Masaaki Suzuki is a Japanese organist, harpsichordist and conductor, and the founder and musical director of the Bach Collegium Japan. He also teaches and conducts at Yale University and has conducted orchestras and choruses around the world. He was born in Kobe to parents who were both Christians and amateur musicians; his father had worked professionally as a pianist. Masaaki Suzuki began playing organ professionally at church services at the age of 12.
"PentaTone have definitely established a winning formula for success with the ten Wagner operas they are currently recording in association with Deutschlandradio Kultur in Berlin. (…) The presentation of this set is excellent. Thankfully, it includes a well translated German/ English libretto (unlike the travesty supplied with the Bychkov version), a thought provoking essay on the opera by Steffen Georgi and full artist biographies. Though my own allegiance to the Bychkov version among recent recordings remains steadfast this Janowski account is unlikely to disappoint. It will surely be welcomed by avid Wagnerites and makes one eager for the next issue in what is proving to be a superlative series." ~sa-cd.net
The soprano Diana Damrau stars in the operas of Mozart, Verdi, Rossini, Donizetti and Strauss, but Forever is the ‘soundtrack of her life’ in the form of much-loved numbers from operetta, musicals and the movies – including Die Fledermaus, My Fair Lady, West Side Story, The Phantom of the Opera and The Little Mermaid. “This music shows a side of me that many people don’t know yet,” she says. “These tunes are great art, because they are associated with unforgettable moments in everyone’s lives.”
Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov (b.1937) is an important contemporary voice in vocal music. In this new release, Silvestrov’s hauntingly beautiful vocal works are performed by the Latvian Radio Choir under their director Sigvards Kļava. During his artistic career, Silvestrov has explored a number of musical styles and techniques, such as avant-guard, post-modernism, neo-classicism, dodecaphony, aleatoric writing and pointillism. The fall of the Soviet Union, however, allowed Silvestrov to eventually compose spiritual works, inspired and influenced by his love of the Russian Orthodox Church music which Silvestrov imbues with his own unique sound and bursts of surprising harmonic moves. Silvestrov’s compositions are invested with the composer’s own unique personality, musical sensibility and sense of beauty.