Rayfield Allied Advent Calendar

01 December 2015

Welcome to the 2015 Rayfield Allied Advent Calendar
Celebrate Advent with a wealth of recordings by Rayfield Allied artists!
We’ve picked our favourites for our online Advent Calendar.


Matthew Brook - Bach Magnificat & Christmas Cantata 63
Johann Sebastian Bach
Dunedin Consort

Released: 2015 - Linn

What the critics said: ‘But the highlight of the disc is the Christmas Cantata 63, brilliantly done with such expressive exuberance that it should have had (but certainly did not) the Leipzigers dancing in the aisles with joy at the arrival of their new Kapellmeister.’ – Nicholas Kenyon, The Observer

Listen to Matthew Brook sing ‘Verdoppelt Euch Demnach’ from Bach’s Christmas Cantata BWV 63


Christian Blackshaw - Mozart Piano Sonatas, Volume 4
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Released: November 2015 - Wigmore Hall Live (WHLive0078/2)

What the critics said: ‘This issue completes Blackshaw’s account of Mozart’s piano sonatas, given at four Wigmore Hall concerts. Donald Tovey describes the sonatas as “written with his left hand” while the composer was occupied with greater things. Yet so searching and satisfying is Blackshaw’s playing, so felicitous his touch, we have no sense of inferior works, least of all the two on the second disc, the sparkling K576 and the irresistible K533, with its richly decorated, Bach-inspired slow movement.’ - David Cairns, The Sunday Times

Listen to Christian Blackshaw play the Andante Grazioso from Mozart’s Sonata No. 11 in A Major, K.331


Antonio Meneses - Capriccioso
Works for Solo Cello by Piatti, Duport and Popper

Released: May 2015 Avie Records

What the critics said: ‘Antonio Meneses has the gift to turn flaxen cloth into shimmering silk.’ - Joanne Talbot, The Strad

Watch Antonio Meneses play Schubert Arpeggione Sonata


Caitlin Hulcup and Grant Doyle - Iphigénie en Tauride
Christoph Willibald Gluck
Pinchgut Opera

Released: December 2015 - Pinchgut Live

Best Opera Recording of 2015 according to Voix des Artes
What the critics said: ‘Accomplished in a repertory spanning multiple centuries of musical invention, Hulcup finds in Gluck’s long-suffering Iphigénie a rôle that might have been written with her individual gifts in mind.  ... A worthy rival to Callas, Jurinac, and Goerke, hers is as well-sung an Iphigénie as has been heard in the modern age.’ - Voix des Artes
‘Doyle’s performance is ideal, musically and dramatically [...]Doyle is a captivating actor, but, above all, it is very gratifying to hear a voice of true substance in one of Gluck’s most significant baritone roles.’ -Voix des Artes

Watch Caitlin Hulcup as Iphigenie, ‘O toi qui prolongeas mes jour’


Katie Bray - Lieder Eines Fahrenden Gesellen
Gustav Mahler: Chamber Arrangements of Zemlinsky, Busoni and Wagner

Released: Spring 2015 Linn Records

What the critics said: ‘Katie Bray’s mezzo is richly spiced and colourful in potent performances of the Zemlinsky.’Hugo Shirley, Gramophone

Listen to Katie Bray sing Zemlinsky’s ‘Sie kam zum Schloss Gegangen’


Talise Trevigne - Seeing / Kabir Padavali
Christopher Rouse
Albany Symphony

Released: September 2015 Naxos 

What the critics said: ‘The text given to a solo voice, here taken by the American soprano, Talise Trevigne, in a display of agility that often extends to the outer stratospheres.’ - David Denton, David’s Review Corner, Sep 2015

Listen to Talise Trevigne sing Una Voce Poca fa from Il Barbiere di Siviglia.


Robin Blaze - Bach Lutheran Masses, BWV 235 & 236
Johann Sebastian Bach
Bach Collegium Japan / Masaaki Suzuki

Released: May 2015 BIS Records 

What the critics said: ‘Suzuki serves up raptly intense and idiomatic readings, securing favourable results. True to form, this newcomer is in superb sound and balance, the two recording venues proving sonically well-matched and responsive.’Stephen Greenbank, musicweb-international.com

Listen to Robin Blaze sing the ‘Domine Fili’ from Bach’s Lutheran Mass in G Minor BWV 235.


Nicholas McGegan - Haydn: Symphonies Nos. 57, 67 and 68
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

September 2015 - Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

What the critics said: ‘All of these brilliant moments are superbly executed by the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra under the clever direction of Nicholas McGegan. Nothing is under or overplayed. Crisp, clean lines, excellent balance, and delightful expressivity dominate. I rather doubt another ensemble could do better.’ - Lance Hulme, Early Music America

Listen to Nicholas McGegan conduct the first movement of Haydn’s Symphony No. 68.

The Cardinall’s Musick - Ave, Dei patris filia
Thomas Tallis

September 2015 - Hyperion

What the critics said: ‘the sprawling majesty of Thomas Tallis’s Ave, Dei patris filia is brought to startling life here by both the fine voices of the Cardinall’s Musick and the scholarly detective work of David Allinson…  It’s a remarkable achievement… all sung with an almost string-like quality of tone and perfect unanimity.’ - The Guardian

Listen to The Cardinall’s Musick sing Tallis’s Honor, Virtus et Potestas.

Peter Sidhom - Das Rheingold
Richard Wagner
Hong Kong Philharmonic

Released: November 2015 - Naxos

What the critics said: ‘The storytelling is at the fore; impeccable diction is the order of the day. As revolting as Alberich always is, we can actually hear the flirtatious playfulness in the opera’s opening moments until he realizes that he doesn’t have a chance. And from then on, he’s simply vile–Peter Sidhom sings with an audible sneer and a ringing top to the voice that we rarely get in this role. He’s a baritone with remarkable “face”.’ - Robert Levine, Classics Today

Watch Peter Sidhom sing Alberich in Scottish Opera’s production of Siegfried by Wagner.

Mahan Esfahani/Concerto Köln - ‘Time Present and Time Past’
Johann Sebastian Bach
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
Francesco Geminiani
Henryk Górecki
Steve Reich
Alessandro Scarlatti

Released: May 2015 Deutsche Grammophon / Archiv

What the critics said: ‘If you buy only one record of harpsichord music in your life — and that’s a decision I would have some sympathy with – buy this sensational album. The 30-year-old Iranian-American Mahan Esfahani has been making waves among connoisseurs for several years. Now he emerges as a superstar whose musicianship, imagination, virtuosity, cultural breadth and charisma far transcends the ivory tower in which the harpsichord has traditionally been placed.’Richard Morrison, The Times

Listen to Mahan Esfahani play Steve Reich’s Piano Phase

Peter Harvey - Messe h-moll BWV 232
Johann Sebastian Bach
Concerto Copenhagen
Lars Ulrik Mortensen, conductor

Released: October 2015 CPO

What the critics said: ‘Finally the wonderful Peter Harvey singing as the bass soloist: he sings with a beautiful voice as ever, his arias outstanding without reservation.’ - Matthias Lange, Klassik.com Magazin

Listen to Peter Harvey sing Et in Spiritum Sanctum from Bach’s Mass in B minor.
Alison Chitty - Nabucco (DVD)
Giuseppe Verdi

Released: March 2015 ROH

What the critics said: ‘Alessandro Carletti’s lighting bathes Alison Chitty’s austere set of grey plinths in the pale wash of dawn, the glare of noon, the softening of dusk and the long shadows of a moonlit night. Chitty’s plinths display a wider dramatic range than the principals, channeling the Berlin Holocaust Memorial, tombs on the Mount of Olives, the tight alleys of the Lodz ghetto and the gas chambers.’ -Anna Picard, The Independent

See Alison Chitty’s designs for the production of Wagner’s Parsifal at Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Benjamin Bevan - London Early Opera, Handel in Italy Vol. 1
Georg Frideric Handel

Released: August 2015 Signum Classics

What the critics said:‘Benjamin Bevan throws off the work’s vocal gymnastics with much aplomb.’ - Alastair Harper, Early Music Review

Listen Benjamin Bevan perform Per pietà from Signum Classics’ album ‘Handel in Italy’.

Christian Blackshaw - Mozart Piano Sonatas, Volume 3 (WHLive 0076/2)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Released: May 2015 Wigmore Hall Live

What the critics said:“Christian Blackshaw’s third volume of Mozart sonatas demonstrates anew the refinement of execution and mastery of style and content that has gained previous instalments of this Wigmore Hall Live cycle high praise… [it confirms him] as one of today’s most completely accomplished keyboard Mozartians.” – Max Loppert, BBC Music Magazine (Instrumental Choice)

Listen to Christian Blackshaw play the Allegro from Mozart’s Sonata No. 6 in D Major, K.284.

Pierre-André Valade - Tristan Murail: Le Partage des eaux - Contes cruels - Sillages
Tristan Murail
BBC Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic

Released: April 2015 Aeon

What the critics said: “Wonderfully diligent performances under Pierre-André Valade” - Andrew Clements, The Guardian

Watch Pierre-Andre Valade conduct at La Biennale di Venezia

***********************************5 & 6***********************************
Laurence Cummings & Christopher Ainslie - Agrippina
Georg Frideric Handel

Released: September 2015 Accent Records

What the critics said: “Good though the singers are, they are almost eclipsed by the vivid, virtuosic Festival Orchestra. Laurence Cummings keeps rollickingly on track, with unflagging energy and musicality. Well worth the journey.” - Shirley Apthorp, The Financial Times

Listen to Laurence Cummings conduct the overture to Siroe at the Göttingen International Handel Festival.

Listen to Christopher Ainslie sing Vuoi che udite il mio lamento from Handel’s Agrippina accompanied by conductor Laurence Cummings and the Festspiel Orchester Göttingen.

David Sawer - Objects at an Exhibiton
David Sawer and various composers
Aurora Orchestra, conductor Nicholas Collon

Released: September 2015 - NMC Recordings

What the critics said: “David Sawer’s exciting Coachman Chronos, flies along with the energy of the historic York Mail Coach”CompositionToday.com

Listen to David Sawer’s Coachman Chronos

René Pape - Macbeth Giuseppe Verdi
The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Chorus and Ballet

Released: October 2015 - Deutsche Grammophon

What the critics said:“The formidable bass René Pape makes a gravely dignified Banquo.” Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times

Listen to René Pape sing Il Catalogo as Leporello from Mozart’s Don Giovanni in a concert performance in Berlin.

Harrison Birtwistle - Angel Fighter / In Broken Images / Virelai
Harrison Birtwistle, Composer
Andrew Watts countertenor
Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts tenor
BBC Singers
London Sinfonietta / David Atherton

Released: May 2015 - NMC Records

What the critics said:“Birtwistle unleashes all his powers as a stage composer [Angel Fighter] onto Stephen Plaice’s text, using the whole building to create a thrilling dramatisation of the Bible story, with the life-and-death struggle of the Angel and Jacob at its heart. [..] It’s enthralling stuff, as is the moment when radiant trumpets call the Angel back. [..] Four clear orchestral sections [In Broken Images] (as in Gabrieli’s multi-choir canzonas), including percussion, spar against each other in a complex play of collision, fragmentation and integration. The London Sinfonietta under David Atherton, lend it both soul and zinging edge. Birtwistle’s vivid orchestration of a medieval Virelai is an inspired sign-off.” Helen Wallace, BBC Music Magazine

Listen to an extract from Harrison Birtwistle’s Night’s Black Bird on NMC.

Louis Lortie - Poulenc Piano Concertos and Aubade
Hélène Mercier and the BBC Philharmonic, conducted by Edward Gardner

Released: September 2015 - Chandos

What the critics said: “Lortie and Mercier never leave one in doubt of their delight in, or idiomatic understanding of, Poulenc’s music; their rapport is complete in the Sonata for Two Pianos and two contrasting ‘encores’, the touching Elégie and the exhilarating, ultra-Parisian L’Embarquement pour Cythère, in which they positively waltz along the boulevards.” - Sunday Times Album of the Week (Several writers)

Watch: Louis Lortie play Chopin’s Etudes Op.10 No.3

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