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Recording of the Week!

Like to the Lark is pick on BBC R3's Record Review

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Christmas Offer

Save 20% on box set Landmarks until 31 Dec!

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Coates Concert

Enjoy John Wilson & BBC Phil's live concert on R3  

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Presto's Pick of the Week

Bliss is Presto Classical's Recording of the week!

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Ralph Couzens Interview

Presto interviews Managing Director Ralph Couzens

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Gramophone Nominee

Doric String Quartet's Britten/Purcell shortlisted!

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SoL's Triumphant Return!

John Wilson re-establishes SoL with Korngold release

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LPO's New Conductor

Edward Gardner to be next LPO Principal Conductor

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A Life in Music

Marking 100 years since pioneer Tommy Reilly's birth

Enjoy our centenary release

Landmarks

40-disc Anniversary Box Set is now yours to explore

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We are 40!

Thanks for all your support and congratulations

Here's to the next 40!

Sue Revill

(1955-2019) An irreplaceable friend and colleague

A Tribute

Tasmin Little Honoured

Tasmin Little awarded Personality of Year at BBC

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Apple Music Curator

Hear new playlists, remember classics, discover new music

Explore our new profile here

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Latest Reviews
Programme *****      Performance *****      Recording *****      Presentation *****
"... Rarely does a recording project manage to capture each aspect of delivery so perfectly. The outstanding arrangement, by Matthew Knight and Simon Cox, proves to be the ideal vehicle for Septura, which impresses both technically and with the range of emotion it evokes, whilst the recording quality is of the highest standard. This is world-class in its own right and the perfectly proportioned story, narrated with such enchanting brilliance by Derek Jacobi, elevates this recording to a new level. The Nutcracker is a mightily impressive achievement and is a delightful treat for listeners of all ages this Christmas and beyond."
Programme *****      Performance *****      Recording *****      Presentation *****
"... Rarely does a recording project manage to capture each aspect of delivery so perfectly. The outstanding arrangement, by Matthew Knight and Simon Cox, proves to be the ideal vehicle for Septura, which impresses both technically and with the range of emotion it evokes, whilst the recording quality is of the highest standard. This is world-class in its own right and the perfectly proportioned story, narrated with such enchanting brilliance by Derek Jacobi, elevates this recording to a new level. The Nutcracker is a mightily impressive achievement and is a delightful treat for listeners of all ages this Christmas and beyond."
Thomas Dunne - Brass Band World magazine - November 2019
Programme *****      Performance *****      Recording *****      Presentation *****
“… It’s [Euphonium Concerto] a work of dazzling invention and creative brilliance, which brilliantly exploits the soloist’s musicianship within a framework of the highest creative credentials. David Childs is nothing short of breathtaking in his performance. The sublte touches of colour and shade; the instinctive responses to the music, and the remarkable levels of clarity he brings to every note make for an utterly compelling listening experience of a work that absorbs… The musical empathy and enjoyment of the BBC philharmonic is aided throughout by conductor Ben Gernon … David Childs remains an ambassador for the euphonium without equal. A musician with a powerful combination of charismatic stage presence, unerring musical instincts, and a sound and completeness of technique that places him in a league of his own amongst his fellow practitioners of the instrument…”
Programme *****      Performance *****      Recording *****      Presentation *****
“… It’s [Euphonium Concerto] a work of dazzling invention and creative brilliance, which brilliantly exploits the soloist’s musicianship within a framework of the highest creative credentials. David Childs is nothing short of breathtaking in his performance. The sublte touches of colour and shade; the instinctive responses to the music, and the remarkable levels of clarity he brings to every note make for an utterly compelling listening experience of a work that absorbs… The musical empathy and enjoyment of the BBC philharmonic is aided throughout by conductor Ben Gernon … David Childs remains an ambassador for the euphonium without equal. A musician with a powerful combination of charismatic stage presence, unerring musical instincts, and a sound and completeness of technique that places him in a league of his own amongst his fellow practitioners of the instrument…”
Christopher Thomas – Brass Band World – November 2019
“… The Neave Trio plays with dedication and care. Their performance is characterized by a close fusion of the three instruments… The performances are expressive and characterful and they also succeed in highlighting the particular features of the various compositional styles. *****
“… The Neave Trio plays with dedication and care. Their performance is characterized by a close fusion of the three instruments… The performances are expressive and characterful and they also succeed in highlighting the particular features of the various compositional styles. *****
Uwe Krusch – Pizzicato.lu – 13 November 2019
"...the Neave’s programme makes a splendid introduction to these three pioneering female composers."
"...the Neave’s programme makes a splendid introduction to these three pioneering female composers."
Guy Rickards – Gramophone magazine – November 2019

“… evidence of an unusual talent, with a particular ability to explore the furthest reaches of the instruments involved in the various concerti here. And there is no denying musicianship on offer from Jan Michiels and co.”

“… evidence of an unusual talent, with a particular ability to explore the furthest reaches of the instruments involved in the various concerti here. And there is no denying musicianship on offer from Jan Michiels and co.”

Barry Forshaw – ClassicalCDChoice.co.uk – 14 November 2019

Disc of the Week

Disc of the Week

Andrew McGregor – BBC Radio 3 – 16 November 2019

“… All the works on this imaginatively planned and beautifully recorded SACD, entitled ‘Soirée’, were composed in the 19th and 20th centuries, some of them fairly unfamiliar or rarely performed…The accompaniments are provided not only by Kožená’s husband Sir Simon Rattle, here making his debut, on disc, as a pianist, but also from six ‘friends’ – four string players drawn from Berlin’s finest orchestras plus flautist Kaspar Zehnder and Andrew Marriner, the recently retired Principal Clarinet of the LSO. With such a distinguished ‘supporting cast’ of musicians hopes run high for a most stimulating recital and this is exactly what it proves to be. The stylistic variety of the music demands a considerable degree of vocal flexibility and Magdalena Kožená is never wanting in that aspect of these performances…T he 5.0 multi-channel DSD recording has captured all the nuances of the performances in a warm yet intimate acoustic. Magdelena Kožená’s. distinctive vocal timbre and fine musicianship could hardly be better showcased than on this disc. There can be little doubt that her many admirers will be delighted with the performances on this bold and wide-ranging song collection.” 

“… All the works on this imaginatively planned and beautifully recorded SACD, entitled ‘Soirée’, were composed in the 19th and 20th centuries, some of them fairly unfamiliar or rarely performed…The accompaniments are provided not only by Kožená’s husband Sir Simon Rattle, here making his debut, on disc, as a pianist, but also from six ‘friends’ – four string players drawn from Berlin’s finest orchestras plus flautist Kaspar Zehnder and Andrew Marriner, the recently retired Principal Clarinet of the LSO. With such a distinguished ‘supporting cast’ of musicians hopes run high for a most stimulating recital and this is exactly what it proves to be. The stylistic variety of the music demands a considerable degree of vocal flexibility and Magdalena Kožená is never wanting in that aspect of these performances…T he 5.0 multi-channel DSD recording has captured all the nuances of the performances in a warm yet intimate acoustic. Magdelena Kožená’s. distinctive vocal timbre and fine musicianship could hardly be better showcased than on this disc. There can be little doubt that her many admirers will be delighted with the performances on this bold and wide-ranging song collection.” 

Graham Williams – ClassicalCDChoice.co.uk – 14 November 2019

“… the SACD recording accorded to Masaaki Suzuki here does full justice to the organ timbre, placing the listener in something like the acoustic in which the pieces were recorded. The organ maker Silbermann was based in Freiberg with his workshop only a stone’s throw away from the cathedral, where he built his first great organ in 1714. One of the finest and best preserved examples of his art, this is the instrument which Masaaki Suzuki has chosen for the third instalment in his traversal of Bach’s organ music, following acclaimed recitals recorded in Gronin.”

“… the SACD recording accorded to Masaaki Suzuki here does full justice to the organ timbre, placing the listener in something like the acoustic in which the pieces were recorded. The organ maker Silbermann was based in Freiberg with his workshop only a stone’s throw away from the cathedral, where he built his first great organ in 1714. One of the finest and best preserved examples of his art, this is the instrument which Masaaki Suzuki has chosen for the third instalment in his traversal of Bach’s organ music, following acclaimed recitals recorded in Gronin.”

Barry Forshaw – Classicalcdchoice.co.uk – 14 November 2019

“Once again, Gianandrea Noseda demonstrates his mastery of the music of the troubled Russian master Shostakovich with an incendiary performance of this once-suppressed masterpiece that finds the essence both its shattering drama and keening poignancy. The reading is matched by a typically breathtaking LSO Live SACD recording captures the balanced sense of structure that Noseda brings to the piece.”

“Once again, Gianandrea Noseda demonstrates his mastery of the music of the troubled Russian master Shostakovich with an incendiary performance of this once-suppressed masterpiece that finds the essence both its shattering drama and keening poignancy. The reading is matched by a typically breathtaking LSO Live SACD recording captures the balanced sense of structure that Noseda brings to the piece.”

Barry Forshaw – ClassicalCDChoice.co.uk – 14 November 2019

“…These pieces (it has to be admitted) are hardly major finds, but they still have a modest piquant value for the followers of the composer. Shostakovich was still young when hired to provide incidental music for The Bedbug, a surreal and farcical satire on Communist utopian dreams and bourgeois corruption and vulgarity. The score, newly reconstructed by Mark Fitz-Gerald from rough piano sketches and the 1935 soundtrack, combines symphonic sections with popular songs.”

“…These pieces (it has to be admitted) are hardly major finds, but they still have a modest piquant value for the followers of the composer. Shostakovich was still young when hired to provide incidental music for The Bedbug, a surreal and farcical satire on Communist utopian dreams and bourgeois corruption and vulgarity. The score, newly reconstructed by Mark Fitz-Gerald from rough piano sketches and the 1935 soundtrack, combines symphonic sections with popular songs.”

Barry Forshaw – ClassicalCDChoice.co.uk – 14 November 2019

“…While not perhaps unseating some of the great readings of the past, this is still in the upper echelons of recordings of The Planets, and it goes without saying that the customarily panoramic Reference Recordings aural palette does full justice to the composer’s still astonishing (and much-imitated) orchestration. This hybrid SACD release was recorded in the acoustically splendid Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. The producer was the multi-award-winning David Frost, with the legendary Technical Director Keith O. Johnson working with engineer Sean Martin. The results speak for themselves.”

“…While not perhaps unseating some of the great readings of the past, this is still in the upper echelons of recordings of The Planets, and it goes without saying that the customarily panoramic Reference Recordings aural palette does full justice to the composer’s still astonishing (and much-imitated) orchestration. This hybrid SACD release was recorded in the acoustically splendid Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. The producer was the multi-award-winning David Frost, with the legendary Technical Director Keith O. Johnson working with engineer Sean Martin. The results speak for themselves.”

Barry Forshaw – ClassicalCDChoice.co.uk – 14 November 2019

“… Wilson’s performance is characterised by swift, forward moving tempi in all four movements of the work {Symphony in F#] that eschews any trace of a stodginess or glutinous sentimentality. The result is a much tougher and sinewy account of the score than is to be found in rival versions; one that moves the style of the symphony closer to the era in which it was composed rather than an example of fin de siècle romanticism. The playing of the orchestra is clean, lean and superbly disciplined throughout. The scherzo, for example, is played with breathtaking precision and confidence – a whirlwind tour de force…”

“… Wilson’s performance is characterised by swift, forward moving tempi in all four movements of the work {Symphony in F#] that eschews any trace of a stodginess or glutinous sentimentality. The result is a much tougher and sinewy account of the score than is to be found in rival versions; one that moves the style of the symphony closer to the era in which it was composed rather than an example of fin de siècle romanticism. The playing of the orchestra is clean, lean and superbly disciplined throughout. The scherzo, for example, is played with breathtaking precision and confidence – a whirlwind tour de force…”

Graham Williams – ClassicalCDChoice.co.uk – 14 November 2019

“A highly impressive take on Bluebeard’s Castle… Edward Gardner’s is a highly impressive reading of one of the great modern operas. While not displacing some classics is a vivid and colourful reading of Bartok’s operatic masterpiece, the famous opening of the forbidden door (accompanied by a floor-shaking organ) is as vividly dispatched as it has ever been. . Following acclaimed performances around the globe, John Relyea’s interpretation of Duke Bluebeard now appears on record, with Michelle DeYoung as Judith and Edward Gardner leading his Bergen forces with aplomb.”

“A highly impressive take on Bluebeard’s Castle… Edward Gardner’s is a highly impressive reading of one of the great modern operas. While not displacing some classics is a vivid and colourful reading of Bartok’s operatic masterpiece, the famous opening of the forbidden door (accompanied by a floor-shaking organ) is as vividly dispatched as it has ever been. . Following acclaimed performances around the globe, John Relyea’s interpretation of Duke Bluebeard now appears on record, with Michelle DeYoung as Judith and Edward Gardner leading his Bergen forces with aplomb.”

Barry Forshaw – ClassicalCDChoice.co.uk – 14 November 2019

“…this is an extremely pleasing and collectable discThis first instalment in a new Brahms series from Edward Gardner showcases the Bergen string section along with impeccable ensemble playing from the orchestra. Recorded in Chandos’ splendid surround sound idiom.”

“…this is an extremely pleasing and collectable discThis first instalment in a new Brahms series from Edward Gardner showcases the Bergen string section along with impeccable ensemble playing from the orchestra. Recorded in Chandos’ splendid surround sound idiom.”

Barry Forshaw – ClassicalCDChoice.co.uk – 14 November 2019

“…lively and attractive new series by John Storgårds and the BBC Philharmonic in which the recording quality (while not surround sound) perfectly complements and enhances the dramatic scores…”

“…lively and attractive new series by John Storgårds and the BBC Philharmonic in which the recording quality (while not surround sound) perfectly complements and enhances the dramatic scores…”

Barry Forshaw – ClassicalCDChoice.co.uk – 14 November 2019

“Admirers of the composer Arthur Bliss may find that the most attractive item on this new surround sound disc on the Chandos label is one of his finest pieces, the Meditations on a Theme by John Blow, appearing here in its first incarnation in the SACD medium. Sir Andrew Davis does full justice to the colourful, inventive score… Davis continues his championship of the lesser-known works of Bliss with this coupling of The Enchantress with Mary of Magdala. The always exemplary Dame Sarah Connolly and James Platt are the soloists, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.”

“Admirers of the composer Arthur Bliss may find that the most attractive item on this new surround sound disc on the Chandos label is one of his finest pieces, the Meditations on a Theme by John Blow, appearing here in its first incarnation in the SACD medium. Sir Andrew Davis does full justice to the colourful, inventive score… Davis continues his championship of the lesser-known works of Bliss with this coupling of The Enchantress with Mary of Magdala. The always exemplary Dame Sarah Connolly and James Platt are the soloists, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.”

Barry Forshaw – ClassicalCDChoice.co.uk – 14 November 2019

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United Kingdom