Albums

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Solo Piano - Released January 26, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
Pianist Olivier Cavé had the wonderful idea of juxtaposing three sonatas from Beethoven’s first period – including two dedicated to Haydn, 1795 Op. 2 – and two of Haydn’s own sonatas, one from 1776 and the other from his great maturity in 1789. Of course the contrast couldn’t be greater, but the filiation is obvious, particularly regarding the freedom of tone, architecture, development and overall conception: usual standards don’t apply to the great Haydn, and seem never to have applied to Beethoven, even in his younger years. This may in fact be the main lesson young Beethoven gleaned from the old master – as we know how tense their relationship was, and started to wane from the end of 1795. Olivier Cavé, a disciple of Nelson Goerner, Maria Tipo and Aldo Ciccolini, gave his first concert in 1991 with the Camerata Lysy led by Yehudi Menuhin; his various recordings earned him several 5 Diapasons and Quatre étoiles Classica prizes, and his tours saw him perform around the world, from the San Francisco Symphony to the Festival de la Roque d’Anthéron, from New York to Tokyo and many other places in between… © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released June 16, 2017 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica
2017 brings the 50th anniversary (3rd June 1967) of the death of André Cluytens, the Belgian-born French conductor. While he is especially associated with France and with French music of the 19th and early 20th centuries, his recordings bear witness to his substantial international reputation and his command of an impressively wide repertoire. The set include many first-time releases. The producer of the set discovered a number of treasures in the Warner Classics archives, including unedited session tapes that have been carefully assembled for this release.
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Classical - Released June 16, 2017 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama
2017 brings the 50th anniversary (3rd June 1967) of the death of André Cluytens, the Belgian-born French conductor. While he is especially associated with France and with French music of the 19th and early 20th centuries, his recordings bear witness to his substantial international reputation and his command of an impressively wide repertoire. The set include many first-time releases. The producer of the set discovered a number of treasures in the Warner Classics archives, including unedited session tapes that have been carefully assembled for this release.

Concertos - Released September 7, 2009 | naïve classique

Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Solo Piano - Released September 23, 2016 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica - Choc Classica de l'année
The French pianist Lucas Debargue was a Tchaikovsky Competition sensation in 2015 (although he did not win), and this studio debut gives you a good idea of what the fuss was about. Debargue offers the French tradition in all its calmly urbane glory. You might like various aspects of this release: the unapologetically pianistic but flawlessly elegant Bach Toccata, the Medtner Sonata in F minor, Op. 5. You might sample one of the movements of the latter, inasmuch as the preponderance of recordings of Medtner's solo piano music tends to favor the thunder and lightning of Marc-André Hamelin, for example. Debargue does not reach such dramatic heights, but there's room for more restrained readings of Medtner. The highlight is the utterly distinctive reading of the Beethoven Piano Sonata in D major, Op. 10, No. 3. This work, with its four-movement plan and expansive themes, is generally taken as an example of how Beethoven was stretching his wings toward his epic style, but Debargue effectively takes it on its own terms, with a playful opening movement and an almost static slow movement that may not be to everyone's taste, but certainly makes something new of this much-played sonata. There's a good deal of intelligence and care shown in the small details throughout, and the recording marks Debargue as a young French artist to watch carefully.
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Classical - Released May 16, 2015 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama
Russian fortepianist Olga Pashchenko has had teachers on both the Russian (Alexei Lubimov) and the Western (Richard Egarr) sides, and she might be the one to put these ingredients together into a mix that makes a historical-instrument star. Here she plays a Christopher Clarke copy of a Viennese Fritz fortepiano of 1818, not exactly contemporaneous with the music involved, but close to it and just a little bit clearer sonically. The music is early-to-middle Beethoven, with the central slots occupied by two large variation sets that exemplify the fearlessly experimental streak of the young Beethoven. The more familiar of the two is the set called here by the name Prometheus Variations, Op. 35, but better known as the Eroica Variations because the theme is the same as that used in the finale of the Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 55 ("Eroica"). Pashchenko exploits her instrument's chunky, big lower register well here as the theme builds innovatively out of its bass line at the beginning. Even more striking are the 32 Variations on an Original Theme in C minor, WoO 80, issued in 1808, where Beethoven seems to begin the groundbreaking experiments with Baroque style that would characterize his later years. The variations are very brief, almost like those in a Baroque chaconne, and here again Pashchenko fills out the texture with tough, knotty details. It's an exciting performance of an important work that is primarily ignored because it was never published. Pashchenko also offers performances of the Fantasia in G minor, Op. 77, and the two "easy" sonatas of Op. 49, which in Pashchenko's hands are not so easy. Exciting, serious Beethoven in which listeners will forget they are listening to a historical instrument.
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Classical - Released January 2, 2015 | Sony Classical

Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica
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Classical - Released September 9, 2014 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - 4 étoiles de Classica
Better known for his recordings of the music of Robert Schumann and Gabriel Fauré, pianist Eric le Sage ventures into less accustomed repertoire with this Alpha disc of the last three piano sonatas of Ludwig van Beethoven. These pieces, like others among Beethoven's late masterworks, have an ineffable aura of sanctity about them, and performers approach them with a sense of awe, as well as a solid backlist of recordings that lead up to them. Le Sage doesn't have a discography of Beethoven sonatas, or even much Beethoven in his catalog at all, so his offering of the Sonata No. 30 in E major, Op. 109, the Sonata No. 31 in A flat major, Op. 110, and the Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111, may come as a surprise, or even an affront to some sensibilities. Yet he plays with the transparent touch and calm demeanor of many a master, and even though he isn't likely to be credited with a major achievement until he records the rest of the sonatas, these performances are equal in technique, physical prowess, and emotional power to many other fine renditions. The sense of transcendence that unifies these three sonatas is evident in le Sage's controlled interpretations, and he lends the music a clarity that feels a little rarefied and otherworldly, especially in the closing variations of Op. 111. On the strength of these exceptional performances, one hopes le Sage has a complete Beethoven cycle in store and that Alpha will release it soon.
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Contemporary Jazz - Released May 20, 2014 | Outnote Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Classical - Released January 13, 2014 | Nascor

Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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World - Released December 2, 2013 | world village

Distinctions 4F de Télérama

Classical - Released November 19, 2013 | BIS

Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Classical - Released March 25, 2013 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Hi-Res Audio
The multinational Chiaroscuro Quartet promises performances of music of the Classical era "on period instruments informed by a historical approach." This tells you less than it would if applied to Baroque music, but the features of Classical-period historical string performance are in evidence here: vibrato is kept to a minimum, and the scooping accents possible on later instruments are scrupulously weeded out. The biggest surprise, however, would have been possible even played on contemporary instruments: the String Quartet No. 11 in F minor, Op. 95, of Beethoven, designated by Beethoven as "Serioso," is given an interpretation with the seriousness radically scaled down. The group seems to be after a revisionist interpretation that holds that the violent qualities in this quartet were placed there by Romantic after-the-fact thinking and even later by psychoanalysis of Beethoven's difficult life around this time. The music is tense but light, with the really startling harmonic developments in the opening movement treated not as utterances of emotional torture but as little flashes of psychedelic light. The slow movements of all three works on the album are marvelous, with the players perfectly coordinated and the music seeming to breathe like some living creature, the lack of vibrato making the individual instruments difficult to pick out. And the Mozart Adagio and Fugue in C minor for string quartet, K. 546, and String Quartet in E flat major, K. 428 (a work also often given post-facto Romantic intensity) are less startling on first hearing. The Beethoven is one of those performances far enough outside the norm that it's safe to say some will think it's brilliant, some will hate it. But neither group will be able to claim it's not well thought out.
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Classical - Released March 25, 2013 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released January 29, 2013 | Fuga Libera

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Hi-Res Audio
Compared with Baroque or even High Classical composers, recordings of Romantic music on period instruments remain rare. This release by the young Russian pianist, still a student (of Richard Egarr at this writing), offers a dramatic demonstration of possibilities that are only beginning to be explored. Pashchenko makes a good case that the "transitions" from Classical to Romantic were in part technical in nature, made possible by the burgeoning capabilities of the piano (and other instruments as well). Her program is unusual from a modern perspective, but an audience in the middle of the 19th century wouldn't have found it strange. It serves Pashchenko's aims admirably. She plays a pair of hitherto unknown pianos from the collection of Kremsegg Castle in Austria, an 1812 instrument by Donath Schöfftos (the stepson of Anton Walter, whose instruments are much more common) and an 1827 Graf fortepiano. Both tend toward great power and a brilliant upper register, and the Piano Sonata in F sharp minor, Op. 61, of Jan Ladislav Dussek, completed in 1807, exploits both of these. The work is subtitled "Harmonic Elegy on the Death of His Royal Highness Prince Ferdinand of Prussia," the dedicatee of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3, who was killed in action in 1806. This is a spectacular blood-and-guts work, in two movements, as extreme pianistically as any of Beethoven's sonatas of the same period. The interpretation of the Beethoven Bagatelles, Op. 33, is similarly extreme, with the abrupt mannerisms of those works exaggerated and resolved in glittering cascades of high notes. The Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111, and Mendelssohn's Variations sérieuses for piano in D minor, Op. 54, are played on the Graf piano. Pashchenko's interpretations are a bit more restrained here, but they're cut from the same cloth; the syncopated variation in Beethoven's finale explodes with a force rarely heard on other recordings. Some may find her playing a bit over the top here, but it's hard to avoid the conclusion that she has offered a radically new way of thinking about early Romantic music and has carried through that way of thinking intelligently. If you find yourself attuned to Pashchenko's playing, this will be a rare thrill.

Classical - Released October 22, 2012 | naïve classique

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Record of the Year - Hi-Res Audio
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Symphonic Music - Released November 6, 2012 | Glossa

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama
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Classical - Released November 6, 2012 | Phi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama - Hi-Res Audio
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Concertos - Released September 11, 2012 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Classical - Released May 15, 2012 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - Hi-Res Audio
Even though hearing Ludwig van Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, Op. 120, performed by Andreas Staier on a fortepiano, may be the main selling point of this 2012 release on Harmonia Mundi, it seems to take second place when the CD's curiosities are considered. Viennese publisher Anton Diabelli challenged a number of Austrian composers to devise variations on his original waltz, and though Beethoven's set of 33 variations has come down to us as the most memorable result of this contest, one almost never hears any of the variations composed by the likes of Carl Czerny, Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Frédéric Kalkbrenner, Joseph Kerkowsky, Conradin Kreutzer, Franz Liszt, Ignaz Moscheles, Johann Peter Pixis, Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart, or Franz Schubert. Diabelli collected 50 variations from as many living composers, which he published as Part II of Vaterländischer Künstlerverein. But Beethoven's magisterial set was published as Part I, so Staier's reversal of the parts on this recording is strategic, to entice the listener to try the less familiar variations first, and even offering his own witty variation as an Introduction, before heading straightway into Beethoven's richly developed work. The recital is totally convincing, and Staier's plan works, because hearing the variations in their published order would have been anti-climactic, since Beethoven's monumental music dwarfs even the cleverest of his contemporaries' efforts. Staier's playing is energetic, fun, and exciting, and the sonorities he pulls out of the modern copy of a Conrad Graf fortepiano are surprisingly robust and in-tune. Harmonia Mundi's sound seems to come in and out of focus, due to the acoustics of the room, but overall it is a pleasantly resonant recording that gives the instrument its due.