August 04, 2016


Press release: Baarn, The Netherlands, August 1st, 2016

September is a month of great diversity, and great talent. Various outstanding releases will mark an important addition to the PENTATONE catalogue. The wonderful Arabella Steinbacher has outdone herself with a beautiful and very personal new album. Additionally, hidden American gems are revealed in OUT OF THE SHADOWS.

Fantasies, Rhapsodies & Daydreams

Arabella Steinbacher (Violin), Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, conducted by Lawrence Foster

Spectacular virtuoso playing, bravura passagework and show-stopping melodies are balanced with wistful lyricism and sublime tone painting in this irresistible programme of perennial favourites, played with élan by the violinist Arabella Steinbacher with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, conducted by Lawrence Foster in this new release from PENTATONE.

From the high jinks and outrageous showmanship of Franz Waxman’s Carmen Fantasie and Pablo de Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen, to the fearsome technical demands of Ravel’s Tzigane and the exquisite refinement of Saint-Saëns’ Havanaise and Introduction et Rondo capriccioso, this album harks back to an earlier era of violin playing. “Great violinists like Heifetz, Kreisler, Menuhin … played virtuosic pieces in their concerts,” recalled Steinbacher in a recent interview. She lamented that such pieces are infrequently played owing to the perception that “…this kind of repertoire is ‘not serious enough’ which I find is really a pity and also not true.” For the scintillating Carmen Fantasie, Steinbacher freely admitted that Heifetz was her inspiration.  When she heard that the piece was composed for him mid-career, she was very impressed and decided to make that journey as well  “..and I am very glad I did it!”

In a change of pace, the album also features the work which has topped Classic FM’s listeners’ “Hall of Fame” for the last three years running: the much-loved and achingly lyrical The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams. Ever the listeners’ favourite, this beautiful piece with its soaring violin part has never been bettered for its sublime depiction of an English rural idyll and it seems fitting that Vaughan Williams completed it following the horrors of the First World War. In a similar spiritual vein, the Méditation from “Thaïs” is included, Massanet’s most famous and imitated work which retains the power to this day to spellbind audiences. Following such critical acclaim, this release looks to bolster her status as one of today’s leading violinists on the international stage.

For this recording Arabella Steinbacher plays the “Booth” Stradivari from 1716, a generous loan from the Nippon Music Foundation. This album will be released as 1 Super Audio -CD and in digital formats for streaming and high resolution downloads. (Article number: PTC 5186536) Originally recorded in superior quality as 2,8 mHz, 1 bit DSD recording.

RICHARD WAGNER : Overtures, Preludes and Orchestral Excerpts 

Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin conducted by Marek Janowski  

Celebrating the conductor Marek Janowski’s triumphant Ring cycle at this year’s Bayreuth festival, PENTATONE rounds off his groundbreaking survey of Wagner’s operas with the release of a double album featuring orchestral highlights from the series. Recorded in PENTATONE’s state of the art multi-channel surround sound, the album contains the popular overtures and preludes from Der fliegende Holländer, Lohengrin, Tannhäuser, Tristan und Isolde, and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, as well as orchestral excerpts from Siegfried, Götterdämmerung and Parsifal. Also included is the previously unreleased Siegfried Idyll, the symphonic poem that Wagner wrote for the birthday of his wife Cosima.

Marek Janowski is one of today’s foremost interpreters of Wagner. His recordings of the ten mature operas for PENTATONE have been universally praised, the music critic Michael Tanner hailing Janowski as “…the most reliably impressive Wagner conductor of our time.” The BBC Music Magazine described the Tannhäuser release as “…the best recording since that made in Bayreuth in 1962.” And Alex Ross, music critic of The New Yorker, rated the Tristan und Isolde release among his all-time favourite Wagner recordings, evidence as he put it that “…first-rate Wagner recordings are not extinct.” Key to the success of this ambitious series has been the collaboration with the Rundfunk- Sinfonieorchester Berlin and Deutschlandradio Kultur. By producing concert performances of the operas in the superb acoustics of the Philharmonie Berlin (and without the distractions of staging), the nuances and subtleties in Wagner’s scores are clearly articulated to give a recording of exceptional fidelity and immediacy. “The recorded sound is sensational”, wrote Michael Tanner of the Parsifal release, “so realistic as to be almost alarming.”

The overtures, preludes and interludes in Wagner’s operas have always had broad appeal with audiences for their heady, intoxicating atmosphere and vivid orchestration. During Wagner’s lifetime, his contemporaries made arrangements and potpourris from the operas to satisfy an ever enthusiastic public, bowdlerising Wagner’s scores in the process. In these vibrant recordings, however, Janowski remains faithful to Wagner’s original vision and uses conclusions either written or authorized by Wagner himself.

VIDEO INTERVIEW WITH MAESTRO JANOWSKI: This album will be released as 2 Super Audio -CDs and in digital formats for streaming and high resolution downloads. (Article number: PTC 5186551) Originally recorded in superior quality as 96 kHz, 24 bit PCM recording. 

ROUSSEL: Bacchus et Ariane, DEBUSSY: Six Épigraphes Antiques, POULENC: Les Biches

Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, conducted by Kazuki Yamada

Vibrant, striking colours, sensuous harmonies and coruscating wit abound in this irresistible collection played by the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (OSR) under the baton of the young rising star Kazuki Yamada. Hailed by Gramophone magazine as a “gifted, budding maestro” with “interpretative nous, strength of personality and scrupulous attention to detail”, this is Yamada’s fourth outing for PENTATONE following his three critically acclaimed releases of dance music.

The three works featured are firmly rooted in the past, whether in the sources for inspiration or the sometimes neo-classical style. But the musical language is unmistakably from the 20th century and, above all, quintessentially French.

Featuring incisive rhythms, expressive melodies and daring harmonies realised with a sumptuous orchestral palette, Albert Roussel’s exotic suites for the ballet Ariane et Bacchus are popular showpieces with orchestras and audiences alike, especially the famous Bacchanale ¬– an uninhibited romp which closes the work. Debussy’s nod to classical Greece in his beguiling Six épigraphes antiques, sometimes described as a conspectus of his compositional technique, is heard here in luxuriant detail in a rarely performed orchestration by Ernest Ansermet, the founder of the OSR. And Poulenc has never been in more high spirits than in Les Biches, a heady, infectious concoction which bristles with sophistication, charm and irrepressible Gallic wit.

“The BBC SO have found a star in the making,” wrote The Telegraph of Kazuki Yamada “let’s hope we hear more of him.” Winner of the prestigious 51st International Besançon Competition for Young Conductors in 2009, Yamada’s rise on the international stage has been rapid. With his busy schedule, he is one of today’s most sought after conductors and in September 2016, he takes over as principal conductor and artistic director of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo.

“Sometimes in my head, I try to imagine how I would like the ideal orchestra to sound,” mused Yamada in an interview from 2014. “The same idea always comes to me … perfect cohesion in a single timbre, uniform and scalable, fantastically expressive … that of the human voice.”

Following his sensational debut in 2010 with the OSR, their recording for PENTATONE of Bizet, Fauré and Gounod ballet music was praised for playing which was “both exquisite and passionate … grace abounds” (BBC Music Magazine) and “tastefully refined” (Gramophone). No wonder that the Thüringer Landeszeitung wrote of Yamada that “the young man is full of music from head to toe”. This album will be released as 1 Super Audio -CD and in digital formats for streaming and high resolution downloads. (Article number: PTC 5186558) Originally recorded in superior quality as 2.8 mHz, 1 bit DSD recording.

OUT OF THE SHADOWS: Rediscovered American Art Songs

Lisa Delan (Soprano), Kevin Korth (piano), Matt Haimovitz (cello) 

On this remarkable recording, OUT OF THE SHADOWS: REDISCOVERED AMERICAN ART SONGS, a century’s worth of treasures emerge from the shadows of both memory and history. The discovery of these songs began years ago, when soprano Lisa Delan was a student at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Her teachers, some of whom were contemporaries of the composers, recognized the artistic value of several of these works. Knowing that Ms. Delan would imbue them with special interpretive qualities, they presented her with copies of some of the music now on this disc. She decided to go further, to discover additional Americana—a kind of musical excavation that would bring to light and to life a body of art songs that deserved to be better known. Mined from extensive research, the gems on this CD are priceless additions to the art song genre. They form a compelling body of literature that, until now, has been underrepresented or completely overlooked on recordings. These songs honor the universality of the human experience—love, loss, faith, joy, sadness, nostalgia—in uniquely American settings. The spirit, pragmatism and romanticism of a country born in revolution and maturing in reason and hopefulness is evident in these works. It’s all here, in 31 songs by ten composers. The tonal palette of each of these composers reveals a singular style, in hues rich, varied and distinctively American. This album will be released as 1 Super Audio -CD and in digital formats for streaming and high resolution downloads. (Article number: PTC 5186572) Originally recorded in superior quality as 2.8 mHz, 1 bit DSD recording.