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GRAMOPHONE

CLASSICAL MUSIC AWARDS 2017

Congratulations Gramophone Award Winners 2017 and congratulations to the artist of the year, Vasily Petrenko.
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Image WINNER: Baroque vocal
‘The dominant virtue in this fine collaboration between the outstanding Davies and Arcangelo lies in an unsentimental perspicacity, reassuring in its intelligence and deep sensitivity...’
(Gramophone)

Ich habe genug is a timeless, transcendental masterpiece: a profound expression of Christian faith at the very end of life. It demands artistry of a special order, and Iestyn Davies now joins the likes of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Lorraine Hunt Lieberson in the work’s distinguished discography. The couplings are equally ravishing performances of two other great solo cantatas, while the two orchestral sinfonias which complete the album will prove refreshingly familiar.

kr 159
Image WINNER: Chamber music
‘In short, Bacewicz’s quartets are essential listening, and the Silesian Quartet really give the impression of having lived with them...’
(Gramophone)

Silesian Quartet

For their very first recording on Chandos, the multiaward winning Silesian Quartet presents the complete string quartets by Grazyna Bacewicz. These lesserknown chamber music treasures by the Polish composer are neatly packaged in a slimline jewel case: two discs here offered for the price of one. The life of Bacewicz, like that of better-known colleagues such as Witold Lutoslawski and Andrzej Panufnik, was conditioned by the political and military events of her time. Her works reflected not only these traumas but also the shifting stylistic currents of twentieth-century music. Her seven string quartets, written between 1938 and 1965, are a telling barometer of these changes. They also stand as a timeline of her resolute compositional outlook and as a testament to her profound understanding of string instruments. String Quartet No. 1 comes after her studies in Paris in 1932 – 35 with Nadia Boulanger (composition), André Touret, and Carl Flesch (both violin), No. 2 was written in Warsaw during World War II, Nos 3, 4, and 5 date from the post-war decade, a time of socialist-realist cultural upheavals, while Nos 6 and 7 were composed during the avant-garde musical explosion that thrust Polish music onto the world stage in the late 1950s.

kr 159
Image WINNER: Choral
‘As a package, the disc as a whole is certainly a winner; the Mass easily ranks alongside the period-instrument benchmarks...’
(Gramophone)

Following on the 2015 release of Mozart’s Requiem, Masaaki Suzuki and his Bach Collegium Japan has gone on to record the composers Mass in C minor, K427 – the ‘Great Mass’. As the nickname indicates it is a work of unusual proportions for a mass of the Classical period – or would have been so, had Mozart completed it. It is not known for what occasion Mozart intended the work, but a letter to his father Leopold dated 4 January 1783 indicate that he may have committed himself to writing it in connection with his marriage to Constanze and a planned visit to Salzburg. A performance of parts of the Mass did take place in Salzburg in October 1783, with Constanze performing the prominent soprano part. Two years later Mozart reused the music from the Kyrie and Gloria sections in the sacred cantata Davidde penitente, K 469, but the Mass itself was left incomplete. The present performance includes the sections completed by Mozart himself, as well as those sections for which extensive sketches by Mozart provided a basis for completion (by Franz Beyer in 1989). Three of Suzuki’s soloists also took part in the recording of the Requiem, while the Dutch mezzo-soprano Olivia Vermeulen makes her first appearance on BIS, shining in the aria Laudamus te. The disc closes with the celebrated cantata Exsultate, jubilate in which the soprano Carolyn Sampson glitters in the virtuosic solo part. As an appendix to the programme she and the Bach Collegium Japan orchestra also repeats the initial aria, in a less well-known later version with a slightly different text and with flutes replacing the oboes of the original.

kr 159
Image WINNER: Concerto
For period instruments, period sensibility and state-of-the-art engineering, you may find yourself hard-pressed to better this thought-provoking and eminently enjoyable cycle...’
(Gramophone)

The five most brilliant concertos for violin, all penned before the age of 19! Mozart was not even 15 years old when he began composing violin concertos that would serve as a backdrop at Salzburg receptions. An insatiable drive for independence would however lead the young Konzertmeister to overtly challenge musical forms, innovate with genres, humour and frivolity, all of which can be heard in this delightful first collaboration between Isabelle Faust and the musicians of Il Giardino Armonico.

kr 189
Image WINNER: Early Music
Dowland characterised his seven pavans as “passionate”, and one can sense the true passion of Dreyfus and his performers in what has all the hallmarks of a classic recording...’
(Gramophone)

Phantasm

John Dowland’s gifts as an exceptional melodist are evident throughout Lachrimae or Seven Tears, an artistic achievement which has cast a remarkable spell on early music.

Summing up the Renaissance preoccupation with melancholy, this extraordinary collection of dance music for viols and lute includes Dowland’s ‘signature’ piece, Semper Dowland semper Dolens.

Dowland reveals a personal world of sublime sadness, grief, anger and melancholy mollified by moments of joy and gladness.

A skilled lutenist, Dowland’s intricately-worked parts demand perfect synchronicity between Phantasm and Elizabeth Kenny, who rise to the technical and tempi challenges of marrying their instruments.

The popularity of Dowland’s music in his own lifetime continued through the centuries with Lawes, Jenkins and Gibbons all paying homage to Dowland’s ‘Tears’.

Although freed from lyric constraints poetic images linger prompting Phantasm’s Laurence Dreyfus to describe this as ‘the most sensuously tuneful hour of music ever written’.



kr 159
Image WINNER: Opera (DVD)
‘This is a finely honed production that follows its premise to an absurdist conclusion with slick theatricality and dispassionate zeal...’
(Gramophone)

Christian Gerhaher (Wozzeck)
Gun-Brit Barkmin (Marie)

Philharmonia Zürich, Chor der Oper Zürich / Fabio Luisi

Andreas Homoki, Stage Director

The soldier Wozzeck (Christian Gerhaher) flits through a world that he is unable to decipher. The doctor torments him with absurd medical experiments; the captain humiliates and ridicules him. And Wozzeck’s lover, Marie (Gun-Brit Barkmin), with whom he has a child, cuckolds him with the drum major. Wozzeck becomes a murderer, stabbing Marie to death. Georg Büchner’s drama fragment, on which Alban Berg based his first opera, is an unflinching case study of social injustice and human suffering. But it is also a grotesque piece that thrives on exaggeration – and in which only a fine line separates the unfathomable from the ridiculous. Accordingly, director Andreas Homoki forgoes all realism. His nightmarishly radical production is inspired by puppet theatre. Christian Gerhaher’s role début as Wozzeck can only be described as sensational: his capacity for vocal and dramatic subtlety is simply breath-taking. At the rostrum of the Philharmonia Zurich, Fabio Luisi explores both the expressionistic and the more intimate aspects, reminiscent of chamber music, in Berg’s seminal score.

Picture Formats: 16:9 NTSC
Sound Formats: PCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1
Running time: 100:58 min


kr 299
Image WINNER: Opera (Bluray)
‘This is a finely honed production that follows its premise to an absurdist conclusion with slick theatricality and dispassionate zeal...’
(Gramophone)

Christian Gerhaher (Wozzeck)
Gun-Brit Barkmin (Marie)

Philharmonia Zürich, Chor der Oper Zürich / Fabio Luisi

Andreas Homoki, Stage Director

The soldier Wozzeck (Christian Gerhaher) flits through a world that he is unable to decipher. The doctor torments him with absurd medical experiments; the captain humiliates and ridicules him. And Wozzeck’s lover, Marie (Gun-Brit Barkmin), with whom he has a child, cuckolds him with the drum major. Wozzeck becomes a murderer, stabbing Marie to death. Georg Büchner’s drama fragment, on which Alban Berg based his first opera, is an unflinching case study of social injustice and human suffering. But it is also a grotesque piece that thrives on exaggeration – and in which only a fine line separates the unfathomable from the ridiculous. Accordingly, director Andreas Homoki forgoes all realism. His nightmarishly radical production is inspired by puppet theatre. Christian Gerhaher’s role début as Wozzeck can only be described as sensational: his capacity for vocal and dramatic subtlety is simply breath-taking. At the rostrum of the Philharmonia Zurich, Fabio Luisi explores both the expressionistic and the more intimate aspects, reminiscent of chamber music, in Berg’s seminal score.

Picture Formats: 16:9 NTSC, FULL HD
Sound Formats: PCM Stereo, DTS HD Master Audio
Running time: 100:58 min

kr 389
Image WINNER: Orchestral (CD)
‘If we’re all still around for the composer’s 2032 tercentenary, this may well become the period-instrument Haydn cycle by which all others are measured...’
(Gramophone)

The fourth volume of the Haydn2032 project thrusts into the limelight one of the most important stock characters in the theatre of sounds and words, the Kapellmeister, and explores some glamorous and (in)glorious moments in the career of Maestro Haydn. It features three symphonies by the ‘Shakespeare of Music’ – one of which is even associated with an actual play. This bears the title ‘Sinfonia in C. per la commedia intitolata Il distratto’ (the name of the play soon became the symphony’s nickname) and consists of an overture, four entr’actes, and a finale to be played at the end of the performance. Also on this disc is a large-scale buffo scene by his colleague Cimarosa. Il maestro di cappella is a witty and ironic parody, in which a member of the ‘old school’ of musicians tries to improve the ensemble playing of his orchestra. To his chagrin, the players do react, but in extremely undisciplined fashion: they are distracted, make false entries and disagree musically . . . (from a text by Christian Moritz-Bauer)

kr 159
Image WINNER: Orchestral (2 LP)
‘If we’re all still around for the composer’s 2032 tercentenary, this may well become the period-instrument Haydn cycle by which all others are measured...’
(Gramophone)

The fourth volume in the Haydn2032 project is released in a collector’s edition at the same time as the CD: an double LP album on high-quality vinyl (180 grams) containing the complete musical programme plus a forty-page booklet with a series of photos by Richard Kalvar of the Magnum Photos agency (born in New York in 1944), the full sleeve notes, the sung text of Il maestro di cappella and a previously unpublished text entitled The Prince and the Pyramids by the Swiss writer Alain Claude Sulzer, who won the French Prix Medicis étranger in 2008 for his novel A Perfect Waiter.

kr 359
Image WINNER: Solo Vocal
‘This is supremely seductive Lieder singing, with a natural intelligence and ease with the words, matched by playing from Christoph Eschenbach...’
(Gramophone)

Matthias Goerne, baryton
Christoph Eschenbach, piano

"...but Goerne's recording must be among the finest of recent accounts: certainly he's a better fit, ... in terms of voice than Ian Bostridge, for all the Engilish tenor's artistry; and ... his approach to that of the rather more burly and garrulous Thomas Quasthoff." Gramophone 2016

Brahms skrev en umådelig mængde lieder i en periode på 40 år. De 200 han tillod at overleve viser, præcis hvor vigtig genren var til hans kompositionelle proces.

Udvalget, der er repræsenteret her, illustrerer diversiteten af et corpus, der indholder Heine (som så mange andre komponister), men også med en bred variation af andre poeter, som han har sat musik til med samme fuldbyrdede håndelag som 'Vier ernste Gesänge' Op. 121, højdepunktet i hans storslåede og særdeles individuelle udtryk.


kr 159
Image Symphony No. 13 (Babi Yar)
Alexander Vinogradov, Bass • Huddersfield Choral Society
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra
Vasily Petrenko


Shostakovich wrote his Symphony No. 13, Op. 113 in 1962. The climax of his 'Russian period' and, in its scoring for bass soloist, male chorus and orchestra, among the most Mussorgskian of his works, it attracted controversy through its settings of poems by Yevgeny Yevtushenko (the 'Russian Bob Dylan' of his day) - not least the first movement, where the poet underlines the plight of Jews in Soviet society. The other movements are no less pertinent in their observations on the relationship between society and the individual. This is the final release in Vasily Petrenko's internationally acclaimed symphonic cycle.


kr 89
Image Symphony No 4
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra • Vasily Petrenko

Completed in 1936 but withdrawn during rehearsal and not performed until 1961, the searing Fourth Symphony finds Shostakovich stretching his musical idiom to the limit in the search for a personal means of expression at a time of undoubted personal and professional crisis. The opening movement, a complex and unpredictable take on sonata form that teems with a dazzling profusion of varied motifs, is followed by a short, eerie central movement. The finale opens with a funeral march leading to a climax of seismic physical force that gives way to a bleak and harrowing minor key coda. The Symphony has since become one of the most highly regarded of the composer's large-scale works.


kr 89
Image Symphony No. 14
At its première in June 1969 Shostakovich described his Symphony No. 14, in effect a symphonic song cycle, 'a fight for the liberation of humanity...a great protest against death, a reminder to live one's life honestly, decently, nobly...' Originally intending to write an oratorio, Shostakovich set eleven poems on the theme of mortality, and in particular early or unjust death, for two solo singers accompanied by strings and percussion. This is the penultimate release in Vasily Petrenko's internationally acclaimed symphonic cycle.
The Sunday Times Album of the Week

ClassicsToday 10/10 rating
'sensational performance' - ClassicsToday.com

5 star rating!
'No previous recording of the 14th Symphony lays greater claim to beauty.' - Sinfini Music



kr 89
Image Symphony No 7 (Leningrad)
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra • Vasily Petrenko

in June 1941, Shostakovich volunteered with the Home Guard in Leningrad. As the siege of the city intensified, he worked on his Seventh Symphony, completing three movements before being forced to leave Leningrad and travel east by train. The work was completed in December that year. Initially he gave each movement a programmatic title, but later withdrew them, leaving this epic work as an emblem of heroic defiance in the face of conflict and crisis: 'I dedicate my Seventh Symphony to our struggle against fascism, to our coming victory over the enemy, to my native city, Leningrad.'


kr 89
Image Symphonies Nos. 2 & 15
4/5 i DN

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir; Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra / Vasily Petrenko

These two hugely contrasting symphonies come from the opposite ends of Shostakovich's life and career. The Second Symphony was written to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Bolshevik October Revolution. Its advanced idiom of experimental textures and abstract effects can perhaps be best described as organised musical chaos. The Fifteenth was Shostakovich's last symphony and is filled with remarkable contrasts, from the rollicking quotes from Rossini's William Tell Overture and eerie references to Wagner's Götterdämmerung and Tristan und Isolde, to the last and perhaps most imaginative of the composer's symphonic passacaglias.



kr 89
Image Symphonies Nos. 6 & 12
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Vasily Petrenko, conductor

Shostakovich's Sixth and Twelfth Symphonies both had their origins in large-scale projects about Lenin, though the Sixth was eventually to emerge as one of the composer's most abstract and idiosyncratic symphonies. The long, intensely lyrical and meditative slow movement that opens the work is one of the composer's most striking. The Twelfth, one of the least played of Shostakovich's symphonies in the West, became less a celebration of Lenin's legacy than a chronological depiction of events during the Bolshevik Revolution. 'The playing is fabulously crisp and committed, while the interpretations combine atmosphere and a sense of proportion-to the benefit of the youthful First, which receives an eerily effective performance, free of exaggeration.' (Financial Times on Naxos 8.572396 / Symphonies Nos. 1 and 3)





kr 89
Image Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Vasily Petrenko, conductor

Shostakovich's First Symphony propelled the teenage composer to international prominence, its emotional range and innovative orchestration marking him as a daring and precocious talent on the scene. The Third Symphony, 'The First of May', originally intended as part of a symphonic cycle inspired by dates on the revolutionary calendar, has been described as 'a reckless and at times chaotic accommodation between modernist intent and revolutionary fervour'. 'Thrilling, perfect, essential...the modern reference recording'. (Classicstoday.com on Naxos 8.572461 / Symphony No. 10)




kr 89
Image Symphony No. 10
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Vasily Petrenko, conductor

Shostakovich's monumental Symphony No. 10 ranks among his finest works. From the bleak introspection of the extended opening movement, through the graphic evocation of violence in the explosive Allegro, and the eerie dance-like Allegretto alternating between dark and light, to the final movement's dramatic climax, this is a work of breathtaking musical contrasts. In 2010 Vasily Petrenko was named Male Artist of the Year at the Classical Brit Awards. His Naxos recording of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 8 (8.572392), was hailed as 'yet another Petrenko performance to join the greats' (BBC Music Magazine).




kr 89
Image Symphony No. 8
A third of a century after his death the symphonies of Dmitry Shostakovich have moved to the absolute centre of the repertoire. Written during World War II, the unusually constructed Eighth Symphony is a powerful work built on striking contrasts between music which is at times unremittingly bleak and at others brutally intense. The predominantly slow opening movement, punctuated by a terrifying central crescendo, is followed by a scherzo of savage parody. At the heart of the Symphony a second fast movement builds remorselessly to a shattering climax over pounding timpani. The rapt, largely introspective fourth movement, Largo, leads straight into the last movement, Allegretto, which seems to reach out for hope in an uncertain world. Vasily Petrenko's acclaimed interpretations of Shostakovich's Symphonies No. 11 (8.572082) and Nos. 5 and 9 (8.572167) are also available.




kr 89
Image Symphonies Nos. 5 & 9
4 AV 5 MÖJLIGA I BETYG I GÖTEBORGS-POSTEN

Following their electrifying account of Shostakovich's Eleventh Symphony (8.572082), Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra explore the profound ambivalences of the composer's most performed symphony, the Fifth, written in 1937 at a time when he was under intense personal and political pressure from the authorities. The jaunty, neo-classical character of the Ninth Symphony (1945) prompted Shostakovich to remark that 'musicians will like to play it, and critics will delight in blasting it'. Shostakovich's startlingly different original draft for the opening of the Ninth's first movement is available on 8.572138.



kr 89
Image Symphony No. 11 (The Year 1905)
Charismatic young conductor Vasily Petrenko launches his Shostakovich Symphonies series with the Eleventh, a highly charged depiction of the 'Bloody Sunday' massacre of over two hundred peaceful demonstrators by Czarist soldiers outside the Winter Palace in St Petersburg in 1905. Scored for a sizeable orchestra of triple woodwind, four horns, three each of trumpets and trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion, celesta, harps and strings, the Symphony makes extensive use of revolutionary songs as thematic elements, as it progresses, without pause, from the glacial opening movement, Palace Square, to the terrifying massacre and its aftermath, The Ninth of January, the funereal third movement, Eternal Memory, and the final movement, The Tocsin, which culminates with cataclysmic bell strokes.




kr 89
Image Manfred Symphony
GRAMOPHONE AWARD WINNER 2009 / ORCHESTRAL

Written between the fourth and fifth symphonies, Tchaikovsky's programmatic Manfred Symphony, inspired by Byron's dramatic poem of the same name, contains some of the composer's most thrillingly orchestrated music and best tunes. For Tchaikovsky, as for Byron, Manfred represented the figure of the outsider, an outcast from society. The first movement depicts Manfred at midnight in a Gothic gallery in his Alpine castle, seeking self-oblivion and haunted by memories of lost love. The second movement evokes the spirit of the Witch of the Alps, appearing in a rainbow through the spray of a waterfall, while in the third movement a chamois hunter offers Manfred what little comfort he can. In the final movement, set in a subterranean hall of Evil, in the form of a globe of fire, Manfred welcomes his coming death as the end of his suffering.




kr 49
Image 11CD-BOX: The Complete Symphonies
"Magnificent, thrilling performances given expressive, idiomatic readings by a formidable young conductor." – Audiophile Audition

Gal James, soprano
Alexander Vinogradov, bass

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Huddersfield Choral Society, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir / Vasily Petrenko

Vasily Petrenko was appointed principal conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in 2006 and in 2009 became Chief Conductor. He is also Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. He was the Classical BRIT Awards Male Artist of the Year 2010 and 2012, and works regularly with many of the world's finest orchestras, including the London Philharmonic, Philharmonia, Russian National, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Czech Philharmonic, Vienna Symphony, Sydney Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic and San Francisco Symphony Orchestras, and the Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin. Recordings with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra include Tchaikovsky's Manfred Symphony [Naxos 8570568] (2009 Classic FM/Gramophone Orchestral Recording of the Year) and other orchestral works, Elgar's Symphony No. 1, Shostakovich's complete symphonies, and Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances, Symphonies and complete Piano Concertos.

Each release of Vasily Petrenko's cycle of Shostakovich's symphonies with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra created a sensation between volume 1 in 2009 and the final installment in 2014.

The individual recordings remain a leading choice amongst collectors and critics, with for instance the Eighth Symphony (8572392) selected as top recommendation by BBC Radio 3's 'Building a Library' programme in November 2013.

Our box set collections always do well, but this is guaranteed to be at the top of many a Christmas wish list.

There are numerous complete sets of Shostakovich's remarkable symphonic achievement, but critical acclaim for these recordings has seen this particular set become a modern market leader.













kr 599
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