Press Room

EMI Classics & Virgin Classics: October 2009 releases

Joyce DiDonato: Colbran, the Muse – Opera Arias by Rossini
Joyce DiDonato, mezzo-soprano
Orchestra e Coro dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
/ Edoardo Müller
CD and downloads available October 6 from Virgin Classics (contact: 21C Media Group)

“Is Joyce DiDonato the world’s best Rossini singer?” – Opera News

After her best-selling and critically acclaimed recording of Handel arias – Furore, the solo debut disc that launched her new exclusive relationship with Virgin Classics – the dazzling American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato turns to the music of Rossini, the composer with whom she is most closely associated.  “To make a recording of Rossini arias is a true dream for me,” says DiDonato.  “His works have been hugely responsible for giving me the opportunity to break into this crazy opera world, and they have given me such incredible joy on the stage.”

DiDonato explains the concept behind her new album, a tribute to the master’s greatest muse:

“I wanted to take this wonderful opportunity to show the wide, surprising range of his compositions.  He was incredibly inspired by his wife, Isabella Colbran – the reigning, supreme diva of her day – and so it is revealing to explore some of the nine roles he wrote for her.  I think it will afford wonderful insight into how a composer is inspired by a particular muse, to hear how Isabella ignited incredibly creative forces in him.  She was widely hailed in her relatively short career for her incredible range – not only vocal, but dramatic too – and that will be evident here as we explore the heartbreaking pathos of Desdemona, the hopeful triumph of Semiramide, and the unleashed power of Armida.”

The program also includes two arias from La donna del lago, in which DiDonato is scheduled to sing the role of Elena over the coming seasons in Geneva, Paris, Milan, and London.  Written for the soprano Colbran, this role was a great success in the 1980s for DiDonato’s idol, fellow high mezzo Frederica von Stade.  Apart from Rosina’s “Una voce poco fa,” available as a digital-only bonus track from iTunes, the other arias on the CD, from Otello, Semiramide, Armida, Maometto II, and Elisabetta regina d’Inghilterra, were also composed for Colbran.

DiDonato has been described as “A superstar in the Rossini repertory” (Chicago Tribune) and, in its review of her Carnegie Hall appearance in January 2009 with James Levine and the Met Orchestra, Opera News answered the question “Is Joyce DiDonato the world’s best Rossini singer?” with the observation: “That title certainly seemed hers by sovereign right.”  It continued, “Her phrasing was silky, her timbre rich and glowing, and her ornaments were impeccably stylish and utterly beguiling.  Most impressive was DiDonato’s combination of immaculate technical control with an air of wild, unstoppable joy.  This was truly a moment to treasure from an artist who is at the very top of her game.”

This summer, DiDonato made headlines around the world when she broke her leg during a performance as Rosina in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia at London’s Covent Garden but managed to finish the performance (to superb reviews) on a crutch.  She then completed her run of performances as Rosina, singing from a wheelchair.  An excerpt of the news coverage from a UK TV station is viewable at the following link:

 Fall highlights for DiDonato include a return to New York’s Metropolitan Opera (October 3 – November 7) and a debut at Los Angeles Opera (November 29 – December 19), where, in both cases, she will again star as Rosina in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia.  On November 5 she sings in a special gala concert for New York City Opera, and on November 16 she will give a recital at San Francisco’s Herbst Theatre.  On November 19 she will be honored with an Opera News Award at a gala event in New York City.

Joyce DiDonato’s blog, described by Town and Country as “deliciously unguarded,” can be found at

Track List: 

1. “D’amore al dolce impero” from Armida

2. “Oh! mattutini albori!” from La donna del lago

3. “Tanti affetti in tal momento” from La donna del lago

4. “Fra il padre, e fra l’amante” from La donna del lago

5. “Giusto ciel in tal periglio” from Maometto II

6. “Quanto è grato all’alma mia” from Elisabetta regina d’Inghilterra

7. “Serena i vaghi rai…”from Semiramide

8. “Bel raggio lusinghier” from Semiramide

9. “Ah! Dagli affanni oppressa” from Otello

10. “Nessun maggior dolore” from Otello

11. “O come infino al cor” from Otello

12. “Assisa a un piè d’un salice” from Otello

13. “Deh, calma, o ciel” from Otello

14. “Se al mio crudel” from Armida

15. “Dove son’io” from Armida

16. “È ver…gode quest’anima” from Armida

Brahms: The Symphonies
Berlin Philharmonic / Simon Rattle
Specially-priced three-CD set and downloads available October 6 from EMI Classics (contact: Mariko Tada / EMI Classics)

“Among modern recordings, few are as well recorded or as sumptuously executed.”
Times [London] review of Rattle’s new Brahms Symphonies cycle

On the heels of a critically-acclaimed recording of Brahms’s beloved Requiem, which won both a Grammy and a Gramophone Award, Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic turn to the composer’s four symphonies, which Rattle and the orchestra recorded in concert at Berlin’s famed Philharmonie in autumn 2008.

Discussing these recordings and performances of the Brahms symphonies, Rattle agreed that Brahms is very much at the center of the Berlin Philharmonic’s sound and style of playing.  “Of course, the works were newly minted when the Orchestra was [being born] – in the first three years of the Orchestra’s history, they played all of them.”  He also described the particular sound of Brahms, “steeped in the German ethos, the idea of the forests, and the sound of horns coming from a distance, even the forest colors,” and confirmed that performing these works with the Berlin Philharmonic, which has been hailed as the world’s greatest Brahmsian orchestra, “gives you a possibility of colors that you have almost nowhere else.”

Rattle’s new Brahms cycle is available from EMI Classics at a special price: three CDs for the price of two full-price CDs. The set has been included in NPR’s Exclusive First Listen series from September 29 to October 6, which allows visitors the ability to stream the entire album on-line before release date:

In response to live performances by Rattle and the orchestra, a critic for Die Zeit observed, “Simon Rattle has finally dared to tackle Brahms with the Berliner Philharmoniker.  He combines Furtwängler’s monumentality with Karajan’s beautiful sound.”  Following a Rattle/BPO performance of Brahms’s Third at London’s BBC Proms in September 2008, Andrew Clark, writing for the Financial Times, called it “the most beautiful performance of this work I have heard, radiating a profundity that was not lost on a rapt Proms audience.”

More recently, Fiona Maddocks reviewed Rattle’s new Brahms Symphonies cycle for Britain’s Guardian and concluded, “There are no gimmicks, only an impressive fidelity to the score.  The orchestra and their chief conductor, Simon Rattle, have reclaimed Brahms as the impassioned master of German Romanticism: beautifully shaped horn solos, richly glowing strings, exquisitely phrased woodwind… . In sum, a revelation, which rewards repeated listening.”  Similarly, Ivan Hewett concluded his five-star review for London’s Daily Telegraph with this simple observation: “Altogether this is a marvelous achievement.”

Simon Rattle and the BPO will perform a cycle of Brahms’s four symphonies at New York’s Carnegie Hall in November (11–13), as well as programs featuring Brahms’s symphonies in Boston (Nos. 3 and 4 on Nov 15), Chicago (No. 2 on Nov 16), Ann Arbor (Nos. 3 and 4 on Nov 17), San Francisco (No. 1 on Nov 20; No. 2 on Nov 21), and Los Angeles (No. 1 on Nov 23; No. 2 on Nov 24).  A preview of the project is available at

Verdi: Requiem
Anja Harteros, Sonia Ganassi, Rolando Villazón, René Pape
Orchestra and Chorus of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia / Antonio Pappano
CD and downloads available October 6 from EMI Classics
(contact: Mariko Tada / EMI Classics)

“A recording of the Verdi Requiem to put alongside famous sets by Gardiner, Giulini, and Toscanini.”
Gramophone CD of the Month, October 2009

Following the release of his well-received recording of Madama Butterfly, Music Director Antonio Pappano returned to the Orchestra and Chorus of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in January 2009 for performances of Verdi’s spectacular Requiem, with stellar soloists Anja Harteros, Sonia Ganassi, Rolando Villazón, and René Pape.  EMI Classics microphones were on hand to record the concerts.

Reviewing one of the performances, Hugh Canning wrote in London’s Sunday Times, “To hear Italians in this great music is nearly always a special treat.  It is in their blood, and their native empathy, combined with the discipline of Pappano’s American and northern European training, made for a gripping occasion, a performance of enthralling beauty and visceral thrills.”  Mya Tannenbaum of Italy’s Corriere della Sera said, “It was certainly an unforgettable emotional journey. … Pappano was more emotional than ever but controlled, a great master of contrasts and silences.”

In the words of Antonio Pappano, himself born to Italian parents, “This is a Requiem written by an Italian and I think Italians’ relationship to religion is explosive, full of temperament, full of fear… . And the specter of being punished, of sins – it sounds like an opera I’m describing. … I love doing this piece here in Rome with an Italian chorus and an Italian orchestra, and they have an innate sense of what this music is about, how to bring it to life.  They really know what the words mean.  They have lived what it is to be religious or spiritual in Italy.”  Pappano discusses the work, and the new recording, in great detail in a September 2009 cover story for Gramophone magazine.

Gramophone’s James Inverne offers this observation in his “Editor’s Choice” commentary for the October 2009 issue, which names Pappano’s new recording “CD of the Month”: “Listen at random to any one part of Pappano’s reading and it can seem driven to extremes, but listen to the whole thing and everything seems entirely right.  For this is a journey moving inexorably to something at once glorious and frightening.”

The initial limited edition print-run for this new recording will be a six-panel digipack with a 28-page booklet, available for a special price. 

Bruch: Violin Concerto No. 1; Brahms: Violin Concerto
Sarah Chang, violin
Dresdner Philharmonie / Kurt Masur
CD and downloads available October 6 from EMI Classics (contact: 21C Media Group)

An exclusive EMI Classics artist for nearly two decades, violinist Sarah Chang teams up with Kurt Masur and the Dresdner Philharmonie on a new recording pairing Brahms’s epic concerto with Bruch’s Concerto No. 1.  Chang calls Masur her “musical godfather,” having worked with him since she was ten years old.  Twenty years after first learning the Brahms Concerto, and after studying the concerto with Masur extensively for several years, Chang decided to commit the seminal work to disc, pairing it with Bruch’s popular G-minor concerto, which she describes as one of her favorites.

Following Chang’s performance of the Bruch G-minor with London’s Philharmonia in May, MusicWeb International reported, “Chang went all out for the piece, singing her lines lovingly and bringing a special feel to the work, as if seeing the music anew.  The slow movement was especially heart rending, the solo line soaring above the orchestra as if in ecstasy.”  Chang will perform the work – as well as the Brahms concerto – extensively in the U.S., Europe, and Asia in coming seasons, including a Bruch performance in Los Angeles on March 11 and a Brahms one in Fort Worth on May 7–9.

Brahms: String Quartet No. 1; Piano Quintet
Ebène Quartet
Akiko Yamamoto, piano
CD and downloads available October 6 from Virgin Classics (contact: 21C Media Group)

“Even in a scene chock-full of excellent young groups, the Ebène Quartet stands out for the intensity of its performances and its striking sonic range, as heard on a recently-released Virgin Classics CD nicely filled with exacting, atmospheric accounts of quartets by Fauré, Debussy, and Ravel.”
– Time Out New York

Last season, the Paris-based Ebène Quartet made huge waves with much-discussed live performances in the U.S. and with its debut recording for Virgin Classics, an all-French album featuring quartets by Debussy, Ravel, and Fauré, which has just won the coveted Gramophone “Record of the Year” award.  For its second release for the label, the Ebène offers an all-Brahms program, pairing the composer’s String Quartet No. 1 with his Piano Quintet.  Japanese pianist Akiko Yamamoto joins the quartet for the latter.  When the five musicians played the piece together in London in 2006, the Independent reported, “This talented group wound up their concert with a brilliant performance of Brahms’s Piano Quintet in F minor, with the piano acting as a firm anchor, while the strings sang their hearts out.  Come back soon.”

 Following the Ebène’s performance at Carnegie’s Weill Hall this past season, Alex Ross wrote in the New Yorker:

“Their playing was…secure, alive, rich-toned, and profoundly musical… . Brahms’s String Quartet in C minor seethed with drama… . Their performance of the Ravel Quartet was a riot of nuance, sometimes raptly lyrical and sometimes swingingly rhythmic.  A recent Virgin Classics CD of the Ravel, Debussy, and Fauré quartets shows similar virtues.  In a wacky encore, which involved both playing and humming variations on ‘Some Day My Prince Will Come,’ the Ebène revealed that they don’t take themselves too seriously.  They seem bound for greatness all the same.”

The Ebène also stirred great excitement with a YouTube video capturing them playing “Misirlou,” a tune made famous by surf guitarist Dick Dale and its inclusion in the film Pulp Fiction:

The Ebène return to the U.S. this season for concerts in eight cities including Los Angeles (Feb 14), Miami (Feb 17), and Washington DC (Feb 23).

Vivaldi: The Four Seasons – 20th Anniversary Edition CD/DVD
Nigel Kennedy, violin
Specially-priced CD/DVD-set available October 6 from EMI Classics
(contact: Mariko Tada / EMI Classics)

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of Nigel Kennedy’s landmark recording of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, EMI Classics presents the 20th Anniversary Luxury Edition.  The set includes a CD featuring the original recording combined with a DVD featuring an award-winning film, images not previously issued, memorabilia, and a specially-written account of the unfolding event. 

Nigel Kennedy’s recording was released on September 25, 1989 on vinyl, cassette, and CD and went on to become the biggest-selling classical album in the illustrious history of EMI.  Beginning with sessions in November 1986 in the Church of St John-at-Hackney, London, it was a recording that would achieve unprecedented public and media attention.  It wasn’t until March 1989, after the slow movements had been recorded, that the master was completed. 

Vivaldi’s work, twelve movements in short three-minute bursts, was tailor-made for commercial radio.  It was the first time that commercial pop marketing techniques had been used in the classical world and the first time that Kennedy was unleashed on the media.  The album went on to sell over two million copies around the world, topping the U.K. Classical Chart for over a year, reaching number three in the U.K. Pop Album Chart, and entering the Guinness Book of Records as the bestselling classical recording ever.

“Fifth Beatle” George Martin said in 1989, “Nigel Kennedy’s version of the Four Seasons is like a breath of fresh air which is bound to blow away a few cobwebs around this well-known work.  It is sure to appeal to the young people.  A thrilling performance.”

Chopin: The Complete Waltzes
Ingrid Fliter, piano
Special EP available October 6 exclusively on iTunes 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.  A selection of them, and other special tracks, will be available for download exclusively from iTunes on October 6; the complete album of waltzes will be available on November 3. 

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.

Il bel sogno – Opera Arias
Inva Mula, soprano
Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra / Ivo Lipanovic
CD and downloads available October 6 from Virgin Classics

(contact: Mariko Tada / EMI Classics)

Praised for her superb technique and musicality, Albanian lyric-coloratura soprano Inva Mula performs a wide range of roles from the lyric, bel canto, and Mozartian repertoires.  She has sung such roles as Musetta in La bohème, the title role of La traviata, Antonia in Les contes d’Hoffmann, Gilda in Rigoletto, and Juliette in Roméo et Juliette throughout Europe and the Americas.

Mula opened the Paris Opéra’s 2009-10 season in the title role of Gounod’s rarely-heard Mireille, a tragic story of farming folk in 19th-century Provence.  Two arias from the work are featured on this new recital recording, alongside favorite arias from Faust, Thaïs, and Manon, demonstrating Mula’s credentials as one of the best “French” sopranos of today (she is also heard as Micaëla in the EMI Classics Carmen conducted by Michel Plasson); her achievements in the Italian repertoire are represented by arias from La traviata, Rigoletto, La bohème, La rondine, and Gianni Schicchi.

Reporting from Paris on Mula’s performance in Mireille, George Loomis wrote in the New York Times, “The role is a triumph for the Albanian soprano Inva Mula, a soprano of keen dramatic convictions… . Ms. Mula sings [the role] magnificently: the voice has considerable amplitude and a handsome focus as well as a slight tartness that nicely suits French opera.”

Track list

1.   Puccini: “Ch’il bel sogno di Doretta” from La rondine

2.   Puccini: “Si, mi chiamano Mimì” from La bohème

3.   Puccini: “Donde lieta” from La bohème

4.   Puccini: “O mio babbino caro” from Gianni Schicchi

5.   Gounod: “Trahir Vincent” from Mireille

6.   Gounod: “Voici la vaste plaine” from Mireille

7.   Massenet: “Adieu notre petite table” from Manon

8.   Gounod: “Le roi de Thule; Air des bijoux” from Faust

9.   Gounod: “Il ne revient pas” from Faust

10. Massenet: “Dis-moi que je suis belle” from Thaïs

11. Verdi: “Addio del passato” from La traviata

12. Verdi: “E strano!… Sempre libera” from La traviata

Digital bonus track: Verdi: “Caro nome” from Rigoletto

Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 3
Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 4
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5
Evgeny Kissin, piano
London Symphony Orchestra / Sir Colin Davis

Three single mid-priced CDs and downloads available October 20 from EMI Classics (contact: Mariko Tada / EMI Classics) 

Evgeny Kissin’s first complete recorded cycle of Beethoven’s five piano concertos, with Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra, was released as a special set last autumn, and this month becomes available on three single mid-priced CDs and downloads.

London’s Independent greeted the complete set with an enthusiastic five-star review:

“Few musicians have reached as many milestones, and accumulated as many plaudits, as Evgeny Kissin has in his brief but prolific career; but even by his standards, this three-CD set of all five of Beethoven’s piano concertos constitutes a remarkable achievement.  Captured with clarity at Abbey Road with the London Symphony Orchestra under Sir Colin Davis, it’s a landmark set which sets a new benchmark of modern Beethoven interpretation.  So intimately does Kissin inhabit these pieces that it’s like the musical equivalent of method-acting.  He’s well-acquainted with this material, having recorded the Second and Fifth concertos, though it’s in the Fourth that his energy, delicacy, and poise is most effective, Kissin vaulting with ease from introspective passages to cadenzas.  Less celebrated than the Fifth (“Emperor”), it’s probably the most innovative, a very modern-sounding composition which, in the melancholy edge given to even the most exuberant moments, prefigures Romanticism – all peerlessly realized in Kissin’s performance.”

Special compilations, boxed sets, and reissues

British Composers series
Five new titlesTwo-CD sets and downloads available October 6 from EMI Classics
(contact: Mariko Tada / EMI Classics)

Walton conducts Walton: Symphony No. 1; Belshazzar’s Feast; Violin Concerto; Viola Concerto; Partita for Orchestra
Yehudi Menuhin; Sir William Walton

In this set, a pairing from EMI’s 1994 Walton Edition, the composer is confirmed as an unbeatable interpreter of his own works, especially in the first CD, which features cracking accounts of the First Symphony and Belshazzar’s Feast.  Outstanding on the second disc is Menuhin’s luxuriant embrace of the sun-kissed Mediterranean lyricism of the Viola Concerto.

Vaughan Williams: A Sea Symphony; Hodie; Fantasia on Christmas Carols
Richard Hickox

This set couples two of Vaughan Williams’s largest choral-orchestral works and reminds us what a grievous loss to British music was the death last November of Richard Hickox.  He made this, his first recording of the Sea Symphony for Virgin Classics with his own London Symphony Chorus and the Philharmonia Orchestra in the suitably expansive acoustics of All Saints Church, Tooting in South London; this fine 1989 account has not been heard since a 1992 release on the Virgo label.  With the same chorus (and baritone soloist), Hickox went on the next year to record the high-spirited Christmas cantata Hodie.

Vaughan Williams: Four Hymns; Merciless Beauty; The Water Mill; The New Ghost; Ten Blake Songs; On Wenlock Edge
Warlock: Capriol Suite; Serenade; The Curlew
Neville Dilkes; Norman Del Mar; Ian Partridge

Among his many distinctions over a long career, Ian Partridge contributed to the catalog two recordings of music for tenor and small ensemble to which reviewers constantly return as their benchmark: On Wenlock Edge (Vaughan Williams) and The Curlew (Warlock).  Here they are together, in two CDs from the mid-1990s, the second of them an anthology issued to mark Warlock’s centenary.

Holst: The Hymn of Jesus, Op. 37; First Choral Symphony, Op. 41; The Wandering Scholar (chamber opera), Op. 50; At the Boar’s Head (a musical interlude in one act), Op. 42
Sir Charles Groves; Sir Adrian Boult; David Atherton

This set contains a number of pathbreaking recordings from the 1970s and 1981.  CD1 presents The Hymn of Jesus under Sir Charles Groves and the Choral Symphony – a large-scale setting of Keats – under Sir Adrian Boult.  On the second disc, the witty chamber opera The Wandering Scholar is paired with At the Boar’s Head, an extraordinary “musical interlude” from Shakespeare whose melodies are almost exclusively drawn from Playford’s dance tunes and from folksong.

Elgar: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2; In the South (“Alassi”), concert overture, Op. 5; Symphony No. 1 in A-flat, Op. 55; Serenade in E minor, Op. 20; Symphony No. 2 in E-flat, Op. 63
Sir John Barbirolli; Norman Del Mar; Constantin Silvestri

Heading up the release are Elgar’s two symphonies in the recordings Sir John Barbirolli made in 1962 and 1964 – the First with the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Second with his own Hallé.  Many Elgarians consider the account of the First Symphony unsurpassed, and if the Second is controversially expansive, the orchestra had certainly never played better.  With the several shorter Elgar works Barbirolli taped for EMI so well-served in the catalog, the opportunity has been taken here to restore two fine recordings that have been more difficult to find: the legendary In the South made by Constantin Silvestri at the Winter Gardens, Bournemouth, in 1967; and a warmly lyrical Serenade for Strings set down by Norman Del Mar the same year, again with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

Simon Rattle Edition: two new specially-priced boxed sets

In celebration of the 30th anniversary in 2010 of Sir Simon Rattle as an exclusive EMI Classics artist, the label has been issuing the best of his celebrated discography in specially-priced and arranged boxed sets.  This month’s two releases include collections of British and Russian music, the former complementing a previous issue of orchestral music by Britten, the latter complementing a previous set dedicated to the music of Stravinsky.

British Music
Music by
Adès, Arnold, Elgar, Grainger, Holst, Maw, Turnage, Vaughan Williams, & Walton
Specially priced eleven-CD boxed set available October 20 from EMI Classics
(contact: Mariko Tada / EMI Classics)

This new eleven-CD boxed set in the Simon Rattle Edition contains many favorites from the English repertory including Elgar’s “Enigma” Variations and Violin Concerto, Walton’s Symphony No. 1, Holst’s The Planets, and Vaughan Williams’s On Wenlock Edge.  This set complements the Simon Rattle Edition Britten boxed set released last year, and fans of British 20th-century classics and Simon Rattle are sure to want both.

Track list

CD 1 Elgar: Variations on an Original Theme for orchestra (“Enigma”), Op. 36; Grania and Diarmid, incidental Music, Op. 42; Falstaff, Op. 68

CD 2 Elgar: Violin Concerto in B minor, Op. 61; Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending (with Nigel Kennedy, violin)

CD 3 Walton: Cello Concerto; Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38 (Part I)

CD 4 Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38 (Part II)

CD 5 Walton: Symphony No. 1; Belshazzar’s Feast (with Thomas Hampson, baritone)

CD 6 Holst: The Planets

CD 7 Vaughan Williams: On Wenlock Edge; Songs of Travel

Arnold: Guitar Concerto (with Julian Bream, guitar)

CD 8 Grainger: In a Nutshell, suite; Train Music; Country Gardens; Lincolnshire Posy; The Warriors

CD 9 Adès: Asyla for orchestra, Op. 17; Maw: Odyssey (Parts I & II)

CD 10 Maw: Odyssey (Parts III & IV, plus Epilogue)

CD 11 Mark-Anthony Turnage: Drowned Out for large orchestra; Kai for solo cello and ensemble; Three Screaming Popes; Momentum for orchestra

Russian Music
Music by Borodin, Prokofiev, Rachmaninov, Shostakovich
Specially priced eight-CD boxed set available October 20 from EMI Classics
(contact: Mariko Tada / EMI Classics)

Track list

CD 1 Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition (orch. Ravel)

Borodin: Symphony No. 2; “Polovtsian Dances” from Prince Igor

CD 2 Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 2; Vocalise, Op. 34

CD 3 Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18; Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43

CD 4 Rachmaninov: Symphonic Dances, Op. 45

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 1 in F minor, Op. 10

CD 5 Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5 in B-flat, Op. 100; Scythian Suite, Op. 20

Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 1 in D-flat, Op. 10 (with Andrei Gavrilov, piano)

CD 6 Shostakovich: Symphony No. 4 in C minor, Op. 43

CD 7 Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10 in E minor, Op. 93

CD 8 Shostakovich: Symphony No. 14, Op. 135 (with Karita Mattila, soprano and Thomas Quasthoff, bass)

ICON Series

Five new titles: Richard Tauber; Lucia Popp; Leopold Stokowski; Nathan Milstein; Yehudi Menuhin; Stephane Grappelli
Specially-priced boxed sets and downloads available October 20 from EMI Classics
(contact: Mariko Tada / EMI Classics)

With EMI’s ICON series, the label pays homage to some of the greatest recording artists of the recent past with elegantly-packaged multi-CD sets devoted to their finest recordings.  The new installment in the series offers five titles showcasing the artistry of singers Richard Tauber and Lucia Popp, conductor Leopold Stokowski, and violinist Nathan Milstein, plus a collection of the complete recordings made by Yehudi Menuhin with Stephane Grappelli.

For track list and other information please visit the following link:

Nineteen ICON titles are already available in the series featuring these classic EMI artists: Dinu Lipatti, Dennis Brain, Michelangeli, Solomon, Giuseppe di Stefano, Mirella Freni, Janet Baker, Andrés Segovia, Jussi Björling, Jascha Heifetz, Victoria de los Ángeles, Sviatoslav Richter, Alfred Cortot, Artur Schnabel, Franco Corelli, Fritz Kreisler, Walter Gieseking, Montserrat Caballé, and Hans Hotter.


First 15 releases
Mid-priced CDs and downloads available October 20 from Virgin Classics
(contact: Mariko Tada / EMI Classics)

The new mid-priced PREMIUM series takes you on a journey through the history of Virgin Classics with many artists still active on the label roster.  From Natalie Dessay, Piotr Anderszewski, Fabio Biondi, and Truls Mork to Véronique Gens, Renaud Capuçon, Patricia Petibon, Leif Ove Andsnes, and many more, artists come first on Virgin Classics, the enterprising label that has also joined up with the composer Qigang Chen in crossing cultural and musical boundaries.

Fifteen titles make up the initial offering of this series that includes original album artwork re-packaged with a modern and fresh series design.  Booklets include original notes in English, French, and German.

Bach: Cantatas BWV 55 (“Ich armer Mensch”) and BWV 82a (“Ich habe genug”)
Ian Bostridge; Europa Galante / Fabio Biondi 

Bach: Sonatas for viola da gamba and harpsichord
Jordi Savall; Ton Koopman

Grieg: Concerto; Liszt: Concerto No. 2
Leif Ove Andsnes; Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra / Dmitri Kitayenko 

Pergolesi: Stabat Mater
Gérard Lesne; Véronique Gens; Il seminario musicale

Elgar: Cello Concerto; Britten: Cello Symphony
Truls Mork; City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra / Sir Simon Rattle 

Chopin: Mazurkas, Op. 59 & 63; Ballades, Op. 47 & 52; Polonaises, Op. 44 & 53
Piotr Anderszewski

Fauré: Requiem; Cantique de Jean Racine
Nancy Argenta; Simon Keenlyside; David Hill 

Mahler: Symphony No. 4
Mahler Chamber Orchestra / Daniel Harding

Mozart: Concert Arias

Natalie Dessay; Orchestre de l’Opéra de Lyon / Theodor Guschlbauer 

Quigang Chen: Iris dévoilée, etc.
Yo-Yo Ma; Orchestre National de France / Muhai Tang / Charles Dutoit 

 Satie: Trois Gymnopédies; Six Gnossiennes; Sports et divertissements; etc.
Anne Queffélec 

Schubert: Grand Duo for violin and piano, D.574; Rondo brillant, D.895; Fantaisie, D.934
Renaud Capuçon; Jérome Ducros  

Vivaldi: Laudate Pueri; Motets
Patrizia Ciofi; Europa Galante / Fabio Biondi 

Sérénade – Songs by Beethoven, Schubert, Gounod, Vaughan Williams, Poulenc, and Purcell
David Daniels; Martin Katz

Barber, Copland, Bernstein, Rorem: American songs
Patricia Petibon (with Catherine King; American Boychoir)

GEMINI series

Five new titles
Specially priced sets (two CDs-for-price-of-one CD) and downloads available October 20 from EMI Classics
(contact: Mariko Tada / EMI Classics)

EMI Classics’ GEMINI series offers top-notch performances from the label’s distinguished catalog in specially-priced and handsomely-packaged two-CD sets (for the price of one CD) dedicated to the music of a single composer.  The five new titles available this month bring the total in the series to 190, an extensive and well-priced series for both seasoned collectors and new classical music enthusiasts.

Bach: Preludes, Fantasias, and Fugues for Organ
Lionel Rogg

Rachmaninov: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and works for solo piano

Jean-Philippe Collard, piano
Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse / Michel Plasson

CD 1: Rachmaninov: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43; Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42; Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 36 (original version: 1913); Prélude in D, Op. 23 No. 4 (Andante cantabile); Prélude in B-flat, Op. 23 No. 2 (Maestoso)

CD 2: Rachmaninov: Études-Tableaux, Op. 39; Études-Tableaux, Op. 33; Prélude in F-sharp minor, Op. 23 No. 1 (Largo); Prélude in G-sharp minor, Op. 32 No. 12 (Allegro); Prélude in C-sharp minor, Op. 3 No. 2 (Lento); Moment musical in B minor, Op. 16 No. 3 (Andante cantabile)

Berlioz: L’enfance du Christ; Roméo et Juliette (orchestral excerpts)

André Cluytens (L’enfance); Carlo Maria Giulini 

Sibelius: Symphonies 1, 2, 3, & 5; Tone Poems (Finlandia; Andante festivo; Valse Triste)
Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra / Jansons

 Weill: Symphony No. 2; Seven Deadly Sins, and other works
Elsie Ross & Robyn Archer; City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra & Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra; Mariss Jansons & Simon Rattle

CD 1: Weill: Symphony No. 2; Concerto for violin and wind orchestra, Op. 12; Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (suite from the opera)

CD 2: Weill: Die sieben Todsünden (ballet chanté); The Threepenny Opera (selections); “Alabama Song” (from Mahagonny); Epitaph 1919; Happy End; Song of Surabaya; Bilbao; “Johnny’s Song” (from Johnny Johnson); “This is the Life” (from Love Life)

The Legend of the OrchestraVarious artists
Budget-priced 2CD set and downloads available October 20 from Virgin Classics
(contact: Mariko Tada / EMI Classics)

The thrilling sounds of the orchestra, in its many incarnations from the 17th century to the 20th, are captured on the 36 tracks of this collection: the mystery and splendor of the opening item, Richard Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra; the elegiac beauty of Barber’s Adagio for Strings; the jazzy swagger of Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story; the courtly dignity of Charpentier’s Te Deum; the arrogant strides of the “Dance of the Knights” from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet; the sweep and grace of the waltz from Swan Lake; and much, much more.  All in all, this is the ultimate orchestral feast, served up by the world’s great orchestras under the direction of such conductors as Karajan, Menuhin, Pretre, Kempe, Järvi, Plasson, Mackerras, and Nagano.  And an incomparable value at a budget price!

Track list (includes complete works and excerpts)

CD 1: R. Strauss: Also sprach Zarathustra; Orff: Carmina Burana; Grieg: Peer Gynt Suite; Berlioz: La damnation de Faust; Barber: Adagio for Strings; Bizet: L’Arlésienne; Debussy: Petite suite; Borodin: Polovtsian Dance; Rimsky-Korsakov: The Flight of the Bumblebee; Bernstein: West Side Story; Dukas: L’apprenti sorcier; Sibelius: Valse Triste; Chabrier: Espaňa; Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker; Mussorgsky: Night on the Bare Mountain; Bizet: Jeux d’enfants

CD 2: Shostakovich: Waltz No. 2; Charpentier: Te Deum; Elgar: Pomp and Circumstance; Grieg: Holberg Suite; Fauré: Pavane; Prokofiev: Romeo & Juliet; Handel: Sarabande; Khachaturian: Gayaneh; Ravel: Pavane pour une infante défunte; Tchaikovsky: Walz from Swan Lake; Britten: The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra; Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Saint-Saëns: Le carnaval des animaux; Danse macabre; Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf; Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring; Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on “Greensleeves”; Borodin: In the Steppes of Central Asia; Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition; Offenbach: Can-Can

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

Oct 8 – Nov 7
Joyce DiDonato continues performances as Rosina in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Metropolitan Opera (New York, NY)

Oct 6
Gabriela Montero: Recital at Bass Hall (Fort Worth, TX)

Oct 8
Gabriela Montero: Recital at Austin Peay State University (Clarksville, TN)

Oct 10
Gabriela Montero: Recital at Alys Robin Stephens Performing Arts Center (Birmingham, AL)

Oct 22, 24, and 25
Ingrid Fliter: Beethoven Piano Concerto with Silicon Valley Symphony (San Jose, CA)

Oct 29
Ingrid Fliter: Recital at Ithaca College (Ithaca, NY)

Nov 1
Ingrid Fliter: Boston recital debut at Jordan Hall (Boston, MA)

Nov 5
Joyce DiDonato: New York City Opera Gala Concert

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


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