20 July 2014

Tchaikovsky: The seasons
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'These charming, inventive works—the pensive “June,” the waltzing “December”—are not heard often in the concert hall. That the impressive young Siberian-born pianist Pavel Kolesnikov, a 2012 laureate of the Honens Prize, loves this suite comes through in his elegant playing on this welcome recording, which includes Tchaikovsky’s lovely “Six Morceaux"' (The New York Times)
18 July 2014
The Guardian, Tim Ashley
Godard: Piano Concertos
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'Benjamin Godard is nowadays known solely for the Berceuse from his 1888 opera Jocelyn, regularly performed by classical and popular musicians alike. There was more to him than that, however, as this enterprising disc—Volume 63 of Hyperion's Romantic Piano Concerto series—admirably proves. Godard distrusted Wagnerism, and his two piano concertos constrain Romantic sensibilities within the classical form in ways that often resemble Brahms, though Godard's thematic and orchestral elegance remain quintessentially French … the disc is a tour de force for Howard Shelley, who, in addition to coping with Godard's often vertiginous piano writing, directs all three performances from the keyboard, which is no mean feat' (The Guardian) » More

12 July 2014
Audiophile Audition, USA
Mahler & Mahler: Lieder
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'Listening to Scottish mezzo Karen Cargill is like sampling a fine Pinot Noir—earthy, very delicate yet full of complexity and richness that you sense will only deepen in the years to come. She is a born Mahlerian; her voice, while agile enough to take on music that is much more difficult in terms of simple presentation, has such resonance and intensity on a note-for-note basis that one can only imagine the composer himself gleaming at the thought of his songs being given by such a talent' (Audiophile Audition, USA)

9 July 2014
Sinfini.com, Alexandra Coghlan
A French Baroque Diva
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'Marie Fel was the diva of her day and the darling of the French baroque. In this exquisite release from soprano Carolyn Sampson and Ex Cathedra, Sampson steps into Fel's dainty silk slippers and guides us through a life in music … Sampson’s rounded tone and poised musicality find a natural fit in this repertoire, showcased beautifully in ‘Un tendre intérêt vous appelle’ from Rameau’s Castor et Pollux and Lalande’s sacrilegiously lovely ‘Tu Rex gloriae’' (Sinfini.com) » More

6 July 2014
The Sunday Times, Paul Driver
Prokofiev: Violin Sonatas
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'Prokofiev's two violin sonatas make a stark juxtaposition. The F minor is a big-boned, dark-hued expression of feeling that can be taken as mourning for the depredations of Soviet terror; the D major is one of those seraphically contented neoclassical excursions that adorn mid-20th-century music. They are played here with an intense-feeling virtuosity, Ibragimova equally magnificent in restraint—as when executing those 'graveyard' scales slipping in during the F minor—and when belting out, say, the second movement of that work, as strongly contrasted with its predecessor as the whole sonata is with its successor' (The Sunday Times) » More
5 July 2014
The Scotsman, Ken Walton
Prokofiev: Violin Sonatas
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'There is something deeply disturbing, and at the same time uplifting, in the violin music of Sergei Prokofiev. Such extremes are encapsulated in this captivating recording of both Violin Sonatas and the Five Melodies by Russian violinist Alina Ibragimova and Scots pianist Steven Osborne. Their reading of the F minor Violin Sonata combines angst-ridden weight with vigorous spirit and blissful moments of timeless beauty. The Five Melodies offer a deliciously poetic and nuanced transition to the brighter skies of the Sonata No 2, a work transcribed from the Flute Sonata, which this duo present with radiant self-assurance' (The Scotsman) » More

1 July 2014

A French Baroque Diva
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'This is a brilliantly planned and executed, musically illustrated biography of Marie Fel, one of the great 18th-century divas and muse of Rameau, admired by the Philosophes and adored by Paris audiences … this is a programme that pleases as much today as it did in hers, guided by Graham Sadler’s beautifully crafted booklet-notes … Carolyn Sampson, in superb form, is joined here by the choir of Ex Cathedra, who sing with precision and clarity of articulation in a lovely bright acoustic … the longer we listen to Sampson’s voice, the more she seems to inhabit the aura of Fel, clearly a skilled and charismatic yet deeply affecting performer' (Gramophone) » More
1 July 2014

A French Baroque Diva
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'This extremely well researched recording is captivating. Based on repertoire performed by Marie Fel, the ‘Jenny Lind’ of the court of Louis XV, it ranges from the restrained elegance of de Lalande to the Italianate excitement of Mondonville … in standing in for Fel, Carolyn Sampson is quite remarkable. She has the capacity to soften the vocal line with carefully controlled vibrato, but also deploys tone of crystalline clarity. There are many highlights, but the characteristically colourful excerpt from Mondonville's Daphnis et Alcimadure is particularly delightful as is Rameau’s La lyre enchantée' (BBC Music Magazine) » More
PERFORMANCE
RECORDING
1 July 2014

Amorosi pensieri
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'It’s not just that Cinquecento's ensemble and tuning are flawless, nor that with six highly individual voices they can create an amazing range of colours, but that with their multicultural forces they can fit effortlessly into the style of the music, whether the texts are in Italian, French or German … I am not aware that any of the 25 short pieces here has been recorded before: Monte (by far the most prolific madrigalist of all time) has here eight masterful pieces; Jean Guyot (so far as I can see, never previously recorded) has six charmingly gooey pieces in the manner of Gombert on speed; for the sovereign (and also prolific) Vaet we hear the only non-Latin pieces he composed, all three of them; and the record ends with a mouth-watering selection of songs in German and Italian by the more light-hearted Regnart. Don’t miss it' (Gramophone) » More
1 July 2014

Benjamin: Violin Sonatina & Viola Sonata
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'This recording widens our horizons, revealing the thoughtful, technically brilliant and cosmopolitan musician that Benjamin’s friends and students in London, Canada and his native Australia always knew him to be … whether playing his viola or violin, Lawrence Power is in total sympathy with Benjamin’s shifting moods, and Simon Crawford-Phillips proves a lithe and responsive piano partner. A bouncy recording and excellent inlay notes offer more inducements for listeners to discover that the Jamaican Rumba man, composer of five operas and a powerful symphony, was far from a one-trick pony' (BBC Music Magazine) » More
PERFORMANCE
RECORDING
1 July 2014

Dowland: The Art of Melancholy
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'A song recital disc from the English countertenor of the moment … the main strength of Iestyn Davies’s singing lies in its straightforward lyrical beauty, certainly a sound fit for Dowland’s classic melodic grace. When his songs are performed as purely musically as this, the battle is already half-won, and indeed Davies seems to see no need for overdeliberate interpretation. His diction is clear (impressively quick in ‘Can she excuse?’) but his phrases are touched by naturalness … Davies’s accompanist is Thomas Dunford, a lutenist still in his twenties but already making people notice him with his strongly projected resonant tone, wide range of touch and dynamic, and effortlessly attentive musicianship. His five solos are a strong plus; ‘Lachrimae’ and ‘Fortune my foe’ are both seriously slow and free. This is Dowland to treasure' (Gramophone) » More
1 July 2014

Haydn: Symphonies Nos 92-3 & 97-9
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‘The recorded sound is excellent, and final applause has been removed. This is a release to treasure for great music and magnificent readings of it (and one doesn't forget Sir Colin's previous Haydn Symphonies, like tulips, from Amsterdam) … and the front cover is quite striking in a feel-good way. Believe me, a couple of hours spent in the company of “Papa” Haydn and with a conductor who tapped so perceptively and benevolently into this imaginative and indestructible music (and which is so adaptable to a devoted and without-dogma approach, as here) makes the World a better place’ (ClassicalSource.com) » More
1 July 2014
Classic FM
Haydn: Symphonies Nos 92-3 & 97-9
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'All of these symphonies' expressive strength and rigour, their invention and mastery of form, are laid bare in these revelatory performances which confirm for all time Sir Colin's reputation as a pre-eminent interpreter of Haydn's music. He doesn't hold back and relishes the warmth of Haydn's sound world' (Classic FM)
29 June 2014
The Observer
Benjamin: Violin Sonatina & Viola Sonata
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'Lawrence Power, our leading viola player, comes to [Benjamin's] defence by recording Benjamin's work premiered by previous greats, Lionel Tertis and William Primrose. He switches to the violin for the formidably difficult Sonatina and the delightfully quixotic Three Pieces for Violin and Piano, before he and Simon Crawford-Phillips settle the argument with the profound Viola Sonata of 1942' (The Observer)
29 June 2014
The Herald, Michael Tumelty
Mahler & Mahler: Lieder
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'In this neck of the woods we are familiar, and terminally smitten, with the ultra-gorgeous voice of mezzo Karen Cargill, particularly through her work with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. She has recorded with them, of course, but now she makes her debut solo recital disc for Linn, with her regular accompanist Simon Lepper. It's all Mahler, Gustav and Alma (and therein lies an extraordinary story for elsewhere). This is one of the most beautiful recordings I have ever heard. Cargill is in sumptuous form, at the top of her game, and never more ravishingly voiced than in these glorious, heart-melting performances of Gustav's Rückert Lieder (my favourite set of all), the five Wayfarer Songs, 'Urlicht' from the Second Symphony, and five enthralling, revelatory and lovely songs by Alma. There is a halo of intense, luminous beauty around Cargill's voice throughout. It is one of her greatest performances. It will break your heart' (The Herald)
28 June 2014
The Daily Telegraph, Geoffrey Norris
Prokofiev: Violin Sonatas
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'For her new Prokofiev release Ibragimova teams up with Steven Osborne in one of those astute mergers of talent for which Hyperion is well known. Osborne revealed his penchant for Prokofiev last year in the Visions fugitives and Sarcasms that accompanied his compelling, multi-faceted interpretation of Musorgsky’s Pictures from an Exhibition (CDA67896). In the two Prokofiev violin sonatas, his instincts are just as finely honed … performances of depth of perception and strength of character … shifting kaleidoscopes in the piano part and the subtle vocal inflections of the violin' (The Daily Telegraph) » More

22 June 2014
The Sunday Times, Hugh Canning
Tchaikovsky: The seasons
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'Kolesnikov emphasises the delicacy and intimacy of these infrequently played pieces … the 12 short pieces of The Seasons are Tchaikovsky’s 'songs without words', although entirely pianistic, and it is wonderful to hear a young Russian avoiding the barnstorming style of so many contemporaries. He plays the 'Six Pieces' with affection and élan' (The Sunday Times) » More
6 June 2014
The Guardian, Andrew Clements
Tchaikovsky: The seasons
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'The Seasons … are perhaps the most immediately attractive of Tchaikovsky's piano works. Selections of them regularly appear in recitals and on disc, but for his first release on Hyperion Pavel Kolesnikov has opted to play all 12, alongside the Six morceaux Op 19, which was composed three years earlier. In 2012, Kolesnikov took first prize in the Honens piano competition in Canada, and on the evidence of his effortlessly refined playing here, he was a worthy winner … a charming, rewarding disc' (The Guardian) » More

1 June 2014

A French Baroque Diva
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'Celebrating the work of a singer described by Voltaire as an ‘adorable nightingale’ is a terrific idea for a recording, especially when it has been prepared with such care and performed so stylishly … from the start, it’s clear that Carolyn Sampson is an ideal exponent, stylishly supported by Ex Cathedra and its period-instrument orchestra … this is a lovely disc, a most attractive programme supported by Graham Sadler’s illuminating and extremely interesting note (in a booklet that also includes complete texts and translations). The sound is up to Hyperion’s usual standard, capturing Sampson’s voice extremely well, in a natural balance. The whole production has provided me with hours of pleasure' (International Record Review) » More
1 June 2014
The Sunday Times, Paul Driver
Benjamin: Violin Sonatina & Viola Sonata
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'Power (b1977) is perhaps the outstanding British instrumentalist of his generation, and not only a viola player but, as this disc richly demonstrates, a violinist, too … Power’s viola sound has a notable seductiveness, a sort of electric sweetness, but his genius for phrasing is as effective in Benjamin’s 1924 Violin Sonatina (more substantial than the title suggests) as in his searching 1942 Viola Sonata, the focus here. A virtuosic arrangement by the sonata’s dedicatee, William Primrose, of Benjamin’s 'hit', Jamaican Rumba, ends the sequence' (The Sunday Times) » More
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