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 New Release Round-up, New Release Round-Up - 1st March 2019

NR 1st March Berlioz from Sir Andrew Davis and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Shostakovich from Sir Mark Elder and The Hallé, Manuel de Falla’s La vida breve from Juanjo Mena and the BBC Philharmonic, plus Bernard Haitink’s complete Bruckner and Mahler symphonies from Amsterdam on Blu-ray Audio.

Rachel Nicholls (soprano), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Martyn Brabbins

Following readings of Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2 which were praised for their ‘intentness of conviction’ (BBC Music Magazine) and ‘polish and panache’ (Gramophone), Brabbins and his BBC forces give the world premiere recording of the early Symphony in B flat (composed in 1934 but withdrawn and subsequently revised by the composer after a handful of performances), alongside the blues-infused Third from the early 1970s and the Fourth, which the composer described as ‘a birth to death piece’.

Available Format: 2 CDs

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, Sir Andrew Davis

Davis’s performances of Berlioz’s Christmas oratorio in Melbourne last year (scheduled rather unseasonably in June!) marked the work’s first outing in the city for five decades; his interpretation was described by Limelight Magazine as ‘empathetic, efficient…full of panache’, whilst the Sydney Morning Herald had particular praise for tenor Andrew Staples’s ‘finely-shaded and clear’ narration.

Available Formats: 2 SACDs, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Maria João Pires (piano), Gordan Nikolitch (violin), Tim Hugh (cello), Lars Vogt (piano), London Symphony Orchestra, Bernard Haitink

Reviewing the live performance of the Second Piano Concerto at The Barbican in 2013, BachTrack noted the ‘spiky angularity and physical strength’ of Pires’s interpretation, praising the performance as a whole as ‘music-making of the highest quality’; the Triple Concerto was recorded alongside Haitink’s acclaimed cycle of the complete Beethoven symphonies, which first appeared on disc in 2006.

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

Eldbjørg Hemsing (violin), Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Tan Dun

Norwegian violinist Eldbørg Hemsing has worked regularly with Tan Dun over the past nine years, sharing the Chinese composer’s passion for folk music. She premiered the concerto Fire Ritual (subtitled ‘a musical ritual for victims of war’) last year at the Ultima festival in Oslo; the Rhapsody and Fantasia (originally composed in 1994) was recently reworked with her in mind and receives its first recording in that new incarnation here.

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

Nancy Fabiola Herrera (Salud), Aquiles Machado (Paco), Cristina Faus (La Abuela); BBC Philharmonic, Juanjo Mena

Mena describes Falla’s short but powerful 1913 opera about a gypsy-girl who gate-crashes her duplicitous lover’s wedding as ‘the highpoint of Spanish opera and a fundamental work in our repertoire’; though Fritz Kreisler’s arrangement of the wedding-music as ‘Danse espagnole’ is a favourite with violinists, recordings of the complete opera are relatively rare.

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

Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Neeme Järvi

Järvi and his Estonian orchestra present suites from Massenet’s biblical opera Hérodiade and two ballets from 1945: Jacques Ibert’s Les Amours de Jupiter, chronicling the god’s conquest of Danaë, Ganymede, Europa and Leda, and Henri Sauget’s Les Forains (‘The Show People’), which depicts a circus performance and its aftermath and provided the melodic material for the Édith Piaf classic Le Chemin des forains.

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

Hallé, Sir Mark Elder

Reviewing the live performance last January from which this recording was taken, Northern Soul observed that ‘the power and the glory that was Shostakovich was adeptly displayed for all the world to hear’ in the symphony; British bass James Platt (recently a spine-chilling ghost on Elder’s award-winning Semiramide) joins for the Pushkin settings, composed shortly before Shostakovich’s ‘response to justified criticism’.

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

EXAUDI Vocal Ensemble, James Weeks

Spanning four decades of the English composer’s career, this collection includes his recent Gesualdo: Libro Sesto (described by Finnissy as 'fantasies about music, about love and death, about the voice'), two works from the 1970s (Cipriano and Tom Fool’s Wooing), and Kelir (1981), inspired by Javanese ritual formulae.

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

Nataša Veljković (piano), Howard Griffiths

Premiered in Rouen in 1792, Boieldieu’s Piano Concerto contributed to his reputation as ‘the French Mozart’; it’s presented here alongside overtures from six of his opéras comiques, including La Dame Blanche (famous for its tenor aria ‘Viens, gentile dame’), Jean de Paris, Le Calife de Bagdad, and Ma tante Aurore

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC

Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bernard Haitink

Released for the first time on Blu-ray Audio to mark both Haitink’s and Decca’s ninetieth birthdays, this Mahler cycle was originally issued on Philips in the 1970s and 80s, and praised by Gramophone for its ‘appealing natural simplicity’ and circumspection. Soloists include Dame Janet Baker and James King in Das Lied von der Erde, Jessye Norman and John Shirley-Quirk in Des Knaben Wunderhorn, and Hermann Prey in Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen.

Available Formats: 12 CDs + Blu-ray Audio, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bernard Haitink

Recorded between 1963 and 1972, Haitink’s Amsterdam Bruckner cycle also receives its first outing in this format for the double anniversary, and prompted critic and musicologist Deryck Cooke (perhaps best known for his completion of Mahler’s Tenth Symphony) to describe the conductor as ‘the answer to a Brucknerian’s prayers’.

Available Formats: 10 CDs + Blu-ray Audio, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC