February highlights from EMI and Virgin Classics

Spotlight release

Bach: Concertos Xuefei Yang The Beijing-born UK-based guitarist, whose international career finds her performing at the world’s most prestigious concert halls, has recorded an all-Bach programme anchored by three concertos newly arranged for guitar and string quartet. Xuefei performs her own transcriptions of the Violin Concertos BWV 1041 and 1042 and the Harpsichord Concerto BWV 1052 with the extraordinary Elias String Quartet. The concertos are complemented by arrangements for solo guitar of the Violin Sonata BWV 1001, the Prelude in C Major BWV 846 and the Air on a G string.

Also new this month

Debussy: Clair de lune Natalie Dessay Soprano Natalie Dessay and pianist Philippe Cassard perform early songs, including several rarities, by Claude Debussy, whose 150th birthday is commemorated in 2012. The artists appear in recital at the Wigmore Hall in March.

Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Vols. I & II HJ Lim The brilliant 24-year-old Korean pianist’s first project for EMI Classics is an ambitious traversal of the Complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas over eight themed CDs. The first of four 2-CD sets by an artist of great intelligence and vision.

The Red Piano Yundi For his first non-Chopin recording, Yundi turns to repertoire from his native China, anchored by the Yellow River Piano Concerto. The programme also features arrangements for solo piano of traditional classical Chinese songs.

Une fête Baroque Emmanuelle Haim The 10th anniversary concert by Le Concert d’Astrée under its founder/conductor Emmanuelle Haïm. 23 distinguished singers of Baroque repertoire, including Natalie Dessay and Philippe Jaroussky perform works by Handel, Purcell and Lully.

ICON series Four new titles from the ICON series pay homage to some of the greatest recording artists with elegantly packaged multi-CD sets. This month’s releases are devoted to Alexis Weissenberg, Bruno Walter, Elly Ameling and Guido Cantelli.

“A dazzling array of colours […] complements her fastidious yet exuberant interpretations.” Gramophone

EMI Masters This series celebrates the full glory of the greatest performances from the world’s greatest catalogue of recorded music. Digitally remastered at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios direct from the original master tapes, these classic recordings emerge with unparalleled immediacy.

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