Aurora Borealis - Magic Of The Mysterious North

This compilation made exclusively of previously released material (rec. 1990-99) makes a perfect introduction to 20th century Finnish symphonic music. With a few exceptions, notably Vaino Raitio, the Scandinavian country's most talented composers have been included. How such a small population could generate such a large number of great, deeply personal composers remains a complete mystery. The works selected from the Ondine catalogue share at least one common character: the use of long, sustained harmonic patterns, which create colors of hallucinatory beauty and astounding originality.

Recital 2000 - Respighi, Prokofiev, Crumb, Etc

Right at the outset of this recital, as the violin floats softly into the opening measures of the Prokofiev D Major Sonata and soon thereafter darts away with butterfly-like skittishness, one can sense that this is Anne-Sophie Mutter in top form, playing with her particular combination of expressive intimacy and nervous flight while conveying, obviously in collusion with partner Lambert Orkis, at least the appearance of spontaneity.

Florent Schmitt: Le Petit Elfe Ferme-l'oeil; Introït, Récit et Congé

"World premiere recordings give the listener the highly rewarding opportunity to discover two works by French composer Florent Schmitt." --Pizzicato Magazine, March 2014

"Au pupitre d'un Orchestre national de Lorraine chatoyant et sanguin, le chef souligne le relief inoui de la partition" --François Laurent —Diapason, mars 2014

"Avec le triomphe du néo-classicisme et de l'atonalisme, Schmitt est passé de mode. Ce disque admirable est une étape importante de sa réhabilitation." --Bertrand Dermoncourt — Classica, avril 2014

Brahms: Violin Concerto, Hungarian Dances; Bartok

“The Brahms Violin Concerto has been recorded so often that exceptional performances should not be as rare as they are. But this is one of them...Chailly calibrates an ideal balance. Kavakos's violin tone is super-refined and elegant.” --BBC Music Magazine, Christmas Issue 2013 *****

“This is indeed a splendid recording of the Concerto. The Gewandhaus Orchestra sound bright and resplendent in the great D major tuttis...with Chailly ensuring perfect balance. Leonidas Kavakos, too, alongside his customary ringing tone and clear, polished delivery, gives evident care and thought to the shaping of each phrase.” --Gramophone Magazine, December 2013

Mozart: Music for the Oboe

“Using a modern sound, the orchestra simply establishes a spruce, finely tailored context for the solo line [in the C Major Oboe Concerto]...The playing here is of an equally polished, characterful, spirited quality.” --Gramophone Magazine, September 2013

“[if] you were won over by Alexei Ogrintchouk’s warm and limpid tone in his album of Bach concertos...then this is certain to go on your want-list...An all-star trio is no guarantee of excellent chamber music making, but in this case everyone is beautifully integrated and everything is in the service of Mozart’s marvellous music...All in all this is a very fine package” --MusicWeb International, 6th August 2013

Respighi: The Birds

One of Respighi’s masterpieces, Gli uccelli (The Birds) includes transcriptions of birdsong and music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in writing of evocative, captivating lyricism. Trittico botticelliano, an illustration of three paintings by Botticelli, employs dance rhythms, modal melodies and a variant of the medieval hymn Veni, Veni Emmanuel in deft, often sublime fashion. The Suite in G major, cast for strings and organ in the form of a concerto grosso, is heard on this première recording in its original edition.

Wieniawski & Conus: Violin Concertos

“Soo-Hyun Park embraces all the challenges without turning a hair, and also contrives to give Wieniawski's passagework an expressive and poetic quality...Park's reflective approach to the Vieuxtemps results in a beautiful performance that's certainly not short of vivacity but maybe it doesn't capture the work's extrovert theatricality...The accompaniments, too, are excellent.” --Gramophone Magazine, April 2013

“Vigorous playing in these Romantic showpieces, although greater tonal weight and focus is needed, especially in the lyrical moments” --BBC Music Magazine, April 2013 ***

Vivaldi: Estro Armonico – Libro Secondo

“Pungent, shapely, and to-the-point, Cafe Zimmermann give gutsy accounts of popular concertos.” --BBC Music Magazine, January 2014 ****

“Cafe Zimmermann are somewhat gentler with them than those who adopt the drivingly projected style popular these days. In this they make a pleasant change, though some listeners may think they lack spark in certain places.” --Gramophone Magazine, March 2014

Młynarski & Zarzycki: Violin Concertos

“Not only the first recording of both Mlynarski's Violin Concertos together, but the premiere of his haunting First Concerto in a warm performance. The smaller Zarzycki works are attractive, too.” --BBC Music Magazine, July 2014 ****

Lithuanian-born Emil Młynarski was the father-in-law of Artur Rubinstein and was appointed director of the Warsaw Philharmonic in 1900. He had a busy international conducting career which included the LSO in London, the Scottish Orchestra and the Philadelphia Grand Opera company. His Violin Concerto No 1 in D minor, Op 11, dedicated to Leopold Auer, was written in 1897 and won a prize in the Paderewski Composition Competition.

Mozart: Divertimenti for Strings and Winds

Divertimento (diversion, recreation): rarely has the title of a piece of music been more explicit. Closely related to genres such as the serenade, cassation, notturno, Nachtmusik, partita and Felmusik, all of which were intended to serve as entertainment pieces, the divertimento was very much in fashion in the eighteenth century, when it was often performed outdoors in the street after sunset to celebrate a name-day or birthday, or for end-of-term ceremonies at Salzburg University (Finalmusik).

Venezia Stravagantissima

Skip Sempé’s Capriccio Stravagante Renaissance Orchestra is the largest and most luxurious ensemble yet assembled for the performance of masterpieces from this Golden Age of musical creativity, with Renaissance violins, viols, recorders and sackbuts.

Music by Holborne, Mainerio, Guami, Vecchi, Picchi, Lappi, Zanetti, Gabrieli and Canele