Rayfield Allied Advent Calendar

01 December 2014

Welcome to the 2014 Rayfield Allied Advent Calendar

This year has seen a wealth of releases by Rayfield Allied artists on CD, DVD and digital formats.  We’ve picked our top 25 for our online Advent Calendar.


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ANDREW PARROTT - THE PROMISE OF AGES: A CHRISTMAS COLLECTION
Taverner Choir and Consort
Reissue released October 2014 - AVIE

What the critics said: “A truly revelatory programme which might safely have been named ‘Quite Simply the Best Christmas Album Ever…’ ”
BBC Music Magazine

Listen to: Andrew Parrott conduct Hark! The Herald Angels Sing with the Taverner Consort and Choir in a reissue of his 1998 recording here.


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ROBIN BLAZE – JS BACH: CANTATAS, VOLUME 55
Bach Collegium Japan conducted by Masaaki Suzuki
Released November 2013 - BIS

What the critics said: “The glow which suffuses oboe, violin, continuo and Robin Blaze’s alto in the first aria in BWV 69 is captivating.”
BBC Music Magazine Recording of the Month

“The fastidiously prepared arias also mark the remarkable contributions of two important soloists throughout the years, Robin Blaze and Peter Kooij […] and even more in the jazz-swung alto gavotte, ‘Kommt, ihr angefochten’, one of Bach’s most galant vocal creations from his later years and suitably shaded by Blaze.”
Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, Gramophone


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GENNADY ROZHDESTVENSKY – TAVENER: AKHMATOVA REQUIEM
with Phyllis Bryn-Julson, Elise Ross, John Shirley-Quirk, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and The Nash Ensemble
Released September 2014 - NMC

What the composer said: “Gennadi Rozhdestvensky conducted it superbly at the première.”
John Tavener

Listen to: A short extract from the reissue of John Tavener’s Akhmatova Requiem recorded live on Thursday 27th August 1981 at the Royal Albert Hall, London here.


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ROWAN HELLIER AND MATTHEW BROOK – MOZART: REQUIEM
with Joanne Lunn, Thomas Hobbs Dunedin Consort directed by John Butt
Released April 2014 - LINN

What the critics said: “16 voices include the four soloists—Joanne Lunn, Rowan Hellier, Thomas Hobbs and Matthew Brook—who emerge naturally from the texture rather than being treated as separate entities, another factor that seems to enhance the performance’s fluency, pacing and crisply articulated counterpoint.”
The Daily Telegraph; Gramophone Award Winner 2014 (Choral Recording of the Year)

Watch: Rowan Hellier and Matthew Brook sing in a preview to Mozart’sRequiem with the Dunedin Consort here.


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MORGAN SMITH - JAKE HEGGIE AND GENE SCHEER: OUT OF DARKNESS
Sarah Larson, Caitlin Lynch, Mina Miller
Released May 2014 - NAXOS

What the critics said: “For a Look or a Touch”, powerfully sung by baritone Morgan Smith, also heard in “Farewell, Auschwitz.”
Melinda Bargreen, The Seattle Times

Watch: Morgan Smith sing Farewell, Aushwitz at the premiere in Seattle here.


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LAURENCE CUMMINGS: FARAMONDO
Emily Fons, Anna Devin, Anna Starushkevych, Njal Sparbo, FestspielOrchester Göttingen
Released September 2014 - ACCENT

What the critics said: “Cummings and his orchestra do full justice to the music.”
John T. Hughes, International Record Review

Listen to: Laurence Cummings conduct the Overture to Handel’s Faramondo here.


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RAPHAËL PICHON: KÖTHENER TRAUERMUSIK BWV 224a
Sabine Devieilhe, Damien Guillon, Thomas Hobbs, Christian Immler, Ensemble Pygmalion
Released October 2014 - HARMONIA MUNDI

What the critics said: “Pygmalion’s first record for Harmonia Mundi, this Köthener Trauermusik marks a success all the more convincing in that Raphael Pichon and his partners are part of Bach’s most inspired interpreters. Their secret? Make the music dance. Without ever restricting the energy or numbing its rhythmic flexibility. And making it sing in a kind of melodic levitation.”
Gilles Macassar, Télérama ffff

Listen to: Raphaël Pichon conduct the opening chorus of BWV 224a here.


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MATTHEW BROOK AND ROBIN BLAZE - HANDEL: JEPTHA
James Gilchrist, Susan Bickley, Sophie Bevan, Robin Blaze, Matthew Brook, Grace Davidson, The Sixteen conducted by Harry Christophers
Released November 2014 - CORO

What the critics said: “It is to Robin Blaze’s great credit that he makes us want to listen to Hamor, singing with a great sense of involvement. In a strong cast, Matthew Brook’s Zebul certainly holds his own bringing vigour and style to his arias.”
Robert Hugill, planethugill.com

Listen to: Matthew Brook sing ‘Let Me Congratulate’ and ‘Laud Her, all ye Virgin Train’ from Handel’s Jeptha here.


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LEONORE PIANO TRIO - ARENSKY / RACHMANINOV: ARENSKY PIANO TRIOS
Tim Horton, Benjamin Nabarro and Gemma Rosefield
Released March 2014 - HYPERION

What the critics said: “Sumptuous breadth and beguiling warmth.”
The Observer ****

Listen to: The Leonore Piano Trio play the first movement of Arensky’s Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor here.


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PHILIPP VON STEINAECKER - HAYDN: THE CREATION
Ida Falk Winland, Andrew Staples, David Stout, Robert Davies, Musica Saeculorum
Released February 2014 - FRA BERNARDO

What the critics said: “From the opening evocation of the primeval void, Steinaecker has a keen eye for Haydn’s miraculously inventive orchestration and secures lively, stylistically assured playing from his cosmopolitan period band.”
Gramophone

Watch: Philipp von Steinaecker conduct Haydn’s The Creation here.


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FEDERICO COLLI - MUSSORGSKY: PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION
Released April 2014 - CHAMPS HILL RECORDS

What the critics said: “[Colli] takes you back to the days of Lupu and Perahia when Leeds struck gold.”
Bryce Morrison, Gramophone

Watch: Federico Colli talking about the repertoire on this CD here.


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ROBERT LEVIN - BEETHOVEN: CELLO SONATAS WITH FORTEPIANO
Robert Levin and Steven Isserlis
Released January 2014 - HYPERION

What the critics said: “Isserlis had the theme but Levin is no mere accompanist, fastidious in his role as a partner yet one who never overwhelms the cello [...] Theirs is a shared experience of audacity and spirituality [...] This is Beethoven fleshed out by Levin and Isserlis - and anodyne he ain’t here.”
Nalen Anthony, Gramophone Magazine Recording of the Month

Listen to: Robert Levin and Steven Isserlis playing the Allegro from Beethoven’s Cello Sonata in F, Op. 5 No. 1 here.


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PETER HERRESTHAL - THOMAS ADÈS: VIOLIN CONCERTO ‘CONCENTRIC PATHS’
Norwegian Radio Orchestra conducted by Andrew Manze
Released February 2014 - BIS

What the critics said: “Not a note is wasted: this compact 20-minute concerto grips the ear throughout. Herresthal, with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, is more in touch with the concerto’s freewheeling fantasy, and the recording showcases the orchestra’s equally absorbing role.”
Andrew Clark, The Financial Times

Listen to: Peter Herresthal perform the final movement from Thomas Adès’ Violin Concerto ‘Concentric Paths’ here.


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DUMAY LORTIE DUO - BRAHMS: VIOLIN SONATAS
Augustin Dumay and Louis Lortie
Released November 2014 - ONYX

What the critics said: “Richly rewarding playing.”
Andrew McGregor, BBC Radio 3’s Building a Library

Listen to: The Dumay Lortie Duo play the Adagio from Johannes Brahms’ third violin sonata here.


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GAYNOR KEEBLE - BRITTEN: PETER GRIMES ON ALDEBURGH BEACH
Alan Oke, Giselle Allen, David Kempster, Catherine Wyn-Rogers, Britten-Pears Orchestra, Chorus of Opera North conducted by Steuart Bedford
Released November 2013 - ARTHAUS MUSIK

What the critics said: “Gaynor Keeble’s Auntie is excellent.”
Michael Scott Rohan, BBC Music Magazine

Listen to: Gaynor Keeble singing the role of Auntie in Britten’s Peter Grimes here.


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MAHAN ESFAHANI - CPE BACH: WÜRTTEMBERG SONATAS
Released January 2014 - HYPERION

What the critics said: “The elusive fusion of thematic intricacy, ‘Baroque’ rhetoric and ‘proto-Classical’ Sturm und Drang offered by the instrument are caught perfectly by Esfahani’s supple touch and disarming sense of rhetorical pacing.”
David Vickers, Gramophone; Gramophone Award Winner 2014 (Baroque Instrumental Recording of the Year)

Listen to: Mahan Esfahani playing the Allegro from CPE Bach’s Württemberg Sonata in E flat here.


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NATALIE CLEIN - THE ROMANTIC CELLO 5: SAINT-SAËNS CELLO CONCERTOS
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andrew Manze
Released September 2014 - HYPERION

What the critics said: “This is as close as you’ll get to musical champagne.”
Helen Wallace, BBC Music Magazine **** Concerto Choice

Listen to: Natalie Clein playing the first movement of the Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto No. 1 here.


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THE CARDINALL’S MUSICK - MISSA PUER NATUS EST NOBIS & OTHER SACRED MUSIC

Released March 2014 - HYPERION

What the critics said: “Tallis’s Christmas Mass […] is sung here with customary perfection by The Cardinall’s Musick, who polish other Tallis gems alongside it, most notably Videte miraculum, a work of such sensuous beauty it quite eclipses the Mass.”
The Observer

Listen to: The Cardinall’s Musick sing Salvador Mundi, Domine by Thomas Tallis here.


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STEVE REICH - RADIO REWRITE

Released September 2014 - NONESUCH

What the critics said: “Deeply affecting, a great showcase of a compelling mind.”
NME

Listen to: Steve Reich’s Radio Rewrite here.


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NAVARRA QUARTET - MENDELSSOHN: COMPLETE WORKS FOR STRING QUARTET

Released June 2014 - CHAMPS HILL RECORDS

What the critics said: “the immaculately executed white-knuckle ride set up by the Navarras.”
Gramophone Magazine

Listen to: The Navarra Quartet play Mendelssohn’s String Quartet No. 3, Op.44 No.1 here.


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HARRISON BIRTWISTLE and NICHOLAS KOK - HARRISON BIRTWISTLE: THE MOTH REQUIEM
The BBC Singers conducted by Nicholas Kok are joined by the Nash Ensemble and Roderick Williams
Released February 2014 - SIGNUM CLASSICS

What the critics said about Nicholas Kok: “Terrific stuff, with already the feel of a classic, and admirably served by the BBC singers plus alto flute and three harps, and the conductor Nicholas Kok.”
Stephen Plaistow, Gramophone Magazine

What the critics said about Harrison Birtwistle: “This is a wonderful and important release of his powerful and often delicate works [...] This disc is the most fitting tribute imaginable to Birtwistle on his 80th birthday.”
Michael Tanner, BBC Music Magazine

Listen to: Nicholas Kok conduct Harrison Birtwistle’s The Moth Requiem here.


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ELENA XANTHOUDAKIS - JEWELS OF BEL CANTO
Catherine Carby and the Royal Northern Sinfonia conducted by Richard Bonynge
Released March 2014 - SIGNUM CLASSICS

What the critics said: “Her tone is well formed, focused and supported, and she can cover a wide vocal range. The top of her voice does not become thin, which is just well, for there is no shortage of high notes, which are steady in their production. Add to all that her flexibility and one has a singer who is worth hearing.”
John T. Hughes, International Recording Review

Listen to: Elena Xanthoudakis sing En proie à la Tristesse from Rossini’s Le comte Ory here.


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CHRISTIAN BLACKSHAW - MOZART: PIANO SONATAS VOLUME 2
Recorded Live at Wigmore Hall and Released September 2014 - WIGMORE HALL LIVE

What the critics said: “‘Blackshaw’s Mozart is an object lesson in clarity: outer movements are articulated with directness and poise, slow movements (sometimes very slow) seemingly painted and sung rather than merely ‘played’. With raptly silent audience and warm recorded sound, this is shaping up to be the most important cycle of these treasurable works since Schiff and Uchida.”
Guy Weatherall, Classical Music Magazine Editor’s Choice *****

Listen to: Christian Blackshaw play the Allegro from Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 4 in E flat major K.282 here.


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CAITLIN HULCUP and DAVID PARRY - ROSSINI: MAOMETTO II
Siän Davies, Darren Jeffrey, Paul Nilon, Christopher Diffey, Richard Dowling, Garsington Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Released June 2014 - AVIE

What the critics said about Caitlin Hulcup: “In her performance as the Venetian general Calbo, Australian mezzo-soprano Caitlin Hulcup fires volley after volley of blazing coloratura, seeming a fusion of Conchita Supervia and Marilyn Horne in their primes. Ms. Hulcup’s voice combines a robustness of timbre that enables her to credibly portray male characters with a bravura technique that firmly places her in the ranks of today’s best Rossini singers. Poor Calbo can get lost among the high-flying, frenzied exchanges between Anna and Erisso: Ms. Hulcup ensures that her character remains at the center of the drama from first note to last.”
Joseph Newsome, Voix des Arts

What the critics said about David Parry: “David Parry was on top form in the pit, bringing just the right vigour to the martial episodes and, showing his long experience in Rossini, shading the gentler scenes with unaffected naturalness.”
Rodney Milnes, Opera Magazine

Listen to: Caitlin Hulcup sing Non temer d’un basso affeto, recorded at Garsington Opera and conducted by David Parry here.


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DAVID HILL - HOWELLS:  STABAT MATER -  TE DEUM - SINE NOMINE
Benjamin Hulett, Alison Hill, The Bach Choir, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Released April 2014 - NAXOS

What the critics said: “this is an essential Christmas gift for any lover of English music [...] The piece is almost unutterably moving [...] the whole team of singers and instrumentalists respond with the utmost fervour to Hill’s evidently inspiring leadership.  This is a triumph for all concerned.”
Piers Burton-Page, International Record Review, IRR Outstanding

Watch: David Hill speak about the making of this CD here.

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Come back each day to discover another release and media clip.

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