Archive for September, 2012

Schumann Piano Quartet and Quintet – Alexander Melnikov with the Jerusalem String Quartet

Posted in Chamber music with tags , , , on September 16, 2012 by orinococds

Schumann Piano Quintets Alexander Melnikov |Jerusalem String Quartet Harmonia Mundi HMC 902122

The Piano Quintet Op.44 and Piano Quartet Op.47 date from a brief period during which Schumann focused his attention intensively on chamber music (between June 1842 and January 1843). These works underline his wish to escape from the solo piano, now ‘too restricted’ for his overflowing imagination, as he told Clara. The Quintet, which made a powerful impression on Wagner, is probably one of his most sophisticated works, into which Schumann poured all the creative energy he derived from meticulous examination of similar works by his predecessors, especially Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Schubert.

Alexander Melnikov joins the Jerusalem Quartet, nominated for a 3rd BBC Music Magazine Award in 2012.

“While the piano quartet has great vitality and charm, the quintet is on a different level of achievement: a fiendish pianistic challenge as well as a masterpiece of the genre… In the Russian pianist Alexander Melnikov they have a collaborator of rare musical intelligence as well as virtuosity. Another award contender? I guess so.” The Observer, 29th April 2012

“What makes [Melnikov’s] playing so remarkable is an ability to achieve an ideal balance…Melnikov blends his tone to match exactly that of the strings…Naturally the Jerusalem Quartet is a hugely responsive partner in this process…With a recording that offers depth of sound and admirable clarity, Schumann’s two chamber masterpieces are brilliantly served.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2012 *****

“these performances are marked by great sensitivity and freshness as well as having a natural rhythmic flow that is by no means always the case in recordings of these two masterpieces…an immensely satisfying addition to the catalogue. A combination of ardour and control characterizes the supremly musical approach here, with extremely well-judged balance between piano and strings and a strong sense of direction.” International Record Review, June 2012


Berlioz Grande Messe des Morts 1837

Posted in Choral, Orchestral on September 16, 2012 by orinococds

Berlioz Grande Messe des Morts | Gabrieli Consort & Players | Paul McCreesh | Signum 2 cd

The first in a new series of releases from the world-renowned conductor Paul McCreesh and his Gabrieli Consort. Recorded in Poland as part of the Wratislava Cantans Festival (of which McCreesh is artistic director) this staggering performance of Berlioz’s ‘Grand Mass for the Dead’ is produced by a force of over 400 performers – drawn from the Gabrieli Consort and Players, the Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir and students from Chetham’s School of Music

“Anyone in search of a transformative listening experience, Berlioz agnostics among them, should make this release a priority purchase.” Classic FM Magazine

“The contrapuntal intricacy of Berlioz’s choral writing is done with precision and firm accents, the haunted atmosphere of the ‘Quid sum miser’ interpreted with restrained, eloquently inflected choral singing and poignant instrumental interjections.” Gramophone – Editor’s Choice, November 2011

“Berlioz’s 1837 Grande Messe has rarely sounded so thrilling or transparent.” The Independent on Sunday