CD News
Grand Piano release vol.4 of Nguyen's piano series
Tra Nguyen's acclaimed series for Grand Piano surveying Raff's works for piano reaches volume 4 with this welcome issue. It features the early Douze Romances en forme d'Études, together with the Allegro Agitato, La Cicerenella, and the Idylle & Valse Champêtre which comprise Op.166, all in sensitive and sparkling performances by Nguyen. Grand Piano GP653. [Review].
Second Chandos release: Lenore Symphony
Neeme Järvi and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande tackle Raff's Symphony No.5 Lenore, in the second of their ground-breaking SACD issues for Chandos. As well as the symphony, the generous coupling features the König Alfred, Dame Kobold and Die Eifersüchtigen Overtures, the Prelude to Dornröschen and the Abends-Rhasodie. Chandos CHAN 5135. [Review]
Neeme Järvi Chandos release first Raff CD from Järvi
Chandos has released the first in a series of hybrid SACDs featuring the orchestral music of Raff. Renowned conductor Neeme Järvi directs the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in a programme of the Symphony No.2 and the four Shakespeare Preludes: The Tempest, Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet and Othello. Chandos CHSA 5117. [Review]
Sterling CDS 1098 Sterling release second CD of choral music
The Swedish label Sterling has recently issued a CD of Raff's religious choral music sung by the Karlstad Kammerchör and Stockholm Singers. They are joined by the Gothenburg Opera Orchestra and conducted by Henrik Schaefer for the 40 minute long De Profundus and the early Te Deum. Bo Aurehl takes over as conductor for the six a capella works: the Vier Marian Antiphonen, the Ave Maria and a Pater Noster. Sterling CDS 1098. [Review]
Henrik Schaefer More orchestral recordings to come from Sterling
The Swedish label Sterling has recently completed sessions for the final recording in their series of music by Raff. The double CD will feature orchestral music: Raff's orchestration and arrangement of Liszt's Prometheus Unbound overture, the intermezzi from from the Welt-Ende Oratorio and a reconstruction of the Incidental Music to Bernhard von Weimar. Henrik Schaefer (left) conducts the Gothenburg Opera Orchestra..
Grand Piano G634 Third piano music CD from Nguyen & Grand Piano
The third and final CD in Tra Nguyen's survey of Raff's piano music on the Grand Piano label has been released. All the works on this disc are world premiere recordings. The major work is the 47 minute long Album Lyrique op.17 which comprises nine pieces. This well-filled CD will also feature the delicious Cinq Eglogues op.105, the Impromptu-Valse op.94 and the Fantaisie-Polonaise op.106. Grand Piano GP634. [Review].
Second CD from Nguyen & Grand Piano
Following the success of the first release in their series of three CDs featuring Tra Nguyen playing piano music by Raff, Grand Piano have brought forward the release of the second CD. It features three works from the 1870s: the Variations on an Original Theme, the Fantasy Sonata and the set of four pieces op.196, which includes the one-time favourite Im Schilf. Grand Piano GP612. [Review]
Grand Piano GP602 Raff launches Grand Piano label for Naxos
Naxos have launched their new premium Grand Piano brand with the first of three CDs of piano music by Raff, played by Vietnamese-British pianist Tra Nguyen, who has had such positive reviews for her earlier recordings of works by Raff for piano and orchestra (reviews & review). The new CD features the recording premieres of three works from the 1850s: the newly-discovered Fantaise WoO.15A, the set of twelve Frühlingsboten op.55 and the Drei Klavier-soli op.74. Grand Piano GP602. [Review]
Genesis GCD118 Piano Suite and Piano Sonata from Adrian Ruiz
US Virtuoso Adrain Ruiz will be remembered for his pioneering LP recording of the Piano Suite in D minor for the adventurous Genesis label, issued in 1971. Now the team have got together again to reissue that acclaimed performance on CD and to newly record Ruiz's interpretation of the Piano Sonata (second version). [Review].
Il Trittico Piano Quartets now available from Divox
Swiss label Divox have at last issued their long-promised CD with premiere recordings of Raff's two Piano Quartets. These fine works, both of them large scale four movement works lasting around 40 minutes, were recorded in February 2009 by Il Trittico, accompanied by violist David Greenlees. These four players made a deep impression at their run through of the works in Basel in April 2008 and Il Trittico's earlier recordings of Raff's Piano Quintets (review) and Piano Trios (review) have received well deserved plaudits. Divox CDX-20905-6. Review.
Sterling CDS 1089 Sterling Choral works recording now available
Ground breaking performances of Raff choral works have been released on a new CD from Sterling. The largest work is Die Tageszeiten (The Times of Day), a four-movement 40 minute work for piano, chorus and orchestra which Raff termed a Concertante. Pianist Tra Nguyen is again joined by the Symphony Orchestra of Norrlands Opera together with the Sångkraft Chamber Choir, 2007 winners of "Choir of the World", conducted by Andrea Quinn (who was the conductor for the first of Sterling's series of Raff recordings). The other works recorded were the late cantata Die Sterne (The Stars) and the two orchestral songs op.186 Morgenlied (Morning song) and Einer Entschlafenen (One who has passed away). Sterling CDS 1089. Review.
GMCD 7345 Verdi paraphrases from Sarasin
The Swiss pianist Catherine Sarasin plays Raff's Two Paraphrases after Verdi, the only piano solo works on a new CD from Guild which otherwise partners her with flautist Miriam Terragni in a survey of paraphrases for flute and piano of well known 19th. century operas. Guild GMCD 7345. Review. 17
Read the article Raff CD gets UK accolade
The recently issued Sterling CD of previously unrecorded orchestral music (CDS 1085 -review) has received a welcome endorsement from a respected UK daily newspaper. The Independent, published in London, awarded the recording of Raff's Suite for Piano and Orchestra with overtures and preludes the accolade of being its "Album of the Week" in the Saturday 20 March 2010 issue. Critic Michael Church described the Suite as having "grand heroic gestures" and pianist Tra Nguyen as being in "coruscating form."
Marco Polo Naxos complete symphonies in "box set"
Naxos appear to have followed the lead of Tudor and produced a box set bringing together all 11 symphonies and a smattering of smaller orchestral works. To date, however, it seems only to be available as downloadable mp3 tracks from Naxos' Classics Online web store. As well as the symphonies, the "set" feature two of the Shakespeare Preludes: Macbeth and Romeo & Juliet, the Concert, Jubilee, Dame Kobold and Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott Overtures and the Fest-Marsch in performances which first appeared on CD during the early 1990s on Naxos' full price Marco Polo label. The Symphony No.1 An das Vaterland is played by the Rhenish Philharmonic Orchestra under Samuel Friedmann whilst all the other works come from the Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Urs Schneider. At around £40 for the "set" ($62 approx.) these tracks are now at budget price.
Mannheim String Quartet Two more String Quartets in 2011
German label cpo have announced that they will continue their much delayed cycle of the string quartets with the issue in 2011 of a CD with the String Quartets Nos. 2 and 3. It will be the premier recording of the Third Quartet. The accaimed Mannheim String Quartet are again the performers. It is understood that they have now completed recording all eight quartets in a joint venture between cpo and German radio station Südwestrundfunk.
Sterling CDS-1085 Suite for Piano & Orchestra, overtures and preludes from Sterling
Swedish label Sterling have issued their second CD of Raff recording premieres. The major work is the Suite for Piano & Orchestra with British-Vietnamese virtuoso Tra Nguyen (who played the work so successfully in Ho Chi Minh City in 2008) and the Symphony Orchestra of Norrlands Opera under Roland Kluttig. The other half of the CD is given over to completing the discography of Raff's orchestral music with the remaining unrecorded free-standing orchestral works. Kluttig and the Umeå, Sweden orchestra play the substantial overtures to the operas König Alfred and Die Eifersüchtigen, the delicious Prelude to Act III of the opera Samson and two pieces from the "Fairy Tale Epic" Dornröschen (Sleeping Beauty): the work's extended Prelude and the Intermezzo Die Dornhecke (The Thorn Hedge). Sterling CDS-1085. Reviews.
Claves CD 50-2912 Piano Trio No.1 from Claves
Swiss boutique label Claves have released a CD called Swiss Perspective, featuring music for piano trio by several Swiss composers. The largest work is Raff's Piano Trio No.1. The Trio Nota Bene also play works by Bloch, Honegger and Frank Martin. Claves CD 50-2912. Review.
Tudor 1600 Tudor issue box set
Swiss label Tudor have announced that they are packaging together Hans Stadlmair's recent cycle of symphony recordings with the Bamberg Symphony orchestra into a 9 CD boxed set which also includes the four orchestral suites, the Concert Overture, the Abends Rhapsodie, Raff's orchestral arrangement of the Bach Chaconne and the overtures to the operas Dame Kobold, Die Parole and Benedetto Marcello. The 636 minutes of music are complemented by a 128 page booklet. Tudor 1600. Review.
Hänssler Classic CD 98.286 Beethoven transcription from Malan
"Transfigured Beethoven" is the latest in Petronel Malan's series of CDs featuring transcriptions and arrangements for piano made by others of works by one composer. This welcome recording features eight piano arrangements of music by Beethoven including Raff's short transcription of the Romance for Violin & Orchestra No.1 WoO.11 in a premiere recording. Other composers featured include Heller, Kalkbrenner, Sgambati and Tausig. Hänssler Classic CD 98.286. Review.
Divox CDX-20506 Piano Quintets from Il Trittico
The trio Il Trittico, whose two-disc review of the Piano Trios for Arte Nova (review) was widely praised, play Raff's Piano Quintet and the Fantasy for Piano Quintet op.207b on a new CD which will be available soon from Swiss label Divox. The Fantasy is a single movement work lasting around 17 minutes and this will be its premiere recording. The Goetz Piano Quintet rounds out the disc. Divox CDX-20506. Review.
New Sterling CD Sterling announce violin/orchestra premieres
Swedish boutique label Sterling have announced the release of what is probably the most important Raff CD to be published in the last three years. It has premiere recordings of three large scale works for violin and orchestra: the early Konzertstück La Fée d'amour, the five movement Suite for Violin & Orchestra and, most exciting of all, Raff's Violin Concerto No.1 in it's original version. Acclaimed soloist Tobias Ringborg is accompanied by the Symphony Orchestra of Norrlands Opera under the baton of Andrea Quinn. Sterling CDS 1075. Review.
Cameo Classics CC9024CD Cameo Classics reissue piano works
British rare repertoire specialist label Cameo Classics have reissued Valentina Seferinova's performances of the Fantasie-Sonate, Piano Sonata and Trois Morceaux. They were previously available on boutique label Cahoot. CC9024CD. Review.
cpo 777 006 New Violin Sonatas CD from cpo
German label cpo are in the process of completing their survey of Raff's music for violin & piano with the announcement of the fourth CD in the series. This became available on 26 June and will complete Ingolf Turban and Jascha Nemtsov's cycle of the Violin Sonatas with performances of No.4 and No.5. Rounding out the CD will be the remaining Sonatillen op.99 (Nos.1-3 and 8-10). The cyclic tone poem Volker has already been recorded and presumably will form the basis of the fifth and concluding disk in the series. cpo 777 006. Review.
Naxos 8.570202 Naxos release Raff's Duo on Wagner's Lohengrin
Budget CD label Naxos have issued a new recording of one of Raff's Duos on motifs from Wagner's operas. Violinist Livia Sohn and Benjamin Loeb, piano play the third piece in the set, which is based on the bridal march from Lohengrin. It's part of an interesting programme which also includes opera fantasies by such diverse composers as Paganini, Hubay and Stravinsky. Naxos 8.570202. Review.
Hänssler Classic CD 98.231 Early Raff work issued on CD
Acclaimed South African pianist Petronel Malan plays Raff's Reminiscences of Mozart's Don Juan op.45 on a new Hänssler Classics CD issued in April. As well as Raff's 10 minute work, the disc is entitled "Transfigured Mozart" and includes piano transcriptions by Alkan, Friedman and Thalberg, together with fantasias and variations by Hummel, Glinka and Reger (his monumental Mozart Variations). Written in 1848, whilst Raff was living in Stuttgart, op.45 is the earliest Raff work to be available in a commercial recording. Hänssler Classic CD 98.231. Review.
Tudor 7127 Tudor complete their Symphony cycle...
The acclaimed cycle of Raff's symphonies from the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra under Hans Stadlmair has been completed with the November 2005 release of the final two CDs. Swiss label Tudor has coupled the Symphonies No.8 Frühlingsklänge and No.10 Zur Herbstzeit on Tudor 7127. Stadlmair seems to have shaved a whopping five minutes off the timing of cpo's rival performance of No.8 under Werner Andreas Albert, and his No.10 is almost three minutes quicker than Albert's - most of the speed up coming in the Elegie slow movement. Review.
Tudor 7120 ...with the Seasons
Symphonies No.9 Im Sommer and No.11 Der Winter are coupled together on Tudor 7120. Whilst the Winter Symphony under Stadlmair is slightly longer than Albert's interpretation, the Summer Symphony is again substantially shorter; the outer movements being almost three minutes faster between them. Review. These CDs replace the veteran 1980s recordings which featured the Basle Radio Symphony Orchestra under various conductors. Unfortunately that also means that some of their couplings - the Sinfonietta and the Ein feste Burg Overture - also disappear. The Piano Concerto and Ode to Spring are still available on Tudor 7035.
Tudor 7121 Cello Concertos
Daniel Müller-Schott is the soloist in the much anticipated Tudor recording of Raff's two Cello Concertos, which was released on 3 December 2004. The CD marks the recording premiere not only of the Second Concerto, but also of the two works for cello and piano which round out the programme. Müller-Schott's accompanist in the Duo op.59 (already available from cpo in the version for violin and piano) and the Phantasie-Stück op.86 No.1 Begegnung is Robert Kulek, whilst Hans Stadlmair and the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra play in the concertos. Tudor 7121. Review.
cpo String Quartet CD Mannheim Quartet begin cpo String Quartet series
The acclaimed Mannheim Quartet start their survey of Raff's String Quartets for German label cpo with two of the three works from Raff's op.192 - the Sixth String Quartet "Suite in Vintage Form" and the Seventh "The beautiful Maid of the Mill". Competing with two earlier releases from the Quartetto di Milano for Tudor (7079 - review, and 7116 - review), this CD was released on 17 December 2004. Review.
Tudor 7113 New Symphony No.4 recording adds Overture premieres
Hans Stadlmair conducts the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra in a continuation of his symphonic cycle for Swiss Raff specialists Tudor, who released two more CDs of Raff's orchestral music at the end of October 2004. The first disk couples the Symphony No.4 with the overtures which Raff wrote for three of his operas - Dame Kobold, Die Parole and Benedetto Marcello and the Concert Overture. The Symphony, Concert Overture and Dame Kobold Overture have already been available, but the other two overtures are welcome recording premieres. Tudor 7113. Review.
Tudor 7128 Tudor announce CD of orchestral works
Six shorter orchestral works feature in Tudor's second issue in October 2004. The four Shakespeare Preludes, the Elegie and the Festival Overture comprise the programme. Of these, only Macbeth and Romeo & Juliet from the Shakespeare set have been available before commercially. With the issue of these performances, all of Raff's purely orchestral music is now available in recordings made over the last 15 years or so. Once again, Hans Stadlmair and the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra are the performers. Tudor 7128. Review.
AK Coburg DR 0009 Two more String Quartets...
One of the first CDs to signal the renaissance of Raff on CD came from the Swiss label Tudor in the form of a pairing of String Quartets, played superbly by the Quartetto di Milano. Now, several years on, Tudor have announced a second disk in the series - this time featuring Raff's String Quartet's No.2 and No.6. These two works are highly contrasted in style. The former a full-blooded romantic work, the latter sub-titled "Suite in Vintage form", redolent of the baroque era which Raff so treasured. Tudor 7116. Review.
Phoenix PH99508 First of two Violin Sonata CDs from Tudor
Tudor have also announced the first in their promised pair of CDs covering the five Violin Sonatas. Violinist Ariadne Daskalakis and pianist Roglit Ishay are the artists in this project which is a co-production with Bavarian Radio. The first CD features the Violin Sonats Nos.1, 3 and 4 and the set will compete directly with cpo's already announced complete cycle of Raff's music for Violin and Piano. Three CDs of this series, played by Ingolf Turban and Yascha Nemtsov, have already been issued. Tudor 7122. Review.
AK Coburg DR 0009 AK Coburg's final Raff Piano Suites CD
AK Coburg has released the final CD in their acclaimed series which presents all seven of Raff's Piano Suites, together with his piano arrangements of the six J.S. Bach Cello Suites WoO.30. Alexander Zolotarev has been the pianist on all four disks This issue features perhaps the most monumental of the Raff Suites, op.91 in D minor. The couplings are the third and sixth of the Bach Cello arrangements . This important issue can be ordered direct from AK Coburg. AK Coburg DR 0009. Review.
Phoenix PH99508 New Piano Suite CD - this time fom Italy
Italian recording label Phoenix Classics has released an interesting coupling of Raff's magnificent Piano Suite op.91 and the Piano Sonata of Julius Reubke. Recorded in 94KHz 24-bit processed sound, these two monumental works are played by newcomer Andrea Carnevali in his début recording. Phoenix PH99508. Review.
cpo 999 289 cpo Symphony No.7 released
German label cpo have released the second CD featuring Werner Andreas Albert and the Philharmonia Hungarica recorded during the early 1990s. This CD features Raff's tribute to his Swiss homeland - the Symphony No.7 In den Alpen, coupled with the Jubel Overture. It's only a month since Tudor released their own new recording of the Alpine Symphony and it will be interesting to see how this performance, recorded in early 1990s, compares. cpo 999 289. Review.
AK Coburg DR 0008 AK Coburg's third Raff Piano Suites CD
The AK Coburg series, in which Alexander Zolotarev will play all seven of Raff's Piano Suites, together with his piano arrangements of the six J.S. Bach Cello Suites WoO.30, maintains its speedy release schedule with the summer issue of the third CD. This disk features two of the early Raff Suites, op.69 in A minor and op.72 in E minor, together with the fourth and fifth of the Bach Cello arrangements . This important issue can be ordered direct from AK Coburg. AK Coburg DR 0008. Review.
cpo 999 536 cpo Symphony recordings issued at last
German label cpo released on 19 April 2004 their promised double CD of the four Seasons symphonies Nos.8-11. These are some of the recordings made by Werner Andreas Albert and the Philharmonia Hungarica during the early 1990s. The project was a co-production with German Radio Station NDR and encompassed much of Raff's orchestral music. Although many of the performances were broadcast, contractual problems have prevented their issue on CD until now. It is not known whether any more of these important recordings will be issued later. cpo 999 536. Review.
AK Coburg DR 0007 AK Coburg's second Raff Piano Suites CD
Barely a month after the first in the series was released, American label AK Coburg has announced the second in its series of four disks featuring all seven of Raff's Piano Suites, together with his piano arrangements of the six J.S. Bach Cello Suites WoO.30. Alexander Zolotarev this time plays the second Bach Suite arrangement together with Raff's final pair of Suites - those in G major op 163 and in B flat major op.204. This important issue can be ordered direct from AK Coburg. AK Coburg DR 0007. Review.
cpo's third Violin Sonata release Third cpo Violin Sonata CD on release
It has been over a year since the previous issue in German label cpo's complete survey of Raff's music for violin and piano. Now it passes the halfway mark with the release on 24 March 2004 of the third CD in the series. The main work is the Violin Sonata No.3 in D op.128, which is coupled with the Fantastic Eglogue "Aus der Schweiz" op.57, the Sonatillen op.99 Nos.4-7 and the first of the Three Duos on Motifs from Wagner's Operas op.63 No.1 "The Flying Dutchman". Once again, acclaimed Stuttgart virtuoso Ingolf Turban is paired with pianist Jascha Nemtsov. CPO 999 769. Review.

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