Leipziger Streichquartett - Ives: Complete Music for String Quartet (2002)

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Leipziger Streichquartett - Ives: Complete Music for String Quartet (2002)

Leipziger Streichquartett - Ives: Complete Music for String Quartet (2002)
WEB | FLAC (tracks) - 308 MB | 01:05:47
Genre: Classical | Label: MDG Gold

Charles Ives’s innovations, his seemingly cluttered experiments, his use of quotation (from indigenous folk-tunes to Beethoven’s Fifth!) and his visionary ability to suggest and collide his childhood (Holidays Symphony) and look beyond ourselves (The Unanswered Question) has his detractors seeing him, at best, as eccentric. This CD brings maximum contrast from the off – first comes the 90-second Scherzo, gnarled and angular, from a European acolyte of radical Schoenberg maybe, which is followed by the hymnal opening of the First Quartet, music that became the third movement of Ives’s remarkable Fourth Symphony, and which could easily have been composed by Dvorak in America, save the harmony wouldn’t have ’slipped’ so much! This Quartet, completed in 1902, is in the conventional four movements.

Leipziger Streichquartett, Hartmut Rohde - Bruckner: String Quintet in F Major & String Quartet in C Minor (2005)

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Leipziger Streichquartett, Hartmut Rohde - Bruckner: String Quintet in F Major & String Quartet in C Minor (2005)

Leipziger Streichquartett, Hartmut Rohde - Bruckner: String Quintet in F Major & String Quartet in C Minor (2005)
WEB | FLAC (tracks) - 305 MB | 01:06:33
Genre: Classical | Label: MDG Gold

Very beautifully, very powerfully, very affectionately played, the Leipziger Streichquartett's 2005 recording of Bruckner's String Quintet and String Quartet just misses being a great recording. While the Leipzig quartet has made tremendous recordings in the past – Beethoven and especially Schubert recordings are as fine and as deep and as true as the best in the postwar period – its Bruckner has everything going for it except profundity. In the quintet, its structure in the opening Gemässig, while wonderfully controlled, misses the sense of expansive inclusiveness it needs to convince.

Olga Gollej, Julian Steckel, Leipziger Streichquartett - Klughardt: Piano & String Quintet (2010)

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Olga Gollej, Julian Steckel, Leipziger Streichquartett - Klughardt: Piano & String Quintet (2010)

Olga Gollej, Julian Steckel, Leipziger Streichquartett - Klughardt: Piano & String Quintet (2010)
WEB | FLAC (tracks) - 321 MB | 01:10:00
Genre: Classical | Label: MDG Gold

Largely forgotten now, composer August Klughardt was active during the last half of the 19th century, a time of much diversion and expansion of musical ideas. Rather than following any one of these emerging schools of composition, Klughardt incorporated concepts and trends from a variety of sources into an eclectic but unfocused compositional style. This MDG Gold album begins with his Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 43. Spun, singing melodies of Schumann can be heard, along with sometimes rich harmonization of Brahms and folk-like idioms of Dvorák.

Leipziger Streichquartett, Barbara Buntrock - Mendelssohn: String Quintets (2013)

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Leipziger Streichquartett, Barbara Buntrock - Mendelssohn: String Quintets (2013)

Leipziger Streichquartett, Barbara Buntrock - Mendelssohn: String Quintets (2013)
WEB | FLAC (tracks) - 286 MB | 56:50
Genre: Classical | Label: MDG Gold

The 21st century has seen a certain revival of interest in Felix Mendelssohn's chamber music, and an entry in the field from the German audiophile label MDG is welcome. In the realm of engineering, this recording is superb even by MDG's high standards, with startlingly clear, immediate, yet never overwhelming sound captured at one of the label's favorite haunts, the Konzerthaus der Abtei Marienmünster (a historic abbey). The effect is impressive in the String Quartet No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 87, a work in which Mendelssohn pulls out all the stops to create an orchestra-like texture. It's a tremendously exciting piece, not very Mendelssohn-like, and not much like anything else in the chamber music repertory.

Leipziger Streichquartett, Alois Posch - Dvorák: String Quintet, Op. 77 & String Quartet Op. 96 "American" (2014)

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Leipziger Streichquartett, Alois Posch - Dvorák: String Quintet, Op. 77 & String Quartet Op. 96 "American" (2014)

Leipziger Streichquartett, Alois Posch - Dvorák: String Quintet, Op. 77 & String Quartet Op. 96 "American" (2014)
WEB | FLAC (tracks) - 299 MB | 58:56
Genre: Classical | Label: MDG Gold

The pairing of the String Quintet in G major, Op. 77, and the String Quartet in F major, Op. 96 ("American"), both major Dvorák chamber works, is a common one, but this one has several aspects setting it apart. Most distinctive is the sound from the German audiophile label MDG, working in an old abbey hall. The space is warm, clear, and perfectly sized for the music, in other words as close as you can get to actually having been there in the late 19th century when the music was first played. Moreover, the prolific Leipzig String Quartet, joined in Op. 77 by double bassist Alois Posch, delivers a superior performance of the "American" quintet that gets away from the overly consistent tone that mars so many Dvorák performances.

Michael Massong - Sing-Übung: The Lyrical Trombone (2015)

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Michael Massong - Sing-Übung: The Lyrical Trombone (2015)

Michael Massong - Sing-Übung: The Lyrical Trombone (2015)
WEB | FLAC (tracks) - 155 MB | 55:33
Genre: Classical | Label: MDG Recital

Sing-Übung is the name given by Michael Massong to his debut recital on MDG, and the title contains a program: lyrical pieces, in large part especially arranged for this CD, display a vocal quality of trombone playing that is without its equal. The selection of works also holds some surprises in store: Rachmaninov's famous "Vocalise," the fine emotion of Carl Maria von Weber's "Romanze," and Franz Liszt's Romance oubliée," in which Michael Massong teases previously unheard-of vocal expressive depth out of his instrument. The prizewinning horn player Premysl Vojta performs the duo part in "Singübung," the title work by Franz Schubert, and in the four duets by Johannes Brahms.

Christoph Schoener - J.S. Bach: The Organ Toccatas (2015)

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Christoph Schoener - J.S. Bach: The Organ Toccatas (2015)

Christoph Schoener - J.S. Bach: The Organ Toccatas (2015)
WEB | FLAC (tracks) - 329 MB | 01:18:01
Genre: Classical | Label: MDG Scene

Amid the never ending list of available recordings of Bach's organ works, it's nice to see a new SACD being released that brings all of his brilliant Toccatas together on one disc. These works, which capture a snapshot of Bach letting his hair down, showcase the essence of the composer at his best. Highly spirited music, brimming with expressive freedom bordering on the ecstatic. Organist Christoph Schoener certainly perceives these elements within the music and delivers up-tempo, animated and exuberant readings of all the pieces that call for it. The highlight for me on this disc is the account of the Toccata in F, BWV 540. A brilliant work, even by Bach's standards, with outstanding harmonic development throughout, underpinned by solid and long-sustained pedal notes upon which Bach constructed cathedrals of sound.

Amsterdam Piano Duo - Schumann: Piano Works for Four Hands (2015)

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Amsterdam Piano Duo - Schumann: Piano Works for Four Hands (2015)

Amsterdam Piano Duo - Schumann: Piano Works for Four Hands (2015)
WEB | FLAC (tracks) - 215 MB | 01:05:55
Genre: Classical | Label: MDG Scene

Robert Schumann knew his way around the piano like hardly any other composer. During his constant quest for new sound, it must have been a real experience for him and his wife Clara when a pedal – as on an organ – was added to their grand piano. The Amsterdam Piano Duo has set out to relive this revelation on this recording of the Studien für den Pedalflügel on an Erard grand piano from 1837 in a version for piano four hands by Georges Bizet.

Ensemble 333 - Ulrich Zeitler: Missa Credo (2015)

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Ensemble 333 - Ulrich Zeitler: Missa Credo (2015)

Ensemble 333 - Ulrich Zeitler: Missa Credo (2015)
WEB | FLAC (tracks) - 205 MB | 47:52
Genre: Classical | Label: MDG Scene

In this new recording, Missa Credo for soprano, saxophone and piano is conducted by the composer, Ulrich Zeitler. The work combines Gregorian melodies from the medieval church with contemporary jazz to make a fascinating fusion of styles on this hybrid SACD. For Ulrich Zeitler the Credo is a program: this deeply felt, very personal profession of faith forms the foundation in this composition. Very much in the tradition of the earliest church music, Zeitler avails himself of the “perfect division”: each metrical unit can be divided into three subunits, as a symbol of the perfection of God, of unity in three persons. The ever-present pedal point d underscores this unity,and, whether intentionally or not, the whole Credo attains a length of 333 measures!

Jean-Jacques Kantorow, Pierre-Alain Volondat, Kees Bakels - Lalo: Concert russe, Piano Concerto (2012)

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Jean-Jacques Kantorow, Pierre-Alain Volondat, Kees Bakels - Lalo: Concert russe, Piano Concerto (2012)

Jean-Jacques Kantorow, Pierre-Alain Volondat, Kees Bakels - Lalo: Concert russe, Piano Concerto (2012)
EAC | FLAC (image+.cue, log) | Covers Included | 71:36 | 360 MB
Genre: Classical | Label: BIS | Catalog: BISSACD1890

Jean-Jacques Kantorow follows his critically acclaimed recording of music by Édouard Lalo with a second disc featuring two further works that were originally intended for Sarasate, the brief Fantaisie-ballet on themes from Lalo’s ballet Namouna, and the large-scale Concerto russe. The Concerto russe borrows themes from two wedding songs included by Rimsky-Korsakov in his collection 100 Russian Folk Songs.

Leipziger Streichquartett - Sibelius: String Quartets (2016)

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Leipziger Streichquartett - Sibelius: String Quartets (2016)

Leipziger Streichquartett - Sibelius String Quartets (2016)
WEB | FLAC (tracks) - 311 MB | 01:05:08
Genre: Classical | Label: MDG Gold

It may well be that it is not chamber music that immediately comes to mind when you think of Sibelius. That's fair enough but he certainly wrote pieces for chamber groupings. There are, for example some single movements for quartet composed when he was a young man. Then comes this A minor quartet of 1889 and there's at least one other apart from the B flat quartet known as Voces Intimae. There are also a few pieces for strings and piano like the Piano Trio of 1884.

Steffen Schleiermacher - Mompou: Fêtes Lointaines (2016)

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Steffen Schleiermacher - Mompou: Fêtes Lointaines (2016)

Steffen Schleiermacher - Mompou Fêtes Lointaines (2016)
WEB | FLAC (tracks) - 174 MB | 01:01:04
Genre: Classical | Label: MDG Scene

After Música Callada Steffen Schleiermacher is now presenting Fêtes lointaines, his second release featuring one-of-a-kind piano compositions by Federico Mompou. Along with the title cycle, this CD includes other miniatures from the period between 1914 and 1921. The titles of the short cycles very much refer to the real world. “Suburbis” depicts street scenes in Barcelona, a guitarist endeavors to get a waltz going, gypsies form the topic of conversation, suddenly an old gray mare appears, and then a beggar concludes the series with hurdy-gurdy distress signals. The festivities in Fêtes lointaines, hints, mere impressions, are heard in the distance – which is why the instructions at the end read: “To be played like an echo.”

Musica Alta Ripa - Insane Harmony: English Music 1650-1700 (2016)

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Musica Alta Ripa - Insane Harmony: English Music 1650-1700 (2016)

Musica Alta Ripa - Insane Harmony: English Music 1650-1700 (2016)
WEB | FLAC (tracks) - 402 MB | 01:07:18
Genre: Classical | Label: MDG Gold

While Italians and Frenchmen were competing for musical primacy everywhere on the European Continent, a very characteristically British tonal idiom reigned supreme during this short period of history before foreign influences increased in importance. Musica Alta Ripa’s espousal of an epoch that so far has not received much attention turns out to be a genuine instance of good fortune. With their special feel for the peculiar resonances of English music, these Hanoverian baroque specialists present a royal audio feast and with it genuine enrichment not only for early music enthusiasts.

Steffen Schleiermacher - Asia Piano Avantgarde - Japan, Vol. 1 (2006)

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Steffen Schleiermacher - Asia Piano Avantgarde - Japan, Vol. 1 (2006)

Steffen Schleiermacher - Asia Piano Avantgarde - Japan, Vol. 1 (2006)
WEB | FLAC (tracks) - 173 MB | 01:10:40
Genre: Classical | Label: MDG Scene

Asia Piano Avantgarde Japan, Vol. 1, is the first installment in what promises to be a cycle of discs from MD&G focusing on Asian experimental music for piano played by the ubiquitous Steffen Schleiermacher. It focuses mostly on pieces composed before 1975, although a couple of these works date from the 1990s. The music, by Toshi Ichiyanagi, Toshio Hosokawa, Kazuo Fukushima, Jo Kondo, and Joji Yuasa, mainly demonstrates the enormous influence that the 1950s-era chance compositions of John Cage, with their long pauses and short bursts of sound, had on Japanese composers of the late twentieth century.

Steffen Schleiermacher - Asia Piano Avantgarde - Japan, Vol. 2 (2016)

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Steffen Schleiermacher - Asia Piano Avantgarde - Japan, Vol. 2 (2016)

Steffen Schleiermacher - Asia Piano Avantgarde - Japan, Vol. 2 (2016)
WEB | FLAC (tracks) - 138 MB | 01:02:46
Genre: Classical | Label: MDG Scene

Steffen Schleiermacher, a global player in the field of contemporary music, once again presents astonishing new finds, now from his latest journey. His new album, Calligraphy, focuses on Japanese avant-garde music between 1960 and 2012. Toshio Hosokawa, Toru Takemitsu, Joji Yuasa, Keijiri Satoh, and Seiichi Inagaki represent a broad spectrum of Japanese compositional artistry. No matter how different these works may be, the increasing interest in the thousands of years of musical tradition in their country more than justifies their presentation together.