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Classical - Released July 23, 2021 | PM Classics Ltd.

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Dying too soon in July 2020, Nikolai Kapustinas was like a UFO in the Russian musical landscape of the 20th and 21st centuries. Classical? Jazz? It is difficult to attribute his music to a precise genre as the symbiosis between the two styles is so perfect. For his part, the composer has chosen his side: "I was never a jazz musician. I never tried to be a real jazz pianist, but I had to do it because of the composing. I'm not interested in improvisation – and what is a jazz musician without improvisation?  All my improvisations are written, of course, and they become much better; it improves them.” These words perhaps best sum up one's feelings when listening to Kapustin's compositions. These are resolutely classical scores, as revealed by their titles, "Concert Etudes", "Sonatine" and "Sonate", but from them emerge harmonies, rhythms and a lexicon that are definitely related to the world of jazz.Although reluctant to perform his works in public, the composer has nevertheless recorded a substantial part of them. This indubitably explains the small number of performers who dare to measure themselves against the works of the Russian master, so captivating were his interpretations in their perfectly mastered virtuosity. Almost a year to the day after Kapustin's death, Yeol Eum Son presents here some choice pieces: among them, the unmissable 8 Etudes de concert, Op. 40, and the Sonate pour piano n° 2, Op. 54. The South Korean pianist, silver medallist at the 2011 Tchaikovsky competition and accustomed to orchestral repertoires, gives a generous amplitude, depth and groove to these pieces, whereas Kapustin had accustomed us to dazzling interpretations achieved at a single stroke. Yeol Eom Son's playing shows how much Kapustin's compositions follow the lineage of the greatest masters, from the Romantic period to Gershwin, and that they have their rightful place in the concert repertoire. © Pierre Lamy / Qobuz 
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Classical - Released June 25, 2021 | harmonia mundi

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His Debussy and Chopin recordings for harmonia mundi already offer ample evidence that Alain Planès is highly adept at selecting a period instrument best suited for the repertoire. For this complete recording of the Chopin Nocturnes, he has chosen a superb 1836 Pleyel – dating from the same decade during which many of these masterpieces saw the light of day. With this instrument’s unique colour palette at his fingertips, our poet of the keyboard deftly recreates the delicate magic of these immortal pages in which the composer, fascinated by the art of bel canto, developed a new approach to making the piano sing. © harmonia mundi
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Classical - Released June 25, 2021 | ARTALINNA

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A multi-faceted array of Prokofiev is Cuban pianist Marcos Madrigal's offering for this second solo recording of his for Artalinna/Academy Productions. First, the Visions fugitives Prokofiev composed between 1915 and 1917 when still in his mid-twenties – fleeting, blink-and-you've-missed-it character pieces, many of whose multifarious moods (not least irony and ambiguity) and styles would reappear in his music over the ensuing decades. Then the Piano Sonata No. 5 in C major, Op. 38/135, heard here in its original 1923 version rather than its more often-performed 1953 revision. Then finally the famous Piano Sonata No. 7 in B-flat major, Op. 83, completed in the early 1940s. Marcos Madrigal has a poetry and delicacy to his voicing, and a flexibility to his tempi, that makes for a very attractive set of Visions fugitives. Actually it's Debussy who springs very clearly to mind with his opening Lentamente, and he brings a lovely bell-like, silvery sonority to No. 2 (Andante)'s upper register chimes, helped by the brightly immediate capturing. If there's one element which comes out slightly less strongly, then it would be Prokofiev's more acerbic side. Then, as the Visions fugitives could be seen as the trailer for the Prokofiev to come, so it is with Madrigal's interpretations. Sonata No. 5 opens highly attractively, with gentle radiance and satisfying clarity of touch, and the work as a whole sees him bring out the music's gentle lyricism and whimsy without ever veering off course into the land of self-indulgence. As for Piano Sonata No. 7, while its first movement comes in at a comparatively expansive 9'13, this isn't so much because Madrigal hasn't given us forwards drive where the score suggests it, but more because he's made the most of the more mystical moments where time really can be made to stand still, constructing a narrative that hooks the listener in, and offsetting a Precipitato final movement that perhaps lacks the sharp, inner tension you hear from Pollini. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz
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Classical - Released June 25, 2021 | Delphian Records

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Clara Wieck, who in 1840 was to become Clara Schumann, was a significant figure in the lives both of her husband Robert and of Johannes Brahms, to whom the Schumanns became mentors. The double inspirations of Clara and of the writer E.T.A. Hoffmann’s fictional Kapellmeister Johannes Kreisler are the connecting threads on this debut recording by pianist Elena Fischer-Dieskau, in which Robert’s capricious, moody Kreisleriana is joined by two sets of piano pieces by Brahms. These three works – all of which Clara read in manuscript directly after their composition – reflect youth, maturity and old age. Fischer-Dieskau, member of a musical family which from her grandfather onwards has been deeply associated with the music of the Romantics, captures their wide spectrum of expression, from impulsiveness to autumnal mastery. © Delphian Records
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Classical - Released June 25, 2021 | RUBICON

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The extreme social trauma that followed the Great War of 1914-1918 engulfed Europe. In this context, English composer Frank Bridge is an intriguing figure: his musical language transformed to embrace a radically new harmonic style. Consequently, his popularity waned and it was not until the end of the century that his importance as a leading modernist was appreciated. The programme of this album seeks to illuminate the position of Bridge’s monumental Piano Sonata, by setting it alongside works by the composers who influenced it - Berg and Ravel - and his most famous pupil, Britten. Both the sonata and each movement of Ravel’s Suite were dedicated to those who fell in the war. Whilst the repertoire on this recording conveys strikingly varied tones, the title, "Threnodies" – a song of lamentation – reflects the essence of these memorials. Alexander Soares’ debut album "Notations and Sketches", a recital of works by Boulez, Messiaen and Dutilleux was a Gramophone Magazine editor’s choice : "Although most of these pieces have been collated on various anthologies of French piano music, few of them can match this new release in its balanced conception or consistency of execution…Soares has their measure in abundance, resulting in what could hardly be a more auspicious debut album". To be discovered. © Rubicon Classics
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Classical - Released June 25, 2021 | Arion

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Concertos - Released June 18, 2021 | ARTALINNA

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A formidable interpreter of the works of Robert Schumann, the German pianist Severin von Eckardstein here offers an intense version of rare narrative force of one of the most complex cycles of the 19th century, the Davidsbündlertänze Op. 6. This dazzling kaleidoscope of moods is embedded with works by Chopin and Tchaikovsky, of particularly passionate resonance. Great musical moments that confirm Severin von Eckardstein’s status as one of the most poetic musicians in the world of the piano. © Artalinna
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Classical - Released June 11, 2021 | harmonia mundi

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After Rachmaninoff, Scriabin and Prokofiev, Vadym Kholodenko continues his exploration of the Russian repertory with a pair of rarely recorded works: Tchaikovsky’s two solo piano sonatas. Imaginative, colourful and dreamy, capable of an infinite range of emotions, he reveals both the masterly architecture and the subtleties of the writing that are often sacrificed to mere demonstration of virtuosity. © harmonia mundi
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Alternative & Indie - Released June 10, 2021 | Sub rosa

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Chamber Music - Released April 9, 2021 | BIS

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For the first four years of their marriage, Robert and Clara Schumann kept a joint diary, a project which Robert described as "a record of our wishes and our hopes, and the means whereby we may convey to one another any requests we may have to make, for which words may not suffice...". In the imaginative recital "Album für die Frau", Carolyn Sampson and Joseph Middleton combine songs by both composers into something similar – the depiction of a relationship seen through the eyes of both parties. Using the eight songs from Robert’s song cycle Frauenliebe und –leben to poems by Adalbert von Chamisso as the framework, they add songs as well as some piano solos in order to create a fuller and more complex picture. The result seems to suggest that the experiences of our "Frau" are richer than Chamisso and Robert Schumann imagined: while love, marriage and motherhood dominated much of Clara Schumann’s life, Robert’s death in 1856 signaled the start of a four-decade widowhood during which she resumed her stellar career as a pianist. As a team, Carolyn Sampson and Joseph Middleton have released a number of acclaimed discs, including "Fleurs", featuring flower-themed songs by composers from Purcell to Richard Strauss and Britten, "A Verlaine Songbook", exploring settings of the poetry of Paul Verlaine, and "A Soprano’s Schubertiade", a Schubert anthology. © BIS Records
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Classical - Released March 29, 2021 | Erased Tapes

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The creator of Piano Day has struck again! In mid-March 2020, without any prior notice, Nils Frahm released an album of eight "lullabies" dating from the time of his album Screws, called Empty. For this new edition of Piano Day (launched in 2015), the German pianist went through his archives to unearth an album recorded at MUMUTH, the University of music and performing arts in Graz, in 2009, as part of Conversations for Piano and Room produced by Thomas Geiger, the founder of Kunsthalle3000. Graz offers a window into Nils Frahm's early period. Back then, he had just landed in Berlin and he was still self-producing his albums. The Nils Frahm who reveals himself through these nine tracks is "raw", perhaps, but as stunning as ever (see, for example, the superb Because This Must Be). The famous "Frahm sound" did not then exist. It would be developed a few months later, on Felt (2011). This was made when the artist decided, so as not to disturb his neighbours, to wedge felt between the strings and hammers of his piano and to place microphones nearby in order to be able to listen to himself on headphones. There are also two tracks that wouldn't make the cut for Spaces, his 2013 album based on field recording and electronic improvisations. Hammers, developed here in two short minutes, a "drier" version that laid the foundation for one of the pianist's signature titles – and one of his most hypnotic. And Went Missing, which closes the album, which also sounds a little “harder" than the muted and mezzo piano version of Spaces, but no less majestic. © Smaël Bouaici / Qobuz
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Classical - Released February 19, 2021 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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For his new recital published on the Decca label, Benjamin Grosvenor has chosen Franz Liszt, whose music has followed him since his childhood thanks to his grandfather's initiation. Dedicated to the pianistic monument that is the Sonata in B minor, the English pianist's programme aims to bear witness to the various aspects underlying the Hungarian composer's creation with emblematic compositions (Petrarch's Three Sonnets), original ones (Lullaby), as well as the extraordinary power of re-creation that Liszt distilled in his paraphrases; here we find the Reminiscences of Norma after Bellini and his arrangement of Schubert's Ave Maria.Every concert and every recording of Grosvenor's music is long awaited and desired, so rich is his personality and his extraordinary pianistic mastery. His recent album devoted to the Frédéric Chopin Concertos confirmed the pre-eminence of this pianist within a well-to-do brotherhood.His vision of the famous Liszt Sonata is immediately among the most inspired. Like a bird of prey, Grosvenor knows how to wait for the right moment to pounce on the chords with diabolical precision and contained rage, in a dramatic Mephistophelian tension. At the same time, the fluidity of his piano opens the door to the twentieth century and particularly to Ravel's world so dependent on the Liszt lesson. It is known that Brahms had fallen asleep when Liszt played his Sonata to him after a probably drunken dinner. Nothing probable here with this powerful evocation of life and death. Magisterial! © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released February 5, 2021 | La Grange à Sons

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Recorded 2020 Salle Molière, Palais de Bondy, Lyon (France)
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Classical - Released January 29, 2021 | Passacaille

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Johannes Brahms composed only a small number of original works for piano four hands, but arranged almost all of his chamber music and orchestral works for this instrumentation. He played most of them immediately after their completion with Clara Schumann and greatly appreciated her opinion. In his Hungarian Dances Brahms brilliantly transformed original Hungarian melodies and rhythms into multi-coloured orchestral works. The Blüthner grand piano from 1867 shows how Brahms made perfect use of the entire keyboard in his writing for four hands. The various registers appear completely transparent and clear. It is not generally known that Brahms was a great admirer and friend of Johann Strauss. And he loved waltzes! Thus Brahms also created an instrumental version of his Liebeslieder-Walzer for piano four hands. Robert Schumann’s last theme, which he wrote for his so-called "Ghost Variations" immediately before being admitted to a mental hospital, is used by Brahms in his homage to Schumann, which was written immediately after his death in 1856: the Variations on a Theme by Robert Schumann, Op. 23 for piano four hands, which ends with an impressive funeral march. For the piano duo Wyneke Jordans & Leo van Doeselaar it was an obvious choice to conclude their series with recordings of four-handed piano works by great German composers on period instruments with Brahms. © Passacaille
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Classical - Released January 18, 2021 | L'empreinte Digitale

Recorded 2015, Strasbourg, Festival Musica (live) : October 4, 2014 [Graphein] - September 24, 2015 [Corps] - October 28, 2016 [Action painting]
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Classical - Released December 4, 2020 | Claves Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
« One hot summer day, I headed due south from London and crossed France and Spain on my road bike. Challenging it was, yet beautiful, emotional and colourful all at once — while pedalling thousands of kilometres, the journey brought me closer to my innermost core. Upon my return home, I wished to express all the intense feelings and sensations I experienced on the road in my own way — the language of music. The metamorphosis was already underway when I became aware of the duende and after digging a bit deeper, I immediately sensed that it was this feeling which touched me on my journey, giving me strength and letting me connect with people and their land more profoundly ». « There is a duality at play between the repetition of recording and the spontaneity and unpredictability of duende — and to summon duende, the process had to be as free and fluid as possible: all sessions built up to a final complete ‘recital’-take to capture the spirit of live creation. This was masterfully recorded by Jean-Martial Golaz — a magician of sound who effortlessly played the timeless acoustics of La Salle de Musique, La Chaux-de-Fonds to create a soundscape from another time. We intuitively found the golden balance to bring out the whispers of burning wind to the cries of flamenco from the old Steinway dating back to 1966 — the very same piano on which the great chilean pianist Claudio Arrau recorded Debussy’s Images in 1979. The soul of the piano was both conjured up and tamed by Corinne Wieland — a consummate piano technician. My gratitude goes out to both of them — this team gave me the wings to take off and be free.» Teo Gheorghiu / © Claves Records
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Classical - Released November 20, 2020 | Avie Records

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Classical - Released November 20, 2020 | Piano 21

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Keyboard Concertos - Released November 13, 2020 | Piano 21

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Classical - Released October 23, 2020 | Warner Classics

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It's unclear who called Alexandre Tharaud "Le poète du piano"; searches for the phrase outside of references to this release yield nothing, and it would not be out of the question that this unconventional pianist bestowed the title upon himself. In some cases, "bad boy of the piano" might be a more appropriate title. Tharaud is nothing if not full of surprises, including popular songs (try The Beach Boys adaptations) and such adventures as a wildly decorated "Turkish Rondo" of Mozart. This is, after all, a pianist who doesn't keep a piano in his home, preferring to practice at friends' homes where he has to concentrate on the material. Typically, in what is supposed to be an anthology, Tharaud includes a good deal of newly recorded material, including works from a cycle called Corpus volubilis that he composed himself. The selections cover recordings from 2009 to 2020, and they're divided into three sections (three CDs in the physical version): "Solo," "Concerto," and "Raretés & Surprises." Most of the works in the first two parts are well known, with Tharaud often applying novel treatments. The third section is pure Tharaud, containing not only the Corpus volubilis pieces but also delightful pieces by Jean Wiéner and Paul Le Flem, both little known outside of French regions. One is struck by the breadth of Tharaud's repertory; he is capable of fresh, Gould-like Scarlatti and Rameau, Romantic standards, and contemporary pieces, all insightful and compelling. Ultimately, Tharaud is the kind of musician listeners either love or hate, but this is a fair representation of his talents. © TiVo