Chopin: Polonaises Nos. 1-7

“Displaying a brilliantly secure technique, the young Polish pianist is fully up to the challenges of these glittering pieces. He also feels the nostalgia and longing of the music, and hearing him play the Polonaises is like hearing an authentically Viennese performances of a waltz.” --BBC Music Magazine, Christmas Issue 2013 ****

“I think we all might agree on a new benchmark with the arrivel of this recording from Rafal Blechacz...It is a rare integrale in which every work is as technically successful and musically convincing as all its companions...this is Chopin-playing of the highest order, with recorded piano sound that far surpasses the earlier versions.” --Gramophone Magazine, December 2013

Gustavo Dudamel: Tchaikovsky & Shakespeare


“there's no mistaking here that [Dudamel's] is a special talent, of the kind that can really make a difference. The ensemble precision of these performances is outstanding, with hyper-accurate woodwind chording...In phrase after phrase in all these Shakespeare-inspired works, the musical response is direct, ultra-focused, and where lyrical passion is called for, beautifully memorable. These players know what their profession is about.” --BBC Music Magazine, May 2011 ***



Brahms: String Quintets


“These fine performances make a strong case for them.” Sunday Times, 6th April 2014

“Everything sounds as though it has been thought through extensively...The Takács's Brahms is like a superbly engineered road: we always know where we're going, and the views can be magnificent, but there are some interesting contours hidden beneath the tarmac.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2014 ****



Hoffmeister & C.P. Stamitz: Viola Concertos


Stamitz was a violinist, violist and composer, a formidable virtuoso who absorbed much from his predecessors in the Mannheim school. His Viola Concerto in D is a brilliantly conceived work, full of technical demands more often encountered in virtuosic nineteenth-century music. Allied to this is a rich sense of colour and intricate scoring, making this one of the outstanding works of its century. Hoffmeister is better known as a publisher but his two concertos are adorned with rich melodic beauty, elegance and tonal breadth. They are performed by soloist Victoria Chiang.


The 20th-century Concerto Grosso


“Altogether this is an attractive disc: all the 'ripieno' soloists are excellent, Karl-Heinz Schutz's flute and Robert Nagy's cello calling for special mention. Marriner and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields provide accompaniments of the necessary brio and point.” --BBC Music Magazine, February 2014 ****

“diverting rather than revelatory examples of the post-First World War reaction against the grand, soloistic traditions of the Romantic concerto...You may not respond to everything in the programme but [Prinz] and her associates are convincing advocates throughout.” --Gramophone Magazine, January 2014

Das Partiturbuch: Instrumental Music at the Courts of 17th Century Germany


This fascinating collection of 17th century instrumental music, known as the Partiturbuch, was assembled by Jacob Ludwig as a birthday present for his patron, Duke August of Gotha. Featuring composers from many parts of Germany, including the imperial Viennese court in the south, the Hanseatic cities of the north, and the small ducal courts throughout Middle Germany, it brings to light a wealth of hidden treasures in a delightful variety of baroque music forms.



Guinjoan: Clarinet Concerto; Piano Concerto No 1


These three pieces are particularly important in the work of Guinjoan and, in fact -- in this arranged form -- the most significant ones. However, they also present a peculiarity in their conception and realisation as, aside from the normal question, they shape a universe of sound based on the intimate characteristics of the soloist instruments -- remember the idea of the 'instrumental humanisation' -- which determines not just the starting point, but also, in a very special way, the atmosphere in which the work is defined, with a very visible identity in the treatment of the raw orchestral music, despite the fact that it is almost the same in the three concertos. In these pieces, there is the shaping of a style: a big word in the career of a composer.

Telemann: La Chasse, Tragikomische Suite, Etc


French horns play a prominent role in this program of Georg Philipp Telemann's orchestral suites: the 'Alster' Suite is a suite "with horn quartet," and the horns frequently come to the fore in the suite for winds, 'La Chasse.' The hornists of the Berlin Academy of Ancient Music bring expert technique to the whole, and are certainly the stars of this disc. All of that is not to say, however, that the performances of the rest of the ensemble are at some lower standard. All of the playing is superb, and Telemann's evocative writing is brought to life to great effect. 



Bruckner: Symphony No. 4 "Romantic"


Bruckner, born near Linz in 1824, is known chiefly as a symphonist. He trained as a schoolteacher and organist, serving in the second capacity in Linz until moving in 1868 to Vienna to teach harmony, counterpoint and organ at the Vienna Conservatory. His success as a composer was varied in his lifetime, his acceptance hampered by his own diffidence and his scores posing editorial problems because of his readiness to revise what he had written. He was nine years the senior of Brahms, who outlived him by six months. Bruckner continued Austro-German symphonic traditions on a massive scale, his techniques of composition influenced to some extent by his skill as an organist and consequently in formal improvisation.

Spicy: Exotic Music For Violin


“The Stainer violins sound great...it is almost as if having them in their hands has spurred Meret Luthi and her companions to ever greater freedom, for they make a mighty, fruity sound...There are times when they could tone things down and little...but frankly I'm finding this thrilling debut disc pretty hard to resist.” --Gramophonen December 2013




Bel Canto from Monteverdi to Verdi


“The programme is expressly devised so that Kermes can shed new light on 19th-century vocal writing, applying the stylistic approaches she has developed in music of earlier eras: her trademark blend of dazzling technical accomplishment, vital imagination, care over detail and a willingness to take risks...an unconventional but special addition to any Italian opera collection.” --BBC Music Magazine, February 2014 ****




Chamber Music for Flute, Viola and Piano


"La interpretación de los tres artistas es supremas, con un sonido impecable y una gran propiedad en las texturas." --CD Compact, September 2004

"A stunning program of chamber music ... the trio achieves a beautiful sound that is light an uninhibited but also very warm in color." --American Record Guide, September 2004

"Beautifully recorded, and played by these distinguished artists with a dreamy panache that fits hand-in-glove with the music, this is one of those albums that shouldn't be passed over ... a highly distinguished release." --International Record Review, April 2004