CHOPIN Piano Works

“here's an intelligent, polished and technically brilliant player who gets under the skin of the music. He demonstrates both thunderous strength and delicacy in the Polonaise-Fantasie.” --Classic FM Magazine, October 2011 ****

“One of the most striking features of Wunder's playing is his sound. His touch is always healthy, never harsh or aggressive; attacks and releases are remarkably even...[The performances] are sophisticated, suave, unerringly beautiful, models of musical clarity and textual fidelity. What I miss is claustrophic desperation...Do Ingolf Wunder's performances...presage a new view of this beloved Romantic, tailored for less encumbered, cooler sensibilities?” --International Record Review, September 2011

SCHÜTZ Symphoniae Sacrae I

Schütz was the most important German composer of his generation, a pupil of Giovanni Gabrieli in Venice and later of Monteverdi. Schütz wrote a very large amount of church music, Cantiones sacrae and Symphoniae sacrae, the scale of which largely depended on the economic situation of the Dresden court chapel.

“[Weser-Renaissance Bremen] are among the finest and most prolific exponents of Schütz on CD…[Cordes] has assembled a very fine cast of soloists who functions equally well as an ensemble [sic]” --Gramophone Magazine, February 2016

HAYDN Symphony No 85, Etc

It was in 2015 that Julien Chauvin decided to bring back to life one of the most famous orchestras of the late 18th century, Le Concert de la Loge Olympique. Founded in 1783 and owing its lasting fame for having commissioned Joseph Haydn's 'Paris' Symphonies, it gave its first concerts under the high patronage of Marie-Antoinette, hence the subtitle of the fourth 'Paris' Symphony: 'La Reine'. Although the name has been slightly changed today, now called Le Concert de la Loge, this ensemble perpetuates the same tradition of excellence as its illustrious namesake. On the programme, of course, recording the cycle of these 'Paris' Symphonies and, to get the series off to a start, this famous 'Reine'.

PIANO Recital

Lucas Debargue, the most talked about pianist at the 2015 Tchaikovsky Piano Competition, releases his first studio album BACH, BEETHOVEN, MEDTNER. Nikolai Medtner is a Russian composer, contemporary of Rachmaninov & Scriabin with German roots and influences. Debargue performed Medtner’s melodious sonata to spectacular success at the 2015 Tchaikovsky Competition with applause that lasted over fifteen minutes. Besides Bach's melancholic Toccata C minor BWV 911, Debargue is keen to engage in forgotten works as with Medtner and further puts a spotlight on the Sonata No. 7 in D major by Beethoven, which remained in the shadow of the famous Pathétique. Debargue only started professional training aged 20 but won the Tchaikovsky Piano Competition's 4th prize only four years later, being described by media as the “real winner” due to his unusual background and magnificent playing.

REICH Orchestral Works

A new double album, honouring the 80th Birthday of the minimal music pioneer. Includes 2 world premiere recordings. Steve Reich, one of the most influential composers of our time and key founder of the minimalist school of music, is celebrating his 80th birthday on 3 October 2016. The album is not only a celebration of his birthday but also a result of a 3-year-project that started with Reich's residency as "composer in residence" at the MDR Radio Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra-choris versions of "Daniel" and "You Are Variations" are therefore world premiere recordings. "Duet" was dedicated to and written for Sir Yehudi Menuhin for his 80th birthday. "Clapping Music" is performed on this album by Steve Reich himself and Kristjan Järvi. CD 1 includes Live performances at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig / CD 2 includes studio recordings.

TCHAIKOVSKY The Nutcracker

Tchaikovsky, a master of the miniature forms necessary for ballet, succeeded in raising the quality of the music provided for an art that had undergone considerable technical development in 19th-century Russia under the guidance of the French choreographer Marius Petipa. His last ballet, based on a story by E.T.A. Hoffmann, was The Nutcracker, first staged in St Petersburg in December 1892.

"Here is yet another major new recording of The Nutcracker. Undoubtedly its great success stems a good deal from the superlative Berlin Philharmonic, but if also confirms Semyon Bychkov as a major new presence on the recording scene... every bar of this performance is tingling with vitality." --Gramophone Magazine   ➤The Snowflakes

MARTINŮ Violin Concerto No. 2, Etc

“Martinu's Second Violin Concerto is one of his greatest works in the genre. From her very first entry, Isabelle Faust shows a strong feeling for the work's dramatic ebb and flow, and in the supremely beautiful slow movement achieves heights of eloquence. Belohlávek provides magnificently flexible accompaniment and a clear vision of the work's broadly developed structure.” --BBC Music Magazine, July 2008 *****

“… this brilliant new account of the Second Concerto (1943), played with verve and a real feeling for the idiom by Isabelle Faust. … her sweet, precise tones allows Martinu's angular lyricism… open out for maximum appeal.” --Gramophone Magazine, August 2008

HORNER Double Concerto

First concert work in over 30 years from the multi-million selling, Hollywood film composer James Horner – presented by dynamic new brother-and-sister team Mari & Hakon Samuelsen. Tragically, Horner died on June 22, 2015. He was 61 years old.

“It's the orchestration that is most impressive in Horner's filmy Pas de Deux concerto for violin and cello. Sollima's Violoncelles, vibrez! (1993) is thankfully liberated from Greenaway's excruciating Rembrandt biopic Nightwatching.” --BBC Music Magazine, October 2015

SHOSTAKOVICH Cello Concertos Nos. 1 & 2

Composed for the virtuosic cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, the coupling and contrasting of these two arresting works is irresistible: the anti-heroic, relentless, emotionally suppressed First Concerto set alongside the sarcasm and isolation of the Second.

“Weilerstein follows outstanding Decca recordings of the Elgar and Dvorak concertos with this pairing, which illustrates her depth and range...Heras-Casado and the Bavarians match the sardonic bite of her playing: this is one of the best accounts ever recorded of a work we don’t hear often enough in concert.” --Sunday Times, 18th September 2016

BACH Works for Viola da Gamba

Per la viola da gamba is a solid, entirely satisfying, and authoritative-sounding hour of Bach. In particular, the gamba and lute transformation of Bach's "doubtful" Violin Sonata, BWV 1025, utilizing Sylvius Leopold Weiss' original lute part and transposing the Bach's violin part down an octave, sounds more natural and authentic than the familiar "doubtful" version. The Sonata BWV 1029 is played as a trio with continuo, and this approach lends a concertato effect to the sonata, which works well due to the obviously close relationship between this work and Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3... This is an excellent disc that recommends itself.

RAFF Works for Violin & Piano Volume 4

Joachim Raff enjoyed the highest reputation in his lifetime but was later remembered only for his famous Cavatina, an attractive short piece that appeared in many arrangements. Raff contributed to the repertoire of German chamber music with works ranging from piano quintets to duo sonatas, the last including five sonatas for violin and piano.

“The real discovery is the Chromatic Fourth Sonata with its intriguing allusions to Liszt and Wagner. This and all the other words are played with fervent commitment by Turban and Nemtsov.” --BBC Music Magazine, May 2008 ****

CHOPIN Piano Concerto No 2, Works for piano and orchestra

In Warsaw, Ingolf Wunder was also awarded prizes for the best performance of a concerto and of the Polonaise-Fantasy. Wunder is the first German-speaking finalist and prize winner of the Chopin Competition in 73 years. Reporting from the competition, Sunday Telegraph critic John Allison declared that Wunder has “everything one wants to hear in a Chopin player . . . an absolutely beautiful sense of tone and huge musical imagination, coupled with incredible virtuosity”

“His playing perfectly balanced stylish, aristocratic restraint with surging power and passion” Gramophone online.

FAURÉ Works for Orchestra

“…the performance here of the surviving movement of the Concerto, with Jean-Marc Phillips-Varjabédian an eloquent and accomplished soloist, proves that the orchestration fits the music extremely well. Pianist Jérôme Ducros captures the Ballade's idiosyncratic blend of languor and virtuosity... he is a strong advocate for the Fantaisie, one of the host of underplayed works from Fauré's old age.” --BBC Music Magazine, July 2009 *****

“…all these works are finely performed and recorded, making this an indispensable acquisition for all lovers of a still gravely misunderstood composer.” --Gramophone Magazine, October 2009


A double album filled with performances by today’s musical headline-makers – from established stars of the concert hall and opera house to young talents who have captured the imagination of audiences of all ages. If you want to hear a favourite artist perform a favourite work, or if you are looking to discover exciting new musicians and memorable new pieces – this is the moment for CLASSICAL 2016!

GRIEG Peer Gynt Suites Nos 1 & 2; SIBELIUS Orchestral Works

By the time Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic made the recordings featured here, they had been together for more than a decade. There is a lustiness and power to the playing throughout the orchestra. From the lilt and swagger of Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 to the sensuous humor of Grieg's Norwegian Dance--made memorable for oboist Ralph Gomberg's solo playing--Bernstein brought out the best from this strong and virtuosic orchestra. Here, Sibelius's Valse Triste is all grace and elegance. The Swan of Tuonela is superb for it's dreamlike pacing and the marvelous English horn playing. Finlandia makes a perfect finale. All this music is evocative and it remains in motion every moment, however subtly. --Gwendolyn Freed