sábado, 23 de diciembre de 2017

Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France / Mikko Franck DEBUSSY L'Enfant Prodigue - RAVEL L'Enfant Et Les Sortilèges

Recorded live in Paris, two contrasting music dramas on the theme of an errant child, written by two supreme French composers and performed by a starry line-up of francophone singers. Mikko Franck, in his role as Music Director of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, conducts Debussy’s L’Enfant prodigue, starring Roberto Alagna and Karina Gauvin, and Ravel’s L'Enfant et les sortilèges, with Nathalie Stutzmann and Sabine Devieilhe among the singers surrounding Chloé Briot in the role of the Child.

Complementing the two vocal works is the world premiere recording, made under studio conditions, of British composer Colin Matthews’ orchestration of Debussy’s Symphony in B minor. The work, which survives only as a manuscript for piano duet, was composed even earlier than L’Enfant prodigue, when Debussy was just 18, but it was not published until 1933, 15 years after his death. This orchestration of the Symphony in B minor was first heard in 2009. Colin Matthews is something of a Debussy specialist, having made admired orchestral transcriptions of all the composer’s piano Préludes, some of which have been recorded by Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker. (Warner Classics)

miércoles, 20 de diciembre de 2017

Christiane Karg / Malcolm Martineau STRAUSS, FAURÉ, DEBUSSY, POULENC, WOLF & BERG

The Wigmore Hall debut of young Bavarian soprano Christiane Karg in July 2012 proved a glistening highlight of the summer’s song recital series. A regular guest at the world’s leading opera houses, singing roles from Musetta (La bohème) to Poppea (L’incoronazione di Poppea), she is also renowned throughout the world for her enchanting performances on the concert platform.
Her recital featured two themes to link the programme: botanical in the first half, nocturnal in the second. Exploring celebrated jewels of the art song repertoire alongside lesser-known, but equally charming, discoveries, the programme moves from rarely heard floral songs from Strauss’s teens, through dreamy settings by Fauré, Debussy and Poulenc, mysterious and nocturnal Lieder of Wolf to Berg’s Sieben frühe Lieder.
 

Sabine Devieilhe RAMEAU Le Grand Théâtre De L'Amour

My connection with the music of Jean-Philippe Rameau dates back five years. I had just sung Aricie’s famous ‘Rossignols amoureux’ in a student concert at the conservatory when Alexis tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I would like to take part in a performance project involving the composer in whom he specialised. Alexis is well known as a flautist, a young conductor and musicologist and has done research which really brings to light the astonishing range of Rameau’s work. 
This programme is conceived along the lines of a small-scale opera, giving me a broad range of colours to choose from and highly demanding instru- mentation with which to work in the dramatic role of tearful lover. I can’t thank Alexis and Les Ambassadeurs enough for having seen the project through and for giving all their energy and musical creativity in the service of this recording. (Sabine Devieilhe)

The operas of Jean-Philippe Rameau, vast spectacles, may be lost to history in their original forms. Sure, some of them have been produced in the modern era, but no company could muster the combination of singers, instrumentalists, choreography, and costume and scene design that would have accompanied the originals. The closest might be this release by French soprano Sabine Devieilhe, which is a thrill from start to finish. The album simply has it all. Devieilhe's voice is a knockout, and a deceptive one at that: it comes in as a flutelike thing in the mid-range but then scores with an agile top that seems absolutely undaunted by acrobatic vocal writing. The work of the historical-instrument orchestra Les Ambassadeurs under Alexis Kossenko is technically superb and dramatically sharp; they convey the feeling of playing for real theatergoers. The music covers selections from some operas with hugely ambitious themes, and there are three world-premiere recordings. Sample the storm aria from Les Indes Galantes (The Gallant Indians), track 17, with its wind machine and its colorful vocal canvas, for a taste of an immensely satisfying recital by a new face on the scene who makes you wonder just how far she'll eventually go. (

Sabine Devieilhe MIRAGES

This album came about through my desire to record Lakmé, a role that has been very dear to my heart since I first performed it on stage in 2012. It’s a part of which I know and love every single bar. 
For the character of Lakmé, Léo Delibes composed some of the most beautiful music ever written for coloratura soprano. His artistic approach was essentially a French one in that he always made the voice the centre of attention, with an orchestration that is at times diaphanous (when the heroine recites a prayer) and at times dazzling (in the great love duets). It was this work that sparked my love for French nineteenth-century opera. But Lakmé also came about within the context of European artists becoming more open to influences from distant lands. Western ears were at that time keen to be taken on musical and poetic journeys, and people were increasingly receptive to perfumes from afar.
This collection explores the dream of the East cultivated by Delibes and later by Maurice Delage, who actually went on an extended visit to India and brought back with him the modal colours of Indian music. It also touches on Japan and China, as seen through the prism of Messager’s Madame Chrysanthème and Stravinsky’s Rossignol, and Egypt, with the incantation sung by La Charmeuse in Thaïs. The element of fantasy also takes on a more folk-like and popular dimension, with settings by Ambroise Thomas and Berlioz of Ophelia’s strange song. With his music for Mélisande and Ariel, both of whom use their voices to sing and to charm, Debussy uses the exoticism of the modal scale to disconcert the listener and evoke an unspecified faraway place. 
So, ‘far from the real world’, as Lakmé says before her ‘Liebestod’, like the fantasy image of a distant country – let us indulge an innocent pleasure, and dream... (Sabine Devieilhe, 2017)

lunes, 18 de diciembre de 2017

Trio Wanderer / Christophe Gaugué / Stéphane Logerot FRANZ SCHUBERT Trout Quintet

We expect technical finesse and a thoughtful interpretive approach from the Wanderer Trio; these attributes are shared by the two ‘extras’, and together they make up a notably well integrated quintet. This is a finely controlled, highly polished performance of the Trout, and the recorded sound is excellent, too. It’s a treat to be so clearly aware of the double bass’s contribution to the texture and rhythm, without feeling that the internal balance is at all unnatural. These players don’t put a foot wrong; they negotiate all the awkward corners – between Scherzo and Trio and back again, for instance – with great confidence and conviction; they use Schubert’s dynamics and accents to characterise and enliven the musical expression, most notably in the finale, and they find the most appropriate bright, sparkling sonorities for this most carefree of Schubert’s chamber works.
The degree of control and organisation does perhaps leave little room for the individuality and spontaneity that makes the 1957 Curzon/ Vienna Octet recording, or the more recent version with Brendel and Zehetmair, so life-enhancing. But this would still be high on my Trout list, and the CD’s appeal is increased by the Hummel, a powerfully dramatic work, played with terrific energy and imagination. Vincent Coq relishes Hummel’s beautiful cantabile writing, half way between Mozart and Chopin, and Christophe Gaugué makes the most of some memorable, melancholy viola solos. Altogether, the performance is most impressive in the way that its verve is matched with such a strong sense of integration and balance. (Duncan Druce /Gramophone)

Gautier Capuçon / Frank Braley SCHUBERT Arpeggione

In the first decade of his recording career, cellist Gautier Capuçon has demonstrated great versatility, playing as often as a chamber musician as he has appeared as a concerto soloist. His repertoire covers the standard cello works, though he frequently performs pieces that are less expected. Thus, on this 2014 release from Erato, Capuçon delivers a stirring performance of Franz Schubert's famous Arpeggione Sonata, which is regularly recorded by cellists, yet he fills the rest of the disc with pieces a bit off the beaten path, such as Robert Schumann's Five Pieces in Folk Style, Claude Debussy's Sonata for cello and piano, and Benjamin Britten's Sonata in C. This makes for a varied and stimulating program that challenges listeners who don't know these pieces as much as it challenges Capuçon and his accompanist, Frank Braley. These works place apparent technical demands on the performers, so they may be regarded as music for virtuosos, though the overriding feeling of the program is of flowing lyricism and extraordinarily sustained expressiveness. Capuçon is a master of the long line, and the continuity of his phrasing and emotional connection to the music is unbroken through the album. Braley is an attentive pianist who follows Capuçon's lead with an excellent sense of direction and timing, and he is sympathetic to the subtle changes of moods. This album was recorded close-up to the musicians, so it has great presence as well as some places where Capuçon's breathing is quite audible. (

Mikhail Pletnev / Russian National Orchestra SHCHEDRIN Carmen Suite - Naughty Limericks - The Chimes

By coincidence‚ just before hearing this disc I chanced upon Stan Kenton’s all­Wagner LP from the 1960s (STO2217). ‘File under jazz’ says Capitol’s spine‚ but Kenton’s evocative handling of Tristan’s Prelude is anything but ‘jazzed up’. In fact‚ if you take the OED’s secondary definition of jazz as ‘fantastic designs or vivid patterns’‚ Rodion Shchedrin’s 1967 Carmen Suite is a lot more jazzy than Kenton’s contemporaneous Tristan. It’s also brash‚ gimmicky and more obviously out for effect. And yet the formula sort­of works: strings (here spatially divided) and percussion shuffling hot­foot through some of Bizet’s best tunes.
The Introduction becomes a door chime of the ‘Habanera’‚ the ‘Boléro’ is L’Arlésienne’s ‘Farandole’ (truncated to fit a minute) and ‘Toréador’ brilliantly dispatches the skeleton of Bizet’s original among the pizzicatos‚ without quoting the top line. The eerie scene between the Toreador and Carmen – here Shchedrin’s transcription really does sound very Russian – is based on music from The Fair Maid of Perth‚ but brace your ears for the clatter of bells that follows with the Adagio. You also get the Card Scene‚ the Flower Song and the finale‚ which in this extremely dynamic new recording under Mikhail Pletnev makes a more dramatic impression than Gennady Rozhdestvensky’s good old Melodiya recording. The tempo is brisker‚ and the string choirs clearer‚ but elsewhere Rozhdestvensky’s performance has marginally more ‘umph’. It’s still the most exciting Shchedrin/Bizet on disc‚ though sound­wise‚ this latest recording presents the fuller sound frame.
The fill­ups are fun‚ or at least the ‘Naughty Limericks’ (or ‘Merry Ditties’ as they were once known here) are‚ pure slapstick‚ with rasping trombones and squeeze­box rhythms. The last version I heard was Leonard Bernstein’s in the New York Philharmonic’s newest bumper collection‚ a marvellous performance‚ but Pletnev’s dryer manner also works well. ‘The Chimes’ is less fervid than on Svetlanov’s famous live Melodiya account‚ where the ringing is wilder‚ but the closing pages are very atmospheric.
DG’s recordings (Moscow State Conservatory‚ spring 1998) are more obviously staged for the ‘hi­fi’ market than other Pletnev/Russian National Orchestra recordings from the same stable – especially in Carmen – but the engineering certainly suits the music. It’s worth a spin‚ but to my ears it all sounds terribly dated‚ a bit like one of those flashback TV shows that home in on some random decade from your distant past. The tricks don’t wear terribly well‚ and you can’t say that of Stan Kenton. (Gramophone)

sábado, 16 de diciembre de 2017

Shchedrin plays SHCHEDRIN

Rodion Shchedrin embarked on a composing career at the dawn of the second half of the 20th century, and since then has been actively creative. Shchedrin is the happy owner of a gift that combines a topical music language with traditional elements of Russian music culture, which let him easily fit in with the global music space and, at the same time, remain an artist with strongly pronounced national attributes of style. While Shchedrin has created remarkable works in virtually all music genres, his relations with piano music are special. A student of the famous professor Yakov Flier, who was a brilliant soloist and teacher, Shchedrin continues the glorious traditions of the Russian school. His concert performances and recordings of his own works have always been bright events, and have attracted the attention of thousands of music lovers.

viernes, 15 de diciembre de 2017

Trio Wanderer FAURÉ - PIERNÉ Trios avec Piano

Gabriel Fauré’s Piano Trio is a late work (1923) which at once aroused the admiration of his contemporaries and is now regarded as one of the finest trios in the French repertory. The much less well-known Trio of Gabriel Pierné, premiered a year earlier, is characterised by its solid architecture, its great melodic richness, and a notably inventive rhythmic style. Two masterpieces that make an eminently logical coupling. It was premiered in Paris, at the Société Nationale de Musique, on 11 February 1922. Pierné himself played the piano part, with George Enescu on the violin and Gérard Hekking on the cello. After the concert, the composer Paul Ladmirault wrote a very flattering article in Le Courrier musical. One understands what Ladmirault meant when he wrote that it ‘may take its place alongside the finest chamber music of César Franck and M. Fauré’.

"the Wanderers’ versions rank with those of Domus (Hyperion) and Pascal Rogé and friends (Decca)... Harmonia Mundi has done the trio and Tamestit’s voluptuous viola proud. The sound is sumptuous, almost symphonic in scale and expansiveness, especially in the surging Brahmsian outer allegros. The intimate Fauré has rarely sounded more dramatic or passionate." (Hugh Canning / Sunday Times)

jueves, 14 de diciembre de 2017

Silvia Chiesa / Maurizio Baglini RACHMANINOV Complete Works for Cello and Piano

As a soloist Silvia Chiesa has worked with conductors such as Luciano Acocella, Paolo Arrivabeni, Gürer Aykal, Giampaolo Bisanti, Massimiliano Caldi, Tito Ceccherini, Daniele Gatti, Cristian Orosanu, Corrado Rovaris, Daniele Rustioni, Howard Shelley and Brian Wright. She has also recorded live for television and radio, on Rai Radio3, Rai Sat, France Musique and France 3. Her last CD is dedicated to the Italian music from the early 20th century and includes the first recording of the Cello Concert in C minor by Ildebrando Pizzetti, with the the Orchestra Nazionale Rai di Torino conducted by Rovaris (Sony Classical). In November 2015 she gave world premiere of …tra la Carne e il Cielo for concertante cello by Azio Corghi (dedicated to her and inspired by Italian poet Pier Paolo Pasolini) at the Teatro Comunale di Pordenone, with Maurizio Baglini, Omero Antonutti, Valentina Coladonato and the Orchestra Nazionale Rai di Torino conducted by Tito Ceccherini. 
In April 2016 Decca will release her new CD with Maurizio Baglini with the complete works for cello and piano duo by Rachmaninov. 
She is artist in residence for the international chamber music “Amiata Piano Festival” and she teaches at the Istituto Superiore di Studi Musicali “Monteverdi” in Cremona.

Vanessa Benelli Mosell CLAUDE DEBUSSY

Vanessa Benelli Mosell is a rising star on the international music scene. She is continuously praised for her virtuosity, her technical brilliance and the sensitivity of her musical insight, which have been shaped significantly in mentorships with Karlheinz Stockhausen and Yuri Bashmet. ​ 
Vanessa is acclaimed for her passion, in equal measure, for the great classics of the repertory and her championing of the newest composers. She has received universal praise for her recordings of Stockhausen for DECCA and for her orchestral debut of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2 with the London Philharmonic Orchestra which has been released in 2017. Last November Vanessa released her latest CD on DECCA CLASSICS of Debussy's Preludes Book I and Suite Bergamasque.
More recent and future highlights include her debut at La Scala Milan at the MiTo Festival; a Stockhausen Marathon; recitals at the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam and at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg; a portrait in Ireland with concerti by Rachmaninov and George Benjamin at Dublin National Hall, recitals with violinist Vadim Repin, and her debut at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre performing Chopin Concerto with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

The King's Singers GOLD

In 1967 six choral scholars from Cambridge founded a singing group and accidentally started a phenomenon. Photos of the original King’s Singers line-up show an earnest, bespectacled troupe of young men whose uneasy formality is a million miles away from today’s slick, matching-suited young members. But musically far less has changed, as ‘Gold’ – the group’s 50th anniversary triple-album – makes very clear.
Because what hits you first and leaves you last when listening to this project is the astonishing, exhilarating musicianship of these singers. You may or may not enjoy the group’s signature sound, with its diffuse bass warmth and blowsy top line (which has miraculously survived the departure of longstanding countertenor David Hurley), but there’s no arguing with tuning that electrifies even the simplest of chords, or with a vocal blend that turns cluster chords into gauzy clouds of colour. Stripped of the showmanship that’s so central to their live performances, this new generation of King’s Singers here prove that they still have the skills to go back to basics.
Paying tribute to the group’s past, while also bringing things cannily up to date, the three wide-ranging discs (five centuries of music spans from pristine Henry Ley to smoochy John Legend) divide their repertoire into three categories: ‘Close Harmony’, ‘Sacred’ and ‘Secular’. It’s a decision that allows them to roam to their musical extremes without the difficulty of trying to tie it all together in a single, coherent programme.
While all the recordings here are new, the pleasure for many longtime listeners will be hearing fresh accounts of familiar works and arrangements. Stanford’s The Blue Bird (erroneously titled here, along with Mary Coleridge’s original poem, as ‘The Bluebird’) flies freer than ever in this graceful performance, Rheinberger’s swooning Abendlied swells with so much restrained emotion that you scarcely miss larger choral forces, while Poulenc’s Quatre Petites prières de Saint François d’Assise feel markedly more differentiated and characterised than on their previous ‘Pater noster’ (Naxos, 12/12).
There’s novelty, too, in a mixed bag of new arrangements and commissions. Neither Bob Chilcott’s We are nor Toby Hession’s Master of Music make much of a mark, but John Rutter’s new Tempest-setting Be not afeard (its musical waves lulling and lapping evocatively) and arrangements of Shenandoah (Chilcott) and KT Tunstall’s Black horse and the cherry tree (L’Estrange) all feel like lasting additions to the group’s superb catalogue – a musical legacy well worth celebrating in its own right.
Looking back over 50 years of performances and recordings by The King’s Singers, it’s hard to think of a group whose music-making has aged so well. The joy, the generosity and the eclecticism of their earliest recordings are all still the defining qualities in their latest. The spectacles and stiff stances may be long gone but other things just never go out of fashion. Here’s to 50 more years. (Alexandra Coghlan / Gramophone)

Daniel Taylor / The Trinity Choir THE PATH TO PARADISE

The word sublime should never be used lightly, but if ever a collection of music warrants the term it's this one. In keeping with its title, this latest recording by Daniel Taylor and the Trinity Choir, their follow-up to Four Thousand Winter and the Juno-nominated The Tree of Life, offers a direct route to paradise, its figurative access achieved when the immediate space is filled with its glorious vocal performances. The set-list is dominated by choral works from the sixteenth century, the two by Arvo Pärt obvious exceptions. His pieces, as anyone familiar with the Estonian composer's output will have already guessed, sit comfortably alongside those by Thomas Tallis, William Byrd, Nicolas Gombert, and others. Though their works are set to sacred texts about the soul's lifelong struggle to achieve salvation, The Path To Paradise presents spiritually replenishing music whose rapturous beauty is capable of speaking to the faithful and non-faithful alike. (Textura.org)

lunes, 11 de diciembre de 2017

Nicholas Angelich / Renaud Capuçon / Gérard Caussé / Gautier Capuçon BRAHMS Piano Quartets 1 - 3

With this two-disc set of the piano quartets, Nicholas Angelich proves conclusively that he is the best Brahms pianist of his generation. His previous Brahms recordings -- a 2005 disc of the violin sonatas with Renaud Capuçon, a 2006 solo collection featuring the Paganini Variations, a 2007 solo collection of the late piano works, and a 2008 disc of the First Piano Concerto with Paavo Järvi leading the Frankfurt Radio Symphony -- showed his skill in a variety of settings. But this disc takes all Angelich has done before and wrapped up in a single package. In these performances of the German Romantic's piano quartets, there's the poetry of his solo discs, the virtuosity of his concerto disc, and the ensemble ease of his sonatas disc. But here Angelich is teamed not only with Renaud Capuçon, but also with his brother, cellist Gautier Capuçon, and with violist Gérard Caussé, and this small ensemble gives Angelich the room to be everything he can be as a Brahms player. He's a fiery virtuoso in the G minor Quartet, a tragic poet in the C minor Quartet, and a lyrical pastoralist in the A major Quartet. But more than that, Angelich is a full partner with the Capuçon brothers and Caussé, and together they turn in performances that sound truly, deeply, and profoundly Brahmsian, that is, brilliant but thoughtful, reticent but emotional, and always consummately musical. No matter how many recordings of these wonderful works one has, this one should be heard by all dedicated Brahms listeners. Virgin's digital sound is clear, warm, and evocative, but with plenty of detail.

Maya Youssef SYRIAN DREAMS

The latest release in harmonia mundi's fascinating Latitudes series features Maya Youssef, a virtuoso of the qanun, a traditional Syrian zither. Youssef's extraordinary musical gift and generosity of outlook, warmth, humor and optimism have brought comparisons with such legendary virtuosos as Ravi Shankar, Yehudi Menuhin and Meredith Monk. Syrian Dreams was written to express Youssef's powerful feelings of loss and sadness over the tragedy and suffering occurring in her homeland. 

Born in Damascus, Maya Youssef is a virtuoso performer on the qanun, the traditional Middle Eastern plucked zither. She moved to London under the Arts Council’s “exceptional talent” scheme, and has played at the Proms and alongside Damon Albarn. Here she demonstrates the range and power of her 78-stringed instrument on a “personal journey through the six years of war in Syria”. It’s an often exquisite, emotional set that constantly changes mood, from sorrow to hope, on compositions that range from the “prayer for peace” of the title track to the lengthy The Seven Gates of Damascus, in which she pays tribute to her battered homeland. Her music may be based on the scales and modes of the traditional Arabic maqam, but there are echoes of everything from jazz to flamenco here, and the backing is equally inventive, with thoughtful cello work from Barney Morse-Brown matched against incisive oud and hand percussion. (

Leontyne Price / Herbert von Karajan CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS

There are three or four CD's that are required listening in every December. Leontyne Price's makes the list-- with stars. This CD is a reissue from a LP recorded in 1961 and includes many, many great selections: Mendelssohn ("Hark!The Herald Angels Sing"), Schubert ("Ave Maria"), Bach ("Ave Maria" and "Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her") and Mozart ("Alleluja"). In addition, "Silent Night," "We Three Kings," "God rest ye merry, Gentlemen" and four other traditional Christmas songs are included. Ms. Price's a capella version of "Sweet li'l Jesus defies description. I'm not sure how to describe what she does on "Angels we have heard on High" except to say that her voice soars and floats as she plays with the melody line. She's obviously having a good time on this one. The two Bach numbers are wonderful, her version of "O Holy Night" is as good as any you'll ever hear, and the closing "Alleluja" is simply magnificent. (F.C.)

Philharmonia Orchestra / Paavo Järvi NIELSEN Flute Concerto - Clarinet Concert - Aladdin Suite

Carl Nielsen's two late woodwind concertos are performed here by the Philharmonia Orchestra with its own principals, in live recordings (no applause) at the Royal Festival Hall in London. Both works were conceived as portraits of their first soloists. Samuel Coles neatly personifies the fastidious Gilbert Jespersen, maintaining elegance and integrity in response to the intrusions of the orchestra, including a particularly obnoxious bass trombone. The controlled orchestral playing and the natural sound balance create a nice sense of chamber-music interplay between the soloist and his colleagues—including, sensibly, a solo violin rather than a whole section for the flickering runs at 2:35 in the first movement. Mark van de Wiel is equally convincing as the choleric Aage Oxenvad, responding angrily to the orchestra, and in the virtuoso cadenzas equally capable of picking a fight with himself. Unfortunately, the side drum, which frequently eggs him on, all but disappears from the balance at lower dynamic levels.
A rival account of the concertos by the New York Philharmonic with its principals under Alan Gilbert, on Dacapo, boasts equally fine solo and orchestral playing, but the recording shines more of a spotlight on the soloists (and on a larger-than-life trombone). That disc completes the set of Nielsen's concertos with an outstanding account of the Violin Concerto by Nikolaj Znaider. This one adds a colourful studio recording of the Suite from the music for the play Aladdin, with its Ivesian depiction of 'The Marketplace in Ispahan' in four superimposed, unrelated strands of music. (BBC Music Magazine)

sábado, 9 de diciembre de 2017

Andreas Brantelid / Bengt Forsberg FAURÉ The Music for Cello & Piano

The young cellist Andreas Brantelid, often accompanied and perhaps guided by the much older Bengt Forsberg, has gained notice for sheer virtuoso chops. But in this recital covering all of Gabriel Fauré's music for cello and piano, it's his way with a sheer melody that impresses the most: the two Berceuses (cradle song), the flawless unfolding of the two sonata slow movements from simple opening material (sample that of the elegiac Cello Sonata No. 2 in G minor, Op. 117), the remarkable, 54-second Morceau de Lecture (originally for two cellos, and the only arranged work here). Brantelid certainly delivers a smooth performance of the popular Papillon, Op. 77, and all the music here -- some of it well known, but most of it not so much -- is a pleasure. Fauré was one of the few composers who had a real knack for writing for the cello and did so without complaining about it. The best is saved for last: the Andante for cello and harmonium is the original version of the opening Romance, Op. 69, and it's really an entirely different work, spooky and inward, with the harmonium contributing a unique wash of sound. The harmonium was an extremely common instrument in the second half of the 19th century, and it's good to hear a work played on the instrument for which it was intended. BIS contributes fine Swedish radio sound to this recommended cello recital.

viernes, 8 de diciembre de 2017

Quatuor Ebène / Gautier Capuçon / Matthias Goerne SCHUBERT String Quintet - Lieder

Recording Franz Schubert's String Quintet in C major, D. 956, is a major achievement for most string players, and Quatuor Ebène's performance with cellist Gautier Capuçon on Erato is a high point in their discography. Playing with great transparency and alertness, the quintet delivers a vital performance that captures the rarefied, almost mystical quality of Schubert's late masterpiece while maintaining a sense of urgency and, at times, explosive energy. This is to be expected of a world-class string quartet, and it's probably more than enough effort for a single CD. Yet the program continues with a set of five of Schubert's lieder, sung by baritone Matthias Goerne and accompanied by Quatuor Ebène and double bassist Laurène Durantel, in arrangements by Raphaël Merlin. These versions for voice and strings were conceived in the spirit of the Schubertiades, on the idea that string players likely were in attendance and eager to join Schubert in impromptu music-making. While these transcriptions are speculative, they are certainly enjoyable for their beautiful tone and subdued feeling, and Goerne sings with warmth and expressiveness to match the subtle moods of the arrangements. (

jueves, 7 de diciembre de 2017

Arabella Steinbacher FANTASIES, RHAPSODIES & DAYDREAMS

Until the 2016 release of this album on Pentatone, violinist Arabella Steinbacher had mostly explored heavy repertory of the 19th and 20th centuries on recordings of Strauss, Franck, Shostakovich. She shifts gears with this collection of virtuoso favorites that might easily have appeared on a concert program of a century ago, or nearly that long. It's not a program of encores, which is more common today. The works on this program are substantial and, with the exception of Massenet's famous Méditation, between nine and 15 minutes in length. The novelty here is the opening Carmen Fantasie by Franz Waxman, written for Jascha Heifetz and edited by that great violinist. Despite her disclaimer, Steinbacher takes after Heifetz stylistically with her soaring, Apollonian tone, and this work fits her well. Another highlight is an unusually light, agile performance of Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending, rather quick, but always seeming under control and not rushed. Steinbacher has plenty of competition here and elsewhere, but in the main, her performances have the refined quality that her classic models achieved, even in broadly popular repertory. She picks her material well, avoiding her polar opposite, Fritz Kreisler. Pentatone's spacious sound, recorded in an unspecified location, delivers on its audiophile claims, and Steinbacher's Booth Stradivarius sounds great. A recommended look back at the age of the star violin virtuoso.

miércoles, 6 de diciembre de 2017

Les Talens Lyriques / Christophe Rousset JEAN-PHILIPPE RAMEAU Pygmalion

Christophe Rousset and the Talens Lyriques bring us to the stage of the Royal Academy of Music where Pygmalion, an act of ballet by Jean-Philippe Rameau inspired by an episode of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, was created in 1748. Love, showing empathy for Pygmalion’s despair of loving a statue, invigorates the sculpted woman who immediately falls in love with her creator. Very suggestive, the music of this tender and mischievous ballet deploys the grace of 18th century dances. Like Ovid’s Love, Christophe Rousset instils life in this score, one of Rameau’s greatest successes in his day, and offers us, thanks to his sense of drama and his impeccable leadership, a new and essential reading of this ballet.

Gautier Capuçon / Gabriela Montero RHAPSODY

The nearly uninterrupted string of strong, successful albums produced by cellist Gautier Capuçon (and indeed his violinist brother, Renaud) demonstrates that the CD debut Face à Face was not just a fluke produced by child prodigies. Rather, Face à Face was a springboard for what has proven to be an enduring career and ever-improving musicianship. On this latest album without his brother, Gautier collaborates with pianist Gabriela Montero on the cello sonatas of Rachmaninov and Prokofiev. Fans of Capuçon's playing will recall that he had previously released a recording of the Rachmaninov sonata with pianist Lilya Zilberstein on the EMI label in 2003. While it may seem questionable to make duplicate recordings when he has recorded so little of the cello repertoire, it offers listeners an opportunity to see how his playing continues to mature even over a short span of five years. While some of the tempos are a little different than the 2003 recording, the most notable difference is that of sound, which has developed impressively with the help of his magnificent 1701 Gofriller cello. His command of sound is most obvious in the solo opening of the Prokofiev sonata. The immense depth and power of his sound on the lower two strings of the instrument is enough to mesmerize anyone. Power and projection permeate the album along with his stunning technique, deep understanding of the score, and pleasantly precise intonation. (

lunes, 4 de diciembre de 2017

Eliane Rodrigues FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN Notturno

Brazilian pianist Eliane Rodrigues has recorded the 21 Nocturnes by Chopin on her newest disc Frédéric Chopin – Notturno. The two-disc set also includes the Ballades No.1 in G Minor, Op.23 and No.4 in F Minor, Op.52.
Rodrigues teaches at the Royal Conservatoire in Antwerp, performs frequently and has more than 25 recordings in her discography. She traces her Chopin connection to her earliest years at the keyboard playing the Waltzes and Mazurkas. But her affection for the Nocturnes is more than wistful nostalgia. A passing reference in her notes suggests a very deep and personal experience made the sadness and melancholy of the Nocturnes profoundly meaningful to her. As if to underscore this, she uses quotations from a fictitious Chopin diary to capture the mood of each Nocturne.
The playing, however, is the proof of her ownership. Entirely consistent and sustained throughout both discs, her interpretations never stray from the beauty and tenderness that Chopin poured into these pieces. Rodrigues never rushes anything. Arching phrases, ornaments and grace notes are all critical to completing the composer’s every utterance, and she gives each one the time it needs to unfold. It’s an arresting and beautiful performance. (Alex Baran)

domingo, 3 de diciembre de 2017

Il Seminario Musicale / Gérard Lesne CHARPENTIER Trois histoires sacrées

Marc-Antoine Charpentier composed about 35 histoires sacrées, essentially the same genre as the oratorio that had been developed by Giacomo Carissimi in Rome in the mid-seventeenth century. The texts were most frequently taken from the Hebrew Bible (although one of the works here has as its subject the Nativity), and most are relatively brief; the three included here last from about 12 to 37 minutes. The histoires sacrées primarily consist of solos and dialogues in the style of recitatives, in which singers take the roles of the characters in the drama, with a chorus acting as narrator. Only occasionally do soloists have what is conventionally understood as an aria, and when they do, the arias are not an excuse for showy vocalism, but have the purpose of advancing the drama, albeit with heightened melodic lyricism. For the listener who can put aside the expectations of the late Baroque oratorios of Handel or J.S. Bach, these intimate and deeply expressive works are immensely rewarding. Charpentier had a real gift for creating and managing dramatic tension through music, and these little gems have the character of brief operas. The longest of the three, Mors Saülis et Jonathae, has developed characters with musical individuality and a poignant story with an elegant dramatic arc. The ensemble Il Seminario Musicale, founded and conducted by French countertenor Gérard Lesne, performs these works with consummate musicality and sensitive attention to the subtleties of the texts. The soloists, including Lesne himself, sing with clear understanding of middle Baroque French performance practice and with robust, clean tone, and persuasively convey the emotion and theatricality of the stories. Naïve's sound is intimate, but with a nice sense of spaciousness.

sábado, 2 de diciembre de 2017

Laure Favre-Kahn VERS LA FLAMME

Laure Favre-Kahn studied the piano at the Conservatoire in Avignon, before joining Bruno Rigutto's class at the Paris Conservatoire, where she was unanimously awarded a Premier Prix at the age of seventeen.
At the age of twenty, she made her first recording of works by Schumann, followed a year later by a CD devoted to Chopin, both on the Arion label.
In January 1999, she performed at the Midem Music Festival in Cannes as one of the ‘Revelations Classiques de l’ADAMI’. She makes regular appearances as a soloist or chamber musician in France, in Europe, in USA and in Asia. Her partner of predilection is the violonist Nemanja Radulovic.
She has taken part in many important festivals : Auvers-sur-Oise, Orange (Chorégies), Bagatelle (Chopin Festival), Antibes (Festival des Jeunes Solistes), Evian (Rencontres Musicales), Reims (Les Flâneries Musicales), Montpellier (Festival de Radio France), Rocamadour (Les Eclectiques), Nohant (Rencontres Internationales Chopin), etc...
Laure Favre-Kahn has guested with various orchestras: Orchestre Symphonique de Nancy, Orchestre Symphonique Français, Ensemble Orchestral de Normandie, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Orchestre Colonne, Orchestre de Bretagne, Ukrainian Philharmonic Orchestra…
In May 2001, she won the first price International Pro Piano to New York, and gave a recital to the Carnegie Recital Hall in october 2001.
After that, she’s selected as Pro Piano Artist of the Year and recording in 2003 a CD devoted to Reynaldo Hahn, for Pro Piano Records to New York (recognize by New York Times).

L'Arpeggiata / Christina Pluhar VÊPRES SOUS CHARLES VI À VIENNE






None of these works have been previously recorded, and most of them come from manuscripts that were discovered by Pierre Cao in the libraries of Kromeriz (Czech republic) and Vienna.

jueves, 30 de noviembre de 2017

Musica Fiorita / Daniela Dolci JOHANN MELCHIOR GLETLE Motetten op. 5

The Swiss Baroque composer Johann Melchior Gletle's motets are among the most notable music to survive from that era. Although Gletle's musical background and much of his biography is obscured in the mists of passing centuries, it is known that Gletle produced an extensive collection of works. The ensemble Musica Fiorita has recorded selections of the motets of Gletle previously but with "Motets, Opus 4", they've amassed the entirety of Gletle's motet oeuvre in a 4 CD box set. With multiple hues coloring the instrumental spectrum and the virtuosity of the vocal and instrumental parts, Gletle's legacy is rediscovered in this spotlight collection from one of the finer Baroque ensembles today.

lunes, 27 de noviembre de 2017

Musica Fiorita / Daniela Dolci ALESSANDRO SCARLATTI Rosinda ed Emireno

"In 2009, I came across an interesting catalogue entry in the Austrian National Library. It was the opera 'Rosinda ed Emiremo' by Giacomo Perti with obbligato cornett arias. Since this instrument has always played a major role on many of our programmes, I was immediately electrified by this finding. The music turned out to be highly interesting – sweet, sonorous melodies with dialogues between the voice and cornett, a wonderful musical rarity. I soon put together a Bolognese concert programme on which the most beautiful arias from the opera were combined with instrumental sonatas from Giovanni Legrenzi’s Op. 8. The music went together very well and could be so readily combined because Legrenzi had dedicated his Op. 8 to Perti’s uncle, Lorenzo Perti. In addition, we played an aria from Giacomo Perti’s opera 'Penelope la Casta' in which the cornett has a highly virtuoso part. After the concert and the CD recording, I was contacted by the musicologist Rodolfo Zitellini, who specialises in Perti. He drew my attention to an opera by Alessandro Scarlatti entitled 'L’Emiremo ovvero il consiglio dell’ombra', based on the same libretto as Perti’s 'Rosinda ed Emiremo'. It was quite a surprise when we realised that not only were the libretti the same, but that the two operas – each aria, each recitative – were absolutely identical! I asked Rodolfo Zitellini to take on this task and, thanks to his painstaking research, we know today that Scarlatti composed the opera, not Perti. We are most delighted over the solution to this almost criminological puzzle and grateful for this new knowledge. One way or the other, it is clear that the music is magnificent, and it has been a worthwhile endeavour to wrest it from the darkness of the archive." (Daniela Dolci)

viernes, 24 de noviembre de 2017

Andreas Scholl / Dorothee Oberlinger / Ensemble 1700 JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH Small Gifts

When J. S. Bach dedicated his “Brandenburg Concertos” to the margrave Christian-Ludwig, he labelled them as “small talents” given to him by the heavens. Under the title “small gifts”, Andreas Scholl together with Dorothee Oberlinger and her Ensemble 1700 present a pure Bach programme with a selection of vocal and instrumental works which gives a lively impression of Bach’s musical rhetoric. 

The acclaimed recorder player Dorothee Oberlinger and her ensemble 1700 team up with famous countertenor Andreas Scholl for this inspiring new album featuring the work of J.S. Bach. The album includes arias from Bach cantatas for alto, a concerto for harpsichord arranged for flute, the cantata BWV 170 “Vergnügte Ruh” and the famed Brandenburg concertos No. 2 and No. 4. Dorothee Oberlinger is one of the most amazing discoveries of recent years, an expressive virtuoso who - quite rightly - received numerous awards while still very young. Today she is seen as one of the world’s greatest recorder-players, earning her unanimous acclaim for solo recitals at festivals all over Europe, in America and Japan, for example at the Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele, the Musikfestspiele Potsdam and the Settimane Musicale Stresa. Born in Germany, Andreas Scholl's early musical training was with the Kiedricher Chorbuben. He later studied under Richard Levitt and René Jacobs at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. A Grammy nominated artist, he has won numerous awards and prizes including the prestigious ECHO Award for his composition The Emperor's New Clothes and The Nightingale released on Deutsche Grammphon.

Albrecht Mayer / I Musici di Roma TESORI D'ITALIA

This release by Albrecht Mayer lives up to its title: the program items are truly Italian treasures, none common except for the Vivaldi Concerto for oboe, strings, and continuo, RV 450, at the beginning. There are a couple of world recorded premieres, from library manuscripts, making this a more or less essential purchase for libraries and good late Baroque collections. Those two pieces, an oboe concerto by the elusive Domenico Elmi, and the Concerto in C major for oboe, strings, and continuo, Op. 8, No. 4, of Giuseppe Sammartini, are both attractive, but among the other works, hardly better known, are some real gems (or tesori). Sample the Concerto in G minor for oboe, strings, and continuo, Op. 8, No. 5 with its unusual movement structure: two slow outer movements and a tripartite central movement that itself has a central slow section, all logically coordinated with the solo oboe part. Mayer has a clean, energetic style, but the backing by the venerable Musici di Roma lacks a bit of the contemporary crispness, and the sound from the Sala Accademica del Pontificio Istituto di Musica Sacra is vague. Nevertheless, a fine release of excellent music you almost certainly have never heard. (James Manheim)

jueves, 23 de noviembre de 2017

Anton Batagov BACH

Firma Melodiya presents a recording of J.S. Bach’s Partitas performed by Anton Batagov.
Johann Sebastian Bach and Anton Batagov. Who could ever think until recently that these names would cross? A promising pianist, prize-winner and Tatiana Nikolayeva’s alumni, he refused the anticipated career in his early youth and chose to continue with quite different music. The first performer of minimalist music in this country and a composer with a distinctive style, he resumed his “classical” performances not long ago. However, he refuses to keep a beaten path again.
As a principled antagonist of “authentism,” he plays any music in a poignantly contemporary fashion, sensing the breath of today in it. There might be something that creates an affinity between him and Glenn Gould, but the great Canadian pianist sensation and reading of Bach was totally different. Batagov hears Bach in a different way, drastically changing tempos, articulation and strokes as he repeats.
“Each note, each intonation, each chord of Bach’s music carries the truth next to which all the rest is inessential, therefore it sounds uncompromising and at times even merciless despite its blinding beauty. There is no path to light that wouldn’t run over Calvary,” he assumes.
His religious rendition of Bach’s partitas (he perceives No.4 as a Christmas mystery, and No.6 as a reflection of the Holy Passion) only naturally includes an arrangement of the chorale Jesus bleibet meine Freude played by the pianist between two cycles as a connecting link and dramatic core of the recording.
Anton Batagov recorded Bach’s music on the grand piano manufactured by Bösendorfer of Vienna (now a subsidiary of Yamaha) in a room of ZIL Culture Centre, a memorable location in Moscow where the necropolis of Simonov Monastery used to be.
“Batagov exploded the entire structure and texture of partitas, split them into atoms. After a ‘big bang,’ when the dance element disappears completely, a new universe is created in front of us, with Bach as its dome just the same.” – Radio Russia programme “Baroque Practice”

miércoles, 22 de noviembre de 2017

Musica Fiorita / Daniela Dolci GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL Ode for St Cecilia's Day

The harpsichordist and leader of the ensemble Musica Fiorita, Daniela Dolci (native of Sicily), studied early music at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel, specializing on historical keyboard instruments. Subsequently she went to Amsterdam for further training with Gustav Leonhardt. Her main focus – inspired by the work with Jesper B. Christensen—is the historical basso continuo practice, based on 17th and 18th century sources.
Well on time for St Cecilia's Day on 22 November, Pan classics presents a new recording of the impressive ode composed by Handel. The fine Basel-based orchestra Musica Fiorita, conducted by Daniela Dolci, performs this well-known work with their trademark historically informed knowledge and elegance, perfectly translating Handel's intentions in terms of underlining the text with very intentional use of musical affects. The Ode for St Cecilia's Day is joined on this CD by the Concerto grosso op. 6 no. 4, a further ocassion to appreciate the ensemble's fine playing. (Presto Classical)

Musica Fiorita / Daniela Dolci DOMENICO ZANATTA Venezia

Little is known about the life of Domenico Zanatta. He was most probably born in Venice as the title pages of his prints seem to attest. The very sparse notices on his early life indicate that he soon started a musical career, already printing his first collection of sonatas at the young age of 24. But he also had a second endeavor: His group of cantatas. Zanatta shows a great mastery of the genre and his melodic inventiveness freely flows between the structuring parts of his cantatas, continuing the tradition of his Venetian colleagues in a much worthy way. Flavio Ferri-Benedetti and Musica Fiorita, under Daniela Dolci, present some of his pieces in between works by Cavalli, Strozzi, who was a pupil of Cavalli, and Fontana, who was a pioneer of the, at the beginning of the 17th century, new stile recitativo. (Arkiv Music)

martes, 21 de noviembre de 2017

Javier Perianes FREDERIC MOMPOU Música Callada

Catalan composer Federico Mompou wrote four volumes of brief, aphoristic piano pieces called Música callada, or Music of silence, between 1959 and 1967. He seemed to inhabit a musical world of his own, indifferent or hostile to many of the conventions of western music, particularly Germanic music, which he described as "phonorrhea," with an excess of padding, ponderous development, and numbing redundancies. His aesthetic is similar in some ways to Satie's, and their works have some similarities, particularly the use of a simple, but unconventional tonal language that is not shy of dissonance. Mompou's music is notable for the simplicity and clarity of its content and its expression -- there are no wasted or unnecessary notes. It is almost all very quiet music and has a rhythmic fluidity that often obscures a sense of pulse. As a child, the composer grew up near his grandfather's bell factory, and he traced his musical aesthetic to the experience of hearing the bells. Many of the sonorities in Música callada can indeed best be described as bell-like. Spanish pianist Javier Perianes plays with an unmannered delicacy and a self-effacing directness that honor the ephemeral character of these pieces and allows their poetry to blossom. The sound is absolutely clear and captures the intimacy of the music.

viernes, 17 de noviembre de 2017

Seong-Jin Cho DEBUSSY

In his latest recording, 23-year-old South Korean pianist Seong-Jin Cho presents an all-Debussy programme. Debussy follows Cho’s two best-selling Chopin recordings.
It is entirely fitting that Seong-Jin Cho, winner of the 2015 International Chopin Piano Competition, should now turn to Debussy. Towards his life’s close, the French composer edited the piano works of Chopin, an experience that reignited his creativity, opening his heart to music he had loved since childhood. In turn, Cho’s connection to Debussy runs deep. He performed “Golliwogg’s Cake-walk” from Children’s Corner as part of his first public recital at the age of eleven, and his passion for the composer developed in parallel with his exploration of Chopin. He was therefore delighted to have the opportunity of commemorating the centenary of Debussy’s death, which falls in March 2018, with his own tribute.
Since childhood, Cho has felt many affinities with Debussy and he was keen to mark the centenary in his own style. The new album features both books of Images, each comprising three pieces of breathtaking imagination, in company with Children’s Corner and Suite Bergamasque, the latter including the hugely popular “Clair de lune”. Rounding things off in jubilant fashion is the beautiful “L’Isle joyeuse”.
“I have always loved Debussy’s music, but my feeling for it has deepened during my studies with Michel Béroff at the Paris Conservatoire,” Cho recalls. “Michel never presses me to accept his ideas on interpretation, which would be so easy for such a great master of Debussy’s music. His lessons are like meetings in which we discuss my playing, talk about music and art, and allow things to develop naturally. It’s a process of mutual understanding with Michel occasionally making suggestions about something that I might consider changing. Because he has such a profound connection to Debussy, he asks questions that can open your mind and ears to new possibilities.”

Stéphane Denève / Brussels Philharmonic PROKOFIEV Romantic Suites

On 17 November, the latest CD by the Brussels Philharmonic and music director Stéphane Denève will appear on Deutsche Grammophon. Brussels Philharmonic is the first symphony orchestra in Belgium to work with this record label. For its second recording with the more than 100-year-old Deutsche Grammophon, the orchestra opted for the ballet music of Sergei Prokofiev. Denève’s touch is clearly noticeable: he created a new musical dramaturgy, choosing from the existing suites, giving rise to new and exciting combinations.
Stéphane Denève, music director Brussels Philharmonic:
"I have always felt very close to Prokofiev's music, it is therefore an immense joy for me to be able to propose, thanks to the prestigious Deutsche Grammophon label, my own suites of two of his most marvellous ballets: Romeo and Juliet and Cinderella. The Brussels Philharmonic and myself want to offer a narrative journey, a romantic vision of those pieces, speaking to the senses and imagination. I hope that this recording will inspire reverie and evoke exalted emotions, in one word: infinite romanticism!”
In 2016, the Philharmonic recorded 'Connesson: Pour sortir au jour' for Deutsche Grammophon. That recording won a Diapason d’or of the year, a CHOC de Classica of the year and a Caecilia prize.

jueves, 16 de noviembre de 2017

Zsófia Boros LOCAL OBJECTS

Vienna-based Hungarian guitarist Zsófia Boros brings remarkable interpretive clarity and a uniquely unifying touch to a diverse collection of pieces in her second recording for ECM, Local Objects. Phrasing in distinct ways while staying faithful to the spirit of the music, she offers new perspectives on standards of the concert repertoire such as Carlo Domeniconi’s “Koyunbaba” and Jose Cardoso’s “Milonga”, differently flavours Egberto Gismonti’s harmonically-inventive “Celebração de Núpcias”, and reveals a highly observant musical eye in the choice of contemporary guitar pieces such as Mathias Duplessy’s “Nocturne”, Alex Pinter’s “Gothenburg”, and the epic “Fantasie” by Franghiz Ali-Zadeh.
Gismonti’s “Celebração de Núpcias” appeared on the 1976 recording Dança das Cabeças (a duo with late percussionist Nana Vasconçelos), the Brazilian master’s first ECM album. Zsófia’s version highlights the trance-like qualities of Gismonti’s original: “I couldn’t stop playing it,” she says.
“I just wanted to hear those harmonies.”
On “Milonga" by Argentinian Jorge Cardoso and Brazilian Anibal Augusto Sardinha (Garoto)’s exquisite, lyrical “Inspiração”, Boros adds introductions of her own. On the latter, harmonics suggest glass stars over a distant shore, before the melody arrives. “Like a film director, you focus on a small thing and it creates a feeling before you know what the film is about. Water droplets, droplets on a flower, a flower garden … I don’t want to go straight into the room where the story takes place, I want to go first into the garden, to see the flowers.”
With Italian composer Domeniconi’s four-part “Koyunbaba op. 19”, about a thirteenth century hermit who lived in a cove by the Aegean Sea, Boros puts each of the various sections and elements of the piece in an explicit light, creating an enlarged vision of the whole. After climactic chords, soft paper placed on the guitar strings helps produce the muffled, quasi-sordino passage...
... that opens Zsófia ’s building rendition of the “volcanic” presto, as she describes it, played fast but light.
Another extended offering on the album is “Fantasie” by Azerbaijani composer Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, an open-ended instrumental and compositional showpiece (in the positive sense of the term). Inside its complexity, Zsófia says her challenge was to “find the story”. “I need to make a piece my own for it to be authentic. And I can only be authentic if I’m honest, honest if I’m free.”
Short pieces by composer-instrumentalists bookend the album. The opening “Nocturne” by Frenchman Mathias Duplessy evokes, if unconsciously perhaps, the nocturne in its original Italian denomination describing a type of serenade. “I can hear it a thousand times and it still touches me,” she says. 
“Gothenburg”, by Austrian guitarist Alex Pinter, is about the end of a relationship. “Everybody knows how when a relationship ends, you have all these questions,” says Zsófia , for whom Pinter is a friend. She plays his lament liberally, empathetically, as an “object of local insight” to borrow from the Wallace Stevens poem that lends its title to this recording and is published in the CD booklet. (ECM Records)

Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana / Dennis Russell Davies BRUNO MADERNA Now, and Then

Unlike many of his radical new music colleagues, Bruno Maderna (1920-1973) had a great affection for older music, especially that of the Italian Renaissance and Early Baroque eras. But his transcriptions had little to do with the orthodoxy of so-called ‘historically informed’ interpretation. In the belief that works of art can be removed from their original contexts, he used contemporary instrumental resources to discover new meaning and a new validity in the works of old masters. His transcriptions of Gabrieli, Frescobaldi, Legrenzi, Viadana and Wassenaer are vividly conveyed by the RSI Orchestra under Dennis Russell Davies in a programme which includes Chemins V by Maderna’s good friend Luciano Berio (1925-2003). Chemins V is itself a transcription of sorts, a chamber orchestra version of Berio’s Sequenza XI. Soloist Pablo Márquez references flamenco and the guitar’s classical heritage, while the orchestra engages with the guitar on levels of expanded harmony. Dialogue develops, as Berio said, “through multiple forms of interaction, from the most unanimous to the most conflictual and estranged.” (ECM Records)

martes, 14 de noviembre de 2017

Juliane Banse IM ARM DER LIEBE

Juliane Banse's current concept album, entitled "Love’s Embrace”, is devoted to orchestral Lieder of the early twentieth century and presents works and composers who have been very unjustly forgotten. The romantic lyrics have catchy melodies and lightweight orchestration; they are easily on a par with the well-known orchestral Lieder by Mahler or Strauss. An excellent opportunity to regain familiarity with Late Romantic orchestral Lieder by Hans Pfitzner, Joseph Marx, Walter Braunfels and Erich Wolfgang Korngold, and to experience them in exemplary interpretations.
Towards the end of the nineteenth century, the Golden Age of the orchestral piano Lied and the original orchestral Lied had begun - with Hugo Wolf and, above all, Gustav Mahler. “Away with the piano!" was the latter's fierce demand: "We moderns need a larger device to express our thoughts, whether great or small.” Richard Strauss, Hans Pfitzner, Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Max Reger thought and composed in very much the same manner as such now-forgotten and soon to be finally rediscovered masters as Joseph Marx or Walter Braunfels.
In 1903, Pfitzner, for example, wrote his song "Infidelity and Consolation", which alternated between the popular sound” and artistic contrapuntal ambitions, and then orchestrated it: a "German folk song" from the pen of an intensely cerebral composer. In contrast, the Six Simple Songs op 9, composed from 1911 onwards by Erich Wolfgang Korngold - a childhood as well as a teenage prodigy - are by no means "simple"; instead they are artificial, refined, lightweight, melodically extravagant and harmoniously dazzling. The Graz composer Joseph Marx, once the most-performed living Austrian composer, represents the aspect of modernity that usually comes under the heading of “Late Romantic”; like Hugo Wolf, he also wrote music for an "Italian songbook" after Paul Heyse. The highly delicate "Three Chinese Songs" composed in the world war year of 1914 by Walter Braunfels, who was open to all the fine arts, were written for soprano and orchestra from the outset - but not merely as a footnote to once-fashionable exoticism. Like Mahler with his "Song of the Earth," Braunfels had been inspired by Hans Bethge's "Chinese Flute".
Together with the Münchner Rundfunkorchester conducted by Sebastian Weigle, Juliane Banse recorded the orchestral Lieder in a studio production by the Bayerischer Rundfunk in March 2015.

lunes, 13 de noviembre de 2017

Marie-Ange Nguci EN MIROIR

At the age of 18, Franco-Albanian pianist Marie-Ange Nguci has already positioned herself as an outstanding young artist of her generation. Her technical prowess and exceptional musicality has allowed her to develop a unique and poetic tonal quality, dazzling audiences in performance.
Nguci’s talents were recognized early on when she was awarded First Prize at the Lagny-sur Marne International Piano Competition in 2011. After winning the 2015 Dorothy MacKenzie Competition at the International Keyboard Institute and Festival in New York (IKIF), Nguci has been invited to give a solo recital at the French Consulate of New York in 2016. 
Performing frequently as a soloist, chamber musician and with orchestra, Nguci enjoys engaging with contemporary classical music and worked directly with composers Thierry Escaich, Graziane Finzi, Alain Abbott, and Fabien Touchard. Most recently, she recorded works by French composers César Franck, Camille Saint-Saëns, Gabriel Fauré, Olivier Messaien and Thierry Escaich, examining different historical periods and aesthetics.
Nguci received her Bachelor’s degree in Musicology at the Paris-Sorbonne University and her Master’s degree in Piano performance with highest honors at the Paris Conservatoire. She is currently enrolled in the Paris Conservatoire’s prestigious Artist Diploma course in piano while studying ondes Martenot and completing additional Master’s degrees in musical analysis and music pedagogy. She is a recipient of major grants from the Meyer and L’Or du Rhin Foundations and the French-American Piano Society in New York.

Cecilia Bartoli / Sol Gabetta DOLCE DUELLO

Cecilia Bartoli and Sol Gabetta – two of the most captivating women in classical music – are joining together for a new album ‘Dolce Duello’ to be released on Decca Classics on 10th November. It is a collection of Baroque masterpieces which showcase the stunning combination of voice and cello in a series of dazzling duels and wondrous arias. To coincide with the release, Bartoli and Gabetta will be performing on a European tour with Cappella Gabetta and conductor and violinist Andrés Gabetta.
‘Dolce Duello’ covers almost a century of music. The new album features works by Antonio Vivaldi, George Frideric Handel, Domenico Gabrielli, Tomaso Albinoni and Luigi Boccherini, as well as three world premiere recordings: Nicola Antonio Porpora’s ‘Giusto Amor, tu che m’accendi’ from the serenata Gli orti esperidi, and two compositions by Antonio Caldara – ‘Fortuna e speranza’ from his opera Nitocri and ‘Tanto, e con sì gran piena’ from Gianguir.
The composers of these works make a variety of requirements on their soloists, demanding equal commitment from both singer and instrumentalist – engaging them in a friendly duel. If the concerto is the most elaborate and extended of musical duels, the 18th century’s obbligato aria, with its pugnacious instrumental solo part, is easily the most spectacular. From the dawn of the Baroque, the voice and cello were inseparable companions, whether they appeared together for practical reasons (the cello being part of the continuo) or for expressive purposes. The sound of the cello is often considered to be the closest to the human voice, one elegantly complimenting the other. But when they are pitted against each other something extraordinary happens – the cello pushes the voice to its physical limits, while the singer demands raw emotion from wood and strings as if it were nature’s own instrument.
Reflected in the music of ‘Dolce Duello’ is the great friendship between Bartoli and Gabetta. They have known each other for years and had long been looking for a project to collaborate on. Together with a musicologist, they unearthed some beautiful works for voice and cello – three of which had never been recorded before. There are touching laments, as in Handel’s Ode for St Cecilia’s Day, as well as more energetic arias such as ‘Di verde ulivo’ by Vivaldi. Bartoli and Gabetta sparkle when they play together.
While it maybe an album of duels, the true winner is surely the listener – who can bask in the joyous music from two wondrous women. ‘Dolce Duello’ is full of sweet treats for every taste.

Genevieve Lacey LINE DRAWINGS

Jacob’s been a friend for decades. Almost as long as I’ve been playing the recorder, I’ve been playing Jacob’s music. Perhaps because I first met and loved him when I was little, his voice feels like my instrument’s mother tongue. Jacob’s simple melodies were so sweet for my young fingers. In adolescence, his music expressed things I couldn’t, yet meant with all my being. Jacob was there in my learning-my-craft years, his music urging me through the long, solitary practice tunnel. Nowadays I’m discovering expressive sides of him I didn’t recognise earlier ... He died centuries ago, but he’s shaped me.’

Australian recorder virtuoso Genevieve Lacey returns to the music of Dutch composer Jacob van Eyck in a new album on ABC Classics.
Born blind at the end of the sixteenth century, Van Eyck came to be hailed as ‘the Orpheus of Utrecht’ in his lifetime and is now regarded as one of the most significant musicians of his generation. As well as being an expert organist, he spearheaded technical and musical developments in bell-ringing, and was appointed as Director of the Carillons of Utrecht in 1628. He is best remembered, however, for his collection of works for solo soprano recorder ‘Der Fluyten Lust-hof’ (The Flute’s Pleasure Garden) – a collection of over 140 melodies and variations, with themes sourced from popular folk songs, psalms and memorable tunes of the time. Van Eyck was famously given a pay rise to wander through Janskerkhof public gardens in the evenings, to entertain passers-by on ‘his little flute’ (as the recorder was then called). Line Drawings compiles some of Genevieve Lacey’s favourite works from this collection.
The album cover and booklet feature stunning drawings by Brook Andrew, inspired by Van Eyck’s music.

domingo, 12 de noviembre de 2017

Fanny Robilliard / Paloma Kouider DEBUSSY - SZYMANOWSKI - HAHN - RAVEL

Violonist Fanny Robilliard commenced her studies at the age 16 at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Lyon with Marianne Piketty. First prize winner of Appassionato Competition 2006 in Caen, and Avignon International Competition 2007, she appeared as a soloist for several performances in France.
After getting her Diploma in the Masterclass at University of Music and Performing Arts Munich, she was admitted in the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischer Rundfunks Orchester Academy. Named by french performing rights society “Adami” as “Révélation Classique 2010”, she has been a frequent guest in many festivals, including Aix-­en-­Provence, Prades, Baden Baden Festpiele, the Nymphenburger Schloss Konzert, Lenk Sommerakademy, Traunsteiner Sommerkonzerte.
Between 2012 - ­2014 she was a member of the Berlin Philharmonic Karajan orchestra academy, which included regular concerts with the orchestra, as well as various chamber music performances and workshops with distinguished artists such as Simon Rattle, Christian Tetzlaff and Mitsuko Uchida.

Paloma Kouider studied with Sergueï Markarov at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris and with Elisso Virssaladze in Florence. In 2012 she joined the class of Avedis Kouyoumdijan at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, where her studies were further enriched by Claude Helffer in the field of contemporary music, and by Stéphane Béchy in early music and period performance. Paloma was named by French performing rights society ADAMI as a 'révélation classique', and was an award winner from the Groupe Banque Populaire foundation.
Invited at an early age to perform in prestigious programmes in Europe, Russia, Kazakhstan and Japan, she has never neglected her passion for literature, which she pursues in a classe préparatoire at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand.
Alongside her concert activities, and in collaboration with Alexandra Soumm and Maria Mosconi, Paloma founded the association "Esperanz'Arts", which organises artistic events for the socially disadvantaged.

martes, 7 de noviembre de 2017

Het Gelders Orkest / Antonello Manacorda CLAUDE DEBUSSY - MAURICE RAVEL

The bulk of La mer was composed during a visit to Burgundy – a long way from the nearest sea – although the work was completed in the English seaside town of Eastbourne. The composer himself argued that his inspiration was drawn from a range of ocean view paintings and from literature in which the sea played a major part. Debussy described the work as 'Three symphonic sketches for orchestra' (Trois esquisses symphoniques pour orchestre), thus avoiding the term 'symphony', which would have imposed a specific musical structure, as well as the expression 'symphonic poem', which would imply that the music was descriptive in nature. 'Sketches' was a wise choice, precisely because it neatly conveys that the music is meant to do no more than provide an impression.
Whereas Debussy occupied himself spontaneously and intuitively with looking for new sounds, Ravel placed much more emphasis on the effect that the sounds could have in the context of a musical story.
One of these dazzling impressionist tales was the suite Mother Goose (Ma mère l’Oye). Between 1908 and 1910, he wrote a simple suite of piano pieces for four hands for the children of some friends, inspired by a few fairy tales that he took in part from the Tales of Mother Goose by Charles Perrault. Albeit the music was not technically difficult, the subtlety of the sound and melodies imbued the work with extreme refinement. This became clearly evident when he subsequently arranged to work for orchestra, refining the music even further with the larger orchestral sound palette. Ravel used this orchestral version in 1912 for a ballet.

lunes, 6 de noviembre de 2017

Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Ensemble AGOSTINO STEFFANI Duets of Love and Passion

The outstanding features of Steffani’s enchanting chamber duets are their contrapuntal sophistication, and the need for extremely accomplished solo singers with the sensitivity necessary for performing complex chamber music. Johann Mattheson recognized both facets in 1739, confirming that Handel had chosen his models for this genre wisely, and also that, in his estimation, Steffani’s works remained unsurpassed. Colin Timms’ 1987 essay, Steffani’s Influence on Handel’s Chamber Duets, explored the various ways in which Handel appropriated Steffani’s thematic material, contrapuntal style, and overall duet structure for his own works. An Emeritus Professor of Music at the University of Birmingham (UK), Dr. Timms provided the inspiration for this extraordinary Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF) recording project and concert, and has been very generous in helping to shape it. Under the direction of BEMF Musical Directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs, four stunning vocalists—sopranos Amanda Forsythe and Emoke Baráth, tenor Colin Balzer, and baritone Christian Immler—and a continuo team of six brilliant instrumentalists present a selection of Steffani’s gorgeous chamber duets, as well as instrumental gems from the Baroque.