Press Room

EMI Classics & Virgin Classics March releases

With spring approaching, EMI Classics and Virgin Classics celebrate the joyous season with a prodigious line-up of new releases and special reissues.  On EMI Classics, Kate Royal gives listeners A Lesson in Love, a wide-ranging program – spanning two centuries, three languages, and 17 composers – devised by Royal as “a song cycle telling the story of a young girl’s first experience of love.”  Royal is also a soloist – along with Magdalena Kozená – on Sir Simon Rattle’s new recording with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra of Mahler’s Second Symphony, “Resurrection,” a work beloved by the conductor and long a part of his life and career.  Also from EMI Classics, Ian Bostridge pays tribute to three pioneering tenors of the 18th century with the aptly named Three Baroque Tenors, and keyboard legend Martha Argerich joins musician friends on Live from the Lugano Festival 2010On Virgin Classics, the Ebène Quartet strikes out in a new direction with Fiction, featuring improvisations and arrangements of themes from film soundtracks, jazz standards, and rock classics with guest artists Natalie Dessay, Stacey Kent, Fanny Ardant, and Luz Casal.  Other key releases from the label include an all-Schumann album from Piotr Anderszewski, an all-Scarlatti (Domenico) album from Alexandre Tharaud, and Christina Pluhar and her dynamic ensemble L’Arpeggiata in a recording of Monteverdi’s magnificent 1610 Vespers.
Adding further luster to this month’s release schedule from EMI Classics are several recordings celebrating the legacy of great artists past and present.  Highlights include the debuts of the label’s Masters and American Artistry series; five new titles in the ICON series (Elisabeth Schumann, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Hermann Prey, Claudio Arrau, and the Melos Ensemble; and a five-set celebration of the artistry of one of the 20th century’s greatest conductors, Sir Thomas Beecham, who died 50 years ago.
A Lesson in Love
Kate Royal, soprano
Malcolm Martineau, piano
CD and downloads available March 8, 2011
“An artist whose imagination, intellect, and vocal technique are inextricably fused in the single moment of a song.” – Times (UK)
Kate Royal’s new album, A Lesson in Love, which will be released in the U.S. on March 8, raises the curtain on a busy spring season for the British soprano in North America, beginning in March when Royal appears with the Boston Symphony for an imaginatively-programmed concert of music inspired by Shakespeare’s Tempest.  Soon after, Royal heads to New York to begin rehearsals for her Metropolitan Opera debut in April, and in May she gives a three-city recital tour that will feature the program from the new album.
In the liner notes for A Lesson in Love, Royal explains the wide-ranging repertoire she has collected together, with songs spanning two centuries, three languages, and 17 composers:
“‘A Lesson in Love’ is a song cycle that I have devised, telling the story of a young girl’s first experience of love.  The cycle is in four chapters: ‘Waiting,’ ‘The Meeting,’ ‘The Wedding,’ and ‘Betrayal.’  You will notice as you follow the texts that this is a monologue sung from the girl’s perspective.  We travel with her on her journey from an eager anticipation of love to her marriage and the sudden and heartbreaking realization that she has been betrayed. … Performing them in this way gives one the chance really to experience the core emotion of each song.  It also gives the poems a place within a larger picture and, I hope, shines a light on these marvelous miniature works.”
A Lesson in Love weaves both favorites and rarities – from German lieder and French melodies to English and American songs – into a tapestry of rich and varied emotion.  The album begins in a state of longing captured by William Bolcom’s “Waitin,” and makes its way to the blossoming of romance and the joy of a love fulfilled.  But pain and anger darken the horizon as our heroine experiences the disappointment and sadness of a broken relationship.  The album comes full circle – with a bittersweet reprise of “Waitin” for the final track – as the girl finds acceptance and some renewed hope about what her future love life might hold.
Royal points out in the album notes that “some of these songs are new to me and some are old friends.”  All of them feature pianist Malcolm Martineau as Royal’s expert collaborator.
Although opera is a mainstay of Royal’s fast-rising career, she devotes half her season to recital work.  In an interview with London’s Independent, Royal explained, “I am all about direct expression.  I enjoy being close to the audience, seeing their eyes, feeling that connection.”  A complete track list for the new album follows below, and the soprano discusses it briefly here:
Royal’s previous albums for EMI Classics include two highly acclaimed programs with orchestra: the self-titled Kate Royal, with Edward Gardner conducting the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, and Midsummer Night, with Gardner conducting the Orchestra of the English National Opera.  Newark’s Star-Ledger gave the former a four-star rave, noting, “With her cut-glass features and flowing brunette mane, Kate Royal looks like a shrewd, seductive femme fatale out of a James Bond film.  But the English soprano, 28, is a serious artist whose debut recital is a gem of variety and emotional resonance.”  Royal also appears this month as the soprano soloist on Simon Rattle’s new EMI Classics recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection,” with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
Royal is singing the “Lesson in Love” program in many recitals this season and beyond, including three performances in North America: Montreal (May 16), New York (Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, May 20), and San Francisco (May 24).  This spring, she will also perform concerts with the Boston Symphony Orchestra (March 25 & 26) and make her debut at New York’s Metropolitan Opera as Euridice in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice (April 29 – May 14).
Track list:
1.   William Bolcom: “Waitin” (Cabaret Songs, Vol. 1)
2.   Robert Schumann: “Jemand” (Myrthen, Op. 25, No. 4)
3.   Hugo Wolf: “Die Kleine”
4.   Franz Liszt: “Es muss Wunderbares sein”
5.   Claude Debussy: “Apparition”
6.   Hugo Wolf: “O wär’ dein Haus” (Italienisches Liederbuch, No. 40)
7.   Hugo Wolf: “Erstes Liebeslied eines Mädchens” (Mörike-Lieder, No. 42)
8.   Franz Schubert: “Gretchen am Spinnrade”
9.   Franz Schubert: “Rastlose Liebe”
10. Paolo Tosti: “Pour un baiser!”
11. Trad. arr. Joseph Canteloube: “Tchut, tchut” (Chants d’Auvergne: Vol. 4)
12. Frank Bridge: “Love Went a-Riding”
13. Aaron Copland: Pastorale
14. Amy Beach: “Ah, Love But a Day”
15. Robert Schumann: “Lied der Braut” I (Myrthen, Op. 25, No. 11)
16. Robert Schumann: “Lied der Braut” II (Myrthen, Op. 25, No. 12)
17. Maurice Ravel: “Chanson de la mariée” (Cinq mélodies populaires grecques, No. 1)
18. Gabriel Fauré: “Donc, ce sera par un clair jour d’été” (La bonne chanson, Op. 61, No. 7)
19. Richard Strauss: “Hochzeitlich Lied”
20. Henri Duparc: “Extase”
21. Johannes Brahms: “Am Sonntag Morgen”
22. Franz Schubert: “Die Männer sind méchant” (Vier Refrainlieder, No. 3)
23. Franz Schubert: “Du liebst mich nicht”
24. Trad. arr. Benjamin Britten: “O Waly Waly”
25. Hugo Wolf: “Verschling’ der Abgrund” (Italienischen Liederbuch)
26. Aaron Copland: “Heart, We Will Forget Him” (Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson, No. 5)
27. Anon.: “Danny Boy”
28. Trad. arr. Herbert Hughes: “I Will Walk with My Love”
29. William Bolcom: “Waitin” (Cabaret Songs, Vol. 1)
Ebène Quartet
With Natalie Dessay, Stacey Kent, Fanny Ardant, and Luz Casal
CD and downloads available March 22 from Virgin Classics
Described by the New York Times as “a string quartet that can easily morph into a jazz band,” the Ebène Quartet displays that genre-bending talent on its new album, Fiction, a program of 16 pop and jazz tracks with guest appearances by drummer Richard Héry and a quartet of female stars: Natalie Dessay, Stacey Kent, Fanny Ardant, and Luz Casal.

Fiction features improvisations and arrangements of themes from film soundtracks, jazz standards, and rock classics.  The Ebène takes on and transforms unforgettable tunes by the likes of the Beatles (“Come Together”), Astor Piazzolla (“Libertango”), Wayne Shorter (“Footprints”), and Charlie Chaplin (“Smile”), as well as the quartet’s already talked-about spin on “Misirlou,” a tune made famous by surf guitarist Dick Dale and by its inclusion in the film Pulp Fiction.  Joining the Ebène are the dazzling French soprano Natalie Dessay (singing Harold Arlen’s “Over the Rainbow” and Michel Legrand’s “What Are You Doing the Rest of your Life”), singer-songwriter Stacey Kent (singing Jobim’s “Corcovado”), and Spanish pop singer Luz Casal.  The quartet’s members even do some singing themselves, with violist Mathieu Herzog taking the vocal lead in Springsteen’s “Streets of Philadelphia” and all four performing a cappella in their rendition (in French) of “Someday My Prince Will Come,” which has been a surprise encore for many of the group’s recitals in both traditional and alternative venues.
The new album takes the group several steps closer to its dream of re-inventing the string quartet genre.  As one member of the ensemble put it, “In everything we have been willing to do musically – during all that time spent practicing Haydn, Beethoven, or Bartók – there has always been a concealed dream of improvising and creating a new approach to playing string quartet.”
Gramophone’s November issue features a rave review of the Ebène’s Fiction.  Noting the “substance and strength” of the material, the group’s effortless shifts from one musical style to the next, the “jaw-dropping virtuoso moments,” and the superb contributions of the guest artists, Gramophone’s reviewer concludes, “[It] all adds to the overwhelming impression that the Ebène Quartet have not so much dragged the medium [of the string quartet] screaming and shouting into the 21st century but have managed to invent a completely new genre.”
The Ebène’s first Virgin Classics CD, of quartets by Debussy, Ravel, and Fauré, was Gramophone’s 2009 Record of the Year, also winning Germany’s ECHO Klassik Award 2009, Belgium’s Prix Caecilia 2009, and a French Victoire de la Musique 2010.
Some of the repertoire from Fiction will be featured on an extensive North American recital tour by the Ebène from March 31 to April 17 (complete dates and repertoire below).  The tour kicks off with a performance at the Savannah Music Festival, and includes concerts in New York (April 3 & 8), Philadelphia (April 7), and Houston (April 15).  While in New York, the Ebène will give a performance chat at the Jerome L. Greene Performance Space at WQXR as part of “Trout Week,” a Chamber Music Festival from New York’s classical station.  The evening will be broadcast live on WQXR 105.9 FM and available as a live video webcast at
A video excerpt of the Ebène playing “Misirlou” is available here:
Mahler: Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection”
Kate Royal, soprano; Magalena Kozená, mezzo-soprano
Rundfunkchor Berlin
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra / Sir Simon Rattle
CD available March 8, 2011
“There’s nobody I’d rather hear conduct [Mahler’s Second Symphony] live, where it crackles with a dangerous spontaneity… .  Stunning playing.”
– Gramophone, “Editor’s Choice”
Following its release as an iTunes digital exclusive, Gustav Mahler’s epic Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection” with Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra is now available on compact disc.  The recording, which was captured in concert at Berlin’s Philharmonie in October 2010 as part of the celebration of Rattle’s 30th anniversary with the label, features the Rundfunkchor Berlin and star soloists Kate Royal and Magdalena Kozená.
Mahler’s Second Symphony – scored for orchestra, soloists, and chorus – explores the great mysteries of life and death and was among the most successful and popular of Mahler’s symphonies during his lifetime.  Not only was the work premiered in 1895 by the orchestra performing it on the new recording, but it has long been a touchstone work for Rattle, whose 1986 recording of “The Resurrection” is featured in EMI Classics’ “Great Recordings of the Century” – and rightly so, having garnered lavish critical accolades including Gramophone’s coveted “Record of the Year.”
All Gustav Mahler’s symphonies have been central to Simon Rattle’s career, but the Austrian composer’s Symphony No. 2 holds specific significance for him.  He conducted it at the formal opening of Birmingham’s Symphony Hall, and again for his final concerts as Music Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.  Says Rattle, “[Mahler’s Symphony No. 2] was the piece that made me take up conducting in the first place when I heard it in a live performance when I was twelve.  Mahler aimed to put the entire world into a symphony and this world goes from the death rights of some unnamed hero through a memory of what life was in both its beauty and its horror and final resurrection and redemption.  It’s on a vast canvas with many, many performers and, for me, it is one of the most moving of all orchestral works.”
While still a student at the Royal Academy of Music in the 1970s, Rattle organized and conducted a performance of the Second Symphony.  Since then, all of the Mahler symphonies have featured prominently in Rattle’s programming, principally with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.  At his Berlin debut in 1987, Rattle led the Berlin Philharmonic in Mahler’s Symphony No. 6, and his inaugural concert as the orchestra’s Principal Conductor in September 2002 featured Mahler’s Symphony No. 5.
Rattle discusses the new recording, and the importance of Mahler’s Second Symphony to his musical life, here:
Schumann: Piano Works
Piotr Anderszewski, piano
CD and downloads available March 8 from Virgin Classics
“Five stars out of five… .  A connoisseur’s collection, in which the composer’s mood swings again dominate the musical landscape, switching enigmatically between playful impulse and ruminative beauty… .  [Anderszewski] really keeps you spellbound.”
– Financial Times [Andrew Clark]
Piotr Anderszewski’s new all-Schumann album brings together three of the composer’s less frequently-performed keyboard works, including the last piano music he completed.
On Anderszewski’s last Virgin Classics recital disc, a varied live program from New York’s Carnegie Hall, he included Faschingsschwank aus Wien by Schumann.  On this new release, the pianist focuses entirely on that quintessential German Romantic, whose 200th anniversary was celebrated in 2010.  “For me, Schumann is the great humanist,” says Anderszewski.  “His purity and honesty touch me profoundly.”
For this new recital album, Anderszewski turns his attention to some of Schumann’s rarely-performed works: Humoreske, Op. 20, Six Studies in Canon Form, Op. 56, and Gesänge der Frühe, Op. 133.  Humoreske, built in five discreet sections, is far more serious-minded and substantial than its name might suggest.  Mercurial in its shifts of mood, it reflects the composer’s report to his wife Clara that, while working on the piece, he was “laughing and crying, all at once.”  The Gesänge der Frühe are terse, introspective, and harmonically adventurous.  By contrast, the Six Studies in Canon Form are lyrical and unobtrusively contrapuntal.  Schumann composed them for the pedal piano, which, like an organ, had an extra set of notes played with the feet.  Anderszewski himself adapted the pieces for the range of the modern piano and for ten fingers rather than two hands and two feet.
Piotr Anderszewski is regarded as one of the outstanding musicians of his generation.  An exclusive artist with Virgin Classics since 2000, Anderszewski’s discography includes a Grammy-nominated CD of Bach’s Partitas 1, 3, and 6 and a celebrated disc of works by Chopin.  His special relationship with the music of his compatriot Szymanowski is captured in a highly-praised recording of the composer’s solo piano works, which received the Classic FM Gramophone Award in 2006 for best instrumental disc.
Domenico Scarlatti: Keyboard Sonatas
Alexandre Tharaud, piano
CD and downloads available March 8 from Virgin Classics
“I love the extravagance, the sunny glow, the light touch of Scarlatti,” says French pianist Alexandre Tharaud, whose second Virgin Classics release is a collection of the composer’s captivating and adventurous keyboard sonatas.  The UK’s Guardian described Tharaud’s Chopin recital, Journal intime – his debut release for Virgin Classics – as “altogether breathtakingly beautiful.”
In typically imaginative fashion, throughout the 2009-10 season Tharaud combined early Romanticism with Baroque style while touring.  His recital program featured works by Chopin as well as selections from Domenico Scarlatti’s canon of 555 keyboard sonatas.
Domenico Scarlatti (1685–1757) was born in Naples, spent more than 30 years of his life serving the royal families of Portugal and Spain, and died in Madrid.  His sonatas are concise, captivating, one-movement works in binary form, often adventurous in their use of harmony and modulation, and frequently inhabited by the exotic spirit of Iberian folk music.
Tharaud’s Chopin album for Virgin Classics was enthusiastically received.  Britain’s Daily Telegraph noted, “Whether on a broad canvas or on a miniature one, Tharaud’s feel for tonal coloring and his eloquence of expression are a perfect match for this inspiring, kaleidoscopic music.”  The Guardian observed, “Alexandre Tharaud explores a huge emotional range in his Journal intime, including the most thrilling and propulsive First Ballade since Michelangeli’s version, with a deeply intense C-sharp minor Nocturne at the heart.  Tharaud lifts the music across the bar-lines with deft rubato, his sound clear, shining, and sensuous.”
Three Baroque Tenors
Ian Bostridge, tenor
The English Concert / Bernard Labadie
CD and downloads available March 8 from EMI Classics
“I was totally disarmed by this CD.  Ian Bostridge is at his most vivid, expressive, and delicately ornamental in homage to three Baroque singers.”
Guardian (UK)
John Beard, Francesco Borosini, and Annibale Fabri: these three men helped to revolutionize music in the 18th century.  Their voices moved the greatest composers of the time to write increasingly for tenors, rather than the castrati who had dominated opera since 1600.  Now, three centuries since this trio’s brilliance encouraged a surge of new repertoire for the vocal range, world-renowned tenor Ian Bostridge celebrates their legacy with his fascinating new release, Three Baroque Tenors.
This recording features works by the masters of the age, including six world-premiere recordings of arias by Caldara, Conti, Gasparini, Handel, Scarlatti, and Vivaldi.  The previously unrecorded Handel aria is “Scorta siate a passi miei” from the “Borosini” edition of his famous opera Giulio Cesare.  In this version, Borosini sang the role of Sesto, which was traditionally performed by a castrato with different arias.  Much of the repertoire selected by Bostridge has only rarely been performed in modern times.
Three Baroque Tenors is an overdue homage to this neglected musical evolution and the men who inspired it.  It illustrates both Bostridge’s gift for interpreting repertoire from this period, as previously heard on his Great Handel recording, and his skills as an historian.  Bostridge, who received his D.Phil in History from Corpus Christi College, Oxford, is well respected in historical and journalism circles.  His new collection of essays, On Music, will be published by Faber & Faber later this spring.
Track list:
1.   Conti: “Qui sto appeso” from Don Chisciotte
2.   Handel: “Where congeal’d the northern streams” from Hercules
3.   Handel: “From celestial seats descending” from Hercules
4.   Vivaldi: “La tiranna e avversa sorte” from Arsilda
5.   Gasparini: “Forte e lieto a morte andrei” from Il Bajazet
6.   Handel: “Forte e lieto” from Tamerlano
7.   Arne: “Rise, Glory rise” from Rosamond
8.   Caldara: “Lo so, lo so: con periglio” from Joaz
9.   Handel: “D’un Barbaro scortese” from Poro
10. Scarlatti, A: “Se non sa qual vento” from Marco Attilo Regolo
11. Handel: “Scorta siate a passi miei” from Giulio Cesare
12. Vivaldi: “Ti stringo inquest’ amplesso” from L’Atenaide
13. Vivaldi: “Sazierò col morir mio” from Ipermestra
14. Boyce: “Softly rise, O southern breeze” from Solomon
15. Galliard: “With early horn” from The Royal Chace
Monteverdi: Vespro della Beata Vergine – 1610
Christina Pluhar / L’Arpeggiata
Two-CD set and downloads available March 8 from Virgin Classics
The year 2010 marked the 500th anniversary of a landmark in music history: Monteverdi’s Vespro della Beata Vergine, better known simply as “the Vespers.”  That magnificent and incomparable work receives a startlingly vital performance by the multi-faceted vocal and instrumental ensemble L’Arpeggiata, founded ten years ago by Christina Pluhar, in a new release from Virgin Classics.  L’Arpeggiata was recognized in 2009 by Germany’s prestigious ECHO Klassik Award for its first release, Teatro d’Amore, which presented a diverse and improvisational program of pieces by Monteverdi.  Here, in her newest release, Pluhar and her musicians engage more formally with an extended work by the same composer.
“The Vespers is one of the supreme masterpieces of music history,” says Pluhar.  “Monteverdi exploits all the skills and compositional techniques that existed at the time.  All 30 singers and instrumentalists on our recording have had a long and emotional relationship with this work and were very excited to create this recording with L’Arpeggiata.  Over the last 25 years, the approach to performing the Vespers has changed considerably, and hopefully L’Arpeggiata’s version will make its mark.”
Monteverdi’s Vespro della Beata Vergine is the fruit of L’Arpeggiata’s collaboration with the Festival de Música Antiga de Barcelona, De Bijloke music centre in Ghent, and L’Arsenal concert hall.  Located in Metz, France, L’Arsenal concert hall – praised for its acoustics – is the venue where the work was recorded during the 2009-10 season.
Martha Argerich and Friends, Live from the Lugano Festival 2010
Martha Argerich, piano
Three-CD set and downloads available March 29 from EMI Classics
This eighth annual three-CD set celebrates the musical fruits of a project in which young artists join seasoned performers, including Argerich, in the exploration of a wide range of chamber music and orchestral repertoire.  The CDs, recorded in the summer of 2010, are being released in anticipation of the Festival’s 2011 season in June.
Few artists have nurtured and promoted emerging young musicians with the level of personal commitment shown by Martha Argerich.  In the process, she has created inspired chamber music partnerships mixing established and up-and-coming artists.  A legend in her own lifetime for her technical mastery and passionate artistry, Argerich possesses an infectious spirit that has fired her own performances and partnerships as well as those of her colleagues and protégés.
This new set features Argerich with an exciting assembly of classical stars, including Gautier Capucon, Renaud Capucon, and Gabriela Montero, as well as up-and-coming talent.
CD 1:
Schumann: Sonata No. 1 in A minor for violin and piano, Op. 105
Chopin: Rondo in C, Op. 73 for two pianos
Brahms: Variations on a Theme by Schumann, Op. 23
Chopin: Piano Concerto No.1 in E minor, Op. 11
CD 2:
Schumann: Adagio and Allegro for cello and piano, Op. 70
Liszt: Les Préludes, symphonic poem, Op. 3
Korngold: Piano Quintet in E, Op. 15
Bartók: Sonata for two pianos and percussion, Sz. 110
CD 3:
Granados: Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 49
Stravinsky: The Firebird Suite
Gershwin/Grainger: Fantasy for two pianos on Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess
Schnittke: Piano Quintet, Op. 108
Bartók / Strauss / Grieg: Violin Sonatas
Vilde Frang, violin
CD and downloads available March 29 from EMI Classics
Vilde Frang, one of several leading young soloists to emerge from Scandinavia in recent years, brings together a diverse, yet complimentary selection of sonatas for her second EMI Classics release.  The young Norwegian violinist has been noted particularly for her superb musical expression, as well as her well-developed virtuosity and musicality.

Edvard Grieg’s spirited Violin Sonata No. 1 in F, Op. 8 and Richard Strauss’s youthful Violin Sonata in E-flat, Op. 18 are paired with Bartók’s technically challenging, musically complex Sonata for Solo Violin, Sz. 117m, BB 124.  Frang frequently performs the latter, which Bartók composed in homage to Bach, in concert with the Strauss.  Pianist Michail Lifits joins Frang for this album.

Frang’s debut recording, Sibelius and Prokofiev: Violin Concertos received widespread critical applause.  The Financial Times wrote: “Rarely has this music sounded so tender, so intimate, or so lyrical,” while Independent Record Review called the violinist “prodigiously gifted.”  Frang has been compared to a young Anne-Sophie Mutter, her mentor, with whom she often performs.  Born in 1986 in Norway, Frang has studied at the Barratt Due Institute of Music in Oslo, with Kolja Blacher at Musikhochschule Hamburg, and Ana Chumachenco at the Kronberg Academy.
Special compilations, boxed sets, and reissues
Springtime in the Park
Various artists
CD and downloads available from EMI Classics March 29
The sights and sounds of the season of rebirth come to life on Springtime in the Park, continuing a series of season-inspired compilations from EMI Classics that began in the fall with Autumn in the Park.  The new release features uplifting and evocative works that capture the unique joy of the new season and its manifold beauties.  The wide-ranging repertoire – 16 tracks in all, with music from the Baroque era to the 20th century – moves seamlessly from the intimate to the expansive, and includes performances by great EMI and Virgin Classics artists including Sir Simon Rattle, the Capucon brothers, David Fray, Sarah Chang, Riccardo Muti, and Yannick Nézet-Séguin.  Selections from familiar orchestral favorites such as “Morning Mood” from Grieg’s Peer Gynt, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6, “Pastoral,” and Holst’s Planets, appear beside movements from chamber masterpieces as Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet and rarities such as Tobias Picker’s Old and Lost Rivers.
EMI Masters
First 20 titles in new series
CDs and downloads available March 8 from EMI Classics
This month, EMI Classics adds 20 titles to its extraordinary and essential EMI Masters series, a definitive new collection of great music from a trove of the most notable and revered classical recordings ever made.  Available on CD and for digital download, the new installment showcases EMI Classics’ greatest artists from today and yesteryear performing the greatest, and in many cases the most popular, repertoire.  All performances in the series were recorded, mastered, or re-mastered at the internationally renowned Abbey Road Studios in London.  These are the classic recordings that have long defined the legacy of EMI.
Sir John Barbirolli Mahler: Symphony No. 9
Daniel Barenboim Beethoven: Complete Piano Concertos
Sir Thomas Beecham Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique
Paavo Berglund Smetana: Má Vlast
Will Boskowsky The Strauss Family: Waltzes and Polkas
Andrew Davis Handel: Messiah
Peter Donohoe Liszt: Piano Sonatas
Carlo Maria Giulini Rossini: Overtures
Thomas Hampson Schubert: Winterreise
Rudolf Kempe Richard Strauss: Tone Poems
Otto Klemperer Bach: Mass in B minor
Stephen Kovacevich Brahms Piano Concertos (Lieder Opp. 91 & 105)
Sir Neville Marriner Baroque Masterpieces
Riccardo Muti Vivaldi: Gloria and Magnificat
Itzhak Perlman Bach: Violin Concertos
André Previn Tchaikovsky: Ballet Highlights
Thomas Quasthoff Loewe: Ballades
Mariss Jansons Rachmaninov: Complete Piano Concertos, etc.
King’s College Choir Renaissance Masterpieces
Herbert von Karajan Schubert: Symphonies Nos. 8 & 9
American Artistry
First five titles in new series
CD and downloads available March 22 from EMI Classics
EMI Classics is proud to announce a new series, American Artistry, which brings together great recordings of iconic American artists past and present.  The first installment features five handsomely packaged reissues of unforgettable music-making from current stars (Sarah Chang, the Eroica Trio, and Sharon Isbin) to beloved soprano Frederica von Stade, and conducting legend Leopold Stokowski.  A short description of each release follows.
Sarah Chang – The DebutAt just nine years of age, Sarah Chang was an undisputed phenomenon.  She appeared with Zubin Mehta and the New York Philharmonic at the age of eight and recorded this debut recital disc a year later.  The Debut was the first of her many best-selling Billboard albums.  Gramophone proclaimed, “This is an astonishing disc.  Sarah Chang’s playing will enthrall and captivate in equal measure.”
Leopold Stokowski – Bach by Stokowski:  Leopold Stokowski was a British-born, naturalized American conductor well-known for his free-hand performing style that spurned the traditional baton and for obtaining a characteristically sumptuous sound from many of the great orchestras he conducted.  Stokowski conducts his very own Leopold Stokowski Orchestra in this recording of various compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach, including his own interpretations of the Sarabande for solo violin, Toccata and Fugue, and the popular Air on the G String.
Frederica von Stade – Fauré: Mélodies; Pelléas et Mélisande:  Described by the New York Times as “one of America’s finest artists and singers,” beloved mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade is heard here on iconic recordings of Fauré’s Mélodies with Jean-Philippe Collard, and “Mélisande’s Song” from Fauré’s Pelléas et Mélisande with Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse under Michel Plasson.
Eroica Trio – Eroica Trio:  The Eroica Trio’s self-titled debut CD, which features works by Ravel, Benjamin Godard, a commissioned arrangement of the Gershwin Preludes, and Paul Schoenfield’s Café Music, was awarded NPR Performance Today’s “Debut Recording of the Year,” and featured in Time Out New York’s “Top Ten Recordings” of 1997.
Sharon Isbin – American Landscapes:  Acclaimed for her extraordinary lyricism, technique, and versatility, Sharon Isbin has been hailed as “the pre-eminent guitarist of our time.”  Her American Landscapes disc with the SPCO conducted by Hugh Wolff was the first recording of American guitar concertos and featured works written for her by John Corigliano, Joseph Schwantner, and Lukas Foss.  The disc was awarded the “Critics’ Choice Recording of the Year” by Gramophone in 2002 along with “Best Classical Album of the Year” by Guitar Player.
Sir Thomas Beecham Collection
Five new sets including audio documentary
Multi-CD sets and downloads available March 22 from EMI Classics
There are few, if any, musicians who have single-handedly done so much in the establishment of resources for musical performance than Sir Thomas Beecham.  To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Sir Thomas Beecham’s death, EMI Classics releases five sets, including one exclusive documentary, that show why he is one of the most colorful and controversial of all 20th-century British conductors.
While his repertory was wide and varied, Sir Thomas Beecham is remembered particularly for his championship of the music of his friend Frederick Delius, for his loving interpretations of 19th-century French music (particularly Berlioz and Bizet), and for his devotion to the music of Mozart, Haydn, Puccini, Sibelius, and Richard Strauss.  The English Collection, French Music, The Classical Tradition, and The Later Tradition contain many of his most famous recordings of works by these composers.
EMI Classics’ documentary, The Great Communicator, covers in depth Beecham’s life and career as a conductor and impresario, from its outset to its conclusion.  The huge influence he exerted is recalled by 25 eyewitness contributors who include distinguished opera singers, orchestral musicians, writers, critics, broadcasters, audience members, and one of the conductor’s sons.
THE ENGLISH COLLECTION Delius; German; Bantock; Bax; Lord Berners
FRENCH MUSIC Berlioz; Bizet; Delibes; Debussy; Fauré; Saint-Saëns; Massenet; Gounod; Chabrier
THE LATER TRADITION Beethoven; Schubert; Mendelssohn; Liszt; Wagner; Brahms; Suppé; R. Strauss
THE GREAT COMMUNICATOR Documentary by Jon Tolansky
ICON Series
Five new titles
Specially-priced multi-CD sets and downloads available March 22 from EMI Classics
With nearly three-dozen albums already available in its ICON series, EMI Classics adds five more titles this month, showcasing the incomparable artistry of three great singers – Hermann Prey, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, and Elisabeth Schumann – as well as pianist Claudio Arrau and the Melos Ensemble.
A brief introduction to each new release follows.  For track list and other information, please visit:
Elisabeth Schumann: Silver Thread of Song
The German soprano Elisabeth Schumann was one of the finest lyric sopranos of the 20th century.  She made her professional debut in Hamburg in 1909 and died in 1952, having given her last public concert the previous year.  In 1985 the eminent vocal expert Alan Blyth wrote of her: “No artist so endeared herself to her public as Elisabeth Schumann.  The charm of her manner is legendary; so is the attraction of her silvery voice and outgiving style.  Whether in her operatic portrayals, her Lieder, or her operetta offerings, she captivated her audiences.”
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf: Perfect Prima Donna
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf is universally acknowledged as one of the greatest singers of the 20th century.  Blessed with a voice of exquisite beauty, as well as a striking physical presence, she shone brightly in opera, excelled in the concert hall, and brought a unique artistry to the recital platform.  She was signed exclusively to EMI in 1946 and released a stream of magnificent recordings over almost 30 years.  This unique collection spans a lifetime of work and reveals the development of her art.
Hermann Prey: A Life In Song
The German baritone Hermann Prey was born in Berlin in 1929.  In a career that spanned some 48 years, he became one of the most popular singers of his time and formed a great bond with his audiences through his unaffected and natural singing style and his personal charm and acting ability.  His repertoire was extremely wide and encompassed all the classic German Lieder, as well as a whole range of operatic roles, from the lively Figaro of both Mozart and Rossini to more serious baritone parts in Verdi and Wagner, although it is in the lighter roles that he is most affectionately remembered.  He enjoyed great success in the world’s major opera houses including Vienna, Bayreuth, Salzburg, Munich, Milan, and New York, and also appeared frequently on German TV and in opera films.  He died in 1998.
Claudio Arrau: Virtuoso Philosopher of the Piano
Born on February 6, 1903, Claudio Arrau built his reputation on his special affinity for the music of Brahms, Schumann, Liszt, Chopin, and, above all, Beethoven, whose complete sonatas he played in many major cities.  His performances had all the virtuoso technique required but it was accomplished without the least ostentation.  Twenty years have passed since he departed but these recordings will bring back happy memories for all those lucky enough ever to have attended his concerts.
Melos Ensemble: Music among Friends
The Melos Ensemble was formed by musicians who wanted to play chamber music scored for a larger ensemble in a combination of strings, winds, and other instruments with the quality of musical rapport only regular groups can achieve.  All its members were excellent musicians who held positions in notable orchestras and appeared as soloists.  The clarinetist Gervase de Peyer, flautist Richard Adeney, viola player Cecil Aronowitz, and cellist Terence Weil were the founding members.  The principal musicians who joined the initial four were the violinists Emanuel Hurwitz and Ivor McMahon, double bass player Adrian Beers, oboist Peter Graeme, horn player Neil Sanders, bassoonist William Waterhouse, pianist Lamar Crowson, and harpist Osian Ellis.  Many of the recordings are classics of the Gramophone and have been rarely out of the catalog.  This set brings together all the recordings made during those 15 halcyon years of glorious music-making.
Mady Mesplé: 80th Anniversary Edition
Mady Mesplé, soprano
Four-CD set and downloads available March 29 from EMI Classics
March 7 brings the 80th birthday of the great French coloratura soprano Mady Mesplé, an exclusive EMI artist from 1968 to 1987.  To mark the occasion, EMI Classics is proud to release a four-CD set surveying Mesplé’s remarkable achievements in opera, operetta, song, and contemporary music, including several unreleased items, such an aria from Donizetti’s La fille du régiment, originally recorded for her album of Italian opera.  The lavish accompanying booklet contains photographs of Mady Mesplé in many of her most celebrated roles, such as Lucia di Lammermoor, Lakmé, Gilda (Rigoletto), Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Olympia (Les contes d’Hoffmann), the Queen of the Night (Die Zauberflöte), and Zerbinetta (Ariadne auf Naxos).
Mady Mesplé was especially popular in her native France, where her numerous television appearances introduced a wider public to opera, but her international career also brought her acclaim in the USA, where she appeared at the Met and at Lyric Opera of Chicago; in the UK, where she performed at the Edinburgh Festival and Wigmore Hall; at Moscow’s Bolshoi, and in the opera houses of French-speaking Switzerland and Belgium.
50 Best Series
Nine new titles
Three-CD sets and downloads available March 29 from EMI Classics
EMI Classics’ 50 Best is a series of three-CD sets that feature genres of music ranging from symphonies, concertos, and solo instrumental works to chamber music, songs, and operas.  It’s a perfect and economical series for the newcomer eager for musical exploration.  This month’s nine titles are as follows: 50 Best Jazz, 50 Best Hymns, 50 Best Berlin Philharmonic, 50 Best Ballet, 50 Best Beethoven, 50 Best Puccini, 50 Best Violin, 50 Best Wedding, and 50 Best Tango.
100 Best Series
Three new titles
Six-CD sets and downloads available March 29 from EMI Classics
EMI Classics’ enormously popular 100 Best series is one of the best values on the market: a boxed set of six thematically-assembled CDs, drawn from the incomparable EMI Classics and Virgin Classics catalogs, available for the price of a single CD!
This month, EMI Classics adds three new sets to the series: 100 Best Berlin Philharmonic, 100 Best Hymns, and 100 Best Tango.
Classical 2011
Various artists
Two-CD set and downloads available March 29 from EMI Classics

Classical 2011 is the ultimate compilation album, a pleasure-packed playlist featuring top artists performing a wide variety of irresistible repertoire. With 40 tracks, and over two-and-a-half hours of classical favorites, this double album features the best and most popular names in classical music, ranging from present day superstars to classical legends. Classical 2011 features spectacular performances from classical music’s brightest stars, including Joyce DiDonato, Sir Simon Rattle, Angela Gheorghiu, Plácido Domingo, Nigel Kennedy, Sarah Brightman, Yundi, Natalie Dessay, David Fray, Evgeny Kissin, Philippe Jaroussky, Emmanuel Pahud, Alison Balsom, Gabriela Montero, David Daniels, Vivica Genaux, Ingrid Fliter, Xuefei Yang, Sarah Chang, Kate Royal, Alexandre Tharaud, Simon O’Neill, Diana Damrau, and Max Emanuel Cencic. Classical 2011 also features new music from these best-selling ensembles: the Ebène Quartet, the 12 Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic, Libera, and the Belcea Quartet. Also included are brilliant collaborations between Gautier Capucon and Valery Gergiev and between Ian Bostridge and Thomas Adès. 

EMI Classics and Virgin Classics artists on tour
March 13
Karl Jenkins: The Armed Man
Hale Middle School (Stow, MA)
March 17–19
David Fray: Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25
Dallas Symphony Orchestra (debut) / Jaap van Zweden (Dallas, TX)
March 20 – April 30
Diana Damrau: Rossini’s Le comte Ory
Metropolitan Opera (New York, NY)
March 24 – April 21
Joyce DiDonato: Rossini’s Le comte Ory (Isolier) (new production/role debut)
Metropolitan Opera (New York, NY)
March 25 & 26
Kate Royal: scenes from Adès’s The Tempest
Boston Symphony Orchestra (Boston, MA)
March 26
Joyce DiDonato: gala concert with Sam Ramey and Alan Held
Wichita Grand Opera (Wichita, KS)
March 30 – April 2
Yundi: Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1
San Francisco Symphony / Blomstedt (San Francisco, CA)
March 31
Ebène Quartet: Ravel, Fauré, Debussy
Savannah Music Festival (Savannah, GA)
April 2
Ebène Quartet: Mozart, Bartók, Debussy
Syracuse Friends of Chamber Music (Syracuse, NY)
April 3
Ebène Quartet: Ravel, Bartók, Debussy
Peoples’ Symphony Concert, Town Hall (New York, NY)
April 4
Ebène Quartet
Live broadcast and video webcast from The Greene Space at WQXR (New York, NY)
April 5
Ebène Quartet: Bartók, Debussy, jazz improvisations
Rhode Island Chamber Music Society (Barrington, RI)
April 6
Ebène Quartet: Mozart, Debussy, Mendelssohn
Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts at University of Connecticut (Storrs, CT)
April 7
Ebène Quartet: Ravel, Bartók, Debussy
Philadelphia Chamber Music Society (Philadelphia, PA)
April 8
Ebène Quartet: Mozart, Bartók, Mendelssohn
Carnegie Hall – Weill Recital Hall (New York, NY)
April 9 & 10
Gabriela Montero: Schumann’s Piano Concerto
Cape Cod Symphony (Yarmouth Port, MA)
April 10
Ebène Quartet: repertoire TBA
Ladies Morning Musical Club (Montreal, Canada)
April 11
Ebène Quartet: Bartók, Debussy, jazz improvisations
University of Toronto (Toronto, Canada)
April 13
Ebène Quartet: Mozart, Bartók, Mendelssohn
Ensemble Music Society
Basile Theatre at the Glick Indiana History Center (Indianapolis, IN)
April 14
Ebène Quartet: Ravel, Fauré, Mendelssohn
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts (Urbana, IL)
April 15
Ebène Quartet: Ravel, Fauré, Debussy
Da Camera of Houston (Houston, TX)
April 16 & 17
Gabriela Montero: Schumann’s Piano Concerto
Spokane Symphony (Spokane, WA)
April 17
Ebène Quartet: Mozart, Bartók, Mendelssohn
University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)
April 21–23
David Fray: Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2
Cleveland Orchestra (debut) / Kurt Masur (Cleveland, OH)
April 29 – May 14
Kate Royal: Gluck’s Orfeo e Euridice (house debut)
Metropolitan Opera (New York, NY)
April 29
Gabriela Montero: recital
Jaqua Concert Hall (Eugene, OR)
May 1
Gabriela Montero: recital
Florence Gould Theater (San Francisco, CA)
May 6
Gabriela Montero: Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue
ProMusica Chamber Orchestra (Columbus, OH)
May 7, 10, & 13
Joyce DiDonato: R. Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos (Composer) (house role debut)
Metropolitan Opera (New York, NY)
May 16
Kate Royal: recital (“A Lesson in Love”)
André-Turp Musical Society (Montreal, Canada)
May 20
Kate Royal: recital (“A Lesson in Love”)
Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall (New York, NY)
May 24
Kate Royal: recital (“A Lesson in Love”)
Herbst Theatre (San Francisco, CA)
May 29 – July 3
Nina Stemme: Wagner’s Ring des Nibelungen
San Francisco Opera (San Francisco, CA)
June 1 & 2
Gabriela Montero: Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
Toronto Symphony / Peter Oundjian (Toronto, Canada)
June 2–5
Gautier and Renaud Capucon: Brahms’s Double Concerto
Los Angeles Philharmonic / Dudamel (Los Angeles, CA)
June 4
Gabriela Montero: recital
Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival (Amelia Island, FL)
June 10
Gabriela Montero: Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto
Dallas Symphony Orchestra (Dallas, TX)
For further information:
Visit EMI Classics’ YouTube channel for video previews of many of its new and recent releases:

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