viernes, 30 de diciembre de 2016

Göttinger Symphonie Orchester / Christoph-Mathias Mueller CLAUDE DEBUSSY The Edgar Allan Poe Operas

Admired for his ability to manipulate tone color, Claude Debussy’s opera Pelleas et Melisande is regarded as a special masterpiece, even if it is a solitary one. Debussy was not known for opera. While Pelleas et Melisande was his only successful opera during his lifetime, it was not the only opera he composed. He made plans for future operatic projects, and he dedicated himself to two projects based on texts by Edgar Allen Poe. As the final years of his life were plagued by poor health, Debussy worked on “La Chute de la maison Usher” (The Fall of the House of Usher) until just before his death. The composer was distraught at the thought of leaving the work unfinished. He also was working on “Le Diable dans le Beffroi” (The Devil in the Belfry), but this work only survived in sketch form. English musicologist Robert Orledge, who is renowned for his expertise in early twentieth century French music, reconstructed both of these works with immense sensitivity to Debussy’s style, filling in all of the missing passages. While Debussy was alive, he promised the New York Metropolitan Opera the premiere of both of the operas, believing he would survive through their completion. This production featuring the Gottinger Symphonie Orchester is the world premiere of the works, in the way that Debussy would have had the Metropolitan Opera perform them. (Arkiv Music)

jueves, 29 de diciembre de 2016


Through these selected masterpieces of the repertoire for solo cello, Emmanuelle Bertrand invites us on a journey to the heart of languages of popular inspiration. When music takes over the idioms characteristic of each culture, pushing back the limits of instrumental technique, reshaping and dismantling the rules the better to express a specific identity, then the cello truly ‘speaks’ and takes us beyond frontiers, where the souls of a people take root.
This title was released for the first time in 2000/11.

miércoles, 28 de diciembre de 2016

James Ehnes / Andrew Armstrong ELGAR - DEBUSSY - RESPIGHI Violin Sonatas

The shadow of death hovers over Debussy’s Violin Sonata though you would never guess from its generally genial disposition: in 1915, with his creative urges stifled by the slaughter of the Great War (he wrote barely anything during 1914), Debussy discovered that he had cancer of the rectum, his mother died on 23 March, and his mother-in-law six days later. In the summer of 1915 he and his wife rented a house at Pourville on the Normandy coast and he began to compose again. ‘I want to work,’ he wrote to his publisher Durand, ‘not so much for myself, as to provide a proof, however small, that thirty million Boches can’t destroy French thought...’
Among the works produced in this creative outburst were the Sonatas for cello and piano and for flute, viola and harp. These were the first of a planned Six sonates pour instruments divers, par Claude Debussy – musicien français (as he now signed himself). The Sonata for violin and piano to which he turned in 1916 was to be the last of these he completed – and indeed his last major work – before his death. Debussy found its composition difficult, finishing the final movement, Très animé, in October 1916, four months before completing the two preceding movements – Allegro vivo and Intermède (marked Fantasque et léger). The composer himself with the violinist Gaston Poulet gave the premiere on 5 May 1917 in the Salle Gaveau in aid of the charity Foyer du soldat aveugle. He played the Sonata again in September that year at two concerts in Biarritz, concerts which proved to be his last public performances.
Debussy died aged just 55 on 5 March 1918. Just two days earlier in Bologna, Ottorino Respighi with his old violin teacher Federico Sarti had given the premiere of his new Sonata in B minor. Completed within months of Debussy’s, it was composed shortly after Fontane di Roma, the first triptych of Respighi’s great trilogy of Roman tone poems which shot the composer to international fame, and contemporary with his most popular work, La Boutique fantasque (the ballet, based on Rossini’s music, written for Diaghilev’s Ballets russes).
Respighi had, in fact, written a violin sonata prior to the B minor masterpiece – the Sonata in D minor completed in 1897. The influences of Schumann, maybe Franck and certainly Brahms are readily discernible in this assured student work. Respighi, whose own instruments were the violin, viola and piano, had then gone on to study composition with Giuseppe Martucci and afterwards Rimsky-Korsakov. Yet the B minor Sonata, while naturally more confident and individual, still retains a Brahmsian flavour. Witness the first movement, Moderato, with its constantly changing meters and soaring lyrical line which leads to the Andante espressivo second movement in E major, rising to a passionate climax. The finale, Allegro moderato ma energico, was inspired by the last movement of Brahms’s Fourth Symphony, a passacaglia. Interestingly, instead of a conventional eight bar phrase, the theme is ten bars long. It is repeated eighteen times within the movement through various modulations before a muscular, intense coda brings the work to a conclusion with its final bars (Largo) marked ffff.
Some five and a half months after the premiere of Respighi’s Sonata – on the morning of 20 August 1918 to be precise – Sir Edward Elgar noted laconically, ‘Wrote some music’. The music was the preliminary sketch for what was to be his Violin Sonata in E minor op.82. Having produced virtually nothing in the previous twelve months, a sudden burst of energy saw Elgar’s three great chamber works – the Sonata, String Quartet op.83 and Piano Quintet op.84 – composed at Brinkwells, his Sussex home, between that August morning and early 1919.
Like the violin sonatas by Debussy and Respighi, Elgar’s has three movements (Allegro, Andante, Allegro non troppo) but here, while it has an important and busy part, the piano plays the more traditional role of accompanist than in the French and Italian works. W.H. Reed, who gave the first public performance with Landon Ronald (Aeolian Hall, 21 March 1919) thought that the Andante, with its central section anticipating the third movement of the Cello Concerto, was ‘utterly unlike anything I have ever heard in chamber or other music: it is most fantastic, and full of subtle touches of great beauty’. Elgar himself described the finale as ‘very broad and soothing like the last movement of the 11nd Symphy’ [sic].
There is nothing in the work to hint of the existence of composers like Bartók and Schoenberg but, as the critic L. Dutton Green wrote of the Sonata, ‘[it] seems like a protest against the far-fetched devices of the ultra- moderns – it seems to say: See what can be done yet with old forms, the old methods of composing, the old scales: if you only know how to do it your work may yet be new, yet original, yet beautiful.’
Jean Sibelius gained a comprehensive knowledge of the violin, having studied the instrument at Helsinki Conservatory in his youth. The Violin Concerto displays to the full a formidable grasp of the instrument’s capabilities, and Sibelius toyed with the idea of a second violin concerto during the period of the sixth and seventh symphonies. However, like the mystical eighth symphony these plans came to nothing. What we do have however, is a wonderful collection of shorter works for violin and piano which unaccountably have remained in relative obscurity. Opus numbers 78 to 81 date from the years of World War I. Finland’s communications with the rest of Europe during the conflict were almost cut off, and for Sibelius this period of isolation was one of financial and spiritual hardship. The short works for violin and piano provided a way to make ends meet as Scandinavian publishers were happy to take less challenging fare during this period. The charming Berceuse op.79/6, the last of a set of six pieces, is a calm, melancholy lullaby. (Jeremy Nicholas / October 2015)

domingo, 25 de diciembre de 2016

Annelien Van Wauwe / Lucas Blondeel WEINBERG - PROKOFIEV Clarinet Sonatas

The young clarinetist Annelien Van Wauwe earned victory at the prestigious 61st Int’l ARD Music Competition in Munich 2012. On her debut GENUIN CD, recorded with pianist and fellow Belgian Lucas Blondeel, the duo features a three-piece program of Prokofiev and Weinberg. Highlighted by Prokofiev’s Op. 94 Sonata, the release is united in part by the Jewish themes and legacies apparent in the latter two of the works on this disc. Miss Van Wauwe is a regular festival invitee where she appears as both soloist and chamber musician, and has appeared as a soloist in prestigious halls throughout Europe.

sábado, 24 de diciembre de 2016

Isabelle Faust / Il Giardino Armonico / Giovanni Antonini WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART Violin Concertos

The five most brilliant concertos for violin, all penned before the age of 19! Mozart was not even 15 years old when he began composing violin concertos that would serve as a backdrop at Salzburg receptions. An insatiable drive for independence would however lead the young Konzertmeister to overtly challenge musical forms, innovate with genres, humour and frivolity, all of which can be heard in this delightful first collaboration between Isabelle Faust and the musicians of Il Giardino Armonico.

“These wonderful performances have the air of chamber music, of close listening between soloist, band and director. Faust isn’t spotlit…but seems part of the ensemble, her sound growing out of the corporate entity to glitter, coax, snarl and soar as required…[a] thought-provoking and eminently enjoyable cycle” (Gramophone)

Faust and Il Giardino Armonico bring out the shades of colour in the music and revelling in the characteristic phrases, but never forcing the issue. It goes without saying that Faust's tone is just as sweet here as in her other recordings, and she puts just the right amount of playful rubato into the cadenzas without straying into self-indulgence.” (Presto Classical)

lunes, 19 de diciembre de 2016

Katia & Marielle Labèque INVOCATIONS

Katia and Marielle Labèque are sibling pianists renowned for their ensemble of synchronicity and energy. Their musical ambitions started at an early age and they rose to international fame with their contemporary rendition of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue (one of the first gold records in classical music) and have since developed a stunning career with performances worldwide.
They are regular guests with the most prestigious orchestras such as the Amsterdam Royal Concertgebouw, Berlin Philharmonic, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus, London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Filarmonia della Scala, Philadelphia Orchestra, Dresden Staatskapelle and Vienna Philharmonic, under the direction of Semyon Bychkov, Lionel Bringuier, Sir Colin Davis, Gustavo Dudamel, Charles Dutoit, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Kristjan Järvi, Paavo Järvi, Zubin Mehta, Seiji Ozawa, Antonio Pappano, Georges Prêtre, Sir Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Leonard Slatkin, Michael Tilson Thomas and Jaap van Zweden.
They have appeared with baroque music ensembles such as The English Baroque Soloists with Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Il Giardino Armonico with Giovanni Antonini, Musica Antica with Reinhard Goebel and Venice Baroque with Andrea Marcon, il Pomo d’Oro and also toured with The Age of Enlightenment & Sir Simon Rattle.
Katia and Marielle have had the privilege of working with many composers including Thomas Adès, Louis Andriessen, Luciano Berio, Pierre Boulez, Philip Glass, Osvaldo Golijov, György Ligeti and Olivier Messiaen. On the 26th May 2015 Katia and Marielle gave in Los Angeles at Walt Disney Hall the world premiere of Philip Glass’s new Concerto (written for them) together with Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel. A new concerto by Bryce Dessner, written specially for the piano duo, will be ready in 2018.

sábado, 17 de diciembre de 2016

Les Paladins / Jérôme Correas MOLIÈRE À L'OPÉRA Stage music by JEAN-BAPTISTE LULLY

With Molière à l’opéra Jérôme Correas and Les Paladins bring their much-admired combination of Baroque musical stylishness and use of the technique of “parlé-chanté”, adding colour and contrast to the sung text, to comédies-ballets composed by Jean-Baptiste Lully and Marc-Antoine Charpentier during the reign of Louis XIV. The musical and theatrical partnership involving Lully and Molière – they were dubbed “les deux Baptiste” – was one of the most invigorating ever entered into, marrying melody, words, acting and a shared hunger for fame.
The collaboration spanned ten works over a decade from 1661. Although Molière never provided the words for a Lully “opera”, the great dramatist clearly inspired the composer who was ten years his junior, in his later tragédies lyriques, a view upheld by the essayist for this recording, Elizabeth Giuliani. 
As well as presenting scenes from Le Bourgeois gentilhomme, this new Glossa recording draws on the humorous end of the Molière/Lully partnership in Monsieur de Pourceaugnac as well as more tragic airs from Psyché, by way of the trio grotesque from Charpentier’s score for Le Mariage forcé. In Luanda Siqueira, Jean-François Lombard, Jérôme Billy and Virgile Ancely, Jérôme Correas has brought together a versatile vocal quartet, alive to the daunting and frequently crazy characterizations demanded by Lully and Molière. (GLOSSA Music)

Angela Hewitt JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH Goldberg Variations

Hewitt's remake for Hyperion deploys her personal Fazioli concert grand. The instrument's hair-trigger response to note attacks and release yields complex hues that contrast with the rounder, relatively uniform sonorities of the beautiful Steinway featured on Hewitt's 1999 recording (4/00). More importantly, the pianist's enviable polyphonic acumen and dance-orientated conception continue to operate at full capacity, albeit on a deeper and subtler level, as comparative listening reveals.
As they say, the devil is in the details. For example, Hewitt tosses off Var 5's challenging cross-handed leaps more playfully, tempers Var 6's erstwhile fluctuations with greater expressive economy and allows Var 7's dialogue to flourish. Note, too, her nimbler dispatch of the Fughetta and the canon at the fourth (Var 12). By contrast, Var 19's heightened polyphony and slower tempo impart extra gravitas to the music's quasi-minuet character. Hewitt's octave doublings in Var 29 are grander and heftier, with closer attention to the cascading passagework's bass-lines.
Perhaps differences between Hewitt I and Hewitt II emerge most tellingly in the slower variations, including those three in the minor mode. Var 15 remains brisk and steady as before but the canonic voices now take on sharper focus as Hewitt follows through each line to its final destination.
The tender, yielding Var 21 of 1999 contrasts with a new-found urgency. In the celebrated 'Black Pearl', Var 25. Hewitt embarks on an intricate and thoughtful journey; earlier he pursued a less inflected more direct path. However, the way that Hewitt ravishingly fuses elasticity of line and eloquent proportion in the aria-like Var 13 is worth the price of admission, at any cost. It is piano playing for the ages. (Gramophone)

miércoles, 14 de diciembre de 2016

Collegium Vocale Bydgoszcz FINE KNACKS FOR LADIES

Collegium Vocale consort from the very beginning of its artistic path (1992) have incorporated Dowland’s songs in its repertoire, and performed them for many years in various configurations. Several presentations of solo performances and duets can be heard on the album “Bonjour, mon cœur” of 2006. The idea of recording the present CD is based on the consistent use of four-voice vocal ensemble. Why? We wanted to see, how songs, which are familiar to us in solo interpretations of Emma Kirkby, Barbara Bonney, Anne Sophie von Otter, Michael Chance, Nigel Rogers, Andreas Scholl and... Sting (among others), would sound in full 4-parts vocal performance. Do they lose its lightness, appeal and charm, or—in the contrary—the listener would discover more nuances, new layers of expression, hard to find in instrumental interpretations lacking words? Of course, we leave the evaluation of the effect to the audience. 
We invite to listen to a selection of most popular songs of John Dowland, interspersed with graceful instrumental miniatures performed on lute by Magda Tomsińska. We would like to encourage all vocal amateurs to actively perform this kind of music. 
We believe that the music lovers of today can appreciate it and get much pleasure and satisfaction from performing it, and it is really worth it to resurrect the great seventeenth-century tradition of home musicmaking. (Michal Zielinski)

Isabelle Druet / Anne LeBozec SHAKESPEARE SONGS

There are thousands of vocal and instrumental settings of Shakespeare's texts, drawn from his comedies, tragedies and sonnets alike. The music celebrating his verse covers more than four centuries: this fascination has lived on into the 20th century and does not appear to be running out of steam.
A linguistic virtuoso, a master of human emotions, an expert in Machiavellian stories of intrigue and tyranny, and a bard of love and of the moment - these are but a few of the many facets of the Shakespearian message. We follow him into the heart of humanity and its excesses, from madness to the
burlesque, from despair to bonhomie, from hatred of one's fellow man to universal love. So is it really surprising that so many composers in so many languages have used such a rich tapestry of humanity, or that we - the singers at the end of this great chain - have decided to devote a recital to him? Several figures recur: Ophelia “in her sweet madness” and Desdemona in her despair, two women of high birth, infinitely fragile, victims of the machinery of power, of the vengeance and jealousy that eats at the hearts of men. Also appearing regularly is the fool or jester, the only member of the court - where everyone is muzzled - who can tell the truth in the form of a caricature or lament.
But this program also has a certain lightness, for it too undergirds the world, and Shakespeare celebrates it with Silvia or Cymbeline: idealized female figures who are depicted with ardor, astonishment, and rapture.
Shakespeare shows us the path through this labyrinth. He knows where the world is headed.
Let's follow him! (Isabelle Druet & Anne Le Bozec)

martes, 13 de diciembre de 2016

Anne-Sophie Mutter MUTTERISSIMO The Art of Anne-Sophie Mutter

It was in August 1976 at the Lucerne Festival that Anne-Sophie Mutter first set foot on the world’s stage. She was thirteen at the time. The following year she made her Salzburg Whitsun Festival debut under Herbert von Karajan, and a year after that her first recording was released by Deutsche Grammophon. The words “child prodigy” inevitably appeared in the newspapers. “I was half-aware of what was being said,” the violinist recalls, “but it was of little interest to me. I knew that I was a child. And the ‘prodigy’ part struck me as somehow comical.” To become world-famous as a teenager practically overnight was gratifying, of course, but it was also an emotional and a mental challenge. “As a result I learnt from a very early age to adopt a realistic attitude to all that was written about me and to place a certain distance between it and my private life.” This down-to-earth attitude was to prove useful to Anne-Sophie Mutter, for what followed was an international career unlike that of any other subsequent violinist.

Universally considered as one of the greatest violinists of our time, Anne-Sophie Mutter’s stunning and multi-faceted music-making extends across masterworks from the full breadth of the violin repertoire.
Mutterissimo – The Art of Anne-Sophie Mutter is a selection of highlights from her discography, personally picked by Mutter herself, bringing together recordings that date for the most part from the last twenty years. It invites listeners to undertake two tours of Anne-Sophie Mutter’s multiple worlds of music:
The first explores the highways and byways of the core repertory and features well-known works for violin and orchestra by Dvořák and Schumann alongside less familiar pieces. The second one, often with Mutter’s long-standing piano partner, Lambert Orkis, combines virtuosity and light-heartedness; the popular and the surprising; and emotion and rhythmic energy. 
For many years Anne-Sophie Mutter has performed not only in major international concert halls but recently also in clubs, where a young audience, largely unconcerned with traditional rituals, reacts to the music much more spontaneously. It is only logical, therefore, that she increasingly uses social media to engage in a dialogue with her fans.

Hugues Chabert / Élisa Huteau SERGEI RACHMANINOV Études-Tableaux op. 39 - Sonate op. 19

Between chamber music and solo recital, Hugues Chabert has chosen not to choose, bringing together in his debut album the two inseparable components of his life as a pianist.
Oscillating between deep interiority and expressive generosity, the Etudes-tableaux op.39 and Cello sonata op.39 are pure jewels of instrumental lyricism, introducing two facets of Rachmaninov's music.

domingo, 4 de diciembre de 2016

Anna Netrebko / Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor / Münchner Rundfunkorchester / Marco Armiliato PUCCINI Manon Lescaut

It is rare for an artist to break through the boundaries of classical music stardom and achieve recognition in the wider world, but Anna Netrebko has achieved that and more. In a recording career stretching a mere dozen years she has not only seduced the classical scene with the beauty of her voice, her superb vocal control and supreme musicality, she has also become an interna­tional icon. More than an operatic diva, Anna Netrebko is an enormously charismatic individual whose vivacious style and dazzling stage presence are as celebrated as her musical artistry.
Her future plans include her latest return to the Met, this time as Manon Lescaut (November / December 2016), and appearances as Lady Macbeth at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich (December 2016). Before that, she will give three concert performances of Manon Lescaut at this summer’s Salzburg Festival, starring opposite her husband, tenor Yusif Eyvazov, with whom she will also give concerts in Hamburg and Cologne as a prelude to the 2 September launch of Verismo, her latest album for Deutsche Grammophon. 
A passionate advocate for children’s causes, Netrebko supports a number of charitable organisations, including SOS-Kinderdorf International and the Russian Children’s Welfare Society. She is a global ambassador for Chopard jewellery. Her many and varied interests all contribute to her artistry and provide insight into her ability to immerse herself so deeply in a role, whether tragic or comic. It is easy to see why Gramophone enthused as follows: “When I hear Anna Netrebko sing, live, I don’t want her to stop … Remember the days of rapturous standing ovations, when the sound of a singer’s voice would really drive people wild? That’s the kind of voice Netrebko has … She is also a stage animal … she is fuelled by sheer talent and instinct … I’d take Netrebko over anyone out there, any time.” 8/2016

sábado, 3 de diciembre de 2016

MEREDITH MONK On Behalf Of Nature

“I work in between the cracks,” says vocalist/composer/performance artist Meredith Monk, “where the voice starts dancing, the body starts singing, the theatre becomes cinema.” In a way, everything she does is about ecology – that interconnectedness; those wild vocal noises – and On Behalf of Nature is a treatise without text, an outcry without words. She wants the work: “to expand our awareness of what we are in danger of losing”, and she does that by making music that sounds as if it comes from the earth, feet planted in the mud, voices erupting and gusting and keening. As a live show its physical gestures were a bit stilted and obscure; for me it’s more articulate as music alone. And though Monk’s incredible technical range is going, the softer stuff is still enthrallingly playful and ritualistic. Sometimes it feels weird being a bystander to her music: this kind of elemental rite should involve us all. (

Simon Rattle / Berliner Philharmoniker THE SOUND OF SIMON RATTLE

The Musical intoxication of a great era: on 7 September, 2002, Sir Simon Rattle was appointed new Principal Conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, marking the start of a new and memorable era for the world of music. Rattle has opened up new repertoire channels for the musicians, endowed the tradition-steeped ensemble with a youthful image and established the inimitable 'Rattle Sound'. Great moments – brought together here for the first time on 3 CDs.

viernes, 2 de diciembre de 2016

Gustavo Dudamel / Wiener Philharmoniker MODEST MUSSORGSKY Pictures at an Exhibition

Gustavo Dudamel and the Wiener Philharmoniker release their latest recording with Deutsche Grammophon, an all-Russian album out now.The album couples two selections by Mussorgsky – Pictures at an Exhibition, orchestrated by Ravel, and A Night on Bald Mountain – with Tchaikovsky's Waltz from Swan Lake
While making the album at Vienna's Musikverein in April 2016, Gustavo and members of the orchestra participated in workshops alongside young people from the El Sistema-inspired Superar. The program is based in one of Vienna's most ethnically and culturally diverse neighborhoods and offers music lessons to around 900 children between the ages of five and sixteen.
"For our current recording project, a wonderful program of Russian delights, the Wiener Philharmoniker and I have joined forces with children from Superar, offering young people of a range of backgrounds the opportunity to engage with themes from Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition," says Gustavo. "The sense of collective engagement through music – of individuals learning, listening and creating together – resonates in the living tradition of the Wiener Philharmoniker, inspires our artistic collaboration and fuels our desire to share music's transformative power with future generations."