Friday, 14 October 2011

Chandos Records – New Project announced this week

This week a new project was launched at the Italian Embassy in Grosvenor Square, London. The Italian Ambassador announced the start of a three year collaboration between the conductor Gianandrea Noseda, Italian music publisher Universal Music Publishing Ricordi and the Chandos record label.
Chandos will make two recordings each year for the Musica Italiana project with Noseda who will collaborate with the Teatro Regio di Torino and the BBC Philharmonic to focus on previously unrecorded symphonic repertoire by Italian composers of the 20th century.
Gianandrea Noseda who is keen to explore previously unheard Italian repertoire has already recorded Casella’sSymphony No 2 with us here at Chandos in June last year, which has received some great reviews.  We are now  looking forward to releasing another Casella recording , which will this time include A note alta, fragments  from the opera La donna serpent and the Concerto per Orchestra. This release will be under the Musica Italiana banner and is due in June 2012.
So if you are a fan of Italian repertoire and wish to explore further or if you enjoyed our previous Casella release then the new release due in June next year will definitely be one to look out for.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Film Music Prom Tonight

Calling all Film Music Fans!  Tonight's prom is dedicated to some of the most widely recognisable works in classical music. The first works of the evening are by the composer Bernard Harrmann who wrote the music for many classic productions including Psycho, North by Northwest and Citizen Kane. If you like what you hear, check our our recording of his film music , and remember to look our for our upcoming release of Herrmann's cantata Moby Dick, and the original version of his Sinfonietta for Strings which was later adapted for the film score to Psycho - available on the Chandos label this October.

A major part of this prom will be devoted to William Walton's Henry V suite , we have a wonderful recording of this music available for download from the Classical Shop.

For me personally, I cannot wait to hear the second half of this prom, when one of my favourite works will be performed - Richard Rodney Bennett's Murder on the Orient Express! However, if you can't decide on your favourite music from the film world, you will find some all-time greats on Chandos's British Film Music album. I hope you enjoy the performance.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Press Officer at the Proms

Of the four Proms I have been to this year, each has been equally rewarding in different ways. The first (17th June) marked Juanjo Mena’s debut at the proms where the soon-to-be new chief conductor of the BBC Philharmonic bought music from, or inspired by, his native homeland to London. We were treated to the wonderfully evocative Nights in the Garden of Spain (with Steven Osborne, the sensitive pianist), Ravel’s dazzling Rapsodie espagnole and Debussy’s inspired Images, where each movement was, curiously, separated by the other works. The next Prom (26th July) went from Spain to Hungary, with Jurowski leading the London Philharmonic. Beginning with Kodaly’s colorful Dances of Galánta, it went on to a blistering account of Bartók’s First Piano Concerto. Bartók wrote in the score that the percussion be placed surrounding the piano and it was almost disconcerting to see the piano engulfed in a battery of percussion instruments. But Jean-Efflam Bavouzet electrifying performance was more than a match for them, with conductor, orchestra and soloist filling the Albert Hall with electricity and excitement. The second half of the concert comprised Liszt’s epic Faust Symphony. Whilst the opening is magically haunting and evocative, after an hour of it – despite some wonderful moments - one can’t help thinking that Liszt could have done with a decent editor. The third prom (August 1st) brought the BBC Philharmonic again with their principle conductor, Gianandrea Noseda. Beginning with Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony – with its extended and magical introduction – Saint-Saëns Fifth Piano Concerto followed – and received a scintillating performance with Stephen Hough as the soloist. Subtitled, the ‘Egyptian’, its mixture of pseudo exotic elements combined with French charm is irresistible, and the finale bubbled with champagne-like exhilaration. The second half comprised another mammoth Liszt work, this time his Dante Symphony.  The fourth prom (August 2nd) featured Elgar’s Violin Concerto with the soloist, Tasmin Little, who was on inspirational form. Tasmin made a recording of this work with Chandos with Sir Andrew Davis last year (which won a Classic Brit Award) and her understanding of the piece was immediately apparent: the hushed intensity during the reflective passages was almost luminous in its intensity whilst the more dramatic passages were full of all the passion one could wish for in this masterpiece of a work. The second half featured a prom premiere: a work, by turns quirky and rousing music from Percy Grainger, in the form of his Suite ‘In a Nutshell’ and it was amusing to see the orchestra actually reduce in size for a riotous performance of Strauss’s Till Eulenspiegel. The BBC Singers performed a superb performance of Elgar’s haunting There is sweet music.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Tasmin Little who earlier this year was awarded the Critic's Choice at the Classic BRITS will perform Elgar's Violin Concerto at tonight's proms. This work is included on a Chandos album CHSA 5083 which has received high praise from critics and the public alike. For the first time Percy Grainger's 'In a Nutshell' will be performed at a prom.

Later on in the evening Prom 25 is dedicated solely to the works of Grainger and his explorations of folk music. Not to be missed, Chandos' CD box set of works by Grainger is now available at the special price of 19 CDs for the price of 4.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Tonights Prom

If you will be listening to, or are lucky enough to attend the Proms in person tonight you should be in for a fantastic experience. In Prom 23 Gianandrea Noseda will be leading the BBC Philharmonic in several works, but the concert culminates with the exciting Dante Symphony by Liszt. This work forms part of a series of Liszt recordings undertaken by us here at Chandos. So if you love what you hear tonight you can purchase your own copy of this work or if you would like to view the other items in this series click here.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Press Officer's thoughts on film music

This month, amongst hundreds of new downloads available on, you will find some wonderful film music by Michael J. Lewis. Its quality makes one wonder why film music is still regarded, in certain quarters, as the Cinderella relation of classical music.

Yet who would be without the score by William Walton to Henry V, or the magnificent tune he wrote for Went the Day Well? If Walton was one of the greatest composers of film music – if not the greatest of them – there are all those giants in Hollywood. Korngold, for example, was a child prodigy, comparable to Mozart and Mendelssohn. At the age of twenty-three he was at the height of his fame as a composer of operas and orchestral music, yet his film music eclipsed all his stage and concert works. Conversely, the orchestral music of Miklós Rózsa is now beginning to eclipse his film music. And one has to mention Bernard Herrmann, whose musical voice is every bit as distinctive and easily recognisable as that of Tchaikovsky, Debussy, or Beethoven (Chandos will release his striking cantata Moby Dick later this year).

Later, more populist composers, such as the inimitable Henry Mancini (his Pink Panther theme must be one of the most recognised tunes the world over), and the even funkier Lalo Schifrin (his Bullet score makes one feel as cool as Steve McQueen), offer a wealth of fun and frolics at the lighter end of the scale. Today’s blockbuster scores by John Williams and Patrick Doyle and the like are hardly negligible and also have the advantage of exposing younger audiences to the sound of a symphony orchestra.

Perhaps film music is more susceptible to the changes of fashion and thus tends to date more quickly than ‘serious’, classical music (though the passage of time helps to diminish this effect). To ignore film music and be snobbish about it is to close your ears to some of the most imaginative and rewarding music written over the last century.

In the 1973 film Theatre of Blood (music by the aforementioned Michael J. Lewis), a hammy Shakespearian actor (wonderfully played by Vincent Price) takes revenge on all his unappreciative critics by dispatching them to their ghoulish deaths. Whilst we are unlikely to suffer such a fate for not fully appreciating film scores, we will undoubtedly be the poorer for not giving this rich genre our full attention.

Paul Westcott
Press Officer
Chandos Records

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

The premiere of Verdi’s Ernani took place today at La Fenice Theatre in Venice, Italy in 1844. Ernani was the first opera to be recorded in its entirety taking up 40 single sided discs in 1904! Luckily we have a version available here on the Chandos web-site that is available as a two disc set.  Click here to find out more CHAN 3052