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Classical - Released October 23, 2012 | Outhere - Rewind

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Classical - Released April 8, 2014 | Outhere - Rewind

Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica
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Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica
Alpha Productions' Jean-Marie Leclair: Le Tombeau features the chamber group Les Folies Françoises under the direction of violinist Patrick Cohën-Akenine in a chamber overture from Op. 13, three sonatas from Op. 5, and the Concerto in G minor, Op. 10/6, by the ill-fated Leclair. In the concerto, Les Folies Françoises is filled out into a small orchestra whimsically referred to as the Orchestre des Folies Françoises, an appellation that can be translated as "the orchestra of French madmen," although that is probably not what they had in mind. It is the concerto that comes off best here, although all of the playing on Jean-Marie Leclair: Le Tombeau is at least decent and very French in character. It just doesn't feel definitive in the way certain other Alpha Productions issues of Baroque music, such as Bruno Cocset's recording of Vivaldi's cello sonatas or Stylus Phantasticus' Philipp Heinrich Erlebach collection, easily achieve -- Jean-Marie Leclair: Le Tombeau isn't quite up to that standard. Patrick Cohën-Akenine is tangled up in his strings during the difficult double-stops that open the title track, Sonata VI in C minor, Op. 5/6 "Le Tombeau," and one is left to wonder why Cohën-Akenine decided not to retake this passage. However, none of these pieces has been recorded with any great depth, so Jean-Marie Leclair: Le Tombeau is still a welcome addition to Leclair's catalog, and a decent place to start if one wants to investigate the music of Leclair. The booklet comes with an Agatha Christie-styled exposition of the murder of Leclair, including profiles of the four main suspects, that is informative and highly entertaining to read. © TiVo
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Classical - Released April 8, 2014 | Outhere - Rewind

Booklet
Céline Frisch, the French harpsichordist who had previously turned in superlative recordings of Bach's Goldberg Variations and d'Anglebert's Pièces de clavecin, here delivers a sumptuous disc of Rameau's Pièces de clavecin. Of the three works on the program, one is the fairly traditional Suite in A minor from 1706 with its standard stylized dance forms, while the other two are the more mature Suite in E minor from 1724 and Suite in G minor from 1728 containing its more evocative pieces like Le Rappel des Oiseaux and Les Sauvages. But whatever the piece, Frisch brings a freshness, an originality, and a virtuosity that are positively bracing. There's color in her playing blended with wit and sensitivity, along with a sense of rhythm that carries all before it. Whether in the hearty Musette, the sublime L'Enharmonique, or even the silly Le Poule, Frisch finds the energy and affection that makes Rameau's music instantly appealing even for listeners who may not be fans of French Baroque harpsichord music. As previously, Alpha provides Frisch with sound that is the next best thing to being there. © TiVo
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Classical - Released October 23, 2012 | Outhere - Rewind

Booklet
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Classical - Released October 23, 2012 | Outhere - Rewind

Booklet
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Classical - Released April 8, 2014 | Outhere - Rewind

Booklet
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Classical - Released October 23, 2012 | Outhere - Rewind

Booklet
This wild recording, the first volume of two covering all the Bach sonatas and partitas for solo violin, may well polarize listeners into attitudes of love and hate. French violinist Hélène Schmitt delivers readings of the first sonata and the first two partitas that are nowhere near the mainstream for these celebrated works, which are generally regarded as icons of Bach's intellectual accomplishment and have been subjected to all kinds of numerological analysis. Violinists have performed them on modern instruments and on Baroque violins like Schmitt's, but whatever the instrument, the works have usually been accorded weighty, often severe reverence -- an attitude reinforced by their fearsome technical difficulty. Schmitt goes in the opposite direction, with rhythmically free, individualistic interpretations that demolish the symmetries many have found in these works but link them to the fantasy-like solo violin works written by Bach's predecessors. Bach probably did not know the works of Biber, but those who enjoy that Austrian composer's extreme language may well find Schmitt's reading of interest. But despite her nationality there's something decidedly un-French about Schmitt's interpretations. Her treatments of the dance movements in the partitas are so idiosyncratic that the basic rhythms are lost. Sample track 8, the Sarabande movement of the Partita for solo violin No. 1, BWV 1002, to hear the distance between Schmitt's sarabande and the dance's stately origins. It's almost as though, just as modern-instrument performers are starting to show the influence of historically oriented performers, Schmitt is using a Baroque violin to render a version of the hyper-subjective Bach performances of the old Romantic schools. The radical new French performances of Bach, Vivaldi, and other Baroque standards are generally exciting, and Alpha's presentation is as compelling as usual; the Hans Holbein portrait on the cover, with its accompanying art-historical essay, offers a perfect visual analogue to Bach's pieces in its sparse single lines that imply multitudes of structural details. Yet Schmitt's performance, even as it certainly demands attention, is certainly not for everyone. © TiVo
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Booklet
Say what you will about scanty biographical material and uncertain personal links, it nevertheless seems entirely probable that Bach wrote at least some of his sonatas and partitas for violin solo after his first wife's death in 1720. In this second volume of Hélène Schmitt recordings of the works, her performance of the monumental A minor Sonata No. 2 is so passionate, so rhapsodic, and so expressive that the spirit of loss and grief fills the music like inconsolable tears. But, of course, while Schmitt is just as passionate, rhapsodic, and expressive in the joyous E major Partita and in the radiant C major Sonata, her playing makes it hard to credit that Bach wrote those works after his first wife's death. Schmitt performs on a period violin, and while she respects the historical traditions, she does so with the rhythmic and interpretive freedom of a romantic virtuoso, making her performances wilder and freer than any other period violinist. While not for the faint of heart, those who respond well to a challenge will find much to enjoy in Schmitt's performances, especially as captured in Alpha's "all but real" digital sound. © TiVo
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Booklet
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Booklet
Alpha Productions' Nobody's Jig: Mr. Playford's English Dancing Master appears to be the debut outing on disc by a French period instrument ensemble under the great name of Les Witches. This collection is made up of late seventeenth and early eighteenth century dances initially published in John Playford's English Dancing Master and related sources. Nobody's Jig: Mr. Playford's English Dancing Master is a nicely chosen program, and certainly makes for pleasant listening, as Les Witches realizes and harmonizes these mostly monophonic dances with a "Broken Consort" of violin, flute, lute/guitar, viola da gamba, and clavichord/cistern, or some smaller combination derived thereof. The 32-page booklet is handsomely decorated with sometimes-oblique black and white images of the group in combination with more photo essay-styled pictures. Unfortunately, overall the music has no muscle and doesn't really inspire one to dance. The manner in which Les Witches handle pieces such as Woodycock tend to be laid-back, somber, folksy, and rather similar to the way that they play several other pieces on this disc. Some of the music is good; for example, their rendering of Drive the cold winter away/The Beggar Boy maintains at least some sense of forward momentum. Nevertheless, an awful lot of the music is centered on the flute, and after a while it gets monotonous -- percussion instruments are utilized only sparingly. There is an obvious counterpoint between the approach of Les Witches and that of the Baltimore Consort; and if one likes Baroque dances performed in a manner that would play well on "A Prairie Home Companion," then by all means, this is for you. While it is certainly unusual to find a European period instrument group that sounds like a North American one, it looks like Les Witches will need to move forward from Nobody's Jig: Mr. Playford's English Dancing Master in order to deliver an album that is worthy of their name. © TiVo
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Booklet
Is it possible to have too many recordings of Beethoven's clarinet trios? Only if one hates the clarinet's rich, warm tone; smooth, sweet action; and graceful agility. But for those listeners who recall that the clarinet was most composers' preferred woodwind instrument -- compare the deep beauty of Mozart's clarinet quintet with the shallow prettiness of his flute quartets -- the very idea of hating the clarinet is incomprehensible, and thus the idea of coupling Beethoven two clarinet trios is irresistible. And so it proves on this Fuga Libera disc by Ensemble Kheops. Featuring clarinetist Ronald van Spaendonck, cellist Marie Hallynck, and pianist Muhiddin Dürrüoglu, the Belgian group plays with an ease and naturalness that ideally suit the music. Beethoven's Clarinet Trios, Op. 11, written directly for the ensemble, and Opus 38, an arrangement by the composer of the Septet, Op. 20, were written to entertain, and their combination of instantly appealing melodies, affectionate harmonies, buoyant rhythms, and witty settings requires just the sort of effortless virtuosity and affectionate charm that the Ensemble Kheops brings to the music. Recorded in clear, natural sound by Fuga Libera, this disc will undoubtedly delight fans of the clarinet no matter how many recordings of these works they have. © TiVo
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Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica
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Classical - Released October 23, 2012 | Outhere - Rewind

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Classical - Released October 23, 2012 | Outhere - Rewind

Booklet