Press Room

EMI Classics & Virgin Classics May 2009 releases

Handel: Messiah

Choir of King’s College, Cambridge / Stephen Cleobury

of Ancient Music

Digital downloads available May 19 from EMI Classics
(CD release June 2, 2009) 

not just rock groups that rush-release live albums.”

– Independent (UK)

Frideric Handel died on April 14, 1759. 
To commemorate the momentous occasion of the 250th
anniversary of his death, the world-renowned King’s College Choir, Cambridge
performed Handel’s beloved oratorio, Messiah, on Palm Sunday 2009 (April 5)
under the direction of Stephen Cleobury, in the magnificent surroundings of
King’s College Chapel, one of the jewels of Britain’s cultural and
architectural heritage.  The
concert, which teamed the choir with soloists of the Royal Opera House (Ailish
Tynan, soprano; Alice Coote, mezzo-soprano; Allan Clayton, tenor; and Matthew
Rose, bass) and the Academy of Ancient Music – was broadcast live via satellite
to cinema screens around the world, and now appears on a new release from EMI
Classics.  The recording will be
available for digital download only on May19, with the CD release to follow on
June 2, 2009.

London’s Independent has already reviewed the new
album, and quite favorably, beginning cheekily with the observation, “It’s not
just rock groups that rush-release live albums,” and concluding, “Stephen
Cleobury’s interpretation ticks all the boxes, with choir and orchestra
impeccably balanced, and soloists glowing.”

Messiah premiered
in Dublin in 1742 and is arguably the most popular work in the choral
literature, performed by amateurs and professionals alike both at Christmas
time and during the Easter season. 
Additional movie screenings of the King’s College performance, as well
as an EMI Classics DVD release, are planned for the 2009 holiday season.

Argerich and Gidon Kremer: The Berlin Recital

Music by
Schumann and Bartók

Martha Argerich
(piano); Gidon Kremer (violin)

set and downloads available May 5 from EMI Classics

“Hearing is believing… .  Gidon Kremer and Martha Argerich, ice
and fire… .  It’s a stunning match,
placing a work of Bartók’s exile behind Schumann’s late struggle for sanity and
the sunlit
Scenes ahead of the Hungarian’s first essay for solo violin.”

– Evening
Standard (UK)

EMI Classics releases a joint
recital by legendary pianist Martha Argerich and one of today’s most original
and compelling violinists, Gidon Kremer. 
The concert was recorded live at Berlin’s Philharmonie in December 2006.  The repertoire features Schumann’s Sonata
for Violin and Piano No. 2 in D minor
and Kinderszenen, as well as Bartók’s Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1 and Sonata for Solo Violin.  The two encores that round out the release – Fritz
Kreisler’s Liebesleid and Schön Rosmarin – “melt in the ears,” according to a London Times review.

“A summit of two musical giants,” is
how the Abendzeitung München described the concert.  “They are chamber music’s dream couple… .  The way they communicate musically
cannot be surpassed by any other current duo,” agreed the Münchner Merkur, while the Neue Zürcher Zeitung summed up the concert with the
words: “Chamber music is alive.”

At first sight, Robert Schumann and Béla
Bartók might not appear to have much in common.  Schumann represented the German Romantic tradition and
favored rich, full harmonies, while Bartók sought to escape from that sound
world, his music tending toward “extremes of delicacy or sparseness, or of
complexity or roughness, as his vision dictate[d].”  Yet the two composers do have much in common: both were
pianist-composers in whose output their own instrument retains a central place
yet both had the ambition to reach out and embrace every musical genre; both
Schumann and Bartók maintained a strong interest in music education and both
promoted the status of music in the wider cultural sphere.

Though both Argerich and Kremer have had storied
careers as soloists – they are also long-time friends and frequent
collaborators – they also share a deep dedication to chamber music, as well as
promoting talented younger artists. 
Where Argerich has her annual Lugano Festival of Chamber Music, Kremer
has his Kremerata Baltica chamber orchestra, dedicated to fostering outstanding
young musicians from the three Baltic states.

Violin Concertos 1 & 3; Sinfonia Concertante

Capuçon, violin

Tamestit, viola

Scottish Chamber
Orchestra / Louis Langrée

CD and
downloads available May 5 from Virgin Classics

“Working with Louis Langrée is a particular
privilege.  His Mozart has honesty,
purity, and joie de vivre … grace, in fact.”

– Renaud Capuçon

For his second solo concertos CD for Virgin Classics,
violinist Renaud Capuçon performs three works by Mozart: the Violin Concertos
Nos. 1 (K. 207) and 3 (K. 216) and, with young French violist Antoine Tamestit,
the Sinfonia Concertante for violin, viola, and orchestra (K. 364).  All three works feature the Scottish
Chamber Orchestra conducted by fellow Frenchman and Mozart expert Louis
Langrée, best known as music director for New York’s popular “Mostly Mozart”
festival, which takes place at Lincoln Center each summer.  In addition to his enthusiasm for
working with Langrée, Capuçon expresses his admiration for the players of the
Scottish Chamber Orchestra, with whom he shared a sympathetic approach to the
repertoire: “The players’ finesse of articulation and their colors are drawn
from chamber music… .  This simplicity
of approach is essential for me.”

In a recent
review, Britain’s Guardian called the new album “a fine achievement”:

“Now in his early 30s, Renaud Capuçon is one of today’s
outstanding violinists – less flashy than some, but a fabulously musical player
who is as remarkable a chamber player as he is a concerto soloist.  It’s a considerable achievement to make
Mozart’s unprepossessing first violin concerto, K. 207 in B-flat, as compelling
as he does here, simply through a combination of unfussy phrasing and finely
judged articulation.  In the
G-major concerto K. 216, Capuçon finds the Scottish Chamber Orchestra under
Louis Langrée the ideal partnership for his relaxed give-and-take in the slow
movement, and in both solo concertos the cadenzas by Robert Levin stay just on
the right side of garrulousness. 
The Sinfonia Concertante takes the performance on to another musical
plane altogether.  Capuçon is
partnered by the viola player Antoine Tamestit, who perfectly complements his
unfailingly musical phrasing without ever slavishly copying it.”

Renaud Capuçon has a distinguished discography with
Virgin Classics, including a solo concerto disc pairing Mendelssohn and
Schumann Violin Concertos, chamber music recordings with his brother Gautier
Capuçon and friends, and, most recently, a solo album of violin encores
entitled CapriccioBBC Music magazine gave the latter its top
rating – five stars for performance and sound – noting, “It seems there is
nothing Capuçon cannot do.  He
maintains the same level of tonal purity and lustrousness at all dynamic levels
across all four strings… .  His
phrasing and timing are immaculate, his intonation ear-ringingly true, and –
especially important in this repertoire – his exquisitely subtle use of portamento is such as to rival even Kreisler
and Heifetz.”

Special boxed sets, reissues, and compilations

Anniversary Edition 1759-2009

two-CD set and downloads available May 5 from Virgin Classics

Virgin Classics continues its
commemoration of the 250th anniversary of Handel’s death with a
two-CD collection of the composer’s finest arias and duets.  The featured selections include such
beloved arias as “Ombra mai fù” from Serse, the gripping “Scherza, infida” from Ariodante, and selections from two of his
most popular stage works – Giulio Cesare and Alcina.

The singers on this album are a virtual “who’s who”
of Handel opera, including Joyce DiDonato, Natalie Dessay, Ian Bostridge,
Philippe Jaroussky, David Daniels, Stephanie Blythe, Véronique Gens, and
more.  With stellar artistry and
superb value – two CDs for the price of one – this collection will please
connoisseurs of vocal music and Handel fans, as well as introduce newcomers to
the extraordinary dramatic range of Handel’s invention.

And the two-CDs-for-the-price-of-one pricing makes
this a must-have for fans of Baroque music!



CD 1:

“Frondi tenere” from Serse

“Ombra mai fù” from Serse

“Pompe vane di morte” from Rodelinda

“Dove sei amato bene” from Rodelinda

5.   “Ma
che parlo, che dico” from Armida

6.   “In
tanti affanni miei” from Armida

“Scherzano sul tuo volto” from Rinaldo

8.   “E
vivo ancora?”; Aria: “Scherza, infida” from Ariodante

“Fra l’ombre e gl’orrori” from Aci, Galatea, e Polifemo

10.  “Sorge
il dì” from Aci, Galatea, e Polifemo

11. “Amor, qual
nuova fiamma mi risvegli nel core” from Admeto, re di Tessaglia

12. “La tigre arde di sdegno” from Admeto, re di

13. “Per me si strugge Trasimede” from Admeto, re di

14. “E per monti, e per piani, et per selve” from Admeto,
re di Tessaglia

15. “Where shall I fly?” from Hercules

16. Splenda l’alba in oriente (Cantata)

17. “As steals the morn upon the night” from L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il

18. “Un pensiero nemico di pace” from Il trionfo del
tempo e del disinganno


CD 2:

“Fatto scorta al sentier della Gloria” from Arminio

“Fiaccherò quel fiero orgoglio” from Arminio

“Verdi prati Ruggiero” from Alcina

“Ombre pallide” from Alcina

“Venti, turbini” from Rinaldo

“Prendi l’alma e prendi il core” from Rodrigo

“Nasconde l’usignol” from Deidamia

“Nel riposo e nel contento” from Deidamia

“Della guerra la caccia ha sembianza” from Deidamia

10. Tanti strali al sen (Duet)

11. “Se’l mio duol non è si forte” from Rodelinda

12. “Caro autor di mia doglia” from Caro autor di mia

13. “No, che d’altrui che di te” from Caro autor di
mia doglia

14. “Dagli amori flagellata” from Caro autor di mia

15. “Cara speme, questo core” from Giulio Cesare

16. “Va tacito e nascosto” from Giulio Cesare


Century Classics

Series – Rodrigo

priced two-CD set and downloads available May 5 from EMI Classics

The Concierto de Aranjuez for guitar and orchestra – the
transcendent slow movement of which was immortalized for jazz lovers by the
incomparable Miles Davis on his Sketches of Spain album – is the most famous work by
Spanish composer Joachin Rodrigo (1901-99), but it is only of his many
enormously appealing works.  On a
new installment in EMI Classics’ handsomely packaged 20th Century
the Aranjuez can
be heard alongside five other concertos including Rodrigos concertos for violin
and cello.


Santa Cecilia – Purcell, Handel, Haydn

Specially-priced three-CD boxed set
and downloads available May 19 from Virgin Classics

Handel shares his anniversary year with
two other composers who hold a prominent place in the musical pantheon, Henry
Purcell (born 1659) and Joseph Haydn (died 1809).  This new boxed set from Virgin Classics (three CDs for the
price of one) unites these three masters with a work by each in honor of St.
Cecilia, the patron saint of music. 

The collection includes Purcell’s Hail!
Bright Cecilia
performed by the Taverner Consort & Players with Andrew
Parrott; Handel’s oratorio Alexander’s Feast, performed by the Choir
Of King’s College, Cambridge under the direction of Philip Ledger; and Haydn’s St. Cecilia Mass, performed
by the choirs and orchestra of the Gulbenkian Foundation under Michel Corboz.



CD and downloads available May 19 from Virgin

The greatest opera Handel NEVER wrote, Un’Opera
is an album assembled from Handel’s own music by French
musicologist Ivan A. Alexandre, offering a new take on the formula perfected by
the composer.  Far more than
a compilation album, it selects individual numbers from eleven operas and two
oratorios by Handel and reassembles them in a sequence that respects the potent
formula elaborated in the composer’s 38 works for the operatic stage.  The work has no explicit story and no
concrete characters – it is, instead, an imaginary opera formed of passion and

Featured singers include such eminent
Handelians as Joyce DiDonato, Philippe Jaroussky, Natalie Dessay,
David Daniels, Ian Bostridge, Stephanie Blythe, and more.

Track List

Part I:

1.   (I) Overture from Arminio

2.   (II) Arioso: “Dolce riposo” from Teseo

3.   (III) Recitative: “Della vita
mortale” from Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno

4.   Aria: “Un pensiero nemico di
pace” from Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno

5.   (IV) Recitative: “A deluder le
frodi io mi preparo” from Fernando, re di Castiglia

6.   Aria: “Sincero affetto” from Fernando,
re di Castiglia

7.   (V) Aria: “Desterò dall’empia
dite” from Amadigi


Part II:

8.   (VI) Sarabande from Alcina

9.   (VII) Aria: “Così la tortorella”
from La Resurrezione

10. (VIII)
Recitative: “Aspide sono” from Serse

11. Aria: “Di
tacere” from Serse

12. (IX) Aria:
“Scherza, infida” from Ariodante

13. (X) Scene:
“Ah! Stigie larve!” from Orlando

14. (XI)
Recitative: “Madre! Mia Vita!” from Giulio Cesare

15. Duet: “Son
nata a lagrimar” from Giulio Cesare


Part III:

16. (XII)
Recitative: “Ah! Ruggiero crudel”

17. Scene:
“Ombre pallide” from Alcina

18. (XIII)
Recitative: “Ti stringo, o illustre acciaro”

19. Duet:
“Quando più minaccia il cielo” from Arminio

20. (XIV)
Recitative: “Verso il gran fine”

21. Aria: “Come
all’urto aggressor” from Deidamia

22. (XV) Aria:
“Venti, turbine” from Rinaldo

23. (XVI) “Dopo
tante amare pene” from Alcina


Best 100 20th Century

Specially-priced six-CD set and
downloads available May 19 from EMI Classics

EMI Classics’ successful “Best 100”
series turns its spotlight on the sprawling musical legacy of the 20th
century.  Best 100 20th
Century Classics
features a fascinating collection of the most popular works
composed between 1900 and 1999as well as representative pieces by composers
who broadened the concept of classical music during that period and those who
pushed its boundaries to the limits.

Like all of the previous installments in
the series, the new six-CD collection features world-class performances from
the EMI Classics and Virgin Classics catalogs at a truly remarkable price: six
CDs for the price of one.

The works featured on Best 100 20th
Century Classics
are arranged thematically as follows:

CD 1: “The Last of the Romantics”
(includes Rachmaninov, Holst, Vaughan Williams, and Rodrigo)

CD 2: “Innovators” (includes Stravinsky,
Webern, Berg, Schoenberg, Bartók, and Britten)

CD 3: “Brave New World” (includes
Messiaen, Tavener, Adès, Lutoslawski, and Gubaidulina)

CD 4: “America” (includes Barber,
Gershwin, Copland, Ives, Cage, Reich, Carter, and Adams)

CD 5: “Instrumental and Chamber”
(Includes Scriabin, Kreisler, Pärt, Schnittke, and Ravel)

CD 6: “Choral and Vocal” (includes Orff,
Boulez, Rutter, McCartney, Puccini, and Lloyd Webber)


André Previn – The Great Recordings (80th
Birthday Tribute)

Specially priced ten-CD set available May 19
from EMI Classics

In April 2009, the musical world
celebrates the 80th birthday of one of the most versatile of
musicians, André Previn.  Born in
Berlin on April 6, 1929, but based in Los Angeles since fleeing with his family
from the Nazis, Previn has been as prolific as he has been multi-faceted.  His credits as arranger, composer,
conductor, or music director include the films Three Little Words (1950) with Fred
Astaire; Kiss me, Kate (1953); and Silk Stockings (1957), also with
Astaire.  In 1958, Previn received
the first of four Oscars – he has been nominated no fewer than 13 times – for
his work on Gigi.  Next came Porgy
and Bess

(1959), Irma la douce (1963), and My Fair Lady (1964) – the musical
from which he went on to make a highly successful crossover album of jazz

A true musical statesman, Previn excelled
as a soloist (as on his classic recording of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Piano Concerto), accompanist
(acclaimed for his stunning collaborations with Itzhak Perlman), conductor (his
recording of Ravi Shankar’s Sitar Concerto No.1, as well as his numerous
recordings of both traditional favorites and daring modern compositions), and
composer (his opera A Streetcar Named Desire received its premiere
in 1998).

EMI Classics’ new ten-CD set brings
together his greatest recorded moments, celebrating 80 years of magnificent
music from this remarkable man.


The Sound of Scandinavia

Specially priced six-CD set available May 19
from EMI Classics

The music of the three countries known
collectively as Scandinavia (Norway, Denmark, and Sweden) plus that of Finland,
is largely known through the works of just three great composers: the Norwegian
Edvard Grieg; the Dane Carl Nielsen, and the Swedish-speaking Finn Jean
Sibelius.  This new set of six CDs
not only brings together a selection of works by these three masters, but also
puts them in the company of some other lesser-known, but no less deserving,
composers such as Niels W. Gade, Franz Berwald, Armas Järnefelt, Ture
Rangström, Lars-Erik Larsson, and more.

This set is a perfect way for fans of
Sibelius, Nielsen, and Grieg to explore the marvelous works of their
compatriots, helping to shine a spotlight on the unjustly neglected music of


Virgin de Virgin Series

Five new titles

TwoCD set and downloads available
May 19 from Virgin Classics

Virgin Classics adds five new titles to its Virgin
de Virgin

series.  These handsomely
repackaged two-CD sets offer core classical and romantic repertoire at
attractive prices, performed by renowned Virgin Classics artists.  The new installment features acclaimed
recordings of symphonies by Brahms and Tchaikovsky, as well as newer works from
Tavener and Artango. 

Métropole, Un Soir

Fabrice Ravel-Chapuis, Jacques Trupin

Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2;
Academic Festival Overture; Haydn Variations

Houston Symphony / Christoph Eschenbach

Symphonies Nos. 3 & 4; Alto Rhapsody; Tragic Overture

Symphony / Christoph Eschenbach

Thunder Entered Her
; The Last Sleep of
the Virgin
; The Hidden Treasure

Chilingirian Quartet, Winchester
Cathedral Choir / David Hil

Symphonies Nos. 5 & 6; The Tempest
Romeo and Juliet

Symphony Orchestra / Andrew Litton

Virgin Veritas Series

Five new titles

Two-CD set and downloads available May 19 from
Virgin Classics

Veritas, Virgin Classics’ early
music and period instrument performance reissue series, has made its mark with
95 titles currently available and nearly a million sales to date
world-wide.  With liner notes in
English, German, and French, beautiful cover designs, and top-notch
performances, Veritas offers listeners unsurpassable value.

This new installment offers recordings of
Bach’s towering Mass in B Minor, as well as his remarkable Goldberg
, Mozart’s lively Violin Sonatas, motets from Campra and Couperin,
and pieces for viol by Marais.

Goldberg Variations
, Toccatas

van Asperen

Bach: Mass in B Minor

Vocale / Philippe Herreweghe

Couperin: Motets

Arts Florissants / William Christie

Marais: Pièces de Viole

Hantaï, Pierre Hantaï, Alix Verzier

Mozart: Violin Sonatas

Jaap Schröder, Lambert Orkis


EMI Classics and Virgin Classics expand
presence on YouTube

With approximately 200 promotional
videos already posted, EMI Classics and Virgin Classics are already making
waves on YouTube with their own official YouTube channel:

With many new videos scheduled to
follow, and an ambitious consumer campaign launching soon to draw attention to
them, the millions of viewers who now regularly visit YouTube will have
increasing opportunities to meet and hear some of the most compelling artists
of our time performing and discussing classical music “up close and personal.”

Recently posted videos include Kate
Royal singing excerpts – including Dvorák’s ravishing “Song of the Moon” – from
her new album, Midsummer Night; Evgeny Kissin performing Prokofiev’s Piano Concertos Nos.
2 and 3; Angela Gheorghiu’s new recording of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly; Philippe Jaroussky’s recital of
French songs, Opium; and Simon Rattle’s program of Ravel operas with the Berlin

Among the most frequently viewed
videos currently available are: trumpeter Alison Balsom performing Haydn and
Hummel; pianist David Fray playing Bach Piano Concertos; and Emmanuel Pahud and
Trevor Pinnock playing Bach’s Flute Sonatas.


Critical acclaim for recent
EMI Classics and Virgin Classics releases

Bach: Cantatas

Natalie Dessay, soprano

Le Concert d’Astrée
/ Emmanuelle Haïm

January 2009 on Virgin Classics

“Bach’s cantatas are, by turns, the
least known, most severe, wildly inventive, sometimes slapdash, and
occasionally routine corner of his output.  They also lack a certain marketing zing, which is why it’s
gratifying to see major star singers devoting entire discs to them… .  The ever-savvy Natalie Dessay …
dominate[s] her disc with the well-known Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen and Ich habe genug … with serious, thoughtful
projection of the text and unceasingly inspired vocalism.”

   – David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer

Furore! – Handel Opera Arias

DiDonato, mezzo-soprano

Les Talens Lyriques / Christophe Rousset

January 2009 on Virgin Classics

Top rating: 10/10 for Artistic
Quality/Sound Quality.
  “This aptly-named CD
presents arias by Handel that find their characters in some sort of great
emotional stress.  This of course
means that in addition to searing characterization, the singer will require a
bag of vocal tricks that run the whole gamut: trills, wide leaps, endless
coloratura, and all of the other ‘gimmicks’ Handel expected his singers to
produce to express these feelings. 
Joyce DiDonato, a marvelous mezzo who already has made quite a name for
herself in Rossini, is more than up to the task….  Every aria here is a worthy experience and each grips the
listener.  Christophe Rousset and
his Les Talens Lyriques have a remarkable sense of drama, with mostly sharp
attacks and a few surprises, like the sympathetic, undulating accompaniment to
the insistent ‘Scherza, infida’. 
DiDonato is a remarkable singer and this is a terrific CD.”

   – Robert Levine, Classics Today 

EMI Classics
and Virgin Classics artists on tour – Spring 2009

May 5      Vivica Genaux stars in Rossini’s L’Italiana
in Algeri
at Pittsburgh Opera [through May 10] (Pittsburgh, PA)

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

7-9   Simon Rattle leads Philadelphia Orchestra at
Verizon Hall (Philadelphia, PA)

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

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

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

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

For further information contact:

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

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

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