Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Harmonia Mundi New Releases - Reviews Soon!

Egarr's joyful English Suites
BACH The English Suites, BWV806-811
Richard Egarr
harmonia mundi • HMU 907591

Whatever the elusive truth may be regarding the "English-ness" of these Six Suittes avec leurs Preludes, there is no denying the imagination of Bach's keyboard writing. Each of the English Suites is headed by a prelude of substantial proportions, followed by a group of wonderfully varied dance movements, all of which are perfectly suited to showcase the joyful brilliance of harpsichordist Richard Egarr's prodigious technical and interpretive skills.

"Egarr is a conscientious, indeed meticulous artist who shapes the phrases of Bach's music carefully and persuasively.

Beloved Schubert lieder
Matthias Goerne
Andreas Haefliger
harmonia mundi • HMC 902141

The seventh volume in baritone Matthias Goerne's superb Schubert lieder series features some of the composer's most famous and beloved songs, including the title work, the dramatic and powerful Erlkönig. Joined here by the acclaimed pianist Andreas Haefliger, Goerne offers performances that are rich with the deep colors and intense emotions that are synonymous with the Romantic era. Selections include Im Abendrot, Der Wanderer, An den Mond, Auf der Bruck and Die Forelle.

"Goerne's virtuoso vocal sculpting draws you into the inner landscape of each song, his warm, expressive baritone shaping detail often understated by lesser artists. This promises to be a landmark series, up there with Hans Hotter and Fischer-Dieskau."

Reviving a lost work by Gesualdo
GESUALDO Sacrae Cantiones
VocalConsort Berlin
James Wood
harmonia mundi • HMC 902123

Renaissance composer Carlo Gesualdo is known for his intensely expressive madrigals and sacred music that use a chromatic language not heard again until the late 19th century. As we commemorate the four hundredth anniversary of his death in 2013, one of Gesualdo's last works still remains to be discovered: the second book of his Sacrae Cantiones. These motets in six and seven voices have remained in obscurity due to the fact that several of the vocal parts were lost. Thanks to his methodical research, musicologist and conductor James Wood has managed to reconstruct the score for the first time and perform these works as they might have been sung in 1603. This fascinating investigation took three years to complete. Leading the VocalConsort Berlin, Wood offers illuminating readings of these long-lost gems of the Italian Renaissance.

"Their voices don't blend so much as they melt into each other, allowing an elasticity that never feels forced..."