Press Room

naïve and ambroisie new releases for May 2009

Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 3

Guy, piano

Philharmonique de Radio France / Philippe Jordan


in the U.S. on May 26 from naïve

Guy completes his cycle of Beethoven’s five piano concertos with the Orchestre
Philharmonique de Radio France under the direction of Philippe Jordan with a
new recording featuring Concertos No. 2, Op. 19 and No. 3, Op. 37.

a brief conversation between Guy and Jordan featured in the program booklet,
the two artists discuss the challenges and profound rewards of playing
Beethoven’s music.  The text of
that exchange follows below.

Eddings reviewed the artists’ previous Beethoven collaboration for the All
Music Guide
, observing:

“This performance of
Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto with pianist François-Frédéric Guy and
Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, conducted by Philippe Jordan, is
notable for its elegance and rhythmic springiness.  This is not a heavily Romantic reading; the performers
emphasize the concerto’s Classical delicacy and briskness, with special
attention given to the integrity of the individual lines.  Both pianist and orchestra approach the
first movement with crisp precision, but their performance is rhythmically
limber and never stiffly mechanical or reserved.  There is plenty of passion here, and the cadenza is
effusively lyrical.  The contrast
between the piano and orchestra in the dialogue in the second movement is especially
dramatic, as the piano seductively draws the orchestra, with its brusque
interjections, down to its own level of serenity and intimacy; it’s a
surprisingly sensual effect.”

Guy in discussion with Philippe Jordan:

FFG:  Beethoven constitutes the alpha and
omega of my repertoire.  He is my
yardstick; he conditions my playing, my choice of programs.  The range of human feelings he
expresses in his works is extraordinary, which makes his music very difficult
but also very rich.

PJ:  Beethoven is a musical monument for
conductors too: everybody tackles him, everybody questions him.  He is the foundation of classical
music: as with Bach, you can’t do without him, and you must always come back to
him.  Everything converges on him,
and all schools of interpretation meet up in his music – the Romantic tradition
(Furtwängler, Toscanini, Karajan, Kleiber) and the new, most historically
orientated movements (Harnoncourt, Zinman, Norrington).

FFG:  Yes, Philippe, and you belong to the
new generation of conductors who enable today’s musicians to combine these
traditions.  You help us to
understand the benefits these different schools can bring.  And, incidentally, my three biggest
musical emotions have been in response to the Missa solemnis under Karajan, the Ninth
Symphony by Bernstein in Vienna, and the late quartets.  Amazingly enough, there’s no piano in

PJ:  And you know how much I regret not
being able to play the 32 piano sonatas!

FFG:  Yes, but what you’ve brought me from
these different traditions of orchestral interpretation is very important for
me: I had a style of piano playing in which the architecture of the work took
priority over sonority.  As we’ve
worked together, I’ve learned to pay more attention to sound, to nuances
inherited from the Baroque period. 
It’s not a question of striving for effect, but finding the inner logic
of the work.

PJ:  It’s true that this complete set of the
concertos has made it possible for us to work in depth: to see each other from
one recording to another, to build up a real rapport, to work in conditions of
mutual trust, to agree to take risks and try out different
interpretations…  How lucky we
were!  The orchestra immediately
sensed this mutual trust between us, and it rubbed off on all the musicians.


Les Indes galantes

Rousset, harpsichord

AM 152

in the U.S. on May 26 from ambroisie

for his remarkable operas, French Baroque composer Jean-Philippe Rameau
(1683-1764) also won fame for his three books of Pièces de clavecin for solo harpsichord.  Christophe Rousset’s interpretations
and recordings of these masterworks have been widely acclaimed, and on a new
recording from ambroisie he brings a fourth book to life by playing transcriptions
for harpsichord of the instrumental music for Rameau’s opera-ballet Les
Indes galantes

provides a detailed written introduction to the music in the album’s liner
notes.  He notes that, like its
predecessor, Hippolyte et Aricie, Les Indes galantes – Rameau’s second theatrical work – was greeted
mostly with indifference at its premiere in 1735.  After revisions and the addition of a fourth act, Les
, the
complete work was performed both in whole and in part in Paris, Versailles, and
the provinces until 1781.  The transcriptions
were published at the time by Boivin, with a mention of the public’s reaction
to the opera in the preface, and were featured in Fuller and Gustafson’s Catalogue
of French Harpsichord Music 1699-1780
(1990), but Rousset has made a number of adjustments and
alterations – some because the originals were unplayable on the instrument –
bringing the total of pieces in his recorded collection to 32.

Rousset explains:

“When Rameau published Les Indes
, he wrote
in his preface that you could play all the instrumental pieces on
harpsichord.  He didn’t prepare
proper transcriptions for harpsichord, but he used the same ornaments as in his
other books for harpsichord.  By
providing a bit more structure, you can create a fourth book of Pièces de
, a
collection of really fantastic harpsichord pieces.  Strangely enough, not all of the instrumental pieces are
playable on harpsichord, but I’ve tried to record everything in the book by
adapting anything that was not playable on the keyboard.  It all sounds very good and I’m very
excited about this project.  The
final piece is a big Chaconne.  Rameau never
wrote a Chaconne
for solo harpsichord – though Couperin did – and it’s nice to be able to add
one by Rameau to the repertoire.”

For the new
recording, Rousset plays the Jean-Henry Hemsch harpsichord (Paris, 1761) from
the Musée de la Musique collection. 
As a note in the booklet points out, “Although Jean-Henry Hemsch
(1700-69) was among the most prolific and well-known harpsichord makers of the
18th century, only five of his instruments are still in existence.”


Gubaidulina; Medtner; Prokofiev

Anna Vinnitskaya, piano

AM 177

in the U.S. on May 26 from ambroisie

“Vinnitskaya is a true lioness at the keyboard, devouring
the most difficult pages of music with adamantine force.”

– Washington Post

For her debut recording on ambroisie, the young Russian
pianist Anna Vinnitskaya – winner of the Queen Elisabeth Competition in
Brussels, Belgium in 2007 – pays tribute to the Russian piano sonata with a
thrilling recital featuring Rachmaninov’s Piano Sonata No. 2 (1931),
Gubaidulina’s Chaconne (1962), Medtner’s Piano Sonata “Reminiscenza” Op. 38, No. 1 (1918-20),
and Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Sonata No. 7, Op. 83 (1942).

Following performances of the featured repertoire in
September 2008, a critic for the Washington Post reported, “She seemed almost to
relish the technical thickets, never rushing, never banging, maintaining
control of wildly different simultaneous textures (in the Gubaidulina Chaconne) and pacing long buildups with
unswerving focus.  In this
literature, she has everything a top-level artist needs.”

In a booklet essay with the title “Old forms, new masters,”
André Lischke observes,

“After going through a period of pronounced disfavor in the
second half of the 19th century, the piano sonata enjoyed a
veritable renaissance from the start of the 20th, which was due in
large measure to Russian composers. 
Following in the footsteps of Alexander Scriabin, a number of virtuoso
pianist-composers, Nikolai Medtner, Sergei Prokofiev, Samuel Feinberg, and to a
lesser extent Sergey Rachmaninov, paid homage in their different ways to a
genre that was already more than two centuries old, and now permitted the most
varied forms, aesthetics, and messages.”

Vinnitskaya was born into a musical family on August 4, 1983 in Novorossiysk,
in the south of Russia on the Black Sea. 
She began her piano lessons at the age of six and played her first full
solo recital at the age of nine. 
In 1995, her family moved to Rostov-on-Don, where she studied with
Sergey Ossipenko at the Sergey Rachmaninov Conservatory.  Since October

she has been studying at the Academy for Music and Theatre in Hamburg (Germany)
with Ralf Nattkemper, then Evgeni Koroliov.  Vinnitskaya’s many prizes include the Leonard Bernstein
Award at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in 2008, besides the 44th
Jaén International Piano Competition in Spain (2002), the Mauro Paolo Monopoli
International Piano Competition in Barletta, Italy (2004), and the
International Youth Competition in Moscow (1996).  In addition, she was twice honored with the Audience Award
(Jaén and Barletta), and at Jaén she also received a special award for the best
performance of Spanish music.  Anna
Vinnitskaya is also laureate of the International Ferrucio Busoni Competition
(Bolzano, Italy, 2005) and the Rina Salo Gallo Competition (Monza, Italy,


salon de musique de Marie-Antoinette

Sandrine Chatron, harp

Isabelle Poulenard, soprano; Jean-François Lombard, tenor;
Stéphanie Paulet, violin; Amélie Michel, transverse flute

AM 179

in the U.S. on May 26 from ambroisie

harpist Sandrine Chatron plays an Érard harp (Paris, 1799) from the Musée de la
Musique collection on a captivating new recital that takes us to the heart of
musical culture in Age of Enlightenment France.  She is joined on the recording by Isabelle Poulenard
(soprano), Jean-François Lombard (tenor), Stéphanie Paulet (violin), and Amélie
Michel (transverse flute).

In an
interview in the liner notes, Chatron explains the concept behind the album:

“The program recreates the intimate
atmosphere of a musical salon at the time of Marie-Antoinette.  It is the result of a considerable
amount of research, notably at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.  The music I have selected illustrates
the diversity of repertory linked with the figure of Queen Marie-Antoinette, as
music-lover, performer, inspiration, or patron of the arts.  Several of the works presented are
first recordings (the sonata by Saint-Georges, the chansons by Dauvergne, and
the Sonata Op. 15, No. 2 by Krumpholtz). 
Finally, we based our transcriptions of the Grétry airs and Martini’s Plaisir d’amour on the widespread practice of the
period, as reflected in Gluck’s ‘J’ai perdu mon Eurydice.’”

In a conversation – also in the liner notes – between
Sandrine Chatron and Joël Dugot, the keeper at the Musée de la Musique, Chatron
expressed her pleasure at performing the music on an instrument so identified
with the chosen repertory, and her deep admiration for “its crystalline
sonority, rich in harmonics, its great responsiveness, [and] its
flexibility.”  The namesake for the
instrument was Sebastian Érard (1752-1831), initially a builder of fortepianos,
who, as Dugot explains, “made a very important contribution to the development
of the single-action harp.”  The
harp, as a new instrument, spread quickly around aristocratic salons of its
time, became the instrument of choice for some harpist-composers, and had music
– particularly opera transcriptions – appearing in periodicals.  “The harp sparkled on all sides,” notes
Chatron, “as solo instrument, accompaniment for the voice, or concertante instrument”
(incidentally, Mozart’s Flute and Harp Concerto, one of the best-known works
featuring the instrument, was written by the composer during a stay in Paris in


also this month from
naïve: the first six “Esprit” titles

naïve’s new
specially-priced “Esprit” series is a collection that lets listeners choose the
classical music that best fits their mood.  With handsome cover photographs, attractive packaging
(digipaks), and enormously appealing programming – showcasing a wide variety of
artists from naïve’s catalog of recordings – the “Esprit” series will appeal to
the widest possible audience. 
naïve’s first six titles are Esprit Zen, Esprit Mélancolique, Esprit Romantique, Esprit Baroque, Esprit Ibérique,and Esprit Sacré.

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