Strauss Ariadne on Naxos Christine Brewer, Stephen Fry, Scottish Chamber Orchestra CHANDOS | CHAN3168 | CD2 | 095115316825
Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme
On the opera stage, Grammy Award-winning American soprano Christine Brewer has made a speciality of the late romantic repertoire and of Richard Strauss. The title role in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos is her ‘signature’ role, as seen at the The Metropolitan Opera, English National Opera and beyond. First performed in 1912, Ariadne auf Naxos was Strauss’s first chamber opera, written consciously in emulation of classical style. In the prologue, singers and dancers hired to entertain a rich man’s guests are told that they have to combine their performances so that the evening’s firework display will not be delayed. This prologue introduces the ‘composer’ of Ariadne, one of the great comic roles in a Strauss opera, as well as the overweening Major-Domo, overseeing proceedings, played to perfection in this recording by Stephen Fry!
Mozart The Magic Flute Daniel Behle, Marlis Petersen, Sunhae Im, Marcos Fink, RIAS Chamber Choir, Akademie fur Alte Musik Berlin, René Jacobs (conductor) HARMONIA MUNDI | HMC90206870 | CD3 | 794881966721
This stunning new recording takes René Jacobs's Mozartian enterprise to new heights, with the same exceptional cast and beautifully rounded period-instrument sound we loved in his Don Giovanni and Idomeneo. After showing us another way of looking at the Da Ponte trilogy and taking an innovative approach to the two great opere serie (Idomeneo and La clemenza di Tito), Jacobs has now set out to harmonise the multitude of viewpoints on Die Zauberflöte, ranging far beyond its Masonic rituals and mixture of dramatic genres. As a result, Mozart's most ‘nocturnal' work is illuminated as if by . . . magic.
Hamelin plays Hamelin: a glimpse into the fabulously bizarre musical mind of one of the greatest piano virtuosos of today. The pianophile population has been clamouring for this disc for some time. Marc-André Hamelin’s 12 Études, written over a period of nearly twenty-five years, have already achieved cult status by reputation as pianistic challenges beyond the reach of most human fingers. These highly-wrought character pieces shocked and delighted Australian audiences who heard Hamelin during his tour. A detailed portrait of this most talented and complex musician.
Rapsodia Patricia Kopatchinskaja (violin), Emilia Kopatchinskaja (violin, viola), Viktor Kopatchinsky (cimbalom) NAÏVE | V5193 | CD | 822186051931
Following Patricia Kopatchinskaja’s sensational ACO tour of July 2010, our favourite barefoot fiddler proudly presents her national heritage and family tradition on this album of Eastern European folk-inspired music. Rapsodia was the name of her father's band: the most famous cimbalom virtuoso of the former Soviet Union, Victor Kopatchinsky here accompanies the spirited violin duo of Patricia and her mother, Emilia. This unique family portrait includes Patricia's ACO encore piece, the wickedly mercurial ‘Crin’.
The great Australian conductor Sir Charles Mackerras passed away on 14 July 2010, aged 84. Select pays tribute to a remarkable life of music.
read more » In April 2010, the Czech Minister of Culture awarded Sir Charles the Artis Bohemiae Amicis medal for his extraordinary contribution to Czech orchestral music and opera: his deep and abiding passion. Over thirty years he recorded countless gems for Czech label Supraphon, most recently garnering a Gramophone Award for Martinů’s Juliette and a 4½ star review in The Australian for Dvořák Symphonic Poems. Dozens of his superb recordings are available on Chandos, Hyperion and Signum in addition to Supraphon.
September 13, 2010 Satie en orient
Gnossiennes Nos 1, 3, 5 Gymnopedies Nos 1, 3, Chanson, Prelude d'Eginhard, Air de l'Ordre, Air du Grand Prieur, Air du Grand Maitre, Elegie, Les Anges, Danse Gothique No 3, Chanson Medievale, Prose extract from the Prince of Byzantium
Sarband Ensemble DOUMTAK | NTCD808 | CD | 826596028088
On this unique and mesmerisingly beautiful concept album, the music of eccentric French composer Satie travels to the Middle East, played on oriental instruments including the oud and qanoun, joined by the chalumeau, cornett and medieval harp. Satie undoubtedly would have approved of these exotic touches gracing his gnossiennes and gymnopedies. Perfect for fans of L’Arpeggiata and Jordi Savall.
Born in Sarajevo at a time when the folk music of Yugoslavia enjoyed widespread popularity, Amira learned traditional sevdalinke (songs of yearning) from her mother. Her big break came performing with the gypsy ensemble Mostar Sevdah Reunion, her 2005 debut solo album finding its way onto several Album of the Year lists. Accompanied by Merima Ključo, one of the world's finest classical accordionists, Amira looks at these traditional songs in a new light, rediscovering them and presenting them as the true gems they are. These are hauntingly beautiful examples of the highly complex musical cultures of Bosnia, Serbia and Macedonia. 'Where Amira goes, follow...Zumra is in the ballpark for one of this year's best.' –Froots
August 23, 2010 reVisions
Ravel arr Richard Tognetti Two Hebrew Melodies, Debussy Suite for Cello and Orchestra, Prokofiev Concertino for Cello and Orchestra Op 132, Bloch From Jewish Life Steven Isserlis, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Gábor Takács-Nagy (conductor) BIS | BISSACD11782 | SACD | 7318599917825
Steven Isserlis has earned a reputation as one of the foremost cellists of our day.
At the same time he has become known for his ingenuity and innovation in programming, of which this disc is the perfect example. It combines four works for cello and orchestra that wouldn’t even exist without Isserlis – all arrangements made at his personal request, and each of them by the arranger of his personal choice. reVisions includes two Ravel songs arranged by Isserlis’ friend, Australian violinist Richard Tognetti, in order to supplement the concert programme of Isserlis’ 2008 ‘Intense’ tour with Tognetti’s own Australian Chamber Orchestra.
This collection highlights the versatility of the classical guitar and the manner in which it can be used to interpret such vibrant dances, from classics such as Boccherini’s Introduction and Fandango to original arrangements of the music of Piazzolla and Biréli Lagrène. The Aquarelle Quartet formed and studied under Australian guitarist Craig Ogden. Praise for their previous album, Spirit of Brazil (CHAN10512): ‘...outstanding playing and infectious spirit. This is no mere niche guitar CD, but a luscious and lively general-appeal winner.’ –BBC Music *****
An exciting two-volume set of world premiere recordings from the West Australian Symphony Orchestra! Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s abiding fascination with Shakespeare resulted in settings of no fewer than 33 songs from his plays, 35 sonnets, two operas and 11 overtures. Composed between 1930 and 1947, the six overtures heard here deploy a large symphony orchestra, replete with multiple brass and winds and a generous percussion section, to create colourful evocations of the high political drama of Julius Caesar and the rollicking lyricism of The Taming of the Shrew, the exotic splendour of Antony and Cleopatra and the fairyland atmosphere of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the brilliance of Coriolanus and Twelfth Night’s mixture of romance and cruel wit.
The fourth volume in Naxos’s highly praised series of Debussy’s Orchestral Works presents music drawn from three of his theatrical ventures and from one of his Prix de Rome entries. The prélude, fanfares and four symphonic fragments from Le Martyre de Saint Sébastien were taken for concert performance from Debussy’s incidental music for Gabriele D’Annunzio’s scandalous mystery play. While rarely heard today, the ‘danced legend’ Khamma, set in ancient Egypt, and incidental music for Shakespeare’s King Lear, provide suitably atmospheric music, as do the Cortège et air de danse from The Prodigal Son, the cantata which gained Debussy the Prix de Rome in 1884.
Lucia di Lammermoor’s tragic tale of love, feuds, deception, madness and murder has thrilled audiences since its première in 1835. It boasts a fast-moving plot, a strong cast of characters, a brooding Scottish Gothic horror setting and some of Donizetti’s most effective and demanding music, making it the most celebrated bel canto opera in the repertoire. On this live recording from the Donizetti Theatre in Bergamo, Désirée Rancatore gives a fresh and thrilling interpretation of the demanding rôle of the doomed heroine Lucy Ashton, her famous ‘mad scene’ featuring a glass harmonica, Donizetti’s original choice of instrument , rather than the more usual flute, to underline the state of her shattered mind.
Tchaikovsky The Nutcracker The Royal Ballet OPUS ARTE | OA1036D | DVD | 809478010364
This all-time ballet favourite, in which young Clara is swept into a fantasy adventure when one of her Christmas presents comes to life, is at its most enchanting in Peter Wright’s glorious production – as fresh as ever in its 25th year. Tchaikovsky’s ravishing score, period designs by Julia Trevelyan Oman (including an ingenious magical Christmas tree), an exquisite Sugar Plum Fairy (Miyako Yoshida) and chivalrous Prince (Steven McRae), the mysterious Drosselmeyer (Gary Avis) and vibrant dancing by The Royal Ballet make for a captivating performance.
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Late September 2010 Bach and Beyond Bach Collegium Japan, Masaaki Suzuki BIS | BISCD903639 | CD15 | 7318599036397
15 CDs for the price of 4
As their breathtaking survey of the complete choral cantatas nears completion, Bach Collegium Japan and Masaaki Suzuki celebrate their 20th anniversary with the fifth in a series of limited-edition boxed sets.
In addition to the Magnificat, Wedding and Coffee Cantatas, Goldberg Variations and Violin Concertos, this collection reaches beyond Bach to the full spectrum of the Collegium’s superb recordings: Handel’s Messiah, the Monteverdi Vespers, and magnificent works by Buxtehude, Schütz and more. We are also reminded of Masaaki Suzuki’s gifts as a solo harpsichordist with the Goldberg Variations. The must-have Christmas treasure trove from one of the world’s finest choirs.