Live music, three ways

DXL 1185 cover

DXL 1185, Quart de Nuit: Ravel, Dutilleux, and Debussy

These are, of course, strange times for everyone. Within the arts, as within many fields, it has meant two things: an opportunity to slow down and be present in life in a different way, and at the same time, a stimulus to intense creativity and innovation.

Today we’re very proud to release a disc by the Amsterdam-based Ruysdael Quartet, taken from a live performance at their own annual ZOOM! Festival in Velp, The Netherlands. When they first came to us with this project, we could little have guessed how precious live music would become over the next several months. The energy of a live concert permeates this recording – you can practically hear the audience holding its breath as the first phrase of the Ravel Quartet lifts off the ground.

The pandemic may have slowed them down a bit, but it certainly hasn’t brought them to a halt. When lockdown was at its most intense, they still managed to collaborate as a quartet, recording their parts separately and working with film director Tim Lorraine to make this mesmerising music video of the last movement of Terry Riley’s epic quartet, Salome Dances for Peace:

By the time of the ZOOM! Festival, the lockdown had lifted enough in The Netherlands that they were able to come together onstage – for a socially distanced audience – and to play that celebrated monument to healing, Beethoven’s Heiliger Dankgesang (16:12 in the video):

We look forward to the time when we can experience that special energy of many people gathered together, all focused intensely on the music. For now, we can hear that energy in the Ruysdael Quartet’s beautiful new album, available for purchase here.

Wishing healing and creativity to all our listeners!

Never mind the coronavirus – here’s a beautiful new piano disc!

Bringing out a new disc always involves a flurry of activity and excitement, as we scramble to get everything ready for a big public concert at which the artist will triumphantly unveil their new album.

The big public concerts are, of course, not happening this spring, and this has challenged artists everywhere to come up with creative workarounds that allow them to connect with their listeners. Pianists Julian Perkins and Emma Abbate have come up with a solution that is especially well-suited to the intimate genre of piano four hands: they are livestreaming regular concerts from their home.

In the days before personal sound systems, piano duets were a way to bring the grandeur of the symphony or the opera into one’s own living room. Nowadays, when we experience this genre at all, the experience is inverted: professionals bring the intimacy of the piano duet into the concert hall. Here is the same duo, performing one of Weber’s duets last spring at St John’s Smith Square in London:

Thanks to Julian and Emma’s generosity in inviting listeners into their own living room, we can experience for ourselves the vital role that home music-making once played in keeping music alive. They’ve even included a triumphant unveiling of their new CD:

The official release date for the disc is 17 June, but you can buy your pre-release copies here – and invite Weber into your own home.

Wishing you happy and healthy listening!

New Release: New Theorbo Concerto by Stephen Goss

We’re thrilled to announce the release of this limited-edition EP, devoted to Welsh composer Stephen Goss‘ groundbreaking new concerto for theorbo and strings, commissioned and premiered by acclaimed lutenist Matthew Wadsworth.

Matthew notes, “the piece is written in a patchwork of styles, almost all of them completely new territory for the instrument. It shows that the theorbo has not only a rich past, but a present and a future as well.”

In this recording, he joins forces with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, directed from the violin by Benjamin Marquise Gilmore.

Only 400 CDs are available, all signed by the composer and the soloist. They will be shipped starting 2 March 2019, but you can already order your copy here:

New Release: Brahms Cello Sonatas on period instruments

We’re delighted to announce the release of a debut recording of the Brahms Cello Sonatas by cellist Kate Bennett Wadsworth and pianist Yi-heng Yang, using an original 1870 Streicher piano and based on the latest historical performance research into Brahms’ own playing style.

Kate notes, ‘what excites me about studying Brahms-era performing practice is that some of his most trusted colleagues lived long enough to make recordings, so it is possible to piece together written descriptions with actual sounds. Yi-heng and I were especially inspired by the recordings of Brahms’ younger female colleagues, many of whom scaled back their public performing careers after marriage and thus were able to preserve a style of playing untouched by the revolutions of the 20th century.’

To learn more about Kate and Yi-heng’s approach, visit The Brahms Lab on Facebook – or have a look at the new Bärenreiter edition of the Brahms Cello Sonatas, which Kate co-edited with Clive Brown and Neal Peres da Costa.

Now available for purchaseon this page

New Release: Martin Roscoe’s Beethoven Piano Sonatas, Vol. 7: The Tempest

Martin Roscoe Beethoven Piano Sonatas v7

We’re thrilled to announce the release of Vol. 7 of Martin Roscoe’s cycle of Beethoven Piano Sonatas

The main part of this volume is devoted to the Op 31 Sonatas composed in 1802 at a time when Beethoven was probably in the darkest place of his whole life, early in his thirties with the realisation of his impending deafness. In October the same year, Beethoven wrote his famous Heiligenstadt Testament, a will in which he left everything to his two brothers and an outpouring of the despair he felt at the realisation that his deafness was only going to get worse.

Martin notes, “It’s astonishing that..Beethoven was able to be so prolific as he was at this time, and even more amazing that so many of his works are so full of spirit, energy and humour.” This volume also includes the D major No. 3, composed by Beethoven when was twelve – one of the most sophisticated and technically challenging of the three early WoO47.

Now available for purchase on this page

New musical portrait by Lucy Parham


‘Elegie’ takes the listener on a journey through Rachmaninoff’s life from his early years in Russia, studying in Moscow and composing from his beloved country estate Ivanoka, before escaping the Revolution in 1918 to live in self-imposed political exile in Europe and America. He was never to return but left his heart forever in Russia…

This 2 CD collection by pianist Lucy Parham features narration by Henry Goodman.  More information / Buy CD

Trio Derazey spotlight on chamber works of Cecilia McDowall

Colour of Blossoms

Keen explorers of new music, Trio Derazey spotlights the chamber works of award-winning Cecilia McDowall with this provocative programme in which in which McDowall draws inspiration from a variety of sources, ranging from a Beethoven String Quartet, poetry by Keats and Rainer Maria Rilke, Blackbird song and two Russian synaesthetes, Kandinsky and Scriabin.

This disc features ‘Cavatina  at Midnight’ commissioned by the CAVATINA Chamber Music Trust and includes guests Sally Bartholomew (Bassoon), Mark Kesel (Trumpet), Matthew Scott (Clarinet).  More information / Buy CD

Matthew Wadsworth’s Late Night Lute includes new Stephen Goss commission

Late Night Lute

Late Night Lute a relaxing programme of music featuring new commission ‘The Miller’s Tale’ by Stephen Goss and masterpieces by Philip Rosseter, John Dowland, Robert Johnson, Alessandro Piccinini, and Johannes Kapsberger. More information / Buy CD

Inspired by his late night concerts, Matthew Wadsworth’s ‘Late Night Lute’ is the second and greatly antcipated disc for Deux-Elles.  The first, released in 2003 ’14 Silver Strings’ (DXL 1044) was named Gramophone Editor’s Choice.

This collection features ‘The Miller’s Tale’, composed for solo theorbo by Stephen Goss, commissioned for Wadsworth by guitarist John Williams, which received its world premiere at London’s Wigmore Hall in March 2017.

New commission ‘Adonis’ by David Matthews features on ‘Romanza’ disc

New Release – A new collection of works for violin and piano by Sara Trickey and Daniel Tong including the new work ‘Adonis,’ by David Matthews, inspired by Greek mythology and commissioned by the Presteigne Festival where it was first performed in 2007.  This disc also includes Matthews’ Aria’ and ‘‘Romanza’ alongside Gabriel Fauré’s ‘Violin Sonata in A, Op. 13’ and ‘Romance in B flat.’

More information

Lucy Parham’s latest disc explores the life and loves of Claude Debussy

We are delighted to announce the release of Lucy Parham’s new CD ‘Rêverie  –  The life and loves of Claude Debussy’ this month.  Featuring narration by actor Alex Jennings, Lucy’s musical portrait explores the writings and correspondence of the French composer.  The programme first received its London premiere in the Wigmore Hall’s 2012 London Piano Series to great acclaim and features popular piano works, ‘L’isle joyeuse,’ ‘Clair de lune’ and ‘Golliwog’s Cakewalk’.

More information on Reverie  – The life and loves of Claude Debussy (DXL 1174)

Other musical portraits by Lucy Parham include:

Nocturne- The Romantic Life of Frederic Chopin (DXL 1152)

Odyssey of Love – Liszt and his women (DXL 1156)