Press Room

EMI Classics & Virgin Classics April 2009 releases

Shadows of Silence: Piano Concertos by Dalbavie and
Lutoslawski; solo works by Sorensen and Kurtág

Leif Ove Andsnes, piano

Bavarian Radio Symphony
Orchestra /
Franz Welser-Möst

Digital downloads only, available in US April 7
from EMI Classics (CD release date TBA)

are moments in Marc-André Dalbavie’s new piano concerto [that] … seem to hark
back to the 19th-century Romantic tradition.  … Dalbavie has the knack of hiding
his compositional complexity beneath seductive, exquisitely chiseled musical
surfaces.  Composed for Leif Ove Andsnes,
the [concerto] has a real virtuoso edge too.  The soloist introduces musical ideas in a multilayered way
involving many thematic flashbacks and anticipations of what is to come –
Dalbavie’s concerto is … really contemporary music without tears, designed to
appeal to the widest possible audience.”

– Guardian (UK)

Leif Ove Andsnes’s new album for EMI Classics
features performances of some of his favorite contemporary repertoire,
including world-premiere recordings of two 21st-century compositions
written for him: Bent Sorensen’s The Shadows of Silence for solo piano, and the Piano Concerto by
Marc-André Dalbavie.  The
celebrated Norwegian pianist also performs Witold Lutoslawski’s Piano Concerto
and selections from Játékok (Games) by György Kurtág.  The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (BRSO) and Franz
Welser-Möst join Andsnes in the two piano concertos, both recorded live.

The Piano Concerto by Marc-André Dalbavie (b. 1961,
France) was a co-commission of the BBC Proms, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the
Chicago Symphony Orchestra. 
Andsnes performed the world premiere with the BBC Symphony Orchestra
under Jukka-Pekka Saraste at the 2005 Proms and has subsequently performed the
concerto with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony under David
Robertson, and the Tokyo Philharmonic conducted by the composer himself.

“I love working with him.  I love his imagination,” says Andsnes of Dalbavie.  “He has such a colorful mind and always
comes up with interesting thoughts and ideas which are very much reflected in
his music.  I love how one sound
transforms itself into another through a musical chain of events.  When he was resident composer in Risor
in 2003, it was impressive how Dalbavie had it clear in his mind exactly what
he wanted to hear.”  Preparing for
the composition, Dalbavie met with Andsnes several times and heard him in concert

“I’ve had a great experience with this pianist, his
musicality, and powerful sound. 
He’s both very strong and very soft, which is important to me.  His sound is very lyrical, which I
wanted to integrate into the concerto, and the lyrical sound of his playing is
brought forth through the different materials.  When he plays pianissimo, he doesn’t make the sound low, but
changes its color.  I was very
surprised to find a pianist who could play so closely what I thought the music
should sound like.”

Following the performances with the BRSO, Munich’s Abendzeitung
wrote, “Pianist
Leif Ove Andsnes convincingly played with energy and lyrical sensitivity.  … The applause was just like after a
Tchaikovsky [concerto], with great cheers for the soloist.”

The project’s title work, The Shadows of Silence by the Danish composer Bent
Sorensen (b. 1958), was commissioned by Carnegie Hall for performance by Leif
Ove Andsnes in his prestigious 2004-05 “Perspectives” series.  A New York Times reviewer described the piece
vividly: “The Shadows of Silence is an engaging and unusually textured piece, filled with
hushed, trembling sonorities drawn from the extremes of pitch at both ends of
the keyboard … evocative of an arctic landscape, with glistening watery surfaces
stretching across vast spaces. 
Jagged chords slice through the calm, but there are also impressionistic
washes of color, infinite shades of white.  … The music grows ruminative and halting as it drifts into
the distance, blurring into silence. 
Mr. Andsnes played it with immense subtlety.”  Leif Ove Andsnes has said, “I play The Shadows of Silence a lot in recitals because I love it
so much.  … It is very difficult …
because [Sorensen] demands that you play the same notes many times, very fast
but very soft.  … There’s a kind of
dreamlike landscape to it, which I really love being in.  … There is one thing I have to do which
is quite unusual: I have to hum along at the end of the piece.  … When I played it in Carnegie Hall for
the first time, the artistic administrator … offered me a vocal recital the
next time … which I’m not sure I will accept!”

Andsnes considers Witold Lutoslawski’s Piano
Concerto, composed in 1987-88, perhaps the greatest piano concerto of the
second half of the 20th century.  In four connected movements, it combines twelve-tone
techniques and tonal and polytonal harmonies with hints of Chopin, Ravel, Bach,
and Eastern European folk music. 
“With its large, sweeping gestures and dramatic interplay between the
soloist and the orchestra, the piano concerto pays homage to this most popular
of concert music genres.  Yet even
while writing a public piece hardly less accessible than the concertos of
Prokofiev, Lutoslawski finds ingenious ways to make the music fresh, original,
and intellectually challenging” (New York Times review of a performance by Leif Ove
Andsnes with the New York Philharmonic). 
The Times
went on to describe Andsnes’s playing as “commanding, elegant, incisive, rich
with wondrous colors, and full of imagination.”

György Kurtág began his Játékok series (Játékok means “games” in Hungarian) in
1973.  When he had completed his
Opus 7 in 1968, Kurtág had a case of “writer’s block” and decided to tackle it
by setting himself the task of analyzing works by other composers such as
Beethoven, Bartók, Schubert, and Debussy.  One result was his ongoing series Játékok, short works for piano solo or
piano four-hands, in which Kurtág comments on these other composers’ works and
on questions that he feels they left behind.  The Játékok are witty, understated, informal works in which the
composer plays with ideas and familiar sounds in unfamiliar ways.  Andsnes has often included the works on
his recital programs and has chosen eight of them for this recording.

Leif Ove Andsnes is an exclusive EMI Classics artist
and has won four prestigious Gramophone Awards.  He is currently preparing an exciting new multimedia project
entitled Pictures Reframed, a collaboration with South African visual artist Robin
Rhode, inspired by Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.  The Pictures Reframed project will be unveiled in November 2009 at New
York’s Alice Tully Hall and will subsequently tour the major European cities
before continuing to Beijing and Abu Dhabi in 2010.  The development and realization of the project will be
captured on a film made by Norwegian television (commissioning sponsor
StatoilHydro) and issued as a CD and DVD by EMI Classics.  For additional information visit

Ravel: L’enfant et
les sortilèges
; Ma mère l’oye

Annick Massis, Mojca
Erdmann, Magdalena Kozena, Sophie Koch, Nathalie Stutzmann, Jean-Paul
Fouchécourt, François Le Roux, José van Dam

Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra / Simon

CD and downloads
available April 7 from EMI Classics

“Simon Rattle has served up a superlative Ma mère l’oye.  Ravel’s opera L’enfant et les sortilèges and
mère l’oye make an exquisite pairing. 
Rattle’s first recording of the ballet was superlative, but this
second rendering is, if anything, better, taking full advantage of the Berlin
Phil’s exceptional colors.”

Christopher Dingle, BBC Music magazine

In the first fruit
of the renewed exclusive recording contract with the Berlin Philharmonic and
EMI Classics, Simon Rattle and the orchestra perform a program that will appeal
to children of all ages: Ravel’s one-act opera, L’enfant et les sortilèges
(The Child and the Spells) and the ballet, Ma mère l’oye
(Mother Goose).  Recorded in
concert at Berlin’s Philharmonie in September 2008, the disc follows on the
heels of the partnership’s critically-acclaimed release of another classic of
the French orchestral repertoire, Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique.

Joining the Berlin
Philharmonic and the Rundfunkchor Berlin in the one-act opera L’enfant et
les sortilèges
is a stellar cast featuring sopranos Annick
Massis and Mojca Erdmann, mezzo-sopranos Magdalena Kozena and Sophie Koch,
contralto Nathalie Stutzmann, tenor Jean-Paul Fouchécourt, and baritone
François Le Roux.  Bass-baritone
José van Dam makes cameo appearances as “le fauteuil” (the armchair) and “un
arbre” (a tree).

L’enfant et les
has strong associations for Rattle.  Shortly after winning the John Player
International Conducting Competition in May 1974, Rattle – then 19 years old –
conducted the work in concert in Liverpool, achieving the first of his many
critical successes.  A Glyndebourne
performance in 1987 sealed his reputation for the work, and this recording
encapsulates his love and experience of the charmed sound-world of the Child’s
house and garden in Ravel’s setting. 
“This idea of children, knowledge, and innocence – and loss of innocence
– [can be found] right through all [Ravel’s] work and in these two pieces
particularly,” Rattle said.  “I
have loved Ravel since I was a little kid … .  It has always been with me.  And it’s been a particular joy to bring it [to Berlin].”

Maurice Ravel
composed L’enfant et les sortilèges between 1917 and 1925 to a
libretto by the French novelist Colette, who had selected him from several
potential candidates.  The opera,
which followed his earlier work in the genre, L’heure espagnole,
was premiered in Monte Carlo in 1925 with Victor de Sabata conducting and with
ballet sequences choreographed by George Balanchine.  The story unfolds in an old-fashioned French country
house.  A child, scolded by his
mother, goes to his room and throws a tantrum during which he destroys many of
his toys and other objects, which then come to life and challenge him.  Later, the boy tries to befriend
animals and plants from his garden, which reject him because he had previously
tortured or destroyed them.  When a
squirrel is hurt, the boy puts a bandage on him and the other animals
relent.  At the end of the opera,
the boy, duly chastened, greets his approaching mother with the sole word

“Ravel was a
magpie,” Rattle comments, about the style and soundscape of the music.  “He took whatever was around him and,
like every French composer, he had been influenced by the East.  He had heard music from Bali and other
areas of Indonesia in the Great Exhibition of the 1890s.  The new world of jazz, for instance in
the ’20s, is very much present in L’enfant et les sortilèges.  [And] there’s the very famous foxtrot.”

composed Ma mère l’oye (Mother Goose Suite) as a set of five
piano duets for the talented children of his friends Ida and Cyprien Godebski,
taking his inspiration from age-old fairy tales such as The Sleeping Beauty, Laideronette
(The Ugly Little Girl), and Hop o’ my Thumb.  It was in this version that they were
premiered at the Salle Gaveau in 1910. 
The following year, Ravel orchestrated them, turning them into a ballet
and adding a prelude, a new opening, and interludes connecting the various
numbers.  The work was premiered in
this form in Paris in 1912.  “The
original piano duets are easier pieces, with children in mind,” Rattle
explains, “but this extraordinary exotic clothing that he put on it and all the
interludes that lead in and out of the most incredible sophistication, I think
children can love this music but it really takes an adult to understand it – an
adult who will open himself and listen like a child.”

Independent calls the new recording “delightfully
realized,” while a critic for the Guardian observes, “No
composer has evoked the world of childhood more magically than Ravel, and the
two works in which he did so most potently … make an obvious pairing.  Both pieces bring the best out of Simon
Rattle, too, and throughout this disc, recorded in Berlin last Autumn, his
careful grading of the orchestral textures and perfectly paced unfolding of its
melodies is a pleasure in itself.”

additional information, including a podcast as well as a video on the making of
the recording of L’enfant et les sortilèges,
visit this minisite:

Opium – Mélodies françaises

Jaroussky (countertenor)

Jérôme Ducros, piano; Renaud Capuçon, violin; Gautier
Capuçon, cello; Emmanuel Pahud, flute

and downloads available April 7 from Virgin Classics

“The distinctive,
sweet timbre of Philippe Jaroussky’s voice here strays beyond the repertoire
usually associated with the countertenor and embraces a beguiling range of
romantic songs … .  His
characterization is seductive and spot on … .  [Pianist] Jérôme Ducros matches Jaroussky’s sensitivity;
flautist Emmanuel Pahud and the Capuçon brothers add a further touch of magic.”

Geoffrey Norris, in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

Widely-acclaimed French countertenor
Philippe Jaroussky makes the leap from the Baroque to the Belle Epoque on this
program of French songs featuring the title track, Saint-Saëns’s Opium.  Joining Jaroussky on the program are
three leading French instrumentalists of the younger generation – pianist
Jérôme Ducros, violinist Renaud Capuçon, and cellist Gautier Capuçon – with
leading Swiss-French flutist Emmanuel Pahud.

Jaroussky has quickly become an international star, and the
ethereal, sensuous beauty of his voice lends itself perfectly to the
voluptuous, decadent music in these songs – including a number of rarities by
composers such as Dukas, Caplet, and Chaminade, as well as better-known numbers
by figures like Fauré, Chausson, and Hahn.  London’s
Times notes that
Jaroussky’s repertoire for the new album is “fabulous, mixing gold-star
favorites with striking curios by non-song composers such as Dukas.  The instrumental back-up from Jérôme
Ducros, the Capuçon brothers, and Emmanuel Pahud is superb.”  A full track list follows.

Philippe Jaroussky comments:

“Many people will probably wonder why a countertenor should
sing these songs, but if you think about it, the countertenor voice as such has
no repertoire of its own, except the modern music written specifically for
it.  For the most part we sing
music written for castratos who – as we know – had very different voices from
ours.  So why not venture into
other musical worlds if we feel they are suited to our voices? … There has
been David Daniels in Schubert, Max Emmanuel Cencic in Rossini, and even
Andreas Scholl and Gérard Lesne in pop music.

“I’ve always felt a special affinity for French song, which
was an area of focus in the early days of my studies with my teacher, Nicole
Fallien.  It was Renaud Capuçon –
whom I want to thank, along with Gautier Capuçon and Emmanuel Pahud, for his
valuable contribution to this disc – who first had the idea of inviting me to
sing Hahn, Chausson, and Fauré in a recital.  It was then that I met the pianist Jérôme Ducros, and we
decided to work further on this rich and well-stocked repertoire, which
contains some real undiscovered treasures.  There is no theme to this album, but I wanted to record
songs which have captured my heart and which suit my voice.  Perhaps I can show them in a new light

French song demands an acute sense of language and
style, and today there are relatively few singers – even native Francophones –
who succeed in capturing its elusive magic.  “I’ve decided to pronounce the texts in a way that is as
close as possible to the spoken word – I don’t roll the ‘r’, for example,”
continues Jaroussky.  “The poetry
should come to life without the imposition of too much interpretation or
emotional contrivance.  I’ve tried
to approach it with humility.”

A critic for London’s Independent observes, “Philippe Jaroussky seems
to be everywhere these days, lurking among the supporting cast whenever an
opera needs a quality countertenor, and establishing himself as a solo
performer … .  On Opium,this means delving into the opulent
spirit of the French ‘belle époque’ … using a plain-spoken inflection that
allows the songs’ inner beauty to glow with the minimum of emotional
overstatement.”  Roger Nichols
noted in BBC Music magazine that, “Philippe Jaroussky has a wide pitch range and absolute
control throughout, with no tenseness at the top or hooting at the bottom, and
his floated high notes are ravishing … . 
Jérôme Ducros’s accompanying is some of the best I have heard … .  The selection, from the songs of 13
composers, is excellent, varied in both tempo and temper.  So for those who relish the French
mélodie merely as an opportunity for sensuous enjoyment, this disc must rate

Jaroussky is touring the program widely, including a
performance on January 14, 2010 at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall that marks his
New York recital debut.

For further information visit the minisite for the
new recording at the following link:

Track List

Hahn: “A Chloris”

Chaminade: “Sombrero”

Massenet: “Elégie”

Fauré: “Nell”

Chausson: “Le colibri”

Fauré: “Automne”

Chaminade: “Mignonne”

Hahn: “Fêtes galantes”

Chausson: “Le temps des lilas”

Chausson: “Les papillons”

Caplet: “Viens, une flûte invisible soupire”

Chausson: “Les heures”

Hahn: “Quand je fus pris au pavillon”

Hahn: “Offrande”

Saint-Saëns: “Tournoiement ‘Songe d’opium’”

Debussy: “Romance”

Dukas: “Sonnet – Ronsard”

Massenet: “Nuit d’Espagne”

Lekeu: “Sur une tombe”

Saint-Saëns: “Violons dans le soir”

Franck: “Nocturne”

Dupont: “Les donneurs de sérénade”

d’Indy: “Lied maritime”

24.  Hahn:
“L’heure exquise”

Urnes de l’Opéra – 1907/1912


three-CD set available April 7, 2009 from EMI Classics

On December 24, 1907, 48 gramophone records were
buried in the basement of the Paris Opéra.  The instructions were to leave them there for 100 years.

The project was the brainchild of Alfred Clark,
founder and president of EMI’s ancestor, the International Gramophone
Company.  His aim was to enlighten
the citizens of the 21st century as to “the voices of the principal
singers of our time and the interpretations they gave of some of the most
famous pieces from the lyric and dramatic repertoire.”  The 48 records, released by the Compagnie
du Gramophone
the first years of the 20th century, were unearthed in December 2007
and then restored with enormous care by the technicians of the Bibliothèque
Nationale de France, in collaboration with EMI Classics.

Now the contents of the so-called “Urnes de l’Opéra”
are being released by EMI Classics in partnership with the Bibliothèque
Nationale de France, the Opéra National de Paris, and the Association pour le
Rayonnement de l’Opéra National de Paris. 
These musical treasures from the early days of the record label are
introduced with a visionary speech from Firmin Gémier, the celebrated actor and
director who founded France’s Théâtre National Populaire in 1920.

The voices of such legendary figures as Adelina
Patti, Nellie Melba, Enrico Caruso, Mattia Battistini, Emma Calvé, Fyodor
Chaliapin, Reynaldo Hahn, and Marcel Journet regain their youth – much as the
Faust of Léon Campagnola (known as the “French Caruso”) finds himself
rejuvenated by the matchless Méphistophélès of Pol Plançon.  A golden age of great singing is once
again brought to lustrous life.

Live from the Lugano Festival 2008

Progetto Martha Argerich

Three-CD set (for the price of two CDs) and
downloads available April 7 from EMI Classics

“These annual live sets from the Lugano Festival are
one of the delights of the year.”

– Observer (UK)

The irresistible ingredients of the Progetto Martha
Argerich – world-class performances of well-known, lesser-known, and
barely-known music by the legendary pianist and a “multi-generational artistic
family” of musical friends – have established Lugano as a leading destination
for summer music festival-goers. 
For the sixth consecutive year, EMI is proud to release a three-CD set
of live recordings from the festival, making the inspirational music-making of
these chamber music concerts available to a wider audience.

The 2008 festival release welcomes
back familiar Argerich Lugano collaborators such as Virgin Classics violinist
Renaud Capuçon, Mischa Maisky, Lilya Zilberstein, Stephen Kovacevich, and Dora

Repertoire highlights include first
recordings by Martha Argerich of works by Janácek, Piazzolla, and Mikhail
Pletnev.  Four of Dvorák’s popular Slavonic
(two each
from Op. 46 and Op. 72) and the Saint-Saëns Scherzo are complemented by two youthful
works: Shostakovich’s rarely-performed Piano Trio No. 1 and Rachmaninov’s Suite
No. 1 for two pianos.  The deeply
romantic Piano Quintet by Anton Arensky (1861-1906) demonstrates the freshness
and atmospheric immediacy of a handful of excellent works by this lesser-known
Russian composer.  Also represented
are works for varying instrumental combinations by Mozart, Schumann, Ravel, and
Piazzolla.  And Fantasia
Fantasy) shows the compositional feather in the cap of the brilliant pianist
and conductor Mikhail Pletnev, who has over 30 orchestral and chamber works to
his credit, including some celebrated piano transcriptions.  Filled with Swiss folk tunes and
evoking shepherds and cows on the meadows, Fantasia Elvetica was composed in 2006 as a tribute
to the composer’s adopted home. 
Pletnev leads the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana with Martha Argerich
and Alexander Mogilewsky as the soloists.

No other pianist in the music world
today nurtures and promotes talented emerging artists with the same level of
personal commitment and belief as Martha Argerich.  Her infectious spirit fires her own performances and
partnerships as well as those of her colleagues and protégés.  In the words of the Financial Times,“the music flies off the page, like
a high-caliber jam session in which the participants throw away worldly cares
and listen to each other in the moment of performance.  There’s polish aplenty, as one might
expect of well-established musicians, but more to the point, the CD [of
highlights of the 2007 Festival] radiates the freshness and electricity of a
special occasion.  What’s so
endearing about Argerich’s festival concept is that she blends younger players
with more experienced colleagues, so there’s a cross-fertilization of ideas.  Even when she plays no part …, the same
invigorating spirit presides. 

As in previous issues, this three-CD
set will be available for the cost of two CDs.  Both the 2005 and 2006 Live from the Lugano Festival collections were nominated for
Grammy Awards, and Gramophone has called Lugano “the delightful festival where youth
meets experience and both benefit,” noting, “friends are the best

The eighth season of the Martha
Argerich Project at the Lugano Festival takes place from June 8-29, 2009.  Many of the artists on these CDs will take part again
this year.  Details of the coming
season, and of the 2008 festival, may be found at  EMI’s next Martha Argerich release is scheduled for Spring
2009: a double album of works by Schumann and Bartók, recorded in concert in
Berlin with Gidon Kremer.

Handel: Faramondo

Max Emanuel Cencic, Philippe Jaroussky, Xavier
Sabata, Sophie Karthäuser, Marina de Liso, Terry Wey, In-Sung Sin

I Barocchisti / Diego Fasolis

Two-CD set and
downloads available April 7 from Virgin Classics

“Five stars … The cast is notable for the flamboyant
contributions of the impressive young countertenors Max Emanuel Cencic (in the
title role) and Philippe Jaroussky. 
Strongly recommend to diehard Handel fans … This lively and attractive
recording certainly reveals an invigorating score, swiftly paced with a wealth
of incisive, tuneful arias and a welcome absence of dry recitative.”

 – Rupert Christiansen, Daily Telegraph (UK) 

Virgin Classics adds to its distinguished catalog of
Handel operas with a new recording of the composer’s Faramondo.  This new complete recording of the
opera, a rarely-performed work set in fifth-century France,reunites four charismatic countertenors who first came
together in Virgin Classics’ critically-acclaimed DVD of Landi’s Il
: Zabreb-born Max Emanuel
Cencic (in the title role, a mythical king), Philippe Jaroussky (recently named
Singer of the Year in Germany’s Echo Klassik awards), Xavier Sabata, and Terry

The new recording is the first to feature
all countertenors in the male high-voice roles, which are usually sung by
mezzo-sopranos.  The 23-year-old
Terry Wey, a fast-rising Swiss-born countertenor, joins the stars Cencic,
Jaroussky, and Sabata.  Diego
Fasolis, also from Switzerland, conducts his Baroque orchestra, I Barocchisti,
in a fascinating performance perfectly timed to celebrate the Handel
anniversary year (Handel was born in 1685 and died, 250 years ago, on April 14,

In the Financial Times, critic Andrew Clark
calls Faramondo “among the least-known of Handel’s operas,” although, he
explains, “there’s plenty of good music, including two moving arias for the
mezzo heroine, a tenderly interwoven Act III love duet, and a flamboyant finale
… .  Fasolis directs with strong contributions
from Marina de Liso (Rosimonda), Sophie Karthäuser, and Philippe Jaroussky.”

Stephen Eddins finds much to praise in
his review for the All Music Guide:

“The early 21st century is blessed
with an abundance of extraordinarily fine countertenors, and the singers on
this recording are exceptional, with voices of great tonal fullness and purity,
agility, and individuality.  Max
Emanuel Cencic (mezzo), Philippe Jaroussky (soprano), Xavier Sabata (alto), and
Terry Wey in a role originally for a boy treble, deliver clearly differentiated
performances, singing with dazzling assurance and vocal beauty.  In the more ‘conventional’ roles,
soprano Sophie Karthäuser, mezzo Marina de Liso, baritone Fulvio Bettini, and
bass In-Sung Sim perform at the same high level of distinction, making this
recording a feast for connoisseurs of coloratura singing.  Diego Fasolis leads I Barocchisti in a
spirited, beautifully paced performance of great clarity and rhythmic punchiness.  The opera has a silly plot, but the music
is exceptionally attractive and a marvel of inventiveness, variety, and lyrical
inspiration, and it deserves broader exposure.  The sound is clean and warm, with a great sense of presence.  Highly recommended.” 

Special boxed sets, reissues and compilations

Eternal – The Best of Libera

Specially-priced two-CD set and
downloads available April 7 from EMI Classics

 “They come from the mean streets of
south London but sing like little angels.”

Evening Standard

EMI Classics announces the release of Eternal
– The Best of Libera,
a two-CD compilation containing many of the inspirational
group’s most popular numbers together with new tracks.

Eternal – The Best of Libera contains 32 songs drawn
from earlier releases by the all-boy chorus from south London, as well as four
new tracks: Mother of God (music by John Tavener), Gaudete (traditional music and
words, arranged by Robert Prizeman), You Were There (music by Takatsugu
Muramatsu and arranged by Robert Prizeman), and How Can I Keep From Singing?
music with words by R. Lowry, arranged by Robert Prizeman).  The collection also features two
remixed songs previously only available as digital downloads and released here
for the first time on CD.

Libera has had enormous success reaching listeners
worldwide.  Eternal reached No. 2 in the
classical UK charts in January, and the group’s BBC TV special, Songs of
has been extremely popular (  In Japan, a Libera compilation named Pray
been No. 1 on the classical charts for six straight weeks, and a selection from
the album is the title track to the Japanese movie Nobody to Watch Over Me.  Libera will be in Japan again for
additional concerts in Tokyo (April 4-11) directly before coming to the US.

Libera enjoyed a busy 2007-08
season.  The chorus made highly
successful tours of Japan, Korea, and the US, and took part in high profile
events including the Kennedy Center Honors before a star-studded audience of
politicians and celebrities, and the Concert of Hope preceding the Papal Mass
offered by Pope Benedict XVI at New York’s Yankee Stadium for an audience
approaching 60,000.  Libera also
appeared several times on BBC television and saw the release of their fourth CD
for EMI Classics, New Dawn, which became the highest entry in the Classic
FM chart.

Libera’s April 2009 concerts in Southern
California include:

April 14, time TBD: Performance at Disneyland, Anaheim, CA

April 16, 7pm: St. Margaret’s, Palm Desert, Palm Springs, CA

April 19, 9am & 11:30am (services); 7:30pm (concert): Crystal
Cathedral, Garden Grove, CA

In addition to New Dawn,Libera’s international
CD releases on EMI Classics are titled Free, Visions,and Angel Voices (a CD featuring, for
the most part, different repertoire from the DVD of the same name); all four
albums are characterized by the group’s distinctive celestial, shimmering sound
with mystical chords and ecstatic harmonies.  Libera has attracted an enthusiastic fan base in several
countries, particularly the United States, Great Britain, Japan, and Korea.

The 20 boys who make up Libera are each
between seven and 14 years of age and attend local schools in southwest
London.  “Normal” boys, they love
to play football, skateboard, and listen to R’n’B and punk music.  But through their involvement in
Libera, they have traveled the world, recorded movie soundtracks and CDs, and
served as backing singers to megastars like Björk, Elton John, and
Pavarotti.  The ensemble’s Music
Director is the composer, arranger, and conductor Robert Prizeman.

Yehudi Menuhin (1916-99):
Tenth-Anniversary Commemorative Releases

Three specially-priced boxed sets
available April 21 from EMI Classics

Yehudi Menuhin (1916-99)
was one of the greatest musical figures of the 20th century.  Throughout his life, he distinguished
himself as a musician of the highest caliber, as well as an educator, a musical
statesman, and a compassionate and caring human being.

After making a few
recordings of short encore pieces in 1928 for RCA Victor in the USA (the
country of his birth), he began recording in 1929 for the Gramophone Company
(one of the predecessor companies of EMI) and was an exclusive EMI artist for
the remaining 70 years of his life – an achievement without parallel in the
history of the record industry.

To commemorate the tenth
anniversary of Menuhin’s death (the beloved artist passed away on March 12,
1999), EMI Classics is proud to issue the following three commemorative

Menuhin (1916-99)

Edition – The Great EMI Recordings
(50 CDs)

This set
of 50 CDs contains the most celebrated recordings made by Menuhin for EMI
between 1929 and 1985 and covers a broad range of repertoire, from Bach to
Bartók and from Paganini to Grappelli. 
Menuhin’s stylistic flexibility, his underrated virtuosity, and the
immeasurable warmth of his musicianship illuminate the collection throughout.

Many of
these recordings are now classics of the gramophone era, none more so than the
account of Elgar’s Violin Concerto, made with the teenage Menuhin and conducted
by the 75-year-old composer himself. 
Students and collectors will relish the chance to compare Menuhin’s
changing thoughts on the central repertoire over the years; there are, for
example, four versions of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto.

The set concludes with a
bonus disc of interviews, made shortly before Menuhin’s United Nations concert
tour of 1995, in which he discusses his eventful life and career with Jon

Menuhin (1916-99)

Edition – The Great Violin Concertos
(ten CDs)

This set of ten CDs brings
together Menuhin’s performances of popular violin concertos.  In 1932, at the age of 16, Menuhin made
one of the most iconic classical recordings of all time at EMI’s new Abbey Road
Studios, playing Edward Elgar’s Violin Concerto with the composer conducting
the London Symphony Orchestra. 
Menuhin went on to record nearly all of the great violin concertos for
EMI, and worked with other notable composers of his time, including William
Walton and Andrzej Panufnik, to bring their works to renown.  Many of his recordings are viewed as
some of the greatest accounts of these works ever to be committed to tape.

100 Best Menuhin
(six CDs for the price of one)

100 Best Menuhin is another release in EMI’s highly successful 100
series, which
features an incomparable price of six CDs for the price of a single disc.

Featured in this 100 Best release are 100 highlights from the
extensive catalog of the legendary violinist, presented on six
thematically-arranged CDs, as follows: 

CD 1:  Vivaldi

CD 2:  Bach and

CD 3:  Beethoven
and Brahms

CD 4:  The
Romantic Era

CD 5: 
Showpieces and Encores

CD 6:  Menuhin
the Adventurer

Due to the very limited
quantities of these box sets, please contact Mariko Tada regarding
review/feature requests:
[email protected] or (212) 786-8964.

Opera 2009

Various artists

Specially-priced two-CD set
available April 21 from EMI Classics

Opera 2009 is the follow up to the
best-selling Classical 2009 album, offering a tantalizing starting point
for buyers curious to learn about opera. 
With 40 tracks (over two and a half hours!) of the most popular arias
and duets, this set is a perfect introduction to the world of opera.

The new, specially-priced two-CD set
features established superstars of today, including Sarah Brightman, Natalie
Dessay, Plácido Domingo, and Angela Gheorghiu, as well as rising new voices
such as Joyce DiDonato, Diana Damrau, Kate Royal, and Philippe Jaroussky.  There are also historical recordings by
the great singers of the past, including Maria Callas, Luciano Pavarotti, and
Franco Corelli.


CD 1

1.   Puccini: “Un bel dì vedremo”
(Angela Gheorghiu)

2.   Mascagni: “Attesa” (Sarah

3.   Gershwin: “Bess, you is my woman
now” (Bryn Terfel; Lesley Garrett)

4.   Verdi: “Lunge da lei … De’miei
bollenti spiriti … O mio rimorso” (Rolando Villazón)

5.   Bellini: “Compagne … Come per
me sereno” (Natalie Dessay)

6.   Mascagni: “Tutto ho tentato”
(Luciano Pavarotti)

7.   Handel: “Vanne, sorella ingrata”
(Joyce DiDonato)

8.   Mozart: “Un’aura amorosa”
(Plácido Domingo)

9.   Mozart: “O zittre nicht” (Diana

10. Verdi:
“Io l’ho perduta … Io la vidi” (José Carreras)

11. Gounod:
“Ah!  Je veux vivre dans ce rêve”
(Maria Callas)

12. Mozart:
“Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja” (Jonathan Lemalu)

13. Wagner:
“Dich, teure Halle” (Deborah Voigt)

14. Handel:
“Precipitoso nel mar che freme” (Laurent Naouri)

Offenbach: “Amours divins” (Felicity Lott)

Vivaldi: “Se in ogni guardo” (Philippe Jaroussky)

Ponchielli: “Suicidio!” (Violetta Urmana)

Massenet: “En ferment les yeux” (Roberto Alagna)

19. Verdi:
“Mercè, dilette amiche” (Liping Zhang)

Puccini: “Nessun dorma” (Franco Corelli)

CD 2

1.   Donizetti: “Pour ce contrat fatal
… Ah!  salut à la France”
(Natalie Dessay)

2.   Massenet: “Traduire … Pourquoi
me réveiller” (Roberto Alagna)

3.   Handel: “Caro amico amplesso!”
(Patrizia Ciofi; Joyce DiDonato)

4.   Mozart: “Vedrommi intorno l’ombra
dolente” (Ian Bostridge)

5.   Donizetti: “Il segreto per esser
felici” [Brindisi] (Vivica Genaux)

6.   Verdi: “Su, profetessa … Di’tu se
fedele” (Plácido Domingo)

7.   Mozart: “Non so più cosa son”
(Véronique Gens)

8.   Berlioz: “Mais, qu’ai-je donc?”
(Joyce DiDonato)

9.   Handel: “Qui ti sfido, o mostro
infame!” (Philippe Jaroussky)

10. Verdi:
“O terra addio” (Angela Gheorghiu; Roberto Alagna)

Puccini: “Chi il bel sogno di Doretta” (Montserrat Caballé)

Donizetti: “Una furtiva lagrima” (Rolando Villazón)

13. Mozart:
“Va pure ad altri” (Elina Garanca)

14. Gluck:
“Che farò senza Euridice?” (David Daniels)

Korngold: “Glück, das mir verblieb” (Kiri Te Kanawa)

Offenbach: “Vous a-t’on dit souvent (José Carreras; Teresa Berganza)

17. Cilea:
“Ecco: respiro appena.  Io son
l’umile ancella” (Barbara Hendricks)

Stravinsky: “My father!  Can I
desert him … I go, I go to him” (Kate Royal)

19. Wagner:
“Wohl kenn’ ich Weibes” (Birgit Nilsson; Hans Hotter)

20. Verdi:
“O don fatale” (Maria Callas)

Six Complete Operas

Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis

16-CD set available April 21 from Virgin Classics

Virgin Classics commemorates the 250th
anniversary of the death of George Frideric Handel (Feb 23, 1685 – Apr 14,
1759), one of the towering figures of the Baroque era and one of the greatest
opera composers who ever lived, with a special 16-CD boxed set featuring six complete Handel operas composed over a period of more
than 30 years.  Alan Curtis, the
American-born specialist in the Baroque and Classical eras, conducts all six
operas and the collection offers a roll-call of star baroque singers, among
them Joyce DiDonato, Patrizia Ciofi, Vivica Genaux, Max Emanuel Cencic, René
Jacobs, and more!

Three of these operatic recordings have
won the International Handel Recording Prize: Arminio in 2002, Deidamia in 2004, and Radamisto in 2006, when it was
hailed by the distinguished panel of judges as “the finest testament of
Handel’s operatic genius produced on CD during 2006.”

complete list of the featured works and their associated singers follows.


René Jacobs, Rachel Yakar, Ulrik Cold


Vivica Genaux, Geraldine McGreevy,
Dominique Labelle


Simone Kermes, Dominique Labelle, Anna
Maria Panzarella


Joyce DiDonato, Patrizia Ciofi, Maite
Beaumont, Zachary Stains, Laura Cherici, Dominique Labelle


Gloria Banditelli, Sandrine Piau

Fernando, rè di Castiglia

Lawrence Zazzo, Veronica Cangemi,
Marianna Pizzolato, Max Emanuel Cencic

Very Best of Glyndebourne on Record


five-CD boxed set available April 21 from EMI Classics

The Glyndebourne Festival is a highpoint
on the British and international opera calendar, with stars from around the
globe gathering there to listen and perform.  This budget-priced five-CD boxed set celebrates the 75th
anniversary of the festival with a retrospective collection of some of its
greatest moments.

The Very Best of Glyndebourne on
highlights from Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Idomeneo, Così fan tutte,and Don Giovanni;Gay & Pepusch’s The
Beggar’s Opera
; Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia; Verdi’s Macbeth; Rossini’s Il
barbiere di Siviglia
, La Cenerentola, and Le comte Ory;Busoni’s Arlecchino; Stravinsky’s The
Soldier’s Tale
; Monteverdi’s Poppea; Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess; Lehár’s Die lustige
Dove’s Figures in the Garden; and excerpts from the EMI Centenary Gala in

Critical acclaim for recent EMI Classics and
Virgin Classics releases

Puccini: Madama Butterfly

Angela Gheorghiu, soprano; Jonas Kaufmann, tenor

Orchestra e Coro dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa
Cecilia / Antonio Pappano

Released March 2009 by EMI Classics

“In sum, [Gheorghiu’s Butterfly is] a wonderful
portrayal, and also, as pure singing, quite stunning.  Young tenor Jonas Kaufmann as Pinkerton is in fine company –
Gigli, Björling, Di Stefano, Pavarotti, Bergonzi, and Gedda come to mind …
.  [Kaufmann’s] Pinkerton is one of
the best-sung on disc … .  Antonio
Pappano leads an enormously effective and affecting performance … .  With the Accademia Nazionale di Santa
Cecilia at its absolute best, this is a beautiful reading of the score, one
that stands up well with the best.”

Robert Levine,

Teatro d’amore

Jaroussky, Núria Rial, Cyril Auvity, Jan van Elsacker, Joaõ Fernandes

/ Christina Pluhar

February 2009 by Virgin Classics

“Five Stars for Performance and Sound.  A warning to purists: there’s little in
the packaging of this CD to indicate the interpretive freedom with which the
ensemble, l’Arpeggiata led by Christina Pluhar, treats some of the Monteverdi
love songs and madrigals on the album. 
There’s a hint in the opening track, the Toccata from Orfeo, in its wonderfully reckless
abandon and prominent use of percussion. 
In Ohimè ch’io cado, the solo madrigal that follows it, the continuo part is
transmogrified into a walking bass, the rhythm is swung, blue notes abound, and
the Baroque trumpet launches into frankly jazzy riffs between verses.  We’re clearly no longer in the land of
scrupulously authentic period performance practice.  It’s followed by a traditional, but lusciously sensual
performance of ‘Pur ti miro’, from L’incoronazione di Poppea, its accompaniment as direct and
heartfelt as that of an Appalachian folk song, sung with a smoldering — no,
scorching — erotic charge, by soprano Núria Rial and countertenor Philippe
Jaroussky.  So, the listener is
kept off guard from track to track about what the style of each selection will
be.  What all the performances have
in common, though, is an acute attention to the emotions driving each piece,
and to giving those emotions authentic and eloquent expression … .  Pluhar’s varied, inspired realizations
of the scores, and the sensitive and lively contributions of the singers … and
the instrumentalists of l’Arpeggiata, make these performances shimmer with
vibrant energy.  The sound of the
live performance is clean, clear, and present, and the pleasure of the singers
and players is practically palpable. 
Highly recommended.”

–  All Music Guide “Editor’s Choice”

EMI Classics
and Virgin Classics artists on tour – Spring 2009

7     Ian
McCarter Theatre Center (Princeton, NJ)

7     Jonathan
at the
Independence Seaport Museum (Philadelphia, PA)

Apr 8     Angela Gheorghiu continues performances of
Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’amore at New York’s Metropolitan Opera [through April 15] (New
York, NY)

Apr 9     Diana Damrau continues performances of Rigoletto at the Metropolitan Opera [through
April 17] (New York, NY)

9     Ian
at Spaulding

Apr 9     Jonathan Biss at Eastern Illinois University
(Charleston, IL)

Apr 9     Ingrid Fliter recital at Lensic Theater (Santa
Fe, NM)

Apr 9-11   Piotr
Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 with San Francisco Symphony

[Apr 9 at Flint Center, Cupertino; Apr 10 & 11 at Davies Symphony
Hall] (San Francisco, CA)

Apr 14   Jonathan
at Carnegie’s
Zankel Hall (New York, NY)

Apr 14   Libera
performs at
Disneyland (Anaheim, CA)

Apr 16   Libera
performs at St. Margaret’s (Palm Desert, Palm Springs, CA)

Apr 18   Jonathan
at Herbst
Theatre (San Francisco, CA)

Apr 18, 20  
Ingrid Fliter with Vancouver Symphony (Vancouver, Canada)

Apr 19   Libera
performs at Crystal
Cathedral (Garden Grove, CA)

Apr 23-25  
Jonathan Biss with the Philadelphia Orchestra / Denève (Philadelphia, PA)

Apr 24-26  
Ingrid Fliter with Milwaukee Symphony (Milwaukee, WI)

Apr 25   Emmanuel
plays Bach
with Trevor Pinnock (Athens, GA)

Apr 26  
Emmanuel Pahud

plays Bach with Trevor Pinnock in Spivey Hall (Atlanta, GA)

Apr 25, 26  
Joyce DiDonato at Wichita Grand Opera (Wichita, KS)

Apr 29   Emmanuel
plays Bach
with Trevor Pinnock in Zankel Hall (New York, NY)

Apr 29   Simon
conducts the
Philadelphia Orchestra [through May 9] (Philadelphia, PA)

Apr 30   Jonathan
with Detroit
Symphony / Semkow [plus May 1-3] (Detroit, MI)

May 7-9   Joyce
with New
York Philharmonic / Alan Gilbert (New York, NY)

7-10   Ian Bostridge sings Britten’s Les
Chicago Symphony / Haitink (Chicago, IL)

16   Jonathan Biss with Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
/ Kahane at Alex Theatre (Glendale, CA)

19   Han-Na Chang plays Brahms (Saint Paul, MN)

28   Jonathan Biss begins residency with Saint Paul
Chamber Orchestra [through June 6] (St. Paul and other cities, MN)

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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