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Franz Joseph Haydn - Symphonies Nos.78-81 - Accademia Bizantina, Ottavio Dantone (2016) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Franz Joseph Haydn (1732–1809)
Artist: Accademia Bizantina, Ottavio Dantone
Title: Haydn - Symphonies Nos.78-81
Genre: Classical
Label: © Decca is a Universal Music Company
Release Date: 2016
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: highresaudio.com
Duration: 01:43:51
Recorded: Teatro Goldoni, Bagnacavallo (RA), Italy, 30 June–3 July (Nos.79 & 81), 6–9 September 2015 (Nos.78 & 80)


Accademia Bizantina under Ottavio Dantone are releasing a new album of Haydn Symphonies, Nos. 78-81. It is the first time Symphonies No.79 and 81 have been recorded on period instruments. This little-known quartet of Haydn symphonies 78-81 date from the years 1782-1784 when Haydn still served as kapellmeister to the Esterhazy family in their spectacular summer and winter palaces in Esterháza (present day Hungary) and Eisenstadt (Austria) where the music was first performed. These four symphonies have been specially recorded for the upcoming 36-CD set of Complete Haydn Symphonies, to be released later this year. It will be the first Haydn symphony cycle on period instruments.
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Franz Joseph Haydn - Cello Concertos & Symphony - Quirine Viersen, Combattimento Consort Amsterdam, Jan Willem de Vriend (2006) High-Fidelity DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz

Сomposer: Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
Artist: Quirine Viersen, Combattimento Consort Amsterdam, Jan Willem de Vriend
Title: Haydn - Cello Concertos & Symphony
Genre: Classical
Label: © Etcetera Records
Release Date: 2006
Quality: DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz
Source: nativeDSDmusic
Duration: 01:15:33
Recorded: Waalse Kerk, Amsterdam, 8-10 February 2006

John Keats once wrote that Haydn is like a child: you never know what he is going to do next. Haydn kept his playful character combined with an increasing depth in his music throughout his life and it makes him irresistible. Take the first movement of his Cello Concerto in C major: in the development section he plays a delightful game with the melodic theme and the thrumming rhythmic motive; the composer’s own enjoyment is palpable. Unexpected endings in the adagio and a finale which bursts with the joy of life and virtuoso acrobatics. The more lyrical Cello Concerto in D major also has passages that never cease to surprise: the lyrical entrance of the soloist is abruptly terminated with a sort of drum-roll. Such moments as these are splendid, for they leaven the musical brew and seem to bear Haydn’s personal stamp and signature. This second concerto has greater depth than the earlier concerto in C major, especially in the Adagio, giving clear proof of the composer’s later maturity. The music of Haydn’s Symphony no. 60 (six movements) was originally composed for the play entitled The Absent-minded Man, ‘Per la Commedia intitolata il Distratto’. It was with most likely only a few minor adaptations that Haydn transformed his distracted character into a figure for the symphonic stage. It is an enchanting work that has much more to offer the listener whenever the listener has a good conception of the play’s concert. Dutch cellist Quirine Viersen is one of the foremost musical personalities of the younger generation on the international music scene today. Her intense, powerful and virtuoso playing has thoroughly convinced her colleagues, the press and the public of her great musical talent and strength. The Combattimento Consort Amsterdam (founded by Jan Willem de Vriend in 1982) is a close-knit group of musicians that dares to realise the struggle between a line and its counterpoint. It is a baroque ensemble in which contradictions are employed in order to create beauty and whose contrasts lead to intense pleasure. It is an ensemble that creates a bridge between players and public with its fresh impertinence in matters musical.
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Georg Friedrich Handel - Timotheus oder die Gewalt der Musik - Concentus Musicus Wien, Nikolaus Harnoncourt (2013) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/48kHz

Сomposer: Georg Friedrich Händel (1685–1759)
Artist: Concentus Musicus Wien, Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Title: Händel - Timotheus oder die Gewalt der Musik
Genre: Classical
Label: © Sony Music Entertainment
Release Date: 2013
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 48kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 01:43:13
Recorded: 28/29 November 2012, Musikverein, Vienna


Am 29. November 2012 feierte die Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien und damit der Wiener Musikverein seinen 200. Geburtstag mit einem ganz besonderen Konzert: einer Rekonstruktion des ersten Konzerts im Jahr 1812, diesmal unter der Leitung von Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Auf dem Programm stand wie damals Timotheus oder Die Gewalt der Musik, die deutsche Fassung von Händels Alexander’s Feast in einer Bearbeitung von Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, die dieser 1790 für Baron van Swieten erstellt hatte. Damit es genauso klang wie im Jahre 1812 hatten Concentus Musicus und Singverein insgesamt rund 200 Mitwirkende aufgeboten. Hinzu kamen mit Roberta Invernizzi, Werner Güra und Gerald Finley drei erstklassige Solisten, und am Ende ließ Harnoncourt sogar noch das Publikum mitsingen: “Die schwarzen Punkte – das sind die Noten.”
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George Frideric Handel - Messiah - Arnold Schoenberg Chor, Concentus Musicus Wien, Nikolaus Harnoncourt (2005) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/44,1kHz

Сomposer: George Frideric Händel (1685-1759)
Artist: Arnold Schoenberg Chor, Concentus Musicus Wien, Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Title: Händel - Messiah, HWV 56
Genre: Classical
Label: © Deutsche Harmonia Mundi/Sony Music Entertainment
Release Date: 2005/2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 44,1kHz/24bit
Source: highresaudio.com
Duration: 02:21:19
Recorded: 17-21 December 2004, Musikvereinssaal, Vienna

No doubt, because of the conductor and esteemed performers involved, this new Messiah, recorded live in Vienna’s Musikvereinsaal in December 2004, will receive a high degree of respect and attention–and even perhaps acclaim–that may be at odds with at least some of the musical results. Going in, you know that Nikolaus Harnoncourt can be counted on to bend, twist, lurch, plod, or otherwise inject some personal interpretive quirk into a performance of a work as inviting as Handel’s Messiah. And he doesn’t disappoint. From the beginning Sinfonia, something in his direction seems to make it difficult for his first-class orchestra to articulate rhythms clearly and cleanly–it’s surprisingly casual. The lurch appears during the runs in “And He shall purify”, and “For unto us a Child is born” must be the slowest on disc (nearly five minutes!), its measured pace belying this chorus’ inherent joy. Meanwhile, other choruses–“And the glory of the Lord” and “Glory to God in the highest”, for example–are as exciting, well-judged, and beautifully sung and played as we could hope for. But then, in “All we like sheep”, where most choirs and orchestras deliver crisp, well-defined lines, Harnoncourt opts for a kind of slurry, mushy articulation and exaggerated emphasis on the chords in the ending measures. And typically, this is soon followed by a rip-roaring “He trusted in God”–except here, the English pronunciation becomes a distraction as the choir repeatedly sings “let him deeleever him”. Overall, however, the Arnold Schoenberg Choir is outstanding (“Let all the angels of God” is another highlight), expressing the choruses with requisite energy, precision, and feeling for the style and meaning of the texts. Likewise the orchestra, which only occasionally seems confused by or just not to believe in Harnoncourt’s beat. That leaves the soloists, and here I can easily sum up: if you’re interested in the recits and arias, the reason to hear this performance is bass Gerald Finley. He’s not only very musical and the owner of a commanding and eminently listenable voice, but his delivery is simply riveting, especially in the wonderful “The trumpet shall sound”, which may be the most impressive rendition on disc. Who can explain what tenor Michael Schade is up to? His overindulgent ornamentation and any number of other curious mannerisms seem to be saying: look at me! Some of it is just ugly–his going sharp twice during “Comfort ye my people”; his unnecessary “llllips” in the recit “All they that see Him…”; his ambiguous pitches when he tries to be extra dramatic. Well, you get the idea. Alto Anna Larsson’s throaty quality and affected enunciation sometimes seems more like a parody of alto singing than serious performing. And soprano Christine Schäfer, who has done much good work in countless other projects, sounds strained or tired sometimes and absolutely perfect at others. And so it goes–one or two thrilling sections are followed by another marked by shaky ensemble (those dotted rhythms!) or strange tempo. Or maybe just weird interpretation, as in Harnoncourt’s “Hallelujah!”, which takes off like an overloaded cargo plane, the most laid-back opening to this powerhouse chorus I’ve ever heard. It eventually picks up and really socks a punch, filling every cubic foot of the Musikverein, but what was the point of the as-if-we’re-not-sure-if-we’re-really-happy beginning? The live concert setting seems to have inspired everyone, the soloists especially, to sing with unusual dramatic force in places we don’t normally expect it, and I’m sure this made the concert-hall experience that much more memorable. The sound is fabulous–this is a recording you can really turn up and enjoy the room-filling effect without distortion. In between the rich, full-bodied bass and the brilliant upper treble there’s a huge middle that gives us a rare and satisfying sense of space as if we’re present in the hall. Some fuss is made in the liner notes regarding Harnoncourt’s personal thoughts on the score–his own handwritten diagram of the work’s theological structure is included–and there’s an intriguing reference to the conductor’s study of the “autograph” score, which “reveals a number of things that printed editions cannot show.” We’re told that the autograph also indicates the use of different numbers of strings and that these markings have been “taken into account”. But we’re never told where or how these presumably important–or at least interesting–applications appear. Instead, a full seven pages are devoted to a meandering, contrived discussion that poses the question, “Who was George Frederic Handel?” Oh well. There’s a lot to enjoy here–and much that’s puzzling or just not very compelling. In other words, it’s Harnoncourt–and if this is for you, you probably didn’t read this far. --David Vernier, Classics Today
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George Frideric Handel - Arminio - Max Emanuel Cencic, Armonia Atenea, George Petrou (2016) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Composer: George Frideric Händel (1685-1759)
Artist: Max Emanuel Cencic, Armonia Atenea, George Petrou
Title: Händel: Arminio (First performance: Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, 12 January 1737)
Genre: Classical, Opera
Label: © Decca Music Group
Release Date: 2016
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: prestoclassical.co.uk
Duration: 02:30:05
Recorded: Megaron, The Athens Concert Hall, Athens, 7–18 September 2015

Described by one contemporary commentator as “a miracle”, and another as “in every respect excellent & vastly pleasing”, Arminio is ripe for reappraisal and new presentation.
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Gwen Stefani - This Is What the Truth Feels Like (2016) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/44,1kHz

Artist: Gwen Stefani
Title: This Is What the Truth Feels Like
Genre: Pop
Label: © Interscope Records
Release Date: 2016
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 44,1kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 00:58:53
Recorded: 2015–16

It's hard to view the title of This Is What the Truth Feels Like, Gwen Stefani's first solo album in ten years, as anything other than confession: she's put away childish things so she can focus on what's real. Given that her past decade consisted of raising kids, divorcing a husband, stumbling through a No Doubt reunion, and finding redemption as a television star, there's a lot of ground for her to cover, which may be why This Is What the Truth Feels Like feels like a bit of mess. Some of this incoherence is endemic to pop in the mid-2010s, where standard operating procedure calls for superstars to work with a revolving team of producers, not a key collaborator. Some of this is also due to Stefani's desire to be everything to everyone, a grande dame who revels in her past while living for the future. By pursuing the twin inclinations to spill her heart while pushing musically forward, Stefani often mangles the mood. Otherwise light-hearted openers "Misery" and "You're My Favorite" accidentally dredge up a melancholy air, while the purportedly heartbroken "Used to Love You" achieves the opposite effect: Stefani seems thrilled that her relationship is now nothing more than a memory. "Used to Love You" is one of many allusions to her divorce from Bush leader Gavin Rossdale -- the icy "Me Without You" is another -- but far from wallowing in her loss, Stefani spends roughly half of the record singing breezy songs of liberation. On groovy slices of retro-disco like "Where Would I Be?" and "Make Me Like You," or the glossy adult pop of "Truth," she seems free, never hustling to be hip nor settling into a role as an elder stateswoman. Such a balance is delicate, and it's also fleeting. By the end of the record, Stefani is sinking into the thudding bass trap of "Red Flag" and wagging her finger in "Naughty," overcooked club cuts where she seems to be running to stand still. So much of Stefani's appeal lies in her lightness -- she's either sweet or insouciantly sassy -- that when she gets heavy with either beats or ballads, This Is What the Truth Feels Like slows to a crawl. Cut away these excesses -- these moments of emotional bloodletting or thirsty appeals to the top of the charts -- and This Is What the Truth Feels Like manages to be as fleet, giddy, and charming as Gwen Stefani ever is. --AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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	Grieg & Prokofiev - Piano Concertos - Nikolai Lugansky, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Kent Nagano (2013) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Edvard Grieg (1843-1907), Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)
Artist: Nikolaï Lugansky, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Kent Nagano
Title: Grieg & Prokofiev - Piano Concertos
Genre: Classical
Label: © Ambroisie/naïve
Release Date: 2013
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 00:59:16
Recorded: February 2013 at Jesus-Christus-Kirche Berlin-Dahlem


Accompanied by the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin (DSO Berlin), one of the best German orchestras, conducted by Kent Nagano, renowned for interpretations of clarity, elegance and intelligence, Nikolai Lugansky performs a new album dedicated to two famous composers, Grieg and Prokofiev. The Russian pianist is still spectacular in these concertos.
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Grieg & Moszkowski - Piano Concertos - Joseph Moog, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrucken Kaiserslautern, Nicholas Milton (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/44,1kHz

Сomposer: Moritz Moszkowski (1854-1925), Edvard Grieg (1843–1907)
Artist: Joseph Moog, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrucken Kaiserslautern, Nicholas Milton
Title: Grieg & Moszkowski - Piano Concertos
Genre: Classical
Label: © Onyx Classics
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 44,1kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 01:05:21
Recorded: Großer Sendesaal, Saarländischer Rundfunk, Funkhaus Halberg, Saarbrücken, 10–14 June 2014

Joseph Moog has established an enviable reputation as one of the most impressive virtuoso pianists of the younger generation. His catholic tastes embrace both the core repertoire and many works from its backwaters – works that were once warhorses, but have for no apparent reason fallen into unjust neglect. The Moszkowski piano concerto on this new CD is such a work. Overflowing with memorable tunes, the piano writing and indeed the handling of the orchestra marks this out as a very skilfully constructed work. Do not expect moments of profundity or an emotional roller coaster: just marvel at the fluidity and brilliance of Moszkowski’s writing. This is salon music of the highest order, and none the worse for that!
Moog couples the Moszkowski with one of the concertos in the repertoire whose fortunes have not waned – the evergreen Grieg concerto which never fails to impress the listener.
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Giuseppe Albanese - Apres une lecture de Liszt (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Franz Liszt (1811-1886)
Artist: Giuseppe Albanese
Title: Après une lecture de Liszt
Genre: Classical
Label: © Deutsche Grammophon GmbH/Universal Music Italia Srl
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 01:23:18

One of the most sought-after Italian pianists of his generation, Giuseppe Albanese has performed throughout Italy and abroad, with praise for his performances as “ravishingly beautiful” and “truly superlative”. First prize winner at Premio Venezia, the most important national piano competition in Italy, Albanese also won the first prize at London 2003 Vendome Prize International Piano Competition, headed by Sir Jeffrey Tate and defined by Le Figaro as “the piano world’s most prestigious award”. He was also awarded the special prize for the ‘best execution of contemporary music’ at the 54th Busoni International Piano Competition in Bolzano.
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Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue; An American in Paris / Bernstein: Symphonic Dances & Symphonic Suite - Columbia Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/44,1kHz

Сomposer: George Gershwin (1898-1937), Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)
Artist: Columbia Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein
Title: Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue; An American in Paris / Bernstein: Symphonic Dances from 'West Side Story'; Symphonic Suite from 'On the Waterfront'
Genre: Classical
Label: © Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 44,1kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 01:15:36
Recorded: 1958-1961

Because George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue is one of the most beloved American masterpieces, most people who have taken an interest in his music have come to know it quite well and have usually adopted a favorite recording already. Thanks to Sony, its Great Performances series now includes a classic that many will remember vividly -- due in great part to its iconic cover photograph -- and which some will recall fondly as their first introduction to Gershwin's entertaining work. Among American performers who made a splash playing this piece, Leonard Bernstein may not have given the most fastidious, note-perfect performance, but he made this impressive recording with the Columbia Symphony Orchestra in 1959 a true reflection of his charismatic, flamboyant personality. Paired with his buoyant 1958 performance of An American in Paris with the New York Philharmonic, Bernstein's rendition of Rhapsody is lively, flashy, bluesy, and intensely romantic in feeling, and these positive characteristics no doubt contributed to keeping this album in print for many years as one of Columbia's great successes. Presented here with a bonus recording of Gershwin's Concerto in F, performed in 1960 by pianist André Previn with Andre Kostelanetz and his Orchestra, the package is practically irresistible for any Gershwin fan who wants a maximum return for the affordable reissue price. Sony's HighRes remastering has made these recordings sound remarkably fresh with almost no trace of hiss or other noises, and this album favorably compares with many all-digital CDs in its clarity and color. --Blair Sanderson
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