viernes, 28 de febrero de 2014

Carolin Widmann / Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra MORTON FELDMAN Violin and Orchestra

Carolin Widmann’s widely acclaimed ECM New Series recordings have traversed a broad arc of music – from Schubert to Xenakis. Her award-winning album of contemporary music “Phantasy of Spring”, released in 2009, opened with Morton’s Feldman’s “Spring of Chosroes”; now she returns to Feldman with one of the US composer’s pivotal compositions, Violin and Orchestra, written in 1979. With its almost painterly attention to detail and to texture, this slowly unfolding single-movement work marked a new direction in Feldman’s music. It is not a concerto in the strict sense of the term, not soloist with orchestral support. The violinist must move inside the glowing colour-field of sound. In this exceptional Feldman recording, Widmann does so with great delicacy and feeling, exploring the subtle orchestral texture, crafted together with conductor Emilio Pomàrico and the players of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra.
“In the noisiest century in history,” critic Alex Ross has noted, “Morton Feldman chose to be glacially slow and snowily soft. [In his music] chords arrive one after another, in seemingly haphazard sequence, interspersed with silences. Harmonies hover in a no man’s land between consonance and dissonance, paradise and oblivion.” Violin and Orchestra calls for the largest instrumentation Feldman specified – including quadruple and triple winds and brass, four percussionists, two harps, two pianos and a corresponding body of strings. Yet the work is quiet, dreamlike.
“Feldman is a great favourite of mine,” says Carolin Widmann. “His music has in my opinion not only contemporary but everlasting relevance for its unique language and the ways in which it seems to suspend time, to freeze it. Sometimes when I listen to Feldman I’m unsure if a few minutes or half an eternity has passed. As one enters into its spatial dimension you stop thinking about where this music has come from and where it is headed and you become part of it. And that opens up philosophical questions. How does this music change us, as listeners?”
“As a player, you have to immerse yourself in the Feldman cosmos. In Violin and Orchestra, the violin is first among equals. What Feldman brings out of the instrument in terms of sound and colour is very beautiful. But it’s by no means a piece for demonstrating instrumental capacity. This concept is completely abolished (in my view it could usefully be challenged in much classical and Romantic repertoire, too). To play Feldman, you have to take a back seat and make sure that all expression is solely in the service of the music. That’s also a kind of spiritual exercise, and one that obliges the violinist to question the parameters of personal style, peeling away all superfluous gesture.”
Violin and Orchestra was premiered by Paul Zukofsky and the Hessian Radio Orchestra with Cristóbal Halfter conducting, in Frankfurt in 1984. The present recording, with Carolin Widmann and the Frankfurter Radio Orchestra, was aided by the support of the Festival d’Automne à Paris, who also presented the work in the autumn of 2009.

jueves, 27 de febrero de 2014

Miloš Karadaglić / London Philharmonic Orchestra ARANJUEZ

For his third album on Mercury Classics/Deutsche Grammophon, international chart-topping classical guitarist Miloš Karadaglić takes the world-famous Concierto de Aranjuez as the starting point for a journey across the Spanish landscape, paying tribute to the great composers and musicians who placed the modern classical guitar firmly on the international stage.
The Concierto de Aranjuez was written by Joaquín Rodrigo for the Spanish guitarist Regino Sainz de la Maza and very soon became not just the most famous Spanish guitar concerto but also the most famous guitar concerto of all time; its ravishing slow movement was taken up and arranged by musicians of all genres, from Miles Davis, Chick Corea, Jim Hall to Herb Alpert, from Frank Sinatra to José Carreras. And now, Miloš has produced a standalone new interpretation of Aranjuez; the definitive version for our time.
Miloš sees the work as “the holy grail of the guitar repertoire and an endless source of inspiration. The first and last movements sparkle with energy and rhythm. They paint the landscape of nature, happiness and love. The legendary second movement takes us to a different reality, where emotions overflow and a string becomes a voice.”
For the recording of the new album Aranjuez, Miloš was joined by the London Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin at the world-famous Abbey Road Studios in London. Miloš recalls that “Yannick’s energy is infectious and our collaboration was the most electric experience. When we met before the recording sessions to run through the music together, he taught me things I shall always be grateful for. For example, he asked me to rethink my approach to Rodrigo’s notorious scale passages. He suggested that, instead of focusing on each note, I should think of them as gestures – taking each one in a different direction as if they were brushstrokes. At that moment I relaxed completely; I had found the final piece of a puzzle, a piece I had been looking for all along.”
Aranjuez is a celebration of the most popular Spanish works for guitar and orchestra, which includes Rodrigo’s Fantasía para un gentilhombre, and it explores the birth and recognition of the modern guitar in the 20th century. “The guitar as we know it today emerged only at the end of the 19th century, after centuries of various transformations. The Spanish guitar maker Antonio de Torres constructed an instrument larger in size and tone than its predecessors, and that marked the beginning of a new age. The guitar was ready to leave the elegant aristocratic salon for the concert platform…”
For Miloš it has been a long journey from Montenegro, where he was born and at eight started playing the guitar. Now a household name, he has become among his generation one of the most successful champions of his instrument. London, where he now lives, played a decisive role in his career, particularly during his years as a student at the Royal Academy of Music.

miércoles, 26 de febrero de 2014

Gidon Kremer / Kremerata Baltica MIECZYSLAW WEINBERG

This new album from Gidon Kremer, Kremerata Baltica and soloists, recorded at Neuhardenberg and Lockenhaus in 2012 and 2013, makes a strong case for Shostakovich’s assertion that Weinberg was one of the great composers of his era. He was certainly amongst the most prolific, with a work list that includes seven operas, twenty-two symphonies, ten concertos, seventeen string quartets and a vast output of chamber and vocal works.
Born in Warsaw in 1919, Mieczysław Weinberg studied at the Polish capital’s conservatory. His plans for further study in the United States were thwarted by the outbreak of World War II: when the Nazis invaded Poland, Weinberg fled first to Minsk and then to Tashkent. He moved to Moscow in 1943 where, his troubles far from over, he was targeted both for his modernist musical leanings and his Jewish background. (With some of his works blacklisted, Weinberg’s only income for years came from incidental music written for local theatre productions.) In 1953 he was arrested on charges of ‘Jewish bourgeois nationalism’, and jailed. Shostakovich wrote letters on his behalf, and after Stalin’s death Weinberg was released and officially rehabilitated.
Near neighbours in Moscow, Weinberg and Shostakovich spent much time together. As Wolfgang Sandner writes in the liner notes, “the two close friends, though thirteen years apart, constantly showed each other their new scores, often played piano duets together and exchanged ideas on art and composition.” Like many composers in the Soviet Union, Weinberg was obliged to spend much of his creative life negotiating the margins of freedom between official doctrine and artistic necessity. As the demands from above for Socialist Realism began to slacken in the 1960s and 70s, his art moved into its most productive phase.
The present double album opens with one of his most remarkable creations from this latter period, the extensive (22-minutes) and complex third violin sonata of 1978. Kremer ranks this work alongside Bartók’s Sonata for Solo Violin as one of the masterpieces for the instrument.
“This is music that speaks to us,” writes Wolfgang Sandner, “full of dynamism, colour and detailed articulation that never ossifies into virtuosity for its own sake. The wealth of invention in the sonata and the advanced sounds of the Tenth Symphony bear witness to a composer at the same high level as a Shostakovich or Prokofiev.”
Kremer and friends explore Weinberg’s chamber music – the Trio op 48 (composed 1950) and the Sonatina op.46 (1949) – and the commitment and skills of the Kremerata musicians are brought to bear on two strikingly-contrasting compositions for string orchestra, the graceful and lyrical Concertino op. 42 (1948) and the adventurous and gripping Symphony no 10 (1968), bringing12-tone rows and chordal structure into unexpected juxtapositions.
Mieczysław Weinberg died in Moscow in 1996. In recent years his works have begun to get a wider hearing. In particular his opera about the Holocaust, “The Passenger”, never staged in Weinberg’s lifetime, has made headlines. After a concertante version was produced in Moscow in 2006, the full staged version was premiered at the Bregenz Festival in 2010 and subsequently presented in London and Warsaw. The US premiere was in Houston in January 2014. New York performances at the Drill Hall follow in July.
Meanwhile Gidon Kremer and Kremerata Baltica continue to make the music of Mieczysław Weinberg a focus of their international touring repertoire.
Latvian-born master violinist Gidon Kremer founded Kremerata Baltica in 1997 to foster outstanding young musicians from Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, the three Baltic States.

lunes, 24 de febrero de 2014

Gidon Kremer / Kremerata Baltica SOFIA GUBAIDULINA Canticle of the Sun

Sofia Gubaidulina’s 80th birthday in October 2011 generated much press coverage around the world, appropriately stressing the uniqueness and the variety of her compositional approaches. Both are in evidence on these recordings from Lockenhaus. Gidon Kremer is the soloist and Kremerata Baltica the ensemble on the premiere recording of “The Lyre of Orpheus”, dedicated to the memory of Gubaidulina’s daughter. Kremer has long been a committed advocate of Gubaidulina’s work, and the composer has praised the way the violinist seems to unleash music from the soul. In this work of austere beauty and raw lyricism, violin, string orchestra and percussion intermingle in new ways. At a subterranean level, the piece is also an exploration into acoustic phenomena and the physics of sound, with pulsating difference tones part of its underlying structures. “The Lyre of Orpheus” was recorded in 2006, a month after Kremer gave the first performance.
“Canticle of the Sun”, recorded in 2010, revisits the celebrated piece that Gubaiduilina wrote in tribute to Mstislav Rostropovich on the occasion of his 70th birthday in 1997. Rostropovich’s famously sunny disposition was an inspiration, by association prompting Gubaidulina to set St Francis of Assisi’s “Canticle of the Sun” for choir. In this recording, Nicolas Altstaedt, one of the most accomplished cellists of his generation, takes on the highly expressive lead role. A further, timely, Lockenhaus connection here: as of this year, Altsteadt takes over from Kremer as the new director of the Lockenhaus Chamber Music Festival.

sábado, 22 de febrero de 2014

Kim Kashkashian / Robert Levin ASTURIANA Songs from Spain and Argentina

Kim Kashkashian and Robert Levin have been playing together since the mid 1970s. Their debut ECM release was “Elegies” recorded in 1984, with music of Britten, Vaughan Williams, Carter, Glasunow, Liszt, Kodály and Vieuxtemps. This was soon followed by the Sonatas for Viola/Piano - and for Solo Viola - of Hindemith. In 1990 they recorded Shostakovich’s Sonata for Viola and Piano op 147 for the New Series, in 1996 the Brahms viola sonatas in a recording that won the Edison Award.
Kim Kashkashian’s international career was given impetus by her early success at the Munich ARD competition. From the outset she was much in demand as a chamber musician and as a guest at festivals including Marlboro, Spoleto, Mostly Mozart, Lockenhaus und Salzburg. Previously a music professor in Freiburg and at the Hanns Eisler Academy in Berlin, she teaches today at the New England Conservatory in Boston.
Robert Levin is renowned for his restoration of the classical period practise of improvised embellishments and cadenzas, and his many recordings include Mozart piano concertos with Christopher Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music, and Beethoven concertos with John Eliot Gardiner und the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique. Alongside his concert activities Levin is also a noted theorist and Mozart scholar. His completion of the Mozart Mass in C Minor was premiered in Carnegie Hall in January 2005. Robert Levin is a professor of humanities at Harvard University, and was recently appointed artistic director of the Sarasota Music Festival.

martes, 18 de febrero de 2014

Hilary Hahn / Matthias Goerne / Christine Schäfer BACH Violin and Voice

This album has been years in the making. I first played some of these works more than a decade ago, and ever since then I have worked toward assembling an integral project of this repertoire.
My first exposure to Bach for violin and voice came when I was four, just a couple of months after I began to play violin. My father sang in a local choir in those days, and my mother and I went to see his group perform. In the middle of a cantata by Bach, a member of the choir suddenly stepped forward with a violin and played a duet with the soprano. I was mesmerized. The way the instrument's sound wove in and out of the vocal line - sometimes plaintive, sometimes playful, always supple and alive - seemed magical beyond belief.
The amazement broadened to appreciation as I grew older. Encouraged by my childhood teacher, Klara Berkovich, to find models of expression that appealed to me outside of violin, I absorbed much from the recordings of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Peter Pears, Rosa Ponselle and Fritz Wunderlich that played in our house; and every holiday season, as we prepared dinners and exchanged gifts, the Messiah, B-minor Mass and St Matthew Passion sang out from the stereo. There was also a chamber music component. When I was ten, I began to study with Jascha Brodsky, then in his 80s and no longer performing. A friend of his gave me an audiotape containing Dover Beach for voice and string quartet, recorded in the 1930s. There I heard Samuel Barber's elegant baritone paired with the exquisite violin playing of a youthful Mr. Brodsky, and again the entwining of voice and violin swept me away. For several years after that, at every music festival I attended, I asked if it would be possible to work Dover Beach into the program. And because I had such good experiences with the musicians I met on those occasions, I searched for further repertoire involving singers. 
That search brought me back to Bach. In my late teens, when I had a chance to play one of Bach's arias for violin and voice at the Marlboro Music Festival, I found the interplay of lines as thrilling as it had been when I was a child of four - with the added pleasure of being able to understand the words. And as I learned other arias of Bach, I grew increasingly attached to the repertoire, until finally I proposed the present recording.
 That this project has come to fulfillment - and with such superb colleagues - is for me a dream come true. These magnificent pieces go to the heart of Bach's artistry as a composer of polyphony: multiple voices, at once clean and complex, presenting layer beneath layer for discovery. No matter how many times I play this music, I am always surprised to find in it new intricacies, new touches of beauty. I hope the same proves true for all who hear this album. (Hilary Hahn 10/2009)

lunes, 17 de febrero de 2014

Similia FANTASIA For Flute and Guitar

Named “world’s best flute and guitar duo” by Classical Guitar Magazine UK, Similia has recorded 4 CDs under the Analekta label (Cantabile, Nota del Sol, Fantasia, Dolce Vita). Winners of the coveted Félix Award for Best Instrumental Album of the Year awarded by ADISQ (Quebec Recording Industry Association) in 2004 for Nota del Sol, Similia was also nominated in 2006 ADISQ’s Félix Award for Best Classical Recording for their Fantasia CD. For 15 years, Similia has gained international recognition by providing nearly 500 concerts in 13 different countries including Japan, China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Bosnia-Herzegovina, France, Mexico, Guatemala, United States and Canada.
 They recently sold out the Palais Montcalm at their world premiere of the Concerto tradicionuevo by Patrick Roux under the direction of Yoav Talmi and accompanied by the Quebec Symphony Orchestra. Annie also interpreted the Concerto de Aranjuez (Adagio) by Joaquin Rodrigo and Nadia the orchestral version of the Brilliant Fantasy on Carmen by François Borne. Similia also payed with the Kamloops Symphony under the direction of Bruce Dunn.
Celebrated for their elegant and refined music-making, Similia has received many prizes and accolades.
With their alluring interpretations, the duo explores the flute and guitar repertoire with passion and impeccable musical flair, sometimes adding new and dazzling dimensions to standards with their own arrangements. And while they perform the classical repertoire with brio, the pair enjoys discovering new musical horizons. Whether playing Latin American music or works by contemporary composers, Similia thrives to charm music lovers with melodious musical selections and genuine passion.
Their artistic vision and mission is to give life to the evocative voice of the flute and guitar ensemble and to expand its musical repertoire. 

viernes, 14 de febrero de 2014

Hilary Hahn plays BACH

I saw this young American violinist from Baltimore playing Mozart’s Fourth Concerto, K218, at a Prom. This was a very good performance but, for me, the finale did not quite come off. And, with respect, it is Mozart’s fault. He keeps changing the tempo. First, 15 bars at andante, then 57 at allegro, 15 at andante, 43 at allegro, 59 at andante, 33 at allegro, 7 at andante and 25 at allegro. This is stop and start music. She was persuaded to play an encore at this Prom and she choose Bach. I was impressed with her Bach and this CD reinforces that first impression.
I was seriously deterred from Bach’s solo violin music because of some really awful performances that I had to endure and from leading professionals. I also determined never to hear it again. But along came Hilary. I adore her Bach playing and in a few years time it will be even better than it is now although I hasten to add it is already really very fine indeed. There is so much to admire and she avoids the mistakes and idiosyncratic quirks that some famous violinists make.
Firstly, she plays the works as music not as studies or showpieces.
Secondly, she is not hindered by authenticity of style. She has not wasted her time, or ours, on ensuring that it is in the style that Bach would have known which, quite frankly, is a stupid pursuit anyhow.
Thirdly, she does not fuss over ornaments but plays them naturally as if they are an integral part of the music. Perhaps they are but so many soloists herald a trill and you know it is coming and then ham it up as if it is an essential theatrical gesture.
Fourthly, she plays the music at sensible and compelling tempi and with few irritating rallentandos. To put this into common parlance she gets on with it and does not labour or linger over stylish features as some do.
Fifthly, she plays with a controlled brilliance and, please forgive me saying so, only a professional musician will understand and appreciate this point.
Sixthly, there are no excesses. The control does not detract from the music and its quality. But here already is a maturity that some violinists three times her age have not yet found. Some never do. Music is communication not demonstration. Music is for both the brain and heart not for ostentation and eccentric personal interpretations. (David Wright)

miércoles, 12 de febrero de 2014

Isabelle Faust /Daniel Harding / Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra BÉLA BARTÓK Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2

Bartók’s music seems to be less popular than it was a few decades ago; at least it has been a while since major new recordings of these iconic works have seen a new release. That wait has been worth it. Bartók’s First violin concerto never will enjoy the popularity of the second, not just because it sat unperformed until after his death, but because its thematic material suffers from what might charitably be called “chromatic drift”. In other words, it can sound pretty ugly, at least until you get to know it well. Happily, Isabelle Faust really knows her Bartók, as her very sympathetic and intelligent booklet notes demonstrate. She plays the dreamy opening movement with a pure tone and sure sense of direction, while the second movement exudes just the right kind of purposeful energy, even in the music’s most gnarly passages. The epic Second concerto is even better. This is surely one of the great recordings of the piece. The long first movement flies by without a single dead spot, despite (or because of) huge contrasts in tempo between sections. Bartók’s suggested timing for this movement—12 minutes—never has been followed slavishly, and Faust’s 15 minutes exactly match the reference recording of Zehetmair/Fischer, as do the remaining movements for that matter. Perhaps the most telling evidence of Faust’s mastery occurs around measure 304, the passage in quarter-tones that leads into the big cadenza. Her purity of intonation makes sense of a moment that often sounds queasily out of tune, while the cadenza itself emerges naturally from what has come before, and leads inevitably to the orchestra’s return. The central slow movement is again impressively cogent, its scherzando section deftly integrated, and the finale is really exciting. Faust and conductor Daniel Harding opt for the work’s original (and superior) ending, without the solo violin in the final bars, giving Harding and the excellent Swedish Radio Symphony a moment to shine. Apropos Harding, I have to say that this strikes me as some of his best work on disc: precise, attentive to matters of color and texture, considerate of his soloist but also nicely detailed. He’s very much an equal partner in these proceedings, and just as fine a one. Harmonia Mundi provides ideally balanced sonics that flatter Faust’s sweet tone without sticking a microphone inside the instrument. This is a wonderful recording in every respect. (David Hurwitz,

martes, 11 de febrero de 2014

Anne Akiko Meyers THE FOUR SEASONS The Vivaldi Album

American violinist Anne Akiko Meyers has charted out an independent career by dint of unusual programming, an intensely lyrical style, and connections that have allowed her to play a really striking group of violins. Here the programming is adventurous only in the inclusion of Arvo Pärt's Passacaglia in an album devoted to Vivaldi, and indeed the Pärt work seems to come out of left field. Vivaldi's Four Seasons violin concertos are perhaps the most common item in the entire classical repertory, and the accompaniment here by the English Chamber Orchestra, which must have played these pieces hundreds or thousands of times, is standard. But the other arrows in Meyers' quiver don't fail her. The star of the show here is perhaps the violin, an instrument by Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù that, Meyers notes, is considered one of the finest in existence, and it's never been heard on recordings before. It was owned by Romantic-era violinist-composer Henri Vieuxtemps, and legend has it that Eugène Ysaÿe carried it behind Vieuxtemps' casket on its own silk cusion at Vieuxtemps' funeral. For the purposes of this recording, though, the relevant information is that Guarneri was nearly an exact contemporary of Vivaldi, and that Meyers draws from it a rather eerie meeting of instrumental sound and composition. The ultra-famous middle movement of the "Winter" concerto (track 11) is well worth hearing one more time here; it simply has very rarely had such a combination of soaring songfulness and sheer instrumental power. The recording of the album was apparently a complex process, taking place at Henry Wood Hall in London with "additional recording done September 6, 2013," in Purchase, New York. Whatever this is supposed to mean, the engineers did their job of getting a really spectacular violin to communicate some of its riches through the digital haze. And that's the main attraction here. (James Manheim)


Written for large orchestra and solo piano, and commissioned for a series of live events at Tate Modern, “Lamentate” was inspired by Pärt’s encounter with the enormous sculpture “Marsyas”, by Bombay-born artist Anish Kapoor. 150 metres long, “Marsyas” filled the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall for a year. Named for the Greek satyr flayed alive by the god Apollo, the piece consists of three enormous steel rings joined by a single span of dark red PVC membrane. The colour was intended by the artist to suggest blood and the body, and the sculpture dwarfed the viewer, too large to be viewed in its entirety from any single position: “I wanted to make body into sky”, says Kapoor.
For Arvo Pärt the dimensions of the work were breathtaking: “My first impression was that I, as a living being, was standing before my own body and was dead – as in a time-warp perspective, at once in the future and the present. ... In this moment I had a strong sense of not being ready to die. And I was moved to ask myself just what I could still manage to accomplish in the time left to me.”
“Lamentate” then, is a lament not for the dead, but for the living, who must struggle “with the pain and hopelessness of this world.” The solo piano role is designated by the composer to represent “one”, the individual, buffeted by fate. It can be viewed, he writes, “as a first person narrative”. Pärt: “The work is marked by diametrically opposed moods... Exaggerating slightly, I would characterize these poles as ‘brutal-overwhelming’ and ‘intimate-fragile’.” In the present recording, the solo protagonist Alexei Lubimov sails the sea of circumstance with extraordinary fluency, negotiating ferocious tidal waves and ominous calms. The luminescent quality to his playing, which recently served Silvestrov’s “Metamusik” and “Postludium” so well is very much to the fore, sustaining the sense of quasi-improvisational freshness that was one of Pärt’s original goals for this work. Conductor Andrey Boreyko, marshalling the instrumental forces of the SWR Radio Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart, maintains the emotional pressure throughout a very engaged performance of a work that concludes in a dialogue of reminiscences, of laments and consolations.

domingo, 9 de febrero de 2014

Mitsuko Uchida / Kurt Sanderling BEETHOVEN The 5 Piano Concertos

When does the incandescent become ephemeral? When does the evanescent become artificial? When do the expertly crafted, the gracefully sculpted, and the radiantly beautiful become simply a matter of style and taste? It is impossible to say for certain. For some listeners, Mitsuko Uchida's recordings of Beethoven's piano concertos with Kurt Sanderling conducting either the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra or the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks will be the epitome of aesthetic pleasure. For others, her performances will be instantly forgettable. Uchida certainly has the clear tone, the strong technique, and the necessary heroic-poetic sensibility to play Beethoven's concertos, and Sanderling surely has the depth, the soul, and the experience to conduct Beethoven's concertos, but they don't seem to touch either each other or the music, much less the eternal in Beethoven's music. The witty humor of the First, the easy elegance of the Second, the powerful drama of the Third, the serene lyricism of the Fourth, and the Apollonian majesty of the Fifth seem missing from their performances together, and, although they are pleasant enough while they're playing, when they're over, they're gone and forgotten. Philips' '90s piano sound is as clear, lucid, and warm as its '60s and '70s piano sound, that is to say, as good as the best ever made. (James Leonard)

sábado, 1 de febrero de 2014

Eroica Trio BEETHOVEN Triple Concerto Op. 56 - Piano Trio Op. 11

 Beethoven's music is ideally suited to the Eroica Trio's vigorous style, and, for this release, the group has chosen two works that offer ample opportunities to flex its musical muscles--the Triple Concerto and the Opus 11 trio. The Triple Concerto is a study of contrasts and textures, an exploration by the composer of all the possibilities available through various instrumental, thematic, and harmonic combinations. The members of Eroica play with their usual intensity, determination, and skillful musicianship. The work has long been a staple of their repertoire, and their complete familiarity with the piece is apparent as they adroitly move through it with confidence and a sense of purpose. The conductor-less forces of the Prague Chamber Orchestra prove themselves to be capable, responsive collaborators.
Beethoven originally composed his Opus 11 trio for clarinet, cello, and piano, but later created a version for the standard piano trio instrumentation. The work's technical demands make it an ideal vehicle through which the ensemble can express its collective virtuosity, perfect for its full-throttle approach. Eroica gives an energetic reading of the work, playing it with gusto and panache, as well as great finesse. This well-executed program is a fine showcase of the group's distinctive musical personality. (ArkivMusic)