Various Artists – Harmonia Mundi – New Releases January – June (2004)

FrontCover1Harmonia Mundi is an independent record label founded in Paris, France, in 1958 by Bernard Coutaz. In 1986 Harmonia Mundi (France) moved to Arles, France.
The label’s catalogue is devoted to classical music, jazz, and world music (on the World Village label). Harmonia Mundi (US) is a branch of Harmonia Mundi (France). There are also operations in the United Kingdom and in Spain.
The label was acquired by PIAS Entertainment Group in September 2015.
The Latin phrase harmonia mundi means “world harmony”.
The classical label Deutsche Harmonia Mundi is not related to Harmonia Mundi (France) and belongs to Sony BMG. (by wikipedia)

The name harmonia mundi ‘France’ embraces a much wider range than its widespread image as an early music label would suggest. harmonia mundi is first and foremost a group, based in Arles since 1986 and numbering 330 people all over the world. That group now covers all the different crafts of the publishing business, for both recordings and books, from production to distribution – and even to a retail network in certain countries. Read on to discover that the sphere of influence of harmonia mundi extends far beyond ‘classical music’…

Labels
And this is a Promotion sampler from 2004 … and it´s great sampler from one of the best classic labels all over the world.
And because I´m too lazy today, to type all the tracks in theis blog … read this (taken from the booklet):

Personnel:
Personnel
Tracklist:
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The Cambridge Buskers – Double Concerto (1979)

frontcover1The Cambridge Buskers were a duo of British musicians, whose career began in the late 1970s and were subsequently called The Classic Buskers. They performed classical music humorously using many instruments, costumes and props.

Michael Copley and David Abraham Gillespie (Dag) Ingram met when they were students at Cambridge University. According to the liner notes of their first recording, their musical association began when they found themselves at the Blackfriars station without enough money for the fare to get home. In an attempt to raise the money from passers-by, they played The Entertainer and Eine kleine Nachtmusik for a while, until they were asked to leave by a London Transport official.

Subsequently, they gained international success with their performances and many recordings, and performed in over 20 countries and in 15 languages until September 2016. It is reported that at one point a Japanese comic strip was written about them.
Ian Moore, another Cambridge University graduate who is also an organist, conductor, composer and singer (formerly in King’s College Choir, Cambridge), later became the accordionist.
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The Classic Buskers wrote their own arrangements, primarily of classical works by famous composers. Ian Moore played piano accordion, used his voice, and occasionally other percussion instruments or props. Copley played a variety of woodwind instruments, including flute, recorder, ocarina, and crumhorn. (by wikipedia)

“Technical virtuosity, combined with musical seriousness, humour and high entertainment are a perfect recipe – the audience were delighted.” (Ian Ritchie, City of London Festival Director)

“I was delighted by the Musical Magic show – a winning combination.” (Mark Eynon, Director, Newbury Spring Festival)

And here you listen to one of their great Albums … great musicians, great compositions … played in their very unique and special way. Amazing !

It´s fun … believe me !

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Single front + back cover

Personnel:

Michael Copley (Recorder, flute and much more)
Dag Ingram (accordion and much more)

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Tracklist:
01. Marche Militaire (Schubert) 2.05
02. Hungarian Dance No. 1 (Brahms) 3.18
03. Papageno’s Song (Mozart) 1.15
04. La Rejouissance (Händel) 1.14
05. The Silken Ladder, Overture (Rossini) 3.54
06. Largo From Winter (Vivaldi) 2.03
07. Sabre Dance (Kachaturian) 1.41
08. Jig (Händel) 1.34
09. Farandole (Bizet) 2.19
10. Ding Dong Merrily On High (Traditional) 2.42
11. Theme From Sweet William (Boyce) 1.56
12. Largo  (Bach) 3.49
13. Champagne Air (Mozart) 1.11
14. Dance Of The Blessed Spirits (Gluck) 3.04
15. Courante (Praetorius) 1.50
16. The Dying Swan (Tchaikovsky) 2.26
17. Csardas (Monti) 2.50
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Vanessa Mae – The Violin Player (1995)

frontcover1The Violin Player is the first techno/pop album by classical and pop musician Vanessa-Mae, released in 1995. It is the first album Vanessa-Mae released on the EMI label. The album was produced by Mike Batt, and recorded and mixed by Gareth Cousins, who also programmed the synthesisers and beats for the album.

The Violin Player features a varied blend of music – covers of some classical (J.S. Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor), remakes of old favourites (including American composer Mason Williams’ “Classical Gas”) and originals (seven tracks composed by British musician and songwriter Mike Batt), and one original by Vanessa-Mae herself, co-written with Ian Wherry (“Red Hot”).
Singles released from the album include “Toccata and Fugue”, which reached number 16 in the UK Singles Chart and “Red Hot” which reached number 37.
The Violin Player reached #11 in the UK Albums Chart in February 1995, and was certified Gold by the BPI in June 1995. It has sold over 8 million copies worldwide, and is still regarded by many as Vanessa-Mae’s best work. (by Wikipedia)

Vanessa-Mae was just a teenager when her major-label debut, The Violin Player, was released. This may account for her ability to successfully fuse old-world classical styles with a contemporary new age sensibility. She comes out scorching on the Bach classic “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor,” showing off her world-class talent as a revolutionary violinist. The new arrangements by producer Mike Batt add a flavorful world music appeal that both compliments and showcases her masterful skill. While all ten tracks are performed as instrumentals, Vanessa-Mae manages to squeeze every ounce of passion out of a note, transcending the necessity for lyrics. Her ability to play off of other instruments is brought to the forefront on the final track “Red Hot.” She goes toe to toe with a forceful electric guitar and her four-string violin leaves the challenging six-string in the dust. This record will delight those who are bold enough to challenge themselves by listening to a collection of songs that defy standard genre classifications. (by Erik Crawford)

And you´ll hear one of my favourite guitar players: Dave “Clem” Clempson !
EMMA Awards Vanessa Mae
Personnel:
Mike Batt (Keyboards)
Martin Bliss (guitar)
Dave “Clem” Clempson (guitar)
Dick Morgan (oboe)
Richard Morgan (oboe)
Maurice Murphy (rumpet)
Philip Todd (saxophone)
Unspecified Enemies  Composer
Vanessa-Mae (violin)
Vasko Vassilev (viola, violin)
Ian Wherry (Keyboards)
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Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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Tracklist:
01. Toccata and Fugue in D Minor (Bach) 7.47
02. Contradanza (Batt) 3.49
03. Classical Gas (Williams) 3.21
04. Theme from ‘Caravans’ (Batt) 5.06
05. Warm Air (Batt) 3.38
06. Jazz Will Eat Itself (Batt) 3.30
07. Widescreen (Batt) 3.58
08. Tequila Mockingbird (Batt) 3.26
09. City Theme (Batt) 4.32
10. Red Hot (Wherry/Mae) 3.16
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The CD singles

Various Artists – Pianissimo – Music For Quiet Moments (1998)

frontcover1Only in the silence can music touch a chord within us, and create a distant echo. And it is through the silence that the piano can open and blossom with it incomparable voice, and the vibration of it strings melt into melody.

Since the invention of the modern Pianoforte in the 18th century, composers have again and again been inspired by its special sensibilities, and the capacity of this Instrument to encompass the slightest expressive nuances and translate them into Sound.

On this album you will find a collection of the loveliest piano melodies in musical history: Whether the Adagio sosenuto from Beethoven´s Moonlight Sonata, or the Largo from his Piano Concerto, whether Listz´s Liebestraum, or Schumann´s Träumerei, the Adagio from Grieg´s  Piano Concerto or Chopin´s Nocturne, all show how this instrument has struck a chord in these Composers (Georg Stänzel; taken from the original liner notes)

Enjoy the sounds of silence !

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Tracklist:
01. Alfredo Perl: Adagio Sostenuto (Beethoven)  6.02
02. Jena Philharmonic Orchestra: Largo (Beethoven) 10.41
03. Ricardo Castro: Adagio (Mozart) 4.14
04. Carmen Piazzini: Adagio (Haydn) 5.00
05. Nadja Rubanenko: Sehr langsam (Schumann) 4.13
06. Alfredo Perl: Adagio (Grieg) 6.52
07. Carmen Piazzini:  Danza Del Moza Donosa (Ginastera) 3.26
08. Carmen Piazzini:  Cancion De Las Venusinas (Piazolla) 3.26
09. Arkady Sevidov: Barcarolle (Tchaikovsky) 5.16
10. Ricardo Castro: Nocturne No. 1 Op. 9/1 (Chopin)  5.35
11. Michael Krücker: Liebestraum Op. 62 No. 3/Poco Allegretto Con Affetto (Liszt) 4.40
12. Andreas Bach: Träumerei (Schumann) 2.17
13. Russian Philharmonic Orchestra + Vladimir Mishtchuk: Adagio Sostenuto (Rachmaninov) 11.38

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Another quiet moment
(I shoot this picture near Berchtesgaden (Bavarian Alps) in october 2009)

Quartetto Klimt – Quartetti Con Pianoforte (2000)

frontcover1Formed in 1995 at the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole, the Klimt Quartet is today one of the most interesting young chamber music groups in Italy. Since its foundation it has performed in numerous concerts including prestigious Festivals in Italy and abroad. Between 1997-1999 the quartet attended for two years the master classes held by Trio di Milano in Fiesole; since 2000 the quartet has studied for various years with M.° Pier Narciso Masi. In April 1998 the quartet won first prize at the International Chamber Music Competition “Gaetano Zinetti” at Sanguinetto (VR).
A few months after its foundation the quartet was invited by: “Encontre Internationale des Enseignements Artistiques” organized by the Institute de le Marionette a Charleville-Meziéres (France); the Orchestra Giovanile Italiana ad Aosta; the “Ater Festival” in Rimini; and by the “Elba Isola Musicale d’Europa” Festival, where it captured the attention of the great Yuri Bashmet.
The following years have seen the group participating in prestigious musical seasons among which “Lingotto Musica” in Turin, the “Festival di Ravello”, “Musica Insieme” in Bologna and at the Bologna Festival, “Amici della Musica” in Florence, “Amici della Musica” in Perugia, the “Accademia Filarmonica Romana” in Rome, the “Serate Musicali di Milano”, the “Festival Mozart” in Rovereto. The quartet has also played a leading part in numerous live television and radio performances for the RAI (Radio Televisione Italiana).

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In these years of intense activity, the quartet has benefited from the advice and support of artists such as Carlo Maria Giulini, Natalia Gutman and Maurizio Pollini; the latter invited Klimt to perform during the award ceremony of “Una vita nella Musica” in 1999 in Venice, and in 2001 gave them the scholarship “Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli”. In April 2001 the quartet inaugurated the first edition of “I Concerti del Quirinale” in Rome; in July 2001 the Klimt Quartet was invited to the prestigious “Oleg Kagan Musikfest di Kreuth” (Germany) and the “Festival of Santander” (Spain).
In 2010 the prestigious magazine Amadeus published the two quartets for piano and strings by Robert Schumann performed by the Klimt Quartet and was later invited by the RAI to perform these pieces live for Euroradio for the bicentenary of Schumann’s birth. In 2011 it has been invited by Columbia University in New York, gaining a warm success by audience and press.
In recognition of Klimt’s unfailing, passionate commitment to the promotion and diffusion of contemporary music, various composers, such as A.Solbiati, F.Antonioni, M.D’Amico and I. Vandor have dedicated compositions to the Quartet.
Since 2008 the violinist of the group has been Duccio Ceccanti. (by livornomusicfestival.com)

And this is the debut album …. what a great debut album, recorded by this young Italian ensemble … if you like classic music (like me) … you should listen … what a unbelieveable sound !

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Personnel:
Lorenza Borrani (violin)
Matteo Fossi (piano)
Alice Gabbiani (violincello)
Edoardo Rosadini (viola)

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Tracklist:

 Johannes Brahms: Quartetto op. 25 in sole minore:
01. Allegro 13.09
02. Intermezzo 7.40
03. Andante con moto 9.11
04. Rondo alla zingarese 8.51

Robert Schumann: Quartetto op. 47 in Mib maggiore:
05. Sostenuto assai – Allegro ma non troppo 9.30
06. Scherzo – molto vivace 3.49
07. Andante cantabile 7.23
08. Finale – vivace 8.01

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Franz Benda – Violin Concertos (2009)

frontcover1Franz Benda or Czech: František Benda (baptised 22 November 1709, Benátky nad Jizerou – 7 March 1786, Potsdam) was a Bohemian violinist and composer, who worked for much of his life at the court of Frederick the Great.

Benda was born in Benátky nad Jizerou in Bohemia, the son of Jan Jiří Benda. His brother was the composer Jiří Antonín Benda (Georg Anton Benda). Benda’s daughter Juliane Reichardt (1752–1783) and his granddaughter Louise Reichardt (1779–1826) were also composers. Benda wrote his autobiography in 1763: it not only gives a detailed account of his own life but also a valuable record of the lives of other musicians whom he encountered during his career.

In his youth Benda was a chorister in Prague and afterward in the Chapel Royal at Dresden. At the same time he began to study the violin, and soon joined a company of strolling musicians who attended fetes, fairs, etc. At eighteen years of age Benda abandoned this wandering life and returned to Prague, going to Vienna, where he pursued his study of the violin under Johann Gottlieb Graun, a pupil of Tartini. After two years he was appointed chapel master at Warsaw. In 1732, he entered the service of Frederick the Great, then crown prince of Prussia, with whom he remained the rest of his life. He was a member of the crown prince’s orchestra, and later became concertmaster to the king. He played about 50,000 concertos over a period of forty years. At Benda’s request, Frederick allowed his parents and siblings to move to Potsdam when, as Protestants, they suffered religious persecution in Bohemia.

Benda was a master of all the difficulties of violin playing, and the rapidity of his execution and the mellow sweetness of his highest notes were unequalled. He had many pupils and wrote a number of works, chiefly exercises and studies for the violin.

Benda died in the Nowawes, a small colony near Potsdam set up by Frederick the Great to house Protestant refugees fleeing religious persecution in Bohemia.
Legacy
Descendants of Benda also continue in the same musical line. In the 20th century, František Benda was a composer of film scores and other works. The Benda Chamber Orchestra, which carries and honours the name of the Benda musical family, was founded in 1956 in Ústí nad Labem, Northern Bohemia (Czech Republic). (by wikipedia)

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Benda family house in Benátky nad Jizerou, built 1706/07, demolished 1936.

Benda was one of the most illustrious, possibly the single most illustrious, Czech violinist of the eighteenth century. Yet fewer than twenty concertos of his concertos for his own instrument have survived. The intimate nature of the music making suits the performances, and indeed the nature of the compositions themselves. These are pleasantly old-fashioned, more akin to Vivaldi than an Italian contemporary like Tartini – akin to Vivaldi, yes, in a sense, but rather lacking the flair, panache, colour and hubristic danger of Vivaldi.

franz-bendaWhich is not to suggest that they are not worthy or exciting in their own way. The C major has a forceful first movement, but the slow movement remains in the memory more for its character than for any true melodic distinction. The finale is probably the finest of the three movements, fizzing with energy and clever contrasts between ritornellos and the vivid, slashing solo violin. Here, for sure, one feels the impress of Vivaldi’s spirit. Here, too, one can tentatively gauge just what sort of virtuoso Benda must have been. The confident, fluent, Italianate lyricism that floods the E flat major is aerial in its finesse, showy in places, whilst not achieving much true distinction. Someone else added extraneous parts to the D major – let’s name him; Johann Georg Pisendel, who was a friend, and led the Dresden court orchestra which, because it was larger than the orchestra for which Benda wrote, needed something ‘extra’ to play. Finally there is the later A minor Concerto, a rather more ‘affetuoso’ work with a melancholy cadenza. Here we find Benda being just a touch too liberal with his expressive caesurae, just a little artificial and over gallant. The finale, though, is rollicking good fun.

Benda’s violin music is highly accomplished and highly polished. I can’t say it’s desperately original, nor is it always melodically special, but it’s well presented here. (by Jonathan Woolf)

booklet03aPersonnel:
Roman Patocka – violin
Prague Chamber Orchestra

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Tracklist:

Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in A major: (14.15)
01. I. Senza tempo 6.08
02. II. Adagio poco andante 3.58
03. III. Presto 4.10

Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in E flat major: (17.16)
04. I. Allegretto 6.57
05. II. Affetuoso ma non troppo. Lento 5.20
06. III. Presto assai 4.52

Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in C Major: (19.59)
07. I. Allegro 6.52
08. II. Adagio 6.11
09. III. Presto 6.53

Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D Major: (20.18)
10. I. Allegro 8.22
11. II. Largo 6.18
12. Allegro 5.37

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John Renbourn – The Lady And The Unicorn (1970)

FrontCover1The Lady and the Unicorn is the 1970 solo album by British folk musician John Renbourn. On this release, Renbourn ventures into folk rock and medieval music territory. The first four tracks are arranged from the Add MS 29987 manuscript. The cover was taken from The Lady and the Unicorn tapestry. (by wikipedia)

Renbourn’s last solo album for the next six years overlaps with his Pentangle work, featuring Terry Cox playing hand drums and glockenspiel, with future John Renbourn band member Tony Roberts and violinist Dave Swarbrick. The repertory consists of medieval and early classical pieces, interspersed with the expected folk material — keyboard works from the Fitzwilliam virginal book (transcribed for guitar) stand alongside traditional tunes such as “Scarborough Fair,” which turns up as part of an 11-minute track that also incorporates “My Johnny Was a Shoemaker,” with Swarbrick at the top of his form on violin. The album is entirely instrumental, but as with other Renbourn releases, one hardly misses the vocals. (by Bruce Eder)

John Renbourn

Taken from the original liner-notes:

This record contains a variety of instrumental pieces including medieval music, folk tunes and early classical music. The oldest are probably the English dance tune ‘Trotto’ and the Italian ‘Saltarello’, to which I have added a drone accompaniment, tuning the guitar to DGDGCD. ‘Lamento di Tristan’ and ‘La Rotta’ are fourteenth century Italian pieces played originally on vielle. They too are without harmony but have the tune doubled either on sitar or glockenspiel.
The three part conductus ‘Veri Floris’, composed during the Notre Dame period, is a setting for the words ‘Under the figure of the true flower which the pure root produced, the loving devotion of our clergy has made a mystical flower constructing an allegorical meaning beyond ordinary useage from the nature of a flower”.
This is followed by the triple ballade ‘Sancuer-Armordolens-Dameparvous’ of Guillaume de Machaut.
‘Bransle Gay’ and ‘Bransle de Bourgogne’ are from the danceries of Claude Gervaise, composed in about 1550. The first is played on solo guitar but the second uses flute, fiddle and has a second guitar line added. The anonymous ‘Alman’ is taken from the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book and is followed by ‘Melancholy Galliard’ by the English lutanist John Dowland. The sequence concludes with the ‘Sarabande’ in B Minor by J. S. Bach.
The album ends with two short guitar pieces, ‘The Lady And The Unicorn’ and an arrangement of the sixteenth century song ‘Westron Wynde’, and arrangements for flute, viola and guitar of two folk songs: ‘My Johnny Was A Shoemaker’ and ‘Scarborough Fair’.
I have not presumed to reproduce early music as it would originally have been played, but hope nevertheless that the qualities of the music can be enjoyed, though interpreted on more recent instruments. (John Rebourn)

Such a beautiful album … a timeless classic recording !

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Personnel:
Don Harper (violin)
Lea Nicholson (concertina)
John Renbourn (guitar)
Tony Roberts (flute)
Dave Swarbrick (violin)
Ray Warleigh (flute)

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Tracklist:
01.1. Trotto (Anonymous) 0.40
01.2. Saltarrello (Anonymous) 1.53
02.1.Lamento di Tristan (Anonymous) 1.58
02.2.La Rotta (Anonymous) 0.55
03.1.Veri Floris (Anonymous) 0.44
03.2. Triple Ballade (Sanscuer-Amordolens-Dameparvous) (de Machaut) 2.00
04.1.Bransle Gay (Gervaise) 1.13
04.2.Bransle de Bourgogne (Johnson) 1.34
05.1.Alman (Anonymous)1.25
05.2.Melancholy Galliard (Dowland) 2.47
06.Sarabande (Bach) 2.41
07.The Lady And The Unicorn (Renbourn) 3.21
08.1.My Johnny Was A Shoemaker (Traditional) 4.16
08.2.Westron Wynde (Traditional) 1.25
08.3.Scarborough Fair (Traditional) 7.22

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