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EMI Classics & Virgin Classics November releases

The 200th anniversary of the birth of composer and keyboard wizard Franz Liszt has brought a great deal of attention to his numerous and notoriously challenging piano works, but scarcely any to his vocal works. German soprano Diana Damrau addresses this imbalance with her release this month of a recital album dedicated exclusively to Liszt’s enormously appealing but unjustly neglected songs. Other new titles from Virgin Classics for November 2011 include the label’s first set of Beethoven’s complete string quartets, performed by Germany’s intense and dynamic Artemis Quartet, and the first release in an exclusive new partnership with young Ukrainian violinist Valeriy Sokolov: a pairing of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and Bartók’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with David Zinman conducting the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich. Highlights from EMI Classics this month include Antonio Pappano’s first Mahler recording – the Symphony No. 6, “Tragic,” performed with the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia – and The Celibidache Series, a four-volume, 48-CD celebration of iconoclastic conductor Sergiu Celibidache’s recorded legacy with the Munich Philharmonic on the occasion of the centenary in 2012 of the Romanian maestro’s birth.
Mahler: Symphony No. 6
Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia / Antonio Pappano
Two-CD set and downloads available November 15 from EMI Classics
Antonio Pappano leads the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in a gripping new recording of one of Mahler’s most powerful works: his Sixth Symphony. Pappano is currently music director of both the Royal Opera House, Convent Garden and the Orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, and this release is his first Mahler recording for EMI Classics. It also comes at the end of a major anniversary season for Mahler: July 2010 marked the centenary of the composer’s birth and May 2011 marked the 100th anniversary of his death.
Mahler’s Sixth is often referred to as the “Tragic” symphony, a description arising from its sometimes brutal intensity, particularly in the three hammer-blows that frame the finale. Written in 1903-04, which was ironically a happy and prosperous time for the composer, those three hammer-strokes, achieved by slamming a large mallet against a huge block of wood, were, according to Mahler’s wife Alma, a presentiment of the three “blows of fate” that struck in mid-1907 and would lead inexorably to Mahler’s death four years later: the death of their eldest daughter, his enforced departure from the Vienna State Opera, and the discovery of the heart defect that indeed felled him in the end. Despite the often relentless quality of the music, and its grim associations, it’s also a work teeming with Mahler’s all-encompassing love of life, particularly his passion for his wife, which is captured in a soaring theme – the so-called “Alma theme” – in the first movement.
Antonio Pappano discusses Mahler’s music here in an illuminating video interview for Universal Edition:
Liszt: Songs
Diana Damrau, soprano
Helmut Deutsch, piano
CD and downloads available November 29 from Virgin Classics
“A lustrous, agile soprano, and charisma galore”
– New York Times
Following Poesie, her celebrated album of songs by Richard Strauss, soprano Diana Damrau returns to the recital format to perform the unjustly neglected songs of Franz Liszt. These are songs of extraordinary beauty and subtlety, and Damrau’s voice – described by the Wall Street Journal as “glorious” – is practically made for them, while her piano accompanist, Helmut Deutsch, supports her every step of the way. The disc serves as a tribute to the composer in the year that marks the 200th anniversary of his death.
In choosing to visit Liszt’s songs, the German soprano is venturing into repertoire that, perhaps surprisingly, remains for the most part outside the mainstream of recital programming. Over a period of 45 years, Liszt wrote somewhere in the region of 70 songs, making two or more versions of over a third of them. Damrau’s collection includes his most frequently heard songs, set to German and Italian texts by, among others, Goethe, Heine, and Petrarch. They include the three demanding and exalted Sonetti del Petrarca, the evocative “Die drei Zigeuner” (which reminds us of Liszt’s Hungarian blood), the haunting “Die Loreley,” and the lyrical, wistful “O lieb, so lang du lieben kannst,” which was to become a “greatest hit” for the composer when he adapted it for piano, as the ever-popular Liebestraum, No 3.
Track list:
1.   Der Fischerknabe
2.   Im Rhein, im schönen Strome
3.   Die Loreley
4.   Die drei Zigeuner
5.   Es war ein König in Thule
6.   Ihr Glocken von Marling
7.   Über allen Gipfeln ist Ruh’
8.   Der du von dem Himmel bist
9.   Benedetto sia ’l giorno
10. Pace non trovo
11. I’ vidi in terra angelici costumi
12. Freudvoll und leidvoll (1848)
13. Vergiftet sind meine Lieder
14. Freudvoll und leidvoll (1860)
15. Es rauschen die Winde
16. Die stille Wasserrose
17. Bist du!
18. Es muss ein Wunderbares sein
19. O lieb
Tchaikovsky / Bartók: Violin Concertos
Valeriy Sokolov, violin
Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich / David Zinman
CD and downloads available November 1 from Virgin Classics
The young Ukrainian violinist Valeriy Sokolov, whose playing “requires every superlative in the dictionary” (Classic FM magazine), releases his first recording as an exclusive Virgin Classics artist, a pairing of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and Bartók’s Violin Concerto No. 2.
The 24-year-old Ukrainian, who was featured in the Bruno Monsaingeon 2006 documentary, Natural Born Fiddler, is joined by conductor David Zinman and the Tonhalle-Orchester. Their new album combines great concertos from the 19th and 20th centuries, both of which incorporate elements of folk music. The Strad magazine described one of Sokolov’s performances as “full of effective contrasts, steel alternating with velvet…, his sound sumptuous when he gave it free rein and thrilling when high on the G-string. It was dramatic and exhilarating, and bound together by a firm sense of direction.”
The French director Bruno Monsaingeon first encountered Sokolov when the violinist was 16 and studying at the UK’s Yehudi Menuhin School on a scholarship he had won in the Pablo Sarasate International Violin Competition. “Not the slightest tension marred the impression he gave of total ease with his instrument,” says Monsaingeon, citing the young violinist’s “absolute control of technique, a musical maturity…, and above all an utter abandonment to the flow of the music.” Sokolov, who won the Grand Prix of the George Enescu International Competition in 2005, went on to study at London’s Royal College of Music.
Sokolov plays music from the featured concertos, and discusses the extraordinary difficulty of the Bartók with David Zinman, in a video available here:
Beethoven: Complete String Quartets (now including Opp. 74 & 14)
Artemis Quartet
Seven-CD set and downloads available November 29 from Virgin Classics
This boxed set from the Artemis Quartet marks Virgin Classics’ first complete cycle of Beethoven’s String Quartets. Over the past two seasons, the Berlin-based Artemis Quartet has been performing Beethoven around the world. The New York Times hailed the ensemble as “one of the most impressive of the new generation of string quartets,” and described its Beethoven performances as “organic…riveting…engrossing…brilliant.”
The first of the Artemis Quartet’s Virgin Classics CDs of Beethoven Quartets was released in fall 2005. Now, nearly six years later, the complete Beethoven cycle becomes available in a box of seven CDs, including two previously unreleased items: String Quartet No. 10, Op. 74, known as the “Harp,” and a transcription for string quartet, made by Beethoven himself, of the Piano Sonata No. 9, Op. 14.
Tragédiennes, Vol. 3
Veronique Gens, soprano
Les Talens Lyriques / Christophe Rousset
CD and downloads available November 1 from Virgin Classics
In her third Tragédiennes album for Virgin Classics, French soprano Véronique Gens continues her exploration of French operatic repertoire. Tragédiennes, Vol. 3 covers the late 18th and 19th centuries, with a prime focus on roles for the deeper, darker-toned female voice. Christophe Rousset and Les Talens Lyriques join Gens once again for this release.
The main emphasis in this recital is on arias written for mezzo-soprano. Gens pays tribute to a quartet of Parisian divas who would today probably be considered mezzos: Marie-Thérèse Maillard, Cornélie Falcon, Rosina Stoltz, and Pauline Viardot. That Gens could have held her own in such exalted historic company becomes clear from BBC Music magazine’s assessment of her last Tragédiennes album:
“Passion, ardor, rage, tenderness – the full gamut of human expression emerges in this selection of works created for French operatic femmes fatales… . Music director Christophe Rousset and soprano Véronique Gens’s second disc of musical Tragediénnes is a thrilling mix of the familiar…and the little known… . The whole makes a wonderful odyssey… . Gens’s agile voice is the perfect vehicle to cope with these emotional extremes, from the enchanting to the chilling. She is never afraid to sacrifice pure beauty of sound in favor of rhetorical and dramatic effect, giving due weight to the plights, laments and plangent outpourings of these timeless, tragic heroines. Rousset coaxes some crack playing from Les Talens Lyriques, combining the immediacy and intimacy of chamber music with all the colors and intensity of a large-scale symphony orchestra.”
Special compilations, boxed sets, and reissues
EMI Classics – The Home of Opera series
Various artists
Ten new titles available November 15 from EMI Classics
With an unrivaled catalog 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 Riccardo Muti – EMI Classics, with its sister label Virgin Classics, can rightly claim to be the Home of Opera.
This month, ten more timeless operas join EMI Classics’ Home of Opera series, and the new batch of releases offers a particularly wide-ranging spectrum of repertoire. Among the highlights are Roger Norrington conducting Purcell’s The Fairy Queen; a Verdi rarity, Giovanna d’Arco, conducted by James Levine; Bernard Haitink conducting Richard Strauss’s Daphne with Lucia Popp in the title role; and Maria Callas in Giordano’s Andrea Chénier. A complete list of the ten new releases follows below.
Each Home of Opera CD multipack contains a 16-page booklet with introductions in English, German, French, and Spanish and a bonus disc containing synopsis and libretto with translations.
Information about the series is available at
SaintSaëns: Samson et Dalila
Plácido Domingo; Waltraud Meier; Alain Fondary; Jean-Philippe Courtis; Samuel Ramey; Choeurs et Orchestre de L’Opéra-Bastille / Myung-Whun Chung
Delius: A Village Romeo and Juliet
Elizabeth Harwood; Robert Tear; John Shirley-Quirk; John Alldis Choir; Royal Philharmonic Orchestra / Meredith Davies
Lortzing: Zar und Zimmermann
Robert Heger; Hermann Prey; Peter Schreier; Gottlob Frick; Erika Köth; Annelies Burmeister; Nicolai Gedda; Chor des Leipziger Rundfunks; Staatskapelle Dresden
Purcell: The Fairy Queen
Roger Norrington; Lorraine Hunt; Catherine Pierard; Susan Bickley; Howard Crook; Mark Padmore; David Wilson-Johnson; Schϋtz Choir of London; London Classical Players
Boito: Mefistofele
Julius Rudel; Plácido Domingo; Norman Treigle; Montserrat Caballé; Ambrosian Opera Chorus; London Symphony Orchestra
Handel: Alcina
Arleen Augér; Della Jones; Kathleen Kuhlmann; Eiddwen Harrhy; Patrizia Kwella; Maldwyn Davies; John Tomlinson; Opera Stage Chorus; City of London Baroque Sinfonia / Richard Hickox
R. Strauss: Daphne
Lucia Popp; Reiner Goldberg; Peter Schreier; Ortrun Wenkel; Kurt Moll; Chor und Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundrunks / Bernard Haitink
Richard Strauss: Die Frau ohne Schatten
René Kollo; Cheryl Studer; Hanna Schwarz; Andreas Schmidt; Cyndia Sieden; Tözer Knabenchor; Chor und Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks / Wolfgang Sawallisch
Verdi: Giovanna d’Arco
Montserrat Caballé; Plácido Domingo; Sherrill Milnes; Ambrosian Opera Chorus; London Symphony Orcehstra / James Levine
Giordano: Andrea Chénier
Maria Callas; Mario del Monaco; Aldo Protti; Silvana Zanolli; Orchestra e Coro del Teatro alla Scala di Milano / Antonino Votto
American Classics series
Five new titles
CDs and downloads available November 15 from EMI Classics
EMI Classics’ handsomely-packaged and generously-programmed American Classics series features single- and double-CD collections of music exclusively from American composers. The series spans the gamut of American music, from symphonies, concertos, and solo instrumental works to chamber music, songs, and opera.
This month’s batch of five new titles features delightfully jazzy twists and other surprises, including a collection of songs from Rodgers and Hart sung by Frederica von Stade; piano music from Louis Moreau Gottschalk, Scott Joplin, and George Gershwin; Itzhak Perlman performing works by André Previn; and American songs sung by Salli Terri. Additional details follow.
Louis Moreau Gottschalk: Piano Works
Leonard Pennario
American Piano
Gottschalk, Joplin, Gershwin
Leonard Pennario; Joshua Rifkin
André Previn
A Different Kind of Blues; It’s a Breeze
André Previn; Itzhak Perlman; Shelly Manne; Jim Hall; Red Mitchell
My Funny Valentine
Frederica von Stade sings Rodgers and Hart
Frederica von Stade; Ambrosian Singers; London Symphony Orchestra / John McGlinn
Songs of the American Land
Salli Terri
Jack Halloran Quartet, Roger Wagner Chorale
The Celibidache Series
Munich Philharmonic / Sergiu Celibidache
Four multi-CD volumes available November 29 from EMI Classics
The year 2012 marks the centenary of maestro Sergiu Celibidache’s birth. Celibidache was without question one of the most important and original conductors in recent memory. He was a resolute perfectionist who worked tirelessly to refine the sound of his performances, always with the end goal of creating a transcendent live experience for his audiences – experiences captured vividly on the stunning recordings released this month by EMI Classics. Brought together here in four special volumes, The Celibidache Series celebrates the extraordinary legacy of his collaboration with the Munich Philharmonic. Mastered to retain and recreate the vibrancy and impact of Celibidache and the Munich Philharmonic’s live performances, The Celibidache Series presents his finest, best-received recordings of Beethoven, Bruckner, Brahms, Schumann, and Fauré, as well as many others.
Celibidache, Vol. 1: Symphonies
Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, and Brahms
14-CD set
Celibidache, Vol. 2: Bruckner
Symphonies Nos. 3–9; Te Deum; Mass No. 3 in F minor
12-CD set
Celibidache, Vol. 3: French and Russian
Bartók, Debussy, Milhaud, Mussorgsky, Prokofiev, Ravel, Rimsky-Korsakov, Roussel, Shostakovich, and Tchaikovsky
11-CD set
Celibidache, Vol. 4: Sacred Music and Opera
J.S. Bach, Mozart, Weber, Brahms, Wagner, Verdi, Fauré, and Stravinsky
11-CD set
EMI Classics and Virgin Classics artists on tour – fall 2011
Nov 4
Ingrid Fliter: Beethoven and Chopin
Durham, NC (Duke University)
Nov 4
Xuefei Yang: Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez with Detroit Symphony / Joana Carneiro
Nov 17, 19, & 20
Emmanuelle Haïm: Handel’s Il delirio amoroso and Water Music with Los Angeles Philharmonic
Los Angeles, CA (Walt Disney Concert Hall)
Nov 25 & 27
Leif Ove Andsnes: Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 1 with Pittsburgh Symphony / Honeck
Pittsburgh, PA
Nov 28
Ian Bostridge, tenor and Thomas Adès, piano: music by Dowland, Adès, and Kurtág, plus Schumann’s Dichterliebe
New York, NY (Carnegie Hall)
Nov 30 & Dec 1
Leif Ove Andsnes: Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 1 with Montreal Symphony Orchestra / Roger Norrington
Montreal, Canada
Dec 31 – Jan 30, 2012
Joyce DiDonato: The Enchanted Island
New York, NY (Metropolitan Opera)
For further information:
Visit EMI Classics’ YouTube channel for video previews of many of its new and recent releases:
Glenn Petry, 21C Media Group: (212) 625-2038, [email protected]
Andrew Ousley, EMI Classics: (212) 786-8607, [email protected]
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© 21C Media Group, November 2011





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