• If: Michael Nyman, Henry Purcell

    £12.00 Available March 22, 2019.
    When Michael Nyman started reinventing the English baroque back in the 1980s, one critic described the result as “pump-action Purcell.” This recording combines these two singular musical styles through the stunning voice of countertenor Iestyn Davies and viol consort Fretwork, serving as the bridge across three centuries. The programme combines bold harmonies, wondrous inventions, and melodies that will haunt your dreams – whether from the 17th century or the 21st. Recorded following a concert tour of the programme, the disc includes the premiere recording of a new commission from Michael Nyman, Music after a While – based upon Purcell’s song, or more particularly upon its strikingly original bass-line, with its insidious rising chromatics.
  • Mussorgsky, Messiaen, Ravel

    £12.00 Available March 15, 2019.
    One of the pinnacles of nineteenth-century pianism, Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition broke new frontiers in its writing for the piano through its use of ringing bell-like sonorities, dramatic juxtaposition of registers and dynamics, its approach to resonance, percussive octaves and rapid hand-alternations, and sheer grandeur of sound. Introducing new ideas about virtuosity that owe much to orchestral thinking in the ways the full range of the piano’s tone-colours are explored, this work requires immense stamina through combining great finger dexterity with unbridled power. Mussorgsky’s masterpiece is coupled here with works by Ravel and Messiaen – composers who were indebted to the innovations of their Russian predecessor. Miroirs comprises a set of five pieces evoking contrasting moods and pianistic characters. Far from being Impressionist – a movement with which Ravel had little real affiliation –the ‘Mirrors’ of the title suggests more Symbolist associations in that the individual pieces explore ambiguities between supposed reality and ‘reflected’ simulation. Ravel was particularly fascinated by a line from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: ‘the eye sees not itself, but by reflection, by some other things.’ An unusually non-descriptive work for Messiaen, without religious references or bird- song, Cantéyodjayâ is about musical process and is constructed as a mosaic-like collage in which a jaunty rhythmic refrain is contrasted with a multiplicity of contrasting ideas, many of which are re-workings from his gargantuan Turangalîla-Symphonie.
  • Perpetual Twilight

    £12.00 Available March 1, 2019.
    The Choral Scholars of University College Dublin and Artistic Director Desmond Earley follow up their debut release with a programme of new choral music inspired by the evocative imagery of the natural world in traditional Irish and Scottish folksong and poetry. The disc includes a number of world-premiere recordings of new works and arrangements commissioned by the choir. The Choral Scholars of University College Dublin, under the artistic direction of Desmond Earley, is Ireland’s leading collegiate choral ensemble. With a large repertoire ranging from art to popular music, and stretching from the medieval to the contemporary in style, this choir gives many concerts throughout the academic year, both in Ireland and abroad.
  • Shostakovich: String Quartets Nos. 1, 2 & 7

    £12.00 Available March 22, 2019.
    This CD marks the second release of the Carducci’s Shostakovich 15 project, which includes performances of the complete cycles of the Shostakovich Quartets in cities including Washington DC, London, Oxford, Cardiff, Bogota and concerts throughout the UK to mark the 40th anniversary of the composer’s death. Described by The Strad as presenting “a masterclass in unanimity of musical purpose, in which severity could melt seamlessly into charm, and drama into geniality”, the Carducci Quartet is recognised as one of today’s most successful string quartets. This disc contrasts Shostakovich’s first two string quartets with the seventh – composed in memory of his late wife Nina. In composing his quartets prior to No. 7, Shostakovich had scrupulously followed a predetermined sequence of keys: according to this, the work should have been in E flat major. However Shostakovich, significantly, chose to break this pattern by writing his new quartet in F sharp minor, the key associated with such anguished music as Peter’s remorse in Bach’s St John Passion, and – particularly close to Shostakovich’s heart – Mahler’s unfinished Tenth Symphony.
  • The Romantic Horn

    £12.00 Available March 8, 2019.
    This recording presents a selection of some of the most well-loved works for the horn. Titled The Romantic Horn, the works highlight the lyrical gems of the European repertoire for the instrument, with works by Beethoven, Schumann and Scriabin. Richard Watkins is one of the most sought-after horn players of his generation. He was Principal Horn of the Philharmonia Orchestra for twelve years, is currently a member of The Nash Ensemble, and is a founding member of London Winds. His extensive discography includes recordings of concertos by Mozart, Malcolm Arnold, Reinhold Glière, Ethel Smyth and Colin Matthews, as well as Mozart’s Sinfonia concertante and chamber music for horn by Schumann, Schubert and Poulenc. Pianist Julius Drake lives in London and specialises in chamber music, working with many of the world’s leading artists, both in recital and in the recording studio. He performs regularly across the globe, in venues that include include Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, Berlin's Philharmonie, and New York's Carnegie Hall; and festivals such as the BBC Proms and Salzburg Music Festival.