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Solo Piano - Released March 12, 2021 | MUSO

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Duets - Released February 12, 2021 | 7 Mountain Records

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Spezl (Bavarian for ‘comradeship’) is a sonorous and lively 7MNTN album from the high-regarded musicians Floris Mijnders and Jelger Blanken. The performers’ close musical friendship echos that of the composers whose works they present here: Richard Strauss and Ludwig Thuille. Strauss and Thuille remained close friends throughout their lives, studying together and sharing musical ideas. While Strauss achieved worldwide recognition as a composer, Thuille is remembered mainly as a professor of music theory and composition. This duo offers an irresistible combination: fierce and tender playing from Mijnders, complemented affectionately and sensitively by Blanken. But as in any friendship, this duo also challenges and questions each others’ musical decisions, sparking an inspired, musical dialogue. The summation is sparkling and joyful musicality, together with extraordinary ease and craftsmanship. Allow yourself getting embraced by the beguiling, intimate sound-world of this duo! © 7 Mountain Records
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Full Operas - Released October 23, 2020 | Bru Zane

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To have written that, you must be a poet, Massenet told Reynaldo Hahn when he read through the score of L’Île du rêve. Composed when the young man was not yet eighteen years old, this ‘curtain-raiser’ already had the qualities of the great works of the period. It reveals the coloristic talents of Bizet, the passionate outbursts of Massenet and even the prosodic originality of the young Debussy. The plot recounts a French naval officer’s love affair with a young Polynesian girl he has to abandon. This subject - also treated musically by Puccini (Madama Butterfly) and Delibes (Lakmé - is approached in an almost Symbolist style: the Romanticism of the music contrasts with a contemplative, introspective treatment of the narration. This is where the youthful Hahn particularly shines: in the very first bars (the hymn to Bora-Bora), in the various love scenes for Loti and Mahenu (notably the duet "Restons encore les paupieres mi-closes") and even in the neo-Handelian prelude to Act Two. © Bru Zane
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Symphonic Music - Released September 4, 2020 | Les Indispensables de Diapason

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Symphonic Poems - Released April 24, 2020 | Alpha

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Is the imitation of rolling thunder, howling winds and bleating sheep a form of musical composition worthy of the name? Can we take seriously a composer who boasts of being able to ‘set a restaurant menu to music, if need be’? These were the kinds of questions that Richard Strauss, one of the most virtuosic composers of the so-called ‘programme music’, had to ask himself. His answer: ‘I am a musician from head to toe; for me, all “programmes” are merely incentives to invent new forms, nothing else.’ The NDR Orchestra, conducted by Krzysztof Urbański, has chosen to devote its sixth Alpha Classics recording to three of Richard Strauss’s most famous symphonic poems: Also sprach Zarathustra Op. 30, Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche Op. 28 and Don Juan Op. 20. © Alpha Classics
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Symphonic Music - Released April 10, 2020 | Alpha

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Some music lovers are familiar with Ce qu’on entend sur la montagne, Liszt’s symphonic poem based on Victor Hugo. But who knows that, ten years earlier, César Franck was inspired by the same poem? This early piece is recorded here by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France conducted by Mikko Franck. They couple it with the famous Symphony in D minor, dedicated to Henri Duparc and premiered, without much success, in 1889. Even if the score is quite well-known today, in the end it is performed quite rarely, which is a pity, because it really has all the characteristics of a masterpiece: melodic and harmonic inspiration, refined orchestration, variety of mood, an ingenious structure. Two works by Franck ... by Franck! This album marks the beginning of a collaboration between Alpha and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, which will focus on very varied repertories. © Alpha Classics
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Classical - Released March 6, 2020 | harmonia mundi

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After recording Rachmaninov's 24 Preludes and a recital dedicated to Claude Debussy for his new publisher harmonia mundi, pianist Nikolai Lugansky extends his repertoire even further with a monographic album dedicated solely to César Franck. The list of piano works by this organ-playing composer was not very extensive, so Lugansky chose to perform the Prelude, Fugue and Variation Op. 18, and theChorale No. 2 , on the piano, both in the same key. Written specifically for the piano, the two triptychs Prélude, Choral et Fugue and Prélude, Aria et Final are inspired by both Bach and Liszt and had an obvious influence on later French music, particularly with Albéric Magnard (Symphony No. 3) and all the way up to Francis Poulenc (Concerto for organ ). Nikolai Lugansky constructs these pieces like a builder, with unfailing solidity. He brings out the architecture and the projections with power and fullness, while looking for what he calls "a French sound, a beauty of sonority and refined sound without lourdeur". © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Symphonic Music - Released February 7, 2020 | Alpha

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After the resounding success of Volume 1 (Gramophone Editor’s Choice, Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, Diapason d’Or, Choc de Classica, FFFF Télérama), the project to record the complete Sibelius symphonies continues with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Santtu-Matias Rouvali, whose career as a conductor is entering top gear: he has just been appointed Principal Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. At the turn of the twentieth century, as Finland struggled to free itself from Russian rule, Sibelius and his wife faced several domestic dramas, including the loss of one of their daughters, Kirsti, to typhoid fever. The Second Symphony, written in the brilliant key of D major, seems to be marked by the events of the composer’s private life, but many of his contemporaries nevertheless saw it as a political manifesto! In 1898, Sibelius composed the incidental music for Adolf Paul’s play King Christian II, the story of the downfall of a king of Scandinavia (Denmark, Sweden and Norway) in the sixteenth century. The suite derived from it was successfully performed in several European cities. © Alpha Classics
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Classical - 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 | BR-Klassik

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Symphonic Music - Released February 7, 2020 | Halle Concerts Society

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Thus Sir Mark Elder finishes his Sibelius collection, just as the very young Finnish conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali begins his own with Alpha, already distinguishing himself with the surprising weight and recurring hesitations of his second volume. None of that with Elder, who admittedly suffers from a slightly too uniform sound recording but who stands out with the exactness of his tempos and his refined balances. Sir Mark Elder offers versions that are classic and fluid, with a real organic tension and a sense of lyricism, especially in the medium registers (Symphony N°4, III. Il tempo largo). Sir Mark Elder knows how to harness the energy that is unique to this orchestra with this repertoire, which has become something of a favourite ever since Barbirolli permanently established it in 1940 before recording irrevocable versions for His Master’s Voice between 1966 and 1969, a discography that has never been surpassed. Sir Mark Elder is less interested in the (certainly fascinating) flare-up of Sibelius’ modernity than his predecessor, favouring a calmer internal pulse that often draws comparisons with Bruckner and Wagner for example. He doesn’t however dilute the features that make Sibelius so remarkable, like the ostinato patterns that we have not heard so hauntingly in a long time (in the Symphony N°4 again). As for the Symphony N°6... you can practically hear it smiling. The sound is joyous, even playful (III. Poco vivace), never falling into the cold tones that we hear all too often. A magnificent vision, closing a milestone anthology which Sibelius fanatics should ensure they don’t miss. © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz
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Classical - Released January 31, 2020 | Sony Music Labels Inc.

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Chamber Music - Released January 17, 2020 | Alpha

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Classical - Released January 10, 2020 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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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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Classical - Released January 3, 2020 | SOMM Recordings

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Classical - Released December 6, 2019 | BIS

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Classical - Released November 8, 2019 | Bru Zane

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
France owes a great deal to the Palazzetto Bru Zane (a centre devoted to French music of the Romantic period, founded in 2009). It has brought forgotten French music back to life thanks to its research and publications and without it, we wouldn’t have known that many talented composers even existed aside from the likes of Berlioz, Debussy and Ravel. This new monographic volume of the “Portraits” series includes chamber, choral and symphonic music from Fernand de La Tombelle (1854-1928), a Parisian composer and organist who was involved in the founding of the Schola Cantorum de Paris, along with Vincent d’Indy. He is known for his extensive repertoire that covers all genres with the exception of opera. Aside from being a well-educated aristocrat originating from the Thiérache region of France on his father’s side and the Dordogne region on his mother’s side, La Tombelle was also a humanist who was passionate about poetry, folklore, photography and astronomy. The enthusiastic conductor for orchestra and choir, Hervé Niquet, is fully committed to doing justice to such unearthed works. Acting as guest conductor of the fantastic Brussels Philharmonic, he can be credited with the tense and dramatic renditions found in the first part of the album of Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra (Hannes Minnaar on piano), a work which was inspired by Liszt and Saint-Saëns, as well as two Orchestral Suites, Impressions matinales and Livre d’images, in a style that was first developed by Jules Massenet. The second volume is devoted to chamber music and boasts an astonishing Sonata for three Cellos (François Salque, Hermine Horiot and Adrien Bellom) which brings to mind Fauré (Andantino) and Edvard Grieg’s most esteemed masterpiece, Peer Gynt (Lento). The portrait also includes Piano Quartet (I Giardini) and Cello Sonata (Emmanuelle Bertrand and Pascal Amoyel), as well some additional works (Yann Beuron and Jeff Cohen) and choral pieces (Flemish Radio Choir). Further proof of the great abundance and diversity of French works. © François Hudry/QobuzGifted with a strong temperament and a curious nature, Fernand de La Tombelle is a highly appealing and interesting figure among French Romantic composers. He left a substantial œuvre, protean, stylistically eclectic, even atypical, that deserves reassessment not only for its own merits, but also because it illustrates a certain form of social and artistic activity in France at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This new albul in the Palazzetto Bru Zane’s ‘Portraits’ series reveals the multiple facets of a captivating personality, ranging from orchestral music with operatic overtones through introspective chamber works to choral music recalling the Renaissance madrigal. The sublime Fantaisie for piano and orchestra would suffice on its own to demonstrate the quality of La Tombelle’s inspiration. To champion his cause as it deserves, this set calls on no fewer than fourteen soloists, along with orchestra, chorus and conductor. © Palazzetto Bru Zane
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Choral Music (Choirs) - Released November 1, 2019 | Carus

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During his lifetime Hans Fährmann was known as “the Richard Strauss of the organ.” Today the compositions of this composer and organist, who was born in 1860 in Beicha, Saxony, are largely unknown. Frieder Bernius has now devoted himself to Fährmann's sacred vocal works and has found the SWR Vokalensemble to be the ideal partner for these late romantic a cappella works, whose demanding harmonies also demand professional ensembles. The SWR vocal ensemble has mastered this challenge brilliantly. For Frieder Bernius, a conductor always on the lookout for exciting choral literature, Fährmann’s compositions represent “an indispensable and very welcome enrichment of the late romantic repertoire.” How true! © Carus-Verlag
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Symphonic Music - Released November 1, 2019 | Decca

Leinsdorf scored an enormous personal triumph early in his first season (1962-63) as the Boston Symphony’s Music Director with Mahler’s First Symphony. The RCA recording they made together duly captures much of the brilliance and dash of their live chemistry in the work, and for months after its release it remained one of the best-selling classical albums in the US. Leinsdorf’s remake of the symphony in London almost a decade later, for the Phase 4 sublabel of Decca, has enjoyed a less storied reputation, but on its first release it was preferred to the BSO version by the doyen of Mahler critics in the UK, Deryck Cooke. The Mahler was Leinsdorf’s second album for Phase 4 after a typically lucid pairing of Wagner and Richard Strauss made in 1969. ‘Bleeding chunks’ they may be, but in fact Leinsdorf rejected all the available suites from Der Rosenkavalier and made his own, observing both the chronology and the expressive narrative of the opera, and critics again found they preferred his version to any other. Leinsdorf lacked for nothing in terms of both confidence and experience on the podium, as his supremely lucid writings on the subject of conducting make abundantly clear, and he could win the absolute trust of orchestras – even ones as hard-bitten as the LSO – within a single rehearsal. Live recordings of his Rosenkavalier complete have become sought-after collectors’ items, but (like the Mahler) this Phase 4 album in sumptuous sound has been available only within a much larger box-set: this handy reissue should delight all lovers of propulsive, full-blooded performances of Romantic classics. (© Decca Music Group Limited / Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd.)
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Classical - Released October 25, 2019 | Bru Zane

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica