Leopold Stokowski on Newton Classics acclaimed by the critics

Since its release on Newton Classics in October 2010, Leopold Stokowski’s recording of Rachmaninov’s Third Symphony and other works has been praised by critics, both in the press and online. Below is a round-up of extracts from the best reviews:

Audaud ★★★★
“Yet, having returned to the score after forty years, Stokowski builds up a magisterial tension very slowly, ever alert to the subtle shifts in meter and dynamics, and always playing fully the composer’s trump card in warm effulgent melodies.” (…)
“The forever charming Vocalise floats and charms at once, diaphanous and exquisitely tender, a simultaneous tribute to Wagner’s dream of “endless melody” and Rachmaninov’s fluent and lyric genius. [All the new Newtons that have come thru here have been exemplary remasterings from the original discontinued discs – bringing them into current sonic standards.]”

International Record Review
“I don’t know any recording of this piece (including Rachmaninov’s own) that is as constantly imaginative, or as dazzling at climaxes. (…) this is a joyous performance. The Vocalise is lovely and the recorded sound is opulent.”

MusicWeb International
“The disc opens with a luxurious (7:03) rendition of the Vocalise, the composer’s own orchestration, but full of the conductor’s tenderly attentive ministrations. These act in a beneficent way and bring out the work’s lushly romantic side.” (…)
“The feral exuberance is remarkable with the notes seeming to tumble one over another – one can almost see the conductor wild-eyed with white hair flying amid the brilliant glitter and thunderous attack.”

Classical Candor
“One of the advantages of being a reviewer is the joy of discovery. Of the many discs I get to audition each month, not all are interesting enough to mention at the site and only a relative few jump out and demand serious attention. Such a recording is Stokowski’s Rachmaninov Third Symphony.” (…)
“Under Stokowski, the Third takes on new dimensions, imbued with a passion I’ve never found in it before.” (…)
“What’s equally important, though, is the disc’s excellent sonic quality, recorded by engineer Bob Auger.” (…)
“It continues to be one of the best discs I’ve listened to in quite a while.”

And you, how did you like this recording?
Do not hesitate to share your comments on this blog!

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Our January releases in Gramophone Magazine

If you have bought the April edition of Gramophone Magazine you may have already read the full page dedicated to Newton Classics‘ January releases. If not, below is your chance to read some highlights from the articles. However if you want to read them fully do not forget to get your copy of the magazine, out now!

MOSTLY SIXTIES MAGIC

Markevitch’s Tchaikovsky* is emotive, attentive to inner detail, very flexible and, for the most part, extremely exciting.”

*Please note that new masters of this album (Ref: 8802036) are currently being shipped to retailers due to a few playing gaps on the first batch of recordings. Please see with your retailer to exchange your copy. We are very sorry for the inconvenience caused.

MORE BUMPER BARGAINS

“From Newton comes an equally varied “horn-fest” from Hermann Baumann, again including music by Telemann with the ASMF, who also offer support in concertos by Haydn and Pokorný.”

“Three more Newton collections, two of them featuring the elegant and always reliable ensemble I Musici, Vivaldi’s complete Opp 1-12 and Handel’s Concerti grossi, Op 6, graceful performances and quite unlike the stylised assertiveness of certain period-instrument groups.”

“As for Russian Overtures and Orchestral Works (…) these performances are very much in the grand Russian tradition, dramatic, cleanly articulated and, for the most part, infectiously enthusiastic.”

Do not hesitate to share your comments on this blog!

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The Independent reviews our February releases

Andy Gill from The Independent recently reviewed two of our February releases. You may have come across them on the newspaper’s website but if not, you can read them below.

Masterpieces of Renaissance Polyphony, 5 stars

During the great religious battles of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, music was one of the subtler, but most effective, weapons in the clergies’ arsenal.

This anthology of choral works represents some of the highlights of the Catholic response to the more functional music favoured by Luther, with due eminence paid to Palestrina, father of renaissance polyphony. His “Peccantem me quotidie” has the sombre penitential tone appropriate for Lent, and along with Lotti’s moving meditation on Christ’s suffering “Crucifixus” shows that Catholics could be just as austere as Protestants. More jubilant are the cascading lines of two interleaving choirs in Victoria’s “Lauda Sion”. AG

> Buy Masterpieces of Renaissance Polyphony

Berio’s Sequenzas III and VII, 4 stars

Recorded in 1969 with the Juilliard Ensemble, which he founded while teaching there, these chamber works illustrate Berio’s postwar development.

There’s something comfortingly modernist about the early-50s piano and violin duets of Due Pezzi and the settings of James Joyce poems that comprise Chamber Music, which find his wife, Cathy Berberian, in restrained mood. But it is Différences, composed for five instruments playing alongside tape treatments of themselves, that most impresses here: always lively and inquisitive, the breezy interplay of wind, harp and strings flourishing while never baulking at the more astringent discordancies. AG

> Buy Berio’s Sequenzas III & VII

Do not hesitate to share other reviews on this blog or post your own!

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February releases

Dear Newton Classics fans,

Our February releases are now available and include a selection of Debussy’s compositions, some masterpieces of Renaissance Polyphony and Rossini’s String Sonatas. Two recordings will be of great interest to lovers of sacred music this month: Gregorian Chant for the Church Year and Sacred Music by Vivaldi. Finally emphasis is put on more contemporary music with some recorder music by the Amsterdam Loeki Stardust Quartet and a selection of Berio’s contemporary pieces. We hope you will enjoy them!

You will find additional information about these new recordings in the discography on our Facebook page. Also, have you noticed our new Twitter background? It is updated every month to include our latest releases.

Do not hesitate to leave your comments on this page!

Thank you for your support.

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Happy New Year 2011!

Dear Newton Classics fans,

We would like to thank you all for your fantastic support last year. We are looking forward to welcoming new fans on this blog and sharing more exclusive content about our releases with you in 2011.

As Monday will see another batch of new releases coming out, now is time for us to make another roundup of the latest Did you know that…? posts from our Facebook page!

24 November 2010 – Did you know that…?
In 1986 Midori made her astonishing concert debut with the New York Philharmonic at Tanglewood and broke the E-string on her violin twice. This resulted in the young violinist having to borrow violins from the concertmaster and associate concertmaster in order to finish the piece but also having th…e conductor Leonard Bernstein kneeling before her in awe. This is how Midori, 14, conquered Tanglewood with 3 violins (adapted from the NY Times’ headline the next day).

Did you know that…?
On 15 December 2010 Midori performed with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Antonio Pappano at the Barbican in London. Did you attend?

29 November 2010 – Did you know that…?
Alfred Schnittke wrote the Concerto Grosso No.6 especially for Viktoria Postnikova and Sasha Rozhdestvensky. The work was premiered in 1994. [You can listen to the piece on YouTube.]

Do not hesitate to share more comments on our posts in 2011!

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And the best recordings of 2010 are…

Last week the Ionarts blog awarded Gérard Souzay’s French song album with the honour of one of the best reissues of 2010.

The blog post reads: “Gérard Souzay may be old fashioned in his singing, but it sure is gorgeous. I love the songs of [the neglected mad genius] Henri Duparc… and (…) the quality is such that every bit of his deeply felt, noble singing of mélodies comes through.”

Thank you very much Jens!

The Ionarts blog also plans to write about Newton Classics in the new year so we will be following and sharing this with you.

The team at Newton Classics wishes you a wonderful Christmas… and looks forward to seeing you all in the new year!

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… and another one!

“One of the advantages of being a reviewer is the joy of discovery. Of the many discs I get to audition each month, not all are interesting enough to mention at the site and only a relative few jump out and demand serious attention. Such a recording is Stokowski’s Rachmaninov Third Symphony. (…) Of course, all of this sonic pleasantry could merely be serendipitous, a fortuitous match between my system and this particular recording. If so, lucky me. It continues to be one of the best discs I’ve listened to in quite a while.” JJP

Last month our friends at Classical Candor posted a fantastic review of Kovacevich’s recording of Piano Concertos by Grieg and Schumann. A few days ago they posted an even-more fantastic review of Stokowski’s recording of Rachmaninov’s Third Symphony… and we are absolutely delighted that Newton Classics’s releases are responsible for their “joy of discovery”!

We hope they are for you too.

Thank you Classical Candor!

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Fellow blog reviews another of our recordings!

“The Newton Classics disc is quite clear, clean, and vivid, with a wonderfully robust, lifelike presence. The piano is front and center, sturdily reproduced, the orchestra realistically spread out behind the soloist in a room-filling acoustic. It doesn’t get much better.”

After the fantastic blog Classical Candor praised Stephen Kovacevich’s recording of Brahms last July, his author John now reviewed Kovacevich’s recording of Piano Concertos by Grieg and Schumann. We hope that, as John writes, this release “will serve to introduce a new generation of music lovers to these treasured performances, music lovers who somehow missed them the first few times around.”

Thank you John!

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When Gramophone Magazine likes Brahms as well!

We had a very pleasant surprise while reading Gramophone Magazine this month… when we discovered that Stephen Kovacevich’s recording of Brahms on Newton Classics was Gramophone Magazine ‘Editor’s choice’!

Before you rush to the nearest news agent to get your ‘Awards Issue 2010’ copy, we thought we’d share some extracts from the article with you. Fantastic!

“A hearty welcome to Newton Classics, a classy new label masterminded by the ex-EMI executive Theo Lapp. To judge by their first batch of reissues, they should be an imprint to watch. This Brahms from Kovacevich is one of his finest recordings and a timely reminder that he is still sometimes underappreciated.

There is a poetry to his playing, a specificity to the imagery, that speaks of a great and clearly defined pianistic vision. In this the London Symphony Orchestra under Colin Davis are inspired accomplices. Yet Kovacevich knows when to ratchet up the excitement when required.”

Extract from the ‘Editor’s choice’ review:
“This superb two-disc reissue is a timely reminder – if such a reminder was necessary – of Stephen Kovacevich’s stature as one of the great musicians of our time. (…) Sound and balance are admirable and I hope Newton Classics will issue many more of Kovacevich’s early discs.”

For the full review, please refer to Gramophone Magazine ‘Awards issue 2010’, page 76.

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September 2010: Did you know that…?

Another month means another bunch of releases… and another roundup of Did you now that…? posts!

17 September 2010 – Did you know that…?
In 1984 the celebrated French baritone Gérard Souzay had such an attack of nerves, mid-concert, that Wigmore director William Lyne had physically to push him on to the stage!

22 September 2010 – Did you know that…?
At the 2009 Gramophone Awards, Stephen Kovacevich received the Editor’s Choice Award for his recording of ‘Diabelli Variations’ on Onyx.

Did you know all of this? Do not hesitate to leave comments on this post and our new October recordings!

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