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Our newsletter highlighting the latest highly reviewed recordings available at ClassicsOnline.

Sunday, July 27, 2014
Mercadante, S.: Briganti (I) [Melodramma serio] (Mironov, Ivanova, Prato, Poznan Camerata Bach Choir, Virtuosi Brunensis, Fogliani)

Mercadante, S.: Briganti (I) [Melodramma serio] (Mironov, Ivanova, Prato, Poznań Camerata Bach Choir, Virtuosi Brunensis, Fogliani)
Naxos / Opera Classics: 8.660343-44
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4 Stars

This excellent live recording from Germany of I briganti (The Brigands) – based, like Verdi's I masnadieri, on Schiller's play The Robbers and first performed in Paris in 1836 – provides a fair example of Mercadante's robust manner, in which rousing choruses, bold declamation and large-scale ensembles dominate over formal arias. Nobody could justly accuse Mercadante of subtlety in his composition of either vocal lines or orchestration, but he is a shrewd master of theatrical construction: the pace doesn't falter or the tension slacken, and it's fascinating to sense how much Verdi learnt from his example about shaping and building a scene.

Antonino Fogliani conducts a Czech chamber orchestra in a brisk, idiomatic interpretation, and there is some admirably no-nonsense singing from a committed cast led by Bruno Praticò, Maxim Mironox and Petya Ivanova. This is recommended to all lovers of Italian opera at its gutsiest.

- By Rupert Christiansen © 2014 Daily Telegraph (UK)
 
Ysa˙e, E.: 6 Sonatas for Solo Violin, Op. 27 (Tianwa Yang)

Ysaÿe, E.: 6 Sonatas for Solo Violin, Op. 27 (Tianwa Yang)
Naxos / 19th Century Violinist Composers: 8.572995
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5 Stars

Fresh from her recorded triumphs in Sarasate and Mendelssohn, Tianwa Yang negotiates the musical and technical chicanery of Ysaÿe's six solo Sonatas with great aplomb. Even bearing in mind outstanding accounts by Philippe Graffin (Hyperion), Kristóf Baráti (Brilliant), Samika Honda (Polymnie) and Henning Kraggerud (Simax), Yang's rare ability to sustain a convincing emotional narrative in these elusive scores proves highly compelling. Completely unfazed by Ysaÿe's near-constant Bachian cross-referencing and mild harmonic astringencies, she moulds even the most challenging of phrases with a dedicated sensitivity and affectionate warmth.

- By Julian Haylock © 2014 BBC Music Magazine
 

Chopin, F.: Piano Works, Vol. 3 - Impromptus / Piano Sonata No. 3 (Lortie)

Chopin, F.: Piano Works, Vol. 3 - Impromptus / Piano Sonata No. 3 (Lortie)
Chandos: CHAN10813
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Instrumental Choice

Lortie is a model Chopinist: eloquent but never sentimental, elegant without ever sounding effete, dramatic but never exaggerated, harmonically luminous, structurally immaculate—and surprising ... this is Chopin playing of an exceptionally high order.

- By Jeremy Siepmann © 2014 BBC Music Magazine
 
Schmitt, F.: Petit elfe ferme-l'oeil (Le) / Introit, récit et congé (Lorraine National Orchestra, Mercier)

Schmitt, F.: Petit elfe ferme-l'oeil (Le) / Introit, récit et congé (Lorraine National Orchestra, Mercier)
Timpani: 1C1212
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5 Stars

Two unbelievably spectacular premiere recordings that should be on everyone's "gotta have" list.

Timpani has given these pieces astoundingly vivid and broad, almost SACD sound in a conventional setup. This is music that simply must be heard, and it's hard to imagine a better recording coming along anytime soon.

- By Steven Ritter © 2014 Audiophile Audition
 
Pachelbel, J.C.: Organ Music (Complete)

Pachelbel, J.C.: Organ Music (Complete)
CPO: 777556-2
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Recording of the Month

I have generally admired the way Pachelbel's music is played here. The four organists are excellent interpreters who know how to bring out the qualities of his various works. ...a remarkable, impressive and very important project. In fact, this seems to me one of the most important projects in recent times as it is a monument to one of the greatest composers of the baroque era. That is reason enough to label it 'Recording of the Month'.

- By Johan van Veen © 2014 MusicWeb International

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