GOLDBERG Chamber Music


Though he lived for only 29 years, Johann Gottleib Goldberg (1727–1756) has been guaranteed a niche in the annals of music. Performing these chamber works is Musica Alta Ripa, a splendid Baroque period-practice ensemble formed in 1984. Its playing brilliantly highlights the urbane contrapuntal textures, poignant chromaticism, and elegant textures of Goldberg's works. Intonation, articulation, and dynamics are all well-matched throughout, and the overall recorded sound quality is clear but warm.

GRIEG String Quartets


"High-class playing and recording." --Gramophone

"The first quartet is dense, intense, and given its full due in this grand reading" --BBC Music Magazine

"In every way a thoroughly worthwhile issue" --Classic FM Magazine

"In the hands of the Chilingirian these works receive their best possible advocacy. Superbly played" --Classic CD

GRANADOS 12 Danzas Españolas

Granados's piano music is a familiar stamping ground for guitarists but, though they have done more than their fair share of keeping it alive through its earlier recession, it is only pianists who have hitherto recorded all 12 of the Danzas espanolas, wrongly described on this recording as Op. 5. Several of these dances are long familiar as guitar solos but many defy satisfactory transfer to that medium, and in consequence are commonly allotted to two or even three guitars. A single player, be he/she a pianist or a guitarist, has sole domain over the rubato that is a vital part of this music and it is hard to share it freely between two (let alone three) players of an essentially percussive instrument, which the guitar is, yet two are needed. Three things can be very helpful: Spanish blood, kinship between the two players, and unconstrained technical command, and they are all possessed by the Romeros.

BEETHOVEN & MENDELSSOHN Violin Concertos


Fresh, animated, thought-provoking - a revealing slant on two masterpieces

Interesting this, on a number of counts. Viktoria Mullova brings quite different qualities to bear on both works, chaste and unruffled in Beethoven, more demonstrably romantic in Mendelssohn, her vibrato marginally more intense and with subtly negotiated slides. Sir John Eliot Gardiner is an attentive collaborator who in Beethoven's first movement points up contrasts between a flowing legato and the forceful stamping of the timpani-inspired main idea, and lends added animation to various scale-like ascending passages.

VIRTUOSI Works for Viola da Gamba & Fortepiano


The viol first appeared in Europe in the late 15th century and subsequently became one of the most popular Renaissance and Baroque instruments. Viols were heard primarily in ensemble, or consort, music. A viol is a bowed string instrument. Similar to the cello, the viol, or viola da gamba, is played between the legs (hence the name 'viola da gamba', literally 'leg-viol'). While it is not a direct ancestor of the violin, there is some kinship between the two instrument families.

DANISH & FAROESE Recorder Concertos


“Performed with aplomb by Petri…Chacun Son Son offers a welcome astringence…the concerto snarls, sings and whispers, making for a powerful addition to the repertoire. Sunleif Rasmussen's Territorial Songs (2008-9) explores the mingling sounds of birdsong with notable originality, capturing distinct and magical soundworlds (including an arresting passage where Petri hums through the recorder).” --BBC Music Magazine, September 2015

PROKOFIEV The Piano Concertos

“…Throughout, Bavouzet displays a light touch and laudable levels of physical stamina, with a firm grasp of the very different personalities of each piece. Noseda and the BBC Philharmonic perform like soulmates for the duration, and with superb notes by Prokofiev scholar David Nice as part of the deal, you can hardly go wrong.” --Gramophone magazine, Recording of the Month - Editors Choice, March 2014

“Following Jean-Efflam Bavouzet and Gianandrea Noseda’s superlative Bartók Concerto cycle here are their attention-grabbing interpretations of Prokofiev’s characterful five of that genre. With Bavouzet’s lively temperament allied with Noseda’s fierce attention to detail, no listener will come to these performances without hearing something new in these works…” --BBC Music magazine, March 2014 ****

RAMEAU Suites in Ré & La (Piano)


Rameau was the leading French composer of his time, particularly after the death of Couperin in 1733. He made a significant and lasting contribution to musical theory. Born in Dijon, two years before the year of birth of Handel, Bach and Domenico Scarlatti, Rameau. Sixty of Rameau’s 65 harpsichord pieces were written by 1728, with a final group appearing in 1741. Published in 1706, 1724 and around the year 1728, these collections, with the final collection of 1741, consist of genre pieces and dances in the established tradition of French keyboard music.

SHOWPIECES


Yehudi Menuhin had one of the longest and most distinguished careers of any violinist of the twentieth century. The child of recent immigrants, Menuhin was born in New York in 1916. By the age of seven his performance of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto had found him instant fame. As a teenager he toured throughout the world and was considered one of the greats long before his twentieth birthday. Even in his earliest recordings one can sense deeply passionate responses to the great composers. Though considered a technical master, it is his highly charged emotional playing that set him apart.

MOZART Complete Violin Concertos


Mozart wrote a series of five concertos for solo violin, one in 1773 and four in 1775, at a time when he was concertmaster of the court orchestra in Salzburg. Of the last four, K. 216 in G major, K. 218 in D major and K. 219 in A major are the best known, together with the splendid Sinfonia concertante of 1779 for solo violin and solo viola. The Concertone for two solo violins, written in 1774, is less frequently heard. The finely sustained melodic expression of each concerto’s slow centre provides the perfect foil for inventive sparkle in outer movements that include a cheeky reference to the opera Il re pastore in K. 216, and an exotic ‘Turkish’ moment in the finale of K. 219.

Hommage à CHOPIN


"All of these multifaceted offerings (jewels as well as gemstones) show Jonathan Plowright as beguiling in intimacy … as he is magisterial in virtuosity. Such quality will leave lesser pianists bemused, as as on Plowright's earlier superb Hyperion recordings he has been immaculately recorded." --Gramophone Magazine, Editor's Choice - April 2010

"Mompou's 11th variation is the sublimest track on the disc. It is in places like these that Plowright shows his real qualities as a virtuoso, especially his clarity of texture and instinct for phrasing. Warmly recommended." --BBC Music Magazine, March 2010 *****


BEING Beauteous

"Anu Komsi has an extraordinarily beautiful and interesting voice: small yet headily vibrant, with a timbral similarity at times to Janet Baker; she can also drain the voice of vibrato and sound very close to a boy soprano. [...] And what a performance they give here! Rhythmically alert, even pointed at times, the music dances as if on the head of a pin, and Komsi injects a musical and textual interpretation that makes one's head spin. It's so hard to describe, but the best way I can put it is that she uses her voice as an instrument, articulating many of the notes the way she might have done on the flute or violin. You simply have to hear her to believe it. [...] This disc shoots straight to the top of avant-garde vocal CDs so far this year (2012). Being Beauteous may best be described as "getting down and Zen with atonality." Brava, Anu!" --Lynn René Bayley / Fanfare

BRITTEN The Prince of the Pagodas Suite; MCPHEE Tabuh-Tabuhan


This exceptionally colourful and entertaining disc represents a celebration of Britten’s interest in Indonesian gamelan music. It includes two substantial items by the man who first awakened that interest, Colin McPhee, one of which is also of historical significance. The main item is a large chunk of Britten’s superbly scored, vibrantly exciting music for his short-lived 1957 ballet The Prince of the Pagodas...The Chandos sound does full justice to the exoticism of the music, with great clarity and spatial depth.

SCHUMANN Piano Works


“There is real beauty to Kempf's sound, especially in the lyrical moments of the Fantasiestucke, and careful, intelligent voicing of the very contrapuntal Etudes Symphoniques...there's also rewarding flair which never seems to exist for its own sake, but pursues a larger total impression.” --BBC Music Magazine, August 2013 ****

“Right from the opening notes of Freddy Kempf's new Schumann disc, you grasp what his approach will be, for his 'Des Abends' that launches Op. 12 is striking in its dreaminess...The most successful thing here is the Blumenstuck, which is charmingly played, though not a match for Horowitz.” --Gramophone Magazine, August 2013