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Solo Piano - Released October 18, 2019 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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This release, issued to mark the 75th birthday of the great pianist Nelson Freire in 2019, is hardly a typical album of encores. A good deal of it is devoted to a single composer, Edvard Grieg. Other composers are represented by multiple works, and there are substantial pieces like the Rachmaninov Prelude in B minor, Op. 32, No. 10, that would not fill the role of encore well. You might take the word "encore" in another way, though: to mean things reprised. Many of these pieces are ones Freire knows well, has played many times, and has explored at a truly breathtaking level of detail. The Grieg Lyric Pieces are not virtuoso works, and indeed are often played by amateurs, but you haven't heard them played like Freire plays them, with each one a little study in phrasing and register. You could sample almost anywhere here, but try the first of the Shostakovich Fantastic Dances, Op. 5, which has an entrancing subtlety from the very first notes. Freire, a famed virtuoso, mostly avoids showpieces here, but, as if to say he hasn't lost the ability, he does drop some in. The album is, then, an encore to Freire's remarkable career, which isn't over yet.
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Symphonic Music - Released April 26, 2019 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Opera Extracts - Released October 5, 2018 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released August 31, 2018 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Full Operas - Released June 22, 2018 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Why yes, it is still possible to discover Bernstein scores, or in this case the chamber version of A Quiet Place, adapted by Garth Edwin Sunderland, conducted and recorded for the first time by Kent Nagano, at the Montreal Symphony House. The final stage score by the American composer, first performed at the Houston Grand Opera in 1983, it was revisited by the librettist Stephen Wadsworth, and the composer who added several fragments from the one-act piece Trouble in Tahiti, from 1951; this addition would see two new performances (the Scala in Milan, and Washington). Another draft – this one definitive – was performed at the Vienna Opera House, conducted by the composer, in 1986. Fascinating in more ways than one, rather like a modern-day Intermezzo by Strauss, the work depicts American society by way of an existential crisis faced, first by one couple, (Trouble in Tahiti) and then by one family. Bernstein borrowed from Mahler for the structure, with a final movement whose "grave nobility" recalled the final movements of the Third and NinthSymphonies by his much-admired forebear. As is often the case with this composer, Bernstein's mix of styles (jazz, chorale, Broadway, Mahler, Berg, Britten, Copland…) provides an explosive cocktail, which has about it more of a musical conversation than grand opera – and, paradoxically, that's what makes this work so unique... And so charming. This is well worth a re-discovery, this time under the baton of Bernstein's faithful former pupil, Kent Nagano, at the head of top-flight solo singers, who point the way to that "quiet place", where "love will teach us harmony and grace". © Franck Mallet/Qobuz
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Symphonic Music - Released January 12, 2018 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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The rediscovery of Stravinsky's Funeral Song, from a recording made in St Petersburg in Spring 2015, was a major event. Composed over the summer of 1908 in honour of his late teacher Rimsky-Korsakov, who died in June that year, it marked a moment where Stravinsky was working at many different types of writing, looking for a personal language. The work was first performed at a memorial concert in St Petersburg in January 1909 but thereafter it disappeared without a trace: the only evidence of its existence was in accounts of the concert and the composer's own nostalgic memories of the work he saw as "the best of my works before Firebird, and the most advanced in terms of chromatic harmonies." And here at last is the world's first ever recording of it! A stunning little treasure in which we can still hear Rimsky, and also the Stravinsky of Firebird, but perhaps also still the Stravinsky of the Rite of Spring, which was still very recent, a testimony to the composer's breakneck evolution. It was in the same year, 1908, that Stravinsky interrupted his writing of Fireworks when he heard the news of Rismsky's death in order to compose his Funeral Song; the Scherzo Fantastique was the last score by the young composer that the old master would ever get to read, although he never heard it performed. With this recording, Riccardo Chilly offers us a judicious selection of four works from the composer's youth (we also find The Faun and the Shepherdess of 1906, a little cycle of three melodies with orchestra, sung in French, here with Sophie Koch) followed by the big turning point that is the Rite of Spring, with a reading which is both clear and fiery. © SM/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released November 10, 2017 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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This is a gentle kind of duet, which sets up Cecilia Bartoli "opposite" cellist Sol Gabetta, if we can speak of "opposition". The two stars chose a few airs out of the baroque repertoire where the composers have included a part for cello, and the two lines intertwine against the backdrop of the continuo or the orchestra. Albinoni, Caldara, Haendel and many others have often married the cello's deep voice with the light, airy tones of the soprano in a game of mirrors, contrasts, and "he-loves-me-he-loves-me-not”... This highly original billing benefits not only from the duettists' clear talents, but also the involvement of the Capella Gabetta led by the violinist Andrés Gabetta - to be sure, in the duets of old it wasn't the done thing for other performers to get involved, but in this instance, it adds up to a perfect balance. It's certainly not the end of the world - or of this duet! This album, highly original, is one of September's nicest surprises.
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Full Operas - Released March 1, 1962 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Full Operas - Released April 1, 1962 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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From 1961, this has always been one of the stronger Aida recordings, with young Leontyne Price in the title role.
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Classical - Released April 14, 2017 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Carl Heinrich Graun was one of the most prolific German composers of Italian operas in the mid-18th century, though his numerous works have fallen into obscurity and are only coming to light because of research and performances by early music interpreters. This 2017 Decca release features soprano Julia Lezhneva and Concerto Köln, conducted by Mikhail Antonenko, in world-premiere recordings of arias from Graun's operas L'Orfeo, Ifigenia in Aulide, Coriolano, Armida, Il Mithridate, Silla, and Britannico, and a sinfonia from Rodelinda. True to form, Concerto Köln offers the fresh, resonant sonorities of period instruments, and Antonenko's direction brings great spirit to the performances. But the star of this album is Lezhneva, a specialist in coloratura parts and a strong champion of 18th and early 19th century opera. Her bright, heavily ornamented style of singing brings great excitement to these showpieces, and she demonstrates a technical virtuosity that evokes the age of Farinelli. Lezhneva's successes in the operas of Handel should translate into a revival of Graun's music, and listeners who have developed a taste for Baroque singing will find her sparkling performances captivating. Decca's sound is sufficiently clear and detailed, though Lezhneva should have been given more prominence in the mix.
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Classical - Released November 4, 2016 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released May 20, 2016 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Jean-Yves Thibaudet has undertaken the complete solo piano works of another late nineteenth/early twentieth century French composer: Erik Satie. This even includes a sample of Vexations, that theme and two variations that Satie instructs to be played slowly, 840 times. It's interesting to compare Thibaudet's interpretations of these works with those of Aldo Ciccolini, who was one of Thibaudet's teachers. Overall, Thibaudet gives a less-Romantic interpretation, with less overt emotion and more introverted abstraction, but it is not overly academic. The music hall pieces, such as Je te veux and Le Piccadilly have a good dancing tempo that doesn't give often to rubato. In places, repeated figures and phrases do not vary much in speed or volume, which is how most musicians are instructed to add interest to repeated motives. On the other hand, the "Enfantines" pieces, written for children to play, are performed with a great deal of subtle sensitivity. Indeed, Satie's particular (and sometimes peculiar) performance notes are made for interpretations as individual as each performer and are what make his music difficult to perform. Thibaudet certainly skillfully conveys his interpretations to the listener, with minimal additional explanation needed in the liner notes. Most often, what you hear is what the title of the work implies. One note on the sound quality: at the end of the second disc in the music hall pieces, the sound quality between the tracks is noticeably different, as if they were made on different pianos or in different studios.
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Full Operas - Released January 1, 2016 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released January 1, 1989 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released May 23, 2015 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released January 1, 2013 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released January 1, 2013 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released January 1, 2013 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released January 1, 2013 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released January 1, 2013 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice - Choc de Classica - Hi-Res Audio