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EMI Classics & Virgin Classics July releases

The July 2011 releases from EMI Classics and Virgin Classics, drawn from their illustrious catalogues, offer an enormous variety of music suited for all tastes – perfect for hours of satisfying summer listening.  Liszt – The Piano Collection, a beautifully packaged ten-CD set, celebrates the bicentennial of the birth of composer/virtuoso Franz Liszt, one of the greatest pianists of all time, and a composer whose works were, by turns, dazzlingly difficult, emotionally gripping, and transcendent.  Ten new releases in the 20th Century Classics series offer a voyage of excitement and discovery through music of dazzling range and diversity, from the soaring, ultra-Romantic aesthetic of Korngold’s Violin Concerto and pastoral warmth of Delius’s On Hearing the First Cuckoo of Spring, to the explosive energy of Honegger’s Pacific 231 and the expressive intensity of Karl Amadeus Hartmann’s six symphonies.  The remarkable legacy of EMI Classics and Virgin Classics in the realm of opera recordings is showcased in six new titles in the Home of Opera series; among the new releases are Kent Nagano’s Gramophone Award-winning recording of Prokofiev’s L’amour des trois oranges and Herbert von Karajan conducting Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde.  Finally, later this month, EMI Classics releases six of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most beloved “Savoy Operas,” including the HMS Pinafore, Pirates of Penzance, and the Mikado, conducted by Sir Malcolm Sargent.
Liszt – The Piano Collection
Various artists
Specially priced ten-CD set available July 12 from EMI Classics
Franz Liszt (1811-86) was one of the very greatest piano virtuosos of all time.  He created works that not only required extreme dexterity but also demanded a strong sense of emotion and musicianship.  Together with his sensational piano music, Liszt’s flowing hair and good looks caused audiences to adore and idolize him, but he was also an artist of questing spirituality and a forward-looking composer whose advanced harmonies opened a window through which many future composers would pass.
To honor Liszt’s 200th birthday and celebrate the ingenuity and diversity of his works, EMI Classics is pleased to release an exclusive ten-CD set uniting his major works for piano – such as the famous Sonata in B minor – with a number of less frequently heard pieces.  The beautiful boxed set features world-class recordings from some of the most celebrated pianists of the past and present, including Leif Ove Andsnes, Aldo Ciccolini, Georges Cziffra, and Lionel Rogg.  The collection includes selections from his Années de pèlerinage (Years of Pilgrimage), a set of three suites where Liszt’s complete musical style is evident, from virtuosic fireworks to transcendent spirituality.
A list of the contents for each of the ten CDs follows.
CD 1: Années de pèlerinage, Vol. 1
CD 2: Années de pèlerinage, Vol. 2
CD 3: Harmonies poétiques et religieuses
CD 4: Harmonies poétiques et religieuses
CD 5: Rhapsodies hongroises
CD 6: Rhapsodies hongroises; Polonaises, Nos. 1 & 2; Valse-Impromptu in A-flat; Grand galop
CD 7: Etudes d’exécution transcendante; Zwei Konzertstüdien; Quatre valses oubliées
CD 8: Etudes d’exécution transcendante d’après Paganini; Mephisto Waltz No. 1; Prelude after
          Bach’s “Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen”; Weihnachtsbaum
CD 9: Sonata in B minor; Trois études de concert (Caprices poétiques)
CD 10: Rhapsodie espagnole; Ave Maria (Die Glocken von Rom); Recueillement; Fantasy and
           Fugue on the chorale “Ad nos, ad salutarem undam”; Prelude and Fugue on the name B-
20th-Century Classics series
Various artists
Ten two-CD sets and downloads available July 12 from EMI Classics
This exciting series of two-CD sets from EMI Classics features music written in the 20th century, a period of enormous upheaval, both political and artistic, which pushed music for the concert hall and the stage through an unprecedented period of revolution and transformation.
The seventh installment in the 20th-Century Classics series showcases the depth and range of music offered in the EMI catalogue, as well as the geographical and stylistic diversity of the century’s masterworks.  Featured composers in the ten new sets include Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály from Hungary; Frederick Delius and Sir William Walton from England; Karl Amadeus Hartmann from Germany; Arthur Honegger from Switzerland; Jacques Ibert and Darius Milhaud from France; Erich Wolfgang Korngold from Austria-Hungary (Brno, now the Czech Republic); and Heitor Villa-Lobos from Brazil.
Thoughtful programming and great prices make these sets a perfect introduction to the dazzling variety of 20th-century music.
A list of repertoire and artists follows.
Béla Bartók: Concerto for orchestra; Viola Concerto; Concerto for two pianos, percussion, and orchestra; Sonata for two pianos and percussion; Music for strings, percussion, and celesta
Tabea Zimmermann, Katia & Marielle Labèque, Sir Simon Rattle, Eugene Ormandy
Frederick Delius: Brigg Fair; Over the Hills and Far Away; Florida Suite; Songs of Sunset; On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring
John Cameron, Maureen Forrester, Sir Thomas Beecham
Karl Amadeus Hartmann: Symphonies Nos. 1–6
Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, Ingo Metzmacher
Arthur Honegger: Symphonies Nos. 2–4; Cello Concerto; Concerto da Camera; Pacific 231
Mariss Jansons, Charles Munch, Michel Plasson, Jean Martinon
Jacques Ibert: Divertissement; Esacles; Symphonie Marine; Flute Concerto; Quatre Chansons de Don Quichotte; Louisville Concerto
Emmanuel Pahud, José van Dam, Louis Frémaux, David Zinman, Kent Nagano
Zoltán Kodály: Háry János Suite; Dances of Galánta; Dances of Marosszék; Missa Brevis; Sonata for solo cello
David Oistrakh, Paul Tortelier, Walter Susskind, Stephen Cleobury
Erich Wolfgang Korngold: Violin Concerto; Symphony in F-sharp; Violin Sonata; Lieder; “Much Ado About Nothing” Suite
Barbara Hendricks, Ulf Hoelscher, Glenn Dicterow, Willy Mattes, Franz Welser-Möst
Darius Milhaud: La création du monde; Le boeuf sur le toit; Saudades do Brasil; Suite francaise
Emmanuel Pahud, Brigitte Fassbaender, Leonard Bernstein, Sergiu Celibidache, Georges Pretre
Heitor Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasileiras; Guitar Concerto; Fantasia Momoprecóce; String Quartet No. 6
John Harle, Angel Romero, Cristina Ortiz, Victoria de los Angeles, Enrique Bátiz
Sir William Walton: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2; Violin Concerto; Cello Concerto; The Wise Virgins
Nigel Kennedy, Paul Tortelier, Sir Charles Mackerras, André Previn, Paavo Berglund, Louis Frémaux
EMI Classics – The Home of Opera series
Six new titles
CDs and downloads available July 12 from EMI Classics
With an unrivaled catalogue of over 450 complete opera recordings produced over the last 60 years – and an illustrious succession of artists that today includes such names as Angela Gheorghiu, Natalie Dessay, Joyce DiDonato, Roberto Alagna, Antonio Pappano, and Riccardo Muti – EMI Classics, with its sister label Virgin Classics, can rightly claim to be the “Home of Opera.”  Celebrating this extraordinary legacy, the “Home of Opera” series presents a definitive collection of essential opera recordings, celebrated sets produced since 1953 by EMI Classics and Virgin Classics.
This month, six more timeless titles, including Puccini’s Tosca, Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, and Prokofiev’s L’amour des trois oranges, join the “Home of Opera” series.  Already available in the series are such relatively recent classics as Donizetti’s Lucie de Lammermoor, starring Natalie Dessay and Roberto Alagna, and Herbert von Karajan’s legendary recording of Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, with the incomparable soprano Elisabeth Schwarzkopf.
Each CD multipack contains a 16-page booklet with introductions in English, German, French, and Spanish, plus a bonus disc containing synopsis and libretto with translations.
A list of the new titles and featured artists follows.
Rossini: La Cenerentola
Vittorio Gui, Marina de Gabarain, Juan Oncina, Sesto Bruscantini, Alda Noni, Glyndebourne Festival Chorus and Orchestra
Janácek: Jenufa
Bohumil Gregor, Libuse Domanínská, Vilém Pribyl, Nadézda Kniplová, Ivo Zídek, Chorus and Orchestra of the Prague National Theatre
Prokofiev: L’amour des trois oranges
Kent Nagano, Catherine Dubosc, Gabriel Bacquier, Jean-Luc Viala, Chorus and Orchestra of the Opéra de Lyon
Borodin: Prince Igor
Jerzy Semkow, Boris Christoff, Constantin Chekerliski, Julia Wiener, Todor Todorov, Sofia National Opera Chorus and Orchestra
Wagner: Tristan und Isolde
Herbert von Karajan, Jon Vickers, Helga Dernesch, Christa Ludwig, Peter Schreier, Karl Ridderbusch, Choir of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Puccini: Tosca
Antonio Pappano, Angela Gheorghiu, Roberto Alagna, Ruggero Raimondi, Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Gilbert and Sullivan: Six Comic Operas
Various artists
Six two-CD sets and downloads available July 26 from EMI Classics
Playwright/lyricist William S. Gilbert and composer Arthur S. Sullivan defined comic opera (otherwise known as operetta) in Victorian England, collaborating on 14 internationally successful and timeless works.  EMI Classics is pleased to present six of their most famous “Savoy Operas” – named for the theater where they were presented by impresario Richard D’Oyly Carte: Trial by Jury, HMS Pinafore, Pirates of Penzance, The Gondoliers, The Mikado, and The Yeomen of the Guard, which appear in six beautifully packaged boxed two-CD sets.
In their first two major successes, Gilbert and Sullivan established their winning formula of convoluted comic plots, sometimes biting satire, moments of sentiment, and elegantly crafted, memorable music.  Gilbert drew on his own legal training for the one-act Trial by Jury (1875), while in HMS Pinafore (1878) the British class system and naval bureaucracy are mocked in sparkling fashion (both works appear on a single set).  The Pirates of Penzance (1880) is a high-spirited romp that irresistibly parodies the dramatic and musical gestures of Italian grand opera.  The Gondoliers (1889) is a work of irresistibly sunny exuberance.  Though set in Venice, the operetta satirizes both the snobbery and growing republicanism of 1880s Britain.  Gilbert and Sullivan’s greatest success, The Mikado, exploited the craze for Japanese culture that had been sweeping London in the years before its premiere in 1885.  The Yeomen of the Guard (1888), the most dramatic and romantic work in the Gilbert and Sullivan canon, reflects the nostalgia and patriotism stirred by Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887.
Sir Malcolm Sargent – with one guest appearance by Sir Charles Mackerras – conducts each set with characteristic brio, bringing his impeccable timing and flair to works that were seminal influences on the creation of the modern musical.
For further information:
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