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Classical - To be released January 8, 2021 | Alpha

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Symphonic Music - Released November 20, 2020 | Alpha

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Paavo Järvi, Principal Conductor and Music Director of the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich since October 2019, here launches a complete recording of Tchaikovsky’s symphonies, the first in both his rich discography and that of the Swiss orchestra: ‘When I think of the Fifth Symphony, I think of vulnerability and hope. It looks directly into our soul. It is perhaps the finest of his symphonies. The famous horn solo moves me and enriches me every time I hear it . . . Unlike the Sixth, the Fifth still holds out hope for life’. The symphonic poem Francesca da Rimini, Op. 32 completes this programme. This dark and violent ‘symphonic fantasy after Dante’, a drama of jealousy, was premiered in 1877, at the same time as Swan Lake. © Alpha Classics
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released November 13, 2020 | Alpha

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Like the paintings of the Flemish Baroque painters, the ‘vanities’ presented here can be approached in two ways: on the one hand, as manifestations of doubts and anxieties at the fragility of human life; on the other, as delights to be savoured without moderation, celebrating earthly life through the senses and the pleasure that human beings can derive from them. After two critically acclaimed recordings each for Alpha, the baritone Georg Nigl and the pianist Olga Pashchenko explore the tortuous meanders of the human soul with vocal works by Schubert (an ‘existentialist’ composer if ever there was one), Beethoven (whose torments hardly need stressing) and the contemporary composer Wolfgang Rihm, whose highly expressionistic Jakob Lenz Nigl performed on stage in 2019. His piece Vermischter Traum, here given its world premiere, is dedicated to the Austrian singer. © Alpha Classics
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Concertos - Released November 6, 2020 | Alpha

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This third and final part of the new complete works of Beethoven’s Piano Concertos on Alpha Classics is a real highlight coming at the end of the Year of Beethoven (2020 marks the composer’s 250th birthday). It reveals an unparalleled elegance and wonderfully radiant phrasing.The Concerto for Piano, Violin and Cello stands out immediately. The pianist Martin Helmchen is joined by two of his regular chamber music partners for the occasion - violinist Antje Weithaas and cellist Marie-Elisabeth Hecker. Helmchen engages in a fluid dialogue with his companions and the three musicians avoid battling with each other; something you often find in many historical recordings. What’s more, they infuse their playing with the score’s chamber music spirit – a style that was often that was often overlooked by the Bonn Master. Perhaps it would be better to view this setup as a trio with orchestral accompaniment. After all, the first sonatas with cello (Op. 5 for example) and violin (Op. 12) are actually more like Sonatas for keyboard with keyboard accompaniment. The three musicians seem to think so too, as does the great Andrew Manze. The sound recording, on the other hand, does not give the keyboard pride of place and instead gives the two string soloists the opportunity to express the work’s incredibly lyrical side (Largo).The Third Concerto, published in 1804, inaugurates the composer’s “middle period”. He moved away from the model of Mozart, although the second movement (the moving Largo, which was perhaps written in the wake of the Heiligenstadt Testament) is still a marvellous homage to his elder. That said, it’s clear that the concert piano has entered a new era with the opening of Allegro con brio.Following the outstanding first two concertos, Martin Helmchen never forces things in the Third Concerto. It’s never totally Mozart and never imperial either (with regards to the last concerto, The Emperor). As a stylistic idea that few pianists express today, this now-completed complete work is one of the most striking around. © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released November 6, 2020 | Alpha

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An emblematic figure of her time, Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979) taught and inspired several generations of musicians, from Igor Stravinsky to Quincy Jones. Her musical and pedagogical philosophy, demanding yet highly stimulating, influenced the entire twentieth century. Astrig Siranossian, a rising star of the cello, is fascinated by this musical personality whom everyone respectfully called ‘Mademoiselle’. She met some of her most illustrious students, including the late Michel Legrand, and Daniel Barenboim who has agreed to accompany her in a piece on the album. With the pianist Nathanaël Gouin, she has devised a very eclectic programme, including the Three pieces for cello and piano written by Nadia Boulanger in 1915, three years before the death of her sister Lili. A wide-ranging album, featuring Igor Stravinsky’s Suite italienne, Elliott Carter’s Cello Sonata, Astor Piazzolla’s Le Grand Tango, Tissue No. 7 by Philip Glass, Soul Bossa Nova by Quincy Jones, and music by Michel Legrand and others. © Alpha Classics
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Classical - Released October 30, 2020 | Alpha

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After its recording of Dvořák’s complete chamber music with piano, the Busch Trio now tackles three works by Franz Schubert, including his famous Piano Trio No. 2. While the dying composer dedicated this masterpiece ‘to nobody, save those who find pleasure in it’, as if urging them to enjoy the life that was gradually ebbing away from him, his Notturno, D. 897 expresses an anguish and a sense of tragedy that makes it one of the most eloquent examples of Romantic lyricism. Schubert’s early period is represented by his very first piece for piano and strings, the single-movement Sonatensatz D. 28, which he composed at the age of fifteen. Written following the youthful Schubert’s expulsion from the Imperial Choir School in Vienna after his voice broke (he lost his mother the same year), this piece, still heavily influenced by Classicism, offers a troubling counterpoint to the works of his Romantic maturity, which reflect both the joy of creation and the suffering wrought by illness. © Alpha Classics
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Chamber Music - Released October 30, 2020 | Alpha

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Anna Besson is a flautist with a passion for traditional music, who has already made an album of Irish folk music, "The Dubhlinn Gardens". For this new recording, she teams up with the Russian fortepianist Olga Pashchenko, an eminent specialist of Beethoven’s music, to which she has already devoted three recordings dedicated to Beethoven on Alpha. Together they explore his interest in the popular melodies and the various folklores that make up the mosaic of European music by performing four of his ten National Airs, Op.107 and two Themes with Variations from Op. 10, which will take the listener from one end of the Old Continent to the other, from Scotland to Russia via Austria. The selection of works by Romantic composers that completes the programme shows how they shared the interest in folk material pioneered by Beethoven and his teacher Haydn – Swedish tunes for Kuhlau, Hungarian for Doppler, Auvergnese for Walckiers. © Alpha Classics
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Chamber Music - Released October 23, 2020 | Alpha

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Gidon Kremer and Mario Brunello pay tribute to Beethoven by presenting two of his most famous quartets in a version for string orchestra played by Kremerata Baltica. The ensemble’s founder Gidon Kremer directs Op.131 from the violin, while Mario Brunello conducts Op.135 and adds two contemporary pieces, one by Léo Ferré, "the revolutionary, anarchic, inspired singer-songwriter and great lover of Beethoven": Muss es sein? Es muss sein! ; Kremerata Baltica performs this hymn to “free music” in a version arranged by Valter Sivilotti for cello, strings and percussion with Leo Ferré’s original voice. Note sconte means “hidden notes” in Venetian dialect. Franco Rossi, the legendary cellist of the Quartetto italiano, always invited his students, including Mario Brunello, to look for and give importance to the "note sconte" in the scores of string quartets. He asked Giovanni Sollima to write a piece in memory of Franco Rossi, of his great passion for Beethoven and his note sconte’. © Alpha Classics
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released October 23, 2020 | Alpha

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'There are few people as susceptible to certain musical beauties as I am; the more learned and complicated the instrumentation, the less I sense it, the faster it escapes me; on the contrary, if a simple and melancholic motif appears, I feel flooded with infinite sweetness', Alexandre Dumas once said. To mark the 150th anniversary of the great writer’s death, this album celebrates Dumas and music: ‘Despite the incompatibility of poetry and music, the origin of which lay, he felt, in the excessive proximity between the two,’ writes Claude Schopp, the eminent Dumas specialist, in the booklet that accompanies this recording, ‘Alexandre Dumas agreed to collaborate with composers, writing opera libretti for Hippolyte Monpou and Ambroise Thomas. . . . The list of those who borrowed verses from Dumas’s pen is a mixture of obscure and illustrious names’: Hector Berlioz, Joseph Doche, Gilbert Duprez, César Franck, Franz Liszt, Henri Reber, Francis Thomé, Alphonse Varney among them. This programme presents an anthology of those settings, coupled with mélodies by Jules Massenet, Henri Duparc and Benjamin Godard. © Alpha Classics
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released October 16, 2020 | Alpha

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We are familiar with the flamboyant baritone Laurent Naouri, a distinguished exponent of the four villains in Les Contes d’Hoffmann from Paris to The Metropolitan Opera New York and an unforgettable Golaud in Pelléas et Mélisande. But here it is a much more intimate Naouri, the lover of mélodies by Fauré, Debussy and Poulenc, who invites us to a rendezvous: ‘Here is a repertory I’ve been performing for more than thirty years, sometimes not without a certain frustration: for how can you achieve the intimacy suggested by a poem like Baudelaire’s Le Jet d’eau – it almost pillow talk – when the vocal style forces you to “project” the voice? Although classical art song authorises you to sing piano or pianissimo, it’s still inconceivable to whisper in the listener’s ear. To whisper, you need a microphone, and there we leave the world of the mélodie and enter the world of “chanson”, as that term was understood at the beginning of the radio era. I had already been thinking about these questions for a few years when I met the jazz guitarist Frédéric Loiseau. We started off our collaboration with Les Berceaux, a "mélodie" that Yves Montand had already sung in a “chanson” style. Encouraged by the result, we looked for other songs that we felt could benefit from this intimate treatment’. © Alpha Classics
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Classical - Released October 9, 2020 | Alpha

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Several years ago, Giovanni Antonini and the Alpha Classics label set an exciting objective: to create a complete collection of Haydn’s 104 symphonies, mirroring the works of composers from different eras so as to highlight their relevance today. This monumental edition should be completed in 2032, marking the tercentenary of the Austro-Hungarian composer’s birth.The project is gradually being enriched by other productions celebrating Haydn’s genius. The oratorio Die Schöpfung (The Creation) is a major part of his catalogue. Haydn was inspired after hearing an oratorio by Handel in London during a large commemorative concert. The event was significant because there were few early works being performed at the time, and the large orchestra and choir (nearly 1000 strong) made a great impression on Haydn, being unaccustomed to such large numbers.
The result was The Creation, a spirited oratorio that required a colossal amount of preparatory work and left him shaky. But it was worth the effort. The work was a huge success and has been performed ever since. Giovanni Antonini reveals a very lively chamber version with an excellent instrumental ensemble, a perfectly balanced vocal trio with soprano Anna Lucia Richter, tenor Maximilian Schmitt and baritone Florian Boesch, not forgetting the participation of the wonderful Bavarian Radio Choir.This new recording ranks among the highest of a long series of Haydn’s masterpiece. It’s thanks to the radiant performances, where the love of music blends with the simple contemplation of nature. A perfect recording. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Concertos - Released October 9, 2020 | Alpha

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A subtle performer of the Baroque and Classical piano repertory (Scarlatti, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven all feature in his discography on Aeon or Alpha), Olivier Cavé here offers us for the first time his interpretation of Beethoven’s first two concertos, written between the ages of twenty-five and thirty. There was a genuine alchemy in the Mozart concertos that he recorded in 2016, and this new project is marked by the same youthful vitality in two works composed by a Beethoven still steeped in the influence of Mozart. His energy gets an additional boost from the collaboration with the Kammerakademie Potsdam, an orchestra highly experienced in the Beethoven repertory, and the young conductor Patrick Hahn, one of the most promising members of the new generation, who celebrates his twenty-fifth birthday in 2020! © Alpha Classics
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Classical - Released October 2, 2020 | Alpha

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Classical - Released September 25, 2020 | Alpha

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As in its Schubert recording in 2018, the Quatuor van Kuijk likes to delve into a composer’s youthful output and then measure his evolution by confronting it with his mature works. Hence, after recording two of Mozart’s early string quartets in 2016, the French group, here joined by violist Adrien La Marca, now offers the String Quintets K. 515 and K. 516. These two large-scale works dominate Mozart’s instrumental output in the year 1787, which ended with the premiere of Don Giovanni. They show us a composer at the height of his creative powers, in a genre to which he had not returned for fourteen years and which he herebrought to a high degree of formal perfection. © Alpha Classics
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Classical - Released September 25, 2020 | Alpha

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Fascinated by the viola, which he chose at the age of eleven after learning the violin for six years, Amihai Grosz loves the sound of his instrument, which is so close to the human voice. He also likes the ambivalence of its timbre, midway between the violin and the cello, which in a sense reflects his own musical education in Israel, with its combination of Mediterranean influences and Russian and Germanic traditions. Initially a quartet musician and founding member of the famous Jerusalem Quartet, Amihai Grosz now pursues a solo career while holding the post of principal viola of the Berliner Philharmoniker. For this first solo album, he joins forces with the pianist Sunwook Kim, the first Asian to win the Leeds International Piano Competition – in 2006, aged just eighteen. Together they present a programme coupling Schubert, with the famous "Arpeggione" Sonata – named after the quickly obsolescent instrument for which it was written, a cross between the guitar and the cello; Shostakovich, with the Viola Sonata Op. 147, completed in 1975, only a few weeks before the Russian composer’s death; and Yizkor (In memoriam) by the Hungarian-Israeli composer Ödön Pártos (1907-77). Amihai Grosz plays a magnificent Gasparo da Salò viola of 1570. This recording is the first of several projects for Alpha Classics. © Alpha Classics
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Symphonic Music - Released September 25, 2020 | Alpha

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Alexandre Bloch, who has been Music Director of the Orchestre National de Lille since 2016, has chosen to devote a whole season of concerts to Mahler’s symphonies. The Seventh (1904-05) is the most rarely recorded of the cycle – unjustly, because this work later nicknamed ‘Song of the Night’ testifies as clearly as its companions to the metaphysical grandiloquence that haunted Mahler during its gestation. From the gloomy Adagio of the first movement to the thundering Rondo that concludes the work, Alexandre Bloch and his orchestra lead us from the anguish of twilight to the ecstasies of dawn. © Alpha Classics
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released September 18, 2020 | Alpha

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This recording was made under the direction of Reinbert de Leeuw in December 2019, two months before his death. A few weeks before that, he had called Thomas Dieltjens, artistic director of Het Collectief, to tell him: ‘Since our concert in mid-July 2019 at the Saintes Festival, I’ve been haunted by Das Lied von der Erde. I’m totally under its spell, and every day I discover new things in this masterpiece by Mahler. Wouldn’t it be a dream if we could record this music with the outstanding group of instrumentalists and soloists we had in Saintes? And preferably as soon as possible?’ Reinbert himself made the arrangement for fifteen instrumentalists and two soloists and invested all his remaining strength in the recording of this music, which encompasses the whole of life, from the freshness of birth to the moment of farewell... A testamentary album, with the moving mezzo-soprano Lucile Richardot, which gives us an opportunity to pay tribute to one of the key ambassadors of twentieth-century music. © Alpha Classics
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Classical - Released September 11, 2020 | Alpha

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A few years after the success of her album crossing Baroque music with folk, "Love I Obey", the Franco-American singer Rosemary Standley visits Schubert, this time with the complicity of the Ensemble Contraste: “We all have a few notes of Schubert buried deep inside us,” say the artists, who have got together around his music and brought it to an original sound texture, the result of their varied influences- classical, pop, jazz, folk. They have picked some of the best-known lieder and universally loved instrumental pieces, incorporating in them rhythms from other countries and instruments unusual in this repertory: the jazz trumpet of Airelle Besson, the guitar of Kevin Seddiki, the percussion of Jean-Luc Di Fraja join forces with the viola of Arnaud Thorette, the piano, cello and double bass of Ensemble Contraste - not forgetting the exceptional participation of the soprano Sandrine Piau, who joins Rosemary Standley for several duets. The arrangements are by Johan Farjot. © Alpha Classics
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Concertos - Released September 11, 2020 | Alpha

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A legendary clarinettist equally experienced in classical music, jazz and film music, Michel Portal meets Paul Meyer, another outstanding ambassador of the clarinet in the world and a long-time friend. Side by side and accompanied by the Orchestre de Chambre de Wallonie, they offer a programme that reveals their musical rapport for the first time on disc, whether the repertory is Baroque, galant or Romantic. So, alongside Telemann’s Concerto in D minor for two chalumeaux and strings, we have Carl Stamitz’s Concerto no. 4 for two clarinets, while Mendelssohn’s Konzertstück No. 1 and No. 2 are juxtaposed with duos by Telemann and C. P. E. Bach. Each work constitutes a calm dialogue in which words are replaced by notes, a touching testimony to two exceptional careers. © Alpha Classics
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Concertos - Released September 4, 2020 | Alpha

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Giovanni Antonini and his ensemble Il Giardino Armonico celebrate the composer who made them famous: Antonio Vivaldi. Their recordings of the Four Seasons and Cecilia Bartoli’s famous first Vivaldi recital left an indelible mark on the discography of the Red-haired Priest! Their musical fireworks display continues with a programme of concertos that is bound to provoke strong reactions, since it is the result of a meeting with a musician who is equally adept at shifting boundaries, the violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja. Together they have devised a programme which interweaves ultra-virtuosic concertos by Vivaldi ("Il Grosso Mogul" RV 208, "La Tempesta di Mare" RV 253, and RV 157, 191, 550 among others) with, between each concerto, short pieces written by much more recent composers, Luca Francesconi, Simone Movio, Giacinto Scelsi, Aureliano Cattaneo and Giovanni Sollima, and mostly commissioned by Patricia Kopatchinskaja especially for this programme. © Alpha Classics

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