For her first collaboration with the period ensemble Il Giardino Armonico, violinist Isabelle Faust performs the five Violin Concertos of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, along with three shorter concertante works. This is an extraordinary set, for the historically informed performances, the polished sound of the group, the almost palpable presence of the players, which Harmonia Mundi has captured with superior engineering, and for the unrepressed joy in the music. Faust is the center of attention, naturally, and her refined and expressive playing immediately pulls the listener in. These are far from the most demanding concertos in the repertoire, so Faust is less concerned with technical execution than with conveying the pure feeling of the music, which is delightfully buoyant and uplifting. Under the direction of Giovanni Antonini, the group provides warm and sparkling accompaniment that gives Faust all the support she needs, but there's no doubt that she sets the emotional tone for these exquisite recordings. Highly recommended, especially for devotees of Classical style at its finest.
Authoritative and comprehensive, this 55CD set presents a unique period in human history: a period when brilliant recorded sound on LP & CD, plus radio, TV, film and live all combined to offer huge new opportunities for singers, record labels and producers to expand the audience for classical music.
Leading early music expert Winsome Evans presents the final chapter in her ground-breaking project to transcribe and record Bach’s solo instrumental works for the harpsichord, with the Six Cello Suites and Partita for Solo Flute. Evans’ project, some 30 years in the making, is based on evidence that Bach himself played his solo instrumental works on the keyboard – including the statement of a former student that Bach often played the solo violin and cello works ‘on the clavier, adding as much in the nature of harmony as he found necessary’. The harmonies added by Evans to the solo works are inspired by methods from Bach’s own time.
For her fifth live recording of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's piano concertos with the Cleveland Orchestra, Mitsuko Uchida presents the Piano Concerto No. 17 in G major, K 453, and the Piano Concerto No. 25 in C major, K 503, a delightful pairing that reflects her previous albums in this critically acclaimed series on Decca.
The clarinetist Martin Fröst, after a series of recordings of modern-ish Nordic and Germanic clarinet repertory on the Swedish label BIS, gets a larger mouthpiece here with a release on the major Sony Classical label. Fröst's playing has never been better: he excels in both tough, angular lines and slow cantabile, and both are applied here to a wide variety of material. Three of Schumann's Five Pieces in Folk Style, Op. 102, are made into a little sonata here, and sampling any one of them (tracks 7-9) will show you how compelling Fröst can make only moderately interesting music. Like those pieces, most of the music is arranged from music in media other than clarinet and orchestra.