5 Classical albums to listen to during lockdown


30th Apr 2020 Music

5 Classical albums to listen to during lockdown

The calming effects of classical music are second to none, and god knows, you probably need some calm right now

Lockdown around the world has been a difficult and scary time for many people, but has also provided some of us with the blessing of a little extra time to do what we enjoy, whether that be baking, gardening or listening to more music.  

With all live performances cancelled for the foreseeable future in the UK, many artists and people working within the industry are suffering during the pandemic. One way we can continue to support musicians during this time is by purchasing and listening to their recordings—so we can not only get our classical fix for the day, but also provide a little help to some people who are struggling.  

Here are five new classical releases we think are perfect additions to your Lockdown Library. 


Couperin & Gesualdo by Tenebrae and Nigel Short


Easter is a special time for classical music, and despite the lack of live performances this year, we can still engross ourselves in some of the most beautiful choral music dedicated to this time of year.  

Award-winning choir Tenebrae with their director Nigel Short have released a recording of music by composers Francois Couperin and Carlo Gesualdo. This music was written to celebrate Holy Week—the week preceding Easter—which is often filled with joyous musical celebration. Have a listen to these stunning choral pieces from one of the world’s best choirs, and transport yourself to a heavenly location of your choosing! 


Penderecki Horn and Violin Concertos by London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Krzysztof Penderecki and Michał Dworzyński

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This recording has come at a poignant time indeed, following the sad passing of famed composer Penderecki just a few weeks ago. A leading composer and conductor, Penderecki was a pioneer of contemporary classical music, and certainly deserves to be celebrated for his incredible life achievements. 
This collection of works spans more than 50 years of his career, from the iconic Threnody, a great sonic wail dedicated to the victims of Hiroshima, to the tender and haunting Adagio for Strings, lovingly adapted from his Third Symphony. Soloist Radovan Vlatković brings to life the Horn Concerto which was composed for him and Barnabás Kelemen revels in the ferocity of the Violin Concerto No. 1. 


Love Lives Beyond the Tomb by Ian Venables

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Ian Venables is one of the UK’s foremost art song composers, who’s already written over 80 works in the genre. In this emotive cycle, Venables has set poetry by the likes of James Joyce and Jennifer Andrews to music to celebrate the timelessness of love, and in commemoration to those who died in the First World War. 
The collection is sung by famed singers Allan Clayton and Mary Bevan, who both have regularly graced the operatic stages throughout the UK including Glyndebourne, the Royal Opera House and English National Opera. Mary was even granted an MBE in the 2019 Queen’s honours list for her services to music.  
Accompanied by the Carducci String Quartet and pianist Graham Lloyd, this collection is sure to fill any house with a moving reflection of love, life and loss. 


Immortal Beloved by Chen Reiss 

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Soprano Chen Reiss has rapidly established a reputation as one of the most impressive voices on the operatic stage. This year she’s set to perform in two Beethoven operas at the state opera house in Vienna, coinciding with the composer’s 250th birthday and this album dedicated to his vocal works. 
In this wonderful programme, Reiss explores a selection of Beethoven’s arias which have often been dismissed as unidiomatic and even deliberately cruel to singers. But Reiss believes that tackling this challenging repertoire has offered her, and in turn her listeners, a fascinating journey into the psyche of the young man writing for a better world. 


Beethoven Symphonies 1, 2 & 3; Barry Beethoven and Piano Concerto by Thomas Adès and Britten Sinfonia

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In case you hadn’t had enough Beethoven this year, this a wonderful one to add to your 250th year collection—the highly anticipated recording of Thomas Adès and the Britten Sinfonia playing Beethoven’s Symphony Cycle and a selection of Barry’s works is not one to be missed.  
By the time Beethoven wrote his first symphonies, he was already losing his hearing. Pairing his revolutionary early symphonies are works by modern composer Gerald Barry, who names one of his works after Beethoven himself. The work in question takes influence not only from Beethoven, but also modern radio, offering an illuminating counterbalance to this remarkable programme.

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