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

VILLA-LOBOS Complete Music for Solo Guitar

“Norbert Kraft show his absolute mastery of his instrument in his dazzling account of the Twelve Etudes, which have contrasting moments of reflection. He plays the Five Préludes beautifully, too, with a fine control of atmosphere and rubato. Thee Choros and Suite populaire brésilienne are marginally less spontaneous-sounding, and the latter is nor as colourfully idiomatic as in the hands of Julian Bream. But this inexpensive disc gathers together all the composer’s important music for solo guitar, and by any standards this is fine playing. The recording is naturally balanced and has a vivid but not exaggerated presence.” --Penguin Guide, January 2009 ***

Performance: ✩✩✩✩✩ / Sound: ✩✩✩✩✩ BBC Music Magazine, April 2001

GIULINI in America – Los Angeles Recordings


Giulini (1914–2005) was famous for his combination of rigorous classical discipline with thrilling excitement and colour in performance. Musicians loved him: although an extremely demanding perfectionist, he was, unusually for a conductor, one of the gentlest and most patient of men. As Victor Aitay, the Chicago Symphony's concertmaster recalled: 'In five minutes he had an orchestra that loved him. His approach to music was so honest and sincere, he was so clear and so knowledgeable of the music that the whole orchestra fell for him.' Fairly late in his career, Giulini became Musical Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, from 1978 to 1984, and made an inspiring series of recordings with them – a “revelatory association” was Gramophone’s phrase.  ↪In America II

DEBUSSY & SZYMANOWSKI Piano Works

“This is breathtaking...There is never any doubt that there is a personality shaping the music and he has no fear about following his interpretative instinct on the day the microphones happen to be capturing it for posterity...Blechacz paints with the keyboard without sacrificing any clarity.” --BBC Music Magazine, April 2012 ****

“I thought this was going to be a a disc of two halves. In fact, it is more of a continuous journey - and a most rewarding, artfully conceived one it is, too...I love Blechacz's crisp articulation and lightly pedalled bustle in the outer movements of Pour le piano...Blechacz's [Szymanowski] has the edge on [the competition] as much for his fierce emotional engagement with the music as for the superior sound quality.” --Gramophone Magazine, May 2012

SCHUBERT for Two


“The Arpeggione Sonata in this arrangement… caught me unawares. …Shaham brings out the lyrical side of Schubert's inspiration, especially in the slow movement. Still more natural is the D major Sonata… which takes the translation of the piano part onto the guitar much more in its stride. Söllscher makes his instrument sing as effortlessly as Shaham's violin... The assorted dances and song transcriptions which make up the rest of the collection are all a delight in their sensitive rubato and phrasing... Not one for the purists, but who cares?” --BBC Music Magazine, September 2005 *****