New Classical CDs

Anima Sacra album cover

We have recently added some interesting compilations by solo performers, including Delphine Galou, an alto from France, and the ever-reliable Andrea Bocelli. Other offerings include:

Anima Sacra. Performed by Jakub Józef Orliński.
“Offering no fewer than eight world-premiere recordings on his debut solo album, Polish countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński plumbs the depths of sacred Baroque music for a spiritual journey through largely unknown arias from oratorios and motets of the 18th century, breathing new life into music by lesser-known masters.” (Cover)

Piano Magic. Peformed by Lang Lang.
A compilation of some of Lang Lang’s previously-recorded successes. “All works are very well known and loved – including Mozart’s ‘Rondo alla Turca’, Liszt’s ‘Rakoczy March’ Chopin’s ‘Minute Walt’z and Scott Joplin’s ‘The Entertainer’. The album also includes some of Lang Lang’s most streamed tracks to date; Bach’s ‘Air on the G-string’ (currently 11 million streams) and Liszt’s ‘La Campanella’ (4.5 million streams).” (amazon.com)

Sonatas Opus 109, 110, 111, Beethoven. Performed by Alexandre Tharaud.
This recording of Beethoven’s last three piano sonatas (30, 31 and 32) comes with a bonus 64-minute DVD. “This last group of sonatas had a three-fold purpose: didactic, spiritual and promotional. Beethoven had to keep on offering new works to different publishers in order to earn a living, but he was also motivated by the desire to exhort future pianists to aspire to ever greater heights, by writing for them music that exuded a lofty spirituality.” (Cover)

New Classical CDs

Destination Rachmaninov CD cover

This week in new classical music we feature recordings from each end of the romantic period, and one more in the middle-ish. Happy listening!

Destination Rachmaninov – Departure, Rachmaninov. Performed by Daniil Trifonov and the Philadelphia Orchestra.
“Daniil Trifonov’s captivating, Romantic soul and limitless virtuosity are thrillingly displayed [in this] musical exploration of two of Rachmaninov’s piano concertos – the heart-rending Second and the cosmopolitan Fourth – supported by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the glorious Philadelphia Orchestra… ‘Rachmaninov mastered the musical languages of the composers he admired,’ explains Trifonov, ‘and with humour, reverence, brilliance and affecting sentiment, created his own very Russian syntheses. In that sense, his music is both a journey and a destination’.” (cover)

The Complete String Quartets 5, Beethoven. Performed by the Elias String Quartet.
“The penultimate performance in the Elias String Quartets complete presentation of Beethoven’s String Quartets at Wigmore Hall brings to life the joyous and optimistic String Quartet in A Op.18 No. 5, the varied yet subtle String Quartet in C Op. 59 No. 3 ‘Razumovsky’ and finally the visionary String Quartet in C sharp minor Op. 131. The five-starred reviewed series of live recordings continues to excite, with committed performance from the ensemble earning them high praise from audience and critics alike. The Elias String Quartet’s brilliant performance continues to bring a fresh energy and emotion to this exploration of the masterworks of Beethoven.” (amazon.com)

Symphony No. 6, Mahler. Performed by MusicAeterna, Teodor Currentzis, conductor.
“‘Without dispute Teodor Currentzis is today’s hottest & most sought after conductor – alongside his orchestra & choir MusicAeterna. The Greek-Russian conductor who has taken the classical music world by storm.’ (The Times) This is Currentzis’s first ever recording of Mahler. Mahler’s symphonies feature heavily in their tour programme, but this is the first time Currentzis has gone into the studio with this composer.” (amazon.com)

New Classical Music CDs

Secular Cantatas cover

Our recent classical music CD additions include an interesting selection of vocal albums, including the conclusion of a long, epic survey of Bach cantatas (secular and sacred).

Aimer et Mourir: Danses et Mélodies, Ravel/Duparc. Performed by the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin with Magadlena Kožená.
“This second all-French programme [by Robin Ticciati and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin] sees Magdalena Kožená return to perform a selection of songs by Henri Duparc alongside orchestral music by his fellow countryman Maurice Ravel. The popular Suite No. 2 from Ravel’s epoch-making ballet Daphnis et Chloe showcases Ticciati’s flair for highlighting intricacies of detail and colour. In Ravel’s Valses nobles et sentimentales, Ticciati creates a well-paced, yet graceful, Impressionist swirl with clearly defined textures and shimmering orchestral colors. Duparc’s melodies sound particularly opulent in their orchestral scoring; the warm tones of Kožená’s ravishing voice provide a perfect match” (amazon.com).

Bach. Performed by Benjamin Appl and Concerto Köln.
Gramophone magazine’s “Young Artist of the Year” for 2016 returns with a new compilation of excerpts of cantatas and Passion settings. “[This] new album presents wonderful music by Johann Sebastian Bach from famous as well as less known cantatas but also from the St. Matthew Passion. It was recorded with the renowned Ensemble Concerto Köln, one of the leading ensembles for historically-informed performance practice” (amazon.com).

Secular Cantatas Vol. 10 ‘Cantatas of Contentment’, J. S. Bach. Performed by Bach Collegium Japan, conducted by Masaaki Suzuki.
The final volume in the secular cantata series. “When we finished the Bach Sacred Cantatas there was an emptiness with us all participants, which was – partly – alleviated by the fact that there were several records of secular Cantatas still to be recorded. And now we are at the bitter end of those as well, and there are no more Bach Cantatas to be recorded. After 23 years of a steady diet of Bach Cantatas, to be without them is brutal and cruel. All the better, then, that we have finished on a high point. Carolyn Sampson’s singing in the solo cantata BWV 204 beggars belief – it is as close to Heaven one can hope to come on this Earth. Big words, and yet too small for what she does. This is the crowning glory of a series that has transformed my life and given me so much more fulfillment that I could possibly have hoped for. Thank you, Masaaki and your faithful BCJ, for creating a musical treasure possible to be treasured by a grateful mankind” (Robert von Bahr, at amazon.com).

New Classical CD Picks

In this week’s new classical music CD arrivals there are three interesting new recordings from Deutsche Grammophon:

Johann Sebastian Bach. Performed by Víkingur Ólafsson.
“Thirty-five tracks and just one name – Johann Sebastian Bach. This exceptional album may be devoted to a single composer, but it contains an astonishing range and variety of music. ‘There isn’t just one Bach,’ explains Víkingur Ólafsson… All of these many facets [of Bach] can be heard in Ólafsson’s performances here…” (CD insert).

Nightfall. Performed by Alice Sara Ott.
A compilation of piano pieces by Debussy, Satie and Ravel, the trio of early 20th century French composers. “Nightfall is that magical hour when day and night face each other and the sky descends into twilight. For a brief moment, light and darkness are in harmony and merge together…” (Alice Sara Ott, cover).

Symphony No. 2, ‘The Age of Anxiety’, Leonard Bernstein. Performed by the Berliner Philharmoniker.
“…when Leonard Bernstein celebrated his 70th birthday, he invited Krystian Zimerman to perform his Symphony No. 2 with him for the first time. After a fabulous concert Bernstein asked the pianist, ‘Will you play this piece with me when I’m 100?’ So here we are, more than 30 years later – Bernstein live from Berlin!” (cover).

Recently Arrived Classical Music CDs

Claudio Monteverdi CD cover

This week we’ve received a shipment of great new CDs, including some interesting composer-pairings curated by a couple of acclaimed instrumental soloists.

Messa a Quattro Voci et Salmi of 1650, Volume I and Volume II, Monteverdi (et. al.). Performed by The Sixteen.
“Monteverdi’s sacred vocal compositions introduced the expression of powerful and personal emotions to the world of church music. Whilst it took him a number of years to find fulfilment in his work, Monteverdi was a revered composer within his lifetime and his music is regarded as revolutionary, marking the change from the Renaissance style to that of the Baroque. [These discs comprise of] some of the finest works from Monteverdi’s years as director of music at St Mark’s in Venice, published posthumously…” (cover).

Transfigured Night, Haydn & Schoenberg. Performed by Alisa Weilerstein.
Transfigured Night brings together two outstanding composers associated with Vienna: Joseph Haydn and Arnold Schoenberg. The former is often seen as the oldest representative of the First Viennese School, whereas the latter founded the Second Viennese School, using the classicism of his predecessors to explore new, atonal musical paths into the twentieth century. By combining Haydn’s two cello concertos (in C-major and D-major) and Schoenberg’s symphonic poem Verklärte Nacht in the 1943 edition for string orchestra this album sheds a new, fascinating light on both Viennese masters. The connection between the stylistically contrasting pieces on this album is further enhanced by the inspired playing of American cellist Alisa Weilerstein and the Trondheim Soloists. For Weilerstein, this album is not only a fascinating exploration of the rich Viennese musical heritage, but just as much a confrontation with the dark history of a city her grandparents had to flee in 1938.” (amazon.com).

Schubert, Szymanowski. Performed by Lucas Debargue.
“Lucas Debargue’s third recording presents sonatas by Franz Schubert and polish composer Karol Szymanowski (1882 1937)… ‘Debargue is fantastically gifted: original, not tamed by any academicism, eccentric to the point of being mannered, but also thrilling as a result of his very personal tone.’ Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.” (amazon.com)

Spotlight on new classical CDs

This week we bring together some 21st century works and a couple of Baroque masters.

Circles: Piano Concertos, Bach, Glass. Performed by Simone Dinnerstein and A Far Cry.
A Far Cry is a Boston-based string orchestra that performs without a conductor; no mean feat! Together with pianist Simone Dinnerstein they perform two pieces composed 280 years apart, the Glass concerto, composed in 2017 for Dinnerstein, featuring here in its world premiere recording. The Bach concerto (BWV 1058) is a transcription (by the composer) of the violin concerto in A minor (BWV 1041).

The Händel Album. Performed by Artaserse and Philippe Jaroussky.
“This album, which focuses on arias from Handel’s more rarely-performed operas, is the first that Philippe Jaroussky has devoted entirely to the composer … Jaroussky brings his impeccable Handelian credentials to an entire album devoted to arias by the composer, who produced thirty-five operas for the London stage between 1711 and 1741… Jaroussky’s new album puts the emphasis on operas we are less likely to hear in the theatre or concert hall: Amadigi di Gaula; Arianna in Creta; Flavio, re di Longobardi; Giustino; Imeneo; Radamisto (represented by no fewer than four arias); Riccardo primo, re d’Inghilterra; Siroe, re di Persia and Tolomeo, re di Egitto” (Catalogue).

Doctor Atomic, John Adams. Performed by Gerald Finley and other soloists with the BBC Singers, BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by John Adams.
“In this first recording of John Adams’s 2005 opera, Doctor Atomic, the composer leads the BBC Singers and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, with a cast led by Gerald Finley, who originated the role of J. Robert Oppenheimer. Longtime Adams collaborator Peter Sellars created the libretto, drawing from original sources to explore the final hours leading up to the first atomic bomb explosion at the Alamagordo test site in New Mexico in July 1945. ‘A magnificent accomplishment that easily takes its place alongside the other Adams-Sellars triumphs,’ exclaims the Los Angeles Times. ‘It contains music of unearthly splendor.'” (amazon.com).

New Classical CDs

Aimi Kobayashi album cover

Today’s selection of new classical music CDs features a couple of compilations of religious choral music book-ending three centuries, from Vivaldi and Vaughan Williams. We have also added our first recording from Aimi Kobayashi, a successful young pianist and Chopin-expert.

Gloria, Vivaldi. Performed by Julia Lezhneva, Franco Fagioli with Coro Della Radiotelevisione Svizzera.
“The brightest stars of Italian baroque combine in a dream team for Vivaldi’s ever-popular Gloria in D major. Julia Lezhneva’s ‘serene, sleek voice’ (The Financial Times) is also heard in the sacred motet Nulla in mundo pax sincera, while Franco Fagioli’s ‘distinctive and almost feminine sound’ (The Guardian) is perfectly matched to Vivaldi’s psalm setting Nisi Dominus with its haunting ‘Cum dederit’.” (cover)

Solo Piano, Chopin, Liszt. Performed by Aimi Kobayashi.
“A teenage gold medallist in both the Asia-Pacific and ASIA International Chopin competitions, and a finalist in the ultimate Chopin Competition in Warsaw 2015, just past her 20th birthday, young virtuoso Aimi Kobayashi has enjoyed a close relationship with the music of the Polish composer throughout her skyrocketing career. Here she pairs the great Second Sonata with dazzling works by Chopin’s contemporary and friend Franz Liszt on a programme showcasing the musicianship she would share with the world…” (cover)

Mass in G Minor, Vaughan Williams. Performed by The Choir of St John’s, Cambridge.
Marking the centenary of the 1918 Armistice is this recording of Vaughan Williams choral works performed by The Choir of St John’s with Andrew Nethsingha at the helm. Many of these works were composed shortly after the end of the First World War, perhaps in response to the composer’s experience.

New Classical Music CDs

Mozart in London cover image

This week in new classical CDs we highlight the child genius of Mozart and his inspirations, Debussy on period instruments, and an American treasure (Aaron Copland).

Mozart in London. Performed by The Mozartists.
“The ensemble The Mozartists presents an unprecedented survey of Mozart’s childhood stay in London from 1764-65. The wide-ranging programme includes Mozart’s remarkable first symphony (composed when he was eight years old), along with his two other London symphonies and his first concert aria. The repertoire also explores music that was being performed in London during Mozart’s stay, including works by J.C. Bach, Thomas Arne, Abel, Pescetti, Perez, George Rush and William Bates.” (Catalogue)

Préludes du 2e Livre, La Mer, Debussy. La Mer transcribed by Debussy. Performed by Alexander Melnikov and Olga Pashchenko.
Harmonia Mundi describes Debussy as “the magician of melody and timbre, the great ‘colourist’ and father of modern music.” Alexander Melnikov performs on a “‘period’ piano (an Erard piano) that he breathes new life into Book II of the Préludes, but also – with the help of Olga Pashchenko – the extraordinary transcription of La Mer by the composer himself.” (Back cover)

Orchestral Works 3 – Symphonies, Copland. Performed by BBC Philharmonic.
The Chandos retrospective of Copland orchestral works continues with volume three, including Symphony No. 1, Dance Symphony, interspersed with two interludes, An Outdoor Overture, and Statements.

New Classical CDs

This week in the classical collection we highlight new additions by the pianists Stephen Hough, Boris Giltburg and Paul Lewis.

Piano Sonatas Nos. 32, 40, 49, 50, Haydn. Performed by Paul Lewis.
A collection of some of the last piano sonatas written by Haydn: “… highly attractive music… that combines mischievousness, ingenuousness, eloquence and lyricism. A whole art of contrast, interpreted with unique grace by Paul Lewis.” (back cover)

Stephen Hough’s Dream Album.
“It is seldom these graceful, delightful pieces have such consummate musicianship lavished upon them. Few pianists today besides Stephen Hough could devise such a recital featuring his own compositions beside works by Liszt, Sibelius, Elgar, Mompou and many more. Such stuff is what dreams are made of.” (amazon.com editorial review)

Piano Concerto No. 3; Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Rachmaninov. Performed by Boris Giltburg and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
“Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3 is a complex, epic narrative that moves from a simple opening melody to the triumphant apotheosis at its conclusion. The composer ingeniously links motifs, melodies and at times whole sections between the movements, unifying the concerto into a single overarching storyline. In the Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Rachmaninov reworks the original theme using his unique harmonic language until there is no trace left of its Baroque or Renaissance origins.” (back cover)

Brand new Classical CD additions

Debusyy & Ravel album cover

This week we highlight some fresh new chamber music, and a world premiere recording of the Italian 1774 version of Orfeo ed Euridice by Gluck. If you are interested in the journeys works of music can go on, we also have a 2015 recording of this work, being the 1762 version (in Italian), with highlights from the 1774 Paris version (in French).

Orfeo ed Euridice, Gluck. Performed by Philippe Jaroussky, Amanda Forsythe with Diego Fasolis, conductor.
“A sumptuous world-premiere recording of Gluck’s masterpiece of operatic reform, as it was presented in its Naples premiere at the Court Theatre of the Royal Palace in February of 1774, several months before the pastiche version with expanded cast debuted at the Teatro San Carlo. Here the work retains the intimate three-role cast of the well-known 1762 version, yet with fascinating customisations: the title role’s melodic line reshaped for a male soprano, a substitute aria offering a penetrating psychological portrait of Eurydice. In all, the genius of the work shines with new, astonishing colour, taking on a peculiar pace and unexpected brightness.” (cover).

Quatuor a Corde, Op. 10, Debussy, and Quatuor a Corde, Ravel. Performed by the Jerusalem Quartet.
“A century after his death on 25 March 1918, many harmonia mundi artists are eager to pay tribute to Claude Debussy, the magician of melody and timbre, the great ‘colourist’ and father of modern music. The musicians of the Jerusalem Quartet offer a new reading of his only String Quartet, in the logical coupling with its Ravelian counterpart: in some respects, the two works might seem like twins – and yet what differences there are between them!” (cover).

Oktett, Franz Schubert. Performed by Isabelle Faust and other string and wind performers.
“In response to a commission from Count Troyer, who wanted a work closely modelled on Beethoven’s famous Septet, op. 20, Schubert – despite his fervent admiration for the older composer – resolutely struck out on his own way by delivering an… octet. While the enlarged forces opened his path towards symphonic writing, examination of the form and expression reveals a much more accomplished and personal composition than has generally been recognised by commentators. Isabelle Faust and her partners, enthralled by what is an exceptional work in every respect, offer us a new interpretation of it on period instruments.” (cover).