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Classical - Released November 15, 2019 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released November 15, 2019 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released November 15, 2019 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released November 8, 2019 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released November 8, 2019 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released November 8, 2019 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released November 1, 2019 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Classical - Released October 29, 2019 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, just 20 years old when this album was recorded in 2019, can be forgiven for taking a bit of a breather with this, his sophomore release. After all, he had been riding a wave of celebrity nearly unprecedented for a young classical musician: an appearance with his siblings on "Britain's Got Talent" in 2015, the BBC Young Musician award (the first black player so honored) the following year and a performance before an audience of three billion at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in 2018. The Elgar album largely follows the pattern of Kanneh-Mason's debut, Inspiration, which featured a 20th century repertory concerto (there, the Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1 in E flat major, Op. 107, here, the Elgar Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85) surrounded by smaller works. Here, the encore-type pieces are laid on a bit thick: most are arranged from their original form. It's true the cello repertory is a bit sparse, but the chamber cello arrangements on this album have a certain sentimental sameness. However, there is no doubting the talents of Kanneh-Mason. He already has a unique dark, warm tone that commands attention on his terms, and his performance in the Elgar Cello Concerto, sensitively backed by the London Symphony under Sir Simon Rattle, is solid. Kanneh-Mason has said that he was inspired to take up the work by Jacqueline du Pré's classic 1960s recording, but he does not mimic her highly emotional approach. Instead, he applies his burnished tone evenly and seeks longer lines, unearthed through repeated performances of the concerto before he recorded it. It's certainly a worthwhile and original reading of the concerto, and it whets the listener's appetite to hear Kanneh-Mason in Beethoven, Dvořák, and the rest of the standard cello repertory that he has easily earned the right to address.
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Classical - Released October 25, 2019 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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

Hi-Res Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de Classica
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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Classical - Released October 18, 2019 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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

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Classical - Released September 27, 2019 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Symphonic Music - Released September 13, 2019 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Distinctions 5 de Diapason
the past three years, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (a huge contributor to the Decca label since Charles Dutoit’s lead from 1977-2002) and Kent Nagano have been making an exciting series of recordings, focusing on rare works, namely Honegger-Ibert’s L’Aiglon and Leonard Bernstein’s A Quiet Place. Today, they continue their recording journey on American terrain, with a retrospective entirely dedicated to John Adams. They had left for unknown territory with Bernstein and now they return to town to celebrate one of the popes of minimalism. While Harmonielehre, a vast triptych composed in 1985 (a humble tribute to the early 20th century with perceptible influences from Wagner, Schönberg, Sibelius and Ravel) and the exciting fanfare Short Ride in a Fast Machine composed for orchestra in 1986 have been superbly championed by Sir Simon Rattle (EMI, Birmingham, 1993) as well as Michael Tilson Thomas (San Francisco, 2010-2011), few have recorded Common Tones in Simple Time (the composer’s first work for a large orchestra written in 1979) since Edo de Waart’s recording for Nonesuch in November 1986 at Davies Symphony Hall. The piece recalls Stravinsky’s Petrushka and Kent Nagano’s fluid and gentle touch is perfectly suited to this absolutely fascinating score. Throughout the other works in the programme the American conductor is consistent with his own rather “pointillist” style. In fact, Adams is almost like a modern transcription of Seurat’s paintings. This great clarity in the harmonic superimpositions also reveals the clear influence of Berg and Webern in The Anfortas Wound and allows for new balances in the incipit of the final part of Harmonielehre (Meister Eckhardt and Quackie), one of John Adams’ most striking scores, especially since the tempos and rhythms remain measured here (unlike Michael Tilson Thomas’s interpretation), giving a stirring new version of an unmissable major work. However, the greatest highlight of this anthology is still Common Tones in Simple Time, which almost sounds like a sonic representation of Van Gogh’s Starry Night. © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz
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Classical - Released September 13, 2019 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Symphonic Music - Released September 6, 2019 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Distinctions Diapason d'or / Arte
Leading the Lucerne Festival for two summers running, conductor Richardo Chailly has honoured composers that the musicians had never yet recorded: Igor Stravinsky in 2018, and Richard Strauss in 2019. The sumptuousness of the orchestration of the latter here affords a glittering clarity, just as much in the concertante parts as in the tutti. The writing conjures a Straussian atmosphere: a marvellously apt terrain for the Lucerne orchestra. In Zarathustra, the strings, in particular the double-basses, rumble away as under one bow, with gobsmacking precision in Von der großen Sehnsucht ("Of the Great Yearning") and Genesende ("the Convalescent"). Richard Strauss deploys a romantic counterpoint in his writing – in particular in Von den Hinterweltlern ("Of the Backworldsmen") – and the strings of Lucerne brilliantly bring his limitless lyricism to life. The following works, (Tod und Verklärung, Till Eulenspiegel and finally The Dance of the Seven Veils) bring to mind other epithets that we might apply to this perfect recording: epic majesty, burlesque humour, serpentine voluptuousness: all ingredients of Strauss's symphonic poems. The sound quality does justice to the beauty of the orchestra, and the mix doesn't leave anyone out: every counterpoint is defined, every pizzicato twangs appropriately and we hear even the softest touch of the timbal. Demanding in their extremity (in both nuance and difficulty), these scores make a perfect fit for the Lucerne orchestra, a meeting of the greatest soloists of the international stage, brought together by the festival. The only drawback comes from precisely this concentration of quality. While we are gripped by Salome's Dance of the Seven Veils, we are perhaps more impressed than moved by a piece that has been stripped of some of its finest orchestral ornamentation. © Elsa Siffert/Qobuz
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Symphonic Music - Released August 30, 2019 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Studio recordings are rare things today. Orchestras are of such great quality that publishers prefer live recordings, which are much cheaper than long studio sessions, with their complex production workloads. And so this is a rather "old-fashioned" (it's fashionable) publication here from Decca, directed by Smyon Bychkov, a conductor who has rarely appeared on records for some years. Born in the Soviet Union in 1952, Semyon Bychkov was destined for a fine career in his country when, at the age of 21, he was offered the opportunity to replace the titan Mravinski at the head of the Leningrad (today St Petersburg) Philharmonic Orchestra. But his contract was cancelled because of his political opinions: a move that obliged him to seek refuge in the USA, where his career truly began in earnest. Obtaining US nationality, he became the director of the Paris Orchestra for ten years, before accepting a similar post at the head of the WDR Cologne Radio Orchestra. Named the resident at the prestigious Czech Philharmonia following the premature death of its leader Jiří Bělohlávek, Semyon Bychkov started work on this anthology of Tchaikovsky's symphonic works, including the six symphonies, the rare and little-loved "Manfred" Symphony (in its original, uncut version, including the harmonium stipulated by the conductor), the piano concertos and the Serenade for strings. This was marathon job taken at a record-breaking sprint between 2015 and 2019. In the course of this project, the Russian conductor undertook minute work on the scores and studying the personal history of the composer, in particular around the Pathétique Symphony. For him, it wasn't a requiem to Tchaikovsky, but rather a "revolt against death and not the idea of death itself". As for the famous First Concerto, played here by Kirill Gerstein, he presents the more intimate original version, which is less emphatic than the one we are used to hearing. A fine piece of work with what Bychkov has described as an ideal orchestra, which mixes the highest expression of the Slavic spirit with a Western spirit: a synthesis which sums up Tchaikovsky's music itself. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released August 30, 2019 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released July 19, 2019 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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