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!

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Steven Isserlis – reVisions (2010) [eClassical 24-44,1]

Steven Isserlis – reVisions (2010)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 58:10 minutes | 510 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: eClassical | Digital Booklet | © BIS Records
Recorded: November 2009 at the Tapiola Concert Hall, Finland

Steven Isserlis has earned a reputation as one of the foremost cellists of our day. At the same time he has become known for his ingenuity and innovation in programming, something which this disc is the perfect example of. It combines four works for cello and orchestra that wouldn’t even exist without Isserlis – all arrangements made at his personal request, and each of them by the arranger of his personal choice. The most radical reworking is the opening piece, an arrangement based on the fact that Debussy at the age of 19 composed a Suite for cello and orchestra. All that is known for certain about this suite is that its fourth movement was called Intermezzo, and that this piece has survived in a version for cello and piano. In her imaginative reconstruction of – or rather replacement for – Debussy’s original composition, Sally Beamish has used this piece as the opening movement, going on to construct orchestral arrangements of four other Debussy works from the same period, including the piano pieces Rêverie and Danse bohémienne. The two Ravel songs which follow were arranged by Isserlis’ friend, the violinist Richard Tognetti in order to supplement the concert programme for a tour that the two were to make with Tognetti’s own Australian Chamber Orchestra. Vladimir Blok’s orchestration of Prokofiev’s Concertino, which had been left incomplete at the death of the composer, was made as Isserlis was unhappy with the existing arrangement of the work, made by Kabalevsky. The disc closes with the earliest of these four re-visions, film composer Christopher Palmer’s orchestration of Ernest Bloch’s From Jewish Life, allowing the disc to end with the movement entitled Prayer – ‘one of the most fervently beautiful pieces ever written for the cello’, according to Steven Isserlis himself. Throughout the programme Isserlis receives the expert support of Tapiola Sinfonietta conducted by Gábor Takács-Nagy.

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Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Wagner – Rheinmadchen – Ensemble Pygmalion, Raphael Pichon (2016) [eClassical 24-96]

Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Wagner – Rheinmadchen – Ensemble Pygmalion, Raphael Pichon (2016) 
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:14:18 minutes | 1,18 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: eClassical | Digital Booklet | © Harmonia Mundi
Recorded: juillet 2015, Temple du Saint-Esprit, Paris

The Rhine hymned by women’s voices :: A major source of inspiration for writers and painters (Hugo, Nerval, Heine, Eichendorff, Turner) and above all composers throughout Romantic Europe, the legends of the Rhine still enthral our imaginations even today. The Ensemble Pygmalion and Raphaël Pichon invite us on a fantastic voyage through famous works (including Wagner) and others, much more rarely recorded, that are absolute gems of the repertory for female voices.

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Ros: Songs of Christmas – Det Norske Solistkor, Grete Pedersen (2013) [eClassical 24-96]

Ros: Songs of Christmas – Det Norske Solistkor, Grete Pedersen (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 52:30 minutes | 860 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: eClassical | Digital Booklet | @ BIS Records
Recorded: April 2013 at Ris Kirke, Oslo, Norway

“The performances are all sublime, the arrangements equally so, the recording everything you would expect from this source…” musicweb-international.com, 11/2013

“A superb release.” International Record Review 12/2013

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Johan Helmich Roman – The 12 Flute Sonatas Nos. 1-5 – Dan Laurin, Paradiso Musicale (2014) [eClassical 24-96]

Johan Helmich Roman – The 12 Flute Sonatas Nos. 1-5 – Dan Laurin, Paradiso Musicale (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:10:04 minutes | 1,33 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: eClassical.com | Digital Booklet | © BIS Records
Recorded: October 2013 (Sonatas I, II, IV & V); December 2013 (Sonata III) at Petruskyrkan, Stocksund, Sweden

In Stockholm during Johan Helmich Roman’s lifetime, the recorder was the most common wind instrument, used throughout the social spectrum – including the Royal music establishment for which the composer was responsible. The transverse flute, on the other hand, was generally the preserve of the upper classes – the nobility and bourgeosie. Possibly this higher status contributed to Roman’s choice of instrument for the set of XII Sonate a flauto traverso, violone e cembalo that he presented to Queen Ulrika Eleonora the Younger on her birthday in 1727. But that hasn’t stopped the celebrated recorder player Dan Laurin to take up his countryman’s sonatas on his own instrument. In a text included in the CD booklet, Laurin explains his fascination with Roman’s music: ‘complex emotional contexts are contrasted with folk music forms such as the villanella or piva – the music is asymmetrical, irregular and full of unexpected twists, sudden pauses and cadences.’ In it, Laurin hears the influence of the Italian musicians that Roman met in London during his stay there 1715-1721. Especially striking he finds Roman’s affinity with the music of Naples – a music that challenged the stylistic ideals of the baroque. With his fellow musicians in Paradiso Musicale, Laurin therefore opts for an Italianate slant – different continuo settings, ranging from harpsichord alone to the full complement including baroque guitar, provide great variety in realizations characterized by bold and striking harmonizations.

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Rodrigo, Borne, Ibert – Bridge across the Pyrenees – Sharon Bezaly, Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra, John Neschling (2006) [eClassical 24-44,1]

Rodrigo, Borne, Ibert – Bridge across the Pyrenees – Sharon Bezaly, Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra, John Neschling (2006)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 56:50 minutes | 488 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: eClassical | Digital Booklet | @ BIS Records
Recorded: July 2005 at the Sala São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

Separated by the Pyrenees, the musical milieus of Spain and France have sometimes been like oil and water – or maybe like oil and wine. It took Bizet’s opera Carmen to open the ears of the French to the Spanish rhythms and inflections which were to become so important to so many composers after him, from Debussy to Ibert. On the present disc, Carmen – in the guise of Borne’s Fantaisie brillante – plays a similar role, creating a bridge between Rodrigo’s Concierto pastoral and Ibert’s Flute Concerto, two of last century’s main concertante works for the flute. Soloist Sharon Bezaly will hardly need a closer presentation after her highly praised recordings of the past couple of years. Her recital with pianist Ronald Brautigam (BIS-SACD-1429) and her recording of Mozart’s concertos (BIS-SACD-153901) have garnered such high praise and so many distinctions that it would be impossible to list them – suffice it to say that the reviewers have called her ‘a sorceress of timbres’, ‘God’s gift to the flute’, ‘a First Lady among equals’ and a ‘graceful Mozartean, with limpid tone, an impish sense of humour, and sometimes staggering breath control.’ The present recording was made with the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra and conductor John Neschling, whose performances of the music of Brazilian composers Guarnieri, Mignone, Braga and Santoro have been praised for their vitality, rhythmic vigour and wide range of colours – all qualities that should be just the thing for building a bridge across the Pyrenees.

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ORA – Upheld by Stillness, Renaissance Gems and their Reflections (2016) [eClassical 24-96]

ORA – Upheld by Stillness, Renaissance Gems and their Reflections – Volume 1: Byrd (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:18:17 minutes | 1,28 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: eClassical | Digital Booklet | © Harmonia Mundi UK
Recorded: St Alban’s, Holborn 16-18 February 2015

For their first recording for harmonia mundi UK new signing ORA have chosen to focus on that towering figure of the English music scene, William Byrd.

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New York Polyphony – Roma Aeterna (2016) [eClassical 24-96]

New York Polyphony – Roma Aeterna: two Roman masses (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 01:12:07 minutes | 1,32 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: eClassical | Digital Booklet | © BIS Records
Recorded: August 2015 at St Cecilia Cathedral, Omaha, USA

The widely acclaimed vocal ensemble New York Polyphony has on its previous recordings for BIS focussed on Franco-Flemish polyphony (endBeginning, BIS-1949), the English Renaissance (Times go by Turns, BIS-2037) and Christmas (Sing thee Nowell, BIS-2099). Each of these discs – which have been highly praised by the critics, receiving no less than two Grammy Award nominations – has also included contemporary works, resulting in striking resonances between music from across more than half a millennium. With their new album, Roma aeterna, the ensemble follow the example of so many musicians before them and go on a pilgrimage to the Eternal City, but this time they remain in the 16th century throughout the disc, constructing a programme centred on two of the greatest composers of the era – Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina and Tomás Luis de Victoria. Palestrina’s polyphonic art has influenced composers throughout the ages and continues to do so today, and his Missa Papae Marcelli is often regarded as the crowning glory of vocal music from the era. His slightly younger colleague Tomás Luis de Victoria was born in Spain, but went to Rome to study in 1765 and remained there for two decades. During that time he published a number of works, including Missa O quam gloriosum and the motet Gaudent in cœlis. The programme includes works scored for four as well as for six voices, in which the four members of New York Polyphony are variously joined by Tim Keeler (countertenor), Andrew Fuchs (tenor) and Jonathan Woody (bass-baritone).

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Aline Zylberajch, Martin Gester – Mozart: Grandes oeuvres a quatre mains (2014) [eClassical 24-96]

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Grandes oeuvres a quatre mains – Aline Zylberajch, Martin Gester (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:11:33 minutes | 1,16 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: eClassical | Digital Booklet| © K617

Mozart par deux complices musicaux, Aline Zylberajch et Martin Gester. Échappant au domaine des “frivolités musicales de salon”, ces grandes oeuvres de W.A. Mozart vont jusqu’au bout des richesses sonores et polyphoniques que rendent possibles 4 mains se livrant à de subtils jeux de miroirs. Aline Zylberajch et Martin Gester, tour à tour s’affrontant et se joignant, restituent à merveille l’inspiration symphonique qui prévaut dans ces grandes pages.

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Katarina & Svante Henryson – High, Low Or In Between (2015) [eClassical 24-96]

Katarina & Svante Henryson – High, Low or In Between (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 50:10 minutes | 869 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: eclassical.com | @ BIS Records
Recorded: April 2014 at Artipelag, Gustavsberg, Sweden

vante Henryson, the Swedish cellist, composer, double bass and electric bass guitar player, has been awarded the Nordic Council Music Award of some 50’000 Dollars in a ceremony on Iceland. Starting as a double-bass player in the Oslo Phil, he continued as a rock musician in one of Sweden’s more famous hard rock bands, while at all times exploring the classical cello in his own imaginative way, fusing the classical with impulses from other genres.
I have deeply admired him for many years, but only when hearing him and his singing wife Katarina (of Real Group fame) at a private party, had the chance to really approach them with a recording idea. This materialized and the SACD was recentky released.
We take this opportunity to re-present it at very favourable conditions here and now for a few days. Congratulations, Svante! Way to go!!! And congrats to the Nordic Council for a choice, as excellent as it is daring! –Robert von Bahr

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