martes, 30 de junio de 2015

Kronos Quartet TERRY RILEY Sunrise of the Planetary Dream Collector

In honor of groundbreaking American composer Terry Riley’s 80th birthday, Nonesuch Records releases One Earth, One People, One Love: Kronos Plays Terry Riley—a five-disc box set of four albums of his work composed for, and performed by, his longtime friends and champions Kronos Quartet—as well as a new disc called Sunrise of the Planetary Dream Collector: Music of Terry Riley, on June 23, 2015, in North America and July 10 for the rest of the world. Riley and Kronos met more than 35 years ago, and since then, the quartet has commissioned 27 works from him, more than from any other composer in the group’s history.
Sunrise of the Planetary Dream Collector includes a new recording of the title piece, which was Riley’s first for Kronos, as well as previously unreleased recordings of Lacrymosa – Remembering Kevin and One Earth, One People, One Love from Sun Rings; Cry of a Lady (originally released on A Thousand Thoughts); and G Song and Cadenza on the Night Plain (both originally released on 25 Years). Sunrise of the Planetary Dream Collector also is available for individual purchase. 
Kronos Quartet continues its celebration of its friend with the KRONOS PRESENTS: Terry Riley Festival, June 26–28 at the SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco. The festival, the first project in the new KRONOS PRESENTS series, features some of Riley’s most significant and rarely-performed works, plus several world premieres composed in his honor, with special guest performers including Zakir Hussain, Wu Man, Riley’s son Gyan, and Riley himself.
Kronos’ violinist, founder, and artistic director David Harrington says of the Quartet’s remarkably fruitful relationship with Terry Riley, which began in the late 1970s at Mills College in Oakland, California: “There is no other composer who has added so many new musical words to our vocabulary, words from so many corners of the musical world. Terry introduced Kronos to Pandit Pran Nath, Zakir Hussain, Bruce Connor, La Monte Young, Anna Halprin, Hamza El Din, Jon Hassell, and Gil Evans.” He continues, “In a crazed world laced with violence and destruction he has consistently been a force for peace. Through his gentle leadership a path forward has emerged. Terry sets the standard for what it means to be a musician in our time.”
Riley says of his 35 years of working with Kronos: “Each of our projects together was launched by conversations with both David and me riffing on ideas. I always came away from these planning sessions feeling exhilarated, and these energies would soon get my pen moving toward a melody or a rhythmic pattern—or, in the case of Salome Dances for Peace, a five-quartet cycle. David has this gift, a unique catalytic effect on so many collaborators. Because of this gift, we have this astounding body of work created for Kronos over the past four decades.”

lunes, 29 de junio de 2015

Hille Perl DOULCE MEMOIRE Glosas, Passeggiati & Diminutions around 1600

The art of improvisation was for much of musical history one of the most formidable weapons in the arsenal of performers. But in the 19th century it became largely lost (virtuoso pianists like Liszt and organists being notable exceptions) as the concept of the “sacrosanct score” gradually took root. In “art music”—to use a poor term to distinguish it from jazz—it is only with the revival of early music during the latter half of the last century that a reawakening of interest in improvisation has emerged, with performers as diverse as Robert Levin and Andrew Lawrence-King reviving long lost techniques and pushing back the boundaries of timidity.
No period lends itself more readily to such extemporary music-making than the late Renaissance or the early Baroque, a period during which countless treatises dedicated to providing examples for both vocal and instrumental embellishment appeared. For instrumental players, such improvisatory techniques specifically involved one of two kinds of process: either the use of one of the many bass patterns or ostinatos over which the player improvised a set of variations (or glosas), or the embellishment of a tune (frequently vocal in origin) by means of filling it with passage work or diminutions, as they were known. A couple of years back, I reviewed a Jordi Savall disc which took its point of departure from a collection of written-out variations (glosas) on ostinato basses, but also included some formidable examples of Savall’s own improvisatory prowess (Fanfare 25:4).
A key figure in Savall’s collection was the great Spanish composer and gambist Diego Ortiz (1525–c. 1570), whose hugely influential treatise Tratado de glosas appeared in 1553. Ortiz also looms large on this new disc with Hille Perl and what is largely Lawrence-King’s Harp Consort, but here the emphasis is different, the collection concentrating to near exclusivity on a variety of instrumental realizations of madrigals and chansons. One measure of the popularity of such vocal pieces was the number of times they appeared in transcription, or were accorded glosa treatment. It is therefore not surprising to find three different and widely varied versions of one of the most famous and beautiful of all chansons, Pierre Sandrin’s Doulce memoire. In one, Ortiz has ingeniously added a fifth part, while his glosa of it is extraordinarily sensitive, beautifully dovetailing the variants to maintain the dignified mien of the original. No such reserve is found in the version by Girolomo Dalla Casa, a cornettist at St. Mark’s, Venice from 1568, whose flamboyantly virtuosic jazzing up of the chanson elicits some appropriately dazzling playing from Perl. Equally fascinating is the comparison between the straight transcription for viols of Cipriano de Rore’s four-part madrigal Ben qui si mostra (1561) and the version with subtle vocal diminutions by the singer Angelo Notari. The establishment of basso continuo provided yet a further way of treating vocal pieces, as the arrangement of Willaert’s expressive chanson Jouissance vous donneray by Vincenzo Bonnizzi readily demonstrates. The only true improvisation is Lawrence-King’s rich extravaganza on Trabachi’s madrigal Ancidetemi pur (1603).
In sum, this beautifully performed disc provides a fascinating insight into the way instrumentalists established a repertoire of their own from vocal models. Judging from the cover illustration (an arty black and white photo of Perl posed in a cornfield) and the gambist’s new-age comments on the music (“This piece makes you want to leave just so you can return”), I suspect that some kind of crossover market is being aimed at. And why not? It’s all a darn sight more enjoyable than those abominable discs of opera stars singing Broadway songs. (
Brian Robins)

viernes, 26 de junio de 2015

Pierre Boulez / Ensemble intercontemporain PHILIPPE MANOURY La Partition du Ciel et de l'Enfer - Jupiter

Philippe Manoury is one of the world's leading composers and computer music researchers. He studied composition with Gerard CondZ and Max Deutsch (one of Schoenberg's first students in Vienna), and at the Conservatoire National de Musique de Paris, with Michel Philippot and Ivo Malec. He studied computer-assisted composition with Pierre Barbaud beginning in 1976.
In 1978, Philippe began teaching in Brazil at universities in Sao Paulo, Brasilia, and other locations. A major appointment followed at the Conservatoire National SupZrieur de Lyon (1986-96). Most significant is his long association with the world's leading center for computer music research, IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique), a branch of the Centre George Pompidou in Paris. Philippe has worked as a musical researcher (in collaboration with Miller Puckette) since 1981, and as a Professor of Composition since 1993. At IRCAM Manoury composed Zeitlauf (1981), a work for mixed choir, instrumental ensemble, synthesizers, and tape.
For the European Year of Music, the Council of Europe commissioned Manoury to compose Aleph, which premiered in 1985. He also wrote a series of chamber works, including Musique I and II, and InstantanZs. In 1992 and 1993 he composed La Nuit du Sortilège, which won an award from the UNESCO International Composers' Tribune. In 1999, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland commissioned Sound and Fury, premiered by Pierre Boulez.
Philippe has composed three operas, 60e Parallèle, K..., and La Frontière. K... was commissioned and premiered by the Paris Opera in 2001. One of his most important works is Sonus ex Machina, a series of compositions (Jupiter, Pluton, Neptune and La Partition du Ciel et de l'Enfer) for solo instruments, ensemble and real-time computer processing. Mr. Manoury was also composer in residence at the Orchestre de Paris where he composed Noon, a large piece for soprano, choir, orchestra and electronics. It was premiered by Esa-Pekka Salonen.
In 2005, Philippe composed IdentitZs remarquables and Strange Ritual for the Ensemble Intercontemporain and the Modern Ensemble. Recently, Mr. Manoury premiered On-Iron, a 75-minute oratorio for choir, percussion, electronics and video which toured five cities in France.
Mr. Manoury will have an immediate impact on our composition, computer music, and ICAM (computer music) programs. He will be available as a senior mentor to Ph.D. candidates in composition, teach the Music 203 composition seminar, 103 undergraduate composition seminar, 270 computer music seminars, and 210 musical analysis. (UC San Diego)

jueves, 25 de junio de 2015

Stephanie McCallum ALKAN Twelve Studies in all the Major Keys Opus 35

“Rarely do I find a record so irresistible that I listen to it over and over, well beyond what's required for a review. This is such a record… Part of the attraction is simply the joy of discovery. …These etudes represent Alkan at his best and most accessible. For the newly-initiated this would be a good place to begin… Stephanie McCallum is a thoroughly convincing champion of this music. Not only are her fingers up to the quite formidable technical task, but she has the right kind of temperament. Her playing has real character and elan.” (American Record Guide, May/June 1995)

“As fas as I know, the Australian Stephanie McCallum is the first woman pianist to record Alkan. There is, frankly, little to choose between her and Bernard Ringeissen who, at the moment, offers the sole alternative in Op. 35…. McCallum has a formidable pianistic armoury and… it's a most impressive recital. In particular, I urge you to hear her beautiful account of Etude no 19 "Chant d'amour".” (Classic CD, September 1995)

“This release is extremely welcome, the more so as Stephanie McCallum, a pupil of Ronald Smith well versed in Alkan's alchemy,. proves to be a formidable and insightful pianist, who gives us a very good idea of what the music is all about, ie transcendental technique at the service of ecstatic yet utterly disciplined vision. …Music like this, as well served as this, should be self-recommending.” (Hi-Fi News, April 1995) 

miércoles, 24 de junio de 2015


This low-budget Philip Glass opera, Les enfants Terribles, is based on a novel and play by Jean Cocteau, forming the third ring in Glass' trilogy of works devoted to the elaborate personal mythology of the great French visionary. Foregoing the controversial and dualistic 1949 film of Les enfants Terribles made by Jean-Pierre Melville, Glass decided to realize the visual element through a collaboration with choreographer Susan Marshall, re-creating Cocteau's story as a "dance opera." Les enfants Terribles is the most compelling Glass score beheld in many years. 
Released by Glass' own Orange Mountain Music, the recording sounds like a rehearsal, with the voices of the principals -- soprano Christine Arand, mezzo-soprano Valerie Komer, bass-baritone Phillip Cutlip, and tenor Hal Cazalet -- drifting about in space as if though going through the motions of a play blocked out in a large dance studio. Glass eschews his patented orchestral scoring for a Les noces-esque rendering of the music for three pianos, played by Nelson Padgett, Eleanor Sandresky, and Glass himself. Glass' harmonies and patterns gain added strength and freshness played on multiple pianos with their combined sense of attack and percussive intensity, and avails himself of more pointed harmonic language here than is his usual wont. While Glass doesn't make a big noise about his time of study with Darius Milhaud (no one who did so does), his approach to the vocal writing in Les enfants Terribles is not dissimilar to Milhaud, side-stepping conventional melodic turns and tone painting to imbue Cocteau's French with a sort of harmonized speech. The total package grabs one's attention right away, and holds it throughout both of the discs in the set -- one is eager to move from the first to the second. 
 This highly personal and well-realized work was recorded at about the time Elektra Nonesuch was putting out practically every note of music that Glass wrote. Perhaps the group decided to pass on this project; now the recording is nearly a decade old, and Glass has decidedly moved on to other things. Nonetheless, Nonesuch's loss is Orange Mountain Music's gain, and ours as well, as Les enfants Terribles is well worth going out of one's way to get. To those who think Glass lost his edge many years ago, take note.

lunes, 22 de junio de 2015

Roberta Invernizzi / Sonia Prina / Ensemble Claudiana / Luca Pianca AMORE E MORTE DELL'AMORE

The duet madrigal, chamber cantata, or aria was a prime form of the early Baroque, ready-made for a noble family that wished to display its house singers and even draw from them a little bit of competition. There are a number of albums in the genre on the market, but Amore e morte dell'amore (Love and the Death of Love), from reigning Baroque soprano queen Roberta Invernizzi and newer contralto talent Sonia Prina, stands out from the crowd. First there are the rich voices of the singers themselves, who could sing a random web search page and make it sound good, and their razor-sharp coordination. Second is the program, which traverses the entire 17th century and moves into the 18th, holding everything together thematically and largely avoiding well-known numbers (other than the finale duet from Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea), touching on some unusual mid-century finds by Antonio Lotti and Francesco Durante, with a well-placed ensemble treatment of a Domenico Scarlatti sonata as an interlude. That piece shows off the talents of the Ensemble Claudiana, new faces on the historical-performance scene. Above all these individual factors is their coherence into an overall package. Invernizzi and Prina get the intimate chamber quality of most of this music, its natural habitat of a music room with a group of connoisseurs who were ready to listen closely. They are virtuosic, lithe, and playful, even when they approach a serious text. Naïve supports them beautifully with studio sound. Highly recommended. (

jueves, 18 de junio de 2015

Jack Gibbons ALKAN 12 Études Op. 39

Yes, pianophiles who are aware of Alkan have to know that there is not only one great recording of Alkan’s Symphony or Concerto for solo piano.  Like many other people, I was first introduced to Alkan by the technically unflappable recordings of Marc-André Hamelin, and I was pretty much convinced that they were THE definite recordings.  That was until Jack Gibbons’ recording of the complete Op. 39 came along.  And it totally blew me away.
After a quick hearing of Gibbons’ Symphony and the Concerto, it’s hard not to realize that his technique yields nothing to Hamelin’s, yet while Hamelin presents us with a cool, Apollonian view of these two masterworks, Jack Gibbons goes all out with his technique, and in dazzling display reveals all their thrilling Dionysian qualities.  Consider the first movement of the Symphony:  Hamelin’s more symphonic approach paints the picture in darker, warmer tones, frequently putting emphasis to the brooding C minor tonality, while Gibbons’ more red-blooded, relentless way reveals to the listener Alkan’s mastery in form and structure, the “long line”, and proves to be entirely convincing (even though personally I prefer Hamelin’s more contrasted way).  As for the finger-busting Finale, I’d certainly take Gibbons’ wild and thrilling hell-ride over Hamelin’s unfazed cruise in a Veyron any day. (Jeremy Lee)

martes, 16 de junio de 2015


Since winning two prizes at the ARD International Music Competition in 2005, Serbian sisters Sanja and Lidija Bizjak have achieved worldwide praise for their solo piano and piano duo performances alike: “brilliant sound, precise fingerwork, and excellent listening skills” – The Independent. For their debut recording on Onyx, they have created a superb programme consisting of two concertos for two pianos and orchestra by Poulenc and Martinu to frame compositions for two pianos alone: Stravinsky’s 'Sonata' and Shostakovich’s rarely heard 'Concertino'. The sisters have appeared at the BBC Proms to great acclaim in Saint-Saens’ 'Carnival of the Animals'.

The Serbian sisters Lidija and Sanja Bizjak have achieved worldwide praise for their performances alike (‘brilliant sound, precise fingerwork and excellent listening skills’ – The Independent). For their debut recording on Onyx, they have created a superb programme consisting of two concertos for two pianos and orchestra by Poulenc & Martinu° to frame two works for two pianos alone – Stravinsky’s Sonata and Shostakovich’s rarely heard Concertino.

lunes, 15 de junio de 2015


  Adélaïde Panaget and Naïri Badal met at a very young age when they were taking the same piano lessons and they developed a similar approach to the instrument. After their time at the Conservatoire de Paris, where they were taught by Brigitte Engerer and Nicolas Angelich, they improved their skills with Claire Desert and Ami Flammer. In 2007 their friendship and shared artistic sensibility led them to create Duo Jatekok, which quickly emerged as one of the most promising duos of its generation.
They have won many international competitionJatekoks including in Ghent in 2013 and Rome in 2011, as well as the contemporary music prize at the Forum Musical de Normandie in 2012. In addition, they were artists in residence at the prestigious Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Belgium, under the direction of the Artemis Quartet.
The energy and enthusiasm they bring to their performances has earned them regular invitations to festivals and international stages such as La Roque dAnthéron, Les Folles Journées, the Debussy Festival, Festival à la Française and many others. They have also preformed at Cité de la Musique in Paris, the Royal Theatre and Flagey in Brussels, as well as the National Opera in Warsaw under the direction of Arie Van Beek with the Sinfonia Varsovia.
In February 2015 they will present their CD ‘Danses’ (Barber, Grieg, Ravel and Borodine) for the Mirare label.
Always keen on discovering new pieces, they juggle their classical repertoire and creating contemporary works, and enjoy bringing actors, musicians, dancers and composers together for original projects. In 2013 they created the Jatekok Quartet with percussionists from the Paris Opera and the Orchestre de Radio France, Jean-Baptiste Leclère and Nicolas Lamothe.

miércoles, 10 de junio de 2015

Christina Pluhar / L'Arpeggiata MEDITERRANEO

This release by the early music group L'Arpeggiata and its leader, lutenist Christina Pluhar, seems to encompass two separate goals, only partly laid out in the handsomely illustrated booklet notes. First is an illustration of the idea that, as the notes put it, "the sea does not separate cultures, it connects them." Jordi Savall and others have released albums that cut across a wide swath of Mediterranean lands from Turkey to Spain (and around to Portugal), finding in them a traditional music that responds well to improvisatory practice, shows the continuing influence of musical practices from the Arab and Ottoman worlds, and reflects a lyric impulse and a tendency toward accompanied vocal song. Pluhar adds different singers and musicians onto her core group according to the national origin of the music, a noteworthy and innovative practice that gets the listener to hear commonalities and differences in a fresh way. The second goal is more unusual: Pluhar and company explore the common roots of these practices in Greek music, demonstrated by the persistence of the Greek language and a large repertory of orally transmitted song in southern Italy, on the Salento peninsula on the east coast of southern Italy, and also in Calabria. These songs are sung in a language called Griko, essentially an Italian dialect of Greek. This music, and even the language itself, is sufficiently obscure to attract attention to the album by themselves, and "Greco-Salentino" songs, with everything transliterated and translated in the booklet, are lovely. The album's perhaps of a bit more interest to speculative world music fans than to serious devotees of old Mediterranean song: Pluhar's female vocalists don't have quite the power needed to take command of the material. But the instrumental group L'Arpeggiata is a remarkably flexible, breathing instrument, and the entire project gets major points for sheer originality. (James Manheim)

martes, 9 de junio de 2015


Schubert's music has an immediate impact. No one has expressed this more forcefully than Theodor Adorno in his early essay of 1928: 'Confronted with Schubert's music, tears fall from our eyes before the soul is even consulted. That is how solidly and unmetaphorically it affects us.' It would be wrong, however, to take this as a plea for sentimentality, allowing pianists to claim, as Ulrich Schreiber once put it, 'the right to lend the score a helping hand by improving it'. To avoid this dilemma, one thing above all is helpful, in addition to pianistic skill and aesthetic sensibilities: archival research. This involves the questions of which instruments Schubert played upon, which surroundings his works were performed in, what social groupings they were conceived for and what sound-ideals this imposed on him.
Hungarian pianist András Schiff has long been concerned with period performance practice. At first, however, the musical results of the research into authentic sound left him unconvinced. Since then his initial qualms, sparked by the dogmatism of the original practitioners and the poor state of many historical instruments, has given way to a gusto for period instruments. A change of heart was prompted above all by his experience with Mozart's hammerklavier, which he was allowed to play in the composer's birth-house in Salzburg – 'at once a privilege and an unforgettable experience'. Only on this instrument, where Mozart probed the limits of the keyboard and the piano’s potential, does the revolutionary character of his music come fully to the fore, nor did Schiff play his spectacular double-recording of Beethoven's Diabelli Variations on a modern Steinway.
Instead he chose two earlier instruments: a hammerflügel from Beethoven's day, which gives full play to the composer's rich sonic universe, and an original Bechstein grand of 1921, with a sound-ideal virtually nonexistent today.
For the present recording of works by Franz Schubert, the pianist has again chosen a Viennese hammerflügel built by Franz Brodmann in 1820. Anyone listening to his interpretations will be surprised at the instrument's ability to bring out the gentle, wistful songfulness of Schubert's music, a quality far removed from Biedermeier sentimentality. Above all, the instrument is capable of rendering the huge range and myriad gradations of Schubert's dynamics down to the softest pianissimo. This is due in particular to the moderator pedal (a feature no longer found on today's instruments), which places a piece of cloth between the hammers and the strings, muting the attack and the sound in an almost mystical manner.
Indeed, the recordings on this instrument lack all false brilliance and any neutralising equilibration of the registers. We feel we are listening to Schubert for the first time, perhaps as he heard his own playing, with silvery high registers, a warm timbre in the mid-range and a dry, almost laconic bass. Most of all, the works, especially the highly popular Moments musicaux and Impromptus, benefit from an instrumental character defined more by rounded consonance than by the isolated note. Even the light folk-like inflection found, for example, in many passages of the G-major Sonata seems perfectly natural, not as if Schiff had to curtail the instrument’s fulsome sonority in order to accommodate unadorned expression.

lunes, 8 de junio de 2015

Arabella Steinbacher MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto, Op. 64 - TCHAIKOVSKY Violin Concerto, Op. 35

This release arguably features the two greatest concertos ever written for the violin: performed by one of the most brilliant violinists of her generation, together with one of the finest orchestras, and under the baton of one of the world’s foremost conductors. This recording of Tchaikovsky/Mendelssohn violin concertos bears witness to the eminence of the collaboration between violinist Arabella Steinbacher, conductor Charles Dutoit and PENTATONE’s Orchestra of the Season January June 2015, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, and the result thereof.
After waiting for a long time to record these concertos with the perfect collaboration, Arabella Steinbacher didn’t waste any chance to shine with heart-felt enthusiasm and bravura in this recording.
Her performance produced such a pure, yet fierce sound that it allowed the music to speak in an immediate, translucent way. Recorded in September 2014 in the magnificent Victoria Hall, Geneva, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande were totally at home with the repertoires and performed with great confidence; they were led by Dutoit, who was vivid, rhythmic and clear in his direction.

jueves, 4 de junio de 2015

José Ramón Encinar / Orchestra and Chorus of the Comunidad de Madrid LEONARDO BALADA María Sabina - Dionisio: In Memoriam

The Barcelona-born composer Leonardo Balada is credited with pioneering a blending of ethnic music with avant-garde techniques. The symphonic tragedy María Sabina, one of Balada’s bestknown works, tells the extraordinary story of Sabina, a Mexican Indian mushroom-cult priestess who meets fierce resistance from her people when endeavouring to open the holy rituals to the outside world. Some of the text in Balada’s work is based on her incantations, of which the composer has written, “While composing the work, the power of the text was so extraordinary that I felt inspired by it. I recall composing the music even when I was travelling, in airports or hotels”. The cantata Dionisio: In Memoriam is a homage to Dionisio Ridruejo, a poet and politician from Soria, Spain, on whose ideological, philosophical and descriptive writings the work is based. (NAXOS)

miércoles, 3 de junio de 2015

Claudio Abbado / Orchestra Mozart SCHUBERT The "Great" C major Symphony

Throughout his career, Claudio Abbado evinced a keen desire to work with young and unspoilt musicians, and it was this desire that led him to gift to the world of music one new orchestra after another. He loved working with his players with the maximum degree of intimacy and in an atmosphere of mutual understanding that encouraged them to listen to each other. In the course of his life more than a dozen wonderful ensembles were created thanks to his powerful initiative. The two most recent ones were the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, which dates back to 2003, and the Orchestra Mozart, which was established the following year as a project of the Accademia Filarmonica di Bologna and financed by the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio in Bologna. It was with the latter that Abbado developed an especially close bond during the final years of his life, its outstanding qualities demonstrated, not least, by the many prestigious awards that it received. In one of his last interviews, Abbado himself stressed that he was never interested in “drawing a distinction between my youth orchestras on the one hand and my elite orchestra on the other. The truth of the matter is that there are few major differences between my orchestras. We are all members of one big family, performing music together and in that way helping each other out.”
The Orchestra Mozart was never simply a youth orchestra but was a highly qualified large chamber ensemble in which young musicians appeared alongside experienced figures such as the double-bass player Alois Posch, the violist Wolfram Christ and the trumpeter Reinhold Friedrich. Apart from the genius of Abbado himself, it was very much this combination of experience and youthful enthusiasm that lent the orchestra its unique and irresistible colour. It was founded in 2004 against the background of the crisis that beset the whole of Italy, where regional orchestras and opera houses were dying out in large numbers.
As such, it was a sign of the untiring optimism and thirst for action that Abbado brought to art and society right up to the end of his life, for unlike many of his colleagues of a similar age he retained his political beliefs from the 1960s and 1970s, when his work had been inspired by his left-wing sympathies. His conviction that music does not exist in a vacuum but has an emphatically ethical significance alongside its aesthetic importance bore fruit from start to finish. On Abbado’s initiative the Orchestra Mozart also played voluntarily in kindergartens, prisons and facilities for the disabled. (Julia Spinola)

martes, 2 de junio de 2015

Gidon Kremer / Kremerata Baltica GLASS - PÄRT - KANCHELI - UMEBAYASHI New Seasons

Gidon Kremer returns to the Yellow label after more than a decade with the brand new reference recording of Philip Glass’ Second Violin Concerto – “The American Seasons”, his first solo concerto album in many years.The first Glass Violin Concerto, performed by Kremer and released by DG in 1993, has achieved cult status and shipped close to 90k units (in Germany alone over 25k copies) – and has become a staple of DG’s contemporary music catalogue.
Now, this extraordinary follow-up Concerto is at the heart of the repertoire of the Kremerata Baltica. Performed for the first time in San José, Costa Rica with Gidon Kremer as soloist in August 2013, it will be toured later in the year - info to follow shortly.
The album is completed by works of Arvo Pärt and Giya Kancheli – two composers both closely associated with Gidon Kremer, and who are both set to celebrate milestone 80th birthdays this year. Gidon has also added the short piece by the well-known Japanese film composer Shigeru Umebayashi as a tribute to his Japanese friends.
Four highly regarded visual artists and film maker have created four different films for each of the American Seasons that are projected to screens during concert performances. (Presto Classical)

lunes, 1 de junio de 2015


If you buy only one record of harpsichord music in your life . . . buy this sensational album. The 30-year-old Iranian-American Mahan Esfahani has been making waves among connoisseurs for several years. Now he emerges as a superstar whose musicianship, imagination, virtuosity, cultural breadth and charisma far transcends the ivory tower in which the harpsichord has traditionally been placed . . . Where necessary, Esfahani is brilliantly accompanied by Concerto Köln. Even their final performance -- of JS Bach¿s Vivaldi-inspired harpsichord concerto in D Minor, with its plangently lyrical slow movement -- has a delicious twist. In the last movement Esfahani inserts a flamboyant cadenza by Brahms, of all people. A truly magical mash-up of times past, present and future.