Discover our new releases: April 13th!
After a number of appearances in Alpha productions (notably as a sublime Alcina in the DVD conducted by Christophe Rousset and staged by Pierre Audi at La Monnaie), Sandrine Piau now joins the label for several recordings. With Chimère, she invites us on a voyage into the intimate and infinite territory of dreams. ‘Chimera: an illusory, unsatisfied quest, the graveyard of our illusions...’ She and her longstanding partner, the pianist Susan Manoff, have thought up a programme combining the German lied (Hugo Wolf, one of Schumann’s Mignon songs, a scene from Goethe’s Faust by Carl Loewe), Mélodies by Debussy and Poulenc (his Banalités), and Art Songs by Barber along with discoveries of more rarely heard composers like Ivor Gurney and the Dickinson Songs of André Previn – the celebrated American conductor is less well-known for his compositions, which include this magnificent cycle written for Renée Fleming. Equally at home in French, German and English, Sandrine Piau is at the peak of her artistry. Fantoches, Clair de Lune, Solitary Hotel, Will there really be a morning?: set out for the world of dreams following this unique poetic itinerary. ‘The land of chimeras is the only one in this world worth living in’ (Jean-Jacques Rousseau).
Quartet No.3 & Quintet
Formed in 1994 at the Royal College of Music in London, the Belcea Quartet has recorded the complete string quartets of Beethoven, Brahms, Bartók and Britten. For this new Alpha release it has chosen two works by one of the leading composers of twentieth-century chamber music, Dmitri Shostakovich. The Quartet no.3, of historic importance, was initially censured by the Soviet regime, then revised by Shostakovich for its first performance in 1946; the refined playing of the Belcea Quartet brings out all its contours. The Piano Quintet is among its composer’s most famous works and significantly contributed to his success on the international scene and with the Soviet authorities. The Belcea Quartet performs it in the company of the Polish pianist Piotr Anderszewski: the result is a musical encounter at the highest level of excellence.
Michel-Richard de Lalande
Le Poème Harmonique
In 1683, Michel-Richard de Lalande entered the Chapelle Royale as a sous-maître after receiving the support of Louis XIV in a formidable recruitment competition. Still only twenty-five years old, the young composer was swiftly to become established as the King’s favourite and accede to the most coveted posts at court in a career spanning almost forty years. Above all, Louis included him in the consultations for the construction of the new Chapelle Royale, adjacent to Versailles Palace. As the arches gradually rose skywards, Lalande composed and revised his motets, which give expression to the then-peerless grandeur of the realm, while at the same time testifying to the chapel’s incomparable acoustics. His works – settings of psalms, hymns, the Te Deum – record the atmosphere at court in the liturgy, in times of both trouble and rejoicing. Following their earlier recording of Te Deum settings by Lully and Charpentier at the Chapelle Royale, Vincent Dumestre and Le Poème Harmonique have now returned to Versailles to tackle the music Lalande composed for that extraordinary place. Alongside the grands motets Deitatis majestatem and Ecce nunc benedicite, with their synthesis of royal pomp and the language of opera, they offer the deeply moving Miserere and the most grandiose Te Deum performed in the reign of Louis XIV, the Te Deum of the King himself.
For his first recording Saténik Khourdoïan, concertmaster of the Orchestre symphonique de la Monnaie and an enthusiastic and passionate violinist, joins forces with the gifted pianist Alexander Gurning, who has received numerous awards for his qualities as a chamber music performer. Fauré and Saint-Saëns found in Ysaÿe a virtuoso performer and an exceptional ally in getting their music known, who was on friendly terms with both men and was also a composer himself. They often played together in Paris, notably at the concerts of the Société nationale, and in the Brussels salons of the XX and the Libre Esthétique.
(Willisau) 1991 Studio
Anthony Braxton Quartet
Braxton’s quartet compositions were ‘conceived as a response to the challenge of tomorrow’... That is, the challenge is to extend the tradition, not merely repeat it. And if, as Ornette said, tomorrow is the question, then I’m certain these CDs will provide some of the answers. – Graham LockBraxton’s quartet compositions were ‘conceived as a response to the challenge of tomorrow’... That is, the challenge is to extend the tradition, not merely repeat it. And if, as Ornette said, tomorrow is the question, then I’m certain these CDs will provide some of the answers.
Symbol Systems occupies a special place in Matthew Shipp’s discography. Originally issued in 1995 on the No More Records label, it was at the time his sixth release as a leader or co-leader, but significantly his first solo album, and as such provided us with the purest view to date of his multifaceted, indivisible improvisational/compositional concepts.
Silvan Schmid Quintet
As a trumpet player with many years of experience I am still interested in the music of younger colleagues. In the summer 2016, by pure coincidence I met and heard Silvan Schmid play and I was both impressed and touched by his very special playing. I was pleased to hear a trumpet player who plays “different”. Silvan does not sound “out of a school”. In his early years he already has his musical dialect… His beautiful tone, his very sensitive articulation and phrasing are an earcatcher. Brilliant technique, but no “flasher”. He integrates, without giving any of his personal assets away, into a given situation. Great fulfilment he obviously finds in an ideal way in his GAMUT projects. A fascinating group of astonishing young musicians that creates an ambient where improvisation and composition mutually dissolve into a resolution.
Hans Kennel, trumpet player, 2017
ALPHA CLASSICS Named Label of the Year by the ICMA!
2018 has got off to an incredible start for ALPHA Classics, after picking up two GRAMMY Awards for its artists, Barbara Hannigan and Patricia Kopatchinskaja, and now being named the LABEL OF THE YEAR by the ICMA (International Classical Music Awards). Additionally, the RECORDING OF THE YEAR award went to Visions, winner in the Vocal Recital category, sung by Véronique Gens with the Münchner Rundfunkorchester under the baton of Hervé Niquet, in collaboration with Palazetto Bru Zane.
The ICMA – with its jury of seventeen figures from the international media across press, radio and television – held its ceremony on Friday 6 April in the stunning concert hall of Katowice in Poland, attended by ALPHA Classics artists the Belcea Quartet and by Charles Adriaenssen, President of Outhere Music.
Belcea Quartet © Bartek Barczyk
Charles Adriaenssen © Bartek Barczyk
Since the arrival of Didier Martin to head up the label in 2014, ALPHA has signed numerous artists of global recognition, including Barbara Hannigan, Véronique Gens, Sandrine Piau, Anna Prohaska, Kate Lindsey, Martin Helmchen, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Anna Vinnitskaya, Justin Taylor, the Quatuor Van Kuijk, Reinoud Van Mechelen, Hervé Niquet, Krzysztof Urbański, Jérémie Rhorer, Simon-Pierre Bestion, Thomas Dunford etc. It also continues to represent those artists who have an illustrious and established history with the label, such as Vincent Dumestre, François Lazarevitch, Jos Van Immerseel, Nelson Goerner, Belcea Quartet and several others.
ALPHA has more recently expanded its horizons to record ever more diverse repertoire. It prides itself on its ethos of forming a family of artists of world-class caliber, all driven by the same desire for artistic freedom and excellence, while remaining dedicated to the fresh new talents that are a priority for the label.
The coming months reveal a rich release schedule. ALPHA is delighted to announce several new albums coming out between now and the end of 2018:
- Shostakovich by the Belcea Quartet and pianist Piotr Anderszewski
- Sandrine Piau and Susan Manoff in "Chimère"
- Tobias Feldmann in Rautavaara & Sibelius violin concertos
- Buxtehude by Vox Luminis (Lionel Meunier) & Ensemble Masques (Olivier Fortin)
- The brand album by Barbara Hannigan, out in September « Vienna, fin de siècle »
- Vincent Dumestre in Lalande, followed by the DVD “Caligula”
- Lorenzo Gatto and Julien Libeer, who continue their Beethoven cycle
- The tenor Julien Behr who releases his first opera recital album
- The Quatuor Voce in « Itinéraire » featuring (among others) Vincent Segal
- New signing Julian Prégardien, with Winterreise by Schubert/Zender
- François Lazarevitch and the countertenor Tim Mead in a programme of Purcell
- Leonardo García Alarcón and Cappella Mediterannea, with their homage to Joan Manuel Serrat
- The Quatuor Van Kuijk with Schubert’s Death and the Maiden
- And of course…the continuation of the complete Haydn 2032 by Giovanni Antonini
Plus several other jewels to be revealed in the coming months…
ALPHA is a label of the OUTHERE MUSIC group, founded by Charles Adriaenssen in 2004. It also includes the labels LINN RECORDS, RICERCAR, PHI, ARCANA, AEON, FUGA LIBERA. Since 2016 OUTHERE has built up its own distribution network in France and the Benelux countries (serving more than 50 labels), as well as associations with independent partners such as Naxos in the USA, RSK in the UK and Note 1 in Germany, thereby guaranteeing sales of its recordings in 34 countries. OUTHERE has a digital presence across the most important downloading and streaming platforms. Its digital team has recently launched the ALPHA PLAY app, which makes it easy to discover classical music from its own catalogue and those of its partner labels.
The Easter Bunny has arrived!
Outhere music by your side to celebrate Easter!
Like a fierce light illuminating the darkness, the Passion of the Christ has inspired composers since time immemorial. A peculiar mix of suffering and peace, this music takes the form of both gentle harmonies and infinite torment.
During this Easter time, we are offering a discount selection of albums around the theme of the Passion.
Discover our new releases: March 23rd !
Scottish Chamber Orchestra
As Robin Ticciati enters his final season with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Linn celebrates his memorable tenure as Principal Conductor with a recording of four of the most sublime orchestral masterpieces ever written. The recording legacy of these revolutionary and distinctive works serves to underscore the confidence Ticciati has, not only in his own vision for these symphonies, but also in his partnership with the musicians of the SCO, who relish Brahms’ highly virtuosic orchestral writing. The SCO’s renowned recordings of Mozart Symphonies are a natural predecessor to Brahms, who advances the form’s classicism into the Romantic era. Ahead of the SCO 15/16 Season, in which all four symphonies were performed, Ticciati set out his aims: ‘The challenge…is to find a Brahms sound with the orchestra. To find something so unbelievably dark, autumnal, and yet steeped in counterpoint.’ By 2017, that Brahms sound was perfected; Ticciati’s interpretations are both muscular and energized, with detail and life in every line. Ticciati’s meticulous control of tempo, phrase shape and balance results in performances of extraordinary transparency and colour. This recording marks a major landmark in Ticciati’s career.
Gabrieli for Brass
Royal Academy of Music
Juilliard School Brass
This fascinating transatlantic musical collaboration between the brass players of London’s Royal Academy of Music and New York’s Juilliard School presents enduring masterpieces by Giovanni Gabrieli and his Venetian contemporaries. Under the direction of Reinhold Friedrich, renowned trumpet soloist and Principal Trumpet of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, the players blend modern instruments and intellect with 16th-century technique and tuning to excel in this profoundly challenging repertoire. The beautiful acoustic of St Jude’s, Hampstead results in a gloriously sonorous soundscape; burnished waves of rich, warm trombones alternate with the brilliant, crystalline articulation of trumpets. Academy Principal Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, who produced the recording, states: ‘We’re hoping it will show Gabrieli as the composer of great intimate music as well as wonderfully grandiloquent Venetian polyphony.’ This remarkable recording features some of the most compelling and attractive instrumental music of the late Renaissance era and boasts performances worthy of Gabrieli’s extraordinary legacy and the reputation of these two outstanding institutions.
LISTEN / BUY
Antwerp Symphony Orchestra
Edo de Waart
After making several discs of chamber music by Brahms and Schubert, the cellist Marie-Elisabeth Hecker now records a large-scale concerto, showing the full range of her talent. Composed between 1918 and 1919, Elgar’s Concerto Op. 85 was poorly received at its first performance but has since become established as one of the key works in the cello repertoire. To complete the programme, Marie-Elisabeth Hecker rejoins her chamber music partners, the violinists Carolin Widmann and David McCarroll, the violist Pauline Sachse and the pianist Martin Helmchen, in Elgar’s Piano Quintet, composed at the same time as the Concerto and premiered in London in 1919.
Concerto No. 2
NHK Symphony Orchestra
Recorded live in Tokyo on 20 May 2009 with the NHK Symphony Orchestra conducted by Tadaaki Otaka, this concert provides a new opportunity to take the full measure of the poetry deployed by Nelson Goerner, the poetic approach has come to be seen as the pianist’s trademark in his recordings of Chopin or Debussy. Yet his interpretation also shows unfailing virtuosity, with a precision and power that place him among the most eminent pianists of our time.This recording is one that Nelson Goerner was particularly keen to make, for he views Brahms’s Second Concerto as an immense masterpiece. Premiered in Budapest in 1881 with Brahms himself at the piano, the work enjoyed immediate success with critics and public alike.
Violin Duos from Vivaldi
Underplayed, under-recorded, and quite underappreciated, the repertory for two unaccompanied violins rose in popularity in the first decades of the eighteenth century. But few listeners are aware that Antonio Vivaldi was among the first to experiment with this genre, in a little-known set of four sonatas which, according to a fascinating hypothesis, he might have composed for performance in tandem with his father during his tour of central Europe in 1729-30. The leader of Il Giardino Armonico, Stefano Barneschi, and Chiara Zanisi, who has already appeared on the Arcana label (Bach’s violin and harpsichord Sonatas with Giulia Nuti), take us on a journey through this relatively small literature, from Vivaldi to Berio by way of Leclair, Telemann, Tessarini and others. The programme is framed by a piece by the brilliant Italian cellist and composer Giovanni Sollima, written especially for this project. Its last movement, Alleluja, is a tribute both to the finale of Mozart’s Exsultate, jubilate and to the church of Sant’Antonio Abate (Milan), where the premiere of Mozart’s early piece took place and where this programme was recorded.
The soprano Sandrine Piau joins Alpha for several recording projects
The soprano Sandrine Piau joins Alpha for several recording projects with artists including Christophe Rousset, Julien Chauvin and Giovanni Antonini. For her first solo album, she teams up with her long-standing musical partner, pianist Susan Manoff, with whom she has crafted and recorded a programme around the theme of the chimera. The album features works by Loewe, Schumann, Debussy, Poulenc, Barber, Gurney and Prévin...
Sandrine Piau has compiled a hugely impressive discography throughout her career, successful both critically and commercially in several countries. Today she joins the ALPHA CLASSICS label for several recording projects covering diverse repertoires from Baroque to the 20th century.
For this first album release, she and pianist Susan Manoff - with whom she delights in imagining musical journeys spanning countries, ages and poetic themes – have created a programme around the theme of the chimera: "illusory search, unfulfilled, tomb of our illusions ..." This journey mixes German lieder (Carl Loewe, Robert Schumann, Hugo Wolf), melodies from Debussy, Banalités by Poulenc, songs by Samuel Barber and lesser-known works by composers such as Ivor Gurney (born 1890) or Dickinson Songs by the pianist, conductor and composer André Previn.
Sandrine Piau will continue her journey with Alpha with another long-time accomplice, Christophe Rousset. This summer they record Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with Les Talens Lyriques, while rare pieces by Leo and Porpora will complete the programme. The recording stars counter-tenor Christopher Lowrey, (whom we heard previously in the Seven Deadly Sins of Monteverdi by Leonardo Garcia Alarcon (Alpha 249))
Meanwhile, Piau tours with the Concert de la Loge and Julien Chauvin in a programme of melodies with orchestra called Plaisirs d’Amour: featuring Debussy, Duparc, Dubois, Vierne, Massenet and Saint-Saëns; designed by the Palazetto Bru Zane; and recorded at the Arsenal of Metz.
Sandrine will also take part in the complete recording of HAYDN 2032, conducted by Giovanni Antonini, singing the cantata Berenice.
We can already discover Sandrine Piau in the Alpha discography in the DVD (Alpha 715) of Alcina and Tamerlano by Handel, filmed at La Monnaie in Bruxelles, directed by Christophe Rousset and staged by Pierre Audi. In this, Piau performs a prodigious and universally acclaimed Alcina.
Saténik Khourdoïan & Alexander Gurning
DISCOVER OUR NEW RELEASES: MARCH!
Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
Messa in Re Maggiore
Mottetto “Dignas laudes resonemus”
Marlis Petersen, Marta Fumagalli
Coro e Orchestra Ghislieri
New light on Pergolesi! This CD sheds light on a lesser-known aspect of the great Italian composer, offering two masterpieces in their first modern edition and first recording: the Mass in D major and the mottettone Dignas Laudes. Both editions are the outcome of recent musicological research carried out by the Centro Studi Pergolesi in Milan, and show a facet of Pergolesi – his energetic and solemn character – that complements and amplifies the dramatic and introspective moods of his most renowned sacred works.This Arcana release inaugurates a collaboration with the Ghislieri Choir & Consort and celebrates the fifteenth anniversary of the ensemble, which specialises in eighteenth-century sacred repertory and has already recorded works by Galuppi, Jommelli, Perez (Il Mattutino de’ Morti) and Handel (Handel in Rome 1707) for Sony-DHM.The soloists on this recording, conducted by Giulio Prandi, are the soprano Marlis Petersen, one of the leading sopranos on the international scene, and a quintet of young Italian singers who already perform in the most important and prestigious European venues.
Selva di variazioni & diverse composizioni per il cimbalo
After a first CD that was received with critical acclaim (works for organ and harpsichord by the young J. S. Bach at TYX Art), Cécile Mansuy now presents one of the most fashionable dances of the 16th and 17th centuries, the Spagnoletta, alternating partitas and variations on the theme, with dances such as the passacaille or gaillarde and pieces of free inspiration. To perform this refined and virtuoso programme, Cécile Mansuy has chosen a harpsichord with split keys and short octave by M. Griewiesch, tuned in meantone temperament, thus meeting the stylistic demands of these Italian, English and southern German dances and variations, and allowing the listener to savour the beauty of a sound as rare as it is unexpected. A winner of international competitions, Cécile Mansuy specialised in early music with J. W. Jansen, at the Schola Cantorum and with A. Fedi, and performs on period instruments across Europe. Her ensemble ‘Le je-ne-Scay-quoy’ has a predilection for harpsichord music.
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN
Symphonies & Ouvertures
Anima Eterna Brugge
Jos van Immerseel
Here is a superb set of the most famous symphonies in our musical culture, brilliantly played on period instruments. Jos van Immerseel and his highly skilled Flanders-based orchestra Anima Eterna play at modern pitch (A=440), which they have established was done in Beethoven's Vienna. As the composer had to make do with motley collections of amateurs and professionals and couldn't hear a thing after about 1817 this is better than anything he experienced. Van Immerseel's interpretations are exciting but always musical. (The Observer Daily Mail)
Johann Sebastian BACH
Louis-Noël Bestion de Camboulas
After a Mozart release with the Quatuor Voce, Juliette Hurel has devised a programme focusing on Bach, featuring two staples of the flute repertoire: the Suite for orchestra no.2 with its famous Badinerie and the Partita for solo flute, his only work for the unaccompanied instrument. To complement this, she has chosen to assemble the most celebrated arias with a prominent part for solo flute, very rarely played outside the works for which they were written: the Easter Oratorio (‘Seele, deine Spezereien’), the St Matthew Passion (‘Aus Liebe will mein Heiland sterben’), the Coffee Cantata (‘Ei wie schmeckt’) and the Cantata Ich habe genug. For this recording, she plays a modern wooden flute and was keen to work with a Baroque ensemble performing on period instruments and a soprano well versed in this music, Maïlys de Villoutreys, a rising vocal star of French scene. The magnificent Trio Sonata BWV 1038 completes the programme in the spirit of chamber music.
LISTEN / BUY
Images livre I
Etudes livre II
'Obviously, from the performer of these pieces - of all the pieces on this disc -, one will expect mastery and sensitivity. But even more is necessary: gifts of a colourist; an imagination of the settings; a vision of the sound planes and space. And also, for these pieces that are heirs to and the summary of such a glorious tradition, it also calls for broad knowledge and culture of the piano repertoire. The performer of the Etudes stands at the arrival of an itinerary, that of the keyboard « en blanc et noir ». He must know everything and play almost everything. Nelson Goerner is that performer.’
LISTEN / BUY
IN SECULUM VIELLATORIS
THE MEDIEVAL VIELLE
Le Miroir de Musique
Cantorum Basiliensis. To mark this occasion, he enriches the ‘Instruments’ series on the Ricercar label with a recital devoted to the medieval vielle (bowed fiddle): troubadour songs and dances and polyphonic compositions from the thirteenth to the fifteenth centuries illustrate the various stages in the evolution of this instrument, the ancestor of the violin.
Johann Franz Xaver Sterkel
Sonatas for Fortepiano and Violin
Els Biesemans, Meret Lüthi
A once-celebrated contemporary of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, and a precursor of Schubert in the domain of the lied, Johann Franz Xaver Sterkel (1750–1817) is today almost unknown to the general public. Given the great success of his symphonies at the Concert Spirituel, he was probably the composer most frequently performed in Paris between 1777 and 1779. This famous and highly influental pianist and composer spent most of his working life at the court of Mainz, where his reputation attracted rising young talents like Beethoven and Weber, and wrote more than 700 works, including 400 German and Italian songs. Els Biesemans and Meret Lüthi present a world premiere recording of some of his sonatas for fortepiano and violin, utterly disarming in their charm, inventiveness and refinement.
LA SPAGNOLETTA // Cécile Mansuy
Barbara Hannigan @ Victoires de la Musique Classique 2018 !
La Tempête // Larmes de Résurrection