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recent selections...on classical music network radio


    The Nutcracker...Newly recorded in High Definition

    Christmas gift for the whole family.

    Russia's Mariinsky Theatre Musical Director Valery Gergiev conducts Tchaikovsky's glorious score in this enchanting, traditional production of Christmas favourite The Nutcracker . Vainonen's stunning choreography (from 1934, one of the oldest versions still performed today) is complemented by Simon Virsaladze's wonderfully colourful designs, and the roles of Masha and her Nutcracker Prince are danced by two of the Mariinsky's award-winning international soloists, all of which make this as magical and memorable a Christmas treat as ever. 
    Premiered on 18 December 1892 at the very same Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, The Nutcracker was Tchaikovsky's last ballet. It took him a year to compose what remains today one of the most popular examples of ballet music and Tchaikovsky's most celebrated work. Watch a preview of the Mariinsky Theatre's captivating production:

    Schola Antiqua of Chicago

    During the late Middle Ages and Renaissance there was plenty of music written and performed to celebrate the four weeks leading up to Christmas. Like the festive music heard today, it contains a sense of anticipation and hope surrounding the celebration of Jesus’s birth. Hail Mary, full of grace is an anonymous Medieval carol that originates from a fifteenth-century English manuscript. This performance is taken from Schola Antiqua of Chicago's recent disc of Medieval and Renaissance music for advent, which also includes the world premiere recording of Pierre de la Rue's Missa Conceptio tua. The Illinois-based ensemble, founded in 2000, is led by Michael Alan Anderson and exclusively performs music from before 1600. Click here to buy Schola Antiqua’s collection of Medieval and Renaissance works for advent...

    Elora Festival Singers and The Wonder of Christmas

    Elora Festival Singers (EFS), conducted by internationally acclaimed director Noel Edison, is one of the most exciting of contemporary choirs. Their disc of Eric Whitacre’s choral music (8.559677) was nominated for a GRAMMY® in 2010. Now they turn to the art of the Christmas carol, a genre covering a variety of styles, both popular and refined, each piece expressing religious sentiments and beliefs. The music ranges from much-loved settings to new works, from polyphony to more straightforward melodies, in a recital stretching from the Middle Ages to the music of today. Michael Bloss, Organ


    Gilbert, NY Philharmonic play Nielsen on new release

    The early First Symphony is no makeweight. For all its momentary echoes of Brahms and Dvořák, it’s full of Nielsen’s characteristic turns of melody and harmony and his volatile transitions, framed in one of his purposeful key-schemes,' writes Anthony Burton in his review of this recording in our Christmas issue. 'Gilbert interprets it flexibly and sympathetically, and is rewarded by whole-hearted playing.' Burton adds: ‘I’m already impatient to hear how Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic tackle the towering Fifth and the enigmatic Sixth symphonies.’ Nielsen dedicated his First Symphony to his wife Anne Marie Brodersen, a Danish sculptress he fell in love with in Paris and married in Florence in 1891. The second movement, which you can download here, is an expressive andante full of passionate sweeping melodies and rich wind and string textures.

    EMMANUELLE HAIM conducts Handel: Messiah, HWV 56

    Emmanuelle Haïm (French pronunciation: ​[emanɥɛl aim]) (born in Paris, France, 1967) is a French harpsichordist and conductor with a particular interest in early music and Baroque music.WIKIPEDIA
     Following several acclaimed albums of Handel’s operatic and choral masterpieces (including a triumphant Giulio Cesare with Natalie Dessay as Cleopatra and the oratorio La Resurrezione with British soprano Kate Royal), French harpsichordist and conductor Emmanuelle Haïm at last brings her fresh, expressive approach to Messiah. Joining her on a musically and spiritually uplifting journey for this long-awaited recording is Haïm’s own choir and period-instrument orchestra, Le Concert d’Astrée, with four of the UK’s finest Handelian singers. Having begun her career as a brilliant harpsichordist and protegee of Baroque pioneers William Christie and Christophe Rousset, Haïm has a long history with Messiah. She is invited regularly to conduct the work in France (this album was recorded during performances at the Opéra de Lille in December 2013) and the United States – as in 2012 with the New York Philharmonic. For this complete recording, Haïm opted for an intimate Baroque sound, without reducing the power and impact of this perennial seasonal favourite. “I made the choice of four British singers, with a single countertenor rather than two altos – the configuration used in 1752 at Covent Garden,”

    Bach: Magnificat; Handel: Dixit Dominus, HWV 232 Natalie Dessay, Karine Deshayes.....

    Sakari Oramo conducts Elgar

    Sakari Markus Oramo OBE (born October 26, 1965) is a Finnish conductor.WIKIPEDIA ‘Oramo and his Stockholm orchestra follow their acclaimed recording of the Second Symphony with an account of the First that is about as far from the starchy Edwardiana of Elgarian cliché as one can imagine,’ writes Erica Jeal in her review of this recording in the November issue of BBC Music Magazine. She continues: ‘Oramo has secured a vibrant, electric orchestral sound that underpins everything, making even the slow introduction seem exuberant underneath its finely judged nobilmente breadth.’ Elgar began sketching material for a symphony in 1900, but this was absorbed into three shorter pieces – the first two Pomp and Circumstance marches and the Cockaigne overture. The First Symphony came eight years later. By the time the London premiere arrived on 6 December 1908, there was much anticipation surrounding the performance. That, and the world premiere in Manchester, were conducted by the renowned Hans Richter, who said: ‘let us now rehearse the greatest symphony of modern times, written by the greatest modern composer.’ The London performance was fully-attended and proved a great success.


    Robin Ticciati conducts Schumann

    ‘The first thing to be said about this Schumann cycle is how splendidly alert the orchestral playing is,’ writes Misha Donat in his review of this recording in our November issue. ‘The Scottish Chamber Orchestra must be one of the finest ensembles of its kind in the world today.’ ‘It’s principle conductor, Robin Ticciati, is very much on his toes, too, paying meticulous attention to detail throughout.’ Schumann composed his Symphony No. 1 – Spring – in 1841 over a period of just four days. He was full of excitement about the work, noting in his diary: ‘I am full of thanks to my guardian angel, who has let me finish a large work with such ease… I am tempted to smash my piano; it has become too restrictive for my ideas.’ The inspiration for the Spring Symphony came from a poem by Adolph Böttger that depicts spring’s arrival throwing off the shackles of a cold winter. Robin Ticciati (born 16 April 1983, London) is a British conductor of Italian ancestry. His paternal grandfather, Niso Ticciati, was a composer and arranger. His father is a barrister, and his mother is a therapist. His older brother is a violinist, and his sister is a theology professor.


    Discover Beethoven’s famous & lesser known Piano Sonatas by Maurizio Pollini

    Are you familiar with Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas? Maurizio Pollini has just brought a 40-year project to completion – recording all 32 Beethoven Piano Sonatas! After nearly 40 years, Maurizio Pollini’s Beethoven Sonatas cycle has reached completion. All recordings are now available on a a new 8CD- / part edition. Pollini / Beethoven: A story that goes back to June 1975, when Maurizio Pollini began recording the Beethoven Sonatas, starting with two of the last three – op. 109 and op. 110. The remaining Late Sonatas (op. 101, op. 106 and op. 111) followed in 1976 and 1977. Released initially as single LPs, the subsequent 3-LP set won a Gramophone Award. The story ended in 2014, when the three Sonatas op. 31 and the two of op. 49 were recorded. (Pollini had also recorded op. 31 no. 2, the so-called “Tempest”, before.) Nearly 40 years to record all 32 Sonatas: Pollini’s is the first cycle on Deutsche Grammophon since those of Daniel Barenboim (1981 – 1984) and Emil Gilels (1972 – 1984, incomplete).


    Horszowski Trio plays Saint-Saëns, Fauré and d'Indy

    WEBSITE The superb Horszowski Trio is heard here in their debut recording. The Horszowskis (Jesse Mills, violin; Raman Ramakrishnan, cello; and Rieko Aizawa, piano) draw their name from legendary pianist, Miecyslaw Horszowski, who made one of his specialties the repertoire of the three composers presented here. Horszowski Trio plays: Camille Saint-Saëns: Trio No. 1 in F Major, op. 18 Gabriel Fauré: Trio in D Minor, op. 120 Vincent d'Indy: Trio No. 2 en forme de Suite in G Major, op. 98


    Llŷr Williams (born Pentrebychan, Wrexham, Wales 1976) is a Welsh pianist.

    Williams was educated at Ysgol Hooson in Rhosllannerchrugog and Ysgol Morgan Llwyd in Wrexham, and then read music at The Queen's College, Oxford from 1995-1998, finishing with a First-Class degree and being awarded The Gibbs Prize in Music for outstanding performance in his final examinations. He attended the Royal Academy of Music as a postgraduate scholar and studied with Michael Dussek, Iain Ledingham, Hamish Milne, Julius Drake, and Irina Zaritskaya. He won every available prize at the Academy and received its highest academic award, the Diploma of the Royal Academy of Music (DipRAM) (2000). Upon graduating he was elected to a Shinn[disambiguation needed] Fellowship (2000-02), during the tenure of which he studied conducting and coaching singing.


    Llŷr Williams’s Wagner Without Words disc features piano transcriptions from Richard Wagner's Tannhäuser, The Flying Dutchman, Lohengrin and Götterdämmerung as well as three of only a handful of works the composer wrote for the piano: the Fantasy, Zürich Waltzes and this ‘Song Without Words’.


    Nadia Shpachenko • Pianist

     World Premiere recordings of new works for piano, chamber instruments and electronics from 4 notable modern composers SAN FRANCISCO - The new works were composed as a celebration of a newly transformed world, for the new 5,125 year cycle of the Mayan Calendar- inspired by the happy fact that the world did NOT end on December 21, 2012 at the end of the previous Mayan Calendar cycle! All the pieces touch on themes of transformation, of resonances across time, of cycles of rebirth. [1] Tom Flaherty: Airdancing for toy piano, piano, and electronics (premiere) [2-6] Peter Yates: Finger Songs (premiere) [7-10] Adam Schoenberg: Picture Etudes for solo piano (premiere) [11-13] Tom Flaherty: Part Suite-a for solo piano (premiere) [14] James Matheson: Cretic Variations for solo piano (premiere) [15] Adam Schoenberg: Bounce for two pianos (premiere)

      Pianist Nadia Shpachenko-Gottesman is currently Associate Professor of Music, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She has performed extensively in solo recitals and with orchestras in major venues across North America, Europe and Asia. She recently toured Mexico with Orquesta de Baja California, performed with the Kharkov Philharmonic, the Ukrainian National Symphony and the Ukrainian National Radio Symphony Orchestras in Ukraine and the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra in California. As a young pianist, Nadia won top prizes in numerous competitions, including the Wideman International Piano Competition, Grace Welsh International Piano Competition, California International Young Artists Piano Competition, Corpus Christi International Piano Competition, National Federation of Music Clubs Young Artist Competition, MTNA Collegiate Piano Competition, SouthEast Symphony Concerto Competition, and the USC Piano Concerto Competition. In 2003 Nadia had her New York debut recital at Carnegie Hall, as the winner of Artists International Special Presentation Award.

    Sparkling Saint-Saëns from Natalie Clein

    ‘It is the light airiness of Natalie Clein’s approach that works well here,’ writes Helen Wallace in her review of this recording in the October issue of BBC Music Magazine. OFFICIAL WEBSITE | WIKIPEDIA

     Natalie Clein (born 25 March 1977, Poole, Dorset) is a British cellist. Her mother is a professional violinist. Her sister is the actress Louisa Clein. Clein started playing the cello at the age of six, and studied with Anna Shuttleworth and Alexander Baillie at the Royal College of Music where she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Scholarship. She has also studied with Heinrich Schiff in Vienna.

    Robert Smith, viola

    Robert Smith is an English viola da gambist and baroque cellist. In 2012 he won the Bach-Abel Viola da Gamba Competition in Köthen, taking the First Prize, Audience Prize and Special Prize. His performance of a heavy-metal transcription of a Metallica song was especially noted. more

    Baroque Bass

    Guitarist Roberto Moronn Pérez researched newly recovered works and found some pieces that had never been recorded

    Following his successful debut album of Spanish composers, Roberto Moronn Pérez performs selected works from the "Andrés Segovia Archive", this time showcasing the French composers. The genesis for this unique project is a collection of pieces recovered in May 2001 at Segovia's home in Spain. These pieces were dedicated to Segovia or commissioned by him, involving composers from eight countries. They were subsequently published as "The Segovia Archive Series" by Edizione Musicale Bèrben. Guitarist Roberto Moronn Pérez researched these newly recovered works and found some pieces that had never been recorded, and those that had were handicapped by poor visibility in the marketplace and limited distribution. This realization sparked the thought that here was an opportunity: a series of recordings organized around the nationalities of the composers in the Segovia Archive.


    Judicael Perroy (b1973) Guitarist

    Born in Paris in 1973, Judicaël Perroy began his guitar studies at the Paris Academy of Music at the age of seven and from eleven to fifteen his main studies were with Raymond Gratien. An acknowledged prodigy by the age of eleven, he won numerous prizes culminating with his triumph in October 1997 at the Guitar Foundation of America International Solo Competition, earning him the winner’s tour of the Americas, with over sixty concerts and masterclasses. He is in great demand as a teacher and adjudicator at numerous international festivals. His students continue to win top prizes in regional, national and international competitions worldwide while he tours extensively throughout the world along with his appearances in duo (Paris Guitar Duo) with the French guitarist Jeremy Jouve since 2003. He has made a number of recordings while teaching at the National Academy of Aulnaysous-Bois and has been appointed to a teaching position at the Pôle Supérieur of Lille starting in September 2011. It was Francisco Tárrega, composer and guitarist, who first transcribed Bach’s music for his own instrument, offering colour, tonal variety and clarity in an exploration of counterpoint. Tristan Manoukian’s transcription of the Partita No. 2 honours the precedent in its virtuosic and expressive writing. It is possible that the Suite and the Prelude, Fugue and Allegro were originally conceived for the so-called “lute-harpsichord”, a keyboard strung with gut that sounded like a lute. Bach’s version of Vivaldi’s Violin Concerto transforms and refashions it, and the guitar transcription is perfectly suited to convey the richness of its invention. Prizewinning guitarist Judicaël Perroy is one of the most exciting talents to have emerged in years.


    New release from Joel Fan (b. United States, July 29, 1969) American pianist

    Pianist Joel Fan is one of the most dynamic and accomplished musicians performing before the public today! He is consistently acclaimed for his recitals, recordings, and appearances with orchestras throughout the world. His concerts attract a wide range of audiences, as he has eagerly embraced traditional piano literature as well as an eclectic range of repertoire, including new music commissioned especially for him, world music, and his own transcriptions. Joel Fan is recognized for his work with cellist Yo-Yo Ma as a member of the Silk Road Ensemble, with performances at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. This release follows two outstanding solo albums on Reference Recordings: RR-106 World Keys and RR-119 West of the Sun. This CD is Northwest Sinfonietta’s first release with Reference Recordings, and to quote them: they are “thrilled and honored with their collaboration with long-time partner and phenomenal pianist Joel Fan.” Fan was born in the United States to parents from Taiwan. He began studying piano seriously at the Juilliard School and has received both a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University and a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from the Peabody Institute. His performing career began with the New York Philharmonic at the age of 11 after having won the Philharmonic's Young People's Concert Auditions. He has since made appearances internationally in recital and with orchestras such as the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, New Symphony Orchestra of Bulgaria, Santa Fe Pro Musica, and Singapore Symphony Orchestra.


    Mahan Esfahani (Persian: ماهان اصفهانی ) (born 1984) is an Iranian-American harpsichordist; he is the first harpsichordist named as a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist. As a concerto soloist and recitalist, he has gained an international reputation.

    Born in Tehran, Esfahani grew up in the United States. While at Stanford University, Esfahani studied musicology and came most seriously under the influence of the American scholar George Houle. Later, he continued his harpsichord studies with the Australian harpsichordist Peter Watchorn in Boston and with the Italian organist Lorenzo Ghielmi in Milan, He and completed his studies with the Czech harpsichordist Zuzana Růžičková. Unlike the mainstream of harpsichordists concertising today he has largely diverged from the school of Gustav Leonhardt, though he does cite him as an important spiritual influence.  WIKIPEDIA 
    Harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani contrasts and connects the keyboard works of William Byrd, Bach and Ligeti in this concert recital recorded at London’s Wigmore Hall,’ begins Kate Bolton in her review of this recording in the August issue of BBC Music Magazine. She goes on to say: ‘He brings intelligence and grace to the Ricecars and a canon from Bach’s Music Offering, their contrapuntal lines spun with limpid clarity,’ awarding the disc five stars for both the performance and recording quality. JS Bach composed his Musical Offering as a tribute to Frederick the Great after paying him a visit in 1747. While there, the monarch challenged Bach to improvise three- and six-part fugues at the keyboard, a challenge he met with improvised three-part fugues and a six-part one on a theme the king had previously composed. Several weeks later Bach completed his Musical Offering, a set of pieces on this ‘Royal Theme’.


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