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Sunday, November 3, 2013
Shostakovich, D.: Symphonies, Vol. 9 - Symphony No. 4 (Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Petrenko)

Shostakovich, D.: Symphonies, Vol. 9 - Symphony No. 4 (Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Petrenko)
Naxos: 8.573188
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5 Stars

Shostakovich's opening – super-high woodwinds, strings and xylophone – in Petrenko's hands puts one in mind of an Edvard Munch scream; stylised expressionism, chilling to the marrow. And everything about this performance, from its marshalled rhythms and breathless, nervy pace to its lurid, nothing-behind-the-eyes orchestral colours, feels like hyped-up realism, which, of course, also means its slant on reality is artificial and twisted – a powerful metaphor indeed for trying to live a true artist's life under the cosh of Stalin.

- By Philip Clark © 2013 Sinfini Music
 
Vocal Duo Recital: Invernizzi, Roberta / Prina, Sonia - Monteverdi, C. / Marcello, B. / Handel, G.F. / Lotti, A. (Amore e morte dell'amore)

Vocal Duo Recital: Invernizzi, Roberta / Prina, Sonia - Monteverdi, C. / Marcello, B. / Handel, G.F. / Lotti, A. (Amore e morte dell'amore)
naïve: OP30549
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Gramophone Choice

With their pure, almost instrumental timbres, musical intelligence and acute yet unexaggerated feeling for verbal sound and sense, Invernizzi and Prina make well-nigh ideal partners. Their precision and blend are uncanny.

Throughout the disc the continuo battery of Ensemble Claudiana provides colourful support, while violinist Riccardo Minasi relishes both the inwardness and percussive boldness of a rare sonata by Domenico Scarlatti. But the disc belongs to Invernizzi and Prina, who aptly cap a feast of glorious Baroque singing with volleys of delighted Handelian virtuosity.

- By Richard Wigmore © 2013 Gramophone
 
Choral Concert: Stile Antico - Byrd, W. / Gibbons, O. / Tallis, T. / White, R. / Morley, T. / Tavener, J. (The Phoenix Rising)

Choral Concert: Stile Antico - Byrd, W. / Gibbons, O. / Tallis, T. / White, R. / Morley, T. / Tavener, J. (The Phoenix Rising)
harmonia mundi: HMU807582
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Recording of the Month

This magical disc was conceived as a tribute to a charitable trust. That it succeeds so triumphantly is mostly a tribute to the music and to the commitment of the artists who give their all in performing it.

Now that we are so familiar with Tallis, Byrd and, to a lesser extent, Taverner and Gibbons, it is easy to forget how surprising their music must have sounded when it was rediscovered by so many elements of the British choral tradition. However, Stile Antico's performances do an outstanding job of reawakening your ears to how beautiful and how exciting this music can be. At the very opening of the disc, Byrd's magical setting of Ave verum corpus sounds fresh and clear. The quality of the performance, as well as the perfectly judged recorded sound, reminded me of just how daring and exciting…Byrd's harmonic progressions sound. That composer's Mass for Five Voices... (read more)

- By Simon Thompson © 2013 MusicWeb International
 
Prokofiev, S.: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 / Violin Sonata in D Major, Op. 115 / 5 Melodies / Violin Sonatas Nos. 1 and 2 (Ehnes)

Prokofiev, S.: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 / Violin Sonata in D Major, Op. 115 / 5 Melodies / Violin Sonatas Nos. 1 and 2 (Ehnes)
Chandos: CHAN10787-88
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Gramophone Choice

However fierce the competition in the concertos, which have been strongly represented on record since the days of Joseph Szigeti and Jascha Heifetz (in the First and Second respectively), James Ehnes's particular combination of matchless virtuosity, sweet tone, flowing tempi and interpretative restraint suits all this music down to the ground.

You sense that we are in for a special performance of the D major Concerto (No 1) even before the soloist enters, Noseda eliciting a special quality of fairy-tale unreality from its opening shimmer. In fact the contribution of the BBC Philharmonic is distinguished throughout, the reading taut as well as pure.

- By David Gutman © 2013 Gramophone

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