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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released October 26, 2018 | Warner Classics

Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Considering its fundamental impact on human society, World War I produced surprisingly little music directly, although it simmered under the surface in all kinds of ways. Compared to the U.S. Civil War or World War II, there are few World War I songs. Thus tenor Ian Bostridge and pianist Antonio Pappano do well to take an indirect approach in this collection, which Bostridge developed as he pondered his involvement with Benjamin Britten's War Requiem (a World War II piece). The program was developed in live performances, introduced by the voice-and-piano versions of Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn, but here Bostridge and Pappano take a risk and succeed: they rely on the extreme intimacy of George Butterworth's Six Songs from A Shropshire Lad to draw the listener in, and it works. Bostridge excels in the pianissimo lines and the quiet tragedy of these songs. The pair seek out cycles that have a few songs on the subject of war and death, or that have resonances of wars; in the Butterworth case, some of poet A.E. Housman's protagonists were dying in the Boer War. In Kurt Weill's Four Walt Whitman Songs it was the American Civil War, and this is indeed an intriguing set of rarely performed songs, in this version partly German, partly American, and partly British. The songs of German composer Rudi Stephan do not address war directly but were indeed written at the front, shortly before the composer's death; this makes a stronger impact than seeking out war songs exclusively would have. Bostridge's voice has proven remarkably consistent over the years, and in its low-key way it is ideal for this repertory. If you're skeptical of all-star releases, be advised that this is one that really delivers.
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released October 26, 2018 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Two composers who in one way or another sang about the horrors of war, and two who lost their lives in it: Ian Bostridge's takes a successful gamble here, with masterful accompaniment on the piano by Antonio Pappano. The first two are from Kurt Weill with Four Walt Whitman Songs in which the poet laments over the soldiers who died in the War of Succession, and Gustav Mahler, three of whose Lieder(s) taken from Knaben Wunderhorn cruelly and repugnantly evoke the lives of poor young people, peasants and people who are barely through with their school years, sent to be torn apart on every possible and imaginable front. More directly concerned, if one may say so, are George Butterworth - who fell at the Somme in 1916, aged thirty-one, and whose A Shropshire Lad is without a doubt the greatest masterpiece here. Rudi Stephan fell at the Galician front in 1915 aged twenty-eight. His cycle Ich will dir singen ein Hohelied is a climax of unsettling eroticism... Would the fate of German music have been different if this genius had been able to act as a counterbalance, for example, to the emerging dodecaphonic music? Bostridge gives it his all here in this sad centenary of the end of the “war to end all wars”, which we know was tragically not the case. © SM/Qobuz
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released September 21, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
The tenor Julian Prégardien joins Alpha Classics for several recording projects that will showcase every facet of his talent, notably lieder and oratorio. His first album on the label is devoted to one of the greatest masterpieces in the history of music, Winterreise in a version with orchestra composed by Hans Zender in 1993. He scored the work for orchestral forces very different from the ensembles used in the nineteenth century (including, for example, a soprano saxophone, an accordion, a harmonica, a wind machine, a guitar and a very large percussion section). Hans Zender describes his work as a ‘creative transformation’: ‘My own reading of Winterreise does not seek a new expressive interpretation, but systematically takes advantage of the freedoms that performers normally allow themselves in an intuitive way: slowing down or accelerating the tempo, transposition into different keys, emphasising and nuancing colours.’ © Outhere Music

Choral Music (Choirs) - Released April 6, 2018 | OUR Recordings

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released March 2, 2018 | Glossa

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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With "Siface: l’amor castrato", countertenor Filippo Mineccia, together with Javier Ulises Illán and Nereydas, presents a short imaginary pasticcio opera reflecting the music-making and life of the contralto castrato known by that stage name. Born Giovanni Francesco Grossi in 1653 in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, Siface was acclaimed for his exciting musical performances, yet who became famous also for the tragedy of his love life. He was called upon to sing in operas and oratorios by the likes of Stradella, Pasquini, Bassani, Pallavicino and Agostini. For a long time in the service of Francesco II d’Este in Modena, Siface was an active member of the musical “ducal circuit” in the Italian peninsula, even, on one occasion, additionally being sent to England, where he performed before monarchy, and met and impressed Henry Purcell. Filippo Mineccia brilliantly captures the kaleidoscopic rush of emotions coursing through this selection of arias, which reflects the torrid and spectacular musical pace of life in late seventeenth-century Italy (as well as mirroring Siface’s own downfall on the road from Ferrara to Bologna). The Spanish ensemble Nereydas fully enter into the spirit of this, by turns, colourful, heartfelt, poignant and vivid celebration of vocal and instrumental music, which also features works by Alessandro Scarlatti (the emotive lullaby Dormi o fulmine), Francesco Cavalli and Purcell (My song shall be alway). Elena Bernardi puts flesh on still little understood aspects of the early stages of opera in the late Seicento., © Glossa
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released May 31, 2017 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Choc de Classica - Choc Classica de l'année - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
After an album of French songs (Néère) that earned her a "Gramophone Award" in 2016, Véronique Gens presents her new recital, this time with orchestra, which gives her an opportunity to display the maturity of her ‘Falcon’ soprano, the central tessitura typical of French Romantic opera, which takes its name from Cornélie Falcon, who created the works of Meyerbeer and Halévy staged in the 1830s. She pays tribute here to a number of composers whose unknown operas she was the first to reveal in projects mounted by the Palazzetto Bru Zane, including David, Godard, Saint-Saëns and Halévy. The programme selects arias from all the genres in vogue in the Romantic era: opera (Saint-Saëns, Halévy, Godard, Février), opéra-comique (David), oratorio (Franck, Massenet) and the cantata for the Prix de Rome (Bizet, Bruneau). A nod to Wagner and his Tannhäuser – in its French translation of the 1860s – completes this programme conducted by a longstanding colleague of the soprano, one of the leading specialists in French music, Hervé Niquet. © Alpha Classics

Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released January 6, 2017 | Carus

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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released September 2, 2016 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released March 18, 2016 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles de Classica - Exceptional sound - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik

Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released September 29, 2014 | naïve classique

Booklet Distinctions Diamant d'Opéra Magazine - 4 étoiles de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Argentine countertenor Franco Fagioli has emerged as one of the rising figures in that hot field, seemingly with the Italian opera of the first half of the 18th century as a specialty. As such, he might be particularly well represented by this collection of arias by Nicola Porpora, whose activities cut across a cross section of important activities in the century's second quarter. He was the teacher of both Haydn and Farinelli. He snagged many of Pietro Metastasio's high-tragedy opera seria libretti for himself and set them with suitably florid music, but he also had a considerable for sheer melody that's on display in this well-chosen program. Fagioli is not an exceptionally powerful countertenor, but he's capable of sheer smoothness of line that's appropriate to Porpora, who was called the greatest teacher of singers among composers, and the greatest composer among teachers of singing. He gets excellent support from the sparse but extremely sensitive Academia Montis Regalis under Alessandro de Marchi, and he makes a strong entry in the continuing case that Porpora ought to be ranked among the operatic greats. A countertenor release that can be recommended for pure melodic beauty.