Press Room

EMI Classics & Virgin Classics November 2009 releases

New releases available November 3

Leif Ove Andsnes and Robin Rhode: “Pictures Reframed”
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition; Schumann: Kinderszenen
Leif Ove Andsnes, piano; video materials and other visuals by Robin Rhode
Deluxe CD/DVD set, CD, and downloads available November 3 from EMI Classics
(Contact: 21C Media Group)

“Modest Mussorgsky’s famous suite Pictures at an Exhibition of 1874 is one of the most demanding pieces for solo piano.  It proved so experimental that, over the years, hundreds of artists have taken the work as a starting point for new interpretations.  Robin Rhode and I have joined forces and embarked on our journey – a new approach… . It’s an amazing adventure, and not without risks, but hopefully they are risks worth taking.”

 – Leif Ove Andsnes

After more than two years of preparatory work and intensive collaboration between artists who came together from very different worlds, “Pictures Reframed” comes to life this month in live performance and on a new CD and deluxe CD/DVD set from EMI Classics.

“Pictures Reframed” marks a new departure for Leif Ove Andsnes, the internationally-acclaimed Norwegian pianist and exclusive EMI Classics artist.  Together with South African-born visual artist Robin Rhode, he has created a special program that centers around Mussorgsky’s epic piano suite Pictures at an Exhibition and combines music, film, and still imagery.

EMI Classics will release a special luxury collector’s edition of “Pictures Reframed.”  It will include a DVD, comprised of a “making of” documentary by Norwegian Television (NRK) as well as a live preview performance of the multi-media work filmed in Risor, Norway in June 2009, and a CD.  The two will come packaged together in a deluxe exhibition-catalogue-style hardback book with a wide selection of images from the creation and final performance version of the project.  Also being released separately by EMI, the CD will feature a studio recording of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and other of the composer’s solo piano works coupled with Schumann’s Kinderszenen.

The world premiere of “Pictures Reframed” takes place on November 13 (with a second performance on Nov 14) at New York’s Lincoln Center (Alice Tully Hall), followed by live performances in the United States and throughout Europe during November and December (tour dates below).  Schumann’s Kinderszenen and a new work by the Austrian composer Thomas Larcher, written for the project and inspired by Rhode’s animations, are also integral to the live performance; both Andsnes and Rhode have worked with Larcher in the past.  The project’s commissioning sponsor is Statoil and its commissioning arts institution is New York’s Lincoln Center.

Leif Ove Andsnes is usually alone and center stage in recital; however, for “Pictures Reframed” he will be flanked by an installation of five screens that will surround the piano, evoking a room within an exhibition (NB: Some performances will only feature a single video screen displaying the film).  “There are pieces of music where you feel everything’s there, everything is said,” comments Andsnes.  “Pictures at an Exhibition, however, is the opposite, making it a perfect composition to experiment with, since Mussorgsky’s music is incredibly strong but also very open and experimental.  The main thing isn’t the notes themselves, but the composer’s grand vision.  For me, therefore, the original version of the work remains almost as a sketch that is open for transformations and changes.  You have this wild narrative of a person walking into an exhibition and he crashes into the first picture and is faced with various strong images and textures.  Later in the cycle he becomes a part of the picture and it takes on so many aspects.  It’s psychologically challenging.”

Leif Ove Andsnes and Robin Rhode share a fascination with Pictures at an Exhibition.  Rhode had already been experimenting with images based on Mussorgsky’s work, and his 2008 digital animation Promenade has become the opening sequence for “Pictures Reframed.”  With its colorful and constantly changing interplay between actor and drawing, it sets the scene fittingly for the musical narrative to follow.  “I have always worked very closely with music,” Rhode says, “playing with the notions of rhythm and sound.  This new project is not, therefore, so distant from my regular practice, although classical music has such an intense history and that will be a difficult challenge.”

Robin Rhode and Leif Ove Andsnes met for the first time in Munich in September 2007 and ideas for the program have been evolving ever since, moving from piano to studio and back to piano.  One of their early meetings took place in a derelict Berlin factory where Rhode started to draw on a bare wall – a backdrop that is often featured in his work, stemming from his introduction to art on the streets of Johannesburg.  As Rhode embellished the imaginary instrument, Andsnes stepped forward to perform on it, bringing another dimension to Rhode’s playful and often illusionary work.

Their adventure took them to Bergen, Norway, where Andsnes performed in a disused shipyard as water rushed in.  How a flooded piano (the same instrument that Andsnes had previously played on top of a mountain, an image of which was used to promote his Grieg anniversary release) brings their collaboration to a climax will be revealed as music and art converge on stage.

Norway’s Statoil has a long tradition of supporting musical talent; it presented Leif Ove Andsnes with the StatoilHydro Award for musical excellence in 1990.  This was the starting point for an ongoing affiliation, and, as part of this relationship, Statoil is proud to be the commissioning sponsor for “Pictures Reframed.”

Leif Ove Andsnes and Robin Rhode discussed their work-in-progress with NPR’s Robert Siegel in an “All Things Considered” feature, archived at the following link:

Fall 2009 tour dates for “Pictures Reframed”
November 13 & 14 New York, NY; Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center (world premiere)
November 16 Calgary, AB; Jack Singer Concert Hall
November 18 Chapel Hill, NC; University of North Carolina
November 20 Washington, DC; Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center
November 22 Houston, TX; Cullen Performance Hall (matinee concert)
November 24 Brussels; Palais des Beaux-Arts
November 27 Moscow; Tchaikovsky Concert Hall
November 29 Stockholm; Concert Hall
December 1 Hamburg; Kampnagel
December 2 Munich; Prinzregententheater Theater
December 4 London; Queen Elizabeth Hall (two concerts)
December 7 Naples; RAI Auditorium
December 9 Berlin; Radialsystem (two concerts)
December 11 Paris; Théatre des Champ-Elysées
December 13 Copenhagen; Concert Hall
December 17 Stavanger, Norway; Concert Hall
December 18 Oslo; Concert Hall
December 20 Cologne; Philharmonie


Sponsors and partners

Commissioning sponsor

Commissioning arts institution

Project and tour management 

CD & DVD partner

TV partner

Artistic curator Laurence Dreyfus

The artists

The internationally-acclaimed pianist Leif Ove Andsnes has been described as “the most accomplished pianist of the new generation” by the New York Times, and he was saluted for his many achievements in Vanity Fair, which named him one of the “Best of the Best” in its appraisal of leading politicians, businessmen, and artists from around the world in 2005.

Born in 1970 on an island off the West Coast of Norway, Andsnes gave his first professional concert at the age of 17 and soon after began his international career.  Still only 38 years old, Leif Ove Andsnes has enjoyed a career that has spanned nearly 20 years and led him to perform at all the major concert halls in recital, chamber music concerts, and concerto programs with the world’s leading orchestras and conductors.  His repertoire spans from Bach to the present day and, as an exclusive EMI Classics artist, he has recorded more than 30 discs, won three Gramophone Awards, and been awarded many international prizes.

Born in Cape Town and raised in Johannesburg, the 32-year-old South African Robin Rhode has emerged as one of the most exciting young artists in his field, avoiding the limitations of working in one artistic realm.  Rhode regularly uses performance and drawing to create multi-disciplinary masterpieces.  His work often consists of physical human interaction with the images he creates.  He draws commonplace objects on walls or on the floor, then takes photographs or films “using” these objects to create a sequence of events, a fluid action or interaction.  Rhode’s work is convincing especially because of its ability to straddle both these opposite worlds: the real and the imaginary.  He considers the world as a huge sheet of paper; every place is a potential framework for his drawings.

Based in Berlin since 2002, Rhode has shifted his guerilla tactics from the street to museums and galleries, although he continues to work in any and all locations that inspire him.  In 2005 he was the youngest artist ever to be featured at the Venice Biennale’s Italian Pavilion in the company of Francis Bacon, William Kentridge, and Stan Douglas, and since then he has mounted solo exhibitions at a number of leading galleries and institutions, including Perry Rubenstein Gallery in New York, Haus der Kunst in Munich, and White Cube and the Hayward Gallery in London.  He has the distinction of being the youngest solo artist ever to have exhibited at the Hayward; previewing his recent show, London’s Times wrote, “Rhode is a new kind of voice – a young, post-apartheid, mixed-race South African making art that engages both with modern art and street culture.”

Project updates, images and other special preview materials will be posted regularly at

An electronic press kit for the project is available on You Tube:

For more information on Leif Ove Andsnes:

For more information on Robin Rhode:


Chopin: The Complete Waltzes
Ingrid Fliter, piano
Available November 3 from EMI Classics
(Contact: 21C Media Group)

Reviewing Ingrid Fliter’s all-Chopin debut album for EMI Classics, Gramophone wrote that the Gilmore Award-winning Argentinean pianist was “clearly born for Chopin,” and noted, “Her playing is a marvel of the most refined fluency and affection… . Fliter will make lesser pianists wonder at her effortless musical grace and unfaltering command.”  Now, as music lovers worldwide prepare to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birthday in March 2010, Fliter returns to the composer’s music with her second solo album for the label, this time recording the complete waltzes.

Fliter was silver medalist at Warsaw’s Chopin Competition in 2000, and she describes Chopin as the composer who speaks most clearly to her.  She observes, “[His music] is like looking into a kaleidoscope of human life.  He concentrates all his ideas, all his creative energy, in a very short space of time.  He creates a whole world in each little piece.  It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that if it had not been for Chopin’s music I would not have been born.  My mother noticed my father for the first time while he was playing some Chopin waltzes during a party!  I have a vivid memory of being a child and of Chopin’s music, performed by Arthur Rubinstein, playing everywhere – in the living room, in the kitchen, in the car.  So I grew up loving Chopin’s music and accepting it as part of my everyday life.”

Fliter’s autumn 2009 recitals in Boston, Milan, London’s Wigmore Hall, and elsewhere, feature an all-Chopin second half, including a group of waltzes.  Her winter/spring 2010 recital program for performance in, among others, New York, Michigan, and Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, has an all-Chopin first half, including waltzes.

Last month, iTunes released a special EP of Fliter’s new album, featuring a selection of Chopin waltzes and other special tracks.


Schubert: Moments musicaux, D.780; Four Impromptus, D.899; Allegretto in C minor, D.915
David Fray, piano
CD and downloads available November 3 from Virgin Classics
(Contact: 21C Media Group)

Following his first two widely-praised albums from Virgin Classics (the first, thought-provokingly, pairing music by Bach and Boulez, the second a release of Bach keyboard concertos), the charismatic young French pianist David Fray turns to the music of Schubert.  The new recording features some of the Austrian composer’s most poetic works: the six Moments musicaux, D.780, the four Impromptus, D.899, and the Allegretto in C minor, D.915.  David Fray has on many occasions expressed his deep partiality for the great Austro-German repertoire.  He once explained, “If, over my life, I can play all the works of Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Haydn, Brahms, and Schumann, then I shall be very happy!”

A recital by Fray at London’s Wigmore Hall yielded this report at the review website MusicWeb International:

“Fray, on the evidence of this recital alone, is a very important pianist… . Clichés concerning French musicians, not least pianists, die hard, but the only thing Gallic about Fray’s performance was his appearance.  Indeed, if one closed one’s eyes during the two Schubert impromptus, one might have guessed at least ‘school of’ Wilhelm Kempff.  In his program notes, Jonathan Burton likened the C-minor Impromptu to ‘taking the tune for a walk,’ which was just how it sounded here.  Fray’s alertness to harmonic motion ensured that we were in safe hands with regard to the walk’s direction, whatever its diverting twists and turns.  Voice-leading was excellent, though never in a self-consciously ‘individual’ way.  The Erlkönig triplets were ominous but never melodramatic; this was an impromptu, not an aspirant sonata movement.  And the way in which the music died away – an especial strength of Fray’s performances throughout the recital – was truly magical, testament to his powers of touch and phrasing.”

This season, Fray will perform Ravel’s Concerto in G with the New York Philharmonic (Dec 3, 4, 5, and 8) and Beethoven’s Second Piano Concerto with the San Francisco Symphony (May 5, 7, and 8).

Last month, Fray won the 2009 Echo Classics Instrumentalist of the Year Award for his recording of Bach’s Keyboard Concertos. 

Mad Scenes
Natalie Dessay, soprano
CD and downloads available November 3 from Virgin Classics
(Contact: Mariko Tada at EMI Music)

The great French soprano Natalie Dessay has wowed audiences in recent seasons with a number of spectacularly-sung portrayals of great and often unhinged bel canto heroines.  “You’d be mad to miss it,” proclaimed the striking poster for the opening production of the 2007-08 season at New York’s Metropolitan Opera.  The image on the poster featured Dessay, waif-like and wild-eyed, in a wedding dress and in character as Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, opera’s quintessential mad heroine.  Such soprano characters who go insane are a prominent feature of 19th-century opera, providing composers with opportunities to write virtuosic and often adventurous music to express the wanderings of the poor heroines’ minds.  With Mad Scenes, listeners can hear Dessay in some of the most dramatic moments from her recorded discography, with six riveting scenes by two Italian composers, two French composers, and one (satirizing) American.

The program features mad scenes from both the French and Italian versions of Donizetti’s most famous opera (Lucie de Lammermoor and Lucia di Lammermoor), as well as portrayals of Bellini’s Elvira from I puritani, Ophélie from Ambroise Thomas’s Hamlet, and Meyerbeer’s Dinorah, from Dinorah, or Le pardon de Ploërmel.  Adding a special and fiery spice to the mix is a hilarious rendition of “Glitter and Be Gay,” Cunegonde’s justly popular showpiece from Leonard Bernstein’s Candide, which Dessay recorded live at the EMI centenary concert at Glyndebourne.

Among Dessay’s key engagements in the new season is one of the featured roles on the album, Ophélie from Thomas’s Hamlet, which she will perform at New York’s Metropolitan Opera from March 16 through April 9.

Track list
1. Donizetti: “Mon nom s’est fait entendre”; “L’autel rayonne”; “Ashton s’avance”; and “Je vais quitter la terre” from Lucie de Lammermoor
2. Bellini: “O rendetemi la speme”; “Qui la voce sua soave”; and “Vien diletto” from I puritani
3. Thomas: “A vos jeux mes amis” from Hamlet
4. Bernstein: “Glitter and be gay” from Candide
5. Meyerbeer: “Ombre légère” from Le pardon de Ploërmel
6. Donizetti: “Il dolce suono”; “Ardon gli incensi”; “S’avanza Enrico”; and “Spargi d’amaro pianto” from Lucia di Lammermoor

Handel: Oratorio per la Resurrezione di Nostro Signor Gesù Cristo
Camilla Tilling, soprano; Luca Pisaroni, bass-baritone; Kate Royal, soprano; Sonia Prina, contralto; Toby Spence, tenor
Le Concert d’Astrée / Emmanuelle Haïm, harpsichord, organ, direction
Two CD-set and downloads available November 3 from Virgin Classics
(Contact: Mariko Tada at EMI Music)

Emmanuelle Haïm continues her Handel series with Le Concert d’Astrée performing Handel’s sacred oratorio La resurrezione, written during the young composer’s period in Rome and first performed there in 1708.  The work recounts the events of Easter and the solo singers portray Lucifer, Mary Magdalene, an Angel, St. John the Evangelist, and St. Mary Cleophas.  It calls upon a large orchestra, led and directed at the first performance by the master violinist Arcangelo Corelli.

In April 2009, Emmanuelle Haïm led a performance of La resurrezione at London’s Barbican Centre, as part of a tour that also included Paris, Dijon, Aix-en-Provence, and Lille, France; Pamplona and Valladolid, Spain; and Salzburg.  Britain’s Guardian reported that: “Emmanuelle Haïm’s understanding of the relationship between sense and sensuality in Handel has marked her out as one of his finest interpreters, and her performance with her own Concert d’Astrée was notable for its immediacy and expression.  The playing had touches of magic as recorders and flutes comforted the uncomprehending saints, and flaring brass heralded the arrival of a new dawn… . Camilla Tilling’s joyous Angel let fly volleys of flamboyant coloratura…while the great Sonia Prina was vocally spectacular and immensely moving as Mary Cleophas.”

Salzburg’s Drehpunkt Kultur described Luca Pisaroni’s Lucifer as “dangerously honed” and Toby Spence as “a master of subtle ornamentation.”  Overall, the ensemble of singers was “technically and stylistically at the peak of today’s Handel interpretation,” while Haïm herself “knows how to ignite her ensemble to such powerful effect and then to restrain the emotion once more, so that the force of expression never runs wild.”


Beethoven / Korngold: Violin Concertos
Renaud Capuçon, violin
Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra / Yannick Nézet-Séguin
CD and downloads available November 3 from Virgin Classics
(Contact: Mariko Tada at EMI Music)

“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,” wrote the UK’s Guardian in its review of the French violinist’s recent Virgin Classics CD of Mozart concertos.

Capuçon’s Virgin Classics discography is substantial, but much of the focus has been on chamber music – only two previous discs have featured him in solo concertos.  Now he takes on two highly contrasting works: Beethoven’s noble and justifiably beloved concerto, a touchstone of any major violinist’s repertoire, and Korngold’s sweepingly romantic one, written in 1945 for one legendary violinist, Bronislaw Huberman, but premiered in 1947 by another, Jascha Heifetz.  Korngold, once known primarily for his spectacular film scores, has in recent years achieved a significant presence in opera houses and concert halls – notably with his early opera Die tote Stadt and with this concerto, which in fact draws on material that the composer originally produced for the Hollywood movies Another Dawn (1937), Juárez (1939), Anthony Adverse (1936), and The Prince and the Pauper (1937).

Dynamic young Canadian Yannick Nézet-Séguin, new Music Director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic, leads the orchestra on the new recording; he is also Principal Guest Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, which appointment led to an award from the Royal Philharmonic Society in May 2009.


New releases available November 17

Handel: Messiah
Ailish Tynan, soprano; Alice Coote, mezzo-soprano; Allan Clayton, tenor; Matthew Rose, bass
Choir of King’s College, Cambridge; Academy of Ancient Music / Stephen Cleobury
DVD available November 17 from EMI Classics
(Contact: Mariko Tada at EMI Music)

“Stephen Cleobury’s interpretation ticked all the boxes, with choir and orchestra impeccably balanced and soloists glowing.” 

– Independent (UK), review of CD release

Following the rush-release on CD of the live recording of Handel’s Messiah earlier this year, EMI Classics releases a DVD of this extraordinary performance in the magnificent setting of the Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge.  The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, and the Academy of Ancient Music are conducted by Stephen Cleobury with soloists Ailish Tynan, Alice Coote, Allan Clayton, and Matthew Rose.

The DVD of the concert on Palm Sunday 2009 was filmed and produced by Opus Arte.

This Messiah performance was at the heart of the fifth annual “Easter at King’s” festival and commemorated both the 250th anniversary of the death of George Frideric Handel and the 800th anniversary of the University of Cambridge.  The concert was carried via satellite – a first for a live choral concert – and was screened in over 85 cinemas across Europe and North America.  Further cinema broadcasts are planned in the U.S. and Canada in November/December 2009.  Further details of these broadcasts will be announced shortly.

Also this month from the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, just in time for the peak of the holiday season, is the EMI release of Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, available November 23 (see below).


Karl Jenkins: Stella Natalis
Alison Balsom, trumpet; Kate Royal, soprano; Alice Halstead, BBC Radio 2 Young Chorister of the Year 2008; Members of Adiemus; Tenebrae Choir; Jody Jenkins, ethnic percussion
CD and downloads available November 17 from EMI Classics
(Contact: Mariko Tada at EMI Music)

Karl Jenkins, the classically-trained master of “global crossover,” has composed a new work for choir and orchestra, Stella natalis, as a gift to music lovers of all stylistic and spiritual backgrounds for the 2009 holiday season.  Its coupling, Joy to the world, features Jenkins’s arrangements of carols from around the globe, in keeping with the composer’s inclusive and universal approach to the message of music.

The performers represent both classical and popular artistry.  “It has been a privilege,” Karl Jenkins said recently, “to feature the astounding talents of fellow EMI artists Kate Royal [soprano] and Alison Balsom [trumpet]… . The choir is Tenebrae, whilst as a counterpoint to their ‘classical’ sound, I have revisited my past and re-introduced the ethnic sound of Adiemus, featuring Mary Carewe, who sang on the first Adiemus album, Songs of Sanctuary, and Mae McKenna.  My orchestration has the usual classical and ethnic percussion mix, the latter played by Jody K. Jenkins and Zands.  The orchestra is the Marylebone Camerata, a hand-picked group of the finest young players in London, assembled by cellist Jonathan Byers.”

“Stella natalis means “star of birth” or “star of origin,” continues Jenkins, “and the music conveys the Christmas message of peace, goodwill, compassion, and a new beginning whilst using a wider palette of inspiration than is usual in such treatments: Zulu text, reference to Hindu gods, as well as the Old Testament, all make an appearance!  The libretto, for the most part, is by Carol Barratt together with some established text in Latin and English.”  Joy to the world consists of a set of Karl Jenkins’s idiosyncratic arrangements of carols from England, Germany, France, Spain, and the Caribbean, as well as the African-American Go tell it on the mountain.

Track list:
Stella natalis
1. “Celebro” (words: Carol Barratt)
2. “Lullay” (words: Barratt)
3. “Cantus triquetrus” (words: Barratt)
4. “Only heavenly music” (words: Barratt)
5. “Wintertide” (words: Barratt)
6. “Sleep child of winter” (words: Barratt)
7. “From our earth” (words: Barratt)
8. “The Protector” (Psalm 121: “I lift up my eyes to the mountains”)
9. “Donna nobis pacem / Grant us peace”
10. “Sing with joy” (words: Barratt)
11. “Jubilate Deo”
12. “Make we merry”

Joy to the world
1. “In dulci jubilo” [German]2. “Go tell it on the mountain” [African-American]3. “Silent Night” [German]4. “O Jesulein süss” [German]5. “Pat-a-pan” [French]6. “Son of Maria” [Spanish]7. “The First Noël” [English]8. “The Virgin Mary had a Baby Boy” [Caribbean]9. “We wish you a merry Christmas” [English]


New releases available November 23

Vivica Genaux, mezzo-soprano
Europa Galante / Fabio Biondi
CD and downloads available November 23 from Virgin Classics
(Contact: Mariko Tada at EMI Music)

Vivica Genaux, star of Virgin Classics’ complete recording of Vivaldi’s opera Bajazet, follows her 2006 solo recital of Handel and Hasse with a brilliant new program of Vivaldi arias.  The featured arias, teaming Genaux once again with Fabio Biondi and his Europa Galante, come from a dozen or so operas and include five arias never before recorded.

The balmy lagoon of Venice is a long way from the chill waters of America’s northernmost state, but Alaska-born mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux now lives near La Serenissima, and Antonio Vivaldi, the city’s emblematic composer, figures prominently in her repertoire.  Gramophone called her performance in Bajazet, which was nominated for a Grammy Award, “a show-stopping display.”  Opera News added, “True star status on this recording belongs to Vivica Genaux, whose performance of ‘Qual guerriero in campo armato’ sets what must be the new modern standard for coloratura singing.  Her swiftness and accuracy demonstrate why Genaux is the leading interpreter of the music written for Farinelli, the greatest vocal star of the Baroque era.”

Reviewing her disc of bel canto arias, Time Out New York declared, “Genaux might be the most exciting singer in the world.  Sinewy but lithe, her voice encompasses a wine-rich chest register, juiced up with just enough testosterone to keep things interesting, as well as luminous high notes that would do many a soprano proud.  Her Italian is crisp and peppery, and she rips through pages of runs and embellishments with jaw-dropping ease.”

Genaux observed, “There are plenty of pyrotechnics in this recital, but in the sense of using ornamentation to amplify the emotion – so there is rapid coloratura and more delicate ornamentation too.  I love working with Europa Galante, and Fabio, being a violinist as well as a conductor, understands that a singer can’t just go on forever on one breath, just as a violinist is limited by the length of his bow.”

According to Vivaldi expert Frédéric Delamea, “The dazzling arias in this program – some of which have never been recorded or, indeed, performed in concert – illustrate the different phases and forms of Vivaldian pyrotechnics, exploring every emotion and the most diverse dramatic situations, and continually varying instrumentation, tonality, and tempo.  The composer of the Four Seasons, flamboyant as ever, sets his unique operatic stamp.”

Track list
1. “Come in vano il mare irato” from Catone in Utica (Verona-Spring, 1737)
2. “E prigioniero e re” from Semiramide (Mantova-Carnival, 1732)
3. “Alma oppressa” from La fida ninfa (Verona-Carnival, 1732)
4. “Agitata da due venti” from Griselda (Venice-Fiera, 1735)
5. “Destin avaro” from La fida ninfa (Verona-Carnival, 1732)
6. “Il labbro ti lusinga” from an unknown opera
7. “Vibro il ferro” from Ipermestra (Teatro della Pergola, Florence, 1727)
8. “Quell’usignuolo” from Farnace (Ferrara-Carnival, 1738)
9. “Splender fra’l cieco orror” from Tito Manlio (Roma-Carnival, 1720)
10. “Vorrei dirti il mio dolore” from Rosmira (Venice-Carnival, 1738)
11. “Nella foresta” from Catone in Utica (Verona-Spring, 1737)
12. “Ricordati che sei” from Farnace (Ferrara-Carnival, 1738)
13. “Sin nel placido soggiorno” from an unknown opera


A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
(Recorded live on Christmas Eve, 2008)
Choir of King’s College, Cambridge / Stephen Cleobury
Two-CD set available November 23 from EMI Classics
(Contact: Mariko Tada at EMI Music)

This new, live, complete recording of the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols from Christmas Eve, 2008 includes traditional hymns, modern carols, old favorites, and new voices, all combining to convey the experience, both comforting and transcendent, of a service known and loved around the world.  The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is broadcast live on the radio worldwide every year and the release of this two-CD set coincides with the celebration of the University of Cambridge’s 800th anniversary and also with the frontline King’s Christmas release of the DVD-version of Handel’s Messiah.

The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge is the world’s most famous choir and one of today’s most accomplished and renowned representatives of the great British choral tradition.  The choir dates back to the 1400s and consists of 16 choristers and 14 choral scholars.  Its international reputation, established by the radio broadcast worldwide of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols each Christmas Eve, has been consolidated by regular international tours and by the critical and commercial success of its EMI Classics releases.


Special compilations, boxed sets, and reissues

Classical Beatles
Various Artists
Two-CD set available November 3 from EMI Classics
(Contact: Mariko Tada at EMI Music)

The Beatles were and remain the most influential pop group of all time and their songs have been covered not only by many other groups and solo pop artists, but also by a number of classical performers.

Classical Beatles includes classical cover versions of more than 40 original Beatles songs by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, as well as several titles by George Harrison.  The classical artists heard on the set include vocal groups the King’s Singers, the Vienna Boys’ Choir, Kindred Spirits, and the Swingle Singers in clever arrangements of Beatles favorites, as well as opera star Lesley Garrett singing “For No One” and “Blackbird” with orchestra arranged and conducted by the Beatles’ original producer, Sir George Martin.

Among the instrumental performers are the guitarists Manuel Barrueco and David Tanenbaum (mostly with orchestral accompaniment from the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jeremy Lubbock) and the duo piano team of Rostal and Schaefer (with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Ron Goodwin).

The program also includes several ingenious orchestral versions of Beatles songs arranged in the manner of Vivaldi and Bach, played by the Baroque Chamber Orchestra under Richard Edlinger, and a clever pastiche called the Beatlecracker Suite in which seven Beatles songs are presented in the manner of Tchaikovsky’s famous Nutcracker Suite.  The final work on the set is the magnificent Beatles Concerto, arranged by John Rutter, in which the duo pianists Rostal and Schaefer go to town on some nine Beatles songs in the grand romantic manner of Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, and Grieg, with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic under Ron Goodwin.


Maria Callas: The Legendary Duets
Two-CD set and downloads available November 17 from EMI Classics
(Contact: Mariko Tada at EMI Music)

The Legendary Duets is a new two-CD set featuring Maria Callas, the best-selling opera singer of all time, in duets with a number of the greatest opera stars of her day.  Some were her regular partners on stage and in recordings.  Others made only an occasional appearance in Callas’s career, but her talent was such that she invariably established an affinity with each of them in the studio that raises these duets to memorable musical and dramatic heights.  This desire always to make the very best of her musical associations was part of Callas’s total dedication to her work.

The two singers with whom she recorded most were tenor Giuseppe di Stefano and baritone Tito Gobbi, who both appeared with Callas on her very first EMI recording: Lucia di Lammermoor, made in Florence in February 1953.  Like Callas, both men were able to bring their operatic characters to life, not only by their superb singing but also by their vivid vocal acting.  The program here includes five duets with each of these great artists.

The much-loved American tenor Richard Tucker, who appears here with Callas in the closing scene from Aida, was her partner in the very first performance of her main career when he sang opposite her in La Gioconda in the Verona Arena in August 1947, and they were together again at the very end of her stage career when she gave two performances of Tosca at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House in March 1965 – one with Tucker and the other with Franco Corelli.

Other singers with whom Callas is heard on this album include the tenors Carlo Bergonzi, Eugenio Fernandi, Nicolai Gedda, Alfredo Kraus, Nicola Monti, and Ferruccio Tagliavini; the mezzo-sopranos Fiorenza Cossotto and Christa Ludwig; and the baritones Piero Cappuccilli and Rolando Panerai.

Track list
CD 1

1. “Vogliatemi bene” from Puccini’s Madama Butterfly (with Nicolai Gedda, tenor)
2. “O soave fanciulla” from Puccini’s La bohème (with Giuseppe di Stefano, tenor; Rolando Panerai, baritone)
3. “Oh, saró la più bella!…. Tu, tu, amore? Tu?” from Puccini’s Manon Lescaut (with Giuseppe di Stefano, tenor)
4. “Principessa di morte!” from Puccini’s Turandot (with Eugenio Fernandi, tenor)
5. “Libiamo, ne’lieti calici” (Brindisi) from Verdi’s La traviata (with Alfredo Kraus, tenor; Laura Zanini, mezzo-soprano; Piero de Palma, tenor; Vito Susca, Alvaro Malta, Alessandro Maddalena, basses)
6. “Parigi, o cara” from Verdi’s La traviata (with Alfredo Kraus, tenor)
7. “Ah, veglia, o donna” from Verdi’s Rigoletto (with Tito Gobbi, baritone; Giuse Gerbino, mezzo-soprano; Giuseppe di Stefano, tenor)
8. “È il sol dell’anima… Addio! speranza ed anima” from Verdi’s Rigoletto (with Giuseppe di Stefano, tenor; Giuse Gerbino, mezzo-soprano; Renato Ercolani, tenor; Carlo Forti, bass)
9. “Lassù in cielo” from Verdi’s Rigoletto (with Tito Gobbi, baritone)
10. “Miserere” from Verdi’s Il trovatore (with Giuseppe di Stefano, tenor)
11. “Mira, d’acerbe lagrime” from Verdi’s Il trovatore (with Rolando Panerai, baritone)
12. “Ciel! mio padre” from Verdi’s Aida (with Tito Gobbi, baritone)
13. “O terra, addio” from Verdi’s Aida (with Richard Tucker, tenor; Fedora Barbieri, mezzo-soprano)
14. “Son geloso del zefiro errante” from Bellini’s La sonnambula (with Nicola Monti, tenor)
15. “Vieni fra queste braccia” from Bellini’s I puritani (with Giuseppe di Stefano, tenor)

CD 2
1. “Mario! Mario! Mario!” from Puccini’s Tosca (with Carlo Bergonzi, tenor)
2. “Or tutto è chiaro” from Puccini’s Tosca (with Tito Gobbi, baritone; Giorgio Tadeo, bass)
3. “Senti, l’ora è vicina” from Puccini’s Tosca (with Carlo Bergonzi, tenor)
4. “Mira, o Norma…Sì, fino all’ore estreme” from Bellini’s Norma (with Christa Ludwig, mezzo-soprano)
5. “In mia man alfin tu sei” from Bellini’s Norma (with Franco Corelli, tenor)
6. “Ah, talor del tuo pensiero…Verrano a te” from Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor (with Ferruccio Tagliavini, tenor)
7. “Soffriva nel pianto…Un folle t’accese” from Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor (with Piero Cappuccilli, baritone)
8. “Dunque io son” from Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia (with Tito Gobbi, baritone)
9. “Stella del marinar!…L’amo come il fulgor del creato!” from Ponchìelli’s La Gioconda (with Fiorenza Cossotto, mezzo-soprano)
10. “Près des remparts de Séville” (Seguidilla) from Bizet’s Carmen (with Nicolai Gedda, tenor)
11. “No, tu ne m’aimes pas!” from Bizet’s Carmen (with Nicolai Gedda, tenor)
12. “C’est toi! C’est moi!” from Bizet’s Carmen (with Nicolai Gedda, tenor)


William Christie – The Official 30th Anniversary Edition
William Christie / Les Arts Florissants
Mid-priced CD and downloads available November 17 from Virgin Classics
(Contact: Mariko Tada at EMI Music)

“With his superb period ensemble Les Arts Florissants, William Christie has brought the French Baroque, and other Baroques, to vivid life, at home, on tour, and in recordings.”

– New York Times

Virgin Classics celebrates the 30th anniversary of Les Arts Florissants, one of the most influential and prolific ensembles in the world of authentic period performance, with a specially-priced 17-track collection drawn from the group’s distinguished catalogue for the label.

Les Arts Florissants was founded in 1979 by William Christie, an American musician, trained at Harvard and Yale, who had been living in France for several years.  He took the name of the group from a short opera written for Louis XIV by the French Baroque composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier.  The group’s major breakthrough came in 1987 with performances of Lully’s Atys at the Opéra Comique in Paris, and since then Les Arts Florissants has played a major role in the resurgence of interest in 17th– and 18th-century repertoire, in France and around the world.  The group has given staged and concert performances of operas, choral music, and other vocal works by composers such as Rameau, Couperin, Montéclair, Charpentier, Mondonville, Desmarest, Monteverdi, Landi, Rossi, Purcell, Handel, Gluck, Haydn, and Mozart.

William Christie comments: “This CD to mark the 30th anniversary of Les Arts Florissants brings together highlights from the recordings we have made for Virgin Classics since 2003.  From Charpentier’s Te Deum to Haydn’s Creation by way of Purcell’s Divine Hymns, Rossi’s Peccator pentito and Handel’s Serse, this selection illustrates the variety and richness of the repertoire I have approached with my ensemble over the last 30 years; it represents two centuries of music – French, of course, but also Italian, English, and German.  Some of the composers represented here were almost forgotten 20 or 30 years ago, but now they are fully recognized, appreciated, and celebrated.  That Les Arts Florissants has contributed to their rediscovery is a matter of great satisfaction for me.”


EMI Classics – The Home of Opera
First 21 titles in new mid-priced series available November 17 from EMI Classics
(Contact: Mariko Tada at EMI Music)

With an unrivaled catalogue of over 450 complete opera recordings produced over the last 60 years – and an illustrious succession of artists that today includes such names as Angela Gheorghiu, Natalie Dessay, Joyce DiDonato, Roberto Alagna, Antonio Pappano, and Alan Curtis – EMI Classics, with its sister label Virgin Classics, can rightly claim to be the Home of Opera.

Among the 21 releases launching a new mid-price series of complete operas are some of the “crown jewels” of the catalogue – interpretations that have continued to reign supreme over the decades.  These include the legendary Callas/de Sabata Tosca; Klemperer’s landmark Fidelio with Christa Ludwig and Jon Vickers; Karajan’s sumptuous version of Der Rosenkavalier with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf; and two magnificently cast and conducted Dons – Don Giovanni and Don Carlo – both under Carlo Maria Giulini.

Joining these classic sets are three important recordings from the last ten years that now move to mid-price for the first time: Tristan und Isolde, conducted by Antonio Pappano, with Plácido Domingo making his long-awaited debut as Tristan opposite Nina Stemme’s passionate Isolde; Lucie de Lammermoor (the version of Lucia that Donizetti made for Paris) starring Natalie Dessay and Roberto Alagna; and Dido and Aeneas, with Susan Graham and Ian Bostridge in an authentic-instrument performance under Emmanuelle Haïm.

Each opera set will include 16-page booklets with tracklists and synopses in English, French, German, and Spanish, and a CD-Rom featuring a PDF of the booklet, with original liner notes and complete libretto in the sung language, English, French, and German.

A further 20 titles will be offered in March 2010, with the aim of building this series to 100 Opera titles within two years.

Further information about the series is available at


The Very Best of Lesley Garrett
Lesley Garrett, soprano
CD and downloads available November 17 from EMI Classics
(Contact: Mariko Tada at EMI Music)

Lesley Garrett has achieved the distinction of being not only Britain’s most popular soprano, but also one of its best-loved musical celebrities.  Her career began in opera but her warm personality, her natural gift of communication with every kind of audience, and her ability to perform an amazingly wide range of music soon meant that she was in constant demand away from the opera house for concerts, tours, recordings, and television.  She has had her own series of shows on television and classic radio, and introduced many outstanding guests including Ian Bostridge, Michael Ball, Bryn Terfel, and Michel Legrand, all of whom appear with her on this album.

The repertoire in this collection ranges from the much-loved aria “Dido’s Lament” from Purcell’s opera Dido and Aeneas, dating from 1689, to brand new compositions by Tolga Kashif, who also arranged and produced most of the material on this album.  There are favorite operatic items by Mozart, Dvorák, Puccini, and Gershwin; familiar folksongs like “Greensleeves,” “O Waly, Waly,” and “Scarborough Fair”; moving hymns, including “Jerusalem” and “Abide With Me”; hits from the musicals Les Misérables and West Side Story; three of the delightful French Songs of the Auvergne; and a couple of Spanish songs.  In short, it showcases every aspect of the seemingly boundless talent of the inimitable Lesley Garrett.


Broadway Musicals – John McGlinn on Broadway
Various artists
Specially-priced twelve-CD set available November 17 from EMI Classics
(Contact: Mariko Tada at EMI Music)

This twelve-disc set brings together the five complete recordings of famous Broadway musicals made under the direction of the American conductor and musical theater archivist John McGlinn: Show Boat (1927) by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II; Cole Porter’s Anything Goes (1934); Irving Berlin’s Annie Get Your Gun (1946); Lerner and Loewe’s Brigadoon (1947); and Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate (1948).  The Show Boat recording also contains a substantial amount of extra material, either cut from the original production before opening, or written for subsequent revivals and the 1936 film.

Also included here are three compendium CDs of show material by outstanding composers like Jerome Kern, Kurt Weill, Vincent Youmans, and Leonard Bernstein, and a collection of overtures by three of the greatest Broadway composers of the first half of the 20th century – Cole Porter, George Gershwin, and Jerome Kern.  All these recordings have been meticulously prepared by McGlinn using the original orchestrations and arrangements, and the performers include some of the finest stars of the musical and operatic stage, led by Kim Criswell, Frederica von Stade, Teresa Stratas, Jerry Hadley, and Thomas Hampson.

John McGlinn’s untimely death in 2009 at the age of 55 was a great loss to all admirers of the American musical theater and this release is dedicated to his memory.

Budget-priced, this set also contains a 13th disc, a CD-ROM with extensive synopses and librettos for all the shows.

Track list
CDs 1-3: Kern: Show Boat
CD 4: Porter: Anything Goes
CD 5: Berlin: Annie Get Your Gun
CD 6: Lerner and Loewe: Brigadoon
CD 7: Porter: Kiss Me, Kate
CD 8: Porter: Kiss Me, Kate; overtures, etc.
CD 9: Jerome Kern treasury
CD 10: Kurt Weill on Broadway
CD 11: Kern overtures; Gershwin overtures
CD 12: Broadway showstoppers
CD 13: [CD-ROM] Extensive synopses and librettos 

Masterpieces of the 19th Century
Various Artists
Specially-priced 17-CD set available November 17 from EMI Classics
(Contact: Mariko Tada at EMI Music)

It was during the 19th century that European concert music began to escape the preserve of the Church and the aristocracy.  Many composers working in the early years of the century, Beethoven among them, were, to a greater or lesser extent, still working as employees of the Church or wealthy aristocratic classes.  This system of patronage was soon to break down and the role of the composer took on a more professional and academic character.  The new-found freedom, and the advent of Romanticism in the arts as a whole, revitalized music throughout Europe; composers began to experiment with new forms, making their music more personal and innovative.  This change of musical climate is clearly illustrated in this 17-CD set, which comprises works from most of the great composers of the time.

From Beethoven to Schoenberg, this set will take the listener on a fascinating chronological journey through the music of the 19th century by way of some of its greatest musical monuments: works such as Beethoven’s immortal Fifth Symphony and Brahms’s epic First Piano Concerto can be heard against the delights of Rossini’s overture to The Barber of Seville and the melodic sensuousness of Puccini’s La bohème.  Being arranged in strict order of composition, the programs throw up some interesting juxtapositions that, even to the seasoned listener, will be pleasantly surprising.

Also new to many listeners will be the little gem of a symphony by Spanish composer Juan Crisóstomo Arriaga, with which the fifth disc opens.  This was one of the last of only a few works completed by Arriaga, who died in 1826 just a few days before his 20th birthday.  This recording is now making its first appearance on CD.  Arriaga’s music has all the joy and exuberance found in the similarly youthful symphony by Bizet on disc 9.  The recordings have all, of course, been taken from EMI Classics’ incomparable back catalogue and every one is an artistic and technological masterpiece in its own right.


Various artists
Two-for-one CD set and downloads available November 17 from EMI Classics
(Contact: Mariko Tada at EMI Music)

Greatest hits compilations are as popular in the world of classical music recordings as they are in the pop music business.  As the first decade of the two thousands winds down, EMI Classics celebrates the occasion with its own high-powered nod to the genre, CLASSICAL 2010, a specially-priced two-CD set (available for the price of a single CD) featuring the greatest stars of today and legends of yesteryear in favorite works, from the world of opera and vocal music to orchestral and instrumental masterpieces.

Present day superstars heard on the new album include Sarah Brightman, Nigel Kennedy, Natalie Dessay, Angela Gheorghiu, Plácido Domingo, Rolando Villazón, Roberto Alagna, Sir Simon Rattle, Leif Ove Andsnes, and Joyce DiDonato.  Rising new artists are represented by countertenor Philippe Jaroussky, pianists David Fray, Gabriela Montero, and Ingrid Fliter, cellist Han-na Chang, and trumpet player Alison Balsom.  Also heard on the album are two top-selling choral groups – Libera and the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge.

EMI and Virgin Classics artists shine at Germany’s Echo Classics Awards

EMI Classics won ten out of 22 awards on October 18 at Germany’s Echo Classics Awards ceremony, which took place in Dresden’s Semperoper.  The ceremony included performances by two Virgin Classics winners: David Fray, who won Pianist of the Year, and Christina Pluhar, with her ensemble L’Arpeggiata, who were joined onstage by one of last year’s winners, countertenor Philippe Jaroussky.  The lifetime achievement award went to Plácido Domingo, who has made well over 100 recordings, most of them for EMI Classics.  A recap of the winners follows:

Instrumentalist of the Year – Flute
Emmanuel Pahud
Johann Sebastian Bach: Complete Flute Sonatas

Instrumentalist of the Year – Piano
David Fray
Johann Sebastian Bach: Keyboard Concertos

“Classics without Borders” Award
Christina Pluhar and L’Arpeggiata
Claudio Monteverdi – Teatro d’Amore

Piano Concerto Recording of the Year (18th Century)
Piotr Anderszewski / Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen
Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 1; Bagatelles

Concerto Recording of the Year (18th Century)
Alison Balsom
Haydn / Hummel: Trumpet Concertos

Cello Concerto Recording of the Year (20th-21st Centuries)
Gautier Capuçon
Antonín Dvorák / Victor Herbert: Cello Concertos

Opera Recording of the Year (20th-21st Centuries)
Ian Bostridge, Nathan Gunn, Jonathan Lemalu
London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus / Daniel Harding
Benjamin Britten: Billy Budd

Vocal/Choir Recording of the Year (20th-21st Centuries)
Rundfunkchor Berlin / Berliner Philharmoniker / Sir Simon Rattle
Igor Stravinsky: Symphony of Psalms
Chamber Music Recording of the Year (20th-21st Centuries)
Quatuor Ebène
Debussy / Faurè / Ravel: String Quartets

Music DVD Production of the Year – Opera
Natalie Dessay, Bruno Campanella
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Royal Opera Chorus
Gaetano Donizetti: La fille du régiment

Lifetime Achievement Award
Plácido Domingo



EMI Classics and Virgin Classics: Artists on tour – Fall 2009 

Nov 5
Joyce DiDonato: New York City Opera Gala Concert (New York, NY)
Nov 10
Xuefei Yang: Recital in Benaroya Hall (Seattle, WA)
Nov 11–13
Simon Rattle and Berlin Philharmonic: Brahms Symphony cycle at Carnegie Hall (New York, NY)
Nov 13
Xuefei Yang: Recital in Herbst Theatre (San Francisco, CA)
Nov 13 and 14
Leif Ove Andsnes and Robin Rhode: World premiere of “Pictures Reframed” at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center (New York, NY)
Nov 14-22
David Daniels: Orfeo in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice at Atlanta Opera (Atlanta, GA)
Nov 15
Simon Rattle and Berlin Philharmonic: Brahms Symphonies Nos. 3 and 4 at Symphony Hall (Boston, MA)
Nov 15
Xuefei Yang: Recital at Willamette University (Salem, OR)
Nov 16
Joyce DiDonato: Recital in Herbst Theatre (San Francisco, CA)
Nov 16
Simon Rattle and Berlin Philharmonic: Brahms Symphony No. 2 and other works at Symphony Center (Chicago, IL)
Nov 17
Simon Rattle and Berlin Philharmonic: Brahms Symphonies Nos. 3 and 4 at University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI)
Nov 18
Leif Ove Andsnes and Robin Rhode: “Pictures Reframed” at University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill, NC)
Nov 19-22
Gabriela Montero: Debut with Seattle Symphony performing Mozart Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K. 467 (Seattle, WA)
Nov 20
Leif Ove Andsnes and Robin Rhode: “Pictures Reframed” at Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center (Washington, DC)
Nov 20 and 21
Simon Rattle and Berlin Philharmonic: Brahms Symphony No. 1 (Nov 20) and Symphony No. 2 (Nov 21) at Davies Hall (San Francisco, CA)
Nov 22
Leif Ove Andsnes and Robin Rhode: “Pictures Reframed” at Cullen Hall (Houston, TX)
Nov 23 and 24
Simon Rattle and Berlin Philharmonic: Brahms Symphony No. 1 (Nov 23) and Symphony No. 2 (Nov 24) at Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles, CA)
Nov 26 – Dec 16
David Daniels: North American tour with Les Violons du Roy includes Handel’s Messiah (Dec 11) and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (Dec 12) at New York’s Carnegie Hall and Messiah performances at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles (Dec 15 and 16)
Nov 29 – Dec 19
Joyce DiDonato: Rosina in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia at Los Angeles Opera (Los Angeles, LA)
Dec 3-5
Nicholas Angelich: Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1 with Philadelphia Orchestra (Philadelphia, PA)
Dec 3, 4, 5, and 8
David Fray: Ravel Piano Concerto in G with New York Philharmonic (New York, NY)
Dec 4 and 5
Ingrid Fliter: Chopin Piano Concerto No. 1 with Cincinnati Symphony (Cincinnati, OH)

For further information, contact:

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

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

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© 21C Media Group, November 2009




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