Your basket is empty

Categories :

Albums

From
HI-RES$14.99
CD$9.99

Classical - Released November 19, 2021 | SOMM Recordings

Hi-Res Booklet
The fourth volume in Leon McCawley’s much-praised series of Franz Joseph Haydn’s Keyboard Sonatas. Six Sonatas spanning the years 1766-80 are featured: the earliest the miniature First Sonata in G major, the latest the E-flat major Sonata No. 51, while Robert Matthew-Walker’s fascinating booklet note charts how deftly Haydn balanced the expectations of others and his own creative ambition. “Intended more to entertain than engage the intellect”, the fleet, divertimento-like First Sonata seems to anticipate the pedagogical leanings of Bartók’s Mikrokosmos more than a century and half later. With its unabashed galant style, the D major-led Sonata No. 30 is "Papa" Haydn at his most quicksilver brilliant and delightful, while Sonata No. 35, in A-flat major – “a masterpiece of piano writing” – displays striking characteristics of early Romanticism. Composed with the enhanced voice of the then newly available fortepiano in mind, sibling Sonata No. 48 in C major and No. 49 in C-sharp minor maintain a winning Classical poise even as one surprise after another see Haydn pushing the sonata form in new and unexpected directions. © SOMM Recordings
From
HI-RES$14.99
CD$9.99

Classical - Released November 19, 2021 | SOMM Recordings

Hi-Res Booklet
"Lockdown Blues" is a collection of appealing piano miniatures compiled and performed by Peter Dickinson to chase all your cares away. "Lockdown Blues" includes soothing masterpieces by Erik Satie (Trois Gnossiennes, Trois Gymnopédies), Francis Poulenc (Bal fantôme, Pastourelle) and Edward MacDowell (To a Wild Rose), alongside Eugene Goossens’ melancholic Lament for a Departed Doll and Samuel Barber’s valedictory Canzonetta. There is whimsy in George Gershwin’s Three-Quarter Blues (familiar to British audiences as the theme to radio and television’s "After Henry") and Who Cares? from the musical Of Thee I Sing. Of interest are 12 iconic jazz tunes by Duke Ellington. Heard here in their original sheet-music versions, they are pure Ellington, the product of a sophisticated composer. Among featured classic songs are Solitude, Don’t Get Around Much Anymore, Mood Indigo and It Don’t Mean a Thing (If it Ain’t Got That Swing). In his introduction, renowned broadcaster and writer Humphrey Burton describes "Lockdown Blues" as "a delightful hour of discovery", hailing the Ellington selections as "a real find that will surely be much anthologised long after Lockdown has been forgotten". The programme is completed by three pieces by Dickinson – the titular Lockdown Blues, Freda’s Blues and Blue Rose, a take on MacDowell’s To a Wild Rose – together with Constant Lambert’s Elegiac Blues, Lennox Berkeley’s Prelude VI and John Cage’s Satie-influenced In a Landscape. © SOMM Recordings
From
HI-RES$14.99
CD$9.99

Chamber Music - Released October 15, 2021 | SOMM Recordings

Hi-Res Booklet
Wonderful ! Hailed by musicologist Nicolas Slonimsky as “the very last breath of the romantic spirit of Vienna”, Korngold’s stellar beginnings in Europe’s concert halls and opera houses were later overshadowed by his success in America where his soaring symphonic signature forged the template for the Hollywood soundtrack. But, as Korngold authority Brendan G. Carroll notes in his informative booklet essay, the composer’s “relatively small body of chamber works… is no less impressive and actually offers a succinct distillation of his style and voice, often to considerably profound effect”. The earliest work here is the string quartet arrangement of the suite drawn from his 1920 incidental music to Shakespeare’s Viel Lärmen um Nichts ("Much Ado About Nothing"). Its glowing Intermezzo is heard in the world premiere recording of Tom Poster’s sumptuous new arrangement. The following year’s Op. 15 Piano Quintet was composed shortly after Korngold’s opera Die tote Stadt, and, Carroll notes, “its flamboyant, heroic melodic style owes much to the residual influence of that epic score”. The Op. 26 Second String Quartet from 1933 “is one of the most intensely "Viennese" works Korngold ever wrote”. The jolly, bubbling humour of its opening gives way to a rich, expansive Larghetto before concluding with a spirited hymn to that most Viennese of dance forms, the waltz. © SOMM Recordings.
From
HI-RES$14.99
CD$9.99

Classical - Released October 15, 2021 | SOMM Recordings

Hi-Res Booklet
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was founded in 1946 by Beecham to inject new energy and new ideas into British orchestral life. Taken from the 1952 Edinburgh International Festival, the First Symphony heard here, says Beecham biographer John Lucas in his booklet foreword, is “a spine-tingling performance”. Three months earlier Beecham had completed his exacting studio recording of the First and comparisons between the two are fascinating. Also being released for the first time are previously unissued live recordings from 1947 of two of the composer’s Scènes historiques, and an interview by documentary maker Jon Tolansky with two RPO stalwarts (sub-principal viola John Underwood and the late sub-principal second violin Raymond Ovens) who share their memories of playing for Beecham. Both performances feature the RPO’s fêted “royal family” of wind players – Gerald Jackson (flute), Terence MacDonagh (oboe), Jack Brymer (clarinet) and Gwydion Brooke (bassoon) – with luminaries Dennis Brain leading the horns, Richard (‘Bob’) Walton as first trumpet, and Principal Percussionist Lewis Pocock. This album has been curated by Tolansky, the original founder of the Music Performance Research Centre. The archive was created in 1987 to preserve the heritage of public performances which included among its collection the Sibelius First Symphony. In 2001 the archive was renamed Music Preserved and transferred to the Borthwick Institute at the University of York. The Symphony, together with Tolansky’s other discovery, Scènes historiques have been brilliantly restored by acclaimed engineer Lani Spahr. © SOMM Recordings
From
HI-RES$14.99
CD$9.99

Chamber Music - Released September 17, 2021 | SOMM Recordings

Hi-Res Booklet
SOMM Recordings is delighted to mark the 100th anniversary of Sir Malcolm Arnold’s birth with seven first recordings of arrangements for violin and piano. This album reflects both the serious and lighter sides of one of the most distinctive voices of post-war British music, and also a prolific composer with a prodigious gift for memorable melodies and technical brilliance. Heard for the first time are arrangements by Malcolm Arnold Society chair, Alan Poulton, of three film excerpts: the Suite from one of Arnold’s most characterful and well-loved scores, Hobson’s Choice (1953), Lola’s Theme from the 1956 Gina Lollobrigida-starring Trapeze and Madrigal from the 1964 psychological thriller The Chalk Garden. Arnold’s ballet music is referenced in Poulton’s arrangement of the limpid Sarabande from Solitaire, while his take on Thème pour mon Amis, originally written in tribute to the critic and broadcaster John Amis, was approved by Arnold himself. Two other arrangements receive premiere recordings: the decidedly European-sounding Five English Dances (taken from two sets produced in the early 1950s) by Paul Harris, and David Gedge’s re-working of the Op. 59 Four Scottish Dances, which was first performed by Peter Fisher and Margaret Fingerhut in 2016 to mark the tenth anniversary of Arnold’s death. Completing the programme are Arnold’s two Sonatas for Violin and Piano – the three-movement First from 1947 and the single-span Second of 1953, together with the enigmatic, Yehudi Menuhin-dedicated Five Pieces for Violin and Piano (Op. 89, 1964). © SOMM Recordings
From
HI-RES$14.99
CD$9.99

Chamber Music - Released September 17, 2021 | SOMM Recordings

Hi-Res Booklet
SOMM Recordings celebrates the centenary of the birth of Ruth Gipps with "Dedication", featuring five premiere recordings of chamber works inspired by her clarinettist-husband, Robert Baker. Based on a Scottish legend, the early The Kelpie of Corrievreckan (Op. 5b) is an evocative miniature for clarinet and piano revelling in Gipps’ facility for locating a human dimension within a tragic fantasy; the Op. 23 E-flat Rhapsody for clarinet and string quartet described by Robert Matthew-Walker in his informative booklet notes adroitly placing Gipps’ music within the wider context of her career and personal life, as “a fluent, masterfully eloquent composition”. The Op. 51 Prelude for Bass Clarinet is a heartfelt soliloquy with a series of dance-like variations at its heart. Two substantial works include the Quintet for Oboe, Clarinet and String Trio, Op. 16 – a completion exercise for Gipps’ degree course at Durham University boasting an imaginative intertwining of the individual voices, and the Cobbett Prize-winning Clarinet Sonata composed at a single sitting. “I heard it in my mind and wrote it down as fast as I could scribble”, Gipps later recalled. © SOMM Recordings
From
HI-RES$14.99
CD$9.99

Chamber Music - Released August 20, 2021 | SOMM Recordings

Hi-Res Booklet
The SOMM debut recording of the A4 Brass Quartet. Formed in 2013 at Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music, the quartet comprises principal players from some of the UK’s top brass bands, including Black Dyke, Foden’s and Brighouse & Rastrick. Its unique blend of instruments – cornet (Jamie Smith), tenor horn (Jonathan Bates), baritone horn (Mike Cavanagh) and euphonium (Chris Robertson) – creates a unique sound that stands out from the standard brass quartet. An exciting kaleidoscope of new music and bespoke arrangements for the ensemble’s distinctive line-up, "Mosaic" makes a bold claim for the vibrancy and variety of contemporary brass music. Its aim, the quartet says, “is to take the listener on a journey in which they are never quite certain what lies around the corner”. First recordings include Bramwell Tovey’s Street Songs, inspired by photographs of 19th-century Salvation Army bands, three movements from Christian Overhead’s vibrant portraiture in music, 5 Miniatures (both composed for A4 Brass), an arrangement by Jonathan Bates of José Serebrier’s vivacious Cuarteto, Bates’s own virtuosic Toccata 2, and Daniel Hall’s visceral take on a notorious Hollywood murder dubbed The Black Dahlia, which won the A4 Brass Quartet’s inaugural composition competition in 2018. Lighter fare is provided by Elgar’s perennially popular Salut d’Amour, the ebullient Overture to Leonard Bernstein’s Candide, and three more arrangements by Bates: Percy Grainger’s dancing Molly on the Shore, the lovelorn jazz standard, Autumn Leaves, and Kentaro Sato’s tribute to victims of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Tsuna’ngari ("connection"). Euphonium player Chris Robertson provides striking arrangements of Bruckner’s beloved motet Locus iste, and Bartók’s Six Romanian Folk Dances that exploit the quartet’s distinctively individual signature. © SOMM Recordings
From
HI-RES$14.99
CD$9.99

Classical - Released August 20, 2021 | SOMM Recordings

Hi-Res Booklet
Inspired by Williams’ experience mothering her two infant children in the isolating dead of night while the world around her slept, "Nightlight" is dedicated, she says, “to the many people who… feel alone in the darkness. To those who experience despair or sublime melancholy during the hours before the dawn, who are searching for solace, peace or impossible hope. To anyone lost who is waiting to be found by the light”. Spanning four centuries, from Thomas Tomkins’ exquisitely melancholic A Sad Pavan for these Distracted Times to jazz virtuoso Bill Evans’ hypnotic, fantasy-laced Peace Piece, the recital moves from sleep-inducing nightfall – Mozart’s D minor Fantasia, K. 397 – to waking hopes for the new dawn in what Williams describes as the “shimmering hope, glory just beyond the horizon” of Schumann’s Gesänge der Frühe. The becalmed and tempest-driven waters of the ocean in Scriabin’s Piano Sonata No. 2 "Sonata-Fantasy prove a perfect metaphor for the stilled and turbulent currents of the night. Plunging into night’s darkest, most disturbed places, the dislocations of Schubert’s late Sonata in C minor, D. 958, are salved by two soothingly nocturne-like Liszt Consolations. “The music recorded here,” says Williams, “sees our loneliness and darkness, recognizes and validates those unutterable feelings, and reaches out a hand of consolation”. © SOMM Recordings
From
HI-RES$14.99
CD$9.99

Classical - Released July 16, 2021 | SOMM Recordings

Hi-Res Booklet
The recital features signature songs from the height of Romanticism by Brahms and Clara and Robert Schumann alongside a more recent quartet of sensuous songs by Sally Beamish. In his revealing foreword, Roderick Williams recalls having his choice of Brahms’s Sapphische Ode refused by competition organisers because it was “a woman’s song”. Returning recently to the work prompted him to question why some songs are considered gender-specific. "Birdsong" is his response. In his informative booklet notes, Richard Stokes notes that Brahms’s songs “betrays his own essentially melancholic nature” and his difficulty in “sustaining emotional relationships with the women in his life”. His nine songs here include the bittersweet An die Nachtigall, the moving innocent ardency ofDas Mädchen spricht and the quiet, earnest longing of Sapphische Ode. Clara Schumann’s Liebst du um Schönheit provides an authentic female perspective on courtship, as does Sally Beamish’s Four Songs from Hafez (for which she provides her own notes), taking inspiration from the Iranian-born, Glasgow-based Jila Peacock’s evocative translations and artistic rendering of the 14th-century Persian Sufi poet’s texts. An intimate exploration of a young woman’s feelings towards an older man of higher birth, Robert Schumann’s Frauenliebe und-leben acquires new facets when heard in Roderick Williams’ characterful baritone. © SOMM Recordings
From
HI-RES$14.99
CD$9.99

Classical - Released July 16, 2021 | SOMM Recordings

Hi-Res Booklet
Formed in 2010, the Duo began their in-concert exploration of Scharwenka’s four-hand Beethoven transcriptions in 2015 and now bring that experience to recording for the first time. Volume 1 includes the premiere recording of Scharwenka’s piano duet transcription of Symphony No. 3, the ever-popular "Eroica", and Debussy’s two-piano arrangement of Robert Schumann’s Six Studies in Canonic Form. As Robert Matthew-Walker’s booklet notes reveal, Scharwenka had a direct line to Beethoven, having been taught by Franz Kullak, who was tutored by Carl Czerny whose own teacher, in turn, had been Beethoven himself. A composer of no mean stature in his own right, Scharwenka’s transcriptions were once widely admired, making masterpiece symphonies available to every home with a piano. Possessing, says Matthew-Walker, “significant qualities which are often overlooked today”, his "Eroica" transcription receives ardent, eloquently persuasive championing by Schoeman and Uys. Scharwenka wasn’t alone in exploiting new developments in piano technology. Robert Schumann’s Six Studies in Canonic Form made use of the then novel "pedal-piano" (a standard piano with an additional bass pedal-board) even as he was looking back stylistically towards his idol, Bach. Debussy’s arrangement for two pianos adroitly accommodates Schumann’s original to “rescue this fine music from the obscurity of the pedal-piano repertoire”. Born in Cape Town and a Royal Academy of Music Associate, Tessa Uys has an impressive reputation as a concert and broadcasting performer, appearing at major venues throughout the world. Her multi-prize-winning South African compatriot Ben Schoeman also has a busy international profile and is currently a senior lecturer in piano and musicology at the University of Pretoria. © SOMM Recordings
From
HI-RES$14.99
CD$9.99

Classical - Released June 18, 2021 | SOMM Recordings

Hi-Res Booklet
Volume 1 received wide acclaim, Gramophone hailing it as “a most impressive release”, adding “Gilchrist’s contribution is past praise… [with] immaculate support throughout from Williamson”. Awarded its Recording of the Month accolade, Limelight declared it “a penetrating, frequently revelatory start to a promising new series”. Featuring 10 first recordings – Elizabeth Maconchy’s Three Donne Songs and seven Songs by Doreen Carwithen – Volume 2 focuses on five composers whose belated involvement with song straddled the Second World War. Maconchy’s Three Donne Songs are described by Williamson in his informative booklet notes as “substantial, ambitious songs, imbued with a genuine sense of drama by an assured composer at the height of her powers”. Carwithen’s seven miniatures represent her complete song output and display, as Williamson notes, “the most imaginative and creative writing… real gems revealing the seeds of a truly imaginative and expressive musical personality”. William Alwyn’s A Leave-Taking deftly counterbalances the obvious influence of German romanticism with music of striking, involving simplicity. Alan Rawsthorne’s Two Songs to Poems of John Fletcher combine Elizabethan counterpoint with music hall humour. Rawsthorne also contributes to Prison Cycle alongside Alan Bush, a vivid setting of political texts by the German socialist playwright and poet Ernst Toller. © SOMM Recordings
From
HI-RES$14.99
CD$9.99

Chamber Music - Released June 18, 2021 | SOMM Recordings

Hi-Res Booklet
Receiving first recordings are Jacobson’s own joyfully virtuosic transcriptions for four hands/one piano of two Gershwin classics. Described by Gershwin as “the most modern music I’ve attempted”, An American in Paris takes four sailors from the epicentre of New York to the heart of Paris during its celebrated Années folles. It marked a significant development in orchestral technique for the composer, a quality accented by Jacobson’s exciting new arrangement. Revelling in even greater sophistication, the Second Rhapsody was, claimed Gershwin, “the best thing I have written”. Distilling its crafted innovation, Jacobson’s articulate new transcription makes a persuasive case for a curiously undervalued masterpiece. Transcribed by Henry Levine, Gershwin’s ever-popular Rhapsody in Blue brilliantly distils the euphoric paean to New York and what Robert Matthew-Walker’s informative booklet notes describes as its “seamless outpouring of melodic invention”. Matthew-Walker’s notes also reveal how the influence of a shared Russian heritage led to a new vibrancy in American 20th-century music as epitomised by Gershwin and Bernstein, two hugely influential masters of form and colour. John Musto’s acclaimed two-piano transcription of Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story captures all the drama, poetry, romance and wit of this ground-breaking score while sacrificing none of its blazing ardour and energy. © SOMM Recordings
From
HI-RES$14.99
CD$9.99

Classical - Released May 21, 2021 | SOMM Recordings

Hi-Res Booklet
This fascinating recital reveals Dussek – a colourful character and favourite of Marie-Antoinette whose talents took him throughout Europe and Russia – as “revolutionary in his approach to both composition and pianism” and makes a persuasive argument for Dussek’s influence on Chopin. In his informative booklet notes, Michael Dussek makes the case for his namesake’s music being the product of a composer “very much ahead of his time in the development of a Romantic piano style”. The recording’s centrepiece is the Op. 35 Piano Sonatas (Nos. 11-13), the B-flat major Sonata a crucible of ideas accommodating the rustic lyricism of his native Bohemia, a contrapuntal sophistication that would find full flowering in his later Messe Solennelle, and an anticipation of what would become a Chopin signature. The G major Sonata boasts melodic expressiveness, virtuoso passagework, a harmonic boldness that Schubert would later more fully exploit and a Rondo finale that out-Haydns Haydn. The Sonata in C minor strikingly blends Beethoven, Chopin and a joyful village dance to conclude a “gloriously innovative triptych”. Completing the recording are two pinnacles of the piano repertoire: Chopin’s exquisite Nocturne, Op. 15 No. 2, and the lyrical, rapturously intense Ballade No. 1 in G minor. Michael Dussek’s previous SOMM recordings include volumes of chamber music by Frank Bridge and Jacques Ibert with the Bridge Quartet. © SOMM Recordings
From
HI-RES$14.99
CD$9.99

Classical - Released May 21, 2021 | SOMM Recordings

Hi-Res Booklet
Sixteen composers drawn from three centuries of memorable music range from the brilliant heraldic flourish of Charpentier’s Te Deum Prelude (made internationally popular as the signature tune of the European Broadcasting Union) to Stravinsky’s agenda-changing The Firebird, with its beautiful Lullaby. There is yearning romance in Prokofiev’s The Young Juliet and Mascagni’s Intermezzo from Cavalleria rusticana, thrilling fantasy in Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream Scherzo, ecstatic energy in Khachaturian’s Sabre Dance (Gayane), infectious high spirits in Copland’s Hoe-Down (Rodeo) and the sylvan beauty of On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring by Delius. Other highlights include unforgettable classic moments from Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (the delightful Le Caprice de Nanette), Bizet (the lilting Menuet from L'Arlésienne with its novel use of saxophone), Bach (the sublime "Sheep May Safely Graze") and Puccini (Suor Angelica’s melody-rich Intermezzo). Completing the wide-ranging recital are Grieg’s festive Wedding Day at Troldhaugen and evocative Norwegian Rustic March, the haunting scene-setting introduction to Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, and Debussy’s vividly impressionistic En bateau. Iain Sutherland’s previous SOMM releases include the “impressive… fully recommended” (Musical Opinion) "Bernstein: Broadway to Hollywood" and "In London Town" with its “sparkling performances of some of the cream of light music” (MusicWeb International). His two volumes of "Great Classic Film Music" received also wide acclaim. © SOMM Recordings
From
HI-RES$14.99
CD$9.99

Chamber Music - Released April 16, 2021 | SOMM Recordings

Hi-Res Booklet
SOMM is pleased to announce a new episode in the "Treasures from the New World", a revelatory compendium of sonatas and duets by five Brazilian composers who defined the sound and soul of modern Latin American music. A champion of music from her homeland, Rio de Janeiro-born Iruzun returns to Henrique Oswald (also Rio born) with his four-movement Violin Sonata in E major of 1908. Lightly laced with late-Brahmsian accents, it’s a work of striking contrasts, a brief Intermezzo and extended slow interlude framed by an opening movement of vivacious lyricism and an energetic, optimistic, fiery finale. Leopoldo Miguez’s Violin Sonata in A major (1885) boasts similar lyrical richness while balancing evocative, nocturnal beauty, brisk confidence and a bracing sense of instrumental ensemble. Completing this volume are the melodious Poema (2002) by Marlos Nobre, one of Brazil’s most exciting contemporary composers, Souza Lima’s duet arrangement of Alexandre Levy’s Tango Brasileiro, and the haunting early miniature Romanza (1917) that prepared the ground for a later trio of substantial sonatas by Francisco Mignone, a mentor and close friend of Iruzun’s since her childhood. © SOMM
From
HI-RES$14.99
CD$9.99

Classical - Released April 16, 2021 | SOMM Recordings

Hi-Res Booklet
SOMM is delighted to announce the debut recording of composer-pianist Iain Farrington’s Art Deco Trio, featuring 15 new instrumental arrangements blending classical and jazz influences of songs by George Gershwin. In 2012, Farrington played piano in the London Olympic Games’ opening ceremony in a comic performance of Chariots of Fire with Rowan Atkinson (as Mr. Bean) and the LSO conducted by Sir Simon Rattle. His Beethoveniana – a thrilling distillation of Beethoven’s nine Symphonies into a seven-minute piece for 323 BBC orchestra musicians, the BBC Singers and two dancers – was a highlight of the locked-down 2020 BBC Proms. Taking its name from the defining style of the Gershwin era, the Art Deco Trio – Peter Sparks (clarinet), Kyle Horch (alto and soprano saxophones) and Farrington (piano) – “mixes elegance and clean lines with the exuberance and bold colours” of its distinctive signature. The present programme takes its title from Farrington’s Fantasia on five Gershwin standards stamped through with infectious rhythmic energy and the most memorable of melodies. First heard in shorter form at the 2018 BBC Proms, "Gershwinicity" is a dazzling celebration of one the 20th century’s most popular songwriters. The melody-filled material ranges from early hits such as I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise and The Man I Love to the late, lasting classics They All Laughed and Our Love is Here to Stay. Gershwin’s stage masterpiece Porgy and Bess is represented by arrangements of Summertime and It Ain’t Necessarily So, alongside Broadway favourites (The Man I Love, I Got Rhythm) and rarities (Fidgety Feet, I’ve Got a Crush on You). Iain Farrington’s arrangements of Holst’s Ode to Death - “the pick of the piece” - and Fauré’s Requiem were heard on In Remembrance. Lauded by the British Music Society as “a very fine performance and recording in every respect”, MusicWeb International declared it “an album that will have enduring value into the future”. © SOMM
From
HI-RES$14.99
CD$9.99

Classical - Released March 19, 2021 | SOMM Recordings

Hi-Res Booklet
At the recital’s heart are two substantial cycles. Setting seven poems by Thomas Hardy, Gerald Finzi’s Till Earth Outwears provides an intimate and movingly melancholic commentary in what Ronald Woodley describes in his extensive and informative booklet notes as a “male perspective on life, love and loss”. Rarely recorded, Howard Ferguson’s five-part treatment of Denton Welch’s poems, Discovery, typifies “the subtlety of the relationship between late romanticism, modernism and the inherited idioms of ‘Britishness’ that composers of Ferguson’s generation inevitably grew up with”. Its second song, Dreams Melting, provides the recital’s title. Three songs make their first appearance in recording's history. Elizabeth Maconchy’s setting of John Donne’s passionate but tortured A Hymn to God the Father boasts a searching vocal line underpinned by tellingly interrogative piano. Phyllis Tate’s The Falcon is a sparse but powerful setting of an anonymous medieval text while her variegated treatment of William Blake’s poem Cradle Song is reminiscent of a Bartók folksong arrangement. Also heard are Maconchy’s Four Shakespeare Songs and settings of Ben Jonson’s Have You Seen but a Bright Lily Grow? and Robert Herrick’s A Meditation for his Mistress, alongside six varied and vital songs by Rebecca Clarke, including The Seal Man, “one of her most soaring flights of imagination”, and Tate’s Epitaph, in which her “quietly understated writing is masterly”. A compendium of songs by William Walton and Constant Lambert, "Façades", James Geer and Ronald Woodley’s debut SOMM release (with pianist Andrew West) was hailed by "The Telegraph" as “a wonderful collection of beautifully crafted miniatures”. © SOMM Recordings
From
HI-RES$14.99
CD$9.99

Classical - Released March 19, 2021 | SOMM Recordings

Hi-Res Booklet
Sonata No. 1 in C major, K. 279 and Sonata No. 5 in G major, K. 283 were composed as a set of six “difficult” sonatas by the 18-year-old prodigy in 1774. Containing hints of the mature genius to come, the Scarlatti-accented outer movements of the First Sonata frame a seductively perfumed, sensuously realised central passage of precocious sophistication. Sonata No. 5 moves from grace to complexity to echo C. P. E. Bach before ending in a breathless, left-hand accented contradanse celebrating the growing freedom and fluidity of Mozart’s piano writing. More emotionally conflicted, Sonata No. 12 in F major, K. 332 was composed in the wake of Mozart’s failed search for employment in Paris, his mother’s death and a moment of spiritual despair. Two miniatures complete the volume: the mysterious and engrossing late Minuet in D major, K. 355 and the austere and searching Allegro in G minor, K. 312. Christopher Morley returns as author of the series’ authoritative and illuminating booklet notes. © SOMM Recordings
From
HI-RES$22.49
CD$14.99

Classical - Released February 5, 2021 | SOMM Recordings

Hi-Res Booklet
"The Forgotten Recordings" features eight historic performances made for the Book-of-the-Month Club in 1954 and 1955 – seven of which are first releases – that have been restored and remastered by the multi-award-winning audio restoration engineer Lani Spahr, who also provides extensive and informative booklet notes. Three works – Bach’s Third Orchestral Suite (BWV 1068), a revealing engagement by Szell with a composer he is not usually associated with, Smetana’s The Moldau and Strauss’s Till Eulenspiegel (with an early spotlight on legendary horn player Myron Bloom) were recorded in mono in a remarkably productive session on Christmas Eve, 1954. From October 1955 in stereo recordings are two works by Brahms – his Haydn Variations and the Academic Festival Overture, two symphonies - Mozart’s No. 39 and Schumann’s Fourth - and a Stravinsky Firebird-Suite that “crackles with energy”. “Here”, says Spahr, “we can appreciate that the orchestra was well on its way to becoming, in Szell’s words, ‘this glorious instrument… that perfectly reflects my musical ideals’.” © SOMM Recordings
From
HI-RES$14.99
CD$9.99

Classical - Released February 5, 2021 | SOMM Recordings

Hi-Res Booklet
The 20-year-old Schubert’s genial and outward-looking Violin Sonata in A major, D. 574 explores the expressive range of the violin to the full and is, says Robert Matthew-Walker in his informative booklet notes, “a masterpiece of the late Classical era worthy to stand with the finest examples of Beethoven”. The violinist Joseph Joachim considered Schumann’s Op. 121 Violin Sonata in D minor to be “one of the finest compositions of our times in respect of its marvellous unity of feeling and thematic significance. It overflows with noble passion, almost harsh and bitter in expression, and the last movement reminds one of the sea with glorious waves of sound”. Grieg’s Third Violin Sonata in C minor, Op. 45 was his last completed chamber work. Beginning and ending with passionately dramatic statements, it frames a central, nobly lyrical theme memorably shared by both instruments. The Carlock-Combet Duo’s debut SOMM release ("Violin Sonatas by Franck, Poulenc and Saint-Saëns") was praised by Musical Opinion as “an engrossing programme” with “performances of fine musical insight”. © SOMM Recordings