For the first time, this collection brings together the complete woodwind chamber music of France's leading composers in the medium: Debussy, Saint-Saëns, Ravel and Poulenc. In a set which evinces the now familiar Cala hallmark of creatively combining established treasures with enticing discoveries, including here four world première recordings. Volume One presents the works of Debussy and Saint-Saëns and Volume Two those of Ravel and Poulenc. Each volume contains two full-length CDs (well over two hours of music) for the price of one.
William Mathias was one of the most significant and prolific Welsh composers of the 20th century. His flexible and highly approachable style can be heard in the holiday mood of the Suite Parisienne, the brilliance and lyricism of the Capriccio for flute and piano and the wonderfully rhapsodic Sonata for Harp. Mathias’s songs are among the most communicative settings of their kind, including Pan Oeddwn Fachgen (‘A Dream of Youth’), considered by the composer to be ‘one of the finest lyrical poems in modern Welsh’.
Arnold Schoenberg exercised very considerable influence over the course of music in the 20th century. This was particularly through his development and promulgation of compositional theories in which unity in a work is provided by the use of a determined series, usually consisting of the 12 possible different semitones, their order also inverted or taken in retrograde form and in transposed versions.
This ambitious and beautifully produced two-CD set includes nearly all of Iannis Xenakis' chamber music for strings, piano, and strings and piano combined. Chamber music constituted a small part of the composer's output, since large ensembles and large forms were vehicles more commensurate with the aesthetic of his monumental, granitic music. There are no small pieces here, though; in each of these works, ranging from solos to a quintet for piano and strings, Xenakis was able to express his uncompromising vision no less ferociously than in his orchestral works. While all of the pieces have an elemental character, many with a visceral punch, the actual sound of the music is surprisingly varied, and the individual works have distinctive and individual characters. In spite of the weightiness and rigor of the music, the tone is not necessarily heavy, and some pieces, like Evryali for piano and Dikhthas for violin and piano, have moments of what could almost be described as whimsicality.
Having all of these works collected together is a real treasure. It is one of the most beautiful collections I've heard. 5 cd's of all of Bach's chamber music, exquisitely performed by the outstanding soloists of Musica Antiqua Koln. Reinhard Goebel's performance of the violin works is simply perfect. As I've said before, Bach's sonatas for violin and harpsichord have been in the shadows for too long, they deserve to be heard and this performance proves it. They are a delightful partnership between violin and harpsichord. The tempos are fairly brisk but the performance is so clearly articulated that the result is energetic and very rewarding.
Chamber music has always formed the heart of Maria João Pires’s musicianship. Indeed, she has often commented that she is happier working with others than performing on her own. “Not sharing a stage is very difficult for me,” she once remarked (in an interview for ArtsJournal in 2012) “You are apart from the group, apart from community, apart from everything. You become different and special. And, if you become different and special, you’re alone.”
This recording of the complete chamber music works for clarinet by Johannes Brahms is presented with first-rate interpreters: Laura Ruiz Ferreres, one of the most gifted clarinettists of her generation, and pianist Christoph Berner. Internationally renowned cellist Danjulo Ishizaka and the Mandelring Quartet complete the superb line-up of instrumentalists for this recording.
In his 90th year, Elliott Carter is doing something few nonagenarians ever do: he's premiering a striking new string quartet, his fifth. And it's an awe-inspiring piece. The Arditti String Quartet takes up the short phrases that run with and then against one another with sureness, plucking and scraping and making their bows sing. They then delve into each of the five interludes that interrogate the quartet's six sections and play through the disparate splinters of tone and flushes of midrange color as if they were perfectly logical developments. Which they're not. Carter has again brilliantly scripted a chatter of stringed voices–à la the second quartet–that converse quickly, sometimes mournfully, but never straightforwardly. This complexity of conversation is a constant for Carter, coming sharply to light in "90+" and then in Rohan de Saram and Ursula Oppens's heaving read of the 1948 Sonata for Cello and Piano, as well as in virtually all these pieces. This is a monumental recording, extending the documented work of a lamentably underappreciated American composer.