NEWSLETTER
 
 

Welcome to the latest Classical Shop newsletter!

We hope you have been enjoying our revitalised store.

A recent customer emailed us to say:

‘Congratulations on an absolutely brilliant site and fantastic service. Through your service I have learned to appreciate classical music far more. Your way of doing things is the only way for serious music lovers to move from analogue / CD to digital downloads. Your range of options is perfect, and the bit-rate / quality of the formats is excellent. How brilliant is this… you get a free MP3 at 320kbps with every lossless format purchased!!’

This month’s treats include a Sarah Connolly feature. This leading lady has such a breadth of repertoire, and her interpretations are simply breath-taking. We have put together a selection of albums for you to try out, and they are discounted to make your exploration even more enjoyable!

Champs Hill Records also launches on The Classical Shop. In case you are not aware of it, Champs Hill is a beautiful music hall based in West Sussex, England. Here many chamber performances have taken place, by such artists as Dame Felicity Lott. Five albums are released, and more are to follow shortly.

We were devastated to hear of the death of the acclaimed tenor Philip Langridge. Chandos has put together a dedication page on www.chandos.net so please do turn to it to read our homily in full. Another great of the recorded music world has also recently passed away, namely Bernard Coutaz, the founder of Harmonia Mundi.

Please enjoy the round-up of our new release highlights and be sure to check in soon at www.theclassicalshop.net

Thanks for your love of music,

Best wishes,

The Classical Shop team

 
 


ERNST VON DOHNÁNYI AND THE WORLD OF HUNGARIAN COMPOSERS

2010 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the death of the Hungarian composer, conductor and pianist Ernst von Dohnányi. He studied composition with Béla Bartók and later, through his position as music director at the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra, helped establish the music of Bartók, Zoltán Kodály and other Hungarians on the international concert platform. We celebrate the music of Dohnányi and his fellow Hungarians with 25% off selected titles.


Dohnanyi
Piano Concerto



KODALY, Z.
Dances of Galanta



Bartok
Bluebeard's Castle



Bartok
String Quartets



Vocal Works
by Bartok and Kodaly



Kodaly
Ode to Music Makers


Dohnanyi
Suite in F# Minor



Dohnanyi
Violin Concerto



 
 

Morton Gould – orchestral works

This recording offers a tantalising sampling of work of Morton Gould from the vibrant decade of the mid-1930s to mid-1940s, featuring two of his trademark Symphonettes, the gutsy Concerto for Orchestra, and his earliest big orchestral work, Chorale and Fugue in Jazz, presented in full for the first time since its twenty-year-old composer wrote it with Interplay, the diminutive concerto holding centre stage.

Marrika Järvi plays Vähi and Sisask

Born in Estonia, Maarika Järvi emigrated to the United States in 1980 with her family of noted musicians. More recently she has lived in Spain and France and presently makes her home in Switzerland. On this CD her brother Kristjan is conducting the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra.

‘The Estonian composer, music producer, and orientalist Peeter Vähi (b. 1955) is a creator of cultural scope and of postmodernist tolerance. In his music, East and West, archaic and civilised sound worlds come together – or at least come close. His Chant of the Celestial Lake is a love-story reflecting Asian legends. Vähi paints celestial landscapes using exotic orchestral colours and scales. The endless journey through the inner realms of the soul is being reflected in this music.

‘Urmas Sisask (b. 1960) is an Estonian composer whose main source of inspiration is the mathematics of the starry sky and the magical forces of space. His music

embraces dense melodic nuclei and a strenuous flow of shamanic rhythms. The title Leonides refers to the meteor current from the direction of the constellation Leo, a kind of star shower. The soloist embodies an observer fascinated by the celestial spectacle and the melodic power of the work arises from excited patterns of the solo flute.

‘There is a glance of invisible worlds blinking in musical imagery in these Estonian flute concertos. Choosing roots, Maarika Järvi unmistakebly chooses the universal world of human spirituality.’

Evi Arujärv

Call me Flott

This recording is among the first releases on Champs Hill Records. Call me Flott is a collection of light-hearted songs by, among others, Britten, Barber, Poulenc, Berlin, Coward, and Porter; Dame Felicity Lott, joined on this disc by Graham Johnson, enjoys a warm association with Champs Hill – in fact, she was the artist who, in 1999, gave the inaugural recital at the hall, and she has made many recordings there. This collection includes a large variety of songs of which Dame Felicity brings out all the character and nuance, the capacity that has made her such a star in the operatic world.

Peter Warlock – collected 78rpm recordings

Philip Heseltine, aka Peter Warlock, was an enigma in many ways – song-writing and arranging genius, fine orchestrator – but also a political animal, bon-viveur, and ultimately a self-absorbed depressive who took his own life. This download comprises many of the recordings of Warlock’s work issued on standard-groove records between 1925 and 1951. All were lovingly collected by the late John Bishop, stalwart of the Peter Warlock Society, which has generously assisted with the production of this album. It can be seen as a tribute to one of England’s most influential composers of the early twentieth century. Detailed notes on the man and his music, and these recordings, are included. The performers number some of Britain’s finest of the age.

‘One of the happiest of recent historical releases… music-making that is both intimate and intense. Some treasurable performances that would otherwise be extremely difficult to track down. The transfers are good and so are the notes.’

Rob Cowan, Gramophone

Greek Taverna

Blue seas and clear skies, whitewashed buildings and domed churches… sunshine and sparkling water, a late supper by the shore… and the music plays. Well-known Greek songs (useful for plate throwing?) and fine musical instruments can be heard on this album which will recall memories of the landscape, the people, and the pleasures of Greece.

King’s Music – Alamire

Alamire won the British Library contract to record the soundtrack for its 2009 exhibition celebrating 500 years since the coronation of Henry VIII. Henry’s Music includes a world premiere recording of the contents of MS Royal 11.e.xi (a royal choirbook gifted to King Henry in 1516), which is to be produced in full-colour facsimile by the Folio Society, as well as tribute motets by Robert Fayrfax, Philippe Verdelot, and John Taverner. Alamire was joined by the cornett and sackbutt ensemble QuintEssential and the gothic harpist Andrew Lawerence-King.

‘They sing, marrying galvanising spirit with impeccable tuning and blend… Nothing but this music can transport you to the indescribable warmth that must have greeted the new King… Awesome.’

CD of the Month (June 2009), Classic FM Magazine

‘[Alamire’s] measured and dignified style is wholly in touch with such an approach, which values introspection over spectacle. Their style is tempered yet enthusiastic, careful yet invigorating… it makes for a very satisfying listening experience.’

www.classical.net

Liszt: Symphonic Poems (transcribed Stradal, Volume 1) – Risto-Matti Marin, piano

Although the thirteen symphonic poems of Liszt exist in two-piano transcriptions prepared by the composer himself, it was his Czech student August Stradal (1860 – 1930) who was to transcribe them for solo piano – versions which demand almost superhuman virtuosity. As Malcolm MacDonald writes in his booklet essay, Stradal’s versions ‘transform these revolutionary orchestral compositions into viable and effective piano works, faithfully preserving their masterly musical substance’.

Haydn: String Quartets – Doric String Quartet

The Doric String Quartet, formed in 1998 at Pro Corda, the Suffolk-based National School for Young Chamber Music Players, made four appearances at the Wigmore Hall over the 2008 / 09 season, including one at the final concert of the season.

This recital, recorded on 15 January, is the Quartet’s first commercial recording. It comprises three quartets by Haydn, providing glimpses into three different periods of the composer’s life and juxtaposing one of his most famous works in the genre, Op. 76 No. 1, with two lesser-known earlier examples, Op. 9 No. 4 and Op. 50 No. 2.

In 2008 the members of the Doric String Quartet gained a special mention for their Haydn interpretations when they took part in the Premio Paolo Borciani Competition in Reggio Emilia; overall, they were awarded second place, having the previous month emerged victorious at the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition.

Reporting from Italy, The Strad wrote of the Quartet’s ‘great wisdom and… creativity of sound’. Having described the Doric’s interpretation of Haydn’s Op. 76 No. 1 as ‘magical’, the reviewer judged the Quartet’s performances as ‘the most inventive, engaging, moving, and beautiful’ of the competition.

 
 

A thank you to Thomas Edison

Last month saw the launch of our totally re-vamped download site:

TheClassicalShop.net

Perhaps the greatest aim of the new site is to make downloading music as easy and trouble free as possible – thousands of pieces of music available at a few clicks of a keyboard. However, I was reminded of the unease which Britten felt about the whole phenomenon of recorded music, which he thought made access to great music too easy. His point was that, before records, you had to go and hear music live. And that involved saving money to buy a ticket, make travel arrangements, swat up on the work you were going to hear, etc. – in general, dedicate serious time and make a notable effort to the process of listening to music.Last weekend, I made a ‘serious’ effort to go and hear something (Britten would have been impressed). I went to see a performance of Ruddigore in Leeds where, in the interval, we launched (with the stupendous help of the Sir Arthur Sullivan Society) our new recording of Ivanhoe.I can honestly say that it was one of the best operatic evenings of my life – a stunning production, gloriously sung, with marvellous orchestral playing. It was worth braving the British train system at a weekend to hear such a treat. (I’m convinced that ‘engineering’ works didn’t exist when I was young, but one’s memory does play strange tricks as the past grows distant.)Sullivan was seemingly just as sceptical about recorded music as Britten, and there survives a wonderfully witty speech he made after a dinner party, introducing Thomas Edison’s ‘new’ phonograph, in which he recorded a phonographic letter to Edison – over one hundred and twenty-one years ago (it is on YouTube). It goes as follows:

‘Dear Mr Edison,

If my friend Edmund Yates has been a little incoherent, it is in consequence of the excellent dinner and good wines that he has drunk. Therefore, I think you will excuse him. He has his lucid intervals. For myself, I can only say that I am astonished and somewhat terrified at the results of this evening’s experiments; astonished at the wonderful power you have developed, and terrified of the thought that so much hideous and bad music may be put on record forever. But all the same, I think it is the most wonderful thing I have ever experienced, and I congratulate you with all my heart on this wonderful discovery.

Arthur Sullivan’

Of course, not only has plenty of bad music been recorded, but we have had to wait a very long time for much good music to be recorded. Sullivan’s Ivanhoe is a case in point. First performed on 31 January 1891, it launched The Royal English Opera House and was initially a huge success. Its neglect is shocking and the release of a complete professional recording of it scandalously overdue. So, perhaps we need to thank Mr Edison again: his invention, a bit like Sullivan’s music, is not so much under-valued, as taken just a bit too much for granted.

Paul Westcott
Press Officer, The Classical Shop
Please note that the views expressed are personal views, and not necessarily the views of Chandos Records If you agree, disagree or have any comments, please contact us at feedback@chandos.net

 
 



£1 OFF ANY PURCHASE OVER £10!
Enter the code TCSMARMMU in the box provided at the bottom of your shopping basket page, to receive a £1 discount on any purchase over £10 from The Classical Shop.
This Offer is only available 16 March 2010 - 15 April 2010.

Note: only one promotional code can be used per transaction. Each promotional code can only be used once per customer.

THIS MONTHS FREE DOWNLOADS


The following are this month's free downloads.

Please 'Left click' on the download buttons next to the free tracks below, and then save the tracks from within your computer's default MP3 player, e.g. from Windows media player 11 - select 'File' from the main menu and select 'Save As'.


Please Note: as these tracks are provided free, no customer/technical support can be given or correspondence entered into. The downloads have been tested on most of the popular operating systems and web/email clients.

1 JOHANN STRAUSS II `Die Fledermaus` Overture arranged Winter 7:56
       
2 FRANZ SCHUBERT Marche militaire arranged Langford 3:48
       
3 EDWARD GREGSON `The Plantagenets` Symphonic Study 11:52
       
4 LEV KNIPPER Cossack Patrol arranged Langford 3:07
       
5 ROY NEWSOME Concorde 5:04
       
6 ERIC BALL Rhapsody on Negro Spirituals No. 2 8:47
       
7 EMMANUEL CHABRIER Marche Joyeuse arranged Langford 3:18
       
8 GAETANO DONIZETTI `The Daughter of the Regiment` Overture arranged Langford 6:22
       
9 JACQUES OFFENBACH `Tales of Hoffman`: Barcarolle 2:24
       
10 EMMANUEL CHABRIER Espana arranged Langford 5:25

Please Note: the free downloads on this newsletter are no longer available.

 
 
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Domingo health scare

After experiencing discomfort and lower abdominal pain, the sixty-nine-year-old singer was operated on and a localised malignant polyp in his colon was removed. He is expected to make a full recovery but will miss a number of scheduled performances, although he is expected to carry out normal administrational responsibilities at Washington and Los Angeles operas after a compulsory six weeks of rest.

Philharmonic Hall to be extended

Plans to extend Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall to include a second, smaller, venue for use as a flexible space, perhaps for rehearsal and chamber concerts, have been put forward. The total cost is expected to be in the region of £40m.

Anna Nicole – The Opera

The Royal Opera, Covent Garden has announced that it is to stage the world premiere of an opera about the life of former Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith. The work is by the composer Mark-Anthony Turnage and writer Richard Thomas (co-creator of the controversial production Jerry Springer: The Opera).

Modern music is incomprehensible

Modern music has always been challenging, but often more challenging to some than to others. A new book on how the human brain interprets music has revealed that listeners rely upon finding patterns within the music; thus Bach and Mozart are found rewarding and modern offerings simply confusing. The cognitive aid for understanding music is the brain’s natural pattern-seeking function, but the more fragmented and complex music of the twentieth century makes the music very challenging for the brain to grasp.

Pope nominated

Pope Benedict XVI has been nominated for the Classical Brit Awards album of the year. He is singing on the album ‘Alma Mater – Music from the Vatican’. There are ten nominees for the awards, including the group of three Catholic clerics called The Priests. The pope will have to wait until mid-April before he knows if he is successful or not.

CashBack for Communities

The Scottish government has devised a scheme whereby funds confiscated from criminals are used for community projects. One to benefit is a scheme called Reeltime Music, in Newarthill, Lanarkshire, which has received more than £23,000 from the CashBack for Communities scheme. It helps young people learn and develop music technology skills. The justice secretary said that organised crime brought misery to communities and it was only right ‘that their ill-gotten gains are put to use in improving lives’.