Archive | August, 2014


The 2014 ECHO Klassik Award winners‘ list

Posted on 31 August 2014 by admin

1 )  Emmanuel Pahud was named Flautist of the Year. Principal Flute with the Berlin Philharmonic since he was 22 years old, Pahud will release his latest album with Les Vents Français, “the wind-quintet equivalent of a supergroup”, late October.

2 ) Diana Damrau took the coveted ‘Klassik Without Limits’ prize; her bold 2013 album Forever showed a different side of the coloratura soprano, exploring music from operetta and musicals; Die Fledermaus to The Phantom of the Opera.

Forever – Unforgettable Songs

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3 ) English tenor Ian Bostridge, along with his companions guitarist Xuefei Yang and Antonio Pappano on piano, received the nod for Lied Recording of the Year with their searing centenary tribute to Benjamin Britten.

Britten Songs

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More award-winners to be announced soon

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Christmas carol competition by BBC

Posted on 30 August 2014 by admin

BBC Radio 3 has unveiled details of a Christmas carol competition, with the winning entry to be performed by the BBC Singers live on the station.

The words to be set have been written by author Susan Hill. Entries can be written in any music style, and be either a cappella or for voice and piano accompaniment.

A panel of judges including the newly appointed Master of the Queen’s Music and BBC Singers Associate Composer Judith Weir, and the ensemble’s Chief Conductor David Hill, will select six entries.

They’ll then be performed live on the Radio 3 Breakfast show on Tuesday December 16, and listeners will be invited to vote for their favourite. The winning carol will then be performed again live on the Breakfast show on Tuesday December 23, and then played on Christmas day on Radio 3.

For details of how to enter and the full text to be set, visit the BBC Radio 3 website.

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The balance engineer revealed the techniques of Maria Callas’ remastered Edition

Posted on 29 August 2014 by admin

Maria Callas – The Complete Studio Recordings (The Original Jacket Collection)

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On 17 December 2013, Robert Gooch, the balance engineer of two of Maria Callas’s most famous recordings, Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia and Bellini’s Norma, visited Abbey Road Studios to listen with engineer Simon Gibson to the newly remastered tapes Simon has made for the new Maria Callas edition. Robert’s recollections of the original sessions and his reaction to Simon’s restoration of the recordings he had made over half a century earlier can be heard in the following revealing segments.

SIMON GIBSON I have our new remastering of the recording here
for you to listen to. We have gone back to the original master tape and we have paid attention to the job file and all instructions it contains. This is Callas singing the second part of the aria ‘Una voce poco fa’.
[They listen to ‘Una voce poco fa’]

ROBERT GOOCH It sounds terrific! I’m amazed, I’m absolutely
amazed. Is this my original tape?

GIBSON Yes, it’s the original edited stereo master from the February 1957 sessions.

GOOCH My goodness, we were bloody good then, weren’t we!

GIBSON Of course these monitors are a lot better than the ones you would have used.

GOOCH Oh sure, we had rubbish, we had some commercial
speakers. This sounds just amazing, it’s a revelation.

GIBSON There’s just a little bit of equalisation, but not much.

GOOCH There’s enough ambience there – that’s just right, isn’t it?

GIBSON You said before our conversation that there was a previous reissue where some artificial reverberation was added, and we haven’t done that. We have just used the original tape, and it’s interesting that you said the hall was damped somewhat, because you still have a lovely resonance there.

GOOCH Incidentally, in the first act, Count Almaviva sings a serenade to Rosina with guitar accompaniment. Well, the guitarist was a young Julian Bream. That was typical of Legge – nothing but the best!

GIBSON Was he credited on the recording?


GIBSON Now, let’s turn to Norma.

GOOCH When Callas arrived [for the sessions] she was in trouble
with some congestion in her throat and she said ‘don’t worry,
tomorrow will be OK’. She came in the following day and she was
fine. We covered a great deal of recording, and she said: ‘Do you
know what I have done? Yesterday I consumed a whole tumbler of
castor oil.’ We re-named her big aria ‘Castor Diva’ after that. I said to Legge ‘what must that have done to her stomach?’
‘Nonsense, my dear boy,’ he replied, ‘these Greeks drink so much oil with their food, to her it’s just a drop in the ocean’.

[They listen to ‘Casta Diva’]

GOOCH My goodness me, it makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

GIBSON Does it take you back?

GOOCH Oh dear… [almost in tears]

GIBSON Did you get a chance to listen to her in the hall before you recorded?

GOOCH Not in this case, because our control room was two floors
up from the hall. Normally with the orchestral recordings at Kingsway Hall I used to spend a lot of time during the rehearsals in the hall, listening. I just couldn’t do that in La Scala. But, that voice of Callas has such an effect on me, I’m just amazed at the sound here.

GIBSON We have gone back to the original tapes – sometimes in the past they didn’t go back to the original tapes and worked from existing remasters instead.

GOOCH Well, it’s remarkable. I’m absolutely knocked over. I was
practically in tears listening to ‘Casta Diva’.

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The winners of Gramophone Classical Music Awards 2014 full list

Posted on 28 August 2014 by admin

This year’s Gramophone Classical Music Awards are  in 12 categories including Choral, Orchestral, and Early Music were announced today, with one of these recordings being chosen as the coveted ‘Recording of the Year’. Just as with last year’s awards, the majority of winners have been announced in advance of the ceremony itself; the winners of the Lifetime Achievement, Young Artist of the Year, Label of the Year and the publicly chosen Artist of the Year will be announced at a ceremony at St John’s Smith Square on 17 September. The awards will be presented by a selection of guest presenters including Alfred Brendel and Benjamin Grosvenor, in front of an audience of winning artists and leading industry figures. You can see a full list of the winners announced so far below:

Gramophone Awards 2014: full list of winners

Baroque instrumental

CPE Bach – Württemberg Sonatas Mahan Esfahani [Hyperion CDA67995] What the judges said about this recording: “The elusive fusion of thematic intricacy, ‘Baroque’ rhetoric and ‘proto-Classical’ Sturm und Drang offered by the instrument are caught perfectly by Esfahani’s supple touch and disarming sense of rhetorical pacing.” Baroque Vocal CPE Bach – Magnificat, Heilig ist Gott Soloists, RIAS Chamber Choir; Akademie Für Alte Musik Berlin / Hans Christoph Radioman [Harmonia Mundi HMC902167] What the judges said about this recording: “The Magnificat can sometimes outstay its welcome. Not here. Hans-Christoph Rademann and his Berlin forces make the strongest possible case for it, with fresh, athletic choral singing, playing of crackling, fizzing energy and excellent solo work.” Chamber Schubert – Death and the Maiden; String Quintet Pavel Haas Quartet with Danulo Ishizaka [Supraphon SU4110-2] What the judges said about this recording: “The slow movement of the Quintet is aching but never emotes superficially; the way the players withdraw the sound at its close is absolutely mesmerising.” Choral Mozart Requiem (reconstruction of the first performance) Dunedin Consort & Players / John Butt [Linn CKD449] What the judges said about this recording: “Purely on grounds of performance alone, this is one of the finest Mozart Requiems of recent years. John Butt brings to Mozart the microscopic care and musicological acumen that have made his Bach and Handel recordings so thought-provoking and satisfying.” Concerto Prokofiev – Piano Concertos Nos 1-5 Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, BBC Philharmonic / Gianandra Noseda [Chandos CHAN10802(2)] What the judges said about this recording: “Throughout, Bavouzet displays a light touch and laudable levels of physical stamina, with a firm grasp of the very different personalities of each piece.” Contemporary Benjamin – Written on Skin Soloists, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House / George Benjamin (Prod. Katie Mitchell) [Opus Arte OA1125D] What the judges said about this recording: “Katie Mitchell gives powerful visual representation to an opera that is to a large extent a drama of the mind.” Early Marenzio – First Book of Madrigals La Compagnia del Madrigale [Glossa GCD992802] What the judges said about this recording: “My jaw dropped at both the quality of Marenzio’s cleverly varied five-voice music and the astonishing sonorities of these beguiling performances.” Instrumental Mompou – Piano Works Arcadi Volodos [Sony Classical 88765433262] What the judges said about this recording: “You will rarely if ever hear Mompou’s introspection caught and held with greater affection and finesse.” Opera Ravel – L’heure espagnole & L’enfant et les sortilèges Soloists, Glyndebourne Chorus, LPO / Kazushi Ono (prod. Laurent Pelly) [FRA Musica FRA008] What the judges said about this recording: “Laurent Pelly directs the dizzying succession of scenes with a sure hand.” Orchestral Brahms Symphonies Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig / Riccardo Chailly [Decca 4785344] “The opening sounds understated but the performance builds steadily until the coda glows white hot.” Recital ‘Arise, my muse’ Iestyn Davies, Richard Egarr [Wigmore Hall Live WHLive0065] What the judges said about this recording: “This is a disc that reminds us why live recital programmes are such a valuable part of recorded repertoire…” Solo Vocal Schubert – Winterreise Jonas Kaufmann, Helmut Deutsch [Sony Classical 88883795632]

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