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Cinema Music - Released June 7, 2019 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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What a pleasure it is to return to Riccardo Chailly, at the head of the Filarmonica della Scala, with a collection on Rota (1911-1979) and more particularly his songs written for the great films of Fellini such as Amarcord, Huit et Demi, and La Dolce Vita! Before him, another Riccardo, Muti, had dedicated, in the 1990s, two albums with Sony Classical to the film scores of the Italian composer – with one collection on his non-cinematographic corpus. Whether Rota’s music was for cinema or the concert hall was of little importance as he rolled out, to the likes of Bernard Herrmann in the United States, a style that was true to himself where one feels his genius and prowess for evoking ambiance mixed with an incredible dexterity for the most diverse genres, as can be heard in Suite taken here from La Dolce Vita. The beginning (O Venezia, Venaga, Venusia) of the following Il Casanova di Federico Fellini, in which the chiming of the pendulum evokes the tragic destiny of the character and the harmonization of somber colors creates a sea-like atmosphere, remains without a doubt one of the most striking tracks on the album. This ambiance returns in the final part, this time all the more mind-blowing (The Dancing Doll). Often influences from the East, of Chostakovitch and Khachaturian (Il Duca di Württenberg), can be heard along with more meridian styles inherited from Italian symphonists from the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. A passionate album not to be missed. © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz
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Lieder (German) - Released May 31, 2019 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Qobuzissime
Born in a small Norwegian village in 1987 (and is thus inevitably compared to her long-time compatriot Kirsten Flagstad), soprano Lise Davidsen was almost built to embody Wagnerian and Straussian heroines. For her first record under the label Decca, with whom she has signed an exclusive contract, she has chosen to present several facets of femininity in the vocal stylings of Elisabeth (Tannhäuser), Ariane (Ariane à Naxos) and… Pauline. Pauline being Richard Strauss’ beloved wife to whom he dedicated many Lieder from his opus 27 - the 1894 cycle offered to his wife as a wedding gift - until the last Vier letzte Lieder in 1948.Under the supple baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Philharmonic Orchestra embraces the brassy voice of the Norwegian soprano with finesse and elegance. As you will see, this record, with its carefully devised programme, oscillates between youth and old age, in the presence of ghosts and death. You may wonder how one can express mortality at just 30 years old with such a powerful timbre, radiant health and a whole life ahead of you. The answer lies in Lise Davidsen’s voice, which upsurges as if it were a promise of immortality, the music of the last Strauss piece returning one last time to its past, to a Europe in ruins.Discovered in 1984, after the death of the singer and dedicatee Maria Jeritza, Malven (“The Mallows") is Richard Strauss’ true “last song”. Lighter in tone than the Vier letzte Lieder to which it might have belonged, it is presented here in an orchestration by Wolfgang Rihm. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Opera Extracts - Released March 2, 2018 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Diapason d'or / Arte - Qobuzissime - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Nowadays it might seem rather strange to describe a composer as a “singing master”, but, during the eighteenth century, this was not the case at all. In Italy, almost every composer worthy of the name wrote opere serie (Porpora wrote at least forty- ve): serious opera was the dominant musical genre, glorifying the human voice above everything else. It was the maker or breaker of musical reputations, with its nest singers the rst superstars of music. Therefore composers, though generally eclipsed by the fame of their leading men and women, needed to understand the human voice and all its remarkable capabilities, both technical and histrionic, in order to be able to exploit the possibilities of the operatic form at a time when those “machines made for singing”, the castrati, had brought the vocal art to a pitch of perfection never known before, nor equalled since. Though this recording is bringing Porpora’s name to public attention again on the 250th anniversary of his death, his fame as a singing teacher has probably obscured, until recently, his remarkable qualities as a composer, quite simply because two of the most famous castrati were among his many pupils, namely Gaetano Majorano, known as Caffarelli, whom Porpora once called “the nest singer in Europe”, also famed for his amorous antics and arrogance on- and off-stage, and the even more celebrated Carlo Broschi, who, under his stage name of Farinelli, amazed audiences and set hearts a- utter for fteen years throughout Europe, before being called to Spain to heal a crazed King by the power of his voice. Max Cencic remarks: “Porpora was a severe teacher, I think, maybe almost sadistic in his demands — you need 120% control of breath, brain and voice”. Legend indeed has it that he taught Caffarelli one page of exercises, and those alone, for six years. The formal alternation of aria and recitative in opera seria conceals a great range of emotional expression, that varietas that Erasmus famously described as “so powerful in every sphere that there is absolutely nothing, however brilliant, which is not dimmed if not commended by variety”. In such forms as the orid aria di bravura or the lyrical aria di sostenuto, the composer’s fantasy only provided a framework for the singer to embroider: the performer’s skill in ornamentation and other emotional devices was of paramount importance. Porpora’s many years of both teaching and composing experience made him, in Max Cencic’s opinion, “one of the top ten composers of Italian Baroque opera. I chose the arias for this recording almost by instinct, by what ‘felt right’. There is no way one can encompass a composer of such quality in one album, and each piece is a treasure in its own right. Though technical display is everywhere — leaps, rapid scales, trills, long phrases — Porpora’s special and utterly captivating melodic gift always shines through.” The arias are all taken from works composed at the height of Porpora’s fame, from Ezio (Venice 1728; “Se tu la reggi al volo” is a semiquaver spectacular) to Filandro (Dresden 1747, with a ravishing siciliano in “Ove l’erbetta tenera, e molle”), including three of the operas he composed for London during the 1730s, in direct competition with Handel (Arianna in Nasso 1733, Enea nel Lazio 1734 — real reworks here in “Chi vuol salva” — and I genia in Aulide 1735). The Teatro San Carlo in Naples, perhaps the most famous of all opera houses at that time, saw the premiere of Il trionfo di Camilla in 1740, and the two arias recorded here show Porpora at his best: the music of “Va per le vene il sangue” evocatively matches its darkly suggestive text, while “Torcere il corso all’onde” combines rapid- re coloratura with elegance of line. In the three arias from Carlo il Calvo (Teatro delle Dame, Rome 1738) the singer is similarly called to match Porpora’s varietas with his own: from the scurrying oriture of “So che tiranno io sono” to the high-lying phrases of “Se rea ti vuole il cielo”, and the beguilingly hypnotic sostenuto of “Quando s’oscura il cielo”. Porpora’s orchestral writing is also remarkably varied, all the more so in that he generally uses only strings, nowhere better than in the elaborate lines of “Torbido intorno al core” from Meride e Selinunte (Venice 1726), where voice and violins entwine in an elaborate and emotionally suggestive web of divisions. However, sometimes he pulls out all the sonority stops, as in the martial “Destrier, che all’armi usato” where, at the rst performance in the Teatro Regio, Turin in 1731 trumpets and horns vied with the unmatchable power of the voice of Farinelli. As Max Cencic has said: “How can we emulate the great castrati? That is hard to pin down, but these voices were the very soul of Porpora’s music.” -Nicholas Clapton © 2018 – Decca Group Limited
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Full Operas - Released January 12, 2018 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4 étoiles Classica - Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik
Until now, Porpora’s Germanico in Germania has, with the exception of one or two virtuoso arias, remained firmly hidden on library shelves. However, during his lifetime Porpora was as famous for teaching singing (one of his pupils was Farinelli) as for his compositions, so it’s no wonder that his score is a veritable feast of vocal delights ripe for resurrection. As a composer, Porpora’s reputation spread throughout Italy, especially to Venice, where he was “maestro delle figlie at the Ospedale degli Incurabili” (one of the city’s famous music schools for orphans) from 1726 to 1733, and Rome, where the Teatro Capranica saw the premiere of Germanico in Germania in February 1732. In Rome, by Papal edict, operas were “all-male”, and this cast was seriously “all-star”. Clearly Porpora enjoyed stretching the singers to their utmost potential, employing every vocal trick at his command. Germanico was played by the experienced alto castrato Domenico Annibali. The en travesti female roles were taken, as was often the case, by young singers at the start of their careers. For this recording boasting another “all-star” cast led by countertenor Max Emanuel Cencic, female roles are of course held by female singers. The excellent Capella Cracoviensis, playing on period instruments, is led by Jan Tomasz Adamus. © SM/Qobuz
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Full Operas - Released April 1, 1962 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc de Classica
From 1961, this has always been one of the stronger Aida recordings, with young Leontyne Price in the title role.
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released May 5, 2017 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Diapason d'or - Diapason d'or / Arte - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Antonín Dvorák's Stabat Mater, Op. 58, truly merits the adjective "tragic"; it was written after the deaths of two of the composer's children in succession, and his grief rolled out in great, Verdian waves. There are several strong recordings on the market, including an earlier one by conductor Jiří Bělohlávek himself, but for the combination of deep feeling, technical mastery from musicians and singers who have spent their lives getting to know the score, and soloists who not only sound beautiful but are seamlessly integrated into the flow, this Decca release may be the king of them all. To what extent was the strength of the performance motivated by Bělohlávek's likely fatal illness (he died days after the album entered the top levels of classical charts in the spring of 2017)? It's hard to say, although he also delivered top-notch performances of Dvorák's Requiem in his last days. The members of the Prague Philharmonic Choir sing their hearts out in the gigantic, shattering opening chorus, which has rarely if ever had such a mixture of the impassioned and the perfectly controlled. Sample the chorus "Virgo virginium praeclara" to hear the magically suspended quality Bělohlávek brings out of the singers in lightly accompanied passages. The soloists, soprano Eri Nakamura, mezzo Elisabeth Kulman, tenor Michael Spyres, and bass Jongmin Park -- an international group in this otherwise almost all-Czech production -- are uniformly strong, but what stands out most is how inevitable their entrances sound. If this turns out to be Bělohlávek's swan song, it is an accomplishment for the ages. Highest possible recommendation.
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Classical - Released January 1, 1979 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Record of the Year
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Classical - Released January 1, 2017 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Classical - Released November 4, 2016 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc de Classica
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Classical - Released September 1, 2016 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique - 4 étoiles Classica
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Full Operas - Released January 1, 2016 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Choc de Classica
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Classical - Released February 5, 2016 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Classical - Released November 6, 2015 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice
And why not pair the Brahms Violin Concerto with Bartók? While the assembly is probably a first in the history of discography, it is true that Brahms and Bartók are of Hungarian descent - well, Brahms comes from Gypsy-Viennese origins rather than purely Hungarian traditions, but the heart is most certainly there - so too is that ever-present tendancy for ample melodic phrasing, so aptly captured by the violin where a piano simply falls short. Moreover, only thirty short years separate the two works: one for 1878, another in 1908... The Bartók Concerto comes with a story: the composer had offered it up as gift of a somewhat unrequited love to a young Stefi Geyer, who kept the score to her death, without ever playing it. Meanwhile, Bartók wrote another concerto thirty years later, at one time thought to be the one and only of its kind and genre. The "first" concerto was created in 1958 under the leadership of Paul Sacher. For this recording with Antonio Pappano, Dutch violinist Janine Jansen is completely at ease in the great concerto repertoire. Jansen plays a 1727 Stradivarius and brings great passion, emotion and skill to the world chamber music. The Brahms Concerto was recorded live in Rome in February 2015, the Bartók in London in August 2014. © SM / Qobuz
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Classical - Released September 1, 2015 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Classical - Released January 1, 1977 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Classical - Released January 1, 2012 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - The Qobuz Ideal Discography
In the early 1960s, when Rostropovich was just beginning his international career, he made a handful of recordings for Decca. This 2012 box -- issued for what would have been his 85th birthday -- brings those albums together. It includes all of the works Benjamin Britten specifically wrote for Rostropovich: the two suites, the sonata, and the Symphony for cello and orchestra, accompanied or conducted by the composer himself, making these definitive versions. There are also other sonatas they collaborated on, including Schubert's "Arpeggione" Sonata, which was apparently one of Rostropovich's favorites of all his recordings. The Beethoven cello sonatas make up two of the set's discs, and in these, Rostropovich was accompanied by another, slightly older Russian also just beginning a notable international career: Sviatoslav Richter. Any student of the cello would do well to hear these historically important, superlative performances.
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Classical - Released January 1, 1973 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Classical - Released January 1, 2011 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Classical - Released January 1, 2011 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Diamant d'Opéra
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Classical - Released January 1, 2011 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Distinctions Diapason d'or - Stereophile: Record To Die For