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Hyperion Records

Recent reviews
19 October 2014
The Sunday Times, Hugh Canning
Wagner: Wagner without words
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'The Welsh virtuoso's idea of juxtaposing a selection of Wagner's uneven piano works with transcriptions is pianophile catnip. Wagner's 'long-winded' Fantasy, written at 19, and his effusive Sonata for his Tristan muse, Mathilde Wesendonck, are the most substantial original items, surpassed by Liszt's elaborations of extracts from Tristan, Tannhauser and Rienzi. Williams's reduction of Glenn Gould's four-hand Meistersinger Overture and his own Parsifal arrangements are highlights. An uplifting disc. (The Sunday Times)
12 October 2014
The Sunday Times, Hugh Canning
Schumann: Symphonies
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'Ticciati's Scottish Chamber Orchestra has nothing to fear from comparisons. Like the Canadian conductor [Yannick Nézet-Séguin] with the COE, Ticciati banishes the 'problems' of orchestration with the leaner texture of a smallish ensemble of strings. In contrast to Rattle, he opts for the 1851 version of the D minor symphony, not the 1841 original, and this climactic performance in his cycle sets the seal on the new issue's success. Already, in the B flat major 'Spring', C major and E flat major 'Rhenish' symphonies, Ticciati adopts near-ideal tempi, refusing to drag in the slow movements … and he is propulsive in Schumann's energetic, animated allegros. The wind soloists throughout effortlessly take centre stage, but the splendidly swaggering horns, especially in the Rhenish and D minor works, deserve special mention' (The Sunday Times) » More
10 October 2014
The Times, Geoff Brown
Bach: The Art of Fugue
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'I won’t mince words. This Art of Fugue is marvellous. The variety and beauty of tone alone make compelling listening, bringing contrasts, clarity and warmth to Bach’s intellectual marvels. The fugal subjects pile up; they are inverted, augmented and turned inside out—permutations neatly documented in the pianist’s typically detailed booklet notes. Yet her fingers never make the results dry triumphs of engineering' (The Times) » More

1 October 2014

Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos 22 & 24
Buy by post £10.50 CDA68049  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

'Replete with all the Angela Hewitt virtues—among them, unfailing clarity, innate elegance, an unerring sense of proportion, a finely honed mastery of style, melodic finesse and an unobtrusive grasp of harmonic rhythm—these are exemplary performances … the prevailing tonal palette, from soloist and orchestra alike, is appropriately lean but always beautifully focused and elegantly applied. Operatic in the best sense, Hewitt is more concerned with dialogue, not only between the two hands but within all levels of the texture, than with conventional notions of 'vocal' cantabile' (BBC Music Magazine) » More
PERFORMANCE
RECORDING
1 October 2014
The Strad
Saint-Saëns: Cello Concertos
Buy by post £10.50 CDA68002  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

'A new recording by Natalie Clein is always an event … and this one finds her on top form … this is exciting stuff with a real sense of happening … Concerto No 2 draws a muscular response from both orchestra and soloist. The beauty and freedom of Clein’s playing in the first movement’s three solo episodes and in the poignant Andante sostenuto is matched by her technical confidence and strong tone' (The Strad)
1 October 2014

Saint-Saëns: Cello Concertos
Buy by post £10.50 CDA68002  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

'This is a first-class recording, the fifth in Hyperion's series of Romantic cello concertos. Anybody wanting both Saint-Saëns's Cello Concertos and La muse et le poète really doesn't need to look any further. Natalie Clein is a comprehensively gifted player who performs these pieces with an ideal combination of warm-hearted expressiveness and astonishing technical agility. She also demonstrates a rare understanding of how the solo instrument is often woven into Saint-Saëns's beautifully written orchestral textures. And here, again, this release scores very highly. Andrew Manze and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra are the most imaginative and sensitive partners' (International Record Review) » More
20 September 2014
The Times, Geoff Brown
Schumann: Symphonies
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'Listening to this release, no one could cling to another ancient complaint about Schumann: that he orchestrated badly. Muddy textures? Difficulties of balance? Not in these lithe accounts, dancing with subtly changing colours, from the antiphonal comments of winds and strings to those horns that rise over Schumann's musings like morning sun breaking through mist. Punchy rhythms, too: a particular legacy of the 'historically aware' performing movement developed over the past 40 years … onwards and upwards, I hope, both for Ticciati and the SCO' (The Times) » More

17 September 2014
The Guardian, Andrew Clements
Schumann: Symphonies
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'Robin Ticciati’s Schumann cycle is the third complete set to appear in the last six months, following Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s version with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe for Deutsche Grammophon and Simon Rattle’s with the Berliner Philharmoniker on the orchestra’s own label. It’s also by a considerable margin the best of them … and perhaps the most impressive thing that Ticciati has done on disc so far. Every bar in these urgent performances with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra seems alive and full of interest. Ticciati uses an orchestra with 32 strings, almost exactly the same size as those used for the first performances, and while none of the climaxes is ever lacking in weight or grandeur—the opening of the Third Symphony, the Rhenish, has a terrific sweep to it—the textures are joyously buoyant. The conductor and his orchestra toured all four works in concert before recording them in the Perth Concert Hall, and in each symphony there is the sense of careful consideration and total absorption in the music so that not a detail of Schumann’s scoring goes missing. Everything flows with total naturalness, yet tiny contrapuntal phrases that are often hardly noticeable are allowed to make their points here without a trace of mannered emphasis … it is clear from this set, and also from his Berlioz recordings with the SCO, that Ticciati has a real affinity with early romantic composers; some more Schumann and perhaps Mendelssohn too ought to follow' (The Guardian) » More

3 September 2014

Schumann: Symphonies
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'It is interesting to compare Ticciati with Nézet-Séguin because, despite the latter consistently taking faster speeds, both conductors choose to shape the melodies with a subtle rubato without impeding the forward progress of the music. Generally Ticciati is a little freer with his phrasing and from the outset of No 1 the approach, and for that matter the acoustic, is more spacious. Firm, confident playing from the outset enhances this strong interpretation … the ‘Rhenish' opens majestically and, throughout, the clarity of the recording is impressive. I like the weightiness of the unhurried intermezzo-like Scherzo and there is great depth of feeling in the slow movement … the finale [of No 4] is crisp and clear with an interesting understatement of the three grand chords with which it opens. There is an electrifying coda which pays due respect to Schumann's use of timpani. Robin Ticciati joins the distinguished list of today's conductors treating Schumann's symphonies with the respect they deserve' (ClassicalSource.com) » More
1 September 2014

Schumann: Symphonies
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'Clarity has been a common feature of recent recordings of Schumann's orchestral music, giving the lie yet again to the old canard about his cack-handed orchestral abilities. Here, close reading of the score combines with Philip Hobbs's transparent surround-sound engineering (Perth Concert Hall last November and December) in a recording teeming with revealing detail. Ticciati clearly knows how he wants this music to go and his strong partnership with the Edinburgh players enables him to shape readings notable for their energy and individuality. The Fourth receives a particularly forceful performance, with go-ahead tempi combining with its bolstered orchestration to demonstrate how the earlier version was but a transitory stage in the work's evolution. In the Second, too, Ticciati shows how this is the most uneasy expression of the key of C major, the final songful peroration hard-won through the obsessions of the earlier movements. Throughout, the performances are characterised by a woodwind sweetness that is becoming a trademark of this orchestra. The timpanist uses hard sticks to cut through the texture at strategic moments and brass are doleful or stentorian as required. This is an extremely likeable and beautifully recorded traversal, worthy of standing alongside any of its recent competitors' (Gramophone) » More
1 September 2014

Busoni & Strauss: Violin Concertos
Buy by post £10.50 CDA68044  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

'Becker-Bender's account of the Busoni possesses a conviction which ought to win this piece new friends … no-one wanting these concertos is likely to be disappointed, not least when the playing from the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the direction of Garry Walker is as commited as one could wish for' (International Record Review) » More
1 September 2014

Busoni & Strauss: Violin Concertos
Buy by post £10.50 CDA68044  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

'Busoni's Violin Concerto is an early work … beautifully crafted, full of lyricism and appealing melodies. True, the ideas perhaps lack the distinctive memorability of those in the Second Sonata or the great Piano Concerto of a few years later … but the Violin Concerto is nevertheless a work that leaves one the better for having heard it, especially in such a splendidly rendered performance as this from Tanja Becker-Bender, superbly accompanied by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under the excellent Garry Walker' (Gramophone) » More
1 September 2014

Byrd: The three Masses
Buy by post £10.50 CDA68038  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

'Aided by the clarity of the recording, which nevertheless gives a sense of the ambiance of the Cathedral, all four parts (Agnus Dei, 4-part mass) shine through in a balance between the voices achieved at least as well as on any other recording … if I could have 24-bit sound on the island, the new Hyperion would have to be my first choice. It also sounds fine even in mp3—I haven’t tested the in-between 16-bit version—and it comes with a booklet of the usual high Hyperion quality' (MusicWeb International) » More
1 September 2014

Canticles from St Paul's
Buy by post £10.50 CDA68058  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

'St Paul's Cathedral Choir gives us here a really fine and outstandingly sung collection of canticles, some of them quite familiar and others decidedly not. In addition, 'canticles' does not refer only to the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis; we also hear settings of the Benedicite, the Te Deum and the Jubilate' (International Record Review) » More
1 September 2014

Canticles from St Paul's
Buy by post £10.50 CDA68058  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

'It's thrilling to hear much-loved works by Stanford and Walmisley so well sung, together with less familiar pieces by Alan Gray, Michael Tippett and Charles Wood. Andrew Carwood and the St Paul's Cathedral Choir pay scrupulous attention to the tiniest of details, so that every word and note come across as something precious and sacred. The wonderfully colourful accompaniments of organist Simon Johnson are, by turns, both dramatic and lyrical. This is choral singing at its finest; in every way, listening to this glorious CD is a heavenly experience' (Gramophone) » More
1 September 2014

Dussek: Piano Concertos
Buy by post £10.50 CDA68027  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

'They are rewarding works … they sound especially effective in the persuasive hands of Howard Shelley. Shelley's sympathy for that uneasy period just before the romantic explosion is demonstrated by his exemplary recordings of Clementi (among others), and he demonstrates the same kind of expressive tact as a soloist here. Rhythms are consistently alert; the more lyrical passages bloom without excessive romantic milking; passagework is nimble; and most important, he manages to point up the music's harmonic twists without digging his elbows into our sides. His work as conductor is nearly as impressive: from the sting of the rhythms that launch the early G major Concerto to the airy dance rhythms in the finale of the E flat major, the accompaniments, inevitably attentive, complement the piano parts well. The orchestral players respond deftly, and the engineers have captured the proceedings with Hyperion's expected clarity. Add to this the fine notes by Stephan Lindeman and you have a sure-fire hit' (International Record Review) » More
1 September 2014

Godard: Piano Concertos
Buy by post £10.50 CDA68043  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

'Throughout all three works, Shelley dazzles with his effortless virtuosity and lightness of touch, and the recording is first-rate. In short, this release must rank alongside the finest of rediscoveries in this most pioneering of series, and one that should spur on others to explore further the works of this greatly neglected composer' (International Record Review) » More
1 September 2014

Godard: Piano Concertos
Buy by post £10.50 CDA68043  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

'Godard's music tickles the senses with some attractive, dramatic ideas during the actual process of listening. There is, for example, a delightful, nifty Saint-Saëns-esque Scherzo to the A minor Concerto, and an even better one in the G minor ... the performances by the indefatigable Howard Shelley and the Tasmanian orchestra cannot be faulted' (Gramophone) » More
1 September 2014

Handel: Arias
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67979  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

'Alice Coote has chosen arias from four of Handel's greatest operas, and from Hercules, one of his most dramatic oratorios. Her warmly textured voice, especially in the middle range lends itself alluringly to Handel's portrayal of tenderness, intimacy and melancholy. Thus it is that Ruggiero's 'Mi lusinga il dolce affetto' (Alcina) and Ariodante's 'Scherza infida!' steal the show … the wealth of virtues in Coote's recital include her intuitive sense of apposite, well-proportioned ornamentation and a sure feeling for just tempo. She is not afraid to take her time where text and music require it, as you will discover in 'Scherza infida!' which comes in at almost three minutes longer than some. Coote sustains it effectively and is sympathetically accompanied by bassoonist Peter Whelan with other members of the English Concert … expressive singing with eloquent instrumental partnership make for a rewarding encounter' (BBC Music Magazine) » More
PERFORMANCE
RECORDING
1 September 2014

Mendelssohn: The Complete Solo Piano Music, Vol. 2
Buy by post £10.50 CDA68059  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

'Eminently attractive, a mix of the agreeably tuneful, romantically pictorial, invigoratingly dashing and elegantly crafted. Shelley is the stylish master of it all … books 2 and 3 of the Songs without words include some gems, and also some spirited numbers (for example, No 4 of Book 2 is marked 'Agitato e con fuoco'). Full of narrative whatever the tempo, this set concludes with the well-known and enigmatic 'Venetianisches Gondollied' with Mendelssohn exploring similar waters to those found in Chopin's Barcarolle. Similar delights follow in Book 3, the concluding 'Duetto' melting the heart in a manner that is rather Schumannesque, and so lovingly shaped by Shelley. Yes, all good stuff, and thoroughly recommended' (International Record Review) » More
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