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ICSM RECORDS
 CATALOGUE


“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skilful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.” Founded in 2014 and based in London, Independent Creative Sound and Music (ICSM) Records – made by musicians for musicians – is committed to uncompromising quality in every aspect of the recording, creating artistic statements beyond time and fashion. At ICSM, we believe that artists should have control over all aspects of the production, in full respect of their artistic integrity and intellectual property. We want to give artists creative

ICSM RECORDS


freedom and flexibility in the choice of repertoire they record, in order to tackle the financial and spiritual crisis of the classical music industry in recent years. We do not aim to record classical artists who are necessarily already well-known worldwide, and who have had previous recording contracts with the ‘major’ labels, but wish to evaluate each project individually regardless of the “fame” of the artist, using our musical ears and our intellect. Traditional recording contracts between artist and the major companies have tended to be limiting. The decision making process by committee at the major labels is slow, with the money men pulling the strings, and all too often stopping culturally valuable project by pulling the plug. Our relationships with artists are true collaborations, enabling them to choose, over and above their music-making of course, exactly how much ownership, control and involvement in the project they want. We make decisions quickly and stick to them. Because we keep costs to a minimum we can green-light ideas that many other labels would not take on board. Our main focus is quality, remember! One of our main goals is to make sure that artists working with us get a fair share of the income, as often musicians are the last people to be paid. In the long term, we see our role as sustaining the interest in classical music through musical education and the support of our artists, and also to showcase contemporary composers and branch out into other genres, such as jazz. ICSM Records keeps its release schedule and catalogue small, tidy & around 8 new releases per year.

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Our attention to detail and our passion for music make each recording a unique, highly pleasurable experience for our listeners. We work together with Grammy Award winning sound engineer Tony Faulkner (Decca, DG Archiv, EMI, Hyperion, Chandos, BMG, BBC Legends, Wigmore Hall Live, LSO Live to name a few) to record music by some of the greatest, much-loved composers of the past and present. In the second part of 2014 and in 2015 we started also our collaboration with the Polish sound engineer Wadim Radziszewski and the German tonmeister Johannes Mueller. Our designer, Ivo Christov, based in Sofia, is first and foremost a music lover and a producer of audiophile records. For our first four releases, we pride ourselves to have been able to use the natural sound of some of the best concert halls in London, top-end audiophile equipment for the recording process, and a handcrafted concert grand piano E-272 from the piano manufacturers Steingraeber & Sohne, Bayreuth, Germany on a personal loan to us. Each recording is released in three formats: CD, LP, and downloadable audio file (also in High Definition 192/24 Studio Master quality).

ICSM RECORDS


ICSM Records features five series: • Series ‘dialogue’, for chamber music programmes • Series ‘omnia’, for composers’ integral works • Series ‘solo’, for recital-style programmes by a single artist • Series ‘chronos’, for orchestral programmes • Series ‘kosmos’, for non-classical projects

For further info: Mob: +44 7956 377 705 Email:info@icsmrecords.com Web:www.icsmrecords.com

ICSM RECORDS


ICSM 001 (OMNIA) Brahms on the piano — volume 1 Fiammetta Tarli & Ivo Varbanov, piano four hands J. Brahms, Walzer Op. 39 Liebeslieder Walzer Op. 52a Neue Liebeslieder Walzer Op. 65a

The first release of ICSM Records (ICSM 001) features the complete recording of Brahms four-hand Waltzes. Dance music was in Johannes Brahms’s blood. Two particular dance-measures fascinated him throughout his life, the waltz and the Hungarian Czárdás. Here we explore what he could do with waltz-rhythms, even on the smallest scale, in the medium of the piano duet. Brahms’s two sets of Liebeslieder-Walzer (Love-song Waltzes) used to be among his best-known works. These beguiling little waltz-songs remind us of a time before radio or television, when domestic music-making was a fact of life, a time when ‘quartet parties’ were frequent and when families would gather around the piano to play and sing for their evening entertainment. Performed by Tarli and Varbanov, the two interpreters enrapt the listener with an imaginary fantasy on the waltz form whose underlying theme is love.

Here you have an hour of sheer delight. ★★★★★ — Klassisk Musikkmagasin (Norway) A dizzying experience. ★★★★ — Stephen Pritchard, The Observer (UK) An absolute delight to hear. — Jerry Dubins, Fanfare (USA)


ICSM 002 (SOLO) LEGACY Ivo Varbanov, piano L. v. Beethoven, Bagatelles Op. 126 R. Schumann, Gesänge der Frühe, Op. 133 J. Brahms, 6 Chorale Preludes Op. 122 (transcription F. Busoni)

The first release of Ivo Varbanov on ICSM Records (ICSM 002) features the last piano works by Ludwig van Beethoven (Bagatelles Op. 126), Robert Schumann (Gesänge der Frühe Op. 133), and the piano transcription of Ferruccio Busoni of 6 of the 11 Choral Preludes for organ Op. 122 by Johannes Brahms.

re-imagined them in the style of Brahms’s own late piano pieces. More than a search for ultimate messages, this recording is a philosophical journey in the late lives of Beethoven, Schumann and Brahms, performed by Varbanov in a minimalist but poignant way.

Beethoven’s Bagatelles, written three years before his death, were considered by the composer the best things of their kind that he had done, a true cycle of miniatures. Schumann’s Morning Songs, with their visionary intimacy inspired by the great German poet Friedrich Hölderlin, were written just a few months before Schumann’s tragic attempt to drown himself in the Rhine, due to his mental illness; his content is in stark contrast to his early piano works. As for Brahms’s Chorale Preludes, written after the death of his beloved Clara Schumann, they are works of lonely selfcommuning and consolation, the ultimate fruit of Brahms’s lifetime immersion in early music. In these rarely performed transcriptions, Busoni has

His playing has a quality of utmost subtlety, reverence, and seriousness of purpose — Scott Noriega, Fanfare (USA) …it radiates the right sort of authority. ★★★★ — Michael Church, BBC Music Magazine (UK)


ICSM 003 (SOLO) FREEDOM Fiammetta Tarli, piano F. Schubert, Moments musicaux, Op. 94 (D780) R. Schumann, Phantasiestücke, Op. 12 A. Schoenberg, Sechs kleine Klavierstücke, Op. 19

The third release of ICSM Records (ICSM 003) features solo piano compositions by Schubert (Moments musicaux D780), Schumann (Phantasiestücke Op. 12) and Schoenberg (Sechs kleine Klavierstücke Op. 19).

associated to Schoenberg's music. Here is a recording where virtuosity seems equally balanced by meditation.

The recording's title, Freedom, wants to be an exploration of what composers produced when they did not start with a codified musical form but rather with a poetic idea. In this thought-provoking programme, both Schubert and Schumann's cycles show powers of evocation and characterisation at their height, whilst in Schoenberg's music, pared back beyond its essentials, we glimpse a snapshot into the elements of a psychological crisis. The last piece of Tarli's recording is Schoenberg's haunting reminiscence of Gustav Mahler's funeral bells.

I would place Tarli’s readings [of Schoenberg's Six Piano Pieces Op. 19] on equal footing with those I’ve heard by Roland Pöntinen on BIS and Maurizio Pollini on Deutsche Grammophon, and she is better recorded on this ICSM release than either of them. — Jerry Dubins, Fanfare

Tarli's playing reveals details of the music unheard before — in such central repertoire that’s quite an achievement; especially impressive is the sense of buoyant fun that she found in Schoenberg’s short piano pieces, fun being seldom

10/10 – This is how piano music should be recorded. — Hi-Fi Plus (UK)


ICSM 004 (OMNIA) Brahms on the piano – volume 2 Ivo Varbanov, piano J. Brahms, Sonata, Op. 1 Scherzo, Op. 4 Ballades, Op. 10

The second release of Ivo Varbanov on ICSM Records (ICSM Records 004) presents early piano works by Johannes Brahms: his Piano Sonata no. 1 in C major, Op. 1, the Scherzo, Op. 4, and the four Ballades, Op. 10. All three piano works were performed at crucial moments in Brahms's life: the Piano Sonata was the focus of one of the most romantic ‘first encounters’ in musical history. The handsome 20year-old-unknown from Hamburg presented himself at Robert Schumann’s house in Düsseldorf on 1 October 1853. Schumann invited him to play something, and he sat down to begin the C major Sonata. ‘Visit from Brahms, a genius’, wrote Schumann in his diary for that day. The Scherzo Op. 4 was one of the first works Brahms showed to Franz Liszt and to Schumann in 1853. Liszt found the piece so congenial that he played it to an assembled company at Weimar. Lastly, the Ballades emerged at a fateful juncture in the 21-year-old Brahms’s life, shortly after his revered friend and patron Schumann had attempted suicide and been confined in a sanatorium near Bonn. Brahms had thus suddenly been thrust into the role of protector and comforter of Schumann’s wife Clara and her

children, and was simultaneously wrestling with the fact that he had fallen in love with her. The Ballades, his first group of short lyric pieces, are prophetic of the compressed masterpieces of his later years. Varbanov's visionary choice of pieces is matched by his powerful rendition. This recording will impress the listener for its supreme sound beauty and the interpreter's unusual choices.

Varbanov’s powerful, muscular reading of [Brahms's] op. 1 Sonata leaves no doubt of his authority. I was particularly impressed by the sweep of the Birst movement and the touching simplicity Varbanov brings to the folksongbased slow movement. — Huntley Dent, Fanfare (USA)


ICSM 005 (KOSMOS) Theodosii Spassov Trio, Live in London Theodosii Spassov, kaval, duduk, melodica, vocals Rumen Toskov, piano, keyboard Hristo Yotsov, drums, percussion Live at the South Bank Centre, London 30 June 2002

This concert was a special night, probably one of those special concerts that happen few times in a lifetime. Looking back, I can say that I am very happy I organised the gig at the South Bank in London for the Theodosii Spassov Trio.

returned to the South Bank 15 minutes before the beginning of the concert. The quality of the recording itself is not what we would like a recording to be, but it has a very meaningful story behind it.

We were offered a last minute cancellation by the South Bank and the concert was on Sunday, the 30th of June 2002. We realised why we were offered the concert at the last minute: it was the day of the Football Word Cup Final. When we understood, it was a bit of a heart-stopping feeling. It could have been a disaster for the box office. In fact it wasn’t. We had a SOLD OUT performance.

It is very important also because this is one of the only three recordings available of this Trio.

We were not planning to record the concert, but after listening to the rehearsal, we wanted to. But it was a Sunday, and the only thing available in the hall for recording was a mini-disc recorder to be plugged in the mixer. It was obviously not ideal, but we did not have a choice. At 5pm, I took a cab and went in a search of few blank mini-discs. I found some just 10 minutes before closing time. I

For me is a privilege to publish this recording, despite its shortcomings, also because it features the pianist Rumen Toskov who is no longer with us. He died at the age of 41 on the 22.07.2010 from a Lymphoma. The news was given to me while I was fighting with Leukaemia in London by Hristo Yotsov, who visited me at Hammersmith Hospital in September 2010. I was shocked and very sad. This recording is dedicated to his memory with the wish and hope that medicine will be able in the future to help cure such diseases. Ivo Varbanov


ICSM 006 (DIALOGUE) LÉGENDES ANCIENNES Fiammetta Tarli & Ivo Varbanov, piano four hands I. Stravinsky, Pétrouchka, Le Sacre du printemps (original piano four hands versions by the composer)

The piano was fundamental to the modus operandi of Igor Stravinsky as a composer, not least when he was writing orchestral scores. Touching the keys gave him immediate contact with sound which he considered to be a vital part of the creative process. This tactile element provided him with an opportunity to feel sonorities and harmonies in addition to hearing them and the subtleties of the instrument offered the possibility of fresh revelations at every repositioning of his fingers. As Stravinsky’s works for orchestra began life at the keyboard in this deft, exploratory way, it is not by chance that several of them translate back into piano music with conspicuous success. The celebrated Russian ballet scores commissioned by the impresario Sergei Diaghilev from the young Stravinsky are outstanding orchestral works in their own right. They

constitute one of the highpoints in the great era of artistic innovation immediately preceding the First World War. With the exception of The Rite of Spring, these ballet scores contain a significant part for the piano. In the case of Petrushka, not only does the instrument bring lustre and coruscation to the orchestral palette, it is also entrusted with an important concertante role. Although the Rite does not feature a piano in its considerable orchestral forces, the score’s often percussive effects work remarkably well on the keyboard from the stamping chords which initiate the ‘Dances of the Young Girls’ to the almost tangible, steely textures of the concluding ‘Dance of the Earth’.


ICSM 007 (OMNIA) Debussy piano works, volume 1 Dennis Lee, piano C. Debussy, Images (Première série), Images oubliées, Estampes, La plus que lente, Deux Arabesques, L’isle joyeuse

Despite the enduring popularity of certain orchestral, vocal and chamber works by Claude Debussy, it is his piano music for which he is most widely renowned. Not only did he enrich the repertoire with many fine scores, he was one of a select group of composers including Chopin and Liszt, who took the genre in a new direction due to his ground-breaking approach to texture, chords, shifting harmonies and the use of the pedal, among other features.

during the decade 1903-13, he composed no fewer than 45 piano pieces, the vast majority of them carrying evocative, descriptive titles. By now, he had developed his own keyboard style and in all these pieces he explores thoroughly the implications of his findings. There is an acute, almost Proustian hypersensitivity at play in these scores in which the potentialities of the piano are exploited fully to give expression to the subtlest of sensations.

Before 1903 the piano did not occupy a central position within Debussy’s creative output. During this formative period he produced some of his most significant songs, such as the settings of poems by Baudelaire, Mallarmé and Verlaine; the orchestral works Prélude à L’après-midi d’un faune and Nocturnes; the opera Pelléas et Mélisande, and the String Quartet. By contrast,

★★★★ Confidence and clarity – Stephen Pritchard, Guardian (UK) ★★★★★ The recorded sound is warm and spacious, with Lee’s sensitivity and virtuosity being well served. – Chang Tou Liang, The Straits Times (Singapore)


ICSM 008 (OMNIA) Brahms on the piano, volume 3 Jozef LuptĂĄk, cello, & Ivo Varbanov, piano J. Brahms, Sonata No. 1 Op. 38 for piano and cello Sonata No. 2 Op. 99 for piano and cello

Johannes Brahms often consolidated his mastery of freshly explored domains by writing two examples in a specific genre in quick succession. His output consequently features such complementary couplings as the Piano Quartets Nos. 1 and 2, Opp. 25 and 26; the String Quartets, Opp. 51, Nos. 1 and 2; the Clarinet Trio, Op. 114, and Clarinet Quintet, Op. 115; Six Piano Pieces, Op. 118, and Four Piano Pieces, Op. 119; and, in orchestral music, the Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80, and Tragic Overture, Op. 81. A notable exception to this trend is provided by the two sonatas for cello, which are separated by some 21 years and reflect the composer’s changing circumstances: the first is the product of a young man serving notice of his scholarship and maturity, whereas the second is the

work of an older man writing at the peak of his powers with remarkable vigour and intensity. Jozef and Ivo long standing friendship, shows in their natural partnership. It is the best possible synergy for this repertoire which requires both a technical command of the instruments and an intelligent Central European chamber music making.


ICSM 009 (KOSMOS) Time In Time Out

Acoustic Version Anthony Donchev, piano Hristo Yotsov, drums, vibes George Donchev, bass

All the jazz fans would remember Milcho Leviev and its jazz quartet FOCUS ’65 which was awarded the Critic's Prize at the Montreaux Jazz Festival in 1967. Over the last thirty years jazz, ethno-jazz and fusion have flourished in Bulgaria with some unique musical examples such as Theodosii Spassov and Ivo Papazov.

trio is changed. The three instruments are equals. Anthony’s voicing creates musical spaces for the other two players with the support of his left hand. His brother George is subtle in shaping the phrases and has lots to say in his solos. Hristo Yotsov on the other hands has a very rich palette of colours and helps to create a complex musical texture.

This recording is a classic album because of the natural flow of the music and the extraordinary empathy between Hristo Yotsov and the Donchev brothers, Anthony and George. Acoustic Version has always been about the musical synergy and chemistry between the players. Their classical training and cultural background have determined a style impossible to define. Certainly there are elements of Bulgarian folklore — treated in a “urban” way — European classical music heritage of chamber music making, and experimental contemporary jazz.

Acoustic Version has kept its character and has evolved and matured over this thirty years without changing its style, which I believe can be considered part of the European jazz classics.

Their language is based on an intelligent dialogue, where the conventional style of a jazz

The magazine of the European Jazz Association – Jazz Forum says: “Donchev and Yotsov have managed to extend the jazz language to fields, where no one ever now has made experiments.” – Ivo Varbanov


ICSM 010 (CHRONOS) GENESIS Martin Georgiev Symphonic Triptych No. 1 and Percussion Concerto No. 3, GENESIS for Marimba and Symphony Orchestra Tatiana Koleva, marimba / Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra / Martin Georgiev, conductor

It goes without saying that vocal music speaks of God and the world. However, wordless music can also speak. It is a sonic sign language. Someone who understands its characters, signals and symbols can also detect meaning and significance which elude mere structural analysis. To trace these, it is helpful if the composer gives at least an indication in the title (Johann Kuhnau: Biblische Historien (Biblical Histories), Robert Schumann: Waldszenen (Forest Scenes), Richard Strauss: Tod und Verklärung (Death and Transfiguration). It becomes more difficult if composers - as is often the case in the twentieth century deliberately conceal the biographical, world view, religious or philosophical content of a work. Constantin Floros, who interpreted Alban Berg’s Lyrische Suite (Lyric Suite) as a message of love to Hanna Fuchs (a sister of the writer Franz Werfel),

spoke in such cases of esoteric or concealed programme music. Against this background, it is hardly surprising that the young Bulgarian-British composer Martin Georgiev provides his music with programmatic titles. Raised in the Orthodox faith in the Black Sea port city of Varna, he often incorporates spiritual ideas in the concept and realisation of his works. This is true of both works in his debut CD.


PRICE LISTS Titles with link to shop ICSM 001 (OMNIA)

£12.50

Brahms on the piano – volume 1 Fiammetta Tarli & Ivo Varbanov, piano four hands J. Brahms, Walzer Op. 39, Liebeslieder Walzer Op. 52a, Neue Liebeslieder Walzer Op. 65a

ICSM 002 (SOLO)

£12.50

LEGACY Ivo Varbanov, piano L. v. Beethoven, Bagatelles Op. 126, R. Schumann, Gesänge der Frühe, Op. 133 J. Brahms, 6 Chorale Preludes Op. 122 (transcription F. Busoni)

ICSM 003 (SOLO)

£12.50

FREEDOM Fiammetta Tarli, piano F. Schubert, Moments musicaux, Op. 94 (D780), R. Schumann, Phantasiestücke, Op. 12 A. Schoenberg, Sechs kleine Klavierstücke, Op. 19

ICSM 004 (OMNIA)

£12.50

Brahms on the piano – volume 2 Ivo Varbanov, piano J. Brahms, Sonata, Op. 1, Scherzo, Op. 4, Ballades, Op. 10

ICSM 005 (KOSMOS)

£12.50

Theodosii Spassov Trio, Live in London Theodosii Spassov, kaval, duduk, melodica, vocals Rumen Toskov, piano, keyboard, Hristo Yotsov, drums, percussion Live at the South Bank Centre, London, 30 June 2002

ICSM 006 (DIALOGUE)

£12.50

LÉGENDES ANCIEENNES Fiammetta Tarli & Ivo Varbanov, piano four hands I. Stravinsky, Pétrouchka, Le Sacre du printemps (original piano four-hand versions by the composer)

ICSM 007 (OMNIA)

£12.50

Debussy piano works, volume 1 Dennis Lee, piano C. Debussy, Images (Première série), Images oubliées, Estampes, La plus que lente, Deux Arabesques, L’isle joyeuse

ICSM 008 (OMNIA)

£12.50

Brahms on the piano, volume 3 Jozef Luptak, cello, & Ivo Varbanov, piano J. Brahms, Sonata No. 1 Op. 38 for piano and cello, Sonata No. 2 Op. 99 for piano and cello

ICSM 009 (KOSMOS)

£12.50

Acoustic Version Time In Time Out Anthony Donchev, piano, Hristo Yotsov, drums, vibes, George Donchev, bass

ICSM 010 (CHRONOS) GENESIS Martin Georgiev Symphonic Triptych No. 1 and Percussion Concerto No. 3, GENESIS for Marimba and Symphony Orchestra Tatiana Koleva, marimba / Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra / Martin Georgiev, conductor

£12.50


For further info: Ivo Varbanov & Fiammetta Tarli Mob: +44 7956 377 705 27 Pyrmont Road London W4 3NR United Kingdom Email: info@icsmrecords.com ivo@ivo-varbanov.com fiammetta@fiammetta-tarli.com Web: www.icsmrecords.com www.fiammetta-tarli.com www.ivo-ivovarbanov.com

Profile for Ivo Varbanov

ICSM RECORDS Catalogue 12 2016  

ICSM Records is an independent record label based in London, and founded in 2014.

ICSM RECORDS Catalogue 12 2016  

ICSM Records is an independent record label based in London, and founded in 2014.

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