Best of Pentatone

 

Specializing in high-end recordings with top international artists, PENTATONE’s reputation for excellence is supported by a catalog of some of the very best that classical music has to offer.

 

A selection of just some of our favorite PENTATONE releases of 2020 and 2021 are featured below. All are on sale now for a limited time.

 

(Sale ends at midnight ET, 9/28/21.)

 

Note: All Pentatone SACDs are Hybrid SACDs, playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.

Release Date: 8/20/2021
Label: Pentatone
Number of Discs: 1
Performer: Sean Shibe

Shibe gives works by Ravel, Satie, and de Falla elegantly idiomatic readings. Listeners will be grateful to have the Catalan Mompou’s ever delicate Canços i dansas 6 and 10, as well as his lively Suite Compostelana to enjoy as lovingly played here.

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CD
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$15.99 $13.99
Release Date: 8/13/2021
Label: Pentatone
Number of Discs: 1
Composer: Richard Strauss
Conductor: Vladimir Jurowski

Jurowski succeeds really well in combining the visual of the score as well as its intellectual content, which makes the emotional moods tangible. The atmospheric density and varied musical substance that prevail here are not found in many other recordings.

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SACD
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$19.99 $16.99
Release Date: 8/6/2021
Label: Pentatone
Number of Discs: 1
Conductor: Bernhard Forck
Orchestra/Ensemble: Berlin Akademie für Alte Musik

L’isola is a serious opera about love, loss and misunderstanding with a happy ending, set on an exotic deserted island. What is special about this opera is that Haydn chose orchestral accompaniment for the entire work, with colorful and dramatic accompagnato recitatives.

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CD
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$19.99 $16.99
Release Date: 7/16/2021
Label: Pentatone
Number of Discs: 2
Performer: Aaron Pegram, Chao Deng, Christian Elsner...
Conductor: Marek Janowski
Orchestra/Ensemble: Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra, male section Leipzig MDR Radio Choir, Dresden Saxon State Opera Chorus

Davidsen's portrayal of Leonore is gorgeous, nuanced, and compelling. She ensures the listener fully knows and feels Leonore’s thoughts and emotions, with a fulsome and richly burnished tone that is passionate and intensely lyrical.

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SACD
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Release Date: 7/9/2021
Label: Pentatone
Number of Discs: 1
Composer: George Gershwin
Performer: Kevin Short, Lester Lynch, Alexandria Crichlow...
Conductor: Marin Alsop

Not only does soprano Angel Blue own Bess' classic songs but she also sings Clara's "Summertime" and Serena's "My Man's Gone Now" with equal parts power and finesse and an ability to grab the listener from the get-go.

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SACD
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Release Date: 7/2/2021
Label: Pentatone
Number of Discs: 1

Aimard's exemplary technique allows for no vagaries of voice leading or textural misfires, while Pentatone’s production values do justice to Aimard’s tonal clarity and transparency at quieter dynamic levels.

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CD
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Release Date: 6/4/2021
Label: Pentatone
Number of Discs: 1
Conductor: Pekka Kuusisto
Orchestra/Ensemble: Norwegian Chamber Orchestra

Muhly's Shrink is an energetic, driven concerto, played with intensity by Kuusisto on violin. Glass's The Orchard, performed here as a duet for piano and violin, changes the mood completely, becoming soothing and almost therapeutic.

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CD
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$15.99 $13.99
Release Date: 5/28/2021
Label: Pentatone
Number of Discs: 1
Orchestra/Ensemble: Holland Baroque

The performances by a consort of 10 singers and the 16 players of the Holland Baroque are lovingly and respectfully done, and create a sound pleasant to the ear. This is an album sure to please lovers of Baroque byways.

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SACD
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Release Date: 5/21/2021
Label: Pentatone
Number of Discs: 1
Composer: Francisco Coll
Conductor: Gustavo Gimeno
Orchestra/Ensemble: Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra

The Violin Concerto typifies the composer's delight in bringing extremes of expression within often terrifyingly close proximity. The work is thrillingly realised by Patricia Kopatchinskaja, who negotiates its coruscating intricacies with ravishing purity and intensity.

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SACD
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Release Date: 3/12/2021
Label: Pentatone
Number of Discs: 1
Conductor: Luca Pianca
Orchestra/Ensemble: Ensemble Claudiana

The heart of Richter's achievement on this recording is undoubtedly the lament from Arianna. With its sure-footed command of the patterns and cadences of the Italian language, this is a powerful reading.

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Release Date: 1/22/2021
Label: Pentatone
Number of Discs: 1

Sasha Cook's warm, emotionally direct voice is perfect for Intonations, and the heart-touching theme Heggie fashions for the final song is reminiscent of great tunes of the romantic era.

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SACD
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Release Date: 11/6/2020
Label: Pentatone
Number of Discs: 1

The two major works — by Poulenc and Debussy — are played with graceful intimacy, while shorter pieces by Fauré, Milhaud, Ravel, and the sisters Lili and Nadia Boulanger are given equally committed readings by these perfectly paired artists.

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CD
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Release Date: 8/28/2020
Label: Pentatone
Number of Discs: 1
Composer: Gustav Mahler
Conductor: Vladimir Jurowski
Orchestra/Ensemble: Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra

The best of all here is Sarah Connolly's run in the epic "Der Abschied," which in its deliberate long line both fits well with Jurowski's overall concept and is just sensuously, tragically gorgeous on its own.

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Release Date: 5/15/2020
Label: Pentatone
Number of Discs: 1
Performer: Piotr Beczala
Conductor: Marco Boemi

Just listen to the luminous ring to Beczała’s tenor in the open-hearted ‘Recondita armonia.’ It is refreshing to hear a tenor tackle this repertoire with such apparent ease. Beczała never needs to force unduly, yet there’s plenty of emotion to these readings.

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SACD
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Release Date: 4/3/2020
Label: Pentatone
Number of Discs: 2
Performer: Alisa Weilerstein

Put Weilerstein next to most of her colleagues in these suites and she would win for sheer resonance of tone and length of line. There are dozens of recordings of these suites to choose from, but this stands up with the best.

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CD
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$24.99 $21.99
Release Date: 3/13/2020
Label: Pentatone
Number of Discs: 1
Conductor: Carlos Kalmar
Orchestra/Ensemble: Oregon Symphony Orchestra


For admirers of 20th-century American symphonic music, this is a particularly attractive package. All are written in the kind of broad and expansive idiom that represents American composition at its finest.

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