Archive for the Chamber music Category

Messiaen: Quartet for the End of Time – V. “Praise to the Eternity of Jesus” (Barenboim, Tetard) – YouTube

Posted in Chamber music, Instrumental on July 18, 2013 by orinococds

Messiaen: Quartet for the End of Time – V. “Praise to the Eternity of Jesus” (Barenboim, Tetard) – YouTube.


Solo | Santiago Canon Valencia (cello)

Posted in Chamber music, Instrumental with tags , , , on February 17, 2013 by orinococds

“A new cd from Atoll brings to wider attention the extraordinary talent of Santiago Canon Valencia, a young Colombian cellist who has been the star student at Waikato University School of Music since 2006. Solo, his first cd (Atoll ACD 884), is devoted to twentieth century music for solo cello by Cassado, Ginastera, Ligeti and Kodaly. The music chosen displays a rare talent possessed by an artist who is surely destined for an international career.

From a musical family, Valencia began cello studies at the age of four and made his first concerto appearance in Bogota at age six. He eventually became a pupil of James Tennant at Waikato University (his mother had earlier studied with the same teacher).

One listens to this young artist’ skill in amazement at his dexterity, beauty of tone and musicianship. beautifully recorded in the University’s Gallagher Concert Chamber … this recital will prove to be a landmark in the career of a musician of whom we will hear much more.” Peter Shaw, North and South magazine (March issue)

Link to:

Atoll website:

Debussy: String Quartet; Piano Trio | Brodsky Qt | Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (pno)

Posted in Chamber music, Instrumental with tags , , , , , on February 6, 2013 by orinococds
Debussy String Quartet | Piano Trio | Bavouzet |  CHAN10717 | 1 cd | $NZ33

Debussy String Quartet | Piano Trio | Bavouzet | Brodsky Qt | Gianandera CHAN10717 | 1 cd | $NZ33

The Brodsky Quartet celebrates its fortieth anniversary this year. Formed in 1972, the Quartet quickly emerged at the forefront of the international chamber music scene. It has performed more than 2000 concerts and made more than fifty highly acclaimed recordings. Now exclusive Chandos artists, the Brodsky players are releasing their second disc on Chandos with guest soloists Jean-Efflam Bavouzet and the harpist Sioned Williams.

The Trio for piano, violin, and cello is an early work, written before Debussy established his own very distinctive musical language heard in pieces such as La Mer. Another early piece, Rêverie, for piano, was written by the young, struggling composer at a time when he was trying to make a living in Paris. The easiest market to break into for a composer was the salon, where songs and not-too-taxing piano music were in demand. Rêverie was one of several charming and tuneful works that Debussy wrote for this scene.

In a somewhat different league, the String Quartet is considered a defining work in the history of chamber music. Sensual and impressionistic, it employs a cyclic structure that constituted a split from the rules of classical form and pointed the way forward. In the words of Pierre Boulez, Debussy freed chamber music from ‘rigid structure, frozen rhetoric, and rigid aesthetics’.

The Deux Danses, made up of the ‘Danse sacrée’ and ‘Danse profane’, complete the disc. At the end of the nineteenth century, the Parisian instrument makers Pleyel invented a ‘chromatic harp’ which dispensed with pedals and achieved the full chromatic compass from two rows of strings that slanted across one another. Debussy was approached to write two pieces intended for a final examination of the Pleyel model. ‘Danse sacrée’ makes use of Church modes, while ‘Danse profane’ is a kind of sarabande. The ‘competition’ aspect of the pieces is highlighted by the fact that, after the opening introduction, the harpist has no more than six bars’ rest. As it happened, the Pleyel model never caught on, and the works are now always performed on a pedal harp.

“… compelling account, forthright and dramatic, rather than hazily impressionistic, of the [Debussy]” Sunday Times, 1st April 2012

The Quartet tops the running order in a confident, vital, lyrical reading. Beautifully nuanced, there’s acerbic edge, gentle Gallic playfulness, aching romance and every emotional and tonal shade in-between…Cassidy’s scoring [of Reverie] is so similar to that of the quartet that the work has taken on a new identity…its new gravitas makes it a fitting bookend to the programme, a partner to the Quartet, and an unexpected delight.” Charlotte Gardner,, 18th April 2012

In the Piano Trio Bavouzet enjoys the spotlight with some memorable pearliness of tone, and here violinist Daniel Rowland is joined by cellist Jacqueline Thomas in a performance notable for its warmth and luminosity…the natural-sounding acoustic does much to enhance the listener’s experience.” International Record Review, May 2012

Altogether a satisfying and unique Debussy coupling, superbly played…What is so striking about the playing of the Brodsky Quartet throughout is their brimming love for the music, with some ravishing shading down to the most hushed pianissimos. All this is caught in wonderfully rich and transparent sound, a credit to the Chandos engineers.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2012

This is a marvellously inventive collection…There has been a tendency towards more red-blooded performances of Debussy’s String Quartet in recent years…The Brodsky Quartet partially fit that mould…Their playing is tempered, both in the Quartet and the Reverie, by a quivering texture in more hushed moments” BBC Music Magazine, June 2012 ****

The Brodsky Quartet makes its intentions clear from the first bars of Debussy’s Opus 10 String Quartet: this is by no means going to be an atmospheric echo of impressionism, but an interpretation in which every single stress and emotive extreme is going to be exploited and laid bare. The Brodsky players do plenty in terms of colour” MusicWeb International, June 2012

Mozart and Haydn Duo Sonatas – Rachel Podger and Jane Rodgers

Posted in Chamber music, Instrumental, Violin with tags , , , , on December 29, 2012 by orinococds
Mozart and Haydn Duo Sonatas | Channel Classics | NZ $33

Mozart and Haydn Duo Sonatas | Channel Classics | NZ $33

BBC Review  Graham Rogers 2012-01-25 (BBC Radio 3 website:
A warm ambience pervades this highly recommended album.

Following her excellent series of Mozart’s sonatas for violin and piano for Channel Classics, expert period-instrument violinist Rachel Podger now turns to the lesser-known duo sonatas for violin and viola. The two sonatas’ relative unfamiliarity can mainly be put down to rarity of opportunity of performance; for musical invention and sunny appeal they rival many of Mozart’s best chamber works. Podger and her violist partner Jane Rogers say they have long been favourite pieces of theirs (not least because the sonatas always ensured them double takings when busking as teenagers!) and their enthusiasm is borne out by these lively and committed performances.

Written in 1783, after Mozart had been settled in Vienna for a couple of years, the sonatas were actually the product of a return visit to his native Salzburg. His friend and fellow composer Michael Haydn (younger brother of Joseph) was still employed by the Archbishop of Salzburg, for whom he was struggling to complete a commission for six violin and viola duos. Haydn had finished four sonatas; Mozart stepped in to complete the set with two more.

Haydn’s sonatas are attractive pieces that are certainly worth hearing, but it is no great shame that Podger and Rogers include only two of them on this album: his affable but classically conformational style pales beside the extrovert originality of Mozart’s contributions. Building on the masterfully engineered relationship between solo violin and viola in his Sinfonia concertante K.364, Mozart revels in the operatic opportunities offered by – as Podger and Rogers put it, with only slightly fanciful exaggeration – “soprano diva” and “heroic tenor”. Anyone imagining that the works might lack depth, without piano or cello accompaniment, need only listen for a few minutes to be convinced by the richness and extraordinary variety of Mozart’s writing – especially in such vibrant and beguiling performances.

The splendid recording has a warm ambience without compromising clarity – but, listening on headphones at least, there is a disturbing amount of traffic noise from outside All Saints Church, East Finchley. This is a pity but, once adjusted to, doesn’t detract too much from an otherwise delightful and highly recommended album.

JS Bach: Sonatas and Partitas Vol 1 and 2

Posted in Chamber music, Instrumental, Violin with tags , , , , on November 14, 2012 by orinococds

JS Bach: Sonatas & Partitas Vol. 1 | Isabelle Faust | Harmonia Mundi HMC902059 | $NZ 33

JS Bach: Sonatas & Partitas Vol. 2 | Isabelle Faust | Harmonia Mundi HMC902124 | $ NZ 3

“Isabelle Faust completes her recordings begun in 2010 of Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin. “These works are the daily bedrock of my approach to the entire violin literature,” says the Faust. Based on on a careful survey of the original manuscripts as well as a lifetime of study, these are exceptional performances.

 … here is perfect technique allied to a faultless sense of rhythm. … Faust points out in accompanying notes that a violinist can only imply the polyphany and harmony, leaving them to be mentally developed by the listener. She provides every clue for this utterly enjoyable task.

 … These are surely award-winning performances. Bach for today” – Peter Shaw, North and South magazine (NZ) 12 Nov, 2012

Previous reviews in UK press of Volume 1:

“Her serious dedication soars from her Stradivarius, a dark-toned beauty but capable of much silver light in its higher reaches…Faust’s wonderfully focused playing pulls you right inside the music, and magically makes you imagine the harmonies that Bach only implies.”The Times, 10th April 2010 ****

“Faust’s account of the music is gently voiced and eloquently inflected. Her lightly articulated bowing, which eschews anything in the nature of aggressive declamation, is a constant pleasure…a poetic player with an irresistably warm sound, a tightly controlled vibrato and an athletic technique.”BBC Music Magazine, May 2010 ****

“Isabelle Faust has made a special impression as a deep, thoughtful, unshowy player, and these qualities make her ideally suited to the great Bach solo works…her command of the big structures, especially the huge C major Fugue and D minor Chaconne, is superb.” The Observer, 27th June 2010

Vivaldi: Bassoon Concerti Vol 1-3

Posted in Baroque, Chamber music, Concerto with tags , , on November 12, 2012 by orinococds

Vivaldi: Concerti per fagotto Vol 1 | Sergio Azzolini | L’Aura Soave Cremona | Naive | $NZ 33

Vivaldi: Concerti per fagotto Vol 2 | Sergio Azzolini | L’Aura Soave Cremona | Naive | $NZ 33

Vivaldi: Concerti per fagotto Vol 3 | Sergio Azzolini | L’Aura Soave Cremona | Naive | $NZ 33

Poetry, virtuosity, melodic melancholy, textural richness: dive into the fascinating and unique atmosphere of Vivaldi’s bassoon concertos
Vol. 1: RV 493, 495, 477, 488, 503, 471 & 484
Vol. 2: RV 499, 472. 490, 496, 504, 453, 470
Vol. 3: RV 485, 502, 474, 480, 494, 475

Reviews of Sergio Azzolini’s first two Vivaldi volumes –
“Azzolini is a consummate master of his instrument and no matter what difficulties Vivaldi puts before the performer, Azzolini will transform it into something wonderful—his virtuosity is astounding, but he is equally gifted in his ability to shape melodies into something approach-ing enchantments.”Early Music Review
“He is a baroque musician on a high level of imagination and inspiration. […] He makes these concertos all the more attractive and fascinating. This is music-making to cherish.”Gramophone
“A tour de force, Azzolini’s command of those concertos is breathtaking, maximising the power of Vivaldi’s music with an expressive palet beyond that often expected of period instruments.”Early Music Today

Sergio Azzolini was born in 1967 in Bolzano, Italy. He first studied the bassoon with Romano Santi at the Claudio Monteverdi Conservatory in his home town and went on to further studies with Klaus Thunemann at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hanover. While finishing his studies he simultaneously held the position of first bassoonist in the European Union Youth Orchestra. Among the numerous awards that Sergio Azzolini has received are prizes at the Carl Maria von Weber, Prague Spring, and ARD (Munich) competitions.
In parallel with his work on modern bassoon he pursued research into Baroque sound and aesthetics, familiarising himself with historically informed performance practices and working not only with copies of historical instruments but also with authentic period instruments, of which he has a large collection.
As a performer on the Baroque bassoon he is a member of the Ensemble Baroque de Limoges, directed by Christophe Coin, and appears regularly as soloist with L’Aura Soave Cremona, Sonatori della Gioiosa Marca, and La Stravaganza Köln. He is also a member of the ensemble Parnassi Musici.
Between 2002 and 2007 he was artistic director of the Kammerakademie Potsdam. With this orchestra he explored and performed music ranging from Baroque to contemporary, including many world premiere performances and four operas: Vivaldi’s La fida ninfa, Le nozze di Dorina by Galuppi, Montezuma by Graun and, in 2011, Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. Sergio Azzolini has recorded extensively. His CDs show extraordinary stylistic diversity and have been honoured with many prestigious awards. Since 1998 he has held the post of professor of bassoon and chamber music at the Hochschule für Musik in Basel.

Brahms Quintets Opp. 34 and 115

Posted in Chamber music with tags , , , on October 24, 2012 by orinococds

Brahms: Quintets Opp. 34 & 115 | HMU807558 | $NZ 33

This is a priority release, and should become a best-seller. The Tokyo String Quartet is joined by pianist Jon Nakamatsu and clarinetist Jon Manasse in these Brahms masterpieces dating from two very different periods in his life: the tumultuous Piano Quintet, Op.34 – the work of an ambitious young man – and the Clarinet Quintet Op.115, an autumnal serenade by an experienced master. The journey between these two milestones was one marked by criticism, soul searching and ultimate triumph.

John Button reviewed this release in the Dominion Post (Wellington) 22 Oct, 2012 Rating: *****

“Brahms’ two great quintets – that with piano composed composed in 1864 and the glorious 1891  Clarinet Quintet from his wonderful autumnal years – make an appropriate, if somewhat sad, way for the disbanding Tokyo String Quartet, to sign off. And, thankfully, both are marvellous performances; the Piano Quintet benefitting from the superbly virile playing of Jon Nakamitsu, and the Clarinet Quintet from the richly poetic artistry of Jon Manasse. With excellent sound, this should be of interest to all lovers of chamber music.”

79 min duration.