1 May 2022

Vaughan Williams: On Wenlock Edge & other songs
Studio Master: CDA68378  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

‘In the 1914 cycle of Four Hymns, it is ‘Come Love’ that shows [Spence's] technical accomplishments best as he expressively utilises the full range of dynamics and seamlessly melds with the sonorities of the duetting viola, beautifully played by Timothy Ridout … On Wenlock Edge (1909) has often been recorded, but this is a fine rendering with ‘Bredon Hill’ providing some particularly sublime moments. As always Julius Drake’s accompanying is evocative and nuanced, and in ‘Is my team ploughing?’ the Piatti Quartet swathe the song in a delicate veil of tensile sound’ (BBC Music Magazine)» More
PERFORMANCE
RECORDING
1 May 2022
Limelight, Australia, Clive Paget
Vaughan Williams: On Wenlock Edge & other songs
Studio Master: CDA68378  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

‘One of the immediate strengths of Nicky Spence’s new album for Hyperion is how cohesive a feel he brings to a program that ranges through the mystic passions of the Four Hymns (with obligato viola and piano), the rose-scented minstrelsies of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s The House of Life, and a trio of rumbustious folksongs thrown in for good measure, culminating in On Wenlock Edge, Vaughan Williams’ masterly Ravel-inspired settings for tenor, piano and string quartet from Houseman’s A Shropshire Lad. Not only does Spence really feel this music, I don’t think I’ve ever heard them sung with such heroic fervour … and these songs pulse with life when subject to such ardent advocacy. Timothy Ridout’s biting viola and Julius Drake’s urgent piano accompaniment complement the sense of religious zeal while simultaneously relating this free-flowing music to the earthier sound world of British folksong … beautifully and most naturally recorded, rarely does a song recital contain so many insights. This is desert island stuff’ (Limelight, Australia)» More

1 May 2022

Vaughan Williams: On Wenlock Edge & other songs
Studio Master: CDA68378  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

‘Nicky Spence and colleagues serve up a nourishing feast of Vaughan Williams’s vocal music, culminating in a performance of On Wenlock Edge which, in its thrilling assurance, strength of imagination and rapt instinct, inclines me to rank it alongside the very finest I know … Spence and Drake do [The house of Life] absolutely proud, and likewise locate an abundance of wistful tenderness and fragrant beauty in those two sensitive settings that top and tail the cycle … marvellous, too, to have such a superbly ardent, insightful account of the glorious Four Hymns for tenor, piano and viola … in sum, a hugely enjoyable offering for the RVW sesquicentennial’ (Gramophone)
29 April 2022
colinscolumn.com, Colin Anderson
Rachmaninov: Piano Sonata No 1 & Moments musicaux
Studio Master: CDA68365  RECORD OF THE MONTH NEW  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

‘Marvel upon marvel informs Steven Osborne’s performance of Piano Sonata No 1 … Osborne is very revealing of the work’s narrative powers and had me listening anew as revelation follows revelation: great playing, inspired interpretation, darkly lyrical, flamboyantly propulsive, sensitive and ppp, demonstrative and fff, with plenty in between’ (colinscolumn.com)» More
29 April 2022
The Music Trust, Australia, Simon Lobelson
Known Unknown
Studio Master: 1EMEYE  Download only  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

‘This an album for those interested in new boundaries of vocal writing. It’s a generous tasting platter of items familiar and unfamiliar, cleverly connected by theme and methodology of musical delivery, and well delivered by The Song Company and Tonus Peregrinus under Antony Pitts. Known Unknown is a refreshing and accessible take on non-traditional musical delivery, extolling the malleability and effectiveness of the human voice and body as a vessel for this … Hyperion, the luxurious boutique titan of the English recording industry (and not readily available on streaming platforms), has taken on conductor and composer Pitts’ artistic and compositional visions in a programme lovingly curated by Pitts himself, generously totalling over 75 minutes. The recordings were put together from a mixture of live and studio archives, from across a number of years and indeed decades—dating back to 1993. The booklet bursts with composers’ insights into their music and its genesis, and also contains attractive designs by Volkmar Zander, Yolanda Koning and striking photography by Peter Hislop … no matter one’s level of avant-garde tolerance, Known Unknown proves itself a highly accessible voyage through the concepts of non-traditional music-making, silence and dreams, and the way one reassesses 'the nature of music and the value of human music-making' (The Music Trust, Australia)
29 April 2022

Vaughan Williams: On Wenlock Edge & other songs
Studio Master: CDA68378  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

‘Tenor Nicky Spence copes well with all the works presented here … [his] sensitivity to the words is first-rate … the other performers are uniformly excellent and are well-served by Hyperion’s recording’ (MusicWeb International)
25 April 2022

Gesualdo: Tenebrae Responsories for Maundy Thursday
Studio Master: CDA68348  RECORD OF THE MONTH   Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

‘One of the most effective and powerful Eastertide discs I’ve heard in a long time … the wondrous singing, combined with the first class recorded sound, makes this a deeply involving disc, one that draws you in and won’t let go’ (MusicWeb International)» More
24 April 2022

Schubert: Piano Sonatas D664, 769a & 894
Studio Master: CDA68370  RECORD OF THE MONTH   Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

‘What a joy it is to bask in Stephen Hough’s musicianship’ (The Sunday Times)» More

22 April 2022
Limelight, Australia, Tony Way
Gesualdo: Tenebrae Responsories for Maundy Thursday
Studio Master: CDA68348  RECORD OF THE MONTH   Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

‘The mournfulness of the Tallis is intensified by the superb blend of the singers, whose ability to spin mellifluously long lines adds a timeless sense to this evocation of abandonment and desolation. Haunting and heartfelt, the final appeals for Jerusalem to repent are musical moments to savour. By contrast, the Gesualdo profits from the individuality of some of the voices and an acute sense of drama, not unlike that of the brightly lit foreground of a mannerist painting. Relishing a range of timbre and emotion, the singers are not afraid to take some dramatic risks, in some sense mirroring the outrageous harmonies of the music itself … The Gesualdo Six prove insightful and thought-provoking guides in this exploration of the darkness of the passion before the dawn of Easter’ (Limelight, Australia)» More

22 April 2022

Mendelssohn: Violin Sonatas
Studio Master: CDA68322  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

‘This Hyperion delivers on every level in a recording of compelling vitality and, to my ears at least, flawless musicianship’ (MusicWeb International)» More
20 April 2022

Bach (CPE): Sonatas & Rondos
Studio Master: CDA68381/2  RECORD OF THE MONTH 2CDs  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

‘Throughout, Hamelin performs with a polished assurance, his playing at all times thoughtfully nuanced. His flawless technique particularly comes to the fore in such works as the presto finale of the Fantasia in C Major Wq61/6. This recording is an exemplary addition to the catalogue. Not only does it shine light on music that deserves greater recognition, but it proves—if proof is needed—that despite Hamelin's usual focus on virtuosic 19th-century repertoire, he is a master at anything he decides to approach. Excellent notes and attractive packaging are further bonuses’ (The Whole Note, Canada)
16 April 2022
Kulturabdruck, Germany, Thorsten Stegemann
Bargiel: Piano Trios Nos 1 & 2
Studio Master: CDA68342  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

„Das Leonore Piano Trio interpretiert beide Werke mit spürbarer Begeisterung, sorgt aber auch dafür, dass die elegischen Momente—etwa die suggestiven, zunächst vom Cello vorgetragenen Melodien der Andante-Sätze—ausreichend Raum zur Entfaltung bekommen. Benjamin Nabarro (Violine), Gemma Rosefield (Cello) und Tim Horton (Klavier) lassen so ein Stück Berliner Musikkultur wieder lebendig werden und sorgen gleichzeitig für ein eminentes Hörvergnügen“ (Kulturabdruck, Germany)
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