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Beethoven: Emperor Concerto; Schumann: Fantasy – Yundi (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | 1 CD | Digital Booklet | 1.28 GB
Genre: Classical | Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz

Yundi Li was propelled on to the international stage when he won first prize at the XIV Chopin International Piano Competition at the age of 18, becoming the youngest and first Chinese winner in the history of the prestigious competition. He has since caused a sensation in the world’s leading concert halls.

During his tours, recitals and concertizing, performing some of the greatest masterpieces of piano literature, it seemed inevitable that this fine artist would eventually record Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto. Yundi Li performed this work with conductor Daniel Harding and the Berlin Philharmonic. The recording also includes a performance of a fascinating solo work, Schumann’s Fantasie in C major. These are works that invite music lovers to compare different artists and interpretations.

Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven, Robert Schumann
Performer: Yundi Li
Conductor: Daniel Harding
Orchestra/Ensemble: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

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Iestyn Davies / Handel: Your Tuneful Voice – Handel Oratorio Arias (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Digital Booklet | 1.24 GB
Genre: Classical | Official Digital Download – Source: Linn Records

Acclaimed countertenor Iestyn Davies and The King’s Consort perform an outstanding programme of Handel arias from some of the composer’s finest oratorios. Eleven varied solo arias include ‘O sacred oracles of truth’, the delicate ‘Tune your harps’, ‘Eternal source of light’ (with supreme trumpet playing from Crispian Steele-Perkins), the melodious ‘Your tuneful voice’ and the virtuoso ‘Mighty love now calls to arm’, as well as rarities including ‘On the valleys, dark and cheerless’ and an especial jewel, ‘Mortals think that Time is sleeping’.

Iestyn is joined in two glorious duets by soprano Carolyn Sampson, including the ecstatic ‘Welcome as the dawn of day’ and the ghostly ‘Who calls my parting soul from death’.

Recorded in the well-nigh perfect acoustic of Menuhin Hall with a large and colourful orchestra, who also contribute two

Composer: George Frideric Handel
Performer: Iestyn Davies, Rachel Chaplin, Crispian Steele-Perkins, Carolyn Sampson, …
Conductor: Robert King
Orchestra/Ensemble: The King’s Consort

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Stenhammar – Serenade & Excelsior (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | 1 CD | Digital Booklet | 1.01 GB
Genre: Classical | Official Digital Download – Source: eClassical

‘Finland has Sibelius, Norway has Grieg and Denmark Nielsen – so what about Sweden?’ This question, often put to Swedish musicians and music-lovers, is one that has no simple answer. Wilhelm Stenhammar (1871-1927), a personal friend of both Sibelius and Nielsen, would seem to be the obvious candidate – but when his name is suggested the usual reaction is ‘Stenhammar who?’

The symphonic overture Excelsior!, written for the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in 1896, was composed only four years after Stenhammar made his début as a composer. Stenhammar had not yet entirely found his own voice, but the work displays an infectious exuberance and enthusiasm, contrasting with the more reflective ‘Interlude’ from the composer’s final large-scale work, the cantata Sången from 1921.

Closing the disc is the Serenade in F major, often regarded as Stenhammar’s finest orchestral score.

This is the Royal Flemish Philharmonic’s first recoding for BIS.

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Brahms: German Requiem – Gergiev, Maltman, Matthews, London Symphony Orchestra (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | 1 CD | Front Cover | 1.29 GB
Genre: Classical | Official Digital Download – Source: Linn Records

Valery Gergiev and the London Symphony Orchestra present Brahms’ greatest choral work, the ‘German’ Requiem, featuring soprano Sally Matthews and baritone Christopher Maltman. Gergiev’s first Brahms release on LSO Live, Symphonies Nos 1 & 2, Tragic Overture & Haydn Variations was awarded 5/5 by BBC Music Magazine.

Intended to be for ‘all humanity’, Brahms’ ‘German’ Requiem is a powerful work – its central themes of melancholy and comfort are universally applicable. Non-liturgical, yet sacred and devotional in spirit, it showcases the great romantic melodies for which Brahms was renowned, and has become a popular work with choirs all over the world – admired for its mystical, consolatory and contemplative tone.

Composer: Johannes Brahms
Performer: Christopher Maltman, Sally Matthews
Conductor: Valery Gergiev
Orchestra/Ensemble: London Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Chorus

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Chasing Pianos – Michael Nyman / Valentina Lisitsa (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | 1 CD | Digital Booklet | 1.37 GB
Genre: Classical | Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz

A coming together of two artists with enormous followings – Valentina Lisitsa, with her dazzling artistry and hundreds of thousands of followers on YouTube, and Michael Nyman, with his hugely popular film soundtracks. This release, in the year of Nyman’s 70th birthday, features tracks from his multi-award-winning score for the 1993 smash hit film The Piano.

Acclaimed for his music’s innovation, punchy simplicity and universal appeal, Nyman, during his career as a music critic, coined the term ‘minimalism’ for an emergent musical genre – one to which he would make extensive contributions in many of his early scores and inspire a vast global audience.

The disc is packed full with 77mins of material, full of irresistible energy. The album includes all ten solo piano transcriptions from The Piano, together on one album for the first time.

Composer: Michael Nyman
Performer: Valentina Lisitsa

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