op. 60 ("Leningrad"), the Symphony No. 8 in C minor, Op. 65, was a much more troublesome work. Even Prokofiev criticized it, while the Soviet government attempted to make the best of it by promoting it as a "Stalingrad symphony" in memoriam of the dead in that city. Certainly it is a gloomy work that poses immense challenges to the performers, and probably, for this reason, it is one of the less-often performed of the Shostakovich canon of 15. Conductor Tugan Sokhiev, leading the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, surmounts these challenges, even if he doesn't have the smooth strings and sharp-edged brass of, say, Bernard Haitink's Concertgebouw Orchestra. He may remind one of the work's originator, Evgeny Mravinsky, who also recorded the symphony and coaxed a half-hour ovation out of the audience. The Adagio of the 28-minute opening movement (slower than average here) is so long and takes up so much of the movement that it may be taken as an expression of how normal procedures no longer applied. Sokhiev brings out the long line and never flags even as the mood continually darkens. The emotionally complex finale is another strong point. The music never quite makes it to triumphant but manages a kind of lyricism, and contains one of Shostakovich's most beautiful melodies. This reading captures the tentative quality of the music, and even if there are greater displays of pure instrumental virtuosity among other recordings of the symphony, there are few that seem to embody so much reflection on what the music is about. © TiVo
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Symphonic Music - 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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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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Keyboard Concertos - Released February 21, 2020 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica
The unconventional character that is Benjamin Grosvenor delivers us a very personal version of these two essential works of the piano repertoire. The first Brit to have signed an exclusive contract with Decca Classics in sixty years, he first made his name in 2004 when he won the Keyboard section of BBC Young Musician of the Year, thus throwing the doors open to an international career. Produced alongside the talented young conductor from Hong Kong Elim Chan, the musical director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, this new album dedicated to Chopin revisits the young British prodigy’s first musical loves. It was following a very successful concert with Elim Chan that they decided to record the Piano concertos by Chopin together. In this fifth album (for Decca), it’s Grosvenor’s virtuosity and ability to make the instrument sing that allow him to fully express his favourite music. “Chopin was the first composer to whom I felt a strong connection to as a child. I have always been drawn to his music, and his piano concertos are among some of the finest in the repertoire”, he says. Other than his already legendary sound and the expert way he strikes a balance between the different acoustic levels, his vision underlines the dreamy romanticism that delicately envelops the two concertos by the then-20-year-old Polish composer. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Duets - Released February 7, 2020 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique
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Classical - Released February 7, 2020 | audite Musikproduktion

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Classical - Released February 7, 2020 | Universal Music Australia Pty. Ltd.

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Classical - Released January 24, 2020 | Fuga Libera

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Eugène Ysaÿe, a violin virtuoso admired by all his contemporaries, was an inheritor of what has justly been considered as the Belgian school of violin, whose ascendancy can be traced back to the beginning of the 19th century. His work as a composer, however, is much less well known today and it is this facet of his extraordinarily active life that we will explore here. He composed many different types of works; here we present his works for solo violin and orchestra, including two movements of violin concertos which are now available on record for the first time, and his chamber music. A great champion of the music of his time, Ysaÿe gave the first performances of a great number of works, many of which were dedicated to him as well as having been commissioned by him; the most well-known of these pieces are also included here. This fascinating boxed set from the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel is a fine example of the work of this important musical institution: it features the Chapel’s masters* and the young soloists* who trained there alongside two Belgian orchestras of international renown. © Fuga Libera* Violin : Yossif Ivanov - Nikita Boriso-Glebsky - Tedi Papavrami - Maria Milstein - Lorenzo Gatto - Renaud Capuçon - Júlia Pusker - Augustin Dumay - Elina Buksha - Hyeon Jin Jane Cho - Kerson Leong Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège - Jean-Jacques Kantorow, François-Xavier Roth, Christian Arming, conductors Brussels Philharmonic - Stéphane Denève, conductor Quatuor Hermès Viola : Hélène Desaint - Miguel da Silva Cello : Gary Hoffman - Astrig Siranossian - Henri Demarquette - Danilo Squitieri Piano : Jean-Claude Vanden Eynden - Julien Libeer - Jonathan Fournel
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Solo Piano - Released January 17, 2020 | La Dolce Volta

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama
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Classical - Released January 10, 2020 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique
20 years old and a brazen amount of talent: the Afro-British cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason has three idols. Cellists Jacqueline du Pré and Mstislav Rostropovitch and reggae legend Bob Marley, three passionate and extrovert forces. His career really took off after he performed at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding in 2018. His album Inspiration released the same year broke all sorts of sales records in the United Kingdom and his hometown of Nottingham even named a bus after him. As part of a partnership with the label Decca, he is back with a new recording, this time dedicated to the famous Cello Concerto in E Minor, Op. 85, accompanied by the London Symphony Orchestra headed by their new conductor, Sir Simon Rattle. A first class encounter which produces a poetic vision, almost like chamber music, of this renowned concerto. Made famous by Jacqueline du Pré’s versions (with Barbirolli then with her husband Daniel Barenboim), Elgar’s Concerto is accompanied on the track listing by other shorter pieces which were popular among soloists and music lovers alike a century ago, which the younger generation is bringing back in vogue. The album features arrangements of traditional music and works by Bloch, Elgar, Bridge, Fauré and Klengel. From the infinitely large to the infinitely small with the staggering virtuosity of this bright young talent. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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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