J.S Bach St Matthew Passion
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin
harmonia mundi is delighted to present René Jacobs first recording of the Bach St Matthew Passion, captured in super-audio surround sound.
It has haunted René Jacobs since childhood: first as a boy soprano in Ghent, then as a countertenor, he has constantly frequented the supreme masterpiece that is the 'St Matthew Passion'. Jacobs uses the layout of the Good Friday Vesper service from Bach's time, with choirs front and back, rather than side-by-side. He also gives us extra soloists to complete the bi-choral effect. For Bach, the two halves were 28 metres apart. At that distance, coordination difficulties begin to appear between the speed of light, and the speed of sound, and we cannot determine how Bach dealt with this problem.
However the wonders of SACD multichannel surround sound can at last give an impression of what Bach intended for St Thomas’ Church in Leipzig. As ever, harmonia mundi's production values are such that we are given several essays on the concept of the layout in Bach's time, reflections on the new recording by René Jacobs, full texts and biographies in a 176 page booklet, with sumptuous packaging.
Debussy meets Chopin
Les sons et les parfums...
Chopin and Debussy: the connections between them are as numerous as they are subtle, never obvious, yet so very profound. The achievement of Javier Perianes here is to have teased out the artistic thread linking two geniuses who soar high above their respective centuries.
Includes a Bonus DVD
Harmonie Ensemble/New York
Steven Richman and his Harmonie Ensemble/New York swing in the holiday season with a twist, pairing Tchaikovsky's original 1892 Nutcracker Suite with a 1960 jazz adaptation by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. The idea for combining the two Nutcrackers came about when trombonist Art Baron, who had played with Duke Ellington, introduced Steven Richman to a 1960 recording of the Nutcracker Suite in Ellington and Billy Strayhorn's superb jazz arrangement. Richman loved it, and immediately decided he had to perform it side-by-side with Tchaikovsky's original. Richman's fascinating and entertaining holiday pairing is the perfect follow-up to his critically praised album Gershwin By Grofé.
The great painters have always known how to combine the different perspectives of the Nativity into a single picture. Here the RIAS Kammerchor tells the Christmas Story in music: Mendelssohn frames the painting, to which the darkness and the promise of promise of heavenly light form the background. The Virgin Mary leads us to the heart of Christmas Night and to rejoicing at the Saviour’s birth. We come full circle with the Four Motets of Poulenc, which sum up all the facets of Christmas and its emotions.