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EMI Classics and Virgin Classics: September 2009 Releases

Goodall: Eternal Light: A Requiem

Alfie Boe, Natasha Marsh, Christopher Maltman

Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford

London Musici / Stephen Darlington

CD available September 8 from EMI Classics

“This was to be a Requiem for the living, a Requiem focusing on
interrupted lives.”

– Howard Goodall

Light: A Requiem
is a new and moving choral work by the award-winning
British composer and internationally acclaimed broadcaster, Howard Goodall.  Goodall’s unusual setting of the
liturgical service is performed by Christ Church Cathedral Choir, Oxford and
London Musici, conducted by Stephen Darlington, with soloists Natasha Marsh,
Alfie Boe, and Christopher Maltman. 
The recording has already been issued digitally and is released on CD this

Howard Goodall
is perhaps best known as the composer of various popular TV themes such as Blackadder, Red Dwarf,and The Vicar of Dibley, but he is also a prodigious writer
of choral music.  His soundtrack
for the film Into the Storm has received an Emmy nomination (the Primetime Emmy Awards
being held on Sep 20).  This
summer, Goodall won a 2009 Classical Brit Award (Composer of the Year) for Eternal
, which will
be performed in the US in January 2010.

The writing of
a Requiem presents a special challenge to any composer.  The great Requiems of the past,
by composers such as Mozart, Verdi, Fauré, and Duruflé, interpret the sacred “Requiem”
text literally, and represent a prayer for the salvation of the departed
soul(s).  Howard Goodall’s Requiem, by contrast,
is intended to provide solace to the grieving.  The composer said, “For me, a modern Requiem is one that
acknowledges the terrible, unbearable loss and emptiness that accompanies the
death of loved ones, a loss that is not easily ameliorated with platitudes
about the joy awaiting us in the afterlife. … Musical expression can, I hope,
provide some outlet, some reflection, some transportation, even some comfort… .
This was to be a Requiem for the living, a Requiem focusing on
interrupted lives.”

Light: A Requiem
is also distinguished by the inclusion of English
poetry, mixed with fragments of Latin, sung simultaneously or antiphonally
between the soloists and the choir.  Goodall explains, “One section of Latin text comes not from
the Requiem mass but from the Book of Revelation, with its
description of the coming of the Angels of the Apocalypse.  The Recordare movement
combines with Phineas Fletcher’s early-17th-century sacred verse, “Drop,
drop, slow tears.”  Other texts are
drawn from John McCrae, Francis Quarles, Mary Elizabeth Frye, and Ann Thorp.”

Commissioned by
Mark Stephenson on behalf of London Musici to celebrate the orchestra’s 20th
anniversary, Eternal Light: A Requiem is a stand-alone choral work that will
have its London premiere in November 2008 in an exciting collaborative version
for choir, soloists, orchestra, and dance.  The dance, Eternal Light, commissioned by London’s famed
Sadler’s Wells Theatre, will be performed by Rambert Dance Company, its
associate orchestra London Musici, and Christ Church Cathedral Choir,
Oxford.  Rambert Dance Company and
its artistic director, Mark Baldwin, worked closely with Howard Goodall from
the conception of the project to find ways in which the themes of the Requiem might be
explored further in dance.

The result of
this collaboration is a work that should appeal to a broad-based audience.  Following the premiere, Rambert Dance
Company will tour Eternal Light nationally across the UK.  Over 70 dates have already been
confirmed, including the London premiere, which will take place at Sadler’s
Wells on Armistice Day (Nov 11), the 90th anniversary of the end of World
War I.

And, as the
composer said recently, “Although it was not deliberately conceived thus, it is
powerfully appropriate that the central Dies Irae movement takes
as its vision of hell the horror of armed conflict.  Alongside the Latin text phrases I have juxtaposed John
McCrae’s haunting war poem In Flanders Fields.  McCrae, a Canadian military doctor of
great distinction, died on the Western Front in January 1918.”

Three other choral works by
Howard Goodall are also included on this CD: his setting of Psalm 23, well known as
the theme tune of the BBC’s Vicar of Dibley series; Love
, a hymn of praise set to Charles Wesley’s reassuring, open-hearted words;
and, finally, Goodall’s setting of Spared, Wendy Cope’s poem capturing
the feelings of many people following the destruction of the World Trade Center
in New York on September 11, 2001.  “[The work] acts, I hope, as a fitting companion to Eternal
Light: A Requiem

Special boxed sets, reissues, and compilations

Monteverdi: Sacred Music

Taverner Consort, Choir, and Players / Andrew

five-CD set and downloads available September 22 from Virgin Classics

All of the Monteverdi recordings on Virgin Classics by
early music pioneer Andrew Parrott are brought together in this new specially-priced
boxed set, an incredible value at five CDs for the price of one.  The featured repertoire includes
Parrott’s landmark recording of the Vespro della Beata Vergine (1610), described by BBC Music magazine in a five-star review as
“One of Parrott’s greatest achievements.” 
Also in the set isVenetian Vesper music from Selva morale e spirituale (1641); the Madrigali guerrieri,
et amorosi
a disc of works by Monteverdi and his contemporaries (including Fantini,
Marini, Rovetta, Scarani, and Usper); and the Solemn Mass for the Feast of Sancta Maria della Salute (1631).

The Swingle Singers: A Cappella Amadeus; Bach Hits Back; 1812; Around the World

four-CD set and downloads available September 22 from Virgin Classics

This Swingle Singers anthology brings together the
remarkable vocal ensemble’s four Virgin Classics releases in one budget-priced
boxed set (four CDs for the price of one).  The group may be said to combine a certain type of American
music from the first part of the 20th century with the culture of
“old” Europe.  Contrary to what one
might imagine, this was originally a French group, founded in 1962, but
directed by an American called Ward Swingle, who lived in Paris.  The configuration of the group has never
changed: eight singers (two each of sopranos, altos, tenors, and
bass-baritones) covering between them the whole of the vocal and “instrumental”
range demanded by the adaptations or transpositions which, together with works
created specially for them, go to make up their repertoire.

The Swingle Singers’ first great success was an album
devoted to arrangements of vocal, orchestral, and organ works by J.S. Bach.  In Bach Hits Back one can only marvel at their
imitation of instruments by the voice – the first principle of scat – to the
extent that one quite often wonders if one is hearing a voice or an instrument.
 Their next album was a Mozart
tribute entitled A Cappella Amadeus, featuring captivating arrangements of the overture to The
Magic Flute
, the Rondo
alla Turca
extracts from the Requiem, and other works.  The title of their third album, 1812, is of course a reference to the
Tchaikovsky overture, which closes the program, balancing out the opening William
by Rossini.  Between the two, the Swingle Singers
weave their usual roundabout course, from Debussy’s piano pieces Clair de
and Trois chansons
de France
, together
with a song attributed to Henry VIII, to Lennon and McCartney.  Around the World – A Folk Song
is a
special case, in which the Swingle Singers sing traditional texts, while not
abandoning the idea of an (entirely vocal) “instrumental ensemble”; strikingly
varied, it tirelessly explores the limitless resources of scat singing.

Best Adagio Voices

Various artists

available September 22 from Virgin Classics

For the 23rd installment in the popular 100
series, some
of the greatest singers of our time perform favorite melodies in a program
designed to be a soothing and relaxing experience.  Featured artists on 100 Best Adagio Voices, released digitally this month and
due on CD in October, include Natalie Dessay, Philippe Jaroussky, Maria Callas,
Rolando Villazón, Barbara Hendricks, Gérard Lesne, Mady Mesplé, Jessye Norman,
Montserrat Caballé, Lucia Popp, David Daniels, and Sœur Marie Keyrouz.

EMI’s 100 Best series release offers an impressive assortment of
well-known and beloved classical repertoire featuring performances by great
artists from Menuhin to Kennedy, and Callas to Te Kanawa.  Each release in the series is grouped
thematically across six CDS and features over seven hours of music.  With an amazingly low price (six CDs for
the price of one), and performances from the great artists of one of the world’s
most respected classical labels, the 100 Best series offers one of the best
values on the market – designed to appeal to both the seasoned collector and
the newcomer.


First five titles (Bach,
Baroque, Beethoven, Guitar, and Mozart)

digital downloads available September 22 from EMI Classics

The premise
of EMI Classics’ new ESSENTIAL CLASSICS series is
simple: each release in the series features over two hours of the greatest and
most popular masterpieces by the great composers.  Helping to guide listeners who have heard and enjoyed the
music but can’t easily identify it, the back inlays and booklets for each set
include the names of well-known films in which many of the pieces have been
heard.  A budget price – two CDs
for the price of one mid-price CD – makes the releases both essential and
eminently affordable: the perfect introduction to the greatest hits of
classical music.

As with all
other EMI reissue series, each set offers top-notch performances by a “who’s
who” of leading conductors, instrumentalists, singers, and orchestras.  Among those featured in the first
instalment are conductors Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Neville Marriner, Riccardo
Muti, Herbert von Karajan, André Previn, Bernard Haitink, and Wolfgang
Sawallisch; violinists Yehudi Menuhin, Anne-Sophie Mutter, David Oistrakh, and
Vladimir Spivakov; pianists Sviatoslav Richter, Christoph Eschenbach, Andrei
Gavrilov, and Radu Lupu; guitarists Andrés Segovia, Angel Romero, Manuel
Barrueco, Ernesto Bitetti, and Wulfin Lieske; singers Dame Janet Baker, Victoria
de los Ángeles, Kiri Te Kanawa, and Lucia Popp; and many other distinguished

The first five releases in the series – Essential
, Essential Baroque, Essential
, Essential Guitar, and Essential
– will first be made available digitally, with CD
releases to follow.

Coming next month…

Joyce DiDonato: Colbran –
Rossini’s Muse

After her best-selling and
critically-acclaimed recording of Handel arias – Furore, the solo debut disc that launched
her new exclusive relationship with Virgin Classics – Joyce DiDonato turns to
the music of Rossini, the composer with whom she is most closely associated.

Sarah Chang plays Violin Concertos by Brahms and

An exclusive EMI Classics artist for nearly two
decades, violinist Sarah Chang teams up with Kurt Masur and the Dresdner
Philharmonie on a new recording pairing Brahms’s epic concerto with Bruch’s
Concerto No. 1.

All-Brahms album from the Ebène Quartet

The Paris-based Ebène Quartet follows up on its
acclaimed recording of three great French quartets with an all-Brahms album
featuring the composer’s String Quartet No. 1 and, with Akiko Yamamoto, his
Piano Quintet.

Brahms Symphonies cycle from Simon Rattle and the
Berlin Philharmonic

On the heels of a
critically-acclaimed recording of Brahms’s beloved Requiem, which won
both a Grammy and a Gramophone Award, Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic
turn to the composer’s four symphonies, which Rattle and the orchestra recorded
in concert at Berlin’s famed Philharmonie in autumn 2008.

Antonio Pappano conducts Verdi’s Requiem

Following the release of his critically acclaimed
recording of Madama Butterfly, Music Director Antonio Pappano returned to the Orchestra
and Chorus of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in January 2009 for
performances of Verdi’s spectacular Requiem, with stellar soloists Anja
Harteros, Sonia Ganassi, Rolando Villazón, and René Pape.

Kennedy’s Four Seasons

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of
Nigel Kennedy’s landmark recording of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, EMI Classics presents a 20th
Anniversary Luxury Edition including the original recording, award-winning
film, images not previously issued, memorabilia, and a specially-written
account of the unfolding event.

Natalie Dessay’s Mad

The great French soprano Natalie Dessay portrays
mostly unhinged heroines in this bel canto tour-de-force 

Classics and Virgin Classics: Artists on Tour – Fall 2009


Yang recital at Krannert Center (Urbana, IL)

11 and 12

Fliter: Schumann with Colorado Symphony (Denver, CO)

17, 19, and 20

Fliter: Chopin Piano Concerto No. 2 with Houston Symphony (Houston, TX)


Montero: Recital at Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)

25 and 26

Montero: Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue and Williams Air and Simple Gifts with Indianapolis Symphony
(Indianapolis, IN)


Balsom: Trumpet and organ recital at Wheaton College (Wheaton, IL)

Oct 3 – Nov
4; Nov 7

Joyce DiDonato: Rosina in Rossini’s Il barbiere di
at the
Metropolitan Opera (New York, NY)


Montero: Recital at Bass Hall (Fort Worth, TX)


Montero: Recital at Austin Peay State University (Clarksville, TN)


Montero: Recital at Alys Robin Stephens Performing Arts Center (Birmingham, AL)

22, 24, and 25

Fliter: Beethoven Piano Concerto with Silicon Valley Symphony (San Jose, CA)


Fliter: Recital at Ithaca College (Ithaca, NY)


Fliter: Boston recital debut at Jordan Hall (Boston, MA)

Nov 5

Joyce DiDonato: New York City Opera Gala Concert

Nov 10

Xuefei Yang: Recital in Benaroya Hall (Seattle, WA)

Nov 11–13

Simon Rattle and Berlin Philharmonic: Brahms Symphony
cycle at Carnegie Hall (New York, NY)

Nov 13

Xuefei Yang: Recital in Herbst Theatre (San
Francisco, CA)

Nov 13 and 14

Leif Ove Andsnes and Robin Rhode: World premiere of
“Pictures Reframed” at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center (New York, NY)


Daniels: Orfeo in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice at Atlanta
Opera (Atlanta, GA)

Nov 15

Xuefei Yang: Recital at Willamette University (Salem,

Nov 16

Joyce DiDonato: Recital in Herbst Theatre (San
Francisco, CA)

Nov 16

Simon Rattle and Berlin Philharmonic: Brahms Symphony
No. 2 and other works at Symphony Center (Chicago, IL)

Nov 17

Simon Rattle and Berlin Philharmonic: Brahms
Symphonies Nos. 3 and 4 at University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI)

Nov 18

Leif Ove Andsnes and Robin Rhode: “Pictures Reframed”
at University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill, NC)


Montero: Mozart Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K. 467

Nov 20

Leif Ove Andsnes and Robin Rhode: “Pictures Reframed”
at Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center (Washington, DC)

Nov 20 and 21

Simon Rattle and Berlin Philharmonic: Brahms Symphony
No. 1 (Nov 20) and Symphony No. 2 (Nov 21) at Davies Hall (San Francisco, CA)

Nov 22

Leif Ove Andsnes and Robin Rhode: “Pictures Reframed”
at Cullen Hall (Houston, TX)

Nov 23 and 24

Simon Rattle and Berlin
Philharmonic: Brahms Symphony No. 1 (Nov 23) and Symphony No. 2 (Nov 24)

Nov 26 –
Dec 16

David Daniels: North American tour with Les Violons
du Roy includes Handel’s Messiah (Dec 11) and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (Dec 12) at New York’s Carnegie
Hall and Messiah
performances at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles (Dec 15 and 16)

Nov 29 – Dec 19

Joyce DiDonato: Rosina in Rossini’s Il barbiere di
at Los
Angeles Opera (Los Angeles, LA)


Angelich: Brahms Piano Concerto. No. 1 with Philadelphia Orchestra
(Philadelphia, PA)

3, 4, 5, and 8

Fray: Ravel Piano Concerto in G with New York Philharmonic (New York, NY)

4 and 5

Fliter: Chopin Piano Concerto No. 1 with Cincinnati Symphony (Cincinnati, OH)

For further information contact:

Glenn Petry, 21C Media Group:        (212)
625-2038,  [email protected]

Mariko Tada, EMI Classics:               (212)
786-8964,  [email protected]

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© 21C Media Group, September 2009

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