Diego Ortiz – Recercadas del Tratado de Glosas (1553) – Jordi Savall (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88.2 kHz | Time – 49:25 | 814 MB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Digital Booklet , Front Cover | © Alia Vox
Recorded: April 1989 at La Pieve di San Martino, Italy

Review from Diapason magazine #363 (abridged)
Reviewer: Denis Morrier

“Denis Morier underlines quite judiciously the importance of this recording of the “recarcadas” of Diego Ortiz. He writes: ” This is “… another revelation from Savall (as always in those ancient repertories that he explores with such an open mindedness,…); not only does it come from a famous musician and theorician…, but it stems from a buoyant and tumultuous art, full of exacerbated passions and tensions which are continuously revived.”

As we read on, he mentions that “Savall provides a broad selection from the various types of ricercadas located by Ortiz (only those based on Gregorian melodies are excluded), thus embellishing his choices with accompaniments of a wide variety, always splendidly performed. We can appreciate the volubility and the rhythmic exuberance which characterizes Ton Koopman’s performance – the hapsichordist often engaging in truly virtuoso exchanges with the soloist – as well as the inventiveness and delicacy of the harpist, Andre Lawrence-King. Being so well supported, Jordi Savall can let go all his poetical inspiration, without adornments, but giving to these pieces on the contrary a truly dramatic dimension… “.

Morier concludes his review by branding Savall as “the angel of the viola da gamba who performs… another miracle, giving a new dimension to these didactic pieces and puts them in a new perspective, shedding a new light on the Renaissance period.”

(more…)

Clara & Robert Schumann – Portraits – Miah Persson, Joseph Breinl (2011)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88.2 kHz | Time – 01:01:26 | 925 MB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: eclassical.com| Digital Booklet , Front Cover | © BIS Records AB
Recorded: June 2010 at Nybrokajen 11 (the former Academy of Music), Stockholm, Sweden

Clara and Robert. These two began their relationship as young lovers facing parental disapproval, marrying just before Clara’s 21st birthday in 1840. During their years together they both pursued careers in music as well as raising seven children, all of this ending in 1854 when Robert entered an asylum for the insane, dying there two years later. The year of their wedding is often called Schumann’s Liederjahr; during this ‘year of song’ he composed more than 150 songs, and his wedding gift to Clara was in fact a song cycle, Myrthen, Op. 25. Sixteen songs dated 1840 can be found here, including the Frauenliebe und Leben cycle, the crowning achievement of the year. But Robert also encouraged Clara to write songs and in 1841 they jointly published a collection entitled The Spring of Love. Clara had composed three of the songs (the 3 Lieder, Op. 3) and Robert the remaining nine, including Der Himmel hat eine Träne geweint, but at the first publication the authorship of the individual songs was left unspecified. As Clara would become aware, however, it was far more acceptable for a woman to perform music than to write it. At the age of 34 she stopped composing, but not before she had written further songs. Four of these can be found here, as can Robert’s final song cycle, composed in 1852 and focussing on the life and tragic end of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots.
Animating these varied and various portraits, Miah Persson is increasingly in demand as a recitalist, parallel to her highly successful career in opera. Performing regularly with Joseph Breinl, she gives recitals in venues such as Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall and the Concertgebouw. For BIS she has previously recorded a collection of Mozart arias which caused reviewers to praise her voice (‘has a silvery purity that does not preclude sensuality and warmth’, Sunday Times) as well as her approach (‘Here nothing is contrived; it is sung with one ear listening to the heart…’ Diapason).

(more…)

Frederic Chopin – Ballades & Scherzos – Arthur Rubinstein (2004/2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/176.4 kHz | Time – 01:11:20 | 2.39 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks| Digital Booklet , Front Cover | © Sony Music Entertainment
Recorded: April 28-29, 1959 (Ballades) and March 25-26, 1959 (Scherzos) in Manhattan Center, New York City

Remastered from first-generation session tapes at Soundmirror Inc., Boston MA. All sessions were recorded to 3-track 1/2-inch tape on Ampex 300 tape machines running at 15 inches per second.
Typical RCA Living Stereo mic setups included Neumann M-49 and U-47 condenser and RCA 77DX ribbon mics. Microphones were connected to custom-made RCA mixing consoles, which in turn fed the tape recorders.
Arthur Rubinstein is widely considered one of the greatest pianists of the twentieth century and one of Chopin’s finest interpreters. This renowned album finds Rubinstein in peak form. His performance of Chopin’s Ballades and Scherzos is inspiring and lyrical. Captured by RCA Living Stereo’s team in the highest fidelity and clarity, this is the definitive performance of Chopin’s masterpieces.

(more…)

Luigi Cherubini – Medea – Maria Callas, Orch del Teatro alla Scala di Milano, Tullio Serafin (1957/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:58:51 | 2.01 GB | Genre: Classical, Opera
Official Digital Download – Source: highresaudio.com  | Digital Booklet , Front Cover | © Warner Classics
Recorded: 12–19.IX.1957, Teatro alla Scala, Milan

Medea is one of the roles most closely associated with Maria Callas – and it is Medea, rather than Médée, because she only ever sang Cherubini’s Médée (1797) in the Italian translation by Carlo Zangarini. It occupies sixth place in the list of roles she sang most often, with a total of 31 performances, and it was a part to which she brought an especially personal and intensely felt interpretation, informed by both her Greek background and her matchless talent for tragedy. Although she was associated above all with the Romantic bel canto repertoire and with Verdi, she also ventured with great success into the Classical repertoire, appearing on stage in works by composers from Gluck (Alceste, Ifigenia in Tauride) to Haydn (Orfeo ed Euridice – she made her debut as Eurydice on stage in Florence with Erich Kleiber in 1951) and Mozart (Die Entführung aus dem Serail at La Scala in 1952, in Italian). To these one could add Spontini’s La vestale (1807), which lies stylistically somewhere between Médée and Norma (La Scala, 1954), even Beethoven’s Fidelio (1804–14), which she sang in Athens in 1944. Medea, falling between the late Classical and pre-Romantic, was the ideal role for Callas (she starred again as the sorceress of Colchis in Pier Paolo Pasolini’s film Medea in 1969, in an altogether different kind of classical reinterpretation, which, although non-musical, had a preview screening at the Paris Opéra). It was at the 1953 Maggio Musicale in Florence that Callas made her debut as Medea, under the baton of Vittorio Gui: the live recording stands as a lasting legacy of her incredible stage presence. So successful was she that La Scala engaged her to repeat the role at the end of the same year, this time with Leonard Bernstein on the podium: another live recording captured another incomparable moment in operatic history. After performances in Venice, Rome, Dallas, London and even the ancient theatre of Epidaurus, it was in this most emblematic of roles that Callas bid her final farewell to La Scala, on 29 May 1962. In between the two, in September 1957 (the same year as Il barbiere di Siviglia, La sonnambula, Turandot and Manon Lescaut!), Callas recorded Medea in Milan, in a version that differed somewhat from her stage performances, if only for the reduced, almost chamber-like orchestral ensemble and the generally incisive nature of its playing, closer to the practice of the late 18th century than to the pre-Romantic feel of her stage incarnation of Medea. –MICHEL ROUBINET

(more…)