Press Room

EMI Classics & Virgin Classics June 2010 releases

Nigel Kennedy Quintet
CD and downloads available June 8 from EMI Classics
Shhh! is an engaging ramble around Nigel-land.” – Daily Telegraph (UK)

Shhh!, the new album from the Nigel Kennedy Quintet – recorded in November 2009 – confirms the maverick status and omnivorous musical tastes of one of Britain’s finest and most unpredictable musicians.

Following his 2008 excursion into the self-penned tracks of the NKQ’s A Very Nice Album, Nigel Kennedy’s latest collection reveals an even more eclectic character.  It was recorded at one of rock’s fabled residential country studios, Rockfield in South Wales, with the Polish musicians who make up the NKQ: Tomasz Grzegorski (tenor sax, soprano sax, and bass clarinet); Piotr Wylezol (piano and Hammond organ); Adam “Szabas” Kowalewski (double bass and electric bass), and Krzysztof Dziedzic (drums).

Collaborating on one of the album’s most surprising tracks is Boy George, an old buddy and near neighbor of Kennedy’s in North West London, who shares his passion for the songs of the late Nick Drake.  George’s delicate vocals on River Man point to another new direction for Kennedy’s music – a gentle chamber pop that brings out the understated lyrical tone in his violin playing.  “There were a few singers whose voices I thought might work well on River Man but I just knew that George’s voice would sound amazing, and his beautiful, very touching interpretation and style adds a completely different dimension to the song,” Kennedy explains.

To this day, the violinist still declines to play by any one set of rules.  Over the past decade or so, as well as recording Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart, Beethoven, Mlynarski, and Karlowicz, he has laid his personal instrumental stamp on the songs of Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, and Kate Bush; performed the violin intro to “Baba O’Riley” on stage with The Who; invited Jeff Beck onto London’s BBC Proms stage with the NKQ; explored traditional klezmer music with the Polish band, Kroke; and dug deep into the roots of modern jazz on the Blue Note Sessions, an album he recorded in New York City in 2006 with jazz legends Ron Carter and Jack DeJohnette.

Additional information about the new album is available at the following web site:

1.  Transfiguration
2.  River Man
3.  Silver Lining
4.  Shhh!
5.  The Empty Bottle
6.  4th Glass
7.  Oy!


Mahler: Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection”
Natalie Dessay, soprano; Alice Coote, mezzo-soprano
Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra / Paavo Järvi
Two-CD set and downloads available June 8 from EMI Classics

Clarity of vision and tonal splendor characterize a new live performance of Mahler’s epic “Resurrection” Symphony featuring Paavo Järvi conducting the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra along with the Orféon Donostarria choir, and soloists Alice Coote and Natalie Dessay.  The release, timed to coincide with the beginning of the worldwide celebrations of the 150th anniversary of Mahler’s birth, follows a previous recording by Järvi and the orchestra that surveys some of the Austrian composer’s great adagio movements.

Mahler’s five-movement “Resurrection” Symphony traverses the widest possible range of human emotion, from the tragedy that infuses the opening “funeral march” movement, to the hushed tenderness of the “Urlicht” – sung on the new recording with sublime simplicity by Natalie Dessay – to the shattering and ultimately transcendent climaxes that bring the work to its triumphant conclusion.  Premiered in 1895, when the composer was just 35 years old, the work’s unorthodox shape, intensity of expression, and depth of feeling continue to astound listeners today with their visionary power

The Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra became internationally celebrated as a Mahler orchestra in the 1970s and 80s, when Eliahu Inbal was its principal conductor.  Now, the Estonian-born Järvi has established a distinctive approach to the Austrian composer’s music.  As the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung judged, after the concert performances of the “Resurrection” in May 2009:

“It was to be expected that Järvi’s Mahler interpretation would not expend its energies on sentimentality or bombast.  He is intent on exploring the wealth of contrasts in this symphony, to clarify structures and to crystallize the often innovative overlaying of compositional processes… . His artistic understanding guaranteed a thoughtful, subtle interpretation, which was crowned by the contribution of the Orféon Donostarria choir from San Sebastian, splendidly accurate in its intonation and nuanced in its dynamics.  Natalie Dessay and Alice Coote, meanwhile, impressed with the inspiration and intensity of their expression.”

The Frankfurter Rundschau wrote, “It was as if an angelic lucidity had taken hold of the orchestra,” while the Frankfurter Neue Presse reported, “The orchestra again provided an impressive demonstration of its command of monumental material of this kind… . Paavo Järvi exercised immaculate control over the huge forces…and cultivated a sound that was both transparent and imbued with intimations of death and resurrection.”

Järvi, born in 1962, will become Music Director of the Orchestre de Paris from the 2010-11 season.  In addition to his post in Frankfurt, he holds the position of Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and is Artistic Advisor to the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and Artistic Director of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen

Järvi and his soloists discuss Mahler’s music and the new recording in a video available here: 


Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2; Klavierstücke, Op. 76
Nicholas Angelich, piano
Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra / Paavo Järvi
CD and downloads available June 8 from Virgin Classics

The American-born, but French-trained, pianist Nicholas Angelich continues his authoritative and insightful survey of the music of Brahms, with the composer’s magisterial Piano Concerto No. 2.  Rounding out the all-Brahms album are the eight solo works that make up his Op. 76.

The second of Brahms’s two piano concertos is an epic work (comprising four movements!) that demands both grand pianism and chamber-music sensibilities.  In the past, Gramophone has praised Angelich’s “trenchant, focused Brahms,” describing him as “a formidable player…whose performances…are of a wholly exceptional drama, sweep, and impeccable craftsmanship.

“Brahms was always very important for me – and for my parents,” explained Angelich in a recent interview with Pianiste magazine.  “I studied the sonata in F minor, Op. 5 when I was ten or eleven years old… . When I was nine or ten I played the second sonata with my father and I worked on the Concerto No. 2 when I was 14… . Then I discovered the string chamber music, the songs, and I played all the chamber music with piano.  All this was very nourishing for me.”

Angelich’s Virgin Classics recording of Fantasies Op. 116, Intermezzi Op. 111, and Klavierstücke Op. 118 and 119 was designated a “Music Choice” by BBC Music magazine, which concluded:

“Steering a balanced course between imaginative vitality and warmth on one side and resigned melancholy on the other can be difficult, but Nicholas Angelich manages it with a kind of panache.  He takes you to the brink of inconsolable sadness one moment, only to put a refreshing spring in the step of a dance movement the next… . [Angelich keeps] the melody lines fluid and shapely, and brings light to the textures without emasculating that rich bass sound so typical of Brahms… . For all his respect for tone weight, Angelich can also make Brahms sound deliciously light and transparent… . The colors and textures all seem to emerge quite naturally from the printed notes… . Very impressive all round.”


Special compilations, boxed sets, and reissues

Classical Legends – In Their Own Words
Various artists
Four-CD set and downloads available June 8 from EMI Classics

EMI Classics’ illuminating new four-CD set, Classical Legends – In Their Own Words, brings listeners up close to some of the greatest artists of yesterday and today, and provides a unique and fascinating view of some of the great works that they interpreted.

Spanning 60 years of superb artistry, the set features prominent soloists, vocalists, and conductors discussing the repertoire that they have performed, complemented by extracts from their most acclaimed EMI recordings.  The new release presents an extraordinary opportunity to get inside the music through the invaluable insights of artists who have reached the pinnacle of achievement in their fields.

The 13 featured artists are grouped on the four CDs as follows:

CD 1 – Angela Gheorghiu, Mirella Freni, Grace Bumbry
CD 2 – Jon Vickers, Nicolai Gedda, Giuseppe di Stefano
CD 3 – Roberto Alagna, Ruggero Raimondi, Sir John Tomlinson
CD 4 – Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Antonio Pappano, Evgeny Kissin, Mstislav Rostropovich


Mahler: The Complete Works – 150th Anniversary Box (16 CDs)
Mahler’s Adagios – 150th Anniversary set (two CDs)
Various artists
Specially priced sets and downloads available June 2

Gustav Mahler, one of the titanic figures of music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, was born on July 7, 1860 in Kaliste, Bohemia-Moravia, Czech Republic and died on May 18, 1911 in Vienna, Austria.  He was not only a great composer, but also a fine conductor, who influenced his successors in both fields; indeed his appeal to subsequent generations has been extensive and wide – Zemlinsky, Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern in Austria; Shostakovitch in Russia; Britten in Britain; and Copland in America are just a few to acknowledge their debt.  EMI Classics commemorates the 150th anniversary of Gustav Mahler’s birth with the release of two specially priced editions drawn from its legendary archives; a 16-CD set of his complete works, and a two-CD compilation of Mahler’s Adagios

In the last half of the 20th century Gustav Mahler came to hold a dominant position in the consciousness of musicians and audiences.  Though he died in 1911, he captures the anxieties and aspirations of the modern age in symphonies and songs that, while utterly personal in expression, strike a universal chord.  EMI’s critically acclaimed recordings, made between 1949 and 2010, feature some of the greatest Mahler conductors, singers, and orchestras.  With three songs newly recorded by Ian Bostridge and Antonio Pappano, this set offers a complete portrait of a man who speaks to us now as urgently as he ever has.

The new song recordings complement performances by such legendary singers as Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Christa Ludwig, Kathleen Ferrier, Janet Baker, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Dame Margaret Price, Thomas Hampson, and Brigitte Fassbaender, among others.  The ten symphonies are represented in celebrated recordings by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Carlo Maria Giulini; the Philharmonia and New Philharmonia orchestras with Otto Klemperer; the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra with Simon Rattle; the London Philharmonic Orchestra with Jascha Horenstein and Klaus Tennstedt; the New Philharmonia Orchestra with Sir John Barbirolli; and the Berliner Philharmoniker with Simon Rattle performing Deryck Cooke’s completion of the tenth.  Christa Ludwig, Fritz Wunderlich, and Otto Klemperer are featured in Das Lied von der Erde.  The 16th disc contains a fascinating bonus program featuring the five Rückert-Lieder performed by Thomas Hampson and pianist Wolfram Rieger, followed by seven versions of the fifth song, “Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen,” performed by Janet Baker, Christa Ludwig (with both piano and orchestra), Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Thomas Allen, Brigitte Fassbaender, and Katarina Karnéus.  The CD ends with a magical rendition of the uplifting “Urlicht” in an alternative version for voice and piano from Alice Coote and Julius Drake.

Expressing the hopes and fears of our age, the music of Gustav Mahler has gained a powerful hold over music-lovers everywhere.  His genius reached new audiences with Luchino Visconti’s 1971 film, Death in Venice, and its soundtrack of the sublime “Adagietto” from Symphony No 5.  The two-CD set, Mahler’s Adagios, brings together the “Adagietto” and other contemplative slow movements from Mahler’s symphonies, interpreted by legendary orchestras and master conductors.


Robert Schumann 200th Anniversary boxed sets
Four multi-disc sets
CDs and downloads available June 29 from EMI Classics

For the 200th anniversary of the birth of Robert Schumann (1810-1856), EMI Classics has assembled four generously programmed boxed sets surveying the great Romantic composer’s wide-ranging oeuvre.  Featured performers number both legendary artists of the past and leading artists of today including pianists Leif Ove Andsnes, Jonathan Biss, and Martha Argerich; instrumentalists Frank Peter Zimmermann, Mischa Maisky, and Truls Mork; vocalists Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, and Nicolai Gedda; and conductors Wolfgang Sawallisch, Riccardo Muti, and Hans Vonk.

The four boxed sets, which are also available for digital download, are organized as follows:

Chamber Music (five CDs): Includes the three string quartets, the two piano trios, the piano quartet, piano quintet, violin sonata, and other works.

Lieder: (six CDs): Includes Liederkreis, Op. 39 (Eichendorff); Dichterliebe, Op. 48 (Heine);

Liederkreis, Op. 24 (Heine); Zwölf Lieder, Op. 35 (Kerner); Frauenliebe und -Leben, Op. 42 (Chamisso); Gedichte der Königen Maria Stuart, Op. 135 (trans. Vincke); Drei Gedichte von Emanuel Geibel, Op. 30; Sechs Gedichte aus dem Liederbuch eines Malers, Op. 36 (Reinick); Romanzen und Balladen, Heft I, Op. 45; Romanzen und Balladen, Heft II, Op. 49; Romanzen und Balladen, Heft III, Op. 53; Fünf Lieder aus dem Dänischen und Neugriechischen, Op. 40; Myrthen, Op. 25; Zwei Lieder aus dem Schenkenbuch im Divan (Goethe); Zwei Lieder der Braut (Rückert); Zwei Venetianische Lieder (Moore); Zwölf Gedichte aus F. Rückert’s Liebesfrühling, Op. 37; Scenes from Goethe’s Faust for soloists, choir, and orchestra; Spanische Liebeslieder, Op. 138; Zwanzig Lieder und Gesänge aus dem Lyrisches Intermezzo im Buch der Lieder (original version of Dichterliebe from 1840)

Orchestral Works (four CDs): Includes the four symphonies; Die Braut von Messina, Op. 100; Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. Posth. (1853); Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 129 (1850); Manfred, Op. 115 (1848-49); Hermann und Dorothea, Op. 136; Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54 (1841-45); Konzertstück in F for four horns, Op. 86 (1849); Genoveva, Op. 81 (1847); Introduction and Allegro appassionato in G, Op. 92

Piano (six CDs): Variations on the name “ABEGG” in F, Op. 1; Études symphoniques in C-sharp minor, Op. 13; Three Romances, Op. 28; Impromptus on a theme of Clara Wieck, Op. 5; Papillons, Op. 2; Davidsbündlertänze, Op. 6, Heft I; Davidsbündlertänze, Op. 6, Heft II; Kinderszenen, Op. 15; Carnaval, Op. 9; Album für die Jugend, Op. 68; Piano Sonata No. 3 in F minor, Op. 14 “Concerto without orchestra”; Piano Sonata No. 1 in F-sharp minor, Op. 11; Fantasie in C, Op. 17; Toccata, Op. 7; Piano Sonata No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22; Faschingsschwank aus Wien, Op. 26; Intermezzi, Op. 4; Gesänge der Frühe, Op. 133; Kreisleriana, Op. 16; Bunte Blätter, Op. 99; Arabesque in C, Op. 18


100 Best Verdi

Various artists

Specially priced six-CD set and downloads available June 8 from EMI Classics

The 24th release in EMI Classics’ bestselling “100 Best” series (more than two million sets sold worldwide!) focuses on the music of Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901), one of the greatest opera composers who ever lived.  Like its predecessors, the new release features leading artists performing the featured composer’s greatest music – superb performances offered at an unbeatable price: six CDs for the price of a single disc!

CD 1 brings together many of the Italian composer’s great arias for tenor and baritone, from the swaggering bravado of “La donna è mobile” from Rigoletto to the heartbreaking poignancy of “Niun mi tema,” the death scene from Otello, Verdi’s inspired setting of Shakespeare’s tragedy.

CD 2 presents a veritable galaxy of great sopranos and mezzos who provide a program of the greatest Verdi arias for the female voice from operas like La traviata, Rigoletto, Un ballo in maschera, and Aida.

In CD 3, the singers come together in pairs for a program of some of Verdi’s finest duets, the first of which is the irresistible “Brindisi”: “Libiamo” from La traviata sung by Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna.

CD 4 is a collection of great ensembles including some of the most powerful passages from Otello, Don Carlo, and Aida.

CD 5 contains many of Verdi’s best choruses, from Il trovatore’s lively Anvil Chorus to the deeply moving Chorus of Hebrew Slaves: “Va, pensiero” from Nabucco.

CD 6 brings together some of Verdi’s powerful overtures to operas like La forza del destino and Luisa Miller, the deeply moving preludes from La traviata and Aida, and some colorful ballet music from Macbeth that Verdi added for its French production.



50 Best Series

Various artists

Specially priced three-CD sets and downloads available June 29 from EMI Classics

Continuing its efforts to make the best in classical music recordings affordable and accessible to both the seasoned collector and the novice, EMI Classics introduces its new “Best 50” series, featuring specially priced three-CD sets exploring a wide range of genres and musical personalities.  Starting with the best, the first six titles include Maria Callas and Bach collections.  Details follow:


50 Best Adagios
CD 1: Mostly Baroque
CD 2: Mozart Adagios
CD 3: French Adagios
50 Best Bach
Various Artists
CD 1: The Sacred Genius of Bach
CD 2: Bach the Impresario
CD 3: The Dazzling Concertos of Bach
50 Best Baroque
Various Artists
CD 1: England and the Baroque
CD 2: Treasures of Mediterranean Baroque
CD 3: Bach and his Time
50 Best Callas
Maria Callas
CD 1: Donizetti and Rossini
CD 2: Puccini
CD 3: French Operatic Heroines
50 Best Classics
Various Artists
CD 1: Uplifting Classics
CD 2: Favorite Classics
CD 3: Spiritual Classics

50 Best Mozart

Various Artists

CD 1: Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K.550; Clarinet Concerto in A, K.622; Symphony No. 25 in G minor K.183; Piano Concerto No. 21 in C, K.467; Symphony No. 35 in D, K.385; Violin Concerto No. 3 in G, K.216; Divertimento in D, K.334; Symphony No. 41 in C, K.551; Piano Concerto No. 23 in A, K.488; Horn Concerto No. 4 in E-flat, K.495; Concerto for flute and harp in C, K.299; Sinfonia concertante for violin, viola, and orchestra in E-flat, K.364

CD 2: Le nozze di Figaro, K.492 (da Ponte); Così fan tutte, K.588 (da Ponte)

CD 3: Piano Sonata in D, K.311; Serenade in B-flat, K.361 “Gran Partita”; Violin Sonata in E minor, K.304; Serenade in G, K.525 “Ein kleine Nachtmusik”; Piano Sonata in C, K.545

50 Best Opera

Various Artists

CD 1: Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro; Mozart: Don Giovanni; Mozart: Die Zauberflöte; Mozart: Così fan tutte; Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia; Verdi: Don Carlo; Bellini: Norma; Verdi: Aida; Verdi: La traviata; Verdi: Otello; Puccini: Madama Butterly; Puccini: Tosca; Puccini: La bohème; Puccini: Manon Lescaut; Puccini: Turandot; Puccini: Leoncavallo; Giordano: Fedora


EMI Classics and Virgin Classics: artists on tour – summer 2010

June 13
Ingrid Fliter: Recital
Orchestra Hall (Chicago, IL)
July 7
Ingrid Fliter: Recital
tba (Aspen, CO)
July 8
Ingrid Fliter: Schumann Symphonic Etudes
Aspen Music Festival (Aspen CO)
July 27 and 29
David Fray: Mozart Piano Concerto No. 25 (K.503)
Hollywood Bowl (Los Angeles, CA)
August 2
Piotr Anderszewski: Mozart Piano Concerto No. 17 (K.453)
Mostly Mozart Festival, Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center (New York, NY)
August 6 and 7
David Fray: Mozart Piano Concerto No. 22 (K.482)
Mostly Mozart Festival, Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center (New York, NY)
August 17
Quatuor Ebène: Mozart, Bartók, Debussy, and Beethoven
Saratoga Chamber Music Festival, Saratoga Performing Arts Center (Saratoga Springs, NY)
August 18
Quatuor Ebène: Mozart and Beethoven
Mostly Mozart Festival, Late-Night at Kaplan Penthouse, Lincoln Center (New York, NY)
August 19
Quatuor Ebène: Mozart, Bartók, and Beethoven
Tanglewood Festival, Seiji Ozawa Hall (Lenox, MA)
August 22
Quatuor Ebène: Mozart, Bartók, and Beethoven
Maverick Concerts (Woodstock, NY)


For further information:

Visit EMI Classics’ YouTube Channel for video previews of many of its new and recent releases:



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

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

# # #

© 21C Media Group, June 2010

Return to Press Room