Press Room

EMI Classics & Virgin Classics March 2009 releases

From the Archives, EMI
Classics’ Landmark The Record of Singing Comes to CD 

Tour Highlights This Month Include David
Daniels Singing Bach and Handel with English Concert in Four Major U.S. Cities
Mar 24 – Apr 1, All-Schubert Recital By Ian Bostridge at New York’s Carnegie
Hall on Mar 28, and Natalie Dessay’s Continuing Sonnambula Performances at Metropolitan Opera

Puccini: Madama Butterfly

Angela Gheorghiu, soprano; Jonas Kaufmann, tenor

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

Two-CD set and downloads available March 10,
2009 from EMI Classics

“Having just listened to advance copies, I can say
that under Antonio Pappano’s profoundly sensitive baton Ms. Gheorghiu and tenor
Jonas Kaufmann deliver a heartbreaking performance to treasure.”

–   Barrymore Laurence Scherer, Wall Street Journal

appears on EMI Classics for the first time in many years
in a new studio recording.  Angela
Gheorghiu gives a stunning performance in the role of Cio-Cio San, partnered by
the exciting young German tenor Jonas Kaufmann as her lover Pinkerton, both
making their debuts in these roles. 
Suzuki is sung by Enkelejda Shkosa, Sharpless by Fabio Capitanucci, and
Goro by Gregory Bonfatti.  Antonio
Pappano conducts the Orchestra e Coro dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
in the two-act opera.

recording took place in the Santa Cecilia Hall of the Accademia Nazionale di
Santa Cecilia in Rome in July 2008, the year commemorating the 150th
anniversary of Puccini’s birth.  Gheorghiu has already given several
major Puccini performances in the U.S. this season.  In the fall she performed Mimì in La bohème at San Francisco Opera, and at New
York’s Metropolitan Opera she recently performed La rondine, both to great acclaim.  She will also star in Donizetti’s L’Elisir
at the Met
this spring (March 31 – April 15).

Barrymore Laurence Scherer spoke about Puccini’s
music extensively with Gheorghiu in his recent profile of the soprano for the Wall
Street Journal
.  An excerpt:

“The music of Giacomo Puccini features notably in Ms.
Gheorghiu’s current season.  Her
recently released CD-DVD set, My Puccini (EMI Classics), documents her traversal of his
heroines from Manon Lescaut onward. 
‘Puccini wrote magnificently for the tenor voice because he understood
its importance,’ she says.  ‘But he
was in love with the female voice.’ 
She says that she feels a special connection with Puccini not just
because of the melodic lushness of his music, but also because of ‘the
continuous way he wrote the important moments for his characters.’  She observes: ‘He lived during the time
when film and recording were being developed.  His music is often like listening to a soundtrack – there
are not big differences between the dialogue and the arias.  And also the arias are so compressed –
Puccini can say in only two or three pages what other composers take ten pages
to say.  And because of this,
Puccini arias are extraordinarily powerful.’

“Having listened over the years to her singing, I note that
she has a particular affinity for Puccini’s words, which she articulates with
the dramatic urgency of a genuine actress.  ‘When I sing Puccini I feel I am not simply a soloist but
part of the whole ensemble – voice and instruments.  You can actually hear how the phrases of the libretto – the
words – are always reflected in his orchestration.  When you sing each phrase of La bohème or Tosca or La rondine, you cannot believe for a moment
that Puccini could have written these combinations of melody and
instrumentation in any other way.”

Scherer and Gheorghiu briefly discuss Butterfly as well:

“Her latest Puccini role is Madame Butterfly, which she
recently recorded, ‘because at this moment in my career I felt ready for
it.  I spent two weeks in Rome
rehearsing for the sessions – I sang Butterfly for three or four hours each
day.  It is the most demanding role
for me because I feel I am not just singing it, but actually living the
part.  And having the music in my
throat actually helps me to say Cio-Cio San’s words.  They are so incredibly moving.  And for me, from the first moment she opens her mouth she is
a tragic figure.’”

The complete article is available at this link:  The March 2009 issue of Gramophone, featuring Gheorghiu and another
star soprano, Anna Netrebko, on its cover,asks about the new Butterfly release:

“Is it Gheorghiu’s best role yet? … Angela Gheorghiu joins
that elite group of divas who have recorded the role of Cio-Cio San before
appearing it on stage (Tebaldi, Callas, Moffo, and Freni) …This is a mature
interpretation which suggests strength above all, so that the touches of
vulnerability are added with subtlety. 
Although she has in the past stated that she has no intention of singing
the role on stage, this performance seems to me her best Puccini role since
Magda in La rondine more than a decade ago … . 
So, a fine new Butterfly, unlikely to topple some of the great
recordings of the past but worthy to set beside them.”


Bostridge, tenor; Antonio Pappano, piano

and downloads available March 10, 2009 from EMI Classics

“The meticulous and relentlessly shifting nuance of
Ian Bostridge’s reading of Schubert’s culminating song cycle [
Winterreise] may not be to
everyone’s taste.  But each sorry
turn in the lovelorn wanderer’s winter journey is clearly meant to be savored
in all its agonizing detail, and Mr. Bostridge is a faithful and compelling

New York Times, “Best CDs of

Following their highly acclaimed Hugo Wolf lieder
album, Ian Bostridge and Antonio Pappano continue their musical partnership
with a recording of Franz Schubert’s Schwanengesang, the third and last of the
composer’s song cycles, and literally his swan song, as he succumbed to illness
shortly after its completion in 1828. 
In addition to Schwanengesang, the CD also
includes Schubert songs Abschied (D475); Das Geheimnis (D250); An
Schwager Kronos
(D369), and Widerschein (D639).

Bostridge and Pappano performed Schwanengesang in recital at the “Schubertiade” in
Schwarzenberg (Austria), at the Edinburgh and Aldeburgh festivals, and in
Glasgow before committing it to disc. 
“[The recital was] characterized by unaffected intimacy and reverence to
the music … .  The two gave a performance as intense and intriguing as it
was timeless.” (Scotsman)  “Each song is a mini-drama
… .  [Bostridge] is a performer of
extremes who, at the moment of delivery, convinces you that this is how it must
be.” (Evening Standard)

On March 28, Bostridge will give an all-Schubert
recital with pianist Julius Drake on the main stage of New York’s Carnegie

Boccherini: Trio,
Quartet, Quintet, & Sextet for strings

Galante / Fabio Biondi

and downloads available March 10 from Virgin Classics

Fabio Biondi and members of Europa
Galante continue their exploration of the unjustly neglected music of Luigi
Boccherini (1743-1805) with a new release featuring four enormously appealing
chamber works.  Previous
installments in Biondi’s Boccherini series featured string and guitar quintets;
the new release features a trio, quartet, quintet, and sextet for strings.

Though still only found regrettably
rarely on concert programs, Boccherini’s compositions were nonetheless central
to the development of chamber music. 
The prolific composer and cellist wrote 113 quintets with two cellos, a
form he invented; 91 quartets, of which he was one of the first initiators;
trios; and works for various combinations of instruments.

Gramophone’s review of a quartet that appeared on a previous Boccherini
album from Biondi whets the appetite for the new release: “In its first
movement the vivacious and the plaintive run into one another, with all his
usual expressive devices – cross-beat phrasing, rich inner textures, persistent
detailed figuration – heard to fine effect as realized by Fabio Biondi’s
sensitive and resourceful Europa Galante group.  A very enjoyable CD.”


Special reissues and compilations

Record of Singing, The Very Best of Volumes 1-4: From 1899 to the End of the 78
Era (1899-1952)

Record of Singing Volume 5: From the LP to the Digital Era (1953-2007)

Various Artists

Two specially-priced ten-CD boxed
sets and downloads available March 10 from EMI Classics

EMI Classics is proud to present two
ten-CD boxed sets of The Record of Singing
The first set covers the earliest vocal recordings, from 1899 up to 1952
(when the era of the 78 rpm shellac record effectively ended), and the second
from 1953 to 2007 (from the introduction of the vinyl LP record to the digital,
CD era).  Together, these 20 CDs offer
a breathtaking overview of the past century of classical vocal music.

The recordings in the first boxed set are
all taken from the beloved original four volumes of The Record of Singing, issued by EMI on LP
between 1977 and 1989 (all tracks have been re-processed at Abbey Road Studios
to improve the sound).  Divided
under headings such as “The Old School,” “English-Speaking Singers,” “The
Emergence of Verismo,” etc., the set begins with recordings of enormous
historical importance that preserve the art of a number of singers from the
so-called “golden age” at the end of the 19th century, whose careers
largely predated the beginning of sound recording: these include Adelina Patti,
Lilli Lehmann, Sir Charles Santley, Victor Maurel, Édouard de Reske, and
Francesco Tamagno.  Then comes a generation
of stars whose careers ran parallel to the development of the gramophone,
foremost among them being Enrico Caruso and Dame Nellie Melba.  The selection of artists includes all
the great names of the past whose records were found in the collections of
discerning music lovers: Beniamino Gigli, Amelita Galli-Curci, Luisa
Tetrazzini, Giovanni Martinelli, Tito Schipa, Jussi Björling, Lotte Lehmann,
Lauritz Melchior, and literally hundreds of others.


The second boxed set ushers in a new
golden age of major stars like Maria Callas, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Victoria de
los Ángeles, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Nicolai Gedda, and Boris Christoff, and
goes on to feature big names of subsequent generations, such as Franco Corelli,
Plácido Domingo, José Carreras, Montserrat Caballé, Mirella Freni, and hundreds
more, coming right up to the stars of today like Angela Gheorghiu, Roberto
Alagna, Rolando Villazón, Natalie Dessay and many others.

Because each singer appears only once,
these sets allow the listener to compare and evaluate the voices and singing
styles of the whole of the 20th century, as well as to marvel at the
development of sound recording from the primitive sounds of the earliest
shellac discs through subsequent developments such as the introduction of
electrical recording in 1925, the arrival of tape recording in 1949, and the
introduction of stereo in 1955, right up to the sophisticated refinement of
today’s digital technology.  A
must-have for fans of vocal music! 

Simon Rattle Edition

Stravinsky (four CDs)

Britten (five CDs)

Two specially-priced boxed sets and downloads available March 24
from EMI Classics

2007 marked the 30th
anniversary of Sir Simon Rattle’s first recording with EMI Classics.  2010 will be his 30th
anniversary as an exclusive EMI Classics artist.  From 2007 to 2010, EMI Classics will release a selection of
Rattle’s recordings in boxed sets to commemorate this award-winning

Simon Rattle Edition: Stravinsky (four CDs)

Simon Rattle has always been
dedicated to the works of Stravinsky. 
In 2007, with the Berlin Philharmonic, he gave workshops and a
performance of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring to disadvantaged kids in
Harlem for New York’s Berlin in Lights festival.  His newest recording of Stravinsky
symphonies recently won a coveted Grammy Award.

This four-CD box contains works
from all strands of Stravinsky’s musical output.  At the center are six of his magnificent ballets: three
major ones from his youth – The Firebird, showing the inspired palette
for exotic color learned from his teacher, Rimsky-Korsakov, Petrushka (in its
revised version of 1947), and The Rite of Spring; two in his
Neo-Classical style – Apollo and Pulcinella; and extracts
from Agon, which show the influence of his studies of serial
technique with Anton Webern.  The
set also features a number of Stravinsky’s works that were inspired by jazz. 

Simon Rattle Edition: Britten (Five CDs)

In this definitive collection,
one of England’s finest conductors conducts one of the nation’s finest
composers.  This five-CD box of
Rattle conducting Britten contains, alongside the three great song cycles (Les
, Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings, and Nocturne) the towering
War Requiem, Sinfonia da Requiem, the
ever-popular Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, and a
remarkable set of songs written in French when the composer was 15, Quatre
chansons françaises

Gemini Series

Ten new titles

Specially priced two-CD sets
(two CDs for the price of one mid-price CD) and downloads available March 24
from EMI Classics

The Gemini series features an impressive
roster of singers, conductors, soloists, and ensembles of international renown,
all from the incomparable EMI Classics stable.  EMI’s rich legacy of recording expertise comes to the fore
in performances from the 1960s to the 1990s. Gemini titles are predominantly
collections of single composers, with over an hour of music on each CD, making
them the ideal place to start or develop a classical music collection.  Each set contains over two hours of
music, all for a fantastically low price. 
Attractively designed, each CD booklet includes detailed notes on the
music.  Where possible, EMI has
published on its website sung texts and complete opera librettos, with
translations into English, French, and German, in downloadable PDF format.

This release of ten Gemini titles, each in a space-saving
brilliant box, will bring the total number of titles in the series to 185.  All-time sales are now approaching half
a million worldwide.  As with previous Gemini releases,
this installment includes many recordings new to CD as well as recordings that
have been transferred from the Double Forte series.

Among the excellent releases in this installment are
performances by Lord Yehudi Menuhin, Sir John Barbirolli, André Previn, Lionel
Rogg, the Choir of King’s College Cambridge, and others.  These titles have
been digitally remastered to the highest standards at the world-famous Abbey
Road Studios.

Beethoven: Symphony No. 9, Piano Concerto No. 5;
Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 20

Youri Egorov

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra / Wolfgang Sawallisch

Berlioz: Grande Messe des morts, Symphonie fantastique

London Philharmonic Choir, London Symphony Orchestra
/ André Previn

Brahms: Hungarian
; Dvorák: Slavonic Dances

Michel Béroff, Jean-Philippe Collard

Bruch: Symphonies Nos. 1-3, Concerto for Two

Nathan Twining, Martin Berkofsky

Gürzenich-Orchester Köln / James Conlon; London
Symphony Orchestra / Antal Dorati

Delius: Brigg Fair, Choral and orchestral

Hallé Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra / Sir
John Barbirolli, Vernon Handley, Sir Charles Groves

Goldmark: Rustic
Wedding Symphony
; Dohnányi: Concertos

Sarah Chang,
Cristina Ortiz, János Starker

Symphony Orchestra, Gürzenich-Orchester
Köln / André Previn, James Conlon

Handel: Water Music, Music for the Royal
, Coronation

London Symphony Orchestra, Prague Chamber Orchestra,
Choir of King’s College, Cambridge / Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Philip Ledger,
Sir David Willcocks


Martin: Mass for Double Choir
, Polyptique, Ballades

Yehudi Menuhin, José van Dam, Julian Bream

Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Menuhin Festival
Orchestra, Stockholm Radio Choir / Edmond de Stoutz, Kent Nagano, Eric Ericson

Martinu: Symphony No. 4, Memorial to Lidice, Concertos

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal
Philharmonic Orchestra / Richard Hickox, Rafael Kubelík, Walter Weller

Preludes, Toccatas, and Fugues for organ

Lionel Rogg

Best 100 Concertos

Various Artists

Specially priced six-CD set (six
CDs for the price of one) and downloads available March 24 from EMI Classics

The 20th release in EMI’s
top-selling Best 100 series contains excerpts from virtually all of the great concertos
across the centuries, with each CD in the six-CD set organized as follows: The
Great Piano Concertos I
(CD 1), The Great Mozart Concertos (CD 2), From Vivaldi to Bach: The Great Concertos
on Period Instruments

(CD 3), The Great Violin Concertos (CD 4), The Great Concertos for Various Instruments (CD 5), and The Great Piano
Concertos II

Featured artists include some of the world’s finest
instrumentalists, including Yehudi Menuhin, Leif Ove Andsnes, Truls Mørk, Fabio
Biondi, Christian Tetzlaff and more, with performances drawn from the
incomparable EMI Classics and Virgin Classics catalogs.

Driven by major TV advertising, the Best Classics
series has
experienced outstanding sales and chart results in Japan, the U.K., and France,
with total series sales worldwide at over two million sets! 

EMI Classics
and Virgin Classics artists on tour – Winter / Spring 2009

11   Natalie Dessay stars in La Sonnambula at Metropolitan Opera (through
April 3) (NYC)

11   Evgeny Kissin recital in Davies Symphony Hall
(San Francisco, CA)

Mar 11   Ebène Quartet plays Haydn, Debussy, and
improvisations at (Le) Poisson Rouge (NYC)

13   Ebène Quartet plays Debussy, Ravel, and Fauré at
the Library of Congress (Washington, DC)

14   Alison Balsom at Germantown Performing Arts
Centre (Germantown, TN)

15   Ebène Quartet pays Debussy, Ravel, and Fauré at
Neskowin Chamber Music (Neskowin, OR)

16   Evgeny Kissin recital at Walt Disney Concert Hall
(Los Angeles, CA)

16   Ebène Quartet at Portland Friends of Chamber Music
(Portland, OR)

17   Ebène Quartet playsFauréat Portland Friends of Chamber Music
(Portland, OR)

17   Kate Royal sings Handel with members of the
Los Angeles Philharmonic (Los Angeles, CA)

18   Ebène Quartet at Seattle Symphony (Seattle, WA)

20   Ebène Quartet plays Mozart, Brahms, and Ravel at
Weill Recital Hall (NYC)

20-22   Kate Royal sings Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with
the Los Angeles Philharmonic (Los

Angeles, CA)

22   Ebène Quartet (Gainesville, FL)

24   David Daniels sings Bach with English Concert / Harry
Bicket at Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los

Angeles, CA)

26   David Daniels sings Bach with English Concert /
Harry Bicket at Herbst Theatre (Pittsburgh, PA)

27-29   Han-Na Chang plays Brahms (San Antonio, TX)

28   Ian Bostridge sings all-Schubert recital at
Carnegie Hall (NYC)

29   David Daniels sings Bach with English Concert /
Harry Bicket at Harris Theater (Chicago, IL)

30   Ian Bostridge at the Savannah Music Festival
(Savannah, GA)

31   Angela Gheorghiu sings Donizetti’s
Elisir d’amore at the Met, through Apr
15 (NYC)

1     David
sings Bach
with English Concert / Harry Bicket at Zankel Hall (NYC)

3     Ian
at Jordan
Hall (Boston, MA)

4, 5   Han-Na Chang plays Brahms (Orange County, CA)

5     Ian
Shriver Hall (Baltimore, MD)

7     Ian
McCarter Theatre Center (Princeton, NJ)

9     Ian
at Spaulding

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

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

19   Han-Na Chang plays Brahms (Saint Paul, 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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March 10, 2009

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