A solitaire in French is a single mounted jewel, a concept that seems less than apt for the rather hefty works recorded here by British pianist Kathryn Stott. But this fine recital holds together in another way: Ravel, who so often provides the temporal endpoint for traditional piano recitals, is here, to a greater or lesser extent, the launching point for the other three composers featured. Stott's reading of the neoclassical Le Tombeau de Couperin is beautifully precise and balanced, catching the economy of this Baroque-style suite to the hilt. That economy carries over into the later works, even the rarely performed Piano Sonata of Henri Dutilleux, a work that deftly fuses Ravel's sense of classical forms with a largely dissonant language. The opening Prelude and Fugue of Jehan Alain, actually two separate works that are reasonably enough combined here, is another seldom-played piece that makes an arresting curtain-raiser, and the final "Le baiser de l'Enfant Jésus" of Messiaen, part of the giant Vingt regards sur l'Enfant Jésus, is the splendid climax of the whole, its spiritual, dreamlike ascent at the end superbly controlled.
There are artists who have the gift of magnifying a work that was thought more or less successful. That is the case here of the young quartet Hermes which we owe a splendid recording of three quartets by Robert Schumann. If the Third has always seemed the most successful, the first two seemed littered writing weaknesses. Nothing like here with the Hermes who offer us a worried Schumann, enthusiastic, romantic, giving this triptych cohesion rarely heard such a level. France has truly become the last twenty years a large string quartet nation, thanks to the combined actions of Pro Quartet and the beautiful teaching of Ysaяe Quartet. A new record provides further evidence. Hermes Quartet is a young training to monitor closely.
One of the most prominent latter-day British minimalists, Graham Fitkin enjoys both renown in Europe and a kind of enfant terrible status in his native England, although this is gradually wearing off. Nevertheless, to know Fitkin is not necessarily to love him; blogger/composer Alex Christaki has written that Fitkin's Mesh is "quite typical of a 'contemporary' style, meaning that its capturing texture feels to well adapted to today's modern music. I also feel that once you have heard it a second hearing is unnecessary." Another English critic once commented that "if I hear Fitkin's Cud one more time I'm afraid I'm going to lose my mind."
The appetite for evolving performance practices in Bach’s St Matthew Passion appears undiminished as we have gradually shifted, over the generations, from larger to smaller ensembles and also towards a greater dramatic understanding of the implications of Bach’s ambitious ‘stereophonic’ double choir and orchestra choreography.
Enter into a dream of a new musical landscape with the artistic sounds of E.J. Cryan. Combining passionate melody with poetic texture, Cryan's music is meditative and seductive. His soothing and touching compositios have been used in a wide variety of settings such as professional sporting events and in hospitals for relaxation therapy.
E.J. Cryan went through an incredible life journey through a myriad of depth and culture in his musical upbringing. After extensive years as a drummer and percussionist performing everything from rock to jazz, E.J. Cryan felt a new awakening and began a deeply personal pilgrimage to create ambient electronic music with the power to touch people's souls…
Very few conductors have recorded as much Bach as Karl Richter and none can lay a stronger claim to a legacy based on championing the master. Richter's reverence for Bach is evinced by the simplicity, splendor, and grandeur with which he consistently imbued his performances exemplified here by these landmark recordings of the Brandenburg Concertos and Orchestral Suites. In Archiv's original-image bit-processing remastered transfers as well, the sound is better than ever. This is cornerstone Bach that should not be missed.