Johann Sebastian Bach – Bach – Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Joshua Bell (2014) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44,1kHz]

Johann Sebastian Bach – Bach – Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Joshua Bell (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 49:57 minutes |  284 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download |  Source:Qobuz | Digital Booklet , Front cover
© Sony Music | Recorded: April 28 & 29, 2014 at Air Studios, London, Great Britain

Violinist Joshua Bell is one of the most acclaimed classical musicians of today — renowned for his expressive, elegant, intelligent playing and his deep commitment to bringing the classical tradition to wider audiences.
Now Bell has for the first time recorded the masterpieces of J.S. Bach with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. In his third season now as their music director, Bell performs Bach’s sublime Violin Concertos No. 1 and No. 2, along with a never-done-before ‘violin and orchestra’ arrangement of the famous “Chaconne” from the Partita No. 2 (adapted from Mendelssohn’s piano accompaniment), the Gavotte en Rondeau from Partita No. 3 for solo violin (using Schumann’s accompaniment), and the universally beloved “Air on the G string.”
“Bach is the composer who got me hooked on music in the first place,” says Bell, whose “house was filled with Bach when I was growing up.” He also began his music career with Bach. Says Bell, “I made my first appearance as soloist with an orchestra when I was seven years old. The concerto was by Bach, and Bach’s music has been central in my life, even though I have until now resisted recording his music. My approach to Bach has been continuously evolving. I grew up deeply influenced by a tradition of Bach playing that has since gone out of fashion with the arrival of the ‘original instrument’ movement. What fascinates me is how the beauty of Bach can shine through both when performed in a ‘romantic’ style (if done tastefully of course!) and also when done with a more ‘historically informed’ approach.”

(more…)

Joseph Haydn – The Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross – Alexei Lubimov (2014) [Official Digital Download 24bit/88.2kHz]

Joseph Haydn – The Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross – Alexei Lubimov (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/88.2 kHz | Time – 01:04:20 minutes | 1.13 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download |  Source:Qobuz | Front cover
© Zig-Zag Territoires ,Outhere Music | Recorded: from 17 to 20 June 2013 in Doopsgezinde Gemeente Church, Haarlem (Netherlands)

Although it is played on a period instrument, no one is arguing that this recording of Haydn’s The Seven Last Words of Christ is historically authentic. The work, exceptionally in Haydn’s output, exists in multiple versions, for orchestra, string quartet, chorus, and keyboard (either fortepiano or harpsichord). But surely Haydn did not have the instrument heard here, the rare tangent piano, in his head. This was, speaking roughly, a piano-harpsichord hybrid that never really found its footing in the late 18th century. As long as listeners are down with the idea of a fairly speculative recording, the effect of the tangent piano in this particular work is electrifying. Lubimov gets the best of both worlds: the intimacy of the keyboard version and the dynamic contrasts and timbral shadings of the orchestral original. The keyboard transcription is not by Haydn himself but was made in his own time, and he approved it. Lubimov works from this, tweaking it and adding contrasts that break up the seven consecutive slow movements and give them an extraordinarily expressive quality. Even when listeners know it’s coming, the final Terremoto movement, depicting the earthquake following Christ’s crucifixion, comes as a shock. Listeners will never hear the work quite the same way again after experiencing this recording, and even if Haydn didn’t intend it this way, most may well end up wishing he had.

(more…)