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Classical - Released October 30, 2020 | Chandos

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Neeme Järvi returns to the Royal Scottish National Orchestra for a dazzling album of suites from the ballets Sylvia, La Source, and Coppélia by Delibes. Born into a musical family, Delibes enrolled at the Paris Conservatoire aged twelve, studying under several professors including Adolphe Adam. He spent the 1850s and early 1860s composing light operettas and working as a church organist, before achieving public recognition for his music for the ballet La Source in 1866. His later ballets Coppélia and Sylvia were key works in the development of modern ballet, giving the music much greater importance than was previously the case. Typical of the period, the plots for these ballets are obscure, convoluted, and complex, but it’s certainly Delibes’s talent for lyrical melody and musical expression of a mood or feeling that elevates all three of these scores above their contemporaries – indeed Coppélia went on to become the most frequently performed ballet at the Paris Opéra. Delibes was at the forefront of creating orchestral suites from his ballet music (much to the envy of Tchaikovsky, among others), and thus were indeed envisaged to be performed without staging or dancers. On this album Neeme Järvi adds several additional movements to expand upon the suites which appeared in Delibes’s lifetime. © Chandos
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Classical - Released October 30, 2020 | Chandos

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For the sixth volume of his Chopin project, the Canadian pianist and exclusive Chandos Artist Louis Lortie has built a programme that includes works from the earliest to the latest periods in the composer’s life, all of which have connection with or focus on Chopin’s Polish identity. The Hommage à Mozart, Op. 2 is a brilliant set of variations on "Là ci darem la mano" from Don Giovanni. Chopin composed it originally for piano and orchestra, in 1827, when he was just seventeen, and later made this arrangement for solo piano (a common practise at the time). The two Polonaises, Op. 40 date from the late 1830s, and contain some of his most openly nationalistic writing. The first – nicknamed "Military" – evokes sentiments of national identity and pride, whilst the second, more melancholy work portrays feelings evoked by Poland’s vanished statehood. Lortie concludes the album with Chopin’s Fantaisie, Op. 49, from 1841. This work exemplifies the brilliant improvisatory style of Chopin’s writing for piano. These works are interspersed with four sets of Mazurkas, Op. 6, Op. 24, Op. 41, and Op. 67. Chopin almost single-handedly introduced the Mazurka to Paris when he arrived there in the late 1820s, and continued to compose them throughout his life, transforming the Polish dance form into some of his most dazzling and memorable compositions. © Chandos
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Classical - Released October 30, 2020 | Chandos

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Paul Frankenburger (born in Munich on 5 July 1897) was a successful conductor and composer in Bavaria, until he lost his position at the Augsburg Opera owing to a financial crisis at the opera house. In 1933, he left Germany and immigrated to Mandatory Palestine. Immediately upon arriving in the new country, he changed his name to Paul Ben-Haim, and within a few years he had established himself as a cultural icon, a highly esteemed and influential composer, and the founder of a new musical tradition. Some consider Ben-Haim the national composer of the young state established in 1948, fifteen years after his immigration. The compositions on this album are closely linked to those dramatic years, during which he changed homelands, swapped identities, and, to a large degree, even replaced, or forged, his own unique personal style. Omer Meir Wellber, the new Chief Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic, makes his Chandos debut with this first album in a series devoted to exploring the music of Israel. © Chandos
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Miscellaneous - Released October 30, 2020 | Chandos

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Originating in the villages and ghettos of Eastern Europe, klezmer has been played from the early middle ages. The Jews who emigrated to America in the 1880s to early 1900s brought klezmer with them. In the New World, klezmer was heavily influenced by early jazz and swing, and the style continues to evolve. Klezmer’s distinctive sound blends artistic virtuosity with numerous tempo changes, irregular rhythms, dissonance, and an element of improvisation. Eclectic and diversified, klezmer is unique, easily recognisable, and widely appreciated. Kleztory is a rich mosaic of cultures (Russian, Canadian, Quebecois, and Moldavian), musical training (academic and self-taught), and musical tastes (classical, contemporary, jazz, blues, country, and folk). Combining their talents, these musicians perform with an emotion and a virtuosity that is the true spirit of klezmer. Momentum is Kleztory’s 6th album, and celebrates the band’s 20th anniversary. Combining traditional tunes and new compositions, the album juxtaposes music which the band has played since it started with completely new material. © Chandos
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Chamber Music - Released October 2, 2020 | Chandos

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Composed in the summer and autumn of 1781, Haydn’s Op. 33 Quartets were dedicated to the Grand Duke Paul of Russia and premiered on Christmas Day that year in the apartment of the Duke’s wife, the Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna. Nicknamed ‘the Russian quartets’, Op. 33 were some of Mozart’s favourites among Haydn’s works, and inspired Mozart to write his own set of six quartets, of 1785, dedicated to Haydn. Generally light in nature, the Op. 33 are extremely tuneful works, all set in major keys (apart from No. 1, in B minor), and all written in four movements. Founded in 1998, and exclusive Chandos recording artists since 2010, the Doric String Quartet has established itself as one of the leading quartets of its generation, receiving enthusiastic responses from audiences and critics alike. Previous releases in this series of Quartets by Haydn have been acclaimed by critics around the world. © Chandos
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Classical - Released October 2, 2020 | Chandos

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For his fifth volume of Schubert’s piano works, Barry Douglas turns to a contrasting pair of sonatas composed in the 1820s. The A minor, from 1823, was composed whilst he suffered an episode of depression following the onset (and harsh treatment for) syphilis. The D major sonata, however, was written in 1825 on a holiday to Gastein in the Austrian Alps, and is musically more confident and extravert, reminiscent of the ‘Great’ C major Symphony, begun during the same trip. Douglas completes his programme with a pair of Liszt transcriptions from Schwanengesang, Liebesbotschaft and Ständchen. As with the other volumes in this series, Barry Douglas plays a Steinway "Model D", and the recording was made in the Curtis Auditorium of the CIT Cork School of Music. © Chandos
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Classical - Released October 2, 2020 | Chandos

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For the second volume of the music of Eric Coates, John Wilson has built his programme around three contrasting ‘major’ works. The Suite "Summer Days was premiered in October 1919, shortly after Henry Wood had fired Coates from his position as lead viola in the Queen’s Hall Orchestra. An immediate hit, the suite received rave reviews and many more performances. It was recorded in 1926, Sir Edward Elgar telling Coates that he had played it so often that he had worn out the disc! The Selfish Giant, from 1925, based on Oscar Wilde’s story, was the first in a series of highly successful musical retellings of fairy tales. The Enchanted Garden originated in a commission from the Swedish Broadcasting Company. Although he described The Enchanted Garden as a ballet, Coates conceived it principally as a concert work. Composed in June and July 1938, it was premiered in a BBC radio broadcast in November that year, immediately before Coates took it on tour to Stockholm. Of the other, shorter pieces on the album, Calling All Workers is arguably Coates’s best-known work, composed in the summer of 1940 and dedicated ‘to all who work’. The march was adopted by the BBC as the signature tune for their new daily radio show ‘Music While You Work’, and was heard twice daily for twenty-seven years – clocking up more than 16,000 broadcast performances. © Chandos
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Full Operas - Released September 4, 2020 | Chandos

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‘The burly Aussie tenor is now even more identified with this ill-fated protagonist than Peter Pears, the first Grimes. And everywhere Skelton has sung the part, whether at English National Opera, the Proms, the Edinburgh festival or now on this international tour of a concert staging mounted by the Bergen Philharmonic, the conductor has been Edward Gardner. Theirs is one of the great musical partnerships, and they continue to find compelling new depths in this tragic masterpiece.’ – Richard Morrison (The Times) This studio recording was made following the acclaimed production at Grieghallen, in Bergen, in 2019 (repeated in Oslo and London and reviewed above). Luxuriant playing from the Bergen Philharmonic and a stellar cast under the assured direction of Edward Gardner make this a recording to treasure. © Chandos
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Classical - Released September 4, 2020 | Chandos

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Following his acclaimed recording of sonatas by contemporaries of Beethoven, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet further celebrates the great composer’s anniversary year with this set of the complete Piano Concertos. Electing to direct the Swedish Chamber Orchestra from the keyboard, Jean-Efflam writes: ‘To play a concerto under a conductor who shares and enriches one’s vision of the work concerned is one of the greatest joys in the life of a soloist. Nevertheless, one can also admit that some aspects of performing without a conductor may prove advantageous. Rehearsal time is generally speaking made longer by the process of working out the different protocol of gestures from the soloist and the leader in coordinating the ensemble playing. As this work proceeds a creative bond is forged, resulting in an artistic osmosis, a common vision of the work, in which compromise has no place. For the pianist there is also the delight of appearing face to face with the entire orchestra, in direct visual communication, the musicians perhaps more likely to take personal initiatives, thus multiplying the pleasure of a genuine participation, dialogue, and musical exchange’. The cadenzas used in this recording are all Beethoven’s, from the set that he wrote out in 1809, and so are contemporaneous with the Fifth Concerto. The set includes also the Quintet for Piano and Winds, Op. 16. © Chandos
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Chamber Music - Released August 28, 2020 | Chandos

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For the fourth instalment in its "Music in Exile" series, the Toronto-based ARC Ensemble turns its attention to the music of Walter Kaufmann. Despite a very promising start in Prague and then Berlin, and friendships with Albert Einstein and with Franz Kafka’s circle, Kaufmann’s career become a casualty of the Nazi regime that forced scores of Jewish musicians to flee Germany – in his case for Bombay in India. Kaufmann’s intriguing and extensive body of work remains largely forgotten, certainly underappreciated, and perhaps most tragically, unperformed since first heard, although ironically, millions of Indians are familiar with one piece of his music – the signature tune that he wrote in 1936 for All India Radio, which is still played every morning. ‘The hallmark of this remarkable music’, explains the ARC Ensemble’s Artistic Director, Simon Wynberg, ‘is its striking originality. There are flashes of Debussy, Bartók, and Stravinsky, and hints of Bohemian and klezmer music, but the end result is a world of inventiveness and surprises. It is an extraordinary blend of Eastern and Western traditions, both adventurous and accessible, and no less compelling for the eighty-year delay since its first performance.’ © Chandos
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Choral Music (Choirs) - Released August 7, 2020 | Chandos

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August 18th marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Constitutional Amendment, granting women in the US the right to vote. A fitting time then for our release of the World Premier Recording of Ethel Smyth’s late masterpiece The Prison. Smyth left home at nineteen to study composition in Leipzig. In the company of Clara Schumann and her teacher Heinrich von Herzogenberg, she met and won the admiration of composers such as Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Dvorák, and Grieg. Smyth was the first woman to have an opera performed at the MET, in 1903 - the second was Kaija Saariaho, whose L'Amour de loin appeared there in 2016 ! Smyth later became central to the Suffragette movement in England, writing the March of the Women. Her gender politics and sexuality were cause for attacks by critics, and she famously went to prison herself for throwing a stone through an MP’s window. Composed in 1930 and premiered in 1931 in Edinburgh’s Usher Hall, The Prison is a symphony in two parts, Close on Freedom and The Deliverance, set for soprano and bass-baritone soloists, chorus, and full orchestra. The text is taken from a philosophical work by Henry Bennet Brewster and concerns the writings of a prisoner in solitary confinement, his reflections on life and his preparations for death. © Chandos
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Classical - Released July 31, 2020 | Chandos

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The three brilliant symphonic poems that Respighi composed (inspired by his adopted city of Rome) were recorded in 1991 by the Philharmonia Orchestra under the direction of Yan Pascal Tortelier as part of his brilliant series of recordings for Chandos. It is now John Wilson, the new figurehead of the British label, who dares to take them on, continuing his intense work at the head of the Sinfonia of London (which he has recently helped to reform), an exceptional orchestra well-known to music lovers who are passionate about the somewhat hidden recordings of the 1950s. The orchestra brought together the capital’s best musicians at the time. Recently, Wilson and his orchestra put forward a beautiful album of rare French works including, for example, Duruflé's Three Dances.This recording opens with latest of the poems, Feste Romane (Roman Festivals), which has a concentrated, sharp style even though it uses a larger orchestra than the other two, including a large percussion section as well as an organ, a four-handed piano and a mandolin. First performed by the New York Philharmonic on February 21, 1929, under the direction of Arturo Toscanini, this work represents the “maximum of orchestral sonority and colour” in the composer's own words. Surprisingly, the Feste Romane remains the part least known by the public. Its audacious orchestration is striking, showcasing Respighi's inventive and sometimes rebellious spirit. After his appointment in 1913 as a professor of composition at the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Respighi became friends with Edita Walterowna Broglio (1886-1977), a photographer whose creative work would become the source of inspiration for Fontane di Roma (Fountains of Rome), a poem composed over two years which was completed in September, 1916. Fontane di Roma testifies to a major stylistic turning point in the composer’s career, coming after works that clearly show the influence of the Russians and the modern French composers. Fontane di Roma is intensely colourful, personal and of unforgettable sensuality. With this first large-scale and hugely successful Roman symphonic poem, Respighi tightened his grip on the renewal of Italian instrumental music.Completed in 1924, Pini di Roma (Pines of Rome), conducted by Toscanini for its first performance in New York on January 14, 1926, is the most famous part of the trilogy. Like the other two poems, Pini di Roma is divided into four parts, each of which evokes four iconic places in the Italian capital, such as the Janiculum Hill, Villa Borghese and of course the Via Appia, which inspired Respighi to compose a majestic and grandiose march, whose expressive power would go on to influence Hollywood composers. John Wilson brings us an effortlessly fluid version of the three poems which makes time fly! © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released July 31, 2020 | Chandos

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Following her last album, "The Polish Violin", Jennifer Pike now turns to a programme of English music that represents an essential part of her musical make-up. It was the music of Elgar that first drew her to the violin, and The Lark Ascending has featured in her programming - in many versions – throughout her career. Here we have the original version for violin and piano from 1914, much less frequently played than the ‘standard’ orchestral version, but fascinating for the new light it shines on such a well-known piece. Writing it against the backdrop of the First World War, Vaughan Williams took both inspiration and the title from a poem by George Meredith. Although his first sketches for a Violin Sonata date from 1887, Elgar’s Violin Sonata is one of the four late masterpieces that Elgar composed in 1918-1919, at Brinkwells in Sussex in his final creative flush. As with The Lark Ascending, this work was composed under the shadow of the Great War. Like Elgar, Vaughan Williams wrote his only Violin Sonata towards the end of his life. Representing a culmination of the development of his compositional style, he weaves fantasy and pastoralism into the strictures of sonata form. Jennifer Pike is joined for this album by one of her regular musical partners, the pianist Martin Roscoe. © Chandos
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Chamber Music - Released July 3, 2020 | Chandos

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James Gilchrist’s theme for this recital, "Solitude", is reflected in varied and contrasting ways by the four works. In his booklet note, he describes solitude as ‘A state of being that we need, that perhaps we overlook too easily, that is harder to achieve and harder to endure and understand than we expect’. Henry Purcell’s O! Solitude, my sweetest choice (in the arrangement by Benjamin Britten) focuses on twin themes of solitude: the peace found in the meditative state and the pain felt by being separated from loved ones. Schubert’s Einsamkeit represents the importance of solitude as an important theme in the German romantic tradition: yearning for homeland, the lonely wanderer, and separated lovers appear again and again in the poetry, prose, and music of this era. In Under Alter’d Skies, Jonathan Dove explores the unwanted solitude of grief and loss. The cycle sets excerpts of In Memoriam, Alfred Lord Tennyson’s response to the sudden death of his friend Arthur Hallam. The programme closes with Samuel Barber’s Hermit Songs, settings of the marginal jottings of mediaeval Irish monks as they copied or illuminated manuscripts. These extraordinary texts show the anonymous men, who chose a life of solitude and devotion to God, to be every bit as human as the rest of us! © Chandos
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Opera - Released July 3, 2020 | Chandos

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Sakari Oramo has shown an interest in little-known repertoires on several occasions. In the early 2000s he was involved in the rehabilitation of music by John Foulds (Warner Classics), a major figure in early 20th century England, particularly owing to his two masterpieces, the Dynamic Triptych and the Three Mantras. Before that, in the 1990s he unveiled several astonishing works by the Finnish composer Ernest Pingoud (Ondine). It’s a lovely surprise to find him at the head of the BBC Symphony Orchestra here conducting this recording of the magnificent opera Miss Julie. This was William Alwyn’s last major work, composed from 1973 to 1976 with a libretto written by the composer himself based on August Strindberg’s play (1888). The opera is essentially in the style of realistic theatre as since a young age Alwyn had been fond of the very realistic characters in Strindberg’s play. The original idea for Miss Julie dates back to the 1950s but due to the creative differences between Alwyn and his librettist at the time, Christopher Hassall, concerning the rapport between text and music, the opera wasn’t completed until the mid-20th century. Indeed, in terms of music, Miss Julie showcases the full extent of Alwyn’s unique talent in both his poetry and his theatrical effectiveness. His talent is, of course, evident in his orchestral masterpiece Symphony No. 3 as well as the Sinfonietta that he composed later in 1970, and there are echoes of Bernard Herrmann’s Wuthering Heights in his vocal prosody and atmospheres. After the war, Alwyn’s career as a film composer took off, allowing him to consolidate his ideas and perfect the art of creating mood and atmosphere. Miss Julie was the pinnacle of his life as a composer – a captivating work which deserves many listens, as is equally the case for his other great works. © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz
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Opera - Released July 3, 2020 | Chandos

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A major work of the 20th century, Il prigioniero (The Prisoner) by Luigi Dallapiccola dates back to the end of the war and its immediate aftermath (1944-48). It is set during the Spanish Inquisition with a libretto that was drawn from La Torture par l’Espérance (Torture by Hope), an extract from Contes Cruels (Cruel tales) by Villiers de l’Isle Adam, which the composer had discovered while strolling on the banks of the Seine in Paris. Featuring three dodecaphonic series named ‘Prayer’, ‘Hope’ and ‘Freedom’, this dense, short and concise opera also includes tonal echoes that later disappeared in his two other lyrical works. The hero believes he is finally free when he finds the door of his prison cell left open and can escape for one night to gaze at the stars in the sky. However, the illusion turns out to be short-lived as the Grand Inquisitor himself would soon be leading him to the stake, which is an awful allusion to the tragic reality of life in Europe and beyond during that dark era. First performed with Hermann Scherchen at the Mai Musical Florentine, the work quickly became popular in countries across the world from New York to Buenos Aires and is still just as successful today. In this new recording of a concert in Copenhagen in 2019, Gianandrea Noseda continues his exploration of 20th century Italian composers following on from albums dedicated to Castiglioni, Petrassi, Casella and several others. This short opera (which is less than three-quarters of an hour-long) is completed by three choral works based on texts written by Michelangelo Buonarroti the Younger (the great-nephew of the sculptor from Florence) and Alcaeus of Mytilene, a Greek poet from late 7th century B.C. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released June 5, 2020 | Chandos

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Iain Quinn is joined by Arcangelo and Jonathan Cohen in this recording of Organ Concertos by Haydn, recorded on the Grant, Degens, and Bradbeer organ of St Mary’s, Woodford. The violinist Sophie Gent joins the forces for the Double Concerto (No. 6). Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 for organ are among the composer’s earliest works, and seem to have been written in the 1750s, before Haydn entered into the employ of the Esterházys, in 1761. It is possible that they could have been written for the organ in the Bohemian Chancellery chapel at the Judenplatz in Vienna, where Haydn was briefly employed. The Double Concerto dates from 1766, when Haydn was fully established as a composer and Kapellmeister. Grant, Degens, and Bradbeer was an organ building firm ahead of its time in the sense that it was not following any English organ building trend at that period. The organ at St Mary’s is judged to be among the best instruments the company built, alongside the instruments in the Lyons Concert Hall, University of York, St Paul’s Girls’ School, Hammersmith, and New College, Oxford. © Chandos Records
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Opera - Released May 29, 2020 | Chandos

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This new recording of Massenet’s opera was recorded by Chandos during rehearsals and two concerts at Toronto’s Thomson Hall in November 2019, making the work feel like a great oratorio bathed in the sensuality of orchestral music. Known around the world for his Méditation with solo violin, which was used in the heyday of bandstands and orchestras in large hotels and fashionable spas, Thaïs is rarely played today. There are no arias "à l'italienne" in this opera, but instead it’s full of long dramatic passages that would inspire Debussy to compose Pelléas eight years later. The protagonists of this new recording are without a doubt the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, whose conductor Sir Andrew Davis makes use of all their sonic and expressive resources, leaving the soloists somewhat sidelined in terms of sound balance. A special mention goes to the beautiful sound and intense expression that avoids any mawkishness of the concertmaster Jonathan Crow in the famous Méditation, which is in fact a simple interlude at the heart of the Act I.. This orientalising story about the conflict between paganism and Christianity in Alexandria in the fourth century is told by the baritone Joshua Hopkins with his powerful timbre in the role of Athanael, battling with the soprano Erin Wall as an exemplary Thai, and the tenor Andrew Staples, beautifully playing the role of Nicias, Athanael’s rich friend. The rest of the cast is of the same calibre. Sir Andrew Davis knows this work very well having directed it on several occasions, notably at the Edinburgh and Melbourne Festivals with the same Erin Wall in Thaïs, who he calls "the Thaïs of one’s dreams". © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released May 29, 2020 | Chandos

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In the 250th Beethoven anniversary year, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet has chosen this programme of works by contemporary composers to illuminate and contextualise Beethoven’s extraordinary output for piano. In his explanatory note for the album, the pianist writes: ‘Just as a mountain peak is always surrounded by other perhaps less lofty but no less fascinating summits, the major works of Beethoven are not isolated rock formations rising from the desert, but, as it were, “Himalayas”, forming part of a range in which other mountains might be the best pieces by contemporaries such as Clementi, Hummel, Dussek, and Wölfl. These composers all knew Beethoven well and were in contact with one another. It is essential to know and to make known their music in order better to understand and more thoroughly appreciate the lingua franca of the music of the time, which in turn is part and parcel of the “spirit of the age”, and to be aware of that which unites them, as well as to recognise that which differentiates them and renders each unique. In this year of plentiful Beethovenian commemorations, it appears to me natural, indeed essential, to pay admiring and enthusiastic homage to these composers, each of whom, in his own way, followed his route to the summit.’ © Chandos
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Classical - Released May 29, 2020 | Chandos

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This second Chandos album of orchestral works by Airat Ichmouratov features three works united by an ear for bold orchestral colour, a dramatic sense of form, and a firm dedication to tonality. The ‘Youth’ Overture was dedicated to the recording’s performers, the Orchestre de la Francophonie and its founder, Jean-Phillippe Tremblay, on the occasion of their fifteenth anniversary, and was premiered in July 2016. The ‘Maslenitsa’ Overture, premiered in 2013, portrays the week prior to Lent and represents an array of carnival-like festivities, including folk dances, disguises, troika rides, ice sculptures, and blini. First performed in 2017, the Symphony in A minor seeks to recreate the vitality of Longueuil, a city on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, from its beginnings as an outpost of New France (only the foundations of Fort Longueuil remain) to the present day. The symphony features Ichmouratov’s trademark descriptive eclecticism – especially in the second movement in which we hear children playing in parks, adults on the street engaged in boisterous debate, traffic noises, and the sound of a trumpet from a nightclub. All three works are world premiere recordings. © Chandos

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