BRUCKNER The Symphonies

Anton Bruckner’s complete symphonies recorded with PENTATONE’s January July 2015 Orchestra of the Season, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, and conductor Marek Janowski.

"The recordings are uniformly excellent, all made in Geneva's Victoria Hall, home of the orchestra, and though one does not associate the Suisse Romande with this repertoire, they play it with the skill and enthusiasm one expects from one of Europe's best bands." --MusicWeb-International, August, 2015

This is a set with nothing less than a stellar sound and stunningly consistent performances throughout all symphonies. Marek Janowski achieves a clarity and balance of sound from the whole orchestra It was not only his observant reading of these works or and the invigorating performance by the orchestra that achieved this sound; the magnificent acoustics of Victoria Hall in Geneva (where the orchestra is based and also where the recordings took place) did wonders for Bruckner’s works. As far as interpretations go, Janowski knows his Bruckner and he takes the orchestra to a higher level. 

This box set contains nine SACDs plus one bonus SACD - Mass No. 3 in F Minor - complementing the Bruckner Symphonies cycle. Anyone who claims that a new recording of a Bruckner symphony in SACD is already a special event in itself, one can only then imagine what having the complete symphonies in a box set would be like.

“Janowski has forged an instrument that projects Bruckner’s richly textured canvases with a combination of warmth, transparency and tonal weight, the brass sounding particularly impressive... PENTATONE has provided Janowski and his Geneva forces with excellent sound. This is yet another significant step towards what I am convinced will eventually turn out to be one of the finest recorded Bruckner cycles of the 21st century.” Rob Cowan - Gramophone on Symphony No. 7 in E Major, September 2011.


The young Lebanese-Mexican pianist Simon Ghraichy makes his Challenge Classics debut with a disc pairing Liszt's Sonata in B minor and Schumann's Kreisleriana, concluding with the bonus of the Allegretto from Beethoven's Symphony No 7.

Schumann and Liszt met for the first time at one of Liszt’s concerts in Dresden on 16 March 1840, when the two musicians felt that they had known one another for twenty years, so familiar were they with each other’s music as well as with their published writings and respective reputations. Both men were writer-composers imbued with the spirit of literature and capable of expressing themselves just as well through words as through music.

But many things set them apart: Liszt was living the life of a famous virtuoso à la mode while Schumann could not follow the same path. In his youth Schumann had imagined a career as a man of letters.

Schumann and Liszt were both fascinated by E. T. A. Hoffmann, a writer who protean genius of the Romantic imagination, being himself a composer, poet and critic. We know that Schumann identified with Johannes Kreisler, the fantastical and imaginary Kapellmeister who appears as  Hoffmann’s alter ego in several short stories in the Fantasiestücke in Callots Manier of 1813–15 and his novel Kater Murr of 1819–21. As for Liszt, his features and his whole elusive bearing were regarded in the salons as Hoffmannesque – it was these very qualities that made him so hateful in the eyes of many of his contemporaries, including Clara Wieck. “Liszt is a veritable artist in the fullest meaning of that term,” wrote Théophile Gautier. “People have made much fun of his long hair, of the fact that he looks like a character straight out of Hoffmann, of his ecstatic glances, his convulsive gestures and of the way he moves like a man possessed by the devil.”

This recording represents through its pieces duality between poetry and virtuosity, extravagance and reclusiveness, melancholy yet sudden sunshine gleams.


Jouko Harjanne's international career has been enhanced by many competition successes, the most important being second place in the Prague Spring Trumpet Series in 1987, and first place in the Ellsworth Smith Trumpet Competition, organised by the International Trumpet Guild in 1990.

The professional music press has ranked Harjanne among the elite class of international soloists. At the age of 26, Jouko Harjanne began teaching at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki; he has also held a number of master classes in Finland and abroad.

BEETHOVEN Symphonies 4, 5 & 6

“The performances, the Vienna Philharmonic on top form, can't help sounding wonderful...oddly, it is the discussions that are the most enjoyable elements in this ambitious set.” --BBC Music Magazine, March 2011

“This is growling, mane-shaking Beethoven: a traditional approach to the music with full sound and large forces. Thielemann takes a precise yet lyrical approach to the music, as he discusses and demonstrates in the three hour-long accompanying musicological discussions.” --Classic FM Magazine ****

Baroque Music from FINLAND

Opus X is one of the leading Finnish early music ensembles and has made concert appearances and recordings of groundbreaking importance in the Finnish early music scene. Opus X was founded in 1995 at the initiative of violinist Petri Tapio Mattson; Mattson became the ensemble's artistic director. Initially the repertoire consisted entirely of chamber music, which the ensemble has performed in wide variety from Italian Early Baroque to quartets of Haydn and Mozart.

Opus X is an ensemble whose main priorities are quality (rather than quantity) and projects of national and international interest. The goal is that the ensemble's concerts and recordings offer something special, whether it is repertoire seldom or never heard before, or a fresh take on a mainstream classic. A key part of realizing this is the employment of the very best forces within the Finnish early music performance and co-operating with top-class guest soloists.

HANDEL Flaming Rose

"The players of Tempesta di Mare supply a lovely, understated accompaniment that is historically informed but without any ornamental gimmickry." --American Record Guide

"This is a lovely recording of this group of arias… a delightful and satisfying disc on its own terms." --Fanfare

"Baird sings with a more delicate timbre… the singing isn exquisitely stylish, as is the playing of tempesta di Mare, who shine in the F major and B minor trio sonatas." --Sunday Times – Classical CD of the week.

The profound and evocative German arias of Handel are performed here in a fascinating new recording by the chamber ensemble Tempesta di Mare and the soprano Julianne Baird, hailed as ‘one of the most extraordinary voices in the service of early music that this generation has produced. She possesses a natural musicianship which engenders singing of supreme expressive beauty’.

The collection loosely named Nine German Arias was written in the 1720s to popular verses by Barthold Brockes. The overall title of this disc, Flaming Rose, is a direct English translation of the title of the ninth of the arias, rightfully suggesting a distillation of the subject of Brockes’s poems, Irdisches Vergnügen in Gott, which urge us to see evidence of the divine in the stunning beauty of nature. The German arias stand apart among Handel’s vocal music, for they are very personal pieces, not just in the contemplative nature of their words but also in their musical intimacy, requiring a level of interactivity between the performers that is rarely found in vocal music of this period.

Through these arias the listener glimpses Handel in one of his few creative outings with his native language, and they form what comes closest to a song cycle by him.

As an extra bonus the disc features two of Handel’s Op. 2 trio sonatas for flute, violin and continuo which share a contrapuntal sensibility with the arias; vocal and instrumental works create a mutually illuminating effect.

Forming a unique CD programme, these rarely recorded works, performed by Baird and Tempesta di Mare, allow the listener to hear Handel at his best.

MEISTER Il Giardino del piacere

This album is full of surprises, not all of them associated with its musical contents. Advance PR materials stated that its contents were recorded originally for televised broadcast in 2004, then forgotten, and only just rediscovered. A final recording by the celebrated Musica Antiqua Köln, forgotten by its performers and recording company? Then, there are the liner notes. Reinhard Goebel is both candid and bitter in discussing the trajectory of his disbanded ensemble, claiming that by 1993 their best years were past, and referring to it as being “outdated” in 2000 because “press and promoters wanted garish operas, not esoteric sonatas.” 

Yet operas, garish or otherwise, and esoteric sonatas remain both in demand by early-music venues, drawing live crowds and respectable CD sales.

The music is a bit of a surprise as well, if not the result of an “original genius” that Goebel likens to C. P. E. Bach. Johann Friedrich Meister (1638–97) seems by all accounts to have been something of a rebel, getting himself imprisoned the year after his appointment as music director of the Hofkapelle of Duke Ferdinand Albrecht I of Brunswick-Lüneburg. He escaped and fled with the help of friends, and eventually ended his days with a lengthy tenure as organist at St. Marien, in Flensburg. Musically, he appears to have owed more to the earlier likes of Scheidt, Schein, and Schütz than to his immediate North German compatriots; the rapt expressiveness of his slow movements (the Adagio that opens the Sonata No. 4, the Arioso of the Sonata No. 5, the Adagio at the start of the Sonata No. 6, the Grave that begins the Sonata No. 10, to name but four outstanding examples) brings to mind the popularity of such diverse Italian composers such as Marenzio, Uccellini, Farina, and Corelli with both German musicians and publishers. Other influences would appear to be French, as in the passacaglia that is closer to the minor-key French passacaille in all respects than to the major-key Italian version.

These are the best things in the 1695 collection of sonatas—actually suites, whose movements number from five to eight per suite, and whose titles are either tempo indications or dances. There is a convincing fancy to such pieces, as well as a simple but effective craftsmanship, that makes them stand out. The three irregular fugues are ineffective as such, the new material in subsidiary voices usually perfunctory; but viewed as pieces in which imitative textures contribute instead to the twists in Meister’s musical logic, they are more successful. It’s only a shame that the rest of the sonatas weren’t recorded before MAK broke up.

The performances are persuasive. For all its reputation for laser-like intensity, Goebel’s ensemble (reduced here to four members) was also capable of warmth and theatrical sensibility—qualities that are required in these works, and supplied convincingly. The MAK’s tone is refined and disciplined, minus the choked wiriness that sometimes passes for appropriate scholarship in music of this period. Balance between the musicians is excellent, and there’s the same give-and-take you would find in good chamber groups specializing in later eras. Tempos are varied, with a slight, pleasing flexibility to phrasing that helps Meister’s Il giardino to breath. Ornamentation is light but effective, and always stylish.

With excellent sound, this album should appeal to students of the Baroque, and especially to those interested in its persuasively lyrical Italianate vein. That fanciers of the MAK will want it, goes without saying. They’d be right to do so, too.

FANFARE: Barry Brenesal

BEETHOVEN Symphonies 1, 2 & 3

“The performances, the Vienna Philharmonic on top form, can't help sounding wonderful...oddly, it is the discussions that are the most enjoyable elements in this ambitious set.” --BBC Music Magazine, March 2011

“This is growling, mane-shaking Beethoven: a traditional approach to the music with full sound and large forces. Thielemann takes a precise yet lyrical approach to the music, as he discusses and demonstrates in the three hour-long accompanying musicological discussions.” --Classic FM Magazine ****

This is the start of a Beethoven Symphonies cycle (Nos. 1-9) with Christian Thielemann and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. The Beethoven cycle of the 21st century!

A PURCELL Collection

“every number here has something particularly arresting within it, all supported by persuasive and committed singing, and playing of intense charm.” --BBC Music Magazine, June 2014 *****

“Voces8 here make use of their intermediate bring together what would normally be an unlikely Purcell vocal anthology...There are times when I feel that interpretative tricks are missed...but there is no doubting that this disc still offers a rich and enjoyable demonstration of Purcell's genius.” --Gramophone Magazine, July 2014

“Even if you have most of Purcell's music on disc in your collection you should not miss this 'sampler'. It includes some of the finest performances I have heard in recent years.” --MusicWeb International, 13th June 2014

“most agreeable, with many moments to savour along the way. The performances at times touch excellence…Voces 8 are at their best in more homophonic music, producing admirably balanced performances of considerable breadth and ideal introduction into at least part of his [Purcell’s] world.” --Early Music Today, Autumn 2014

BERIO Sequenzas I-XIV for Solo Instruments

Between 1958 and 2002 Luciano Berio completed his 14 solo Sequenzas, a series of pieces that push not only each instrument's technical, textural, and expressive possibilities, but also those of the performer. Each work demands the utmost in technique, musicianship, tonal resources, theatricality, and stamina. Small wonder that the Sequenzas loom large in the active contemporary repertoire, while conservatories and competitions often assign them as test pieces. Naxos enters the Sequenza playing field with equally world-class performances of the cycle, including the Cello Sequenza (No. XIV) written in 2002 (the year before Berio's death) plus the soprano saxophone version of the Oboe Sequenza (No. VII)

CZERNY String Quartets

“The Sheridans are stylish advocates. They match the Viennoiserie with performances oozing that very Viennese quality of Gemütlichkeit. And their impeccable taste, sensitivity and refinement never overload the music with more import than it can bear.” --BBC Music Magazine, October 2015

“Surprises never cease with classical music. Here are solid traditional 19th-Century structures, marvelous melodies, superb counterpoint, finely wrought development sections, and a wonderful ear for voicings so that each instrument is always in the limelight with transparent textures.“ --American Record Guide, September 2015 

The Sheridan Ensemble

Known as a piano teacher, with whose works almost every piano pupil should be familiar and possibly also as a pupil of Beethoven, Carl Czerny enjoys practically no fame as a composer today. The composing maniac (round about 800 published works) acquired a great reputation (and wealth) from piano teaching and writing educational works for the piano and compositions the market expected from him and from which he earned a lot of money. At the moment, seven quartets are recorded, four of which were probably intended for publication. Czerny composed in the tradition of Haydn and Beethoven. Echoes of Mendelssohn can be discerned as well as a romantic style full of drama and profundity of expression. The quartets have only been passed down as manuscripts from Czerny’s estate, which can be found in the archives of the Society of Friends of Music in Vienna.

Album Reviews

TCHAIKOVSKY Violin Concerto, Etc

✩ Recommendation
“The sound of Ehnes's violin is especially full and expressive; it's not the kind of tone Tchaikovsky would have recognised but it sound gorgeous and allows him to rise to the concerto's lyrical high spots with considerable intensity. Even his muted tone in the Canzonetta is exceptionally warm and resonant. He clearly enjoys demonstrating his ability as a virtuoso, making this one of the most exciting accounts of the finale I can remember.” --Gramophone Magazine, March 2012

“Ehnes and Ashkenazy deliver a particularly beautiful account of the slow movement...Ehnes demonstrates his characteristically phenomenal technical assurance while bringing out all the fire in the music too...their disc can be recommended warmly not only for the excellent if occasionally strait-laced Concerto but - above all - for the other pieces, which have seldom been recorded with such poise and poetry.” --International Record Review, February 2012

“Ehnes is not a violinist to use bravura as an end in itself...His dexterity is a marvel of lightness and precision in the finale, but it is consistently aimed towards a musical goal, the range of tone beautifully judged and, as in the first movement, the structure and direction kept in clear view. This is a consummate performance...All in all, the disc makes a fine start to 2012.” --The Telegraph, 5th January 2012

“Ehnes’s virtuosity impresses on account of its virtue. He makes a ravishing sound and meets every technical challenge thrown at him with utterly reliable intonation, tonal consistency and beautifully controlled articulation. What distinguishes him, however, is an almost self-effacing intelligence.” --Sunday Times, 8th January 2012

BRIOSCHI Six Symphonies, Vol. 2

The Best music schools [...] are in Naples. [...] The good schools for voices is in Bologna; Lombardy excels in instrumental music. --Charles de Brosses

The unique symphonic language of Antonio Brioschi is an appealing hybrid of baroque and classical musical idioms integrated in a subtle and coherent manner. Brioschi's attractive simphonies are expressive dynamic, and sophisticated works of art. The can surely be said to herald the classical Symphonic spirit. (Dr. Sarah Mandel-Yehuda)

The Great HITCHCOCK Movie Thrillers

The film music of Bernard Herrmann is certainly as good a subject as any for the lavish "Phase 4" stereo treatment, which in the '60s was what the marketing strategy was all about for this particular release. The increased level of respect and interest in film composers amongst the listening public was still a few decades away when this album came out, while consumers of the time were still engaged in uncontrolled lust for new stereo systems and the recording technology that went with it. Eventually, it would be a simple fact that the string passage that accompanies the shower scene in Psycho, for example, would remain strong in the public minds long after "Phase 4," "Quadrophonic," and all the rest of this kind of hoopla was long forgotten.

It was originally Decca that put Herrmann together with the London Philharmonic Orchestra to conduct performances of excerpts from his most famous scores. The result was as masterful as can be expected. The composer chose to highlight the most famous themes from various scores to Alfred Hitchcock films, and the performances are indeed quite different than what was done for the actual soundtrack recordings. With the exception of North by Northwest, which gets short shrift, the films in question are well-served by these short suites, put together carefully and artistically by the only person who really has the right to tinker around like this, the composer himself.

Fans of Herrmann's work will enjoy this collection, although some sleuthing along the lines of one of Hitchcock's detectives is going to be required to sort out the mess London made of various editions. For one thing, Hitchcock's stock must have gone up after the '60s, since later releases include his name in the album title, while earlier ones simply advertise themes from "movie thrillers."

One later version of the set is slightly expanded, enough to include about four minutes of excerpts from Spellbound. In a move that will probably be of interest only to people who are studying editing, one of these later editions has slightly different playing times for each selection, indicating that the speed of the original tapes was changed or that an editor engaged in a little bit of slicing, although hardly as drastic as what Anthony Perkins did to the lady in the shower.

RIES Concert Overtures

This is a lovely program of exciting, colorful music. Ferdinand Ries may not have been a great composer in large forms, such as symphonies and concertos, but these single-movement pieces give him the opportunity to use his imagination, and he takes full advantage. The Ouverture bardique, for example, asks for six harps (though it sounds more like two here, since there are only two individual parts), and employs a Welsh folk theme. Both The Bride of Messina and Don Carlos (plays by Schiller) are suitably dramatic, and full of fire. 

Ries loads his Victory March with brass and percussion, but the music's high kick is buoyant rather than pompous. The dramatic overture "L'Apparition" was Ries' final orchestral work, and it seems to foretell the Mendelssohn of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Howard Griffiths and the Cologne radio orchestra play the music with plenty of spirit. The solo woodwinds, which Ries employs with particular gusto, have lots of character. Timpani use hard sticks, and the strings offer a lean sound that mellows expressively in lyrical passages. The style, with biting, edgy brass, is obviously "period performance"-influenced, but not absurdly so. In short, the performances are stylish and sound idiomatic. As usual with German radio engineering, the sonics are very good, with excellent balances between orchestral sections. This disc makes the perfect introduction to a composer who has more to offer than the fact that he was Beethoven's pal.

--David Hurwitz,

GREGSON Orchestral Works

“Wissam Boustany and Richard Watkins play with superlative technique and verve in the two concertos...There really is something for everyone in this disc - glorious Arnoldesque tunes, stimulatingly serious expression, brilliant orchestration: a very Gregsonian cocktail. Enjoy!” --Gramophone Magazine, September 2014

“…Gregson’s music is impressive … this album has grown on me the more I’ve listened to it, and I look forward to hearing more from him. The musicians are invested in the work, and their playing is clean; the sound is quite complimentary to the orchestra…” --American Record Guide, January/February 2015

Edward Gregson is one of Britain’s most versatile and prolific composers, his approachable and engaging music having gained recognition worldwide. With the BBC Philharmonic, Bramwell Tovey conducts works that take inspiration from an array of musical and extra-musical sources, revealing the breadth of Gregson’s musical imagination.

The Horn Concerto, originally written in 1971 for soloist with brass band, is here heard in a recent orchestral arrangement, played by Richard Watkins, a leading horn player of his generation. Each of the Concerto’s three movements displays a different facet of the French horn’s character: serious, lyrical, and playful. Aztec Dances began as a substantial piece for recorder and piano; it was reworked for flute and piano at the request of Wissam Boustany, who here performs the final version, for flute and ensemble. Its vivid colours and ritualistic character were inspired by a British Museum exhibition exploring Aztec culture. Like Aztec Dances, the Concerto for Orchestra was revised twice. Its interim title, ‘Contrasts’, conveys the essence of the work, varieties of character and orchestral colour being key to it. Dream Song was commissioned to share a concert programme with Mahler’s Symphony No. 6. The essence of Mahler pervades the whole of this work which aims to create a parallel musical world to that of the Symphony.

“Disc four in a series of Gregson’s flinty, sharply imagined music includes excellent solo work in the two concertos, and gritty ensemble playing in the Concerto for Orchestra.” --BBC Music magazine, December 2014 ****

VIEUXTEMPS & YSAŸE Cello Concertos

“[the Vieuxtemps works] certainly know their way round the cello and are characterised by strength of ideas, a supple expressiveness and a sure dramatic instrinct. So much so that it is hard to see why they have not entered the mainstream repertoire...these performances...never fail to hold one's attention.” --Gramophone Magazine, March 2015

“The elegance that Vieuxtemps displayed in his violin concertos is on show here, with graceful melodies, and some more showy passages. These are never gratuitous, however, and are expertly written for the instrument...In many ways the shorter works by Ysaÿe suit [Gerhardt] best of all.” --BBC Music Magazine, Awards Issue 2015 ****

Alban Gerhardt (cello) - Alban Gerhardt (cello)
Royal Flemish Philharmonic, Josep Caballé-Domenech

Hyperion’s blossoming Romantic Cello Concerto series welcomes back German virtuoso Alban Gerhardt for this sixth volume. Henry Vieuxtemps and Eugène Ysaÿe are of course best known for their blistering pyrotechnics on the violin, but each of this eminent teacher-and-pupil pairing also wrote two works—little known today, alas—for cello and orchestra, and what a revelation they are. The two Vieuxtemps Concertos contain all the elements familiar from their famous violin counterparts—long-arched melodies alongside moments of outrageous virtuoso demands. The Ysaÿe works are shorter and make ideal companions.

Gerhardt rises to the formidable challenges presented by these composers. Sympathetic orchestral support comes from the Royal Flemish Philharmonic (compatriots of the two composers) and Josep Caballé-Domenech, making his Hyperion conducting debut.

“Alban Gerhardt…brings his glowing tone and unfailing technique to bear on these scores, showing himself equally at home in the music's more sensational moments (serving up a remarkable level of detail without sacrificing a sense of line) and its more expressive passages.” --International Record Review, March 2015

RIES Piano Concertos Nos. 4 and 5, "Pastoral", Volume 4

“[The Introduction and Rondeau Brillant is] a real virtuoso vehicle, to whose demands Hinterhuber rises - as in the concertos - with what seems like effortless ease and affection...If you've yet to make this composer's acquaintance, this is an excellent place to start.” --International Record Review, January 2011

“Christopher Hinterhuber sounds very comfortable in this music; his playing has sufficient sparkle, and he tempers his virtuosity with good taste. The accompaniments are fine too, the sonics very good. Both [works] show Ries at his best.”, December 2014 

Christopher Hinterhuber (piano) - Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Uwe Grodd

The fourteen works for piano and orchestra of Ferdinand Ries stand alongside those of Hummel as the most important of their kind from the early decades of the 19th Century.

Intensely lyrical and yet displaying at times a rugged Beethovenian grandeur, Ries’s concertos are works of impressive musical stature.

The three works featured on this recording span the years 1809 to 1835 and include the fascinating Concerto Pastoral, Op. 120, and the Introduction et Rondeau Brillant, WoO54, composed at the end of Ries’s long and brilliant career as a pianist-composer.

Album Reviews

Baltic Sea VOYAGE

Baltic Sea Voyage is the next instalment in the Kristjan Järvi Sound Project recording series on Naïve Classique. Conceived by Estonian-American Kristjan Järvi and performed by the Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic (BYP) – of which Järvi is Founding Conductor and Music Director since 2008 – the album celebrates the rich musical landscape of the Baltic Sea region.
Release date: 6th April 2015

Järvi comments: “Featuring music from each country bordering the Baltic Sea, listeners can journey from the deep spirituality of Grieg, Sibelius and Pärt and the Nordic mythology of Wagner's Ring, to the folkloric drive of Stravinsky and Kilar, and finally to the pop culture-inspired works of living composers Kalninš and Gelgotas.” Baltic Sea Voyage is the orchestra’s first official album release.

VIERNE 12 Preludes, Solitude & Nocturne

It is no wonder that Louis Vierne (1870-1937), having been taught by César Franck and Widor, became a famous organist. His most important post was at Notre Dame in Paris, where he was celebrated for his improvisations. As a composer of piano music he indulged in the post-Wagnerian language of his era: highly complicated counterpoint, dense, chromatic harmonies and an exalted, spiritual atmosphere characterise his works.
Release date: 14th Aug 2015

Lithuanian pianist Mūza Rubackytė is a strong advocate of Vierne, having already successfully recorded for Brilliant Classics works by Franck and Shostakovich. She masters the considerable technical difficulties with apparent ease, and has a keen sense of structure and colour.

The cover shows a remarkable painting of the artist, conceived in similar style as the music of Vierne - striking!

GIGLIO Fiorentino

A real rarity is offered to us by this album that includes original works for plectrum orchestra, meaning that particular ensemble in which the various orchestral sections are formed by mandolins and instruments derived from it, such as the mandola, the mandoloncello and mandolone, with the addition of guitars, harps, and other plectrum or pizzicato instruments depending on the various situations. After the time when great composers like Vivaldi, Mozart and Beethoven wrote important pages where the mandolin was the protagonist from the first decade of the XIX century interest in this instrument progressively diminished.
Release date: 30th March 2015

Yet, starting from the second half of the nineteenth century, throughout Europe spontaneously started many ensembles for plectrum and pizzicato. After more than a century from their composition, this production wants to propose some suggestive pages of the most representative authors gravitating around Florence, the city that in the XIX century opened the doors to the golden age of the revival of mandolin in Italy and worldwide. Founded in 1898, the Gino Neri orchestra was the star of that period of splendor, and now represents the oldest plectrum orchestra still preserving and disseminating this repertoire worldwide.


Valentina Lisitsa, who has a formidable track record when it comes to mining the works of left-field composers, turns her attention to Alexander Scriabin with her new release, Nuance. While Scriabin was dramatically pushing at musical boundaries by the end of his short life, his early works are suffused with a fresh innocence – this selection from his lesser-known piano repertoire reflects the striking stylistic differences that characterised his all too brief career. Marking the 100th anniversary of the composer’s death in 1915 at the age of 43, Nuance will be released in October.

This is not Lisitsa’s first venture into Scriabin on disc. She featured on the recording of his complete works, released on Decca in April, earning this tribute from Audiophile Audition: “Lisitsa is an especially fine pianist who captures the special Scriabin feeling in her performances, which combine sensitivity and expressiveness with a command of dynamics.” She now returns to the enigmatic Russian Symbolist master after acclaimed albums devoted to the similarly iconoclastic Philip Glass and Michael Nyman, and to challenging Études by Schumann and Chopin.

Scriabin’s early music, delightfully easy on the ear, shows the influence of Chopin, which explains the profusion of such titles as Mazurka, Polonaise, Impromptu, Nocturne, Scherzo, Prélude, Étude and Waltz. The digital version of Nuance includes four extra tracks: the Étude op.49, no.1, the Mazurka in B minor, Feuille d’album in F sharp major and what is possibly the first recording of the Duett in D minor for two sopranos and piano.

TURNAGE Fractured Lines

"This is stunning and strongly recommended. Turnage"s unique sound-world - as distinctive in its way as Mahler or Messiaen - springs to life on every level." --BBC Music Magazine - Performance***** Sound ***** ‘Best of 2002’

"Slatkin is clearly enjoying himself and soloists and orchestra come together to provide one of the most vivacious CDs to be released in a long time." --Observer

"Exciting and challenging." --The Independent

JC & JW HERTEL Trumpet Concertos

Johann Christian (1697-1754) and Johann Wilhelm (1727-1789) were a father and son combination, who although directly related, were somewhat different in style and content as the works on this disc amply demonstrate.

J.C. was Duke Adolph Friedrich's court music director, and demands were high, especially when the Duke's birthday was the occasion. The composer's father duly obliged though, with some smashing virtuosic pieces for 3 trumpets and a timpani corps which kept his employer happy and satisfied.

The 2 sinfonias in D recorded here are 2 such creations, both full of celebratory opulence and technical brilliance which should certainly captivate and delight. JW, in contrast to his father, ventured beyond the baroque mentality and embraced the latest developments. In the 3 concertos on this disc, the soloist is given free reign for cantabile playing with the virtuosic element being slightly sidelined.

Nonetheless the mellow and slim sound of the trumpet shines with a gorgeous beauty that continues to inspire performers and listeners alike. Bauer's precocity for his instrument is unquestionable and under his direction, the works indeed take on a new lease of life. The orchestra from Baden Württemberg is also a fine ensemble, deeply steeped in the German baroque tradition. All in all, a fine disc which is almost self recommending. 2008

GHEDINI Violin and Piano Music (Complete)

“Should these works enter the repertory, prospective performers will find themselves having to measure up to the Bianchi/Bernecoli duo's impassioned, technically polished and rhythmically rock-solid interpretations.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2013

“Both interpreters are sworn by hundred percent on each other and play devotedly, with gripping expressiveness in the more introspective as well as in the fervently virtuoso movements. A convincing plea in favor of a repertoire deserving to be discovered.” --Pizzicato, October 2013

Although Giorgio Federico Ghedini’s proud independence and lack of adherence to any particular school brought him into confl ict with the avant-garde, he is now increasingly recognised as one of the fi nest Italian composers of the 20th century. Marking the 50th anniversary of Ghedini’s death, this recording reveals an aspect of his repertoire yet to be fully appreciated and is a signifi cant addition to the repertoire. Contemporary with those of Respighi, Pizzetti and Alfano, the Violin Sonatas display a real sense of creative freedom and are notable for their structural originality, beautiful harmonies and tonal and rhythmic invention. Ghedini’s complete piano works can be heard on Naxos 8.572329 and 8.572330.

Album reviews