Your basket is empty

Categories :

Albums

CD$10.99

Classical - To be released October 9, 2020 | harmonia mundi

Booklet
HI-RES$24.99
CD$17.99

Classical - Released September 25, 2020 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
Much as, for many listeners, the mere fact that this new Bach motets recording is from Raphaël Pichon and Pygmalion will be reason enough to give it a spin, there's actually an even more noteworthy draw to this particular programme: that interspersed between the six Bach motets are three sixteenth century masterpieces drawn from the Florilegium Portense, a collection of almost 365 choral works from 58 leading sixteenth century Italian and German composers which was first published in 1618, and which in Bach's day was on the shelves of most central German choir schools – regularly used within the services, and a constant source of compositional inspiration too. What's more, the relationship with Bach himself is proven, because as Leipzig kantor he purchased new copies of the collection both in 1729 and 1737; and if you narrow in on Bach's handful of motets then the link deepens, because while the composition of his hundreds of cantatas was dictated by the liturgical calendar and often involved working with a librettist, his motets were composed under no such strictures, leaving him genuinely at liberty to draw on the Florilegium Portense in whichever way he fancied. So the first beauty of Pygmalion's programme is the connections you're hearing at every turn between these deeply expressive motets of Bach's, and those of his forebears. Take the way his emotionally potent double-choir Komm, Jesu, komm BWV 229 comes off the back of the sensuously soaring antiphonal writing of Osculetur me osculo oris sui by Vincenzo Bertolusi (c. 1550-1608). Or the way the peacefully sombre homophony of Jacobus Gallus's (1550-1591) Ecce quomodo moritus Justus is followed by the equally homophonic chorale opening to Jesu, meine Freude BWV 227. Add crisp, supple and silvery choral delivery, exuding understanding of and passion for the texts, plus warmly delicate and unobtrusive instrumental accompaniments, and in the Bach always the ghost of its dance roots, and it's hard to imagine how Pichon and his gang could have made this one any more enjoyable. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz
CD$14.84$16.49(10%)

Classical - Released September 25, 2020 | harmonia mundi

Booklet
HI-RES$15.49
CD$10.99

Classical - Released September 18, 2020 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
French Baroque ensemble La Rêveuse's first project for harmonia mundi (having hopped over from Mirare) is a celebration of the London's music scene during the first two decades of the eighteenth century – a time when dwindling royal patronage had sparked off a new cultural economy based on public concerts and the widespread amateur music-making these inspired, establishing the city as an international epicentre for cultural vibrancy and innovation, and thus the obvious destination for any musician wanting to make their fortune. Especially the Italians, off the back of the British mania for Corelli's Opus 6 collection of concerti grossi. Of course, much as that premise has all the potential for a sparkling recording, it's still eminently possible to end up with something sounding no different to any other Baroque concerto programme, so it's a joy to discover that not only does La Rêveuse's offering genuinely fizz, but also that it sounds genuinely distinctive; the former quality being down to their playing's combination of lucid-textured joyous energy and supple technical elegance (plus some wonderfully immediate and luminous engineering), and the latter thanks to them having mostly eschewed the Italian violin concertos everyone usually reaches for in favour of concertos for one of multiple recorders, plus repertoire for viola da gamba – an instrument which had largely had its day on the professional scene by this point, but which was still enthusiastically played by amateurs. Consequently their curtain-raiser is William Babell's magnificent Concerto II Op. 3 for sixth flute (a bright-sounding Baroque recorder sitting closest in size and range to the standard soprano/descent), which would have been played in theatres during opera intervals. Here it sounds nothing less than ravishing, luminous-toned duetting violins poetically setting the scene before Sébastien Marq's recorder soars in gracefully over the top to begin its songful chirruping. Two further recorder-shaped highlights come from the pen of Johann Christian Schickhardt. First chamber music in the form of a sprightly performance of his reworking of Corelli Op. 6 movements into a trio for two alto recorders and continuo, aimed at the amateur musician market; then his own Concerto II Op. 19 for two recorders and two traverso flutes, played here with sublime tones and blending. La Rêveuse then take the genius decision to end not with another operatic shout, but instead with opera music recast for home music making: Haymarket Theatre bassoonist Pietro Chaboud's intimate bass viol and continuo arrangement of Nicola Francesco Haym's soulful aria, “Thus with thirst my souls expiring”, delectably brought off here by ensemble directors Florence Bolton on viol and Benjamin Perrot on theorbo. Highly recommended. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz
HI-RES$14.49
CD$10.49

Classical - Released September 18, 2020 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
‘From darkness to light’ . . . ‘Thus Fate knocks at the door’: what with alleged quotations from the composer and the wildest Romantic interpretations, it would be impossible to enumerate all the commentaries that have accompanied ‘The Fifth’ ever since its premiere. So, what if we simply went back to the original score? What if we accepted the idea that, in a context influenced by the French Revolution (as embodied by the brilliant Gossec), it was Beethoven’s music itself that was totally revolutionary, as François-Xavier Roth and his orchestra Les Siècles like to remind us? © harmonia mundi
CD$10.99

Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released September 18, 2020 | harmonia mundi

HI-RES$15.49
CD$10.99

Chamber Music - Released September 11, 2020 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
In addition to the artistry it has imposed on the arts, the Baroque era was an impassioned, bubbling cauldron which shook Europe by forming interactions around the entire continent. Different creative paths crossed and recrossed propagating a positive epidemic of good sense and spirit. This incessant coming and going between people and musicians is exploited by French ensemble Ground Floor who have given themselves the mission of bringing back music’s transformative and interrogative strength through works conceived in basso continuo, the beating heart of a human voice and, like in this album, a reigning violin at an English court personified here by the violinist Alice Julien-Laferrière.Neapolitan composer and violinist Nicolas Matteis arrived in England when the newly anointed king wished to imitate the royal chapel of Louis XIV in Versailles. The violin was then entirely new in the United Kingdom where the consort of viols still reigned supreme. It is this transitional period which is evoked in this work with Matteis’ latin music as he invents his own “genio inglese” inspired by popular dances, from music heard in salons to this varied nature that the Neapolitan discovered through traversing, as he says, Europe on foot. As the musicians themselves put it, this work can act as an antidote to Brexit while being a declaration of admiration for Great Britain. © François Hudry/Qobuz
HI-RES$15.49
CD$10.99

Classical - Released September 11, 2020 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
Nearly every setting of the poems by Kerner, Chamisso, Andersen and Heine heard in this recital dates from 1840, the year Schumann found himself totally engrossed with the song genre, producing no fewer than 138 individual lieder. This creative vein seems to mirror the inner torments that gripped the young composer at the time, while revealing the extraordinary range of his musical invention and unequalled talent of storyteller, as Samuel Hasselhorn demonstrates here, after winning first prize at the 2018 Queen Elisabeth Competition: the young German baritone’s first recording for harmonia mundi is a veritable love letter to this most intimate of art forms. © harmonia mundi
CD$31.49

Classical - Released September 4, 2020 | harmonia mundi

This box set assembles the complete Beethoven symphonies, patiently transcribed for piano over a quarter of a century and recorded for harmonia mundi by a glittering array of soloists in the late 1980s. Liszt’s assiduity in this task reminds us of his spiritual, well-nigh religious admiration for the older composer, a genius ‘consecrated in art’ whose ‘conscientious translator’ he wished to be, thanks to the latest pianistic advances. Traduttore or traditore? Judge for yourself: Liszt does not make simple reductions or arrangements, but totally rewrites the works, as if they had been originally conceived for the piano! © harmonia mundi
HI-RES$15.49
CD$10.99

Chamber Music - Released August 28, 2020 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
When Shostakovich wrote his Piano Quintet in 1940, most of his chamber music had yet to be composed. Combining formal purity and freedom of tone, the quintet was hailed as a masterly creation and has remained his most successful chamber work. In the last years of a long and productive life, he composed a cycle of songs with piano trio, innovative in both form and structure, a hymn to art, friendship and nature possessing extraordinary evocative power. To tackle these major works of the twentieth century, the Trio Wanderer has chosen partners of the calibre of Catherine Montier, Christophe Gaugué, and an expert in Russian vocal music, Ekaterina Semenchuk. © harmonia mundi
CD$5.99

Classical - Released August 28, 2020 | harmonia mundi

Booklet
CD$5.99

Classical - Released August 28, 2020 | harmonia mundi

HI-RES$14.49
CD$10.49

Classical - Released August 21, 2020 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
A musical banquet from the Golden Age. This programme brings together a true choral landmark from the sixteenth century, with its present-day reflection, a commission by Sir James MacMillan. These two monumental, large-scale pieces bookend a ‘tasting menu’ of Renaissance works by Byrd, Tallis and many other composers. Common to them all is a link to Nonsuch Palace, arguably the location of the first performance of Spem in alium, and the centre of a rich vein of Tudor musical patronage. © harmonia mundi
HI-RES$15.49
CD$10.99

Classical - Released August 21, 2020 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
In their own way Beethoven’s five piano concertos relate a part of their composer’s life. In the previous volume of this complete recording, Kristian Bezuidenhout, Pablo Heras-Casado and the musicians of the Freiburger Barockorchester explored the beginning (Concerto No. 2, a springboard to Viennese fame) and the end (the ‘Emperor’) of the story; they now turn to the most personal of all the Beethoven concertos, the Fourth, which, at a time when the spectre of total deafness threatened his career, shattered the conventions of the genre – as did such orchestral works as Coriolan and the Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus. © harmonia mundi
HI-RES$14.49
CD$10.49

Classical - Released August 21, 2020 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
A musical banquet from the Golden Age. This programme brings together a true choral landmark from the sixteenth century, with its present-day reflection, a commission by Sir James MacMillan. These two monumental, large-scale pieces bookend a ‘tasting menu’ of Renaissance works by Byrd, Tallis and many other composers. Common to them all is a link to Nonsuch Palace, arguably the location of the first performance of Spem in alium, and the centre of a rich vein of Tudor musical patronage. © harmonia mundi
HI-RES$15.49
CD$10.99

Classical - Released July 10, 2020 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was much admired by Haydn, Mozart, as well as young Beethoven, who piously treasured his Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments. The two men never met (Beethoven was eighteen when Johann Sebastian’s son passed away), but there are many affinities between them. Both of their works span the transition between two eras of music, and both shared a passion for harmonic exploration and formal studies, combined with a love of the bizarre. It was therefore only right to bring them together on the same album. In his first two symphonies, Beethoven created a world of his own, drawing on the relatively recent history of the musical form that Carl Philipp Emanuel and Joseph Haydn had helped to shape and develop fifty years earlier. Although the works of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and Beethoven presented here have little in common, they have a similar air of audacity and novelty about them, traits which have been wonderfully showcased by the musicians of the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin under the baton of their “konzertmeister”, Bernhard Forck. An exciting example of mirroring works released by Harmonia Mundi as part of its monumental Beethoven edition commemorating the composer’s birth and death dates (2020 and 2027). © François Hudry/Qobuz
HI-RES$15.49
CD$10.99

Classical - Released July 10, 2020 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
‘Miniature’ Beethoven! In our collective idea of the piano, Beethoven’s name is associated with the monument of the thirty-two sonatas, which have often been elevated to the status of the ‘New Testament’ beside the ‘Old Testament’ of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier. Yet, over a period of decades, the composer of Für Elise constantly returned to the genre of the bagatelle, which he called ‘trifles’ but which actually meant a great deal to him. In this small form par excellence, as in the sonata, Beethoven laid the foundations for a flourishing new genre, the piano miniature. Whether they last a few minutes or a few seconds, these Bagatelles are masterpieces! © harmonia mundi
HI-RES$30.99
CD$21.99

Classical - Released July 3, 2020 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
In volume 2 of his Couperin cycle, Bertrand Cuiller paints a portrait of the young François who, at age of 17 becomes organist at the Saint-Gervais Church in Paris – a prestigious post that soon leads to his being appointed organist of the royal chapel and harpsichord teacher to the king’s children. The period is firmly marked by his greater maturity: Bertrand Cuiller’s eloquent readings at the harpsichord, paired with the expertise of his guest Jean-Luc Ho heard in the two organ masses, reveal the infinite diversity of sonorities which are the fruit of this composer’s unique imagination. © harmonia mundi
HI-RES$15.49
CD$10.99

Classical - Released June 26, 2020 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
A fantasy that turned into a symphony? First and foremost, this double album enshrines the exemplary work of an ensemble whose designation ‘Baroque Orchestra’ by no means limits its excursions into later repertories: under the watchful eye of a gifted conductor, the ‘Freiburgers’ (and co.) offer us a profoundly renewed vision of the Ninth, that myth among myths, that touchstone of a genre in quest of the absolute – and the direct descendant of a much earlier Choral Fantasy. The latter work showcased one of Beethoven's most extraordinary talents: improvisation. Kristian Bezuidenhout has joined forces again with his concerto partners to let us experience this little-known score as if it had just been premiered ... then transcribed by Beethoven himself! © harmonia mundi
HI-RES$15.49
CD$10.99

Classical - Released June 26, 2020 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
After recording the complete Prokofiev concertos, Vadym Kholodenko returns to his favourite composer. The pieces assembled here reveal several facets of Prokofiev: an outstanding melodist, a ‘classicist’ on the fringes of the avant-garde, and eventually the herald of a Soviet realism that was anything but servile. The freedom peculiar to the composer-pianist ‘with fingers of steel’ is brought out in all its vitality by the subtle yet never showy playing of this Ukrainian artist. © harmonia mundi

Label

harmonia mundi in the magazine