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Image Bridge, Britten & Debussy: Cello Sonatas
The great Norwegian cellist Truls Mørk makes a triumphal return to chamber music with his regular piano partner Håvard Gimse. The program features two English composers, Benjamin Britten and his teacher Frank Bridge, whose Cello Sonata was written during the First World War and is tinged with despair and searing emotional force. Britten composed his Cello Sonata in 1961, following his meeting with Mstislav Rostropovich, to whom he dedicated the work. Another person traumatized by the Great War was Debussy, who wrote: ‘It was cowardly to think only of the horrors being committed, without trying to react by rebuilding, insofar as my strength allowed, a little of that beauty which is currently under attack.’ His Cello Sonata (1915) was the first of a series of six sonatas for various instruments that he planned to compose, only managing to write three before his death. As a determined Moravian nationalist, Janácek did not entitle his three-movement work of 1910 ‘sonata’; he called it Pohádka (Fairy tale) and based it on a poem by Vasily Zhukovsky.

kr 189
Image John Adams
In this program, Paavo Järvi and the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich celebrate one of the most important composers of our time with works from different periods and citing a wide range of references, autobiographical or typically American. John Adams has assimilated numerous musical influences, and his personal style cannot be reduced to one of them: he is neither Minimalist, nor post-Minimalist, nor neo-Romantic. Some of his works can of course be said to belong to one or other of these movements, but he does not consider himself to be the representative of any particular tendency. If he refers to musical tradition in his works, it is always in a critical way and at the same time open to the influences of pop music, rock and jazz.

kr 189
Image Elastic Wave
Drummer Gard Nilssen’s ECM leader debut follows acclaimed recordings for the label with the Maciej Obara Quartet and with Mathias Eick. Elastic Wave presents Nilssen’s powerful trio with fellow Norwegian André Roligheten on reeds and Swedish bassist Petter Eldh (recently heard with Kit Downes). The group’s dynamic interaction, dancing sense of pulse and boldly etched themes – all three players contribute compositions – make Acoustic Unity one of the most engaging bands on the circuit today, able to address fiery anthems and poignant ballads with equal panache and conviction. Elastic Wave was recorded at Studios La Buissonne in the South of France in June 2021.

kr 189
Image Complete Symphonies (3CD)
Brahms was 43 years old when, after a long period of maturation, his First Symphony was published. Felix Weingartner commented on it ‘taking hold like the claw of a lion’ and its urgency marked a new phase in Brahms’ musical development. The Second Symphony is traditionally seen as the pastoral element in the cycle, while the Third, with its melodic beauty, has the courage to end quietly, an act of astonishing serenity. The compelling Passacaglia finale of the Fourth Symphony represents a fitting summation to one of the greatest symphonic cycles in the classical canon.

kr 269
Image Baroque Concerti from The Netherlands (4CD)
The 18th-century Dutch Republic served as a magnet attracting musicians across Europe. It was one of the wealthiest of European countries. Celebrities such as Handel and Mozart may have passed through only briefly, but others such as Locatelli made a permanent home in the republic and introduced many foreign musical languages to local composers. Hence, in this unique collection, we find a remarkable diversity of style, from Wassenaer's post-Corellian concerti grossi to the more galant music of Albertus Groneman. Meanwhile Willem de Fesch and Pieter Hellendaal moved to England and never returned to their homeland. Hellendaal’s ‘grand concertos’ are likewise Italian in style, though cast in a ripieno idiom whereas de Fesch’s concertos draw on his expertise as a solo violinist, rooted as much in the heritage of Vivaldi as Corelli. Most of the concertos on album 4 were composed by foreign arrivals: itinerant musicians such as the German-born Johann Christian Schickhardt and Anton Wilhelm Solnitz of Bohemian origins. The performances here, made in the 1990s and early 2000s and originally issued on the Dutch NM Classics label, enjoy a lively but not doctrinaire appreciation of historically informed style. Although the Combattimento Consort uses modern instruments, they play them implementing the techniques that van Wassenaer and Ricciotti would have known. The sound the players generate is therefore old and new, and should offend neither camp in the current round of period-instrument wars. Musica ad Rhenum, familiar from their considerable Brilliant Classics catalogue, play on instruments of the era or copies thereof. They are renowned among the most stylish of Dutch early-music groups. “The interpretations brim with verve and lucidity… de Vriend and his compatriots execute these works with excellent definition, a fine sense of shape and balance, and musical intelligence.” (Fanfare)

kr 101 (kr 169)
Image Griselda (Bluray)
Alessandro Scarlatti is one of the key figures of Italian Baroque opera and the influential Neapolitan school in particular. Griselda is the last of Scarlatti’s operas to have survived intact to the present day. Its narrative is set in motion by the marriage of the King of Sicily to a poor shepherdess; the ensuing complications of love and the tensions between country and court delivering an entertainment full of lyrical charm and lively action. Performed by a superb team of Baroque specialists and acclaimed singers, this production is set in Puglia’s magnificent Palazzo Ducale and celebrates the 300th anniversary of Griselda’s premiere.

kr 239
Image Atrium
Atrium, Danish cellist and composer Josefine Opsahl's (b. 1992) debut for Dacapo Records, is a strikingly original statement, focusing on her own music. The title has two definitions: one biological, one architectural. Out of their collision, Opsahl draws a reverberating series of dualities: soft/hard, organic/manufactured, natural/cultural. These are expressed most fundamentally in her distinctive instrumental set-up of cello and live electronics, which allows her to build entire orchestras of electronically modified and duplicated cellos live and in response to her acoustic playing.

kr 169
Image Unfinished & Great Symphony
Multiple prize-winning conductor René Jacobs and the B’Rock Orchestra complete their Schubert cycle on Pentatone with the composer’s two most famous symphonies, the Unfinished and Great. In his extensive liner notes, Jacobs develops a theory that the B Minor Symphony did not remain “unfinished”, but was deliberately left unfinished, because Schubert shaped its two movements in analogy to Mein Traum (My Dream), an autobiographical narration in two parts, written in 1822, simultaneous to the creation of the symphony. While the first half of Mein Traum tells about his mother’s decease and his problematic relationship to his father, the second part enters a magical, Romantic realm, and eventually brings a reconciliation with his father. On this recording, the two parts of the narration precede the two movements of the Unfinished symphony, and are recited by Tobias Moretti. Jacobs argues that, after the dream-inspired Unfinished, the Great C Major Symphony, with its solemn character and sublime dimensions, served as a liberation for Schubert. Presenting these contrasting works forms a fitting apotheosis to a cycle that has been designed from the onset as a series of symphonic pairs. The players of the B’Rock Orchestra present these works on period instruments; transparent, but full of fire.

kr 229
Image Mirror of Perfection
“The words, with the exception of the Canticle of The Creatures, are settings of almost unknown poems by St Francis of Assisi. They cover a wide expressive and emotional range: from hope to despair, longing to acceptance, love to bitterness, delight in Creation to an impassioned plea for peace amongst mankind. The cantata is no pious word-setting of an ancient saint – rather it is a passionate and vibrant evocation of a man who remains a symbol of hope for millions of all faiths and none. Vison of a Garden - In 2020 I spent nearly five months in hospital with Covid-19, and was in an intensive care unit for more than half that time. In October, when I went back to the hospital for a check-up, I was given two booklets called ‘ICU Diaries’ which contained messages of support written by the nurses who looked after me in intensive care. I find it astonishing that these people whom I never knew could write such warm and personal messages. The text that the choir sings in ‘Vision of a Garden’ is taken from their words. I have plentiful memories from my time in intensive care, but they are almost all false ones: things which my mind invented to keep itself occupied while my body was otherwise engaged in fighting the virus… In the center of the Addenbrooke’s Hospital complex in Cambridge there is a little garden, which is a lovely oasis of peace amid the hospital bustle. As I now know, I was taken to this garden from the ICU a couple of times in May, to get the benefit of the fresh air and sunshine. I wasn’t consciously aware of this, but my subconscious transplanted the garden to Cape Town and incorporated it into my ‘South African dream’… (Peter Johnstone)

kr 159
Image Hans Rosbaud Conducts French Music (4CD)
This release is the 12th volume in the SWR CLASSIC Hans Rosbaud series – an extensive and in-depth exploration of the conductor’s artistic legacy. Hans Rosbaud was a passionate musician, whose conscientiousness, intuition and experience were extended to even the most complex and contemporary musical forms. The diversity of the works presented here demonstrate his musical universality, and serve to further contradict the reputation he garnered during his lifetime as being only a technically superior champion of the avant-garde. With the exception of two pieces by Debussy composed in the 1890s, this present anthology of French orchestral repertoire comprises compositions from the 20th century, featuring Ravel’s Ma mère l’Oye, Ibert’s Le Chevalier errant and Messiaen’s Chronochromie alongside works by French-Swiss composer Honegger and Milhaud, both members of the legendary Groupe des Six, and Bucharest-born Mihalovici, who, like Honegger, studied composition under the traditionalist Vincent d’Indy.

kr 299
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