Category Archives: Classical

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail, K384 – Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Yannick Nezet-Seguin (2015) [Qobuz 24-96]

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail, K384 – Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Yannick Nezet-Seguin (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz  | Time – 02:18:40 minutes | 2,73 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | © Deutsche Grammophon
Recorded: Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, 7/2014

The third of DG’s series of seven Mozart operas conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and initiated by Rolando Villazón, in collaboration with Festspielhaus Baden Baden, U-Live, and sponsored by ROLEX.
The release follows up a “completely enthralling” (Opernglas) Così fan tutte and “the most exciting and consistently well-sung Don Giovanni for some years” (Opera) with another Baden-Baden Festival Mozart production,Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts this similarly acclaimed 2014 Entführung aus dem Serail: “Well-deserved cheers for all participants” (Online Musik Magazin).
It was recorded live in the stunning venue of Festspielhaus Baden Baden and features a star cast full of critically-acclaimed artists – including Diana Damrau, the reigning Konstanze of our time – with an extraordinary strong showing of Deutsche Grammophon artists.


“There’s a bouncy enthusiasm to Nézet-Séguin’s approach, with its wide, dynamic contrasts, but not a great deal of subtlety, though the COE is its usual cultivated and alert self…The sense of style that’s missing in Villazón’s singing is emphasised by the other tenor, Paul Schweinester as Pedrillo, and especially by Diana Damrau as Konstanze.” –The Guardian

“[Damrau] delivers the best Martern aller Arten I’ve heard for yonks: a delicious compendium of tangled emotions, gloriously matched by virtuosic instrumental playing…Singing with great sensuality and perhaps even flutier top notes, Anna Prohaska makes a spirited Blonde…[Villazon] sings Belmonte with bluff vigour and a fine, metallic ring to the voice.” –The Times,

“this is the most satisfactory instalment so far of DG’s projected recordings of [Villazon] surmounts the difficulties, if not effortlessly, then with more than credit. Damrau makes light of Konstanze’s bravura challenges, but her sound can turn steely and fierce…Anna Prohaska and Paul Schweinester are an attractive comic pair, Franz-Josef Selig is the best Osmin on disc since Kurt Moll…The set’s success is guaranteed by Nézet-Séguin’s airy conducting of a full edition.” –Sunday Times

Continue reading Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail, K384 – Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Yannick Nezet-Seguin (2015) [Qobuz 24-96]

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Complete Sonatas for Keyboard and Violin, Vol.2 – Gary Cooper, Rachel Podger (2005) [nativeDSDmusicDSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz + FLAC 24bit/192kHz]

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Complete Sonatas for Keyboard and Violin, Vol.2 – Gary Cooper, Rachel Podger (2005) 
DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz | Time – 01:11:06 minutes | 2,89 + 2.43 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: nativeDSDmusic |  © Channel Classics Records B.V.
Recorded: The Church of Our Lady, St Mary, South Creake, UK, October 2004

Rachel & I feel that, by using a fortepiano throughout, we present a sort of musical ‘level playing field’ with regard to our choice of Mozart’s sonatas included on this disc – spanning as it does such a huge portion of the composer’s life & musical development. While K.6 may at first appear to the listener as amiable juvenilia, sitting as it does alongside a sonata of such undoubted breadth & maturity as K.481, we firmly believe that allowing Mozart’s early – and outstanding – ventures into this genre to speak for themselves by using using the same instruments throughout, we hope to draw attention to his early work in the best way – in a way that is not only so suggestive of what would in time follow, but also seeks to demonstrate the eight year old’s already fecund imagination and uncanny sense of musical line. –Gary Cooper


“The interaction between Rachel Podger and the gifted fortepianist Gary Cooper is no less than extraordinary. They succeed in cracking a formidable code that leads the listener to understand the musical connection between single phrases and larger sections within the sonata form Mozart perfected. (…) (…) Podger and Cooper’s masterly first endeavour captures the heart and the mind of the master.” –The Strad

“The outstanding work on this second instalment is the big E flat Sonata K481. Cooper and Podger provide a broad performance of its wonderful slow movement that really plumbs its depths, applying ornamentation in a way that Mozart might well have done himself. Cooper and Podger are superb in the G major K301, with an account of the minor-mode siciliano-like episode in its finale that’s both expressive and irresistibly lilting.” –BBC Music Magazine

Continue reading Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Complete Sonatas for Keyboard and Violin, Vol.2 – Gary Cooper, Rachel Podger (2005) [nativeDSDmusicDSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz + FLAC 24bit/192kHz]

Mozart, Clementi – Piano Sonatas & Fantasy – Aldo Ciccolini (2012) [Qobuz 24-96]

Mozart, Clementi – Piano Sonatas & Fantasy – Aldo Ciccolini (2012)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz  | Time – 01:10:57 minutes | 1,1 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | © La Dolce Volta
Recorded: Paris from 7 to 9 December 2011 (Église Réformée de l’Annonciation)

Clementi is now known mainly for his pedagogical works, but he is a major figure in the history of music for the piano, and was greatly admired by Beethoven for example.

Though Ciccolini has always held his Sonata Op.34 No. 2 close to his heart, he had never recorded it before. He has now – and how sumptuously! – grouping it with works by Mozart.

After a first and highly-praised recording devoted to Mozart (La Dolce Volta LDV 03), he has now tackled his Sonata KV 332 and the celebrated diptych comprising Fantasy in C Minor KV 475 and Sonata in C Minor KV 457. Through their expressive depths and their pre-romantic accents, these Mozart works fit nicely with Clementi’s amazing Sonata Op.34 No.2.

“One shouldn’t be impatient in life, certain things demand a gestation period. I’m not impatient to play something, I need the time to find myself”, says Aldo Ciccolini.


Mozart and Clementi may have been serious rivals, yet Aldo Ciccolini lavishes equal amounts of loving care and seriousness of purpose on their respective sonatas. Compared alongside his early 1990s Mozart cycle interpretations on the Koch Discovery label (long out of print, unfortunately), Ciccolini’s K. 332 and K. 475/457 Fantasy and Sonata have grown slower, starker, more dynamically contrasted without sounding extreme or contrived, and more refined in detail. The C minor sonata first movement’s trills and roulades boast impressive finesse, as do the recapitulation’s broken chords, while the central slow movement’s exquisitely shaded right-hand legato line is supported by a subtly contoured left-hand Alberti bass that assiduously points up harmonic felicities.

At 87, Ciccolini still can toss off K. 332’s virtuosic finale with sparkle and sheen, although the 88-year-old Earl Wild’s recording is a bit crisper and lighter in texture. However, Ciccolini’s lyrical, songful shaping of the Clementi G minor sonata’s surface bravura liberates the music from the square-cut barlines: listen to the finale’s gorgeously aligned repeated-note phrases, for example. The pianist also hammers out the first-movement introduction with an almost crude defiance that makes you sit up and take notice. The engineering is full-bodied and alive, but loud passages sound more metallic and monochrome than what you usually hear from this pianist in person. In any event, Ciccolini’s remarkable artistic Indian Summer shows no signs of waning. –Jed Distler, ClassicsToday

Continue reading Mozart, Clementi – Piano Sonatas & Fantasy – Aldo Ciccolini (2012) [Qobuz 24-96]

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Alla Turca – Aldo Ciccolini (2011) [Qobuz 24-96]

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Alla Turca – Aldo Ciccolini (2011)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 00:53:51 minutes | 821 MB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | @ La Dolce Volta
Recorded: mai 2011, Paris (Église Réformée de l’Annonciation)

Over the course of his 60-year career Aldo Ciccolini has established an intimate relationship with the great composers. Now aged 85, he takes a fresh look at one of the greatest and says “I understand Mozart now”. For this recording Aldo Ciccolini plunged into the past, to his earliest years: he says that with the Bechstein he rediscovers “the sound of my childhood” and that this new energy does justice to the impetuous spirit of an untamed genius. Although he has played and replayed these three sonatas for so many years, they suddenly rise to new heights, borne of a deep relationship between the two masters. It took Mozart 17 years to write these sonatas; it took Ciccolini 85 to transcend them: “I have these three sonatas in me from my soul to my fingertips,” he says.


When an 85-year-old pianist says that Mozart helps him to live, you tend to sit up and take notice. Pianist Aldo Ciccolini further says that making these recordings of early Mozart sonatas, using a Bechstein piano, helped him rediscover the enthusiasm for Mozart he felt as an adolescent prior to World War II. And these are indeed unusual Mozart recordings. Asked in the interview-format booklet notes “Are we still in the Classicist spirit here or already in the in the Romantic?” he answered, “Most certainly Romantic!” That gives you the overall flavor of these readings, which feature free tempi, lots of pedal, and in some places (sample the opening movement of the Piano Sonata in A major, K. 331) luxuriant added decoration. These details are not consistently applied, and it’s a bit hard to discern a consistent idea, but a pervading spirit of deep lyricism supplies an X factor that keeps you listening through periods such as the oddly abrupt finale of the Piano Sonata in F major, K. 280. Generally speaking, this is not only a trip back to Ciccolini’s inward love of Mozart in his youth, but also to the way Mozart was played back then, as a kind of prelude to Beethoven and Schubert. Certainly a must-have for Ciccolini fans, and an intriguing find for anyone interested in the question of late-life creativity. –AllMusic Review by James Manheim

Continue reading Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Alla Turca – Aldo Ciccolini (2011) [Qobuz 24-96]

Miklos Perenyi – Britten, Bach, Ligeti (2012) [Qobuz 24-44.1]

Miklos Perenyi – Britten, Bach, Ligeti (2012)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44.1 kHz | Time – 00:57:55 minutes | 575 MB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | @ ECM Records GmbH
Recorded: November 2009, Auditorio Radiotelevisione svizzera, Lugano

Miklós Perényi plays Benjamin Britten’s Third Suite op. 87 and Johann Sebastian Bach’s Suite VI D-Dur BWV 1012, making plain an historical interconnection. Britten wrote his cello suites for Rostropovich, inspired by hearing him playing the Bach suites. Rostropovich hailed all of Britten’s cello suites as masterpieces but singled out the third (written 1971) for special praise: “sheer genius”, in his words. Into the fabric of the thematic material Britten wove fragments of melodies from Russian folk songs, only allowing them to emerge fully in the final movement. On this disc, Bach’s last cello suite follows Britten’s, and Perényi’s Bach dances with elegance and energy. The album concludes with a return to Hungary, and Ligeti’s cello sonata of 1948-1953. Ligeti released the piece for publication only in 1979, so it figures in the chronology (as Paul Griffiths points out in the notes) both before and after the Britten. This disc is Perényi’s first ECM solo recital, and follows his brilliant performance, alongside András Schiff, in the 2001/2 recordings of the Complete Music for Piano and Violoncello by Beethoven.


As more cellists record albums of solo works, there appears to be a growing demand for an expanded repertoire, beyond the handful of pieces that are usually performed. For this 2012 release on ECM New Series, Miklós Perényi has chosen three works of varying degrees of familiarity that show an awareness of the need to move into unexplored areas. While the Suite No. 6 in D major of J.S. Bach is one of the most frequently played of all cello masterpieces, its inclusion here at least grounds the program so the cross-over audience ECM cultivates can find some moorings. Somewhat less widely known is Benjamin Britten’s Third Suite, Op. 87, which is emotionally involving, entertaining for its sly allusions to Bach, and tonally accessible, but it is not played so often that it has become an obvious choice. The freshest sounding work is the Sonate by György Ligeti, which blends traditional cello gestures and virtuoso passagework with some extended modernist techniques to create a quirky mix of old and new. While Ligeti’s music seems to transcend conventional tonality, it is far from atonal, and most listeners will be able to appreciate its energy, color, and charm. Perény is clearly a master in all aspects of this recital, and he plays all three works with commitment and vitality. –AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson

Continue reading Miklos Perenyi – Britten, Bach, Ligeti (2012) [Qobuz 24-44.1]

Felix Mendelssohn – The Complete Solo Piano Music, Vol. 2 – Howard Shelley (2014) [hyperion-records 24-96]

Felix Mendelssohn – The Complete Solo Piano Music, Vol. 2 – Howard Shelley (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz | Time – 01:13:40 minutes | 1,18 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: hyperion-records |  @ Hyperion Records
Recorded: June 2013 at St Silas the Martyr, Kentish Town, London, United Kingdom

Howard Shelley is acclaimed as the living master of early Romantic piano music. So much of this music was ignored throughout the twentieth century that there is still a sense of discovery at each new recording. Shelley here presents the second instalment of a six-volume set of Mendelssohn’s complete solo piano music—perhaps the least well-known part of the composer’s repertoire. The first volume was praised for Shelley’s ‘immaculate, lightly-pedalled brilliance, unfailing stylistic assurance, warmth and flexibility’
This second volume includes the Rondo capriccioso, a favourite virtuoso concert piece of the nineteenth century; the three-movement Fantasia in F sharp minor, which was originally described as a ‘Sonate écossaise’, with its characteristic Scottish folk-song elements in the first movement, and two books of the Songs without Words.


After listening to a firebrand virtuoso, though one inclined towards hysteria (Khatia Buniatishvili), Howard Shelley’s mix of ardour and urbanity come as a sane and stable relief. And in the second volume of his six-CD cycle of Mendelssohn’s piano music, he shows himself ideally cast. His poise and vehemence give substance to even the composer’s more facile utterances.
Time and again Shelley makes it clear that Mendelssohn has a special place in his affections, and although it is invidious to locate the finer moments in his unfailing expertise, certain performances stand out for their exceptional grace and commitment. What suppleness and expressive beauty in the Andante prefacing the evergreen Rondo capriccioso, what virtuosity in the wildly skittering finale of the F sharp minor Fantasia. What quiet eloquence Shelley achieves in the sixth of the Songs without Words (Book 2), where the gondolier sings his plaintive song above a gently rocking accompaniment.
Larry Todd’s notes chart the rises and falls of Mendelssohn’s reputation, from ‘Mendelssohn does not go deep’ to Shelley’s vital and refind re-evaluation. Hyperion’s sound is immaculate. –Bryce Morrison, Gramophone

Continue reading Felix Mendelssohn – The Complete Solo Piano Music, Vol. 2 – Howard Shelley (2014) [hyperion-records 24-96]

Felix Mendelssohn – The Complete Solo Piano Music, Vol. 1 – Howard Shelley (2013) [hyperion-records 24-96]

Felix Mendelssohn – The Complete Solo Piano Music, Vol. 1 – Howard Shelley (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz | Time – 01:14:06 minutes | 1,14 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: hyperion-records |  @ Hyperion Records
Recorded: March 2012at St Michael’s Church, Highgate, London, United Kingdom

Howard Shelley is acclaimed as the living master of early Romantic piano music. So much of this music was ignored throughout the twentieth century that there is still a sense of discovery at each new recording. Shelley here presents the first instalment of a six-volume set of Mendelssohn’s complete solo piano music—perhaps the least well-known part of the composer’s repertoire.
Mendelssohn composed or began nearly two hundred works for piano. Nevertheless, he saw only about seventy through the press, released in seventeen opera from the Capriccio Op 5 (1825) to the sixth volume of the Lieder ohne Worte Op 67 (1845). Some twenty-five additional pieces appeared posthumously in eleven additional opera. The remainder, whether fully drafted or fragmentary, were left to his musical estate or have disappeared.
Volume 1 includes Opp 5, 6, and 7, the first three piano compositions Mendelssohn published between 1825 and 1827, as well as Op 19b, the first volume of his Lieder ohne Worte, released in 1832.


‘Immaculate, lightly-pedalled brilliance, unfaltering stylistic assurance, warmth and flexibility … Hyperion’s sound and presentation complement Shelley’s admirable performances’ –Gramophone

‘When Mendelssohn asks for Presto, Shelley takes him at his word, with a fleetness and control that command admiration, not to mention envy. He also brings a wide variety of dynamics and tone, well captured by the recording. I particularly liked the sparsity of his pedalling, leaving the composer’s lines to do their work’ –BBC Music Magazine

‘Fans of fireworks won’t be disappointed, in either the opening Capriccio in F sharp minor or the astonishing bravura finale of the Sonata in E major, both the work of the teenage Mendelssohn. Shelley gives us a further glimpse of the restlessly romantic mind of this wunderkind in the cycle of seven Characterstücke before wrapping us in the warm, gemütlich embrace of Book 1 of the Songs without Words. With playing of this quality this is going to be a series to treasure’ –The Observer

‘The Seven Character Pieces, Op 7 … truly reveal the vast range of Mendelssohn’s pianistic and compositional language … the programme notes are formidable and provide a veritable fund of information. Hyperion’s sound quality is first-rate, as ever … Shelley’s playing is faultless, and the clarity he brings to the voice-leading and the vast textures of the ‘Fugue’ has me listening repeatedly to this track’ –International Record Review

Continue reading Felix Mendelssohn – The Complete Solo Piano Music, Vol. 1 – Howard Shelley (2013) [hyperion-records 24-96]

Meav – The Calling (2013) [HDTracks 24-48]

Meav – The Calling (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48kHz  | Time – 43:42 minutes | 513 MB | Genre: Folk, Celtic, Classical Crossover
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | © Warner Classics
Recorded: October – November, 2012

Multi-million selling world music artist Méav teams up with Grammy award-winning producer Craig Leon (Blondie, Talking Heads, Ramones, Pavarotti) to record folk-pop album The Calling.

Méav returns to her musical origins with The Calling, 12 tracks of newly written songs, folk ballads and fresh interpretations of timeless classics. Produced and co-written by the Grammy award-winning producer Craig Leon, responsible for iconic records by Blondie, Talking Heads, Ramones and Pavarotti amongst others, The Calling showcases Méav’s crystal clear voice, fusing her classical training with her folk roots.

From an early age Méav displayed an exceptional musical talent, immersed in Irish traditional music at her family home in Dublin. She went on to study classical voice, harp and piano while simultaneously studying Law at Trinity College. Her professional career was established with the Riverdance Choir, before going on to star in Lord of the Dance and embarking in three US tours with the Irish National Concert Orchestra.

This brought her to the attention of Celtic Collections who released three Méav solo albums including Celtic Journey with EMI, which debuted in the Billboard World Music top 10. In 2004, Méav was invited to be one of the five founding members of female supergroup Celtic Woman, who have sold six million records in the US and worldwide. It is remarkable that every album Méav recorded with Celtic Woman reached number 1 in the Billboard World Music Charts.

Méav left Celtic Woman in 2008 to start a family and resumed her solo career in 2010, performing to a sell-out crowd at New York’s Carnegie Hall. In 2012, Méav met legendary producer Craig Leon in Abbey Road Studios, London while working together on the score of a space film in collaboration with NASA. Despite their different musical backgrounds in pop and world music, they quickly realized that they shared a love of song-writing and ethnic music. This resulted in The Calling, a contemporary pop treatment of new songs and folk classics from Ireland, England, Scotland, Brittany, Galicia and America.

“Her presentation was coolly elegant, and her voice remarkably pure. She sang with a subtle, underlying passion”
LA Times

“Adds delicious wriggles to her renditions of traditional tunes”
New York Times

Continue reading Meav – The Calling (2013) [HDTracks 24-48]

San Francisco Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas – Masterpieces in Miniature (2014) [HDTracks 24-192]

San Francisco Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas – Masterpieces in Miniature (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192kHz  | Time – 01:18:08 minutes | 2,9 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | © SFS Media
Recorded live at Davies Symphony Hall — a venue of the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center, City and County of San Francisco. Ives/Brant The Alcotts from A Concord Symphony recorded in 96 kHz/24-bit audio (February 2–6, 2010), all others in PCM 192 kHz/24-bit audio (September 26–28, 2013, and May 22–25, 2014).

In honor of their twentieth season together, Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) and the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) release Masterpieces in Miniature, a collection of short orchestral works, on their in-house label SFS Media. Masterpieces in Miniature includes Henry Litolff’s Scherzo fromConcerto symphonique No. 4 featuring pianist Yuja Wang, Gustav Mahler’sBlumine, Charles Ives / Henry Brant’s “The Alcotts” from A Concord Symphony, Gabriel Fauré’sPavane, Claude Debussy’s La Plus que lente, Franz Schubert’s Entracte No. 3 from Rosamunde, Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise, Antonín Dvořák’s Legendfor Orchestra, Jean Sibelius’s Valse triste, Frederick Delius’s On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring, Edvard Grieg’s The Last Spring, Léo Delibes’s Cortège de Bacchus from Sylvia, all recorded live in performance at Davies Symphony Hall. With this collection MTT shares some of his most treasured musical memories.

About the recording MTT says, “The short pieces in this album exist in various versions. Many began as piano pieces but were, except for the Ives, orchestrated by their composers. They were often played as encores by musicians who took special delight finding the most personal way of presenting them. This recording pays homage to the tradition of these pieces. It marks the beginning of my twentieth season as Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony and my seventieth birthday. On these occasions, I wanted to give a present to our whole San Francisco family and to our listeners everywhere. What better way than to fashion a garland of these charming pieces? Playing them is now nearly a lost art. The musicians and I have taken a wonderful voyage in creating these performances, which are a mixture of my musical memories and the imagination and virtuosity of my colleagues.”

As acclaimed interpreters of the music of Mahler, MTT and the Orchestra have included their performance of the composer’s Blumine as part of this special collection. Their self-produced Mahler recording project, launched in 2001 and concluded in 2010, encompassed all of Mahler’s symphonies and works for voice, chorus and orchestra. The Orchestra’s Mahler cycle on SFS Media has been recognized with seven Grammy Awards and MTT was named Gramophone Artist of the Year in recognition of his work on the recording cycle. For the 2011 Mahler centennial, the SFS performed his music in a four-concert engagement at the famed Vienna Konzerthaus in May, an honor rarely extended to American orchestras and a keystone of the city’s commemoration of the Mahler anniversary. MTT and the SFS’s Keeping Score: Mahler PBS Television documentary and concert is available on DVD and Blu-ray.

MTT and the SFS’s recording of “The Alcotts” movement from A Concord Symphony, an orchestration of Charles Ives’s “Concord” Sonata arranged by Henry Brant, was originally released in a 2011 recording of the full work. In his San Francisco Chronicle review, Joshua Kosman wrote, “To listen to ‘A Concord Symphony’…is to feel an exhilarating sense of discovery and dramatic vigor, an explosive dynamism that emanates from all the participants…Thomas and the orchestra…convey every bit of the score’s boisterous vitality in a performance of magnificent virtuosity – it’s a landmark achievement.”

Continue reading San Francisco Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas – Masterpieces in Miniature (2014) [HDTracks 24-192]

Martha Argerich & friends – Live from Lugano 2014 (2015) [HRA 24-44.1]

Martha Argerich & friends – Live from Lugano 2014 (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44.1kHz  | Time – 3:14:58 minutes | 1,77 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: | © Warner Classics
Recorded: 10-30.VI.2014, Auditorio Stelio Molo, Lugano

Warner Classics is pleased to release the 12th annual 3-album set of highlights from the Progetto Martha Argerich in Lugano, described in The Times (London), as “community music-making on a deluxe scale, with performers and listeners mutually uplifted by music’s wonders.” The recordings celebrate the musical fruits of a project in which young artists join seasoned performers, including Martha Argerich herself, to explore wide-ranging chamber music and orchestral repertoire, both well-known and rarely heard.

In addition to Ms Argerich, the 2014 Festival featured long-time collaborators such as Gidon Kremer, Gabriela Montero, Mischa Maisky, Gautier Capuçon and Lilya Zilberstein, as well as many of Ms Argerich’s young protégées, including pianists Anton and Daniel Gerzenberg and violinists Geza Hosszu-Logocky and Andrey Baranov, winner of the 2012 Queen Elizabeth Competition. Also featured are pianists Alexander Mogilevsky, Francesco Piemontesi, Daniel Rivera, Dagmar Clottu, Akane Sakai, Eduardo Hubert, violinists Dora Schwarzberg and Michael Guttman, violist Nora Romanoff and cellists Jing Zhao and Mark Drobinsky.


The piano has been at the heart of all Lugano Festival programmes, from the Festival’s inception, in performances of standard repertoire alongside rarely heard compositions and the 2014 season was no exception. Each year the Festival includes a piano concerto with Ms Argerich as soloist and this time it is Mozart’s Concerto No 20 in D minor, K466, with the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana conducted by Jacek Kaspszyk. Argerich also performs sonatas with each of two long-standing collaborators, cellist Mischa Maisky and violinist Gidon Kremer. She joins Maisky in Beethoven’s Variations on ‘Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen’ based on Papageno and Pamina’s duet in Mozart’s opera Die Zauberflöte and Kremer, a champion of the work of Shostakovich’s younger friend and colleague Mieczysław Weinberg, in the composer’s Fifth Violin Sonata.

The Swiss pianist Dagmar Clottu appears for the first time in this series, joining Argerich in Francis Poulenc’s Piano Sonata for four hands. Gautier Capuçon and Francesco Piemontesi perform Poulenc’s Cello Sonata and Capuçon performs the Cello Sonata in D minor by Frank Bridge with Gabriela Montero.

Other works featured include Darius Milhaud’s jazzy ballet, La création du monde, performed in the composer’s arrangement for piano quintet; Alexander Borodin’s early Piano Quintet; Felix Mendelssohn’s First Symphony, composed at the age of 15, in an arrangement by Ferruccio Busoni for four players at two pianos; and Alexander Scriabin’s Fantasy in A minor, envisaged as a work for piano and orchestra but only sketched for two pianos, and neither orchestrated nor performed during his lifetime.

Few artists have nurtured and promoted emerging young musicians with the level of personal commitment shown by Martha Argerich. In the process, she has created inspired chamber music partnerships mixing established and up-and-coming artists. A legend in her own lifetime for her technical mastery and passionate artistry, Argerich possesses an infectious spirit that has fired her own performances and partnerships as well as those of her colleagues and protégées.

After setting up Meeting Point at Beppu, Japan in 1996 and the Martha Argerich Festival in Buenos Aires in 1999, the pianist decided to create a similar gathering of musical minds in Europe. The southern Swiss town of Lugano was identified as an ideal setting for a project based on the spirit of building a community of close-knit relationships among young and established artists and the Progetto Martha Argerich was launched in 2002. More than a decade later, the Festival continues to retain its original experimental ‘feel’ because of the original programming and the emergence of new performing talents. Geoffrey Norris in The Daily Telegraph wrote, “It is always instructive to see who has been invited to perform at the Progetto Martha Argerich in Lugano, because the cast list is a reliable guide to some of the most exciting talent in the musical world today.”

Continue reading Martha Argerich & friends – Live from Lugano 2014 (2015) [HRA 24-44.1]