1 October 2020

Parry: Songs of farewell & works by Stanford, Gray & Wood
Studio Master: CDA68301  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

‘The masterpieces come at the beginning and the end, the motets by Stanford and the songs by Parry, in which whole worlds of pain, belief, hope and tradition are condensed into telling cadences that internalise rather than boast about technique and aspiration … it’s in these more classical designs that O’Donnell’s choir shows its poise: thrillingly bright and straight-backed in Stanford’s ‘Caelos ascendit hodie’ (and judicious in that vibrant final cadence) and going with the flow in the tremendous text-led freedoms of Parry’s Songs of Farewell, the most remarkable meeting of English choral style with sheer instinct … it radiates an optimism of its own, which may well prove even more special in the long run’ (Gramophone)
1 October 2020

Shostakovich: Cello Concertos
Studio Master: CDA68340  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

‘There are many impressive things about these performances, not least the way Alban Gerhardt reinterprets important aspects of these pieces—particularly in the far better-known First Concerto. The slow movement, for instance, is taken at what sounds a lot more Shostakovich’s Moderato than the usual Adagio. It’s less spacious, less likely to drift into reverie, than the classic Rostropovich versions, but the gain in the sense of line is striking. This is less a troubled nocturnal dreamscape than a sustained, anguished ‘song of the night’. The same urgent purposefulness can be felt in the fast outer movements too: not so much barbed humour, rather a sense of someone driven to express as cogently and concisely as possible’ (BBC Music Magazine)
30 September 2020

Liszt & Thalberg: Opera transcriptions & fantasies
Studio Master: CDA68320  RECORD OF THE MONTH   Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

‘Hamelin takes us through honey, heroics and heartache, lingering upon a phrase, a cadential turn, a melodic poignancy where once he might have pressed on, voiced tone production at a premium. Roulades glisten. The bass regions (here and there texturally strengthened or re-octaved) glow and caress sensually, the fortissimos thunder with Jovian, unmuddied declamation, all carried by a Ferrari of a Hamburg Steinway with power and more to take on the crowds at Monza, as characterfully equal to the beauties of Don Pasquale or veils and panoplies of Ernani as the cultured artistry and flowers of Moïse, the ‘monster’ stunts and drama of Hexaméron. Produced and engineered by Andrew Keener and Arne Akselberg, this is a ravishing, high octane journey. Réminiscences, dreams, feather every turn—historical, musical, personal. A pianophile’s paradise. Breathtaking’ (Classical Source)» More

29 September 2020

Liszt & Thalberg: Opera transcriptions & fantasies
Studio Master: CDA68320  RECORD OF THE MONTH   Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

‘Hamelin has the last word on both composers, his Don Pasquale combining the very best elements of his rivals’ readings (and slipping in a few revelations of his own.) His superfine touch and easeful articulation in the Rossini are simply breathtaking. Factor in a compelling sense of drama, culminating in apotheoses and you have the full measure of both the music and this prodigiously talented pianist. (Francis Pott’s detailed notes complete this moreish treat.) Remarkable repertoire, peerless pianism and exemplary engineering; this is sure to be high on my list of the year’s very best releases’ (MusicWeb International)» More
26 September 2020
TheArtsDesk.com, Graham Rickson
Shostakovich: Cello Concertos
Studio Master: CDA68340  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

‘Gerhardt and conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste reinvent the work [No 2], its lyricism and black humour given extra emphasis … absolutely marvellous, and the most persuasive, approachable version of the work I’ve heard … incredibly good [No 1], and that’s without mentioning the detailed notes (including an insightful foreword from Gerhardt), fulsome sound and attractive cover art’ (TheArtsDesk.com)» More
24 September 2020
Limelight, Australia, Lisa MacKinney
Liszt & Thalberg: Opera transcriptions & fantasies
Studio Master: CDA68320  RECORD OF THE MONTH   Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

‘Hexaméron requires immense technical prowess and dynamic pianism, which Hamelin has in spades: his playing is muscular, precise and unwavering in intensity … these are dynamic works of relentless, thundering pianism recorded with a rich depth and presence. A thrilling roller-coaster ride not for the faint-hearted’ (Limelight, Australia)» More

22 September 2020

Dunhill & Erlanger: Piano Quintets
Studio Master: CDA68296  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

‘The Goldner String Quartet and Piers Lane have themselves formed a lively collaborative ensemble, as reflected in their discs. The recording has been splendidly balanced and all concerned respond to the music with technical and expressive surety. Lewis Foreman is on cracking form in his notes. If the bluffer elements of the d’Erlanger make the bigger impression it’s because, in my own view, it’s the more attractive work but the coupling remains a thoughtful and canny juxtaposition’ (MusicWeb International)» More
20 September 2020
BBC Record Review, Andrew McGregor
Dunhill & Erlanger: Piano Quintets
Studio Master: CDA68296  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

‘[d'Erlanger's] quintet dates from 1902, and I rather fell for the quiet depths of the second movement … rewarding performances of both works by Piers Lane and the Goldner Quartet’ (BBC Record Review)
19 September 2020
colinscolumn.com, Colin Anderson
Shostakovich: Cello Concertos
Studio Master: CDA68340  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

‘Between them, Alban Gerhardt and Jukka-Pekka Saraste do a grand job on behalf of Shostakovich’s two Rostropovich-centric Cello Concertos (Opuses 107 & 126), the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra (WDR) also proving to be a protagonist of distinction … these are inspired performances’ (colinscolumn.com)» More
9 September 2020

Homage to Godowsky
Studio Master: CDA68310  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

‘The recording quality is exemplary as is usual for Hyperion, the cover notes are interesting and replete with plenty of detail about these neglected gems and the playing time is very generous. To sum up, this is a marvellous CD, there is a wide variety of music included and all is played with consummate skill. I recommend all piano music fans to go out and buy a copy as there is some magnificent playing here as well as some very neglected works which deserve to be better known. I also look forward to further recordings by Andrey Gugnin who is clearly someone well worth listening to’ (MusicWeb International)
7 September 2020
Classics Today, Jed Distler
Musique?
Studio Master: CDA68287  RECORD OF THE MONTH   Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

‘Put simply, I’ve rarely encountered such a wide ranging, provocative, intelligently curated, effectively paced, and brilliantly performed program of contemporary harpsichord music’ (Classics Today)» More
5 September 2020
BBC Record Review, Andrew McGregor
Lobo (D): Masses, Responsories & motets
Studio Master: CDA68306  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

‘Rare Portuguese polyphony from a Portuguese vocal ensemble … Luís Toscano directs his ensemble Cupertinos. It's a different sound quality to The Tallis Scholars or the other professional Brits that do this kind of repertoire—soprano lines slightly forwards, lighter bass—a slightly dark, distant recorded sound that works very effectively … three major first recordings’ (BBC Record Review)
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