• Born in Strasbourg, Elizabeth Sombart studied piano from the age of seven. She studied all over the world with various teachers, including Bruno-Leonardo Gelber, Peter Feuchtwanger, Hilde Langer-Rühl and Sergiu Celibidache. Elizabeth recieved the rank of Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite in 2006 and then was awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2008, both in reference to her career in music. Elizabeth has a strong relationship with the RPO and will be continuing this Beethoven Piano Concerto cycle with them over the coming months. Beethoven is one of the single most influential figure in the history of Western music. Starting out with Mozart and Haydn as his spiritual mentors; he wrestled off the shackles of 18th century Classicism, forging uncompromising musical landscapes with a visionary intensity that left most musicians quivering in his wake. For centuries, music had lagged behind the other arts, but with Beethoven’s iron-clad will, it found itself at the cutting edge of social change.   All downloads include booklets.
  • Gustavo Díaz-Jerez is one of the leading composers and pianists in Spain. His compositional output spans all genres, from solo works to opera. His works have been premiered by prestigious ensembles and orchestras. His orchestral work Ymarxa, commissioned by the XXVII Canary Islands Music Festival, was premiered by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Charles Dutoit. In 2018, his first opera was premiered, La casa imaginaria. This album represents the culmination of more than ten years of compositional work. A unique endeavour in the history of music in the Canary Islands, it comprises seven symphonic poems – almost two and a half hours of music – which evoke the landscapes and natural beauty of the Canaries. The cycle takes its name, Maghek (“the one who creates brightness”), from the sun-goddess of the Guanches, the aboriginal inhabitants of the Canary Islands. Each piece is inspired by a specific locale on a different island; some resurrect forgotten stories. Naturalistic tonal painting (the sea, the wind, the rugged scenery) is a constant feature throughout the cycle.   All downloads include booklets.
  • Christopher Gunning has composed twelve symphonies, as well as concertos for the piano, violin, cello, flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, and guitar; many of these have now been recorded. He has also composed many scores for films and television dramas, including Agatha Christie’s ‘Poirot’, La Vie en Rose, Middlemarch, Cold Lazarus, Rebecca, Under Suspicion, Firelight, The Big Battalions, Wild Africa, When the Whales Came and Porterhouse Blue. With a career spanning 50 years, he has won 4 BAFTA and 3 Ivor Novello Awards, and BASCA’s prestigious Gold Badge Award. Christopher studied composition with Edmund Rubbra and Sir Richard Rodney Bennett at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. After a hugely successful career writing for the big and small screen he is now focussed on his classical work and releases.   All downloads include booklets.
  • The Godfather

    £8.00£14.00
    The musical world of eighteenth-century Europe was a small one. Despite the problems presented by contemporary standards of transport, it was quite normal for composers in one part of Europe to be entirely au fait with what was happening elsewhere. This is borne out by the closeness of three German composers: Telemann, godfather to C.P.E. Bach; Pisendel; and J.S. Bach, who admired both his compatriots and composed some astoundingly difficult music for the violinist Pisendel. This programme celebrates their music as well as the music of those who contributed to their musical heritage. Included alongside the German triumvirate are works by Vivaldi who physically helped with the composition of Pisendel’s A minor concerto movement, Fasch who was a great friend of Pisendel and Telemann, and Brescianello, an Italian who helped the dissemination of Italian instrumental music throughout the German-speaking lands and whose concertos were played in Dresden by Pisendel.   All downloads include booklets.
  • Strauss / Copland

    £8.00£12.00 Available December 11, 2020.
    The four works on this disc, all composed in the 1940s, embrace the lingering end of one musical tradition and the vigorous upsurge of another. Mellifluous, retrospective and playful, the Duet Concertino and Prelude to Capriccio were works of Richard Strauss’s Indian Summer – an old man’s refuge from the barbarism of war and its aftermath. What the public thought of them was incidental, even irrelevant. In the same decade, Aaron Copland and other younger American composers were reaching out, via radio, recordings and film, to a new mass audience. The European influence of Appalachian Spring and the Clarinet Concerto, though inescapable, was minimised in a populist, vernacular idiom that absorbed native folk music and jazz. Richard Stamp unites some of the finest instrumentalists from the UK and Europe in these performances – featuring celebrated orchestras the Academy of London and the Royal Northern Sinfonia with renowned Austrian soloists Ernst Ottensamer and Stepan Turnovsky. Stepan Turnovsky joined the Vienna State Opera and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in 1978 and has kept the position of Solo Bassoonist there since 1985, performing with conductors such as Herbert von Karajan, Leonard Bernstein, Karl Böhm, Carlos Kleiber amongst many others. The late Ernst Ottensamer was a former principal clarinettist at the Vienna Philharmonic and an avid performer of chamber music – founding numerous ensembles and collaborating with musicians such as Sir Simon Rattle, André Previn, Daniel Barenboim and Rudolf Buchbinder amongst others. In 2005 he found a clarinet trio with his sons Daniel and Andreas Ottensamer – themselves the Principal Clarinettists of the Vienna Philharmonic and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestras. This present performance represents his last concerto recording.
  • Borodin: Requiem

    £8.00£12.00
    Together with familiar music from Prince Igor, this CD features the world premiere recording of the unusual Requiem, (which is based on “Chopsticks”), and Glazunov’s orchestration of the charming Petite Suite. Australian conductor Geoffrey Simon is resident in London and has appeared there with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Chamber Orchestra, London Mozart Players and English Chamber Orchestra. The Philharmonia Orchestra is a British orchestra based in London. It was founded in 1945 by Walter Legge, a classical music record producer for EMI. Among the conductors who worked with the orchestra in its early years were Richard Strauss, Wilhelm Furtwängler and Arturo Toscanini; of the Philharmonia’s younger conductors, the most important to its development was Herbert von Karajan, who though never formally chief conductor was closely associated with the orchestra in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The Philharmonia became widely regarded as the finest of London’s five symphony orchestras in its first two decades.   All downloads include booklets.
  • Australian conductor Geoffrey Simon is resident in London and has appeared there with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Chamber Orchestra and English Chamber Orchestra. Internationally, he has appeared with the Adelaide, Atlanta, Bournemouth, Canberra, City of Birmingham, Fort Worth, Melbourne, Milwaukee, Queensland, Sapporo, Shanghai, St Louis, Sydney, Tasmanian, Vermont and West Australian Symphony Orchestras, the Israel, Moscow, Munich and New Japan Philharmonic Orchestras, the American Symphony, the Residentie Orchestra of The Hague, the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony and the Australian Opera. Written after Mussorgsky had met Russian artist and designer Viktor Hartmann, Pictures at an Exhibition is by far Mussorgsky’s most played work. The piece was written when Hartmann gave Mussorgsky two ‘pictures.’ Hartmann very suddenly died aged 39; following his death, a memorial exhibition was put on in St. Petersburg. Mussorgsky donated the two ‘pictures’ which Hartmann had given him before he died. Mussorgsky is said to have based the piece on his experiences at this exhibition, which was in memory of Hartmann. The concerto version is performed here by Tamas Ungar in an arrangement by Lawrence Leonard.   All downloads include booklets.
  • Another Debussy recording by Simon here with the Philharmonia, performing some impressionist classics, some originally composed for orchestra, others newly arranged prior to this recording.
  • Africa

    £12.00
    A recording by the LPO and Geoffrey Simon, performing music by Saint-Saëns which is closely associated with Africa.
  • Fantastic recordings of Saint-Saëns' orchestral classics, including his Requiem and his Organ Symphony.
  • Performances of Debussy's orchestral classics, performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra under the baton of Geoffrey Simon.
  • Following its successful full length opera, Artaxerxes, The Mozartists return with the first in an epic series of Mozart operas Apollo et Hyacinthus. Named in The Guardian as one of ‘The Best Classical albums of 2012’. The Mozartists have mounted two staged productions of Mozart’s Apollo et Hyacinthus (1998 and 2006), with both receiving wide critical acclaim; The Independent stated, “Classical Opera’s polished debut in Apollo et Hyacinthus proved a pearl beyond price. Here was a work of staggering beauty riddled with sweet noises like Caliban’s enchanted isle.”
  • Arcadia

    £12.00
    Oliver Davis graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in 1994 and has since composed numerous concertos, ballet scores, albums, soundtracks and television scores working with many of the major London orchestras. The Infinite Ocean was composed for choreographer Edwaard Liang and was commissioned by San Francisco Ballet for the Unbound festival, 2018. Liang requested the work to be in six sections and to feature a solo violin. The aim of Arcadia was to create a piece which evoked an idyllic serene place. Gemini was specifically composed for violinist Kerenza Peacock and was designed to explore the contrasting styles of her playing. The Suite for piano and orchestra was written for Huw Watkins on piano and heavily involves thematic development throughout. Inferno began life as a short orchestral sketch, which gradually evolved into a full, single-movement piece. Lastly, The Elements was commissioned by The Hanke Brothers, who specifically wanted a piece describing the four elements. The ensemble containing piano, viola, recorder and tuba, produces a unique timbre, and the piece explores the possible various aspects of this timbre.
  • In his new Saxophone Concerto, Gabriel Prokofiev explores a side of classical music usually seen as forbidden by modern contemporary composers: melody. This aspect was incorporated at the request of the soloist, Branford Marsalis, allowing Prokofiev to revisit characteristics of the classical tradition not usually heard in contemporary music, giving the saxophone an open canvas. Prokofiev’s Bass Drum Concerto shows the versatility of the instrument, despite only being used in a very basic fashion in classical music as a whole. Prokofiev experiments with how the bass drum is struck, where it is struck, and what it is struck with throughout the piece, producing a variety of sounds, colours and textures. 
  • Mark van de Wiel joins the Philharmonia Orchestra under Christopher Warren-Green in the premiere recording of Joseph Phibbs’ Clarinet Concerto, praised by The Sunday Times following its UK debut as a work “that will surely be performed all over the world ”. Following a long friendship between composer and soloist, Phibbs and van de Wiel collaborated to create this stunning and virtuosic new work for the clarinet and orchestra, which features a thrilling cadenza at the end of the first movement. It is paired with a scintillating live concert-recording of Mozart’s timeless Concerto for Basset Clarinet in A Major, K. 622, performed with the London Chamber Orchestra.
  • Above the opening notes of The Protecting Veil, John Tavener wrote Transcendent With Awesome Majesty, communicating the scale of this universal, timeless, structurally perfect and emotionally powerful work. In the composer’s words, “the cello represents The Mother of God and never stops singing.” Indeed, the cello sings without stopping for the entire 46 minutes of the piece, requiring huge mental and physical stamina. Matthew Barley leads Sinfonietta Rīga in this exploration of Tavener’s musical works and inspirations, interspersing performances with readings of WB Yeats and Frithjof Schuon by renowned actors Julie Christieand Olwyn Fouéré. The influence Tavener drew from Indian music in The Protecting Veil is also explored further in Barley’s performance with tabla player Sukhvinder ‘Pinky’ Singh in The Song of Separation and Waiting by Pandit Sultan Khan. Matthew Barley is known internationally as a cellist, improviser, arranger, music animateur, and as Artistic Director of Between The Notes. His musical world is focused on projects that connect people in different ways, blurring the boundaries that never really existed between genres and people.
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