Rayfield Allied Advent Calendar 2020

1 December 2020

Welcome to the Rayfield Allied Advent Calendar 2020!

This year we have seen many wonderful recordings released by Rayfield Allied artists. Join us as we celebrate some of the highlights in our advent calendar, showcasing one recording per day in the run up to Christmas.

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Elgar & Vaughan Williams: Works for Violin & Piano with Jennifer Pike

After exploring her Polish musical heritage in 2019 through The Polish Violin, Jennifer Pike turns her attention to both well-known and rare gems of British repertoire, exploring the other side of her heritage with a new album of violin sonatas by Elgar and Vaughan Williams. The disc entered the top 10 in the UK Classical Charts and Spotify's Classical New Releases, has been awarded five stars from Gramophone Magazine, BBC Music Magazine, Limelight Magazine and Music Web International, and won the Limelight Magazine Chamber Recording of the Year award.

“Rare and well-known repertoire with a twist combine in an irresistible release...Pike and Roscoe perform [Elgar's Violin Sonata] with vigour and entrancing sensitivity. They launch into the first movement with red-blooded energy, following which Pike’s tender, small voice is the more affecting.”

The Strad

Released August 2020 on Chandos – listen to I. Allegro from Elgar: Violin Sonata in E minor, Op. 82 on Spotify here.

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Jan Ladislav Dussek: Messe Solemnelle with Helen Charlston

Following her debut with the ensemble in 2019, Helen Charlston joins the Academy of Ancient Music and their choir, conducted by Richard Egarr, for this recording of Jan Ladislav Dussek’s Messe Solemnelle, described as "A hugely worthwhile discovery of an unknown work" by The Sunday Times.

“Helen Charlston’s assertive, characterful mezzo stands out”

Presto Classical

Released October 2020 on AAM Records – listen to ‘Qui tollis’ on Spotify here.

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From the Ground Up with David Hill

David Hill releases the first commercial solo organ recording showcasing the magnificent Hill organ of Peterborough Cathedral.

“David Hill’s gorgeously coherent programme from Peterborough showcases some of the best of the genre by a septet of English-born composers, starting with Walter Alcock’s cornerstone Introduction and Passacaglia of 1933. He captures the work’s nobility with authority and grace...Needless to say that David Hill’s enthusiasm for this generous programme shines through.”

Gramophone

Released September 2020 on Regent Records – listen to I. Introduction from Alcock: Introduction and Passacaglia on Spotify here.

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In Chains of Gold: The English Pre-Restoration Verse Anthem Vol. 2 with Peter Harvey

The Magdalena Consort, directed by Peter Harvey, teamed up with Fretwork and His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts for this well-received disc, which achieved the title of Presto ‘Recording of the Week’ in June.

"a beguilingly fluid and natural interaction between solo voices and vocal consort"

BBC Music Magazine

Released June 2020 on Signum – listen to ‘Teach me, O Lord’ on Spotify here.

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Fantasia for Piano Four Hands in F Minor, D. 940 with Sergio Tiempo

Sergio Tiempo collaborates with his good friend and mentor Martha Argerich in this single, Franz Schubert’s Fantasia for Piano Four Hands in F Minor, D.940. It provides a tantalising teaser to his upcoming new album ‘Hommage’, which pays tribute to the people who taught and shaped him as a musician.

Sergio says: “This masterpiece is one of the most important of the piano-duo repertoire, and what could be more enthralling than to walk through it hand in hand with my idol, my beloved mentor, Martha Argerich.”

Released April 2020 on avanticlassic – watch the trailer on YouTube here.

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Moniuszko: Flis: The Raftsman with Ewa Tracz and Wojtek Gierlach

Ewa Tracz and Wojtek Gierlach sing the roles of Zosia and Szóstak in Stanisław Moniuszko’s opera Flis: The Raftsman. This is the world premiere recording of this work on period instruments, and is conducted by Fabio Biondi with Europa Galante and the Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic Choir.

“Leading an appealing cast, Ewa Tracz sings with glinting warmth as Zosia"

Opera

Released April 2020 by The Fryderyk Chopin Institute – listen to Zosia and Szóstak’s duet ‘Któż Mnie Biedną Pocieszy? – Wiadomość Dam Ja!’ on Spotify here.

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Steve Reich: Music for 18 Musicians

Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians (1974-6) was one of the composer’s first works for a larger ensemble. It is presented here in a new recording by Ensemble LINKS, led by their conductor Rémi Durupt.

“Steve Reich's Music for 18 Musicians … is certainly the most sophisticated and complex of the American minimalist’s instrumental pieces. Its ingenuity is magnified, with rigour and jubilation of sound, in the recording by Ensemble LINKS”

ResMusica

Released November 2020 on Kairos – watch the trailer on YouTube here.

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Verdi: Falstaff with Christophe Mortagne

Christophe Mortagne sings the role of Doctor Caius in Verdi’s Falstaff, a role to which he returns at Opéra National de Bordeaux in 2021. This new production by Laurent Pelly was described as an “animated vision of Verdi’s and Boito’s masterpiece” (Opera Magazine) and was filmed live at the Teatro Real, Madrid in 2019.

“Christophe Mortagne sang a loud and funny Dr Caius, completing the excellent team of supporting roles.”

Bachtrack

DVD released April 2020 on BelAir Classiques - watch the trailer on YouTube here.

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J.S. Bach: The Well-Tempered Consort – I with Phantasm

In new arrangements for viol consort, Phantasm breathes fresh life into keyboard works of J.S. Bach, in their first instalment of The Well-Tempered Consort.

“They articulate with such clarity that, as in a conversation, the contributions of each individual remain recognisable. Assured in intonation, exacting in phrasing and ensemble, whoever makes music at this level has great creative scope also to render transparent the structures of the particularly complex fugues and ricercars."

NDR Kultur

Released January 2020 on Linn Records – listen to an excerpt of J.S. Bach’s Chorale Prelude BWV 687 ‘Aus tiefer Not schrei Ich zu dir’ on the Rayfield Allied website here. The second instalment will be released in 2021.

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Thomas Wilson | Symphonies Nos. 2 & 5 with Rory Macdonald

Following the critical success of their 2019 recording of Thomas Wilson’s Third and Fourth Symphonies, Rory Macdonald returns to conduct the Royal Scottish National Orchestra for their recording of Wilson’s Second and Fifth Symphonies.

"No 2 is in three movements; it is music of exalted rhetoric, edgy intensity and the solidest craftsmanship. No 5, his last completed work, is a superb single span that embraces a luminous excursion for strings. Splendid, devoted performances"

The Sunday Times

Released November 2020 on Linn Records – listen to I. Poco Adagio; Allegro potente from Symphony No 2 on Spotify here.

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Ludwig van Beethoven | Harrison Birtwistle: A Bag of Bagatelles

A juxtaposition of works for piano by Beethoven and Harrison Birtwistle, performed by pianist Nicolas Hodges. It includes premiere recordings of Variations from the Golden Mountain (2014), Gigue Machine (2011) and Dance of the metro-gnome (2006) that were made in close collaboration with the composer himself.

“[Gigue Machine's] dizzyingly intricate patterns...constitute a formidable virtuoso challenge and generate perhaps the most authentically pianistic music that Birtwistle has ever composed, which is delivered by Hodges with total authority and clarity.”

The Guardian

Released November 2020 on Wergo – listen to Gigue Machine on Spotify here.

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Mozart: Betulia Liberata with Pablo Bemsch

Pablo Bemsch sings the role of Ozìa in Mozart’s first oratorio Betulia Liberata, a setting of a libretto by Metastasio telling the biblical story of Judith and Holofernes, with Les Talens Lyriques conducted by Christophe Rousset.

“[the role of Ozìa] is sung here by Pablo Bemsch whose brilliant tenor voice never fails to light up the landscape (as in ‘D’ogni colpa’)”

BBC Music Magazine ****

Released September 2020 on Aparté – listen to Ozìa’s aria ‘D’ogni colpa la colpa maggiore’ on the Rayfield Allied website here.

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Litolff Piano Trios Nos. 1 & 2 with the Leonore Piano Trio

The Trio’s latest instalment in their exploration of hidden gems of the piano trio repertoire for Hyperion makes a strong case for Henry Charles Litolff’s piano trios as fine examples of the genre from the nineteenth century.

“The Leonore Trio have made something of a habit of exploring the byways of the trio repertoire but none is more worthwhile than this disc … throughout the Leonore combine finesse with a palpable sense of enjoyment that is entirely engaging”

Gramophone

Released February 2020 on Hyperion – listen to extracts from the disc on the Rayfield Allied website here.

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Strings for Peace: Premieres for Guitar & Sarod with Amjad Ali Khan, Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash

Strings for Peace, by sarod Maestro Amjad Ali Khan and sons Amaan and Ayaan Ali Bangash alongside US guitarist Sharon Isbin, is a musical dialogue between cultures, exploring the commonalities of Western and Eastern stringed instruments and traditions through ragas composed by Amjad Ali Khan himself and arranged for sarod, guitar and table.

''A remarkable spiritual and emotional journey...Sharing the great unique treasures of their own artistic traditions...Combining the guitar and sarod results in an extraordinary blend.''

Rolling Stone

Released May 2020 on Zoho Records – listen to Sacred Evening (Raga Yaman) on Spotify here.

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Steve Reich: Eight Lines & City Life

Holst-Sinfonietta, directed by Klaus Simon, present a collection of works by Steve Reich. This disc includes the world premiere recording of his early work Music for Two or More Pianos (1964) and a recording of Vermont Counterpoint (1982) made in 2006 as part of a Reich festival in Freiburg in celebration of the composer’s 70th birthday year.

Released December 2020 on Naxos – listen to Music for Two or More Pianos on Spotify here.

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Love and Death with the Navarra String Quartet

This programme reveals the confrontation of two of human nature’s unknowns through works by Schubert, Janáček, Puccini, Turina and Kurtág. The Navarra Quartet describes this programme as an “imaginary dialogue”, and the unique, conversational rapport of these musicians draws the listener into their intricate musical world.

“A stimulating mix... even the most darkly melancholic works are suffused with the light, expressive touch of the Navarra.”

BBC Music Magazine ****

Released July 2020 on Orchid Classics – listen to I. Allegro from Schubert String Quartet in D Minor, D.810 ‘Death and the Maiden’ on Spotify here.

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Massenet: Don Quichotte with David Stout

David Stout sings the role of Sancho in Massenet’s Don Quichotte, in a production by Mariame Clément filmed live at the 2019 Bregenz Festival with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra conducted by Daniel Cohen.

“Quite simply there are superb performances across all the principal roles. Gábor Bretz is a rich, soulful Don Quichotte and he’s matched for depth and warmth of baritone timbre by David Stout’s Sancho.”

OperaJournal

DVD released September 2020 on C Major - watch the trailer on YouTube here.

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Haydn: Cello Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 with Natalie Clein

This disc of Haydn’s Cello Concertos in C and D by Natalie Clein with Michael Hofstetter and the Recreation-Grosses Orchester Graz, recorded live in 2017, took on new significance at the time of its release in May 2020, when live performances were no longer possible. Performed on gut strings and with lighter bow than usual, and creating her own period-aware cadenzas, Natalie remains true to Haydn’s sound world, melding historical and live performance practices for this disc.

“Subtle and elegant performances of Haydn that also thrill...throughout [Clein] shapes phrases with whimsical musicality, introducing winning subtleties of rhythm and expression and a striking variety of bowing and instrumental colour”

The Strad

Released May 2020 on Oehms Classics – listen to I. Moderato from Haydn: Cello Concerto in C major, Hob.VIIb on Spotify here.

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Howells: Missa Sabrinensis with David Hill

Directing The Bach Choir, BBC Concert Orchestra and soloists, Herbert Howells’ Missa Sabrinensis is heard in a new version edited by David Hill himself with Paul Spicer, which restores the work so it can be heard as Howells intended for the first time. The disc completes David Hill’s recordings of Howells’ three largest choral and orchestral scores.

“A texturally high-definition performance from David Hill and the superbly trained amateurs of The Bach Choir...It’s an electrifying performance: one of those you never knew you were waiting for but can’t imagine now ever doing without”

Gramophone

Released May 2020 on Hyperion – listen to extracts from the disc on the Rayfield Allied website here.

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Bach: Lute Works with Sean Shibe

Sean Shibe’s third album for Delphian Records features Bach's lute suites arranged for guitar. It received 5* from The Times and The Scotsman, and was Presto Classical Recording of the week, Europadisc Disc of the week, and reached number 1 on the iTunes Classical Charts.

“This astonishing and adventurous guitarist plays with such depth of tone, colour and intricacies of touch that it is as though he’s at a harpsichord...Shibe’s music-making is masterful, beautiful and convincing in every way”

The Times

Released May 2020 on Delphian Records – listen to I. Praeludio from Suite in E minor, BWV 996 on Spotify here.

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Spark Catchers with Daniel Kidane’s ‘Dream Song’

Daniel Kidane’s Dream Song was written for the reopening of Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall in 2018 and sets words from Martin Luther King’s powerful "I have a dream" speech, sung by soloist Roderick Williams. Chineke!’s album Spark Catchers, featuring the live performance of Dream Song, was recommended by BBC Radio Scotland as their Album of the Week.

"Daniel Kidane's Dream Song is a powerful work that deserves to be widely performed ... Spark Catchers is a true gem"

Black Grooves

Released January 2020 on NMC Recordings - listen to Dream Song on Spotify here.

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Purcell: The Fairy Queen, 1692 with Paul McCreesh and Mhairi Lawson

The Gabrieli Consort & Players, directed by Paul McCreesh and with Mhairi Lawson as soprano soloist, received numerous outstanding reviews for this recording of Purcell’s The Fairy Queen, which also achieved the title of 'Opera Choice' from BBC Music Magazine, and Presto ‘Recording of the Week’ in April.

“McCreesh’s labour of love has abundant nuances and transcendent beauty.”

Gramophone

Released April 2020 on Signum – listen to Mhairi Lawson sing ‘Hark! The Echoing Air’ on Spotify here.

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Fauré, Schubert, Brahms with Trio Isimsiz

The follow up to their debut album, Fauré, Schubert, Brahms continues the Trio's survey of Brahms trios with the first in its revised form, alongside Fauré's only Piano Trio and Schubert’s atmospheric Notturno.

“Eagerly anticipated follow up to an impressive debut... it fully meets the high bar set by its predecessor, seamlessly picking up the latter's threads of softly measured romance and taut poise...”

The Strad

Released September 2020 on Rubicon Classics – listen to II. Andantino from Fauré Piano Trio in D minor, Op. 120 on Spotify here.

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Musique? with Mahan Esfahani

Mahan Esfahani’s dazzling album of 20th-century modern and electro-acoustic works for harpsichord has recently garnered the Peis der deutschen Schallplatternkritik (German Record Critics’ Prize). The prize honours 10 outstanding productions each year awarded by a jury panel consisting of musicologists, critics, authors and editors from German, Austria and Switzerland.

This album of modern pieces for harpsichord will completely upend your idea of the instrument.

The Telegraph ****

Released July 2020 on Hyperion - listen to extracts from the disc on Hyperion's website here.

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