Welcome to the Rayfield Allied Advent Calendar 2019

29 November 2019

Rayfield Allied artists have released many great recordings over the past year - join us as we celebrate some of the highlights in this year's advent calendar, showcasing one recording per day in the run up to Christmas.

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O Holy Night

Katherine Watson, Nick Pritchard, London Choral Sinfonia and Michael Waldron.

Released by Orchid Classics in November 2019, Katherine Watson and Nick Pritchard feature alongside the London Choral Sinfonia and Michael Waldron performing works such as We Three Kings and Silent Night.

Listen to the full album on Spotify.

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Handel: Rodrigo, Live from Handel Festspiele Göttingen

Conducted by Laurence Cummings

The live recording of Rodrigo from this year’s Göttingen Handel Festival was released on ACCENT in September 2019, directed from the harpsichord by festival Artistic Director Laurence Cummings and featuring Fflur Wyn as Esilena.

“Musically it was absolutely a performance to cherish, with the FestspielOrchester Göttingen brilliant under the superlative Laurence Cummings.” - Sandra Bowdler, Opera Magazine

Listen to Esilena’s aria ‘Nasce il sol, e l’aura vola’ on Spotify

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Liberta! Mozart et l’opéra

Performed by Ensemble Pygmalion cond. Raphaël Pichon, Sabine Devieilhe, Siobhan Stagg, Serena Malfi, Linard Vrielink, John Chest and Nahuel di Pierro

Ensemble Pygmalion’s CD Libertà! Mozart et l’opera features arias and ensembles from Mozart operas, woven together with music by Giovanni Paisiello, Vicente Martín y Soler and Antonio Salieri, to create a compelling narrative. The album will be presented in concert throughout Europe in December, with more information available on Ensemble Pygmalion’s website. The album was released in August 2019 for Harmonia Mundi.

“John Chest gives a fine buffa characterisation of ‘Dove mai trovar’, and an affecting display of decorative, tender lyricism in ‘Io ti lascio’” – BBC Music Magazine

Listen to ‘Dove mai trovar’ from Mozart’s Lo sposo deluso on Spotify.

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This Is Rattle DVD, featuring Harrison Birtwistle’s Violin Concerto

Performed by Sir Simon Rattle, the London Symphony Orchestra and Christian Tetzlaff. Released in September 2019, this DVD of Sir Simon Rattle’s first concert at the Barbican as Music Director of the LSO includes Birtwistle’s Violin Concerto, written for violinist Christian Tetzlaff.

“Birtwistle’s Violin Concerto is a masterfully sustained score, with Christian Tetzlaff’s powerhouse virtuosity here matched by impressive weight of accompanying tone from the LSO strings in particular.” Malcolm Hayes, BBC Music Magazine – Orchestral Choice for December 2019 (Performance *****, picture and sound *****)

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Nowell syng we bothe al and som by Gothic Voices

This is Gothic Voices’s first recording of medieveal Christmas music, in which Julian Podger reimagines a fifteenth-century carol evening. This was released on Linn Records in October 2019.

“The glowing blend of tone and fluidity of phrasing achieved in Dunstaple’s ‘Gaude virgo salutary’ is typical of all 25 tracks on the recording” – Terry Blain, BBC Music Magazine

Listen to an excerpt of ‘Ther is no rose’ (Anon.) on our website.

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Josef Myslivecek: Complete Music for Keyboard

Conducted by Nicholas McGegan

This recording of Myslivecek’s complete keyboard music was released on BIS in April 2019, with pianist Clare Hammond and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra conducted by Nicholas McGegan.

“Sprightliness abounds in the concertos and short pieces gathered here, delivered with deliciously unfussy poise and elegance on a modern Steinway, crisply supported by the Swedish Chamber Orchestra and the conductor Nicholas McGegan” – Geoff Brown, The Times

Listen to the first movement of the Keyboard Concerto No. 2 in F Major on Spotify.

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Schütz: The Christmas Story & other works

Performed by David Hill and the Yale Schola Cantorum

This latest disc by Yale Schola Cantorum and Principal Conductor David Hill features Schütz’s Christmas Story alongside Christmas motets from the 1640s, and is their fourth disc with Hyperion, released in November 2019.

“Schütz’s Italianate oratorio is one of the masterpieces of the early Baroque and is performed beautifully here. Voices and instruments are superbly balanced within the rich recorded texture” BBC Music Magazine

Listen to extracts from the disc at the Hyperion website here

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Many Voices with works by Daniel Kidane and Michael Berkeley

Performed by Hyeyoon Park and Benjamin Grosvenor

This special release by NMC from March 2019 in honour of London Music Masters’ 10th birthday includes commissions by Daniel Kidane and Michael Berkeley.

Listen to extracts at the NMC Recordings website here

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Beethoven: Choral Fantasy & Triple Concerto

Performed by Natalie Clein, Alexandra Conunova & David Kadouch with Laurence Equilbey and the Insula Orchestra

Natalie Clein is joined by Alexandra Conunova and David Kadouch as the soloists in Beethoven’s iconic Triple Concerto with Laurence Equilbey’s Insula Orchestra. Also performed live in concert in Paris, Aix-en-Provence and London’s Barbican Centre in 2018, the disc was released in April 2019 on Erato.

“The solo team in the Triple Concerto are extremely fine… cellist Natalie Clein, who uses gut strings and is sparing with vibrato, has impeccable intonation…Equilbey’s crackerjack period-instrument orchestra play with character and gusto.” Andrew Farach-Colton, Gramophone

Listen to the Allegro from Beethoven’s Triple Concerto on Spotify here.

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F. Schubert & J. Brahms: The Complete Duos - Coda Pieter Wispelwey and Paolo Giacometti

Released on Evil Penguin Records, this double album concludes the duo's venture to record the complete duos by Brahms and Schubert. Recognised for their achievements as pioneers for the repertoire, the duo were awarded the 2019 Brahms-Preis shortly after the release in May 2019.

Read more here, or click here to listen to the Scherzo from F-A-E Sonata in C Minor by Brahms.

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Ars longa: Old and new music for theorbo

Performed by Elizabeth Kenny

This recital programme of repertoire spanning five centuries was released in June 2019 for Linn Records.

“…she beautifully combines an expansive orchestral conception with an almost painful improvisatory intimacy. It’s just lovely.” - William Yeoman, Gramophone

Listen to Elizabeth perform Cycle from Nico Muhly's Berceuse with Seven Variations here.

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Purcell: King Arthur

Performed by Mhairi Lawson, Paul McCreesh and his Gabrieli Consort & Players

Gramophone’s Recording of the Month in November, this patriotic opera was released in October 2019 by Paul’s own record label Winged Lion, in collaboration with Signum Classics.

“McCreesh’s new performing edition, which contains re-ordered numbers and a finale forged from other works by Purcell, is the catalyst for this intimate, intensely energetic production.” – Berta Joncus, BBC Music Magazine

“Nine singers shared the songs and choruses between them, a flawless ensemble of equals, though Anna Dennis and Mhairi Lawson stood out as a seductive pair of sirens” – Tim Ashley, The Guardian*****

Listen to Mhairi sing ‘Round thy coast’ here.

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Handel: Samson

Performed by Joshua Ellicott (title), Matthew Brook (Manoah), Fflur Wyn (Philistine Woman, Virgin) and the Dunedin Consort

This powerful oratorio was released in October 2019 by Linn Records.

“As Samson himself, tenor Joshua Ellicott navigates that tight-rope between oratorio and opera really well.” - Andrew McGregor, BBC Radio 3 Record Review

Listen to Matthew sing ‘Just are the Ways of God to Man’ here.

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Sawer: Rumpelstiltskin

Performed by Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and Martyn Brabbins.

All three of the pieces on this album (Sawer’s third for NMC, released in September 2019) have a connection with dance: the Rumpelstiltskin Suite (2011) originated in Sawer’s 2009, 70-minute ballet Rumpelstiltskin; the early ensemble piece Cat’s-Eye (1986) was choreographed by Richard Alston for Rambert in 1992; and premiered in concert in 2016, April\March was commissioned for the Royal Ballet.

“These three dance-related scores embody a deep compositional deftness” The Sunday Times

Listen to April\March on Spotify here.

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Berlioz: L'enfance du Christ

Performed by Matthew Brook (Herod/Father) & Melbourne Symphony Orchestra & Chorus

This sublime oratorio was released in March 2019 for Chandos.

“All soloists are excellent…Matthew Brook brings just that touch of extra warmth to the role.” - Roger Nicholas, BBC Music Magazine*****

Watch Matthew sing Herod’s aria here.

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Kurt Weill: Street Scene

Performed by Richard Burkhard (Harry Easter) and Teatro Real Madrid

This lively production was released on DVD in November 2019 by Bel Air Classiques.

Having sung Harry Easter in Madrid, Richard will reprise the role when he makes his debut in Monte Carlo early next year.

Watch the trailer for the DVD here.

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Bach: The Toccatas

Mahan Esfahani

"One can imagine the young Bach showing off his prowess just like this." (Richard Fairman, The Financial Times).

Mahan Esfahani's latest album with Hyperion, released on 2 August 2019, has attracted fantastic reviews, reaching top ten on Billboard's Traditional Classical Chart, as well as top 5 in the Classic FM Chart. Read more here, or listen to excerpts of the disc here.

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L'Opéra du Roi Soleil

Katherine Watson, Les Ambassedeurs, Alexis Kossenko

Released by Aparté in October 2019, Katherine Watson features as soloist with Les Ambassadeurs and Alexis Kossenko in a programme of French baroque opera and instrumental music which ‘revives the splendour of Versailles’.

Click here to listen to Idoménée’s aria “Espoire des malheureux, Plaisir de la vengeance…” by André Campra.

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Gesualdo: Madrigali by EXAUDI

This was EXAUDI’s highly anticipated first early music recording of Madrigals by Gesualdo from books V and VI and was released in September 2019 on Winter & Winter. The disc was awarded a Deutschen SchallplattenKritik prize in November 2019.

“their Gesualdo is finely etched, monumental and closely considered...The unanimity of purpose and the sense of engagement with Gesualdo's rigorous caprice sustains and richly rewards repeated listening. These are deeply intelligent and attractive performances." - Fabrice Fitch, Gramophone

Listen to ‘Itene o miei sospiri’ on our website.

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The Polish Violin

Performed by Jennifer Pike and Petr Limonov

Jennifer Pike’s new album of late 19th and early 20th century Polish repertoire was released in January 2019 on Chandos. The disc continues Pike’s cultural exploration of her family heritage, following the success of her 2017 series of Polish Music Day concerts at Wigmore Hall.

“Jennifer Pike’s exceptional sensitivity to tonal inflection and temporal flexibility works wonders in Symanowski’s Mythes … No less bewitching is the Op. 28 Nocturne and Tarantella, in which Pike intoxicates the senses.” BBC Music Magazine – Chamber Choice, February 2019 (Recording *****, Performance *****)

Listen to Szymanowski’s Romance in D Major, Op. 23 on Spotify here.

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Saariaho: Circle Map, Graal Théâtre & other works

Performed by Clément Mao-Takacs and Peter Herresthal and the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra

Experienced Kaija Saariaho interpreters Clément Mao-Takacs and Peter Herresthal collaborate on this disc of her works for orchestra and violin, released on BIS in September 2019.

“Performances could scarcely be bettered. Peter Herresthal finds greater expressive variety in Graal Théâtre than Gidon Kremer… with Clément Mao – Takacs making more of those emotional contrasts in Circle Map than Susanna Mälkki. The Oslo Philharmonic evince all the clarity and fastidiousness this compelling music requires.” Richard Whitehouse, Gramophone

Listen to Graal Théâtre: I., for violin and orchestra on Spotify here.

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An English Coronation, 1902-1953

Performed by Paul McCreesh and his Gabrieli Consort & Players

This large-scale spectacle, which was Gramophone’s Editor’s Choice in June, was released in May 2019 by Winged Lion/Signum

“One can imagine the virtuosity required by every contributor, at every turn, to make this a reality, let alone a dazzling triumph.” – Gramophone

Listen to the album here.

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Stay, ye angels: JS Bach: Cantatas

Performed by Peter Harvey & Gaechinger Cantorey

Featuring two dramatic works and two more intimate cantatas, this recording was released May 2019 by Accentus Music.

“It would be hard to fault Peter Harvey’s singing on Accentus” - Brian Wilson, MusicWeb International

Listen to Peter sing ‘Welt, ade, ich bin dein müde’ from BWV 158 here.

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Parry: Piano Trios Nos 1 & 3

Performed by the Leonore Piano Trio

Recorded in 2018 in honour of Parry’s centenary, the Leonore Piano Trio released two discs of his complete piano trios on Hyperion in February and June 2019. Expanding the Trio’s catalogue of interesting and undiscovered works in the piano trio repertoire, both discs were richly rewarded by the press for their sensitive and mature interpretations of these compelling works.

“You’ll be purring with satisfaction at this exemplary new release from the Leonore Piano Trio… these performances feel fully matured – fresh, intelligent, and strikingly stylish; edgy when they need to be and opening out generously when Parry’s romantic impulse demands it.” Richard Bratby, Gramophone

Listen to an extract of Parry’s Piano Trio No. 1 in E minor (I. Allegro appassionato) from the Leonore’s first disc of Parry Trios here.

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Die Schöne Magelone

Performed by baritone John Chest and pianist Marcelo Amaral

John Chest’s first solo album is a recording of Brahms’s song cycle with his duo partner Marcelo Amaral following performances of the cycle in Aix-en-Provence, Lille and Paris. The album was released in January 2019 for Alpha Classics.

“The voice itself is both beautiful and immediately engaging, virile but distinguished by an appealing vulnerability and urgent catch in the timbre. His German is impeccable, too, his way with Tieck’s words natural, engaged and engaging” - Gramophone

Listen to ‘Sind es Schmerzen, sind es freuden‘ from Brahms’s Die Schone Magelone on Spotify.

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