Discover our new releases: June 22nd!
BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Described as ‘one of the great new Sibelian teams’ (The Herald), Thomas Søndergård and BBC National Orchestra of Wales continue their shared fascination with the orchestral music of Sibelius. Released one month after BBC NOW celebrates its ninetieth anniversary, this recording includes many of Sibelius’ most famous masterpieces. Sibelius established his credentials early on with the tonally adventurous En saga, which brings to mind the excellence of Berlioz’ orchestral writing. Sibelius’ successful foray into the impressionistic tone world of Debussy resulted in the haunting seascape of The Oceanides. Sibelius wrote it was ‘pure inspiration’ that led to the composition of the perpetually popular Finlandia, with its world-famous hymn motif. The wonderfully descriptive Swan of Tuonela finds Sibelius at his mystical best as he casts the cor anglais as the majestic swan from Finnish mythology. Sibelius: Finlandia is a fitting finale to this Sibelius series which also includes critically acclaimed recordings of four of his symphonies.
An English Sett
Trumpeter Jonathan Freeman-Attwood and pianist Daniel-Ben Pienaar continue their ‘ear-ticklingly imaginative’ series of musical reinventions with a celebration of the golden era of English music. Featuring heavyweights of the 16th and 17th centuries, such as Byrd, Gibbons, Tomkins, Lawes and Locke, the pair inspire arrangements by Timothy Jones which bring this music alive in a thrilling, entertaining and intimate chamber medium. Performing on modern trumpet and Steinway piano, Freeman-Attwood and Pienaar relish the opportunity to challenge the established interpretation of these works. They succeed by drawing on interpretative instincts, inclinations, and inflections gleaned from their wide performance experience, whilst deliberately referencing their accumulated knowledge of performance practices of the period. Comprising mesmerizing dances, songs, fantasies and variations, this is a journey which re-ignites our appreciation and love for forgotten gems from the Elizabethan, Jacobean and Caroline worlds. This is another must-have recording in Freeman-Attwood’s critically acclaimed ‘boundary-busting’ series.
German Sacred Cantatas
This recording, whose title is here embodied in an instrumental version by Georg Böhm of the renowned chorale Vater unser, brings together sacred works and Lutheran cantatas for the alto voice. The concertante role allotted to the instruments is particularly important in these works and contributes to their deeply expressive character; these works were heavily influenced by Italian styles of the period. All of the instrumental works are closely linked to sacred music, the majority of them being constructed around chorale melodies.
VATER UNSER // Paulin Bundgen & Clematis
Baroque Boys // Playlist
Justin Taylor offered us a very impressive first (multi-awarded) album devoted to the Forqueray family. He is now back with an album juxtaposing Scarlatti and Ligetti and to celebrate this release, Justin offers us this collection of eclectic choices to listen to on your favourite platform!
MARENZIO // L'Amoroso & crudo stile
Discover our new releases: June 8th!
Franz Joseph Haydn
Haydn 2032, Vol. 6
The year 2017 was a vintage one for Giovanni Antonini: he was awarded an Echo Klassik, two Gramophone Awards and a Diapason d’Or of the Year for his recent releases. Two of these prizes distinguished ‘Il Distratto’, volume 4 of the complete recording of the Haydn symphonies on which he embarked for Alpha in 2014. For the sixth volume, released in 2018, the Milanese conductor is again joined by the Kammerorchester Basel, which shares the project with Il Giardino Armonico and which he knows very well, since he conducts it regularly and they have made many recordings together, including volume 5 of the Haydn series. This volume focuses on symphonies with a ‘sacred’ inspiration: the Symphony no.26, ‘Lamentatione’, was composed in 1768 for Holy Week, and no.30 was nicknamed ‘Alleluja’ after the plainchant melody Haydn uses in it. Symphony no.41 was written in 1769.
Ensemble Masques, Olivier Fortin
Vox Luminis, Lionel Meunier
The Abendmusiken were a legendary concert series organised by Buxtehude in Lübeck. Even Johann Sebastian Bach travelled a long way to attend these concerts of sacred and instrumental music and met the master Dietrich Buxtehude, the most famous organist in Europe. To mark the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation, Vox Luminis and the Ensemble Masques have come together to perform a programme of cantatas (Gott hilf mir, denn das Wasser geht mir bis an die Seele, BuxWV 34 | Befiehl dem Engel, dass er komm, BuxWV 10 | Jesu, meine Freude, BuxWV 60 | Herzlich lieb hab ich dich, o Herr, BuxWV 41) and instrumental pieces (Sonatas BuxWV 255 and 261). The recording assembles leading specialists of this repertory, with the expert voices of Vox Luminis combining with the vitality of the instrumentalists of Ensemble Masques.
Thomas Dunford continues to expand his discography on Alpha with a programme of solo lute works by J.S. Bach, recorded in the ideal surroundings of the Salle de Musique of La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland. He performs an original composition by Bach for the lute, the Suite in G minor BWV 995, as well as his own arrangements of the (Cello) Suite BWV 1007 and the famous Chaconne from the Partita BWV 1004 – the latter piece has a notorious reputation for being (virtually) unplayable, at least on the violin!
The German soprano Juliane Banse has sung the Lieder of Brahms, Schubert, Wolf, Ullmann, Strauss, Schumann, Loewe and Berg, earning a reputation for both the quality of her interpretations and the warmth of her timbre. She and her regular partner Martin Helmchen, who has just joined Alpha, have chosen to record Paul Hindemith’s song cycle Das Marienleben, composed in 1923 and revised by the composer in 1948. A bewitching, sometimes disturbing cycle whose texts, taken from the great poet Rainer Maria Rilke, retrace the life of the Virgin Mary. Fifteen poems, fifteen episodes tinged with mysticism and lyricism. They proved to be the ideal inspiration for Hindemith, whose compositional style here draws on both the power of Wagner’s operas and the subtle nuances of Debussy.
Piano Quintets / Bagatelles
Miguel Da Silva
After two earlier Dvořák releases, the Trios nos.3 and 4 (Dumky) and the two Piano Quartets, Omri Epstein, Mathieu van Bellen and Ori Epstein are joined by one of their teachers at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel, the violist Miguel da Silva (founder member of the famous Quatuor Ysaÿe) and the violinist Maria Milstein, who was also an artist in residence at the Music Chapel from 2011 to 2014. Together they continue this recording of the Czech composer’s complete chamber music with keyboard, this time in the two Piano Quintets and the Bagatelles. There is an obvious close rapport between these musicians, who share with us their passion for this repertory and their enjoyment of playing together. A gap of fifteen years separates Dvořák’s two Piano Quintets, which have few features in common except a shared home key: the first marks the debut of a youthful composer, while the second shows him at the peak of his art. The Bagatelles, originally scored for two violins, cello and harmonium, are among his bestknown short pieces. A recording scheduled for release in autumn 2018 will complete this quadriptych of Dvořák’s piano trios, quartets and quintets.ISTEN / BUY
L'amoroso e crudo stile
Luca Marenzio was the most brilliant representative of the sublime art of the madrigal during the last twenty years of the sixteenth century. Whereas the style of his early works is light, fluid and transparent, in his maturity Marenzio’s language turned towards a more complex, introspective attitude that made him the most emblematic musical exponent of Late Renaissance melancholy. L’amoroso & crudo stile brings together some of Marenzio’s finest madrigals, aiming to reproduce the most intimate expressive facets of a music of extraordinary beauty and profound humanity.With the emotional intensity and deep respect for the poetic text that distinguishes the ensemble, RossoPorpora begins in this debut recording its personal exploration and celebration of the madrigal, the earliest and still unsurpassed representation of Italian musical identity.
With Nuances, pianist Jeremy Hababou gives us an album of stripped-down, sometimes minimalist, pieces, the reflection of an aesthetic profoundly rooted in his personality. As he likes to say, 'technical mastery of an instrument does not suffice for becoming an artist. Being an artist precedes artistic discipline. Above all, it is a necessity, a sensibility, another way of looking at the world, a quest.' Whilst his approach and compositions are inspired by literature, poetry, the visual arts, and philosophy, Jeremy Hababou also borrows from the classical repertoire. These references are perceptible throughout his work, even though they take varied forms of expression. Travel constitutes a common theme in his progression, attesting to a constant need for sharing, exchanging, feelings and emotions. The mixtures of rhythms and colours present throughout the album are so many invitations to 'go further' and discover an unknown made up of surprises and astonishments.
AlphaPlay and the Musiq'3 Festival are pleased to present the official playlist of the Musiq'3 Festival
Since its first edition, the Outhere Music group has been working closely with the Musiq'3 Festival, one of the main festivals of the music scene in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation.
The Musiq'3 Festival is 3 days of music and celebration with more than 50 45-minute concerts. From Flagey to Marni, passing by the Abbey of La Cambre and the marquee on Place Sainte-Croix, the Festival offers a diversified program open to all types of music, from classical to jazz and world!
This year's theme, Nordic Vibes, will take you north. The musicians of the Baltic coast occupy an important place in the international musical landscape. A presence that is illustrated in all genres, from vocal music to instrumental music, metal to traditional music, contemporary music and jazz!
AlphaPlay and the Musiq'3 Festival invites you to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of this 8th edition!
→ Discover the Playlist of the Musiq'3 Festival on AlphaPlay by clicking here!
AlphaPlay is the streaming service that offers direct online recordings from the artist to the consumer, thus increasing the artists' rewards. AlphaPlay currently offers a repertoire of 40,000 works that expands each month. You will have the chance to listen to a selection of concerts of the Festival Musiq'3 2018 from July 2nd.
TELEMANN // La solitude à deux
Discover our new releases: May 25th!
MISSA SI DEUS PRO NOBIS
Le Concert Spirituel
Hervé Niquet possesses two constant character traits: he is an indefatigable excavator of forgotten music, and he loves polyphony and ‘large forms’. A few years ago, he caused a sensation by exhuming the monumental music of Striggio. To mark the thirtieth anniversary of his ensemble, Le Concert Spirituel, he now tackles a new peak of polyphony: a mass by Orazio Benevolo (1605–72) performed by eight choirs of four singers, accompanied by fifteen continuo players. In concert, the choirs are spread out around the nave, with the audience in the middle. Benevolo was born to a Burgundian confectioner father who had emigrated to Rome. Educated at the choir school of San Luigi dei Francesi, he became one of the greatest geniuses of polychorality, a prolific composer who represented the splendours of French art in Rome. He ended his career as maestro di cappella at the Vatican. This music has been resurrected thanks to the work of the great musicologist Jean Lionnet, who spent many years copying out by hand the music of numerous Italian composers in the Vatican archives, from which it was impossible to borrow documents. As a result of his labours the Missa ‘Si Deus pro nobis’ has now been recorded, accompanied by vocal and instrumental pieces by Monteverdi, Frescobaldi and Palestrina.
Scarlatti - Ligeti
Following his First Prize at the Bruges Competition and his first album, devoted to the Forqueray family (‘Choc’ of the Year in Classica, Editor’s Choice in Gramophone, Grand Prix de l’Académie Charles Cros), the Franco American harpsichordist Justin Taylor has recently been awarded the ‘Révélation Musicale’ Prize of the French Critics’ Circle. His career has developed rapidly, both as soloist (harpsichordist and also fortepianist) and as director of his ensemble, the Taylor Consort, with which Alpha will soon be recording... For his second recital, Justin Taylor juxtaposes Scarlatti and Ligeti, two composers whose periods and universes seem so remote from each other, yet who show numerous affinities: in their inventiveness, the virtuosity of their respective languages and their common urge to push the keyboard to its very limits. Continuum builds a bridgehead between these two hypersensitive composers by intertwining Ligeti’s three emblematic (and spectacular!) pieces for solo harpsichord with sonatas by Scarlatti.
Sibelius - Rautavaara
Royal de Liège
Following his Alpha recording of sonatas by Prokofiev, Ravel and Strauss, the violinist Tobias Feldmann now turns to the concerto form, performing the two major works of the Finnish repertoire for the instrument: the violin concertos of Jean Sibelius and Einojuhani Rautavaara. Premiered in Helsinki in 1904, the Sibelius Concerto proved to be exceptionally difficult technically for the soloist. Sibelius revised his score, but subsequently composed for violin and orchestra only in shorter forms, the serenade and the humoresque. It was not until nearly seventy years later that a Finnish composer wrote another large-scale work for violin and orchestra, with the Concerto of Rautavaara, which in all respects equals the degree of virtuosity demanded by the earlier work.
Sibelius - Rachmaninov
Following critically acclaimed Glyndebourne performances in Michael Grandage’s Billy Budd and Brett Dean’s Hamlet, Jacques Imbrailo has established himself as one of the most exciting young baritones on the world stage. His debut solo recital for Linn sees him perform with fellow Prince Consort alumni, Alisdair Hogarth, in a mouth-watering programme of Sibelius and Rachmaninov songs. Among the selection is In the silence of the mysterious night, one of Rachmaninov’s best-loved songs and one of the composer’s greatest achievements in this genre. Rachmaninov’s trademark melodicism is met with a perfect partner in Imbrailo’s lyric baritone, whilst his expressive and highly intricate accompaniments find a worthy partner in Hogarth. Providing a welcome contrast to the intensity of Rachmaninov is the Nordic sentimentality that Sibelius brings to his highly romantic songs. The pearl of the Opus 37 collection is Var det en dröm?, which the composer himself described as ‘my most beautiful song’. Together the duo perfectly communicates the passions and anxieties of a poet’s lost love; the rich tone of Imbrailo’s final note provides an immensely satisfying close.
One Byrde in Hande
Richard Egarr’s impressive career, both as a solo keyboardist and conductor (notably with the Academy of Ancient Music), has cemented his reputation as one of the UK’s most compelling musicians. In his debut solo recording for Linn, Egarr charts the extraordinary breadth of invention at play in works by William Byrd. One of English music’s most influential figures, Byrd’s innovative style is evident throughout this well-chosen program of preludes, grounds and fantasies. The Fantasia in A minor, MB13, demonstrates the unlimited scope of Byrd’s imagination; intricate rhythms, surprising modulations and changing textures precede a finale requiring a previously unequalled level of dexterous virtuosity. Egarr similarly relishes the technical demands of Byrd’s descriptive masterpiece, The bells. This incredible composition begins with a single toll before developing into an elaborate and thrillingly complex showpiece of pealing bells. Egarr’s elegant phrasing, infectious enthusiasm and rich embellishments result in insightful performances.
La barca del mio amore
Pino De Vittorio
Giacomo Gorzanis (c.1530-c.1575), ‘il Cieco Pugliese’, was one of the great lute virtuosos of the sixteenth century. Born in Apulia, by 1557 he had settled in Trieste, where he soon established close contacts with the nobility of Carinthia and Carniola. His travels also took him to Graz, where he performed for Charles II, Archduke of Austria and brother of the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II. Four books of his lute music and two books of napolitane were published in Venice between 1561 and 1579. Of particular interest is his manuscript of 1567, containing twenty-four pairs of dances in all the ‘major’ and ‘minor’ modes. From intimate lute fantasias to lively dances and playful villanelle alla napolitana, this original and colourful programme is the first to present the full range of his works. Full of little-known treasures, it is enriched by the extraordinary voice and presence of the charismatic Puglian singer Pino De Vittorio.
CONTINUUM // Interview with Justin Taylor
Bach Inspiration // Suite No.2, BWV 1067
MONTEVERDI A SAN MARCO // Odhecaton & Paolo Da Col