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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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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