gene's CLASSICAL shelf

if you are reading this, there's a good chance you know Gene. He's the owner/operator of Horizon Records and he's kind of a geek about classical in all its many forms, and especially about piano music, things from ECM Records , and lately about what he calls late moderns (ambient, minimalists, and the generally bliss-ed out edges of classical)... I've heard that some days that's the only thing that gets played in the back room. Even Renaissance and Early choral music, omg Poor Luci.

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Copious creative influences run through Balmorhea's Deutsche Grammophon debut album. The Wind comprises a dozen tracks inspired by meditations on the natural world and its fragility, an ancient tale of a saint who carried the wind to an airless French valley, and thoughts of climate activist Greta Thunberg crossing the Atlantic on the catamaran La Vagabonde.

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During the 1930s, Bliss, Britten, and Berkeley all contributed major works to the repertoire for string orchestra, following in the footsteps of Elgar and Vaughan Williams. They are joined on this album by Frank Bridge whose Lament was composed during the First World War. This is the fourth recording by John Wilson with his award-winning Sinfonia of London. Bliss composed Music for Strings after he had completed the film score for Korda's Things to Come, driven by his desire to compose a piece of 'pure music', expressing his own ideas rather than those of others. Commissioned in May 1937 by Boyd Neel for the Salzburg Festival that summer, Britten's Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge was composed at great speed, and helped to establish the young composer's international reputation. Dedicated to his teacher, Frank Bridge, the theme is taken from the second of Bridge's Three Idylls for string quartet. Lennox Berkeley composed his Serenade for Strings at Snape Maltings, where he was living with Britten in 1938 / 39. By the time of it's completion the nation was at war and the music seems to reflect the composer's anxious mood as the world faced an uncertain future.
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As Anneleen Lenaerts proves, Nino Rota brought the same gifts to his music for harp as he did to such unforgettable film scores as 'The Godfather', 'La Dolce Vita' and 'Romeo and Juliet'.
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Vinyl LP pressing. Alexandre Tharaud pays tribute to composers associated with the courts of the French kings Louis XIV, XV and XVI. Lully, Rameau, Charpentier and Franois Couperin stand beside lesser-known masters: d'Anglebert, Forqueray, Royer, Duphly and Balbastre.
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However cultivated the European centers of Habsburg imperial power may have been, few could regularly have boasted musicians of the caliber of Cinquecento. On this release, their ongoing exploration of Franco-Flemish repertoire from the sixteenth century uncovers major works by Johannes de Cleve and Jacobus Vaet.
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On Volume 81 of Hyperion's Romantic Piano Concerto Series, Piers Lane, The Orchestra Now and Leon Botstein perform two very different takes on the romantic piano concerto that were equally successful. Written in 1939 for the World's Fair in New York, the Bliss work is extrovert, exuberant and virtuosic. Rubbra's is a profound reflection on, and continuation of, the English pastoral tradition.
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New World Premiere recordings of gloriously cellistic cello repertoire from Marina Tarasova who has recently been getting much well deserved acclaim for her work
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Antonio Vivaldi's six sonatas for cello and continuo were written between 1720 and 1730 and published in Paris in 1740 by Leclerc and Boivin. Although a staple of the cello repertoire, these works are not often played in public recitals. When they were written, the cello was just emerging as a solo instrument, and Vivaldi took full advantage of the instrument's expressive capabilities. The cello's low register lends itself to a degree of seriousness and emotional depth. These performances feature soloist Jean-Guihen Queyras, accompanied by a continuo team of harpsichordist Michael Behringer, lutenist Lee Santana and cellist Christoph Dangel.
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On this exciting release from Hyperion, Stephen Hough performs a collection of exquisite Brahmsian miniatures. The pianist refers to these works as brief meditations on last things before 'the light fades and the final cigar is extinguished.'
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Jean-Guihen Queyras and Alexandre Tharaud are reunited here for an album conceived as a collection of short stories presenting both celebrated and little-known masterpieces of the repertory. If the art of transcription is the hallmark of great performers, these friends and frequent recital partners are true masters. Throughout this lyrical yet virtuosic program, music lovers will meet one surprise after another.
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Pascal Rogé

Les Six & Satie

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MP3 Album: $9.99 Download

Pascal Rogé, long considered the greatest living exponent of French piano repertoire, is joined by his pianist wife Ami in a program devoted to works by Les Six. This group of composers, brought together by Jean Cocteau in 1917, was formed as a musical reaction to the suffocating influence of German romanticism upon French musical culture. The program here includes the 1920 L'Album des Six, Scaramouche by Milhaud, Cinq Bagatelles for piano 4 hands by Auric, Two Pieces for 4 hands Op.7 by Durey and works by Honegger and Tailleferre. Closing the program is Satie's "Parade."
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Following the success of the Weinberg Symphonies 2 & 21 with conductor Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla, Deutsche Grammophon releases chamber music by Mieczyslaw Weinberg under the direction of Gidon Kremer. The album features Weinberg's Three Pieces for Violin and Piano, which he completed when he was only 15 and had not yet received any compositional training, Dream About A Doll, and Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 6. Kremer is joined by Yulianna Avdeeva on piano and Giedre Dirvanauskaite on cello.
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Two CDs. 2019 release from Víkingur Olafsson. This album combines the original Bach album, a collection of both well-known and rarely performed pieces by the famous Baroque composer, including transcriptions by Busconi, Rachmaninov, Siloti, and Víkingur himself; and Bach Reworks, an album of new arrangements of Víkingur's Bach transcriptions from electronic artists such as Valgeir Sigurdsson and Ben Frost, Peter Gregson, and Ryuichi Sakamoto.
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Hailed by the Los Angeles Times as an artist who "creates unique aural landscapes," Icelandic pianist V¡kingur Olafsson continues his acclaimed recording partnership with Deutsche Grammophon with the release of Debussy ú Rameau. Following two albums featured in NPR Music's Top 10 Classical Albums (Glassin 2017 and Bach in 2018), Olafsson's third album pairs works by two French composers separated by well over a century: Jean-Philippe Rameau and Claude Debussy.
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The title of "The Decalogue" has a touch of the grandiose: it means "The Ten Commandments." Yet this score, composed by Sufjan Stevens for a dance work choreographed by Justin Peck that premiered with the New York City Ballet in May of 2017, is quiet and experimental. Stevens's piano score, as played and recorded by Timo Andres, sounds like etudes in the Romantic-modernist tradition, as if prompted by Debussy. With "The Decalogue," now released digitally, and on vinyl and CD, Sufjan is making-gently, without ostentation-new departures.

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The title of "The Decalogue" has a touch of the grandiose: it means "The Ten Commandments." Yet this score, composed by Sufjan Stevens for a dance work choreographed by Justin Peck that premiered with the New York City Ballet in May of 2017, is quiet and experimental. Stevens's piano score, as played and recorded by Timo Andres, sounds like etudes in the Romantic-modernist tradition, as if prompted by Debussy. With "The Decalogue," now released digitally, and on vinyl and CD, Sufjan is making-gently, without ostentation-new departures.

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The title of "The Decalogue" has a touch of the grandiose: it means "The Ten Commandments." Yet this score, composed by Sufjan Stevens for a dance work choreographed by Justin Peck that premiered with the New York City Ballet in May of 2017, is quiet and experimental. Stevens's piano score, as played and recorded by Timo Andres, sounds like etudes in the Romantic-modernist tradition, as if prompted by Debussy. With "The Decalogue," now released digitally, and on vinyl and CD, Sufjan is making-gently, without ostentation-new departures.

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2019 release. Steven Osborne is one of Britain's most treasured musicians whose insightful and idiomatic interpretations of diverse repertoire show an immense musical depth. His awards include the Royal Philharmonic Society Instrumentalist of the Year (2013) and two Gramophone Awards. His residencies at London's Wigmore Hall, Antwerp's deSingel, with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and most recently with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra are a testament to the breadth of his interests and the respect he commands.
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Gjeilo / Pike / Phipps

Like to the Lark

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MP3 Album: $8.99 Download

The Swedish Chamber Choir makes it's debut on Chandos with this fascinating programme of works for choir, choir and solo voice, and for choir and violin. The founder and conductor, Simon Phipps, leads the choir in unaccompanied works by Swedish and British composers. Maria Forsstrom joins them in one of Mahler's Ruckert Lieder, "Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen," in a sixteen-part arrangement by Clytus Gottwald, and in Judith Bingham's 'The Drowned Lovers,' a stark companion piece to Stanford's 'The Blue Bird.' The violinist Jennifer Pike joins the Choir in Ola Gjeilo's stunning 'Serenity' (a setting of O magnum mysterium) and Paul Drayton's outstanding 2018 arrangement of Vaughan Williams's 'The Lark Ascending,' for violin and chamber choir.
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The acclaimed violinist Jennifer Pike returns to Chandos to explore her heritage through the repertoire of a group of composers fundamental to the history of Polish music for the violin. From Janiewicz in the late eighteenth century right through to Bacewicz in the middle of the twentieth, Poland produced a number of composer-violinists well known across Europe. All of them were talented musicians as well as composers, their compositions technically demanding. Jennifer Pike here plays music by Karlowicz, Szymanowski, Wieniawski, and Moszkowski with complete control and deep feeling, sympathetically accompanied by Petr Limonov, winner of the Nikolai Rubinstein International Piano Competition.
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Sheku performs Elgar's Cello Concerto with Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios. The concerto is complemented by a collection of pieces from Elgar's time, all chosen by Sheku as a reflection on the different moods and influences in Elgar's seminal concerto. Selections include new arrangements for various string settings, from Sheku's own arrangement for solo cello ("Blow the Wind Southerly") to a six-cello arrangement of "Nimrod."

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This album's program represents one phenomenal composer-pianist's homage to another. Marc-André Hamelin has long been a champion of the music of Samuil Feinberg. Hamelin's performances are sensitive to all it's shadows and anxieties while being fully equal to the prodigious technical demands.
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Traditional folk music elevated to high art: that theme binds the unique coupling of Billboard chart-topping violinist Rachel Barton Pine's latest release of the Violin Concertos by Czech composer Antonin Dvorak and Soviet-Armenian Aram Khachaturian. The multi-faceted young American Teddy Abrams conducts the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, making for a truly international collaboration. "There are few more interesting violinists on the worldwide scene than Rachel Barton Pine; she is continuously giving us interesting and well-researched and thought-out concept albums that stimulate the imagination, reinvigorate the ears, and put wrinkles in the brain with their intellectual depth." (Audiophile Audition)
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Rachel Barton Pine

Sonatas for Violin & Harpsichord

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MP3 Album: $15.99 Download

Violinist Rachel Barton Pine and harpsichordist Jory Vinikour, critically acclaimed artists of interntional renown- and also close friends- record together for the first time on this album of Johann Sebastian Bach's complete sonatas for violin and harpsichord. The artists approach these works as Bach intended: as trio sonatas with equally important roles for the violin and the harpsichord's treble and bass lines. In addition to the six Sonatas, the album offers the remarkable and ravishingly poetic Cantabile, BWV 1019a, a free-standing work that Bach originally conceived as a movement of the Sonata, BWV 1019. Cedille's audiophile engineering and the intimate acoustics of Evanston, Illinois's Nichols Hall allow the complex trio textures to blossom with detail. In all, the album sets a new standard for a body of work that Bach's son, CPE, considered among his father's finest compositions. Rachel Barton Pine is a Billboard chart-topping artist. Her 2016 album 'Testament,' comprising JS Bach's Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin entered the Billboard Classical Chart in the No. 1 position, as did her 2013 Cedille album 'Violin Lullabies.' Making his Cedille label debut, Vinikour received Grammy Award nominations in the category of Best Solo Instrumental Recording for his 2013 album of modern American music for harpsichord and his 2012 release of Rameau's complete harpsichord works.
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Berlin based cellist and composer Anne Müller announces the release of her long awaited debut solo album Heliopause on November 22, with the hypnotic new piece Nummer 2. Heliopause follows several Erased Tapes releases featuring Anne, including her celebrated collaboration with Nils Frahm titled 7fingers, appearances on Olafur Arnalds & Nils Frahm's Collaborative Works, Nils Frahm's All Melody and his acclaimed soundtrack for the film Victoria, Lubomyr Melnyk's Fallen Trees, as well as the two bespoke solo pieces Walzer für Robert and Bel Tono for the label's 5th and 10th anniversary box sets. In fact, a glance at Müller's Discogs boasts credits on over 60 releases since she began recording in 2007. A profound believer in the power of artistic collaboration, Anne's skilled cello playing and instinctive composition became extremely sought after. Following her work with Nils Frahm, an enduring partnership with singer-songwriter-composer Agnes Obel ensued, touring for five years together and featuring on two albums (Philharmonics Deluxe Edition and Aventine) and most recently, working with multi-instrumentalist Markus Sieber (aka Aukai) on his 2019 album Reminiscence. In between all this, Müller also co-founded the progressive live project Solo Collective along with violinist/singer Alex Stolze and pianist/conceptual artist Sebastian Reynolds, releasing Solo Collective Part One in 2017. Müller also co-founded the progressive live project Solo Collective along with violinist/singer Alex Stolze and pianist/conceptual artist Sebastian Reynolds, releasing Solo Collective Part One in 2017. A solo record in every sense of the word, Müller wrote, recorded, arranged and produced Heliopause. The album is named after the boundary where the sun's wind ceases to have influence. It is ultimately, the border of our solar system. The name struck a chord with Müller since the two voyagers sent on an exploratory mission 42 years ago, recently crossed the Heliopause - one in 2012 and one just last year in 2018 - entering into interstellar space and losing power from our own sun. Müller recognised herself in this moment, not only approaching the same age, but also breaking new ground; having relied on collaborating with so many other stars and now venturing into the unknown with her first solo statement. 'Heliopause marks the end of a long journey but also the start of voyages to explore strange new worlds' - Anne Müller Both as the closing title track and album as a whole, Heliopause crosses these physical and invisible borders throughout, sending the cello as a typically classical instrument to exciting new and uncharted territory.
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'As a spectacle, it's eccentric and quite brilliant ' much like the man himself' - The Independent Nils Frahm announces the release of Encores 3 on 20 September 2019, the third and final instalment of his Encores series. The three EPs will be available as one full length release titled All Encores featuring 80 minutes of music on 18 October, to follow his masterful 2018 album All Melody. Whilst Encores 1 focused on an acoustic pallet of sounds with solo piano and harmonium at the core, and Encores 2 explored more ambient landscapes, now Encores 3 sees Nils expand on the percussive and electronic elements in his work. 'The idea behind All Encores is one we had from before All Melody; to separate releases each with their own distinct musical style and theme, perhaps even as a triple album. But All Melody became larger than itself and took over any initial concepts. I think the idea of All Encores is like musical islands that compliment All Melody.' Moulded during All Melody but refined by his live performances, All Encores is testament to Nils' exceptional ability to craft his art on stage. Artificially Intelligent which showcases his 'mad professor' organ, and All Armed which has been a live favourite for some time, appearing on set lists since 2015, are now available to hear on record for the very first time. The final track of Encores 3, as well as the whole series, Amirador, perhaps aptly nods to the Spanish word for 'lookout' and hints at what's to come. Frahm has been touring extensively following the release of All Melody, bringing his spectacular live show all around the world with sold out performances including the Hammersmith Apollo in London, L.A.'s Disney Hall, Brooklyn Steel, Le Trianon in Paris and Funkhaus in Berlin. Nils returns to the UK capitol for The Hydra's summer 2019 series, headlining Printworks on August 23, with further European dates following the release of Encores 3 and All Encores. Praise for Encores 1 and 2: 'Where All Melody was elegantly dense, Encores 1 is soft and spare, four solo piano compositions and one for harmonium, all of which mostly dance through Frahm's particular balance of pastoral optimism, countered always with a shaded melancholy ' like closing your eyes and looking right at the daylight' ' NPR Frahm remains a musical sorcerer supreme ' Mixmag

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2019 release. Fearlessly embracing new music, Norwegian virtuoso violinist Mari Samuelsen debuts on Deutsche Grammophon as the first woman violinist on DG's New Repertoire roster. Her self-titled album, MARI, features pieces by Max Richter, Johann Johannsson, Peter Gregson, Philip Glass, Arvo Pärt, and more.
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Distinguished orchestral players with enviable reputations in their own right, the Lso Percussion Ensemble returns with a vibrant, jazz-infused album of music by Gwilym Simcock, Steve Reich, Chick Corea & Makoto Ozone. Quartet Quintet centers around the world premiere of Quintet, a five-movement suite by the British pianist and composer Gwilym Simcock that pulls inspiration from seminal jazz fusion acts Steps Ahead, Yellowjackets and Weather Report, and Steve Reich's 2013 Quartet for two vibes and two pianos. The album also includes new arrangements of classic pieces by jazz legends Chick Corea, Makoto Ozone and Joe Locke.
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2020 release. If the name of Henry Charles Litolff is familiar today only through the scherzo of his Concerto symphonique No 4, the absurdity of that 'one-hit composer' tag is clearly demonstrated by this release. These are among the finest examples of the piano trio genre still inexplicably absent from the standard repertoire.
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