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 New Release Round-up, New Release Round-Up - 28th December 2018

Today’s new releases include a wide-ranging recital with organ from the indomitable Swedish mezzo Anne Sofie von Otter, Mendelssohn concertos performed on a Pleyel grand copy from Ronald Brautigam and the Kölner Akademie, Juan Diego Flórez taking a trip to hell and back at La Scala, and an anthology of baroque opera arias depicting Alexander the Great from countertenor Xavier Sabata and the Barcelona-based ensemble Vespres d’Arnadi.

Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo), with Bengt Forsberg (organ) and Sharon Bezaly (flute)

An eclectic programme from the great Swedish mezzo and friends, which includes songs by Ives, Copland, Strauss, Poulenc and Messiaen (all arranged for voice and organ) and excerpts from Mahler’s Second and Third symphonies, the Duruflé and Frank Martin Requiems, Bernstein’s Mass, and closes with ‘Climb Ev’ry Mountain’ from The Sound of Music.

Available Formats: SACD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Paul Jacobs (organ), Utah Symphony, Thierry Fischer

As well as the Organ Symphony (with Paul Jacobs, the first organist to win a Grammy, as soloist) and famous Bacchanale from Samson et Dalila, this album includes a real rarity – the Trois Tableaux Symphoniques d'après La Foi from 1908, composed as incidental music for Eugène Brieux’s play on the separation of church and state which opened in Monaco the following year.

Available Format: CD

Gothenburg Symphony, Herbert Blomstedt

The Swedish conductor was in his mid-80s before he embarked on serious study of his compatriot’s orchestral music, and both he and Stenhammar had close relationships with Gothenburg: Blomstedt has worked with them regularly since the early 1950s, and the composer conducted them in the premieres of both works on this recording, in 1915 and 1920 respectively.

Available Formats: SACD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Ronald Brautigam (fortepiano), Die Kölner Akademie, Michael Alexander Willens

The Dutch keyboard-player began his prolific relationship with BIS in the mid-90s with recordings of Mendelssohn’s concertos on modern piano; now he returns to the works on a copy of a Pleyel grand from 1830 (shortly before Mendelssohn composed the earliest work on the album). The same team will release the complete Beethoven concertos, also on fortepiano, over the course of the next year or two.

Available Formats: SACD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Garrick Ohlsson (piano)

Ohlsson juxtaposes the earliest score which Brahms approved for publication (the Scherzo Op. 4, composed when he was just 18) with the Fantasias Op. 116, the Intermezzi Op. 117, and the Klavierstücke Op. 118; his previous Brahms album on Hyperion saw BBC Music Magazine describe him as ‘a born Brahmsian’, and The Guardian praising his ‘iron-clad technique and robust, forward tone’.

Available Format: CD

Natalie Clein (cello), Christian Ihle Hadland (piano)

Clarke’s Viola Sonata (controversially pipped to the post by Ernest Bloch’s Suite for Viola and Piano when Clarke’s neighbour entered it for a prestigious music competition in 1919) is given here in its alternative version for cello, alongside Holst’s slightly earlier sonata in two movements, and Vaughan Williams’s Six Studies in English Folk Song, first performed in June 1926.

Available Format: CD

Xavier Sabata (countertenor), Vespres d’Arnadi, Dani Espasa

The charismatic Catalan countertenor explores operatic depictions of Alexander the Great, dating from the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and including arias from Handel’s Alessandro and Poro, Vinci’s and Pescetti’s Alessandro nell’Indie, Bononcini’s L’Abdolomino, Steffani’s Il Zelo di Leonato, and Draghi’s La Vittoria della Fortezza.

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Michaela Kaune, Magdalena Hinterdobler, Danae Kontora; Münchner Rundfunkorchester, Stefan Blunier

Composed in 1861 when Bruch was just twenty, this four-act opera sets a libretto which Emanuel Geibel originally penned for Mendelssohn and tells of a Rhine-dwelling siren who lures sailors to their doom; the work’s champions included Gustav Mahler and Hans Pfitzner, though it never gained a significant foothold in the repertoire and receives its first outing on CD here in this live recording from Munich’s Prinzregententheater in 2014.

Available Formats: 3 CDs, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Juan Diego Flórez (Orphée), Christiane Karg (Euridice), Fatma Said (Amor); Coro e Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala, Michele Mariotti

A co-production with the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, this modern-dress staging by John Fulljames and Hofesh Shechter marked the first outing for the French version of Gluck’s masterpiece at La Scala when it opened earlier this year; the Financial Times praised the ‘beautifully ethereal sets’ and the Peruvian tenor’s ‘blazing tone’ and ‘steadfast sense of self-possession’ as well as Christiane Karg’s ‘singing of utmost grace’.

Available Format: DVD Video

Juan Diego Flórez (Orphée), Christiane Karg (Euridice), Fatma Said (Amor); Coro e Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala, Michele Mariotti

LPCM Stereo DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0

Available Format: Blu-ray