Category Archives: Classical

Cantus – Northern Lights (2017) [FLAC 24-96]

Cantus – Northern Lights (2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz  | Time – 51:03 minutes | 980 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download  | Digital Booklet | © Decca/London

The Norwegian all-female choir Cantus shot to worldwide fame thanks to the song Vuelie featured in the Disney movie Frozen. In fact the ensemble’s traditional outfits influenced the entire look of the animated film from the very start, when studio personnel picked up some of Cantus’s earlier CDs on a research trip to Norway. Produced by multiple award winner Jon Cohen, Northern Lights includes Vuelie alongside several other pieces by the same composer, Frode Fjellheim.

Continue reading Cantus – Northern Lights (2017) [FLAC 24-96]

Canticum Novum & Emmanuel Bardon – Ararat (2017) [Qobuz 24-96]

Canticum Novum & Emmanuel Bardon – Ararat (2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 01:18:47 minutes | 1,28 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Digital Booklet | © Ambronay

Recorded to commemorate 100 years since the Armenian genocide, Ararat sees French ensemble Canticum Novum perform a varied selection of early music from Armenia and France, including religious and secular Armenian songs and the Tierce Estampie Royale from the 13th- and 14th-century Manuscrit du Roi.

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Cameron Carpenter – All You Need is Bach (2016) [FLAC 24-96]

Cameron Carpenter – All You Need is Bach (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:13:11 minutes | 1,25 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet | © Sony Classical

It’s not just any instrument on which the ‘bad boy of the organ’ Cameron Carpenter plays this selection of works by Bach: it is a custom-built instrument made to his exact specifications by the company Marshall & Ogletree. Supposedly “portable” – you still need some large trucks to carry everything – the console itself weighs no less than a ton. Still, the instrument can be dismantled into several pieces, comes with an incredible arsenal of special speakers, and a dedicated amplifier for a rich sound. This Op. 8 Marshall & Ogletree ‘Touring Organ’ is built, according to Carpenter, for ‘its emotional magnitude, its sonic range, its coloristic drama’. Purists of baroque music may flee in terror, just as they did in the days of the revolutionary Glenn Gould. With a hyper-modern view of his chosen musical arena and an orchestra composed of a seemingly infinite number of organs, this record is extravagant, intriguing. Bach as you’ve never heard before.

Continue reading Cameron Carpenter – All You Need is Bach (2016) [FLAC 24-96]

Bojan Cicic & The Illyria Consort – Carbonelli: Sonate da camera, Nos. 1-6 (2017) [Qobuz 24-48]

Bojan Cicic & The Illyria Consort – Carbonelli: Sonate da camera, Nos. 1-6 (2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 01:03:45 minutes | 742 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Digital Booklet | © Delphian

In certain respects, Giovanni Stefano Carbonelli does not quite fit the eighteenth-century mould. For a neo-Corellian, he is unusually fond of complexity, both technical and compositional, and also unusually open to other contemporary influences, such as those of Handel and Vivaldi. But the quality of his music speaks for itself virtuosic and joyously melodic, these six chamber sonatas had a huge impact on Delphian producer Paul Baxter.Carbonelli’s difficulty has ensured that his work is seldom played, but early-music rising star Bojan Cicic makes sure we have no sense of that as he and his Illyria Consort colleagues champion these groundbreaking compositions with exuberant confidence. Bojan Cicic is leader of Floreligium and frequently guest directs the Academy of Ancient Music and European Union Baroque Orchestra. He founded The Illyria Consort to explore rare repertoire of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This is their first recording.

Continue reading Bojan Cicic & The Illyria Consort – Carbonelli: Sonate da camera, Nos. 1-6 (2017) [Qobuz 24-48]

Bjarte Eike & Barokksolistene – The Alehouse Sessions (2017) [Qobuz 24-48]

Bjarte Eike & Barokksolistene – The Alehouse Sessions (2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz  | Time – 54:02 minutes | 595 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Digital Booklet | © RUBICON

The English pub has, since centuries, been the English people’s second home. In these establishments one would meet to eat, drink, and sleep, but, especially after Cromwell’s dark years of ultra-puritanism – i.e. 1660 –, one would also hold political meetings, gambling events and lots, lots of music. Before 1660, most music-making in pubs would have been dominated by drinking songs, bawdy catches and ballads, and simple instrumental music played by fiddlers and fifers. With the outbreak of the English Civil War in 1642, the music masters of London’s churches and courts were scattered and left to fend for themselves. Some went to the countryside, serving as light entertainment for the aristocracy; some joined the military; and some became teachers, but with the closing of all theatres during Cromwell’s times, most of the musicians ended up living rootless lives that descended into little more than begging. With all the professional musicians, singers, and actors now entering the pubs and joining in with the locals in musical sessions, one saw a significant rise in the quality of music-making with the result being that these “alehouse sessions” grew in popularity across the classes. However, even with the re-opening of theatres and building of new opera houses after the Restoration, the popularity of the alehouse sessions didn’t die out. Music became enormously popular in 17th- and 18th-century London, yet there were no orchestras that offered steady jobs. This meant that London was bulging with freelance musicians, who would one moment be sitting amid beer glasses and a loud audience, playing at one of the informal and highly popular concerts in one of the many taverns and alehouses, and the next participating in one of the large charity concerts, before rushing off to join one of the opera performances at venues like the King’s Theatre in the Haymarket. The ensemble Alhouse Sessions has launched its project in 2007, as a concert form where the music found in the English public houses during and after the Commonwealth was explored. That would be a mix of compositions, traditional tunes and arrangements of popular songs. Composed music – from Purcell onwards – became folk music and folk music – often rather bawdy or sentimental folk tunes – became compositions. The music of the Alehouse Sessions fits within the historical frames of the English public house, even though the tone may sometimes remind the listener to some Anglo-Saxon folk-pop music. Furthermore, several tunes hail from overseas, as far as North America, Scandinavia, Scotland, Ireland and the Shetlands. We’ll never know, of course, how things sounded three or four centuries ago, but Alehouse Sessions goes out on a limb to restore that kind of musical language.

Continue reading Bjarte Eike & Barokksolistene – The Alehouse Sessions (2017) [Qobuz 24-48]

Birgit Nilsson, Wiener Philharmoniker & Sir Georg Solti – Strauss: Elektra (1967/2017) [FLAC 24-96]

Birgit Nilsson, Wiener Philharmoniker & Sir Georg Solti – Strauss: Elektra (1967/2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:47:43 minutes | 2 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download  | Booklet, Cover | © Decca

Decca, THE Opera Company, has always invested infinite energy and enormous care in its productions, pairing unrivalled casts with its unequalled technical skill and legendary sound. Decca Classics is proud to continue its Hardback Opera Series of go-to performances incorporating true 24-bit audio with two reference recordings of R. Strauss with casts led by Birgit Nilsson and also Leontyne Price’s legendary recording of Verdi’s Aida – all three performances are conducted by Sir Georg Solti

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Scottish Chamber Orchestra – Beethoven: Piano Concertos 3, 4 & 5 (2008) [LINN 24-192]

Scottish Chamber Orchestra – Beethoven: Piano Concertos 3, 4 & 5 (2008) 
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 01:43:14 minutes | 3,69 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: Linn Records | Covers & Digital Booklet

Though pianist Artur Pizarro’s performances of the solo parts in Beethoven’s Third, Fourth, and Fifth piano concertos are consistently superlative, it’s not too much to say that the real draw here is not the soloist but the accompanists. Because as fine as Pizarro’s virtuoso playing is, Charles Mackerras and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra turn in performances of such force, sensitivity, and balance that they may well be the finest accompaniments for these concertos ever recorded. Pizarro is a strong and supple soloist whose dramatic account on the Third Concerto, lyrical reading of the Fourth Concerto, and imperious elucidation of the Fifth Concerto show his firm grasp of the music’s escalating rhetoric. But Mackerras, a seasoned and canny conductor, not only supports Pizarro unstintingly, but finds the orchestral accompaniments’ depths and beauties by highlighting a solo cello in the Fourth’s Finale, weaving wind lines in the Third’s Largo and blending string sonorities in the Fifth’s Adagio, thereby creating interpretations of ineffable rightness and profundity. Captured in amazingly life-like sound by Linn, these performances will be compulsory listening for anyone who appreciates the fine art of accompaniment. Review by James Leonard

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Armida Quartett – Beethoven & Shostakovich: String Quartets (2016) [FLAC 24-48]

Armida Quartett – Beethoven & Shostakovich: String Quartets (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz  | Time – 60:29 minutes | 581 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download  | Digital Booklet | © CAvi-music

The Armida Quarter, darling of BBC young artists and due to perform at the Wigmore Hall, they will also play at the BBC PROMS on 29 August 2016 at the Cadogan Hall. The new album contains Beethoven Op. 59 No 1 and Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 10, two very difficult pieces. “Opus 59 is extremely challenging”, remarks Martin Funda, the leader of the Armida Quartet. “One needs time to grasp these pieces. As performers, we are surprised again and again to note how quickly Beethoven star ts leading us into unfamiliar waters. The F Major Quartet is an ‘extrovert’ piece; at the same time, it contains a series of incredibly profound moments and a variety of different moods which we have to learn to interpret.” … Also available: Bartók, String Quartet No.4, Ligeti, String Quartet No.1, Kurtág, String Quartet Nr. 1 (AVI8553298) Mozart, String Quartets in A major K.169; in A major K. 464; in B-flat major K. 589 (AVI8553318)

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Freddy Kempf – Beethoven: Pathetique, Moonlight & Appassionata (2004) [eClassical 24-88,2]

Freddy Kempf – Beethoven: Pathetique, Moonlight & Appassionata (2004)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 62:49 minutes | 906 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: eClassical | Digital Booklet | © BIS

The first disc we released with Freddy Kempf playing Beethoven (BIS-CD-1120) was welcomed with great acclaim all over the world. English reviewers called his interpretations “fresh, vibrant readings presented in a fluent eagerly communicative style‚ (Gramophone) and judged that “Kempf’s insight into the character of each of these Olympian masterpieces is astonishing and is allied to formidable virtuosity and musicianship” (Sunday Telegraph). Of course the great thing about Beethoven, as with all great music, is that there are no definitive performances. A performance by a musician with the skills, charisma and musical insights of a Freddy Kempf naturally awakens our appetites. Not because they will, perhaps, tell us more about Beethoven or more about Freddy Kempf, but because, if we are lucky, they will communicate insights into life itself; insights that words cannot convey, that paintings cannot depict, that moving images cannot even approach. Music, in the best instance, communicates at a level that other arts cannot reach. So the best compositions, interpreted by contemporary musicians of the highest calibre, are naturally a mouth-watering prospect. Like this new disc!

Continue reading Freddy Kempf – Beethoven: Pathetique, Moonlight & Appassionata (2004) [eClassical 24-88,2]

Artur Pizarro – Beethoven: Piano Sonatas (2002) [FLAC 24-96]

Artur Pizarro – Beethoven: Piano Sonatas (2002)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz  | Time – 01:18:40 minutes | 1,4 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download  | Digital Booklet | © Linn Records

Since winning the Leeds International Piano Competition in 1990 Artur Pizarro pursues a truly international career. Renowned for his lyrical poeticism and outstanding virtuosity, this is Pizarro’s debut recording for Linn.

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