Press Room

EMI Classics & Virgin Classics October releases

The elegant and expressive music of French composer Gabriel Fauré figures prominently in two new releases this month from Virgin Classics. On the first, Paavo Järvi leads the Orchestre de Paris and two star soloists, German baritone Matthias Goerne and French countertenor Philippe Jaroussky, in the composer’s Requiem, his best-known and most greatly beloved work. Though usually sung by soprano, the Requiem’s famous “Pie Jesu” is sung here by Jaroussky in “breathtakingly angelic” (Independent) fashion. The other release is a five-CD set of Fauré’s complete chamber music for strings and piano, featuring a line-up of dynamic young – and appropriately French – artists, including the Ebène Quartet and Gautier and Renaud Capuçon. EMI Classics’ highlights for the month include a retrospective of works by British composer Thomas Adès, who this year celebrates his 40th birthday. From the archives come three new releases in the ICON series and 25 releases in the freshly redesigned EMI Masters series. Details of these and other releases from EMI Classics and Virgin Classics follow.
Johann Sebastian Bach: Piano Concertos
Alexandre Tharaud, piano
Les Violons du Roy / Bernard Labadie
CD and downloads available October 4 from Virgin Classics
“Alexandre Tharaud communicates the music’s depth and vitality while maintaining a light touch. His sense of scale and style finds a match in the accompaniments of Les Violons du Roy under Bernard Labadie.”
– Financial Times
Pianist Alexandre Tharaud follows his dazzling album of Scarlatti sonatas with a new release showcasing another fusion of modern and historically informed performance styles. Joining him in this new collection of Bach keyboard concertos is the dynamic, Quebec-based period-instrument ensemble Les Violons du Roy, under its director Bernard Labadie.
The program comprises four concertos for solo keyboard (BWV 1052, 1054, 1056, and 1058) plus the concerto for four pianos, BWV 1065, in which – thanks to studio technology – Tharaud plays all four solo parts. A bonus item is an arrangement of an arrangement: Tharaud and Labadie have adapted Bach’s transcription for keyboard of an Adagio written by the Venetian composer Alessandro Marcello (1669-1747). Tharaud describes it as “a combination of Bach’s solo version and of Marcello’s version for oboe and orchestra – with me playing the oboe line.”
The new Bach album follows the pianist’s critically-acclaimed disc of keyboard sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti (who was born in 1685, the same year as Bach), which was listed in June as one of NPR Music’s Top 25 Albums for the first half of 2011 (joining a list of artists including Adele, Bon Iver, and James Blake). NPR Music’s Tom Huizenga observed:
“Tharaud’s touch is multifaceted – sparkling sunlight, delicate lace, rivulets of melody and, as in this D-major sonata, showers of cross-handed notes sprayed in many directions. Near the end, a gruff bark virtually shakes the piano. Scarlatti’s sonatas come in all styles: lyrical like opera arias, folksy with dashes of flamenco, and graceful like courtly dances. Tharaud makes them all come vividly alive.”
Similarly, London’s Sunday Times noted, “Tharaud relishes the rhythmic and melodic riches here. The playing and musicianship of this young Frenchman are dazzling throughout.”
Fauré: Requiem
Philippe Jaroussky; Matthias Goerne
Choeur de l’Orchestre de Paris; Orchestre de Paris / Paavo Järvi
CD and downloads available October 4 from Virgin Classics
Like his previous Virgin Classics release (a program dedicated to Georges Bizet), Paavo Järvi devotes his new CD entirely to music by one French composer: Gabriel Fauré. Fauré’s serene and consoling Requiem is the centerpiece of the album, which also features three further classics, and the world-premiere recording of a neglected rarity, by the same composer.
The Requiem features two vocal soloists, usually a soprano and a baritone. Here, however, a countertenor – exclusive Virgin Classics artist and one of Europe’s best-selling classical artists, Philippe Jaroussky – brings his ethereal timbre and sensitive phrasing to the poised “Pie Jesu.” His baritone colleague is the warm-toned German Matthias Goerne, acknowledged as one of today’s finest vocal recitalists. The Choeur de l’Orchestre de Paris also performs in three other works on the CD, including the exquisite Pavane, with its flowing melody and mock-Rococo verses, and two early settings of religious texts: the touching Cantique de Jean Racine and – in its world-premiere recording – Super Flumina Babylonis (By the Rivers of Babylon). Completing the program is the reflective but impassioned Elégie for cello and orchestra, performed by the Orchestre de Paris’ Principal Cellist, Eric Picard.
London’s Independent recently praised the new album:
“Paavo Järvi’s recent recordings of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem have demonstrated his ability to marshal grand forces – the latter comparison is most pertinent here, in another beautifully-balanced Requiem of shorter, gentler, Gallic persuasion.
“He’s assisted here by equally sensitive contributions from baritone Matthias Goerne in the ‘Offertorium’ and ‘Libera Me’ sections, and countertenor Philippe Jaroussky, breathtakingly angelic in what Saint-Saëns considered the only ‘Pie Jesu’ worth performing. But it’s Järvi’s uncanny knack to somehow derive spiritual uplift from the gloomiest of subjects that most impresses here, a talent tailored to fit such needs.”
Vivaldi: Il Farnace
Max Emanuel Cencic, Ruxandra Donose, Mary-Ellen Nesi, Ann Hallenberg, Karina Gauvin, et al
I Barocchisti / Diego Fasolis
Specially-priced three-CD set and downloads available October 4 from Virgin Classics
Virgin Classics adds another gem to its intriguing catalog of Vivaldi operas with the world premiere recording of the Ferrara version of the composer’s Il Farnace. Vivaldi prepared this version expressly for the city of Ferrara in 1737-38 after the opera’s success in Venice. This is not only the first time the Ferrara version of Farnace has been recorded, but also the first time it has been heard, as the planned performances of 1738 were cancelled due to the local failure of the Vivaldi opera that preceded it, Siroe. The cast on the new recording is led by the brilliant countertenor Max Emanuel Cencic in the title role and features the ensemble I Barocchisti conducted by Baroque specialist Diego Fasolis.
Farnace was never staged again anywhere, and the only surviving trace of its music is in the form of an incomplete score carefully notated and preserved by Vivaldi in his personal collection. It is the only remaining opera by Vivaldi that has not been performed since the composer’s time, and, unlike all the others, has remained unrecorded until now.
It’s unlikely that Vivaldi ever completed this Farnace. However, with the reconstruction of the third act by Diego Fasolis and Frédéric Delaméa, this album presents a singular opportunity to discover a work bursting with riches: the last fruit of Vivaldi’s prodigious, captivating, yet still very much unknown operatic output.
Les Arts Florissants / Paul Agnew
CD and downloads available October 11 from Virgin Classics
The singers of Les Arts Florissants, under the direction of tenor Paul Agnew, perform elaborate unaccompanied sacred works by Alessandro and Domenico Scarlatti, as well as by Leonardo Leo and Antonio Caldara, on a new Virgin Classics release recorded in the Benedictine abbey of Ambronay in eastern France.
In September 2010, as part of the annual festival at Ambronay (not far from the Swiss border), Agnew directed the singers of Les Arts Florissants in a concert at the village’s 9th-century Benedictine Abbey. It presented a number of masterpieces of church music by Italian Baroque composers: the Neapolitans Alessandro Scarlatti, Domenico Scarlatti, and Leonardo Leo, and the Venetian Antonio Caldara, who took charge of music at the imperial chapel in Vienna.
A review of the new album in London’s Independent was enthusiastic:
“In Lamentazione, the early-music and vocal group Les Arts Florissants offers a selection of Baroque laments performed in the stile antico manner of imitative polyphony, involving rich vocal textures and spectral harmonies in almost a cappella settings, save for a subtle continuo of cello, organ, and theorbo.
“Paul Agnew’s direction throughout is exemplary, rendering Domenico Scarlatti’s Stabat Mater with poise and piety, and expertly navigating Leonardo Leo’s ingenious interplay of choirs and plainsong in his Miserere a due cori. The Baroque era was a hotbed of such innovation, as evidenced here by Antonio Caldara’s Crucifixus a 16 for four choirs of four voices apiece, full of harmonic convergences and cascading lines.”
Les Arts Florissants – who recently triumphed in New York City with their brilliant revival of Lully’s Atys at the Brooklyn Academy of Music – is one of the most influential and celebrated ensembles in the world. Founded in 1979 by William Christie, who now regularly shares conducting duties with Paul Agnew, the group has released eight recordings on Virgin Classics.
Gabriel Fauré: Complete Chamber Music for Strings and Piano
Ebène Quartet; Gautier Capuçon; Renaud Capuçon; Gérard Caussé; Nicholas Angelich; Michel Dalberto
Five-CD set and downloads available October 18 from Virgin Classics
“It’s a real treat to hear chamber-music playing of such assurance and enquiring intelligence.”
– Guardian (UK)
Fauré’s complete chamber music for strings and piano is performed in this extraordinary new collection by nine leading French-born musicians: violinist Renaud Capuçon and cellist Gautier Capuçon, violist Gérard Caussé, pianist Michel Dalberto, the award-winning Ebène Quartet, and an honorary Frenchman: US-born, Paris-trained pianist Nicholas Angelich.
Angelich and the Capuçon brothers have established themselves as a much sought-after performing trio, and Quatuor Ebène’s 2009 recording of quartets by Fauré, Debussy, and Ravel won numerous awards, including Gramophone’s Record of the Year (that performance of the Fauré quartet is featured here). The five CDs in this set comprise works for two, three, four, and five instruments and span the composer’s career from early works, influenced by his teacher Saint-Saëns, to the more rarefied compositions of his later years.
In a five-star review of the new set for the UK’s Guardian, Andrew Clements remarks:
“Fauré composed chamber music more or less throughout his life, but it is the extraordinary series of works that he produced in the first decades of the 20th century up to his death in 1924 that place him among the greatest of all chamber music composers. It is music that, as violinist Renaud Capuçon says in an introduction to this superb set, he and his cellist brother Gautier have played throughout their careers, and such familiarity with music that gives up its expressive secrets and intimate thematic connections reluctantly, pays dividends in every performance here.”
Track List
CD One: Works for Violin and Piano
1–4.   Violin Sonata No. 1 in A, Op. 13
5.       Berceuse, Op. 16
6.       Romance, Op. 28
7.       Andante, Op. 75
8.       Morceau de Lecture
9–11. Violin Sonata No. 2 in E minor
CD Two: Works for Cello and Piano
1–3.   Sonata for cello and piano No. 1 in D minor
4.       Elégie, Op. 24
5.       Pièce pour Violoncelle (Papillon), Op. 77
6.       Romance, Op. 69
7.       Sérénade, Op. 98
8.       Sicilienne, Op. 78
9–11. Sonata for cello and piano No. 2 in G minor
CD Three: Piano Trio, String Quartet
1–3.   Piano Trio in D minor
4–6.   String Quartet in E minor
CD Four: Quartets for Piano and Strings
1–4.   Quartet for piano and strings No. 1 in C minor
5–8:   Quartet for piano and strings No. 2 in G minor
CD Five: Quintets for piano and strings
1–3.   Quintet for piano and strings No. 1 in D minor
4–7.   Quintet for piano and strings No. 2 in C minor
8.       Morceau de Lecture for two cellos
Adès: Anthology
Thomas Adès (composer, piano)
Two-CD set and downloads available October 18 from EMI Classics
“One of the most accomplished and complete musicians of his generation.”
– New York Times
Thomas Adès has come a long way since his early days as a wunderkind of the classical new music scene. Turning 40 this year, the composer/conductor/pianist stands, in the words of the New Yorker, as “one of the most imposing figures in contemporary music.” To celebrate his birthday, EMI Classics is releasing a two-CD retrospective of his works thus far – from operatic and orchestral works to chamber, vocal, and solo ones. It includes two new world-premiere recordings with the composer as solo pianist in his three Mazurkas and his Concert Paraphrase on Powder Her Face.
Adès has received great attention over the past year, with Musical America crowning him Composer of the Year, and both the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Carnegie Hall dedicating mini-festivals to his works. It is the mix of integrity and accessibility, along with a deep humanity flecked with a wicked sense of humor, that makes his output so compelling.
Track List
CD One:
1–4.      Concert Paraphrase on Powder Her Face
5–7.      Mazurkas for piano, Op. 27
8–14.    Arcadiana, Op. 12
15–17.  Piano Quintet
CD Two:
1–4.      Chamber Symphony, Op. 2
5–12.    Living Toys, Op. 9
13–14.  America – A Prophecy
15.        These Premises Are Alarmed
16–18.  Violin Concerto
Special compilations, boxed sets, and reissues
ICON Series
Three new titles
Specially-priced multiple-CD sets available October 11 from EMI Classics
EMI Classics’ ICON series pays homage to some of the greatest recording artists with elegantly-packaged multi-CD sets devoted to their finest recordings. The latest installment in the series offers three titles that showcase the talent of three great conductors: Vernon Handley, Charles Mackerras, and William Steinberg.
Previous releases in the ICON series feature a “who’s who” of EMI’s legendary artists: Dinu Lipatti, Dennis Brain, Michelangeli, Solomon, Giuseppe di Stefano, Mirella Freni, Janet Baker, Andrés Segovia, Jussi Björling, Jascha Heifetz, Victoria de los Angeles, Sviatoslav Richter, Alfred Cortot, Artur Schnabel, Franco Corelli, Fritz Kreisler, Walter Gieseking, Montserrat Caballé, Hans Hotter, Arthur Rubinstein, Beniamino Gigli, Kirsten Flagstad, Nicolai Gedda, Samson François, Elisabeth Schumann, and Tito Gobbi. Since their initial release in June 2008, these titles have sold over 50,000 units worldwide.
Details of the three new titles follow.
Vernon Handley: Champion of British Music
Born in England in 1930, Handley was a great champion of British music. This set of five CDs showcases recordings of Handley conducting five of the UK’s great orchestras. It was in 1984 with “Tod” Handley that a 28-year-old Nigel Kennedy made his debut recording of the Elgar Concerto, here heard on Disc One. The first three CDs in the set comprise works by English composers; the other two illustrate Handley conducting two great concertos from the standard repertoire by Bruch and Sibelius, both with Tasmin Little, plus some charming Fauré and popular Russian music.
Charles Mackerras: Master of Orchestral Texture
After growing up in Australia, Sir Charles Mackerras sailed for England in 1947 with the intention of becoming a conductor and joined the Sadler’s Wells orchestra as a wind player. He soon won a British Council scholarship to study conducting with Václav Talich in Prague and it was there that he discovered and fell in love with the music of Janácek. Returning to London, Sir Charles began his life-long association with Sadler’s Wells Opera (now English National Opera), developing his reputation as a leading conductor of the works of Janácek, as well as those of Handel, Gluck, Mozart, Britten, Sullivan, and many others. Besides Sir Charles’s first recording of Janácek’s Sinfonietta, this five-CD set showcases him performing the music of other composers for whose music he was particularly famed.
William Steinberg: The Disciplined Master Conductor
This set of 20 CDs presents virtually everything that was recorded by Steinberg during the seven years that he recorded for Capitol: from Schubert’s Second Symphony, recorded in February 1952, to the Italian Serenade by Wolf, from April 1959. These recordings show that Capitol Records was at the technical forefront when it came to sound quality and production values. The earlier recordings were, of course, made in mono and come up surprisingly well on CD. From 1956 onwards, the recordings were made in stereo. A selection of recordings, both mono and stereo, is here being released on CD for the first time. Also included are the recordings of Strauss that Steinberg and the Capitol Records producer, Richard C. Jones, made with the Philharmonia Orchestra in London, in June 1957. Getting to know these wonderful 1950s recordings from a conductor who, perhaps, didn’t always get the critical acclaim that was his due, will be an exciting and rewarding experience for any music lover.
EMI Masters series
25 new titles
Specially-priced CDs and downloads available October 11
EMI Classics re-launches the popular EMI Masters series with new, freshly redesigned packaging. EMI Masters is a definitive series of great classical music from a trove of the most notable and revered classical recordings ever made. Available on CD and for digital download, this month’s installment of 25 titles includes classic recordings by legends of the past – including Sir Thomas Beecham, Sir John Barbirolli, Carlo Maria Giulini, and Mstislav Rostropovich – as well as leading artists of our own time – including Mariss Jansons, Antonio Pappano, Itzhak Perlman, Sir Simon Rattle, and Pinchas Zukerman. All performances in this series were recorded, mastered, or re-mastered at the internationally renowned Abbey Road Studios in London. A list of titles follows.
Alban Berg Quartet
Ravel and Debussy: String Quartets
Sir Thomas Beecham
Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique
Sir John Barbirolli
English String Music
Paavo Berglund
Smetana: Má vlast
Aldo Ciccolini
Satie: Gymnopédies
André Cluytens
Fauré: Requiem
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin
Carlo Maria Giulini
Rossini: Overtures
Carlo Maria Giulini
Verdi: Requiem
Mariss Jansons
Rachmaninov: Complete Piano Concertos
Stephen Kovacevich
Brahms: Piano Concertos; Lieder, Opp. 91 & 105
Sir Neville Marriner
Baroque Masterpieces
Dinu Lipatti
Chopin: Waltzes
André Previn
Tchaikovsky: Ballet Highlights
Jean Martinon
Saint-Saëns: Complete Symphonies
Sabine Meyer
Mozart: Clarinet Concerto
Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli
Haydn, Rachmaninov, Ravel: Piano Concertos
Emmanuel Pahud
Mozart: Flute Concertos
Antonio Pappano
Tchaikovsky: Symphonies Nos. 4, 5, & 6
Itzhak Perlman
Bach: Solo Sonatas and Partitas
Itzhak Perlman
Beethoven: Violin Concerto
André Previn
Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 2
Sir Simon Rattle
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9
Mstislav Rostropovich
Tchaikovsky: Manfred Symphony
Pinchas Zukerman
Beethoven: Violin Sonatas
EMI Classics and Virgin Classics artists on tour – fall 2011
October 2
Ebène Quartet: Mozart, Borodin, and Brahms
Pasadena, CA (Coleman Concerts)
October 3
Ebène Quartet: Debussy and Ravel
Portland, OR (Lincoln Performance Hall)
October 4
Ebène Quartet: Mozart, Borodin, and Brahms
Portland, OR (Lincoln Performance Hall)
October 5–13
Ebène Quartet: master classes at Colburn School
Los Angeles, CA
October 9
Ebène Quartet with Colburn Chamber Music Society: Martinu: La revue de cuisine; Debussy: Quartet in G minor; and Schoenberg: Verklärte Nacht, Op. 4
Los Angeles, CA (Colburn School)
October 26 – November 6
Philippe Jaroussky: US Tour with Apollo’s Fire
   Durham, NC (Oct 26)
   Los Angeles, CA (Oct 28)
   Berkeley, CA (Oct 30)
   Toronto, Canada (Nov 1)
   Ann Arbor, MI (Nov 3)
   Boston, MA (Nov 5)
   Storrs, CT (Nov 6)
October 27–29
Ian Bostridge: Haydn’s The Creation with Chicago Symphony Orchestra / Haitink
Chicago, IL
October 30
Ingrid Fliter: Beethoven and Chopin
Rockville, MD (Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington)
November 4
Ingrid Fliter: Beethoven and Chopin
Durham, NC (Duke University)
November 4
Xuefei Yang: Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez with Detroit Symphony / Joana Carneiro
November 17, 19, & 20
Emmanuelle Haïm: Handel’s Il delirio amoroso and Water Music with Los Angeles Philharmonic
Los Angeles, CA (Walt Disney Concert Hall)
November 25 & 27
Leif Ove Andsnes: Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 1 with Pittsburgh Symphony / Honeck
Pittsburgh, PA
November 28
Ian Bostridge, tenor and Thomas Adès, piano: music by Dowland, Adès, and Kurtág, plus Schumann’s Dichterliebe
New York, NY (Carnegie Hall)
November 30 & December 1
Leif Ove Andsnes: Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 1 with Montreal Symphony Orchestra / Roger Norrington
Montreal, Canada
December 31 – January 30
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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