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GRAMOPHONE 2022

BEST NEW CLASSICAL ALBUMS

Martin Cullingford's pick of the finest recordings from this month's reviews.
Here are the titles available from Naxos Direct.
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Image RECORDING OF THE MONTH - DECEMBER 2022
Beethoven Symphony No 3, ‘Eroica’ (transcr Liszt) Mozart Piano Concerto No 20, K466 (transcr Alkan)
Paul Wee pf 

"Pianist Paul Wee proves himself a master of these treacherously demanding transcriptions, sweeping aside the technical challenges to present these great works with consummate musicianship." (Gramophone) 

This recording brings together two of the greatest works of the Classical era in transcriptions for solo piano by two of the greatest pianist-composers of the Romantic era, resulting in two of the most thrilling experiences that nineteenth-century pianism has to offer. Successfully marrying the unique charac­teristics of the piano to the defining features of Beethoven’s orchestral writing, Franz Liszt is showed here at his most coloristic. He vividly captures the rapid scene shifts and mood changes of Beethoven’s Eroica and exploits not only the piano’s ability both to whisper and to roar, but also the power and intensity of silence. In Mozart’s 20th piano concerto, Charles-Valentin Alkan takes on a different challenge as he masterfully weaves the orchestral and solo piano parts into a single tapestry that brims from start to finish with piano writing of startling inventiveness and originality. These two pianistic tours de force are presented here by Paul Wee – also a barrister specializing in commercial law at Essex Court Chambers in London – whose astonishing technique and passion for nineteenth-century pianism have been highlighted on acclaimed recordings dedicated to music by Alkan and transcriptions by Thalberg.

kr 169
Image #2 DECEMBER 2021
Brahms Symphony No 1 Dvorák Symphony No 6 
Bamberg Symphony Orchestra / Jakub Hruša 

"A superb chance to hear Covent Garden’s next Music Director in Brahms and Dvorák, with a particularly fine recording of the latter’s Symphony No 6." (Gramophone) 

The Bamberger Symphoniker’s collaboration with Tudor has evolved in cycles. It began with Joachim Raff’s œuvre, a pioneering step into overlooked repertoire. Then stepped up to the Greats with Schubert’s symphonies: the first recording to follow the new Schubert edition was enthusiastically hailed as a refreshing new departure interpreted with historical awareness. Reaching for the stars under the aegis of Jonathan Nott, the scores of Gustav Mahler then entered the Bamberg Konzerthalle. That whole cycle has won countless prizes and awards, becoming a milestone of Mahler discography. The next step? Staying in Vienna with symphonies by Johannes Brahms while remaining true to Gustav Mahler’s Bohemian homeland with Antonín Dvorák. The Bamberger Symphoniker and Jakub Hruša’s cycle of the four Brahms symphonies and Dvorák’s last four symphonies is the first recording to give an overview of their extraordinary universe and cast light on their musical affinity, in a vivid soundscape with a contemporary pulse.

kr 249
Image #3 DECEMBER 2022
Mahler Symphony No 9 
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra / Sir Simon Rattle 

"Sir Simon Rattle brings to Mahler’s Ninth the sense of occasion, unique in the hearing and fresh in the discovery, that all great performances of this music should convey." (Gramophone) 

For the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the performances on November 26 and 27, 2021 in the Isarphilharmonie marked the beginning of a new chapter in its Mahler interpretation: with its designated new principal conductor Simon Rattle, the orchestra is now headed by a Mahler admirer every bit as ardent as his predecessors Jansons, Maazel and Kubelík. The musicians dedicated the benefit concert on November 26 to the memory of conductor Bernard Haitink, who died in October 2021 and was associated with the renowned orchestra for 61 years. The very long silence after the final chord was one of those “goosebump moments” that one goes to concerts for – and for which music is made in the first place. Gustav Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, in particular, is understood as the composer’s reaction to a heart ailment that was diagnosed shortly before he wrote the first drafts in the summer of 1908. He was in deep despair, but still scarcely aware of how few years he actually had left to live. With Mahler, it was always in and through music that he tried to come to terms with his life experiences and such topics as farewell, the meaning of existence, death, redemption, life after death and love. He wrote his Ninth Symphony in Dobbiaco, in a kind of creative frenzy, between 1909 and 1910. Its premiere took place in Vienna on June 26, 1912, when the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra performed the work under Bruno Walter. Mahler did not witness the premiere of his last completed work – he had already died on May 18, 1911.

kr 159
Image #5 DECEMBER 2022
Shostakovich. Walton String Quartets 
Albion Quartet 

"I was instantly stuck by the sheer vividness – both the compellingly committed playing and the immediacy of sound – of this superb chamber album from the Albion Quartet." (Gramophone) 

Following their successful Dvorák cycle with Signum Records, Albion String Quartet are back with a selection of string quartets by Walton and Shostakovich, recorded in 2021. The concept: to juxtapose two masterpieces written in the same year in the immediate aftermath of war (1946) by composers inhabiting two entirely different social and political worlds in the Soviet Union and Britain respectively. Formed in 2016, the Albion Quartet brings together four of the UK’s exceptional young string players who are establishing themselves rapidly on the international stage. Recent engagements from the 2017-18 season included performances at the Louvre in Paris, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Robert Schumann Gesselschaft in Frankfurt, Båstad Festival in Sweden, Festival of Music in Franconia and Rhine Valley Music Festival in Germany, as well as the Hay Festival in the UK. The members of the quartet play on a fine collection of instruments, including a Stradivarius and Guarnerius.

kr 159
Image #6 DECEMBER 2022
‘A Golden Cello Decade’
Steven Isserlis vc Connie Shih pf 

"Any programme by cellist Steven Isserlis is always chosen, prepared and ultimately performed with devotion; joined here by pianist Connie Shih, this is another wonderful album." (Gramophone) 

Steven Isserlis has curated another typically imaginative recital, in which all the works date— in one guise or another—from an especially fruitful decade in the history of the cello.

kr 169
Image #7 DECEMBER 2022
Chaminade ‘Piano Music, Vol 2’ 
Mark Viner pf 

"Wonderful music, performed with charm, affection and, when required, fabulous virtuosity, by pianist Mark Viner; a superb follow up to his equally impressive first volume of Chaminade." (Gramophone) 

Cécile Chaminade (1857-1944) was a highly successful female pianist and composer. As a pianist she toured the European countries, in 1892 making her debut in England, making acquaintance with one of her biggest fans, Queen Victoria. In 1908 she made her American debut, gaining instant and immense popularity. The reason for Chaminade’s popularity is the charm, tunefulness and general accessibility of her music. It touches a ready chord with every music lover, and the fancy titles and not overly virtuosic piano writing made that her works became drawing room favorites of the epoch. For his second Chaminade album British pianist Mark Viner chose the Six Concert Studies, substantial and demanding works, Six Pièces humoristiques Op. 87, and some engaging and attractive character pieces: L’Ondine, Danse Créole and the favorite Lolita, Caprice Espagnol, all played with Viner’s unerring feeling for the witty and charming style, pouring out sentiment without being sentimental. Gramophone wrote about Viner’s first Chaminade album: “This new survey must count among the finest yet, showing the range and ambition of Chaminade in short works, played with an innate charm and understanding of the genre. In addition, it is most beautifully recorded. Mark Viner is recognized as one of the foremost British pianists, a strong advocate of lesser-known romantic piano music. One of his most ambitious and successful enterprises is the recording of the complete piano music by Charles-Valentin Alkan, now at volume 5, several of which issues received the highest praise in the press (5 star review, Gramophone Editor’s Choice).

kr 159
Image #8 DECEMBER 2022
Montgeroult Études 
Clare Hammond pf 

"The splendid music of this fascinating French composer, in many ways ahead of its time, deserves to be far better known – and receives gloriously eloquent advocacy from pianist Clare Hammond." (Gramophone) 

Hélène de Montgeroult’s life reads like a novel: showing a precocious musical ability as a child in pre-revolutionary France, she became fêted as one of the finest pianists and improvisers of her time. Imprisoned during an attempt to reach Naples at the time of the Revolution, she was able to return to France. Here she worked for the Institut National de Musique, only to be imprisoned again during the Reign of Terror. Finally freed for good, she was made professor of piano at the Conservatoire de Musique in Paris, the first woman to occupy such a position. Meanwhile, she managed to compose an important body of work for the piano as well as a complete method, including 114 études. In her liner notes to the disc, the British pianist Clare Hammond hails Montgeroult as ‘one of the most exploratory pianistic personalities of our time’. From her output, Hammond has selected 29 études that highlight the unique talent of this composer whose music is on a par with that by Chopin, Mendelssohn and Schumann, displaying a harmonic audacity, textural complexity and, despite its pedagogical purpose, a singing quality and an expressive depth. Forgotten so comprehensively for such a long time, Montgeroult’s Études deserve a similar renown and popularity as those by her contemporaries.

kr 169
Image #9 DECEMBER 2022
Cristo Missa Salve regina. Motets 
Cupertinos / Luís Toscana 

"Gramophone Early Music Award-winners in 2019, Luís Toscano’s Cupertinos offer us a beautiful recording of Marian works by Renaissance Portuguese composer Pedro de Cristo." (Gramophone) 

A third Hyperion release from this top-notch Portuguese choir maintains the exceptional standards already set by the first two. This collection of sacred music by Pedro de Cristo includes five first recordings and marks an important addition to the composer’s burgeoning discography.

kr 169
Image RECORDING OF THE MONTH - NOVEMBER 2022
Byrd Psalmes, Songs and Sonnets 
The Sixteen / Harry Christophers 

"As we look ahead to Byrd’s 400th anniversary next year, here’s a wonderful recording of his last full publication, a mixture of styles from psalms to madrigals, gloriously performed by The Sixteen."  (Gramophone) 

The Psalmes, Songs and Sonnets of 1611 was William Byrd’s final publication. And what a superbly fitting culmination to a lifetime of musical service it is! As well as being packed with variety and invention – including both sacred and secular music and using a range of forces from small trios to consorts to full choir – it is probably the happiest, most serene collection of music Byrd ever produced. Ahead of the 400th Anniversary of William Byrd’s death in 2023, The Sixteen and Harry Christophers are joined by celebrated Viol Consort, Fretwork, for this new complete recording of the Psalmes, Songs and Sonnets of 1611.

kr 259
Image #2 NOVEMBER 2021
Bruckner Symphony No 4 
London Symphony Orchestra / Sir Simon Rattle

"‘A beautifully articulated, free-flowing performance’ is how Richard Osborne describes this fascinating and perceptive account of Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony." (Gramophone) 

"The air shimmers and glows, and somewhere in the mists, a solitary horn gives a lonely call. The stuff of fairytales? The truth is, it's impossible to write about Bruckner's majestic Fourth Symphony without letting the imagination soar; he never wrote anything more colourful, or more poetic. In Germany, they call it the 'Romantic' symphony, and it's easy to hear why.
Sir Simon Rattle loves Bruckner's Fourth, and on this new recording from LSO Live, he conducts the work in all its splendour: music that never gets any less stirring, and has never sounded so fresh. He is aware, too, that Bruckner's inspiration burned so brightly that he ended up with more ideas than he could actually use. ""There is much wonderful music which remains almost entirely unplayed"" he says. On this album he steps inside Bruckner's workshop, bringing to light some of the music that didn't make the final cut.
This edition of the symphony and its discarded Scherzo and Finale by Benjamin-Gunnar Cohrs was published in 2021. The world premiere performance with Sir Simon Rattle and the LSO is a must-listen for lovers of Bruckner's music, and gives us a glimpse into the composer's untold musical thoughts."

kr 239
Image #3 NOVEMBER 2022
Schubert Symphonies Nos 8 & 9 
Le Concert des Nations / Jordi Savall 

"Jordi Savall and Le Concert des Nations follow their excellent Beethoven cycle with a period pairing of two Schubert symphonies, both receiving performances of persuasive power." (Gramophone) 

Jordi Savall releases his first Schubert album, following a recording of Beethoven’s complete symphonies which largely contributed to renew our vision of the early Romantic repertoire. The Catalan maestro delivers a recording freed from the weight of past traditions to underline the dynamics, the section balance and the timbres that are required in this repertoire. Jordi Savall decided to entitle this album Transfiguration, because, as he explains, we are always astonished at Schubert’s ability to reach this essentially internal and spiritual dimension, this kind of Transfiguration, which he simply sums up as follows in his diary in 1824 : ‘My production is the result of my musical knowledge and my pain’ or, to quote a poem he wrote a little earlier:
When I wanted to sing love,
it turned into pain.
when I wanted to sing pain,
it turned into love.

kr 299
Image #5 NOVEMBER 2022
Debussy ‘Early and Late Piano Pieces’ 
Steven Osborne pf 

"Each new album from pianist Steven Osborne offers beautifully prepared interpretations with something distinctive to say about the repertoire – and this latest Debussy recital is no exception." (Gramophone) 

A programme which bridges Debussy’s first work for piano (the ‘Danse bohémienne’, from 1880) and his last (‘Les soirs illuminés par l’ardeur du charbon’, from 1917). Steven Osborne is equally responsive to the very different musical moods of both.

kr 169
Image #7 NOVEMBER 2022
Steelant Two Requiems 
CantoLX; B’Rock Orchestra / Frank Agsteribbe 

"Two Requiems from the 17th-century composer Philippe van Steelant show the breadth of his style and, in this excellent recording, make a strong case for his music." (Gramophone) 

cantoLX, B’Rock Orchesta and conductor Frank Agsteribbe present Antwerp Requiem c. 1650, an album showcasing the exceptional wealth of musical life in Antwerp in the age of Rubens. Philippus van Steelant’s recently-rediscovered Requiem settings are unique in their exuberant splendour, tied to a funerary culture that embraced the glory of life. B’Rock Orchestra is one of today’s most forward-thinking period orchestras with a desire for encounter and exchange. The ensemble returns to Pentatone after having released Schubert’s complete symphonies with conductor René Jacobs between 2018 and 2022. cantoLX approaches vocal music with stylistic excellence and vocal purity. Their artistic leader Frank Agsteribbe was one of B’Rock’s founders, and brings the two ensembles together for this recording. cantoLX and Agsteribbe both make their Pentatone debut.

kr 159
Image #8 NOVEMBER 2022
‘The Psalms’ 
The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge / Andrew Nethsingha

"‘Psalm-singing informs everything else we do,’ says Andrew Nethsinga; this beautifully sung recording from St John’s takes us into that powerful and poetic heart of choral life." (Gramophone) 

The Choir of St John’s have received glowing praise for their previous releases, culminating in the choral prize at the 2017 BBC Music Magazine Awards for their debut release of works by Jonathan Harvey (Deo SIGCD456). The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge is one of the finest collegiate choirs in the world, known and loved by millions from its broadcasts, concert tours and recordings. Founded in the 1670s, the Choir is known for its distinctive rich, warm sound, its expressive interpretations and its breadth of repertoire. Alongside these musical characteristics, the Choir is particularly proud of its happy, relaxed and mutually supportive atmosphere, which as of 2022 invites their first female scholars.

kr 159
Image #9 NOVEMBER 2022
Donizetti. Rossini ‘French Bel Canto Arias’ 
Lisette Oropesa sop Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra / Corrado Rovaris

"Here is a superb album of bel canto arias either written or revised for Paris performances from a star soprano." (Gramophone) 

On her second solo album Lisette Oropesa has combined two of her greatest loves, the French language and Italian bel canto. This recording with the Dresdner Philharmonie under the baton of Corrado Rovaris showcases the variety of lesser-known and more popular works by Rossini and Donizetti, featuring arias that contain coloratura, lyricism, drama, heightened emotion, and even comedy. Star soprano Lisette Oropesa made her Pentatone debut with Ombra Compagna, Mozart Concert Arias in 2021, and sung the title heroine in a complete recording of Verdi’s La Traviata, also released on the label in 2022. The Dresdner Philharmonie was involved in that same recording, and has also participated in several other recordings released by Pentatone, such as Weber’s Der Freischütz (2019), Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana, Puccini’s Il Tabarro (both 2020) and Beethoven’s Fidelio (2021). Conductor Corrado Rovaris particularly excels in bel canto and verismo repertoire, and makes his Pentatone debut.

kr 189
Image #10 NOVEMBER 2022
Handel Amadigi di Gaula 
Sols; Early Opera Company / Christian Curnyn

"A lesser-known Handel opera, Amadigi di Gaula, given excellent advocacy by some superb soloists, Christian Curnyn and players, and our new Label of the Year." (Gramophone) 

Countertenor Tim Mead leads an all-star cast in the Early Opera Company’s recording of Handel’s Amadigi di Gaula, conducted by Christian Curnyn. The opera was first performed in London in 1715, in the first season under the reign of George I, in the King’s Theatre on the Haymarket. The complex, twisting plot features lovers Amadigi and Orianna, imprisoned by the sorceress Melissa (who wants Amadigi’s love). Amadigi’s ally Dardano turns against his friend when he realizes his love for Orianna (with whom Dardano is in love) and sides with Melissa. Her plans are repeatedly foiled, and true love triumphs at the final curtain! Amadigi is considered the finest of his early London operas in terms of musical sophistication, theatrical pacing, and a perfectly balanced exploration of the interconnected relationships, motivations, and emotional divergences among just four dissimilar yet equally arresting characters.

kr 359
Image DVD: NOVEMBER 2022
Catalani La Wally 
Sols; Vienna Symphony Orchestra / Andrés Orozco-Estrada 

"La Wally is surprisingly unrepresented on record, but we here have, writes Hugo Shirley, ‘a powerful, intelligent account’." (Gramophone) 

Catalani’s masterpiece, first performed in 1892 at La Scala in Milan, is best known for its aria “Ebben? Ne andrò lontana”. With nuanced harmonies and colourful instrumentation, he pays great attention to the orchestra sound. He chose highly unusual material for his opera: the successful novel Die Geier-Wally by Wilhelmine von Hillern tells the story of a young woman who does not fit any of the gender clichés of the time. Unlike many earlier operatic heroines commanded to marry against their will, Wally does not look for a solution in society, but instead runs away to the mountains. Her husband must be her equal, someone unafraid to face both a bear and her father. “Izabela Matula - A Wagnerian hell of a woman with a great soprano.” (Kronenzeitung) / “Catalani’s highly dramatic music finds an intense advocate in Andrés Orozco-Estrada on the podium of the excellently disposed Wiener Symphoniker.” (Wiener Zeitung)

kr 299
Image BLU RAY: NOVEMBER 2022
kr 349
Image REISSUE/ARCHIVE: NOVEMBER 2022
Shostakovich Symphonies Nos 4 & 11 
BBC Symphony Orchestra; BBC Philharmonic Orchestra / Gennady Rozhdestvensky 

"Rozhdestvensky knew Shostakovich and gave the Western premiere of his Fourth Symphony, and this 1978 performance, paired with the Eleventh, is electrifying." (Gramophone) 

Gennady Rozhdestvensky (1931-2018) was one of Russia’s greatest conductors along with Evgeny Mravinsky and Kirill Kondrashin. His close personal and musical relationship with Shostakovich began in the 1950s and continued until the composer’s death in 1975. Rozhdestvensky said at the time, ‘It would be difficult to overestimate the significance of my relations with Dmitri Shostakovich since he opened before me a musical universe like a gigantic magnifying glass reflecting our fragile world’. Rozhdestvensky conducted the first western premiere of Shostakovich’s Symphony No.4 in Edinburgh in 1962 and after many subsequent performances internationally, it was also the inaugural piece in his tenure as chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra (1979-81). Composed in 1936 but condemned by the Soviet authorities, it did not receive its first performance until 1961 in Moscow. The epic Symphony No.11, given a dramatic performance by the BBC Philharmonic in 1997, is based on revolutionary folksongs relating to the 1905 Russian Revolution, and received the Lenin Prize in 1958. Despite this, questions arose as to whether Shostakovich was denouncing the Soviet regime’s brutal treatment of its opponents in it, specifically the 1956 invasion of Hungary or the Tsarist tyranny and oppression of 1905, to which there are no conclusive answers.

kr 229
Image #2 OCTOBER 2021
JS Bach ‘Harpsichord Concertos, Vol 3’ 
Il Pomo d’Oro / Francesco Corti hpd 

"A fascinating series continues with Francesco Corti joined by colleagues – including on a second harpsichord – for Volume 3. Scintillating playing, and excellently recorded." (Gramophone) 

Francesco Corti and il pomo d’oro continue their acclaimed series of Bach harpsichord concertos, now moving to the works for two harpsichords, BWV 1060-1062, together with Andrea Buccarella. Compared to the previous two instalments, the accompanying ensemble is small, allowing for maximal transparency and focus on the soloists. The greatest discographic asset of this album is Corti’s arrangement of Bach’s unfinished concerto for harpsichord, oboe and strings in D Minor, BWV 1059. In his extensive contribution to the booklet, Corti explains why and how he used parts of Cantata BWV 35 to complete the score. Emmanuel Laporte performs the solo oboe. Francesco Corti belongs to the most established harpsichordists of his generation, and releases his third PENTATONE Bach harpsichord concertos album, after releases in 2020 and 2021. He works together with the multi-award-winning ensemble il pomo d’oro, who also recorded three vocal recital albums with PENTATONE: Carnevale 1729 with Ann Hallenberg (2017), Prologue with Francesca Aspromonte (2018) and Handel – Apollo e Dafne & Armida abbandonata (2021). Andrea Buccarella and Emmanuel Laporte both make their PENTATONE debut.

kr 159
Image #4 OCTOBER 2022
Del Cinque Sonatas for Two and Three Cellos 
Ludovico Minasi, Cristina Vidoni, Teodoro Baù vcs et al 

"Ermenegildo Del Cinque proved a joyous discovery for our esteemed critic – and for me too – thanks to this excellent advocacy." (Gramophone) 

During his long life, the priest, nobleman, poet, and painter from Rome, Ermenegildo del Cinque (1700–73) wrote over 100 sonatas for two cellos and eighteen pieces for three cellos. Although he was a dilettante di musica, he was the most prolific composer of cello music of all time. Yet despite the fact that he also composed cantatas, a serenata and some sacred music, and was a renowned cellist in Rome, he remains virtually unknown today, even among cellists. This recording, made in the theatre of the Palazzo Altemps in Rome where del Cinque often performed, rescues some of these extraordinarily beautiful compositions from oblivion. The architect of this rediscovery is Ludovico Minasi (principal cellist of Il Pomo d’Oro, among other ensembles), who here leads a team of exceptional bass instruments featuring two recent winners of the MA Brugge competition, Andrea Buccarella and Teodoro Baù, along with the lutenist Simone Vallerotonda (a musician with long-standing ties to Arcana) and the cellist Cristina Vidoni.

kr 189
Image #5 OCTOBER 2022
F & F Mendelssohn Chamber Works 
Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective 

"Another superb album from the Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective, with a real rarity, and steeped throughout in a highly engaging collaborative spirit." (Gramophone)

Fanny Mendelssohn Henshel, born four years before her brother Felix, was an accomplished pianist and a prolific composer. When she died of a stroke aged just 42, she left around 460 pieces of music, some 250 of which are songs. The difficulties of making a career in her own era (Her supportive father would not allow her to publish or work as a ‘professional’ composer) have condemned much of her work to obscurity: a situation that is now rapidly being reversed with more concerts and recordings of works by women composers. Here the award-winning Kaleidoscope Collective champion her Piano Trio and Piano Quartet, alongside Felix Mendelssohn’s under-performed Piano Sextet. Fanny composed her Piano Quartet whilst a student, aged 17. In contrast, the Piano Trio was her last chamber work, written in her final year. Felix Mendelssohn’s Piano Sextet was also an early work, written in just a few short weeks in the spring of 1824. For some reason he never published the work (perhaps because of the unusual scoring) hence it became his Op. 110 when published posthumously in 1868.

kr 169
Image #7 OCTOBER 2022
Senfl Choral Works 
Singer Pur; Ensemble Leones 

"Singer Pur offer us a vivid and characterful programme of works by Ludwig Senfl, drawing on the Swiss Renaissance composer’s sacred and secular music for a highly engaging album." (Gramophone)  

This compilation includes selected works by the noted Renaissance composer Ludwig Senfl, who was an important student of Heinrich Isaac. In 1523 Senfl joined the Munich court orchestra at the court of Maximilian I, where he worked until his death. Singer Pur will perform these pieces at their Singer Pur Tage festival, and at the 2023 Medieval and Renaissance Music Conference in Munich. Singer Pur is a German vocal sextet founded in 1991 by former members of the Regensburger Domspatzen. The five original members were joined by a soprano in 1994. The sextet is focused on classical music, but who have also performed and recorded traditional folk songs and pop music. Singer Pur have recorded more than 30 albums. Singer Pur have given concerts and workshops in nearly 60 countries all over the world.

kr 129
Image #8 OCTOBER 2022
Wolf Italienisches Liederbuch 
Carolyn Sampson sop Allan Clayton ten Joseph Middleton pf 

"Carolyn Sampson and Allan Clayton’s ability to embody and communicate characters is well matched here in Wolf by the equally poetic pianist Joseph Middleton." (Gramophone)

Composed in feverish bouts interrupted by long periods of inaction, Hugo Wolf’s Italienisches Liederbuch was brought to completion in 1896. The 46 songs are settings of poems in German by Paul Heyse, after Italian folk songs – miniatures with a duration of less than 2 minutes in most cases. Heyse’s collection numbered more than 350 poems, but Wolf ignored the ballads and laments, and concentrated almost exclusively on the rispetti. These are short love poems which chart, against a Tuscan landscape, the everyday jealousies, flirtations, joys and despairs of men and women in love. Heyse’s translations often intensify the simple Italian of the original poems, and in their turn, Wolf’s settings represent a further heightening of emotion. Miniatures they may be, but many of the songs strike unforgettably at the heart. When Wolf’s songbook is performed in its entirety, it is usually done by a male and a female singer, although this is not specified in the score. It is not uncommon for them to be transposed, but the songs are written for high voices, and are here performed by a soprano and a tenor – Carolyn Sampson and Alan Clayton – with Joseph Middleton at the piano. The performers have chosen to present the songs in the order they appear in the printed collection, dividing them between themselves.

kr 169
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