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Ombre de mon amant - French Baroque Arias

Anne Sofie von Otter

Classical - Released January 1, 2010 | Archiv Produktion

This 2010 recital by mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter takes her into repertoire that is relatively new to her: French Baroque opera. The bulk of this disc, on which she is accompanied by William Christie leading Les Arts Florissants, is devoted to extended excerpts from Charpentier's Médée and Rameau's Hippolyte et Aricie. This is obviously repertoire for which she feels a strong affinity, and she throws herself into these roles with her characteristic wholeheartedness. Médée, in particular, is an intensely expressive role, and von Otter's passionate performance, alternatively grief-stricken and furious, is unreserved in her embodiment of the troubled character. Charpentier's emotionally charged writing makes Médée an ideal vehicle for her; it's no wonder that she was so attracted to it. The Rameau feels somewhat reserved after Médée's roiling fury, but the final scene of the opera is a real show-stopper. Von Otter sings with her typical passion and attentiveness to the characters' emotions, and succeeds in making the listener care about their desperate plights. She has mastered the unique, florid ornamentation of the French middle Baroque, and the music seems as natural to her as breathing. Her voice has lost some of the bloom she had in her youth, and some of the gleam is gone, but her vocal warmth and acute intelligence and musicianship carry her performance. The seriousness of the operas is alleviated by lyrical airs and chansons by Charpentier and Lambert that are placed like palate cleansers throughout the album. Von Otter sings them with utter delight and grace, and leaves the listener hoping that she will record more of these charming songs. Christie and Les Arts Florissants are featured in several instrumental dances, and their professionalism shines here and in their accompaniments. Archiv's sound is clean and bright, with good balance and a strong sense of presence. © TiVo
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Handel: Ezio

Ann Hallenberg

Classical - Released January 1, 2009 | Archiv Produktion

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Vivaldi

Magdalena Kožená

Classical - Released January 1, 2009 | Archiv Produktion

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Mozart: The Violin Concertos; Sinfonia Concertante

Giuliano Carmignola

Classical - Released January 1, 2008 | Archiv Produktion

If this is the future of Mozart performance practice, the future is secure. The combination of period instrument violinist Giuliano Carmignola and modern instrument conductor Claudio Abbado leading the youthful period instrument Orchestra Mozart produces something new under the sun: a hybrid of both approaches that takes the best from both and creates something fresh and shining. Carmignola, the leader of Venice's Teatro La Fenice and one of Italy's best period violinists, has a focused tone, a lively sense of rhythm, and a wonderful feeling for line and color. Better still, he has a complete grasp of the music's style and his effortlessly elegant interpretations sound like echt Mozart. But best of all, Carmignola is partnered with Claudio Abbado. As well as supporting the soloist with kindness and understanding, the master conductor elicits playing from the Orchestra Mozart that fairly sparkles with brightness and enthusiasm, creating performances that could serve as models for years to come. Joined by ace violist Danusha Waskiewicz in the Sinfonia Concertante that fills out the second disc, this beautifully produced Deutsche Grammophon set stands tall among the vast number of recordings of the Mozart violin concertos already available. © TiVo
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Handel: Il Floridante, HWV 14

Marijana Mijanovic

Classical - Released January 1, 2007 | Archiv Produktion

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Vivaldi: Dixit Dominus

Dresden Kornerscher Sing-Verein

Classical - Released January 1, 2006 | Archiv Produktion

The sticker emblazoned on the front of Archiv Produktion's Vivaldi: Dixit Dominus proclaims this as a "World-premiere recording of the work scholars are calling the 'the most important Vivaldi discovery in 75 years.'" That takes a little bit of qualification, though not much -- inside, Vivaldi scholar Michael Talbot clarifies that this Dixit is "arguably the best non-operatic work from Vivaldi's pen to come to light since the discovery, in the 1920s, of the major part of the composer personal archive." That makes a bit more sense, as the field of Baroque performance practice in the early years of the twenty first century is largely defined by the revival of Vivaldi's once totally neglected operatic and solo vocal output. It must seem to a lot of listeners like there is a new Vivaldi discovery every five minutes; after all, it was only in 2004 that Hyperion issued Nisi Dominus, RV 803, then proclaimed as "Vivaldi's latest work." One of the reasons these Vivaldi discoveries seem to be coming so thick and fast is that they are all from the same source, a group of manuscripts in the Sächsische Landesbibliothek Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden copied under the direction of eighteenth century priest Dom Giuseppe Baldan. Baldan came up short on scores by the most popular sacred composer of his day, Baldassare Galuppi, and substituted, under Galuppi's name, some rather old-fashioned sounding sacred settings supplied by his assistants, who just happened to be from among Antonio Vivaldi's nephews. With the appearance of Dixit Dominus, RV 608, this seems to exhaust the four "Galuppi/Vivaldi" scores known in Dresden, but this does not preclude the possibility that yet more of Baldan's handiwork may exist elsewhere. Professor Talbot's cautious choice of the phrase "arguably the best" is a good one; Dixit Dominus is the most expansive of the four "Galuppi/Vivaldi" scores, but Nisi Dominus, RV 803, while shorter, might be a bit more emotionally fulfilling as a work; it is too soon to call for a qualitative standpoint. The inclusion here of the three genuine sacred works of Galuppi -- Laetatus sum, Nisi Dominus, and Lauda Jerusalem -- makes obvious why it is ridiculous to ascribe works such as Dixit Dominus, RV 608, to Galuppi. Vivaldi's music is clearly, ruggedly Baroque; Dixit is full of turbulent, tumbling rhythms, vivid text painting, and concludes with an ambitious fugal section, whereas Galuppi favors a clean, clear-cut melodic line and the gentle rhythmic lilt of the style galant. The performances here, by the ad hoc Körnerscher Sing-Verein Dresden and Dresdner Instrumental-Concert and soloists under the general direction of Peter Kopp, are very good -- not wholly transparent, but the weightiness of some of these interpretations helps provide some stability to the texturally slender Galuppi. One impression the listener goes away with from Vivaldi: Dixit Dominus is how fine these Galuppi works are, and one is grateful to have heard them. Soprano Roberta Invernizzi and contralto Sara Mingardo give standout performances in Galuppi's Nisi Dominus in particular. Nevertheless, all true Vivaldians will want to hear this "new" Dixit Dominus -- it IS a major discovery in terms of Vivaldi's sacred music, and the performance manages to touch all of the required bases. © TiVo
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Vivaldi: Motezuma, RV 723

Il Complesso Barocco

Classical - Released January 1, 2006 | Archiv Produktion

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Mozart

Concerto Köln

Classical - Released September 4, 2006 | Archiv Produktion

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Offenbach - Le Romantique

Les Musiciens du Louvre

Classical - Released January 1, 2006 | Archiv Produktion

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Mozart: Concert Arias

Magdalena Kožená

Classical - Released January 1, 2006 | Archiv Produktion

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Handel: Rodelinda

Simone Kermes

Classical - Released January 1, 2005 | Archiv Produktion

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Gluck: Paride et Elena

Gabrieli Consort

Classical - Released January 1, 2005 | Archiv Produktion

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Mozart: Mass in C minor

Gabrieli Consort

Classical - Released January 1, 2005 | Archiv Produktion

On the evidence of this disc, Paul McCreesh's recordings are as fascinating and idiosyncratic as ever. From his glorious Venetian Vespers through his evocative Epiphany Mass and even his extravagant Solomon, McCreesh has produced a body of work that remains completely interesting and consistently eccentric. In this disc combining three works by Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven featuring the soprano voice, McCreesh not only explicitly compares and contrasts their ways of writing for soprano, not only implicitly creates a subliminal study of feminine psychology, but also showcases the extraordinary talent of Camilla Tilling. In his unfinished C minor Mass with two soprano soloists, Mozart approached the soprano as a radiant creature of capricious virtuosity. In his "Scene" and "Aria Bernice, che fal?," Haydn approached the soprano as a fully human woman with tremendous emotionality. In his "Scene" and "Aria Ah! perfido," Beethoven approached the soprano as nearly superhuman heroine with unbelievable intensity. And in all three performances, McCreesh apprehends and articulates the idealized essence of femininity -- the sweetness, the strength, the sensitivity, and the occasional sheer cussedness. Soprano Camilla Tilling has already released a pure as milk Mahler Fourth and a powerful as straight whiskey Dido and Aeneas, but this is by far her best recording yet. Her tone is chaste and her technique is impeccable but her passionate interpretations and the depth of her characterization makes McCreesh's portraits come to life. The other soloists in the mass are fine and second soprano Sarah Connolly is more than fine and nearly a match for Tilling. The Gabrieli Consort is in superb voice and the Gabrieli Players are light, tight, and always just right. Archiv's sound is crisp, clear, and centered. McCreesh's conducting is fascinating and idiosyncratic, yes, but it is also compelling. © TiVo
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Lamento - Bachiana III

Magdalena Kožená

Classical - Released November 22, 2004 | Archiv Produktion

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Handel: Saul

Gabrieli Consort

Classical - Released January 1, 2004 | Archiv Produktion

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Biber: Requiem en fa majeur-Messe en si bémol majeur

Gabrieli Consort

Classical - Released January 1, 2004 | Archiv Produktion

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Vivaldi & others: Andromeda liberata

Venice Baroque Orchestra

Classical - Released January 1, 2004 | Archiv Produktion

Andromeda Liberata is a serenata, or two-part ceremonial cantata with a hint of allegorical storyline, given in Venice on September 18, 1726, in honor of visiting Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni. Most early eighteenth century works of this type are so courtly, genteel, and refined that often their common destiny is to languish and gather dust on the shelves of some archive rather than be promoted and performed. Andromeda Liberata is an exception in that parts of it are traceable to the pen of one Antonio Vivaldi, whose varied and outstanding contribution to other types of works, including opera, are well noted elsewhere. Vivaldi, however, is not solely responsible for the score; although the musicological jury is still out on many sections contained within Andromeda Liberata, among the suspect roster may be found other prominent names (Tomaso Albinoni, Nicola Porpora, and Antonio Lotti) and some lesser ones (Giovanni Porta and Antonino Biffi). The name of this game is "pasticcio," not a dish, but a form of musical endeavor common in the eighteenth century whereby a number of composers made up the content of a stage work. This, of course, is the very anathema to current-day practice, which is totally consumed in the tyrannical cult of the composer. As a whole, Andromeda Liberata is surprisingly cohesive, and this is partly due to the superb performance given here by soloists Simone Kermes, Max Emanuel Cencic, Katerina Beranova, Anna Bonitatibus, Mark Tucker, the chorus La Stagione Armonica, and the Venice Baroque Orchestra under Andrea Marcon. The orchestral support throughout is outstanding, and among the singers both Kermes and Bonitatibus are standouts -- these may not be names the public recognizes yet, but Andromeda Liberata is just the sort of project to provide a boost to well-deserving, and lesser-known, performers. The sections that are known to be by Vivaldi really jump out of the texture. Albinoni has much of the first half, and there is so little of his once ominous theatrical output that this alone is enough to get excited about Andromeda Liberata. If one is a fancier of Italian Baroque music, or has a friend who is so inclined, there is no reason to avoid the manifold charms of Andromeda Liberata. © TiVo
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Wilms: Symphonies Nos. 6 & 7

Concerto Köln

Classical - Released January 1, 2004 | Archiv Produktion

This is precisely the sort of disc that great classical record companies should release: world-premiere recordings of fascinating music superbly played and realistically recorded. That one of the works on this disc fell into oblivion for 170 years is the way of the world and that no other company has yet recorded this music is their and our loss. The Concerto Köln, the German period instrument chamber orchestra specializing in the works of the high classical period, has found in the last two symphonies of Johann Wilhelm Wilms (1772-1847) a wholly individualistic composer of classical training and Romantic aspirations and whose last two symphonies in D minor and C minor are strikingly scored, memorably melodic, and altogether convincing. Wilms wrote his first symphonies in the manner of Mozart and Haydn in the 1790s, but by the time he composed his last symphonies in the 1830s, his music had become more highly colored and more vividly dramatic, his high classical manner infused with the deep passion, and if Wilms is still no Romantic revolutionary in the style of Berlioz, neither is he a Romantic reactionary in the style of Mendelssohn. In these brilliantly recorded realizations by the Concerto Köln, Wilms' last symphonies have the heroic rhetoric of the music of the Revolution clothed in the colors of Delacroix. Archiv's sound is honest and real and true. © TiVo
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Handel: Hercules

Les Musiciens du Louvre

Classical - Released January 1, 2002 | Archiv Produktion

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Gluck: Iphigénie en Tauride

Les Musiciens du Louvre

Classical - Released January 1, 2001 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

The collection

Archiv Produktion in the magazine