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
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.
The fifteen ‘miniatures’ of this modestly-titled recording include new music vignettes, composed and improvised, by Italian pianist Glauco Venier. This is Venier’s first solo album for ECM, following three albums with Norma Winstone and Klaus Gesing. Miniatures is a quiet and thoughtful disc, in which solo piano is augmented by subtle, discreet percussion. In addition to his primary instrument, Glauco plays gongs, cymbals and bells, the lightly-struck metals creating an attractive ambience, at times like wind-chimes in the breeze. Miniatures was recorded at Lugano’s RSI studio and produced by Manfred Eicher.
This compilation provides a showcase of the many aspects of the cello and the range of emotions and characters that the instrument is able to convey. Opening the collection is Debussy’s technically demanding Sonata in D minor, a staple of the cello repertoire. The whimsical motives, repetitive tones and scales of this work give way to the ingenious combination of atonality and Romantic lyricism of Schnittke’s Sonata No.1, which is followed by Beethoven’s visionary Sonata No.5 in D, a homage to J.S. Bach. This is in turn succeeded by Van Breen’s Flavours, written in 2011. A playful piece that combines many styles, it is written with the five base flavours in mind.