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      Archive for May, 2015

      May 31, 2015

      Tomkins: O praise the Lord (3:42)
      Clemens non Papa: Ego flos campi (6:01)

      Stile Antico

      In celebration of the group’s first decade, Stile Antico’s record label, Harmonia Mundi, invited each member to choose a favorite work from their recordings to date, and has brought them together to create a beautiful compilation album – an ideal introduction to Renaissance polyphony and to Stile Antico’s work. The group’s members have written about their repertoire choices in the accompanying booklet, which also features full texts and translations.

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      Rating: 4.3/5 (6 votes cast)

      Haydn: Sinfonia concertante in B-flat major (20:47)

      Ilya Gringolts, violin; Nicolas Altstaedt, cello; Alfredo Bernardini, oboe; Peter Whelan, bassoon; Arcangelo / Jonathan Cohen

      Mozart’s sublime Oboe Concerto and Bassoon Concerto (he wrote only one of each) are conjured into thrilling life by Arcangelo under the direction of Jonathan Cohen. In the Haydn Sinfonia concertante—written at the very zenith of the composer’s artistic popularity—four soloists combine with the orchestra in a spiral of theatrical competition.

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      Rating: 3.5/5 (2 votes cast)

      Ysaÿe: Solo Violin Sonata No 2 in A minor, Op 27 No 2 (13:02)

      Alina Ibragimova, violin

      Ysaÿe’s Sonatas for solo violin were sketched out in a fevered 24 hours during the summer of 1923, a response to the question of why—in over two hundred years—no one had attempted to follow the path forged by Bach. Each of these six Sonatas is dedicated to and customized around the playing style of a contemporary violinist. Russian virtuoso Alina Ibragimova, whose earlier recording of the Bach Sonatas was revelatory, turns out performances fully worthy of this distinguished ancestry.

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      Rating: 3.8/5 (6 votes cast)

      Bach: Solo Violin Partita No 3 in E major, BWV 1006: Preludio (4:01)

      Jennifer Pike, violin; Sinfonietta Cracovia / Craig Leon, moog synthesizer

      In January 2015, Moog Music, the 60-year-old analog synthesizer company, announced that it would once again build the large format modular synthesizer first introduced by its founder and inventor, Dr Robert Moog, in 1964. Sony Classical has released ‘Bach to Moog,’ an album showcasing the newly re-issued synthesizer in works by Bach. This is the first album to be recorded utilizing this system, which integrates the synthesizer into the orchestra as a solo instrument and also as a processor of other instruments.

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      Rating: 3.6/5 (10 votes cast)

      D’Indy: Suite dans le style ancien, Op 24 (16:19)

      Iceland Symphony Orchestra / Rumon Gamba

      This is the sixth and final volume in Chandos’ survey of orchestral works by Vincent d’Indy. The project, with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and Rumon Gamba, has aimed to bring the composer’s neglected, eclectic, and richly orchestrated works to a wider audience. Previous volumes have garnered many awards, confirming Chandos’ reputation as a top label in the groundbreaking search for neglected musical gems.

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      Rating: 3.5/5 (4 votes cast)

      Dohnányi: Piano Quintet No 2 in E-flat minor, Op 26 (23:54)

      Shmuel Ashkenasi, violin; Nobuko Imai, viola; Trio Nota Bene

      Ernö Dohnányi is the least celebrated of the trio of 20th-century Hungarian composers; Zoltán Kodály and Béla Bartók have become household names, yet Dohnányi’s fame rests on a handful of compositions. This recording brings together two of his finest chamber works: the masterful yet contrasting Piano Quintets. Both works reflect an enduring and deep-rooted regard for Brahms and Schumann, and even Mendelssohn.

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      Rating: 4.0/5 (4 votes cast)

      Montero: Ex Patria, Op 1 (13:22)

      Gabriela Montero, piano; YOA Orchestra of the Americas / Carlos Miguel Prieto

      Gabriela Montero’s debut orchestral recording rejoins an age-old tradition of the pianist as composer and improviser. Both a personal lament and the collected protest of muted voices, Ex Patria reveals a Venezuelan homeland ravaged by societal collapse. It is accompanied by the Piano Concerto No 2 of Rachmaninoff. Three improvisations conclude, each composed and recorded spontaneously.

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      Rating: 4.7/5 (24 votes cast)

      May 24, 2015

      Beethoven: Wellington’s Victory, Op 91: I, The Battle (8:12)
      Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra / Ondrej Lenárd

      Holst: The Planets, Op 32: I, Mars, the Bringer of War (6:57)
      Royal Scottish National Orchestra / David Lloyd-Jones

      How to depict scenes of battle in music is a task that has long fascinated composers. From the dawning of the Renaissance, the first successful programmatic works appeared from Susato, Dowland and Biber. But it was the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that witnessed a true flourishing, when composers utilized the full resources of contemporary symphonism to evoke the tumult of battle. Later the medium of film, notably those produced in Hollywood, brought with it colorful and gripping scores.

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      Rating: 4.2/5 (5 votes cast)

      Gould: String Quartet No 1 (35:47)

      Catalyst Quartet

      Through a collaborative arranging process, the Catalyst Quartet has created the first four-voiced version of Bach’s Goldberg Variations for string quartet. The album features this special contribution to the quartet repertoire along with Glenn Gould’s only published composition, his String Quartet, Op 1, completed just before recording his debut album of the Goldberg Variations in 1955.

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      Rating: 4.5/5 (26 votes cast)

      Grieg: Valses-Caprices, Op 37: No 1 in C-sharp minor (4:55); No 2 in E minor (3:28)

      Christiane Baume-Sanglard & Dana Ciocarlie, piano

      Since their first encounter in 2007 during the Swiss festival Piano à Saint-Ursanne, Christiane Baume-Sanglard and Dana Ciocarlie have started working together and collaborating as a piano duo. They have since played in numerous concerts and festivals all over Europe. Through their friendship, their contrasting personalities make for a vibrant mixture of energy, poetry and musical expressiveness.

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      Rating: 3.8/5 (6 votes cast)