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Gramophone Awards

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet and Imogen Cooper are nominated for 'Artist of the Year'!

                                    Click here to vote

 

Congrats to our new CBE!

Sarah Connolly and Gerald Finley recorgnised in Queen's Birthday Honours.

Click here for more

 

Orchestral Choice

'Every detail is clear and well placed in these excellent recordings.'

BBC Music, July 2017

 

JiΕ™í BΔ›lohlávek (1946-2017)

The leading conductor passed away on June 1st, after a long-term illness. He leaves behind him a tremendous discography, including major recordings with the Czech Philharmonic and BBC Symphony Orchestras.  Click here for more.

 

Editor's Choice

'Technical perfection allied to insight'

Gramophone (June 2017)

 

Welcome to Federico Colli

Leeds Competition winner embarks on a Scarlatti series

Click here for more

 

Editor's Choice

'A brilliant recording all around, and an important one'

Gramophone (June 2017)

 

Instrumental Choice

'This is altogether exceptional music making'

BBC Music (May. 2017)

 

Gordon Langford

We announce the death of our dear friend Gordon Langford on 18th April 2017. He was a composer,  (with thousands of fans in the Brass Band world) pianist and close friend and colleague of the founder of Chandos Records, Mr Brian Couzens. May he rest in peace.

 

Recording of the Month

'Immense and implacable power, astonishing'

BBC Music (Apr. 2017)

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Latest Reviews

Artistic Quality 8     Sound Quality 8

“...Definately worth a listen ...”

Artistic Quality 8     Sound Quality 8

“...Definately worth a listen ...”

David Hurwitz – ClassicsToday.com – January 2010

“A valuable addition to the Still discography with solid performances ...”

“A valuable addition to the Still discography with solid performances ...”

Lawrence A Johnson – Gramophone magazine – February 2010

“... these pieces are well worth investigating, for they show a sidelight on American music which has gone relatively unheard over the years. The recording is bright and clear, the performances are excellent, and the notes are good. This is indeed a bargain.”

“... these pieces are well worth investigating, for they show a sidelight on American music which has gone relatively unheard over the years. The recording is bright and clear, the performances are excellent, and the notes are good. This is indeed a bargain.”

Bob Briggs – MusicWeb-International.com – February 2010

Want List

“William Grant Still’s music is a powerful antidepressant—a dose of optimism and an infusion of hope. The symphonies suggest Copland at his folksy best, yet are not derivative, and Poem for Orchestra ends with a genuinely moving burst of radiant glory. One feels that all differences—personal, local, national, and global—can be settled as long as it is possible for music such as this to be composed and performed. The performances show a great deal of polish and affection.”

Want List

“William Grant Still’s music is a powerful antidepressant—a dose of optimism and an infusion of hope. The symphonies suggest Copland at his folksy best, yet are not derivative, and Poem for Orchestra ends with a genuinely moving burst of radiant glory. One feels that all differences—personal, local, national, and global—can be settled as long as it is possible for music such as this to be composed and performed. The performances show a great deal of polish and affection.”

Raymond Tuttle – Fanfare – November 2010

“...The real stars of Naxos 8.559603 are not the symphonies of William Grant Still, but rather the splendid playing of the Fort Smith Arkansas Symphony and the inspired interpretations of its music director, John Jeter.”

“...The real stars of Naxos 8.559603 are not the symphonies of William Grant Still, but rather the splendid playing of the Fort Smith Arkansas Symphony and the inspired interpretations of its music director, John Jeter.”

Merlin Patterson – Fanfare – November 2010

Performance ***         Sound ****

“... a pleasantly diverting anthology of 36 of Amy Beach’s  117 songs...”

Performance ***         Sound ****

“... a pleasantly diverting anthology of 36 of Amy Beach’s  117 songs...”

Hilary Finch - BBC Music magazine – October 2004

"...Beach was one of the most successful composers of her time. Many of her songs and her Gaelic Symphony were performed quite often. She began the mass in 1886, and the premiere was given in Boston in 1892 by the Handel and Haydn Society, one of the oldest (and most conservative) choral groups in the country. The music is ambitious, rich, moving, and very melodic. Ample opportunities are given to the soloists and chorus; and there are few, if any, moments lacking in inspiration or technical accomplishment. This is a fine work that needs to be heard more often. This performance (recorded in concert) is adequate, more." 

"...Beach was one of the most successful composers of her time. Many of her songs and her Gaelic Symphony were performed quite often. She began the mass in 1886, and the premiere was given in Boston in 1892 by the Handel and Haydn Society, one of the oldest (and most conservative) choral groups in the country. The music is ambitious, rich, moving, and very melodic. Ample opportunities are given to the soloists and chorus; and there are few, if any, moments lacking in inspiration or technical accomplishment. This is a fine work that needs to be heard more often. This performance (recorded in concert) is adequate, more." 

American Record Guide

“ ... Dutch pianist Ralph van Raat captures the energy and frequent sensuality of Adams's piano music, while never flinching at the technical demands. The poly-rhythmic power of Phrygian Gates is as powerful now as when the piece was written 30 years ago. Top track: Hallelujah Junction, from 1996, captures the full breadth of the composer's style and magnetism. Includes help of pianist Maarten van Veen.”  ***½

“ ... Dutch pianist Ralph van Raat captures the energy and frequent sensuality of Adams's piano music, while never flinching at the technical demands. The poly-rhythmic power of Phrygian Gates is as powerful now as when the piece was written 30 years ago. Top track: Hallelujah Junction, from 1996, captures the full breadth of the composer's style and magnetism. Includes help of pianist Maarten van Veen.”  ***½

John Terauds – Toronto Star – September 2007

“...The performances by Ralph van Raat, joined in Hallelujah Junction by Maarten van Veen, are a triumph of deceptiveness: that is, playing these pieces must require the utmost concentration as you count the bars past, avoid those little modifications to rhythm that a pianist will instinctively deploy to bring a performance alive, but van Raat obtains a near-hypnotic control in the two early pieces, almost mechanical in its reliability, and he bubbles with life in the later two. The recording engineer, Michael Ponder, has given him a rounded piano tone in the warm acoustic in Potton Hall, Suffolk.”

“...The performances by Ralph van Raat, joined in Hallelujah Junction by Maarten van Veen, are a triumph of deceptiveness: that is, playing these pieces must require the utmost concentration as you count the bars past, avoid those little modifications to rhythm that a pianist will instinctively deploy to bring a performance alive, but van Raat obtains a near-hypnotic control in the two early pieces, almost mechanical in its reliability, and he bubbles with life in the later two. The recording engineer, Michael Ponder, has given him a rounded piano tone in the warm acoustic in Potton Hall, Suffolk.”

Martin Anderson – International Piano magazine – April 2007

“...This is the third CD of Adams's piano music to appear in recent years and Dutch pianist Ralph van Raat fares well against competition ... Phrygian Gates and China Gates (1977-78) document Adams at a formative stage, experimenting with embedding his Romantic impulses into the cerebral world of Minimalist process music. Van Raat shapes the onward trajectory forcefully, while deploying a fat, meaty piano tone that's entirely appropriate. The two-piano Hallelujah Junction (1996) is a joyous affair, while American Berserk (2001) telescopes boogie-woogie and jazz riffs into unusual perspectives.”

“...This is the third CD of Adams's piano music to appear in recent years and Dutch pianist Ralph van Raat fares well against competition ... Phrygian Gates and China Gates (1977-78) document Adams at a formative stage, experimenting with embedding his Romantic impulses into the cerebral world of Minimalist process music. Van Raat shapes the onward trajectory forcefully, while deploying a fat, meaty piano tone that's entirely appropriate. The two-piano Hallelujah Junction (1996) is a joyous affair, while American Berserk (2001) telescopes boogie-woogie and jazz riffs into unusual perspectives.”

Philip Clark – Classic FM – April 2007

“... It is all thoroughly entertaining and well worth exploring, especially by those (amongst them myself) who took against the earlier manifestations of the minimalist movement after the first excitement of Reich bursting on the scene wore off. A propitious Naxos debut.”

“... It is all thoroughly entertaining and well worth exploring, especially by those (amongst them myself) who took against the earlier manifestations of the minimalist movement after the first excitement of Reich bursting on the scene wore off. A propitious Naxos debut.”

Peter Grahame Woolf - Musical Pointers - February 2007

“... Native feeling for the idiom and no mean virtuosity give this duo the Ivesian edge ...”

“... Native feeling for the idiom and no mean virtuosity give this duo the Ivesian edge ...”

Peter Dickinson – Gramophone magazine - September 2004

Ives’s four extraordinary Violin Sonatas were written between 1902 and 1906, and are quite a find. Their erratically stimulating originality is in no doubt, but they are also among his most immediately appealing works, with the usual tantalizing snatches of hymns and popular tunes to spice the melodic flow. The First Sonata immediately shows how well Ives can integrate a dialogue in which violin and piano move comfortably and independently together, not always sharing the same invention. The three movements of Sonata No. 2 explain themselves: AutumnIn the Barn (where the fiddle plays for a square dance with a kaleidoscope of popular themes), while the Revival finale opens very gently and evocatively: its energy suddenly bursts forth and then characteristically evaporates into silence.

The Third Sonata, perhaps the finest of the set, has a reflective opening movement, a hymn of four verses, each with a refrain. The second movement, with its quirky syncopations, ‘represents a meeting where the feet and body, as well as the voice, add to the excitement’. The extended finale, again marked Adagio, has a hauntingly ambiguous melodic flow and ‘the tonality throughout is supposed to take care of itself’.

The last and shortest Sonata, subtitled Children’s Day at the Camp Meeting, is immediately rhythmically catchy. The central Largo is quiet and serious, quoting the hymn, Jesus Loves Me, with the violin ruminating in the background; and the marching finale brings one of Ives’s favourite tunes, Shall we Gather at the River, and ends in mid-phrase.

There is no doubt that the full-timbred Curt Thompson ad Rodney Waters are excellent artists. It is difficult to imagine this music being played better or more idiomatically, and the daunting bravura is readily forthcoming. The recording too is most realistic.   ***

Ives’s four extraordinary Violin Sonatas were written between 1902 and 1906, and are quite a find. Their erratically stimulating originality is in no doubt, but they are also among his most immediately appealing works, with the usual tantalizing snatches of hymns and popular tunes to spice the melodic flow. The First Sonata immediately shows how well Ives can integrate a dialogue in which violin and piano move comfortably and independently together, not always sharing the same invention. The three movements of Sonata No. 2 explain themselves: AutumnIn the Barn (where the fiddle plays for a square dance with a kaleidoscope of popular themes), while the Revival finale opens very gently and evocatively: its energy suddenly bursts forth and then characteristically evaporates into silence.

The Third Sonata, perhaps the finest of the set, has a reflective opening movement, a hymn of four verses, each with a refrain. The second movement, with its quirky syncopations, ‘represents a meeting where the feet and body, as well as the voice, add to the excitement’. The extended finale, again marked Adagio, has a hauntingly ambiguous melodic flow and ‘the tonality throughout is supposed to take care of itself’.

The last and shortest Sonata, subtitled Children’s Day at the Camp Meeting, is immediately rhythmically catchy. The central Largo is quiet and serious, quoting the hymn, Jesus Loves Me, with the violin ruminating in the background; and the marching finale brings one of Ives’s favourite tunes, Shall we Gather at the River, and ends in mid-phrase.

There is no doubt that the full-timbred Curt Thompson ad Rodney Waters are excellent artists. It is difficult to imagine this music being played better or more idiomatically, and the daunting bravura is readily forthcoming. The recording too is most realistic.   ***

The Penguin Guide – January 2009

“... engaging, excellent performances ...”

“... engaging, excellent performances ...”

BBC Music magazine – August 2012

“... Melodic layers are clearly delineated and placed in proper spatial relationship to each other, borrowed tunes are naturally phrased, and dissonances and clashing keys are given due prominence. It hardly gets better than this: the “wild, heroic ride to heaven” Ives’s father inspired him to write…the period popular tunes interrupted by a graphically portrayed explosion are chillingly effective. This is the most speculative work, coming as it does from two surviving pages of sketches, but the style and form achieved by editor David Porter is pure Ives…the Swedish musicians play with precision and warmth here, picking up the idiom as well as did their Northern Sinfonia counterparts in the earlier recording. The sound is good—open and detailed—though the low brass is better balanced in the shorter works than in the Symphony movements. The Malmö Chamber Chorus crowns the last movement of the Holidays Symphony with appropriate fervor…”

“... Melodic layers are clearly delineated and placed in proper spatial relationship to each other, borrowed tunes are naturally phrased, and dissonances and clashing keys are given due prominence. It hardly gets better than this: the “wild, heroic ride to heaven” Ives’s father inspired him to write…the period popular tunes interrupted by a graphically portrayed explosion are chillingly effective. This is the most speculative work, coming as it does from two surviving pages of sketches, but the style and form achieved by editor David Porter is pure Ives…the Swedish musicians play with precision and warmth here, picking up the idiom as well as did their Northern Sinfonia counterparts in the earlier recording. The sound is good—open and detailed—though the low brass is better balanced in the shorter works than in the Symphony movements. The Malmö Chamber Chorus crowns the last movement of the Holidays Symphony with appropriate fervor…”

Ronald E Grames – Fanfare – March 2010

Artistic Quality 10         Sound Quality 10

“... Sinclair’s conducting gets everything right: tempos, textures, balances, and colors. He allows Ives’ boisterous high spirits to emerge naturally, effortlessly, and where necessary, raucously. The Malmö orchestra plays all of this music with complete confidence, and the sonics are unaffectedly crisp and clean. An essential release for Ives fans.”

Artistic Quality 10         Sound Quality 10

“... Sinclair’s conducting gets everything right: tempos, textures, balances, and colors. He allows Ives’ boisterous high spirits to emerge naturally, effortlessly, and where necessary, raucously. The Malmö orchestra plays all of this music with complete confidence, and the sonics are unaffectedly crisp and clean. An essential release for Ives fans.”
David Hurwitz – ClassicsToday.com – April 2010

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