• "The B minor". That phrase alone resonates with gravity in the hearts and minds of those who love as no other the music of J.S. Bach. This disc sees the Rodolfus Choir at their best, as renowned Bach interpreters, having played his works across the UK to great acclaim. Following a live broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and performance at Holy Trinity Guildford at the end of 2009, this disc, recorded in the chapel of Charterhouse School continues their evergrowing catalogue of extraordinary recordings. Performance ★★★★ Recording ★★★★ The soloists are a fine team. In 'Domine Deus', Sophie Bevan and Ben Johnson match perfectly in imitation... Highly recommended- BBC Music Magazine There is uncanny vocal empathy between Sophie Bevan and Clint van der Linde, which, in 'Et in unum Dominum', results in the most extraordinary complementing of vocal lines... both stimulating and refreshing - International Record Review If some forty young singers can produce a recorded account of the B Minor Mass of this quality then the future for British choral music is bright indeed - MusicWeb International
  • Rising star-soprano Elena Xanthoudakis is joined by the Royal Northern Sinfonia under Richard Bonynge in these exhilarating performances of some true Jewels of the Bel Canto aria tradition by Bellini, Verdi, Rossini and Donizetti.
  • ( Original 1853 version of Trio Op. 8) 

    Sinfonia in B is Joseph Swensen’s orchestration of the little-known original version of Brahms’ B major piano trio. In Swensen’s own words: “Completed in 1854, it is the largest and arguably the most important of Brahms’ published early works, yet it remains nearly unknown to most musicians and music-lovers alike … The original Opus 8 is, for me, intriguing for many reasons. Not only is it a work of extraordinary quality and emotional depth, written by a composer just 21 years of age, but it is a quintessential example of Brahms’ ultra-romantic and forward looking early style.”

    This disc also explores the young Brahms’ connection with Robert and Clara Schumann, with orchestrations and performances (as a violin soloist) by Swensen of miniature works by both composers – as well as extracts from the ‘F-A-E’ sonata (a joint composition by Brahms, Robert Schumann and Joseph Joachim based on the motto ‘Frei aber einsam’ / ‘free but lonely’ – Joachim’s personal motto).

    Joseph Swensen has deliberately chosen a musical palette full of odd quirks and colours to reflect the fantastical nature of the work and it’s played with terrific verve and polish by the Malmö Opera OrchestraMetro
  • Hideko Udagawa returns to disc on Signum with a new album of Russian Romantic music from Aram Khachaturian and Sergei Lyapunov. The two composers represented here symbolize two entirely different eras in Russian music – Lyapunov from the end of the Romanov Empire and Khachaturian from the height of the Soviet Union – yet their works are perhaps more an expression of continuities, of perennial concerns for Russian composers, such as the need to integrate folkloric elements with the demands of sophisticated musical structures for concert performance, and adherence to the great Russian traditions of violin-playing that go back to the middle of the 19th century. The concerto's rather grand manner suits Udagawa's noble style and steely tone wonderfully well ... The unaccompanied Sonata-Monologue is riveting - The Guardian Hideko Udagawa fulfils her part with a voluminously blazing sound which fits the works marvellously. It doesn't get much better than this!Wiener Zeitung The neglect of this winning and dramatic piece by Armenia’s most distinguished composer is inexplicable, but perhaps the reading here of the Concerto-Rhapsody will redress the balance, such is the persuasiveness of the playing. The coupling, Liapunov’s violin concerto, while a lesser piece, is also realised with great attention to detail - Classical CD Review
  • The St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra are one of the classical world's most popular touring ensembles, bringing an inimitable style and character to their performances under the direction of Artistic Director and Chief Conductor Yuri Temirkanov. This recording presents works from two very different composers, both united through their mastery of orchestral colouring and evocative imagery: Khachaturian's Spartacus and Gayane suites are infused with enchanting Armenian influences, and enjoyed a deserved popularity with Russian audiences that helped protect him from the worst of widespread artistic suppression during the era. Following these, one of the jewels of orchestral repertoire, Ravel's Dahpnis et Chloé was composed for Diaghilev's Ballet Russes dance company and has remained a popular work to this day. This is a live performance and, as a feisty E-flat clarinet ratchets up the 'Danse generale', the fantastic clarity of the inner part-writing - not least those whirling woodwinds - makes for cheer-raising excitement - Gramophone
  • Patrick Hawes returns to disc on Signum with the premiere recording of his Lazarus Requiem, for Choir, Orchestra and Soloists. Blending the liturgical text of the Requiem Mass with the story of Lazarus from the New Testament, the composer creates a work in which “the mystery of life and death, the pain of grief and the hope of a risen life are held in taut symmetry”.

    The work begins with an orchestral Elegy for Lazarus. This depicts the dying man and sets the scene for the first tableau where we are informed “a certain man was ill”. Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, send for Jesus and the drama of the miracle unfolds.

    An attractive, sincere and thoughtful piece. This very good first recording should bring it to the attention of a wider audience - MusicWeb International What the Lazarus Requiem does do - and to striking effect - is bring into sharp relief Hawes's unerring gift for evocative orchestral texture and beautiful melodic lineChoir & Organ
  • Lorin Maazel leads the Philharmonia Orchestra and a star-studded ensemble of performers in Mahler’s first three Symphonies. This is the first 5-CD Set in a series that will encompass Mahler’s Nine Symphonies, featuring live orchestral recordings from London’s Royal Festival Hall of Maazel and the Philharmonia’s much-lauded Mahler Cycle.

    Wonderfully stylish: that hesitant Viennese-style playing-around and a lovely warm string sound ...You get that audience perspective as if you were sitting in the hall, and its got all the energy and focus of a live or concert recording - BBC Radio 3 Record Review The most successful reading is Symphony No.1, in which the mystery of the hushed opening, the gutsy resonance of the second movement and the frenzied launch of the finale are comparable with some of the best versions - BBC Music Magazine I love these performances, truly and deeply, and just a little madly - Classical Ear
  • Lorin Maazel and the Philharmonia Orchestra perform Mahler’s Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Symphonies. This is the second set in a series that will encompass Mahler’s Nine Symphonies, featuring live orchestral recordings from London’s Royal Festival Hall of Maazel and the Philharmonia’s much-lauded Mahler Cycle.

    This second volume, along with the first, is a treasured set on my shelves. I cannot wait for the final volume, Symphonies 7-9 - Classical Source The first movement, launched at a crisp, no-nonsense pace, offers numerous instances of warm, tender phrasing; clean textural contrasts and balances; and delicate, evocative solos - MusicWeb International
  • Recorded at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in February 2006, the next disc in Signum's series of live orchestral recordings with the Philharmonia features the late Sir Charles Mackerras conducting Mahler's Symhpony No.4. No matter how many performances of Mahler's Fourth you possess or may have heard, make time for this one. It's prime Charles Mackerras, capturing the essence of this symphony in the most memorable and life-enhancing manner as well as a comprehensive roll-call of the myriad qualities that made him such a special musician - International Record Review A very distinguished account of Mahler’s Fourth Symphony; it is also a splendid memorial to the late Sir Charles Mackerras’s long-term and vital association with the Philharmonia Orchestra - Classical Source The massed strings of the Philharmonia have seldom sounded silkier after the opening jingle and the third movement is tranquil as a child staring at the skies on a cloudless day - Norman Lebrecht
  • Sometimes known as ‘The Tragic’ – a title suggested but then withdrawn by the composer – Mahler’s Sixth Symphony embodies much of the inner turmoil and superstition of its composer. Conceived at perhaps one of the happiest periods of Mahler’s life, it seems to foreshadow the personal tragedies that would later befall him – with his wife Alma writing that “The music and what it foretold touched us deeply.” The brass are heroic and dauntingly present throughout – from the tuba that executes a fiendish trill in the finale to the clarion trumpets fan faring the doom-marches - BBC Music Magazine This is a terrific Mahler 6… Where Gergiev achieves a generalised superficial excitement, Salonen’s closer consideration is more rewarding and repays more generously repeated listening - MusicWeb International [Salonen’s] performance is purposeful and revealing - Classic FM Magazine
  • Acknowledged as the UK's foremost musical pioneers, with an extraordinary recording legacy, the Philharmonia leads the field for its quality of playing. Together with its relationships with the most sought-after artists, most importantly its Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Philharmonia Orchestra is at the heart of British musical life. Esa-Pekka Salonen made his London conducting debut with the Philharmonia Orchestra in September 1983 and he has returned to conduct the Orchestra on a regular basis ever since. This is the third in our series of Philharmonia releases that feature Salonen as conductor following Schoenberg's Gurrelieder and Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique. In the two massive slow outer movements, he doesn’t wring out the final drops of emotion, but empathises with the love of life and the beauties of nature that paradoxically emerge from Mahler’s premonition of death - The Sunday Times His Boulezian ear for balance keeps all the textures phantasmagorically clear in the first and third movements … the final dying embers are a dream - BBC Music Magazine Its radical and forward-looking qualities emerge with the clarity and vision of a conductor… whose expertise in contemporary music elucidates texture and orchestral detail - International Record Review
  • Led by Lorin Maazel, the Philharmonia Orchestra are captured at their very best in these live performances of Mahler’s Nine Symphonies. Recorded in concert at London’s Royal Festival Hall, the symphonies include performances by soloists and ensembles including Sarah Connolly, Michelle DeYoung, Philharmonia Voices and the BBC Symphony Chorus. Praise for these performances has been near universal. This 15-CD box set includes a 96-page booklet of biographies, programme notes and full texts for each symphony, as well as Lorin Maazel’s introduction to the collection. You get that audience perspective as if you were sitting in the hall, and its got all the energy and focus of a live or concert recording - BBC Radio 3 Maazel could sustain this score in a way that seemed to transcend reality ... a tremendously moving experience - Classical Source An extraordinary reading of the Ninth ... a performance touched by greatness - MusicWeb International
  • In this live recording from the Royal Festival Hall the OAE shines its musical torch into the realms of some later repertoire, shedding new light on the music of Mahler. Conducted by Principal Artist Vladimir Jurowski, this CD includes Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfarer), written in the wake of an unhappy affair with a soprano, and the extraordinarily exciting and powerful Totenfeier, Mahler’s first foray into orchestral music, and later reworked into the opening movement of his second symphony.
    The OAE's period instruments emphasise its rawness, just as they point up the anguished detail of the accompaniments to the Lieder eines Fahrenden Gesellen, in which mezzo Sarah Connolly allows the words and Mahler's treatment of them to speak for themselves, without unnecessary gilding - The Guardian Vladimir Jurowski’s brisk and thrusting account with the period instrument players of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment makes a strong case for the composer’s original thoughts - The Irish Times
  • At the time of its first performances in 1846, Elijah was hailed as one of the great oratorios alongside Handel’s Messiah. It tells the story of the prophet with imposing grandeur, inspirational orchestration and beautiful arias, recitatives and choruses. This mighty piece requires mighty orchestral and choir forces and Gabrieli singers are reinforced with talented young singers from the Gabrieli Young Singers’ Scheme and the Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir. This recording sees over 440 musicians taking part, including 92 string players and over 300 singers.
    The musical milieu is still Victorian but, rather like the cleaned-up Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens, it gleams anew and radiates light. ... a definite first choice - The Telegraph In all this is staggeringly good. Approaching the work in this way fills a gap which I didn’t even realise was there, but now I’ve heard it I think it will be first choice for a while to come. Thoroughly recommended - Presto Classical
  • Outstanding British-violinist Tamsin-Waley Cohen – described by the late Ruggiero Ricci following a masterclass as "the most exceptionally gifted young violinist I have ever encountered" – performs a fittingly prodigious work by Felix Mendelssohn.
    The Violin Concerto in D minor was composed when Mendelssohn was just 13, and has remained popular with audiences the world over since its rediscovery in the middle of the 20th century by Yehudi Menuhin. The work is paired on this disc with Mendelssohn's Concerto for Violin & Piano, where Waley-Cohen is joined by British pianist Huw Watkins, all alongside the enthusiastic accompaniment of the Orchestra of the Swan under David Curtis. Connoisseur's Choice: Tamsin Waley-Cohen is going to do very well - a young artist to watch - Classic FM
  • Julian Bliss performs the Clarinet Concertos of Mozart and Nielsen – often thought of as the two greatest such works in the repertoire: twin examples of what can be achieved by composers who have been truly inspired to write for the clarinet, using its uniquely expressive qualities to produce enduring and comprehensively masterly compositions. Alongside these Julian Bliss presents two of his own clarinet arrangements of two Mozart arias, Der Liebe himmlisches Gefu?hl, K. 119  and Non che non sei capace, K. 419. The brilliant Julian Bliss continues to demonstrate his considerable talent ... A youthful addition to the many excellent versions of the Mozart already available, and a fine introduction to the Nielsen for those who are not familiar with itClassic FM Highly recommended - Northern Echo  Bliss integrates the bottom register smoothly, in a performance matching that of the Nielsen in flair, intimacy and spontaneity - BBC Music Magazine
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