sábado, 31 de agosto de 2019

Annelien Van Wauwe / Orchestre National de Lille / Alexandre Bloch BELLE ÉPOQUE

Belgian clarinettist Annelien Van Wauwe revives the golden glow of a bygone age on her PENTATONE debut album Belle époque, together with the Orchestre National de Lille and its music director Alexandre Bloch. The programme is built around treasures of French turn-of-the-century music such as Debussy’s Première Rhapsodie, Pierné’s Canzonetta and Widor’s Introduction et Rondo (the latter two in arrangements by Jelle Tassyns). Belle époque also offers works that display a spiritual kinship to the age, such as Brahms’s first clarinet sonata, arranged by Luciano Berio, and a world-premiere recording of Paris-based contemporary composer Manfred Trojahn (Rhapsodie pour clarinette et orchestre). 
Annelien van Wauwe is a former BBC New Generation Artist and winner of the renowned Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award 2018. She kickstarts an exclusive collaboration with PENTATONE with this first solo album. The Orchestre National de Lille and Alexandre Bloch release their second PENTATONE album, after their 2018 recording of Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de perles, crowned with a Diapason d’or.

viernes, 30 de agosto de 2019

Anne-Sophie Mutter JOHN WILLIAMS Across the Stars

Legendary film composer John Williams and superstar violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter have announced a new album, Across The Stars. Released on 30 August, the album will feature Williams conducting new arrangements of some of his iconic movie themes, including pieces written for the Star Wars and Harry Potter movies. Across The Stars was recorded at the historic Sony Pictures Scoring Stage in Hollywood, where many great film soundtracks of the past were recorded, including The Wizard Of Oz, Gone With The Wind, Singin’ In The Rain, Lawrence Of Arabia, and ET.
“There is only one John Williams,” said Anne-Sophie Mutter. “What he writes is just extraordinary. Every time I go to one of his films and there is a violin or cello, I think, I would like to play that! And now I have his wonderful translations of all these iconic themes.” She added it was a “a tremendous honour” to work so closely with John Williams – and that the recording conditions for this album were the finest since she collaborated with Herbert von Karajan.
“Working with Anne-Sophie on this recording has been a pure inspiration,” added Williams. “She has brought vibrant life to these familiar themes in new and unexpected ways, which has been a great joy for me as a composer.”
John Williams explained that for this project he revisited themes from many of his existing scores and completely transformed them. “Presented on the violin, they become a different emotional experience,” he said. One example is his newly arranged version of ‘Hedwig’s Theme’ from the Harry Potter films, which he and Mutter describe as “Harry Potter meets Paginini”, and “a Carmen Fantasy for the 21st century”. The music ranges from Star Wars motifs such as ‘Yoda’s Theme’, from The Empire Strikes Back, to more recent pieces such as ‘Sayuri’s Theme’ from Memoirs Of A Geisha.
John Williams – who has won five Oscars, four Golden Globes, five Emmys and 24 Grammys – is the most successful film composer of all time. He has composed some of the most popular, recognisable and critically-acclaimed film scores in cinematic history. Anne-Sophie Mutter is universally considered to be one of the greatest violinists of modern times. They both consider Across The Stars to be a milestone recording.
“These are melodies which touch us so deeply, they just stay with you,” said Mutter. “That’s the wonderful thing about John’s music – even without the film it has a life of its own.”

viernes, 23 de agosto de 2019

Ildar Abdrazakov / Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal / Yannick Nézet-Séguin VERDI

Never change a winning team – Ildar Abdrazakov, Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Orchestre Métropolitain came once again together to record Ildar’s first solo album on Deutsche Grammophon.
Throughout his career Verdi always played a big role in Ildar’s life and has accompanied him all along. He is noted for Verdi roles and has sung and will continue to sing almost all of the roles on this album on stage.
Ildar’s first Verdi role was Macbeth with Riccardo Muti in 2001 – this album will be released around his Salzburg Festival performances with Riccardo Muti (Verdi: Messa da Requiem).
The album includes famous hand-picked bass roles by Giuseppe Verdi. Ildar is currently one of the most well-known and in demand bass singers and has already performed at big opera houses in London, Munich, Paris, Berlin and Milan.

jueves, 22 de agosto de 2019

Zeitkratzer CARSTEN NICOLAI Electronics

This CD documents the cooperation between zeitkratzer and Carsten Nicolai, started nearly a decade ago; a cooperation between an avantgarde ensemble and a non-academic electronic musician. The electronic music of Carsten Nicolai – sometimes being of even cristal clearness and quality – suddenly becomes sensual and physical through zeitkratzer’s amplified instrumental sounds.
Inversely, zeitkratzer sounds different too: in „5 min“ the musicians play only electric sound generators: humming of plugs, the peeping of the synchronised zeitkratzer-clocks, white noise, TV cheeping at 10 kHz. „Synchron Bitwave“, the latest piece is the most sensual and warmest; no other sounds than a small third and its electric derivates, finally leading to high, dabbed string spiccati. While "c1" transfers electronically conceived asymmetrical loops into a 19/16th rhythm. A strange undertow results, partly because of the pieces’ grounding with merging split sounds. Here, Carsten Nicolai virtually becomes metaphysical, perhaps even romantic…

Il Pomo D'Oro / George Petrou HANDEL Ottone

Premiered at the King’s Theatre, Haymarket, in January 1723, Ottone was the first Handel opera to pair his star draws of the 1720s: the soprano Francesca Cuzzoni, making her London debut as Teofane, and the castrato Senesino in the title-role. Both were singers with attitude. But they met their match in Handel, who reputedly threatened to throw Cuzzoni out of the window until she agreed to quell her prima donna’s vanity and sing Teofane’s simple and touching opening aria ‘Falsa imagine’. Ironically, the aria made Cuzzoni’s London reputation as a soprano without equal in the ‘pathetic’ style. Centring on the attempts of the scheming matriarch Gismonda and her unlovely son Adelberto to prevent King Ottone from marrying the Byzantine Princess Teofane and assuming his rightful throne, Ottone’s pseudo-historical libretto is often hopelessly confused. This evidently mattered not a jot to Handel’s audiences. The combination of Senesino, Cuzzoni and Handel’s melodic fertility (Charles Burney reported that many of the arias soon became ‘national favourites’) made Ottone an instant success. With a total of 36 performances over five seasons, it was eclipsed in popularity only by Rinaldo during his lifetime.
These days Ottone ranks well down the Handel pecking order, not least because of the plot’s muddles and absurdities. On CD, though, it has fared relatively well, with two period-instrument versions appearing in quick succession from Nicholas McGegan (Harmonia Mundi, 3/93) and Robert King (Hyperion, 7/93). Both do the opera fair justice. But this new version, recorded in the sympathetic acoustic of the Villa San Fermo in the Veneto, easily surpasses them in consistency of casting and dramatic flair. Without pressing the tempos unduly (except when dancing on hot coals in the Overture’s fugue), George Petrou draws rhythmically animated, sensitively coloured playing from the crack Italian band. Abetted by an alert, unfussy continuo, recitatives are lively and naturally paced, though not even Petrou and his singers can save the final denouement from blink-and-you-miss-it perfunctoriness.
The cast is uniformly strong. Ottone is more mooning lover than strutting hero, always ready to buckle in a crisis. But Max Emanuel Cencic, with his unusually powerful, sensuous countertenor, rescues him from self-regarding wimpishess. He sings his tender opening siciliano and Act 3 lament ‘Dove sei?’ with intense beauty of line and tone, always responsive to the text, and throws off his bravura arias with unforced brilliance. As the patiently suffering (even by Baroque opera standards) heroine, the American soprano Lauren Snouffer has a warmer, richer voice than either of her CD rivals and a nimble coloratura technique. With a mezzo glint in her tone, she catches well the passionate undercurrents of Teofane’s music, whether in ‘Falsa imagine’, her yearning plea for peace ‘Affanni dei pensier’ or the nocturnal garden scena in Act 3. Some may find her quick vibrato slightly disconcerting in Handel, though I soon got used to it.
Gismonda’s inconsistently drawn character, veering between ruthless ambition and blithe exuberance, is softened by the lulling ‘Vieni, o figlio’, an exquisite outpouring of maternal love. Ann Hallenberg, always a superb Handelian, sings this with musing inwardness, using delicate ornamentation to enhance the intensity of the da capo. Elsewhere she musters all the imperiousness and, in the splenetic ‘Trema, tiranno’, venom that the matriarch’s music demands. In the role of Matilda, in love with the contemptible Adelberto in spite of herself, mezzo Anna Starushkevych sings with sensitivity and (in her fiery denunciation of Ottone) plenty of temperament, though her coloratura can be bumpy. Xavier Sabata, as Adelberto, is mellifluous in his quieter, lyrical music but tends to hoot when spitting out defiance in ‘Tu puoi straziarmi’. Eschewing mere bluster, bass-baritone Pavel Kudinov sings with fine, clean resonance and impressive agility – a hint of tenderness, too, in his final aria – as the jolly pirate Emireno, who eventually turns out to be Teofane’s brother in disguise (don’t question the maths – this is opera seria).
Despite minor provisos, this new recording is emphatically the version to have of an opera whose dramatic flaws are redeemed by magnificent individual scenes and any number of good tunes. It is also more complete than its rivals, including, as David Vickers explains in an informative note, all the music heard at the 1723 premiere plus two new arias added for Cuzzoni’s benefit night later that season and, as an appendix, three numbers Handel composed for Senesino when he revived Ottone in 1726. (Richard Wigmore / Gramophone)

LUDOVICO EINAUDI Seven Days Walking - Day Six

Seven Days Walking is divided into seven episodes, seven albums (Day One, Day Two, etc. until Day Seven), which will be released at monthly intervals.
Each episode is focused on several main themes, which are recurring in different form: seven variations following the same imaginary itinerary. Or the same itinerary, retraced in seven different moments.
“The idea first came to me as I was listening to the recordings of the first sessions: each version seemed to me to have its own personality, with subtleties so distinct from one another that I was unable to choose which I preferred. I associated everything with walking, with the experience of following the same routes over and over, discovering new details each time. And so in the end I decided to thread them all together in a sort of musical labyrinth, a little like stepping inside the twists and turns of the creative process, to understand how a musical idea can develop in multiple directions, and changing once again at the moment in which it is heard.”
Seven Days Walking DAY 6 was recorded at the Berliner Philharmonie Studio in Berlin

miércoles, 14 de agosto de 2019

Geir Draugsvoll / Mette Rasmussen PIAZZOLLA Time of Life

Astor Piazzolla’s name is synonymous with Nuevo Tango, an experimental compound of traditional and contemporary influences, and this recording offers a bouquet of his finest music in wholly original arrangements for classical accordion and piano. This selection includes the unforgettable Milonga del ángel as well as the evocative suite The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires. The Double Concerto ‘Hommage à Liège’ is one of Piazzolla’s most classically orientated works, by turns playful, catchy and lyric, while the examples drawn from his film music are among his most enduring.

martes, 13 de agosto de 2019

Mika Stoltzman / Richard Stoltzman PALIMPSEST

Clarinet legend Richard Stoltzman and virtuoso marimbist Mika Stoltzman arrive on AVIE with a stunning collection of works in which the duo finds freedom in music of the past and equally breaks through boundaries with new arrangements and commissions. John Zorn's title track, Palimpsest, written in 2018 for Richard's 75th birthday, sets the tone, evoking layers of tradition and innovation. Richard's lifelong friendship with William Thomas McKinley led to the jazzy collection Mostly Blues, three of which are performed on this album. The musical meat of the album are the couple's own arrangements of monumental works by Johann Sebastian Bach ? Mika's solo marimba take on the Chaconne from Partita in D minor originally for solo violin, and Richard's colourful Chromatic Fantasia for solo clarinet and Fugue, BWV 903 bringing him together with marimba and bandoneon. 
The versatile Mika, who has collaborated with such musicians as Chick Corea, Eddie Gomez and Steve Gadd, also provides a blues-tinged duo arrangement of Maurice Ravel's Pavane pour une infante de 769;funte, and the album takes a side trip to the Argentinian world of Astor Piazzolla with a solo clarinet version of the composer's Etude No. 5, and the full complement of musicians coming together for Fuga y misterio.

Ivan Ilić HAYDN Symphonies

Ivan Ilić came across these transcriptions, scarcely known at all, through the most unlikely and serendipitous sequence of events. Carl David Stegmann (1751 1826) was a tenor, keyboard player, conductor, and composer, who worked mostly in the field of opera. Employed by the Court Theatre in Mainz (where he sang in the first German-language production of Don Giovanni), he also gave a number of acclaimed performances in Frankfurt. Trained as an organist, he made transcriptions of string quintets by Mozart and Beethovens Trios, Op. 9 as well as keyboard transcriptions of twenty-five of Haydns symphonies. Ivan Ilić writes: It is unclear to me whether these transcriptions were ever meant to be played as concert repertoire, in public. Nevertheless, the enthusiasm I have encountered wherever I have played them has persuaded me to make this recording, to allow more people to hear Stegmann's idiomatic arrangements.

Yaara Tal LOVE?

When Yaara Tal and Andreas Groethuysen provisionally formed a piano duo in 1985 for a single concert, they naturally did not realise how important this step would be, both for themselves personally and for the entire genre. The unforeseeably positive artistic development and the continuing interest displayed by the record label SONY CLASSICAL and the international concert market, however, meant that Tal and Groethuysen gradually matured into one of the programmatically most exciting and tonally and aesthetically perfect piano duos in the world. Their work has been honoured five times with the "Echo Klassik" award and ten times with prizes such as the "Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik", "Cannes Classical Award", etc.
During the first few years of their career together Andreas and Yaara devoted themselves primarily to playing on one piano, which is more complicated and from the point of view of the audience at first not quite so effective. In recent years, however, they have altered their focus and are now delighted to record and give concerts of the fascinating repertoire for two pianos, which is to some extent still unknown.

lunes, 12 de agosto de 2019

Wiener Philharmoniker / Gustavo Dudamel / Yuja Wang 2019 SUMMER NIGHT CONCERT

Central to the programme of the Vienna Philharmonic’s 2019 Summer Night Concert is a musical history of the United States of America: the works that are heard this year were composed in or for the USA, while also constituting links with the Viennese musical tradition. At the same time the concert venue – the historic park at Schönbrunn Palace – is celebrating a double jubilee this year. It was 450 years ago that the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II bought the land and the buildings on it and a century ago that Schönbrunn became the property of the newly founded Austrian Republic. This is the second time in the orchestra’s history that the Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel has been in charge of a Summer Night Concert – he first did the honours in 2012. The soloist is the Beijing-born pianist Yuja Wang, who is making her debut with the Vienna Philharmonic in Vienna – she has already appeared with the orchestra on tour.


PATTERNS, a multi-composer compilation of contemporary chamber music, accentuates the richness, intricacy, and minimal sound that can be found in works written for small ensembles. Included on the album are works by seven composers, each offering a distinct interpretation of what defines the genre.
Asymmetry, composed by James William Stamm, features lush and soaring harmonies and melodies guided by a swift tempo. Guitarist David William Ross’s performance on George Raillard’s Disintegration opens with a distinct melody that quickly does exactly what its title suggests, disintegrating into dissonance. Two Lords, written and performed by Santiago Kodela, is a guitar suite based on the works of two contemporary non-classical guitarists, Allan Holdsworth (1946 - 2017) and Fredrik Thordendal (b. 1970). The piece’s three movements progress from the darkly toned “Of Textures” through the relaxing “Of Colours” to the rhythmically rich, upbeat “Of Mechanics.”
David Arbury’s aptly titled Four Snares, performed by the McCormick Percussion Group, is an exploration of the often-overlooked timbral possibilities of the snare drum and a celebration of the wealth of sound available to it. Daniel Adams’s Road Traversed and Reversed also features the Percussion Group’s leader, Robert McCormick. Following an introduction of overlapping roll textures, thematic ideas emerge in an interplay between McCormick’s and Lee Hinkle’s marimbas. On Bunny Beck’s emotional two-movement Suite for Sarro, a string trio evocatively captures sorrow in the face of loss. PATTERNS concludes with Jan Järvlepp’s Bassoon Quartet, comprised of three movements that range in spirit from adventurous to haunting to lively.
 Together, each of the pieces on PATTERNS vibrantly illustrate the unlimited possibilities available within the ever-evolving world of chamber music.

martes, 6 de agosto de 2019


Hannah Lash’s multi-layered music balances rhetoric with sensuality and enters into a dialogue with pre-existent forms while simultaneously reexamining them. On this excellent recording of her music for string quartet by the JACK Quartet, we hear Lash’s engagement with two canonic traditions as points of inspiration (the Baroque Suite as well as an extra musical discipline — tapestry arts from the Middle Ages), alongside two works that concern themselves with instrumental and musical phenomenon.
Frayed opens with sighing chords, breathing through the quartet like a series of inhales. The passage is performed with mutes on, lending it a covered sound, almost like a delicate harmonica. The accumulated energy eventually explodes into vigorous music before material from the opening is re-integrated, toggling back and forth between contrasting energies. As the work evolves, “frayed” edges of each expressive world begin to show—overpressure on the culmination of a repeated chord, a hybrid gesture of pizzicato and glissando articulated with the back of the frog of the bow.

Mark Padmore / Nicholas Daniel / Britten Sinfonia RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS - JONATHAN DOVE - PETER WARLOCK

Tenor Mark Padmore is joined by members of Britten Sinfonia in 3 quintessential British song-cycles: Ralph Vaughan Williams' "On Wenlock Edge" (with pianist Huw Watkins), "Ten Blake Songs" (with oboist Nicholas Daniel) and Peter Warlock's best-known work, "The Curlew". "The End" by Jonathan Dove (a co-commission by Britten Sinfonia and Wigmore Hall with support from the Tenner-for-a-Tenor campaign) receives its world première recording here