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Goldberg Variations

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  • Bach: Goldberg Variations Bach: Goldberg Variations Quick View

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    Bach: Goldberg Variations

    Alexandre Tharaud is a French pianist of truly international stature, well established in France, with a growing profile in the UK, North America and Asia. He is known for his varied repertoire choices, elegant style of playing, and popularity with conductors and orchestras. This release of what is arguably JS Bach's masterpiece for the keyboard has the potential to be a landmark in his recording output.
    1. Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: I. Aria
    2. Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: II. Variation 1 a 1 clav.
    3. Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: III. Variation 2 a 1 clav
    4. Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: IV. Variation 3 - Canone all Unisuono a 1 clav
    5. Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: V. Variation 4 a 1 clav
    6. Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: VI. Variation 5 a 1 o vero 2 clav
    7. Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: VII. Variation 6 Canone alla seconda a 1 clav
    8. Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: VIII. Variation 7 a 1 o vero 2 clav
    9. Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: IX. Variation 8 a 2 clav
    10. Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: X. Variation 9 Canone alla terza a 2 clav
    11. Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: XI. Variation 10 Fughetta a 1 clav
    12. Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: XII. Variation 11 a 2 clav
    13. Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: XIII. Variation 12 Canone alla quarta
    14. Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: XIV. Variation 13 a 2 clav
    15. Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: XV. Variation 14 a 2 clav
    16. Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: XVI. Variation 15 Canone alla Quinta a 1 clav
    17. Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: XVII. Variation 16 a 1 clav. Ouvertura
    18. Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: XVIII. Variation 17 a 2 clav
    19. Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: XIX. Variation 18 Canone alla sexta a 1 clav
    20. Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: XX. Variation 19 a 1 clav
    21. Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: XXI. Variation 20 a 2 clav
    22. Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: XXII. Variation 21 canone alla settima a 1 clav
    23. Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: XXIII. Variation 22 a 1 clav. alla breve
    24. Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: XXIV. Variation 23 a 2 clav
    25. Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: XXV. Variation 24 Canone alla Ottava a 1 clav
    26. Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: XXVI. Variation 25 a 2 clav
    27. Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: XXVII. Variation 26 a 2 clav
    28. Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: XXVIII. Variation 27 Canone alla Nona a 2 clav
    29. Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: XXIX. Variation 28 a 1 clav
    30. Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: XXX. Variation 29 a 1 o vero 2 clav
    31. Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: XXXI. Variation 30 a 1 clav. Quodlibet
    32. Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: XXXII. Aria da Capo e fine
    Alexandre Tharaud
    Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
  • Beethoven: Sonatas Nos. 30-32 (Speakers Corner) (Awaiting Repress) Beethoven: Sonatas Nos. 30-32 (Speakers Corner) (Awaiting Repress) Quick View

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    Beethoven: Sonatas Nos. 30-32 (Speakers Corner) (Awaiting Repress)

    Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Sonatas No. 30 in E major op. 109, No. 31 in A-flat major op. 110, No. 32 in C minor op. 111

    Myths abound when it comes to the late works of important composers. It is debatable as to whether this is due to their timelessness, or their often extensive form, which makes great demands on the listener, or simply the supreme skill with regard to the composer's own musical language, which is demonstrated in mature works. It is commonly understood that a performer of late works should treat them with due respect and possess an exceptional command of his instrument. But not so with Glenn Gould, who at the tender age of 23, shortly after his recording debut for the Columbia label of Bach's Goldberg Variations, dared to perform Beethoven's last three Piano Sonatas.

    Gould, as always analytical, yet supremely flowing, carves out the tightly-knit contrapuntal structure of the fast movements. The slow movements are finely perceived though free of contemplative sentiment and waft gently through the air, here somewhat drily dabbed at, then again singing and full of round, melodious piano sound. Bar for bar it is noticeable that the young Gould knows exactly what he is doing and with whom he is dealing. Here in the hands of this young maestro Beethoven's spirit is certainly compelling and intoxicating.


    • Ludwig van Beethoven (composer)

    • Glenn Gould (piano)

    Recording: June 1956 at Columbia 30th Street Studio, New York, by Fred Plaut in mono

    Production: Howard H. Scott

    About Speakers Corner

    At the beginning of the 90s, in the early days of audiophile vinyl re-releases, the situation was fairly straightforward. Companies such as DCC, Mobile Fidelity, Classic Records and, of course, Speakers Corner all maintained a mutual, unwritten ethical code: we would only use analogue tapes to manufacture records.

    During the course of the present vinyl hype, many others have jumped on the bandwagon in the hope of securing a corner of the market. Very often they are not so ethical and use every imaginable source to master from: CDs, LPs, digital files, MP3s - or employed existant tools from the 80s and 90s for manufacturing.

    A digital delay is gladly used when cutting a lacquer disc because tape machines with an analogue delay have become quite rare and are therefore expensive. When cutting the lacquer, the audio signal is delayed by one LP revolution against the signal, which controls the cutter head, and for this a digital delay is very often employed. Of course, the resultant sound signal is completely digital and thus only as good as this delay.

    We should like to emphasise that Speakers Corner Records on principle only uses the original master tape as the basis for the entirely analogue cutting of lacquer discs. In addition, the pressing tool is newly manufactured as a matter of principle. We have one digital recording in our catalogue (Alan Parsons / Eye In The Sky"), but even in this particular case we used the analogue tapes for cutting.

    We only employ existing tools for manufacturing if an improved result is not forthcoming, e.g. the title Elvis Is Back, which was mastered by Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray, or several titles from our Philips Classics series, which in any case Willem Makkee cut from the original masters at the Emil Berliner Studios in the 90s. It goes without saying that we only used the mother and that new tools were made for our production.

    To put it in a nutshell: we can ensure you that our releases are free from any kind of digital effects - excluding the exception above - and that the lacquer discs are newly cut.

    1. Sonata No. 30 In E Major, Op. 109 - Vivace, Ma Non Troppo, Sempre Legato
    2. Sonata No. 30 In E Major, Op. 109 - Prestissimo
    3. Sonata No. 30 In E Major, Op. 109 - Andante Molto Cantabile Ed Espressivo; Variations I-VI
    4. Sonata No. 31 In A-Flat Major, Op. 110 - Moderato Cantabile Molto Espressivo
    5. Sonata No. 31 In A-Flat Major, Op. 110 - Allegro Molto
    6. Sonata No. 31 In A-Flat Major, Op. 110 - Adagio No Non Troppo (Beginning)
    7. Sonata No. 31 In A-Flat Major, Op. 110 - Fuga (Conclusion)
    8. Sonata No. 32 In C Minor, Op. 111 - Maestoso; Allegro Con Brio Ed Appassionato
    9. Sonata No. 32 In C Minor, Op. 111 - Arietta (Adagio Molto Semplice E Cantabile)
    Glenn Gould
    180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
  • Prokofiev For Two Prokofiev For Two Quick View

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    Prokofiev For Two

    Pianists Martha Argerich and Sergei Babayan have recorded two selections from Prokofiev's music for stage and screen in magnificent two-piano transcriptions by Babayan. Prokofiev for Two, set for release worldwide via Deutsche Grammophon, captures for posterity the sense of mutual inspiration felt by these kindred spirits, palpable in their live performances together. The album features Babayan's twelve-movement transcription of numbers from the ballet Romeo and Juliet and his seven-movement suite transcribed from Prokofiev's incidental music for Hamlet and Eugene Onegin, film score for The Queen of Spades and opera War and Peace.

    Martha Argerich and Sergei Babayan first met in Brussels in 1991 when, on a whim, he looked her up in the phonebook and, to his own surprise, found her name and telephone number listed. His call from a phone box in the city started a strong friendship that led to numerous joint appearances in Europe and America. After one performance of Rachmaninov's "Suite No.2" and other works for two pianos, Babayan told Argerich of his dream to transcribe pieces from Romeo and Juliet for their next duo date. "She was very inspired by the idea," he recalls. "It was the greatest pleasure - and an honor - to create something that we would play together." Babayan's take on Prokofiev, coupled with a suite of rarities from the composer's stage and film music, can be heard in Prokofiev for Two.

    The freshly transcribed Prokofiev score received its premiere performance as part of the Martha Argerich Project at the 2013 Lugano Festival. Argerich and Babayan have since performed this work together with the revised Romeo and Juliet suite several times, most recently in concert at Stuttgart's Liederhalle last November.

    Martha Argerich is already renowned for her interpretations of Prokofiev's music. The Argentine-born artist, hailed as one of the greatest pianists of all time, included the composer's turbulent "Toccata" in her Deutsche Grammophon recital debut album, recorded in 1960. She reinforced her international reputation seven years later with a landmark recording for the yellow label of Prokofiev's "Third Piano Concerto" with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Claudio Abbado. "I have loved Prokofiev ever since I can recall," notes Argerich. "And people think he loves me too sometimes! I love the way Sergei [Babayan] plays Prokofiev and many other things. The first solo recital of his I heard was Bach's Goldberg Variations and I was incredibly impressed by it. I very much liked his proposal that we should play his transcription of Romeo and Juliet and feel very honored that he dedicated it to me."

    Babayan's love for Prokofiev, like Argerich's, is deeply rooted, dating back to his childhood in Armenia and student days at the Moscow Conservatoire. Having left the USSR for the first time in 1989, he settled in the U.S. Time and again, Babayan has paid tribute to Prokofiev, playing several of his piano concertos with Valery Gergiev including at the 2015 BBC Proms in a monumental concert with the London Symphony Orchestra featuring all five of the works.

    His new Prokofiev transcriptions are both dedicated to Martha Argerich. "This project happened because of my love for Prokofiev, my love for Martha and my love for the ballet Romeo and Juliet," reflects Babayan. The idea of transcribing Romeo and Juliet first arose decades ago while he was studying Prokofiev's colorful instrumentation in close detail with an orchestra. Already aware of Argerich's playing, he was further inspired after hearing a pirate recording of her 1981 Carnegie Hall performance of the "Ten Pieces Op.75" from Romeo and Juliet. "I listened and was immediately drawn to learn the cycle. But I felt that Prokofiev used chamber-like numbers for his selection of music for his transcription for solo piano. If you first became acquainted with the ballet through this piano score, you would never guess or understand the whole tragic, violent, and dark nature of the original work. Of course, the ballet contains lyrical, romantic music; music filled with humor and dance movement. But it also contains music for the "Death of Tybalt" - music of love and hate."

    Believing it would be impossible for music of such powerful emotion to be conveyed by two hands, and aware of Prokofiev's own fondness for transcription, Babayan felt driven to exploit the full expressive force and tonal richness of two pianos. His created version contains what Martha Argerich, with a wry laugh, calls "difficult and demanding" technical and musical challenges. Both musicians, however, agree that transcription is "an act of love" and Babayan's experience with Romeo and Juliet soon led him to explore some of the composer's lesser-known works and create the second suite on this album. As he points out, this music will be new to most listeners. For example, only fragments of the film score for The Queen of Spades have ever been performed or recorded. He underlines its imaginative and innovative qualities, adding, "I'm sure if Prokofiev had lived longer he would have used the material for The Queen of Spades for a new movie, symphony, quartet or maybe even a piano duo. This music stayed on the shelf and it was my luck to hear it."

    Prokofiev for Two is driven by the passion and power of an ideal keyboard partnership. Martha Argerich considers playing in duo with Babayan to be "a thing of alchemy - a discovery". For his part, Babayan says the experience of performing with Argerich is like joining a conversation with a divine being, one in which "you cannot be mundane or ordinary ... Martha will somehow pull out the best from you."

    Martha Argerich & Sergei Babayan
    Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
  • Bach: Sonata and Partitas, Vol. 1 (Out Of Stock) Bach: Sonata and Partitas, Vol. 1 (Out Of Stock) Quick View


    Bach: Sonata and Partitas, Vol. 1 (Out Of Stock)

    Nonesuch Records releases an album of three Bach works recorded by mandolin virtuoso and MacArthur Fellow Chris Thile in 2013. Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1 comprises three works written for solo violin: Sonata No. 1 in G minor, BWV 1001; Partita No. 1 in B minor, BWV 1002; and Sonata No. 2 in A minor, BWV 1003. The album was produced by Thile's friend, mentor, and frequent collaborator, the double bassist and composer Edgar Meyer.

    Thile explains his connection to the composer: "Bach was my first meaningful experience with-for lack of a better word-classical music. It was the second recording of Glenn Gould playing the Goldberg Variations. Gould plays with the kind of rhythmic integrity that I had previously only associated with non-classical music: music with a groove, with a pocket, that made you move. Gould was playing that music like my heroes play fiddle tunes. It humanized the whole thing for me and the heavens opened up and Bach came down. I started devouring all the Bach I could get my hands on."

    He continues, "This record to me is not about this iconic violin music played on the mandolin-like, 'Oh boy, what fun, he's playing a weird instrument!' It's about Bach being one of the greatest musicians of all time, the solo violin music being some of his best work, and the mandolin having the potential to cast it in a new and hopefully interesting light.

    Chris Thile, whom London's Independent calls "the most remarkable mandolinist in the world," is the founding member and lead vocalist of Punch Brothers. With broad influences including progressive bluegrass, classical, rock, and jazz, Thile transcends the borders of conventionally circumscribed genres, creating a distinctly American canon and a new musical aesthetic. Thile will be touring this summer with Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, and Edgar Meyer, with whom he released last year's The Goat Rodeo Sessions, which won two Grammys in 2013.

    As a soloist, Thile has released five previous albums. In 2011, Nonesuch Records released the Grammy-nominated Sleep with One Eye Open, an album of duets with guitarist Michael Daves. Thile has also collaborated with a pantheon of musical innovators from multiple genres including B√Čla Fleck, Brad Mehldau, and Hilary Hahn. For more than 15 years, Thile played in the wildly popular band Nickel Creek, with which he released three albums, sold two million records, and was awarded a Grammy.

    The New Yorker's Alec Wilkinson said of Punch Brothers: "each musician has a deep command of his instrument their technique and specific sensibilities have given Punch Brothers a sound that is strikingly coherent and singular, even if they haven't yet settled on a genre Each of the musicians plays with grace, thoughtfulness, and force to a degree that is not duplicated by any band I am aware of." Their latest album, the critically acclaimed Who's Feeling Young Now?, was released in 2012 on Nonesuch Records.


    Chris Thile, mandolin


    Produced by Edgar Meyer

    Recorded and Mixed by Richard King

    Recorded January 12-17, 2013, at The Barn, Washington, MA

    Mastered by Robert C. Ludwig at Gateway Mastering Studios, Portland ME

    Illustration by Oliver Jeffers

    Design by Rory Jeffers

    Photography by Ryan Mastro

    Executive Producer: Robert Hurwitz

    1. Sonata No. 1 in G Minor, BWV 1001: I. Adagio
    2. Sonata No. 1 in G Minor, BWV 1001: II. Fuga: Allegro
    3. Sonata No. 1 in G Minor, BWV 1001: III. Siciliana
    4. Sonata No. 1 in G Minor, BWV 1001: IV. Presto
    5. Partita No. 1 in B Minor, BWV 1002: I. Allemanda
    6. Partita No. 1 in B Minor, BWV 1002: II. Double
    7. Partita No. 1 in B Minor, BWV 1002: III. Corrente
    8. Partita No. 1 in B Minor, BWV 1002: IV. Double: Presto
    9. Partita No. 1 in B Minor, BWV 1002: V. Sarabande
    10. Partita No. 1 in B Minor, BWV 1002: VI. Double
    11. Partita No. 1 in B Minor, BWV 1002: VII. Tempo di Borea
    12. Partita No. 1 in B Minor, BWV 1002: VIII. Double
    13. Sonata No. 2 in A Minor, BWV 1003: I. Grave
    14. Sonata No. 2 in A Minor, BWV 1003: II. Fuga
    15. Sonata No. 2 in A Minor, BWV 1003: III. Andante
    16. Sonata No. 2 in A Minor, BWV 1003: IV. Allegro
    Chris Thile
    Vinyl LP - Sealed Temporarily out of stock
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