Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Heinrich Schütz ~ Psalmen Davids

Heinrich Schütz (b: October 8 , 1585 in Köstritz – d: November 6, 1672 in Dresden)
was a German composer and organist, generally regarded as the most important German composer before Johann Sebastian Bach and often considered to be one of the most important composers of the 17th century along with Claudio Monteverdi. He wrote what is thought to be the first German opera, Dafne, performed at Torgau in 1627; however, the music has since been lost. He is commemorated as a musician in the Calendar of Saints of the Lutheran Church on July 28 with Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel. He was buried in the Dresden Frauenkirche but his tomb has since been destroyed.

He was the eldest son of Christoph Schütz and Euphrosyne Bieger. In 1590 the family moved to Weißenfels, where his father, Christoph managed the inn "Zum Ring". When staying at the inn, Schütz's musical talents were discovered by Moritz von Hessen-Kassel in 1599. After being a choir-boy he went on to study law and etymology at Marburg before going to Venice from 1609–1612 to study music with Giovanni Gabrieli. He subsequently had a short stint as organist at Kassel before moving to Dresden in 1615 to work as court composer to the Elector of Saxony. In 1619 Schütz married Magdalena Wildeck who had been born in 1601. She produced two daughters before her death in 1625, Anna Justina born in 1621 and Euphrosyne born in 1623.

In Dresden he sowed the seeds of what is now the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, but left there on several occasions; in 1628 he went to Venice again, most likely meeting Claudio Monteverdi there—he may have studied with him—and in 1633, after the Thirty Years' War had disrupted life at the court, he took a post at Copenhagen. He returned to Dresden in 1641. In 1655, the year that his daughter Euphrosyne died, he accepted an ex officio post of Kapellmeister at Wolfenbüttel. He died from a stroke in 1672 at the age of 87.
Format: Flac, scans, 233 mb.
Naxos 1996 DDD

Friday, March 20, 2009

Gardar Thor Cortes ~ Cortes

1. Nella Fantasia
2. Hunting High and Low
3. Luna
4. Love is a Miracle
5. Caruso
6. Romanza
7. Lontano
8. Where the lost ones go (With Katherine Jenkins)
9. Nessun Dorma
10. Granada
11. Con Te
12. Skyid

Cortes was born in Reykjavík, Iceland, on 2 May 1974 into a musical family. His father, Garðar Cortes Snr., was a world-class tenor who founded the Icelandic Opera, the Reykjavík School of Singing and the Reykjavík Symphony Orchestra. According to Cortes, his father had the same stature as Pavarotti and Domingo, and once when he was ill while performing in Oslo Domingo stepped in for him. "He sang the main spinto tenor roles, including Caravadossi [from Tosca], Otello, Alfredo [La Traviata] and Canio [Pagliacci]. He'd go away to sing Otello in Helsinki and he'd be there for several weeks, and he became so homesick he couldn't do it, so he didn't go as far as he should have and stopped." His English mother, Krystyna, was a concert pianist who studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London. His sister Nanna Maria is an operatic soprano, while his younger brother Aron Axel is studying to become a baritone. When commitments permit, the Cortes children perform in the chorus when their father is conducting an opera.

Cortes spent six months at a Hertfordshire private school in England when he was aged nine and 11. He insists that there was never any pressure on him to become a singer. "At home, mum was always playing piano and dad was singing. I'd listen to dad's records of other tenors and whole operas but I also had a huge pile of Bon Jovi, Queen and Shakin' Stevens albums. I absolutely loved Prince and when I was 10 I was convinced I wanted to be a pop star. Then I got bitten by the acting bug."

At 13 he won the lead role of Nonni in Nonni and Manni (known in German as Nonni und Manni) (1988–1989), an Icelandic TV series about two children living with their mother and grandmother in the late 1850s which was filmed in Iceland, Norway and England and highly successful in Europe. Cortes got the part because he could speak English and ride horses bareback: "It was great fun: we had all sorts of adventures with polar bears, an erupting volcano and getting lost at sea with whales tipping the rowing boat over. I'd always loved movies but it didn't ignite until then." Actor Einar Örn Einarsson, who played Manni, remains Cortes's best friend.
Soon after he turned 18, Cortes decided he wanted to be a singer. "I loved acting but I realised I couldn't live without music. What decided me was the amount of times I have cried over a phrase in an opera or the piano. In opera you can combine the two and, apart from Domingo, there aren't that many singers who are good actors." He spent four years at his father’s school in Reykjavík and then won a scholarship to the Hochschule, or University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna, but left after six months to study privately with Professor Andrei Orlowitz in Copenhagen. For the next five years he spent two weeks in Denmark, then flew home to earn enough to pay the tuition and the airfares. He sang at funerals and weddings, appeared as Tony in West Side Story at the National Theatre in Reykjavík in 1995, and for five summers worked with disabled people. At the opera he was the toilet cleaner, the usher and the doorman. Recalling his father's advice about the hardships of a musical career, Cortes has commented: "Even though he told me it was difficult, I still wanted to pursue this road. But looking back, you realise he was right, it is bloody difficult! Excuse the language."

Other teachers that he had the opportunity to work with included David Maxwell Anderson, Stuart Burrows, Paul Farrington, Paul Whynne Griffiths, David Jones, Kiri Te Kanawa and Robin Stapleton.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gar%C3%B0ar_Th%C3%B3r_Cortes

Format: Flac 254 mb.
Release date 2008

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Placido Domingo ~ Be my Love

Especially made for my dear friend ICE

1 Granada
2 Core‘ngrato
3 Dein ist mein ganzes Herz
4 Mattinata
5 Siboney
6 Ay, Ay, Ay,
7 Be My Love
8 Magic is the Moonlight
9 Because
10 Marta
11 Non ti scordar di me
12 Jurame
13 Ich schenke dir eine neue Welt
14 Ampola

Placido Domingo, Tenor

London Symphony Orchestra
Conductors: Karl Heinz Loges and Marcel Peeters

Deutsche Grammophon 1976 ADD

Format: Flac 214 mb.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Giuseppe Verdi (1813 - 1901) ~ Il Trovatore

Il Trovatore ~ Highlights from the complete recording in Italian

Dramma in quattro parti
Coro e Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Maestro del coro: Norbert Balatsch
Assistenza musicale: Robert Benaglio
Maestro : Carlo Maria Giulini
Deutsche Grammophon 1984 DDD
Format Flac: 249 mb.