Felix Mendelssohn – Songs without Words – Walter Gieseking (1956/2012) [HDTracks 24-96]

Felix Mendelssohn – Songs without Words – Walter Gieseking (1956/2012)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 00:48:40 minutes | 481 MB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | @ EMI Classics
Recorded: No.3 Studio, Abbey Road, London 1956/09/21-23

‘Gieseking achieved a paradox with these recordings: he devoted so much care to them that they seem absolutely artless. The pianist who mastered Beethoven’s epic edifices also had the modesty to efface himself in front of Mendelssohn’s. Not once does he say, “Look at me!” or “Now I’m going to show you how beautiful this is.” He simply plays the music without condescension or apology. However, this is not to say that his interpretations are simple! On the surface, Gieseking is depicting the jolly mischief of Shakespeare’s spirit, but on a lower level, Gieseking finds the darker colors that hint at the possibility, not necessarily realized, of a more maleficent disposition. And perhaps Mendelssohn’s miniatures are less emotionally complex but even here, Gieseking goes beyond their pretty surface and exposes their true Romanticism.’ –Raymond Tuttle, Classical Net

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Alberic Magnard – Complete Chamber Music – Laurent Wagschal, Solenne Paidassi, Camille Thomas, Quatuor Elysee, Ensemble Initium (2014) [Qobuz 24-96]

Alberic Magnard – Complete Chamber Music – Laurent Wagschal, Solenne Paidassi, Camille Thomas, Quatuor Elysee, Ensemble Initium (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 03:02:52 minutes | 3,03 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Q0buz | @ Timpani Records
Recorded: Vincennes, Coeur de ville, Janvier 2014 (Sonate pour violon), Février 2014 (Quintette), Avril 2014 (Sonate pour violoncelle, Trio), Juillet 2014 (Quatuor)

Its now a century since Alberic Magnards death. Long ignored, Magnard has in the past few years joined the pantheon of post-Franckist composers such as Ropartz, dIndy and others. In chamber music, he left a limited legacy but one of very high quality, which Timpani has entrusted, on this Centenary Edition, to a young team of front-rank artists. A further guarantee of quality is the commentary by the leading Magnard specialist, Harry Halbreich, who lends not his pen but his voice for an additional disc, discussing works he knows better than anyone.

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Jonas Kaufmann – The Age Of Puccini (2015) [Qobuz 24-48]

Jonas Kaufmann – The Age Of Puccini (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/48 kHz | Time – 76:16 minutes | 788 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Source: Qobuz  | Artwork: Digital booklet | @ Decca/London

On 14 April 2010 Jonas Kaufmann became the first German tenor to sing Cavaradossi at the Metropolitan Opera in 103 years. He shaped Puccini’s music with exceptional elegance, balancing the character’s essential revolutionary fervour with a heart-stopping tenderness. Critics and audiences received the portrayal ecstatically. Listeners familiar with Kaufmann’s artistry in German and French repertoire exclusively will be astonished by his affinity for Italian music of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

In preparing this music by Puccini and his contemporaries (including Puccini’s and Mascagni’s teacher of composition, Ponchielli), Kaufmann was gratified that his fluent Italian enabled him to “understand double meanings and discover the secrets between the written lines”. Freedom from technical worries allowed Kaufmann to concentrate exclusively on communication, “with the text leading me automatically into the emotional circumstances of each piece.”

In conversation Kaufmann repeatedly emphasizes the emotional content of this repertoire — above all, the Zandonai aria: “I doubt that you can put more personal feelings into music. Romeo is mourning Giulietta, but in a shockingly realistic way. Listening to it is like sneaking into someone’s privacy.” In such music, “it’s satisfying when you can slip into your character and feel how the emotions change your sound, your breathing, your whole approach to the notes.”

Producers: Christopher Alder and David Frost
Recording engineers: Oldřich Slezák, Ivan Zbiral, Mike Hatch, Philip Siney
Mixing engineer: Richard King

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Frederick Fennell Conducts The Music Of Leroy Anderson (1956/58/64/2015) [Qobuz 24-96]

Frederick Fennell Conducts The Music Of Leroy Anderson (1956/58/64/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:07:43 minutes | 1,46 GB | Genre: Classical, Easy Listening
Official Digital Download – Source: Q0buz | @ Mercury
Recorded: Eastman Theatre, Rochester, New York, 25 October 1956 (#13, 14): March 1958 (#1-12); Watford Town Hall, 9 July 1964 (#15-23)

‘Sentimentality, romance, and a sense of humor–all of these things characterized Leroy Anderson’s music, attributes that somehow went missing from much of American classical symphonic repertoire during the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s (except for Bernstein and a few others). And although there’s always an important and enduring place for the more profound, timeless works, there’s also one for music that immediately recalls the sound and sensibility of a period and effectively captures its popular mood. Anderson’s music did exactly that, and if you don’t respond with smiles and toe-tapping enthusiasm when you hear Horse & Buggy, Blue Tango, Summer Skies, The Girl in Satin, China Doll, or Serenata, then you are probably beyond the reach of this light-hearted but seriously entertaining fare, and are sadly disconnected from the schmaltz and slightly tacky but still delightful pleasure of The Waltzing Cat and such classics as The Typewriter, Fiddle-Faddle, The Syncopated Clock, and the still wildly popular Sleigh Ride.

 

Although the Boston Pops pretty much owned many of these pieces, Frederick Fennell and his Eastman-Rochester Pops (and unnamed London orchestra that plays on nearly half of these 23 tracks) did a more than respectable job, enhanced by the unsurpassed audio engineering of the Mercury Living Presence team–Wilma Cozart, Harold Lawrence, and C. Robert Fine…A treasure!“ –David Vernier, ClassicsToday

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Claude Debussy – Preludes Book I & II – Walter Gieseking (1953/55/2012) [HDTracks 24-96]

Claude Debussy – Preludes Book I & II – Walter Gieseking (1953/55/2012)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 1:10:17 minutes | 645 MB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | @ Warner Classics/Erato

Debussy composed and published his celebrated 24 Preludes in two books. On this breathtaking audiophile download, Walter Gieseking delivers flawless renditions of these treasured pieces. His playing is thoughtful and precise, captured with pristine clarity. Bryce Morrison declared the album is incomparable and should be in every musician’s library.

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Claude Debussy – Piano Works – Walter Gieseking (1954/2012) [HDTracks 24-96]

Claude Debussy – Piano Works – Walter Gieseking (1954/2012)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 48:39 minutes | 447 MB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | @ Warner Classics/Erato

Soloist: Walter Gieseking
On this collection, distinguished pianist Walter Gieseking renders sensational renditions of Debussy’s shorter piano works. Gieseking’s interpretations have become seminal classics with their elegant touch and renowned attention to color and nuance. Gieseking evokes excitement, transparency and fluidity throughout each piece. The recording is highlighted by one of Debussy’s most beloved piano suites, the Suite Bergamasque.

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Claude Debussy – Images Sets I & II – Walter Gieseking (1954/2012) [HDTracks 24-96]

Claude Debussy – Images Sets I & II – Walter Gieseking (1954/2012) 
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 56:34 minutes | 509 MB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | @ Warner Classics/Erato

Walter Gieseking was one of Debussy’s greatest interpreters. On this recording, Gieseking brings forth the maturity and sheer poetic beauty of Debussy’s compositions. His virtuoso technique intensifies the work with a refined harmonic richness.

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Claude Debussy – 12 Etudes, D’Un Cahier D’Esquisses – Walter Gieseking (1954/2012) [HDTracks 24-96]

Claude Debussy – 12 Etudes, D’Un Cahier D’Esquisses – Walter Gieseking (1954/2012)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 1:14:40 minutes | 675 MB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | @ Warner Classics/Erato

Walter Gieseking was one of Debussy’s greatest interpreters. His artistic survey of the pieces is compelling and haunting. The performance is a work of sheer beauty.

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Johann Sebastian Bach – Harpsichord Concertos, BWV 1052-1058 – Andreas Staier, Freiburger Barockorchester (2015) [eClassical 24-96]

Johann Sebastian Bach – Harpsichord Concertos, BWV 1052-1058 – Andreas Staier, Freiburger Barockorchester (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:51:53 minutes | 2,3 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: eclassical.com | @ harmonia mundi s.a.
Recorded: juillet 2013, Freiburg, Ensemblehaus

An exhilarating collectionThe seven fabulously inventive concertos for solo harpsichord and orchestra mark a key stage in the history of the concertante form. The set was compiled during Bach’s Leipzig years, when he directed the city’s Collegium Musicum, and requires unfailing virtuosity and imagination of its performers. The contagious pleasure one feels in the interpretations of Andreas Staier and the Freiburger Barockorchester restores the full range of meanings to the word ‘play’!

 

Nowadays, J.S. Bach’s seven harpsichord concertos are most often performed on a grand piano with modern orchestral accompaniment, largely for the sake of striking a proper balance of dynamics and instrumentation. In light of this preference, it has become a little difficult to find historically informed versions that sound close to what Bach would have heard. These period style performances by Andreas Staier and the Freiburger Barockorchester provide a welcome alternative to the standard modern releases, and listeners with a taste for authenticity can be assured that Staier’s scholarship and interpretations are impeccable. Staier plays a replica of a 1734 harpsichord, and the small ensemble of recorders, strings, and continuo is appropriately scaled to the music’s textures and the balance of soloist and orchestra. Harmonia Mundi’s recording is elaborate, involving spot and omnidirectional microphones that capture the players with remarkable subtlety and presence, so all the nuances and details of these exciting performances can be heard clearly without sacrificing the full-bodied sound. –AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson

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Johann Sebastian Bach – Cello Suites Nos. 1, 3 & 5 (arranged for viola) – Antoine Tamestit (2012) [Qobuz 24-44.1]

Johann Sebastian Bach – Cello Suites Nos. 1, 3 & 5 (arranged for viola) – Antoine Tamestit (2012)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 00:58:48 minutes | 570 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Q0buz | @ Naïve

As a child, Antoine Tamestit studied the violin, but at age 10, he fell in love with the six unaccompanied Cello Suites of J.S. Bach and immediately wanted to switch to the cello. His teacher advised him that playing that instrument would involve learning a completely new technique, so he was allowed to switch instead to the viola. Thus, Tamestit was able to play the suites as arranged for his present instrument, and because the viola has the tuning of C-G-D-A, Bach’s originals have been transposed up an octave. This 2012 recording of three of the suites, BWV 1007, 1009, and 1011, is presumably the first of two discs, creating anticipation for disc two, for Tamestit’s interpretations are outstanding and promise to make the complete set required listening. He has been acclaimed as one of the finest violists in the world, and his lively tempos and light articulation reveal his profound understanding of the music. The dance impulse is ever-present in these suites, which have a greater ease of movement and flow at the higher transposition. Additionally, Tamestit plays the Stradivarius “Mahler” viola from 1672 with a modern Baroque-style bow, which gives his performances a period sound that is often absent from cello interpretations. And while there is no attested version for viola from Bach’s hand, his predilection for arranging his works for various instruments makes these transcriptions utterly appropriate. Naïve’s recording is clean and vibrant with natural presence, so Tamestit’s playing is heard to best advantage.

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