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Classical - Released October 4, 2019 | Sony Classical

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Like other new virtuosi before him, Lucas Debargue has recorded his own version of a selection of 52 sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti. His affinity with the Italian composer’s particular universe was already revealed in his very first album which showcased four of his sonatas alongside Ravel (a splendid version of Gaspard de la nuit), Liszt and Chopin. The vast corpus of Scarlatti’s 555 sonatas offers an almost infinite amount of inspiration to pianists, with regard to rhythm, as well as to the colour and stylistic approach. Just as we would have expected, the original personality of the French pianist brings a breath of fresh air, sometimes radical, to this delicate music, often bordering on the peculiar. For this new recording from Sony Classical, Lucas Debargue has chosen sonatas which are not often played, and a brand-new instrument, the already legendary 280 VC from the latest generation of the famous Vienna piano-makers Bösendorfer, now entirely owned by the Japanese brand Yamaha. Debargue almost never uses the pedals and has no organological or musicological troubles, claiming to be heavily influenced by Scott Ross’ recordings which he grew up with. Thus Scarlatti’s subtle writing is highlighted with no gimmicks, benefiting from the fine acoustics of the Church of Jesus Christ of Dahlem in Berlin as well as a natural and airy sound recording. The result is a timeless and fascinating vision of this music which walks us through time. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Solo Piano - Released September 13, 2019 | Sony Classical

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Pianist Igor Levit came on the scene with an album devoted to Beethoven's late piano sonatas, works normally not undertaken until a player has had some experience. As if that were not enough, he released a three-CD set featuring Bach's Goldberg Variations, BWV 988, Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, Op. 120, and Frederic Rzewski's The People United Will Never Be Defeated: three giant and challenging variation sets. Seemingly determined to outdo himself, he returned in 2019 with a complete set of Beethoven's sonatas. The four late ones, which made a critical splash, are included here (as played in 2013, not in new versions), and the rest follow somewhat in the pattern you might expect from the earlier album. Levit has said that he admires Artur Schnabel's Beethoven recordings from the 1930s, and indeed he has some of the same go-like-the-wind quality. His combination of fast tempi and graceful phrase shaping works well in many of the early sonatas, although in the Op. 10 set his tempos leave him little room for the marked Presto in the first movement of Op. 10, No. 3. His slow movements are a mixed bag, with the Adagio of the Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 2 ("Moonlight"), lacking the evocative moods of some of the others. The first movement of the Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57 ("Appassionata"), takes the forward sweep too far as the important short-short-short-long motif is reduced to decoration. Levit is never less than carefully considered in his phrasing, though, and many movements have a wonderful liveliness. Sample the joyous finale of the Piano Sonata No. 28 in A major, Op. 101, the first adumbration of the almost mystical quality of the late Beethoven. The late sonatas are worth revisiting, especially the masterfully clear Piano Sonata No. 29 in B flat major, Op. 106 ("Hammerklavier"), and the Piano Sonata No. 31 in A major, Op. 110. The collection may be brash in many ways, but it lives up to its ambitions and demands attention.
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Solo Piano - Released November 1, 2019 | Sony Classical

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Seventeen years after his first Schubert recording, Arcadi Volodos takes us on another dive into the world of Schubert with the very great and very turbulent Sonata in A Major, D.959. Less than two months before his death, Schubert wrote this penultimate sonata, the most fully-developed in terms of the scope of its final movement. In its crepuscular light, it enfolds the darkness of human solitude in Andantino in F Sharp Minor, which protests against a cheap happiness, first with resignation and then with indignation. Then, a cheering, somersaulting call to life, a most Viennese Scherzo, full of insousiance and serenity, which comes before the final and utterly simple movement, which suffers from no "longueur", however "divine"... Preferring intimacy to ostentation, Arcadi Volodos provides a style of expression which is no less captivating for its sobriety. Going from the most gently-whispered pianissimi to extreme fortissimi, his playing style adapts from moment to moment, a velvet touch that paints unique colours. His interior style of performance, its poetic depth, mixed with the classicism of his approach to the work, all add up to an utterly simple and natural Schubertian language. Returning to the very young Schubert, this inspired recital is rounded off with three rare Minuets (including the stunning D.600, which starts out sounding like an aria by Bach), sculpted with peerless grace and purity: a fitting end to a programme of such high musical quality. © GG/Qobuz
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Classical - Released November 8, 2019 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released November 8, 2019 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released October 18, 2019 | Sony Classical

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The violinist Leonidas Kavakos has many strings to his bow: an acclaimed soloist, he conducts orchestras – his first love – and is a chamber musician. This double album bears witness to the skills of this musical polymath who knows his Beethoven. He functions here both as soloist and conductor of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, which boasts over 60 musicians. In line with the practices of the composer's lifetime, this choice highlights the "egalitarian" style of the concerto's writing. While a virtuoso piece for sure, this score is more than just a pedestal for the soloist: the latter works closely with their peers, and shares every theme with them. Leonidas Kavakos gives a magisterial performance at the head of this impressive orchestra and brings forth some sumptuous nuances from the players, commanding their sustained and close attention. Heir to Viennese Classicism, Beethoven opened the way to the Concertos of Brahms or Sibelius, in which the solo violin often accompanies the orchestra with acrobatic embellishments. As agile as he was at the start of his career, the soloist doesn't perform Kreisler's famous cadence, but rather brings to life what Beethoven published for piano. This moment of complicity with the orchestra continues in camera in the Septet, Op. 20, the first score of the kind, in which the musicians sound like a small orchestra; and then finally in the 6 National Airs with Variations, Op. 105 for piano and flute (or violin ad libitum). Commissioned by a Scottish publisher when Beethoven was composing his Ninth Symphony, these miniatures for amateurs sound just as fresh as their dancing melodies. A very fine record which shows Beethoven in a less stormy light than usual. © Elsa Siffert/Qobuz
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Classical - Released November 8, 2019 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released October 18, 2019 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released October 25, 2019 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released November 1, 2019 | Sony Classical

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Film Soundtracks - Released November 8, 2019 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released November 8, 2019 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released October 25, 2019 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released October 18, 2019 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released November 1, 2019 | Sony Classical

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Film Soundtracks - Released November 8, 2019 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released October 25, 2019 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released October 25, 2019 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released October 25, 2019 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released October 25, 2019 | Sony Classical

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