Christmas is a time for special musical experiences, from gentle traditional carols to rousing calls for worship. This recording fully represents the Vasari Singers’ renowned seasonal programmes, mixing familiar festive fun with newly inspired creations.
‘A wonderfully played album, dedicated to Lars Vogt by friends and collaborators.’ – Gramophone
Unlike most conductors of his generation, Carlos Kleiber became a legend during his lifetime, one of the reasons being his increasingly rare appearances. Even the opera houses where he had enjoyed his greatest triumphs – especially in Munich and Vienna – and orchestras such as the Vienna Philharmonic were, in the end, unable to coax him back. In the late 90s, he made an exception for the Bavarian State Orchestra, with which he remained closely connected for most of his life.
‘Antoni Wit succeeds in a fascinating interpretation. He knows how to make the music very spacious and transparent, and to bring out the characteristic moods of the songs clearly.’ – Pizzicato ★★★★★
When Sylvain Cambreling took up his position at the Südwestrundfunk broadcasting corporation in 1999, he knew only too well that he was the successor to charismatic colleagues such as Hans Rosbaud, Ernest Bour and Michael Gielen, and did not have to be told that the orchestra’s tradition was not geared towards providing wellness experiences for hedonistic listeners.
‘Falletta and the BPO have already shown their affinity for Kodály’s music, and that comes through again in these spirited performances, especially in the flavourful symphony…’ – The Flip Side
‘By presenting multiple excerpts from these works, Salvi shows Marschner’s range. There’s a lot of great music tucked away in those scores.’ – WTJU
Leopold Godowsky began composing his 53 Studies on the Chopin Études in 1894 when he was only 23, finishing two decades later. His fertile musical imagination and exceptional virtuosity ensure that the studies sound vastly more complex and daringly inventive than Chopin’s original material. Late Romanticism informed Godowsky’s conception and his use of the left hand, for example, reinforces the many demands that he considered necessary for contemporary virtuosity, with music that is fearsomely challenging and boundlessly inventive.
Following the internationally acclaimed improvised solo piano album The Trondheim Concert (NXN2011) and the digital album release The Nidaros Concert (NXN2018), NXN’s latest release is The Hamar Concert, which was recorded before a live audience in The Hamar Concert Hall. Ranging from subdued and lyrical to epic and technically brilliant, Espen Berg continues to prove he is a master of improvised piano performance.
These charming gems were not intended for the concert stage but offer a surprising and seemingly spontaneous outpouring of melody and harmonic wit – and even imitations of Tyrolean yodelling. The 12 Écossaises, D. 299 are known to be the first work Schubert composed away from Vienna. Didier Castell-Jacomin employs the 1982 Henle edition based on manuscripts and first editions.
‘Vogt’s ensemble with his attentive orchestra is close-knit, while at the piano there’s not a hint of compromise, nor need for any. He sounds on top form, with his typically vivid articulation and sparkling touch, while his generously lyrical phrasing incorporates unfailing attention to detail. The compact orchestra is slender and eloquent, its balance well judged.’ – BBC Music Magazine
‘Christoph Spering and his ensemble capture this atmosphere beautifully. The music always has something shadowy about it; it is basically night music with brief glimpses of light…’ – Pizzicato
Jean-Baptiste Lully’s unrivalled position at the Sun King’s court gave him freedom to produce numerous grand theatre works. Acis et Galatée is acknowledged as one of his masterpieces with its adroit alternation of effects and situations and its substantial use of dances and choruses. The opera was composed as part of lavish celebrations for the Dauphin’s stay at the castle of Anet and is a pastorale héroïque, with its plot based on the love story between the nymph Galatée and the shepherd Acis. The work’s ‘heroic’ element is provided by the presence of the mythical Neptune and cyclops Polyphème who, for the love of Galatée, crushes Acis under a boulder.
The lyrically beautiful Five Preludes reflect influences as wide as Schumann and Scriabin but preserve Gurney’s expressive freshness. The Sonatas Nos. 1 and 3 inhabit very different sound worlds from each other, and only one movement of Sonata No. 2 has survived, a deeply poignant elegy – all of which are heard here in world premiere recordings. His poem for piano, Autumn, offers further opportunity to discover this rarely heard music by a composer for whom the pursuit of beauty was of the utmost importance.
‘Kitajenko lets the music unfold naturally, and the orchestra’s excellent and idiomatic playing allows the essential stillness of Liadov’s scene to come through eloquently – along with its small hints that there is something magical just out of sight, waiting to be perceived by those with eyes to see and ears to hear it.’ – Infodad.com ★★★★
‘And so all credit to Peter Jablonski who, in this second volume of his complete cycle, braves it where angels fear to tread. As in the first volume he leaves you in little doubt concerning his overall musicianship, his warmth and sincerity.’ – International Piano
‘Mehta’s beat throughout is precise and there are no dramatically exaggerated gestures; he presents a freshness in approach as if he is discovering this music for the first time.’ – MusicWeb International
‘This is a terrific disc full of luscious, exotic-sounding music, beautifully played and recorded by the composer’s [Villa-Lobos] home town team.’ – ClassicsToday.com
‘With his sometimes elegant, sometimes dreamy, sometimes robustly virtuosic playing, the violinist [Nikolay Madoyan] is able to extract many details from the works. The pianist Armine Grigoryan with her fine keyboard playing…offers an impeccable complement to expanding the harmonic side of the music.’ – Pizzicato ★★★★
‘Laurent Pelly’s 2022 Opéra Comique staging in Paris is centred by Raphaël Pichon conducting the excellent orchestra and chorus, and as the title heroine, Sabine Devieilhe is heartbreakingly good.’ – The Flip Side
‘Bellina (Eleonora Bellocci) and Ersilla (Martina Licari) have pleasant, appropriately weighted lyric sopranos. …Don Giampaolo (Rocco Cavalluzzi) is a dark toned bass with a splendidly sardonic manner. …They all throw themselves into the acting part and the ensembles and it’s really quite fun.
Alessandro De Marchi conducts and keeps everything moving together with the ensembles being kept crisp and lively.’ – operaramblings
Jedermann (Everyman), the founding play of the Salzburg Festival, is a unique phenomenon in the landscape of German-speaking theatre. An incomparable array of actors have performed Jedermann over the years – a work which has become a central part of the festival’s history since its premiere in 1920 – and remains an annual highlight. In this production by Michael Sturminger, Lars Eidinger plays the rich bon viveur Jedermann with Verena Altenberger as his lover Buhlschaft. They interpret their roles in a highly energetic and modern way in front of the impressive backdrop of Salzburg Cathedral.
René Jacobs’s conducting of Concerto Köln is meticulous and perfectly balanced, offering a ravishing use of tonal colour and orchestral dynamics.
‘The singing and acting is excellent. …Olga Peretyatko is a most spirited Norina. She has a lovely voice with killer coloratura, looks terrific and is a really good actor. …The ensemble work is all crisp and it comes off as a proper fast paced opera buffa. Orchestra, chorus and, especially, conductor Evelino Pidò all contribute to a genuinely fun performance.’ – operaramblings
‘British mezzo-soprano Dame Janet Baker chose to retire from the operatic stage singing the title role in Sir Peter Hall’s acclaimed production of Orfeo ed Euridice. This 1982 recording from Glyndebourne, where Dame Janet appropriately began her professional career, proved a suitable crowning glory to the career of one of the great singing actresses of our age. Dame Janet’s realisation of Orfeo, the grieving musician from Greek mythology, who follows his beloved wife Euridice to the depths of Hades in an attempt to bring her back from the dead, is totally convincing ‘… a quite staggering performance …’ – MusicWeb International
‘This DVD is eminently worth having in any Shakespeare collection.’ – The Seniors Review
‘Mehta’s beat throughout is precise and there are no dramatically exaggerated gestures; he presents a freshness in approach as if he is discovering this music for the first time.
It is clear that the Orchestra del Maggio Fiorentino possesses musicians of the highest standard, which is especially noticeable in the woodwind; the oboist, clarinettist and bassoonist are excellent…’ – MusicWeb International
World premiered with great success at the Vienna State Opera in 2019, Persinette retells the famous Rapunzel fairy tale. Set to the late-romantic music of Albin Fries, children’s opera specialist Matthias von Stegmann takes us into a world rich in imagery and imagination, allowing us to sympathise and feel great excitement. Will Persinette be able to escape her imprisonment in the high tower?
‘A huge success in the 1920s, Schreker’s Der Schatzgräber (‘The Treasure Seeker’) was hardly heard again until more recent times, and gets superlative advocacy here.’ – Gramophone