With spring approaching, EMI Classics and Virgin Classics celebrate the joyous season with a prodigious line-up of new releases and special reissues. On EMI Classics, Kate Royal gives listeners A Lesson in Love, a wide-ranging program – spanning two centuries, three languages, and 17 composers – devised by Royal as “a song cycle telling the story of a young girl’s first experience of love.” Royal is also a soloist – along with Magdalena Kozená – on Sir Simon Rattle’s new recording with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra of Mahler’s Second Symphony, “Resurrection,” a work beloved by the conductor and long a part of his life and career. Also from EMI Classics, Ian Bostridge pays tribute to three pioneering tenors of the 18th century with the aptly named Three Baroque Tenors, and keyboard legend Martha Argerich joins musician friends on Live from the Lugano Festival 2010.
On Virgin Classics, the Ebène Quartet strikes out in a new direction with Fiction, featuring improvisations and arrangements of themes from film soundtracks, jazz standards, and rock classics with guest artists Natalie Dessay, Stacey Kent, Fanny Ardant, and Luz Casal. Other key releases from the label include an all-Schumann album from Piotr Anderszewski, an all-Scarlatti (Domenico) album from Alexandre Tharaud, and Christina Pluhar and her dynamic ensemble L’Arpeggiata in a recording of Monteverdi’s magnificent 1610 Vespers.
Adding further luster to this month’s release schedule from EMI Classics are several recordings celebrating the legacy of great artists past and present. Highlights include the debuts of the label’s Masters and American Artistry series; five new titles in the ICON series (Elisabeth Schumann, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Hermann Prey, Claudio Arrau, and the Melos Ensemble; and a five-set celebration of the artistry of one of the 20th century’s greatest conductors, Sir Thomas Beecham, who died 50 years ago.