A period of twenty-one years separates Brahms’ two Cello Sonatas. Suffused with lyricism and expressive ardour, the First has become one of his most popular chamber works. The Second is more sober and succinct than the earlier work, yet strikingly original not least for the wide range required of the cellist to reach unusually high notes from the very low register. Schubert wrote the sonata D. 821 for the arpeggione, a six stringed instrument similar to the viola da gamba, invented in 1723 and falling into oblivion not much more than a decade later. With the Arpeggione no longer around the sonata is usually played on the cello or viola.

PROKOFIEV Symphonies Nos. 4 & 7

There is nothing unusual about a composer returning to a major work, however, among such works Sergei Prokofiev's Fourth Symphony is a unique case in that it exists in two such different versions that the composer considered them quite separate works and gave each its own opus number. Composed in 1929–30, the first version, Op. 47, met with lukewarm response at its Boston and European premières. In 1947 Prokofiev decided to return to the symphony, producing not so much a revision as a complete reworking of the original material. The differences between the versions are too many to detail, but the main point is that the 1947 version, given the opus number 112, is a much bigger and more ambitious score.

POULENC Works for Piano

Poulenc was a skilled pianist, cultivating a style of playing characterised by colorfulness and clarity, possessing an ear for melody that distinguished him as France’s finest song composer since Fauré.

“[C] is a startlingly original pianist whose solo work, apart from discs of Scriabin and Ligeti, we’ve heard too little of … [C] captures the sense of a series of musical snapshots with the evanescent spontaneity of her playing. She is able to evoke the mercurial mood changes so characteristic of Poulenc with grace, consistently beautiful sound and an unerring sense of proportion. In succession, each seems more vivid than the last.” --Gramophone Magazine, August 2016

PAGANINI Violin Concertos 1 & 2

Among the most revered virtuosos of all time, Nicolò Paganini was a true musical legend of his era, inspiring musicians such as Roberto Schumann to forge his own career as a pianist. Franz Schubert was also a regular audience member at Paganini’s concerts, despite the outlandish ticket prices. Paganini often remarked that, despite his legendary status as a violinist, he found it rather difficult to compose for the instrument. This disc brings together the Italian maestro’s two violin concertos: No.1, his first large work, was written around 1817 but published posthumously in 1851, and the second dates from 1826. Audiences were wowed at the premiere of No.1, thanks to its many extended passages of double‐stopping and harmonics. Concerto No.2 in B minor is nicknamed ‘La campanella’, famous for its third‐movement Rondo that employs a small bell at each reinstatement of the theme.


Features immortal Italian songs such as "Con Te Partiro", "Parla Piu Piana" from THe Godfather, "Catari Catari", Caruso & many more.

“Closely miked, his singing smoulders with lustrous tone and the arrangements of the (rather scrappy) Palermo orchestra conducted by [A.F] bring to mind feel-good Italian movies of the 1960s. The tenor’s admirers will have little cause for complaint.” --Financial Times, 7th October 2016 ***

TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No 6 "Pathétique"; Romeo & Juliet

Tchaikovsky himself felt that his Sixth Symphony, a confident and dramatic work, was “the best thing I have composed”. Was first performed under Tchaikovsky’s direction shortly before his death in 1893. Romeo and Juliet, his first fantasy overture after Shakespeare, was written in 1869 and later twice revised.

“All the markers for success are there in the first few minutes of the symphony...[B]’s Russian roots make him mindful of Tchaikovsky’s classicism, the emotion always ‘contained’ until it can be contained no more...A very fine performance, then, no question, and supplemented by a Romeo and Juliet of similar qualities.” --Gramophone Magazine, October 2016

RUBINSTEIN Piano Quartets

The Piano Quartet in F major was dedicated to Berthold Damcke, the music critic who had championed Rubinstein during the late 1850s in the public argument fomented by the composer and critic Aleksandr Serov, whose printed taunts of Rubinstein and his non-nationalistic style seem largely to have been fuelled by anti-Semitism. The Piano Quartet in C major was one of Rubinstein’s most popular works in its day.

“this is an impassioned, convincing first recording.” --BBC Music Magazine, October 2014 ****

GRAF Flute Concertos

Friedrich Hartmann Graf is little-known today but was immensely popular during his lifetime, when he enjoyed great esteem as a virtuoso flautist and composer. Flute concertos come from a time when the transverse flute had recently gained enormous popularity, becoming one of the most fashionable instruments for the concert going public. Composers responded by churning out chamber music and concertos for the instrument. One notable example is Graf's contemporary Johann Joachim Quantz, who penned over three hundred flute concertos! Graf 's comparatively modest forty-six known concertos were very popular, printed and distributed throughout Europe.


The youngest child and only surviving son of Leopold Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus was born in Salzburg in 1756, the publication year of his father’s influential treatise on violin playing. He showed early precocity both as a keyboard player and violinist, and soon turned his hand to composition. Mozart was essentially an operatic composer, although Salzburg offered him no real opportunity to exercise his talents in this direction. The greater stage works belong to the last decade of his life, starting with Idomeneo in Munich in January 1781.

SHOSTAKOVICH 24 Preludes (arrangement for Viola and Piano)

Dmitry Shostakovich belongs to the generation of Russian composers trained principally after the Communist Revolution of 1917. He occupies a significant position in the 20th century as a symphonist and as a composer of chamber music, writing in a style that is sometimes spare in texture but always accessible, couched as it is in an extension of traditional tonal musical language.

The piano music of Shostakovich includes, in addition to two piano sonatas, an ingenious set of 24 Preludes and Fugues, as well as an earlier set of 24 Preludes.

FAURÉ Quintets with Piano

The Piano Quintet op. 89 remains little known, for reasons related to its composition as much as to its history. Regarded by Koechlin as one of Fauré's finest work, it serves as a transition to the composer's final stylistic period. Opus 115, surprisingly less melancholy than its predecessor, is one of the composer's last productions. In the evening of his life Faure demonstrated his supreme mastery and prodigious creative power, giving French chamber music, which he served so well, one of its finest monuments.

Gramophone Awards 2013 Finalist - Chamber

VIVALDI Violin Concertos

Vivaldi’s universally popular Four Seasons, with their virtuoso part for solo violinist, depict the changing seasons in a pastoral landscape with dazzling variety. Vivaldi evokes not only the changing atmospheric conditions, but bird calls and animal cries, swaying grass, bubbling brooks, and even comical drunkards and a man walking on ice. These four concertos, for solo violin, string orchestra and harpsichord, form part of the collection Il cimento dell’armonia e dell’invenzione (‘The Contest of Harmony and Invention’), one of seven collections of such compositions published in the composer’s lifetime.

THE Collection

Harpsichord maker Bartholomeo Cristofori created the first version of the piano in 1709 by replacing the crow quills of the harpsichord with leather-covered wooden hammers. In addition to a richer tone quality, the hammers allowed for a large dymamic range that was subject to the sensitivity of the player's touch. The instrument was given the imposing name "gravecembalo col piano e forte", meaning "harpsichord with soft and loud". This was soon shortened to "pianoforte" and then finally to just "piano". So the final name emphasizes the possibility of a soft touch, although the piano is also capable of "forte". Since the introduction of iron frames into the construction of the piano in 1820, the design of the instrument has changed very little.

TCHAIKOVSKY The Nutcracker, Symphony No 4

The Nutcracker Ballet is one of Tchaikovsky's most enchanting works. The magical music evokes a nostalgic Christmas atmosphere... The two-act ballet is based on the book "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King", by E.T.A. Hoffman, a famous writer and music critic. The original plot is actually quite dark and bizarre. The book's publisher had to get the story cleaned up into a happier, charming children's fairytale. Marius Petipa read the story and loved it. In 1891 he commissioned Tchaikovsky to write a ballet score for the plot. The first performance was in December 1892 at the Mariinsky theater.

TANEYEV String Quartets

Sergey Taneyev was a pivotal figure in Russian musical life. A pupil of Tchaikovsky, who called him the ‘Russian Bach’, Sergey Taneyev is best known today for his four symphonies, although he also composed a sizeable body of chamber music, including nine complete String Quartets. Quartet No. 9 is a memorably melodic work, while the beautifully crafted Quartet No. 6, his last completed quartet, is rather more austere, though marked by a playful Jig, and even more masterful in construction.