Conjuring up a pristine, snow-covered landscape through an immersive choral sound, Voces8’s new album Winter captures the serene beauty of the season. Winter features pieces by composers from northern climes, including Arvo Pärt’s “Nunc Dimittis,” arrangements of Ólafur Arnalds’ “For Now I Am Winter” and Henry Purcell’s “Cold Song” as well as a world premiere written for the album by the young British composer and recent Decca signing, Rebecca Dale.
This is the young Norwegian violinist’s fifth Warner Classics release. Early 2015 brought a programme devoted entirely to Mozart, but her previous concerto discs were also notable for imaginative musical matchmaking: Tchaikovsky/Nielsen and Sibelius/Prokofiev. Both concertos on this new disc were written when their composers were in the USA around the time of World War II: the Korngold was completed in 1945, the Britten in 1939. In the course of the 1930s Korngold, an Austrian Jew, had become a prominent Hollywood composer, but could not return to his homeland after 1938; the young Britten, a pacifist, left the UK for New York shortly before the declaration of war in 1939. Both composers had been child prodigies and both concertos are centred around the key of D, the most ‘natural’ key on the violin and the tonal focus for the violin concertos of Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky.
Édouard Lalo made his mark on French music with his opera Le Roi dYs, but his instrumental output also has considerable historical importance, with its resolutely innovative aims for its time. More specifically, his concertante music rewards the attentive ear with a brilliant, skilfully constructed style, studded with fresh rhythmic and harmonic inventions that renew the melodic and orchestral language of the genre. Under the direction of Jean-Jacques Kantorow, himself a violinist and extremely familiar with this repertory, the Liège Royal Philharmonic places itself at the service of the virtuoso fingers of six young soloists from the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel: this anthology provides an opportunity, notably, to renew acquaintance with the violinist Lorenzo Gatto who recently released a recording of the Beethoven Concerto in the famous Symphonie espagnole for violin and orchestra. Works such as the powerful Cello Concerto, the elegant Piano Concerto, the folk-influenced Concerto russe and Fantaisie norvégienne, and the sparkling Introduction et Scherzo on themes from Namouna complete this set, which highlights both the work of the prestigious and internationally renowned Belgian nursery for young talent, recently renovated, and a repertory championed by the Palazzetto Bru Zane, which contributed to the realisation of the project.
A new Dvorák symphony and concerto cycle from the multi-Gramophone-Award-winning conductor and the great Prague-based orchestra. It marks a triumphant return to the orchestra where he trained, the world leading and multi-Gramophone Award-winning maestro Jirí Bìlohlávek records Decca’s first Dvorák cycle since the 1960s. This complete symphonies and concertos set is a pinnacle of brilliant music-making, and the first major cycle to be recorded in high-definition 24bit 96kHz and Mastered for iTunes sound.
Dvorák himself conducted the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra’s first concert in 1896, and the shared Bohemian heritage of composer, conductor and orchestra lends a very special authenticity to these recordings.
Dvorák’s three concertos (violin, cello and piano) feature alongside his nine great Symphonies, with Decca’s leading cellist Alisa Weilerstein, Frank Peter Zimmermann (violin) and Garrick Ohlsson (piano). The Czech PO and Belohlávek will be undertaking major European tours in 2014, including a full Dvorák symphonic cycle in Prague in September. Rhombus Films have also made a fascinating documentary focusing on Belohlávek’s return to Prague as the Czech Philharmonic’s chief conductor.
Composer: Antonín Dvorák Performer: Alisa Weilerstein, Frank Peter Zimmermann, Garrick Ohlsson Conductor: Jiri Belohlávek Orchestra/Ensemble: Czech Philharmonic Orchestra (more…)
Deodato – Prelude (1972/2013) FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 32:48 minutes | 1,27 GB | Genre: Jazz, Electronic Official Digital Download – Source: CTI/e-Onkyo.com | Front cover
Eumir Deodato de Almeida, also known as Eumir Deodato, is a Brazilian pianist, composer, record producer and arranger, primarily based in the jazz realm but who historically has been known for eclectic melding of big band and combo jazz with varied elements of rock/pop, R&B/funk, Brazilian/Latin, and symphonic or orchestral music. (more…)
Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Chamber Orchestra of Europe – Schumann: The Symphonies (2014) FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Digital Booklet | 2.04 GB Genre: Classical | Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz
For these revelatory performances – captured live at acclaimed concerts in Paris – he conducts the superb Chamber Orchestra of Europe, one of the world’s preeminent chamber orchestras. Taking a fresh perspective on familiar music, Yannick Nézet-Séguin challenges the conventional view on the composer’s symphonies.
“Of all the major symphonies, I’d say that Schumann’s are best performed by a slightly smaller ensemble… With a lean string section – not only in size, but also in its quality of playing – the music just works.”
The Canadian Maestro sees Schumann’s music as rooted in the bipolar nature of the composer’s troubled psyche, emphasising dramatic shifts of temperament – not only between movements but even within a single phrase
“He’s one of those composers whose personality is completely expressed in their music…those fluctuations between the melancholy and something very inward-looking are combined with a very manic kind of energy that wants to conquer the world. That’s what is so special about Schumann.”
This new cycle includes the second, revised version of Schumann’s second symphony, published as his Symphony No.4. “I try to respect whenever a composer makes a revision because he feels the need to, rather than because of any outside pressure. I’m personally convinced that the symphony’s message, and this feeling of one big movement, is better conveyed by the later version.”
This set is Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s first recording of a complete symphony cycle.
Composer: Robert Schumann Conductor: Yannick Nézet-Séguin Orchestra/Ensemble: Chamber Orchestra of Europe (more…)
Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra Of Venezuela – Gustavo Dudamel: The Liberator (OST 2014) FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz | Time – 54:09 minutes | 1,11 GB | Genre: Soundtrack, Classical Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Digital booklet
Libertador, Gustavo Dudamel’s first soundtrack, and first composition to be released worldwide. Gustavo originally arrived to this project as musical advisor. Sometime later, Gustavo said he had come up with a melody that could work for the start of the film. He went to the piano and began playing the melody. When he finished playing, I think both of us realized that he had begun composing our soundtrack. Dudamel, who consulted with filmscore master John Williams in the preparations for this assignment, describes his soundtrack as atmospheric, post-Mahlerian music, full of tension, hope and struggle. The Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra and guests from the world of Venezuelan folk music lend the score a distinctive and irresistible Latin American flavor. (more…)
Yuja Wang, Dudamel, Simon Bolivar SO – Rachmaninov, Prokofiev: Piano Concertos (2013) FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Digital Booklet | 1.27 GB Genre: Classical | Official Digital Download – Source: Linn Records
Twenty-four year old Chinese pianist Yuja Wang is widely recognized for playing that combines the spontaneity and fearless imagination of youth with the discipline and precision of a mature artist. Regularly lauded for her controlled, prodigious technique, Yuja’s command of the piano has been described as “astounding” and “superhuman,” and she has been praised for her authority over the most complex technical demands of the repertoire, the depth of her musical insight, as well as her fresh interpretations and graceful, charismatic stage presence. Following her San Francisco recital debut The San Francisco Chronicle wrote “The arrival of Chinese-born pianist Yuja Wang on the musical scene is an exhilarating and unnerving development. To listen to her in action is to re-examine whatever assumptions you may have had about how well the piano can actually be played,” and The Washington Post called Yuja’s Kennedy Center recital debut “jaw-dropping.”
Composer: Sergei Rachmaninov, Sergei Prokofiev Performer: Yuja Wang Conductor: Gustavo Dudamel Orchestra/Ensemble: Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra (more…)