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Classical - Released September 7, 2018 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Record of the Year - Choc de Classica
For French pianists who don't approach the task in a sympathetic spirit, the nearly obligatory early-career Saint-Saëns recital can seem a chore, for both pianist and listener. Not a bit of it here. Pianist Bertrand Chamayou and the Orchestre National de France under Emmanuel Krivine absolutely nail the Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 22, with a performance notable for its combination of small detail and energy. Saint-Saëns is sometimes criticized, and indeed sometimes rightly, for being a by-the-book conservatory composer, but what to make of the unusual shape of this concerto, with its Allegro middle movement and lack of a true slow movement? Sample that middle movement, which is overflowing with melody, or the solo passage at the very beginning of the concerto, exquisitely carved out by Chamayou. The Piano Concerto No. 5, Op. 103 ("Egyptian"), with its supposedly authentic Nile tribal melody in the slow movement, is suitably colorful and exotic, and there are also gems among the rarely played small piano works that close out the program. The Etude, Op. 52, No. 6 ("En forme de valse"), which is just what it says, in the form of a waltz, but not quite a waltz, is an inspired choice. Chamayou tackles the various technical challenges with aplomb, and Erato contributes unfussy sound from a pair of sessions at the Radio France Auditorium. As good a place as any to start with the piano music of Saint-Saëns. © TiVo
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Full Operas - Released November 24, 2017 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Record of the Year - Gramophone Award - Gramophone Record of the Month - Victoire de la musique - 4 étoiles Classica
We will gladly forgive the occasional "weakness" in sound technology in this recording of Troyens by Berlioz (recorded live in concert in April 2017). In light of the first-rate quality of the music and vocals that appear on the disc (a majority of which are French voices, with Stéphane Degout at their head) this immense work is from the Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra and the three choirs which have been brought together – because the work demands immense swelling choirs – which are the choir of the Opéra national du Rhin, the Opéra National de Bade, and the Strasbourg Philharmonic's own choir. This recording rests, of course, on the complete original edition, which gives the listener a chance to hear Les Troyens as the work was performed in 1863, at the Théâtre-Lyrique, in which some intense chopping saw Acts I and II condensed into one part and Acts III to V into another, producing two distinct operas (La Prise de Troie and Les Troyens à Carthage). We also get a taste, naturally, of Berlioz's immensely rich orchestral innovations: with every new work, he would invent some exciting new prototype from scratch, never content to rest on his laurels. The listener should note the presence of six saxhorns, recently invented by Adolphe Sax (of whom Berlioz was an indefatigable champion, even if he didn't often use his instruments in his scores, no doubt because of the poor quality of the early instrumentalists who learned - however well or badly - Sax's instruments); bass clarinet, and an army of percussion pieces including several instruments which must have been rare in those days: crotales, goblet drums, tom-toms, thunder sheets... clearly, this is a milestone in the Berlioz discography. © SM/Qobuz
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Violin Concertos - Released October 28, 2016 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Record of the Year - Gramophone Award - Choc de Classica - Choc Classica de l'année
"Not another complete recording of Mozart's violin concertos!", some might complain, and in absolute terms they wouldn’t necessarily be wrong. Except that this complete edition is signed by star violinist Isabelle Faust, accompanied by Il Giardino Armonico (who plays on instruments from Mozart’s time, including natural horns, nine-key bassoons, six-key flutes, two-key oboes), and – last but not least – the cadenzas are signed by Andreas Staier, since Mozart has left us no cadenzas for his violin concertos (unlike several piano concertos, as well as his Sinfonia concertante for violin and viola). Far from playing the star, Isabelle Faust prefers to blend in with the whole orchestra, a kind of primus inter pares attitude quite refreshing in this repertoire which, in fact, does not require so much emphasis of the part of soloist – the sound engineering and balance itself favours an overall sound rather than an opposition between solo violin and orchestra. This is a new and very original interpretation, whatever the abundant discography of these works may already be. In addition to the five concertos, Faust plays the three single movements for violin and orchestra – two Rondos and one Adagio – which are actually "spare" movements for one or the other of the concertos written on request for soloists of that time. One wonders what Mozart would have written had he had Isabelle Faust by his side! © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released January 1, 2014 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Record of the Year - Gramophone Award
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Opera - Released April 5, 2013 | harmonia mundi

Distinctions Gramophone Record of the Year
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Classical - Released February 4, 2013 | Warner Classics

Distinctions Gramophone Record of the Year
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Classical - Released January 1, 2013 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Record of the Year - Gramophone Record of the Month - Choc de Classica - Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released October 22, 2012 | naïve classique

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Record of the Year - Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released June 13, 2011 | Warner Classics

Distinctions Gramophone Record of the Year
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released May 12, 2011 | Ricercar

Hi-Res Booklets Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Record of the Year - Hi-Res Audio
Exequien in German are funeral observances, and Heinrich Schütz's Musikalische Exequien, SWV 279, were performed in February 1636 for the funeral of Heinrich Posthumus von Reuss, a prince and diplomat who was a personal friend of the composer. Reuss planned his own funeral down to the last detail, commissioning music from Schütz, providing him with German texts roughly analogous to the Latin requiem mass, and designing his own sarcophagus, which is reproduced in full color in the booklet. Prince Heinrich Reuss XIII even gets an album credit for making it available for a photograph. Various good recordings of this work are available, from Philippe Herreweghe (captures the emotional intensity in the periodic harmonic clashes) to John Eliot Gardiner (very Bachian). Forces deployed range from one voice per part (Weser-Renaissance) to medium-sized groups (the Sixteen) to full choirs or children's choirs. This reading by Lionel Meunier and the multinational group Vox Luminis is also well worth considering. You might think of it as the authentic performance among authentic performances. Meunier deploys two voices per part and draws his soloists from this group in the work's shifting antiphonal structures; there is manuscript evidence that this is the ensemble size Schütz had in mind. The continuo is realized by a small organ and a bass viol, solutions apparently suggested by Schütz himself. The Musikalische Exequien are introduced by other funeral motets and chorales by Schütz and others, setting the stage for the impact of the funeral rite itself and echoing the order of an actual Lutheran service. And the singers get the quality of memorial warmth in the music, which lives up to the comparison in the booklet notes of the Musikalische Exequien with the Brahms German Requiem, Op. 45. There are versions with more spectacularly sharp singing, but few others that seem to fit together as convincingly as this. The performance is strengthened by the ideal acoustics of a small church in the Loire region. Strongly recommended for any Schütz collection. © TiVo
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Classical - Released October 11, 2010 | Warner Classics

Distinctions Gramophone Record of the Year
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Classical - Released October 6, 2008 | Warner Classics

Distinctions Choc du Monde de la Musique - Gramophone Record of the Year
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Classical - Released April 7, 2008 | harmonia mundi

Distinctions Gramophone Record of the Year
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Classical - Released February 6, 2006 | Warner Classics

Distinctions Gramophone Record of the Year
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Classical - Released January 1, 2006 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Distinctions Gramophone Record of the Year
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Classical - Released January 1, 2005 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Distinctions Gramophone Record of the Year
When at last it was revealed what Mahler's final intentions were regarding the ordering of the inner movements of his Sixth Symphony, 90 years of theory, history, and performance practice went right out the window. For theorists, it altered the harmonic structure of Mahler's A minor Symphony. For historians, it modified the meaning of Mahler's "Tragic" Symphony. For players and conductors, it changed the musical progress of Mahler's Sixth Symphony. For listeners, it made Mahler's deepest and darkest symphony even deeper and darker. With the achingly nostalgic Andante moderato now coming before the bitingly bitter Scherzo, the triumph of the opening Allegro energico sounds even more hollow and empty and the collapse of the closing Allegro moderato sounds even more final and total. For most of his career, Claudio Abbado had performed Mahler's Sixth in the then-standard ordering of Scherzo -- Andante and the results were completely convincing. But with this June 2004 recording with the Berlin Philharmonic, Abbado has adopted the Andante -- Scherzo ordering and the results are absolutely compelling. Abbado has always been one of the finest virtuoso conductors of the past half century, but his interpretations have grown more passionate over the years, even to the point of violence, and this Sixth may be the most violently passionate recording he has ever made. Indeed, the unrelenting intensity, unbearable concentration, and overwhelming power in Abbado's interpretation make it one of the most devastating performances of the work ever recorded. The Berlin plays with stunning virtuosity, tremendous dedication, and unconditional love. DG's sound is warm, clear, and real, but just a little bit distant. © TiVo
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Classical - Released October 18, 2002 | ECM New Series

Distinctions Gramophone Record of the Year
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Symphonic Music - Released March 1, 2001 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Record of the Year - The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
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Symphonic Music - Released October 1, 2000 | Warner Classics International

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Record of the Year - Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released January 1, 1998 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Distinctions Gramophone Record of the Year