DOWNLOAD NEWS 2014/5
by Albert Q Lam and Brian Wilson
Download News 2014/4 is here and the index of earlier editions is here.
Index of reviews 2014/5 and earlier reviews mentioned there:
CORELLI Sonatas Opp.1 and 3 - Avison Ensemble - Linn 2014/5
DEBUSSY La Mer - Järvi + MILHAUD, ROUSSEL - Chandos 2014/5
DOWLAND Art of Melancholy - Davies - Hyperion 2014/5
DOWLAND Crystal Teares - Scholl - Harmonia Mundi 2013/3
DOWLAND etc Lute Songs and solos - Kirkby etc - BIS 2014/5
DOWLAND etc. Honey from the Hive - Kirkby - BIS Sep 2012/1
DOWLAND In darknesse let me dwell - Mields - DHM 2014/5
DOWLAND Lachrimae, etc. - Dowland Consort - BIS Sep 2012/1
DOWLAND Lachrimae, etc. - Hathor Cons - Fuga Libera 2014/5
DOWLAND Lachrimae, etc. - King's Noyse - Harmonia Mundi 2014/5
DOWLAND Lachrimae, etc. - North - Naxos 2014/5
DOWLAND Lachrimae, etc. - O'Dette, etc - Hyperion Helios Jul 2010/1
DOWLAND Lute Songs - Hughes - Alpha 2014/5
LANGGAARD Sfaerernes Musik, etc - Dausgaard - DaCapo 2014/5
LANGGAARD Sfaerernes Musik, etc - Rozhdestvensky - Chandos 2014/5
Marie et Marion: 13-Cent. Motets and Chansons - Anon 4 - Harmonia Mundi 2014/5
MASSENET Orchestral Music - Järvi - Chandos 2014/5
MOZART Piano 4-hands - Bellom and Margain - Aparté 2014/5
Music for a King: The Winchester Troper, 11 Cent. - Aeon 2014/5
ROUSSEL Symphony No.4 - Järvi + MILHAUD, DEBUSSY - Chandos 2014/5
SCHUBERT Symphonies 3-5 - Dausgaard - BIS 2014/5
SCHUBERT Symphony No.6; Rosamunde - Dausgaard - BIS 2013/10
SHOSTAKOVICH Cello Concertos 1 and 2 - Mørk/Petrenko - Ondine 2014/5
There’s a survey of recent Holy Week and Easter music, mainly from the Outhere group - here.
Albert Lam’s reviews
PICKS OF THE WEEK
Jules MASSENET (1842-1885) Suite de ballet from ‘Le Cid’, Le Dernier Sommeil de la Vierge, Overture to ‘Le Roi de Lahore’, Fantaisie for Cello and Orchestra, Ouverture de ‘Phèdre’, Scène Religieuse from ‘Les Érinnyes’, Entr’acte Sevillana from ‘Don César de Bazan’, Scènes Pittoresques , Méditation from ‘Thaïs’ – Truls Mørk (cello), Orchestre de la Suisse Romande/Neeme Järvi rec. 2013 CHANDOS CHAN 5137 [86:22] – mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless, studio surround sound from theclassicalshop.net
Neeme Järvi and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande deliver another winning album of French orchestral music. Massenet may be a composer best known for his operas, but he also composed a number of marvelous, colorful orchestral works – ballet music, overtures, and orchestral suites that are well represented by the selections on this recording. Among the larger works included in the diverse program are the Spanish-flavored ballet suite from Le Cid, the dramatic overtures to Le Roi de Lahore and Phèdre, the charming four-movement suite Scènes Pittoresques, and the rarely heard Fantaisie for Cello and Orchestra, featuring Norwegian cellist Truls Mørk. Chandos also offers downloaders a bonus track: an arrangement for cello and orchestra of Massenet’s Meditation from Thaïs. Järvi and the OSR deliver performances that sparkle with radiance and remind us of why this music should be performed more often.
Prior to acquiring this album, if I wanted to listen to Massenet, I’d reach for the classic Decca recording of Albert Wolff and the Paris Conservatoire Orchestra (Eloquence ELQ4802382) or the late 1970s recordings of John Eliot Gardiner with the Orchestre National de l’Opéra de Monte-Carlo on Erato (Warner 2564 62085-2). Both of those still come highly recommended; however, neither can compete with this new release in terms of sound quality. This repertoire is given its finest-sounding recording to date, with the 24-bit studio master presenting the OSR with remarkable clarity and openness, stunning dynamics, and a soundstage of considerable width and depth.
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Andante and Variations in G Major, KV 501, Sonata in C Major, KV 521, Sonata in F Major, KV 497 – Guillaume Bellom (piano), Ismaël Margain (piano) – rec. 2013 APARTÉ AP078 [58:54] – 24-bit lossless from eclassical.com
In their second album for Aparté, the duo of Guillaume Bellom (piano prize, 2008 Besançon Young Musicians competition) and Ismaël Margain (prize-winner in the 2012 Long-Thibaud competition) turns out delightful performances of three of Mozart’s works for piano four-hands. This recording is prime evidence of the musical synergy between these two young pianists, who clearly communicate the joy and vitality in this music. Balance is just about perfect, and everything from their crisp articulation and clean delivery to the unity of phrasing and dynamic control contributes to the seamless integration of their individual parts. I would have loved to hear their rendition of the Sonata in D Major, KV 448, though I can always turn to the classic Perahia/Lupu recording for this. The piano is beautifully captured with a nice ambience. Currently available only as a download, this recording is guaranteed to deliver much musical enjoyment.
… of labels from A to Z
And now, for the news on the most recent classical releases available for download:
Acoustic Sounds now offers high-resolution downloads, including 96kHz/24-bit and 176kHz/24-bit lossless and the latest Direct Stream Digital (DSD) formats for audiophiles with the appropriate playback equipment and storage space looking for top notch sound quality. 118 classical titles are currently available. New arrivals include Daniel Harding’s new Decca recording with the Saito Kinen Orchestra in a performance of Richard Strauss’ Alpine Symphony. Those of you who have once owned and treasured René Leibowitz’s legendary 1962 sonic blockbuster recording for RCA, The Power of the Orchestra, which paired Mussorgsky’s A Night on Bare Mountain with Pictures at an Exhibition, will be pleased to see this re-mastered in DSD for the first time for the price of $24.98. Several revered Reference Recordings, including a number of albums from Eiji Oue and the Minnesota Orchestra, have also been recently made available for download in DSD format, though expect to pay $24.99-$29.99 per album for the privilege.
For their second release on the French Aparté label, the young piano duo of Guillaume Bellom andIsmaël Margain turn from Schubert to Mozart, exploring the Andante and Variations in G Major, KV 501; Sonata in C Major, KV 521; and Sonata in F Major, KV 497 (mp3, 16-bit, and 24-bit lossless from eclassical.com) (see above.)
The Mandelring Quartett complete their cycle of Mendelssohn’s complete chamber music for strings with Volume IV, just released byAudite Muskproduktion. This final issue sees the quartet championing Mendelssohn’s often overlooked string quintets and Four Pieces for String Quartet, Op. 81 (mp3 from iTunes or amazon.com).
BIS Records reunites Osmo Vänskä with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra for a new recording of Sibelius’ tone poems, Lemminkäinen Suite and The Wood Nymph (mp3, 16-bit-, and 24-bit lossless from eclassical.com ). (BIS-SACD-1745: Look out for my review of this to appear on the main MusicWeb International pages. BW)
New on the Brilliant Classics label is an album of solo piano music (Album Leaves and Sketches) by Smetana, performed by Roberto Plano, and the Complete Works for Cello and Piano of Alfredo Casella, performed by cellistAndrea Favelessa and pianist Maria Semeraro, both now available for download from Presto Classical (mp3 and 16-bit lossless).
Following his well-received, live BR Klassik recordings of the Beethoven symphonies, Mariss Jansons conducts the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischens Rundfunks in new live recordings of the Sixth Symphonies of Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky. Scheduled for official release at the end of April, you can beat the crowd and download them ahead of time at Presto Classical (mp3 and 16-bit lossless)
Chicago-based Cedille Records has released a new recording bringing violinists Jennifer Koh and Jaime Laredo together with the Curtis 20/21 Ensemble (conducted by Vinay Parameswaran) in an album appropriately titled Two x Four, which includes works by J.S. Bach, Philip Glass, Anna Clyne, and David Ludwig (mp3, 16-bit lossless from eclassical.com)
Champs Hill Records has just released the debut album of Italian pianist Federico Colli, winner of the 2012 Leeds International Piano Competition, who performs Beethoven’s “Appassionata” Sonata, Scriabin’s Sonata No. 10, Op. 70, and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. This is currently available in mp3 format only from iTunes and amazon.com
You can get the lead on Chandos’ May CD releases at The Classical Shop, where they are currently available for download in mp3, 16-bit, 24-bit studio master, and studio surround sound. Walton’s Symphony No. 1 and Violin Concerto are the focus of the latest offering from violinist Tasmin Little, conductor Edward Gardner, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. (CHSA/CHAN536: These are performances that vie with the very best. Look out for my full review to appear on the main MusicWeb International pages. BW).
Pianist Xiayin Wang returns with another program of Rachmaninov, this time recording the two Piano Sonatas with a selection of Op. 23 Preludes. Neeme Järvi and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande continue their hi-fi traversal of romantic French orchestral music with a new recording of works by Jules Massenet (a Pick of the Week – see above). Expect a potpourri of music from his well-known operas and ballets as well as a rarely heard Fantasie for Cello and Orchestra, featuring Truls Mørk, and the charming Scènes Pittoresques. The duo of Paul and Huw Watkins sets down volume three of their ongoing British Works for Cello and Piano, turning their attention to sonatas by Rawsthorne, Rubbra and Moeran. Baroque music fans will find a new album of J.S. Bach’s keyboard works with harpsichordist Steven Divine, including the Italian Concerto and French Overture, among others, on the Chaconne label.
Following his recently acclaimed recording of the Brahms Violin Concerto, violinist Leonidas Kavakos joins forces with pianist Yuja Wang for a new recording of Brahms’ Violin Sonatas out on the Decca label (mp3 and 16-bit lossless from Presto Classical, UK only).
Deutsche Grammophon presents the follow-up release to the 2011 collaboration between Maurizio Pollini and the Staatskapelle Dresden conducted by Christian Thielemann in a new recording of Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2. This is Pollini’s second take at this concerto, the first being his 1976 DG recording with Claudio Abbado and the Vienna Philharmonic (mp3 and 16-bit lossless from Presto Classical, UK only).
The latest from Fuga Libera, Belgian pianist Jan Michiels takes listeners on a fascinating 3-disc journey entitledLost in Venice with Prometheus, a cleverly programmed musical narrative centred around a piano arrangement of Beethoven’sCreatures of Prometheus that also takes listeners through works of Bach, Liszt, Wagner, Nono, and Holliger (mp3 and 16-bit lossless from Presto Classical).
Harmonia Mundi presents the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin in a new recording entitled Mozart: Adagios & Fugues, which explores the series of string arrangements that Mozart made of J.S. Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier. Tenor Werner Güra is joined by the trio of Christoph Berner on fortepiano, Julia Schröder on violin, and Roel Dieltiens on cello in an exploration of a set of Franz Joseph Haydn’s arrangements of Scottish “national melodies” (mp3, 16-bit, and 24-bit lossless from eclassical.com).
Hyperion Records has just released its April 2014 line-up, now available in mp3, 16-bit, and 24-bit studio master format. Chamber and instrumental music are at the forefront this month, with releases by the Takács Quartet, joined by violist Lawrence Power in a new recording of Brahms’ String Quintets, and the team of Piers Lane and the Goldner String Quartet, who follow up their recent Russian piano quintets album with a release dedicated to lesser-known but enchanting chamber music by French composers Gabriel Pierné and Louis Vierne. British violinist Jack Liebeck, winner of a Classical Brit in 2010, makes his debut for the label with pianist and frequent collaborator Katya Apekisheva in an album of Fritz Kreisler favorites. Fans of the Romantic Violin Concerto will be pleased to the ongoing series extend to album number 75 with the debut release of Russian violinist Eugene Ugorski, who, together with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Michal Dworzynski, presents violin concertos by the Polish composers Emil Mlynarski and Aleksander Zarzycki. Countertenor Iestyn Davies and lutenist Thomas Dunford explore the songs of John Dowland in an album aptly entitled The Art of Melancholy. (See review below. BW) Two vocal albums – countertenor duets by Purcell and Blow with James Bowman, Michael Chance, and The King’s Consort, and Hugo Wolf’s Eichendorff-Lieder with Stephan Genz and Roger Vignoles – are the month’s budget reissues on the Helios label.
ICA Classics presents the latest release of American pianist Ingrid Jacoby, who, following her recently acclaimed Beethoven concerto cycle on the same label, performs Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos. 14 and 27 and the Rondo for Piano and Orchestra in D Major, K. 382 withSir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields (mp3, 16-bit lossless on eclassical.com).
This month’s picks from Linn Records include Bruckner’s Symphony No. 2, given an infrequently heard chamber scale performance by Trevor Pinnock and the Royal Academy of Music Soloists Ensemble, and Mozart’s Requiem, given a fresh, period interpretation by the Dunedin Consort with John Butt conducting. (CKD449: A very strong contender - reviewed in DL News 2014/4. BW). Both are available direct from Linn and from Hyperion Records and Presto Classical.
New on Naxos: Volume 4 of the complete Lieder of 19th century German composer Peter Cornelius features tenorMarkus Schafer, pianist Matthias Veit, baritones Hans Christoph Begemann and Matthias Hausmann, and soprano Christina Landshamer. Aldo Orvieto returns with Volume 2 of the complete piano music of 20th century Italian composer Camillo Togni. Antoni Wit conducts the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir in Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45. In another installment in the Wind Band Classics series, Gerard Schwarz leads The President’s Own United States Marine Band in an assortment of mostly 20th century American works by Barber, Copland, Creston, Grainger, Offenbach, Rands, and Schwarz. And last but not least,Vasily Petrenko completes his highly acclaimed Shostakovich symphony cycle with No. 14 in G Minor, Op. 135, featuring sopranoGal James and baritone Alexander Vinogradov (mp3, 16-bit lossless from classicsonline.com and Presto Classical). (8.573132: see DL News 2014/4 and review by John Quinn. BW).
Canadian baritone Gerald Finley makes his debut for Ondine with an album of songs by Shostakovich, accompanied by theHelsinki Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Thomas Sanderling. Norwegian cellist Truls Mørk performs the Shostakovich cello concertos with Vasily Petrenko and theOslo Philharmonic Orchestra, also making their debut recording together (mp3, 16-bit lossless from eclassical.com and Presto Classical). ( ODE1218-2 – see review below. BW.)
Mikhail Pletnev and the Russian National Orchestra complete their Tchaikovsky symphony cycle for Pentatone Classics with a new SACD recording of the Manfred Symphony (mp3, 16-bit lossless from Presto Classical).
Timpani continues its efforts to revive the music of the French composer, conductor, and flutist Philippe Gaubert, offering a new recording of chamber music with violinist Jean-Marc Phillips-Varjabédian, cellist Henri Demarquette, and pianist Marie-Josèphe Jude (mp3, 16-bit, and 24-bit lossless from eclassical.com).
Warner Classics presents the Artemis Quartet in a new two-disc set of Mendelssohn’s String Quartets No. 2, 3, & 6 (mp3 from itunes).
Two separate recordings of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition (orch. Ravel) have been issued by Zig-Zag Territories. Emmanuel Krivine leads the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg in the modern orchestral interpretation of this work, paired with another Russian favorite, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade. Jos Van Immerseel and his period instrument orchestra, Anima Eterna Brugge, go for a more historically-informed performance, coupling it with Ravel’s Ma Mère L’oye (mp3, 16-bit lossless from Presto Classical). (I plan to review these in the near future. BW.)
Brian Wilson’s reviews
Music for a King: The Winchester Troper (XIth Century) ( transcribed and edited Susan Rankin)
Alleluia / Versicles - Pascha nostrum / Epulemur [4:09]
Pascha nostrum – troped Communion: Laus honor virtus / Peccata nostra / Ipse surrexit / Leo de tribu Iuda [4:25]
Pierre CHÉPÉLOV (b.1979) O qui perpetua mundum ratione gubernas [7:22]
Processional antiphon: Firmetur manus tua [3:37]
Resurrexi – Troped Introit: Postquam factus homo / In regno superno / Laudibus angelorum / Tibi canunt angeli [7:36]
Doxa en ipsistis - Gloria [4:56]
Joel RUST (b.1989) Sunt etenim pennæ volucres mihi [6:03]
Alleluia / Sequence - Rex in æternum [5:52]
Prose - Prome casta contio carmina [3:31]
Hymn - O redemptor summe carmen [4:52]
Troped Kyrie - Miserere domine [2:43]
Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat / Laudes royales [7:52]
rec German Evangelical Church, Paris, 11-14 March, 2013. DDD
Texts and translations included
AEON AECD1436 [62:52] – available from outhere-music.com. Due for release on CD in UK 21 April, 2014. Mp3 download available from amazon.co.uk .
Let me get one annoyance out of the way first: in no way do the two modern works, though based on texts from Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy, hugely influential in the Middle Ages, add anything to this recording for me. Their style is totally at odds with the ethereal music of a thousand years ago. Otherwise I might well have made this revelatory album Recording of the Month, since it has brought to life for me the Regularis Concordia or Benedictine Reform of late Anglo-Saxon times, hitherto simply mere names in reference books, such as the Benedictional of Æthelwold (now in the British Library) and fine art work such as decorated the charter for the New Minster at Winchester.
What we have is the music of the Mass of Easter Sunday as it might have sounded at the coronation of Edward the Confessor in Winchester in April 1043. The word ‘trope’ refers to the practice of elaborating originally short texts with extra words and music, as with the Easter versicle and response which opens the programme in the original plainsong, followed by an extended version. The booklet very helpfully prints the original words – only a fraction of the final troped version – in italics.
Don’t let the description ‘early two-part polyphony’ tempt you to think that it sounds in any way like the polyphony of the renaissance; if you know the music of Abbess Hildegard of Bingen – and you should* – you ought to like what you hear on this recording, especially as the fact that it’s sung by an all-female ensemble makes it sound even more like most of the available recordings of Hildegard. All questions of how authentic female voices are in this music and what degree of guesswork has been involved in reconstructing it fall away in listening. Don’t worry that the early period of this music will put it out of your reach – if anything it sounds like the work of some of the contemporary composers of tuneful choral music that you may hear on Radio 3 and Classic FM.
My review download from outheremusic.com came in 192kb/s mp3, a low bit-rate but it sounds well enough, so the amazon.co.uk download – usually at around 250kb/s – while not ideal, should sound more than adequate. You won’t get the fine booklet with the Amazon download, but you can read that at outhere.com.
* if not, the starting point for putting that right is A Feather on the Breath of God, Hyperion CDA66039: Emma Kirkby and Gothic Voices/Christopher Page, 44 minutes of utter delight, available to download from hyperion-records.co.uk for £4.99 in mp3 or lossless.
Marie et Marion : Motets and Chansons from the Montepellier Codex (13th-century France)
Mater dei plena / Mater virgo pia / EIUS (Montpelier Codex 66) [2:20]
He mere diu / La virge marie / APTATUR (Mo 146) [1:31]
A la clarte qui tout / ET ILLUMINARE (Mo 189) [2:21]
Marie assumptio afficiat / Hujus chori suscipe / [TENOR] (Mo 322) [2:35]
Chanson: De la gloriouse fenix (Ruth Cunningham) [5:38]
Ave lux luminum / Salve virgo rubens / NEUMA (Mo 56) [2:00]
Plus joliement c ’onques / Quant li douz tans / PORTARE (Mo 257) [1:31]
Reverdie: Volez vous que je vous chant (Susan Hellauer) [3:52]
J ’ai les biens / Que ferai biau sire / IN SECULUM (Mo 138) [1:07]
Que ferai biaus sire / Ne puet faillir / DESCENDENTIBUS (Mo 77) [1:24]
Pensis chief enclin / [FLOS FILIUS EIUS] (Mo 239) [2:13]
L ’autre jour par un matinet / Hier matinet trouvai / ITE MISSA EST (Mo 261) [1:33]
Quant florist la violete / El mois de mai / ET GAUDEBIT (Mo 135) [1:46]
Sans orgueil et sans envie / [MAIOR] IOHAN[NE] (Mo 225) [1:56]
Trois serors / Trois serors / Trois serors / [PERLUSTRAVIT] (Mo 27) [1:25]
Chanson: Amors me fait commencier (Marsha Genensky) [4:19]
En mai quant rosier / L ’autre jour par un matin / HE RESVELLE TOI ROBIN (Mo 269) [1:22]
Pucelete bele et avenant / Je languis des maus / DOMINO (Mo 143) [0:59]
Diex qui porroit / En grant dolour / APTATUR (Mo 278) [2:02]
Pour chou que j ’aim / Li joli tans / KYRIELEISON (Mo 299) [2:21]
Chanson: J ’ai un cuer trop lait (Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek) [4:39]
Par une matinee / Mellis stilla / DOMINO (Mo 40) [1:40]
Or voi je bien / Eximium decus / VIRGO (Mo 273) [2:50]
Plus bele que flor / Quant revient et fuelle / L ’autrier joer / FLOS [FILIUS EIUS] (Mo 21) [2:41]
Anonymous 4 (Ruth Cunningham, Marsha Genensky, Susan Hellauer, Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek)
rec. Skywalker Sound, Marin County, CA, May 2013 and Rogers Center for the Arts, Merrimack College, North Andover, MA, August 2013. DDD
Pdf booklet with texts and translations included
HARMONIA MUNDI HMU807524 [55:46] – from eclassical.com (mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless) or stream from Naxos Music Library
It’s often difficult to decide whether a particular medieval lyric, in French or English, is addressed to the beloved or to the Virgin Mary. It’s apparent even at a glance from the list of titles above that some of the works in the Montpellier Codex exist with secular French words, and also French or more often Latin sacred words, several texts sung simultaneously, based on plainsong tunes, the latter capitalised in the listings above, in Latin. Anonymous 4 have already mined the Montpellier Codex for music on the theme of fin amors or Courtly Love on their earlier CD Love’s Illusion. Now they return for some more fine music from the Codex where secular and sacred exist separately or, in the final group of works, in harmony.
Those who have already fallen under Anonymous 4’s mellifluous spell will need no description nor will they need my urging to obtain their latest album. Newcomers could do much worse than to begin here, with good recording and a booklet containing helpful notes, texts and translations included in the deal.
The earlier collection, Love’s Illusion, is also available from eclassical.com (mp3 and lossless) though there’s no booklet this time. (HMU907109).
John DOWLAND (1563-1626)
Lachrimæ or Seaven Teares Figured in Seaven Passionate Pavans, with divers other Pavans, Galiards, and Almands, set forth for the Lute, Viols, or Violons, in five parts (1604)
Lachrimæ Antiquæ [4:37]
Lachrimæ Antiquæ Novæ [4:25]
Lachrimæ Gementes [4:35]
Lachrimæ Tristes [5:25]
Lachrimæ Coactæ [4:29]
Lachrimæ Amantis [4:52]
Lachrimæ Veræ [5:00]
M. Nicholas Gryffith his Galiard [1:57]
Sir John Souch his Galiard [1:15]
The King of Denmarks Galiard (variation by Robert Dowland, from A varietie of Lute Lessons, London 1610) [1:52]
The Earle of Essex Galiard [1:16]
Mrs. Nichols Almand [1:35]
M. Thomas Collier his Galiard with 2 Trebles [1:19]
M. George Whitehead his Almand [1:12]
M. Bucton his Galiard [1:25]
Sir Henry Umptons Funerall [5:52]
Captaine Piper his Galliard [1:21]
M. Henry Noell his Galiard [1:48]
M. Giles Hoby his Galiard [1:17]
M. John Langtons Pavan [5:09]
Semper Dowland semper dolens [7:05]
Hathor Consort (Romina Lischka, treble viol and direction), Liam Fennelly (treble viol and tenor viol), Thomas Baeté (tenor viol), Anne Bernard (bass viol), Benoît Vanden Bemden (violone), Sofie vanden Eynde (lute)
rec. Notre-Dame de l:Assomption, Bra-sur-Lienne (Belgium), 25-28 June, 2013. DDD
FUGA LIBERA FUG718 [67:57] Released by outhere-music.com on 8 April 2014 and from amazon.co.uk on 19 May 2014. (Pdf booklet available from outhere link above).
BIS BIS-CD-315 : Dowland Consort/Jakob Lindberg – my benchmark recording – see September 2012/1 DL Roundup
HYPERION HELIOS CDH55339 : Paul O’Dette (lute); The Parley of Instruments/Peter Holman. A fine alternative to the BIS recording, with a slightly larger consort – see July 2010 DL Roundup
HARMONIA MUNDI HMU907275 : Seaven Teares (Lachrimæ and excerpts from First Booke of Songes and Second Booke of Songes) – Ellen Hargis (soprano); Paul O’Dette (lute); The King’s Noyse/David Douglass. This very fine recording seems to have been deleted but it’s available from eclassical.com (mp3 and lossless).
DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 88697225022 : In Darkness Let Me Dwell – Dorothee Mields (soprano); Hille Perl (viola da gamba); Lee Santana (lute); Sirius Viols. ‘I don’t think most purchasers will be seriously disappointed with this new … CD’, but it doesn’t include the whole of Lachrimæ – review
Naxos 8.557862 : Nigel North (lute) ‘At Naxos’s excellent price this surely cannot be resisted’ – review and ‘There is only one thing to say about this wonderful recital: buy it!’ – review
The Art of Melancholy: Songs by John DOWLAND
Sorrow, stay [3:08]
Come again, sweet love doth now invite [4:16]
Go Crystal tears [3:19]
Mrs Winter’s Jump [0:48]
I saw my Lady weepe [5:34]
Flow my teares (Lacrimæ) [4:45]
Can she excuse my wrongs? (First Booke of Songes, 1597) [2:23]
Behold a wonder here [3:04]
Semper Dowland Semper Dolens [7:02]
In darkness let me dwell [3:52]
Time stands still [4:05]
All ye, whom Love or Fortune hath betray’d [4:29]
Say love if ever thou didst find [2:01]
Lachrimæ , or Seaven Teares [5:37]
Come away, come, sweet love [2:05]
Shall I strive with wordes to move? [2:01]
Burst forth my tears [4:54]
Fortune my foe [2:47]
Come heavy sleep [3:55]
Now, O now, I needs must part – the Frog Galliard [6:19]
Iestyn Davies (counter-tenor), Thomas Dunford (lute)
rec. Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, UK, 6-8 April, 2013. DDD
Pdf booklet with texts included
HYPERION CDA68007 [76:33] – from hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless)
HARMONIA MUNDI HMC901993 (31009936): Crystal Tears – music by Dowland and his contemporaries – Andreas Scholl (counter-tenor); Concerto di Viole/Julian Behr – from eclassical.com (mp3 16- and 24-bit lossless). See DL News 2013/3.
BIS-SACD-1505: Musique and Sweet Poetrie Songs and Lute Solos from Europe around 1600. Works by Robert Johnson, Thomas Morley, Gregory Huwet, John Dowland, Giovanni Kapsberger, etc. Emma Kirkby, Jakob Lindberg – review
BIS-SACD-1475: Honey from the Hive – Song by Dowland for his Elizabethan patrons – Emma Kirkby (soprano)/Anthony Rooley (lute) –review and DL Roundup September 2012/1, where you can also find a selection of other Dowland recordings.
ALPHA 187: Ruby Hughes (soprano), Reinoud Van Mechelen (tenor) and Thomas Dunford (lute) '…works very well, weaving a gentle web of sound that I was very happy to lose myself in’ – review
Two new recordings of music in which Dowland plays his favourite game of melancholy. This was the age in which an academic, Robert Burton, spent most of his adult life writing and revising his Anatomy of Melancholy. I have to admit to being a long-term addict of Dowland’s game. Though one album is solely instrumental and the other chiefly vocal, there is a considerable degree of thematic overlap between them.
All the recordings of Lachrimæ that I’ve listed have their advantages. The new Fuga Libera, like my BIS benchmark and the Hyperion runner-up, begins with the seven pieces of Lachrimæ proper and in the same order. All those listed include music other than those seven pavans, some including vocal items, others more instrumental pieces. The Harmonia Mundi recording, Seven Teares, on the other hand, places the seven Lachrimæ pavans almost at the end of the programme, followed only by Flow my teares, itself derived from the Lachrimæ theme.
Various recordings differ in how they place the other pieces that were included with Lachrimæ in the original publication, Fuga Libera choosing, not unreasonably, to end with Dowland’s trade-mark pun on his name, Semper Dowland, semper dolens (Dowland is always doleful). Their recording now joins Jakob Lindberg’s team on BIS and Peter Holman’s in a select group to which I’m also happy to add the Harmonia Mundi Seaven Teares album, the latter especially attractive if you prefer the inclusion of some vocal items.
I liked the Deutsche Harmonia recording, too, when I reviewed the CD, but felt the inclusion of only some of the Lachrimæ pavans a hindrance to a whole-hearted recommendation. The Naxos has much more going for it than just its budget price, especially if you are collecting the fine collection of Nigel North’s performances on that label and/or prefer the solo lute in this music to a consort.
I listened to the Fuga Libera as an mp3 review download from outhere-music.com and at a low bit-rate – only 192kb/s – so it may be unfair to compare it with the other recordings which I heard on CD or in lossless download sound, but I had no real complaints, so the CD and the better-quality downloads (look out for releases from classicsonline.com and eclassical.com) should sound fine when they become available.
Though the Alpha album is billed as Lachrimæ, I’ve included it as a comparative recording for the new Hyperion Art of Melancholy, since it includes only the main theme and its adaptation as Flow my teares. With two singers, too, there’s a degree of variety not found elsewhere and the cover painting of Dowland adds to its attractiveness.
The closest rival to Iestyn Davies, however, comes from fellow counter-tenor Andreas Scholl. I admire both of them and find it very hard to choose between them, especially as both come in a variety of download formats, including 24-bit. Choice could boil down in the final count as to whether you want a consort (Harmonia Mundi) or solo lute (Hyperion) as accompaniment or to the fact that Hyperion include their usual de-luxe booklet in the deal or to Scholl’s inclusion of music by some of Dowland’s contemporaries. In fact, there are only six out of a total of forty-one items on the two albums in common. One word of warning: I can’t entirely dismiss the accusation that Scholl is a little too mannered so, though I’d suggest buying both, try the Scholl from Naxos Music Library if possible.
For my Desert Island choice I’m going to have to insist on taking two of these recordings; if forced into a corner they would be Lindberg’s team on BIS and the new Davies-Dunsford partnership on Hyperion. Try Davies: Come again or the final track, Now, oh now, included on the free Hyperion sampler HYP201404 if you need to be convinced. Hearing the former on Radio 3 convinced me before I even downloaded the whole album. Despite the title, the programme is not all melancholy, though Mrs Winter’s jump (track 4) gives us all too brief a taste of Dowland’s livelier style.
I’ve listed two recordings with the divine Emma Kirkby – her many fans will surely have one or both or will want to have them. You’ll find them discussed, together with a considerable selection of Dowland recordings, in DL Roundup September 2012/1.
Arcangelo CORELLI (1653-1713) Sonate da chiesa: Church Sonatas, Op.1 (1681) and Op.3 (1689)
Sonata da chiesa in F, Op.1/1 [6:05]
Sonata da chiesa in e minor, Op.1/2 [4:59]
Sonata da chiesa in A, Op.1/3 [6:40]
Sonata da chiesa in a minor, Op.1/4 [5:19]
Sonata da chiesa in b-flat minor, Op.1/5 [6:30]
Sonata da chiesa in b minor, Op.1/6 [6:23]
Sonata da chiesa in C, Op.1/7 [4:31]
Sonata da chiesa in G, Op.1/9 [6:04]
Sonata da chiesa in g minor, Op.1/10 [5:15]
Sonata da chiesa in d minor, Op.1/11 [5:52]
Sonata da chiesa in D, Op.1/12 [6:23]
Sonata da chiesa in F, Op.3/1 [6:20]
Sonata da chiesa in D, Op.3/2 [6:58]
Sonata da chiesa in B flat, Op.3/3 [6:24]
Sonata da chiesa in b minor, Op.3/4 [6:59]
Sonata da chiesa in d minor, Op.3/5 [6:30]
Sonata da chiesa in G, Op.3/6 [5:59]
Sonata da chiesa in e minor, Op.3/7 [6:20]
Sonata da chiesa in C, Op.3/8 [6:33]
Sonata da chiesa in f minor, Op.3/9 [6:42]
Sonata da chiesa in a minor, Op.3/10 [4:34]
Sonata da chiesa in g minor Op.3/11 [5:48]
Sonata da chiesa in A, Op.3/12 [7:17]
The Avison Ensemble (Pavlo Beznosiuk (violin), Caroline Balding (violin), Richard Tunnicliffe (cello), Paula Chateauneuf (archlute), Roger Hamilton (harpsichord))
rec. St George’s Church, Chesterton, Cambridge, November and December 2011 and January 2012. DDD/DSD
Pdf booklet included
LINN CKD414 [147:08] – from linnrecords.com (SACD, mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless) or hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3 and lossless). Due for release 21 April (Linn) or May (Hyperion) 2014.
Another valuable series of recordings completed in style by the Avison Ensemble and Linn, who now have the complete run of Corelli’s works from Op.1 to Op.6. I’ve used up all my superlatives in praising the performances of Opp.2 and 4 (CKD413) Op.5 (CKD413) and Op.6 (CDKD411), so I need only say that this is just as enjoyable as those other recordings. Don’t be put off by the designation sonate da chiesa – church sonatas – this music is no more stuffy than Corelli’s sonate da camera and concerti grossi, though I’d go for a recording of the latter (Op.6) if you don’t yet have one, in which case I recently called a draw between the Avison Ensemble (Linn CKD411) and Gli Incogniti (Zig-Zag Territoires ZZT327) – see review.
One small grumble – I wish Linn hadn’t used those stone angels on the cover. I know they are intended as a visual pun on the name Arcangelo but they are too reminiscent of one of Dr Who’s spookier enemies and give too morbid an impression to the casual purchaser of the music within.
Best news of all for the purse-proud: as with the whole series, this is a 2-CD set for the price of one – the download from Linn or Hyperion costs just £8.00 (mp3) or £10 (16-bit lossless), with SACD (£15) and 24-bit lossless (£18) additionally available from Linn.
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Symphony No.3 in D, D200 [23:00]
Symphony No.4 in c minor, D417 ‘Tragic’ [29:23]
Symphony No.5 in B-flat, D485 [27:32]
Svenska Kammarorkestern, Örebro/Thomas Dausgaard
Pdf booklet included
BIS BIS-SACD-1786 [80:58] – from eclassical.com (mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless)
Schubert’s early symphonies are usually regarded as small beer in comparison with the ‘Unfinished’ and ‘Great C Major’ – that is, until you listen to Thomas Beecham’s recordings of Nos. 3, 5 and 6 (EMI Great Recordings, now Warner Classics – download in 320kb/s mp3 from 7music.com, £5.49). Don’t ask me how Beecham did it; the real question is whether the trick can be repeated. I thought that Dausgaard’s recording of the Sixth good but it didn’t quite match up to Beecham’s, sounding somehow larger-boned despite being often faster than Beecham and performed with a smaller ensemble – DL News 2013/10 – and the same is true of the Third which opens the new recording: somehow it sounds as if Dausgaard is trying a little too hard to make it more impressive.
The ‘Tragic’ Symphony responds best to this treatment, not just because there isn’t a Beecham version for comparison. Where I found Gordan Nikolic (PentaTone) and Harry Blech (Naxos Classical Archive) a little too ponderous in the slow movement – DL Roundup April 2012/2 – Dausgaard is a little too brisk, even faster than Michael Halász on Naxos which I compared with those two recordings. The music of this movement is reminiscent of the Countess’s aria Dove sono in Figaro in which she recalls days long departed when the Count’s love for her was fresh, and Dausgaard is just not wistful enough to capture that mood. Between them these recordings straddle my ideal Goldilocks mood here. I’ve been listening via Naxos Music Library to this movement on a recording by Carlo Maria Giulini with the Bavarian RSO, to be released shortly by Sony. (886444322461, with the ‘Unfinished’). Though Giulini is much slower – too slow, I imagine, for many tastes, though not as slow as Nikolic – he captures the mood of the music much better.
There is a great deal to admire on the new BIS recording and, perhaps, I’m being unfair in choosing those aspects that I didn’t like. One reviewer has already given this album a 4/5-star rating and, though I wouldn’t rate the performance quite that highly, I can see where he is coming from and I certainly think the lossless version of the recording merits five stars.
This is a generously timed release at over 80 minutes, though that’s less of a consideration with the download, since eclassical.com charge by the second. The recent Freiburg Baroque recording of Nos. 3 and 4 on Harmonia Mundi – review – though shorter on playing time (54:27), is also less expensive as a download from eclassical.com.
Rued LANGGAARD (1893-1952)
Sfærernes musik (Music of the Spheres), BVN128 (1916-18) [35:29]
(Tonebilleder) Four Tone Pictures (1917) [17:44]
Gitta-Maria Sjöberg (soprano),
Hedwig Rummel, Annette Simonsen (contralto )
Danish National Radio Choir
Danish National Radio SO/Gennadi Rozhdestvensky
rec. Danish Radio, 21-24 February 1996. DDD.
Pdf booklet with texts and translations included.
CHANDOS CHAN9517 [53:21] – from theclassicalshop.net (mp3 and lossless) or stream from Naxos Music Library
Sfærernes musik (Music of the Spheres), BVN128 (1916-1918) [40:06]
Endens tid (The Time of the End), BVN243 (1921-23/1939-40/1943) [24:13]
Fra dybet (Out of the Deep), BVN414 (1950/52) [7:34]
Hetna Regitze Bruun (mezzo)
Inger Dam-Jensen (soprano)
Peter Lodahl (tenor)
Johan Reuter (baritone)
Danish National Choir
Danish National Vocal Ensemble
Danish National Symphony Orchestra/Thomas Dausgaard
rec. 3 September 2009 (Spheres), 28-29 May 2010 (End; Abyss), DR-Koncerthuset, Copenhagen, Denmark.
DACAPO 6.220535 [71:53] – from eclassical.com (mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless) or stream from Naxos Music Library
With two excellent recordings of The Music of the Spheres to choose from, your preferred coupling, or the availability of 24-bit sound from DaCapo, or even the availability of a booklet from theclassicalshop.net but not from eclassical.com – none from NML either – could well be your deciding factor.
Rob Barnett awarded the full five stars to the Chandos – review – a judgment that I was more than happy to endorse in DL Roundup August 2010 and Dan Morgan, who made the DaCapo Recording of the Month thought it ‘… a real cracker. Absolutely not to be missed.’ See review.
Freebie of the Month/Bargain of the Month
Albert ROUSSEL (1869-1937) Symphony No.4, Op.53 [20:10]
Darius MILHAUD (1892-1974) Suite provençale , Op.152b [14:11]
Albert ROUSSEL Sinfonietta, Op.52 [8:40]
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) La Mer [24:03]
Detroit Symphony Orchestra/Neeme Järvi
rec. 1991. DDD
pdf booklet available
Chandos CHAN9072 [66:16] Deleted on CD; mp3 and lossless downloads from theclassicalshop.net.
This is my Freebie of the Month in mp3 format for those who have already subscribed to the free newsletter from theclassicalshop.net and my Bargain of the Month for those who haven’t – it’s yours in mp3 or lossless for £4.99. For that small sum you get fine performances of two works by Roussel, a charmer from Milhaud, arranged from music by Campra, and a very decent La Mer – well worth having in the unlikely event that you don’t have that work and a good second string if you have. Because this is an older recording, you will need to re-number the tracks Tk_1 to Tk_9 as Tk_01 to Tk_09 in Windows Explorer or its Mac equivalent in order to get them to play in the right order. Back them up first and do it carefully.
The same performances of the Symphony and Sinfonietta are also available in an all-Roussel programme on Chandos Enchant CHAN7007, at mid price from eclassical.com.
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Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906–1975)
Concerto for Cello and Orchestra No.1 in E-flat, Op.107 (1959) [28:45]
Concerto for Cello and Orchestra No.2 in g minor, Op.126 (1966) [36:10]
Truls Mørk (cello)
Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra/Vasily Petrenko
rec. Oslo Concerthall, 30–31 January and 1 February 2013. DDD
ONDINE ODE1218-2 [64:55]
Reviewed as 24/48 download from eclassical.com (also available on CD and in mp3 and 16-bit downloads)
I enjoyed the pairing of these two cello concertos from Chandos but remained unconvinced of the merits of the second (CHAN/CHSA5093 – DL Roundup January 2012). The new Ondine recording has come much closer to convincing me that it’s a worthy successor. With the sole caveat that the very inexpensive Mstislav Rostropovich recording of the first cello concerto, with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Eugene Ormandy, remains essential (Regis RRC1385 with Violin Concerto, David Oistrakh and Dmitri Mitropoulos – review and May 2012/1 DL Roundup – or Sony – download from 7digital.com with Symphony No.1 – here – or with Violin Concerto, as on Regis – here ) this new Ondine album challenges existing recommendations. My full review is due to appear on the main MusicWeb International pages.