This very attractive release from Channel Classics features the terrific British period instrument ensemble Florilegium in performances of three Vivaldi concertos and two sacred vocal works. The group plays without a conductor and the players' shapely unanimity of phrasing and nuanced expressiveness give the performances the character of chamber music. It sidesteps the metric squareness that can plague performances of Vivaldi and let the music breathe and surge organically. The strings have the slight tartness of Baroque instruments and the overall sound of the orchestra has an appealing burnished sheen. This is relatively obscure repertoire and includes a flute concerto that was only discovered in 2010 and is recorded here for the first time, played beautifully by Ashley Solomon, the artistic director of Florilegium.
This set contains the essential Duruflé, the complete works written for liturgical use, for choir and organ. Maurice Duruflé (1902 - 1986) left a small but highly refined oeuvre, in which the influence of his Catholic faith is omnipresent: a mystical, incense?scented atmosphere of a stained?glass illuminated chapel…
"The EMI Debut series has now been successful in drawing a number of exceptionally promising young artists to public attention, amongst them Thomas Adès and, more recently (and currently particularly newsworthy) the bass-baritone Jonathan Lemalu, hailed by some as the next Bryn Terfel and having just picked up a Gramophone award for best debut disc. (…) Alison Balsom is a player we are likely to hear considerably more from in the coming years and this debut disc will do much to galvanise her already growing reputation." ~musicweb-international
This is a very good collection of Gesualdo's sacred motet style, performed beautifully. Most of these pieces are much more conservative and less chromatic than his madrigals, but they are exquisite and expresive and every bit as competent as the styles of contemporaries such as Gesualdo's alter-ego, Palestrina. Much of this music makes his mental turmoil and fear of damnation over his infamous murders achingly clear, especially the disturbing mode changes and chromaticism on parts of the text that say things like "have mercy on me" and words like "my sorrow and "my tears".
During the Meiji Restoration (1868-1912) a broad diffusion of Western music flowed into Japan, first in the form of military band music and. later, Protestant hymns. By 1900, recitals of piano, violin and song were quite popular. Composers like Prokofiev, and performers such as Heifetz, Kreisler and Segovia also encouraged this musical direction, which strongly followed German Romanticism and French Impressionism. The new Western repertoire found a place with the traditional Japanese music, hdgaku, and as the two traditions came in contact, a new and unique form of music emerged. One of the most fascinating developments in Japanese music was the introduction of new instruments in the south of Japan, and their metamorphosis as they migrated north via Kyoto and Tokyo. Several composers on this disc have focused on natural themes, with water being a favourite and obvious choice. The works have been chosen to give a sampling of the diversity of Japanese music, from the beautiful, traditional folk-songs to the complex and challenging multi-movement works, many of which evoke the traditional instruments, namely shakuhachi and koto.
The origins of Philip Glass' Voices, for didgeridoo and organ was specific: a commission from the city of Melbourne, Australia, in 2001. Yet the instrumental combination works so well that it seems almost foreordained, and Glass went on to write further music for the soloist here, Mark Atkins. In this performance, the didgeridoo and organ tracks were recorded separately, in Australia and upstate New York, respectively, and in Glass' metronomic world this works well enough. Yet one hopes that this release on Glass' Orange Mountain Music label is enough to spur future live performances with both players in the same room. The addition of the didgeridoo to the relatively homogeneous texture of Glass' organ writing is dramatic, but it doesn't disturb the basic shifting fields of the composer's music. It just deepens their color and variety in an immensely attractive way.
This is the 15th recording on Naïve by one of the label’s best selling artists, the renowned French cellist Anne Gastinel. On this new CD she is accompanied by her regular piano musical partner Claire Désert in three essential works of the French chamber repertoire, César Franck’s much loved Sonata in A major in the popular transcription for cello and piano, and Sonatas by Debussy and Poulenc.