Levitation - Eotvos, Nielsen, Sallinen

"This is a beautifully recorded CD, and the performances from all concerned are exemplary. The side-drum player in the Nielsen is named in the booklet, but not - a serious omission - the accordionist in the Eötvös. Sallinen provides the short commentary on his own work, whereas the informative notes on the other two pieces are by Jouni Kaipainen." --William Hedley, MusicWeb International

"A brief word on the sound: the stereo layer of Alba’s hybrid SACD sonics emerges sharply and clearly from my non-SACD player, proving that you do not have to bathe the recording in aural goo in order to project good sound. Thanks, Alba!" --FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley

Great Movie Themes

Music has been central to films from their earliest days (‘silent’ cinema is very much a misnomer) and has been used to underline mood, or stoke or suppress excitement. Later, film companies saw that they could make more money by releasing recordings of the music, some of which became popular and even de

"The engineers have added a big open sound to Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall to give the disc the required impact." --David's Review Corner, November 2007

Kancheli: Simi, Mourned by the Wind

"Both pieces are written in the slow idiom so characteristic of Kancheli: they are slow moving, tonally rooted, laconic, deeply reflective, unworldly yet touched by the ‘inner’ qualities of the folk music of his native Georgia. Alexader Ivashkin’s warmly toned cello (a 1710 Guarneri) sings most movingly. This is refined playing; a tendency to understate gives Ivahskin’s performance the qualities of inwardness and fragility that seem to me wholly appropriate. Valeri Polyansky and the Russian State Symphony Orchestra meet him on exactly the same footing." --International Record Review

Tristan's Harp

The feats of King Arthur and his Knights have inspired artistic creation in many art forms. In this disc we hear how troubadours spread their stories and we journey through twelfth-, thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Europe to encounter the Arthurian musical traditions of Germany, Spain, France and England. Full of allusions to legend, and also to contemporary events, the songs are masterpieces of their time. The composers include Alfonso X el Sabio of Spain and Richard the Lionheart, whose Je nulls homs priz is one of the most beautiful of all medieval songs.

Fasch: Instrumental Music

“Fasch proves more inventive and original in this selection than his relative unfamiliarity might suggest. Heart-warming - and a pair of brash horns are particularly jolly. Rather assertive 1989 sound.” --BBC Music Magazine, November 2013 *****

Fame is a strange thing. Although Johann Friedrich Fasch was highly esteemed by his contemporaries and the generations of musicians who followed him, in the concert repertoire of today he is grouped together with many minor masters who wrote a lot of works that sadly communicate very little.

Prokofiev: Cello Concerto & Symphony-Concerto

“Whatever conclusions one draws from a direct comparison between the two works, there is little doubt that Alban Gerhardt is equally committed to both. …he performs with consummate authority, pinpointing the vein of anxiety and uncertainty that lies beneath the surface of the Concerto... Andrew Litton and the Bergen Philharmonic offer incisive support... In the opening Andante of the Symphony-Concerto, Gerhardt and Litton establish an urgent and intense musical dialogue... Likewise, in the ensuring Allegro giusto both artists resists the temptation to slow down unduly from the glorious warm-hearted melody and deliver the macabre scherzo material with razor-sharp precision and biting wit.” --BBC Music Magazine, October 2009 *****

Schumann: Arrangements for Piano Duet, Vol. 1

Piano arrangements were the main way for people to become acquainted with concert repertoire in Schumann’s day, and publishers ensured that the huge demand for such versions was met. Otto Dresel’s arrangement of the String Quartet, Op. 41, No. 3 was approved by the composer. Clara Schumann was dedicatee and soloist for the Piano Quintet, Op. 44, and she was able to draw on her intimate knowledge of her husband’s work to make her own highly effective arrangement. This is the first of seven volumes including Schumann’s entire orchestral works arranged for piano duet.

Handel: affetti barocchi

Born in the former Yugoslavia, Marijana Mijanovi´c brings a genuine contralto tone to her choices, which she delivers with a flexible voice and a good articulation of text. She has plenty of vocal personality of her own, though she’s less good at defining the character and situation specific to each piece. But the skill is there to negotiate the Handelian line and the vivid coloratura her predecessor evoked in such works as Rodelinda, Radamisto, Giulio Cesare, Siroe and Orlando, even if she’s inclined to chug her way through the runs rather than making them sound easy. 

The Fantastic Philadelphians

Great Showpieces of a Great Orchestra

Sheer Sonic Sorcery! These popular symphonic show-pieces, originally recorded in quadraphonic (four-channel) sound, have been remastered in Dolby Surround for a breathtaking aural experience. The Philadelphia Orchestra has never sounded more fantastic!

Reinecke: Harp Concerto & Flute Concerto

Remembered today mainly as an educator, pianist and conductor of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Carl Reinecke has a long and varied list of compositions to his name. They include operatic, vocal and choral works, three symphonies and concertos for the piano and for other instruments. Stylistically and harmonically indebted to Schumann and Mendelssohn, the two concertos on this disc are characterised by melodic fluency and colourful orchestration, with the Flute Concerto in D major offering considerable scope for virtuoso display.

Malipiero: Impressioni dal vero, Pause del silenzio

"In the three sets of Impressions, which portray beauties of nature and country life—various birds, bell sounds, trees, wind—it is easy enough to visualize what is being depicted. And Malipiero’s music is often held together by ostinato figures, such as the tolling of bells for minutes on end, or the mating display of a woodpecker working on a dead log...Francesco la Vecchia’s conducting and the sound here are dedicated and above reproach…" --Fanfare, March 2012

"The Rome Symphony is very good…the performances are engaging because the sound is rich and ambient and because the music itself is worth hearing…Malipiero exhibits more personality and creativity in these works…" --American Record Guide, January 2012