Herb Alpert – Music Volume 1 (2017) [Qobuz 24-96]

Herb Alpert – Music Vol. 1 (2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 38:43 minutes | 717 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Sourfe: Qobuz | Front Cover | © Herb Alpert Presents

Having enjoyed a career resurgence since returning to regular touring and recording in 2007, trumpeter and pop icon Herb Alpert celebrates his ten-year run with 2017’s vibrant Music, Vol. 1. As with his more recent releases, Music, Vol. 1 finds him reworking a set of well-curated standards and 20th century pop classics in an electronic-tinged, often dance-oriented style. Included are songs by Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, the Beatles, and others. The difference this time out is that rather than working with any of his longtime collaborators, here Alpert recorded with veteran Dutch producer Jochem van der Saag (Andrea Bocelli, Barbra Streisand, Michael Bublé). The result is an album of kinetic, highly animated arrangements reminiscent of the trumpeter’s classic ’60s easy listening tracks, but with a modern twist. For fans of Alpert’s albums since 2009’s comeback Anything Goes, there is plenty to enjoy here, including his Parisian-chanson-meets-midtempo-ska rendition of the Beatles’ “Michelle” and his similarly genre-bending swing-meets-electro-reggae take on the standard “Strike Up the Band.” We also get similarly effective transmutations like the hip-hop-infused “Unforgettable” (which also features Alpert’s boyish vocals), a ’90s-style new jack swing version of “You Stepped Out of a Dream,” and a jaunty, lounge-ready version of “C’est Si Bon.” While the album has a generally lighter emotional tone than Alpert’s Grammy-nominated 2016 effort Human Nature, we do get his lovingly rendered, orchestral-synth accented take on John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Ultimately, with Alpert having entered his octogenarian decade, it’s life-affirming to hear him continue to deliver such buoyant and creatively engaged albums as this. ~ Matt Collar

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Airelle Besson, Edouard Ferlet & Stephane Kerecki – Aires (2017) [Qobuz 24-96]

Airelle Besson, Edouard Ferlet & Stephane Kerecki – Aïrés (2017) 
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz  | Time – 01:01:19 minutes | 1,08 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Booklet, Front Cover | © Alpha

Édouard Ferlet has already explored intriguing byways for the Alpha label: in 2015 he and Violaine Cochard recorded ‘Plucked Unplucked’, an album associating piano and harpsichord – a successful venture that will soon see a follow-up. The bassist Stéphane Kerecki has already made several recordings for Outhere, including ‘Nouvelle Vague’, a prizewinner at the Victoires de la Musique. The career of the trumpet player Airelle Besson has been on a high since 2015, when she won both the Prix Django Reinhardt of the Académie du Jazz and the ‘Révélation’ Award at the Victoires du Jazz. These three jazz musicians met and decided to form a trio in order to combine their universes and their ambitions. Here is the fruit of their first year of companionship, a programme presenting compositions by each of them, an album wearing the colours of jazz but featuring several tracks directly inspired by great standards of the classical repertoire, including ‘Es ist vollbracht’ from Bach’s St John Passion, the Pavanes of Ravel and Fauré, the Valse sentimentale of Tchaikovsky, and Khachaturian’s Sabre Dance, which can be recognised behind the ‘Stances du sabre’. The refinement of the compositions and the playing and the musicians’ capacity for listening to each other are a source of endless pleasure and fulfilment.

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Max Emanuel Cencic – Venezia – Opera Arias of the Serenissima (2013) [Qobuz 24-96]

Max Emanuel Cencic – Venezia – Opera Arias of the Serenissima (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:03:21 minutes | 1,11 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Digital Booklet | © Erato – Warner Classics

“With these arias by Vivaldi and his lesser-known contemporaries I am hoping both to capture the musical tastes of Venice in the early 18th century and to recreate the moods and colours of a city that was open to the world. Venice was one of Europe’s most important musical centres, both exporting its operatic glories and importing new ideas from Rome and Naples.”

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Max Emanuel Cencic – Handel: Ottone, HWV 15 (2017) [Qobuz 24-96]

Max Emanuel Cencic, George Petrou, Il Pomo d’Oro, Lauren Snouffer – Handel: Ottone, HWV 15 (2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz  | Time – 03:23:07 minutes | 3,65 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Digital Booklet | © Decca

One should not think that at the time when Handel was around, an opera was a finished product, etched in stone, the score of which was some kind of Holy Grail that would not suffer any tampering with, be it so benign. From that point of view, Handel’s Ottone is a case in point. Some extensive adjustments probably arose from Handel’s collaboration with the famous prima donna Francesca Cuzzoni, who had arrived in London in December 1722, but a fortnight before the first performance, and immediately threw a tantrum. Several of her arias she rejected and had had Handel substitute with entirely different new music. According to Mainwaring’s Memoirs of the Life of the Late George Frederic Handel (1760), having one day some words with Cuzzoni on her refusing to sing the aria Falsa imagine, the composer had shouted, in French: “I know very well that you are a veritable she-devil: but I will show you that I am Beelzebub the Chief of the Devils ” and with this he took her up by the waist, and, if she uttered another word, swore that he would fling her out of the window. This being said, many of the modifications he made during the rehearsal period had nothing to do with Cuzzoni. All in all, eleven arias and one duet were finished but then discarded and replaced before the first performance, and several other arias were considerably revised . It is impossible to determine which changes were instigated by Handel himself on artistic grounds and which were compromises in order to satisfy his singers’ whims and overblown egos. In addition to rejections, redrafts of scenes and wholesale substitutions by Handel during the opera’s composition and preparation, further amendments were also made during its first run . Moreover, he replaced and also added several extra arias for the twelfth performance, which took place on 26 March 1723 after a break of several weeks because of Lent. So: what does “the real” Ottone look like? This recording presents a reconstruction of the complete first performance version, but it also incorporates Handel’s expansions to two scenes reworked especially for Cuzzoni. As an appendix, there are three bonus tracks of new arias composed for the title-role in Handel’s 1726 revival, making it an Ottone as complete as possible. All this extra music will allow the listener to enjoy even more the great voices of the recording, to begin with the countertenor Max Cencic, but also the soprano Lauren Snouffer – who sings the part initially held by the infamous Cuzzoni –, accompanied by the ensemble Il pomo d’oro playing on period instruments and conducted by George Petrou.

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Maureen Batt – Lady of the Lake (2017) [Qobuz 24-88.2]

Maureen Batt – Lady of the Lake (2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 01:02:52 minutes | 991 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download  | Source: Qobuz | Booklet,  Front cover | © Leaf Music

Canadian soprano Maureen Batt will be releasing her debut album „Lady of the Lake“ in collaboration with independent label Leaf Music​. Batt has joined forces with pianist Simon Docking, bass-baritone Jon Paul Décosse as well as the Halifax Camerata Singers to record two exciting song cycles based on the epic poem ‘Lady of the Lake’ by Sir Walter Scott.

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Kilian Herold, Sarah Maria Sun & Nicholas Rimmer – Matyas Seiber: More Nonsense (2017) [Qobuz 24-48]

Kilian Herold, Sarah Maria Sun & Nicholas Rimmer – Mátyás Seiber: More Nonsense (2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 49:19 minutes | 459 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Digital Booklet | © CAvi-music

Clarinetist Kilian Herold and soprano Sarah Maria Sun pay homage to Mátyás Seiber’s eclectic compositions that take influences from jazz, Bartók and Schoenberg with More Nonsense. This collection of chamber music celebrates Seiber’s colourful career, with particular emphasis as his work as a European jazz pioneer.

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Orchester Wiener Akademie, Martin Haselbock – Beethoven: Symphonies 1 & 2 (Resound Collection) (2015) [Qobuz 24-96]

Orchester Wiener Akademie, Martin Haselböck – Beethoven: Symphonies 1 & 2 (Resound Collection) (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz  | Time – 56:43 minutes | 0,98 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Digital Booklet | © Alpha

The Re-Sound Beethoven collection brings the symphonies of Beethoven back to the locations of their Viennese premieres. Four of the six venues where first performances of one or more of the nine symphonies were held still exist today, as do the eight Viennese halls and theaters where the composer’s orchestral works were performed in his lifetime. The orchestral forces of the Wiener Akademie corresponds in size and instrumentarium to those used by the composer. The producer Stephan Reh strives to reproduce the specific acoustical qualities of each room.

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Marion Treupel-Franck – Voice of the Soul – Flute Music by Jean Daniel Braun (2017) [Qobuz 24-48]

Marion Treupel-Franck – Voice of the Soul – Flute Music by Jean Daniel Braun (2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 01:08:37 minutes | 683 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Digital Booklet | © Sony Classical

Now practically unknown, Jean Daniel Braun (fl. 1728–40) was in his own day a well-known composer, flautist and bassoonist who lived in Paris during the cultural heyday of the 18th century. Little is known about his life, except that he was – among other things – a member of the ducal orchestra in Épernon. The flautist Marion Treupel-Franck has trawled through various archives in the course of her research in order to unearth and record the composer’s most interesting works: world-premiere recordings include Braun’s Second Sonata in G major for flute, bassoon and cello, his Fifth Sonata in B minor op. 1 for flute, viol and theorbo, his Second Sonata in E minor for flute, viol and theorbo and his Fourth Sonata in G major op. 5 for flute, bassoon and lute. Marion Treupel-Franck is joined for this recording by the distinguished bassoonist Sergio Azzolini, by the lutenist Axel Wolf and by the cellist and viol player Francesco Galligioni. All of them perform on replicas of period instruments. The result is a recording of wonderful Baroque music that is well worth rediscovering and that is interpreted here in performances that are perfect in every way.

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Mariko Senju – Dramatic Brahms (2017) [Qobuz 24-96]

Mariko Senju (千住真理子) – Dramatic Brahms (2017) 
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:16:26 minutes | 1,26 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Front Cover | © Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Mariko Senju began studying violin under Saburo Washimi at the age of three and under Toshiya Eto at the age of twelve. In 1973 she won first place in the elementary school division of the All Japan Students Musical Competition. In 1975 she performed a Bach Concerto with the NHK Symphony Orchestra for its first Young People’s Concert. This marked her debut as a professional violinist.

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Marie-Claude Chappuis – Sous l’Empire d’Amour – French Songs for Mezzo-Soprano & Lute (2017) [Qobuz 24-96]

Marie-Claude Chappuis – Sous l’Empire d’Amour – French Songs for Mezzo-Soprano & Lute (2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:03:39 minutes | 1,14 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download  | Source: Qobuz | Booklet,  Front cover | © deutsche harmonia mundi

The first half of the seventeenth century marked the heyday of the air de cour at the French court. This was a monophonic lute-accompanied song that was generally on the subject of love. Sentimental songs of this kind soon found their way to other parts of Europe, including England, Germany and the Netherlands. With their exceptional programme, mezzo-soprano Marie-Claude Chappuis and lutenist Luca Pianca breathe new life into this courtly musical culture in all of its elegance and beauty, performing works by Jean-Baptiste Lully, Étienne Moulinié, Michel Lambert, Gabriel Bataille and others.

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