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Classical - Released June 11, 2021 | Claves Records

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Concertos - Released June 4, 2021 | Claves Records

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Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released March 26, 2021 | Claves Records

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The Mass in B minor holds a very special place in J.S. Bach’s output: a work of grandeur, an opus ultimum, it was not composed as such but is the result of an assembly of pieces written at different times and for different circumstances. Bach worked on it during the years 1748-1749, until his eyesight, which had gradually deteriorated, was completely lost. The idea of bringing together pieces drawn essentially from the vast corpus of cantatas was not unusual; a similar approach was taken by several of his contemporaries, such as Handel, and Bach himself had done so for the short masses he composed in the late 1730s. These were called parodies. Moving from the German text of the cantatas to the Latin text of the masses meant adapting the vocal lines, with additions and deletions, polyphonic and harmonic enrichments, and changes in instrumentation. Throughout his life, Bach never ceased to revisit his works with a view to improving them.
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Solo Piano - 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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Concertos - Released December 4, 2020 | Claves Records

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The two Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Flute and for two Cellos by Antoine Reicha show an astonishing balance between innovation and reflection. They bear witness to an outstanding virtuosity and art of composition, which revolutionise forms through spectacular, enthusiasm-provoking lines of execution and through novelties of writing that impact their deeper structures. A composer who established a link between the Enlightenment and Romanticism, Vienna and Paris, Joseph Haydn and César Franck (one of the last among his many pupils), Reicha can no longer be reduced to his theoretical and didactic dimension alone: his extensive work, still too little known, continues to surprise us. © Claves Records
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Classical - Released November 27, 2020 | Claves Records

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Born in Peseux (Neuchâtel), Samuel Ducommun, a composer from Neuchâtel, studied organ first with Louis Kelterborn then Charles Faller, harmony with Charles Humbert, counterpoint and composition with Paul Benner. He later became a disciple of Marcel Dupré. Organist from 1934 in Corcelles (NE), then at the «Stadtkirche» in Biel, he moved to Neuchâtel in 1942 where he became organist at the Collegiate Church, singing teacher in schools, piano teacher at the Cantonal High School, and head of organ, harmony, analysis, counterpoint and composition classes at the Music Conservatory. As a concert artist, Samuel Ducommun has performed in many cities in Switzerland, France and Germany. In addition to the classical and romantic repertoire, his programmes have widely featured the music of the 20th century, which he has championed. As a composer from his teenage years, he produced a considerable body of work in which the organ is of course favoured, either alone or accompanying the voice or various instruments. Several religious and secular cantatas, symphonic or concertante works, and numerous chamber music scores involving various instrumental formations complete the catalogue of his works. The style and spirit of his compositions are of French inspiration, their architecture often calling upon classical forms (fugue, passacaglia, sonata form, for example). Loyal to tonal music, sometimes of modal expression, Samuel Ducommun employs polytonality or even atonality without any preconceived theory. He has managed to find his own personal musical language, which neither wants to imitate anyone nor deny his origins. © Claves Records
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Classical - Released September 25, 2020 | Claves Records

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Classical - Released September 11, 2020 | Claves Records

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Classical - Released June 12, 2020 | Claves Records

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Classical - Released April 10, 2020 | Claves Records

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This was the dream of the current director of the Claves label: to record his favourite work ever, in its original version and with a pioneer of Baroque interpretation, Ton Koopman. One of Joseph Haydn's most mature works, The Seven Last Words were commissioned by the Holy Cave Oratory in Cadiz, for its inauguration in 1786, on Good Friday. Haydn told of the particular circumstances of the creation: in a church shrouded in black, the priest proclaimed each word and then prostrated himself during each sonata. The work is surrounded by a meditative introduction and an apocalyptic earthquake. In the centre, seven slow movements in sonata form follow one another, in which we find the young Haydn's Sturm und Drang vein and his maturity brought to light by his imminent London triumphs from 1791 onwards. Ton Koopman, master of the complete recording of Bach and Buxtehude cantatas, often approached Haydn and his symphonies, but this is indeed the first time that he has recorded The Seven Last Words, together with an orchestra of great tradition, the Berner Symphonieorchester. © Claves Records
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Classical - Released March 27, 2020 | Claves Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 étoiles de Classica
This recording was made in April 2019 at the Ernest-Ansermet Studio in Geneva, after five concerts in Switzerland during the preceding days. The desire to be as faithful as possible to the rhythm of the drama of the Passion and to the evidence of the musical sequences, which is easier to feel during a live performance than in front of the relative abstraction of the microphones, as well as a non-negligible time constraint (three and a half days in the studio for a work of 160 minutes), pushed the members of Gli Angeli Genève to record long takes, sometimes including up to 10 or 12 minutes of music, thus getting as close as possible to the feeling of a concert. In concert, with small vocal groups, Gli Angeli Genève systematically places the singers in front of the instruments regardless of repertoire, so as to give speech in music the most prominent place possible. When recording, since the audience’s crucial role cannot be replaced by the microphones, the musicians place ourselves in a large circle, all facing each other. They can see each other playing, singing, vibrating, breathing and reacting. The idea of reaction is central to this work where, when the action of the story is suspended, it is immediately replaced by emotion and poetic as well as musical beauty that Matthew’s story inspired in Bach and Picander. Airs as well as chorales. And within this circle they can react together, engage in dialogue, and see themselves feel the drama and powerful affects that mark the work relentlessly. And then they can share the pleasure and sometimes the awe - so beautiful is the music – of being able to live all this together. Forming a circle to make this music and observing the extraordinary musicians of Gli Angeli Genève at work led Stephan MacLeod (the conductor) to realise the extent to which The Saint Matthew Passion has structured the career and relationship to music of many of his colleagues. © Claves Records
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Chamber Music - Released March 13, 2020 | Claves Records

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From very early on, Mozart was aware of the possibilities of an ensemble situated halfway between concerto and chamber music. Indeed, it was Mozart who paved the way for the piano quartet in 1785 and 1786 with the two masterpieces that are presented here. Such an instrumental ensemble was unknown before this, but from that point onwards it would live on throughout the 19th century through the key works of Schumann and Brahms, then of Dvořák and several other famous musicians. The Quintet in G minor, K. 478, is bold right from the opening few bars, in a passionate key that Mozart used in famous works such as Symphonies Nos. 25 and 40 as well as his fabulous String Quintet, K. 516 from 1787. The powerful first movement, the lyricism of his Andante and his joyful final Rondo in G major have captivated chamber musicians from around the world for centuries. Its counterpart, the Quarter in E-flat major, K. 493, displays the carefree nature of youth but still shows a sense of maturity with darkness and nostalgia. Recorded in May 2019 in Drogheda in the Republic of Ireland, this album offers an outstanding interpretation of Mozart’s work by four exceptional musicians from very different backgrounds. Pianist Finghin Collins, originally from Dublin, studied both at the Royal Irish Academy of Ireland and with Dominique Merlet at the Geneva Conservatory. Violinist Rosanne Philippens is renowned for her talent as a performer (her version of Vivaldi-Piazzolla’s Four Seasons was a complete sensation in Lyon) and is an extraordinary communicator. Former solo viola of the Berlin Philharmonic, Hungarian Máté Szücs plays and teaches masterclasses all over the world and is now a professor at the Geneva University of Music. Last but not least, cellist István Várdai is the winner of the prestigious ARD Competition in Munich as well as the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. In addition to his career as a chamber musician and soloist, he has now taken over Heinrich Schiff’s cello class at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Concertos - Released February 28, 2020 | Claves Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
The wealth of music composed for the viola in the 20th century almost lets one forget the dearth of it in the 19th, which brought forth only two solo works of note: Hector Berlioz’s Harold in Italy, a concerto commissioned by Paganini that sidelines the viola so much he refused to play it; and Richard Strauss’s Don Quixote, in which the solo viola is relegated to the part of the Don’s sidekick Sancho Panza. Sidelined and sidekicked – the viola’s fate seemed a fulfilment of the oft-quoted line from Quantz’s sometime flute treatise that “the viola is largely regarded among musicians as being of little significance”. It was only really in the 20th century that composers realised that the viola’s status of an in-between instrument could actually be to its advantage. It’s bigger than a violin, but tuned like a cello, and is both warmer in tone than the former, and much more agile than the latter. The viola then had the good fortune to become the preferred instrument of several important composers. Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) briefly toyed with going professional on it; Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) went the whole hog and made a living from it in the Amar Quartet and as a soloist; and Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) too was a violist, though he kept his public performing activities to the piano and the podium. The viola was also lucky in having several fine virtuosi in the 20th century, most notably Lionel Tertis (1876- 1975) and William Primrose (1904-1982). Primrose had commissioned Bartók’s (unfinished) Viola Concerto in 1945, and it was for him that Britten wrote his Lachrymae for viola and piano in 1950. This is a series of “reflections”, i.e. variations, on a song by the Elizabethan composer John Dowland entitled “If my complaints could passion move”. The song’s melody is heard in the bass line after a few bars in the first variation, but only becomes properly recognisable at the end of the tenth and last. Meanwhile, another Dowland song has also infiltrated the texture – variation No. 6 refers back to Dowland’s more famous song “Flow my tears”, which had originated in his “Lachrymae pavan” – hence Britten’s title. He composed it during a break in work on his opera Billy Budd, and gave the first performance with Primrose at the Aldeburgh Festival in 1950. Britten then scored the work for viola solo and string orchestra in the spring of 1976, just months before he died. © Chris Walton/Claves Records
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Chamber Music - Released January 17, 2020 | Claves Records

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Classical - Released December 20, 2019 | Claves Records

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Chamber Music - Released November 22, 2019 | Claves Records

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"The music and personality of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart have always been very close to my heart. I could not have predicted, however, that the late 18th century would become alive to me beyond his music and his life. In 2017, the Swiss dressmaker Christian Tanner created a historical women’s collection in the style of the 1780s-90s that was completely sewn by hand and for which I became the face and the inspiration. The transformation that came through wearing these gowns, having historical “tower” hairdos created with my own hair, induced a feeling of magical connection between the past and the present that led me to wonder: What must have been the sense of self of a woman at that time? How must she have sat at her instrument, constrained by the tightness of her corset and how could she move her hands? By actively participating in historical reenactments like candle-light soirées, dances and leisurely walks, Mozart’s daily life as I imagined it to be, based on his surviving family correspondences, started to take a clearer shape. Through these experiences, I started feeling connected to the woman who in 1780 was the same age as myself today and who shared a most intimate relationship with Wolfgang, even before his first wife: His sister Nannerl." (Helga Váradi) © Claves Records
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Concertos - Released October 18, 2019 | Claves Records

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Concertos - Released October 4, 2019 | Claves Records

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Concertos - Released September 20, 2019 | Claves Records

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Chamber Music - Released September 6, 2019 | Claves Records

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