Yolanda Kondonassis - Vivaldi: The Four Seasons for Harp and Orchestra (1999)

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Yolanda Kondonassis - Vivaldi: The Four Seasons for Harp and Orchestra (1999)

Yolanda Kondonassis - Vivaldi: The Four Seasons for Harp and Orchestra (1999)
WEB | FLAC (tracks) - 222 MB | 56:27
Genre: Classical | Label: Telarc Distribution

Yolanda Kondonassis' skill on the harp is legendary. So too are her arrangements for the instrument. Many times you hear arrangements that restate the composer's original themes, but don't make the music fit the instrument. I often feel this way about much of Bach's music on the piano. Other times you find arrangements that stretch beyond the original in ways that get in the way. For me, the best example of this is the Stokowski arrangements of Bach's organ works for orchestra.

Evgeny Kissin - Chopin: Sonata No. 3, Mazurkas (1994)

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Evgeny Kissin - Chopin: Sonata No. 3, Mazurkas (1994)

Evgeny Kissin - Chopin: Sonata No. 3, Mazurkas (1994)
EAC | FLAC (image+.cue, log) | Covers Included | 64:50 | 217 MB
Genre: Classical | Label: RCA Victor Red Seal | Catalog: 09026 62542 2

Kissin is among the master-pianists of our time. What magnificence and assertion he finds in the B minor Sonata's opening, what menace in the following uprush of chromatic scales, his deliberate pedal haze capturing one of Chopin's most truly modernist moments. He may relish lefthand counter-melody in the return of the second subject and elsewhere, yet such detail is offered within the context of the whole. A momentary failure of concentration in the Scherzo comes as reassuring evidence of human fallibility but elsewhere one can only marvel at a manner so trenchant, musicianly and resolutely unsentimental.

Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Kurt Masur - Mendelssohn: Elias (1993)

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Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Kurt Masur - Mendelssohn: Elias (1993)

Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Kurt Masur - Mendelssohn: Elias (1993)
EAC | FLAC (image+.cue, log) | Covers Included | 01:49:17 | 527 MB
Genre: Classical | Label: Teldec | Catalog: 73131

Mendelssohn's Elijah is a work that definitely stands among the ranks of phenomenal oratorios. This is a tremendous performance where the chorus and conductor seem to have achieved an ideal rapport with the Israel Philharmonic. This recording presents a wonderfully fresh, dramatic exposition of an old favorite that makes it sound new-minted. It's lithe, lean and classically mean. It propels itself along at quite a lick - sometimes considerably faster than Mendelssohn's often surprisingly slow metronome marks. Pauses between movements are kept to a bare minimum, so that the momentum is not lost…Masur's generally speedy traversal is however not an unmixed blessing.

Sergey Yakovenko, Ilya Scheps - Silvestrov: Silent Songs (2004)

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Sergey Yakovenko, Ilya Scheps - Silvestrov: Silent Songs (2004)

Sergey Yakovenko, Ilya Scheps - Silvestrov: Silent Songs (2004)
WEB | FLAC (tracks) - 570 MB | 01:59:13
Genre: Classical | Label: ECM New Series

Following the chamber music album “leggiero, pesante”, the orchestral “Metamusik/Postludium”, and the “Requiem for Larissa”, ECM New Series is pleased to present a most remarkable recording of Valentin Silvestrov’s “Stille Lieder”, a song cycle of great importance in the development and perception of the Ukrainian composer’s work, in a double album that also includes the premiere recording of his “Four Songs after Osip Mandelstam”.“We may feel we have always known these songs,” writes Paul Griffiths in the liner notes to the “Silent Songs”, “and in a sense we have.

Josef Pancík, Prague Chamber Choir - Dvorák, Janácek, Eben (2008)

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Josef Pancík, Prague Chamber Choir - Dvorák, Janácek, Eben (2008)

Josef Pancík, Prague Chamber Choir - Dvorák, Janácek, Eben (2008)
WEB | FLAC (tracks) - 273 MB | 58:55
Genre: Classical | Label: ECM New Series

The Prague Chamber choir was launched in 1990 and was largely encouraged by the new climate of artistic freedom which accompanied Czechoslovakia's reclaimed political independence. The repertoire of Bohemian and Moravian religious music brought together on this album includes works by two of the greatest composers of the nationalist movement during the late-19th and early 20th Centuries. The third piece is a contemporary work by a composer who witnessed first-hand his country's oppression during World War II. Collectively, these pieces by Dvorak, Janacek and Eben add up to a sustained thanksgiving-underlined by a certain pride in the enduring strengths of the Czech tradition of sacred music.

Jessye Norman, Kurt Masur - R. Strauss: Vier letzte Lieder, Orchestral Lieder (1992)

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Jessye Norman, Kurt Masur - R. Strauss: Vier letzte Lieder, Orchestral Lieder (1992)

Jessye Norman, Kurt Masur - R. Strauss: Vier letzte Lieder, Orchestral Lieder (1992)
EAC | FLAC (image+.cue, log) | Covers Included | 46:00 | 217 MB
Genre: Classical | Label: Philips | Catalog: 411 052-2

Lovers of the Four Last Songs have come to take good recordings of the set for granted. Jessye Norman's early digital account with Kurt Masur and the Leipzigers is one of the best–powerful, sensuous, and very well recorded. Strauss may have conceived the songs with an ideal voice in mind, but he made a point of asking that Kirsten Flagstad give the first performance of the set. Since then, no comparably endowed soprano, in possession of both the tonal richness and the extraordinary amplitude that were Flagstad's, has recorded the Four Last Songs, save for Norman.

Sviatoslav Richter - Richter: The Authorised Recordings - Chopin, Liszt (1994)

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Sviatoslav Richter - Richter: The Authorised Recordings - Chopin, Liszt (1994)

Sviatoslav Richter - Richter: The Authorised Recordings - Chopin, Liszt (1994)
EAC | FLAC (image+.cue, log) | Covers Included | 03:29:29 | 774 MB
Genre: Classical | Label: Philips | Catalog: 438 620-2

In 1994-95, Philips released a 20+ disc box set titled Richter - The Authorized Recordings. Each volume was divided up by various composers, and recordings ranged from 1963 - 1992. This album is a 3 disc set that contains works by Franz Liszt and Frederic Chopin exclusively. The recordings range from 1966 to 1992, most of which are from recitals in the late 80s. At this point Richter’s career was certainly closer to its end and the reigning virtuoso he was the 50s and 60s was clearly on decline as is common with most aging pianists.

Trio Cascades - George Onslow: Piano Trios, Vol. 3 & 4 (2011)

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Trio Cascades - George Onslow: Piano Trios, Vol. 3 & 4 (2011)

Trio Cascades - George Onslow: Piano Trios, Vol. 3 & 4 (2011)
EAC | FLAC (image+.cue, log) | Covers Included | 02:29:45 | 685 MB
Genre: Classical | Label: CPO | Catalog: 7772322

CPO’s George Onslow complete Piano Trios series demonstrates that the rediscovery of this virtuosic, dramatically expressive, emotionally intimate, and finely crafted music is long overdue. Of volume two Gramophone said the performances by Trio Cascades were “spirited and expressive.”

Marko Ylönen, Lilli Maijala, Olivier Thiery double, Juha Kangas - Nordgren: As in a Dream (2019)

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Marko Ylönen, Lilli Maijala, Olivier Thiery double, Juha Kangas - Nordgren: As in a Dream (2019)

Marko Ylönen, Lilli Maijala, Olivier Thiery double, Juha Kangas - Nordgren: As in a Dream (2019)
EAC | FLAC (image+.cue, log) | Covers Included | 71:31 | 346 MB
Genre: Classical | Label: Alba Records | Catalog: ABCD 435

In the booklet note for this release, Pehr Hendrik Nordgren is considered “among the most outstanding masters of this grossly underrated generation”, that is, the generation that fell outside the avant-garde wave of famous names born in the 1920s, and those who reacted against atonality and returned to tradition and easily recognisable genres such as minimalism. Nordgren has done well in numerous recordings on the Alba label and elsewhere, BIS and Finlandia to name two, but still doesn’t really have ‘household name’ status. Both As in a Dream and the Concerto for Viola, Double Bass and Chamber Orchestra Op. 87 are world premiere recordings.

Gaby Pas-Van Riet - Friedrich Hartmann Graf: Flute Concertos (2012)

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Gaby Pas-Van Riet - Friedrich Hartmann Graf: Flute Concertos (2012)

Gaby Pas-Van Riet - Friedrich Hartmann Graf: Flute Concertos (2012)
EAC | FLAC (image+.cue, log) | Covers Included | 01:05:52 | 317 MB
Genre: Classical | Label: CPO | Catalog: 777 724-4

As a drummer for a Dutch infantry regiment, German born Friedrich Hartmann Graf (1727-1795) was captured during the War of the Austrian Succession. Upon his release, he took up the flute and became a traveling virtuoso. After a stint in The Hague with his older brother Christian Ernst (1723-1805), he accepted a position in Augsburg where he composed most of his 46 flute concertos. All four on this disc follow the standard format of ‘fast-slow-fast’, and were probably composed in the 1770’s, the first 2 likely near the end of the decade. Written in C Major, the opening ‘Allegro’ of the first concerto is thoroughly engaging.

András Schiff - Schumann: Geistervariationen, Piano Sonata, Kinderszenen, Fantasia (2011) (Repost)

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András Schiff - Schumann: Geistervariationen, Piano Sonata, Kinderszenen, Fantasia (2011) (Repost)

András Schiff - Schumann: Geistervariationen, Piano Sonata, Kinderszenen, Fantasia (2011)
EAC | FLAC (image+.cue, log) | Covers Included | 02:17:22 | 421 MB
Genre: Classical | Label: ECM New Series | Catalog: ECM 2122/23

A decade after his highly acclaimed ‘In Concert’ album (4721192), master pianist András Schiff continues his documentation of Robert Schumann’s music in a specially-priced 2-CD set recorded in Germany at Neumarkt’s Reutstadl. The repertoire includes Papillons op. 2, the Piano Sonata No 1 in F sharp minor op. 11, Kinderszenen (Scenes from Childhood) op. 15, the Fantasy in C major op. 17, Waldszenen (Forest Scenes) op. 82, and the Thema mit Variationen, also known as Geistervariationen. Schiff’s recording presents a revelatory reinvestigation of this enormously influential Romantic music.

Mstislav Rostropovich, Martha Argerich - Chopin: Cellosonate op. 65, Polonaise / Shumann: Adagio & Allegro (1989)

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Mstislav Rostropovich, Martha Argerich - Chopin: Cellosonate op. 65, Polonaise / Shumann: Adagio & Allegro (1989)

Mstislav Rostropovich, Martha Argerich - Chopin: Cellosonate op. 65, Polonaise / Shumann: Adagio & Allegro (1989)
EAC | FLAC (image+.cue, log) | Covers Included | 46:00 | 209 MB
Genre: Classical | Label: Deutsche Grammophon | Catalog: 419 860-2

This is a fine specimen of what duo-playing can and should be. My pleasure in this record is in no small measure down to my enthusiasm for these particular works, among the most attractive and significant products of early romanticism. Chopin's cello sonata seems to me an even better work than his piano sonatas. None other than Tovey gives it high marks for construction, even forgetting for once to include his near-invariable reference to Beethoven as the benchmark in all such matters. Chopin had written for the cello in his early years, and the opus 3 introduction-and-polonaise is included here, but the sonata has a sheer self-assurance about that sounds as if he had been composing for it all his life.

Bruno Meier - Hoffmeister: Flute Concertos, Vol. 2 (2013)

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Bruno Meier - Hoffmeister: Flute Concertos, Vol. 2 (2013)

Bruno Meier - Hoffmeister: Flute Concertos, Vol. 2 (2013)
EAC | FLAC (image+.cue, log) | Covers Included | 74:14 | 374 MB
Genre: Classical | Label: Naxos | Catalog: 8573040

Franz Anton Hoffmeister was a formative figure in the musical life of his time and highly regarded as a publisher of famous contemporaries such as Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven. The variety and appeal of his own works also made him a popular and renowned composer. As with volume 1 of this series (8572738), flautist Bruno Meier has created new editions of these previously unknown works. With elegant and catchy themes, substantial proportions, intriguing major/minor contrasts of key and virtuoso solo writing, Hoffmeister satisfied the tastes of his time finding a perfect balance between grace and artistry.

Alexandre Tharaud - Thierry Pécou: L'Oiseau Innumérable (2008)

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Alexandre Tharaud - Thierry Pécou: L'Oiseau Innumérable (2008)

Alexandre Tharaud - Thierry Pécou: L'Oiseau Innumérable (2008)
EAC | FLAC (image+.cue, log) | Covers Included | 01:03:52 | 257 MB
Genre: Classical | Label: Harmonia Mundi | Catalog: HMC 901974

For Thierry Pécou, to live is to travel, and to travel is to write, as if to compose were at once to plunge into another universe, to take affective possession of the space, and, above all, to stand back and choose to live in the margins of one's everyday cultural milieu. The works presented on this CD bear witness to a constantly renewed artistic standpoint; they have been entrusted here to the expert fingers of another great traveller.

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, George Szell - R. Strauss: Vier Letzte Lieder (1991)

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Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, George Szell - R. Strauss: Vier Letzte Lieder (1991)

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, George Szell - R. Strauss: Vier Letzte Lieder (1991)
EAC | FLAC (image+.cue, log) | Covers Included | 63:40 | 310 MB
Genre: Classical, Vocal | Label: EMI Classics | Catalog: 7 47276 2

The sublime and moving culmination of Richard Strauss's love affair with the soprano voice, the Vier letzte Lieder are interpreted by Elizabeth Schwarzkopf with insight, wisdom and gentle radiance. In the early years of his career George Szell was mentored by Richard Strauss himself, and he provides Schwarzkopf with an exquisitely sensitive orchestral context for all sixteen songs in this classic anthology.