miércoles, 29 de marzo de 2017

Bruno Cocset / Les Basses Réunies GEMINIANI & THE CELTIC EARTH Give Me Your Hand

Some of the Italian musicians who came to London to ‘make their fortunes’ found themselves influenced by the Celtic lands and their rich tradition of folk music. They were in their turn admired and sometimes even copied by their counterparts in the British Isles. This recording shows the outcome of that encounter. Lorenzo Bocchi was probably the first Italian cellist to settle in Edinburgh, in 1720.
Francesco Geminiani (1687-1762) arrived in Dublin in 1733. Since 1714 he had been resident in London, where he performed with Handel, but his passion for art dealing landed him in prison. The Earl of Essex then took him under his protection in Dublin, where he swiftly acquired a high reputation. In 1749 he published in London a collection of songs and tunes arranged as sonatas for several instruments combined with a treatise that gives us much useful information on how to play this music. James Oswald (1710-1769), whom Geminiani greatly admired, was a prolific Scottish composer. Turlough O’Carolan (1670-1738), a harper who went blind at the age of eighteen, travelled throughout Ireland as an itinerant bard in the service of aristocratic families. This disc brings these four musical protagonists together in an imaginary meeting (or perhaps it actually took place!) in Dublin. (Presto Classical)

Duo Brüggen-Plank SZYMANOWSKI Works for Violin and Piano

While studying the works of Szymanowski, we quickly discovered the powerful attraction his music exerted on us. It felt as though we had found our own channel for expressing ourselves musically. His language immediately fascinated and thrilled us and we have regularly featured the works of this composer in our recitals since rst performing as a duo in 2007. We are both interested in how human emotional states are addressed, their diversity, expression, homophony and the compatibility of emotionality with today’s “functional” world. Where are the boundaries of what a person can feel, express and communicate? Szymanowski’s works open up new horizons in this area and we hope to be able to convey this richness to all people who are open to this extremely intensive, not always easy to listen to, poetic and fantastic music. (Henrike Brüggen, Marie Radauer-Plank)

The thrilling contrasts in a composer’s oeuvre are presented by Marie Radauer-Plank and Henrike Brüggen on their first GENUIN release. The two artists bring the world of the great Karol Szymanowski, whose death anniversary will be commemorated on March 29, 2017, to life before our ears. His music reflects the spirit of his time while drawing inspiration from ancient sources. It derives its power from the traditions of his homeland, but remains universal. And all of this can be heard in the playing of the two young, international prize-winning musicians: sophisticated yet down-to-earth, incredibly sensual yet clearly structured – a true discovery!

sábado, 25 de marzo de 2017

François Lazarevitch TELEMANN 12 Fantasias for Solo Flute

‘The reserve collections of the Bibliothèque Royale of Brussels hold the sole printed copy of Telemann’s Twelve Fantaisies for solo flute. . . . These fantasias considerably enrich the slender corpus of Baroque works for flute without bass, alongside two other gems, the Partita of J. S. Bach and the Sonata in A minor of C. P. E. Bach. A cycle for solo flute of this kind, arranged by tonalities (the twelve that come most naturally to the instrument) and rising gradually from the key of A to that of G, is unique in the repertory. . . . These fantasias, each with its own mood, are miniatures consisting of a succession of three or four movements in the same key. All of them have in common the concision, the formal brevity and the rapid alternation of their movements. Telemann plays on effects of contrast and surprise by switching between opposing characters and tempi.
‘The open form of the fantasia offers the composer an ideal field of freedom and expression for his inexhaustible imagination. A fervent champion of the réunion des goûts (mixed style) embracing German, Italian, French and Polish tastes, Telemann covered all the genres, national styles and compositional idioms of his time.’ (François Lazarevitch)

Michèle Losier / Olivier Godin TEMPS NOUVEAU

Critically acclaimed for her rich voice and masterful musicality, French-Canadian mezzo-soprano Michèle Losier presents her first solo recital on the ATMA Classique label. “I was pregnant with my first child when I chose the songs for this recording. I felt simultaneously calm and overjoyed. I particularly remember the impression the lullaby Dors ami made on me; it deeply moved my maternal heart,” she says. Pianist Olivier Godin accompanies Losier in a program of French melodies by Gounod, Massenet, Franck, Bizet and Saint-Saëns.

Ophélie Gaillard EXILES

Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, the United States, land of freedom, open to the world, a democracy concerned with human rights, attracted emigrants of all origins. Rightly or wrongly, the young nation, in full economic expansion, embodied a land of redemption for the composers brought together by Ophélie Gaillard.
After Alvorada, her globe-trotting cello leads us in the footsteps of Bloch, Korngold, Prokofiev, Chava Alberstein and Giora Feidmann, singing their exile, whether suffered or deliberately chosen. She makes us vibrate to the sound of a film score (Korngold’s Concerto), a prayer (From Jewish Life), an Hebraic narrative (Schelomo), a lullaby, a wedding dance… The spirit of celebration, tenderness, religious meditation: so many facets of daily life and the culture of several generations of Jewish immigrants, related by Ophélie Gaillard’s humanistic bow.

viernes, 24 de marzo de 2017

Lucas Jussen / Arthur Jussen SAINT-SAËNS - POULENC - SAY

The Jussen brothers were born into a musical family. Their father Paul Jussen is a timpani player with the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra in the Netherlands and their mother Christianne van Gelder is a flautist and teacher. “Music was always there and we often joined them when they had rehearsals or when there was a night concert,” says Lucas. “The hall where our father rehearses is very close to our house, so whenever there was a great soloist or a nice conductor we were free to come and listen. So we did many times. So there wasn’t really any escaping from it. And we’re happy about that.” 
After winning young musical talent awards and doing well in piano competitions, the brothers studied in Portugal and Brazil in 2005 with master pianist Maria João Píres. Dutch teacher Jan Wijn then took them under his wing. Recently, Lucas studied with Menahem Pressler in the US and Dmitri Bashkirov in Madrid, while Arthur continued with Wijn at the Amsterdam Conservatory. “We still visit him often when we need help, when we need to prepare new pieces, and he’s a huge help, but we’re not anymore connected to an institute, like a real school,” says Lucas.

Scherzi Musicali / Nicolas Achten ANTONIO BERTALI La Maddalena (reupload)

Through the combination of sacred and profane that she embodies, the profoundly human personality of Mary Magdalene greatly inspired artists of the Baroque era, whether painters, poets or composers. It was in the sphere of influence of Italian oratorios, highly prized at the court of Vienna, that Antonio Bertali devoted a most moving sepolcro to her in 1663, a genre traditionally played during Holy Week. In 1617, in Mantua, it was in the form of theatrical interludes that she was honoured by court composers such as Salomone Rossi, Muzio Effrem and Claudio Monteverdi, who wrote the prologue for this other Maddalena.

Capella de Ministrers / Carles Magraner LA SPAGNA Danzas del Renacimiento español

La Spagna reviews the universe of instrumental dances from the Spanish Renaisance by composers such as Ortiz, Milán, Dalza, Negri, Caroso, Capirola, Cabezón, Praetorius, Barbetta, Spinacino, Narváez and anonymous works from the Cancionero de Palacio (the Palace Songbook).

Natalie Dessay / Philippe Cassard SCHUBERT

Since the beginning of her career, Natalie Dessay has sung on the most important international stages and has been regularly invited by the Vienna State Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala , Gran Teatre del Liceu , the Royal Opera House in London , and the Paris National Opera. 
A great performer of the French repertoire , she has sung Ophélie, Minka, Lakmé, Olympia, Juliette, and Manon , and has enjoyed great success in the bel canto repertoire in La sonnambula and particularly in Lucia di Lammermoor , a role she has sung at the Chicago Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, the Paris National Opera, and she has recorded under Valery Gergiev. She has also performed Marie in La fille du régiment , directed by Laurent Pelly , which was performed at the Covent Garden Opera House, the Vienna State Opera, the Metropolitan Opera , and the Paris National Opera; and Violetta in La traviata in Tokyo, at the Aixen - Provence Festival, the Vienna State Opera , and the Metropolitan Opera. 
Ms. Dessay has collaborated with Michel Legrand, with whom she has been on tour in Europe, and North and South America , with a stop in Koerner Hall . She continues her recital career with bass - baritone Laurent Naouri and pianist Maciej Pikulski with a program dedicated to French songs , and she regularly gives recitals with Philippe Cassard, performing German Lieder and French songs. She records exclusively for Sony Classical and, with Cassard, she released Claire de Lune in 2013 , Fiançai lles pour rire in 2015 , and new CD, dedicated to Schubert, in March 2017.

Tetzlaff Quartett SCHUBERT String Quartet No. 15 HAYDN String Quartet Op. 20 No. 3

There is no better way to experience intimacy in music than through the magic of string quartets. I experienced this myself as an amateur violinist many years ago when I organized a trio, and later when I was invited to participate in performing quartets.
In this new recording the prestigious Tetzlaff Quartett (Christian Tetzlaff, Elisabeth Kufferath, Hanna Weinmeister and Tanja Tetzlaff) present a program of String Quartets by Franz Schubert and Joseph Haydn in exemplary performances.
Praised by The New York Times for its “dramatic, energetic playing of clean intensity”, the Tetzlaff Quartett is one of today’s leading string quartets. Alongside their successful individual careers, Christian and Tanja Tetzlaff, Hanna Weinmeister and Elisabeth Kufferath have met since 1994 to perform several times each season in concerts that regularly receive great critical acclaim.

Capella de Ministrers / Carles Magraner MISTERI D'ELX La Vespra - La Festa


Divided into two days, this recording includes the first part of the drama of the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, which ends with her death. It is based on the ‘consueta’ version of 1709.


Divided into two days, this recording includes the second part of the drama of the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, describing the assumption and ending with the coronation of Mary. Polyphonic works are most abundant in a work that developed over a long period with the involvement of many different musicians.

Ever since its foundation in 1987, the Capella de Ministrers ensemble, directed by Carles Magraner, has developed an important investigative and musicological task in favour of the musical Spanish patrimony, from the medieval times up to the 19th century. The result transformed into musical testimony, brings together the perfection of three key factors: the historical rigor, the musical sensibility and, specially, an uncontrollable desire to communicate and they make us participants of these experiences.
The ensemble has performed numerous concerts since its foundation and has played in the best music venues in Spain: the Auditorio Nacional de España, the Palau de la Música de Valencia and the Palau de la Música Catalana, Auditorio de León, Teatro de La Maestranza, El Escorial, Centro Conde Duque, Auditorio de Castellón, Teatro Cervantes... It has also participated in numerous festivals, such as the Festival de Música Antiga de Barcelona, Madrid Cultural 1992 (with the recuperation of the opera Los elementos by Antonio Literes), the Festival de Teatro Clásico de Almagro, the Festival de Peralada, the Quinzena Musical Donostiarra, Los Veranos de la Villa (Madrid), the Festival Grec (Barcelona), the Festival Internacional de Música y Danza de Granada and the Festival de Música Religiosa de Cuenca, Serenates a la Universitat (Valencia), Festival Are More (Vigo), Festival Medieval de Elche, International Jewish Music Festival in Amsterdam, etc.
The group has also performed outside Spain, particularly in France, Belgium, Rumania, Portugal, Holland, Egypt, Italy, Germany, Morocco, England, Poland, Tunisia, Chile, Portugal, Greece, Argentina, Brazil, the United States, Mexico, Finland, Austria, Cuba, Croazia, China, Algeria, Sweden, Norway, Japan, etc.
In May 2008 Capella de Ministrers participated in the inauguration of the "Casa de la Lengua Española en Rodas", chaired by His Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain. The group took part in the same year in the official acts that took place in the Monastery of Santa Maria de Poblet to commemorate the 800th Anniversary of the birth of James I of Aragon.

miércoles, 22 de marzo de 2017

Hille Perl / Marthe Perl ELEMENTS

Greek philosophers in the pre-Christian era considered the four elements to be the basic components of life on earth; there was only the occasional argument if water or air should be considered to be the primordeal matter. The alchemists of the late middle ages and the early modern era placed the tenet of the four elements to be of crucial importance; physicians used it to characterize types of patients and astronomers discovered that celestial bodies are in corresponding constellations to the elements on this planet. Finally the Christian dogma also picked up on the elements and used them as characteristics of the four archangels.
Popular belief had a vast abundance of spirits who animated the world, there weresubterranean gnomes who populated the woodlands, fickle sylphs who whispered in the shrubbery, every well was inhabited by alluring undines, and salamanders could brave even the fiercest and hottest fires.
Is the mythological knowledge of these existential components of any significance to 21st century cosmopolitans?
Our answer to this question would be a very decidedly positive: why, of course!
Precisely at this moment, as the world seems to become unhinged on all levels,  we need more than ever the universal knowledge of the real and spiritual dimensions of the four elements, of their creative powers and their destructive energy, their interdependency and their sacred nucleus.
With this album we intended to contribute to this global challenge - and we are using music, being our language, our means of communication to enunciate the all-embracing love and kindness we have for the world- hoping to be received kindly and lovingly.
FIRE : Fire is a symbol of all-consuming love, it stands for burning passion and the comforting warmth of friendship.
And whether it be a devastating blaze or the consoling warmth of a burning wood-stove on a frosty winter’s morning….Fire is nourishing and protecting us, but it can also be a merciless destroyer - hence we are challenged to practice humility, caution and mindfulness.
A little thematic prelude by Marthe Perl initiates the contemplation of this element. We took the liberty to pick from the rich treasure of traditional Irish melodies to depict several aspects of real flames: a flag of fire to indicate the direction of movement, a fire in the mountain, maybe it is threatening the forest or a village, and an old woman who sits by the fire, sipping her tea. Then Soler’s Fandango fell into our hands: famous as a piece for harpsichord we found it quite suitable to carve out different aspects of persistent fervor and the burning passion for a theme on two bass viols.
EARTH: earth is our soil, the humus which grows our food, the life-giving furrow. We are made of earth, as all living things, and when all is said and done we return to earth, to become dust again and tobecome the origin of new life. The element earth symbolizes the circular flow of the years and the representation of growth, decay and resurrection embedded within.
Marthe’s Earth-Prelude opens this chapter, then another Irish tune about a boggy ground. Another Ground music are the Folia-related variations by Mr. Farinell, ere we turn to a funeral music for two viols : the ‚Tombeau pour M. de Meliton‘ who was a friend and patron of the great Marin Marais. 
WATER: the water-theme. Sister-element of the earth, allegorically depicting that our life is in flow, everchanging and in constant motion, like a river that in the end shall be released into the ocean, whose infinitude makes us small human beings feel humble and lost. Water is the emotional element: we shed tears of joy and sorrow. And - just like fire - water has a huge potential for destruction: it can wash away anything that thwarts its path.
The aspect of sorrow, of lamenting and of teares is our predominant theme in this set. ‚Hume’s Lamentation‘ follows Marthe’s initial Prelude and then the Lachrimaeby Sumarte for one viol is supplemented by Marthe’s arrangement of the famous Dowland-piece. 
AIR- air is respiration! God breathes life into us, when we first appear on earth, and finally we will take our dying breath and be gone. Air is a symbol for movement, for wind and whirl, for effortlessness and creativity.  But also for the damaging power of tempests and hurricanes. Marais’ ‚Bourrasque‘ isthe presentation of a storm, then we consider together with Thomas Ford how the air has changed - or the melody. Bagpipes are very windy instruments, and in the wild goose-chase we hastily cut through the air with our bows. Finally we describe a game of badminton which apparently the noble people of Versailles already knew and played.
A pensive Andante by Francis Poulenc from his Sonata for two clarinets is our farewell music on this CD. We believe, Poulenc could have meant it to be played with two viols, if only he had known the instrument.
Fire, Earth, Water and Air: four Elements - four different physical conditions of our planet - and of our selves. We believe it to be worthwhile togive special consideration to these ingredients of life, in these times of a growing  elemental imbalance in the world.
This concertis an invitation to give way to a musical contemplation of the complexities of the world, the ingredients of life,  and to encourage a general mindfulness. (Hille Perl, Winkelsett  2014)

Remy van Kesteren TOMORROW EYES

When one thinks of a harpist, presumably images of delicately strumming nymphs with long blonde hair come to mind. But now there is Remy van Kesteren. He has won the 2013 US International Harp Competition, the largest harp competition in the world, has reached 500,000 visitors during the Night of the Proms and has taken on numerous ambitious projects, including a collaboration with the famous ballet choreographer, Hans van Manen, in 2014. At the age of five, Remy was lured off the swing by a mysterious sound from an open window – the sound of the harp. Aged ten, he entered the Conservatory of Utrecht and before he had finished his studies with the highest distinction, he could already look back on two successful editions of his own Dutch Harp Festival. Remy attributes his rapidly developing career to his former teacher, Erika Waardenburg, the purveyor of the Dutch harp scene. He does not feel bound to ‘prevailing ideas’ about the harp.
Remy van Kesteren (1989) is regarded a world-class harp talent and one of the most adventurous harpists of the moment. At the age of ten, he was admitted to the Conservatory of Utrecht in the class of Erika Waardenburg where he graduated with the highest distinction in 2010. He further pursued his studies at the Conservatoire Natoinal Supérieur de Musique de Paris, where he worked with the famous harpist Isabelle Moretti. In 2012, Remy received his master diploma ‘summa cum laude’ at the Conservatory of Amsterdam. At age twenty, Remy founded the Dutch Harp Festival, of which three successful editions have taken place in Utrecht. The Festival will be held for the fourth time in 2016.

Capella de la Torre / Katharina Bäuml CIACONNA

Capella de la Torre is a group of musicians who have made a name for themselves as specialists in historical performance practice. The ensemble's aim is to give listeners an immediate experience of the rich and hitherto neglected repertoire of mediaeval and renaissance music by performing it to a professional standard. 
The name "de la Torre" has a double meaning. In the first place, it pays homage to the Spanish composer Francisco de la Torre, who wrote his "Danza Alta" at the beginning of the 16th century. This is probably the most famous piece for what was then known as "capella alta", an ensemble of wind instruments such as shawms, dulcians, sackbuts and cornetti. Capella de la Torre has specialized in music written for the "capella alta". Secondly, the name may be taken in a literal sense: "de la Torre" means "from the tower" and groups of wind players (Spanish: ministriles) often played on towers or balconies at festivals and other official occasions. "Torres de los Ministriles" are still to be found in many Spanish towns today. 
Capella de la Torre does not confine itself to Spanish music, however, but also plays music written throughout the rest of Europe for the "hauts instruments" or "loud instruments". In general, it tries to breathe life into the old traditions of "ministriles", "piffari" and "Stadtpfeiffer". In the music world of today there are very few ensembles centred around historical double-reed instruments. This is particularly so in Germany.

Nuria Rial / Artemandoline SOSPIRI D'AMANTI

With their ensemble Artemandoline, formed in 2001, Juan Carlos Muñoz and Mari Fe Pavón chose to go back to the original documents in order to the establish the true pedigree of this incomparable family of instruments. They have made a major contribution to launching a movement to encourage musical freshness and rigour. A better understanding of the compositions, closer study of the early treatises, the playing styles, the musical environment of the glorious era of the mandolin, leads to better appreciation of Baroque music, which itself became over time a mode of thought and action.
Searching for early mandolins, working on the manuscripts, hunting down early treatises, exploring the iconography: these are the means by which, for more than ten years now, the musicians of Artemandoline have sought to do fuller justice to the works of Scarlatti, Vivaldi, Weiss, and their contemporaries. The success of this approach based on a return to the sources, which constitutes the most important development in the history of the interpretation of ‘serious’ music in the course of the twentieth century, has been made possible by the cooperation of many protagonists – musicians, but also concert organisers, recording producers, publishers, musicologists, and instrument makers. 
To ensure that music composed in the past does not sound like mere ‘early music’ in the present, the performers must manage to be sufficiently free, spontaneous, anticipative and astonished in their intimate act of creation and the newness it engenders. Juan Carlos Muñoz and Mari Fe Pavón spend their lives searching out and reviving forgotten masterpieces of the mandolin repertory. They are not content with simply presenting their finds like ‘musical archaeologists’, but endeavour to transmit them to the wider public by means of the essential act of communication between interpreters, composers, and listeners.

lunes, 20 de marzo de 2017

Steven Osborne FELDMAN - CRUMB

I can’t imagine Morton Feldman, cantankerous curmudgeon that he was, would have been thrilled at the prospect of having his music paired with that of George Crumb, but Steven Osborne makes a solid case beyond any obvious fact that their careers happened to overlap during a certain period in the history of American music.
The arid, slapped clusters of Feldman’s Extensions 3 (1952) set the tone nicely for Crumb’s painterly, Giotto-inspired A Little Suite for Christmas, AD 1979 (1980), which itself begins with an accumulation of compacted clusters. But wisely Osborne doesn’t try to push any supposed stylistic affiliation too far. Intermission 5, Piano Piece 1952 and Extensions 3 are exemplars of Feldman’s formative experiments with reconfiguring musical scale, and were all written in 1952. The seamless procession of harmonically tangled dotted crotchets, alternating between right and left hands, arranged neatly to form Piano Piece 1952 is marked ‘Slowly and quietly with all beats equal’ and Osborne does Feldman’s bidding cleanly and accurately; clearly he’s thought long and hard about the implications Feldman’s indication has for shaking entrenched patterns of expressive behaviour.
If the challenge Piano Piece 1952 presents is keeping Feldman’s gyrating contours contained within a narrow bandwidth of dynamic and pulse, Intermission 5 and Extensions 3 are both concerned with blunt contrasts of dynamic and texture. On Mode, Aki Takahashi pushes Extensions 3 to a death-defying 6'43"; at 5'30" Osborne keeps a safety net, but this is a very fine performance. Abrupt juxtapositions of slammed fff chords breaking into echoing ppp aftershocks make the piano resonate like you never heard, and Hyperion’s microphones intimately capture the wailing overtones and ricocheting piano action.
Palais de Mari (1986) is Feldman’s most-recorded piano work, and Osborne’s supple control of overaching line and timbre means this is a real contender alongside hardcore Feldmanistas such as Aki Takahashi, John Tilbury (LondonHALL) and Steffen Schleiermacher (MDG). The sort of dramatic rhetoric Crumb throws around finds Osborne patrolling more familiar terrain, and A Little Suite for Christmas in particular receives a dramatically vigilant and eloquently coloured reading. Feldman and Crumb pair rather well together—but, shush, don’t tell Morty. (Gramophone)

John Holloway / Lars Ulrik Mortensen / Jane Gower DARIO CASTELLO - GIOVANNI BATTISTA FONTANA Sonate Concertate In Stil Moderno

This collection of pieces from the first generation of Baroque violin music presents almost unknown but highly distinctive and exciting compositions, superbly performed and recorded. The music here was recorded in 2008 and not issued until 2012, perhaps due to ECM's unease over marketing works that even Baroque enthusiasts may not have heard of. These pieces come from Venice, probably during the 1620s. They point the way toward the Baroque duo and trio sonata, still decades in the future, but they're artistically coherent unto themselves. The works of both composers, Dario Castello and Giovanni Battista Fontana, represent a stage in the application of the discoveries of Monteverdi's seconda prattica to independent instrumental music: the lines of the melody instruments have the rhythmic freedom of early opera but are shaped into abstract structures that may be quite startling. Sample the Sonata Nona for fagotto e violino (bassoon and violin) of Fontana (track 5), where the violin is withheld until well into the piece. The relationships among the instruments are constantly changing, and the gorgeous sounds of the instruments used here makes a major contribution: the bassoon of Jane Gower is a dulcian, an immediate ancestor of the modern bassoon, and John Holloway's Baroque violin is a flashing, multi-hued wonder. With superior engineering from ECM in the Propstei St. Gerold (an Austrian mountain monastery beloved by European audiophile engineers), this is a group of highly variegated, dynamic small pieces, a real Baroque find. (James Manheim)

Daria van den Bercken KEYS TO MOZART

To classify this Mozart release by Dutch pianist Daria van den Bercken might mean putting it under the heading of modern-piano interpretations influenced by the historical-performance movement. Van den Bercken herself says in her notes that although she comes "up against a wall" when she plays Mozart on a fortepiano, she admires and has been inspired by the work of fortepianist Malcolm Bilson and conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Her Mozart is sharply articulated and only lightly pedaled. On another level, though, her readings owe little to historically oriented performances. The "keys to Mozart" in the album title are pretty general (look to opera to understand Mozart's melodies), but van den Bercken's readings are individual and very finely wrought. The movements are sharply differentiated in a way atypical of fortepiano performances: note the unusual weight given the first two movements of the Piano Sonata in A major, K. 331, reducing the flashy Turkish rondo to a decorative finale. She does not seek power in the Fantasie in C minor, K. 396, but rather a reflective series of thoughts. In the "intellectual" kind of Mozart work, such as the mysterious Eine kleine Gigue in G major, K. 574, she is exceptional, building a structure of intense chromatic tension out of numerous small details of articulation. Van den Bercken's interpretations, really, are so personal that mileage may vary with them, but they have both precision and great originality. Sony's sound at the Beethovensaal in Hannover tries to compensate for the excessive size of the venue with close miking, with only intermittent success. (James Manheim)

domingo, 19 de marzo de 2017

Gidon Kremer / Giedre Dirvanauskaite / Daniil Trifonov PREGHIERA

The things Fritz Kreisler wrote for violin and piano are musical trifles. These little pieces, based on works by other composers, were usually intended for use as encore numbers in his own recitals. They reveal an unmistak- able fondness for Slavic melodies, as attested by his many arrangements of Dvořák. But Rachmaninov also figured high on the list of this violinist, whose tone, to quote Yehudi Menuhin, was “the sweetest of all times”. The melody of his Preghiera, a collaboration between Kreisler and Rachmaninov, was taken from the slow movement of the latter’s Second Piano Concerto. Here it functions as an introduction and curtain-raiser to the sonic universe of Rachmaninov’s two Trios élégiaques.
Gidon Kremer is celebrating his 70th birthday with a special chamber music programme together with pianist Daniil Trifonov and cellist Giedrė Dirvanauskaitė, both of whom he personally chose for this recording. It is an album full of correlations and a clear underlying conception. Neither he nor his musical confederates care about brilliant effects; their concern is always to unveil the truths and messages hidden in the music. “To me”, Kremer explains, “being an artist has always been a calling”. But, he emphasizes, “I don’t want this by any means to sound emotive, because I don’t consider myself important. The music is a source from which I draw energy. I try to convey this energy – with notes, with my repertoire, with my choice of musicians. I also try to go my own way and to find companions – interlocutors – who can help me, and with whom I can converse in the language of music”. (Bjørn Woll)


Looking forward to a unique synthesis of electronic sounds, strings and piano tracks, Deutsche Grammophon announces the release of an album by the world-acclaimed producers and DJs, Tale Of Us. Director New Repertoire Christian Badzura explains: “The compositional approach of Tale Of Us unites electronic ambient music and classical minimal music structures, in the manner of pioneering artists such as Brian Eno, Roedelius, Popol Vuh and Kraftwerk, to name a few. Following in their footsteps, Tale Of Us create a haunting mix of otherworldly textures and melodies embedded in a contemporary sound.”
Since their childhoods, classical music has had a great significance for both Matteo Milleri and Carmine Conte of Tale Of Us. On Endless they introduce their fans to this life-long passion for the first time. “Deutsche Grammophon was a natural choice for us. Classical music is very deeply rooted in us and we felt that it is getting a new momentum.”
Tale Of Us are part of a new, emotional direction in electronic dance music which has inspired a whole new generation of producers and DJs. The duo took the club scene by storm with tracks like Another Earth or Lies, and a series of striking remixes of songs by Maceo Plex and Caribou. Their special charisma and musical instinct give them a unique stage presence, and the international club and festival scene is now hardly imaginable without them. London’s Mixmag magazine named Tale Of Us DJs of the Year in 2015. In 2016, the readers of Resident Advisor voted them 3rd in their highly competitive annual DJ poll. Most recently, Tale Of Us released a single on Belgium’s seminal R&S Records and founded their very own platform, Afterlife, publishing music from talented artists in their circle.
Now, with Endless, Tale Of Us open up a new chapter in their discography, blending genres of classical, ambient and film music. Ambient music deals with atmosphere and space; Tale Of Us charge those soundscapes with emotional and existential content. The elegance of their club tracks is combined with the harmonious richness of classical composition, offering a profound insight into human life at its most radiant and happy as well as in its darker moments.
For the artwork of the album and its live realization, Tale Of Us collaborate with renowned media artist Quayola. Quayola explores how nature is observed and synthesized by technical media. In his project accompanying the album, Jardins d’Été, he recalls Impressionist landscape painters. He uses modern technology to capture details of reality that are normally hidden from our senses. Quayola re-creates the landscapes recorded by his electronic eye in his studio, making for mysterious, romantic floral compositions that dissolve into pixels. Thus Quayola and Tale Of Us connect the ageless grace of classical music with the immediacy of contemporary electronic art. (Deutsche Grammophon)

sábado, 18 de marzo de 2017

Jarvis Cocker / Chilly Gonzales ROOM 29

Standing at the west end of Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard, the Chateau Marmont hotel has seen many a famous and infamous guest pass through its doors since it opened in 1929. A 2012 stay in one of its second-floor rooms inspired British lyricist and singer Jarvis Cocker to look into its history and led to this collaborative project with multi-faceted Canadian pianist and composer Chilly Gonzales. Room 29, a 21st-century song cycle, is set for release on Deutsche Grammophon on 17 March. Gonzales’ score and Cocker’s lyrics conjure up the lives of some of Room 29’s previous occupants, as well as shining a light on the glittering fantasy and often bleak reality of Hollywood.
“If you must get in trouble, do it at the Chateau Marmont,” noted Harry Cohn, founder of Columbia Pictures, in 1939. Jarvis Cocker was intrigued by the hotel’s links to the history of the film industry. He found the key to creativity in the fact that Room 29 contained a baby-grand piano. What if it could “sing” of the life stories and events it had witnessed? The idea also ignited Chilly Gonzales’s imagination, and both artists embarked on a three-year journey of artistic discovery, unearthing details about guests such as Jean Harlow, Mark Twain’s daughter Clara, and Los Angeles mobster Meyer Cohen, alias “Mickey the Haberdasher”. As well as dramatising some of those stories, their songs capture both the essential loneliness of the hotel room and the ways in which moving images have “moved” people in ways they don’t quite understand. Gonzales and Cocker have drawn on the 19th-century model of the song cycle for a structure capable of containing the broad sweep of emotions and states of mind elicited by the real and imaginary dramas of one unusual hotel suite. Room 29 emerges as metaphor for a place within each of us, home to our deepest desires and fantasies.
Since moving to Germany in the late 1990s, Chilly Gonzales has pursued a breathtaking range of musical projects, spanning everything from rap and experimental rock to hip hop and Satie-inspired minimalism. The classically trained pianist collaborated with the Kaiser Quartett on his last solo album, Chambers, attracting critical acclaim to its neo-Romantic reflections on chamber music in the age of pop. The Hamburg-based string quartet plays a prominent part in Room 29, providing a sonorous tonal complement to Gonzales’ piano writing and accompanying Jarvis Cocker’s vocals. Lead singer and primary lyricist of Pulp for over 30 years, on and off, Cocker has also released two solo albums, and developed a successful broadcasting career, presenting both Jarvis Cocker’s Sunday Service on BBC Radio 6 Music and BBC Radio 4’s Wireless Nights.
Room 29 was recorded in Paris following its “work-in-progress” premiere at Hamburg’s Kampnagel in January last year. The finished piece will return to Kampnagel for three performances (17-19 March) before touring to London’s Barbican Centre (23-25 March), the Berlin Volksbühne (28-30 March), Paris (April/July) and selected summer festivals. (Deutsche Grammophon)

jueves, 16 de marzo de 2017

Musica Fiorita / Daniela Dolci GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN Klingende Geographie

It is difficult to believe that there are still works from Telemann’s pen that are completely new to today's musical world – indeed, the "Musical Geography" introduced here is a rarity hardly known even to experts. The 38 movements of this work are taken from Telemann’s orchestral suites; also in their original contexts, they bear geographical titles such as Les Suisses, Polonaise and Les Moscovites. The musicologist Adolf Hoffmann assembled them in 1959, modelled on Telemann’s "Singing Geography", as a series of contrasting, mostly dancelike movements, combining to create a new overall form. They have a special appeal because they lend expression to differences in national characters with musical means in a variety of ways.
Daniela Dolci and her ensemble Musica Fiorita interpret the "Musical Geography", as well as Telemann's Concerto in D minor for two violins, viola and basso continuo, with charm, verve and in an exceptionally colourful instrumentation; the contribution made by the recorder player Maurice Steger is especially worth listening to. This is a recording which expresses all the humour and the virtually limitless imagination of this composer. (Presto Classical)

Joanna MacGregor IVES Piano Sonata No. 1 BARBER Piano Sonata - Four Excursions Op. 20

This is tremendous reading of the First Piano Sonata. MacGregor's playing is thrusting, rhythmic, dynamic, and beautifully shaded. It's something special. The recording quality is fantastic too. Unfortunately, it is out of print, as are all recordings on the Collins Classics label. If you find, buy it! (The Barber couplings are outstanding as well.) If you can't find MacGregor's recording, look for Nalley's CD or one of Masselos's LPs. But MacGregor is still my top choice. (Musicweb International)

Unknown Music of NADIA BOULANGER

Delos has the tremendous honor of issuing the first-ever album devoted to the wonderful compositions of Nadia Boulanger: truly a release of great historical importance. 
None dispute that Boulanger was by far the twentieth century’s most influential composition teacher. Yet “Mademoiselle,” as she has long been known in the music world, dismissed her own works as “useless,” with the result that they are almost completely unknown to the musical public today. But not anymore. 
Music lovers everywhere can now hear Boulanger’s complete works, published and unpublished (including 13 world premieres), in the genres of the art song, solo piano, cello and piano, and organ, as performed by an all-star array of musicians. We at Delos are elated to share these 37 musical gems with you and are confident that you will in turn share our own amazement at the beauty and originality of Mademoiselle’s music.

miércoles, 15 de marzo de 2017

Adrian Chandler / La Serenissima THE ITALIAN JOB

Born on Merseyside in 1974, Adrian Chandler studied modern and baroque violin at the Royal College of Music with Rodney Friend and Catherine Mackintosh. Whilst a student at the RCM he founded the ensemble La Serenissima with whom he has since performed numerous solo recitals and Vivaldi concerti in major festivals such as Spitafields, Chelsea, Southwark, Cheltenham, Lake District Summer Music, Lichfield, Bruges, South Bank Early Music Festival and York Early Music Festival, as well as in concert series in Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Malta, Mexico, Spain and the UK. 
His performances have been broadcast by BBC Radio 3, Radio Scotland, Dutch Radio, Radio 3 Belgium, Radio France, Danish Radio, Classic FM and Japanese TV.  He has also toured The Four Seasons with the Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire and given performances of Mozart and Beethoven violin sonatas in Japan.  Highlights from 2012 included performances of Vivaldi’s L’Olimpiade at festivals such as Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music (the UK’s modern and historical premiere), Bath International Festival (opening night), Buxton and at the Eilat Festival in Israel.  2013 sees him returning to Buxton for tercentenary performances of Vivaldi’s Ottone in villa and performances in the Oslo Chamber Music Festival as a guest soloist and director.
La Serenissima was formed in 1994 for a performance of Antonio Vivaldi’s La Sena festeggiante and has now firmly established itself as one of the leading exponents of the music of eighteenth century Venice and connected composers. Since its first CD release in 2003, La Serenissima has been universally applauded by publications including Gramophone Magazine, The Sunday Times, BBC Music Magazine, Diapason, Fanfare Magazine, American Record Guide, The Independent, The Strad, Falstaff Magazine, La Stampa, Gaudisc, Goldberg Magazine and The Evening Standard for its performances on the Avie Label.

martes, 14 de marzo de 2017

Grigory Sokolov MOZART - RACHMANINOV Concertos

This release is a piece of history: it is a combination of unreleased and historic audio and visuals. It allows a unique view of the enigmatic maestro Grigory Sokolov's life because it offers an opportunity to hear authentic performances from over ten and even twenty years ago accompanied by a brand-new film by Nadya Zhdanova. 
On Sokolov's performance of Mozart's Piano Concerto K 488, the Salzburger Nachrichten noted: "Such is his intensity that Sokolov sweeps everything and everyone along with him". Similarly, The Times wrote that "Sokolov swept through the concerto like a hurricane" with Rachmaninov's Third Piano Concerto. 
These historic performances will be published in combination with a unique documentary, which looks back on both Sokolov's artistic and private biography. Whilst Sokolov is well known for being reclusive and rarely giving interviews, filmmaker Zhdanova achieved the impossible: she spoke with his friends and colleagues and eventually was allowed to use private material from Sokolov's archives. Ultimately, Zhdanova discovered rare and unreleased video footage which offers an intimate insight into the life of Sokolov.

Höör Barock / Anna Paradiso / Dan Laurin TELEMANN - CORELLI - BACH

The new Swedish historical-instrument group Höör Barock (the name comes from that of a village in southern Sweden but also connotes the idea "hear Baroque") is a project of recorder virtuoso Dan Laurin, already noted as one of the world's top players on his instrument. Here, joined by second recorder Emilie Roos, he is able to shape his ensemble of ten players into a unit capable of keeping up with and pushing his blistering speeds. The program opens with a work that contains recorder parts but isn't a recorder concerto at all, and it's quite interesting: the Overture-Suite of Telemann entitled "Wassermusik," or Water Music, had origins entirely different from Handel's work (it seems to have been a kind of attempt to map some Greek myths onto Hamburg's landscape), but the overall effect is surprisingly similar. Höör Barock's reading of this work is a bit stiff, but the fun starts with the Corelli Concerto for two recorders and orchestra, Op. 6, No. 4: sample the zippy duo passagework in its third and fourth movements. The Bach Concerto for harpsichord, two recorders, strings, and continuo, BWV 1057, is an arrangement of the Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in F major, BWV 1049, and Höör Barock's performance here is likewise a masterpiece of close high-speed ensemble work. The Corelli Christmas Concerto, Op. 6, No. 8, loses a bit of lyricism, but in the main this recording announces a distinctive new Baroque group, nicely recorded. (James Manheim)

domingo, 12 de marzo de 2017

Dorothee Oberlinger / Ensemble 1700 ROCOCO - MUSIQUE À SANSSOUCI

Dorothee Oberlinger is one of the most amazing discoveries of recent years, an expressive virtuoso who has received numerous awards. Today she is seen as one of the best recorder-players in the world. Her concerts have been received with enthusiasm by critics and audiences alike, earning her unanimous acclaim. Her CDs are regularly fêted as the best new issues on the market.
Dorothee Oberlinger has given solo recitals at festivals all over Europe, in America and Japan at some of the most prestigious venues such as the Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele, the Musikfestspiele Potsdam, the Settimane Musicale Stresa, the Nederlandse Oude-Musik-Network, the Festival de Musica Antigua Sajazarra, the Warsaw Beethoven Festival, the Europäische Musikfestwoche Passau, the Rheingau-Musikfestival, the Tage der Alten Musik Regensburg and the MDR-Musiksommer. Other venues in which she has played include the Wigmore Hall in London, the National Philharmonie in Warsaw, the Marianischer Saal in Lucerne, the Rosée Theater in Fuji and the Philharmonie in Cologne.
She has been the guest soloist with leading international Baroque ensembles such as London Baroque and Musica Antiqua Köln directed by Reinhard Goebel, and she also plays regularly with modern symphony orchestras such as the WDR-Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester and the Detmolder Kammerorchester.
Dorothee Oberlinger collaborates with the top Italian ensemble "Sonatori de la Gioiosa Marca", with whom she has given many concerts throughout Europe. Their joint CD of concertos by Antonio Vivaldi has received numerous awards from the international musical press.
She directs her own "Ensemble 1700", which she formed in 2003. Together they have realized a wide variety of projects relating to the music of the 17th and 18th centuries. In 2004 Dorothee Oberlinger was appointed professor at the renowned Mozarteum academy in Salzburg.

sábado, 11 de marzo de 2017

Ensemble Intercontemporain / Matthias Pintscher NEW YORK

The Ensemble intercontemporain is a contemporary music ensemble  of 31 soloists dedicated to the performance and promotion of music from the 20th and 21st centuries.
For over 30 years, this permanent ensemble of highly professional musicians has been performing a demanding repertoire of orchestral music in all its diverse forms. Under the artistic direction of Matthias Pintscher  they are united by a shared passion for new music. They accompany composers in the exploration of new musical realms, nourished by inventions (new performance and extended techniques, computer music, etc.) and encounters with other forms of artistic expression such as dance, theatre, video and visual arts. 
In residence at the Philharmonie de Paris, The Ensemble intercontemporain performs in France and abroad as a regular guest at major international festivals. The Ensemble also organizes a range of outreach activities ( educational concerts, school music workshops, master classes, etc.) serving a diversified public (conservatory students, professional and amateur musicians, general audience, etc.)

Jan Lisiecki CHOPIN Works for Piano & Orchestra

I think Chopin felt the most comfortable writing for the piano, though it was not necessarily his favorite instrument. He was simply able to use it to its full potential and to express everything that he imagined in his mind. In many ways his writing for piano and orchestra is just and extension of that. It’s not symphonic writing. It’s not writing that uses the full potential of the orchestra. It’s his imagination for the piano enlarged by the writing with orchestra. It adds colors to the piano. We are given endless possibilities already at our instrument. But Chopin uses the capabilities of the winds and the strings, their richness, their sound quality to add to the piano’s possibilities and color palette. It’s a gift that he gave us with these orchestral pieces. 
In a Mozart or Beethoven piano concerto if you removed the orchestra and told the pianist to play their part alone you’d be left with a bare bones structure. There would be some beautiful themes, some beautiful moments, and then there would be these very dull and uninspiring passages because you would be missing the core of the work. Now in Chopin if you take away the orchestra for the most part you would still end up with a fully-fledged and well-developed work. When the orchestra comes in it adds something- another layer- not instead of the piano, not in place of one of the piano themes or capabilities, but yet another relayer, and more beauty. (Jan Lisiecki)

Simone Lamsma / Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra SHOSTAKOVICH - GUBAIDULINA

The structure of Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto is particularly original, with a sequence of four movements – slow, fast, slow, fast – entitled Nocturne, Scherzo, Passacaglia and Burlesque. The opening movement (Nocturne) is a beautiful song, blossoming from a single melodic fragment.
The Scherzo is biting and dazzlingly virtuosic, like a carousel gone wild. The ensuing Passacaglia is, quite simply, the pinnacle of this concerto; a masterpiece – mature, elegiac and highly lyrical. The passacaglia theme is repeated nine times with contrapuntal elaborations. This is followed by a large-scale cadenza that forms a bridge to the finale. The concerto closes with a Burlesque, in which the theme from the Passacaglia has one final, piercing reappearance.
Shortly after the première of Gubaidulina’s Offertorium (1981), the Swiss patron of the arts Paul Sacher asked her to compose a further violin concerto for the German soloist Anne-Sophie Mutter, but nothing came of this due to lack of time. It was only in 2007, eight years after Sacher’s death, that Gubaidulina completed In tempus praesens, which was given its première by Mutter at the Lucerne Festival. It is a work of extreme contrasts in which very deep, infernal passages are juxtaposed with extremely high, celestial episodes. Much more so than Offertorium, In tempus praesens is a spectacular work for the violinist, who plays virtually from start to finish and barely has a chance to pause for breath. The virtuosity demanded by the work is never an end in itself.
Pizzicato on Lamsa’s first release on Challenge Classics (CC 72677): "The surround recording from Challenge Classics stands out due to especially brilliant and powerful interpretations and a finely coordinated dialogue between the instruments. This is perfect harmony." (Presto Classical)

viernes, 10 de marzo de 2017

Khatia Buniatishvili / Czech Philharmonic Orchestra / Paavo Järvi RACHMANINOFF Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 3

A highlight of Khatia's recording career where she reunites with Paavo Järvi for her first orchestral recording in four years. The recording includes Rachmaninoff 2 & 3 - rarely combined on one CD and two blockbuster concertos of the late-romantic repertoire - especially the 2nd concerto was featured in many famous movies such as Billy Wilder's The Seven Year Itch (1955) or Clint Eastwoods' film Hereafter (2010). The 3rd concerto was prominently featured in Shine (1996) with David Helfgott. This album was recorded with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, at Rudolfinum, Dvorak Hall, Prague.

MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra / Kristjan Järvi STEVE REICH Duet

The music of Steve Reich has been heard in various venues, including electronic music dance clubs, but the full symphony orchestra treatment has been rare. That is changing, however, with the tenure of Kristjan Järvi as chief conductor of the Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the result in that musically conservative, German city is this major-label double album of Reich's music, in many respects a first. Järvi's enthusiasm for the project is palpable here, most obviously in the live performance of the early Reich standard Clapping Music, which he and the composer perform together to the approval of the crowd. But to put together two CDs worth of standard orchestral music by Reich takes a little bit of doing. The first CD of the set is perhaps the more successful, containing not only Clapping Music, but two of Reich's earlier forays into orchestral repertoire, the Duet for two solo violins and string orchestra (written for Yehudi Menuhin) and The Four Sections, a sort of minimalist counterpart to Benjamin Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. The "four sections" are the strings (movement 1), the percussion (movement 2), and the winds and brass (movement 3), with everyone coming together for the finale. This little work deserves the wider exposure it gets here, for it offers a unique window onto Reich's thinking on timbre in a fun, accessible way. The second CD features two works originally written for voices and small ensemble, the Daniel Variations (in memory of the murdered Jewish journalist Daniel Pearl) and You Are (a group of four settings of Hasidic aphorisms), reworked for orchestra. These are both successful examples of Reich's later style, in which Jewish themes are common, but it's not clear what the orchestra adds; in You Are, especially, the balance with the voices seems thrown off. Nevertheless, this is a major breakthrough for the octogenarian Reich, in a musically hallowed city far from his American homeland, in a place where he must find it uniquely satisfying to score a triumph. (James Manheim)

Roberta Invernizzi / I Turchini / Antonio Florio I VIAGGI DI FAUSTINA

I Viaggi di Faustina is part of a series from Spain's Glossa label, with each album examining the legacy of a singer from the 18th century, re-creating the repertory sung and even the sound of the voice insofar as such a thing is possible. The title I Viaggi di Faustina refers to Faustina Bordoni, the Neapolitan singer who became famous for her onstage brawl with her rival Francesca Cuzzoni, shrewdly egged on by Handel's promoters in London. But her career was centered on Naples, where she married German-born composer Johann Adolf Hasse; the "viaggi" here are trips both to and from Naples, and the music consists of excerpts from operas she is known to have sung. A similar album by American mezzo soprano Vivica Genaux brings Handel into the mix, but Italian mezzo Roberta Invernizzi sticks with Italian composers, and the scale of the music, more delicate than fiery, is suited to her voice. The music blooms into high notes only occasionally, but it demands agility and finesse, according well with contemporary descriptions of Bordoni's own voice. And Invernizzi is sympathetic to the music, which includes no killer Handelian tunes but has plenty of charm. The program is mostly by three composers, two known only to Baroque and Classical opera enthusiasts, Leonardo Vinci and Nicola Porpora (the latter Haydn's teacher), and one Neapolitan local unknown to all but serious specialists, Francesco Mancini. The fact that the Mancini pieces are perhaps the most charming of all will recommend this album automatically to anyone with an interest in the period. It all comes together in a piece like "Canta e de caro usignolo," from Mancini's opera Traiano, a night piece that shows off the smooth sound of the Baroque orchestra I Turchini under Antonio Florio to great advantage. A worthwhile addition to any library of Baroque opera and a pleasant foretaste of delights to come in Glossa's series. (James Manheim)

jueves, 9 de marzo de 2017


Award wining soloist Rolf Lislevand using a eleven-course baroque lute gives a revelatory recital of unaccompanied seventeenth century French lute music on the Astrée Naïve label. Lislevand states in the booklet notes that probably never since the period when this lute music was written has such beautiful music been performed by so few people. His sentiments are pretty accurate and I cannot understand why such wonderful music has been ignored for so long. 
The popularity of the lute began to fade as the popularity of the violin increased and the lute became virtually obsolete with the advent of the pianoforte. The last great lute composers were J.S. Bach who significantly composed several lute suites and Handel who was utilising lute parts in his last opera Deidamia in 1741. 
These compositions are successfully written for the most part in the style of short dances and grouped together in sets or suites. The characteristic fashion of the time of labelling each piece with a poetic or descriptive designation is used although the titles bear little or no resemblance to their character and expression. ‘La Belle Homicide’ the title of this Astrée Naïve release uses the name given by composer Denis Gaultier ‘de Paris’ to one of his works which was one of the most popular of the period. 
Lislevand uses the manuscript of lute works from seven different French composers compiled by Barbe which is in itself a guarantee of the quality of the selected works. They are not arranged in any particular manner other than their common mode and tonality. Barbe was not afraid to join several of the pieces together by different composers into a more continuous work. To me, a non lute player, the seven French composers sound remarkably similar in style and owing, I guess, to the way that they are phrased I observed that it was virtually impossible for me to sense what notes were coming next.
If the listener has not read the explanation in the booklet notes it can come as a shock to hear several seconds of animal, bird and reptile calls at the beginning of three of the pieces. We are informed by the soloist that the recording sessions were undertaken in Maguelone Abbey in France at night and the nature sounds were left to provide atmosphere to the proceedings. Furthermore, for reasons of spontaneity and realism, some of Lislevand’s instrumental tuning and experimentation made during the recording sessions have not been edited out as can be heard on track 11 between points 1:44-1:52.
In the informative yet rather high-brow booklet notes lutenist Lislevand discusses how he finds the term ‘historical authentic performance practice’ now to be burnt-out and states that a new term ‘historical perception practice’ has arisen from the ashes, which explains what a performer desires to attain, subscribing to a specific attitude and belief. Somehow this all seems rather pretentious! I must say just how much I love the packaging of this Astrée Naïve release, in particularly the imaginative art work. 
The lute playing is exceptionally fluent and the phrasing is perfectly judged with a sense of real involvement and empathy for the works. Through Rolf Lislevand’s amazing playing of these excellent compositions and near perfect acoustics this release was a revelation to me and touched my emotions in a most unique way leaving me with a remarkable sense of spirituality that I have never previously experienced with any recording. 
The sound quality is in demonstration class and I could easily imagine being alongside the lutenist during the actual night recording session. I urge listeners who wouldn’t normally purchase a recital of lute works to hear this superlative recording. (Michael Cookson)

domingo, 5 de marzo de 2017


The Engegard Quartet, founded in 2006, releases this album as their first on BIS. The group has become one of the most highly regarded ensembles in Norway, and has also gained international acclaim. This release includes three fantastic string quartets: Edvard Grieg’s String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 27, Jean Sibelius’ String Quartet in D Minor, Op. 56 "Voices intimae" and Olav Anton Thommessen’s Felix Remix "String Quartet No. 4". The Thommesssen piece included on this disc was premiered by Engegard Quartet in 2014. The work is inspired by Felix Mendelssohn’s String Quartet, Op. 44 No. 2.
The Engegårds' ensemble sound is characterful and lit from within by Carlsen and
viola player Juliet Jopling. Their performances - lucidly captured by the BIS engineers - live in the moment: they're colorful, fluently paced and feel entirely spontaneous. The more you listen to them the more you begin to sense the intelligence and refinement, as well as the freshness, of these readings. (Gramophone)

Houston Symphony / Andrés Orozco-Estrada ANTONÍN DVORÁK Symphony No. 9 - 2 Slavonic Dances

Dvorak’s New World Symphony is counted among the most successful and distinctive symphonies ever written and it loses none of its drama or appeal on repeated playing. Inspired by American spirituals and Henry Longfellow’s epic poem The Song of Hiawatha, this infectiously tuneful work with its brilliantly colourful orchestration and rhythmic verve has its creative wellspring in Dvorak’s own homesickness. It was condescendingly described by his critics as a “Czech composer’s impression of the country” but its qualities were never in doubt and its inventiveness and warmth radiate from every page. From beautiful, wistful melodies, to unfettered exuberance and glorious, sustained climaxes, this extraordinary symphony has it all.

This is Orozco-Estrada’s fifth recording for PENTATONE. His earlier discs of Dvorák symphonies were described as “Vivid and colourful, overall well balanced” (Pizzicato) “an interpretation full of theatricality, with a sure sense of the monumental” (Gramophone).


Twenty years ago I came up with a concept that I called “For Seasons”. Since then it has evolved. Mankind has been fascinated by the seasons for an eternity. Hippocrates advised, “Look to the seasons when choosing your cures”; Albert Camus reflected: “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”
The quarterly divisions of the year are characterized by weather, the hours of daylight, the changes in nature and the cumulative effect of these on mankind, flora and fauna. This album takes Viv-aldi’s masterpiece one step further – by placing it in the context of a 21st-century climatic response: the 12 months are each represented by a specific piece of music. And in turn, 12 visual artists respond to the music and to the seasons.
Let us hope we may all live in a world in which seasons not only exist, but in which their beauty is globally protected. And that they continue to enchant and inspire us. (Daniel Hope)


Nordsending was the name given by southern Norwegian people of the late Medieval and Early Modern period to magical attacks from the sorcerous sub-Arctic and Arctic. It was the ‘broadcast from the north’. Other peoples had other names for it, but they all understood it similarly: the invisible medium through which splinters of iron, stone arrowheads and little mice were shot into the bodies of the healthy by Northern witches.
With this programme of string trios – and one duo – by four Nordic composers, Trio Aristos has devised a nordsending of their own: thoroughly contemporary, but equally magical. The members of Trio Aristos have in various constellations worked with each of the composers – most extensively with Per Nørgård, the grand old man of Danish music, who is represented here with three works composed in the years around 1990, including the duo Tjampuan for violin and cello.
His younger colleagues all contribute one work each to the disc, written between 2009 and 2014. Kaija Saariaho found inspiration for her four-movement trio in different cloud formations, while Bent Sørensen added to a series of works inspired by Venice when he composed Gondole: its five movements are impressions of gondolas waltzing, mourning and falling in love. Gondole was commissioned by Trio Aristos, and so was Rift, by the Norwegian composer Henrik Hellstenius, who recomposed the piece for these performers from his earlier series Imprints.

sábado, 4 de marzo de 2017

Karin Kei Nagano J.S. BACH Inventions & Sinfonias

Ever since Johann Sebastian Bach wrote this collection of short works for his children and students as a means for mastering fundamental keyboard technique, his “Inventionen and Sinfonien” have remained a basis for keyboard pedagogical practice. In my own case, my piano teacher introduced me to Bach’s “Inventionen and Sinfonien” when my fingers could not even reach an octave. I remember making big arm gestures to reach the intervals that were too broad for my hands. My feet would dangle somewhere in the space between the bench and the pedals. Since that early encounter, these pieces have been a fundamental part of my repertoire and have accompanied my whole musical journey.
As I developed as a musician, I found that I could identify with these pieces not only because of their exceptional quality, but because Bach had intended them for the evolving apprenticeship of his pupils and his son, Wilhelm Friedemann. It has been my goal to reflect the youthful character of the music and seek to capture the purity and simplicity that are characteristic of a maturing pupil’s interpretation.
Concerning the order of pieces on this recording, I have deviated somewhat from the familiar sequence as arranged by Bach and published in 1723. Somehow I always felt that this standard succession of pieces was slightly inorganic, lacking fluidity. Around the time of recording, another version caught my attention: the arrangement from the Clavierbüchlein (keyboard book) for Bach’s son Wilhelm Friedemann, which is actually the original version of the pieces, published in 1720. In this 1720 version, it seems that Bach sought to introduce his son by stages to the various keys: accordingly, he starts with the keys with the fewest sharps and flats and then gradually adds more. This creates a symmetrical cycle of keys, first ascending and then descending: C, D, E, F, G, A, B – and then B-flat, A, G, F, E, E-flat, D, C, a framework that makes this version feel especially pleasing and fluid.
Many aspects of this collection of masterful pieces continue to fascinate me. Each invention and sinfonia creates a world of its own. For instance, the listener hears dances emanating through the counterpoint, as in the energetic rhythms of Invention No. 3, or senses an orchestral, Brandenburg Concerto-like quality in Sinfonia No. 2. Chorales are woven through the beautiful contrapuntal lines of Sinfonia No. 6.
One marvels at countless inventive qualities, recognizing with admiration how these pieces have guided many generations over 250 years through remarkable musical adventures always worthy of fresh exploration. Perhaps they will lead you as well to your own musical journey… (Karin Kei Nagano)

West-Eastern Divan Orchestra / Daniel Barenboim HOMMAGE À BOULEZ

The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and co-founder Daniel Barenboim release Hommage à Boulez, a tribute to longtime collaborator Pierre Boulez. The album features a selection of the composer/conductor’s most iconic works.
The recording captures two live performances, at Boulez’s 85th birthday celebration in 2010 and at the BBC Proms in 2012. Barenboim conducts the Divan, and Boulez leads members of the orchestra alongside Hilary Summers in his Le Marteau sans maître.
Boulez was the first musician invited by Barenboim to share in conducting the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.

viernes, 3 de marzo de 2017

Barbara Kortmann INNER LIGHTS Chamber Music for Flute

For me, “inner lights” are the inner forces of being alive. They accompany us during carefree moments of joy, lead us along paths through uncertainty, and help us so we do not lose our inner clarity. Each of the works on this CD has been a special “inner light” for me over the past years. I heard the Vivaldi concertos for the first time when I was a child, performed by Sir James Galway. Both the works and Galway’s incomparable flute playing, which I have deeply admired since, awakened my love for the flute and strengthened my desire to eventually become a musician myself. For this reason I wish to dedicate the two con - certos to Sir James and his wife, Lady Jeanne Galway. I would like to thank them: for their guidance as flutists and as human beings, and for their warmth and joy of living that they shared with me over the last few years. They have been a source of wonderful enrichment in my life.
Marin Marais’ Folies d’Espagne and Johann Sebastian Bach’s Musical Offering are both works that played a special role during my studies. I am performing them on this CD in remembrance of a period that was not always easy, demanded quite a bit from my “inner lights,” but in looking back, also made me stronger and had a decisive influence on my whole being. Today I am grateful for this.
Bach’s Sonata in G minor was my first Bach sonata. I was full of curiosity and excitement when I discovered it as a fifteen-year-old, and through it I learned to love Baroque music. It is the “inner light” of my beginnings as a flutist. The two Handel arias I arranged are my “inner lights” of here and now. When I play them, I am totally with myself —happy and content in the being of the moment. I look back at my life up until now, always accompanied by the power of music which has never left me, and am at the same time full of openness and enthusiasm toward everything that awaits me in the future. (Barbara Kortmann)

Danusha Waskiewicz / Andrea Rebaudengo SONGS FOR VIOLA AND PIANO

Born in Würzburg (Germany) in 1973, Danusha Waskiewicz began to study the violin at the age of 6 and the viola at the age of 10.
From 1992 to 1994 she was the pupil of the violinist Walter Forchert, concertmaster of the Bamberger Sinfoniker, at the University of Frankfurt, while from 1994 to 1999 she studied with the violist Tabea Zimmermann.
During her carrier she has won numerous competitions such as the Competition Lenzewski and the Deutsche Violagesellschaft. Internationally she affirmed herself in the 2000 ARD competition in Munich, receiving also the Brüder Busch Gesellschaft and Wilhelm Weichsler special prizes.
Danusha Waskiewicz began her orchestral experience with Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, going on to become first viola in various orchestras including the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the Camerata Bern, the Orchestra della Scala of Milan, the Münchener Philharmoniker and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.
At only 25 years of age she became a member of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and after two years she won the qualifying competition for the leadership of the viola section.
Since 2004, at the invitation of Claudio Abbado, she is the first viola of the Orchestra Mozart of Bologna. With them she recorded the Sinfonia Concertante by Mozart in 2007 for “Deutsche Grammophon” and later Bach’s Brandenburg concertos for the “Euro Arts” label.
Since 2010 she is also a member of the Luzern Festival Orchestra. 

Andrea Rebaudengo was born in Pesaro, Italy, in 1972. He is the winner of the International Piano Competition in Pescara (1998) and he was tributed the third prize at the Robert Schumann International Piano Competition in Zwickau in 2000. He took part into several Italian music seasons such as Serate Musicali in Milan, Unione Musicale in Turin; Teatro Ponchielli in Cremona, Amici della Musica in Verona, Amici della Musica in Ancona. As a soloist, he was invited by the Orchestra I Pomeriggi Musicali in Milan, Philharmonic Orchestra in Zwickau, Philarmonic Orchestra in Pescara, Symphony Orchestra “G. Verdi” in Milan and Accademia Filarmonica Urbinate. He performed in Germany, U.S.A., Spain, England, Ireland, Poland, Russia, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Serbia, Emirates. He performs regularly with the ensemble Sentieri Selvaggi in contemporary music festivals and seasons (Accademia Filarmonica Romana, Rome; Settembre Musica, Turin; Teatro alla Scala, Milan; Biennale Musica, Venice; Skif Festival, St. Petersburg; Illkhom Festival, Tashkent). In duo with Cristina Zavalloni they performed in Rome, Teatro de la Maestranza in Sevilla, West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Aterforum Festival in Ferrara, Cheltenham Festival, Music Garden Festival in Warsaw and more. He graduated in Milan at the Conservatorio “Giuseppe Verdi” with Paolo Bordoni. He then attended master- classes in Salzburg with Andrzej Jasinski and Lazar Berman at the Accademia pianistica in Imola, Italy. He has just released a cd on piano solo, published by Bottega Discantica, with music by Stravinsky, Bartòk, Milhaud, De Falla.