Archive pour la catégorie ‘Recent releases’

Angèle Dubeau on Classic FM in the UK

14 April 2015

Angèle Dubeau’s Ludovico Einaudi: Portrait album is featured on the home page of Classic FM, UK’s most popular classical radio station, this week. 

“Supported by her excellent string orchestra, La Pietà, Dubeau recasts Einaudi’s music, giving the 13 tracks a lusher texture then we are used to, and endowing the melodies with a satisfying dramatic weight and, on the more atmospheric tracks, a heartfelt wistfulness.
This might be the album that convinces those who are not yet fans of Einaudi’s music that there is more to it than usually meets the ear.”

The album still stands very strong in the No. 2 position of the Top Classical Music Albums Charts of iTunes Canada. Two other Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà’s albums are still doing extremely well on the Top 100 chart: A Time for Us at No. 27 and Blanc at No. 48.

You can get the Deluxe edition of Ludovico Einaudi: Portrait on Analekta’s website here…


Einaudi: a fascinating journey

17 March 2015

As Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà’s latest album devoted to the music of Ludovico Einaudi continues to raise to the top of the charts, one may wonder how the composer became a real Internet sensation. But actually, his popularity didn’t only come from that medium.


Born in Turin, he trained as a classical composer and pianist at the Milan Conservatorio before continuing his studies with Luciano Berio, one of the most important composers of the twentieth century avant-garde. His career began with a series of prestigious commissions for institutions such as the USA’s Tanglewood Festival, Paris’ IRCAM and recently the National Center of Performing Arts of Beijing, but he decided to follow his own path and that meant mixing in one appealing sound his numerous influences. It all paid off when was premiered his electric harp suite Stanze (1997) on BBC Radio. People went wild with enthusiasm and even jammed the switchboard! The story repeated itself with Le onde (1998), to this day one of his most popular pieces, originally for piano. (He performed it himself.) Once again, the listeners were completely hooked and the piece became a permanent fixture atop the Classic FM charts. Le onde also led Ludovico Einaudi to film and TV music and that brought new fans who couldn’t get enough of that particular sound. Amongst his greateast soundtrack, once finds Doctor Zhivago (2002), Sotto falso nome (2004), This Is England (2006) and its television sequel This Is England ‘86 (2010), and of course Intouchables by Olivier Nakache and Eric Soledano. The film has been voted as the cultural event of 2011 in France and it has been submitted for the 85th Academy Award.

He nows travels extensively to reach out to audiences on all continents (his take on African traditional music is most interesting) and his star continues to shine bright.

Go on the Analekta website to listen and download the album. (Only there can you access some bonus tracks, not available on the CD itself.)

Alain Lefèvre’s Rive Gauche

10 March 2015

You were waiting for it with much anticipation. Here is Rive gauche, Alain Lefèvre’s latest album of compositions. Once more, the pianist-composer offers us musical journeys as diverse as the stories he shares with us. You can listen to and download the album here…

Rive gauche

Alain Lefèvre talks about the compositional process with George Nicholson.

I have always composed to tell a story, a story that helps listeners find their own. When you have had, for almost half a century, a special connection with the greatest masterpieces, you need a large dose of humility and innocence in order to give music lovers these special moments of life, as everything I compose starts simply with a smile, a phone call, an emotion.

Classical? Absolutely not! Popular? Neither! Crossover? Oh no, not at all. So? I am really walking a fine line here. Maybe the answer lies hidden in the fact that composing has always been an outlet for my sorrows, fears and passions. A music critic at Le Devoir said: “There must be a demand for romanticism […] (but)Fidèles Insomnies (Blissfully Sleepless) cannot be categorized”. I believe I must agree with him.

Writing is not something I choose; the themes come flooding to my mind. Quite often, I wake up in the middle of the night and save on my phone a theme that pops to the surface just like that, without even looking for it. Then, the work really begins. When I sit down at the piano, all the pianistic knowledge I have accumulated goes into action hand in hand with all the information stored in the back of my mind, suddenly all made available to shape, enrich and bring these themes to life. If the theme does not come by itself, the piece will not be, because composing is a relaxing time and paradoxically it is also some kind of exorcism or auto psychoanalysis.

It saddens me to see a particular audience turn up its nose at Maurice Jarre, Michel Legrand or Alexandre Desplat or even our own André Gagnon, who has written marvellous pieces. How can we not break down in tears after just a few bars of Brel’s Ne me quitte pas? Because what we retain most from it, is that it is a gorgeous theme and I believe that inspiration is a state of grace. I can’t help but reiterate that André Mathieuhas been blessed more often than not. I see my own pieces like films for the ear, images for the piano.

Although my compositions tell simple stories, the day-to-day discipline to which I have submitted myself to for decades cannot not interfere in the making of these pieces. All these digitally illuminated networks add their own colours to the story and bring structure to it. Though they hold pleasant titles, both amateur and professional pianists who have tried to play them have come to realise just how dauntingly diffi cult they are.

Einaudi’s Experience: powerful

6 March 2015

The power of Ludovico Einaudi’s music is undeniable, whether you listen to it by itself or juxtapose it to a beautiful short film produced by Montreal based Antler Films. An unforgettable day for all those we encounter in this film certainly and it is impossible to not let this enthralling score stay with you long after the last frame is over, especially when performed as beautifully by Angèle Dubeau et La Pietà.

You can listen and download the complete album launched officially on March 3, here…

Fathers and Sons

5 February 2015


It is when you take a good look at the relationships between musicians and composers that you discover when and how classical music has made its way towards us. Fathers and Sons, violist Helen Callus and harpsichordist Luc Beauséjour‘s latest project, takes a very close look at those close ties.

Johann Sebastian Bach’s influence is undeniable, whether on his sons or on the members of his inner circle, which included Karl Friedrich Abel (1723-1787) and Johann Tobias Krebs (1690-1762). They were students of the master, but also friends and associates. The works featured here, adapted for viola by Helen Callus, certainly demonstrate how Bach had established a close relationship with both of them.

Indeed, it seems that it was for composer and gamba virtuoso Karl Friedrich Abel that Bach wrote his 3 sonatas for viola di gamba.  They are presented here on the viola by Helen Callus. Also from Abel, you can listen to his Sonata No. 2 in E minor, written at the end of his career to impress Prussia’s crown prince. You can also discover Johann Tobias Kreb’s Trio in C minor for two keyboards and bass. His gifts as organist were saluted time and again by Bach. The filiation with the Cantor of Leipzig is easily understood here as well.

Hailed as “one of the world’s greatest violists” (American Record Guide), and “one of the foremost violists of her generation” (Fanfare magazine), Helen Callus continues to captivate audiences with her lyrical tone, technical command, and profound artistry. She is brilliantly accompanied here by virtuoso Luc Beauséjour.

To listen and download the album…


Trumpet concertos with Paul Merkelo

23 January 2015


Analekta just released a new recording of French trumpet concerti by Paul Merkelo (who has for 20 years served as the principal trumpet of the Orchestre symphonique de Montreal) and the OSM, led by music director Kent Nagano.  The repertoire?  Post-Second World War concerti by Henri Tomasi (1901-1970), Alfred Desenclos (1912-1971) and André Jolivet (1905-1974) – a period characterized by a resurgence in French culture and a fascination with jazz. 

This project, a long-held dream of Mr. Merkelo, was underwritten in part through a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign launched in November 2013.  The campaign met its goal within one month :  evidence of the passion of the performer, and the strength of his community of supporters. 

Intriguingly, the recording will be made available not only as a CD and download, but also in audiophile-quality vinyl.     

To listen and download the album…

Evolution of the symphony

18 November 2014

The term symphony first appeared in musical language around the 16th century. It derives from the Greek syn, meaning ‘together,’ and phōnē meaning ‘sounding.’ The term denotes a concord of sound, which is really synonymous with the word ‘music.’ In the beginning, it designated nearly any type of musical composition, but it would soon be applied only to instrumental music, as opposed to vocal music, such as opera.

It would progressively take shape as a specific form for orchestra, which had a fairly defined structure and was often in four major independent sections we call ‘movements.’ The symphony evolved in parallel with composition for the symphony orchestra. In the early 18th century, the orchestra was much smaller than the one we are used to today. It mainly consisted of strings, supported by a continuo (harpsichord and cello), to which wind instruments were sometimes added.

Composers of the Classical period, including Mozart, had a larger orchestra to work with. In addition to strings, it had expanded to include two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, and timpani. Beethoven would significantly enlarge the orchestra. His Ninth Symphony, his last, was scored not only for strings but also a piccolo, two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, a contrabassoon, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones, two timpani, a triangle, a bass drum, cymbals, soloists, and a choir. You can listen to it in this boxset of the OSM, released recently

The orchestra continued to grow in the Romantic period and sometimes gained gigantic proportions.

The complete Beethoven Symphonies by the OSM

7 November 2014

You may have missed an instalment of the complete traversal of the Beethoven symphonies of the OSM under maestro Kent Nagano (just back from a very successful tour in Japan and China). Now, you can get all nine of them in this essential box set that offers you an essential portrait of the great master as symphonist. 

“The interplay of internal social forces and the new order in Europe created significant changes in people’s experience and values, and formed a new image in the contemporary consciousness, based on themes inherited from the Enlightenment – liberty, progress, self-determination, fighting spirit and responsibility, human dignity and happiness – apprehended afresh in a new image of humanity and a new representation of society and the world. It was for this “new humanity” that Beethoven composed his music, and in it he saw his duty as an artist and the ultimate truth of his art,” explains Kent Nagano in his introduction. “The idea of this new humanity, a new society and a new way forward, inspired him and dictated the inner programmatics of his musical thoughts even as they emerged from his pen. This is especially true of his nine symphonies. When Beethoven began his First Symphony in 1799, the symphony epitomized the generic type of complex work, in which the four movements are each defined independently in character and mood, and at the same time form a whole through their complementary musical relationships. What is so striking is that Beethoven still fundamentally adheres to the traditions established by Haydn and Mozart, always takes these as his point of departure, and then distances himself from them as far as possible. He keeps up appearances with the inherited features of his music, but the “meanings” have changed both in detail and the works as a whole. Beethoven composed nine symphonies, each so striking individually that it is best not to attempt a general description. With them, and in them, he endows orchestral music with new dimensions and qualities, and correspondingly new demands on the audience’s habitual ways of listening. There is reflection and sensation, a dominant constructive spirit, atmosphere and emotionality – all intertwined with a perspective that was radically new at the time.”

To listen and download…

Metamorfosi by Constantinople

27 October 2014


“As artists, we endlessly replay our utopias, with Babel as a backdrop. The territory to explore is infinite: cultures and memories whose lines we like to shift so that they finally converge. We also make migration and the mixing of cultures our territory. Perhaps it is our early exile that led us to return to the source, to follow the traces of our predecessors, to tirelessly search for creative allies. This awareness of belonging to several space-times is as basic to us as respiration, as inspiration.”

Here is the idea behind Ensemble Constantinople’s latest album: Metamorfosi – Impressions Baroques. This album is the natural continuation of their previous album, Early Dreams. Here too, Constantinople decided to think outside the box and invited baroque violinist Miren Zeberio and singer Suzie LeBlanc, one of the early music most popular  sopranos of her generation, to revisit and explore new avenues and Italian composers often unknown to the general public, yet among the finest in the second half of the 16th and early 17th century: Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643), Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger (1580-1651 ), Marco Uccellini (1603-1680), Salamone Rossi (1570-1630), Tarquinio Merula (1595-1665), Stefano Landi (1587-1639) as well as singers and composers, Barbara Strozzi (1619-1677) and Andrea Falconieri (1585-1656).

You can discover and download the album here…

Last instalment of the OSM’s complete Beethoven symphonies

9 October 2014

Beethoven 2ndThe Orchestre symphonique de Montréal had already recorded seven of Beethoven’s nine symphonies. The Poetry of Freedom, this last instalment, just released, is devoted to the Second and Fourth Symphonies, maybe less often performed but nevertheless essential assets of the symphonic catalogue.

“We might suppose Beethoven, in his creative work, pursued a specific dramaturgical strategy, explains Kent Nagano in the liner’s notes. But what, then, about those peculiar retreats – his Second Symphony, and his Fourth? Where the symphonies that preceded them has each taken two or three steps forward, the Master stops, takes a step back, disengages from his boldness, risk-taking and pioneering attacks, and advances anew in an almost “classical” measure. Robert Schumann, not coincidentally, characterized Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony with the remark that it was “a slim Greek maid between two Norse Giants”. What he meant was the exemplary and immaculate “Classical” order of its symphonic design. And in fact, where previously, in the Third Symphony, the entire orchestra spreads itself out in a massive emotional discharge, the Fourth is transparent and light-footed, sparkling and witty, as fine and delicate as chamber music. It aims less for “meaning” than for play and playful gestures. The First and Second Symphonies also represent utterly different, even contradictory worlds. In one, a loud and clear announcement of the new, in the other a colorful luxuriance of festivity and charm – which, in turn, does not preclude persistent elements of unruliness from breaking in and sometimes making listeners shake their heads and wonder just what they are hearing. What may have induced Beethoven to develop this dramaturgical process in his symphonic work? Was it perhaps that he realized that this was what the “new way”, of which he himself spoke, possibly meant? Namely, that the progress implied might perhaps lead into fascinating new territory – but also a land in which one wanders aimlessly in the end? Whatever thoughts may have preoccupied him, it is certain that just through this repeated pausing in the process, the fundamental progression and the subjective, individual claim to freedom of decision and action took on the highest importance.”

This album will be also part of the box set of the complete Beethoven symphonies, to be released on November 4.

To listen and download the album…