Schubert: Wanderer Fantasy in C major, D 760 (20:53)
Barry Douglas, piano
Having produced two highly regarded albums of solo works by Brahms, Barry Douglas, an exclusive Chandos artist, now embarks on the complete solo piano works by Franz Schubert. This first volume features two large-scale works, the Wanderer Fantasy and the Sonata in B-flat major, alongside two Schubert songs transcribed by Liszt.
Meyerbeer: L’Africaine: Marche indienne (8:51)
Barcelona Symphony Orchestra / Michał Nesterowicz
Giacomo Meyerbeer was one of the most significant opera composers of all time. The four grand operas represented here brought him his greatest fame, with Les Huguenots being one of the most performed of all operas. Meyerbeer’s contributions to the French tradition of opera-ballet acquired legendary status, including the ghostly Ballet of the Nuns from Robert le Diable; the exotic orchestral color of L’Africaine; and the virtuoso Ballet of the Skaters from Le Prophète in which the dancers famously glided over the stage using roller skates.
Massenet: Werther: Pourquoi me réveiller (3:05)
Offenbach: La Belle Hélène: Au mont Ida (3:51)
Juan Diego Flórez, tenor; Bologna Teatro Comunale Orch / Roberto Abbado
The first solo album in four years by one of opera’s biggest stars reveals a voice which has become richer, rounder and more mellow. The choice of repertoire draws further new colors from tenor Juan Diego Flórez. His new recording offers a survey of the French operatic repertoire from Donizetti to Gounod and Massenet. This is a disc that not only plays to Flórez’s strengths but also shows a new side to the singer, featuring repertoire which he has rarely sung on stage.
Mendelssohn: String Quartet No 6 in F minor, Op 80 (25:04)
The Berlin-based Artemis Quartet sheds new light on Mendelssohn with three works from three distinct periods in the composer’s career: his late adolescence, the year before he turned 30, and the final months of his short life, overshadowed by the death of his beloved sister. The quartets of Mendelssohn featured prominently in the Artemis Quartet’s performing schedule for 2012 and 2013. They appeared on programs with works by Beethoven and Schubert, but also – more unexpectedly – alongside arrangements of Bach by Astor Piazzolla and music by Alberto Ginastera.
Anna Clyne: Prince of Clouds (13:28)
Jennifer Koh & Jaime Laredo, violins; Curtis 20/21 Ensemble / Vinay Parameswaran
Renowned violinists Jennifer Koh and Jaime Laredo illuminate captivating connections between student and teacher, and composers across the centuries, in ‘Two x Four,’ an album of four double-violin concertos. The touchstone is Bach’s Concerto in D minor, BWV 1043. Koh and Laredo leap from the Baroque to the late 20th-century for Philip Glass’s Echorus on the theme of compassion. Two new works commissioned expressly for the project receive world premiere recordings: Anna Clyne’s impressionistic Prince of Clouds and David Ludwig’s evocative Seasons Lost.
Guastavino: Piano Sonatina in G minor (10:31)
Mirian Conti, piano
‘Panorama Argentino’ is the followup release to Mirian Conti’s acclaimed 2012 recording ‘Nostalgias Argentinas.’ Conti is a specialist in the music of Spain and Latin America and her highly regarded recordings are often referred to as benchmarks in this repertoire. As with the earlier release, the album includes many first recordings of works inspired by the folk music and sophisticated dance forms of Argentina.
Ravel: Rapsodie espagnole (15:28)
Seattle Symphony / Ludovic Morlot
This recording of works by Ravel and Saint-Saëns comes from the Seattle Symphony’s new in-house label. The exciting new venture reflects the highly acclaimed partnership between the orchestra and Ludovic Morlot, who is now in his third year as Music Director. The first three releases feature both live and studio recordings of works by French and American composers, celebrating the flourishing relationship between a dynamic young French conductor and an American orchestra.
Beethoven: Coriolan Overture, Op 62 (7:07)
Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra / Bruno Weil
As part of its Beethoven Symphony Cycle project, Tafelmusik launches Symphonies 1-4 & Overtures double CD – all live recordings at Toronto’s Koerner Hall in 2012 and 2013. Long-time Tafelmusik conductor Bruno Weil directs these performances. He says, “We approach these symphonies as if they were the very first performance, as though the music had been composed yesterday. This is the real thing – there’s no sense of routine with Tafelmusik musicians, and everybody’s giving their all for this music, playing with a full heart and a full soul and spirit.”
Bach: Easter Oratorio, BWV 249 (41:07)
Hannah Morrison, soprano; Meg Bragle, alto; Nicholas Mulroy, tenor; Peter Harvey, bass; Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists / Sir John Eliot Gardiner
Following their acclaimed release of Bach’s Ascension Oratorio, the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists have recorded the Easter Oratorio, BWV 249, one of Bach’s less-performed choral works. The Easter Oratorio was composed originally as a simple cantata, and was later revised into a more polished piece with a meditative emphasis and underlying narrative flavor. The work is paired with Bach’s Actus tragicus, BWV 106.
Brahms: Piano Concerto No 2 in B-flat major, Op 83: I, Allegro non troppo (17:13)
Maurizio Pollini, piano; Dresden Staatskapelle / Christian Thielemann
Recorded live in January 2013, this performance of Brahms’ Piano Concerto No 2 reunited Maurizio Pollini and the Dresden Staatskapelle under Christian Thielemann. Pollini and Thielemann had already won an ECHO award for their recording of the First Concerto, released in 2012. Brahms’ Second Piano Concerto has had a particularly notable history in the city of Dresden, where the composer himself played the work twice on the stage of the Semperoper, where this recording was made