NEWSLETTER
 
 

Dear Subscriber,

A time of change as spring turns into summer and, in the UK, we have a new government. However, it is business as usual at TheClassicalShop.net and we bring you another selection of varied and original repertoire for your ears to feast on. New this month is the Sain Wales label, which specialises in Welsh music and Welsh artists and offers much that will interest not only lovers of Welsh music but of music in general.

As part of our quest to make our website more informative, we would like to encourage you to submit your own reviews of the music you have downloaded. In fact, the first fifty people to do so will receive a very handy USB flash drive (256mb) – an essential device in this computer age. For the best written review (and yes, we do welcome constructive criticism too!), we will give away a £20 voucher which the winner may spend on any downloads available at The Classical Shop. We will publish the name of the winner in the next newsletter.

This month we have also instigated a ‘wish list’ on the site. This facility has been requested by users who have browsed the site and chosen recordings to download, but would like to return and make the actual purchase later. They can now place their chosen downloads on a ‘wish list’ and purchase them at any future time.

Also new this month is the addition of the Classical Shop Forum which we hope will become a popular arena for debate and a healthy exchange of views and opinions.

Among the many new downloads this month are the first disc in Louis Lortie’s new Chopin survey on Chandos, which is already receiving rave reviews, and the second in Neeme Järvi’s series, also on Chandos, of symphonic arrangements by Henk de Vlieger of music from the operas of Wagner, this time focussing on Parsifal. Fans of the music of Benjamin Britten will love the 1949 recording of Albert Herring (Nimbus), recorded live at the Royal Theatre, Copenhagen, which brings to tingling life the delicious comedy of this masterful score. Lovers of British music will also derive much pleasure from a Naxos recording of Sacred Choral Music by Vaughan Williams, beautifully sung by the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge. Red-blooded, exciting drama is the hallmark of Mikhail Pletnev’s new recording with the Russian National Orchestra of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake (Ondine), a score dripping with glorious tunes and clothed in the most sumptuous of colours.

These are just a few of the many highlights new to The Classical Shop this month. Happy browsing!

The Classical Shop team.

 
 


Have your say, anything and everything discussed about the world of Classical Music and The Classical Shop on our brand new forum...

 
 


Kurt Weill

Ranging from Germany to America with music as different as core classical repertoire and 1940s Broadway musicals. It could only be Kurt Weill. Discover for yourself the interesting career of this remarkable composer who made the most of a devastating period in the twentieth century. A selection of compositions showing his unique style is available at a special price. If you like what you hear, sample more music from this era, for example the work of Weill’s own composition teacher, Ferruccio Busoni. All selections are available at a special price for a limited period.


























 
 

Chandos CHAN 5077

Wagner: Parsifal, an orchestral quest etc. – Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Neeme Järvi

Neeme Järvi conducts the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in the second of four albums featuring the bold arrangements of Wagner by Henk de Vlieger. Of the first album, Classic FM wrote: ‘Dutch composer Henk de Vlieger builds a penetrating symphonic poem that reflects the dramatic depths of The Ring.’

In Parsifal, an orchestral quest, commissioned by the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and dedicated to the musicians of this orchestra, Henk de Vlieger has compiled the musical and emotional highlights of Wagner’s last opera, and whenever necessary stitched these into a new context. Thus de Vlieger retells the story of Parsifal with Wagner’s music. In order to do so he has kept the symmetry of the opera through seven sections: 1. Vorspiel, 2. Parsifal, 3. Die Gralsritter I, 4. Die Blumenmädchen, 5. Karfreitagszauber, 6. Die Gralsritter II, 7. Nachspiel.

This arrangement is complemented by the Overture and Venusberg Ballet Scene from Tannhäuser and the concert version of the Prelude to Act III of Lohengrin.

DePaean DP 0005

Back from Before – David Rees-Williams Trio

The David Rees-Williams Trio presents another innovative collection of re-interpreted historic music in a modern jazz flavoured medium. Back from Before follows previous recordings by the Trio, presenting classical music with a contemporary accent. There seems to be an inexhaustible supply of inspiring and musically suggestive themes from all eras just waiting to be breathed on; while many of these are little known, some will be familiar only to churchgoers, and ex-choir members.

The Trio writes: ‘This is an eclectic collection whilst having an obvious leaning towards church repertoire. I felt that the Wesleys very much needed to have their case stated – they were highly gifted melodists and their tunes connect strongly even to the previously uninitiated. Widor, also largely unknown except to organists, provides a theme of huge impact. Orlando Gibbons gives us a broad grin for his galliard and manic prelude! As ever, J.S. Bach proves that he was probably responsible for the most adaptable music around and Parry shows us how to write the perfect hymn tune. Mozart demonstrates his dual personality in the wackiness of the Gigue contrasting with the remarkably memorable theme Ave Verum. Pergolesi, meanwhile, pulls at the heart-strings and Tchaikovsky can “do commercial” too! We are so lucky to have been left this legacy.’

Deux-Elles DX 1161

Beethoven: Piano Sonatas, Volume 1 – Martin Roscoe

This is Volume 1 in the first complete recorded cycle of Barry Cooper’s new edition of Beethoven’s sonatas by one of Britain’s most prolific recitalists, Martin Roscoe.

Roscoe is a versatile musician who flourishes in performance, whether as a concerto soloist, recitalist, or chamber musician. He is an artist who endeavours always to serve the composer and the music. His enduring popularity and solid reputation are built on a deeply thoughtful musicianship which is allied to an easy rapport with audiences and fellow musicians alike.

Roscoe is now recording the complete cycle of Beethoven’s piano sonatas for Deux-Elles and this first disc includes the popular Pathétique Sonata, which he calls ‘a work of peculiar intensity and dynamic energy which can still blow away its listeners with its power and freshness… The Pathétique remains a huge thrill to perform: I’d even say I find it much more exciting now than when I first learnt it some thirty-five years ago!’

Naxos NX 2465

Vaughan Williams: Sacred Choral Music – Choir of Clare College, Cambridge

The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge here performs some of the most richly rewarding British choral music in the repertoire. In his sublime Mass in G minor Ralph Vaughan Williams reveals his absorbing interest in the modal harmonic language and contrapuntal textures of the English late Renaissance, using it to achieve a huge emotional and dynamic range. Undoubtedly the most technically demanding work on this disc is A Vision of Aeroplanes, a virtuosic motet for mixed chorus and organ. Several neglected works also feature here, including The Voice out of the Whirlwind, an anthem for mixed chorus and orchestra or organ, and Valiant-for-truth, one of several works based on Bunyan’s Christian allegory The Pilgrim’s Progress.

Nimbus NI 5824

Britten: Albert Herring – Recorded live at the Royal Theatre, Copenhagen

This recording is of a performance given by the English Opera Group, conducted by the composer and directed by Basil Coleman, in the Royal Theatre, Copenhagen on 15 September 1949. It is a fascinating document, coming, as it does, only two years after the first performance of the opera and with no fewer than eight members of the original cast still in the team. The performance tingles with a vivid life not even matched by the composer’s own studio recording of 1964. This is essential listening for all admirers of Britten.

Ondine OD 1167

Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake – Russian National Orchestra, Mikhail Pletnev

Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake is one of the supreme ballet scores of the nineteenth century. The libretto by Vladimir Begichev and Vasily Geltzer, based on an ancient German legend and on Russian folk-tales, tells the unique and tragic love story of Prince Siegfried and Princess Odette. The Princess is a captive of the evil sorcerer von Rothbart who turns her into a swan by night. The colourfully orchestrated score is full of drama and dripping with some of the composer’s most memorable tunes.

This release, celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the Russian National Orchestra, marks the orchestra’s debut on Ondine; since it was founded by Mikhail Pletnev in 1990, the Russian National Orchestra has reached a position at the top of Russian orchestras, and is as well as among the top ten international orchestras (according to a recent listing by Gramophone).

Mikhail Pletnev is supreme in this repertoire and the recording has garnered some superb reviews. On 8 April 2010, Tim Ashley wrote in The Guardian: ‘With his Russian National Orchestra on devastating form, Pletnev does it supremely well… It’s a superb achievement.’

Sain Wales SC 2105

Rebecca Evans – debut album, with Leah-Marian Jones, Chris Warren Green, Daniel Hughes, Gareth Small, Della Jones, Bryan Davies, and orchestral accompaniment


One of her country’s best young opera stars, Rebecca Evans was born in Pontrhydyfen, Wales and trained as a nurse before friends encouraged her to move into professional singing. It was a happy move, leading to early success in 1991 when she won the Best Welsh Singer prize, awarded only every three years by the Arts Council of Wales. While gaining an increasingly high profile on stage, Rebecca has also worked for television, contributing to programmes by internationally acclaimed artists such as Dennis O’Neill and Bryn Terfel, one of her main supporters at the beginning of her career.

The rise to fame of this talented singer has been astonishingly rapid, but it is made all the more understandable by this early recital disc which includes some of the most popular opera arias in the repertoire.

Signum SIG 224

Romantic Novelties for Violin and Orchestra – Hideko Udagawa, Philharmonia Orchestra, Martyn Brabbins

This very appealing collection mixes rarely heard and well-known repertoire. Hideko Udagawa has performed extensively throughout the world and captivated international audiences with her artistry and enthusiasm. As a protégée of Nathan Milstein, she is an heir to the great Russian romantic tradition of violin playing and brings it to the fore in works by Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky, Glazunov, Gade, and Ysaÿe.

The disc includes the world premiere recording of two works by Eugène Ysaÿe: Mazurka No. 2, Op. 10 and Saltarelle carnavalesque, Op. posth.

 
 

Politics and health

It has been a nail-biting time in the UK for our political masters, for they all must have gone through a mini trauma at the recent general election. None of them could have been totally pleased with the result, yet we have emerged with a new government, and the sun is still shining, the planet revolving, and life goes on. However, there is one dreaded word which is being banded about with alarming frequency, and that word is ‘cuts’. It seems we are spending much more than we have and that is a situation which cannot go on.

As Wilkins Micawber said in David Copperfield, ‘Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery’. How true that is (though not always easy advice to follow).

The question is: where are the cuts to be made? I expect, as usual, that one area in which they are likely to be made is the arts – considered by some as a namby-pamby frivolity, only enjoyed by the educated middle-classes.

Yet the ‘arts’ trickle through and leave an impact in so many ways and on so many different levels, be it through literature, painting / sculpture, music, or architecture. Who can, for example, arrive at London’s Liverpool Street Station, marvel at the inspiring Victorian architecture, a veritable iron and steel cathedral, and not feel better? Even a print of an average Victorian water colour in a doctor’s surgery can deflect the mind for a few moments and do some good.

Music can perhaps have the greatest effect of all. Research suggests that listening to Mozart’s Piano Sonata, KV 448 can reduce the number of seizures in people with epilepsy (it has been called the ‘Mozart Effect’). It is been claimed that this piece of music can boost your IQ, too! Other research has shown how music may reduce heart rate and blood pressure – vital for patients with coronary heart disease. And, of course, there are the more immediate and obvious advantages to one’s mental state.

I should have thought good mental and physical health is a vital ingredient in a healthy, well-adjusted society. Indeed, live music was used in hospitals after both World Wars, as part of the regime to which some recovering soldiers were submitted, so perhaps it can be used today to repair some of the damage caused by social problems: involving local choirs and orchestras, music making in general is a superb way of creating bonds within communities; it may even contribute to a reduction of crime and other social ills.

No matter how you look at it, music is an excellent investment and its importance in keeping mankind on track cannot be overestimated. It is one of the last things which should be cut from our daily lives.

Paul Westcott
Press Officer, The Classical Shop

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

 
 


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This Offer is only available 16 MAY 2010 - 15 JUN 2010.

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THIS MONTHS FREE MP3 CD DOWNLOAD

The following is this month's free download.

Please 'Left click' on the download button below the tracks list, and then save the file to your computer. The tracks are contained in a single standard zip file which you will need to unpack before you can play the tracks.


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 Tk01 - Antonio Caldara - Crucifixus a 16 4:56
2 Tk02 - Andrea Gabrieli - De profundis 6:43
3 Tk03 - Claudio Monteverdi - Domine ne in furore tuo 3:57
4 Tk04 - Francesco Cavalli - Salve Regina 6:25
5 Tk05 - Giovanni Gabrieli - Hodie completi sunt 3:48
6 Tk06 - Orlandus Lassus - Missa Bell Amfritit Altera - Kyrie 2:48
7 Tk07 - Orlandus Lassus - Missa Bell Amfritit Altera - Gloria 5:00
8 Tk08 - Orlandus Lassus - Missa Bell Amfritit Altera - Credo 6:52
9 Tk09 - Orlandus Lassus - Missa Bell Amfritit Altera - Sanctus 1:51
10 Tk10 - Orlandus Lassus - Missa Bell Amfritit Altera - Benedictus 2:10
11 Tk11 - Orlandus Lassus - Missa Bell Amfritit Altera - Agnus Dei 4:35
12 Tk12 - Orlandus Lassus - Missa Bell Amfritit Altera - Tui sunt coeli 3:10
13 Tk13 - Antonio Caldara - Stabat Mater - Stabat mater dolorosa 2:36
14 Tk14 - Antonio Caldara - Stabat Mater - Quis est homo qui non fleret 3:18
15 Tk15 - Antonio Caldara - Stabat Mater - Sancta mater istud agas 2:18
16 Tk16 - Antonio Caldara - Stabat Mater - Fac me tecu pie flere 1:48
17 Tk17 - Antonio Caldara - Stabat Mater - Virgo virginum praeclara 1:28
18 Tk18 - Antonio Caldara - Stabat Mater - Fac ut portem Christi mortem 1:17
19 Tk19 - Antonio Caldara - Stabat Mater - Flammis ne urar succensus 0:58
20 Tk20 - Antonio Caldara - Stabat Mater - Christe cum sit hinc exire 1:54
21 Tk21 - Antonio Caldara - Stabat Mater - Fac ut animae donetur 1:45
  Download Complete Zipped Album

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

 
 

Culture, tourism, and sport

The Future of Culture, Tourism, and Sport event on 14 September is aiming to bring together senior figures in politics and national development agencies to see how they plan to position culture at the heart of the UK’s recovery effort and in the new political landscape.

Susan Boyle is the tops

Rather scarily, Susan Boyle’s album I Dreamed a Dream was the top selling album for 2009, selling 8.3 million units, considerably more than the 6.8 million copies of Coldplay’s Viva la Vida which topped the global album charts in 2008.

Global sales down

Global music sales in 2009 fell by 7%, although thirteen countries saw music sales grow in 2009, including important markets such as Australia, Brazil, South Korea, Sweden, and the UK. Some digital sales levels did rise at encouraging rates, reflecting the new opportunities of online and mobile channels. Trade revenues to record companies fell by 7.2% to US$17 billion, with the world’s two biggest markets, the US and Japan, making up 80% of the decline. Physical sales fell by 12.7% globally, while digital music sales rose by 9.2% to US$4.3 billion, more than ten times the digital market value in 2004.

EMI’s future

Terra Firma’s investors have voted to inject another £105 million into EMI. By maintaining compliance with its banking covenants, this will prevent it from falling under the control of Citigroup. Citigroup loaned Terra Firma the money to buy EMI and it owes Citigroup £3.2 billion.

BMG bullish

It has been reported that BMG Music Publishing Group, owned by Bertelsmann AG and KKR & Co., aims to buy competitors in the UK, with the possibility of two or three unnamed acquisitions in the next few months. There is no plan, though, to buy any part of EMI.

Robot jazz musician

Shimon is a marimba-playing robot with four arms, which bobs and sways to the beat, watches the other musicians as they solo and improvises his own solos. ‘He’ has been developed by Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology and is the result of complex programming. Shimon relies on algorithms to identify tempo, beats, chord progressions, and melodic dissonance and consonance.

http://www.dynamicdemand.co.uk/grid.htm

The above address shows a meter which monitors the variation of the national grid’s exact speed at your home / work. Some hi-fi enthusiasts think that when it moves too far away from the standard 50 Hz your music will not sound as good. Perhaps worth a look and a tinker?

Big Blu-Ray

The Blu-Ray Disc Association has announced specifications for a new higher capacity disc. It has been dubbed BDXL and boasts double the storage of a normal BD, up to 128 Gb on a write-once disc and around 100 Gb on a re-writeable disc.

 
 
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RPS Awards

Among various prestigious awards recently given out by the Royal Philharmonic Society, one was officially presented to the wife of the late Philip Langridge, the mezzo-soprano Ann Murray. John Tomlinson delivered a touching tribute to Langridge’s ‘natural, convincing humanity that was always so moving’. The prize had been awarded to an appreciative Langridge in hospital days before he died.

BBC Young Musician of the Year

The winner of the BBC Young Musician of the year was the pianist Lara Omeroglu (age 16, from Watford, Hertfordshire). She stunned audience and judges with her powerful and confident performance of Saint-Saëns’s Second Piano Concerto. She was ably accompanied by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by Vasily Petrenko. She beat the violinist Callum Smart and flautist Emma Halnan.

3D opera from the Royal Opera House

The Royal Opera House is going 3D with its new production of Francesca Zambello’s Carmen. It will be made available for 3D cinemas, of which there are more than 5000 worldwide. It will also be a contender for quick sales once 3D television catches on. Zambello’s production is characteristically lavish and extravagant, an ideal first contender for this emerging technology.

Italian opera suffers again

Strikes by workers and performers in Italian opera houses have cased performances to be cancelled. They are protesting against proposed government regulations to streamline (cut) the finances of Italy’s state-funded opera houses and orchestras.

New home for Garsington

Garsington Opera is to move to the Chiltern Hills after twenty-one years in Garsington Manor in Oxfordshire. The move was a result of the death of Leonard Ingrams, the house owner and founder of the company. There will be a new pavilion in the Deer Park at its new residence at the Wormsley Estate.

Eyjafjallajökull

The eruption of the unpronounceable volcano in Iceland caused havoc with the concert world and its touring musicians, leaving many stranded. It looks as though it will continue to exert its influence on the artistic world for some time to come.

Wagner ephemera

Up for auction later this year in Boston are two of Wagner’s batons as well as a mother-of-pearl cigar cutter.

BBC Proms success

More than 80,000 tickets were sold for BBC Proms concerts in the first day of booking; 65,000 were successfully sold online largely due to a new, fairer and better queuing system. Seats for seven of the seventy-six concerts at the Royal Albert Hall have now sold out.

Classical Brits

Hosted by Mylene Klass, the Classical Brits continues unabashedly to mix classical and crossover. The Pope’s album was pipped to the post for an award by the group Only Men Aloud, but Dame Kiri te Kanawa was there to receive her Lifetime Achievement Award as well as to perform live. Angela Gheorghiu got her second BRIT in just ten years.

Stanley Vann

The cathedral organist and composer Stanley Vann has died a few weeks after his 100th birthday. He was regarded as one of the country’s finest and most inspirational choirmasters.

 
 

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