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French Music - Released November 15, 2019 | Sony Classical

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Solo Piano - Released November 29, 2019 | Sony Classical

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International stardom has made Lang Lang into an ambassador for the classical repertoire. Sony has chosen Beethoven's 250th birthday to release a compilation that was born of a live concert recorded in Vienna, a city which has seen the birth of so many of the composer's works. The collection takes in Sonata No.3 and No.23, also known as Appassionata. These scores are an imaginary battlefield pitting the writer's contending passions against one another. Beethoven, subject to a compulsive inspiration, uses his writing to guide, even contain, this irresistible force: the greatest liberty dammed up by reason, an apparent paradox which his art summarises well. But here Lang Lang gives us an almost fantastical Beethoven. The pianist has fun with a repertoire which exacerbates contrasts thanks to an immense palette of nuances and several liberties taken with the tempos. Although his level of technique permits him such extravagances, it must be said that he is much more conventional with Beethoven than he is with Rachmaninov. You don't fool around with the Master of Bonn. The record closes on a studio version of the first movement of Sonata No.17 (the famous Tempest), recorded for the video game Gran Turismo 5. The rather grandiloquent switch between its Largo and Allegro sections makes its mark on the text. Lang Lang serves up a very literally visual interpretation of this score, built around the most epic settings that these Beethovian storms permit. © Elsa Siffert/Qobuz
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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 22, 2019 | Sony Classical

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This Berio album is like a little museum dedicated to the Italian composer. Famous for his experiments with musical form which involved working quotations into his pieces, this album, Transformation, sees Berio in the role of arranger. The programme is a series of works arranged for orchestra: a motley collection that runs from Bach to the Beatles, via Falla, Boccherini, Mahler, and Brahms. In it, we hear Berio's affinity for the unfinished, and we also see his love for song, whether the singing is being done by the clarinette (wonderful autumnal colours from Daniel Ottensamer), a baritone (Benjamin Appl) or a soprano (Sophia Burgos). The juxtaposition of the works forms a connecting thread. Is it an echo of the composer's clever patchwork style of writing? In the end it's one of Bach's more fascinating scores that dominates the record. We are taken from one sonic world to the other, each re-invented in turn, expanded but not denatured. We trek across the Spain of Falla and Boccherini: we dive into Brahms and Mahler, two composers that Berio would admire for their science and orchestral sounds, and more specifically the former's clarinet sonata – which became a chamber sinfonia concertante – and the latter's youthful Lieder. Finally, we travel through time thanks to a whip-smart, virtuoso exercise in style: the arrangement of three Beatles songs in the baroque style (although the second version of Michelle tends towards a sometimes-atonal romanticism), all a marvellous fit for the outrageous Cathy Berberian, whose Beatles performances were always free and fantastical. In the pit, the Basel symphonic orchestra with Ivor Bolton conducting. What could be a more natural choice for an artist whose archives are held by the Sacher Foundation? © Elsa Siffert/Qobuz
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Classical - Released November 8, 2019 | Sony Classical

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Film Soundtracks - Released November 22, 2019 | Sony Classical

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Film Soundtracks - Released December 6, 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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Film Soundtracks - Released November 22, 2019 | Sony Classical

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Film Soundtracks - Released December 6, 2019 | Sony Classical

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Film Soundtracks - Released December 6, 2019 | Sony Classical

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Film Soundtracks - Released November 8, 2019 | Sony Classical

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Film Soundtracks - Released November 15, 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 1, 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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Classical - Released November 15, 2019 | Sony Classical

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Film Soundtracks - Released November 1, 2019 | Sony Classical

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