The High Road to Kilkenny
Gaelic Songs and Dances from the 17th & 18th centuries

Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien, François Lazarevitch, Robert Getchell

After the success of For ever Fortune, early music from Scotland, François Lazarevitch continues his exploration of the ‘Celtic’ repertories with a new programme devoted to early Irish music. This repertory of old airs from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries consists of dances, songs in Gaelic and varied instrumental pieces: they tell tales of wars, of love, of strong drink and tobacco, of children and bards. A leading specialist in the flute and bagpipe families, François Lazarevitch opens out new horizons of colours and sounds. He has gathered around him here a number of distinguished performers of early music (including the fabulous Baroque violinist and fiddler David Greenberg) and invited the American tenor Robert Getchell, who cuts a very credible figure as a singer going back to his roots.


the new quartet's first album!


(Louis Creac'h, Robin Pharo, Anna Besson, Jean Rondeau)
NEVERMIND is made up of four young musicians and friends whose passion for early music and for the influence of jazz and traditional music stimulated them to form an ensemble whose virtuosity is equalled only by their youthful impetuosity and their love of fine music . . . For its first disc, Nevermind tackles the treasures of the Baroque in the shape of two totally neglected French composers.

The first one, Jean-Baptiste Quentin, a dessus de violon at the Académie Royale de Musique (forerunner of the Paris Opéra), was a habitué of the Parisian salons, where he frequented Rameau among others. The second, Louis-Gabriel Guillemain, studied in Italy before joining the court musicians at Versailles. Sometimes whimsical and often very complex in Guillemain, invariably lucid and classical in Quentin, their style nonetheless presents a common feature: the dominance of the Italian idiom.

Alpha Classics continues its discovery of young talents with this project conceived by the inspired musicians of Nevermind. Their credo is to introduce the widest possible audience to the riches of music that has been too long ignored.


Scherzi Musicali, Nicolas Achten

Through the combination of sacred and profane that she embodies, the profoundly human personality of Mary Magdalene greatly inspired artists of the Baroque era, whether painters, poets or composers. It was in the sphere of influence of Italian oratorios, highly prized at the court of Vienna, that Antonio Bertali devoted a most moving sepolcro to her in 1663, a genre traditionally played during Holy Week. In 1617, in Mantua, it was in the form of theatrical interludes that she was honoured by court composers such as Salomone Rossi, Muzio Effrem and Claudio Monteverdi, who wrote the prologue for this other Maddalena.


Jean-Jacques Kantorow, Soloists of the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel,
Liège Royal Philharmonic

Édouard Lalo made his mark on French music with his opera Le Roi d’Ys, but his instrumental output also has considerable historical importance, with its resolutely innovative aims for its time. More specifically, his concertante music rewards the attentive ear with a brilliant, skilfully constructed style, studded with fresh rhythmic and harmonic inventions that renew the melodic and orchestral language of the genre.

Under the direction of Jean-Jacques Kantorow, himself a violinist and extremely familiar with this repertory, the Liège Royal Philharmonic places itself at the service of the virtuoso fingers of six young promising talents from the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel. Works such as the powerful Cello Concerto, the elegant Piano Concerto, the folk-influenced Concerto russe and Fantaisie norvégienne, and the sparkling Introduction et Scherzo on themes from Namouna complete this set, which highlights both the work of the prestigious and internationally renowned Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel, recently renovated, and a repertory championed by the Palazzetto Bru Zane, which contributed to the realisation of the project.

With the participation of: Vladyslava Luchenko, Woo Hyung Kim, Nathanaël Gouin, Ori Epstein, Elina Buksha, Lorenzo Gatto.



NDR Symphony Orchestra, Krzysztof Urbański

Since 2015, Krzysztof Urbański has been principal guest conductor of the NDR Symphony Orchestra in Hamburg, one of the leading German orchestras. They are currently preparing together the inauguration in January 2017 of Hamburg’s new concert hall, the Elbphilharmonie, a major musical event in Germany with which Alpha Classics will be associated. Krzysztof Urbański is also music director of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and principal guest conductor of the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra. A resolutely international career for a young conductor who recently earned praise from the Chicago Tribune for ‘his keen musical instincts and vigorous way of translating his ideas into orchestral sound that has both shape and meaning’.

For this first recording, he was keen to celebrate a great composer, one of the most eminent of the twentieth century and a Pole like himself, who, like Stravinsky, Bartók, Berg, Prokofiev and Shostakovich, gloried in the sound material of the orchestra and displayed boundless imagination. Though less well known than his illustrious colleagues for the moment, Lutosławski amply deserves to meet a wider public, for his music can speak as directly to connoisseurs as to simple music-lovers. We hope that this programme will help to further his reputation.



La Morra
In 1513, Giovanni di Lorenzo di Piero de’ Medici (1475-1521) – son of the mythic Lorenzo il Magnifico – was elected Pope Leo X. Giovanni had inherited his family’s refined interest in, and zealous support of, the arts: literature; painting, sculpture, architecture, and music. But of all of these, Giovanni – perhaps due in part to his poor eyesight – favored music, for which his passion was legendary among contemporaries. The musical life of Leo’s court was unimaginably rich and vibrant, as innumerable eyewitness accounts confirm. This recording aims to bring that world acoustically to life and illustrate the range of practices typifying Leo’s own musical experiences. It is a tribute to a rare and extraordinary patron of music – himself a composer and musician –, who occupied that singular position at the very summit of the universal ecclesiastical hierarchy.


Jonathan Stockhammer, Ensemble Resonanz, Ensemble Variances

To those who want to listen to him, Thierry Pécou relates the world, its expanse, beauty, and chaos, too, with the suffering of men and their mutilated memories. The trance of the Bahian candomblé, the Mozartian melodic sweetness, the virtuosic orchestration, the pre-Columbian musical archaeology: all these differences intermingle without getting lost in the Tout-monde that Thierry Pécou shares with us.

With the virtuosos of his Ensemble Variances, he takes us off into his Tout-monde (to borrow the lovely expression by the Martiniquais writer Edouard Glissant), cultivating his relations with the Other or the Elsewhere without diluting himself. This is the full meaning of the homage he pays to Henri Dutilleux in Les liaisons magnétiques, to pre-Columbian Mexico with Soleil-Feu, or to the vitalist philosophy of Gilles Deleuze, which is the background of Les Machines désirantes. He visits Indonesian gamelans in his Sextet, without overlooking a festive, sensual detour by way of the islands of the Caribbean with Salsa d’Elissa and Dominica Reggae.