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Bach Well Tempered Clavier Angela Hewitt

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750)
The Well-Tempered Clavier
New 2008 recording

CDA 67741/4
4 x CD

Clementi Piano Sonatas Vol 3 Howard Shelley

Muzio Clementi (1752–1832)
Complete Piano Sonatas Volume 3

CDA 67729
2 x CD

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Das Wohltemperirte Klavier Book 1 24 Preludes and Fugues, BWV846–869
Das Wohltemperirte Klavier Book 2 24 Preludes and Fugues,

Angela Hewitt piano

Ten years ago Angela Hewitt recorded a version of The Well-Tempered Clavier Book I which dazzled the critical world and record-buying public. It was followed shortly afterwards by Book II which was similarly received.
Now, fresh from her Bach World Tour—in which she performed the complete Well-Tempered Clavier from August 2007 until the end of October 2008 in 58 cities in 21 countries on six continents—Angela has made an entirely new recording of this most iconic of keyboard works.
In a revealing and personal programme note, Angela explains her reasons, both artistic and emotional, for this momentous creative decision. She speaks of the ‘new-found freedom’ that she discovered in her later performances, and especially her use of Fazioli pianos, ‘whose luminous, powerful, and also ever so delicate sounds opened new worlds to me and allowed my imagination to take flight’.
This is an unmissable new release.

‘The result is a precious document, which draws upon her development as a person and a performer over the past 10 years. Playing of this ease and assurance rarely has such a profound understanding of the material. This is no mechanical journey through the cycle of keys, This is life itself.’
Stephen Pritchard - The Observer

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COMPACT DISC 1 [63'17]; Sonata in B flat major Op 13 No 4, Sonata in F major Op 13 No 5, Sonata in F minor Op 13 No 6, Sonata in C major Op 20, Sonata in F major WoO3
COMPACT DISC 2 [59'03]; Sonata in E flat major Op 23 No 1, Sonata in F major Op 23 No 2, Sonata in E flat major Op 23 No 3, Sonata in F major Op 24 No 1, Sonata in B flat major Op 24 No 2

Howard Shelley piano
Dénes Várjon piano

Howard Shelley’s series of Clementi’s piano sonatas is receiving great critical acclaim and is increasing popular interest in this under-recorded composer. The sonatas in the present volume date from the period just after Clementi’s adventures in Europe of 1780–83 that included an unfortunate and well-known confrontation with Mozart, and a protracted stay in Lyons. Clementi moved back to London and there had a considerable reputation as a performer, composer and teacher. His playing was praised, among other things, for its ‘novel freedoms in tempo and dynamics in the service of heightened expression’ and those qualities are noticeable in the works recorded here.

‘Clementi’s sonatas have been neglected for far too long … we have had to wait an extraordinarily long time for a complete survey of this quality … with performances as characterful as Shelley’s and with two CDs for the price of one, this is a genuine bargain, one that is likely to delight and to amaze in equal measure’
(International Record Review) for Vol 2
‘This second instalment of all Clementi’s 70-odd sonatas in chronological order is no less relevatory than the first … the sonatas combine the high spirits and dexterity of Scarlatti with the classicism of Haydn and Mozart; some of the slow movements have an even greater depth of expression than theirs … furthermore, you get two discs for the price of one. Difficult to resist!’
(Classic FM Magazine) for Vol 2

Romantic Piano Concerto Vol 47

Volume 47

CDA 67636

Schumann Cello Works Isserlis

Robert Schumann (1810–1856)
Music for cello and piano

CDA 67661

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SALOMON JADASSOHN Piano Concerto No 1 in C minor Op 89 (1887)
SALOMON JADASSOHN Piano Concerto No 2 in F minor Op 90 (1887)
FELIX DRAESEKE Piano Concerto in E flat major Op 36 (1885/6)

Markus Becker piano Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin
Michael Sanderling

Though barely remembered now, both Salomon Jadassohn and Felix Draeseke were major figures in German musical life in the second half of the 19th century. Both began their studies at the conservative Leipzig Conservatory but after independently encountering Liszt and his work at Weimar in the 1850s both became disciples of that composer and the New German School he established. Jadassohn subsequently returned to Leipzig where he composed and had a long and distinguished teaching career, his pupils including Delius, Grieg and Busoni, while Draeseke finally ended up in Dresden teaching at the Conservatory there.

In a further paralleling of lives, both composers’ concertos were written at almost the same time—Draeseke’s sole example in 1886 and Jadassohn’s two the following year. All three are expertly crafted and feature wonderfully idiomatic piano writing, as one would expect of Liszt pupils. Stylistically they show their links both to Liszt’s single movement forms (Jadassohn 1) and also to more traditional models. While not ground-breaking these are thoroughly enjoyable examples of the genre and one must question why the Jadassohn works in particular, which have truly memorable themes, have been so completely forgotten.

‘This is a stimulating package, very well played: both artists produce the passionate response demanded of them … Markus Becker is well able to undertake the music’s considerable virtuosity’
Praise for REGER Cello Sonatas CDA67581/2 (Gramophone)

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Soiréestücke (Fantasiestücke) Op 73
Adagio and Allegro Op 70
Violin Sonata No 3 in A minor arranged by Steven Isserlis
Abendlied Op 85 No 12 piano duet, arranged by Joseph Joachim
Drei Romanzen Op 94
Fünf Stücke im Volkston Op 102

Steven Isserlis cello
Dénes Várjon piano

Schumann’s affection for the cello ran deep. It was an instrument he had played in his youth, and considered taking up again when, at the age of twenty-two, an accident to his hand forced him to relinquish his dream of being a virtuoso pianist. ‘I want to take up the violoncello again (one needs only the left hand for this) and it will be very useful to me in composing symphonies’, he wrote to his mother. The sound of the cello played without the right hand would have been somewhat minimalist; but his love for the instrument is clearly demonstrated by the cello parts in all four of his symphonies, as well as in the concertos for piano and violin, and of course throughout his chamber music. As the great musicologist Donald Francis Tovey put it: ‘The qualities of the violoncello are exactly those of the beloved dreamer whom we know as Schumann.’

‘Isserlis is a passionate musician, but never thoughtless or frivolous, and the delicacy of his responses on this wonderful set sometimes take the breath away. … Just listen to Isserlis, Bach and your heart, and the music that never dies’
The Times
‘This is the most wondeful cello-playing, surely among the most consistently beautiful to have been heard in this demanding music, as well as the most musically alert and vivid … a disc many will want to return to again and again’
Gramophone (reviews for Bach Suites)

Romantic Violin Concerto Vol 7

Volume 7

CDA 67642

Haydn Piano Trios Florestan Trio

Joseph Haydn (1732–1809)
Piano Trios – 1

CDA 67719

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ARENSKY Violin Concerto in A minor Op 54
TANEYEV Suite de concert Op 28

Ilya Gringolts violin, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Ilan Volkov conductor

This disc juxtaposes two significant Russian works for violin and orchestra, each written by a composer with a close relationship to Tchaikovsky, and each dedicated to the great violinist and pedagogue Leopold Auer. These two concertos are both formidable display pieces, designed to show off Auer’s transcendental technique. Ilya Gringolts, acclaimed as one of the great violin virtuosos of today and lauded for his debut recording on Hyperion (see below), dazzles in this repertoire, ably supported by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under Ilan Volkov.
Arensky’s Violin Concerto is a original single-movement work, cast in contrasting sections. It is a model of the flowering of Russian romantic nationalism: Tchaikovsky’s influence on his friend is pleasingly evident, as is Arensky’s gift for melody and delightful contrasts of musical character. Taneyev’s much larger Suite de concert is a synthesis of different styles: it looks back to the Baroque suite with its different dance movements, the Märchen movement suggesting the high Romanticism of Schumann and the Theme and Variations a homage to Tchaikovsky. Particularly striking is the finale: an energetic and vivacious Tarantella, almost relentless in its onrushing rhythm. As the finale proceeds the dance becomes more frenetic, driving to a viscerally exciting conclusion that must have brought the house down in live performances.

"Ilya Gringolts has the measure of both the virtuosity and the romantic sensibility - his performance of the fantasy is quite outstanding … he plays the lyrical passages with an intense commitment that's reminiscent of Heifetz. His imaginative grasp of the music's expressive character makes for a gripping account of the Elegy … and the unaccompanied items fare just as well … Gringolts' technical command, beautiful intonation and exciting, deep involvement with the music make for a great listening experience"

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Piano Trio in D major HOB XV:24, Piano Trio in G major ‘Gypsy Rondo’ HOB XV:25, Piano Trio in F sharp minor HOB XV:26, Piano Trio in C major HOB XV:27

The Florestan Trio
Susan Tomes piano, Anthony Marwood violin, Richard Lester cello

Chamber music devotees will welcome with enthusiasm this first volume of a new series by one of the world’s greatest piano trios. Every recording by the award-winning Florestan Trio receives extravagant plaudits from the critical world and the public alike. Haydn’s piano trios are a uniquely important body of work in the classical spectrum and a detailed survey by this group is welcome indeed—especially in 2009, when the musical world will commemorate the 200th anniversary of the composer’s death.
The piano trio form (where the piano took centre stage and was accompanied by a violin and a cello) was popular in domestic circles and many composers supplied the market. Haydn took the form beyond the domestic arena, and indeed poured into his accompanied sonatas as much inventiveness and range of musical expression as he did into his mature piano sonatas and string quartets. But the music requires a very different approach from the great piano trios of later composers. It requires a particular sensitivity to the shifting relationships between strings and piano, which Haydn exploits so subtly. When it receives it, these trios are revealed as works with a very special sense of unified, co-operative music-making, unlike anything else in the history of music.

‘At the start of K548’s airy finale, Susan Tomes’ gracefully demure piano is swiftly countered by Anthony Marwood’s raffish forte riposte: and this sense of delighted, quick-witted dialogue between quasi-operatic protagonists runs through the whole movement, abetted by touches of sly, subtle timing, from Marwood especially. No performance of this piece has ever made me smile as much … Talk of an outright winner is always dangerous. For my taste, though, the Florestan’s sparkling, inventive performances, on this disc and its companion, make them a top recommendation for the complete Mozart trios, their claims enhanced by the warm, ideally balanced recording’

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