A full-blooded and luxurious performance of Berlioz’s magnum opus led by Sydney Symphony’s favourite guest conductor, young French-Canadian Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Features seductive soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci in the role of Cléopâtre.
Grainger Edition BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Richard Hickox, Penny Thwaites (piano) CHANDOS | CHAN10638 | CD19 | 95115163825
Beloved Australian composer Percy Grainger is honoured with Chandos Records’ reissue (at last!) of its Grainger Edition volumes 1—19, collected together in a lavish box. Many of the discs are no longer available separately. The set demonstrates the extraordinary range of Grainger’s compositional styles, including works for orchestra, wind orchestra, chorus and orchestra, chamber ensemble, solo songs, and solo piano, the latter performed by Australian pianist Penelope Thwaites, who edited The New Percy Grainger Companion.
Mozart String Quartets K157, 458, 589 Jerusalem Quartet HARMONIA MUNDI | HMC902076 | CD | 794881984527
After two widely acclaimed Haydn releases, the Jerusalem Quartet now logically turns to an exploration of Mozart and three distinct periods in his creative life. Haydn is not totally absent from this recording, since the central quartet belongs to the glorious group of six which Mozart, now firmly established in Vienna, dedicated to his elder in 1785. Twelve years earlier, the teenage composer was still amusing himself with the Sammartinian model in the third of his 'Milanese Quartets'. And four years after the 'Haydn' set, Mozart abandoned the divertimento style once and for all, presenting in the second of the 'Prussian' Quartets a score that radically renewed the practice of chamber music.
Allegri Miserere, The Music of Rome Cardinall's Musick, Andrew Carwood (conductor) HYPERION | CDA67860 | CD | 34571178608
The Cardinall’s Musick finished 2010 in a blaze of glory with their Gramophone Recording of the Year award for the last volume of their Byrd Edition. Only the second time in thirty years that an Early Music recording has received this prestigious accolade, it is a fitting tribute to the soaring artistry of the group and their director, Andrew Carwood. Their eagerly-awaited next disc features music from late 16th century Rome and ranges from Allegri’s Miserere, surely the best-known and best-loved work of this period, to a rarely-performed or recorded oddity. Seven Roman musicians came together (or were brought together) to write a Mass-setting where they each contributed different sections. The resulting work, the twelve-voice Missa Cantantibus organis, is a tribute both to Cecilia (the patron saint of music) and to Palestrina. Palestrina himself is among the seven, with Giovanni Andrea Dragoni, Ruggiero Giovannelli, Curzio Mancini, Prospero Santini, Francesco Soriano and Annibale Stabile being the other six.
Australian Guitar Music Aleksandr Tsiboulski (guitar) NAXOS | 8570949 | CD | 747313094974
‘Add another name to Australia’s thriving classical guitar scene…Tsiboulski is the complete guitarist. His playing possesses a highly controlled, honed refinement, but he rises above the technical demands to reach a new level of concentrated, inner thought…The standout is Koehne’s rhapsodic A Closed World of Fine Feelings and Grand Design, which Tsiboulski plays with exquisite, perfectly judged phrases and aching tenderness. He is excellent, too, with Edwards’ Guitar Dances and Blackwattle Caprices…Sculthorpe’s ruminative From Kakadu and Djilile acquire an almost spiritual power.’ (The Australian, 5-star review)
Mozart Violin Concertos Richard Tognetti, Christopher Moore, ACO BIS | BISSACD1754 | SACD | 7318599917542
Undoubtedly one of the most popular and accessible classical albums by any Australian artist this year, this is the Australian Chamber Orchestra's much-anticipated first release dedicated solely to Mozart following a national tour featuring one of his violin concertos. It's set to rival Tognetti’s recordings of Bach which won three consecutive ARIA awards. Watch footage from the recording sessions, interviews with Tognetti and more on the dedicated mini-site: www.savd.com.au/aco
February 2011 Liszt New Discoveries Vol 3 Leslie Howard (piano) HYPERION | CDA67810 | CD2 | 34571178103
Liszt was born 200 years ago in 1811, and to begin his bicentenary birthday celebration, Hyperion presents a disc of works that have been recorded, and indeed heard here, for the first time. Australian pianist Leslie Howard has long been acknowledged as the foremost Liszt scholar and performer in the world today, and this disc is a perfect example of his tireless work on behalf of the composer.
February 2011 Italian Intermezzo - Music Without Words BBC Philharmonic, Gianandrea Noseda (conductor) CHANDOS | CHAN10634 | CD | 95115163429
This unique program of intermezzi comprises orchestral mood-painting interludes found in the great Italian operatic repertoire of the nineteenth and early twentieth century, usually connecting acts in the opera.
The music is powerfully atmospheric, designed not only to create the right mood for the ensuing action of the opera, but also to provide some respite from the drama itself. The items on this CD range from the well-known and haunting Prelude to Act III of La traviata to the sparkling items from Wolf-Ferrari’s The Jewels of the Madonna. The great verismo composers Leoncavallo, Puccini, Giordano, and Cilea composed some richly romantic intermezzi, and the rarely heard pieces by Catalani are no less enjoyable. Italian maestro Gianandrea Noseda is in his element in this native repertoire.
November 22, 2010 Love Songs Anne Sofie von Otter (vocals), Brad Mehldau (jazz piano) NAÏVE | V5241 | CD2 | 822186052419
In the most exciting classical crossover project of the year, Anne Sofie von Otter has chosen to make her first recording for Naïve with the jazz pianist Brad Mehldau, who has previously recorded with Renée Fleming.
Their meeting at Carnegie Hall in 2009 gave rise to a cycle of 7 Love Songs, settings by Brad Mehldau of poems by Sara Teasdale (1884-1933). Together Anne Sofie and Brad have assembled some of the greatest songwriters, including Jacques Brel, Léo Ferré, Michel Legrand, Leonard Bernstein, Paul McCartney, Joni Michell and others.
See a personal message from Anne Sofie announcing her signing to Naive
This bravura display brings together ‘what stern custom had divided’. Here is the ultimate glittering banquet of late Baroque in all its rich diversity. Often compared to Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, Musique de Table is presented here by one of the world's foremost Baroque period-instrument ensembles, the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin.
Volume 5 of Naxos’s acclaimed series of Debussy’s orchestral music presents a potpourri of works that were either left incomplete by the composer or were orchestrated by others who greatly admired his music. His rarely-heard children’s ballet The Toy Box, dedicated to Debussy’s daughter Emma-Claude but not premiered until after the composer’s death, recalls the innocent world of his popular Children’s Corner suite. Based on Pierre Louÿ’s Chansons de Bilitis, Debussy’s Six épigraphes antiques evoke poetic scenes from the ancient world, as does the sole surviving portion of The Triumph of Bacchus.
Best known for his spectacular operas (including Il Crociato in Egitto 8.660245-47 & Semiramide 8.660205-06) Giacomo Meyerbeer also contributed to the more intimate world of French, German and Italian song with a large number of finely-crafted examples. Often reflecting on the joys and pains of love or blooming with religious fervour, the 21 songs heard here are interpreted by Sivan Rotem, one of Israel’s outstanding singers, and Jonathan Zak, a graduate of the Juilliard School and full professor at the Buchman-Mehta Music School of Tel-Aviv University.
Goethe’s Faust exerted a powerful influence on Romantic composers, offering Robert Schumann a number of unforgettable scenes drawn mainly from the mystical second part of the epic poem which he incorporated into this immensely moving large-scale cantata. Opening with the first love scene between Gretchen and Faust and concluding with the climactic scene of Faust’s redemption, Schumann created a sweeping panorama of dramatic episodes centering on the lovers’ ill-fated affair with Mephistopheles’ trickery ultimately overcome as legions of celestial beings bear Faust’s soul to heaven.
Infernal Comedy Confessions of a Serial Killer John Malkovich, Laura Aikin, Aleksandra Zamojska, Orchestra of the Vienna Academy, Martin Haselbock (conductor), Michael Sturminger (director) ARTHAUS | K101517 | DVD | 807280151794
John Malkovich’s Sydney Festival production of TheGiacomo Variations has been one of the most raved about, highly anticipated theatre events of the season. Now, the same killer team of actor, writer and music director brings us an even darker, more intimate ‘opera play’, available for the first time on DVD. Arthaus filmed The Giacomo Variations in Vienna for release on DVD in April.
Hyperion kicks off the Liszt bicentenary celebrations in style with what is surely the most comprehensive Liszt collection ever released. At long last, we proudly present Australian pianist Leslie Howard’sboxed-set of The Complete Liszt Piano Music— the culmination of over a decade of recording, 98 CDs (plus bonus disc), over five days' playing time, comprehensive indexes … what more could the 'completist' among us wish for?